“You have cancer” 

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You have either heard those words or you know someone who has. How can you help minister to people with cancer? Thankfully, cancer is not our shepherd!

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Welcome to No Compromise Radio Ministry, aka Duplex Gratia Radio.
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D .G .R. Mike Hibbenroth here. Glad that you tuned in today.
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Today in real time is, it is January 12th, 2024.
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You'll probably hear this sometime in the middle of January, but that's alright. I kinda like that little part right there.
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Yeah? I know you did. Even a little yell in there. I think there's a version of this song with lyrics too.
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Who knows, that was just the yell. Anyway, today I'd like to talk about cancer.
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Either you have been affected by cancer directly by having a diagnosis, or you certainly know someone that has cancer.
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And so when you hear the words, you have cancer, it does something to you.
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When your family hears the words that their loved one has cancer, their friend, someone at church, it does something to them as well.
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So today, no notes, that's not unusual. Flow of thought, that's not unusual.
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ADD, it's not unusual. And imagining that there are people here that I'm talking to and then laughing, not unusual.
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Just to give you a quick update, because people have been praying for me, this week I finished my fifth and final
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All Day Tuesday Then Wednesday at Dana -Farber Cancer Hospital in downtown
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Boston. There's a bunch of hospitals right by each other, it's hard to get to. I mean, it'll make you tired if you drive in and you're 25 years old and healthy, let alone 63 and leukemia.
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Anyway, I had to start off with an oral medication, a cancer targeting drug for the lymph node cancer, bone cancer, blood cancer, all underneath the chronic leukemia heading.
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And they can kill the cancer so fast, leukemia so fast, but it will collect in your kidney and you'll have kidney failure.
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So they have to do it slowly, like over 14 months. So I did the oral medication and then
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I went into the infusion room and then I got hooked up to an IV and instead of having the drug via the
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IV, it was just saline because they want to keep you hydrated enough to make sure your kidneys are fine.
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See, 0 .1 minute ago. So anyway, graduated up from one medicine to two and then the second medicine from 20 mg week one, which was five weeks ago, then to 50 mg a day, four weeks ago, then to 100, then 200 and now 400 mg a day along with the other pill
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I take in the morning and night. And then they give you two other kinds of pills to take to counteract the side effects of the other pills.
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So anyway, prognosis is good, my numbers are good. For instance, your white counts are supposed to be probably between 4 and 10 and at the height of my leukemia, they were 49.
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That's probably why I had so much problems with COVID is because my whites were already fighting something else, leukemia.
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They didn't have time to fight the COVID. So anyway, they're down to six now, which is totally normal.
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They're probably going to go down too low because this will wear on my immune system, these cancer drugs and then hopefully rebound.
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So I try to take precautions with zinc and D with K and the nostril sprays when
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I'm around people, try not to really shake people's hands much. I do give them kind of a hug instead or maybe a fist bump.
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Try not to be around a lot of people, but I'm still going to live my life. So anyway, thank you for praying. I don't think prostate cancer is going to kill me.
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I don't think leukemia is going to kill me. Something else will or the
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Lord will come back. So I would prefer the Lord coming back to dying, but absent from the body, present with the
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Lord. So today on No Compromise Radio Ministry, that's my quick update. Thank you for praying. I hope my mind kind of gets less cloudy and I can finish the update on sexual fidelity and I'm working on a parenting book and a few other things.
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That's just on the side, hoping to be in California in March. And it was great to see my children, my daughter -in -law, my son -in -law, and my grandson.
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Another grandson, a grandbaby. I don't know if it's son or daughter. Later this year, exciting times.
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The Lord has been very good to me. Back to the topic at hand. When you hear the words, you have cancer.
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Maybe what I could do on the show today, if I had to give you a purpose statement, is to just walk through some of the things that you might think of or not think of as you minister to someone who has cancer.
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And what do you say to them? How do you reach out? How do you act?
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And then also, if you have cancer, I meet many people that they have cancer.
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And over the years, I've talked to quite a few people who have listened to NOCO and have had prostate cancer diagnosis or other cancer diagnosis, and they want to talk.
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They want to just talk to somebody who's a pastor. I do have some medical background, even though my doctorate isn't in medicine.
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It's not even a real doctorate. I mean, it's a doctorate of ministry, a D -min. Not demon with a
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D -E, but D -period, doctor. Min for ministry, D -min. And really, it's a mini -doctorate.
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So anyway, as you know, one of my pet peeves is people running around calling themselves doctor.
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And even on Twitter, doctor so -and -so or having websites, doctor so -and -so, when
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I don't even think they should do that, number one, even if they have a PhD or a Ph .D. or some terminal doctorate, let alone a
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D -min. There are lots of pastors out there that just have D -mins. And when they call themselves doctor, you might want to watch out.
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There are probably some exceptions here or there, but you might want to watch out. I don't want to be called doctor by the congregation here, by my friends, by my family, by anyone else.
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If they do introduce me as doctor overseas because it's a big deal in a certain culture to have a higher education, okay, fine.
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You have cancer. I remember the first time that was said to me. I think the second time is easier.
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They tell you that. But the first time they tell you, it is shocking.
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And so I was seated right here in 2015 at this very desk, and I was recording for Todd Friel, Wretched Radio, when
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I was allowed to guest host. Matter of fact,
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Todd texted me when he heard I was sick and asked if he could do anything or if he needed to fly up here on his own dime to preach for me or just to minister to me.
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And I'm very thankful for Todd and his genuine offer, his free offer.
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I didn't take him up on it because if he won't let me on the show, then why bother? Just kidding.
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Anyway, I went over to my desk where the phone was because I didn't want to have the phone with me with live radio stuff going on.
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And so I went over there, and I was expecting a phone call because it was right before Christmas holidays.
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It was like December 17th or something like that. And there was a message from the doctor.
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And I just had a prostate biopsy. And when I say biopsy, that's 12 core biopsies that it really, really hurts.
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I'm sure it's not like burying a child or breaking a femur, but it is bad. I think
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I've had like 29 of those. And the next time, it would have to be under the knife,
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I mean, under the sedation. And I walked over to the phone, and here was the message from the urologist in Boston.
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Hi, Mike, this is Dr. So -and -so. Give me a call when you get an opportunity. I knew that second.
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I knew that second. Now, that's not the first time I heard you have cancer, but that's when I knew. Because if I didn't, he would say,
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Hi, Mike, this is Dr. So -and -so. Got your lab tests from the biopsies of your prostate.
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Looks good. Why don't we see it in a year? That's what they would say. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, et cetera.
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So I called him and he said, yes, you know, in whatever, I can't remember these days, in seven of the cores, there was cancer found.
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They give you certain scores, and they measure it by Gleason scores. And Gleason 6, 7, et cetera, and what percentage of the cores, how much of the core.
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And so then off we went. And I think what happened was for the next year, because I didn't have a procedure done for about a year, over a year, my identity was pretty much
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I have cancer. I would wake up every single morning and I would say to myself, you have cancer.
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I'd turn off the alarm, I have cancer. I have cancer. And prostate cancer, if you're going to get a cancer, that's one you probably have the best chance to survive as long as it's not out of the capsule, out of the prostate, because then it's a rough go then.
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But if you catch it early, it's one of the easier cancers, if I can say that, and I don't want to make light of it, and obviously
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I'm not since I had it and had procedures done, et cetera. I say et cetera a lot.
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I don't know why. I said something from the pulpit last Sunday. Twice they said, my children said
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I said ho -hum. Ho -hum two times. I just kept thinking, you know,
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I have cancer and it's not even a terminal one. I mean, it might have to do with sensitive anatomy, right?
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And of course ladies can identify even as they have their checkups with their OBs and stuff like that. I mean, just a little, it's not like, you know, you have,
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I don't know, something else. But anyway, my identification seemed to be for a long time
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I have cancer. So the first thing I'd like to talk about in regards to regarding you have cancer is for yourself if you have it or if you've got a friend or family member or somebody at church who has it, work through this idea.
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That person is probably like Pastor Mike in lots of ways, Dr. Mike. And his or her identification isn't
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I have cancer. Our identification is Jesus loves me.
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Jesus died for me. Jesus was buried for me. Jesus was raised for me.
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And he is praying for me as the ascended king. And one day he'll come back for me.
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In other words, I am united with Christ as Paul would say in Ephesians.
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I'm not, you know, I would never denigrate sola fide here in justification by faith alone.
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I mean, that's like a big thing here at No Compromise Radio. Union with Christ is discussed more.
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And so we have union with Christ. If you read Romans chapter six, verses one through 11, you'll see that language.
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And Ephesians chapter one, you'll see, and chapter two, in him, in Christ, in Christ Jesus, our
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Lord. And that's something I really had to wrestle with. My identification is not
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I have leukemia. I had prostate cancer at the time I have prostate cancer.
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That's not my identification. And it's interesting because in front of people,
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I think I probably did fine. Quiet moments, maybe not so well all the time.
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Well, certainly not so well. But what happens is you meet someone and you know they have cancer and they're going under treatments.
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And of course, when people say to me, how are you doing? That's fine. How's the treatment going?
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Any updates with the blood numbers? I'm not saying any of that's wrong. Of course it's not.
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But in addition, why don't you say other things? You could say, how's your spiritual walk doing?
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How is your obedience level? I guess you could say some of those things, right?
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That's not wrong to say, depending on how much you know the person. But I think we should start with,
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I'm sure Mike, if somebody said this to me, Hi, Mike. I've been praying for you. One of the things
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I'm praying for you about is that you remember that Jesus is your Savior. He's the captain of your salvation.
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He's one that sticks closer than a brother. He's your prophet. He's your priest.
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He's your king. He's your Savior. He's your Lord. He loves you. He's given himself for you.
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And that you're safe in Christ. I've been praying that for you. I mean, as I was just listening to myself say that, it almost made me want to cry.
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To be reminded of those things. Because my identity is not cancer. I mean,
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I might be thinking that way. Everything's revolving around that. Okay. I mean, I can't get away from it.
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I wake up. I drink 20 ounces of water with a certain pill. I'm supposed to have a fatty breakfast.
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Now, how does this work? I have my heart doctor saying, do you know what?
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On one of the scans, you had some residual clotting.
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Not clotting. Arterial sclerosis. You know, mild.
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And so watch your cholesterol. And okay, so now I'm taking flower plant statins.
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I'm taking red rice yeast. I'm taking omega liquid oil.
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This flavor with lemon so I don't have to smell the fish stuff. I'm taking fiber since that helps.
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I'm taking D with K2. That's supposed to help. I'm supposed to take medicine in the morning.
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After the 20 ounces of the first pill, then I take these other four pills. They're big pills. I always think, I don't know if I can swallow them.
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My esophagus is not very big. And then I'm supposed to have it with fatty foods.
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So today it was a piece of toast with avocado, half an avocado on it, and then some of the fish oil.
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That was where I got my fat stuff. All that to say, how can I forget? Because then one hour later,
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I have to take two other pills. And then throughout the day, I have to take these vitamins. And then at 7 p .m.,
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I have to take another pill. And before I go to bed, I have to take another pill. I mean, I'm constantly reminded, and the people that you know that have cancer and who are going under treatment are constantly reminded, oh,
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Tuesday, I go in for an infusion. Wednesday, I go in for chemo. Thursday, I go in for a scan.
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Friday, I do the blood test. Then I take these medicines. Then I look online to see what the latest bad news might be when it comes to side effects of these medicines.
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And therefore, if you can remind the person, by the way, if you have cancer, you remind yourself.
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You preach to yourself. You open up the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Jesus according to John, or you open up Romans, or you open up the book someplace, the
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Psalms, and you let it preach to you. And you are reminded with Psalm 23 that the
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Lord is your shepherd. You have a shepherd, and that shepherd is in death, and that shepherd is in cancer.
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Maybe, as a matter of fact, I was going to call the show today, you have cancer. But maybe
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I want to call it cancer is not your shepherd. Cancer is not your shepherd.
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So you need to be reminded of the truths found in Scripture that talk about who Jesus is.
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This almost goes back to when we talk about assurance. And if I look to myself,
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Luther said, I don't know how I can be saved. If I look to the Lord Jesus, I don't know how I can be lost. And if I can tweak that a little bit, if I look to cancer and the results and the medicine and the doctors and all these other things, primarily, well, then
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I'm going to have anxiety. I'm going to be fretting. The word worry, the
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English root of the word worry, comes from the word strangle. And it's just strangling you at night.
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Instead of what Jesus would say in Matthew 6, somewhere on the mount, look at the birds, right?
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Look at the flowers. Because the heavenly Father takes care of them, and aren't you worth more than birds and flowers?
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And we know the answer to that. We're worth a lot more, not intrinsically, because somehow we have self -worth, not because we're so wonderful Jesus had to die for us.
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But no, Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. And we are worth something to God as children.
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Whatever children are worth, that's what we're worth. So not to get into all this, you know, worth stuff.
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If we have been united with him in a death like his, Romans 6, 5, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
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We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
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For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
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We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over him.
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For the death he died, he died to sin. Once for all. But the life he lives, he lives to God. So also must you consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
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Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
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For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law, as the covenant works, but under grace.
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See all the language there? And even earlier, I didn't even read the first four verses. What should we say then?
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Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6, 1. It goes on to say, by no means. How can we who died to sin still live in it?
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Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death.
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In order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
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All the language of united and with Christ. And therefore, the identity of a person that has cancer, or MS, or Lou Gehrig's, or whatever disease you have.
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I mean, when I walked into Dana -Farber the other day, and I thought all this pain, suffering, crying, chemo,
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IVs, oral medication, radiation, surgery, all this because of sin.
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All this because of Adam's sin. Creation groans, people groan, and who's going to deliver us from this body of death?
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And it's just awful. But if you have cancer and you're a Christian, well, let's back up.
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If you have cancer and you're not a Christian, I hope this drives you to the Savior. That's what trials, I think, are there for.
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To make you think about eternal things. You're going to die one day. You might die of this cancer sooner than later. And you want to make sure that your sins are forgiven.
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And the only way your sins are forgiven is if you trust in the Lord Jesus, who was the eternal
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Son. And he became flesh, right? By the Holy Spirit. And he obeyed
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God's laws, like we should have, but don't. And he paid for our law -breaking, that we should have paid, but he paid for.
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And he was raised from the dead, and what he says is true, as prophet. And how he intercedes for his people as priest, and how he's king and Lord over everything, including his children, as king.
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And therefore, as Christians, your identification is not cancer. That's why if you don't worship on Sundays with the saints, to remember who the
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Lord Jesus is, to hear Christ -centered sermons. It's fascinating to me to see on Twitter now, Christ -centered sermons are out,
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Christ -centered hermeneutics out. And I think some of it's probably because Christian nationalism is more law -based.
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That's a whole other story that we could talk about another time. But I need to go hear about the Lord Jesus. I need to sing about Jesus, hear scriptures read about Jesus, hear a sermon about Jesus, be around other people who are singing.
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And that's one of the reasons why we sing to one another, right? You sing ultimately to the Lord. Why does it say in Ephesians you sing to one another?
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Sometimes you don't feel like singing, but other people are singing, and they've just gone through cancer. They're singing, and that's going to give me a support and a fortress type of thinking around my mind, thinking, you know what,
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I have a Savior, and He's never failed me, and His faithfulness is great. If you know someone with cancer, these are the kind of conversations
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I think you should have. You know probably deep down they're worried.
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There are lots of things I guess could cause worry when it comes to cancer. I thought about what are the side effects, right?
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Will I be able to go back to what I normally would do? Prostate cancer has a lot of side effects that I probably just won't even talk about on the air, but you're like, uh -oh.
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Will I slowly get sick and then die? Will my wife be taken care of?
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What will my children do without their dad? Who will walk down my two daughters that are not married down the aisle?
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What about my grandchildren? Wouldn't it be nice to have a grandpa? I mean it doesn't just take long, does it?
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What's going to happen when I don't have medical insurance through my company because I've retired and now
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I have to go on some government insurance? Will I be able to get to the right hospital and the right doctor? Will I get the right treatment?
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I mean the list goes on and on and on and on. And therefore we have to do what Romans 12 talks about.
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It's a renewing of our minds by Scripture. That's really one of the keys because that's where we're going to see the
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Lord Jesus and His promises and His love for us. I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, the last 11 chapters.
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This is Romans 12, 1. To present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God and what is good and acceptable and perfect.
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Mike Abendroth here, No Compromise Radio Ministry. The Lord is the one that leads you beside still waters and quiets your soul.
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And surely goodness and mercy are going to track you down all the days of your life. It's not cancer that makes you lie down near these waters.
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It's not cancer that shepherds you. It's not cancer that follows you all the days of your life. I mean, technically,
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I guess it could. But it's the Lord as your shepherd. You'll lack anything when you have the
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Lord. So if I could appeal to you that when you worry, and by the way, this is a sermon preached to myself, when you worry about yourself or a loved one with cancer, first thing you ought to do is say,
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I'm going to admit that's worry. That was wrong. I should be anxious for nothing. What should I do instead? With everything, with prayer and supplication, let your request be made known unto
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God, right? And then the peace comes. And so when you're worried and anxious, confess that as sin, right?
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When you confess sin, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins, right? Because Jesus is the great propitiation for sinners.
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And he, the Lord Jesus, loves his children to the extent that he gave himself for you and that he lives for you.
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And he's given you his spirit so you can say no to sin, like anxiety and worry, and yes to righteousness, like trust.
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The opposite of worry is trust. And of course, the Lord Jesus in Matthew 6 says, you know, when you start to worry, you just ought to go outside and take a look at birds.
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And so you need to replace that worry. It's like I'm in this loop. I'm in my basement thinking about cancer, thinking about all these issues that go along with it.
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And then I've got to get out of that loop. And that loop is look, right? So stop worrying, look, stop looking.
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What is it? Stop, drop, and roll. Stop, look, and listen. So stop and look,
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Jesus says. Observe, consider, whether it's birds or whether it's lilies of the field.
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And then you begin to think, oh, this is the
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Lord who loves me and I'm his child and I'm adopted. And matter of fact,
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I'm a Christian because one of the things that Galatians 4 talks about is what do
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Christians do when they're hurting? They cry out, Abba, Father. They cry out to the Lord. The doctors don't have a good solution.
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I'm not a Christian scientist and this is just all fake and it's not really true.
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What am I going to do? I'm going to have to cry out to the Lord. And when I do that, that's one of the things that Christians do.
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When a child on earth is hurting, he or she cries out for mother, for father, for parent, dad, help.
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And so that's a sign of a child in distress, in weakness, hurting, crying, suffering, cries out for Father.
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And so similarly, we cry out to the Father. My name is Mike Ebendroth. I thought
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I'd have a mental list of things in my mind of how we could help people that have cancer.
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But the main thing is, I want to reiterate, that doesn't identify you. That's not who you are, right?
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And see, this is hard for us in society because we do this all the time. What do you do for work? And that identifies the person.
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Oh, I'm a plumber. Therefore, that's your slot. That's your box. I put you into that little compartment.
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No, no. Our identification is in Christ, united with Jesus. Yes, Jesus, in fact, the
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Lord Jesus. Not the fake chosen Jesus or anybody else. The one revealed in Scripture, the
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Lord Jesus. And therefore, when you have cancer, you need to make sure you're thinking about the
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Lord Jesus and how you're united to Him, stress on Him.
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And if you're around somebody that has cancer, maybe you should start saying, like I said before, but it's good to reiterate.
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I've said ho -hum several times, reiterate a couple times, et cetera, quite a few times. And Jesus said a lot, praise the
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Lord. I've been praying for you that you would fix your hope completely on the grace to be given to you.
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I've been praying for you that you remember that Jesus loves you. I've been praying for you that you'll be a good witness and testimony to think about the
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Lord Jesus and walk by faith and not by sight. I've been praying for you to trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding and all your ways that you acknowledge
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Him and He'll make your path straight. I've been praying for good treatment, yes, and good numbers and eradication of the cancer.
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But I've been mainly praying for you that you keep your eyes focused on Jesus and that you don't spiral into self and worry and pity and everything else.
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So how's that sound? I don't know. Maybe that's a good show. Maybe that's not. But those are the machinations of a man who isn't known for having cancer.
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He's known for having the God of the universe love him. That's exactly true.