Supporting Patients With Advanced Cancer

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31. Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology – A number of studies found that religious beliefs that foster a positive outlook help patients live a better life when faced with advanced cancer, and spiritual support is an important factor. For example, researchers at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program studied 230 patients whose cancer was not responding to chemotherapy. They found that 88 percent of these patients considered religion important, and wanted more spiritual support.

Another study, at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, found that religious practice and support, with a positive attitude, dramatically improved the quality of life among advanced cancer patients.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Timothy 3:17-18 NLT stated,17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. 1 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 2 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – Paul understood the addictive power of false teaching as people feel the need to be in on these supposedly “intellectual” discussions. Paul compared the spiritual deterioration (“more and more ungodliness,” 2 Timothy 2:16) caused by this false teaching to cancer, a fatal disease. The spread and deadly result of false teaching could not be more aptly described.
Hymenaeus is also mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20, where he is included with a man named Alexander. Paul had handed these men over to Satan – put them out of the church. Just as cancer must be removed from the body for it to survive, these false teachers were removed from the body of believers so they could cause no more harm. Nothing further is known about Philetus. The false teaching of Hymenaeus and Philetus that the resurrection of the dead had already occurred was undermining some of the believers’ faith.

These false teachers denied the resurrection of the body. These men in Ephesus grew up under Greek philosophy and a Greek understanding of the world. Greek philosophy viewed the spirit as immortal and the body as evil. Thus, a doctrine that taught the resurrection of the body was especially difficult to believe. So the false teachers tried to combine the doctrine of the resurrection with Greek philosophy in order to make it make sense to them. They taught that when a person became a Christian and was spiritually reborn, that was the only resurrection he or she would ever experience. To them, resurrection was symbolic and spiritual, not real and physical. But this was a lie.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries

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