clean hands

I will start with the update so those following this website can know what is going on in the healing process after surgery. Then I will give my reflections.

First of all, this is just the beginning of the recovery process. Of course, I hope the process goes quickly so I can go move on to better health and less pain. This is where I am, at the beginning of the process. It is not easy, but I am getting lots of good advice in how to manage the pain. It is uncomfortable getting up from anything – a chair, the bed, the car. This is the hard part right now. I have been given some good advice, and I need the Lord’s help to follow it and to remember it. Your prayers will help as well. They have gotten me this far.

I had surgery yesterday, Oct. 22. I checked in at 5:30 a.m., taken to a room where I met with the doctor, the anesthesiologist, and a nurse. I got into the world-famous hospital gown and waited for the next step, which was a nurse finding a good vein for the port for all they were going to put in me – I.V, fluid, knock out drugs, and who knows what else. The actual surgery time was 8:00. When I came out, I was loopy, as could be expected. I learned that I had been admitted, which was not what I had planned or hoped for, but it ended up being the best thing for me. (Special note: Karen was there every step of the way. She came home to grab her some breakfast for today and brought me a snack. That was nice. She was determined to spend the night with me, for which I am very grateful! She is a trooper and a great helpmate and lifelong friend. Wow! We got home at 11;30 this morning. It was so good to be home!

In all of this, I am learning to lean on the Lord, step by step, and to trust that He really is in charge. I am so glad, and I have many more lessons and adventures in faith to come. The prayer support for this process of surgery and recovery has been absolutely overwhelming! I am so blessed.

Well, got to go take care of my body. Lord, give me wisdom and relief and healing. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Matthew 15:10-11 NIV
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. [11] What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
clean hands

   To give these verses some context we might look at what Jesus said further on down the passage.

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.”
What do you think? Are there still traditions that we hang on to? How can we keep these traditions from taking first place in our hearts, over the love and instructions of Jesus? How can we keep our traditions from taking root in our hearts?


Matthew 7:3-5 NIV
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [4] How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

large lumber being sawed by a chainsaw                                                                                          Large lumber being sawed by a chainsaw

What do you think? What would be an example of a “plank”? Can you think of an example of a “speck” in someone else’s eye? How does grace fit into this?
(I can think of lots of planks I have had in my own eyes at times – bad attitude, wrong thinking about myself and others, minimizing my sin or God’s grace, wanting blessing for me and cursing for them. And, yes, these words are convicting.) Lord, have mercy on us all.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

open bible

open bible – God’s word

Jesus knew the hearts of these Pharisees and teachers of the law. Maybe these religious leaders were focused on the outside appearance, something they and others could see. But that outside appearance didn’t change what was in thier hearts and that is where the real issues lie. 

With that in mind, here are three questions:

1.) How does a person get into this state where they focus only on the outward appearance?

2.) What does it take for God to get our attention and get us to focus on the inner life and our relationship with Jesus? 

3.) How can we keep the inside and the outside of the cup of our heart clean, or is that Jesus’ job?


without guile


Luke 15:3-6 NIV
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.

Let me ask you a few questions about the passage above and see what you think. Ready? Go.

(Please “Leave a Reply” below the post and mark which question(s) you are answering.)

  1.  What kinds of trouble might a sheep (or a person) get into if they are separated from the flock and the shepherd? How could they be harmed, or do you think they would be okay?
  2. Does this verse indicate that the shepherd is aware of where each sheep is? What does this tell you about how Jesus looks at you and me?
  3. Have you ever felt like the lost sheep? I know I have. How does this verse help you in your walk with Jesus? What questions or comments does this passage bring up?

One thought: In today’s society the shepherd might be encouraged to think “Oh, the sheep is just exploring his or her options. They have to discover things for themselves before they can really learn it. Maybe the one sheep thinks they can find a new path. After all, we want to encourage their creativity, right?”

What do you think? 

In the download available from, we can find scriptures that help in times of crisis, specifically in times of national disaster, death of a child, suicide, and funerals. These scriptures would be helpful to any of us for our own use or to build up and encourage others in their times of crisis. I am going to give you one scripture from each category to get you started. You can find more helpful resources by following the red link below.

National or community disaster:
Gen. 5:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good.”

The loss of a child:
2 Sam. 12:18-23 – David, after the loss of his son: “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Job. 19:23-27 – “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

Gen. 1:26 – “Let us make mankind in our own image.”

Find all the scriptures at this link:

God bless you in your journey of faith, as you continue to rest in Him, to strive to enter the Sabbath rest. (Hebrews 4:11)

Pastor John

let us pray

                               praying hands

Without giving any names, I am asking you to join me in going to the Father for these requests. Remember that we have full access to go to Him in prayer through Jesus. Lord, we pray for:

  •  a site member with a special needs daughter with multiple challenges of body, mind, and spirit. Pray for mom S. and daughter E.
  • a site member who has crisis level needs for housing. He is living in his shop, which is leaking. He wants and needs a small house of his own. It is the rainy season there and that makes things very difficult.
  • several site members with long term medical issues who are looking for relief, wisdom, and healing. My wife still has a cold. I am awaiting surgery. others have mobility issues and pain. Lord, please bring your healing and peace to all these needs. Let us hear the good reports so we give You the credit for answered prayers.
  • What do you want me (us) to pray for? To let us know, just “leave a reply” right below this post. (You must be signed in to make any comments.)

Thank you for your prayers for all site members. Let’s lift each other up and then look for how God is going to answer these prayers. 

Pastor John

Dealing with anger – a multiple layered problem we can relate to

I saw this picture on For Like Minds website and thought about all the layers that may influence or cause anger. The point being made is that anger is a normal response to mental illness, and I can understand that. When things are not working the way we want or expect them to, it can be frustrating. 

If you see something in the picture you can relate to, let that be an opportunity to talk it through with the Lord. He knew that feeling too. In all things, Jesus understands and is our great healer, transformer, and compassionate redeemer. 

(A reminder – to reply to a post, go below the post and look for “leave a comment.” I would love to hear from you.)

Aspects of anger

A graphic on anger

Two tricks of the enemy we need to be aware of and resist
   without guile                                       What this lamb needs to be aware of

Sometimes we get into a mess and we don’t know how we got there. All we know is that we somehow got into our own private battle and we have to figure out a way to cope with the battle scars and escape the flaming arrows of the enemy. The enemy? Yes, the enemy of our souls loves to lead us into trouble, and he is really good at it.  As I have been reflecting on this strategy, I notice (and I know from personal experience) that there are tricks he likes to pull on us that keep us going the wrong direction.

One of the things that we (and the lamb above) need to be aware of is isolation. If you ever watch any shows on the Animal Planet or other networks, you will notice that when a predator is after a herd of animals, it will look for the one that is separated from the pack. It is alone and it is vulnerable. Do you know anybody like that? Reach out to them. Are you in that vulnerable position? I urge you to reach out for support. Contact me. Call a prayer line. Write a prayer request on DAB friends or other support group. Stop and pray. Pour your heart out to God. I double dog gone guarantee that He will listen. You will not be alone. You may feel alone, but I promise you on the authority of the Word that God will we with you in the middle of your mess. If you are alone, isolated, vulnerable, tell someone. Please don’t let yourself be a lone ranger Christian that cuts himself or herself off from all support, both human and divine.

Secondly, the enemy will look for those that are weak. I am not talking about physical weakness. I am talking about those who are weak in faith, or weak in the Lord. Dear Reader, you and I need to prevent this weakness by stepping outside our comfort zone and doing things that will help us get stronger in the Lord. We need to eat (take in, absorb) His word. We need to drink of His love. We need to exercise our faith in Him and seek His leading and favor. And sometimes we just need to rest in His arms and let Him carry us and guard our souls.

I am here for you and I will listen. Others in this community are here for you as well. And I know God is there for you, even right now. Don’t let yourself crawl into your own hidden world. That is very dangerous!

You and I need to keep looking to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We need to keep following Him, and keep walking with Him, one day at a time. And sometimes we just need to rest as Jesus watches over our soul.

Thank you, Jesus, for being the Shepherd of our soul that keeps us safe from the attack of the enemy. Jesus, you have the last word on this. I believe that last word may very well be … “not this one, devil. This one belongs to me!”

The three steps to renewal. What step are you on?


The first step is hard but necessary. It is called “repentance”, which is a change of mind, heart, or direction. It is a realization that there is something in your life that needs to change, something that just isn’t working. Something is off, and you know you need to turn away from it, reject it, push back against it. It could be a thought, an unhealthy lifestyle, an attitude, or an action. Whatever it is, it has to go. Right now.

The second step in this process of restoration and renewal is “return.” You’ve already turned around (repentance). Now return to where you belong. Return to God. Return to your family, your good habits, your healthy way of thinking and living. As the song says “get back to where you once belonged.”

The third step, and the result of the first two, is to “rest”. Jesus said “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 11:28) Rest in the presence of Christ. Rest in the peace of God. Rest in the assurance of God’s unconditional love. Rest in knowing you are on the right path. You may have failed in the past, but now you are in good fellowship with the Father, who loves you unconditionally and will always welcome you back. Rest in the assurance of His love

Repent. Return. Rest.