I was reading in Nehemiah when one word made me stop – Hazor. (See Nehemiah 11:33.) I’ve been to the ruins of that city, now called Tel Hazor. It was once a major trade center of 200 acres for merchant caravans traveling to and from Babylon.

Hazor was the only city the children of Israel burned to the ground when they conquered Canaan. You could see the burn line in the foundation of the ruined buildings. They built on top of the burned foundation. The ruins consisted of a rock foundation, a layer of wood, brick, and sand bricks, and then were covered in plaster.

The building that showed the burn line was protected with a pergola. Walls were built in front of it. After the burn line was exposed, they marked the line on the stones in the newer wall. Both walls were cordoned off to keep people from removing more stones.

Deborah and Barak were the ones who conquered Hazor. It was a fortified city of King Solomon. Its water supply system is from the period of King Ahab.

“In Ezra, the people focused on rebuilding the temple. In Nehemiah, they begin rebuilding the walls of the city. It tells us that once we take care of the heart issues inside, we can begin to address the character issues on the outside.”

The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom
Introduction to Nehemiah


Character Building Verses I Read This Week

  1. “…words of peace and truth.” Esther 9:30 NASB (There is no peace without truth.)
  2. “…take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16) For I hate divorce…” Malachi 2:15-16 NASB (How I treat my spouse affects my spirit.)
  3. “According to the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of insight…” Ezra 8:18 NASB (God doesn’t give me a challenge without sending counsel.)
  4. “…So they put their hands to the good work.” Nehemiah 2:18 NASB (Nothing is accomplished without work.)
  5. “I applied myself to the work…” Nehemiah 5:16 NASB (It takes more than showing up. It takes effort.)
  6. “For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.’ But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9 NASB (God strengthens me when I am frightened or discouraged.)
  7. “…he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.” Nehemiah 7:2 NASB (I need to be faithful and reverent to God.)
  8. “We will also bring the first of our dough…” Nehemiah 10:37 NASB (Is there anything I am holding back?)

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October 2022 Chapters

  • 1 – Genesis 1-3
  • 2 – Genesis 4-7
  • 3 – Genesis 8-11
  • 4 – Genesis 12-16
  • 5 – Genesis 17-19
  • 6 – Genesis 20-22
  • 7 – Genesis 23, 24
  • 8 – Genesis 25, 26
  • 9 – Genesis 27-29
  • 10 – Genesis 30, 31
  • 11 – Genesis 32-34
  • 12 – Genesis 35-37
  • 13 – Genesis 38-40
  • 14 – Genesis 41, 42
  • 15 – Genesis 43-45
  • 16 – Genesis 46-48
  • 17 – Genesis 49, 50; Exodus 1, 2
  • 18 – Exodus 3-5
  • 19 – Exodus 6-8
  • 20 – Exodus 9, 10
  • 21 – Exodus 11-13
  • 22 – Exodus 14-16
  • 23 – Exodus 17-19
  • 24 – Exodus 20-22
  • 25 – Exodus 23-25
  • 26 – Exodus 26-28
  • 27 – Exodus 29, 30
  • 28 – Exodus 31-33
  • 29 – Exodus 34-36
  • 30 – Exodus 37-39
  • 31 – Exodus 40; Leviticus 1-3

The chapters for the year are posted under the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide menu.

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Circles Around the Mountain

Journal, March 27, 2022:

The lines on the mountains are sheep trails. Shepherds lead sheep around mountains to feed on both sides. Psalm 23:3, “…He guides me in the paths of righteousness.” NASB

Those paths are circles on the mountain. In Hebrew, they are called circles of righteousness.

We are supposed to go around the mountains. Plants that grow at different elevations have varied nutrition. We learn everything we need to at this level before our Shepherd leads us higher.

The Bible gives us promises and corrections. Like sheep, we eat sweet greens and bitter greens. Bitter greens have more nutrients. We grow when we are corrected.

Those lines are sheep trails made by circling the mountain and feeding on both sides. This was taken on our way to Jerusalem from the Dead Sea.

My Top Ten List of Verses I Did NOT Want to Share This Month

  • 1. “I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed.” Ezekiel 35:11 NASB (Ouch.)
  • 2. “For everyone who goes astray or is naive; so you shall make atonement,” Ezekiel 45:20 NASB (There’s hope for me!)
  • 3. “Wisdom…sets her table.” Proverbs 9:2 NASB (It’s easier to eat on the couch. Sigh.)
  • 4. “When you shall eat the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you,” Psalm 128:2 NASB (This verse must be for my friends who have gardens and can their produce. What is the fruit of my hands?)
  • 5. “He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary.” Isaiah 44:12 NASB (Does sweet tea count?)
  • 6. “Then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it,” Daniel 7:1 NASB (Some dreams I would rather forget than summarize but I know God speaks through dreams.)
  • 7. “Daniel began distinguishing himself…because he possessed an extraordinary spirit,” Daniel 6:3 NASB (How is my spirit? Hopefully, it would not be described as bitter, jealous, or proud.)
  • 8. “Remove the false way from me.” Psalm 119:29 NASB (Ouch again.)
  • 9. “Give honor to their husbands, great and small,” Esther 1:20 NASB (No comment.)
  • 10. Finally, from Wednesday night’s sermon, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 NASB (I’m totally humbled now!)

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Forty Years

David was a senior in high school when he told me he loved me. I thought, “It will never last.”

Jeremiah 43:2, “…all the arrogant men said…”

New American Standard Bible


Jeremiah 43:10, “But they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in my law or my statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.'”

New American Standard Bible


Dear Lord, forgive me for every time I spoke in arrogance. Amen.

A Week Ago

“Sow in the morning and evening. Sow in your early years and keep sowing in your later seasons. Be filled, be led, be loving.”

Tim Taylor, MIssionary to Bolivia and India, 8-28-2022


This drought, meant to be a curse, was a miraculous blessing for me. It was too dry for Ragweed to grow and bloom. I didn’t battle grass pollen either. We went away for a three-day weekend and walked a few blocks from the hotel to a restaurant.

David hasn’t mowed the lawn since the July 4th weekend. With the price of gas, that was a blessing, too!

I didn’t pray for the drought and I thank God for the humidity in Iowa. The corn can pull the moisture it needs out of the air!

The shores of the Mississippi River are bare. The sandbars are exposed in the Iowa and Cedar Rivers. The creeks are mud puddles. God controls the water levels. He raises the sea level and lowers it.


Ezekiel 26:19, “For thus says the Lord God, ‘When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you.'”

New American Standard Bible


Obadiah 1:15, “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”

New American Standard Bible


Ezekiel 34:16, “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”

New American Standard Bible


“Christianity works while infidelity talks. She feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits and cheers the sick, and seeks the lost, while infidelity abuses her and babbles nonsense and profanity. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.'”

Henry Ward Beecher,
A prominent nineteenth-century clergyman, abolitionist, and social reformer


Last Sunday

Our pastor’s 40th wedding anniversary was Sunday. We had cake after church. His sermon was on the significance of the number 40 and marriage.

“The number 40 is found 146 times in the Bible. …Marriage reflects the purpose of God; it transforms you. Learn from your differences. Complement, don’t criticize. We focus on the problem not the purpose. Forty is the time you discover your purpose.”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, 9-4-2022


Me: “We’ve been married 40 years. Have I been transformed?”

David: “Into what?”

Here’s to another 40 years of laughter!

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