The Heat of Summer

We experienced all four seasons while we were in Israel. It was the last three days of winter but it felt like fall – cold and rainy. We were on top of Tel Megiddo when a storm hit. Our umbrellas turned inside out and on some, the material tore off of the spokes! Peggy Knudsen, our Pastor’s wife called it a monsoon!

On the third day, the high was 39 degrees. I didn’t bring a coat!

I put on the capris and long-sleeved Henley top that I planned to sleep in. I layered a tee-shirt, 3/4 length sleeve tee-shirt, and jeans over them. I put on my cardigan sweater and stowed protein bars in my backpack.

When we reached Caesarea Maritime, I put a hooded rain poncho over all of it. I cinched my gardener’s hat, aka tourist hat, under my chin and kept my hands under my poncho. I looked like a soldier with a full pack!

David did not do as well. He didn’t bring a coat either. When we were packing, I asked him if he wanted the black raincoat or the red one. He packed the black one.

They were rain pants!

We left the red raincoat at home! He wore two shirts and a hoody and carried our umbrella.

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We drove through the Golan Heights while they were getting 3-5 inches of snow! The bus driver and guide had never seen so much snow. I pulled a scarf out of my backpack to wrap around my torso under my sweater.

I didn’t need it. We drove down the mountain and the snow turned to rain. Flowers seemed to bloom right in front of our eyes. Spring had sprung!

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Two days later, I struggled to corral my curls into a scrunchie. Peggy asked me what I was doing.

“Probably tying my hair into knots,” I replied.

We were at the Dead Sea and it was hot! I had to get my hair off of my neck and back. People were wearing shorts.

Not only was it hot, but it was also dry. Our guide kept reminding us to drink water.

We took a cable car to the top of the MASADA fortress. The sun beat down on us and the wind parched us. They had a water station at the bottom and the top to refill our bottles.

I looked over the edge and saw a new, straw hat below. I was grateful for the cord that kept my hat secure. The wind caught it twice but the cord kept it from blowing away.

I can’t imagine how uncomfortable Jonah was sitting on the east side of Nineveh.

Jonah 4:4, “The Lord said, ‘Do you have a good reason to be angry?'”

New American Standard Bible

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The landscape on the Dead Sea.

God delivered Jonah from his discomfort on the first day with a plant that shaded him, Jonah 4:6. The next day, the plant died and God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat on his head until he felt faint and begged to die, Jonah 4:8.

God cares about our comfort. But God does not want us to get so comfortable that we forget about others. Our first concern is for those who don’t know Him.

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May 2022 Chapters

  • 1 – Hosea 10-14
  • 2 – Psalm 78; Isaiah 6, 1
  • 3 – Isaiah 2-5
  • 4 – 2 Chronicles 27; Micah 1-5
  • 5 – Micah 6, 7; 2 Kings 16
  • 6 – 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7, 8
  • 7 – Isaiah 9; 2 Kings 17; Psalm 80
  • 8 – 2 Chronicles 29-31
  • 9 – 2 Kings 18; Psalm 84; Isaiah 10
  • 10 – Isaiah 11, 12, 36; 2 Kings 19
  • 11 – Isaiah 37; Psalms 33, 75, 76; 2 Kings 20
  • 12 – Isaiah 38, 39; 2 Chronicles 32; Psalm 116
  • 13 – Isaiah 15-19
  • 14 – Isaiah 20-23
  • 15 – Isaiah 24-26
  • 16 – Isaiah 27-29
  • 17 – Isaiah 30-32
  • 18 – Isaiah 33-35, 40
  • 19 – Isaiah 41, 42, 46
  • 20 – Isaiah 47-50
  • 21 – Isaiah 51-54
  • 22 – Isaiah 55-58
  • 23 – Isaiah 59-62
  • 24 – Isaiah 63-66
  • 25 – 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33; 2 Kings 22
  • 26 – 2 Chronicles 34; Zephaniah 1, 2
  • 27 – Zephaniah 3; Jeremiah 1, 2
  • 28 – Jeremiah 3, 4
  • 29 – Jeremiah 5, 6
  • 30 – Nahum 1-3; Jeremiah 8
  • 31 – Jeremiah 9-11

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

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Surrounded

Since returning from Israel, several have asked me if I was afraid while I was there.

Nope. Israel has the best intelligence and defense in the world. They have to because they are surrounded by their enemies.

2 Chronicles 21:10, 21, “So Edom revolted against Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time against his rule, because he [Jehoram] had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers. …21) Then the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians.”

New American Standard Bible

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Edom was a country southeast of Judah. Libnah was a city southwest of Jerusalem. Philistia was a country west of Judah and Israel to the north. Ethiopia was southwest.

“Rest from enemies is part of God’s blessing for obedience in Chronicles (14:5-7; 15:15; 1 Chronicles 22:8-9, 18). Righteous kings have victory in warfare (Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Hezekiah), while wicked rulers experience defeat (Jehoram, Ahaz, Joash, Zedekiah).”

New International Version Study Bible notes on 2 Chronicles 20:30

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2 Chronicles 20:30, “And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”

New International Version

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When I don’t have peace on every side, I need to examine my heart, motives, and intentions. Every day, I need to evaluate my attitude. I can’t rely on anything in the past. God commended Jehu for doing well, executing what is right, and following His heart, 2 Kings 20:30.

2 Kings 21:31, “But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.”

New American Standard Bible

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My first glimpse of Jerusalem.

The result of carelessness? The Lord began to cut off portions from Israel, 2 Kings 21:32, 33.

Carelessness will cost me!

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She Owned the Land

The ruins of the homes in Jesus’ day were small. We toured a few replicas of ancient homes in the Nazareth Village. Most only had 2 rooms.

The landowner had more rooms and a second story. He had a cistern and olive press. He had rights to everything grown on his land – even when he moved away.

2 Kings 8:6, “When the king asked the woman, she related it to him. So the king appointed for her a certain officer, saying, ‘Restore all that was hers and all the produce of the field from the day that she left the land even until now.'”

New American Standard Bible

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Why was everything restored? Because she owned the land. Those who raised the crop got workers’ wages but she got the income from the former seven years.

The landowner’s water ran down the channel on the left. His olive press is behind him.

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All Is Well

Several times a day, Eli the guide gathered us together and counted us. Then, before moving on, he would ask, “All is well?”

He meant, “Is there anything you need?” He would direct us to the nearest restrooms. That was also when he answered questions and checked any malfunctioning “whisperers.” (We could hear him whisper in our earpiece.)

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We read three variations of that phrase today.

2 Kings 4:23, “…It will be well.”

New American Standard Bible

Her son was dead but she told her husband, “It will be well.” She had faith that God could raise her son if Elisha prayed for him.

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2 Kings 4:26, “…It is well.”

New American Standard Bible

Her faith had grown into full confidence. She knew God would answer. She didn’t rush back to her dead son but traveled slowly with Elisha.

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2 Kings 5:22, “He said, ‘All is well.’ …”

New American Standard Bible

Gehazi was not putting his faith in God when he used the phrase. He was getting what he wanted through deception instead of waiting for God to provide. It didn’t bring a blessing but a curse.

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While we were in Israel, someone hacked into our router. They connected two devices and were enjoying free WIFI at our expense. The router was from 2008 and I already patched it once.

I ordered a new router. I connected the computer, tablet, and phones on the first day.

All is well.

I tried again to connect the printer for two more days.

It will be well.

I connected the two Blu-ray players to the new router. One works, and the other turned to a black screen.

It will be well.

Yesterday, I found the set-up disk for the printer in my “Office Warranties” file. I put it in and was finally able to connect to the new router.

All is well.

My immediate needs are met. I still have a black screen on one Blu-ray player and I don’t have everything I want or desire but…

All is well!

Eli is ready to adjust a “whisperer” for one of our group members in the synagogue at Masada.

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I Saw, I Heard, I Felt

As we toured Israel, I hiked right behind the guide. David would be somewhere in the line of our group. I entered each site, took 1 picture, and then chose a spot for David to rest.

The doctor said his left knee is “bone on bone” in four places. He walks over 10,000 steps a day at work, with only a lunch break. When he gets home, he stretches out that leg. Resting with it completely straight gives him relief.

We always sat in the back seat of the bus. David sat in the center seat and kept his leg straight in the aisle.

My routine helped his leg but not my pictures! I wanted to record everything the guide said and didn’t check the pictures until I was back on the bus.

I am posting them unfiltered. There are blurry portions. The photo of the “place of the skull” has one-third of a fence in it. You can see the tour buses in the parking lot below.

Why would I post them?

So, you would believe me when I said, “I went to Israel!” If I posted pristine photos you may think I used stock photos. I want to share what I saw, heard, and felt.

Our route through Israel, starting and ending in Tel Aviv.

Mark 16:11, 13, “When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. …13) They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.”

New American Standard Bible

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The disciples didn’t believe Mary. They didn’t believe the two followers who walked with Him on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t believe Jesus when He told them He would suffer, be crucified, and rise from the dead on the third day.

The last thing Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended to Heaven was, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15. NASB

How could they do that? Who would believe them?

They shared what they saw, heard, and felt. Back then, they called it testifying.

John 21:24, “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”

New American Standard Bible

Each disciple shared the same message until their deaths. Eleven men were tortured, imprisoned, and most were martyred, yet they never changed their testimony.

I believe them.

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Everything Was Harder Than I Imagined

The room was circular. It used to be a cistern. When I got to the bottom, I couldn’t find a comfortable place to stand. The floor was like a bowl and the surface was uneven rocks. I felt like I was falling into the center.

High above my head, approximately 20 feet was a hole just large enough for a man to be let down. Pastor Monte Knudsen read about Jesus being held in this place. I hoped his devotion was short.

Jesus’ experience was much worse. They let him down by a rope. There was most likely water in the cistern. There were no steps to sit on, no lights, and no windows.

He had been up all night praying. He was tired but couldn’t even sit down. It was winter. He was wet, cold, and facing three trials, torture, and finally crucifixion.

First, Jesus was tried by His church – High Priest Caiaphas

The chief priest and officers of the temple arrested him, Luke 22:47-54. The temple soldiers mocked him, blindfolded him, and beat him, Luke 22:63, 64.

They wanted to see him prophesy, asking, “Who hit you?”

Second, Jesus was tried by the mayor – King Herod

Luke 23:11, “And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jesus was questioned, accused, treated with contempt, and mocked in Luke 23:8-12.

Herod wanted to see a sign.

Third, Jesus was tried by the governor – Pontius Pilate

Pilate found him innocent, Luke 23:4, 14. Yet, he still wanted to punish him before he released him, Luke 23:16, 22.

We read yesterday how the Roman soldiers scourged him, put a crown of thorns on him, beat him on the head, spit on him, mocked him, and finally, crucified him, see Mark 15:15-24.

Pilate wanted to forget Jesus. He took a bowl of water and washed his hand, saying, he was innocent of this man’s blood, Matthew 27:24.

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Everything Jesus experienced was a million times harder than I perceived from reading the Bible. He hiked down the Mt. of Olives and crossed the Kidron stream. He hiked halfway up Mt. Moriah to Caiaphas’s house. He hiked further up Mt Moriah to be tried by Pilate.

Then he dragged the cross back down through the steep, narrow, crowded Via Dolorosa over bedrock, patches of bricks, uncut rocks, and sections of pavement. It is amazing that he only fell once. He climbed the last hill, Golgotha, or place of the skull.

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I walked on paths, steps, rocks, and ancient roads. I turned my ankle twice. I rode a bus from site to site. We hiked 1-3 miles a day.

Jesus hiked up and down mountains, through packed streets because it was the week of Passover. I can’t comprehend how many miles he hiked that day and each stop was worse than the last!

He did it for me…and you.

I invite you to go to your local church. I don’t care what your motive is: to hear a prophecy (the future is written in the Bible); to see a sign, or to declare your innocence.

Jesus was up all night. We can get up early because tomorrow we celebrate!

Hole in the ceiling of the cistern at Caiaphas’s house where Jesus was held.

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Why Jesus Didn’t Drink the Wine with Myrrh

Jesus refused pain relief. He felt all of the torture, abuse, and pain of crucifixion.

Mark 15:23, “They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.”

New American Standard Bible

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“…The Talmud gives evidence that incense was mixed with wine to deaden pain (cf. Pr. 31:6).”

New Internation Version Study Bible Note on Mark 15:23

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Mark 15:36, “Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, …”

New American Standard Bible

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“A sour wine, the drink of laborers and common soldiers. Jesus refused a sedative drink (see Mt. 27:34; Mk 15:23 and notes) but later was given the vinegar drink when he cried out in thirst (see John 19:28-30 and notes). Luke shows that it was offered in mockery.”

New International Version Study Bible Notes on Luke 23:36

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Why did he drink the sour wine? To fulfill prophecy.

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Psalms 69:21, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”

New International Version

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Jesus was conscious through the arrest, torture, and crucifixion. He felt everything. He knew he had to fulfill all of the prophecies.

Had he drunk the wine and myrrh; the prophecy would not have been fulfilled. He waited until sour wine, aka vinegar, was offered to him. He drank it, fulfilling the final prophecy and then he died.

The King James Bible says, “He gave up the ghost.” He chose the moment when His spirit left his body.

That was strength under control during excruciating circumstances.

In the center is the place of the skull or Golgotha. They said the nose fell off years ago.

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Getting Water

At the end of the day of touring, we were treated to a lavish buffet. On each table were a couple of carafes of water. The waiters kept bringing more during the meal. After hiking a couple of miles, we emptied those carafes pretty quickly!

Luke 22:10, “And He said to them, ‘When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters.'”

New American Standard Bible

Why was a man carrying water? Who was that man? I was curious and checked my NIV Study Bible.

“It would have been unusual to see a man carrying a jar of water since this was normally women’s work.”

New International Version Study Bible, Note on Luke 22:10, Zondervan, 2011

Acts 12:12, “…he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”

New International Version Study Bible

“…Apparently her home was a gathering place for Christians. It may have been the location of the upper room where the Last Supper was held. …”

NIV Study Bible Notes on Acts 12:12

“John…Mark…He was perhaps the young man who fled on the night of Jesus’ arrest (Mk 14:51-52). He wrote the second Gospel. …and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on the first part of their first missionary journey.”

NIV Study Bible Notes on Acts 12:25

Based on those verses, this man may have been Mark. Why was Mark carrying water? (Women and slaves got up early to draw water from the well.)

Mary, his mother, may have asked him to get fresh water. Why? The room was furnished and prepared for the Passover meal. This water would have been served at the Passover.

Mark had already learned the lesson Jesus spoke of in verses 24-27 and John 13:5-20.

Luke 22:26, “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.”

New American Standard Bible

A well in the home of a rich landowner in the Nazareth village.

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No Stone Unturned

Journal, March 29, 2022

When the Romans burned the temple in 70 A.D., the gold melted and ran down to the foundation stones. They took huge beams and pried them under each stone and pushed it onto the road below to get the gold.

The Jews left a pile of rubble on the Roman road when they excavated the site. They are the stones from the temple.

A pile of stones the Romans flipped off of the wall of the temple with wooden beams. They left them on the road after they recovered the gold melted onto them.

Eli, the guide, pointed out a massive crater in the original Roman road that was caused by the falling stones.

Our guide, Eli, explained the damage to the road from the falling stones.

Luke 21:6, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”

New American Standard Bible

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He knows the beginning and the end. Two thousand and twenty-two years later, the stones from the temple are still sitting where the Romans left them, just like Jesus said. I can trust him because he was there at the beginning of my life and already knows how it will end!

Psalms 139: 16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

New International Version

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