Hope – Part 4

By Brenda McKee (www.brendamckee.com)

The curtains were drawn tight in the living room. Even when they were open, it was still dark in my little house—which reflected the condition of my heart. Before turning the lights in the house off, I went and grabbed the four pack of Michelob light beer from the refrigerator. Trouble, my dog, followed me back into the living room. 

I turned on the television not caring what was on. Sitting down in the middle of the floor with my dog and beer. I began to cry. Trouble laid tightly to my side as I opened a beer. My plan was to drown my sorrows.

Recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was physically better since being released from the hospital, but not strong. My doctor would not release me to go back to work full time and I was going to be let go. In my early twenties, with car payments and rent I was getting concerned about my bills.

As I finished my first beer, this guy on the television caught my attention. He pointed straight at me and said “GOD loves YOU!” I didn’t really want to think about God. I repented of my sins and was born again at 17 but was now doing my own thing.

The church I attended got another pastor when I was 18. This guy was legalistic and boring with a bunch of “thou shalt nots”. Everything I was, including who I was—was not what God wanted me to be—according to the current pastor. He said a woman should wear a dress, not slacks, keep hair long and wear no jewelry. I looked at my class ring, watch, and beige pants, then looked for the nearest door. I tried other churches in the next few weeks. The churches I visited had good coffee and donuts. That is the best thing I remember about them.

Opening my second beer, the guy on the television once again said “someone out there needs to know God loves you, just the way you are!” “How would you know!” I asked the guy on Television—as if he would answer. Suddenly something changed in my living room. There was a peace that passed my understanding. My heart felt like it was melting. I even thought I heard “I DO LOVE YOU MY DAUGHTER, I know YOU and you are my child,” like it came from inside my heart. I began to weep and tell the LORD that I wanted to know Him…

This was the first night I spent with the King, really seeking Him, reading His Word and praying. One night with King Jesus changed my life forever. It is true with every one who is seeking a relationship with King Jesus.

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

That night, I knew that I knew He loved me for who I was. Knowing Him is different than knowing about Him, just as knowing Neil Diamond personally would be much better than simply knowing about him. Relationship is about intimacy. We cannot truly know someone without spending time in their presence and communicating with her or him. The most valuable relationship we can have is with our Creator God. It is only possible by true repentance and accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior.

You too, can spend a night with the King and every minute with the King when you choose a relationship with Jesus, our King of kings, and the LORD of lords.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19

Prevailing Hope – Part 3

By Brenda McKee (hope4mckee@gmail.com)

This is the real deal….

Sometimes I think I know what is best for my life. I think if I were totally healed I could serve the LORD better and help more people. I think if I were successful in a business and made a lot of money I could help a LOT more people than sitting here writing a blog about my challenges.

Closeup of hands shuffling cards casino

In other words I don’t like the cards I got dealt. I want a new deal and start with a new deck please! Make sure they are shuffled well too! Sometimes I think if I can throw down a few really bad cards and ask God to deal me a couple good cards, maybe then I handle the couple of not so good cards in my hand. Have you ever tried to barter or bargain with God?

But this is the deal.  No new cards, no new hand.  I  finally made the choice to play it to the best of my ability by His grace. My prevailing hope is to be successful in God’s eyes and impact this world for His Glory.

The Word of GOD is full of real men and women who face great challenges with the “cards they were dealt” and their lives gave Glory to God forever. I think of Joseph especially; sold into slavery by his brothers, imprison unjustly yet in the end was a great success in God’s eyes and in the worlds!

What about you? How are you going to play your cards?  Or are you still hoping for a new deal? Will you play your cards with great faith that GOD has a plan for your life (He does)- as He did for Joseph  and everyone else. His plan will ultimately will bring you great success defined by Almighty God! True success is not measured by the world’s standards.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Esther Part 14

Esther Chapter 10 (Conclusion)

Chapter 10 is but three verses. It reads as an after-the-fact statement; an appendix; a summation. Probably written by someone other than Mordecai. There is no mention of Mordecai or of Esther’s death or burial in the Book of Esther or anywhere else in the Bible. The record of this time of events were recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia.

One of several tomb sites claimed to be theirs

We find this claim on the Internet: The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai is [supposedly] located in Hamadan (formerly Shoshan), Iran. Iranian Jews believe it houses the remains of the biblical Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai and is the most important pilgrimage site for Jews in Iran. It was declared a World Heritage Site by the Iranian government in 2008. There is no mention of it in the Bavli (the Jerusalem or Babylonian Talmud). This Iranian Jewish tradition has not been supported by Jews beyond Iran.

PS; The tombs of Daniel, Nehemiah, and other Jewish leaders/Levite Priests and citizens are also entombed in Persia (Iran). This count is in the tens of thousands.

Many modern day sons of Jacob refuse to accept this. Mostly of these doubting Israelis come from the ten Northern Tribes of Israel. There is still animosity between those from the northern tribes of Israel and the southern two tribes of Judah. Most remain to this day scattered to the four corners of this earth.

Here is a quote from Focus on the Family regarding some history of Esther and the Persians:

The extra-Biblical events surrounding Esther form one of the most decisive turning points in history. Without the Greek triumph [over the Persians and King Xerxes], Western civilization as we know it would likely not exist. While Persia continued to flourish in Xerxes’ (and Esther’s) lifetime, his defeat by the Greeks was a watershed moment.

From that point on over the next 150 years, the Achaemenid Empire began its slow decline before finally being conquered by Alexander the Great. Although short-lived, Alexander’s empire was even larger than Persia at its greatest extent. It introduced Greek culture, ideas, and language across much of the ancient world, create[ed] the foundation for the eventual spread of the Gospel to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire and beyond. [emphasis mine]

Somethings FAR exceeds our reach.

Today we most often fall short of the historical impact or purpose of the book of Esther, yet alone understand its reach. This period of Esther history far exceeds the contents of the book itself. One example per understanding some of the content and context: AFTER the life of Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah lead additional Judean exiles from Persia back to Jerusalem. They completed the Temple but it took many years to get to this point.

Consider the fact that through Esther’s actions and the returning of additional Judean exiles with Ezra and Nehemiah, Jesus was born some 470 years later? Did the reader connect this historical dot? Jesus was of the Tribe of Judah, not the Tribe of Benjamin. His people (Tribe of Judah) were part of the Babylonian captivity and exile. This would be a study in and of itself. Later perhaps but not now.

Esther 10:1-3

“And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. (v2) And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? (v3) For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” (King James Version)

 (The following bullet points are taken from David Guzik’s Commentary on Esther 10)

Think of all that God arranged in the story of Esther:

• God arranged for the noble Queen Vashti to lose her place.
• God arranged for Esther to enter the competition.
• God arranged special favor for Esther among the other women.
• God arranged the lot that was cast to give 11 months warning before the evil event (Est_3:12-13).
• God arranged that Haman restrain his anger and not kill Mordecai immediately (Est_5:10).
• God arranged for Haman’s anger to come to a peak on one particular day.
• God arranged for Ahasuerus to pick up a certain book in his sleepless night.

Rev. Dr. Jstark

This is a nonprofit, no reader cost website. The above David Guzik bullet summary of the Book of Esther is for the sake of Bible students and others, and solely for educational and gained knowledge. May God bless your inquiry, reading and studies. The Bible is not a book of stories, but a history that coincides with other histories. Content other than the bullet points may or may not reflect the opinion of David Guzik.

Prevailing Hope Part 2

  • _____________________________________________________________
  • Prevailing Hope in Chaos

Sometimes the chaos of the world will blur our vision with despair,  worry and fear. Where can we go to find the Truth? Where can we find  peace amid this chaotic world? How can we truly have Hope that prevails?

The reality in this world is many are without hope. As a result of  the COVID-19 virus, Suicide rates in Michigan rose 33% according.to http://www.bridgemi.com,  Life Hurts. These stats are only those being reported. What would drive  someone to take his or her life? Thousands of those left behind agonize  over this question when a loved one chooses to exit the world this way.  Something in their hearts and minds had to hurt so badly they thought  there was no way out. Or maybe it was a moment of desperation?

The victims of COVID19 is far reaching and is NOT just those who get  the virus. People have lost their jobs, security, homes and some as  mentioned above, take their own lives. For safety reasons some of our  elderly are isolated from loved ones and some will even die alone. Masks  and the six feet rule of social distancing may be necessary, but it  takes a big toll on relationships. Science backs up the facts that we  need human touch. We need to have connections with others. We are by  nature and creation a social being.

May we never forget those who work in the health fields. Doctors,  nurses, techs, and many others who take care of us are on the front  lines taking the risk to help us. They are making a sacrifice of long  hours, not only risking their wellbeing but their immediate family when  they go home from work. God bless them one and all. Where is their  protection and peace of mind as they care for us?

Then we have people who fight over toilet paper. And those who fight  someone who has a mask on – or does not have one on! It depends on who  gets bent out of shape the most. We fight simply because someone does  not agree [James 4:1]. Each person is convinced s/he is right! How can  we find and have peace if everyone thinks differently, but everybody is  right in their own eyes? That is their personal perception but is it  actuality?

Many have their Hope in a COVID19 vaccine! Some want to shut down  America for another 5 or 6 months! Will it work? No one knows for sure.  We cannot even agree on who won the election because there is so much  fraud and deceit in the political system. So where is there HOPE we can  count on?

As if the world’s problems were not enough, we have our own personal  physical problems. My “problem list” has 26 issues on the list. To name a  few, I have Multiple Sclerosis, blind left eye, osteoporosis, and the  most recent add on is Rheumatoid Arthritis which hit me this year It  slammed me with more pain. I am not alone. Thousands wake up each day  with their own personal battle. It could be RA, MS, ALS, Cancer or a  hundred other diseases. Where is the hope when the disease is  progressive, unpredictable, and incurable?

 How in the world can we be thankful? I have many reasons to be thankful! But this article’s focus is the greatest reason we should be thankful! There are millions of books in the world. You  would think humankind would have THE Answer to the problems in the world  by now. Many think the answer is in a global reset, the one world order  and the COVID19 vaccine. There are many theories.

The Truth is the Answer for our world is not a theory nor or a  Religion. It is a Relationship. We have the great privilege to choose to  be in a relationship with the One Who created the world! We need to  repent of our sin (all have sinned and fall short; Romans 3:23)  and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. At that moment, our heart  is transformed anew! My prayer is the Holy Spirit will woo you into a  real relationship with God our Father by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord  and Savior if you have not done so. It is the best and most important  decision you will ever make.

We serve the GOD of Hope. We need to remember His plan for this world  has nothing to do with having our best life now, at least NOT the way  the world thinks of it. Our best life is now is in knowing the  God of Hope. Amid the political chaos we can have peace.  When we accept  Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells us. He is the Comforter and gives us peace that passes all understanding [Philippians 4:7].

Throughout history our Nation has been through many, many storms, and  wars. Never does the horizon of this world seem so dark and bleak. Yet  we have reason to be thankful. Not thankful for the circumstances but  thankful we can know the One Who will see us through. He promises never  to leave or forsake us. He is my King. I know He keeps His promises.  He  loves me. He loves you. We have the reason to give thanks to God…everyday!

How in the world can we be thankful? Jesus is always the reason to be thankful.

John 3:16-17

King James Version

16 For God so loved the world, that he  gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not  perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Thank you Dr.Jstark and ahabiblemoments.com for the privilege of posting Prevailing Hope. Prevailing Hope is written by Brenda McKee. Please send any questions about this blog series to : hope4mckee@gmail.com

Thank YOU for reading.

Esther Part 13

Esther 9 (chapter 9 continued; KJV)

The celebration of the Jews in Persian and the Jews in Shushan had two different days of celebrations with what eventually became known as the Festival of Purim, i.e., the day the lot (pur) was cast. One might misinterpret the purpose of their celebration. They along with select Persian help had slaughtered 75,000 Jew hating enemies. Under this situation this would seem like a good enough reason to celebrate. However, there is more to it. We cover the rest of this with a verse-by-verse explanatory commentary of chapter 9, part two.

Esther 9:17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar (probably March). And on the fourteenth of the month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

Esther 9:18 But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

What happened? Why two different days 24 hours apart? It seems the territorial provinces warred for one day and it was over. In the capital of Susa (Shushan) Jew hating citizens of Persia still existed. This helps explain why Mordecai and Esther wished the ten sons of Haman to be hung (suspended) for public view. They knew there were still enemies of the Jews within Shushan. Many were willing to challenge the decree from Mordecai the Jew and go by the initial decree distributed by Haman.

Esther 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another. Their task had been blessed and their neighboring enemies eliminated. This does not mean all enemies, but it does mean the most vocal advocates of Jewish elimination.

The Feast of Purim Initiated by Mordecai

Esther 9:20-22 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, (v21) to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, (v22)  as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.”

We can finally suggest with a high degree of confidence that the author of the Book of Esther is NOT unknown. (V20) “And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to the Jews.” If he wished that all Jews remaining in Mede-Persia would adopt this date as a yearly celebration, he would need to offer a sound explanation. It is probable that the Book of Esther evolved out of Mordecai reliving and explaining the significance of the “casting of pur,” meaning the celebration of Purim.


PROBLEM? The Jews of Persia were not representative of Israelis from all 12 Tribes. When Nebuchadnezzar captured and exiled Judah, it was a kingdom from which mostly Judeans and Benjamites lived. To some degree there were members from the Tribe of Simeon and straggler Levites, but not a preponderance of the other 10 Tribes of Israel. They were dispersed in 722 B.C., some 200 or so years before this time in the events described in Esther. America is only 245 years old at the writing of this commentary. We do not speculate because that is all it is. However, in the Book of Esther 200 plus years passed since the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dispersed; that kingdom was no more. The Jews of Persia (Benjamites and Judeans) in the time of Esther, would triumph over the Jew haters of the Persian Empire. It is 245 since the birth of America and the same problem exists. Think on it. A supposition only as food for thought and comparison. We are told in the New Testament to be prepared (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). For the studious Bible student, go to https://bible-truth.org/1Thess5-1-11.html

PS: I cannot attest to his website grammar but what he writes is good.

We Teach – You Decide

Esther 9:23-25  So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, (v24)  because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; (v25)  but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

Once again in verse 23 we are told that Mordecai wrote to the Persian Jews. A good reminder is something found in the previous two chapter commentaries. An Agagite is a descendant of King Agag, an Amalekite. King Saul, a Benjamite, slaughtered the Amalekites by order of God. Mordecai and Esther were not of the Tribe of Judah but of the Tribe of Benjamin. The desire for revenge of a day is like a thousand years.

Haman’s ten sons were hanged (suspended) from gallows but had already died by the sword the day before. This is by order of the King carried out by order of Mordecai. Is it any wonder we read about the “fear of Mordecai” being in the empire of Persia?

Purim banner with traditional cookies – hamantaschen and holiday greeting,

Esther 9:26-28  “So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, (V27)  the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, (V28)  that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

The Book of Esther is read during the Purim celebration even today “because of all the words of this (Mordecai’s) letter.”  Mordechai authored the letter. We do know the author of Esther [Verse 26]. It was not Esther alone, but along with Mordechai.

The reason it is a two-day celebration was discussed in our previous commentary article on chapter 9, part one. Those Persians within the empire who wished the Jews ill-will and attempted to carry out the decree by Haman, died on day one. Those who refused the later decree by the King and Mordecai, those in the capital of Susa (Shushan) continued to confront the Jews. They were killed the second day. Therefore, Purim is a two-day Jewish celebration. 

JIV: God sent not his son into this world to condemn the world but that through him people MIGHT be saved. Those who continue to refuse God’s salvation decree will on the second day suffer the consequences. This is not to mean a literal day one and day two.  We us “second day” metaphorically. Day one is the crucifixion. Day two is the time of the Gentiles [Luke 21:24]. Judaism exists as the original decree of the Old Testament. The metaphorical day two is the New Testament.

Esther 9:29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. Here again is evidence of the authorship of the Book of Esther. Queen Esther with Mordecai…wrote with full authority. They must have consulted one another to fill in missing gaps of information in the memories of each. Therefore we have The Book of Esther.

Esther 9:30And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,…” The name Jews in this verse is specific. Strong’s translates of the Hebrew is yehûdı̂y. The definition means a specific tribe of Israel i.e. The Tribe of Judah. This is NOT a religion identified as Jews. That is Judaism. Two different identities and people. One is a tribe, and the other is a religion beginning with Abraham.  Easily confused but not correct to make them tantamount to one another.

Esther 9:31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. Again, we find consulting between Queen Esther and Mordecai to get the facts and events correct. Both are primary to the book. Both were needed to pull it together and have it sanctioned by Ezra and Nehemiah.

JIV NOTE: It was Ezra and Nehemiah who pulled the Old Testament into a single document of 39 books.  The sacred books of Israel were inspired by God or, as the apostle Paul says, were “God-breathed”—it was imperative that the texts remain distinctly separate from secular or pagan writings. Numerous texts are known to exist alongside Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament.

Esther 9:32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.  What book? The Book of Esther. The authors were Mordecai and Esther.

Rev. Dr. Jstark