Sunday, August 4, 2013


Suggested Reading: Esther 1-2

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).


Located about 200 metres inside Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate is Christ Church. It is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. It was completed in 1849 and soon after became known as the "Jewish Protestant Church." My son chose this photograph for today's reading because of the "Star" in the sky.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.


Key Verses: Esther 2:7

And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Esther’s name means “Star” in the Persian language. Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for Xerses, King of Persia (modern day Iran). The historian Herodotus refers to the six month long banquet (of today’s reading) as the occasion of Xerxes’ planning for the expansion of his empire into Europe. Persia was defeated in a sea battle just off the coast of Greece (479 BC). Xerxes then headed home where he sought a new Queen. A few days ago we were reading from the book of Ezra. The story of Esther fits between chapters 7 & 8 of Ezra. Xerxes is called Artaxerxes in Ezra.

God chose an orphan girl, raised by her closest relative, Mordecai, to save His ancient people from a holocaust which would have otherwise destroyed the Jewish people. God had long-term plans for the Jews, which continue to this day. God also has plans to bless all of us too, as long as we, like Mordecai and Esther, co-operate with His plans by our own free will. Like Esther, we may not comprehend what God is doing at the present time, but as we are faithful, someday we will look back and we will see that God was at work.


Lord God, I pray that all the plans You have for me will be accomplished as I am faithful to read Your word and pray every day. You have said that You desire to give me “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). I believe You are at work in me and in the lives and circumstances around me. I ask these mercies in Jesus’ Name, Amen!!!


I’ve stood on the eastern shore of the Ionian Sea at Salamis, between Athens and Corinth, and imagined the defeat of Xerxes’ mighty naval armada by the smaller and faster Greek ships who set the Persian vessels on fire and forced them to retreat. Xerxes never had a chance to land his army on the shores of Europe. Several years later, the Greek emperor conquered Persia and a new Empire arose under Alexander the Great.

Norma-Jean, my wife of almost 55 years, won’t read this until it’s too late to keep me from telling this story, so here goes. People would often comment about her lovely dresses, and I wouldn’t tell where she purchased her changes of wardrobe. It was at the Hadassah Bazzar. This Jewish women’s organization, named with Esther’s Hebrew name, would sell slightly used clothes at an annual event. Norma-Jean never wanted to miss the great deals at the annual sale. Years later, in the year 2000, our youngest grandson, Nathaniel Shaheen, was born in the “Hadassah” Hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital was one of the projects supported by the Jewish women’s organization in Canada. Norma-Jean always looked great in those dresses as she would often sing on national TV, and a hospital was built and maintained.

Yours for being like Mordecai and Esther, at the right place and at the right time, so that God’s will may be done “on earth as it is in Heaven,”


17 thoughts on “Sunday, August 4, 2013

  1. It is amazing to see how God works – using an orphan to fulfill His purpose. I always wanted to get to one of those sales but never did. I understand they have discontinued that now. Norma-Jean always looked so good and still does. God bless you both.

  2. The history and drama was fascinating in today’s reading, and such an appropriate, beautiful photograph too! Interesting about the attempt to conquer Europe and defeat. So much of your commentary tweaks in thoughts throughout the day as I read your blog, Pastor David. I wonder if you ever wonder how much is actually comprehended about what you write given the few details reflected early in the day, but eventually are thought upon throughout the day. Your life wisdom which is reflected upon many times, for which I am grateful and believe countless others feel the same. Back offline a few days. Take care!

  3. Reynold, you captured a beautiful site…
    The star…above the Protestant Jewish church.
    Thank you for all you have done to add such
    meaning to your dad’s inspirational blog.
    David, I really had to chuckle to myself when
    I read your blog…I think I can hear Norma-Jean
    say, “O David” when she does read this.
    I so appreciated your history lessons today
    and the spiritual lessons. Our part is total
    surrender to God’s will, consistently abiding
    in Him and walking in obedience…He will
    reveal His plans to us when we are co-operating
    in this way.
    P.S. your wonderful dear wife always looks so
    beautiful and her wardrobe always well-chosen
    to go with her lovely black hair. You are a blessed
    Enjoy a blessed day everyone.

  4. God has set out His work to be done in this world, in other words God has a plan. We have a glimpse of this plan through His Word, yet we still don’t know wholly what it is about. One day we shall know fully and we’ll be able to see more clearly, until then however, we shall use our spiritual eyes of faith. No it’s not blind faith. God has revealed enough of His plan to us and has revealed His love for us through His son, Jesus Christ … the personal revelation of God to us … a sufficient reason to believe, to hope and to have faith until we meet Him one day, face to face.

    1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
    “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely.”

  5. Love this heroine, Esther and your commentary, David. Dug out two books, “Esther” by Ellen Gunderson Traylor and “Finding Favor with the King” by Tommy Tenney which I will just browse. Norma-Jean always looked beautiful in her dresses and yes, still does. Returning to my home church today. God bless all.

  6. Amen, David Mainse! I, too, loved today’s reading, message and bright shining “Star” in the photo!

    Praise Changes Things

    “Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer and our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: ‘Try Thanksgiving.’ I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the psalmist was right, ‘It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.'” Rev. Henry W. Frost
    Streams in the Desert 1, Cowman, August 4, p. 244.

    Worshiping and praising you on high, today, Lord!

  7. Hurray for Esther, a true “Star” in our reading today, being ready, willing and able through God’s divine intervention, to put her life on the line to save her people the Jews. Thanks David for prioritizing your time for this Blog, to help all of us to go deeper in the richness of the scriptures. Have a great day everyone!

  8. I have learned so much from your daily blog, David! Especially today I found out how Esther fits into Ezra – had always wondered about that! You have much experience along with wisdom to contribute. Keep it up and God bless you!

  9. I am new to your blog, but I am enjoying it so much. I thank you for this and your book, which I have just finished. David, today your bog reminded me of a verse of a poem I wrote about 10years ago. My brother was having a stent put in when it went through the wall of the vein. He could see the panic on the faces of the staff but he was , himself, very calm. His wife had just given a verse ” let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid”
    Lord, may I always embrace
    The plans you have for me
    Plans of hope for my future
    Even plans of adversity

    For you alone are Sovereign
    You set limits on suffering and pain
    I know that because I love you
    You work all things for my gain.

    My brother was in surgery for about 6 hours and had 4 bi-passes done that day, with many miracles taking place, for he had to be moved to another O.R. And another surgeon, and only 8 minutes before he would be dead.
    God had it all in His control !!! Our God is amazing.
    This took place in 2004, and he is still going strong.

  10. Tell Norma Jean she was ahead of her time–because in today’s world of recycle, reuse and reduce it is quite trendy to give perfectly good clothing a second home–and being able to do it economically— even better.

    Like others I find Esther a real inspiration — to face her fears and take a bold step thereby saving her people take guts. Although she was beautiful– her lasting contribution wasn’t her beauty– but her faith. I only wish young women today would get that message. Yes, her beauty might have gotten her in the door, but it was her actions that won the King’s heart and her bravery that made her shine.

    This is one of my favourite books in the Old Testament I look forward to studying it more over the next few days.

  11. The picture is beautiful Renold.
    Esther is my favorite book as well the history lessons you give are appreciated
    David. Norma Jean always looks wonderful.
    Have a blessed day
    Lianne Hogg


  12. I am being bombarded so to speak by lessons and Gods truth from our church is going through the book of Esther. One was do not be afraid to take off your mask like Esther did and show people that you are a Child of God, what family you belong to and not be afraid of what others may say or do or think. I battle these fears because of how I was brought up. Still praying for unsaved loved ones decades later. I had no idea of Esthers hebrew name my mom used to go to those bizzars too. God bless! Susan Hamill

  13. Dear Rev. Mainse
    When I was growing up in Winnipeg during the 50’s, my darling mother dressed us (all seven surviving children) from clothes from the Hadassa.
    We were well dressed, no one knew where mommy shopped. We had lovely clothing, that mommy would often ‘make over’ to make it fit or suit.
    She also always looked beautiful. People never knew how she did it.
    Hurrah for Norma Jean! She is a woman after my own heart.
    Hurrah for Esther! Courage and fortitude…thank you for always deepening my understanding of scripture David.
    Love Beverley

  14. I love reading your blog every day. God bless you and Norma Jean as you continue to do God’s work. Norma Jean always looks beautiful and I also love her outfits.

  15. Dear Rev. David Mainse,

    What a fantastic model Esther is for every women of every age. I pray that the changes the Lord has made in me, giving me that profound peace that goes beyond any explanation which may soon be shared with all those that I meet in Jesus’ name. Amen.

    Thank you Reynold for another beautiful picture so significant with the shining star in the background .

    PS.I fully agree that you are quite blessed by a wife as beautiful inside as outside!

    xxxx Carole

  16. David . . . your story today brought back memories of when I was a little girl. My mom and aunt went to the Haddasah Bazzar every year and I was always allowed to go along as a special treat (even though they were always on a “school night” and it meant I had to stay up well past bed time). I haven’t thought about that for years! God Bless you!!

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