Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Suggested Reading: Ezra 9-10

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

The northern part of "The City of David." This area of Jerusalem was also known as the Ophel and is a narrow promontory beyond the southern edge of the Temple Mount and Old City. The Temple Mount is seen at the top of this photo.

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


Key Verse: Ezra 10:1

Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large congregation of men, women, and children assembled to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.

During the captivity in Babylon, much very serious prayer took place. Daniel prayed three times every day while facing Jerusalem. No doubt there were many others doing the same. God answered their prayers with a resounding, “YES!” The result was that God moved the heart and mind of the Persian Emperor Cyrus and his successors.

Josephus, the famous Jewish historian, states in “Antiquities of the Jews” (11.1.2) that Jews showed King Cyrus, who defeated Babylon, the prophecy of Isaiah where his name was mentioned over 100 years before his birth. Isaiah described Cyrus’ role in the plan of God. Josephus writes that this motivated Cyrus “to fulfill what was written.” Archeological excavations in 1879-1882 found what is known as the “Cyrus Cylinder.” At the opening of the Crossroads Centre in 1992, we had a replica of this cylinder on display. It is an important confirmation of the accuracy of the Biblical account, and of the policies of Cyrus in his rule of his vast empire. It says of Israel, “All their peoples I gathered together and restored to their dwelling place” (see photo of the Cyrus Cylinder below).


Lord God, You do hear and answer prayer. Sometimes You say, “Yes,” sometimes, “No,” sometimes, “Slow.” I pray for deliverance of people today from captivity, yes, in Iraq (ancient Babylon) and Iran (ancient Persia), and also here at home. Destructive addictions, bad decisions, a self focus rather than seeking the good of others first, and other things, are holding people in captivity. I cry out to You for restoration of all that is good, kind, and loving. I pray in the name of the One who modelled the life we need, Jesus, Himself, Amen!!!


Last week I walked several blocks in the area of Sherbourne Street in Toronto. Norma-Jean and I lived for a time on Seaton Street, just one block east of Sherbourne. I passed the Salvation Army Men’s Centre where we volunteered on several occasions. I thought of our city in history. I had read that in the 1880’s Toronto was a mess! Open sewers, contaminated drinking water, much public display of intoxication, prostitution, and other ills that made Toronto a bad place to live. One man made a difference. The city became known as “Toronto the Good.” William Howland attended an evangelistic series of meetings at St. James Cathedral, where history records that he realized he was a sinner who needed the Saviour. Fired up by his new faith, he set out to bring change and hope to his city. He regularly visited people living in the slums. He became an active worker in the YMCA. To help people find jobs, he raised the money to build an industrial school. At age 42 he ran for Mayor of Toronto and won (see photo below). His first act as Mayor was to create a morality squad, which patrolled and cleaned up the streets. He instituted a complete overhaul of the city’s water system. He so involved himself in the plight of the underprivileged that he wore himself out and died at 49. Those years impacted Toronto for at least a century.

I saw evidences, particularly in the park on Sherbourne Street, that Toronto needs another William Howland. I’m praying for the intervention of God in Canada’s largest city, in our entire country, and around the world!

Yours for hearing from God and for making the best personal decisions possible,


The Cyrus Cylinder (click on photo to enlarge)

William Howland, former mayor of Toronto.


19 thoughts on “Tuesday, July 23, 2013

  1. Each of us can influence the world around us as did the former mayor of Toronto, William Howland. I think one of the greatest strengths and and one of the greatest weaknesses of Canada is our social net. Welfare, public housing, social assistance, and medicare are in of themselves wonderful, uplifting, dignified concepts to bring physical healing and help to those in need. The real problem as I see it, is that the government has taken many of these sources away from the realm of the Christian church and into the hands of the secular state. Yes the government may offer tangible help which is a good thing, yet it will never cure the ills of the afflicted in society because the core issue is one of sin. Only when one realizes that he/she is a sinner and turns towards Jesus for healing can one begin to mend a broken life. The government may offer help, but the church of Jesus can offer so much more in the way of temporal and eternal hope. Please don’t think that I’m knocking our Canadian social network, I just don’t see it as an ultimate answer to the ills of our society and I certainly don’t see it as the saviour of our land. We do however need more William Howlands in our midst as David mentioned, for we do have a message of good news, hope and sustenance to offer to a weary and hurting world.

  2. Yes, we need God’s intervention for the leaders of our Provinces, what is accepted as entertainment in Winnipeg this week should not be tolerated and I’m quite certain that other parts of the world are following this behaviour. Never cease to pray for our Nations.

  3. Todays reading spoke of Ezra’s responsibility to change matters and not just lament the conditions. It was interesting to read about Toronto’s former Mayer, William Howland. It required much courage and compassion to open his eyes to the poverty, addictions and despair surrounding him, and then take the necessary action to bring about change. Thank you for your words of insight and encouragement today and for this blog.

  4. David and fellow bloggers good morning and blessings to all . I am qurious… The Cyrus cylindar was it found as a solid piece that had to be broken to access it’s content , or dose it some how open and close? what are
    it’s dimentions? Also who found it and where is the real one today? Interesting. It is like a sort of time capsile .
    M. 🙂

    • I believe the original is now located in the British National Museum. It was once a solid piece made of clay– but now they have two big pieces of it — about maybe 9 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter. If you are interested in learning more just type Cyrus Cylinder into your computer’s search engine like Google and lots of articles and pictures will come up— Hope that’s helpful

  5. It is important to remember that God does answers prayer, just not always with a yes. In my case with many of my prayers God’s answer to me is ” I have a better idea.” LOL.

  6. Thanks for the history lesson on the City of Toronto. I had no idea of what it was like. Thank God for people with vision like William Howland and what was accomplished. It will happen again when we humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways and allow God to inspire and motivate us for His Kingdom.

  7. Have you ever noticed how many churches there are in small towns? It is obvious that at some point many years ago, they were filled with people. What has happened? So many are struggling and many have closed. I agree with what Ruth, said. It is found in 11 Chronicles 7:14

    Thank you David for sharing about the city of Toronto. It is fascinating to find out all the stories behind some of our leaders and others. God bless each one today.

    Does anyone remember this little chorus:

    God answers prayer in the morning
    God answers prayer at noon
    God answers prayer in the evening
    So keep your heart in tune.

    Have a great day blog-buddies!!

  8. Dear David; I come from Toronto. I picked up a tyle with The Cathedral Church of St. James and have prayed for Toronto and their church. I believe they help people in their area. Love your blogs. Love barb

  9. Dear Rev.David M. and precious fellow bloggers
    The same walk that you took with Norma – Jean I have often taken in many cities of our province Quebec. and that is why I will go on praying diligently to the one and only who can change what needs to be changed JESUS.
    I am also very intriged about Cyrus cylinder.
    I am so grateful for the wonderful teaching of this past year 100 words . Me who was wishing a year ago to find the way of a suitable Bible Study being wheel chair bound and the final answer the Lord gave me brought me to the most high quality college I could have ever dreamed of and as an added bonus the most precious brothers and sisters in Christ and thats all thanks to a man like David Mainse .
    Have a blessed day everyone
    xxxx Carole.

  10. Hello everyone thank you for your comments. My father-in-law is having more radiation treatments and my nephew Devon is leaving for a Young Life camp today, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. God bless each one today!!!!!

  11. Interesting post. I’m new to this blog; this is the first entry that I have read in its entirety.

    I have read this Bible passage before and one question that comes to mind is: what does God think about these mass divorces? The people of Isreal want to do what is pleasing in God’s sight by not staying married to a non believer which shows that they are truly affected by their disobedience to God, which is good, as God works all things together for their good according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). In the New Testament, God maintains that believers only marry believers, but in the event that a believer is married to a non-believer, the believer continue to be married to the non-believer (with Christ’s love and grace towards that person) unless the non-believer wants to leave the marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:12). So when I read this, it seems like there is a discrepancy. Any insight?

  12. Thank you so much for the ling to Josephus I spend some time reading
    about the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, and I MUST go back and
    read about Ester so so very interesting.
    THANK YOU DAVID M. Have a great day

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