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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Irreplaceable Psalm 23

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdPsalm23

Again and again when people are buried, their family so often asks for Psalm 23.  Regardless of whether they have been in church for years, Psalm 23 seems to have a comforting power that touches people again and again. Why is Psalm 23 so meaningful to so many people?

 When the late Dr. Billy Graham preached in a Russian Synagogue, what was his topic?  None other than Psalm 23.  Whether Jewish or Christian, Churchgoer or NonChurchgoer, Right Wing or Left Wing politically,  Psalm 23 seems to speak to all of us.  All of us  can find strength in knowing that the Lord is our Shepherd.

There is an extremely popular book written by a Canadian agrologist entitled “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”.  Philip Keller, unlike most of us, is an actual modern-day shepherd, who has spent many years in agricultural research, land management, and psalm232ranch development in  British Columbia.

 From Keller’s first-hand experience, Psalm 23 has burst open with many new insights  and surprises.  For example, what does it really mean to say “I shall not want”? Keller says that this is a picture of “a sheep utterly satisfied with its owner..utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more.”  Does this describe our personal day-to-day lives?  I remember seeing a poster which read: “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

Why does Psalm 23 talk about “lying down in green pastures”?  Keller tells us that sheep will never lie down until four conditions are met:

1) they must be free of all fear

2) They must be free of  torment by flies or parasites

3) They must have a full belly

4) They must be in harmony with their fellow sheep.

Green pastures did not just happen by psalm-233accident. A good shepherd would put tremendous labour into clearing rough rocky ground into lush pasture land.  Psalm 23 tells us that Jesus the Good Shepherd desires to take away our fear and disharmony so that we can find the inner peace that we have always been looking for.

What about “leading us beside still waters”?   What difference does that make?  Keller tells us that  sheep are made up of about 70% water on average.  Without a clean water source, sheep become restless and dehydrated.  As well, sheep will not drink from fast, flowing waters, but  rather from still calm waters.  So too the Good Shepherd desires to fill each of us with calmness and stillness, with living water that can quench our deepest thirst.

Psalm 23 reminds us that the Good Shepherd desires to “restore our soul”.  When a death has just occurred in our family, we often feel heavy and burdened inside, even down cast.  Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.  All of us need that inner rest from time to time.  Sheep, from time to time, may fall on their backs, and be unable to get up again by themselves.  When a sheep becomes “down cast”, it can quickly become a casualty to sun stroke, or attack from wild animals.  A Good Shepherd will restore his sheep when they become cast down.

Psalm 234Perhaps most familiar of all is the phrase: “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death , I will fear no evil, for You are with me”.  Think of funerals you have been to, and what comfort these words have been.  Keller tells us that the only way to the mountainous green pastures is through the dangerous mountain valleys where wolves and coyotes are in hiding, waiting for their next victim.  Psalm 23 reminds us that  the Good Shepherd is also a warrior who will fight for us and protect us, even in times of death and tragedy.

All of us want to be loved and cared for by significant others.  Most of us believe that there is a God out there. The good news of Psalm 23 is that God really cares about each of us in a way beyond our wildest imagining.  That is the meaning of the poetic language speaking of the Shepherd preparing a table before us, anointing our head with oil, and our cup overflowing.  All of this means that God personally cares for you.

No matter how tough life gets, and how many setbacks you face,  Psalm 23 tell us that God is there for you, and will never give up on you.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Baden-Powell: School of the Outdoors

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Baden-powell3

Baden-Powell, the founder of the world-wide Scouting movement, preferred to learn his lessons from nature rather from a classroom.  B.P. was not an academic success. His school reports read:

1) Classics: Seems to me to take very little interest in his work

2) Mathematics: Has to all intent given up the study of mathematics

3) Science: Pays not the slightest attention, except in one week at the beginning of the quarter

4) French: Could do well, but has become very lazy; often sleeps in school.

 

Baden-Powell was a bit of a loner in school, somewhat reserved though never unpopular.  Given a choice, he preferred the solitary pursuits of exploring the woods round the Charterhouse school in Surrey, England. There he learnt  how to snare rabbits and cook them in secret with a smokeless fire, how to use an axe,  how to creep silently through the bush, how to hide his tracks, how to identify the different kinds of animals and plants, and how to climb a tree and hide from Scouting Emblemthe school authorities.  B.P. said that it was in those woods that he gained most of what helped him later in life to find the joy of living.

It is no wonder that years later Baden-Powell that the object in Scouting “was to wean (the boys) from indoors and to make the outdoors attractive to them.”  B.P. described Scouting as a school of the outdoors.  Scouting, said B.P., was not a science, nor a military code. Rather “it is a jolly game in the outdoors,  where boy-men can go adventuring together as older and younger brother, picking up health and happiness, handicraft and helpfulness.”

As Scouting was first developing, B.P said to his adult leaders: “… give your boys all you can of woodcraft and Nature study…The Nature study should be a real close touch WebMustardTreewith Nature, far beyond the academic dipping into the subject which passes under the name in school.  Collecting, whether of plants or bugs, and investigation, whether of beasts or birds, are all-absorbing studies for the boy and mighty good for him.”

Why was Baden-Powell so exciting about Nature study and Outdoor camping? Because B.P. saw it as a “golden chance to bring the boy to God through the direct appeal of Nature and her store of wonders.”  Nature study for B.P. was a character-building, and spiritual exercise.  Nature study, said B.P., “gives the best means of opening out the minds and thoughts of boys, and at the same time…gives them the power of appreciating beauty in Nature and consequently in art…”  Nature study  helped “the realization of God, the Creator, through His wonderous work, and the active performance of His will in service for others.”

I believe that Baden-Powell might have really enjoyed living on the North Shore with its unforgettable beauty of mountain, forests, and sea.  B.P. would have reminded us that “the mystery of the sea and the heavens, and the fascination of the colouring of the scene, and the modelling of the scene” all point to God’s handiwork.   Baden-Powell saw all of nature as gifts from God.  We all teach our children to say “thank you” for birthday and amber%20dawnChristmas presents.  How much more should we say “thank you” for God’s gifts of nature?  B.P. said “We teach the boy that a gift is not his till he has expressed his gratitude for it.  His attitude to God is, therefore, thankfulness for benefits received; and his method for expressing this is through service, in behalf of God, to his fellow-men.

To Baden-Powell, the question was not what can I get from life, but what can I give in life.  When dealing with conflicts in the Scouting movement, B.P. recommended that people “…ask themselves the simple question,   `What would Christ have done under the circumstances?’ and be guided accordingly”.

In a last message found among B.P.’s papers Durham Cathedral from Riverafter he had died, he said:  “Dear Scouts,…I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life.  Happiness doesn’t  come from being rich, not merely from being successful in your career, not by self-indulgence.  One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.  Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy.  Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it…”

My prayer is that we too, like Baden-Powell, may be filled with gratitude to God our Creator for the wonderful gift of Nature.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca