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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Waiting for Christmas…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

 

Every year I impatiently wait for Christmas.  I love Christmas, but I don’t like waiting.  The season of Advent (which starts this year on Nov 30th) teaches us a lot about waiting, not just to remember Jesus’ first coming in Bethlehem, but also to wait patiently for Jesus’ second coming.  Waiting in an age of instant gratification is hard.  That is why Advent rarely ever gets commercialized.

Impatience is one of those areas where God has been nudging me lately.  I am one of those people who like things to happen yesterday.  We Hirds are go-getter people who love to see things completed.  I am so often impatient with myself when writing a new book or newspaper article.   In my sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, I speak about Titus who was a first-century go-getter.  Titus reminds me of my father, Ted Hird, who always gets the job done.  At one of my father’s retirements, his company, Microtel, gave him a statue of a horse in memory of my father’s billing the company for a dead horse.  Working in Newfoundland for three months with the snowy roads sometimes impassible, my father hired a farmer’s horse to drag the telecommunications equipment up the hill. The microwave tower was finally finished, but the horse died.  Titus-like leaders make things happen against impossible odds.

Hidden in our strengths are our greatest weaknesses.  That is why we can’t see them, and often don’t want to change.  Persevering people rarely want to admit their stubbornness, and their need to be more flexible.  Administratively gifted people rarely see how painful they can be when they slip into micromanaging of others’ lives.  We Tituses are great people to have around when you need a job done. But we can be painful to be around when our impatience causes us to be too pushy, too controlling, and too anxious.

I remember impatiently waiting for Christmas as a little child.  I desperately wanted to see the Christmas presents waiting for me.  So we talked our grandmother into going into my parents’ bedroom to show us where they were hidden.  The famous passage 1 Corinthians 13, which is read at many weddings, reminds us that love is patient. True love waits.  Waiting makes Christmas that much better.  It is so hard to wait.  It is so tempting to take the matter into our own hands and prematurely solve things.  Recently doing my doctorate taught me that quick fixes fix nothing.  Genuine lasting transformation takes time.  Lasting change needs to be thoughtful and intentional.  We all want to be better people, especially at Christmas.  Becoming more Christlike however doesn’t happen overnight.   We can’t just wake up on December 25th and suddenly become the most patient loving person on earth.

What motivates me to become more patient this Christmas is realizing that my impatience has often hurt other people whom I care for deeply.  My wife has graciously chosen to forgive my impatience many times during our thirty-seven years of marriage.  I want to be a more gentle and kind person especially to my wife.  My impatience too often gets in the way of this desire.  God keeps telling me to give my impatience back to Him, to put my impatience on the altar, to let go and let God.  When I get out of the way, God often does things far beyond what I can ask or imagine.   God is remarkably patient and kind in a way that most of us don’t fully get.  Rather than pulling the plug on us when we are rebellious, God keeps on loving us, hoping that we will choose to return home.  God wants us to come home for Christmas.   God in a manger welcomes us home for Christmas.  The Christ child is patiently waiting for us this Christmas.  He really does love us beyond our wildest imagination.

My Advent/Christmas prayer for those reading this article is that we will all grow in Christlike patience and love.

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

-an article 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– 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, 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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The Love Affair

  By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On a New Year’s Eve, the well-known author Michael Harper was sailing solo on Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Suddenly his boat capsized in a particularly violent squall about a mile offshore. Clinging to the side of the boat and unable to right it, Michael was rescued after an hour in the chilly glacial waters. He nearly died of hypothermia.

When Michael recovered, he asked God why He had saved him and what God wanted him to do. The reply came something like this: “I want you to learn how to love people the same way as I do.” Michael learned that very day that life is meant to be a Love Affair, that life is meant to be dedicated to learning how to really love each other in a genuine way. The famous ethicist Joseph Fletcher wrote that the opposite of love is not “hate” but rather “indifference”. Fletcher writes, “… There is one thing worse than evil itself, and that is indifference to it.” The lowest point to which our society often seems to sink is when it says, I couldn’t care less.’

As Michael Harper struggled with learning how to really love people, he became aware that there are few words in the English language that are more open to abuse than the word “love”. “Love is swampy” is how Joseph Fletcher describes the problem. Much of what is called love today is little more than making sure that our needs are met. Need-centered love, however, is self-centered and narcissistic. True love, said Karl Barth, is when a person gives them self to another with no expectation of a return, in a pure venture, even at the risk of ingratitude, and of that other person’s refusal to make a response of love. That kind of love is very scary because it involves the possibility of being rejected and hurt. That is why we so often prefer self-centered love to other-centered love.

Harper comments that “the widespread identification of the word love with sex indicates that most people think that sex ought to be an experience of love … and that is where the frustration comes in. People feel cheated because sex has not delivered the goods.” A good marriage, says Harper, in which both husband and wife delight to give each others pleasure, and thereby reassure one another of the love that they have for each other, does more for the reestablishment of true love than almost anything else. The bible calls this kind of true love “AGAPE LOVE”. Most of us have been to weddings where a passage is read from the bible telling us about true love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13).” it would be helpful for all of us, whether churchgoers or not, to regularly measure our marriage relationships against that standard of Christian love.

I am more convinced than ever that love is what it is all about. That is why the bible even says that God is love … not self centered love, but rather other centered love. Harper reminds us that “Jesus did not come to present a new set of ideas to us. He came to show us the meaning of love. He revealed what love is. He manifested love. The secret of Jesus’ revolution was not the love of power but the power of love.” When Jesus, hung on the cross, he stretched out his arms and said, in effect, “this is how much I love you.” And most amazingly when the Roman soldiers were torturing him and humiliating him, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them for they ‘don’t know what they are doing.” Jesus has taught me that the finest quality of true love is its power to forgive. As the late Michael Harper puts it, love without forgiveness is meaningless.

My prayer for those reading this article is that true love may so invade our lives that costly forgiveness will become normal for us in our daily lives.

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

-award-winning author of the 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– 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, 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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I’m On Aslan’s Side

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is a renewed attention these days to CS Lewis’  fascinating Aslan character.  What is it about Aslan the Lion that even outdrew the mighty King Kong at the box office?  Why is Aslan so effective in breaking through our adult pessimism and negativity?

One of the most interesting Narnia creatures is the Marshwiggle, a symbol of negativity, pessimism, and reliable gloom.  In the Narnia Chronicles’ ‘Silver Chair’, the Green Witch says to the Narnians: “Put away these childish tricks.  I have work for you in the real world. There is no Narnia, no overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan.”  The Marshwiggle remarkably responds by affirming: “I ‘m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.  I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

It is easy to be cynical and bitter.  It took courage for the Marshwiggle to look past his natural negativity and cling to the promises of Aslan.  The Narnia Chronicles have been teaching me once again that only the childlike can enter the Kingdom of Narnia.  Even the Lion of Judah once said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

There is a major difference between being childish and childlike.  The Narnia Chronicles comments that “even in this world, of course, it is the stupidest children who are the most childish and the stupidest grownups who are the most grown-up.” The famous ‘love chapter’ of 1 Corinthians 13 encourages us ‘to put away childish things’ As the Pevensie children journeyed throughout their Narnia adventures, they became less childish and more mature both in outward appearance and inner character.  Yet simultaneously they became more childlike in their willingness to trust and admit their need for others, especially their need for Aslan.  In the Narnia blockbuster ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’, the children cry out ‘Aslan, I need your help’, to which Aslan responds “I know, but the future of Narnia depends on your courage.”  Only the truly childlike can be truly courageous.  If we depend on our own strength alone, life tends to sap us of our inner fortitude.

It takes real courage to admit how tough and sad life can sometimes be.  Only the truly childlike know how important it is to weep and grieve from time to time.  At the death of the Narnian King Caspian, “all three stood and wept. Even (Aslan) the Lion wept: great lion tears, each tear more precious than the earth would be if it was a single diamond.”  Childlike tears can be deeply healing. That is why Jesus said: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” That is why the shortest sentence in the entire bible is ‘Jesus wept’.  The Good Book poignantly says that Aslan puts every one of our tears in a bottle.

Perhaps most importantly, only the childlike can truly hear Aslan’s voice.  Aslan said to Polly regarding Uncle Andrew in ‘The Magician and His Nephew’: “He has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would only hear growlings and roarings.  Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good.”  Aslan says to each of us: “Come farther in. Come farther up.  Come to the real land of Narnia, the land you have been looking for all your life.” Let Aslan give you ‘the wild kisses of a Lion’.  Let Aslan bring you to life as you walk with childlike faith through the Wardrobe.

 

 

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

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the 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 Ave, Surrey, BC 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 Ave, Surrey, BC 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