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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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. . . And a Happy New Year!!

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Every January we get to grapple with the implications of the second half of that familiar Christmas Greeting: “…and a Happy New Year!”  Alexander Pope said in 1733: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Pope suffered from childhood tuberculosis that left him hunched over, reaching a height of only 4 feet 6 inches. But he never let this steal his hopefulness and his joyfulness.

“Happy” comes from the old Norse word “Happ”, which means chance, luck, or lot.  Happiness is just that which happens to you by chance occurrence.  Many people are desperately trying to be happy.  But happiness, by definition, is haphazard, arbitrary, and temporary.  As a teenager, I tried to be happy, and to make my personal happiness the purpose of my life.  What I discovered is that chasing after the elusive goal of happiness is guaranteed to make one unhappier than ever.

Rather than aiming for temporary happiness, I have learned to value the more lasting quality of joy.  Joy has such depth that I have found that I can be joyful when unpleasant unhappy things happen haphazardly to me. Simon Peter taught that it is possible to be joyful with an unspeakable joy.  Joy is described in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as a “vivid emotion of pleasure, gladness, thing that causes delight”.  What causes gladness and delight in your life? The birth of a baby? Graduating from High School or University?  Attending your son or daughter’s wedding?

I have found that joy is a choice.  I can choose to rejoice always, even in the midst of great suffering and setbacks. James, Jesus’ brother, said that we should count it all joy when we face challenges. It is not easy to be joyful in all circumstances.  The good book teaches that joy is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.  When the Christmas angels turned up at the Bethlehem manger, they proclaimed glad tidings of great joy for all people.  Jesus, right before his crucifixion, said that he wanted His joy to be inside of us, and our joy to be full.   In other words, he wants us to be inwardly joyful: full of joy, overflowing with joy.  Without the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, this is impossible.  Joy needs to be like an artesian well springing up from within.  It can’t be artificially produced or induced.

All of us need more joy in our lives. Joy is the secret of a genuinely happy New Year.  Joy keeps the stresses and pressures of life from burying us before we are dead.  Thirty-nine years ago in January 1972, at age 17, I encountered a joy that changed me from the inside out.  This joy was so joyful that it made me full of joy! Without trying, I developed a smile that wouldn’t go away.  I really became a different person, so much so that my friends at High School noticed the difference.  Some even wanted in on the action.

My parents initially were a bit worried.  Having a joyful, peaceful teenager in their family took a little getting used to.  But eventually they too saw a permanent change in their son that made them joyful too.  There is something about an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that connects us deeply to the gift of joy.  No wonder that C.S. Lewis, the atheist turned believer, entitled his autobiography “Surprised by Joy”. My New Year’s prayer for those reading this article is that joy may spill into all of our lives in surprising and life-changing ways.

 

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/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.  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.


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Hark The Herald Angels Sing!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is something about the Christmas season that starts you singing.  Many people hardly ever sing in public.  Yet Christmas can turn them into instant musicians, belting out Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger, or I wish you a Merry Christmas.  My best friend as a teenager was a self-professed atheist, but he loved to sing Christmas Carols.  I will always remember going door-to-door with my atheist friend singing Silent Night, Holy Night and raising money for the local Christmas Stocking Fund.

One of the best loved carols of all time is Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Charles Wesley, the brother of the famous John Wesley, wrote this carol in 1739.  Charles wrote over 6,500 hymns, making him the most prolific hymn-writer of all time.  Charles was born on December 18th, 1707, the 18th of 18 children.  His father, Samuel Wesley, an Anglican priest in Epworth, had a very profound impact on his life.  Both Charles and his brother John had a first class education at Oxford, where Charles worked on his MA  On May 21st, 1738, Charles underwent a life-changing conversion which significantly released within him his gift of song-writing.  Almost every day Charles would be writing another brand-new hymn.  Both Charles and his brother John were ordained Anglican priests.  In those days, Anglicans never sung hymns in church.  They only sang the psalms.  Hymn-singing and carol-singing was seen as a very radical thing to do.

At times, Charles and John Wesley would encounter great opposition as they went around singing and preaching the gospel.  In February 1747 at Devizes, the two brothers were attacked by a mob which surrounded their house, broke the windows, tore off the shutters, and flooded the house with water pumped from a fire engine.  In response, Charles wrote a hymn which they sang as they left town.  Sometimes the beautiful songs themselves would tame the unruly mob, and turn them away from violence.

Hundreds of thousands of lives were affected by these two musical brothers.  Some historians credit the Wesleys with having prevented the French Revolution from reoccurring in 18th century England.  Instead England went through a spiritual revolution that greatly improved the lot of the working class.  At that time, adults and even children could be legally hanged for 160 different offenses –from picking a pocket to stealing a rabbit.  In London, 75% of all children died before age 5.  Among the poor, the death rate was even higher.  In one orphanage, only one of 500 orphans survived more than a year.  Alcohol abuse was rampant, even among children, with over 11 million gallons of Gin consumed in 1750.  Charles and John Wesley believed that changed hearts could lead to a changed society.  Their impact on 18th century society was phenomenal in the areas of health, politics, prisons, economics, education, music, and literature.

Few people realize that the carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing took over 120 years to finish.  The tune that we now use to sing this carol was actually composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840.  Fifteen years later, an English musician W.H. Cummings applied Mendelssohn’s music to Wesley’s carol.  Felix Mendelssohn was a Jewish believer in Jesus who is famous for reintroducing Johann Sebastian Bach to the musical world, as well as for his oratios Elijah and St. Paul.

As we sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing each Christmas, let us do so with a new thanksgiving for the sacrifices and dedication of those who have given us the heritage of Christmas Caroling.  My Christmas prayer is that the words ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King’ may touch the hearts of many men, women, and children during the Holidays.

 

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

-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.  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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Dr Chuck Swindoll: Rejoice in the Lord Always

By Rev Ed HirdDr Chuck Swindoll Picture

I enjoyed reading ‘Laugh Again’ by the best-selling author and radio communicator, Dr. Chuck Swindoll.  He tells the story of a cute Peanuts cartoon where Lucy says to Snoopy: ‘There are times when you really bug me, but I must admit there are also times when I feel like giving you a big hug.’  Snoopy replies: ‘That’s the way I am…huggable and buggable.’

Chuck’s book gives practical tips on how to take ourselves less seriously, and how to fall more in love with life.  Too many adults, says Chuck, have become so serious and overly responsible that they have lost one of God’s best gifts: a sense of humour.

Dr Chuck Swindoll's book Laugh AgainDr. Swindoll met a man who told Chuck of his need to work hard at being happier.  He said that he had been reared in an ultraserious home.  “We didn’t talk about our feelings…we worked…Funny thing…in my sixty-plus years I have achieved about everything I dreamed of doing and I have been awarded for it.  My problem is that I don’t know how to have fun and enjoy these things hard work has brought me.  I cannot remember the last time I laughed–I mean really laughed.”

As he turned to walk away, he dropped this ‘bomb’: “I suppose I now need to work harder at being happier.”  Chuck reached over, took him by the arm, and said: “Trust me on this one- a happy heart is not achieved by hard work and long hours.  If it were, the happiest people on earth would be the workaholics…and I have never met a workaholic whose sense of humour balanced out his intensity.”

Dr. Swindoll goes on to talk about the up-side Dr Chuck Swindoll1and downside of our drive to achieve.  Jokingly speaking of an ‘elite club’ High Achievers Anonymous,  Chuck spoke compassionately about the high cost that our work addictions play in our primary relationships.  The tragedy is, enough is never enough.  Life becomes reduced to work, tasks, effort, an endless list of shoulds and musts…minus the necessary fun and laughter that keeps everything in perspective.  Chuck says that there is always one telltale sign when pride takes charge of our life: the fun leaves.

Deep within, the overachiever begans to think that life is much too busy, much too serious to waste it on silly things like relaxation and laughter.  Why has our 20th century suffered so terribly from laughless dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini?  G.K. Chesterton comments: ‘Madmen are always serious; they go mad from lack of humour.’

GK ChestertonG.K. Chesterton also commented: “I’m all in favour of laughing. Laughter has something in common in it with the ancient winds of faith and inspiration; it unfreezes pride and unwinds secrecy; it makes men forget themselves in the presence of something greater than themselves; something that they cannot resist.”

Dr. Swindoll had a deep fear that if he became ordained, he would have to become ultra-serious and sour-faced.  One day God said to him: “You can faithfully serve Me, but you can still be yourself.  Being my servant doesn’t require you to stop laughing.”

Laughter is hope’s last weapon.  As Dr.Swindoll puts it, only those who are firm in their faith can laugh in the face of tragedy.  A young woman had booked herself into a motel in order to do herself in.  She had endured numerous failed relationships with men and had had several abortions.  She was empty, angry, and could see no reason to go on.  Finally, just before dawn, she reached into her purse and pulled out a loaded pistol.  Trembling, she stuck it into her mouth and closed her eyes.  Suddenly the clock alarm snapped on with the message of new hope from Dr. Swindoll.  Before the thirty-minute broadcast was over, she gave her life to Jesus Christ.  When she phoned Dr. Swindoll’s office to share what had happened, she said that she could still taste the cold steel from the gun barrel she had pulled from her mouth.

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may discover an unshakable reason to keep on living and an unshakable love of our Creator.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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 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