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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Restoring our health each January

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

person holding barbell

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Christmas Party food is always tasty, too tasty.  Millions sign up for the local gym to try to lose the post-Christmas bulge.  So many well-intended recruits are gone by January 31st.  My wife Janice really cares for me.  She shows her love by encouraging me to not give up going to the gym year round, eating healthy food, and taking vitamins.  Thank God for health-conscious wives.  Restoring health requires that I practice what I preach.  As a Spanish proverb puts it, a man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

Going to the gym two to three times a week for the past fourteen years is part of my ‘walking the walk’ in personal fitness.  I feel healthier and younger now than a decade ago, having lost weight in the process.  The Good Book tells us that even the youth grow weary, but they that wait on the Lord shall renew and restore their strength, rising up with wings like eagles, running and not being weary, walking and not fainting.

Part of what changed my behaviour was being rear-ended by a taxi. Dr. Paul Wiggins, while treating my aching back, said to me: “You need a personal trainer”.  The next thing I knew, I was meeting with a personal trainer for six sessions, paid for by our auto insurance company.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Health is man’s best wealth.”  People often spend their health to obtain wealth, only to spend their wealth to obtain health.   As Boomers are aging, we are sometimes understandably concerned that we may be going backwards in health rather than moving forward.  Many seem to have fatalistically lost hope.  But must aging always be a downward spiral?  God promises to renew our youth like an eagle.  What I am hearing from the Lord is “Don’t give up on yourself.  Don’t give up on your dreams of finishing well.  Why not choose to be fit? Why not choose to be healthier?”

Physical fitness is good, but by itself only goes so far.  The well-known Washington DC author Mark Batterson twittered: “In my experience, physical disciplines like exercise and spiritual disciplines like prayer feed off each other.” Health is elusive.  We are our own worst enemies.  We want to be healthy.  Yet we make choices such as too much food, too little exercise, and self-medication that cripple us and send us in the wrong direction.   As a local Recreation Centre poster put it, “The hardest thing about exercise is to start doing it.”

Edward Stanley said it well: “Those who think they will not have time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  That is why Jesus asked: “Do you want to be well?”  Why do we resist getting well?  Why do we so often go backwards and not forwards?  Why are we so often tempted to just let nature take its course?  So many people die before their time.  They may keep going physically, but their dreams and hopes have died.  As Mark Twain put it, most men die at age 27.  We just bury them at 72.   My passion is to help a new generation of healthy leaders to discover and rediscover Jesus as the Great Physician who renews our youth like an eagle.

Healthy hearts and healthy minds lead to healthy lives, healthy choices and healthy families.  John said, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all things may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2)  Health comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As Dr. E. Stanley Jones put it:

The Spirit of God is health… A health tendency takes possession of us. We think health. We breathe health; we are health & we give health.

I will never forget the night that Lee Grady, former Editor of Charisma Magazine, prophesied about our former congregation St. Simon’s NV being a well-spring of healing with healing teams being raised up for body, soul and spirit restoration.  Every worship service at St. Simon’s NV, whether traditional or contemporary, has a team ready to pray for healing.  There is no contradiction between prayer, medicine and keeping fit.  All can work together for our health.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we will all be passionate about health and healing at all stages of our lives.

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. 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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Doing a New Thing in the New Year

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Everyone believes in change, as long as it involves someone else. Each New Year in January, many of us make New Year’s Resolutions about how we are going to change.

During the recent Christmas season, we have often tended to overeat and underexercise. When January 1st comes around, our gyms are temporarily flooded with new recruits, often lasting until Feb 1st when our muscles begin to ache. So many New Year’s Resolutions die on the altar of good intentions. We mean to lose weight, to become healthy, to eat heart-smart. But life seems to take over and swallow up our best efforts.

What would it look like to genuinely do a new thing in the New Year? What does lasting change really look like? Much change in our culture is merely reactive and temporary. When our society becomes anxious and regressive, we embrace quick fixes, either centralizing or decentralizing our businesses, our schools, our community societies, our political institutions. Quick-fix changes usually make things worse, and rarely last. Lasting change needs to be thoughtful, intentional, and prayerful.

Part of lasting change for me was the result of being ‘reared ended’ by a taxi twelve years ago. I started going for various treatments to loosen up my neck and shoulders, but nothing seemed to really last. The neck spasms and headaches had a nasty habit of sapping a lot of my energy needed for work and family. Finally  Dr. Paul Wiggins, while adjusting my aching back, said to me: ‘You need a personal trainer’. My immediate reaction was to try to graciously change the subject. Paul however is very persistent in a kindly way, and the next thing I knew, I was meeting with a personal trainer for six sessions, paid for by our auto insurance company. The personal trainer helped me push through my ignorance, fear and procrastination.

Going to the gym two to three times a week for the past twelve years is part of my ‘walking the walk’ in personal fitness. I often felt like giving up. I have been involved in many sports and exercise programs over the years. Sooner or later I usually would push it too far and too fast, and injure myself. Once injured and ‘humbled’, I often thought twice before ‘getting back in the ring’. Thanks to those sessions with my personal trainer, I have finally learned how to pace myself. As a result, I rarely injure myself since getting serious about going to the gym. I have learnt that the secret to virtually all the gym equipment is going ‘one step at a time’. Patience, while not my strongest characteristic, is definitely a virtue in the weight room!

There are so many wonderful gyms through the North Vancouver Recreation Commission. Most often, my favorite time to work out is at 8am in the morning right after I drop my wife off at work. Because the weight room is right next door to where she works, I don’t have to force myself to drive to the gym. I am already right there. My wife is such a gift to me in keeping healthy. She really cares for me and loves me deeply. She is the one who originally encouraged me to start going to the gym, to eat healthy food, and to start taking vitamins. Thank God for health-conscious wives. As a result of regularly going to the gym, I feel healthier and younger now than a decade ago, having lost twenty pounds in the process, going from 180 to 160 pounds.

The Good Book says “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19). Thanks to Dr Paul Wiggins, the personal trainer and my wife, God has done a new thing in my personal fitness. How would you like God to do a new thing in your life in this New Year? My prayer for each of us reading this article is that each of us will have a breakthrough in this new year. May God do a new thing this year in each of us physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Doing a New Thing (click to listen to Isaiah 43)

 

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

-an article 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.

-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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Working Out at the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of my strongest motivations for going regularly to the local gym is that it really helps reduce my intermittent neck pain.  It is interesting how often physical aliments have parallels in the spiritual realm.  Being stiff-necked can sometimes be both a physical and a spiritual reality.  Twenty-eight years ago while at a renewal conference in Anaheim, the Lord spoke to me about my need to repent over my stiff neck.  Rather than make excuses, I decided to agree with the Lord, and be willing to change.  God did a deep work in me that I will never forget, teaching me how to be more surrendered to God’s will in my life.

I had no idea how serious the spiritual ‘stiff-necked’ condition was, until I read through the bible, finding nine references to this affliction.

In Exodus 32:9, the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people”.  One of the main reasons why God made the Moses’ followers wait forty years before entering the Promised Land was the problem of their stiffneckedness (Deuteronomy 9:6)  God’s solution in 2 Chronicles 30:8 was “Be not stiff-necked as your fathers were, but rather yield yourselves to the Lord and enter his sanctuary.”  Being stiff-necked seems to be a generational condition, as Stephen mentioned in Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked…, you are just like your fathers. You always resist the Holy Spirit.”

My family has physically suffered from stiff necks for generations. That is why we have often turned to physiotherapists and menthol rub.  Regularly going to the gym appeals to the frugal part of myself, because I estimate that I am actually saving money on medical bills by preventative maintenance.  By working out regularly and using a neck-stretching machine, I have significantly reduced headaches, and the need for aspirin or Tylenol.

The Good Book says in 1 Timothy Chapter 4: “Exercise daily in God: no spiritual flabbiness, please!  Workouts at the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today, and forever.”  The Bible is pro-exercise, but realizes that physical exercise will only take you so far.  That is why the famous YMCA Red Triangle stands for Spirit, Mind, and Body. All three parts needs exercising, not just the physical!

Bishop Tom Wright commented: “The last time I made a serious effort to get physically fit, I had a specific purpose in mind.  We were about to launch into a complicated move of house, and I knew that I was going to be on my feet all day for a long time, carrying boxes, books, pictures and goodness knows what else.  I was going to be climbing ladders and moving furniture, not to mention sorting out a garden.  I needed to go into training, and I did.  It worked.  I really ought to be doing it again now…”

 

I remember several years ago moving and unpacking what felt like a thousand boxes!  If it wasn’t for my years of training at the gym, I would have been stiff necked and aching everywhere. But instead I felt fit and free.

But it is not enough to be physically fit, while letting our spiritual life go flabby.  Have you ever thought of the Church as God’s Gymnasium?  Would you like God to remove a few kinks in your stiff neck? My prayer for those reading this article is that we would exercise the whole person, in Spirit, Mind, and Body.

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. 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 


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Jesus at the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the best things to ever happen to me was when I was rear-ended eleven years ago by a taxi on November 29th 1999.  My body began giving me signals that I couldn’t ignore. In countless ways, my body kept saying  ‘Go to the gym.  Strengthen your neck and back muscles’.  When Dr. Wiggins said the same thing, my procrastination came to an end.  Being assigned to a personal fitness trainer by ICBC, our insurance company, turned the gymnastic equipment from an unfathomable mystery into a set of helpful tools.

One of the weaknesses of my past ‘get fit’ experiences was that I tended to do too much in a short period.  The result was usually that I would injure myself and end up being less than enthusiastic about ‘getting back on board’.  I remember a period when I jogged a mile and a half every day, but didn’t pace myself enough.  Hobbling up the stairs can be very humbling for a dedicated jogger!

What has worked for me is that my personal trainer gave me a set of gradually increasing gymnastic exercises that avoided reinjuring me.  With my neck and shoulder pain significantly reduced, I look forward to going to the local gym. I have learnt that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that I need to do my part in rebuilding that temple.

Ultimately my body does not belong to me.  By working out and getting in shape, I am honouring the true Master of my body.  Because I am made up of body, mind, and spirit, ‘getting fit’ applies to all three areas of body, mind, and spirit.  Rather than letting my stomach be my god (Philippians 3:19), I can learn to offer my body as a living sacrifice to my Lord.

The Good Book says that ‘physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things’.  Sometimes we put so much energy into getting physically fit that we forget about getting spiritually fit.  Prayer, bible reading and church attendance can be seen as forms of Christian calisthenics.  Getting physically or spiritually fit requires far more than good intentions.  We have to discipline ourselves to get off the couch and go for it.  Sometimes we feel too tired to lift weights, walk on the treadmill, or even to read our bible.  But if we wait until we are in the mood, our physical and spiritual lives will take a nose-dive.

The Good Book says that ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful’.  As I watch my fellow Gym members huffing and puffing, it is easy to see why many people give up before they see lasting results.  The Good Book also says however that perseverance in such discipline will ultimately bear fruit.  Whether at the Rec Centre Gym or at God’s Gym (the local church), ‘hanging in there’ is the key to lasting change.

Some people have the idea that Jesus was a wimp.  The truth is that Jesus was very physically and spiritually fit.  There is no record that Jesus was ever sick.  Jesus worked for many years until the age of 30, doing hard physical labour in his step-father Joseph’s carpenter shop.  While spreading the good news through Israel, Jesus engaged in long-distance walking and mountain hiking.  While cleansing the temple of money-changers and animals, Jesus showed such remarkable physical strength that no one dared stop him.

After his resurrection, Jesus said that he would be with us forever.  He would never leave us or forsake us (even at the gym).  Does Jesus hang around gyms?  The answer is clearly yes.  He is waiting for each of us at our local Rec Centres, waiting to show his love and peace, waiting to encourage us and strengthen us.  My prayer is that each of us will let Jesus be our personal trainer.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, 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. 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