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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Lenten Discipline of Flossing Your Teeth

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The forty day warm-up for Holy Week and the Easter season is known as Lent, an ancient word for ‘spring’.  Some people have not heard of Lent, but know about Mardi Gras, which in English is Fat Tuesday.  Certain places like New Orleans and Rio are famous for celebrating Mardi Gras.  The original purpose of Mardi Gras was to consume all the luxuries like eggs by making pancakes, so that Lent could be a time of balance and moderation.

Similar to how people go in training for an upcoming marathon, Lent is spiritual training for Easter.  For things in life to be really enjoyed, it usually takes preparation and anticipation.  So what does Lent have to do with flossing one’s teeth?  There are six Lenten disciplines that help people prepare for Easter: 1) Prayer 2) Fasting 3)Self-examination 4) Repentance 5) Bible-reading 6) Generosity to the poor.  These six Lenten disciplines are not meant to be done only during Lent, but rather especially through Lent.  If one only flosses one’s teeth for forty days of the year, their dentist will not be pleased. The purpose of doing something for forty days in a row is to develop new good habits, whether one is going to the gym or changing one’s diet.

Many people believe that prayer is a good thing.  Lots of Canadians pray when they are in crisis. But prayer is most effective when it is done daily, in season and out of season, just like with flossing one’s teeth.  For many years, I had a mental block about flossing my teeth.  I didn’t like how my gums would bleed afterwards.  To impress my dentist, I compromised by flossing just before my dental appointments.  As dentists can tell the difference, I am sure that my half-hearted flossing impressed no one.  Only when I adopted flossing as a daily discipline did my gums stop bleeding, and my dental care improve.  Years later, I now floss religiously, first thing in the morning.  My teeth don’t feel right until I have flossed.

If I had waited until I was in the mood for flossing, I would still be avoiding the discipline of flossing.  That is why I am calling flossing a Lenten discipline.  Flossing gets me in shape, just like prayer, fasting, self-examination, repentance, bible-reading and generosity to the poor.  I don’t always feel like doing any of them, but I become a healthier person when I discipline myself in these patterns.  How many people realize that fasting, while initially uncomfortable, can be a key to major spiritual breakthrough?  A while ago I wrote about BJ McHugh, an eighty-seven year old marathoner.  She tells me that she doesn’t always feel like getting up in the morning and going for a run.  Because she disciplines her body, she was able to recently run in the Hawaii Marathon with her son and granddaughter.  God wants to renew our youth like an eagle, but we need to co-operate by practicing healthy daily discipline.

Self-examination is another vital Lenten discipline.  It is so easy to deceive ourselves that everything is okay.  Self-examination shows us where we need to change, perhaps by cutting back on the carbs or by getting out walking on a daily basis. Repentance is about facing the facts about one’s self, the good, the bad and the ugly, and being willing to make systemic painful changes.  Perhaps there is someone that we need to forgive whom we have been holding a grudge against.  Lent is a good time to reconcile with that person and perhaps even make amends.  Everyone believes in forgiveness until it comes time to do it.  Forgiveness is a painful part of repentance.

Bible-reading is another vital Lenten discipline.  Most Canadians have a bible somewhere in their home, perhaps handed down from their parents or given to them by the Gideon’s.  Most Canadians have floss somewhere in their house.  Only when we start using the floss, only when we start reading our bibles does anything change.  I was raised in a generation that believed that if it feels good, you do it.  If I wait until I am in the mood for flossing or bible-reading, my gums will recede and my bible will stay dusty.  Discipline saves us from the folly of good intentions.

Canadians are some of the most generous people on earth.  Our Judeo-Christian heritage encourages people to be cheerful givers, knowing that it is more blessed to give than to receive.  Only the generous are really satisfied with their lives.  The more greedy we are, the more grumpy we become.  Don’t wait until you are in the mood to be generous to the poor.  Don’t wait until you are in the mood to floss your teeth.  My prayer for those reading this Lenten article is that we might grow in generosity, in prayerfulness, in bible-reading in ways that will make us all more healthy.

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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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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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