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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Joy of Les Miserables

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

eiffel tower in paris france

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

People have been raving about the musical version of Les Miserable which has already had around three hundred million dollars in worldwide box office sales.

Nicky Gumbel calls it a superb film, a triumph of grace over law, good over evil, love over hate. Eric Metaxas said that it is one of the most vivid, most moving examples of God’s goodness and mercy currently playing at a movie theatre near you. I enjoyed the new movie so much that it inspired me to again watch the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. Though my wife and I saw the Les Miserables production many years at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, this time round seemed to be striking a deeper chord with myself. The original novel, which I now have in eBook version, has been in print for over 150 years. Upton Sinclair calls the novel Les Miserables one of the five greatest novels of the world. With 1500 pages (1900 in French), it is also one of the longest novels ever written.

Many of you already know this delightful story of how an embittered ex-convict named Jean Valjean stole from a bishop who turns the other cheek and challenges Valjean to become a new man. Victor Hugo has the bishop say: “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” In gratitude, Valjean spends the rest of his life showing amazing grace, love and forgiveness to others. The forgiven forgive. Valjean’s life is based loosely on the life of Eugène François Vidocq, an ex-convict who became a thriving entrepreneur known for his good works. In 1828, Vidocq, like Valjean, rescued one of his factory workers by lifting a heavy cart on his shoulders.

The tension in the movie between forgiveness and judgment is expressed through the police inspector Javert relentlessly pursuing Valjean. Javert tells Prisoner 24601 (Valjean) that ‘men like you can never change’. Again and again Valjean shocks Javert by forgiving the unforgivable. Valjean offered to Javert the same radical reconciliation and healing that had been given to him. Javert cannot handle forgiveness because he is so fixated on people getting what they deserve. Javert was legalistic and self-righteous. This caused him to persecute the very person whose life had been transformed, the very person who was doing so much good for others. Javert’s compassion is completely lacking. Life becomes no more than following the rules and trusting in one’s own efforts. For Javert, God is an unforgiving moralistic tyrant. For Valjean, God is personal, caring and loving.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was spectacular, particularly in her singing of ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’ In 1841, Hugo personally rescued a prostitute from arrest for assault. We grieve with Fantine over the injustice of her losing her job and being forced into prostitution to feed her child Cossette. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times notes that Les Miserables ‘delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.’

Les Miserables reminds us that anyone can change; anyone can become a new person. We are not fated to be bitter and miserable. We can choose the way of forgiveness and joy. We can choose to be a new creation like Valjean. My prayer for those reading this article is that the movie Les Miserables may inspire each of us to forgive and serve one another as did Valjean.

 

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.

-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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Prophetic Words from Bonnie Chatwin

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

On April 12, 2005, I was feeling rather fragile in the midst of helping others work through all the trauma and loss around our congregation’s pending eviction.

While I was working out at our local Parkgate Gym, Bonnie Chatwin a very gifted Pastoral Counsellor phoned me by cell phone. She cautioned me against falling into the ‘bait of Satan’ , that of taking offense, resulting in unforgiveness and bitterness. And she poured into me excerpts from Paul’s epistles to Timothy: words that were to become the skeleton of my award-winning book “Battle for the Soul of Canada”.

1 Timothy 1: Warning against false teachers

2 Timothy 1:8: Do not be ashamed

2 Timothy 1:12 I am not ashamed

2 Timothy 1:14 Guard the Deposit

2 Timothy 2:1 Be strong in the grace…endure hardship

2 Timothy 2:15 A Workman that does not need to be ashamed

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel

2 Timothy 3:5 Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:10 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 4:2 I give you this charge

2 Timothy 4:3 The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine

Bonnie Chatwin said to me:

“You are going through a prophetic commissioning. It’s a process, standing, enduring, getting through, not focusing on the visible results with the eye. Take on an attitude of humility, grace, but also of courage and strength. Do not take personal offense, or you will be taken out. There is no use arguing with your oppressors. You have been stripped of a crown of glory as an Anglican priest, now wearing a crown of thorns, one with Christ. You need to express an attitude of gratitude and embrace the counselor/the Holy Spirit, admitting your helplessness. You are not rebelling against authority, but rather just standing firm.”

 

Out of that prophetic encounter, I became convinced once again that Christian values lie at the very foundation of our nation, that the key to renewing the soul of Canada- the heart of my new book- is to be found in raising up Timothys, raising up the emerging generation of leaders.

 Who was Timothy? What do we know about him? Timothy was Paul’s irreplacable right-hand man sent into impossible circumstances to re-establish healthy foundations. To the troubled Corinthians, Paul said: “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”(1 Corinthians 4:17) Listen to what Paul said to the Phillipians: “For this reason I am sending Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like (Timothy), who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”(2:20-21)

How the local city church treated Timothy determined how healthy they would be in their future. Timothy, being naturally shy, could easily be put off by inhospitality. Paul, as his mentor and spiritual father, fought for his acceptance: “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.” (1st Corinthians 16:10).

In many ways, Timothy has the personality profile of Canada: gentle, somewhat insecure, and easily rejected. Yet Paul saw that this unlikely individual had the potential to be a great leader, even to be the successor after Paul’s assassination by the Emperor Nero. Canada, and especially the Canadian Church, has the potential for great servant leadership throughout the nations. We can be God’s Timothys, if we will only humble ourselves before the Lord (2nd Chronicles 7:14 )

A genuine Timothy is someone who seeks first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness in this profoundly self-centered culture. A genuine Timothy is someone sold out for God, passionate, committed, and visionary. Paul knew that Timothys need to first be discovered and then raised up. Paul knew that Timothys are a rare breed (I have no one else like Timothy), but they can change a nation. Timothys need to first go through a time of testing and proving. Paul commented: “you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” (2:22)

During our 31 years at  St. Simon’s North Vancouver (1987 to2018), we were privileged to mentor and raise up three Timothys for the Anglican priesthood (The Revs. Peter Falk, Ken Bell, and Josh Wilton). It takes time to raise up Timothys. Mushrooms grow overnight; Oak trees take longer.

 Sometimes the Canadian Church has looked to committees to rescue Canada from its malaise. The Rev Sam Shoemaker commented, “Committees do not beget spiritual movements, any more than they beget babies. Inspired men beget them.” As one wag put it, God so loved the world that He didn’t send a committee!

My vision in the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada is to raise up and send Timothys all across our nation, and ultimately around the world for the healing of the nations. Paul said that he hoped to send Timothy soon. That is our passion and calling. That is the hope of our nation, to raise up Timothys to turn our nation back to God.

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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Prayer Really Changes Things…

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdPraying Hands picture

The story is told of two men, Harry and Stan, who have known each other for some time.  Harry has fallen upon hard times and has come to his old friend asking for some help.

 “Why come to me?”, Stan asks.  “Why should I help you out?  What have you ever done for me?”

 “What have I ever done for you?”, Harry gasps.  “Why, don’t you remember when your house burned down several years ago, and you and your family moved in with me?”

 “Yes, I remember.  But…”

 “And what about the time your child was in danger of drowning and I jumped into the lake to rescue him?”

 “Yes, but…”

 “And how about the time that you lost your job and I gave you all that money?  Don’t you remember?  I’ve done lots for you through the years!”

 “Everything you say is true enough”, Stan says.  “But what have you done for me lately?”

Most of us on the North Shore have many things to be grateful for: employment, children, family, food on the table, a roof over our head, the forest, the mountains, the beaches, the sunshine.  All these things are wonderful gifts from God.  Prayer is simply a way of saying “Thank you” for all these wonderful gifts.  It  is so easy to grumble and complain.  It takes work to be grateful and thankful for what we have.  When we make the decision to say “thank you”, things begin to change in our lives.  When we make the decision to acknowledge our “Higher Power”, more peace and contentment can enter our personal lives.  Prayer really changes things, but first it changes us!

 

Dr. Reginald Bibby, the famous Canadian sociologist, has done some very interesting statistical research on the prayer habits and beliefs of Canadians.  He found that 75% of Canadians pray privately at least once in a while, 30% pray daily, and 28% say grace before meals at least once a week.  Close to 50% of Canadians acknowledge the possibility of having experienced God’s presence in their daily lives.  Bibby also notes that more than 40% of the nation’s 15 to 19 year olds believe that they have experienced God.  Clearly prayer is still a meaningful activity for the vast majority of Canadians.  But Canadians, especially the Baby-boomers, are wanting prayer to be much more experiential and informal than in the past.

 

Even though Canadians are people of prayer, they are also very private about their prayer lives.  Often even their spouses, or their closest friends don’t know about the extent of their prayer lives.  In previous decades, the taboo subjects were sex, death, and politics.  In our “liberated” age, the one topic that people still feel embarrassed to mention in polite conversation is their prayer lives.  Yet studies, referred to in DSCF3321Newsweek, show that spouses who can pray together report greater degrees of marital satisfaction and greater sexual intimacy.  One study showed that while up to 1 in 2 marriages break up, only 1 in 20 marriages break up where both of the couple regularly attend church.  More significantly, the study showed that only 1 in 200 couples break up where both couples go to church regularly and pray together on a regular basis.  It is encouraging to see research confirm the historic belief that “the family that prays together stays together.”  Prayer, it seems, really changes things.

 

Even medical science is beginning to confirm that prayer really makes a difference in the health and recovery of individuals.  In an experiment at San Francisco General Hospital, reported in the Southern Medical Journal,  a researcher asked outsiders to pray for a group of cardiac patients.  Even though the patients weren’t told that prayers were being said for them, the study found that they recovered faster than those in an otherwise identical control group.  Studies by Harvard Cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson showed that patients that prayed were more successful at lowering metabolic rates, slowing the heart rate and reducing other symptoms of stress.  Even science is showing that prayer really changes things.

My prayer is that more and more of us will be able to break the taboos around prayer, and begin to discover for ourselves that prayer really changes things.

 

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