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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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Back to the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdImage

When the weather is warm and sunny, I love to swim outdoors.   As a teenager, I was involved three days a week with the YMCA Flying Sharks, a junior life-saving team.  My late uncle Don Allen was a career Navy deep sea diver, sometimes finding lost Caribbean treasure.  When I first tried learning to swim at the UBC outdoor pool, it was so cold that I felt frozen stiff.  It was only when I went to the warm Okanagan Lake that my swimming breakthrough came.  I know that summer is coming to a close when outdoor swimming comes to an end.

During the summer, most gyms and weight rooms are missing many regular participants.  September is the ‘Back to the Gym’ time,  ‘Back to School’ time, ‘Back to Church’ time.  September is the time when our life rhythms reconnect.  We all need times away, times of refreshing, time of letting go.  We also need times of reconnecting, of gathering, of pressing in.  Sometimes in the summer, we can relax and feast too much.  Back to the Gym helps us refocus, restart and recalibrate our lives.

My wife Janice encouraged me to start going to the gym in 1999 after I was a passenger in a rear-end car accident.  I naively thought that I would become physically fit and healthy almost overnight.  Instead restoring my health has been a gradual process.  When I have striven and pushed too hard, the result has been injury and setback.  God has been teaching me that I need to be more patient with myself and my weight room renewal.  There is no quick fix.  My exercise plans often suffer from good intentions.  So many weight room friends start with the best intentions, but give in to frustration and disappointment.  It takes too long to become healthy! Before you know it, they disappear and slip back into their old patterns of inactivity.

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      My encouragement this September for those reading this article is to not give up when you go back to the gym.  Your health is worth it.  Your life is worth it.  You are worth it.  By your regularly working out, you will see gradual benefits that initially elude you.  Anything worth doing is worth fighting for.  Your health matters, not only to yourself, but to your spouse, your children, and your friends.  When you invest in your health, you open doors to your future.  When you invest in your health, your knees will thank you, your back will thank you, your neck will thank you.  Excessive sitting is one of the greatest curses of our post-modern culture.  What will it take this September to get back to the gym? What is holding us back in doing the right thing? Why are we often our own worst enemies when it comes to our health?  Overeating, oversitting, and overdrinking are too often eating us alive.

 God wants us to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.  He wants us to be physically fit, emotionally fit and spiritually fit.  Worship is meant to be a stretching experience where we encounter God with our whole person, all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Why am I passionate about both worship and calisthenics?  Because both are about being healthy, both are about making a difference, both are about investing in one’s future.  I invite you to go back to the gym, for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.  Make an investment that will pay lasting dividends.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

 

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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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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Seven Deadly Challenges at the Weight Room

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

How is your work-out working out for you these days?  Studies show that many people who start at the gym with every good intention are nowhere to be found within a few months.  Why is it that so many well-intended people drop out and disappear from fitness?  My hunch is that people drop out from going to the gym for similar reasons that they drop out from going to church.  They may find the times inconvenient, the child care inadequate, the music too loud, too soft, too slow, or too fast, the temperature too hot or too cold, the people too cold or intrusive, the instructor/pastor too busy or controlling.

Virtually everyone that I know nowadays believes in the value of keeping physically fit.  It has been drilled into us by our doctors, teachers, media, and family.  Yet so many of us fall short of our personal health goals.  I sense that a lot of people have transferred their guilt about not attending church enough to a new guilt about not attending the weight room enough.  Guilt, shame, and fear paralyze us in our unhealthy procrastination and avoidance of physical and spiritual growth.  Guilt, shame and fear feed our addictions and unhealthy life choices.  I have known people who felt so guilty about not attending the gym or church that they have overeaten, over-drank, and over-indulged.  More guilt is not the solution to our health issues.

So how can we be set free from our spiritual and physical couch-potato tendencies?  Dr. Gil Stieglitz  says that a great way to get healthy is to memorize the seven deadly sins and then daily measure our current behaviour by those seven criteria.  The first deadly sin/challenge is Pride, which Dr. Gil defines as ‘feelings of superiority, self-absorption, and lack of teachability.’  Sometimes people don’t make it to the gym or church because we have become self-satisfied and unwilling to grow.

The second deadly sin is Envy which Dr. Gil defines as ‘the desire for what belongs to others’.  I have been guilty of that sin many times at the gym.  Why is it taking me so long to get in shape physically or spiritually when others around me seem so healthy?  Sometimes the puny size of my weights or my prayer life can tempt me to not bother to try.

The third deadly sin is Anger which Dr. Gil defines as ‘being blocked from a goal, irritated, seething’.  The person we usually feel most angry at is ourselves, angry that we are not losing weight quickly enough, not improving fast enough, angry that it is taking so long to become Christ-like and loving.  You may have heard the angry comment that the church or gym is full of hypocrites, to which I say ‘there is always room for one more hypocrite’.

The fourth deadly sin is Lust, which is far more than just sexual.  It is really about the need to have it all our way immediately.  Many of us give up on the gym and church, because it is taking too long to achieve our goals.  We want it all right now!  Getting healthy takes time!

 

The fifth deadly sin is Sloth which Dr. Gil defines as ‘laziness, working with a minimum effort, procrastination’.  Going to Church or the gym requires effort, time, and money.  It is often tempting to give in to our feelings of tiredness, discouragement and fear.  Why bother to try?  The Tempter wants us to be physically and spiritually healthy, as long we do it next month, not this month.

The sixth deadly sin is Gluttony which Dr. Gil defines as ‘overindulgence, addiction, seeking comfort’.  Many people feel so embarrassed about their body or soul that they won’t even try.  It’s just too painful.

The seventh deadly sin is Greed which Dr. Gil defines as ‘longing after money and things’.  Greedy people will refuse to go to church or the gym, claiming that ‘all the church/gym wants is your money’.  In fact the gym and church are there for our health, and our health is worth every penny that we invest.  What use is wealth without health?  See you at God’s Gym!

 

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 


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Getting back to the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Researchers have found that 115 million North Americans made health resolutions on  January 1 – promising themselves to quit smoking, eat better, lose weight, or start a serious exercise program. But within 2 months, only about 63% were still keeping their number one New Year’s resolution.  When one checks a year later, health resolution ‘survivors’ are a greatly diminished remnant.

What is it that gives us the motivation to hang in there when we are seeking to become healthy?   I will now have ‘survived’ two decades of consistently going to the gym, at least two times a week.  I have often been tempted to give up and crawl back on my couch.

One of my best motivators has been my dear wife to whom I have been married for 41 years.  She went to the gym many years before I went and often gently encouraged me to come along with her.  My initial impression was that I felt sorry for people who went to weight rooms.  They seemed rather masochistic to me.  Why would they inflict so much pain upon themselves?  I also felt intimidated by the endless variety of equipment with different levers ‘going in a thousand different directions’.  My fear was that if I pressed the wrong lever in the wrong direction, I might end up at the physiotherapist for the next year!

One of my most fun activities now is to work out at the weight room with my wife.  Every time I see her there, I am filled with admiration that she is taking such good care of herself.  I am looking forward to enjoying with my dear wife a healthy, active future fostered by the very weight training that we are both doing right now.

A second motivation for lasting at the gym has been the ‘personal trainer called pain.  Since my being ‘rear-ended’ in a November ’99 car accident, my neck and shoulder muscles have become very fine-tuned to reminding me when I need to work out.  As long as I exercise at least two times a week, my neck is relatively pain-free, my headaches are down by 90%, and my hips and back are remarkably stable.  As a result, my medical costs for physiotherapy and massage therapy are down by more than 80%!

But if I slack off and get too busy, I can feel the area of my former injury tightening up again.  The resulting pain and spasms once again will interfere with my work life, family life, and prayer life.  Chastened and reminded, I trundle back off to the gym, to my new friends who have been wondering what has happened to me.  My personal trainer ‘Pain’ can be a remarkable motivator if I will only listen to it and not just medicate it away.

A third motivator for going for two decadese to the gym has been the spiritual benefits.  Modern day life has all kinds of stresses built right into it.  I have found that the consistent discipline of weight training has deepened my sense of inner peace.  Not only has my pain level dropped; my worry level has dropped as well.  Working out actually helps me ‘let go and let God’.

The YMCA and YWCA were birthed out of the realization that all three parts of us need exercising body, mind, and spirit.  There is anonymity at the gym that lets one silently pray without any one else really noticing.  I have found that there is no better equipment than the stationary bike for truly integrating the merits of physical and spiritual fitness.  Over the last two years, the stationary bike and the Book of Common Prayer have become inseparable for me.

The term ‘exercise’ comes from the Greek word ‘gumnazo’ from which we derive the terms ‘gymnastics’ and ‘gym(nasium)’.  Exercise is helping me become more disciplined, a better disciple of my Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may become more disciplined in our desires to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

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 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 


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No Health in Us…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Growing waiting-lists for needed surgeries remind us of the crisis in our current health system.  One doctor summarized the essence of modern medicine as either removing something (surgery) or putting something in (medication).  All of us want to be healthy.  But do we want to be healthy badly enough to radically change our lifestyles?  Are we willing to give up junk food and start heading to the gym on a regular basis?  Perhaps true health begins when we get out of denial and admit, as the BCP puts it, that ‘there is no health in us.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘health’ as ‘soundness of body, from the West Germanic ‘hailitha’ (whole).  The ‘Canadian Global Almanac 2001’ notes that 25% of Canadians see themselves as having excellent health.  Only 44% of Canadians age 20-64 were an acceptable weight for their height, according to the ‘Statistical Report of Health of Canadians’.  I was sobered to read that twice as many baby-boomers have a weight problem compared to Canadians age 20-24.

The percentage of overweight Canadian men has gone from 27% to 35% (and from 14% to 23% for women).  I remember having lunch with another man who told me that, in contrast to women, being overweight looked good on men.  Perhaps this kind of rationalization explains why Canadian men are almost twice as likely to have a weight problem as women.  Health Canada research has shown that ‘overweight and obesity are linked to a wide range of health problems, especially cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer’.

There are many other health challenges faced by Canadians than just being overweight.  Twenty-six percent suffer from high chronic stress.  Twenty-eight percent still smoke and despite years of cancer education, smoking tragically seems to be on the rise among female teens.  Nine percent of Canadians consume 14+ drinks per week.

In the face of all these health challenges, only 21% of Canadians are physically active.  Our physical inactivity as Canadians is bearing a huge toll on our health system with each Canadian costing $2,512 in annual health expenditures.

The good news is that it is never too late to turn this around.  I have personally experienced considerable benefits in pain and stress reduction by consistently going to the gym for the past ten years.  Statistics Canada reported that “there is accumulating evidence that indicates physical activity may have multiple beneficial physiological and metabolic effects on heart health.  These include ‘advantageous effects on atherosclerosis, plasma lipid/lipoprotein profiles, blood pressure, availability of oxygenated blood for heart muscle needs (ischemia), blood clotting (thrombosis), and heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmia).”  There are also indications that increased physical activity can help reduce depression through “exercise-induced changes in brain neuroreceptor concentrations of monoamines (norepinephrine, dopamine, or serotonin) or endogenous opiates (endorphins and enkephalins)”.

Thank God for the wonderful array of weight rooms and gyms available on the North Shore, especially at Ron Andrews and Parkgate Rec Centres.  The clean, spacious, well-stocked facilities are a tremendous encouragement when one is struggling to get to the gym.

One of my favorite workout machines is the stationary bike.  I enjoy it because it produces a good warmup and also allows me to read without crashing!  I enjoy doing Morning Prayer on the stationary bike.  I have found a real wholeness through this experience by bringing health to my whole person: body, mind, and spirit.  Silently reading the Book of Common Prayer  not only makes the workout go much quicker, but also brings my spirit more alive.  It has shown me that both in the physical and the spiritual, we can ‘dissemble and cloke’ our laziness and ‘follow too much the devices and desires of our own hearts’.  Perhaps that is why the Bible says that ‘workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.’ (1 Timothy 4:4 Message Translation)  It’s time to say no to being a spiritual and physical couch-potato!

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may find fresh encouragement to get up off our couches and begin a healthy workout of our bodies, minds, and spirits.

 

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 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