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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Good King Wenceslas last looked out…

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the best loved Christmas Carols is the 165-year-old carol: Good King Wenceslas.  In 1853, John Mason Neale chose Wenceslas as the subject for a children’s song to exemplify generosity.  It quickly became a Christmas favorite, even though its words clearly indicate that Wenceslas ‘looked out’ on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas.  So Good King Wenceslas is actually a Boxing Day carol!  For a tune, Neale picked up a spring carol, originally sung with the Latin text ‘Tempus adest floridum’ or ‘Spring has unwrapped her flowers’.  This original spring tune was first published in 1582 in a collection of Swedish church and school songs.

Wenceslas was the Duke of Bohemia who was murdered in 929 AD by his wicked younger brother, Boleslav.  As the song indicates, he was a good, honest, and strongly principled man.  The song expresses his high moral character in describing King Wenceslas braving a fierce storm in order to help feed a poor neighbour.  Wenceslas believed that his Christian faith needed to be put into action in practical ways.  Wenceslas was brought up with a strong Christian faith by his grandmother St. Ludmila. Wenceslas’ own mother Drahomira, however, joined forces with an anti-Christian group that murdered Wenceslas’ grandmother, and seized power in Bohemia.  Two years later in 922 AD, the evil Drahomira was deposed, and Good King Wenceslas became the ruler.  He became Bohemia’s most famous martyr and patron saint.  His picture appeared on Bohemian coins, and the Crown of Wenceslas became the symbol of Czech independence.

Even as a young child, I remember feeling moved as I sung this unusual carol.  Why does Good King Wenceslas have such a deep and lasting impact on its hearers?  Perhaps it is because there are so many levels of meaning to this carol.  A child may hear one thing, an adult may hear another.  I find that I can sing it again and again, and new meaning continues to pour forth from the carol.  Recently the phrase ‘Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer’ really spoke to me.  It reminded me that sometimes there are times in our lives when life and its stresses seem to overwhelm us, and we feel that ‘we can go no longer.’  The response of Good King Wenceslas was most interesting.  He said: ‘Mark my footsteps, my good page, Tread thou in them boldly: Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.’  Wenceslas reminds us that when we are all alone, life can feel very bleak.  It is at such times that solidarity with another human being can help ‘our blood freeze less coldly’.  Wenceslas affirms that we are not alone, and subtly points to the basic Christmas message that Jesus our Master will never leave us in the cold.

In His Master’s Steps

In the last verse are the memorable words: ‘In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted.’  The author John Neale, an Anglican priest, shows us here that the essence of true living is learning to walk in our Master’s steps.  All of us need a Higher Power to help guide us along our journey.  Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me (and tread in my steps), he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Our challenge each Christmas is to look beyond the toys and tinsel, to see ‘the Master’s steps.’

 

 

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

 

-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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Why Me? – When bad things happen to good people

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdJob picture

Have you ever heard of someone described as having the patience of Job? The person referred to is often either the long suffering wife of an alcoholic or the mother of a large family of nonstop high energy boys. Job, of course, is the most world famous sufferer of inexplicable illness.

Do you know when I have most needed the patience of Job? In 1980, I lost my voice for 18 months. That was a very painful time. But in a strange way, almost equally painful are the times when our car breaks down. I feel very attached to our Chevy Minivan, and whenever it breaks down, I feel personally insulted (can anyone reading this relate??). I’m a very ‘up” person, but one of the few times that I feel depressed (usually for about an hour) is when our car becomes unfaithful.

It’s times like that, when I start to really appreciate Job. Like Job, I ask: ‘Why me??” I mean, couldn’t my car break down at a more convenient time? Have you ever noticed how much car Mechanics resemble doctors? You go to them for One problem, and invariably they find two others. I tell you, it’s enough to drive you to God.

Epic Poetry

job2The book of Job is a powerful and challenging 42 chapter long poem. it is a true poem, but a poem none the less. Job is a heartfelt poem about the mystery of evil and suffering. This mystery is something that all of us will struggle with, sooner or later.

Regardless of whether we go to church or not, whether we are religious or not, whether we believe in God or not, all of us either have been or will be personally faced with this mystery. There is a best selling book by Rabbi Harold Kushner entitled: ‘When Bad Things Happen To Good People’. That best seller reminds us that sooner or later a tragedy will land at our doorstep, and life will feel very unfair.

Studies show that most of us go through some type of crisis once In every 18 months. When serious illness, like cancer, strikes our family, our whole world may feel turned upside down. Why me??’ … Why them ??”, we may say.

Sometimes in those situations, God may seemjob's friends a long way away. Job’s wife had some practical advice to her very ill husband. She said: “Curse God and die., In other words, she told him to just give up. Job, however, was a fighter. No matter how tough it got, he would never throw In the towel. Job said at one point: “Though God slay me, yet will I hope In Him.’

No matter how unfair life seemed, Job never lost his faith in his Higher Power. Job was powerless over his illness, but he knew that there was a Higher Power who had the answers to all his struggles. That is why Job said In that midst of prolonged suffering: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

Job had a faith in God that not even tragedy, sickness, and death could shake. He’d lost everything  his children, his business, his fortune, his reputation, his health. He had lost everything, everything except his faith In God.

On top of all this, Job had to suffer through the well meaning, but horribly insensitive advice of his four friends. instead of listening to Job and showing that they cared, they blasted him with endless lectures. Their basic message was: “You got what you deserve. It’s your own fault. Anyone who Is sick has done It to himself. God is obviously condemning you for some secret sin. So hurry up and ‘fess up.” The 42 chapter poem made it very clear by the end that Job was not to blame for his sickness, and that we too should not blame others when they are sick.

Jesus on Cross pictureThe unfair and mysterious suffering of Job points ultimately to the unfair and mysterious suffering of Jesus on the cross. The cross shows that God can take everything that is against us and turn it to our advantage. God took Good Friday (the most evil day in history) and turned it into Easter Sunday (the most beautiful day in history).

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us, like Job, will find the courage to keep on struggling, even when life seems unfair.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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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 


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Forgiveness is a Revolutionary Act

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Cross

 

“Now, Susie,” said her placating mother “your brother Jimmy says he’s sorry that he broke our doll, so I hope you’ll forgive him.” “All right,” said Susie reluctantly, “but I’d feel more like forgiving him, mother, if I could swat him first!” Forgiveness is something that we all value in out families, and work hard to teach our children. But sometimes the message of forgiveness seems to land on deaf ears. Why is it often so hard for our children to forgive each other? Why is it often so hard for spouses to truly forgive each other?

Genuine forgiveness, rather than mere excusing someone, is the hardest action in the whole world (especially when we’ve been hurt deeply). We are all fairly good at excusing minor annoyances by saying “no problem” or “that’s okay”. But when we are hurt unfairly and deeply by someone we love, forgiveness often seems totally impossible. Many divorces occur through a long series of minor and major hurts that never had forgiveness applied to each hurt. If we don’t forgive that initial smaller hurt, then each subsequent hurt accumulates until a root of bitterness grows up in our hearts. At that point, our heart grows cold and numb, and we often doubt whether we ever really loved our spouses. But the real issue is not lack of love. It is lack of forgiveness.

Why is it so hard to forgive? Often it feels so unfair to forgive. After all, they’ve hurt us deeply, perhaps again and again. Maybe they seem to be getting away with it. Maybe they seem to have rebuilt their life while you are still reeling. Perhaps you feel that to forgive them would be letting them get away with it. To be honest we often don’t want to forgive. We want to get even. We may secretly even want revenge. Even “nice people”, when deeply hurt, 1savior+3nailsfind them-selves wanting “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Forgiveness is a Revolutionary act. It changes everything.  The world’s most famous human being said in the world’s most famous prayer “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” He said that instead of getting an “eye for an eye we are to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us (Matthew 5:43). His advice, of course, is humanly impossible. How can we bless the very people we want to curse?

Jesus once said “with man this is impossible, but not with God. All things are possible with God.” Alcoholics Anonymous states that change can only occur when we admit our powerlessness over our addictions. Many of us are weak so cry out to the Father and confess how bad you are at forgiving.  Ask Him to make you willing to be willing  to forgive. Confess your addiction to bitterness and your need for a Higher Power to help you forgive. And remember this: the only person really hurt by your lack of forgiveness is you.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-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 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