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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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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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More Blessed To Give

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Worry, fear, and anger are the greatest disease-causers.   They can literally eat us alive, from the inside out.  The root of most anger is fear.  Many males feel safer and more powerful being angry than in facing their fears.  Dr. E. Stanley Jones, best-selling author of 28 books, spoke of the law of self-abandonment by which we are able to say: ‘I do not want anything, therefore I am afraid of nothing.’  Similarly he said that ‘there are two ways to be rich – one in the abundance of your possessions and the other in the fewness of your wants.’

 

“People”, said ES Jones, “retire to enjoy their wealth.  Nothing is more elusive and fatuous.  You cannot enjoy your wealth.  Your wealth must be creative in creating and in augmenting the joy of others, or else it is ill-th, not weal-th.”  Mammon/money drives the driven and lashes the tired.  At age sixty-five there are twice as many women alive as men.  The medical verdict is ‘high blood pressure’, but E. Stanley Jones saw it as ‘high blood-money pressure’ which drives men mad or to the mortuary.

 

ES Jones spoke of ‘the two greatest problems of life, namely, money and women’ (i.e. male-female relationships). Counselors tell us that the three greatest causes of marriage breakup are sex, money, and in-laws!  Jones believed that ‘our greatest sins are economic sins, sins so hidden under respectability and under custom that we are scarcely aware of them.’  Quoting the counselor Dr. Alfred Adler, Jones commented: “All the ills of personality can be traced back to the fact that people do not understand the meaning of the phrase: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.

 

Jones humorously commented that some people suffer from a spiritual headache because unsurrendered wealth is pressing on the nerve that leads to the pocketbook.  He tells the remarkable story of Asa G. Candler.  Candler kept struggling unsuccessfully with his addiction to alcohol until he heard a Voice tell him to surrender himself.  From that hour, he was delivered not only from the desire to drink, but also from the love of money.  Asa Candler, who founded the Coca Cola Company, was so grateful to Jesus that he consistently gave seventy-five percent of his vast income to God’s work.  Candler believed that ‘the central thing in Christianity is the final and total yielding of the self, its renunciation and rejection and the entire surrender of the life to the will and way of God.’

ES Jones believes that “the greatest singlefactor that keeps people from going on to perfection is the deceitfulness of riches, for no one ever feels that it is a danger to him.”  It has been said that we need two conversions: one of our heart and a second one of our wallet.  ES Jones told the story of a poverty-stricken boy named Colgate met a steamboat captain who encouraged him to give his heart to Jesus and give one tenth of all he made to Him.  The boy promised both, and through his Colgate Toothpaste Company, ended up giving millions to serving others.

Jones believed that abundant living depends upon abundant giving.  He knew that outflow determined inflow.  If we don’t breathe out, we can’t breathe in and we will literally smother.  Similarly, said Jones, if a cow is not milked, it will go dry.   How many of us may have gone through times of spiritually dryness because our financial udder needed milking?

Jones once said that ‘wealth is like manure: put in one pile it is a stinking mass, but distributed across the fields it produces golden grain.’  Jones took seriously the biblical call in 2 Corinthians 9:7 to be a ‘hilarious giver’.   He knew that it is wrong to give out of fear, guilt, or pressure.  Only joyful gratitude to God will do.  God is always more generous, more self-giving, more loving than we will ever be.  I thank God for the many generous people I know who have discovered that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.

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 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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Thank God for Mothers-in-Law

By Rev. Ed Hird

How often do we celebrate the gift of our mothers-in-law?  Marriage counselors tell us that there are three primary areas of stress in marriages: money, marital intimacy, and in-laws.  Mother-in-law jokes tend to express the ambivalent nature of this most important relationship.  I would like to state uncategorically that I have been blessed with the gift of the mother-in-law that God gave me. It has been eighteen years now since Vera went home to heaven in 2,000, but her impact is still deeply felt.

My mother-in-law found me before my wife did.  By God-incidence, we met each other at a 1974 weekend conference.  She was quite impressed with me, despite my 1970’s longish hair and embroidered overalls.  My mother-in-law really enjoyed the movie ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and could sing ‘Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match’ by heart.  Unfortunately, when my future mother-law/matchmatcher commended me to my future wife, the assessment was not mutual.  My wife and I had been in the same High School for Grade 12.  We all know what familiarity can breed.  My wife did remember however that even in Grade 12, I had nice eyes.

Vera and David 1944When I reconnected with my future wife at UBC in 1975, I also rediscovered my future mother-in-law.  I was most impressed by the warm hospitality that I always felt in my future mother-in-law’s home.  Some people make you feel stressed by how they fuss over you as a guest.  With my mother-in-law, it all felt very natural and relaxed.  She had that gift of making one feel right at home.

When I lost my voice for 18 months back in 1980, my mother-in-law was one of the people who stood with me in practical and prayerful ways.  She introduced me to the Order of St. Luke the Physician where I learned how to combine the dual benefits of medicine and prayer.  When I am tempted to be cynical about the power of prayer, I think of my mother-in-law who never gave up praying for seemingly hopeless situations.  Once when my wife’s sister was running from the Lord, my mother-in-law recruited people from all around the world to pray without ceasing for her daughter.  As a result of that passionate prayer, the prodigal daughter ‘returned home’ and became a Christ-like example to other seekers.  My mother-in-law symbolizes the call to ‘never, never give up.’

“Like mother, like daughter” goes the familiar saying.  Forty-one years into my marriage, I am now more aware than ever how much a mother influences her daughter.  I have counseled various women whose experiences with their mothers have left them emotionally crippled and unable to share love.  I give thanks to God that my mother-in-law raised my wife in an atmosphere of love and caring.  I know that without that foundational nurturing, my last 41 years of marriage would have been a very different experience indeed.  I am grateful to be married to a loving wife and mother who learned mother-love from someone who really cares.

Vera and David 1945My mother-in-law has had some real setbacks in her life over the years, but she never let it defeat her.  She always bounced back.  Family and faith mean the world to her.  Day in and day out, she was always looking for ways to comfort and encourage other people, both young and old.  Even on her hospital bed near the end of her life, she was still counselling people.   Rather than moaning about her own problems, she was remarkably other-centered, truly loving her neighbours as herself in a very Christ-like way.

One of her greatest contributions in my life has been her encouraging my involvement in the Christian Ashram retreat movement.  For 36 years now, I have attended the BC Christian Ashram each summer spending time learning how to be a healthier and more whole person.  I can honestly say that the renewal that I have experienced in the 40 Christian Ashram retreats that I have attended have made me more peaceful, more forgiving, and more restful.  I would commend this upcoming BC Christian Ashram Retreat  to anyone who is really seeking.

What more can I say except ‘thank you’ for my irreplaceable mother-in-law?  My prayer for those married couples reading this article is that we will take time to express our gratitude to our mothers-in-law.  Life is shorter than we think.

The Reverend Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Why is it so hard to let go?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hirdlet_go_let_god

I often notice car bumper stickers saying ‘One Day at a Time’, and ‘Take it Easy’.  One of my favorite bumper stickers is ‘Letting Go and Letting God’.

Popularized by the 12-step movements. this phrase reminds us that excessive striving and drivenness is damaging to our health, our families, and our inner lives.

Our North American culture is becoming more and more frantic and fear-bound, especially in our shaky economic and political context.  Is it little wonder that A.A. teaches us that the first step to sanity is to admit that we are powerless over our problems and that our lives have become unmanageable?  This admission of powerlessness is very humbling to our ego.  It is a real death to our illusions of grandiosity and immortality

The 3rd Step to sanity is making a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.  The heart of Step 3 is ‘Letting Go and Letting God’.  Most of us put enormous energy into remaining in control of our own private lives.  The idea of surrendering control to anyone, let alone God, can be enormously threatening.  Yet the act of surrender can be the most healing step that we may ever take.

CrossThe heart of spirituality, in fact, is surrendering our will and lives to God who really cares for us.  As Jesus was hanging in agony on the cross,  he cried out,  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.  Such a surrender can be our choice one day at a time.  Either we commit our lives daily into God’s hands, or we commit our lives into our own hands.  Either God ends up at the centre of our lives, or our self ends up at the centre.  There is no greater disease than finding one’s self at the centre, the essence of self-centeredness.  As Dr. E. Stanley Jones puts it, anything that leaves you at the centre is off-centre.

Self-centeredness is rather like bad breath or body odor.  Everyone knows about it but yourself, though you can certainly detect in other people.  I have discovered that the heart of my problems in life is not usually other people. Rather it is my own self-centeredness.  As a teenager, I tried to live life seeking my own personal happiness.  I was never unhappier.  I have learnt the hard way that happiness is a by-product of serving others and caring for others in a Christ-like way.

The A.A. Big Book has a passion for honesty as a key to sanity and sobriety.  In one section, it ironically comments that blaming others and anger is a luxury that alcoholics cannot afford. You cannot indulge bitterness and finger-pointing and stay sober.  The truth, of course, is that none of us can indulge self-centered blaming of others, and stay healthy.  Bitterness always eats the bitter person alive.

“The deepest necessity of human  nature”, says Dr. E. Stanley Jones, “is to surrender e-stanley-jonesitself to something, or someone, beyond itself.  Your self in your own hands is a problem and pain; your self in the hands of God is a possibility and power.”  Why is it so hard to let go and let God?  Why does our ego so often fight self-surrender with all its might?  Because self-surrender is choosing to die to the false self, the self-centered way of living, that the true self might live for the sake of others.  “Fears, worries, anxieties, and resentments”, says Dr. Jones, “are all roots in the unsurrendered self.”

Letting go is to surrender to creative love.  Letting go is to align ourselves with God’s healing peace in our lives.  Letting go is learning to stop and smell the coffee, enjoy the sunsets, rejoice in our children.  Letting go is all about learning to slow down in our pressure-cooker world.  Dr. Jones comments that ‘the surrendered are quietly creative and actually produce twice as much as the unsurrendered with all their fussy activity.”  You may have heard of the old expression: ‘The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get’.

Slow Train ComingAs Bob Dylan once wrote, ‘you gotta serve somebody…It may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody’.  The choice is ours one day at a time. We may choose to surrender to fear, to pride, to money, to resentment, to popularity, or we can choose to surrender to God who really cares for us.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may learn to slow down, let go, and let God.

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

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada 

-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, 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