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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Power of Perseverance

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Winston_S_Churchill

Winston Churchill is famous for his advice during the Battle of Britain: “Never, ever, ever give up. Never give up. Never give up.”  It is so easy to let setbacks set us back, to let disappointments discourage us.  We can lose our first love, our original passion, our vision and focus.

Perseverance is the key to breakthrough in our lives, our marriages, our families and our work.  Without perseverance, we don’t finish well, we don’t fight the good fight, we don’t keep the faith.  The Good Shepherd once told a story in Luke 18:1-8 about a widow who was being exploited by a corrupt judge.  Widows have historically been some of the most powerless people, lacking protection and financial resources.  In some countries around the world, widows were even burned alive (Sati) on their husband’s funeral pyre.   This widow had no bribe to pay off the judge, so instead she wore him out with her pleading.

JesusThe Good Shepherd Jesus commended this persevering widow, and encouraged us to be persevering, especially in our prayer lives, never giving up.  Why are many people tempted to give up in their prayer lives? Sometimes the answers to our prayers often seem to take too long. Sometimes God says slow, or grow, or even no.   When there is great grief in our lives, our prayer lives can take a hit.  Our experience of tragedy can embitter us, and rob us of hope.  Jesus commended the persevering widow as a model for all of us.  God wants us to persevere.

Andrew Murray, a famous 19th Century South African write, once said “Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need for persevering prayer is one of the greatest.”  A Facebook friend of mine, Matthew Lee Smith, sent me this note: “This Sunday, preach like Jesus is coming Monday! I am praying for you right now my friend!”  I am so encouraged when I know that people are praying for me. People can gossip about you, or they can pray for you.  It is a radical choice.  It is so easy to get discouraged and cut back in our praying for certain people. We may not even want to think about them, let alone pray for them.  It’s too painful.  God wants us to persevere.

Praying Hands pictureJesus was a man of prayer. The closer Jesus came to the cross, the more he prayed. Jesus prayed like no one else did.  He ever got a prayer named after him: The Lord’s Prayer.   This is a challenging time to be a Christian, to attend Church, to be a worshiper. Without prayer, we will get taken out, distracted, knocked off course.  If you are discouraged, pray. If you have lost heart, pray. If you don’t know the way forward, pray.  Prayer is the way forward. God always makes a way when it seems that there is no way forward.

God loves to keep his promises.  He loves to answer prayer.  Prayer is about leaning on the everlasting arms.  It is about trusting that He’s got the whole world in his hands, his faithfulness is great, and all that I have needed his hand has provided.  Prayer is about practicing God’s presence.  Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love.  My prayer for those reading this article  is that we will learn from the persevering widow to never give up, to always persist, and to always keep on praying.

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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The Irreplaceable Psalm 23

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdPsalm23

Again and again when people are buried, their family so often asks for Psalm 23.  Regardless of whether they have been in church for years, Psalm 23 seems to have a comforting power that touches people again and again. Why is Psalm 23 so meaningful to so many people?

 When the late Dr. Billy Graham preached in a Russian Synagogue, what was his topic?  None other than Psalm 23.  Whether Jewish or Christian, Churchgoer or NonChurchgoer, Right Wing or Left Wing politically,  Psalm 23 seems to speak to all of us.  All of us  can find strength in knowing that the Lord is our Shepherd.

There is an extremely popular book written by a Canadian agrologist entitled “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”.  Philip Keller, unlike most of us, is an actual modern-day shepherd, who has spent many years in agricultural research, land management, and psalm232ranch development in  British Columbia.

 From Keller’s first-hand experience, Psalm 23 has burst open with many new insights  and surprises.  For example, what does it really mean to say “I shall not want”? Keller says that this is a picture of “a sheep utterly satisfied with its owner..utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more.”  Does this describe our personal day-to-day lives?  I remember seeing a poster which read: “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

Why does Psalm 23 talk about “lying down in green pastures”?  Keller tells us that sheep will never lie down until four conditions are met:

1) they must be free of all fear

2) They must be free of  torment by flies or parasites

3) They must have a full belly

4) They must be in harmony with their fellow sheep.

Green pastures did not just happen by psalm-233accident. A good shepherd would put tremendous labour into clearing rough rocky ground into lush pasture land.  Psalm 23 tells us that Jesus the Good Shepherd desires to take away our fear and disharmony so that we can find the inner peace that we have always been looking for.

What about “leading us beside still waters”?   What difference does that make?  Keller tells us that  sheep are made up of about 70% water on average.  Without a clean water source, sheep become restless and dehydrated.  As well, sheep will not drink from fast, flowing waters, but  rather from still calm waters.  So too the Good Shepherd desires to fill each of us with calmness and stillness, with living water that can quench our deepest thirst.

Psalm 23 reminds us that the Good Shepherd desires to “restore our soul”.  When a death has just occurred in our family, we often feel heavy and burdened inside, even down cast.  Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.  All of us need that inner rest from time to time.  Sheep, from time to time, may fall on their backs, and be unable to get up again by themselves.  When a sheep becomes “down cast”, it can quickly become a casualty to sun stroke, or attack from wild animals.  A Good Shepherd will restore his sheep when they become cast down.

Psalm 234Perhaps most familiar of all is the phrase: “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death , I will fear no evil, for You are with me”.  Think of funerals you have been to, and what comfort these words have been.  Keller tells us that the only way to the mountainous green pastures is through the dangerous mountain valleys where wolves and coyotes are in hiding, waiting for their next victim.  Psalm 23 reminds us that  the Good Shepherd is also a warrior who will fight for us and protect us, even in times of death and tragedy.

All of us want to be loved and cared for by significant others.  Most of us believe that there is a God out there. The good news of Psalm 23 is that God really cares about each of us in a way beyond our wildest imagining.  That is the meaning of the poetic language speaking of the Shepherd preparing a table before us, anointing our head with oil, and our cup overflowing.  All of this means that God personally cares for you.

No matter how tough life gets, and how many setbacks you face,  Psalm 23 tell us that God is there for you, and will never give up on you.

 

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