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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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DANGER: Is Your Cutting Edge Dull?

Ed: this is a guest post from a FB friend, Zach Malott

Zach Malott PhotoI’m excited today!  I want to share that excitement with YOU!  Share what, you ask? I was reading in 2 Kings this morning and I had just turned to 2 Kings 6 and began reading about the floating axe head.

If you are not familiar with this passage of Scripture, please read it HERE.

If you remember, Elisha took on Elijah’s position after he had been taken up to heaven in a chariot.  Elisha was then blessed with a double portion of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha was busily training new profits in prophet school when one of his students mentioned the fact that the quarters they were training and living in was just too crowded.

The student suggested the he and the rest of the prophets-in-training go to the river and each cut a beam from which a new dwelling place could be constructed for them to live and train.

Elisha said, “Sounds like a plan, go to it!”

We all know what happens next.  One student’s iron axe head flies off the handle and lands in the river.  It rapidly sinks to the bottom as iron has a tendency to do when it falls into water.

“Do you self-inspect your spiritual walk with Christ regularly?”

What happens next is what God gave to me this morning to give to you and to use to prepare my Wednesday night sermon!

What do we do when we lose our cutting edge in serving Jesus?

 Let’s look at three things in 2 Kings 6:1-6 for a solution:

  • The young prophet student lost his ax head making him unable to complete God’s work.  Have you ever lost something that made you unable to carry on with your normal routine?  I have.  I once lost my car keys.  It took me over 3 hours to get another one made and get on with my routine.  I also once lost my wallet.  Not only did I lose the money and credit cards, I had to take the time to cancel the cards and send off for another SS card, driver’s license, etc.  I also had to borrow $20 from a close friend until I could get to the bank for more cash. When we lose our cutting edge for carrying out our obligations to God’s kingdom, we become worthless in pursuing God’s work.
  • We must identify the exact spot where we lost our cutting edge.  Pray in Jesus’ name for help in remembering when you first list the cutting edge and what was happening.  Elisha asked the young student, “Where did it fall?”  The best way to find something is to remember where you last had it.  Did I begin to lose my cutting edge when I quit attending Sunday School?  Did I lose it when I started missing church?  Maybe I lost it when I thought I didn’t have time to read my Bible daily?  Could it be I have allowed sin to dilute my relationship with God?  Have I become complacent in my Christian walk?
  • When we pray and God points out where we lost our cutting edge, we must do our part to retrieve it!  Elisha raised the iron axe head through the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t put it back on the handle.  He told the young student to reach out and get it.  We must do the same when the Holy Spirit answers our prayer and points out where it was that we lost our cutting edge.  God wants you, like the young prophet student, to do your part in recovering your cutting edge for kingdom work!

What if the young student had regularly checked the security of his axe head to the handle?

Do you self-inspect your spiritual walk with Christ regularly?

We are told to do a self-examination to discover our spiritual “fitness” when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Why not do it at the end of each day?  If we discover our axe head getting loose, we can tighten it before it falls off and we will not have gaps in our obedience to Christ.

Summary:

  • Admit you have lost your cutting edge.
  • Pray for guidance to discover the exact place you lost it (and what was happening at the time.
  • When God raises it up, reach out and put your cutting edge (axe head) back on the handle and serve Christ!

Until next time!

Zach

 QUESTION:  PLEASE SHARE A TIME WHEN YOU LOST YOUR CUTTING EDGE AND HOW YOU FOUND IT AGAIN.

Pastor Zach Malott
Ruidiso Downs 1st Southern Baptist Church
26363 Hwy 70 East
PO Box 187
Ruidoso Downs, NM  88346
575.378-4611
Church Website: www.1stsouthernbaptist.com

Personal Blogs:
http://www.zachmalott.com
http://www.21stcenturyconfusion.com

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Revolutionary Forgiveness

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Why is it sometimes so hard for us to forgive others?  Forgiveness is often the virtue we all believe in until we have to do it.  Sometimes we forgive readily. Other times it is very hard and seems humanly impossible.  Eric Wright the author of Revolutionary Forgiveness says it’s as if there is an ‘unforgiveness’ gene spliced into our DNA.

Without forgiveness, says Wright, our relationships become brittle and tattered — or non-existent. Forgiveness stifles the shrill voice of conflict, heals hurts and renews broken relationships.  What might happen to our lives if we could learn to offer forgiveness, receive forgiveness and celebrate forgiveness?  In Garcia Márquez’s book, Love in the Time of Cholera, a marriage collapses over the failure of the wife to replace soap in the bathroom. The husband exaggerated the problem. The wife refused to admit that she forgot. Since neither would ask forgiveness, they slept in separate rooms for seven months and ate in silence.

                What would happen to society, says Wright, if everyone could begin each day with a slate wiped free of grievances, bitterness, anger, failure and sin? Unforgiveness reveals anger and bitterness in our lives.  We easily become convinced that our anger is righteous and justified.  Our disappointed expectations easily become hardened judgments of others.  The Good Book tells us that our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure.  It is so easy to point the finger at other people and be unwilling to deal with our own baggage.

                 In the world’s most famous prayer, we say “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”  In effect we are saying to God “don’t forgive me if I refuse to forgive others.” Very few of us would consciously pray ‘Don’t forgive me’. We all want to be forgiven.  We all want peace of mind.  We all want to have the good night’s sleep that comes from a clear conscience.  Jesus on the cross prayed ‘Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.’  People who hurt us deeply often have no idea of their painful impact on our lives and families.

                When we forgive, we set the prisoner free.  Sometimes that prisoner is ourselves.  The Great Physician says that unforgiveness emotionally and spiritually keeps us in a torture chamber.  Our unwillingness to forgive are  like chains on our hands, heart and feet.  Life is too short to hang onto bitterness.  It is too short to wait for others to repent and say that they are sorry.  Often they never will.  Don’t wait for them to apologize.  Give your bitterness to the Lord.  Give your anger and resentment to God.  Forgiveness will set you free.  My prayer for those who reading this article is that each of us will have the courage to give our disappointments and bitterness to the Creator of the universe.

p.s. You can order Eric Wright’s Revolutionary Forgiveness book online at Amazon.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the September Deep Cove Crier

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

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Fit for the Master

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Many homes have beautiful dining rooms specially set apart for guests.  My family always uses the dining room for Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays.  I have noticed that the dining room for most families has its own traditions.  “Go to a fine home”, says Dr. Thomas Oden, “and you will see that there are two types of silverware- the good silver and the utensils for daily use. There are the beautiful articles that have been kept for generations and will be passed on as heirlooms…”

This distinction between utensils seems to be hardwired into us.  To illustrate this point, just try your family’s silver punchbowl for scrubbing the floor, and see if you have any reaction from your wife or mother.

 The Good Book says in 2nd Timothy 2:20 that ‘in a large house there are vessels not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.”  The Good Book also teaches that we can choose what kind of vessels that we are going to be, whether we are used for the dining room or scrubbing the floor

The key to being used in the dining room is catharsis, the Greek word for cleansing.  The Hebrew word ‘Kosher’ simply means ‘clean’.  Like my father, I actually enjoy cleaning the dishes, one of my few kitchen abilities!  Raymond Collins commented that a person is like a dish insofar as both have to be clean in order to be put to another use.  Have you ever been served food on a dish that was not cleansed from the last person who used it?

In the East African/Rwandan revival, people were thought of as each holding a water pot.  Our heavenly Father wants to fill us with the water of life, but cannot or will not do so if our water pots are defiled by sin, anger, self-pity or impurity.  As the famous song puts it, “Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.”  The Good Book says in 2nd Timothy 2:21 that if a person cleanses himself, he will be fit for the Master.

Now is a great time to cleanse ourselves from anything that will keep us from being fit for the Master.  Keeping fit is God’s better way, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Many people go to Fitness classes.  Have you ever thought of going to church as God’s fitness class, as God’s gym?  Our congregation of St. Simon’s even worships in a gym!  God wants you fit as a fiddle, fit for the master, useful for every good work.

If each of us are willing to do the work of catharsis, cleansing ourselves from bitterness, self-pity, anger, guilt, shame, and fear, then God will invite us into his dining room and make use of us at his family meals.  Can you think of a more fitting place to be?

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News

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

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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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, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News

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

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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T.G.I.F.

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I vividly remember my father coming home from work on Fridays, and calling out ‘TGIF!!’  Often such announcements would be followed by our whole family going out to celebrate at Nat Bailey’s White Spot restaurant.  The White Spot, like A&W, used to be famous for its tradition of eating dinner in one’s car.  No self-respecting Vancouverite would dream of eating fish and chips anywhere else.

TGIF was also a pressure that I experienced as an older teenager: a pressure to make my Friday nights very exciting and sensational.  If I wasn’t experiencing an adrenaline rush on Friday night, I would feel guilty as if I had failed the invisible TGIF law of the universe.

More recently, I have discovered another meaning to TGIF. TGIF also means facing our fears, facing our anxieties, facing our grief.  Friday is a symbol of the ending of the week and also the ending of life.  Friday is both an ending and a new beginning, a dying and a potential rising.  Very few of us want to face our own personal mortality.  Yet our fears of dying are actually our fears of living.

TGIF also makes me think of the most important Friday in the year: Good Friday.  Thank God It’s (Good) Friday!  Many of us avoid Good Friday like the plague, because like a plague, Good Friday reminds us of death, of pain, and of our own personal mortality.  Sometimes we wonder: what in the world is Good about Good Friday?  What’s so good about someone going through the worst torture and most agonizing death ever invented?

Many of us are tempted to switch TGIF to TGIS: Thank God It’s Sunday (Easter Sunday in particular).  Everybody loves Easter: bunnies, chocolate, eggs, bonnets, lilies, flower crosses, and joyful singing.  Everybody loves victory and resurrection and new life.  No wonder every church is packed with visitors on Resurrection Sunday.  But very few of us love Good Friday.  Good Friday just seems too morbid, too deadly, too bloody.  It just seems too hard to say TGIF about Good Friday.

I remember as a boy when I first watched a movie about Good Friday.  I was struck by the hatred of the soldiers towards Jesus, the brutality that he endured, the whippings and the nails driven in his hands and feet.  It all seemed so unfair, so unnecessary.  What in the world was good about such a Good Friday?  I wanted to drag Jesus down from the cross and save him from his agony.  I knew that he had the power to call a legion of angels to save him.  Yet he didn’t.  I felt very disappointed in Jesus.  My other hero Superman always got away when the green Kryptonite was about to kill him.  But Jesus let me down and ‘wimped out’ by dying on me.  For years, Easter made no sense to me, because I thought it was about remembering a dead Jesus.  I had no idea that Jesus was alive and well, and just waiting to change my life.

As a teenager, I became convinced that there was no life after death, and that nothing awaited me but extinction and returning to dust.  I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life.  I even began to secretly wonder if life itself was worth living.  TGIF began to lose its effect on me.

One day in Grade 12, I met some fellow students who seemed different: happier, more peaceful, more focused in their life.  They had a joy that seemed to bubble over.  I knew that whatever they had, I wanted it too.  So I asked them what made them ‘tick’.  They said with a smile that their secret was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They told me that Jesus had broken the power of death on the Cross, that he had taken my sin and guilt on Good Friday, and rose to new life on Resurrection Sunday.  They told me that I could live forever if I would turn from my self-centeredness and let Jesus become the centre of my life.

I was hungry and curious.  So I ‘opened the door of my life’ and let Jesus come in.  It felt like rivers of liquid love filling me from the inside out.  I experienced joy in a whole new way.  I felt whole and peaceful in an unexpected way.  Most importantly, I lost my fear of death.  I knew that my life had meaning and purpose because of Jesus taking my place on Good Friday 2000 years ago.  TGIF!

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Secrets to a Healthy Marriage

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Reflecting on what makes a marriage work, I was struck by how vital is the gift of forgiveness.  My wife, by the way, is very gifted at forgiving, probably because I have given her so much practice.  My wife is also very patient and persevering, as I have noticed that often in our marriage, it has taken me a while to really grow and change.  The fact that she never gives up on me, and that she keeps on believing the best for me, is a wonderful gift indeed.

I recently read a fascinating book entitled ‘Men & Women: Enjoying the Differences’ by the best-selling author Dr. Larry Crabb.  He commented that ‘self-centered living is the real culprit in marriages with problems.  Other-centered living is the answer.’  Many of us enter marriage thinking that our spouse will meet our deepest needs.  We then feel cheated when they don’t, and begin to close our hearts.  How many of us enter marriage with the view that we are there to serve our spouse?  How many of us see marriage as a way of serving God?  A marriage where both partners are committed to serving one another, to ‘washing one another’s feet’ is a marriage in which self-centeredness gets sidelined.  What will it take, says Dr. Crabb, to realize that our selfishness is without excuse and that our first job, in our friendships and marriages, is to recognize our selfishness and learn how we can change?

One thing that men and women have equally in common is that we are all equally self-centered and selfish.  Little growth in marriages take place, says Dr. Crabb, until we realize that the disease of self-centeredness is fatal to our souls and marriages.  Nothing exposes our self-centeredness more clearly than anger.  Because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we have an amazing ability to justify our own anger and bitterness towards our spouse, while simultaneously excusing our own bad attitudes.  Being angry at our spouses can be very attractive, because it makes us feel both powerful and self-righteous.  Having counseled dozens of couples over the years, I am continually amazed at the self-deception of many who convince themselves that the problem is their spouse, and that their personal faults are far more minor and merely reactive.  Self-centeredness is a cancer that blinds us from seeing that the problem is not merely our spouse; the problem is ourselves.

Our culture is saturated with excuses for everything.  It is not my fault.  It’s my spouse’s, my parent’s, my government’s, or my boss’ fault.  A.A. calls that ‘stinking thinking’.   Few of us are willing to do a thorough moral inventory of our own personal faults.  The bible uses a short, unpopular word for self-centeredness.  It calls it ‘sin’.  Sin doesn’t mean that we are axe-murderers or child molesters.  The heart of the word ‘sin’ is the ‘I’ at the middle.  The heart of most marriage problems is self-centered sin.

Dr. E. Stanley Jones, founder of the Christian Ashram, once said that ‘there can be no love between a husband and wife unless there is mutual self-surrender.  Love simply cannot spring up without that self-surrender to each other.  If either withholds the self, love cannot exist.’  A man and his wife were having painful marriage difficulties. The wife went away to a Christian Ashram, and surrendered her marriage to the Lord.  When she returned home, her husband said to her: ‘Well, Miss High and Mighty, what did you learn at the Ashram?’  She replied: ‘I’ve learned that I’ve been the cause of all our troubles.’  She got up from her chair, came around beside him and knelt, folded her hands and said: ‘Please forgive me. I’m the cause of all our troubles.’  At that moment, her husband nearly upset the kitchen table, while getting down on his knees beside her.  He blurted out, ‘You’re not the cause of all our troubles — I am.’  There they met each other — and God.  Each surrendered to Jesus, then they surrendered to each other and were free.  Now this couple, instead of continually criticizing each other, are one in love and forgiveness.

My prayer for those reading this article is that many may find victory through surrender.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Removing Self-centeredness from Our Marriages

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdJanice and Ed gazing upward

My wife and I recently celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary.  It amazes me to think that I have spent eleven years longer being married as I previously spent being single.

Reflecting on what makes a marriage work, I was struck by how vital is the gift of forgiveness. My wife, by the way, is very gifted at forgiving, probably because I have given her so much practice. My wife is also very patient and persevering, as I have noticed that often in our marriage, it has taken me a while to really grow and change. The fact that she never gives up on me, and that she keeps on believing the best for me, is a wonderful gift indeed.

A while back, I read a fascinating book entitled ‘Men & Women: Enjoying the Differences’ by the best-selling author Dr. Larry Crabb. He commented that ‘self-centered living is the real culprit in marriages with problems. Other-centered living is the answer.’

Ed_Jan2Many of us enter marriage thinking that our spouse will meet our deepest needs. We then feel cheated when they don’t, and begin to close our hearts. How many of us enter marriage with the view that we are there to serve our spouse? How many of us see marriage as a way of serving God?

A marriage where both partners are committed to serving one another, to ‘washing one another’s feet’ is a marriage in which self-centeredness gets sidelined. What will it take, says Dr. Crabb, to realize that our selfishness is without excuse and that our first job, in our friendships and marriages, is to recognize our selfishness and learn how we can change?

One thing that men and women have equally in common is that we are all equally self-centered and selfish. Little growth in marriages take place, says Dr. Crabb, until we realize that the disease of self-centeredness is fatal to our souls and marriages.

Nothing exposes our self-centeredness more heartclearly than anger. Because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we have an amazing ability to justify our own anger and bitterness towards our spouse, while simultaneously excusing our own bad attitudes. Being angry at our spouses can be very attractive, because it makes us feel both powerful and self-righteous.

Having counseled dozens of couples over the years, I am continually amazed at the self-deception of many who convince themselves that the problem is their spouse, and that their personal faults are far more minor and merely reactive. Self-centeredness is a cancer that blinds us from seeing that the problem is not merely our spouse; the problem is ourselves. Our culture is saturated with excuses for everything. It is not my fault. It’s my spouse’s, my parent’s, my government’s, or my boss’ fault. A.A. calls that ‘stinking thinking’.

Few of us are willing to do a thorough moral inventory of our own personal faults. The bible uses a short, unpopular word for self-centeredness. It calls it ‘sin’. Sin doesn’t mean that we are axe-murderers or child molesters. The heart of the word ‘sin’ is the ‘I’ at the middle. The heart of most marriage problems is self-centered sin.

Dr E Stanley Jones picture 2Dr. E. Stanley Jones, founder of the Christian Ashram, once said that ‘there can be no love between a husband and wife unless there is mutual self-surrender. Love simply cannot spring up without that self-surrender to each other. If either withholds the self, love cannot exist.’

A man and his wife were having painful marriage difficulties. The wife went away to a Christian Ashram, and surrendered her marriage to the Lord. When she returned home, her husband said to her: ‘Well, Miss High and Mighty, what did you learn at the Ashram?’ She replied: ‘I’ve learned that I’ve been the cause of all our troubles.’ She got up from her chair, came around beside him and knelt, folded her hands and said: ‘Please forgive me. I’m the cause of all our troubles.’

 At that moment, her husband nearly upset the kitchen table, while getting down on his knees beside her. He blurted out, ‘You’re not the cause of all our troubles — I am.’ There they met each other — and God. Each surrendered to Jesus, then they surrendered to each other and were free. Now this couple, instead of continually criticizing each other, are one in love and forgiveness.

My prayer for those reading this article is that many may find victory through surrender.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide