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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Away in a Manger

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

Childhood memories inescapably come to my mind each Christmas.  One of my favorite Christmas Carols as a child was ‘Away in a Manger’.  This delightful lullaby still soothes my soul in unexpected ways.  The term ‘lullaby’ comes from the Swedish term ‘lulla’, meaning ‘an intermission or lull in the storm’.  With three lively sons in our family, my wife and I have always been grateful for any lull in the storm.  My parents have often reminded me of what a lovely son I was when I was sleeping!

The inescapable season of Christmas is intended to be a lullaby, a lull in the storm of life.  So often we wear ourselves out trying to do Christmas right.  Without intending to, we spend too much, eat too much, and drink too much.  I am more and more convinced that the real key to a joyful Christmas is less, not more; slower, not faster.  The heart of Christmas is simplicity.  The heart of Christmas is a manger.

When you think about the first Christmas, there was ‘no crib for a bed’.  The cattle were LOWING, which is an ancient term for mooing and making a racket!  No wonder ‘the Baby awakes’.  I wonder how many mothers reading this article have had to give birth in a barn?  I wonder how many modern-day Moms ever used a feeding trough as a baby crib?  Yet that is what ‘Away in A Manger/Feeding Trough’ meant on the very first Christmas day.

No one actually knows who wrote the words to this delightful carol.  I wonder if it was written by a stressed-out parent with several children under the age of three.  Personal experience has taught me that sleep is a rare commodity for parents with babies.  You just have to snatch a couple of hours in-between feeding, cleaning and crying times.  In my early twenties, I said that I would never have children until scientists had solved the problem of children crying!  After being stuck in an hour-long traffic jam with my wailing baby nephew Boyd, I started to fantasize about creating a mechanism that would switch Boyd’s screaming into a flashing light on his forehead.  My hunch is that the author of ‘Away in a Manger’ may have had the same desires when he wrote ‘But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes’.

The amazing thing about raising three boys is that after a while the crying and wailing doesn’t traumatize you in the same way.  I am not sure if that is because you suffer from hearing loss along the way.  Either way I am convinced that baby Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, wailed and cried with the best of them.  And mother Mary and Joseph probably suffered from sleep deprivation, but loved the little Lord Jesus regardless.

There is something so amazing about being parents looking at one’s sleeping baby.  As our babies lay down their sweet heads, as the stars in the bright sky look down where they lay, something stirs within the most hardened workaholic heart.  Babies are worth the sacrifice.  Babies are worth the investment.  No wonder God became a baby at Christmas.  God stole our hearts by turning up ‘away in a manger’.  Who cannot love God as a helpless baby?

As a young child I sincerely sang in Sunday School: ‘I love you Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay by my bedside till morning is nigh’.  I meant it when I sang: ‘Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.’  But as I became older, my heart hardened.  I became cynical and jaded towards Christmas and Church.  Jesus to me became little more than a swear word.  The miracle is that Jesus cracked through my cold distracted heart and showed me real love.  My prayer for those reading this article is that the Reason for this Season, Jesus, may ‘fit us for heaven, to live with thee there’.

 

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

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

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

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

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

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

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.


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Connections: The Christian Ashram Retreat Experience

By Rev Ed Hird, Bishop’s Chaplain for The Anglican Mission in Canada

Our Bishop Silas Ng and Rev Josh Wilton led us in a four-day retreat called the BC Christian Ashram.  Bishop Silas, who has completed his doctoral thesis on micro/macrodiscipleship, gave five helpful talks* on how to have a daily quiet time, and the difference which this discipline makes in our Christian walk.  A shocking discovery by our Bishop Silas is that less than 10% of Christians have a regular daily quiet time.  This serious lack, says Bishop Silas, must be addressed if we are to be effective in church planting and renewal.  To assist people in their daily quiet time, Bishop Silas is leading people through the entire bible one chapter a day in his daily prayer blog.

Rev Josh Wilton is the lead pastor of The Table in Victoria BC. Before being commissioned to churchplant, Josh+ served for four years as our St. Simon’s NV Newcomer Pastor and (later) as Assistant Priest. Josh+ taught on the relevance of the Ten Commandments for our everyday living, focusing on freedom from the idols in our life, and on the need for regular Sabbath rest in our workaholic North American culture.

There is a strong youth and young adult ministry at the BC Christian Ashram. One of the young adults at the Ashram told me that  they “enjoyed the chance to get away, to refocus on God, to reconnect with old friends.”  Basically, the Christian Ashram retreat is about connections: connecting with God and the people around you.

The United Christian Ashram movement has many summer retreats throughout North America and around the world, with the largest one drawing over 800 in the Maritimes. It was founded in 1930 by Dr. E. Stanley Jones in India where he served as a missionary for over 50 years.  Dr Jones during his life was the world’s most widely read spiritual writer, with twenty-eight books selling millions of copies.

My wife began attending the BC Christian Ashram in 1974 where she was powerfully impacted by the Holy Spirit.  Many members of her family have since given their lives to Christ through the Christian Ashram. I began attending 39 years ago, and now serve as the BC Director.  You are invited to have a vacation with God throughout North America.  To find out more about the BC Christian Ashram, click on the following link.

 

 

Rev Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

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


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Dr Chuck Swindoll: Rejoice in the Lord Always

By Rev Ed HirdDr Chuck Swindoll Picture

I enjoyed reading ‘Laugh Again’ by the best-selling author and radio communicator, Dr. Chuck Swindoll.  He tells the story of a cute Peanuts cartoon where Lucy says to Snoopy: ‘There are times when you really bug me, but I must admit there are also times when I feel like giving you a big hug.’  Snoopy replies: ‘That’s the way I am…huggable and buggable.’

Chuck’s book gives practical tips on how to take ourselves less seriously, and how to fall more in love with life.  Too many adults, says Chuck, have become so serious and overly responsible that they have lost one of God’s best gifts: a sense of humour.

Dr Chuck Swindoll's book Laugh AgainDr. Swindoll met a man who told Chuck of his need to work hard at being happier.  He said that he had been reared in an ultraserious home.  “We didn’t talk about our feelings…we worked…Funny thing…in my sixty-plus years I have achieved about everything I dreamed of doing and I have been awarded for it.  My problem is that I don’t know how to have fun and enjoy these things hard work has brought me.  I cannot remember the last time I laughed–I mean really laughed.”

As he turned to walk away, he dropped this ‘bomb’: “I suppose I now need to work harder at being happier.”  Chuck reached over, took him by the arm, and said: “Trust me on this one- a happy heart is not achieved by hard work and long hours.  If it were, the happiest people on earth would be the workaholics…and I have never met a workaholic whose sense of humour balanced out his intensity.”

Dr. Swindoll goes on to talk about the up-side Dr Chuck Swindoll1and downside of our drive to achieve.  Jokingly speaking of an ‘elite club’ High Achievers Anonymous,  Chuck spoke compassionately about the high cost that our work addictions play in our primary relationships.  The tragedy is, enough is never enough.  Life becomes reduced to work, tasks, effort, an endless list of shoulds and musts…minus the necessary fun and laughter that keeps everything in perspective.  Chuck says that there is always one telltale sign when pride takes charge of our life: the fun leaves.

Deep within, the overachiever begans to think that life is much too busy, much too serious to waste it on silly things like relaxation and laughter.  Why has our 20th century suffered so terribly from laughless dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini?  G.K. Chesterton comments: ‘Madmen are always serious; they go mad from lack of humour.’

GK ChestertonG.K. Chesterton also commented: “I’m all in favour of laughing. Laughter has something in common in it with the ancient winds of faith and inspiration; it unfreezes pride and unwinds secrecy; it makes men forget themselves in the presence of something greater than themselves; something that they cannot resist.”

Dr. Swindoll had a deep fear that if he became ordained, he would have to become ultra-serious and sour-faced.  One day God said to him: “You can faithfully serve Me, but you can still be yourself.  Being my servant doesn’t require you to stop laughing.”

Laughter is hope’s last weapon.  As Dr.Swindoll puts it, only those who are firm in their faith can laugh in the face of tragedy.  A young woman had booked herself into a motel in order to do herself in.  She had endured numerous failed relationships with men and had had several abortions.  She was empty, angry, and could see no reason to go on.  Finally, just before dawn, she reached into her purse and pulled out a loaded pistol.  Trembling, she stuck it into her mouth and closed her eyes.  Suddenly the clock alarm snapped on with the message of new hope from Dr. Swindoll.  Before the thirty-minute broadcast was over, she gave her life to Jesus Christ.  When she phoned Dr. Swindoll’s office to share what had happened, she said that she could still taste the cold steel from the gun barrel she had pulled from her mouth.

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may discover an unshakable reason to keep on living and an unshakable love of our Creator.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-author of the award-winning book 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 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