Bartimaeus


In order to really get what this passage is about, you’ll need to look in a mirror for a few minutes. First, before you look in the mirror (maybe have it behind you), hold your hands above and below your head until you can just see them with your peripheral vision.

Now.

Turn to look at the hand above, so you can really see it.

Can you see your other hand anymore?

Move your other hand up just enough so you can just see it with your peripheral vision.

Okay, now, as you keep your hands in that position, turn around and look in the mirror.

Notice the position of your hands.

Your hands represent a perspectiveyou can see some things, but you can’t see all things.

By turning to your higher hand, you lost sight of your lower hand, and had to move it. You have to literally give up seeing some things so you are able to see other things.

Hang on to that. This is exactly what Mark has been trying to get to with this chapter, and with the lesson of Bartimaeus. You’ll see this same lesson echoed throughout the Christian Bible.



[Blind Bartimaeus | Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/ flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/%5D

Bartimaeus
Mark 10:46-52

Click Here To Read More By Joanne Guarnieri Hagemeyer

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Featured Character of the Month: Guddi from Shrouds Over Eden

This month we are featuring Guddi, whose story appears in Shrouds Over Eden, a book for the broken hearted. Guddi has had to make some difficult decisions in her life. Here she is to share with us more about who she is.

Again, with me, is Alizeh Rasheed who has graciously agreed to act as our interpreter for this interview. And just for the record, the picture you will see in print is a younger Guddi as she says she no longer is as beautiful as she once was. I think she still has a striking personality. She has certainly aged gracefully. Okay, so let’s hear from Guddi.

Me

Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and where do you live? Do you own your own home, or do you rent?

Guddi

I am now close to 50 years old. I live in a village, District Jalandhar. I live with my husband and sister who is also my husband’s wife and three children, two sons and a daughter. The children are my sisters, I am not able to have children.

Me

It isn’t common for people in your country to have more than one wife. Could you please share why your husband is married to your sister?

Guddi

You’re right, it isn’t common. But in cases where a wife is childless and there is no one to inherit the property, then it is permissible for the husband to take a second wife. My husband was afraid that his relatives would steal the land from him if he didn’t have a son. So I suggested that he marry my younger sister. She is the one who has the children. But because I am the first wife, the children call me Mama.

Me

Who is the most important person in your life? Why?

Guddi

Those two boys that call me Mama. They are very important because it is they that will look after us in our old age.

Me

What is your greatest fear?

Guddi

That someday my husband and sister will no longer give me full respect as the first wife and I will lose our sons.

Me

How do you measure success? Would it be money, career, husband/wife, children, happiness, etc.?

Guddi

My husband has much land, he is a big farmer here and very successful. So, having good crops, land and sons to look after us in our old age is success for me.

Me

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Guddi

Perfect happiness would have been able to carry my own biological son. But fate was not with me. We tried everything to have a child. I visited our holiest temple, the Harmandir Sahib and I even went to Goindwal Sahib. It is a gurdwara that has 84 steps in it. On each step you recite Japji Sahib, that’s the divine word revealed to Guru Nanak. If you do all 84 steps your sins are forgiven, and you don’t have to go through so many reincarnations. But you can also pray for personal things, so I asked Satguru to give me a son. Even though I endured and did all 84 steps, I didn’t get a son. That’s when I decided my husband should marry my sister.

Me

Do you work outside the home? If so, what is your occupation?

Guddi

My sister is a teacher, but I stay home and look after the household and children.

Me

What did you eat for breakfast? Did you make it yourself? Do you wash your own dishes or do you have a maid to do those things for you?

Guddi

I had a paratha with yogurt and achar this morning for breakfast. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s a stuffed flat bread fried in a pan along with the achar which is a kind of spicy pickle. I make the meals, so I made breakfast for everyone. Also, we have a girl that comes in and washes dishes and cleans the floors and does the laundry.

Me

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Guddi

I wish Satguru would take away my barrenness. To be barren is to be cursed by God which means looked down upon in the village. Even though my sister’s boys call me Mama, when I walk in the village, I still feel that people look at me and gossip about me because I can’t have children.

Me

Sonu talks about you in the book Shrouds Over Eden. Where did you meet her?

Guddi

What an angel! She came to our village a few years back. She shared many things about this one she had met, called Lamb and how his compassion strengthened her and gave her courage. She shared about how he valued women. I wish I knew Lamb the way she does because then I would have asked him for a son. If I had a son, then I wouldn’t have asked my sister to marry my husband.

Me

Are you not happy?

Guddi

I am not complaining but sometimes I get depressed. It is not easy being one of two wives, even if I am the first wife.

Me

Well we have run out of time and we don’t have time for another question, except for this last one. It is a fun question. What is your favourite colour?

Guddi

I like bright colours, bright blues and greens.

Thank you Guddi for taking time out of your day to be interviewed. I’m sure it wasn’t easy sharing your story to a large audience. You did an excellent job; I feel I know you so much more. For our readers who want to read Guddi’s story, you can purchase Shrouds Over Eden at various outlets worldwide.

Click here to find out more about Shrouds Over Eden.

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Scared Of Eternity? by Michael Furlonger

Half way through Ecclesiastes 3:11, it says, “He (God) has also set eternity in the human heart.” While 2020 isn’t going as planned for so many of us, I want to share an aspect of godliness, and God Himself, that isn’t focused on. That is the eternal nature of God. And since we are made in his image, the eternal destiny of humans.

Things You Need To Know

  • God is eternal and created all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1; John 1:14)
  • You have an eternal soul. Whether it’s Heaven or Hell, you will be eternally in one of those places (Matt. 25:46).
  • Jesus Christ died for your sins so that we may partake in the blessings of the eternal God and the eternal life we were made for (John 17:3)
  • God is Holy and calls on us to be holy as He is (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 26:19; 1 Peter 1:15)

Why I’m Scared

You know that scene in Aladdin when the Genie tells Aladdin that he has, “Phenomenal cosmic power.” Then he goes back into the lamp and in a squeaky voice says, “Itty, bitty living space.” That’s why I used to be so scared of eternity. I remember praying, “Lord, I don’t want to go to Hell, but I also don’t want to go to Heaven. Please, just destroy my soul.” A little morbid, I know.

New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21, an angel shows John the new heavens and new earth. Followed by verse 2, John sees the new Jerusalem, the Holy City coming down from Heaven. In verses 15-17, John shares the dimensions of the gates around the new Jerusalem. The walls were 12,000 stadia on each side and 144 cubits thick.

It scared me because in my head, I thought all of eternity would be spent within this measured city. Eternity seemed quite claustrophobic with boundaries. No?

Locked In (Part one)

I felt locked in to this four walled city, each wall measuring 12,000 stadia. That is equal to just shy of twice the size of New York City.

There were three gates on the east, three on the north,
three on the south and three on the west…
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev. 21:13+25)

This is quite interesting. There are gates, but the gates are open, not closed. Revelation 21:26 says, “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”

New Heavens & New Earth

In Revelation 21:1, John begins by saying that he saw “a new heaven and a new earth”. Then John sees the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth. There is obviously more than the small size measured out above.

Look at what Solomon prays when he is dedicating the temple within Jerusalem:

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you…” (1 Kings 8:27)

If the infinite God is too grand for the highest heavens now, why would he minimize Himself in the new creation?

No Water?

Revelation 21:1 says that “there was no longer any sea.”

I don’t like that there is no sea. “Where do the fish live?” I thought, “Jesus was a fisherman. Why would he create a new heaven and earth with no fish?”

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. (Rev. 22:1a+2b)

I realized that not all bodies of water are sea. I remember spending several summers in my teen years at a cottage at a lake in Ontario, Canada. Spending times fishing, cooking fish over a fire and on and on.

(We can also discuss salt water seas/ocean, verses fresh water lakes. If you drink excessive salt water it will kill you, but fresh water won’t.)

Although there is no sea, in John’s revelation, there is a river and thus a body of water. I can only assume that there are many bodies of water.

The River & Locked In (Part 2)

In the section above, I mentioned my fear of being locked in to a closed location, even if it’s the new Jerusalem. I mentioned the entrance and exit through the gates that never close.

On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:2)

Not only do these gates never close, but Revelation 22 says that there will be other nations. And where this new Garden of Eden is, nations will come into it for healing.

Animals

I remember watching a movie when I was young called All Dogs Go To Heaven. I don’t remember liking that movie, but it is a great segue into the next topic of animals.

Do I believe that your pet gold fish will be in heaven? No, I don’t. But I strongly believe that animals will be in the new creation.

In Isaiah 65:17-25, God is telling Isaiah about the New Heaven and the New Earth. Note that there is some mention of the mortality rate of the young and the old. I personally believe this is to point out the blessings of the new creation, not the mortality itself. But on the topic of animals,

The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25)

I believe that this points out two things of the new creation. One is that rival enemies, like a wolf and a lamb, will live in peace. In the same way, rival people will live in peace. And, two, there will be animals.

Will we all become vegetarians? I don’t know. But, with the technology with these fake burgers, being a vegetarian doesn’t seem that bad.

Late Homework

Have worked hard on a project, but knew that if you had only a bit more time, it would be better? If this universe is bound by time and space, what do you think God will do when we are no longer bound by time and space?

Two satellites were sent from NASA in 1977 called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. While they were meant for the study of planets in our solar system, the have gone beyond it. Scientists, I believe, were quite surprised at how far these satellites had gone. As of February 9, 2011, Voyager 2 is 8.6 billion miles from the sun.

What if God says, “If only you gave me more time, I would have shown you what I have created.” In the new creation, I believe that we will see so much more of what God can do. It definitely won’t be boring.

God Loves You

God loves you. He created you as an eternal being. God wants to show you what he has done. That is what waits for us beyond this chaotic world.

God is also infinitely just. God is so just that we could never pay off the debt of our sins. But because of his love, He showed how just he is by having his Son, Jesus Christ, die on the cross.

Please, if God has called you and has set eternity in your heart, call on him. He is infinite in his justice, but also infinite in mercy.

Get a free PDF copy of my book Assurance of Salvation and go through the book with me

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Book Trailer Design

Once you’ve done the hard part of writing a book, you move on to the second step of promotion. While this often includes a lot of word of mouth and social media campaigns, at the ChristianWritersBookstore, we are in it together. I want to help you as a writer get your message out that your book is the book to read.

Let me explain how we can get a trailer made for you.

Book Trailer Design

The first thing that I would recommend is checking out www.pexels.com. They have plenty of free photos and short videos that can be used for designing your book trailer. If you have the time, go to that website and check out some pictures and videos that would be help advertise the story of your book.

The second thing is to fill out the form below. For each picture or video you would like used, provide the web address (ex. https://www.pexels.com/photo/belief-bible-book-business-267559/) in the spot provided. Also, be sure to add text that you would like to have overlaying the image or video.

An alternative way used to illustrate your idea is creating a free Biteable.com account. It will give me an idea of how you would like your project put together. It won’t be exactly alike when I finish it, but it is your choice.

If you have more to say or would like to add more images/ video (via web address) or text, feel free to add them to the Message block below.

In hopes to keep this website and services free, I encourage you to promote your books and page (ex. https://christianwritersbookstore.com/michael-furlonger/) on this website. Also, purchases made through the Amazon Search Engine on the Home page also goes to the support of the website.

If you don’t yet have a page designed yet, be sure to fill out the form on the home page. Not only does your page offer a place to sell your book, but to also share your blogs.

God bless you.

Michael W. Furlonger

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Assurance Of Salvation (Free eBook Download) by Michael Furlonger

  • Did you know that there is a eternal God?
  • Or that the eternal God created you with an eternal purpose?
  • Did you know that not everyone will inherit eternal life?
  • Do you have assurance of salvation?

Take the opportunity given to you this day and pick up a free copy of Assurance Of Salvation. Watch the 12 videos that the author put together going through each chapter.

Words From The Author

I hope that you took the time to read the book and go through the videos I shared on YouTube as I try to offer more details from the book. There are plenty of books on the topic of Assurance of Salvation that you can read. This book is available for free because you are called to live for more than this world.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “… Set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated, seated at the right hand of God. Set your heart on things above, not on earthly things.”

If you enjoyed this free copy of the book, I encourage you to go to my page (click link below) and buy a printed copy to give to your friends and family members. Or check out my other book, God: The Master of Sin and Satan the Beautiful, or any number of other authors on the website.

God bless.

Michael W. Furlonger

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Love Feast by Joanne Garnieri Hagemeyer

Birth of the Church

At its birth, the church was a group of 120 Jewish people receiving the Holy Spirit in a cataclysmic event, the compression waves of which would reverberate across the whole earth. Then, on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 faithful Jews who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks—thanksgiving for the first harvest—now became the Holy Spirit’s First Harvest of many to come.

In those first days, Luke recorded,

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.

“They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.      

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

(Acts 2:42-47 Common English Bible CEB)

Breaking Bread

Later, in his first letter to the mostly Gentile believers in Corinth, the apostle Paul taught how this “breaking of bread” should be.

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 CEB)

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks participation in the blood of Christ?

And is not the bread that we break participation in the body of Christ?

“Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 CEB)

Bearing in Mind

The Passover meal had become infused with new meaning through the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of Messiah. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, a way had been opened for a new people, a new kingdom, a new culture, a new relationship between God and humanity, a healing work that would ultimately reconcile the cosmos to the Creator.

All these things were to be remembered in the celebration of the Love Feast. Paul enjoined,

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.”

(1 Corinthians 11:23-28 CEB)


Bonded as One

In honor of our Lord,

Let us remember, as we break bread together.

Let us confess our sins, that we may “keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Let us praise God, as we thank Him for our redemption.

Let us be one, for the Lord has made us one loaf by His Spirit.


[For the scriptural quotations, phrases in boldface are my own emphasis]

[Cover art: front cover of “Love Feast” a Passover Seder infused with the Gospel]

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Featured Character in Shrouds Over Eden: Salome by Helen Khan

We were able to connect with featured character, Salome in her home in Sardarpur. She graciously agreed to talk to us about her life. If you have read Shrouds Over Eden, then you would have first met her there. I’m looking forward to hearing from her.

Assisting me today is Alizeh Rasheed who is fluent in both Urdu and Punjabi, plus, she tells me, she also speaks several local dialects as well. She is my translator.

Me

Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and where do you live? Do you own your own home or rent?

Salome

I’m 27 years old and live at home with my parents in a small town called Sardarpur. I have a brother and two sisters. I used to be married but not anymore and I don’t have any children.

Me

Are you divorced or did your husband pass away?

Salome

I am separated from my husband. It is not easy for a woman to get divorced here, especially a Christian woman. My father asked his friend who is a lawyer about getting a divorce for me. He said, at one time that would have been possible, but one of our former presidents changed the Christian Divorce Act. The government is currently changing the act to include violence but it will be a long time before it happens. Besides, maybe my husband will change some day and I can go back to him.

Me

Who is the most important person in your life? And why?

Salome

The most important person in my life is my father. He has been my biggest support through all my difficulties, with my ex-husband and with my illness.

Me

What is your greatest fear?

Salome

I’m afraid to eat. Eating is very painful for me as my esophagus is damaged.

Me

What happened to you?

Salome

I don’t like to talk much about it, but I did it to myself. I was so depressed about my mom and sisters calling me names because I am not with my abusive husband. My mother is ashamed of me and couldn’t face people in the community, so she started to verbally abuse me, as did my sisters. All of this made me depressed so one day I drank Sweep. The acid burned my esophagus and stomach. But my father found me and rushed me to the hospital and now I am alive.

Me

Who is the person you respect the most, and why?

Salome

My father, because he loves me and he has supported me through everything. He is a very special father, especially in my culture where fathers don’t love their daughters the way my father does. Most men want sons, not daughters, so my father is an exception.

Me

How do you measure success?

Salome

Success would be having enough money to pay off all our debt.

Me

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Salome

Perfect happiness would be to be married to a good man and to have sons.

Me

Do you work outside the home? What is your occupation?

Salome

I work in people’s homes, cleaning and doing laundry and other chores. I am not educated so the only job I can get is cleaning.

Me

What quality do you like most in a man?

Salome

Kindness in a man. And hard working. I wish all men were like my father.

Me

What or who is your greatest love of your life?

Salome

God is my greatest love. I spend a lot of time reading his Word. I wanted to know so much about him that I learned to read by myself, even though I am not educated. Not everyone in my family believes the way I do. Black magic is commonly practiced here among women. They feel it gives them power. I get my power from God. He saved me from trying to kill myself.

Me

And my last question, is a fun question. What is your favourite colour?

Salome

I like red colours, bright reds.

Thank you, Salome, for the wonderful interview. I know you were nervous at first because your interview will go all over the world. But you did very well, and I am so delighted to have been able to interview you today. If any of you readers would like to read Salome’s story, click here to preview and purchase Helen Khan’s book Shrouds Over Eden.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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