July 21/ 2020 (Second Anniversary)

On July 21/2020, my wife and I “celebrated” our second anniversary. I quote “celebrate” because in the midst of the COVID-19, everything is closed or just opening, so we had no plans. But I did manage to get her a couple small gifts and we ordered in some dinner. Sadly, there aren’t any good movies out, so we couldn’t even find anything to Pay-Per-View.

Anyway… While I was in the shower the other day singing a worship song by Third Day, I was thanking God for my wife. Marriage is definitely a blessing, one I do not deserve at all, but I am grateful. And with so many divorces in the world, even in the church, I wanted to share a very important responsibility that a man has.

Of course, Apostle Paul gives a responsibility in Ephesians 5:25-26 where “men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her.” We are to “Wash our wives in the water through the word.” All of this is very important, but what came to mind is from Proverbs 31.

Most know Proverbs 31:10- “A wife of noble character… (is) worth far more than rubies.” While non-Christians believe that the Bible tells women to remain barefoot and pregnant as the saying goes, that’s far from the truth. Feel free to read Proverbs 31:10-31 to get a great view of godly women.

But I want to share on the role of men. Men are only mentioned three times.

A Husband’s Responsibility

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:11, 23, 28-29)

Do you see that the husband has a responsibility to “praise” his wife? We can discuss the difference between “praise” and worship, whereas we are commanded not to worship anyone but God alone. But to “praise” is to lift up someone; emotionally, not necessarily physically.

To the men: When was the last time you said to your wife, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all”? Maybe not in those exact words, but you ‘praise’ your wife for what she does.

Praise Your Wife

Men, we need to praise our wives. With so much “main stream” television and the stuff that pops up as advertisement on the Internet, women shouldn’t have to compete. Everything has sex or sexual innuendos these days which makes it so difficult to even find something to watch.

Tell your wife that she is beautiful. Complement your wife’s cooking. Say those three words your wife needs to hear, “I Was Wrong” and “You Were Right”. I joke (but seriously). Or the three words, “I Love You.”

To paraphrase what Jesus says in Matthew 15:18, “Out of the mouth, the heart speaks.”

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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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I Know What You Are Thinking by Helen Khan

Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. Psalm 139: 4

We all do it; try to read people’s minds. Some people do it better than others, but no one gets it right 100% of the time. And do we really want someone to read our mind?

A battered wife thinks her abusive husband can read her mind, that he knows what she is doing even when he isn’t around. She lives in fear, walking on eggshells. It destroys her mental and emotional equilibrium.

An argument between husband and wife starts over mindreading. Either he thinks he knows what she is thinking or why she said what she said, or vice versa. Miscommunication – it happens lots in close quarters where one prides oneself in reading another person’s mind. Protective walls go up!

Or maybe you think no one thinks about you at all. You are not even on the radar screen of someone’s thoughts, let alone having them read your mind. No one remembers you, thinks about you, cares about you. You are all alone in the world. You think maybe it would be better to not be in it.

But the One who made you thinks about you all the time. He knows you intimately. So intimately he knows what your thoughts are even before you voice them. And because he is God, he knows the heart of man, he gets it right every time. And it’s not even intrusive knowledge. You still have your space. Cool, huh!

God’s hearing is symbolic of his knowledge of us, his understanding and love for us. And because he knows us so intimately, understands us so well, he knows what we need and when we need it. And unlike that spouse who only thinks they know why we said what we said, God knows why because he looks at the heart. He knows the heart of man. He knows when we are in turmoil and when we are happy and all is in order. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we are going to say, even before it is said.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan