Getting Gas is Fun?

When visiting New Jersey a few years ago, I had my picture taken with Louie, the man in charge of pumping my gas. “Hurry up, baby,” he quipped in his abrupt New Jersey accent.

What he didn’t really understand was that the rest of the citizens in the United States pump their own gas. You must know that sweet pic made my Facebook wall.

Usually, I do not relish pumping gas. Especially if it’s cold—or hot. Or I’m tired, or have someplace to go.

Enter, Gas Station TV or GSTV for short. Here is how it works. Pulling up to the pump, you insert your card, type in your zip code and voila! The pump comes to life with car commercials, ESPN interviews, car commercials, Twitter Trending facts, car commercials, and word of the day information. (BTW, today it is bombogenesis.)

Here is my problem…after a particularly generous friend of mine gave me a little go-kart-like car that gets over 30mpg, my tank doesn’t hold much. Therefore, I usually only get a quick interview and three car commercials.

It’s disappointing.

I hardly watch TV and rarely surf the web. I work as a Social Worker, go home, do a few household chores and go to bed. So GSTV is my only TV fix.

Sometimes, I pump the gas real slow as to view an entire loop of the segment.

Pitiful.

This morning, Tom told me to drive his truck which needed gas. Secretly, I was glad. I learned a new word, got caught up on Bill Belichick possibly either retiring or going to another team. I learned that John Gruden signed a contract with the Raiders for a 100 mil over 10 years.

Not every gas pump gives you that kind of useful information.

Maybe I should purchase a gas-guzzler for my next vehicle. Or Tom could loan me his truck every day.

Probably the cheapest thing to do is watch a little more TV.

Who needs Louie, anyway?

 

 

 

A Clean Page

I clapped my hands and jumped with delight while an unsuspecting client and reserved office manager looked on.

“Yay!” They had no idea a new $4.95 desk calendar could make me jump for joy.

It’s like that with organizers, too. In late November, I visited Staples and stared at the assortment of day planners, notebooks, and organizers. Several other women stared with me. I would pick one up, flip through the pages and put it back, mentally calculating how it would or wouldn’t fit in my purse. Or if I had enough space to write everything  down that was important in my life. Or if it had pretty pages that made me smile.

I even struck up conversations with fellow shoppers. One woman was a hair stylist, so she needed a large planner with a month in advance. Another woman refused to speak with me and looked uncomfortable. A soul-mate shared her suggestions and criticisms about each.

Finally, I chose one. Checking out with a smile on my face, I drove quickly home and ran into the house. I grabbed my pencil to mark appropriate birthdays, and holidays only to realize the planner began in July of 2017 and ended in July of 2018. Disheartened, I phoned my daughter and explained my predicament. (She too, is an organizer junkie.)

“I bought mine from Target, and I love it. I think you’d like it, too,” she suggested.

“Could you go to the store right now and pick one up?” I asked hopefully.

She laughed. “I’ll look tomorrow.” And then I pouted.

A few years ago, when I worked at a school, my friend and co-worker and I would search out desk calendars with flowers and various colors on each month that made us happy.

There is something about tearing the sheet off of the old calendar, and flipping over to the new. It is like a new start.

I don’t know about you, but I need new starts.

Philippians 3:13, 14 states:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.…”

It is easy to look back. It’s also hard to change. But I am not alone. The God I serve has forgiven me of past, present, and future sins. He gives me both the desire and the strength to become more like Him. And He loves me–just the way I am.

So, tomorrow, I start with my new planner given to me by my daughter. (It even has stickers.) I do not know what 2018 holds. But I know The One Who does.

And He is good.

I’m going to write that in my organizer.

Have a happy and a Blessed New Year, my friend.

 

 

 

Jesus, The King

Let’s review the Christmas story…Angels announce to a young virgin that she will bear a Son miraculously. Her husband-to-be receives an angel appearance also who tells him that he should marry this girl even though she is pregnant because her child is of the Holy Spirit. Joseph obeys. They travel to Bethlehem for a census, and Jesus is born. Shepherds hear of his birth through angelic announcement and they come.

It is the wise men I’d like us to think about. They were actual kings. They sought for a king at great inconvenience to themselves. They studied the stars, followed them and showed up to find out this special child.

In essence, the kings sought the King. Shouldn’t we follow suit?

Next, they worshiped. Not even understanding the entire story, they knelt before this peculiar child and worshiped. I know I can’t begin to understand the incarnation, but isn’t that just like God? He does the unimaginable–the impossible, and expects His creation to believe and trust and wonder.

That is how the incarnation affects me. How about you?

Third, they obeyed. God told them to leave Herod out-of-the-loop and go. And they did. They went away with belief, and trust, and wonder.

Because Jesus is The King.

Jesus claimed to be a lot of things while on this earth…the bread of life, the gate, the Good Shepherd, the way, the truth and the life, the door, the vine, even the light of the world. But did you know He claimed to be a King?

Take a look at John 18:36-37. This is what Jesus said while being questioned by Pilate before His crucifixion:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.

“Therefore PIlate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’

“Jesus answered, You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’”

Not only did Jesus claim to be The King while on earth, at His death, The King of the Jews was inscribed at the cross. (Matthew 27:37)

In Revelation 19:16 states, “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

This baby in a manger is much more than a cute story and an intriguing narrative.

He is The King.

Is He yours?

Here is a link to the most majestic song written about the Kingship of  Christ”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c

 

The Baby in the Manger is Our Great High Priest

My father was an officer in The Salvation Army—a sort of pastor. So, I’ve had plenty of exposure to clergy, but I have never met a priest on this earth.

But I am personally aquainted with one in heaven—Jesus.

Not only did God become man Who was born in a manger, but that same baby we celebrate at Christmas is also Our Great High Priest.

Follow me on this. In the Old Testament, priests served as “go betweens” with God. They offered sacrifices to God in order to cover the sins of the people. In fact, once a year, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Besides his ornate, custom-designed outfit, he also wore a rope attached around his ankle equipped with a bell in case God struck him dead because, he too was a sinner who had to sacrifice a bull for a sin offering for himself and his family. The rest is kind of complicated, but let’s just say God made a specific way that had to be followed in order to atone for sin. (Leviticus 16)

It’s the same today. God is Holy. We are not. Sin stands between us and God. First, a payment, or sacrifice had to be made. That’s where Easter comes in. Secondly, we continue to need a High Priest to make intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:23-28 states:

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”

Here is my point…Jesus is much more than a baby in the manger we give sentimental homage as we view our store-bought nativity scenes. Jesus is the perfect, Great High Priest.

Is He yours?

 

It’s Not Just a Hallmark Event

I love Christmas as much as the next middle-aged, menopausal, woman. But perhaps I don’t love it for the same reasons as most.

Christmas isn’t just about Hallmark, or gifts, or Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.

You know what I am going to say next…

It’s about Jesus.

But I am not even sure, when I mention His name, we are thinking about the same person. Yes, Jesus was born in a manger and it makes a terrific story, and a great nativity scene with cute little lambs, staffed shepherds, and mysterious wise men.

Here is what I celebrate. Jesus came as a baby yes, but He came to die.

That is the real story.

Humor me a bit with a long Scripture passage from the New Living Translation:

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

All those inspired words are great, but I would like you to pay special attention to the last verse. God reconciled and made peace with us by means of Christs’ death on the cross. That is great news.

Why?

I’d like to give you an example from a sermon I heard from J D Greer. He asked the listener to imagine themselves with binoculars on a hill observing a terrorist camp. You knew their plan was to devastate thousands of innocent people. You watched them practice use of their guns, and even may have seen a form of torture, but when they all sat down to have lunch. One of the terrorists noticed his buddy didn’t have anything to eat. This generous terrorist cut his sandwich in half and shared it with his buddy.

In any other circumstance his act of sacrifice would be considered good.

But not in this situation. The over-arching-evil somehow negates the good.

The human race is that generous terrorist. The Bible states we are born in sin. Enemies of God. And He is just and right to condemn us because compared to Him, our meager good is like filthy rags.

And then God Himself comes as a baby to die on a cross.

That is the Christmas I celebrate.

I hope you do, too.

Over the next few weeks, on Fridays, I’d like to talk with you more about Jesus as a Prophet, Priest, and King. I hope you will join me in celebrating Christmas that is much more than trees or ornaments or presents.

Let us celebrate the real reason for the season.