Got a $15 gift card to Subway …one of my favorite lunch spots. Thanks Chip! They've been running a $5 special on their foot-long sirloin sub for a couple months now. Look out Quiznos sub sandwich shop, Subway is now on the comeback trail.
They sell great beef sandwiches... Mr. Beepin (the employee from Nepal with the white writing on his black shirt) made me an excellent lunch today and I suggested to Ms. Schreelatte, his manager this time, that he get a big fat raise which he was pleased to hear (it is so cool that God is bringing those from the mission-fields of the whole world to our doorstep for us to get to know!).
Schreelatte (a name that is not to be confused with the island nation name of Sri Lanka as I had accidentally pronounced it) also does a great job and she also felt that Beepin deserved a raise. He is very quick and efficient. Schreelatte is from South India and we three have now passed the point of merely talking bout the whether and news events to the point of becoming friends. But they only eat Veggie subs (which are very healthy), because after all, they are both devout Hindus that believe in many gods and in reincarnation.
Anyway, we've had some good and mutually respectful discussions about their many gods and Jesus Christ the One who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (Jn. 14:6).
We understand each other most of the time. All of our extended family members live very far away from us so we have something in common. We've talked about visas for travel, correspondence, theft, stealing and telling lies …also on how to get rid of ones sins when we blow it (you know what I mean, breaking some of the commandment on God's Top Ten List). Like me, they believe that all have fallen short of righteousness (not to be confused with: "all have falling shorts" because all don't).
It's a pretty intense list if you get the time to check it out.. and I haven't found anyone yet who has done all that well with it, but I have met some who are a bit irritated with God for even giving us such a list that lays "a heavy" on people—yup, a weighty "guilt trip" as they feel this one does… "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's" (Exodus 20:3-17; also see Deuteronomy 5:7-21).
I was trying to explain to them that God is kindhearted, just and merciful. He probably didn't feel like sending Jesus to die in our place. We know that Jesus certainly didn't feel like kicking the bucket there. And that God has made it easy and free for us to be justified before Him. How do we remember the meaning of such a funny religious sounding word like that? Here's how I do; it means: Just as if I'd never sinned in the first place. God Himself (Jesus) paid the penalty for us on the cross at calvary ...and then He rose from the dead just like the Scriptures had fortold.
Well, Schreelatte said that they do "punga" after they sin and explained that this is praying with beads to make all the sins go away. They both weren't totally sure it worked and Schreelatte said that she is open to visiting a Christian church with her girlfriend in the future. She has been invited.
Being raised in the Roman church, I related to them how for many years I prayed with beads (the Rosary) but none of that "worked it off." Doing penance is a work and no good works ever made my sins go away. But being born again after asking for forgiveness from God is what got it all done. Jesus came into me, a newly cleaned vessel. I literally felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders in the spring of 1977. I'M GRATEFUL!
After more than a half hour, Schreelatte informed me that my Subway gift card indeed had $15 dollars on it, but that the card for some strange reason didn't work in their machine. In fact, they didn't want to give it back to me, but finally they did when I paid using other means. They laughed and said that the card might work at a different Subway shop. I watched them slide it through (as I ate of course) many times in different machines there to no avail. But I was so glad the faulty card reader gave me 40 minutes with them today, but I will need to go have lunch at their shop again. It's only a block away and besides… we have more to talk about regarding punga. What will you do with your sins?