You may recall that I mentioned last week that this week’s edition of Gallagher’s Pen would be different in a couple of ways. You’ll notice, for instance, that it didn’t get posted at our usual time. That’s because as this goes out, Diane and I are in the midst of fulfilling a decades’ old dream. We are in Israel for a couple of weeks, being immersed into some of the most amazing events recorded in the Word of God. Not only are we actually walking through and seeing with our own eyes the very places where these things took place, we’re seeing them from a Middle Eastern cultural and historical lens. This perspective is opening up God’s Word with insight and richness we’ve rarely been exposed to previously.
While we’re away, one of my favorite writers and a beloved brother in Christ, J.D. Wininger is stepping up to bless you as our guest blogger. We’ll provide a bit more about J.D. at the close of today’s offering and information about how you can find his blog, Around the Cross-Dubya. Diane and I strongly encourage you to drop by the Cross-Dubya ranch’s website to see what God has been doing there. J.D.’s guest post follows below . . .
Meanwhile, please continue to pray for Diane and me as our pilgrimage to the Holy Land continues. There is much more to be absorbed than our minds and hearts can process, and much more territory to be covered than we feel our bodies can handle. So, your prayers are deeply appreciated. We’ll have much to share when we get back.
Each week, one of my favorite times is Saturday mornings when our friend, Mr. Ron Gallagher’s weekly blog post comes out. His recent post, “A Plumber’s Perspective” led me not only to snort my coffee from spontaneous laughter, but consider the great lesson he shared. As I read his words, I reflected on the past eight years of home repair challenges at our ranch.
Suffice to say, my precious wife and I purchased our ranch while wearing rose-colored glasses. Had I realized the house needed as much attention as the property surrounding it, I would have offered much less of our retirement savings. Who thinks to run water in all the sinks during a home walkthrough? Isn’t that why we paid for a home inspection? They uncovered the issues we didn’t or couldn’t see, didn’t they?
I never considered the home inspector, Bobby Joe Dingleberry (aka “Cooter”), lived in the same county and was probably a second cousin once removed from the owner’s ex-wife. They saw no issues with a lack of building codes or inspections. I accepted the home inspection report at face value and never considered what wasn’t listed in their inspection. Within eight weeks of closing, I already had the numbers for two plumbers, a roofer, HVAC, insulation, and garage door repair guy on speed dial. That isn’t counting the painting, drywall, electrical, and ventilation work. I was so excited to be doing myself. Hey, at least the built-in warming drawer and trash compactor worked.
Moving from a new construction home in a manicured Del Webb community, where the HOA took care of most things, it was quite a shock. It had been at least five years since I had to do any type of home repair. Now it seemed, I faced a mountain of them.
- What’s an aerobic septic system? And why is eight inches of sludge an issue?
- So why does the sink gurgle when I flush the toilet in the master bath?
- When I run water in the kitchen’s island sink, why does the double sink across the room back up?
- Don’t you think the shut-off valve for the house should have a knob or something I can grab onto to shut off the water?
And these were just the plumbing issues discovered. As we continue to address them, my city-girl wife and I can’t help but think of the couple portrayed in the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit”. Having spent the first 12 years of our marriage rehabbing townhomes and duplexes, and being familiar with home repair, I wasn’t prepared for home-rebuilding in my 60s.
Growing up in the rural south, I understood you don’t let grease, cooking oil, fats, coffee grounds, and food scraps go down the kitchen sink. My wife (did I mention she was a city-girl) thought me crazy when I removed the disposal before installing the new sinks and countertops. I explained that if you put things like that down the drains in a country home, plumbing and septic system problems follow. Eight years later, she understands, I hope. All that crud got together with all that had been building up since they built the home and waited until it had an audience to make its grand entrance. Imagine a flooded kitchen floor appearing as our guests were just sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner.
As my Christian writing friends’ posts often do, I considered how Mr. Ron’s words could apply to my spiritual life. Looking at my past, I saw where my spiritual life was as plugged up as the pipes underneath the foundation in our kitchen. When we’re in a right relationship with God, the Holy Spirit easily flows through our soul; leading, teaching, guiding, and correcting. When we don’t deal with unresolved sin through via true confession and repentance (1 John 1:9), it plugs up in the pipes of our soul.
The resultant sin crud isn’t too bad at first. Oh, things take longer for us to admit and drain away; it’s okay, we’ve got time before Christ returns. One day we realize sin has backed up our sou. It overflows into our vent pipe (mouth) and all that crud throws a sin party; and you’re the guest of honor. You catch yourself after spewing venomous, crud-filled words laced with anger, hatred, prejudice, or other ungodly values. That email tirade you read after hitting send, the piling on about management decisions by your employer, or snapping at a loved one—you can’t take those things back.
We often see the same impact in our churches as we see in our lives. Haven’t we all had an encounter with Sister Bertha (or Brother Bert) Better Than You in the past? Did you stand around and listen while they spewed the latest gossip about another member? If you’ve ever shouted “Ouch” when reading the words of Matthew 12:34, you understand what I’m writing about. The CRUD I’m speaking about is the sin that can accumulate when we allow it to remain in our lives. It consists of:
- Compromise: How many times have we lowered God’s moral standard for our lives so we better align with the world instead of showing the standard it should strive to attain?
- Religion: How important is it that the world around you sees how religious you are instead of showing God your righteousness?
- Uncertainty: How certain are you of your salvation? Many today claim to be Christians, but fewer and fewer seem willing to pay the price of surrendering themselves to God’s process of sanctification to grow more like His Son. That uncertainty or unwillingness prevents many from growing in their faith and allowing God to use them in His plan for their lives. How prepared are you to stand on the truth and promises of God’s word; unwavering in the face of the enemy?
- Defeat: How many times have you surrendered to thoughts of not being good enough, faithful enough, or strong enough to withstand the trials and temptations we face in this world? Many Christians today live a defeated life because the enemy has convinced them they can never be good enough or Christian enough to warrant God’s love. They forget that God’s word has already told them they aren’t good enough by themselves. The understanding that in Christ, all things are possible is lost to the joy-robbing recipe of fear, uncertainty, and doubt; which leads to defeat.
So how do we address the crud in our lives? Whether it’s backing up your kitchen sink or causing sin to overflow in your life, the solution is removing the CRUD. You do this in two ways. First, we must restrict what gets introduced into the system. Lastly, we must consistently flush our pipes. In the kitchen, that means we run plenty of hot water down our drains. In our lives, we flush our soul with the living water of God’s word and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas where sin resides in our spiritual life.
My prayer for each of you is that you invite the Holy Spirit to identify any areas in your life needing flushing and cleaned up. I pray also for the courage and faith needed to come clean with God.
A Personal Note from Ron & Diane ~
For Diane and me, J.D. Wininger is more than an award-winning writer and speaker who teaches compelling lessons about faith and writes heartfelt devotionals and books to glorify God. He’s also our friend, a trusted brother in Christ, and a continual source of encouragement and inspiration. J.D. has written for national magazines, CBN.com, Lighthouse Bible Studies, and contributed to several books. When not working his Texas ranch, He and his wife (also Diane) share God’s love in surrounding communities. We strongly encourage each of you to consider joining them on Wednesday mornings to see what God’s been doing Around the Cross-Dubya (https://jdwininger.com/).