Faith Debugged

Spiritual Insights from an Exterminator

Dirty Jobs. Dirty Deeds.

What’s the dirtiest place you’ve ever found yourself in. The public trash dump? Cleaning out barn stalls? Changing a dirty diaper or a mess of vomit? Walking through a yard where the dog uses the bathroom? Maybe you work in oil and grease. Maybe you’re a vet and deal with sick animals. Maybe you’re a fellow exterminator. Whatever the case, we’ve all been in some moments that we didn’t want to be there because the stench or the place was the nastiest thing you’ve ever seen.

One of the worst accounts I’ve ever found myself in had roaches, fleas, ants, and mice. The kitchen was so riddled with roaches, they came out and greeted me when I walked in. they didn’t run away. There were literally thousands of roaches in every crevice of the bar, beside the stove, behind the fridge, in the drawers, in the kitchen closet, around the doors, throughout the cabinets. You didn’t have to look for them. They were everywhere in the kitchen and living room. Playstation, VCR, TV, and even the ferrets cage was riddled with roaches. No place was off-limits for these roaches.

The fleas were unbearable climbing all over me and no matter what I used to keep them off, it didn’t work. They were ruthless. They covered my pants and hid in my socks. They covered the carpets, the couch and chairs and made the dogs and ferret so uncomfortable.

The ants weren’t near as bad but they were present and making their way into the bathroom. I feared if they headed towards the kitchen they may find some resistance from the roaches. So they pretty much stayed towards the bathroom.

The mice were horrid. In the bathroom as well as under the sink in the kitchen, it was near impossible to see the floor. There was so much mice droppings it literally covered like a carpet. This was a serious health hazard.

The back door was missing a foot of the door at the bottom allowing her dogs to come and go as they please as well as any other animal that might find it well to come inside. As soon as it was time to move to the back yard to spray she realized she had a dead dog on her porch. This dog wasn’t dead earlier in the day.

I only wished I could explain how repulsed I was after leaving this place. It was the nastiest job I had ever encountered. When I left, I found the most remote place I could and literally stripped down to make sure I had nothing on me. As soon as I returned home, I showered and washed my clothes. When I laid in bed that night, the only thing I could think of was that homeowner was laying down to sleep as well… in that place. I cried!

When it comes to nastiness versus cleanliness, my sin is in no comparison to this home. This home is probably cleaner than my sin. My sin is revolting to God.

Isaiah  64:6

 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

Paul even speaks of those things that he had gained in life to the likeness of dung in comparison to Jesus’ righteousness. (Philippians 3:8) Everything he had done to accomplish his goals and be one of the greatest pharisees had become no less than a bowel movement in his eyes, something to flush down the toilet. Because in light of Christ, our righteousness is nonexistent.

When I walk into a house with so putrid of circumstances, the moment I walk in my stomach turns from the stench I can’t help but be reminded that my sin is just as sickening to God if not worse. Thankfully, God has the power to clean me up. He loves me enough to take me as I am but not leave me like He found me.

Thank God that by the power in the blood I can be washed clean though the amazing grace of God by faith! (Excuse my Christianise.)

Advertisements

September 9, 2011 Posted by | fleas, roaches | , , , | Leave a comment

Work It

Today I had to do a termite treatment. Actually I had two. It was dreadfully hot outside. By the time I reached the second treatment I was tired, sweaty, wore out and not happy about having to crawl under yet another house, stand in the hot burning sun while I rodded around a house and deal with questions from the customer. I plainly didn’t want to be there.

However, I climbed under, sprayed the foundation, climbed out sprayed the perimeter, took care of the garage, and shook off silly questions from the customer while I worked. I rested since it was hot, checked my Facebook, checked my twitter, drank some water before rolling up my hose and calling it a day.

I got the paperwork prepared and began talking to the customer under a shade tree and ran through the guarantee and contract. I got his signature and he began talking to me about all the remodeling he’s doing, how he really wants to get out to the country and so I just listened and every once and again nodding yeah.

I had mentioned church a couple of times so he decided to pry and asked me about church and come to find out he is a retired Army chaplain. We got to talking about all things church and I mentioned this book I’m writing. Talking about church opened my heart up and I was willing to engage more into our conversation. He mentioned he wasn’t attending a church at the moment so I invited him to ours and we shook hands and off I went.

I began to think about how my attitude suddenly changed after I found out the man was a Christian. Have you ever done that? Have you ever talked to some one with very little if any interest and after you found out you had something in common it was like you were talking to a different person altogether?

I began to think about how I would have engaged him more friendlier, if I would have done my job a little better since he was a pastor, if I would have been a little quicker and just been an all around more pleasant person to work on his house. How would have I done things different if I would have just known up front he was a Christian? Would I gave him the gold star treatment with a smile?

Have you ever done the same thing. Have you ever realized you could have been a better person around someone. Why do we do things better for those we have a common bond with than those we don’t? Especially Christians.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In context what Paul is telling the Corinthians is whatever you are doing in life, work as if your working for God and not man. Treat what you’re doing like your work is for the Lord. Jesus says in Matthew whatever you do for the least of these it’s as if you’re doing it for me. I believe this was also what he meant when Jesus said the second greatest commandment is like the first, love you neighbor as yourself.

So let us remember, than whatever we do in life, let us work it to the glory of God.

 

 

June 7, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Termites | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Kink In The Hose

One the things I despise most is when I’m spraying a house and I get a kink in the hose. It cuts off my chemical and I have to go looking for the cause. Sometimes when I’m pulling the hose and it kinks, it will hang on just about anything. I’m convinced it will hang on a molecule of air if it could. It’s so bothersome.

Lately I’ve had the opportunity of training some guys for termite work and it’s always the same outcome. They come to me saying that the pressure just went down. I laugh and trace the hose down till I find the kink. It’s always there but they never stop to think that they may be just getting cut off and it’s not the pressure coming from the pump.

The other day this very thing happened to my trainee and I laughed. He got kinda upset because he thought it was a serious issue. I told him to follow me as we walked the path of the hose. The kink was hung up under some bushes so I pulled it out to show him. He just dropped his head and giggled. Undone the kink and crawled back under the house. Happens all the time.

Because I’m writing this book, I’ve been looking at everything that happens in the pest control world through spiritual eyes. The kink in the hose reminds me of things in our life that hinders us from being all God has created us to be. Just as the kink cuts off chemical supply, sin does the same for us. It cuts off the supply of the Holy spirit being proactive in our life.

I look at the story of Saul and how he became a great leader for Israel. Unfortunately he became a terrible king. He was anointed by God but because of his jealously for David, he couldn’t be the king the people needed him to be. Peter had an attitude problem. He let loose in fits of rage and couldn’t be the “petro” God wanted him to be to build his church on until he had an awakening of truth.

Although we can have the anointing, we can still hinder the spirit from completing His work in us because we are trying to serve two masters; God and sin. There are things in my life as well as I’m sure are in yours that hinder the good works of God because your choice in worship is not Him at times. It’s your selfish desires for things you want.

Paul said it best in a race analogy; Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Find the kink. Undo the kink. Keep on treating. Don’t let your life get kinked up with sin.

March 22, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Mediator

Today I made a mistake. I punched a hole in the wall trying to remove baseboards in a garage. My boss came over and called the homeowner to take a look at my carelessness. As they talked I sat on the tail gate of my truck and did not say a word. After a few moments they started laughing and I overheard her say that’s okay.

I’m not sure what they said to each other but what I do know is that the homeowner was not mad after their conversation. She walked by me smiling and said have a great day. I smiled back and he told me to complete the job but leave the baseboards alone. I jumped off my truck and finished my work.

In this case I never said one word to the homeowner. She seemed to have been in a good mood when she left. Who knows if it was ever a big deal but a hole in sheet rock seems to me to be a big deal. All I did was confess my mistake to my boss, tell him I was sorry, and he went to the homeowner and worked it out. I was redeemed from my screw up.

Remind you of anybody?

There is someone who speaks on our behalf, works things out so we can have eternal life. His name is Jesus and He’s our mediator. He stands in the gap that was caused by our sin. We take our petitions to Him and He in returns takes them to God.

1 Timothy 2:5 (New International Version, ©2010)

5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,


I would hate to see how far I could get if left on my own to speak for myself. I would hate to be my own lawyer in the eternal courtroom. I don’t think I’d be able to stand before the judge much less speak in defense of my soul. Besides what defense do I have?

Thank God I have a mediator that can plead the blood in my case. I’ll just sit back, keep my mouth shut and allow my lawyer Jesus Christ to speak in my defense!

March 1, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Selfish Blesser

The other day I had an opportunity to bless a friend. He had been looking for a tool to use with his guitar to make great music and I had one. At first I didn’t want to let it go but thinking how a friend of mine had blessed me with an amazing gift for my guitar, I decided to pay forward the favor.

Many times I find it more of a blessing to give. I love to watch people’s face light up when you do something out of the ordinary. It’s like your not supposed to do that. Your not supposed to give so generously.

Throughout 2 Corinthians 9, scripture tells us that giving what you have is more important than keeping it. Verse 5 – “finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given” Verse 6 – “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly reaps sparingly , and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Verse 8 – “And God is able to bless you abundantly…” Verse 12 – “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”

I remember I was treating a customers house for ants and when I was finishing an elderly lady across the street asked me to visit her house when I was finished. Upon visiting the neighbor, she asked me to look at the ants she was having. Unfortunately she had no money and was not able to pay for a service, so I gave.

I spent much time assessing the situation and treating her house for ants. She was very thankful and asked if she could return the favor. I told her no and said Jesus loves her and so do I. I am so amazed at the spirit to give and the need that is so often put in front of me when I’m impressed to give.

Many times it blesses me to no limit when I choose to be a blessing to others. They say it’s better to give than to receive. I’m sure there is a fine margin between the two but it still rings true. If it is not more of a blessing to give than to receive, then you definitely need a heart check.

I’m a selfish blesser. I love to give because I love to be blessed. It’s a win/win situation.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | devotion, giving | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Gonna Work Here Anymore, Anyway

I was at a customer’s house doing a treatment for termites. They had a cellar/basement so the only way to get my hose to the treating area was to run it through the house. I hate doing that but sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.

While I was walking through I started talking to the fellow but he cut me off and started talking about something random; something about insurance. I told him I had no clue what he was talking about and then he shushed me off. After I walked past him I realized he wasn’t talking to me at all. He had one of those ear bud things in his ear and he was working from home.

Later I began to ask him a question and apologized to him because I realized he was working. He  apologized to me as well because he saw that I had a question and that I was working too.

Stop the train. He caught me off guard by telling me I was working too. Yeah he was right but something clicked inside and threw me for a loop. Something I didn’t realize.

I was working.

I mean I know I was at work, but I have convinced myself to the point that I am a servant serving. He caught me off guard by calling my service work. I was taken back for a moment because in this world a lot of times things look like work when they are really just serving.

I know sometimes I feel like I am in a thankless job and customers couldn’t care less that I am crawling in the mess under their house. “That’s my job, that’s what I do!” But I have altered my way of thinking I am a servant to my customers. I am there to serve them. They think it’s work. I think is serving.

I think the world would be a better place if folks would learn to serve one another. Work became service. Meaning we actually care about the outcome of our doing. The end result is full of consideration and effort, thought and attention. It is no longer an 8 hour day. It becomes a ministry not really in the religious aspect. But more in the aspect of administering to someone’s need.

Mark 9:35

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

February 8, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Serving, Termites | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many Things I Ask, One Thing God Asks

Walking into a roach treatment takes the knowledge of where to find the roach’s hideouts, deciding what chemicals to use, how to inform the customer of what your about to do and then communicating your needs from the customer after the job is done.

I like to ask a lot of questions up front. Like how many do they normally see? Where do you see most of them? Do you have any health concerns? Are there small children or animals living in the house? And many more. From there I move to a thorough inspection where I climb through every cabinet, walk through every room and pay close attention to hot-spots like refrigerators, microwaves, cordless phones, water heaters or any other device that makes heat.

Once I have located all infested areas it’s time to treat. There are many products out there to use for the treatment of roaches and I like to hit em with everything I can. Leaves no room for error in killing them. I move to my truck grab my supplies and head in for the task. I spray, I bait, I use some aerosol, I dust, I vacuum. By the time I’m done I have a graveyard and a pleased customer.

The next step is always the hardest. Communicating to the customer what their part is in the eradication of the pests. In my best voice, I try to inform them that I’m finished with my part. Now it’s time to do their part. I need them to stay clean. Clean dishes after every meal. Don’t leave food out because then the roaches choose their food and not my food.

I tell them they need to clean up any dead roaches. Live ones when gone without food for a while will feed on dead ones. I tell them they need to clean the nesting areas where they have laid their feces. This will cause disease to spread and cause anyone in the house to acquire asthma. I tell them much more but I won’t bore you.

The same can be said with God. When we ask God to handle our problems sometimes he tells us some things we have to do first. I normally don’t like these steps I have to make. But if we read in Psalm 51, we can see that David asked for many things from God after his affair with Bathsheba. He asked for grace, washing, cleansing, purity, reminder of joy and gladness, a clean heart, renewed spirit, allowance to stay near to God, restoration, sustenance by the Spirit, and deliverance.

What was David to do? What did God ask David to do? Verse 17 says the sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit, a broken and contrite heart. It would seem to me that God is asking David not to sacrifice animals, or give a burnt offering (v.16) but to sacrifice himself. To give his heart fully. Allow it to be broken so that God can renew it, mend it, and reshape it.

These things David asked. This thing God asks. Are you hung up in sin. Have you made a mistake once, twice, ten times, a thousand times? It doesn’t matter. God asks one thing. Be a living sacrifice. Sacrifice everything you are for everything He is. In the end you have to believe your reward will be outstanding.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | devotion, roaches | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dirty Jobs

 

Where there’s work, there’s gonna be dirt

 

I thought these very words as I treated a house for termites. The lady was very particular on not having any dirt tracked into her basement as I treated her front porch. I understand this concept but not on a rainy day where she insisted that I treat her house on such a mucky day. I wanted to reschedule but she had a different idea. She wanted her house treated. She was adamant about it too. It was a little aggravating knowing what was gonna happen and I knew she didn’t want that. On top of that, she left me with little room to work under her porch. A job that had been scheduled for a week and she couldn’t clean out her stuff so I could have room to work.

I’m not sure how customers can think that if there is gonna be work involved a mess is not gonna be made. If a drill is gonna be used, dust will be created. If it’s raining outside, mud will happen. If chemicals are being used, a drip will occur. It’s inevitable, where there’s work, there’s gonna be dirt.

I think the christian life is a lot of work and where there’s work… well you’re getting it. When we were born, we were born into sin. Yeah I used the “s” word. That’s for another chapter in my book. I digress. After birth, the world began its duty of molding us into the clay pot it wants us to be. We learn how to be stingy, selfish, angry, manipulative, argumentative, deceitful, money hungry, and lovers of the flesh.

After receiving the knowledge of salvation through Christ Jesus, he robes us with righteousness, and begins the sanctification process on our lives to shatter what the world previously molded. This creates dust, and dirt, and pain that we don’t like. It hurts to have God begin a work in us and continue that work till the Day of the Lord. (Phil. 1:6) This work never stops until we are perfected in the presence of God. Until then God works in us to break us of all impurities and He begins to mold us to His ways so that we become a beautiful piece of pottery that He may boast in His creation and through His creation He may receive glory.

We are each being molded into perfection. We should consider one another as we “work” together to understand that some parts aren’t broken yet, some parts are being broken, some parts are already broken and being molded, in which case some parts are farther along than others in the molding process. God is working on each and every one of us. May we remember the work that is being put into us and consider where there is work, there’s gonna be dirt!

November 25, 2010 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment