Preventing Clogs! (Angel in the Kitchen)

Here’s a trivia question for you: What do you call the funny little metal cup that fits in the drain of the kitchen sink and works like a mini colander? Is it called a strainer basket? We’ve also heard it called drainer basket, sink basket, basket drainer, or that “funny little metal cup that fits in the drain of the kitchen sink”! Whatever it’s called, thank God it’s there because it really works well to prevent a lot of problems.

Whoever came up with the idea should have gotten a medal, and maybe he or she did. Then again, the basket drainer should have been a no-brainer. (Did you read how that rhymed?) At some point, someone must have realized that all kinds of stuff was going down the drain and clogging the pipes. Maybe in the beginning someone simply put a piece of cloth, or even a section of metal screen, over the drain to keep chunks of food from going down the pipes.

YUCK!!

You’d be amazed at the innovations people come up with in order to avoid trouble on down the line (pardon the pun) and, hence, extra work. Who wants a clogged pipe? The water backs up and the sink becomes useless. And anyone with an ounce of foresight can look at that huge drain opening and imagine everything from broccoli stumps to chicken bones going down the pipe. Well, almost anyone; we wonder if Drano was invented by someone with no foresight?

Believe it or not, God gave all of us enough foresight to know that there are certain preventive measures we need to take. God has given each of us the equivalent of a strainer basket, and He expects us to use it.

Ewww! Get that junk outa my water bowl.

The Holy Spirit acts as a strainer basket. He “guides us into all truths” (John 16:13) and thereby enables us to determine right from wrong; and thus to make wise decisions. So that we’re not “swallowing” everything that comes down the social pipeline. We’re not swallowing the half-truths and outright lies we hear daily, or the false teachings of strange religions.

We’re living in an age that preaches relativism: “right” and “wrong” frequently change depending on the circumstances or the needs and desires of the social majority; and there are “grey areas”! Not true. There are absolutes in life, based on the Word of God, which allow us to determine right from wrong. These absolutes (call them “standards”) provide reference points for the moral compass everyone needs to stay on target. Without the absolutes and standards set by God’s Word, we can easily lose our way and get lost. “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NLT)

So we need to be vigilant to strain out any falsehoods and misinformation we hear and read. Erroneous thinking can clog your mind and spirit and stop the flow of God’s influence, power and blessing in your life. And in the same way, we need to set boundaries to prevent harmful things from flowing into our lives: unhealthy relationships, bad habits, compromising situations, unethical business ventures — anything that might stop up the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This should be a no-brainer.

Keep your pipes and your spiritual lifeline free of nasty clogs!

“Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 GOD’S WORD)

“Short-Sighted” in the Kitchen! (Angel in the Kitchen)

By now most of our dear readers surely must realize we’re a few bucks shy of being certifiably eccentric. (Given our present financial state, please refer to us as simply daffy.) True, we give our kitchen appliances names, and then write about the adventures of these “angels.” We call them angels because, like God’s celestial messengers, these kitchen tools and appliances generally have a life-changing lesson to impart — if we look for it.

Early in this series, we introduced Luke and Nuke, the identical microwave ovens residing in our home. (Yes, having microwave twins now allows us to fix TWO bags of popcorn simultaneously. …Uh, hang on, we didn’t actually have microwave twins — we bought them. At Lowes. Really. After all, you can have a headache but you can’t have a microwave — not even if you’re listed in The Guinness Book of World Records. Ahem, moving on….)

I’m LUKE! He’s Nuke. Can’t you see the difference between us?!

Luke and Nuke have their own little rooms, so to speak. They reside in two compartments located among the kitchen cabinets — well above the countertop — because one of us is a stickler for keeping the counters free of clutter! (Note: I’m pleased to say, “That would be me!”  —Wilma) And it is from their “perches” that Luke and Nuke survey the scene below, quietly watching and awaiting our every quick-cooking need.

I’m NUKE! I’m better-looking than Luke. Smarter, too.

We recently called upon them to cook two frozen mini-pizzas. The instructions on the box stated: “place pizza on top of carton, then place carton into microwave.” We did this — twice — and 90 seconds later Luke and Nuke beeped us that it was snack time!

The next day, Wilma wiped out the insides of both microwaves using an all-purpose cleaner. She wiped down the walls and door, as well as the top and bottom (the rotating glass tray), to ensure there were no spatters of cheese and sauce clinging to the insides of our kitchen pals! This isn’t an easy task for Wilma, because she has to stretch in order to reach Luke and Nuke. Like we mentioned, our twin microwaves each have their perch, and Wilma is … hmm … How can we describe her state? Ah yes, she’s “vertically challenged”! (Note: In other words, she’s short!  —Tom)

Wilma thought she’d thoroughly cleaned out Luke and Nuke, but when she reached up and felt around on their glass trays (Note: On her tippy toes, even!  —Tom), she soon realized there was something still sticking to the glass. So she wiped the surface again, only harder this time. And yet, she could still feel something gritty! Something that felt “fuzzy” like rough cardboard. Wilma was understandably perplexed, so she fetched a stool in order to climb up and get a better look inside the mysterious workings of Luke and Nuke.

This is not our kitchen, btw.

Once she got on the stool, and gained a higher point of view, she discovered that some of the paper from the pizza cartons had stuck to the glass trays! Apparently the paper packaging of the average frozen food carton has a tendency to stick when microwaved. Too bad the pizza company didn’t list that little fact in their cooking instructions. But that’s not our point here. What’s important — according to Luke and Nuke — is that Wilma couldn’t initially see the problem from her “short-sighted” point of view. Furthermore, she was unable to address the problem until she gained a better, higher view of things. (And address it she did, with a soft scouring pad and even more determination.)

In life, just as in the kitchen, we often face problems which leave us perplexed and not knowing how to proceed. But that’s usually because we approach life from a shortsighted viewpoint. We continue to view our circumstances from a natural, even worldly, perspective; so we’re unable
to see the higher working of things! Then we attempt to fix things in our own strength — we get on our tippy-toes! However, when dealing with a truly “sticky” situation, this approach never quite works. We need a step up in order to gain a better, more spiritual look at life.

If you’re facing a challenge today, we encourage you, first, to get a “higher” perspective of what’s going on. Seek God through prayer and Bible study, and ask Him to help you see people and the problems of life the way He sees them. Learn to adopt a divine perspective of life. Second, don’t try to solve all your problems in your own strength, “stretching yourself on tippy-toes” until you pull an emotional muscle! Grab a “spiritual stool” and take a step up! The Psalmist writes, in “A Song of Ascents” [ascent as in climbing]:

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. –Psalm 121:1-4 ESV

Ask God for His love and acceptance. Ask Him for His help and guidance. Ask Him for a helping hand and a spiritual boost up! Whatever you’re facing, you are Not alone! Your problems did not catch God off guard or take Him by surprise. Trust Him, He’s got this! So ask yourself, “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God — soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Psalm 42:11 MSG) In other words, stop focusing on the problem and focus instead on the problem-solver: the storm-stopper, the miracle-working God of the Impossible!

Sometimes our circumstances seem harsh, but the Bible states, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God….” (Romans 8:28 GOD’S WORD) Understanding this simple truth is another “step up” to gaining a heavenly perspective. It’s also extremely helpful to remember that people are not problems!  But like all of us, people only have problems!

View that aggravating neighbor or irritable coworker from God’s divine perspective: through the eyes of His love. Love covers a multitude of sins! (1 Peter 4:8) Then count your blessings — NOT your troubles — with a genuine spirit of gratitude. Concentrate on the Most-High God, and not on all the things that get you down in the dumps! Get a higher, spiritually-minded perspective of life … from a perch well above the kitchen counters — er, above the trials and tribulations that clutter our wonderful, sometimes crazy, world!

“…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9 ESV)