An Airtight Promise! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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There are many brands of resealable plastic storage containers sold in stores today. Most are designed to go from refrigerator to microwave and then, if necessary, back to the refrigerator. These containers come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them have very specific functions. Some are made of a durable plastic that can withstand repeated use in the microwave as well as countless trips through the dishwasher. Some are pricey, but there are a few brands that are made of a thinner plastic and intended to be semi-disposable, such as Gladware. These cheaper containers can be reused several times before repeated microwaving leaves them whimpering for mercy and — like a few friends we know — all bent out shape. Few people refer to these food-savers as “resealable plastic storage containers”; it’s a lot easier to refer to them collectively as Tupperware.

Tupperware, however, is a brand name. But since Tupperware were the first and most popular food storage containers, many people use the famous name to describe any similar product — in the same way most people call all gelatin Jello, and all tissues Kleenex. Perhaps wrong, but understandable. Tupperware paved the way and made work in the kitchen easier. These marvels of versatility also empowered women who were stuck in the kitchen. More on this later.

A Massachusetts chemist named Earl Silas Tupper (1907-83) had invented a soft but rugged plastic in 1938, but wasn’t too sure what would be its best use until he came up with the idea for Tupperware in 1946. Tupper initially developed his soon-to-be famous containers to store food and keep it fresh. His first design was a bell-shaped container called the Wonderlier Bowl. Not only did the Wonderlier keep food fresh, but it also could be used as a serving bowl.

Tupperware was also a pioneer of direct marketing. During WWII, thousands of women entered the workplace, filling jobs in factories and offices. By the 1950s most of them had returned to the kitchen, and many of them were feeling a bit shut in, underused, and forgotten. The Tupperware Party allowed these women an opportunity to once again be a part of the business world, to interact and to earn money. And all for a product they could get passionate about.

What made Tupperware so special? When the containers were sealed, they were airtight, so foods stayed fresher — for a much longer period. Tupperware boasted its containers were so airtight, that once you sealed one, you could crack open a small section of the lid and “burp” out the remaining air. Tupperware even went so far as to patent their “burping seal”! In their ads, Tupperware boasted the “airtight promise”! Freshness and flavors were locked in, and liquids weren’t able to seep out around the lid.

Why are we gushing so much over a plastic container? We’re not. When first introduced, Tupperware’s Airtight Promise was indeed innovative. Tupperware sealed tight as a drum. It locked in freshness. It preserved what was inside. But if you’re like us, and you’ve trusted Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, you’ve got something far better than Tupperware on your side. You’ve got God’s Holy Spirit!

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise….” (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)

“…Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 NIV)

“And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful who hath called you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Douay-Rheims Bible)

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh….” (Psalm 92:14 NIV)

Salvation is God’s Divine Tupperware!

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A Grand Exchange! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Beyond being well-known foods, what do Swiss chocolate and Brazilian coffee beans have in common? How about Spanish peanuts and California grapes?

None of these foods originated in the regions with which they are most associated. Instead, these foods are all part of “the Grand Exchange” that occurred when Spanish and other European explorers reached the continents of North and South America — a trade of “culinary curiosities” that benefited both the New World and the Old!

When Christopher Columbus “discovered” America in 1492, the great explorer brought with him various grains, fruit trees, and livestock that included sheep and pigs. And when he returned to Spain, he took back such new-found delicacies as sweet potatoes, peanuts and chocolate. Over the next 100 years an incredible and invaluable exchange of food and technology occurred, producing several new industries and bolstering a few sagging economies. During the late 1800s, where would the cowboys of the American Wild West have been had Spanish ships not brought over that four-legged mainstay of Victorian transportation, the horse? And while riding tall in the saddle, what would these “cowpokes” have been herding had European settlers not introduced cattle to North America?

But let’s focus on food. We’d hardly be able to call the North American plains “the breadbasket of the world” if wheat, barley and oats hadn’t been brought across the sea from the Middle East.  Nor would Louisiana have its signature rice, a grain originating in China, had it not been introduced into the New World. And Columbia wouldn’t be famous for its coffee beans if the commodity hadn’t sailed the Atlantic with a boatload of European insomniacs.

Of course, the gastronomic gifts flowed in both directions in the Grand Exchange: potatoes from Peru eventually became an important part of European diets; and where would all those fabulous Old World chocolatiers be without the decadent cocoa beans that originated in South America? Ships bound to the Western World from Europe brought bananas, grapes, peaches, pears, olives, turnips, sugarcane, and … chickens (Sorry, Colonel Sanders!); but in return, these ships carried back the bounty of the Americas, beans, corn, peanuts, pineapples, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, vanilla, and … turkeys! (Apparently all’s fowl in love and trade.)

Just think, if a ship departed Europe with a cargo of wheat, olives and onions, and it collided with a vessel transporting tomatoes and peppers from South America, you’d have all the ingredients for a really good pizza. A feeble attempt at humor, we agree, but our point here is that the benefits of the Grand Exchange that took place during the 16th century were far greater than the sum of the various parts (or foods). The benefits were a cultural exchange of customs and ideas, and an introduction of new taste sensations previously a world apart.

There’s another “grand exchange” that takes place in the spirit realm, when a person becomes a member of the family of God. And like its cultural counterpart, it encompasses a “trade” that’s extremely beneficial: our Heavenly Father gives every new believer “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3 King James)

That’s quite a trade! It means that God turns our biggest messes into beautiful messages; our greatest tests become our greatest testimonies; situations and circumstances that should have made us bitter end up making us better — or more like Him! Indeed, our Heavenly Father is an expert at turning things around. In fact, He can turn every curse into a blessing! (Deuteronomy 23:5)

We see this in the life of the Biblical hero Joseph. He was wrongly imprisoned (among other things), but his imprisonment eventually led to his vindication, as well as his being installed as the second highest authority in the land of Ancient Egypt. Joseph explains how God made a grand exchange on his behalf: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20 NLT)

When you feel like you’re at the end of your rope; when you’re tired, frustrated, and you just don’t get it; remember that God knows what you’re going through, and He’ll trade your weakness for His strength! “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses…. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (1 Corinthians 12:10 NLT) If you’re going through a tough time, if your life seems a bit messy at present, stop worrying and hand over your problems to the Lord. If you’ll trust Him to work on your behalf, He’ll turn things around for you! He’ll trade you beauty for the ashes of your mistakes, as well as any mistreatment you’ve suffered.

“And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him….” (Romans 8:28 NLT) So, what are you waiting for? Start trading your problems for God’s blessings!

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