Angel in the Kitchen: The Mighty Thor!

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A couple months ago, we humorously divulged that our appliances seem to have their own personalities; and we’ve given them names. So,  continuing on that note….

Marvel’s hero Thor calls down the power!

On our kitchen countertop, Thor relaxes after his latest victory. He truly is the god of thunder, his red cape proudly displayed for all to see. No, we’re not describing the flying, hammer-wielding character from the Avengers movies. You think we’re crazy or something? Why would a resident of mythical Asgard — especially the son of Odin — be hanging out in our kitchen? Give us a break!  No, we’re discussing our new blender. A legend among household appliances! A superhero to the teeming masses of weaker food processors!

A hero is born: We love making smoothies — a splash of skim milk and a cup of frozen strawberries and blackberries. (The blackberries actually grow wild in the woods behind our home.) And sometimes we toss a scoop of protein powder into our smoothies. But we encountered a big problem while making our favorite shake. Our other blender is too mild-mannered to accomplish the task of grinding and mixing the icy fruit and other ingredients. Actually, we’re being kind: it was downright wimpy. It grumbled at us every time it had to make a smoothie. Its motor even whined! So we retired “Wimpy” to the garage, with the promise we’d bring it out once in awhile, for easier jobs, like blending a chocolate malt. Then we put in a call for help, and Thor arrived — via UPS — to save the day!

Thor is a rather impressive, even imposing, blender. It pulverizes frozen strawberries and other fruits. When it whirls its hammer — uh, blades — it creates a whirlpool of delicious smoothie! Until….

One day — gasp! — Thor stopped working! He’d been fine the previous morning, but when we pulled him out the appliance garage (Thor likes to call it Avengers Tower), tossed in some fruit, and punched the button … nothing! No action. No hearty battlecry. Nothing. “Thor,” we lamented, “Call down the lightning and make our smoothie!” Nothing.

Thor the Blender! Legendary among our kitchen appliances.

Fear not! Thor is alive and well; and whipping smoothies into delicious submission. But on that particular morning, when we pulled him from the appliance garage, we accidentally unplugged his power cord. Doh! Thor couldn’t get the job done because he was no longer connected to the power source. Once he was plugged back in, he was again able to call down the thunder and rescue us from … er … being hungry!

Lesson learned: You can have the world’s greatest kitchen appliances, but if they’re not plugged in to the source of power, they’ll never do the jobs they were created for. Betcha know what’s coming next.

God created each of us for a special purpose. We each have great value and a particular set of talents and abilities bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father. And part of the joy of life is discovering His purpose and plan for each of us. But it’s no great mystery. We were created in His image and set upon earth to make a positive contribution: specifically, to help those around us — especially, to point the way to salvation through Christ — and to bring glory to God. In other words, we were designed to reflect God’s character to the world. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

But we need to be plugged in! If we’re going to “call down the lightning”; if we’re going to tap into God’s Holy Spirit power and anointing (His divine, supernatural influence which is necessary to accomplish His will and impact the world for His eternal purposes), then we need to maintain an unbroken connection to THE POWER. First, we do our utmost NOT to impede the flow of current. Sin separates us from God. So when we fail, we must run to Him, confess our weaknesses, and ask Him to cleanse us — of anything that could drive a wedge between the relationship we have with the God of the Universe. Sin, by the way, is not a list of DON’Ts. Sin is anything that separates YOU from God. “…If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us … and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)

The TRUE God of Thunder: “Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice…. It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes in every direction.” (Job 37:2-3 NLT)

Second, we never cut the lines of communication. To the contrary, we must remain vigilant over everything we do. We must stay in constant touch with our Lord, through daily prayer and Bible reading. Prayer is a fancy word for talking to our Lord: sharing your thoughts, your concerns, your problems; telling Him how much you appreciate the things He’s accomplished for you (including salvation); and reminding Him (and yourself) exactly how exceedingly perfect and wonderful He is! “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7 ESV)

Third, we need to stay in fellowship with other believers, encouraging and strengthening one another. There’s great strength in numbers, folks. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together … but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT)

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Diet for Dreamers: Rocky Road to Success

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During his birth, in July 1946, a mishandled forceps delivery severed a nerve on the lower left side of Sylvester Stallone’s face, causing partial paralysis of his lip, tongue, and chin. As a result, Stallone grew up with slightly slurred speech and a sad, drowsy-eyed countenance. In school the other kids taunted him. At age nine his parents divorced, and for a time, Stallone was shuttled from one foster home to another. But the talented American actor, director and screenwriter didn’t let any of these circumstances hold him back in life. His disadvantaged childhood was only the first round in a grueling fight to be a success.

Early in his acting career Stallone struggled to support himself. He took bit parts in television shows and cheap films, but it was never enough. He was evicted from his apartment and ended up sleeping in a New York City Bus Terminal for three weeks. Stallone once said, “…I was at the end — the very end — of my rope.” At one particularly low point, in order to keep his electricity turned on, the actor was forced to sell his best friend, a Bullmastiff named Butkus, for $25.

About 2 weeks later, early in 1975, Stallone saw the Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner heavyweight boxing match. That night Stallone went home and started writing the script for the movie Rocky. Three days later, and after 20 straight hours of writing, he’d completed it. Then started the next grueling round, actually several rounds: he tried repeatedly to sell his script, and repeatedly it was rejected. In fact, Stallone received hundreds of NO!s Maybe one deterrent was his stipulation that whichever studio purchased the script also had to hire him to play the title role. The actor knew his concept was a valuable property, and he also knew he was born to play Rocky Balboa. It was his best shot, his chance of a lifetime, and he refused to throw in the towel.

Even Butkus got to be in ROCKY.

Finally, United Artists offered to buy the script for $125,000. But the studio wanted a big star for the lead role, perhaps Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds. Stallone was actually the LAST person UA wanted for the part. The studio didn’t think he could act and that he wouldn’t be believable in the role of a weary club fighter who suddenly gets a shot at the World Heavyweight title. So Stallone refused the offer.

But producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff really wanted Stallone’s script. They upped their offer to $350,000, but they were adamant that someone else would play Rocky. Oh yeah? Bottom line, UA got the script and Stallone got the part, a plum role for a virtually unknown actor. But the studio had grave doubts the movie would succeed without a more talented, better-known performer, so they drastically cut the film’s production budget and agreed to pay Stallone a paltry $35,000 plus a percentage of the profits — should the movie make any!

Stallone immediately used the money to buy back his dog — for a whopping $15,000 — proving that: a) some opportunistic person took advantage of the actor’s windfall; b) Stallone really loved that pooch; and c) dogs may be the world’s greatest financial investment!

Rocky was made for $1,000,000; pretty cheap even for 1976. The movie proved both a critical and popular success. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, and grossed over $200,000,000. Not bad. And Stallone, the down and out actor, the unknown quantity who kept slugging it out for what he believed in, received two Academy Award nominations that year, for Best Actor and Best Dramatic Screenplay. Stallone went the distance with his dream. The actor can say, just as his Rocky character shouts it from the ring at the movie’s end: “I did it!”

Don’t give up! And if you have deep convictions about a project, then don’t give in! “Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ISV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 Jubilee Bible 2000)

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