Preventing Clogs! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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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 the “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)

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Solomon’s Secret for Success (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #10)

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Commit your efforts to God.

One of the wisest men of all time, the Biblical King Solomon, once wrote, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV) These words of wisdom are as fresh and as relevant today as when they were first recorded, nearly 3000 years ago. And, this advice is vital to creators and dreamers alike — actually, to every last one of us.

Get Tom & Wilma’s new book.

The word commit has several connected and related meanings: “to send, to consign, to entrust, or to place in the care and keeping … of something or someone. The word work applies pretty much to everything we do in life, whether we’re pursuing a dream, mowing the lawn, or taking a covered dish to a sick neighbor. In fact, it applies to life itself.

Rather than further explain what Solomon meant, we’ve decided instead to share two alternate but highly accurate translations of the same Proverb: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (NIV) “Entrust your efforts to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (GW) No, we couldn’t express this any better.

Committing all our efforts (creative or otherwise) to God, and then entrusting Him with both the process and the outcome, requires us to do two interrelated things:

Lean on the Lord!
The wise thing to do.
Lean on God. It’s the wise thing to do.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the magnitude of your vision? Have you felt that fulfilling your dream is far beyond your capabilities? Perhaps you have the talents and abilities, but lack the right connections or sufficient resources (finances, knowledge, background) to achieve your goals. Perhaps you even feel like you’re in way over your head, drowning in a sea of challenges and problems, fear and doubt.

Try this: “Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 GW) “Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.” (Psalm 55:22 TLB)

In other words, lean on God! With all your weight (spiritual, emotional, intellectual). “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders — He’ll carry your load, He’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.” (Psalm 55:22 MSG) His shoulders are infinitely strong and broad, and He delights in carrying us as much as we delight in carrying a beloved child or a favorite pet.

It’s a humbling experience, but what’s wrong with a little humility in the face of overwhelming odds and obstacles? What’s wrong with placing (committing) total dependence on the Creator of the Universe? The Apostle Paul had to do just that, and he was a pretty savvy fellow: smart, well educated, well-connected, competent, capable and independent. But Paul wrote, “[God] said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)

Grace is the power to endure, overcome, triumph, and succeed. It’s the supernatural patience, stamina, and strength God imparts to us, after we become totally dependent upon Him, trusting Him totally with our fondest hopes and dreams, and relying totally on His goodness, His guidance, His ability, His answers, His resources — and His faithfulness to keep His promises!

This leads us to the second aspect of “Committing our efforts to God” — which we’ll discuss on Friday.

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