The Mighty Thor! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Recently 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. Do 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 him 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. He pulverizes frozen strawberries and other fruits. When he whirls his hammer — uh, blades — he 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 of 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)

For more Wit and Wisdom inspired by Food, Cooking, Kitchen Tools and Appliances, read Tom & Wilma’s book Angel in the Kitchen 

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Of Rice and Relationships (Angel in the Kitchen)

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We caused quite a stir with a previous article, “A Stirring Message,” in which we discussed the importance of stirring things up: certain foods
and beverages require stirring to obtain the proper flavor and consistency; similarly, each of us should “stir up” the gifts and talents God has bestowed, in order to bring out our best and most consistent qualities.

However, when it comes to certain methods of cooking, we get the best results by NOT stirring! For example, good cooks agree that if you want to prepare rice that’s fluffy, not gooey and sticky, the secret to success is simple: don’t stir the pot!

Rice is a staple food in numerous countries, including the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, respectively the birthplaces of Wilma’s father and mother. In their cultures, serving sticky rice is an unpardonable sin, which is why Wilma’s Mamita taught her the secret to good rice: fill the pot with just enough water to cover the rice, bring the water to a boil, add the rice, reduce the heat, cover it — and then leave it alone! Do. Not. Stir. It!

Stirring the rice mixture will upset the proper balance of steam, and also cause the release of excess starch (which results in the grains becoming gooey and sticking together). But for many cooks, following this simple tip is easier said than done. Some of us just can’t resist removing the lid and stirring things up! The same can be said of our relationships. The secret to success in all social interactions is simple: don’t stir the pot! Ignoring this basic truth can lead to some sticky situations and generally makes a (gooey) mess of things.

The well-known idiom “stirring the pot” can be defined as: promoting feelings of annoyance, agitation or dissatisfaction; by encouraging tension and conflict between two or more people — or groups of people — in order to make trouble or to elicit a strong emotional reaction. Simply put, “stirring the pot” involves any words or actions intended to get someone emotionally worked up!

We all know someone in life, next door, at the job, down the street, who seems to take great pleasure in stirring things up. They revel in creating strife, division, and needless drama. Sometimes these people are just bored, so they try to liven things up at someone else’s expense. Sometimes the “pot stirrer” has more selfish reasons, and hopes to gain some advantage over another person. Sometimes, however, there are more devious psychological motivations at work. For instance, because “misery loves company,” a discontented person will do his best to stir up discontent.

Really? How sad.

Pot stirring can take many forms, such as teasing or “joking” about an emotionally painful relationship or situation; making provocative statements intended to fuel the flames of discord; or … repeating gossip!

Spreading rumors — or simply repeating the news about someone’s problems, setbacks, and relational confrontations — can stir up more bitterness, more strife and more division. It also hinders God’s ability to heal emotional wounds and bring unity.

The Bible gives a strong warning to would-be pot stirrers: “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven: haughtiness, lying, murdering, plotting evil, eagerness to do wrong, a false witness, sowing discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 TLB) This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list of the actions and attitudes that grieve our Lord. But interestingly, stated together in this single verse, are several offenses which clearly define the act of stirring the pot. And if God “hates” these thIngs, we can assume that He does not prosper the pot stirrer. In fact, the opposite is true: God bestows His particular blessings on the peacemaker!

“Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous — with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!” (Matthew 5:9 AMPC) Let’s receive this as the primary lesson of God’s “Pot Principles.”

The second lesson is for all those of us who at one time or another have been on the receiving end of pot stirring. If you’ve been the victim of gossip, or falsely accused, or punished for doing the right thing, God wants you to keep your cool — to paraphrase the fictional character James Bond, shaken but not stirred! — and remain in peace. Life is not always fair, but then, you knew that. Right? Furthermore, God is our advocate; He is always just, so we need to trust Him to vindicate us in any given situation. The Biblical Joseph did this, and things worked out better than he could have imagined. Read his hair-raising life story in Genesis 37-50.

You finally ready to stop stirring the pot?

The third lesson of God’s Pot Principles dovetails nicely with #2. It’s always best to let God do the stirring. Be stirred by His Word, by His goodness, power and wisdom. “He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright He is!” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NLT)

And remember, stirring the pot is bad for both rice and relationships!

“Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, to my cause, my God and my Lord. Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me.” (Psalm 35:23-24 NKJ)

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