Second Chance Popcorn - 9/23/2012

JOURNAL:  Some people have what is referred to as a “sweet tooth” but my wife has a “popcorn tooth.”  She loves popcorn but not the microwave kind.  Her brand preference is Orville Redenbacher's gourmet popcorn (O.R.G.P. for future reference) popped in a hot-air popcorn popper.  She does not put butter on it but only salt so it is not too unhealthy of a snack.  Especially when compared to anything with "Lil Deb," in front of it.  We have been out of it for a couple of weeks and she has been starting to go through withdrawals.  We rented a movie a week ago and they had microwave popcorn in the checkout which I pointed out to her.  She is very loyal to her hot-air popper popcorn and would not accept the cheap substitute.  But as I said, last night was her night.

After a trip to Costco, she once again had her beloved supply of O.R.G.P. and filled the pre-measured container of the hot air popcorn popper and plugged it into the wall and waited for some delicious popcorn delight.  (D.P.D. for future reference)  In a matter of seconds, the white fluffy popcorn began to fill the awaiting container.  After a few minutes the sound of newly transformed popcorn had ceased and there were no more clinking sounds of untransformed popcorn left in the hot-air popper.

At this point, my wife pulled the plug from the wall and started emptying her harvest from the container into an anxious and awaiting white bowl where she applied the salt, while sampling a few as she dumped.  It was then that she said to me, "Wow, there are sure a lot of old maids for gourmet popcorn."  I said, "Say what?" and she said it again, asking haven't you heard that before?  She was of course, referring to the un-popped or as I referred to them earlier as untransformed popcorn.  I really had not heard that saying used for popcorn before but knew what she was talking about and realized why they were called that when she said it.

In examining the bottom of the container, there was truly a lot of untransformed popcorn left in the container, way more than I would have expected.  I expected a minimal amount due to the ones getting taken from the heat along with transformed popcorn flying out, but I did not expect any duds...especially not from O.R.G.P. anyway.  But there they were much to my dismay...hundreds of them it seemed.  (On a side note here: I had to scoop and count the approximate amount of popcorn that goes into the popper.  Just to show how anal I am, there were 724)

This did not sit well with me and I asked my wife why she just did not put them back through.  She said she had never done this because she thought that if they did not pop the first time through, they were not going to pop.  She then commented they might burn but that I could try if I wanted.  Well, that was all I needed to hear...yes, I wanted!!!

Putting on my best superhero attitude and imaginary tights, I went back through all the untransformed popcorn putting them all back into the hot-air popper, plugged it back into the wall and subjected them once again to the heat.  A few of them came flying out again right away and after about thirty seconds passed, I thought that maybe my wife was right and I was wasting my time.  But then it happened.  POP...out came a big white fluffy guy with a big smile on his popcorn face.  Then there was another and then another and another and then finally...silence.

At this I was exuberant and brought the container into my wife exclaiming, "Here is your second chance popcorn!," and put them all in with the other popcorn.

About half of them had made it to transformation during this second run, so I gathered the rest for another try.  Again, with a little more heat, more white fluffy happy guys and gals came flying out smiling and giggling until again there was silence.

This cycle continued over and over again until I was down to trying to grab the last 20 or so with my fingers, continually throwing them back in to the heat as they came out untransformed while yelling at the top of my lungs, "COME ON LITTLE GUYS AND GALS, YOU CAN DO IT!" This did not go so well as the little suckers were hot and caused me to make small yelling sounds from the pain they were inflicting on my fingertips.  I quickly regrouped and knew I had to go to plan "B"...a spoon.   With this spoon, I continued over and over to scoop the untransformed back into the heat until I was down to only about 4 left in their kernel state.  At this point, I called the experiment finished and, "A GREAT SUCCESS FOR POPCORN WORLDWIDE."  (A.G.S.F.P.W. for future reference)

Have you ever felt the heat?  You know what I am talking about, that searing heat of the Holy Spirit of God trying to "POP" something in your life?  It starts at our conversion, when we are born again...POP...and continues as God challenges us to grow and mature!

Some of us initially pop when we are very young, some of us years later when we are a little older.  Some of us pop when we are teens and some of us in our 20's and 30's.  Some of us stubborn ones pop at a much older age and a few of us...never pop.  But it's not because God was not giving us what we needed to pop or pursuing us throughout our lives.  Like the parable about the shepherd going after his lost sheep, so our Father is always looking to bring us home.

If I wanted to put a corn pun here, I would suggest that God even has "stalked" us throughout our lives and tried to show us that we "reap what we sow," but I am not interested in inserting "corny" lines just to get a few more "ears" listening to this story.  So just forget it, it's not going to happen.  You are just going to have to wait for a whole other "crop" of words if you are looking for that kind of "harvest."  Sorry, this is just not the right place or time to "plant" some puns.

You see, we have the free will to keep jumping in OR out the hot-air popper, so to speak.  From our initial conversion to new life to every opportunity for growth God brings our way.  The ability to keep rejecting the truth, to rejecting the next step is to reject and step out of the heat.  God will continue to pursue us until the very end of our lives.  He is the God of first chances and the God of second chances.  He is also the God of third, fourth and fifth chances.  How high can you count?  He is the God of that many chances until the very end.  He will continue to spoon feed you back into the Holy Spirit air-popper in hopes that you will finally the best He has for you.

Think about a few of these examples:  Peter: From triple denying of Jesus to great pillar of the church.  Saul/Paul: From persecutor of church to servant of the Lord, great teacher and church planter who wrote a great bulk of the New Testament used prominently today.  Woman caught in adultery: From certain death by stoning to forgiveness and a new start.  Rahab: From prostitute to savior of Joshua's spies and into the bloodline of Christ.  Mary Magdalene: From a woman possessed by seven demons to a devout and delivered follower of Christ.  YOU and ME: From "____________" to "____________."  How would you fill in these blanks?  Where do you need to pop?  The choice is up to you.  The GREAT AIR-POPPER is waiting. Potter, it's me, Your clay.  Your stubborn and fickle clay.  I do not understand why You love me so much that You would come after me to bring me home.  I do not understand why You continue to try to refine me when at times getting me to listen is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.  But what I do know is I am so grateful for Your love and faithfulness.  Thank You dear Father for never, ever giving up on me.  You are amazing.

I love you,

David L. Wood 9/23/2012 (c)
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the writer, David L. Wood.

Luke 15:3-7 (NIV1984)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV1984)
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Psalm 12:6 (NIV1984)
And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.

Psalm 66:10 (NIV1984)
For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Isaiah 48:10 (NIV1984)
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Jeremiah 9:7 (NIV1984)
Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?

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