POPCORN LADIES

One Saturday evening two middle-aged ladies walked into the Christian bookstore. I said hello as they came into the store and they both responded pleasantly, hello. They both had a bag of popcorn in their hands, and were munching popcorn as they browsed through the store. They stopped in the Bible section and started to look through the various versions of the Bibles. They continued to munch their popcorn as they were opening and going through the various Bibles.

I am not a sweet and gentle spirit by nature. I was born in West Texas and raised during my teen years in Oklahoma so I have a little red in my neck. My dad always tried to do his job to raise me to be a little meaner and tougher than the average guy. He had always told me he would whip me if he ever caught me starting a fight, but he would whip me harder if he ever caught me backing down from a fight. So I grew up participating in the occasional fist on face that the sons of red necks must always take part in. However, my spirit often rebelled against this barbaric behavior because of a compassion that lived deep within me. The sweet and gentle spirit I have is totally from God, despite my upbringing.

However, even Jesus exhibited righteous anger on occasion. In Matthew 21:12-13 we are told of the righteous anger of Jesus, which reads: 12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written. ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

There is a difference between the righteous anger Jesus exhibited that day, and the red neck anger we often exhibit. However, this particular Saturday night I was beginning to let some righteous anger creep up my spine. These two ladies were eating popcorn and thumbing through my Bibles as they did. I didn’t just think this was rude, I was feeling a touch of righteous anger in me. I wholeheartedly believe we treat the Word of God with love and respect. I did not feel these two ladies were treating these Holy Bibles with the respect the Word of God deserves. So I went over to see if I could provide any assistance. I resisted the urge to take a moist cloth and a roll of paper towels with me, but I was a little perturbed to say the least. I asked the ladies if I could be of any assistance. They both had King James Version (KJV) Bibles at home, and wondered what the difference was between the King James, New International Version (NIV) and the New King James (NKJV) Bibles. I explained that the New International Version was written to make for an easier understanding of the Word of God. It was written more in the way we talk today and had become the largest selling version of the Bible in the world. I went on to tell them that I had used the NIV for a while until I realized that anytime God’s name was used as a pronoun (He, Him, etc.), His name is not capitalized as a pronoun in the NIV. I told them I personally feel that if anything in creation should be capitalized, I feel it should be the names of God, whether used as a pronoun or not. Then I proceeded to tell these two ladies that after going back to my KJV from the NIV, I started reading a NKJV because it was easier to read and understand and they had written the Bible with the correct capitalization. I personally love this version of the Bible, and if I quote from the Bible, it is from the NKJV.

One of the ladies asked me to read Psalm 23, because it was her favorite scripture in the KJV and she wanted to know how it sounded in the NIV. I picked up the NIV and opened it up to the exact page where Psalm 23 was in this Bible. I was a little amazed as I turned the Bible to show the ladies that I had turned to the exact page where Psalm 23 was listed. I then commented, “God must really be with us to turn us to the exact page where we wanted to go.” They both nodded in amazement as they saw Psalm 23 at the top of the page where I was to read to them. But how was I supposed to know I was going to read what God wanted me to read and not at all what we expected. Here is what I read.

When you sit to dine with a ruler, Note well what is before you; And put a knife to your throat If you are given to gluttony. Then the Holy Spirit descended upon us like a ton of bricks and all three of us broke into uncontrollable laughter. When we finally were able to stop laughing and had dried our eyes, we were able to determine what had just happened. I had opened the Bible to Psalm 23 and all three of us had seen Psalm 23 at the top of the page. As I started to read Psalm 23, it was not Psalm 23 I had read, but the beginning of Proverbs 23. How had this occurred? Only God knows His plans, but He sure made it fun for all three of us that night.

The popcorn ladies had immediately thereafter asked me to dispose of their popcorn for them, and both bought a new Bible for themselves, of which I engraved their names on the covers, and continued to shop in the store for over two hours. They both were totally enraptured in the Spirit of the Lord. Together they probably spent well over five hundred dollars in the store that night, but it was with pure joy they both said as they were leaving that night, “We have never in our lives had so much fun in a store as we have had this evening. Thank you so much.” I told them that it wasn’t me, it was the Holy Spirit Who had made their shopping experience so much fun. I thanked them for having blessed me with participating in what God had done that night. We serve an awesome God. His humor is beyond compare. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What a combination. People who do not know this awesome Threesome sure miss out on a lot of fun and joy.

The closer you get to God, the more the devil will attack you, however I wouldn’t trade these fun times with God for anything. I had approached these two ladies in supposed righteous anger, and then God turned it into an anointed journey into joy. Thank you Lord for not letting me scare these two ladies away with my holier than thou attitude, and for letting us participate in Your blessings that evening. I love You Lord.

And what were these ladies favorite scripture? Psalm 23. Which reads as follows:

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, They comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. NKJV

It didn’t have the same message as Proverbs 23 had this Saturday night, however Psalm 23 is sure beautiful. I can really understand why these two sweet spirited popcorn ladies have this for their favorite scripture. I guess this particular Saturday night was one of those nights that God was there to comfort them. For surely their cup of joy ran over on this anointed night in the presence of God. Thank You Lord for letting me share in the blessings. I love You.