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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Follow Those Who Lead You to God

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

A Facebook meme grabbed my attention this week

I've thought about it all week. This is excellent advice to those dating but it goes way beyond that. How do I know a church is right for me? A friendship, mentor, or prayer partner? The answer is the same. Are they leading me to God?
I thought of all of the people God sent and still sends to lead me to Him. Family, church members, mentors, pastors, and friends. Those leading me to God are the only ones I want influencing my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical life. Certainly, there are many in our lives who don't lead us towards God and I am not suggesting we leave them behind. My mentor Pastor Ron Fuller often references people who are his by "blood, adoption, or assignment." What I am suggesting is to only adopt people as spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical influencers if they lead us towards God. Pop psychology might call them the people we let "inside our head." The voices we allow to encourage or correct. Those with whom we ride emotional roller coasters or work beside until we are bone weary. Those whose words send us to the word of God and our prayer closets. Those who will go to the word of God and their prayer closets on our behalf.

Biblically, we have obligations to many people but obligations are different than following someone. For example, we are linked to our spouses for life, even when they aren't leading us towards God but even in marriage, God has exceptions for broken covenants. Our family is our family and as such are ours but we all know family situations that become so toxic that boundaries had to be set and relationships put on hold. God sends assignments on a regular basis and since "lost people act like lost people," often those assignments include dealing with bad behavior. However, we get to choose whom we adopt and give permission to influence our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical lives. Those privileged spots belong only to those who lead us towards God. Knowing that means we can fulfill family obligation and accept God's assignments without having expectations and being hurt when family and those God assigns let us down.

I haven't always understood that or the difference in those relationships - blood, adoption, and assignment and as such, was hurt because I gave the wrong people permission to impact my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical life. Not everyone in my life has the goal of leading me to God. If I allow those with other motives a high level of influence, I'm hurting them and me by allowing them to lead me in the wrong direction. This can include both big life changing issues and something as small as an hour or even minutes of my time. I've lost count of the things I tried to do to "please" people, only to end up feeling sorry for myself because they demanded more without seeming to appreciate what I'd already given up to please them. That feeling of self righteous self pity was often my first clue that I'd given the wrong people permission to influence my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical life. I've come to understand that when people I trust tell me I need to learn to say "no," they are really telling me that I need to get better at knowing to whom I need to say "no."

It isn't hard to know who God has assigned to us. We want to help. We make sacrifices joyfully and peacefully without expectations that they will give back to us. We also know those who are ours metaphorically by "blood" - our family. Family responsibilities like taking care of aging parents or caring for our children are instinctive and we can joyfully accept them, even when they are hard. I think that is what Daddy meant when he said he never resented anything he chose to do for people, which was a lot. Daddy also didn't let people push him into doing things he didn't want to do. We instinctively know who is leading us astray by that knot in our gut. What Daddy was a master at took me years to learn and sometimes only moments to forget. The combination of people demanding my time out of a sense of entitlement and me feeling "stuck" but doing it anyway was me choosing to follow people doing their best to lead me towards their desires instead of God's desires. I had to learn that the only "Well done!" I needed was God's.

If you've wondered why this ministry is called Pocket Full of Change, it is because we are called to help people make some kind of change, large or small, that leads them in the direction of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Having a pocket full of change is a metaphor for being prepared. We like to say that we help people prepare for life and eternity. The quarters we give out represent God's free gift and being prepared. On our travels, we often have just a moment with people and we want to make the most of that moment. Yes, if they aren't in a saving relationship with Jesus, we start there. Many we minister to have already met Jesus but for whatever reason, they have chosen to tiptoe, walk, or run in the opposite direction. Helping people "change" directions is the real call of this ministry. It is why we evangelize, blog, write books, use Social Media, coach, speak, train evangelists, and write this Moment. We think in terms of helping people make the wobbly baby steps towards the direction of God and see God as the beaming loving Father waiting with arms outstretched to catch the stumbling infant as he or she pitches forward into His arms. This line from the Moriah Peters song, "Well Done," is our constant prayer: "If they're following me, they're going to follow you."
Who steadies and guides you as you make those wobbly baby steps towards the loving arms of God? Who puts leading you towards God ahead of anything personally they might need or want from you? Put those people on your "adopt" list and celebrate them. If you can't name anyone, don't worry. Ask God to send you some. I know from experience that he'll say yes. When they arrive, test what they say against the word of God and if they pass the test, adopt them.

Check your relationships. Are they yours by blood, adoption, or assignment? Some will be on all 3 lists and a few might not be on any. Make sure you understand what list they belong on and adjust as the Holy Spirit leads. Choose who you adopt and make that group the only people you allow to lead you to Him. Again, to quote "Well Done," follow only those people who lead you straight into His arms. The only "Well Done" any of us need to hear is from God.

The Adoption Test 

  • Does the peace of God rule in your heart when you are with them?
  • Are you thankful for them?
  • Does the message of Christ dwell richly between you
  • Do you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit?
  • Do you sing to God about them with gratitude in your heart?
  • Is everything they ask of you in the name of the Lord Jesus?
If the answer is yes, adopt and give thanks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We Can Be Washed White As Snow

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

It's snowing here. Fluffy white flakes are falling past my window on the 22nd floor. When I went to bed last night, the streets and rooftops were black. This morning, they were bright white. There is nothing like fresh snow to make everything feel like new.

I've thought about "white as snow" all week as Cathy Tubbs and I picked our way around the foul smelling litter left from late night Mardi Gras partying. White is one of the colors on the bracelets Cathy Tubbs and I used to share the good news of Jesus with Mardi Gras crowds drinking, puffing, partying, and trying to recover from such things. I thought about "white as snow" again when I used the same bracelets to share the Gospel with my innocent 5 and 7 year old cousins on Saturday afternoon . My tiny cousins already loved Jesus but the fresh snow on the ground brought the story to life as I pointed to the white bead and compared it to the newly fallen sparkling white snow these little people were so mesmerized by. I've learned that the wonder of being made as pure as newly fallen snow is the same for an innocent 5-year-old and an adult hardened by years of decadence.

Like us, many were in New Orleans sharing about Jesus during Mardi Gras. Hundreds were there to share the hope of being made as pure as snow. A few were there to shout threats and insults in a misguided attempt to scare people into turning away from sin. Because our messages were so different, I began thinking of the two groups as "Good News Christians" and "Bad News Christians." The "Good News Christians" far outnumbered the "Bad News Christians" but unfortunately, it was the "Bad News Christians" that many in the crowd associated Christianity with. The message of both groups brought to mind the scripture that says whatever we do to the least of His brothers and sisters, we do to Jesus. The "Good News Christians" reminded me of the man who carried Jesus' cross and the "Bad News Christians" reminded me of those shouting taunts at Jesus and crying for his crucifixion. As indignant as I wanted to be with the "Bad News Christians," I had to remember that Jesus died for the very people who cried for His crucifixion. You can probably make a guess about which approach helped those there to party hearty become pure as new snow.

Cathy and I had 72 people choose to be made as pure as new snow. Mardi Gras attendees love getting beads and they loved getting our "Mardi Gras Love Bead Bracelets." As we tied them on, we started with the gold bead and the hope of heaven. We used the dark bead to demonstrate that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin is death. The red bed shared the good news that God loved the world so much that He sent his only son Jesus so that all who believed could be saved. When we got to the white bead and gave the good news that the gift of God was eternal life and that all who called on the name of Jesus would be saved and washed white as snow, we often saw the light of hope enter the eyes of the listener. If they chose to invite Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior, those same eyes lit with what we call the Holy Spirit Glow - where hope became reality. When we pointed to the green bead and explained how to grow closer to the one who had washed them white as snow, they listened.

We were not the only Good News Christians experiencing the joy of being with someone at the moment they were washed white as snow. Many were reporting salvations. I observed 2 college students lead a man to Jesus, hug him, and when the new Christian left, hug each other and jump up and down with glee.

I was particularly touched by Mardi Gras attendee Morgan's beautifully painted Mardi Gras face and haunted eyes. When we met her, she was suffering because the "Bad News Christians" had used their bull horns to mock her, call her nasty names, and tell her she was going to hell. We offered her one of our Mardi Gras love bead bracelets. She took it but when we told her we were Christians, she almost bolted in fear.

"Wait," I begged. "We're the good news Christians. I'm so sorry that just happened to you."

Morgan froze and listened warily as we explained the beads. When I got to the dark bead about sin, she took a step backwards and said, "I've made so many mistakes. I'm trying to make up for them but maybe I can't. It bothers me all the time."

"Please keep listening," I begged. "We've all sinned. Those people who just shouted at you have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have." She stayed.

When we reached the hope of the white bead, a perfectly formed teardrop appeared in the corner of one eye. I reached up and gently used my thumb to catch her tear. As I looked at that wet teardrop still fully formed but now on my thumb, I was reminded of Jesus' anguished prayers as his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus faced that anguish so people like Morgan and you and me no longer had to carry the burden of sin. Yes, Morgan met Jesus and was washed white as snow. She hugged us and thanked us for telling her the good news of Jesus.

Today, do you know what can wash away your sin? Like the old hymn says, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Do you truly believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? When you see sin, do you believe that enough to identify with the sinner? Instead of feeling superior, do you have hope for the sinner through the white washing blood of Jesus? The wages of sin is death and that is a back breaking burden for the sinner. Do you believe that enough to have compassion for the sinner without trying to add to that burden by judgment, anger, or taunts? Do you believe that the word of God is alive and sharper than a double edged sword? Do you believe that enough to offer the good news of the Gospel scriptures and trust that the word of God will convict hearts? Do you believe that the power of Jesus can wash anyone as white as snow no matter how crimson the stain? Do you believe it enough to sing: What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. (From What Can Wash Away My Sin by Robert Lowry)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The End

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
The End

Written In Jacksonville, Florida
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4

It was time for the 2015 Pocket Full of Quarters Journey to come to an end. I knew it because I felt the "Uncalling." I also knew it because our bank account and credit card balances matched - which meant that as soon as we paid the bill for the last month of travel, we'd be out of money. Besides, I had a grandson turning 4 and I wanted to be at his birthday party in Jacksonville on Sunday. I can always tell when God has released me from a focused journey call because I begin feeling called back to my family.

I left the Fullers in Manchester, Tennessee on Friday. The plan was to drive to Atlanta, have dinner with my best friend, Nancy Edwards, and pick hubby Bob up at the Atlanta airport at 10:00 PM. We had a reservation in an Atlanta campground and planned to drive home on Saturday.

The drive from Manchester to Atlanta was slow and dangerous. What should have taken three hours, took six. Impatient drivers cut across multiple lanes of traffic. I passed several serious accidents and was almost involved in 2. I called Nancy several times to change meetings times. Finally, at 8:30 PM when we realized that traffic wasn't going to allow me to get to our meeting place, Nancy changed meeting locations. My cell phone wasn't charging and my phone wasn't receiving all calls and texts and I felt very alone. I arrived after 9 at the new meeting place, hungry and exhausted. Nancy knew what I liked and had ordered for me so my food was waiting.

I wanted to fall into my best friend's loving arms and allow her to comfort me but she'd brought a friend along who needed the combined ministering attention of the two of us. We do this occasionally and I wasn't surprised. Without any prepping, I assessed the situation, prayed, went into "Encounter Mode," and we ministered together as we have done so many times throughout our lives.

I knew I was going to be late picking Bob up and knew he'd understand. There was more traffic getting to the airport and it was after midnight when I gratefully released the driving and prepping the camper for the night over to him. I collapsed into bed and slept straight through the night.

We've had 198 salvations! I thought as soon as I woke the next morning. We need two more so it will be an even 200. God, it would delight me if you send us 2 more salvations.

I briefed Bob and even though we were both anxious to get to our home in Jacksonville, we began slowly making our way to Jacksonville, stopping where we saw people. We sowed seeds and had great encounters...but no salvations. It was getting late and we just wanted to be home.

"I need coffee to stay awake," Bob said.

"I see a shopping center. Pull off there. Maybe there will be people and we can evangelize one last time."

We pulled in to an empty parking lot. The shopping center had seen more prosperous days. The stores were closed or empty. There was 1 bakery/antique shop that looked open all the way at the end of the parking lot.

"Maybe they have coffee," I suggested. There were no other customers.

"Is your coffee fresh?" Bob asked.

"I'll make more," a cheerful Alexis said. While the coffee was brewing, we found out that her husband and his family were born again Christians. She believed in Jesus but admitted that there was something missing. There certainly was. No one had told her how to invite Jesus into her life. Within minutes, Alexis knew Jesus. That made 199 salvations.

"I have to find a restroom," I told Bob after he got his coffee. He waited and I made my way through the antiques and found myself in a kitchen in the back. There a sad eyed, thin, stringy haired girl was cleaning up after a day of baking.

"Where is the restroom?" I asked. She pointed the way.

"May I give you a gift?" Her name was Michelle. She smiled as I gave her a Gospel Bracelet and told her what it meant.

"You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today," Michelle said. About that time, a man walked in and glared at us.

"Do we need to talk later?" I asked. "I'll wait." I assumed this was her manager and didn't want to get her in trouble.

"No!" she said, glaring back at him. "I need to finish this. We don't have any customers and I'm almost done here." With her manager standing there glaring, she wept as she invited Jesus to be her Savior.

"Thank you God," I prayed. "200!"

Alexis joined us in the kitchen, still smiling. I suggested that the two of them find a church and grow together in their walk with Jesus. I turned to the still glaring manager and offered a bracelet but he wasn't interested. As I left, both woman rolled their eyes at the manager and as he walked toward them, they stepped warily out of his path. I knew there was a story there.

I found the restroom and made my way back to the front of the store. Bob was talking to a vender, managing one of the antique booths. He was the only other person in this huge store and he was sitting down in a chair attached to an oxygen tank. I hadn't even noticed him before.

"John has COPD and the doctors can't do anything else to do for him," Bob reported.

"I'm so sorry," I said to John. "My Daddy had that and I know how hard it is."

"We'd just started talking," Bob said. "John doesn't know where he is going in the next life." That was my cue.

I walked around behind the counter and tied a bracelet on his wrist. I gave the Gospel and after John prayed to invite Jesus into his life, I asked, "Now where are you going in the next life?"

"I reckon I'm going straight to heaven," he said, giving me a big Georgia-boy grin. Yes, he was!

"Wow," I said as we got in the car. "Good job Bob! I also had a salvation in the back of the store."

"I wondered what took so long," Bob said.

"That makes 201," I answered. Should we try for 205?"

"Cheryle!" Bob said, smiling. "You know that when we set a goal, God always blesses us with a bonus. Remember that leap year when we were at 364 salvations? You wanted to have 1 salvation for every day of the year so we needed 2 more. We stopped at Walmart at 11:30 PM on New Year's Eve. Not only did God send 2 more salvations, he gave a bonus of 1 more so we had 367. Can we please go home now?"

We did. We pulled into the driveway late Saturday night October 17, 2015. So far, I'd visited 35 states in 2015. Since leaving home exactly 2 months before, God had allowed us to have 201 salvations. He sent countless more Divine Encounters and many opportunities to train people to give the Gospel. It was the best Pocket Full of Quarters Journey ever. The harvest is the ripest I've ever experienced and we're getting close to 1,000 salvations for the year. Maybe God will send 1001.

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Live Gracefully

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
Live Gracefully

Written In
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake Romans 1:5

Do you live by grace? I pray you are saved by grace but I'm talking about living beyond being saved for eternity. I'm talking about living gracefully - understanding grace in light of everything that happens in your life. For me, living gracefully has been a process with ups and downs, stops and starts, and like peeling away layers of an onion to get to the flavorful part in the middle. This week peeled away another layer of the living gracefully onion.

I spent a couple of days at the home of my ministry mentors, Pastor Ron and Amanda Fuller. Yes, some of the time was spent evangelizing and 4 people met Jesus while I was there but most of the time was spent in their home chapel with Pastor Fuller literally standing at his black board and me taking notes on scripture and process applications for fulfilling God's call to Pocket Full of Change Ministries. Part of Pastor Fuller's call to ministry is equipping others to do the work of equipping the body of Christ for ministry. I am just one of many that he and his wife pour scriptural knowledge, experience with running ministries, and their unique spiritual gifts into. I always leave better prepared to fulfill my call from God.

This time my lesson was about living more gracefully. Technically, I knew that every good and perfect gift came from God. After all, I'm a Bible student. Having said that, I've always had trouble accepting ministry gifts from others. For example, when people take me into their home, I worry about their inconvenience, particularly because part of the nature of what I do means I can't always know ahead when I'm going to arrive. I joke that God doesn't seem to understand scheduling when I open myself to traveling America and going where He leads. Last minute critical assignments and/or encounters delay me for hours or even days. My hosts have to understand that but even when I've clearly heard and obeyed God and the fruits of the surprise encounters are obvious to all, I was still bothered by the scheduling inconveniences to others.

The same has been true when people donate. I worried about their ability to afford it, worried that their love for me put pressure on them, and felt constant pressure to be worthy of their faith in me. You are probably beginning see the problem.
Add to that how blessed I am by the number of people who follow me and reach out via email, text, phone or social media. No matter how many hours I work, I go to bed nightly without something done that has a person waiting. It has been frustrating that even on the most amazing days where I had many salvations, I could still go to bed feeling badly about something I hadn't done.
Now let's talk about my family and friends. I know how blessed I am. No matter how much a part of their lives I was or how hard I tried, I often felt as if I hadn't done enough or had let someone down.

I realized this week just how much all of this tortured me and hampered my effectiveness. Everything I've just mentioned are gifts from God because of His grace. By feeling unworthy or trying to be more worthy, I've been living as if these gifts were either things I earned, things humans gifted to me, or gifts I had to work for. What I'd thought of as humility, gratefulness, and care for others was actually audacity that I was the one Christian to whom God's plan for graceful living didn't apply. Trying to work to be worthy of this many blessings was exhausting because of the impossibility of it. It worked me to death and stole my joy of the blessings. Thinking I could ever be worthy of so many blessings is not scripturally sound and my feelings of unworthiness and gyrations to try to be worthy actually chases away new gifts God wants to give me.

So what do I do? Well, I start by not being surprised or feeling more unworthy. I'm human and we've all fallen short of the glory of God. I offer grace to myself and accept God's sweet graceful response that He will help me do better in the future. I rebuke the lies from the enemy and trust what the scripture says about the source of gifts. I confess my fears of losing precious gifts, dishonesty in recognizing the source of all gifts, selfishness in trying to hold onto gifts, and the self seeking involved in trying to be worthy of gifts that came to me via grace. I ask for forgiveness, make any necessary amends, and relax and enjoy even more graceful living.

This was a big week for me. I feel like a huge burden was lifted. Gone was the guilt that Pastor Ron and Amanda Fuller stopped all of their other important work and focused just on me. It was replaced with the wonder of the blessing. Imagine how blessed I feel to recognize that those comfortable homes I'd stayed in and all of the people who partnered with me through donations to take Jesus to America were gifts straight from the Creator of the Universe. I went to a birthday party for a grandchild yesterday and was overwhelmed with joy that the God who hung the stars in the sky took the time to craft this family just for me. I turned on my computer for the first time in days this morning and saw the blessings of all the emails without the stabbing pain that people were waiting for a reply. Anything I do for them isn't from me, it is a blessing from God sent when God chooses to send it. Can you imagine the relief of that knowledge? Instead of a voice whispering that I haven't done enough, my voice has shouted to God, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Here is my commitment to you. If you choose to bless this ministry through your homes, time, spiritual gifts, prayers, or donations, I am going to praise God and stand in awe of His gift. We are partners in the joy of taking Jesus to America and participating together in this blessing from God. When you offer to be a conduit for God's gift, I won't insult you by asking if you are sure, worrying about your convenience, or trying to be worthy of your generosity. I'll just enjoy and put to use the blessing from God. When I do something for you, I ask you to do the same. Let's all just enjoy the blessings of God together. That is the gift of graceful living.

Are you worrying about what others think of you? Do you have trouble letting people help you? Does your best not seem good enough? Do you feel unworthy of good things coming your way? Perhaps, it is time to find relief in peeling away another layer on graceful living.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

He Heard Her Cries

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
He Heard Her Cries

Written In Manchester, Tennessee
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalms 18:6

"Can we go evangelizing tonight?" I texted to Tonya.

No hesitation. Just a quick yes. That is how it has always been with Tonya Payne. I ask her to go out and she stops everything and goes out.

Tonya and I have been evangelizing together for years at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. We have led many to Jesus together. I was in Manchester, Tennessee doing some ministry development work for Pocket Full of Change Ministries with my mentors, Pastor Ron and Amanda Fuller. They had a meeting to attend tonight so I texted Tonya. I didn't have to ask her twice.

First, we did the girlfriend thing. We had dinner and caught up on our families. Our waiter was already a Christian but needed prayer for his grandma so we did that. Then we headed to our favorite evangelism spot, Wal-Mart.

We began by praying together in the car. Then, we went inside and gave out Gospel Bracelets (thank you again Cathy Tubbs). Everyone we talked to was either already saved or got saved tonight. We felt the favor of the Lord all over Wal-Mart and 3 people met Jesus.

We both agreed that one particular encounter was worth the entire trip. We met Ashley in the women's clothing department. She caught my attention because of her fragile beauty. She was thin and wore jeans with creatively cut-out holes. Her dark hair, curled in a unique bun, was a stark contrast to her pale skin. She was in town visiting her boyfriend and didn't go to church. She believed in Jesus. Slight jerky movements indicated that she might have a medical condition or possible addiction issues.

When I asked where she was going in the next life, she hoped heaven but wasn't sure. She'd tried to be good but later admitted that she had made many mistakes.

"I try to teach my children not to make the mistakes I made," she told us. We were surprised that she had 2 children because she looked too young. She lived with alcoholic parents who she said had health problems, drove her crazy, and worried her.

She was hungry for every word we spoke and there was no hesitation about praying to meet Jesus. I spoke the words of the Gospel to her but the entire time we talked, she looked into Tonya's loving eyes as if she was drawing strength from Tonya.

When she finished praying, she put her hands over her face and said, "I needed this. I've been crying every night. I needed this!"

"Have you been crying out to God?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "Every night."

"He heard you and just answered your prayers. He has forgiven everything you have ever done. You are His beloved perfect child. One day, you'll be in heaven with Him."

She put her hands over her face again and wiped her eyes. "I needed this," she repeated.

"Do you need prayer for anything else?" I said, probing. "Do you have any strongholds like alcohol or drugs that we need to pray for? Any medical issues?"

"No drugs or alcohol but I've been so sick I can't eat. I eat one bite and I want to throw up. I was supposed to get biopsies done every 6 months and I haven't done that. I feel sick."

"Biopsies for possible cancer?" I asked. She looked sick to me.

"Uterine cancer," she whispered.

"How long has it been since you had a biopsy?" I asked.

"8 years."

"Let me pray for you," I said. This time, I prayed for her health, children, and parents. I encouraged her to see a doctor but she doesn't have medical insurance and it didn't sound like she was going to see a doctor.

Pray for sweet Ashley. Pray for her spiritual growth, health, children, and family situation. I have her email and I'll certainly follow up. I will also ask someone locally to follow up as well.

One thing for absolute certain - Tonya and I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit while talking with Ashley. She'd been crying out to God. He heard her cries and her eternity with Jesus is now sealed.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Reckon You're Right

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
I Reckon You're Right

Written In West Memphis, Arkansas
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:

"It is so dark. This road is narrow and bumpy. The giant trees are covered with moss and making a roof over me."

"Cheryle! Are you sure you turned on the right road?"

"I think so. I followed the directions. It says dead end."

"Are you still on the right road? You should have been there by now."

"I'm just getting deeper into the woods. The road is now gravel."

Bob had picked the campground. I was talking to him via my ear bud as I pulled down the long narrow road of the campground, nestled on the Arkansas side of Mississippi River. We knew that I'd be driving late so Bob had carefully made arrangements for the campground host to wait up for me and escort me to my campground.

"If it were daylight, I'd probably like this road," I assured Bob. I saw a fence covered in moss. Even the black metal silhouette of Tom Sawyer looked scary in the dark.

"I'm only getting about every 3rd word," Bob said.

Great, I thought. I'm losing cell coverage.

"I see the office. It looks like a shack. A man is standing out front with a beer can."

"What are you going to do?" I guessed Bob was hearing me again.

"I see someone in the office. I'm going in." Bob stayed on the phone. It turned out that the man only had a cup of coffee. The cheerful host had waited up for me and checked me in. The shack was actually a fun building made to look like Tom Sawyer's cabin. "That man over there will lead you to your site."

"Bob, I'm following a cart. What makes me willing to follow a man I don't know down a long dark dirt road to somewhere I haven't been? I know they probably don't do background checks on these camp workers."

Even in the dark, I could see the beautiful ponds and Mississippi river. We drove all the way to the end of the campground and parked right by the Mississippi River.

The man got out of his cart and walked to my window. I rolled down my window and asked, "What are those lights I'm looking at across the river?"

"That's Memphis," he said.

"It is beautiful."

"This is my favorite site in the entire park," he said cheerfully.

"I can certainly see why. My aunt and uncle and I took a river boat cruise from New Orleans to here a few years back. Would we have passed you?"

"Yes ma'am. The dock is right around this bend. They go back and forth all the time."

"It was a wonderful trip," I said.

"I've heard that. I've always wanted to go."

"I see a park bench and table next to the river. Is that another campsite?"

"No ma'am. That is for anyone to use."

"So I can take my Bible down there tomorrow morning?"

"Your Bible and anything else you want to take."

"Are you a reader of the Bible?"

"Well...," he said, dragging out the l.

"That means no," I laughed. "Did you ever read your Bible?"

"Yes ma'am. I grew up Catholic. We went to Bible class before and after every school day. I had more of it than I ever wanted."

I made the sign of the cross. He laughed and said, "I do pray but I can't rightly say I go to church anymore."

"If you're Catholic, I know you learned about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I also know they taught you about sin."

"I learned all about sin," he joked.

"Do you still believe?"

"I suppose I do."

"What about the next life? Do you know where you are going?"

"I can't know. I suppose that's up to God. He'll make that decision. I sure hope it is somewhere good."

"I hope so too. Actually, the Bible says you can know where you are going."

"Really?" he said, sounding surprised. Bob was still listening to every word but was completely silent.

"Yes," I said. I went through the Gospel scriptures. He emphatically agreed that we'd all sinned.

"It sounds like you learned a lot about Jesus but never met him personally," I said.

"I reckon you're right about that."

"Would you like to meet him now?"

"Does it take long?" he said worriedly. I guessed there was a wife back at his camper already aggravated that he'd had to wait up on a late camper.

"Not at all. It's the easiest thing you'll ever do," I encouraged.

Then I sure would," he said enthusiastically. He prayed to receive Jesus, looked up and grinned from ear to ear. He made the sign of the cross.

"Don't forget to give him a tract," Bob whispered into my ear. I jumped. I'd forgotten Bob was listening. I reached into my purse and handed him the tract named "You Made the Right Decision."

"Thank you ma'am," he said, pulling off still smiling.

"I knew he was toast as soon as he walked over to your window and was friendly," Bob joked.

"Bob, that was amazing! It was so easy."

"God sure handed it to you didn't he?" Bob agreed.

"Yes and this campsite is beautiful. Thank you for finding it. There is a giant barge going by being pushed by a tug boat. I'll post pictures in the morning.

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Straight to Heaven

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
Straight To Heaven

Written In Checotah, Oklahoma
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. Romans 21:21

Whenever campgrounds have restaurants, I eat there even if the food looks terrible. This is where campers like to mingle so I want to be there. This campground food was surprisingly delightful.

The couple sitting across from me were both Christians and fascinating people. We talked about computers, space shuttles, and Jesus. After we'd eaten, the wife Mary came over just to sit and talk.

Our server, Stacy, brought the check. I said, "Stacy, I got so busy talking with these people that I forgot to ask if you had any prayer requests. I usually say a blessing before I eat but if you have any, I'll pray for you back at my camper."

She looked completely stunned. Finally she said, "I would never pray for myself. That would be selfish. I would pray for other people but not for me. I don't want to be selfish."

"Stacy," I asked. "Do you believe in prayer?"

"I do," she replied.

"What about church?"

"I don't go," she said, looking ashamed.

"Stacy," I said gently. "The Bible says that all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved. Not all who go to church."

"Thank you," she said.

"What about Jesus? Do you believe in Him?"

"I do," she said.

"What about the next life? Where will you go when this life is over?"

Again, she looked ashamed. "I hope I get to come back and live a better life."

"I have a gift for you," I said, pulling out the Gospel bracelets. "I've already looked around and no one is waiting on you to do anything. May I give you the message of the bracelet?"


I spoke the scriptures, starting with the gold and heaven. She listened to every word. She loved the idea of being washed white as snow. She eagerly agreed to pray to receive Jesus.

"May I hold your hand?" I asked.

"You can, but I have poison oak."

"God will protect me," I said taking her hand.

After she prayed, I asked, "Now where are you going in the next life?"

"Straight to heaven!"

The Holy Spirit Glow was evident on Stacy's face. Mary wept and prayed aloud the entire time Stacy prayed. "Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this," she said to Stacy. "May I hug you?"

"You can if you aren't worried about getting poison oak."

"Like she said," Mary said as she hugged her. "God will protect us."

I saw Stacy several times as I walked around the campground today. She smiled all day and literally lit up when she saw me. She was still beaming when she brought us our dinner at their Chuck Wagon restaurant. I ate with Mary and her husband again and they bought my dinner. What a blessing today was! Is poison oak contagious?

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