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Monday, March 31, 2014

Allow the Joy of the Lord


Have you heard the expression, I want to be the person my dog thinks I am? I want to be the person my 5-year-old granddaughter, Abigaile, thinks I am.

“Gigi,” she asked. “Do you ever run out of adventures?” I assured her that when you love God and people, adventures abound. May I always remember that.

The fact that I am directionally challenged and am often lost is a long-standing family joke. Loyal Abigaile, who has been with me when I was lost, insists that her Gigi is the best “finder” ever because no matter how lost Gigi is, she eventually “finds” her way. May that be true spiritually and physically.

Abigaile loves Jesus and giving the Gospel. On Saturday, we went to a children’s evangelism event. As we listened, she whispered excitedly, “Gigi, he is speaking The Gospel!” May we always share the thrill of the Gospel.

Joy of the Lord

On Friday, I bought a new car. It is tiny, inexpensive, and practical – a Nissan Versa Note – but to Abigaile, it is the greatest car in the world. When discussing car names, she suggested, “Gigi, you have joy in the Lord. We could call her Joy Of the Lord. Her nickname could be Joy. It’s perfect.” May driving that car help me live up to what Abigaile thinks of me – that I have the joy of the Lord.

I am human and sometimes I confuse Abigaile. A rude driver cut in front, almost causing an accident. I expressed my frustrations aloud and she asked, “Gigi, doesn’t he just need Jesus? We need to pray he finds Jesus.” Ouch. Once, she overheard Bob and I having marital “discussion” about something that probably didn’t matter. She asked, “Are you fighting with GrandBobby?” “No,” I answered. “It is just a discussion.” She said matter-of-factly, “It sure sounds like a fight.” Ouch.

The influence I have over Abigaile is precious – a holy honor. I have to wonder how many times I can confuse her before she decides that having joy in the Lord is just a false hope. She is human and needs to see my humanness because I want her to understand redemption, but I also want to model that joy in the Lord is possible in all circumstances. I can’t “fake it” because little Abigaile would see right through it. No, if I want to be the person Abigaile already thinks I am and help her mature in the joy of the Lord, I have a responsibility to keep my relationship with God so intimate and alive that having the joy of the Lord is as easy as breathing. I also have a responsibility to confess and ask for forgiveness when I forget. For our sake and for the sake of people watching us, may we all allow the joy of the Lord.


This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. Neh 8:9-12

Allowing the Joy of the Lord

Grandbobby and Frederick
Making Merriment


Let the words of God teach and convict you - the people wept when they heard the words of the law

Go your way and enjoy the gifts of God as in eat the fat and drink the sweet
Share your gifts (portions) with people who are not as blessed.

Do not allow things to upset you – hold your peace.

Make great mirth – mirth means great merriment. Have Fun!

Allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength

Evangelism Tip

Demonstrate Joy of the Lord
Keep your relationship with God intimate and alive so you can demonstrate the joy of the Lord to your lost friends and family. They are watching and it cannot be faked. When they see the difference, they will want what you have. Make sure you give Jesus the credit or they will just think you are a naturally joyful person.

Evangelize America

It is confirmed – six people are willing to travel to hot Manchester, Tennessee in June and spend four days walking many treeless acres of dusty former cow pastures among the unwashed, undressed, painted, and pierced. They will hear loud music and endure decadent behavior to share Jesus with 100,000 young people longing for Jesus without even understanding what they are longing for. Typically, many invite Jesus to be Savior – hundreds even. The event is June 12-15. Pray for us and ask God to prepare hearts. Each person costs about $1,000. Will you help with the cost?

Donate Now For Bonnaroo 

Monday, March 10, 2014

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

The Lesson

This is a plea from an evangelist. People wonder why I write so much about the Great Commandment to love God and people. It’s because it is the secret to evangelism. If we love God with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves, nothing could stop us from sharing that love. When we don’t, no training can make us share the Gospel. When people know we are Christians by our love, we will share that love and people will follow that love anywhere.

I am in the unique position of visiting different churches. Lately, I’ve been burdened by what I see. Recently, I attended a Bible Study on a Proverb written by a father wisely teaching his son about dangers in the world. Our teacher encouraged us to write the names of sinners we knew next to the scripture containing the sins they committed. Over the next hour, she indicted all young people, those who watched two particular television shows, an entire race, and a segment of society. The worship service was the same. As the animated preacher worked up a head of steam, he even began belittling other Christian denominations and Christians exercising Biblical spiritual gifts. The hateful sermon and lesson were rants about non-believers and believers who interpreted God’s word differently. I wept for unsaved people who crossed their path and for members missing the joy of loving the lost and the benefits of reading scriptures for their own edification.

Gospel means good news. God is love. God’s word warns that Biblical words are foolish to the lost. Most Biblical instruction is to believers so shouting condemnation about and to nonbelievers does grave damage. Scriptures warn believers about the temptations and wages of sin, teaches us how to live in love, and tells us why and how to share the sweet Gospel. Jesus was firm with religious people and gentle with unbelievers trapped in sin. When we give the Biblical Gospel, demonstrate love, and invite people to meet Jesus, the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin. Once people know Jesus, the Bible changes them. When you read the Bible, allow it to change your heart. Don’t cheat yourself by using it to judge others. Certainly, like Jesus, hold believers accountable but understand that lost people act like lost people. When you see sin in the world, if you become enraged rather than broken hearted, my plea is to keep your mouth closed until you feel the life changing love and compassion of Jesus. Life is sweet when people know we are Christians by our love.


The Scripture

He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." Luke 10:27-28

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-17

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:24

Let Them Know We Are Christians

Love God with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Love our neighbors as ourselves.

Believe that Jesus came to earth because He loved sinners.

Jesus did not come to condemn the world and we should not either.

Don’t shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces.

Love the way Jesus loves.

When you see people sinning, pray as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

Evangelism Tips

Share the ABC Gospel with Children
A: Admit that they are sinners. Explain sin and ask them to give examples. Quote: All have sinned and fallen short. The wages of sin is death.
B: Believe with their heart that God sent Jesus to earth for them and that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. Quote: The gift of God is eternal life.
C: Confess: Confess Jesus with our mouths. Lead them in a prayer confessing that Jesus is Lord, that He came to earth and died for their sins. Lead them in asking for forgiveness of their sins and inviting Jesus into their life as Lord and Savior. Quote: All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Evangelize America

Inviting people to meet Jesus works. Over the last week, I’ve found out that three children met Jesus last Saturday where I was the guest speaker at North Jacksonville’s Pirate and Princess Party. Heaven is throwing a party that is even more fun that that Pirate and Princess party and I’ve been celebrating too. I’ve heard that children are sharing the ABC’s of becoming a Christian. Pray for me as I plan my evangelism schedule. For now, I’m grounded as I wait on a small but slow healing wound to heal. I am not diabetic but the doctor says that sometimes this just happens. I need to be patient and follow directions. I’m not contagious but can’t lift so camping is impossible. I feel good and am still speaking, writing, and coaching. Major events start in June so pray for healing. I would love to come to your children’s event and share the ABC’s of becoming a Christian.

By Cheryle M. Touchton
Pocket Full of Change Ministries copyright

Monday, March 3, 2014

Intercessory Prayer Is Hard Work

The hardest work I do is intercessory prayer. I’m not talking about prayer requests like those I keep on my iPhone prayer app. That list is long and I pray for the list daily during my morning time with God. I rejoice in answered prayer and move it to “answered” in the app. I’m talking about being a true intercessor. I enter these situation emotionally and spiritually, walk their road metaphorically, plead and even wrestle with God, celebrate when God says yes, and weep and struggle to accept it and even rejoice in it when God says no. It shouldn’t surprise me that intercessory prayer is hard. After all, didn’t the Biblical Jacob end up with an injured hip socket? Jesus sweated blood and poor David cried before God on behalf of his dying son, only to receive a no to that prayer. Serious prayer isn’t for wimps. In the last week, friends have suffered great loss and/or are facing serious health concerns. In this day of instant information, I can text prayers, encouragement, and scripture and receive updates, which meals I ride the roller coaster even more. Unbelievably, it is easier for me to minister to people physically because it deceptively feels like I’m more in control of the outcome. As an intercessor, I’m required to fully trust God on someone’s behalf. I must rejoice in the situation even if my human side wants to surrender to the relief of despair. I must guard my thoughts to think on what is lovely and admirable in the person and situation. When I pray at that level for someone, I fall in love with them for a lifetime even if I’ve never met them. Fortunately, I have people willing to prayerfully cover the situation and care for me when I enter this season of prayer. I must pray Jesus’ prayer, not my will but yours be done while having faith that God answers prayers and can bring good out of anything. Yes, intercessory prayer is hard but it is also a privilege to be trusted as an intercessor.  

Bible Study

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:4-9

Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. Genesis 32:28

Then David got up from the ground. (this is after his beloved son died) After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 2 Sam 12:20

Being an Intercessor

  • Rejoice in the Lord
  • Refuse to be anxious
  • Offer God your prayers and petitions with thanksgiving
  • Be willing to struggle with God and allow the pain of that
  • Only allow yourself to think about what is “lovely, pure…” about the person and/or situation
  • Enlist others to join you in prayers and personal support
  • When you receive your answer, regardless of the outcome, worship and return to normal life.
  • Enjoy the peace of God which transcends all understanding.

Evangelism Tips

Make Evangelism a Family Affair
When children share faith alongside their parents, they know that the faith of their parents is real. When they see the Holy Spirit enter a life, their faith in the power of the Holy Spirit grows. Statistics prove that a child seeing their parents share and live out their faith with others is the single biggest thing parents can do to assure that their children will raise their grandchildren in faith and church. The tip this week is to do it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving specific tips on how to evangelize as a family.

Evangelize America

Princess Abgaile (yes - my granddaughter) Shared the Gospel With Over 200 Children and their Parents

 Donate to Help Us Share Jesus With America

In South Carolina, Bob and I had the privilege of leading our server to Jesus. Sweet Jasmine believed in Jesus and knew she was sinner. She was terrified she wasn’t “good enough” to go to heaven. We shared the only way to heaven and she joyfully asked Jesus to be her Savior. On Saturday, I had so much fun at North Jacksonville Baptist Church. It was their annual Pirate and Princess Party and I was asked to share with over 200 parents and children how to evangelize as a family. You didn’t have to ask me twice. It was a thrill when the parents and children truly listened. I’ve been busily planning evangelism trips to the Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival and Freedom Fest in DC. They will be here before we know it. I invite you to join us. Email me, Cheryle