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Monday, August 31, 2015

God's Garden

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
God's Garden

Written In: Strasburg, Colorado
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD-- Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, And over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, And they will never languish again. Jeremiah 31:12

The Bible says the harvest is ripe. I believe it because the Bible says it and I've witnessed it. I've spent 4 days feeling like I was literally harvesting in God's garden.

God's Re-route

"Are you coming to Colorado?" Janice Dinkel posted on Facebook. Janice had been an e-friend and phone friend for years but we hadn't yet met in person. We've tried several times to get together to evangelize but it just didn't work out.

"I thought you were going to be in Africa on a mission trip," I replied.

"That didn't work out," she said. I was traveling west on highway 80 in Indiana. My plan was to cut north and go through North Dakota, which I was really looking forward to. I didn't want to make the farmland drive across I-80. Besides, I was sure there wasn't time to do that and get to Seattle on time and I was planning on meeting Bob in Billings, Montana for our wedding anniversary.

Don't Bother Arguing With God

While I was arguing with God, my phone rang. "Hi," a voice I didn't recognize said. "I'm Jeanette. I get your Monday Ministry Moment and I've read your book. Are you coming to Colorado? My husband and I evangelize and we'd love to meet you."

I laughed. Why did I bother arguing with God? I ask every morning for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out. Did I think He wasn't going to answer that? I called Bob and he was easily able to get flights into Denver. I stayed on I-80. Janice said that the group, Revival in Colorado, was meeting Saturday and invited me to speak. I had less than 3 days to make a 17 hour drive but I committed to Jeanette and Janice.

The Marathon

Driving was a marathon fraught with endless flat roads, stockyards, many miles between exits and towns, annoying camper issues, and campgrounds few and far between. I fretted that I wouldn't have time for Divine Encounters but I should have known better about that as well. God sent about a dozen encounters that resulted in 2 salvations. Like usual when I'm obedient, my time stretched like Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes.

God's Timing Is Perfect Even When It Doesn't Match Ours

I arrived exactly in time for the Saturday praise and worship session of Revival in Colorado. I did my best to dress as a presentable speaker and pretended my clothes weren't wrinkled and covered in dog hair. People laughed and cried in all the right places in the Gospel Conversation Workshop. This group has a heart for evangelism and was hungry for training. They lingered for hours after the class was over asking questions and sharing God stories and I didn't settle into my campground until after midnight.

On Sunday morning, I was rushing. I'd blogged and had exactly the time I needed to dress and get to church on time. Apparently God doesn't care about my earthly schedule because naturally, he sent a Divine Encounter to the campground bathhouse. I slowed down to find out she was from Florida, went to church occasionally, believed in Jesus, but had never encountered Him personally.

"Believing is the hard part," I joked. "After all, we are talking about someone coming back from the dead. Asking Him to be your Lord and Savior is the easy part." She eagerly prayed and invited Jesus to be her Savior and hugged me as she left.

Harvesting In God's Garden

After church on Sunday, our group from the night before met at a park called Garden of the Gods. As far as I'm concerned, they should call it God's Garden because the harvest was ripe that afternoon. We had many encounters and 13 people prayed to receive Jesus. We stopped to give a family of 5 Gospel Bracelets along with the Gospel. As we shared, I noticed that the 10 and 13 year olds were grinning. It turned out that they had been going to a Bible Study and had become Christians. They were so excited to pray along as their mother, father, and younger brother asked Jesus to be their Savior. The entire family left God's Garden with God's heaven as their eternal destiny.

A pregnant mother tenderly rubbed on her precious baby bump as Janice led her to Jesus. Afterward, I prayed for the baby. Her husband took the Jesus challenge so pray for him. We gave out dozens of Gospel Bracelets to people from all over the world. Shiloh did her Jesus tricks perfectly and opened the door for many to pray. After each encounter, our evangelism class stopped for a teaching session and questions. There were six of us but no one we talked with was distracted or intimidated by the size of our group. That always amazes me. The Holy Spirit set up each encounter and although the park was crowded, it was as if we were completely private with each individual. We forgot about the western heat and the hills as we evangelized for hours. I had to remind myself to stop and enjoy the red rocks because the movement of the Holy Spirit out shined what I would consider one of God's most lovely creations, Garden of the Gods.

Janice and I went to dinner together and our harvesting day ended with our server asking Jesus to be her Savior. She couldn't stop smiling and returned several times to thank us. She said, "I will always remember you."

Shiloh Meets Cows

On Monday morning, I headed north east to Sterling, Colorado to Jeanette's farm. We walked Shiloh over to meet the cows. She was great with the cows but went crazy around the statue of the deer. We camped next to their lovely home in the middle of the Colorado grasslands. Did you know cows jump fences? Cows escaped during the night and as they mooed outside our camper, I was alarmed because it sounded like my water pump was leaking again. Shiloh was convinced they didn't belong outside the fence and she was right. Larry and Jeannette shooed them back over the fences in the morning.

Who Knew?

On Monday night, my hosts cooked an amazing steak dinner that was perfect for my many dietary restrictions, which was amazing since I'd thought we were eating out and hadn't given my usual heads up. I gave a Gospel Conversation workshop to Jeanette and Larry and like the class from Saturday night, they were eager to learn more about evangelizing. Who knew so many in Colorado were so committed to living out the Great Commission? When I went to bed, I had a text from Janice saying she'd just led someone else to Jesus. How was I supposed to sleep feeling that much joy?

No Shiloh!!!!!

On Tuesday morning, I had trouble convincing Shiloh that the "gifts" the cows had left the night before weren't meant for her snacking pleasure. I'm pretty sure I won that battle, or at least I'm pretending I did.

More Harvest

Jeanette and I went to a park to evangelize. In a couple of hours, 7 people invited Jesus to be their Savior. I asked Jeanette if she wanted to try evangelizing and as was usual for those that go out with me the first time, she said that she just wanted to watch. However, when I went into the lady's room, Jeanette waited for me and held Shiloh's leash. When I came out, she was easily leading a refugee from Africa to Jesus. He later told us, "I am so happy."

Go Shiloh Go

Again, Shiloh was the perfect Shepherd's Sheepdog. She did her Jesus tricks for many, including a man named Jay. Shiloh was who helped him to connect with us. Jay was camping in the park on his way to Denver to try to reconcile with his girlfriend and 2 young children. When he reunites with his family, they will be meeting an eternally changed man. Shiloh behaved around the hundreds of geese but completely lost it around the friendly squirrels posing to beg for food. She had no intention of sharing her treats and when a squirrel ran behind us, she almost pulled my arm out of its socket. Maybe I should have named this section Stop Shiloh Stop.

In the last 4 days, I've shared Jesus near peaceful Colorado grasslands, a shimmering lake, and towering red rocks. It is no wonder the harvest is so ripe. God's Garden is lovely.

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