Smile at God Today!

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This past week I was seeking the Lord for what we intercessors need in Him right now and every day.  I was directed by Holy Spirit to Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart does good,  like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. NKJV

 A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. MSG

 A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression. TPT

It seems like doom and gloom, sickness and depression, and folks with broken dreams/hearts is all we hear about on the news and social media. Our hope and hiding place from all that is in the Lord, yet it’s getting harder and harder to let go of all that negativity and pain and simply “be” in His presence. Distractions are becoming all-consuming as there is so much unrest, illness, and stressful situations going on in our nation and the world. And, I don’t know about you, but the need, even demand, for intercession and prayer for friends and family dealing with sudden emergencies, unexpected deaths, and major challenges of all kinds is on the increase. Plus, lately there is an almost constant need to deal with issues, some very serious, in my own household. Likely it’s the same for yours.

As I meditated on this scripture and also Proverbs 15: 13 and 15, I knew Holy Spirit was telling me it’s important, even vital, that we not be overwhelmed by life circumstances. And, to remember that it is still okay to relax, unwind and laugh, not only during prayer and worship, but also in the natural daily course of our life. We intercessors and praying Christians are a serious bunch. We take on burdens for many, many people including the our neighborhoods, cities, states and nations. Thus, we have responsibility to heed God’s advice to not become overburdened and drained. To implement His word that “a merry heart makes good medicine” and that it is healing for our bones and well-being.

So, here is my prayer and directive from the Lord for all of us: I pray we all get out in the sunshine as much as possible, after all it is SUMMER. And, join me in this challenge: Give Father God a big smile every day. He always smiles back and in His smile is love, life, abundance, favor, grace and blessings of all kinds. His joy and the gladness of heart it brings is the refreshing we most need to thrive even in the midst all that is going on around us!

The crux is: Neglecting R and R is the worst thing a busy in demand intercessor/minister of God can do. It will drain the very life out of us. But, resting in the Lord, plus daily fun, smiling, laughing, and seeking Him in and for gladness makes us more powerful intercessors/ministers!
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Receiving the gift of entering God’s rest and choosing joy is vital in this day and hour. Our families, friends, and ministry, even our nation and the world, need us to make this a priority.  We will find that the trials and challenges of life won’t be such a heavy burden. The sense of doom and gloom in the world will disappear; concern yes, doom no! When we minister and pray from a place of rest and joy there is strength and authority in the Spirit that flows through us that we did not know was possible. In fact, I believe getting this “rest and joy thing” is a big key to supernatural intercession where we pray and God answers right away. Wow! That is a goal to shoot for!!!

 

May your summer (and whole life) be filled with gladness, fun and relaxation!

Remember: Give God a Big Smile Every Day!

With Love and JOY in our Lord,

Rev. Cheryl

Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch – May be shared in whole with copyright and end notes intact.

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Repentance Factor

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Day after day for a week now I keep hearing two words when I seek the Lord:

REPENTANCE FACTOR.

It all started when an intercessor prayed regarding COVID 19 and launched their prayer using 2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now, they prayed a beautiful and heartfelt prayer with which I agreed. And, I really love God’s word. Truly I love Him and love all He has to say, but I realized during the prayer (wonderful as it was) that I am worn out by the quoting of this verse. It caused such upset within me that I had to seek out Holy Spirit to explain to me what was wrong with me.

That was when I heard Repentance Factor for the first time. The “thing” that was bothering me was not this important verse in the Bible nor the strong prayer prayed by my fellow intercessor. It was revelation of my own heart condition, revelation of the lack of repentance in our nation, and in the church most especially. Yes, the church! Without the Body of Christ’s lead in repenting for our sins and for the sins of our citizens, how would the nation ever know it was important to do so? Without the all important “IF” being fulfilled by God’s people, we can pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 until Jesus comes for us and our land will not be healed.

It says if MY PEOPLE will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…MY PEOPLE. Who are God’s people? At the time it was given to Solomon, the Jews were God’s people and the temple was being dedicated. Today the Jews are still God’s people and, Praise Him, so are those who have the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In fact, those of us that have Jesus as our Savior are now the dedicated temple of God! In Solomon’s day the stone building was filled with the glory of God. Now, the Redeemed of the Lord are filled with the glory of God via Holy Spirit. Since we are God’s People and His Temple we need to seriously and profoundly take ownership of this verse of scripture and do what it says.

By and large during this crisis or any crisis we, the church, have the prayer part down pat. In fact,there is more prayer right now in the world than ever I have seen! Social media, Zoom, Skype, conference calls are a buzz with prayer and intercession. Praise God! We easily caught the part of the scripture that says to pray. Myriads of people are asking God for protection, healing and provision. No doubt the Father will be pouring out answers to these personal prayers going up to the throne of grace by the thousands. Nonetheless, this scripture is not being fulfilled. We are still lacking greatly in the Repentance Factor that will trigger healing for our land; the part of the scripture that says: HUMBLE THEMSELVES, TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS and also SEEK MY FACE.

Tackling “seek My face” first. Seems simple. Even Easy. But seeking His Face is far more than a prayer for protection, healing, and provision. God hears those prayers from everyone and in His mercy, he answers. But, He moves quickly and precisely for those who have a close relationship with Him. Why? Because the closer one becomes to God, talking and walking with Him daily, minute by minute, the more likely it is that we will pray prayers that are initiated by HIM and are flowing from HIS heart through ours as His vessel. When we move from personal survival requests and pray those kind of “seek his face” prayers, they get answered.

A Pastor’s devotional that I just finished called them “dangerous prayers.” They are the kind way beyond “protect me and my family.” Seek His Face Prayers always include “use me”,”change me”, “Help me to do YOUR will for me, Lord.” Dangerous intercessors ask God why things aren’t changing, stop and listen for His response AND implement or do what He says. Even if it means their lives are turned upside-down, God’s face seeking people allow Him to transform them into a reflection of Him in the earth, including their prayer priorities… and their whole lives.

That leads me back to the Repentance Factor. To be used by God, changed by God, and to gain ability to speak and do His will not our own, REPENTANCE is the only way. To see our land miraculously healed, REPENTANCE is the only way. We must let Holy Spirit reveal to us the depths of our own wicked ways. Let me phrase it another way for those of you that are bothered by the words wicked and sin in relation to a born again Believer. Think of it this way: God has an opinion clearly stated in His word and at salvation His opinion was written on our hearts. Even so, we have our own opinions formed from birth and opinions we have adopted from our culture. Those opinions do not always line up with God’s Word, do they? Every one of our opinions that do not line up with God’s Word is a “wicked way.” He wants all of our opinions to line up with His opinion!

Shocking isn’t it? Reflecting on where our heart leads us and what thoughts we have compared to the Bible (God’s opinion) can be hard to handle. Thank God Romans 8:1 starts out by saying: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine) If you desire to be a useful effective vessel that God can really use, simply repent. Ask Him to reveal every contrary opinion that you have and go to Him often! That is living “IN Christ Jesus!” When your opinion differs from His, repent. And ask Him to change your opinion to match His. No condemnation! Every second of every day is a second chance! He is overjoyed when we grab onto the truth that we need to continuously seek His face while turning from our opinions (wicked ways). Grab this truth and healing of your personal land will flow. If we grab it corporately, healing of our nation will flow!

We will also receive the promise of less quoted yet far more wonderful verses
2 Chronicles 7:15-16 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

Please join me in prayer regarding a paradigm shift within the greater church, especially leadership, that will open an all important door to healing our land: the Repentance Factor.

My prayer is that the walls of separation between denominations and styles of worshiping our God would fall. That our prejudices toward one another in the body of Christ would be washed away in a flood of repentant opinion changing. And, that our leaders would stop for a moment in their own efforts and hear God’s voice of unity and love He has for us all. As a result that they would stand together (via all the electronic avenues we have available) in the midst of this crisis, ask forgiveness from God and each other, and then move into repentance for our collective sin of having a different opinion than God. Especially to repent for continuously trying to build the kingdom of God in their own strength while ignoring Jesus’ commandment to “Love one another as He has loved us.”

Start with me, Lord. Start with those who read this message. Holy Spirit help us to step into the Repentance Factor needed to heal our land, in Jesus Amazing Name I pray…AMEN!

With much hope in our Lord,
Rev Cheryl

Article may be share in whole with end notes include
Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch

Photo found on Google
All Bible verses are from the New King James Version

Remembering 9-11

9-11 Memorial Remembrance

One of the most moving moments of my life was when I visited the 9-11 Memorial in NYC. The sense of sacrifice and honor of the fallen was overwhelming. Roses and flags were placed by various names carved in the marble. It was surrounded by construction equipment and they were building the new towers. From a huge crane on the far side hung a giant USA flag. I looked up at it and started to weep for our nation. The red and white stripes radiated and I heard in my heart “By His stripes ye were healed.” Thank you Lord for healing our nation. Thank you for brave First Responders and valiant citizens like those on Flight 93 and so many others that rose to the cause though suffering harm or great loss. Help us Lord to be brave and valiant rising to the cause in You every day. And to remember not only our fallen, but to remember from where our help comes from. Our help comes from the Lord maker of heaven and earth.

 

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Celebrate!

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A couple of months ago I was asked to do the closing remarks and closing prayer at a rather unique prayer breakfast. This breakfast was an intercession filled supernaturally unified prayer breakfast with no key note speaker and simple adoration worship of our Lord. About 300 folks attended from many walks of life, ethnicity, and cultural background. It was exciting to see the diversity of the body of Christ so well represented in that room. This gathering every year goes beyond several churches in town. Joining in with Pastors and intercessors were our Mayor, City Council reps, Police Chief, Parole Officers, Sheriff, Highway Patrol officers, County officials, business leaders, educators and nonprofit leaders.  The tenor of the breakfast was worshipful and everyone was deeply engaged praying at their tables. No doubt that the Father was hearing our prayers as our city leaders from nearly every sphere possible humbled themselves before Him!

I had been praying for weeks before the breakfast asking Holy Spirit to reveal to me the Father’s heart regarding this gathering.  I longed to hear what He thought would be the best closing words and prayer that would glorify the Lord Jesus and express His message to all. About a week before the breakfast, I had still not heard anything from Him. No scripture, no special inspiration of any kind for this important 7th annual event in our city. So, I pressed in and asked again for His heart on the matter.  Well, the Lord speaks to me in really funny and even silly ways sometimes! This time when I prayed immediately the words to a song from 1980 by Kool and the Gang popped into my head and I started singing to myself “Celebrate good times, come on! It’s a celebration! Woo Hoo!”   (Unfamiliar with this golden oldie? You can Listen on YouTube) (Or read the Song Lyrics)

 

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Exiting Time Space Limitations

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This past week I was reading the book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Pastor Mark Batterson… crazy title, but a great book to read if you haven’t already. Something he said about space, time and prayer really inspired me. He described our human finite space, time, dimension limitations and used an example of a drawn cartoon to explain… “imagine if a comic-strip character could take on a third dimension. The added degree of freedom would enable him to jump right off the page. Isn’t that what faith does? Maybe we underestimate our freedom in Christ. Maybe it’s not just freedom from sin. Maybe it is the freedom to do the extra-dimensional.  Faith gives us the dimensional freedom to overcome our human limitations by exiting space-time via prayer.”
I added in my notes “Exiting space – time limitations via strong faith-prayer launches us into God’s multi-dimensional (really unlimited dimensional) Presence.  In the Presence of God anything and everything is possible!!”
To me there is little doubt that Apostle Paul (probably all the Apostles) had extra-dimensional experiences and freedom in Christ that most of us are just starting to learn about or walk in enough faith to experience. Seems that life’s challenges constantly batter our faith and it’s hard to use our sanctified imagination to envision prayer that breaks the space-time barriers of our life in this world. But, Paul broke through! If he did, we can, but it takes overcoming faith like Paul had.
Truly if I were beaten, stoned, nearly drowned at sea, got bitten by a poisonous viper, thrown in prison (more than once) and my preaching caused an entire to city to riot, I would wonder if I was on the right track. Paul dwelt in a different spiritual space. He walked away from the beatings and stoning alive, sang songs to the Lord with Silas in a dank dark dungeon of a prison, wrote to the Philippians amazing encouragement despite his prison chains, didn’t drown at sea, shook off the viper and lived. Plus, the rioting city ended up with a move of God as did everywhere he set his foot for Christ. Signs and wonders followed him wherever he went. On top of that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote most of the New Testament.
Why was his ministry so supernaturally successful and lasting despite all the seemingly huge setbacks? Because he had encounters with God in prayer. He prayed and he asked others to pray for him and his ministry. (2 Thessalonians Chapter 3, Ephesians Chapter 6, Romans 15 are examples.) Not only that he likely exited space-time dimensions of this earth and he saw and heard “unspeakably” wonderful things. He got to see life in Christ Jesus from God’s multi-dimensional perspective.  (Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-6)
No doubt James is describing this kind of prayer experience when he wrote: “The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.” (James 5:16) And that is exactly what is happening as we continue to press into prayer for our families, cities, states, nation and for the body of Christ. We are breaking through to God’s multi-dimensional ability to move mountains of problems and illness, uproot deep-seated transgressions,  and see both cast into the sea of God’s forgiveness mercy and grace. How exciting!!
This month let’s ask the Lord for multi-dimensional faith to pray prayers that breakthrough all limitations of space-time. Let’s ask Him for things impossible for us to accomplish without Him… Things that He can answer and get all the glory. As the world becomes more and more challenging, we all need this kind of prayer support and so does every aspect of this earthly realm Father God has assigned us to!
Father God is calling us to come up higher!
I can hardly wait to see what He is about to do…
Blessings of JOY and Peace,
Cheryl
Authored by Rev Cheryl Birch
2-15-19
May be shared with author and date intact
Copyrighted 2019 Cheryl S. Birch
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The Belief Factor

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I’ve been reading some devotionals by Steve Backlund of Igniting Hope Ministries that have been very impacting and inspiring.. Recently he sent out a message that in a nut shell admonished the reader to be aware that what we say (declare, proclaim, pray) with faith transforms challenging situations into catalytic moments for breakthrough.  Amen! But, really believing that is another question.
 
Sometimes when we pray the answers don’t come immediately. In fact, a lot of times the answers don’t come immediately! In those long seasons waiting for answers for our lives, for our ministries,  for loved ones etc., it can become hard to believe that anything we have declared, proclaimed or prayed has transforming power. Pastor Steve goes on to say that “What we believe about a situation is more of a problem than the situation.” That got me to pause and reread what he wrote!
The truth is our faith-filled utterances are always power packed – it is the belief factor that makes the difference. No faith, no power. Lot’s of faith, lots of power. How long it takes to receive the answer isn’t a measure of the power of our prayers, it is what we believe that matters most!
As we pray over our family, church, city, nation, world situations or anything else, it’s vital to ask ourselves what we are believing about that (those) situation(s). Always do a belief check first. Pastor Steve’s final comment was “There is ALWAYS a solution to every problem.” Another Amen! Indeed, we serve a God of infinite possibilities and solutions.  Nothing is impossible for our God! Luke 18:27  Pray as the writer of Hebrews has suggested “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11: 6  (NKJV)
There is great reward ahead for us individually and as the body of Christ as we pray knowing our God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. When we pray with that kind of faith we can be assured that all of us will receive HIS amazing rewards!! Now, that might mean that we do not receive exactly what we think is best for us, but we will definitely receive the highest and the best Father God has planned for us.
Father God is calling higher and higher into His marvelous supernatural world! Our thoughts and desires are so much lessor than what He has for us. Personally, I can hardly wait to see and experience His magnanimous blessings!!!
With much peace and joy to you all!
Cheryl
Authored by Rev. Cheryl Birch
4-30-19
May be shared with author and date intact
Copyrighted 2019 Cheryl S. Birch
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Favor-Doors-Heart’s Desires

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Today in prayer I am simply drenched with three thoughts/impressions from the heart of God:

I am releasing favor to My Beloveds!

I am granting long time deeply held heart’s desires!

I have opened doors that were closed.

Plus, as I am typing this I hear:

Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Strong, Be Courageous! Take a step into the NEW I have for you.

What You Pray Smells Really Good!

This month Holy Spirit has been speaking to me steadily about our role as intercessors living in the “evil laden” atmosphere that we find ourselves in the USA and all over the world. More than ever intercession and standing for righteousness as a unified body of believers in Christ Jesus is needed! While I was praying in response to His words to me, I felt led to reread a portion of James Goll’s book The Lost Art of Intercession. Here’s what he says that really inspired me to take courage and press in even more persistently to the heart of the Father through Christ Jesus:

Oh, what a blessed gift and privilege is the holy thing call prayer! More than anything else, prayer is man’s invitation sent heavenward for God’s response to be cast earthward – the human in exchange for the heavenly!
(2 Chronicles 7:1-3) … We want to see God’s glory fill the earth. It will happen through exchange. Prayer ascends. Incense arises. Man’s smoke signal to his Highest Chief arises declaring, “Send forth the fire!” Heavenly fire from the altar comes crashing down and the glory of the Lord fills His house once again. What goes up must come down!

Yes! Indeed! What wonderful picture of our prayers going up to the throne of grace as a cloud of incense. In the Old Testament that incense is a fragrant mixture of fresh pine-like and cinnamon-like spices. A sweet smelling savor to our God. None the less, the phrases that really hit my heart weren’t that beautiful image but: “Oh, what a blessed gift and privilege is the holy thing called prayer” and “The human in exchange for the Heavenly” and “What goes up must come down”

Our prayers don’t stay on earth. They are a holy thing and they travel to heaven. And, they don’t stay in heaven forever. They get exchanged for heavenly answers! They are returned to earth mixed with fire from God’s altar. They crash through the barriers of sin and evil with thunders and lightning and loud noises in the spirit realms and WHAM! Our prayers are answered supernaturally. We never know when or how the answer will come. That is up to our God. But, the answer will come down! We get a heavenly exchange with interest!

So, keep praying for your family and sphere of influence,for your city, state and nation, and for each other. It is a blessed gift and privilege to pray and talk to God. It is a privilege to stand as light in the darkness interceding for folks in need, whatever that need may be. Know that what you pray smells really really really good to God and suddenly it will smell so good to Him that the answers will come crashing to earth at just the right moment in time to fulfill His perfect will and plans.

As I was reading Romans 11 and 12 and meditating on the amazing picture of our intercession crashing back to earth, I was inspired to record another blessing prayer for the body of Christ. You can find the recording on my Semon.net station by clicking HERE.

Know that you, the Body of Christ, are all always in my prayers!
With love, joy and peace to you,
Rev. Cheryl

NEVER Give Up!

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Beloved of the Lord,

Seems that the enemy is working overtime right now to discourage the body of Christ. Especially those who pray. This seems to be on the increase here in the USA. Because of that increased pressure to give up, I felt led today to share with you this simple statement that I have posted in my office and on a plaque in my entryway: Never, Never, Never Give Up! When I feel like life is too much or situations have drained the heart of prayer right out of me, I look to heaven and declare those 5 words starting with “Lord, I will.” Yup, like Winston Churchill who admonished a nation with that phrase, I admonish myself with “Lord, I will never, never, never give up!”  It’s amazing the flood of strength and resolve that always pours out from the heart of God when I make that simple declaration. 

Why is it so powerful? I believe it hits the very center of the Father’s plan to bless us with answers to our prayers. If we refuse to give up we WILL receive those answers, more than that, the people we are praying for WILL receive the answers.

Pastor Mark Batterson in his book “Draw the Circle – The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” wrote this: Our prayers never die! When we pray, our prayers exit our four dimensions of space time. Our prayers have no space or time limitations because the God who answers them exists outside of the four dimensions He created. You never know when His timeless answer will reenter the atmosphere of our lives, and that should fill us with holy anticipation.  Never underestimate His ability to answer anytime, anyplace, anyhow. He has infinite answers to our finite prayers. He can answer them more than once. And He answers them forever. And, later in that chapter he writes: Every prayer we utter is like the marble stones used in the building of the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial. When we pray, we are building a monument to God, a memorial to Him. And those prayers are not perishable. They aren’t wood, hay, or straw. They are a foundation of gold, silver and costly stones. They will not be forgotten. They will not go unanswered.

Keep lifting up what God puts on your hearts and keep praying for one another! Suddenly those prayers will reenter earth’s atmosphere as powerful answered prayer and we will be amazed at what our Glorious God has done!!

In closing, check out the strengthening and blessing prayer from 1 Peter that I recorded for you and the body of Christ this month: Strengthening Prayer.  Return to this link any time you need a prayer boost! And, it can be shared with others if you wish.

With JOY

Rev. Cheryl

Stand Fast Against Witchcraft – Part 1

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Been concerned in prayer over an increase in the spirit realms of witchcraft opposition especially toward those who pray and intercede. Just a reminder, Intercessors, that between the vernal equinox and October 31st there is always a surge in witchcraft. While we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and head for Reformation Day, the enemy becomes intensely active. He hates Reformation Day and he hates it when we celebrate with JOY our Lord’s indwelling presence in the tabernacle of our heart.

This year the stirring of resistance to the body of Christ is more than ever. Opposition is stronger in part because too many in the body of Christ have entered into agreement with the enemy. The negativity, cursing, complaining and hatred that is dividing our nation has sadly invaded the church. While we are to recognize issues of injustice and evil and PRAY – it is NOT to be with negativity. We should be releasing the love of God, blessing and not cursing, speaking the solutions not the problems, speaking words of life and not death.

The GOOD NEWS is that our Lord and King is far more powerful than anything the enemy can release. If we will repent of negativity and agree with God, we will see victory! Join me in blessing prayer… It power packed! Let’s declare GOD’s WORD, allow Holy Spirit to pray through us the plans of the Father for our nation and what Jesus is interceding for at the throne of grace.

Let’s Fight evil with good!! We can and will see magnificent changes, if we stay the course set by our Lord and Savior… that is a course of loving even our enemies. Yes,do pray with mercy for those releasing witchcraft. Ask for their salvations and bless them with healing and deliverance.

Choose LOVE’s way and Keep up the GOOD fight God’s way!

With JOY in our Lord,
Rev. Cheryl