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.

 

photo found on Google labeled free for use

Celebrate!

Celebrate clip art

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)

In the face of the seriousness of the issues in our world, nation, state, city, and all that the people around me are going through; and personally I was grieving the loss of my Dad (He had passed away just days before the breakfast); that is NOT at all what I expected to hear. But, it was what I needed to hear, it was what everyone at the breakfast needed to hear, and I am VERY convinced that it is what the body of Christ needs to hear right now; perhaps better needs to hear over and over until we believe it! The truth is despite what seems like insurmountable challenges on every level of life, we are in the midst of Good Times as the body of Christ. These are remarkable days just before the return of our Lord. We are the army of believers He has called and chosen for this day, time, and hour to be a demonstration of His love, power and goodness in the earth.  It’s important that we understand the intensity of our need for JOY in the midst of challenges and how much we need to Celebrate Him in the middle of our prayer battles.  The resulting flow of supernatural JOY out of His heart to ours is strengthening, inspiring, and healing. It is the very bedrock of our patient perseverance (James 1:2-4) (Romans 5:1-5)   Not only that it is infectious and touches everyone around us!

The truth is His burden is light!  (Matthew 11:28-30) We can be His joy-bearers. We can release His joy to others even when we ourselves are experiencing challenging times.  (Hebrew 12:1-2) He is excited when we agree in prayer. There’s a celebration in heaven every time we unify. He is excited over us as we pray in agreement for His plans and purposes. He responds when we rejoice in Him even when we haven’t seen the answers yet.  The song goes on to say “There’s party going on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years!” We have a lot to celebrate because our party has not only lasted on earth for years and years, it is an eternal celebration of our Lord! We get to Celebrate Him Forever!!!

When the call of intercession for our family,  our ministry,  work place, friends, city etc gets to feeling heavy, when life seems to weigh 5000 pounds all the time, when all we seem to ever hear is bad news, that is the time to look to heaven and declare our celebration of who He is!  It’s time for Psalm 150   Bible Gateway passage: Psalm 150 – The Passion Translation  Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Praise God in his holy sanctuary! Praise him in his stronghold in the sky! (TPT)

What I am hearing today to counter the heaviness the enemy is trying to get us to grab on to is that it is time to join the celebration in heaven over His goodness and mercy, to celebrate all He has done, is doing and will do. To celebrate His love and His promises.  Disciple of Christ Jesus, He is ready to refuel us with His Joy to continue to pray powerfully, to continue to stand fast and firm upon His word no matter the circumstances we see or experience.  This is a daily benefit; for the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Celebrate good times, come on! He’s our celebration!!!  Woo Hoo!
With JOY in our Lord,
Cheryl

Copyrighted 2019 Cheryl S Birch
Post may be shared in whole with author credited
image found on google labeled Free for reuse

Exiting Time Space Limitations

Time Space image
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
photo found on google labeled for reuse

The Belief Factor

Believe image
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
Photo found on google labeled for reuse

Favor-Doors-Heart’s Desires

open door

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!

IMG_20180610_154555823
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