Rejoicing in Christ Jesus

god-heart

Today the Lord poured out a powerful reminder to  refocus! There is a tendency for us to get caught up in the negative things going on in our lives and the world and forget that we  have a constant place of JOY and REFRESHING available to us.  His word to me was REJOICE! Laugh! BE GLAD! Holy Spirit directed me to Romans 8:31-39.  He wants to strengthen us and help us to walk through everything that comes our way!

After reading those verses in Romans here is what I recorded. I pray that it blesses you!
http://revcherylbirch.sermon.net/main/main/21223574

He also gave this precious spontaneous song during a worship service awhile back. It goes so well with His word to me today that I believe it will be an additional blessing to you: http://revcherylbirch.sermon.net/main/main/21224312

With love to you,
Rev. Cheryl

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When God Dismantles your Kingdom

devastatedchurch

Today I write because a great metamorphosis is taking place. A Call has gone out from our Father in Heaven to hundreds in the body of Christ and the call is: Give Me your kingdom.

As I was listening to God about this call, I saw a great tug o’war. A castle and all it’s surrounding lands were the “rope.” The hand of God held on to one end. He ever so gently tugged at the rope. The other end was held by His kids. Unaware Father God was doing the tugging, they interpreted the disruption as attack. They used every bit of their strength to hold onto the rope and protect their castle and its lands. Father God let that go on for awhile lovingly watching. Then He pulled a little harder. The castle and the lands shook under the pressure of His loving grip and He spoke to them softly: Let Go. On the other end, His kids shook too. They were alarmed at the perceived intensity of attack hitting their kingdom. They armored up and went to war. They called reinforcements. They cried out to God for help to defeat the enemy destroying their land and what they had built for Him. Father God smiled so lovingly and let them go on like that for awhile listening carefully to their cries. And, then with great mercy He pulled even harder.  This time louder, He said with loving firmness: Let go.  At His voice part of the buildings around the castle collapsed. Part of the land fell away. On the other end, His kids collapsed with fear, confusion and grief over the losses. They fell on their faces and finally said the words Father had been waiting for: We repent. Show us Your will, Your plan, Your ways. We humble ourselves before You. We give you all. Help us in our weakness. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. With that, Father God took hold of the rope with power and the tug o’ war was over. The castle crashed to the ground. The castle was demolished.  But, the land was perfectly preserved, in fact better than before! He restored what had fallen away then He placed it back in their hands. It had turned ever so green and and lush. His love poured out to heal, strengthen and renew His kids. He swept away the castle ruins as His kids willingly gave Him each bit of the rubble. In exchange for the rubble, He gave them new dreams, new vision, new materials to build with, new plans, new ways and the land got more and more green. They flourished in His abundance and favor.

Our God requires a lot of those whom He loves. He requires absolutely everything!

Change and sacrifice is an ever constant process in the Kingdom of God that produces wonderful new things that glorify our King.  Or, perhaps more precisely,  it is the result of the advancement of the Kingdom of God in the earth. Wherever His breath blows, wherever He is working, there is change.    And, since the whole earth is His and the fullness thereof, that means our world is experiencing constant changes.

Who doesn’t get excited over the prospect of all things becoming NEW? The part we forget is that we have to let go of the old in order to receive the new. Sacrifice is always required if there is to be transformation.  If you are like me, I am very excited over prospect of all things becoming new in Christ Jesus.  I can pray and ask for that of God with enthusiasm and truly desire the change… that is until I am one of the souls in the middle of His mighty work of transformation.  My response and maybe yours too is WHOA, what’s going on here.  More than one time I dug in my heels, just like the vision He gave me, and fought for what is mine, not discerning the huge change was an answer to my prayers and a gift from my God.

Mercifully, He works soul by soul with slow, steady, deeply profound internal changes, perhaps over many years.  As we yield to those small steps, we become more like Him and step out doing His work.  We build our lives and ministries are launched.  Then the time comes for His new plans and seemingly overnight the ministries, the works, the thing we do for Him, what we thought was rock solid and even our highest call in Him,  He closes. The season is finished. The training is over.  Something new is on the way. When we don’t discern that He is requiring change and stubbornly hang on, suddenly those castles we have built  get shaken and eventually they collapse so that He can build up something better, something more reflective of Him. Something He has prepared for us and us for it. Yes, something that gives Him more glory and benefits humankind in ways we could never have imagined if He did not take this action. Continue reading

The Deadly Duo

deadlyduo
The Deadly Duo? From a recent movie?

No, I’m not speaking of a Marvel Comic Book team of evil characters! This team is far more insidious than that and real, not make believe. The deadly duo that I see destroying lives, visions, dreams, ministries, and people themselves is FEAR and PRIDE. These two are experts at hiding behind facades while eloquently manipulating situations and people. Fear is spirit, a really evil one, and Pride is a condition of the heart that allows the evil to do its nasty stuff.

They work in concert to keep an individual in a prison of what is familiar and easy, creating a life that requires little change and no risk-taking. In order to maintain that kind of environment, everyone around the person under the influence of the Duo is expected to remain the same. When the boat of life gets rocked, as it always does, Continue reading

Hope

Hope

I was reading news stories today about Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, two well-know, admired and financially well-to-do people, that became so very distraught they ended their lives by their own hand. My first thought was for their family and loved ones that God would comfort them. Then, I was overcome with the simple truth that money and success, though touted as the goal that will make a person happy and content, actually has nothing to do with happiness and contentment.  Pondering that with the Lord in prayer, I came away with renewed realization that what actually brings joy, a sense of well-being and peace or contentment to a person’s life is HOPE. Without hope we are lost in place of darkness slaved to depression and despair even in the midst the most opulent of life’s circumstances.

No doubt in the darkest moments of the trials of life, even the most generally hopeful of us have entertained the thought that death would bring relief from the suffering, stress, pain and challenges.  Why do some succumb to the darkness of those thoughts and end up miserable and bitter at best or kill themselves at worst while others are touched by a spark of saving hope and they endure Continue reading

Under the Foundation

rocksNow, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”  

These words in Ephesians 2:19-22 have been read by me many times, quoted by my colleagues and friends, and shared from the pulpit by my Pastors. Of course, intellectually I understood what Paul was saying to the church in Ephesus and the thought of being part of the unity in Christ Jesus grabbed my heart from the first time I heard/read it. Then one day years ago, the Lord unexpectedly expanded this verse for me. He gave me a picture, actually a dreamy vision upon waking, about the building of His Kingdom and its foundation.  Since I received the dream quite awhile ago, for the most part I had forgotten about it, until this week. During my prayer and meditation time, Holy Spirit brought forth a powerful memory of what He had shared with me all those years ago. He repeated it, expanded it and overwhelmed me with it.  The reliving of the dream was so powerful that there is no doubt in my heart I am to share the dream and His commentary/interpretation as an encouragement. It is particularly for His intercessors and the praying church, but truly a message to all.

In the dream the Lord showed me His apostolic people, the builders of His Kingdom, with a particular focus on the foundation. We always talk about the foundation of church (the Ecclesia) being the Apostles and Prophets. I had been taught they were the builders, fuel and catalyst for expansion of the Kingdom of God. And, that these two anointed groups of leaders build upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Well, they do all that, but there is more!

In the dream I saw a huge building. It was sprawling and construction was happening all over and around it.  It was alive with activity. I could see it was wide and deep, strong and sturdy. As we approached the building I could see that it was made up of many “living stones” – many people of every color, shape and size.

The scene changed quickly and we (Holy Spirit and I) zoomed in from the top of the building sailing through layer after layer of it very quickly. The movement toward the foundation abruptly stopped for a moment and we hovered on one of the floors so that I could see clearly where we were. Then we slowly proceeded. As we went lower and lower, floor after floor, there were fewer and fewer living stones. The bustling activity and construction appearance of the upper and outer portions of the building were far different than the atmosphere on the lower floors. The living stone here were larger and stronger, Rock-solid, able to bear great weight. There was a sense of joyful abiding, steadfast dependence upon God, stalwart faith and perseverance. When we reached what I perceived as the foundation we stopped. It was thick and very strong, but full of cracks. Though the cracks were there, it was still strong as every crack was filled by many stones.

While we tarried there, Holy Spirit spoke to me: “Your position is the foundation under the foundation.”   I have to say that stunned me. It never occurred to me there could be a place under the foundation, but of course for every building in the natural realms there is something under it…. the earth!  So, I asked to see that place under the foundation.

We punched through that last apostolic layer of the Kingdom building and under it was a thick bed of what I can only describe as “river rock,” rock that one might use as a decorative edge in gardening. The activity here was indeed like a mighty rushing river. A flood of prayer, intercession and supplication, praise, thanksgiving, travail and worship poured out of that place in all directions. All the time of the dream I thought we were going down into the foundation, I suddenly understood we were actually travelling upward toward Jesus.  To us here on earth the Kingdom of God is “upside down” when in actuality our view is the one that is up side down!  The further “down” in the Kingdom building we went in the dream, the closer we were going to to the true foundation of the Ecclesia. That is the Head, our Lord Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father and from Him flows the Kingdom of God into the natural realms.

This layer of River Rock is where the intercessors and praying church dwell right next to Jesus. These strong, electrically alive stones, support the entire structure that is flowing from Jesus to earth as they stand in the gaps (cracks) in the apostolic foundation and cry out for the things of God to manifest or to be built or established in the earth.  They are recognized , yet hidden.  They rest upon the Chief Cornerstone, the Rock of our Salvation hearing His heartbeat and praying His prayers.  Upon the intercessions and supplications of these praying saints the Apostles, Prophets and the whole rest of Ecclesia and body of Christ are supported and build.

Nothing happens to build God’s Kingdom until it has been prayed by the intercessors/praying church and answered by God through our Lord Jesus Christ who then pours out His Spirit through His Ecclesia to accomplish the plans of the Father.  Colossians 4:3, Ephesians 6:18-20, Acts 10:3-5, Romans 8:25-27

Holy Spirit made it abundantly clear to me that prayer is the power that fuels everything we do to share the Good News and minister to His people.  Intercessors (those with the gift of intercession or who stand in the Office of Intercessor) and the praying church (those in the body of Christ that understand the importance of prayer) are VITAL to the health and well-being and growth of God’s Kingdom.

Yes, every layer of the Kingdom that I saw in the dream there is prayer happening and that is what holds the whole structure together.  As well, some who are intercessors or who pray regularly are also key people in the fabric of other parts of the Kingdom.  This dream is for all who pray, but was released especially to encourage those whose assignment and calling is intercession.  Holy Spirit says to all intercessors: Don’t give up! Keep pressing in!

We who dwell in the foundation under the foundation are about to see an outpouring of answered prayers. Yes, we have had answers all along, but recently the assignment has been very hard. Many are growing weary.  The Lord spoke to me: Hang on! In this season coming quickly there will be an avalanche of answered prayers! Ministers and ministries are about to be accelerated and multiplied. Souls are about to come in by the hundreds then thousands and millions.  Keep on praying and believing! Our God is answering and He is about to answer BIG TIME!

With love to you all,
Rev. Cheryl

Rejoice! And again I say Rejoice!

Rejoice

These past weeks, while walking though a particularly stressful time, I have been hearing from the Lord about the remarkable power of JOY in Him. In fact, the overcoming resilience, fortitude and stalwartness of faith that is needed for this time in history is only found in a foundation of the abounding JOY we have in our Lord Jesus.

He spoke to me: Child, reading  and studying My word is excellent. Praying is excellent. Gathering in fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Me is excellent. Participating in community outreaches is excellent. Blessing others and helping others is excellent. Yet, you do all this in little power and strength of fleeting happiness and do not draw fully upon the well of power packed overflowing and abounding JOY that is found only in Me. Let’s talk together just to talk. Let’s laugh and dance and be silly together. Let Me make your heart merry as you spend time with Me; as My love washes away the heavy load of life and ministry. Yes! Let’s laugh and rejoice together, even in the midst of tears and challenges, because all things are in My hands and you can trust Me no matter your circumstances. 

It was true when I heard these words that life had weighed me down. There were deaths of people I loved and admired. Illness had struck too many in my group of friends and close to home in my life and family. Ministry, while so fulfilling and good, was busy and feeling heavy. Decisions came upon me that seemed insurmountable but needed to be made and then, as if He had no idea that I was overwhelmed, the Lord called me to make a giant step into the unknown with Him. He asked me to give up something I love. Of course, I said yes, but the sacrifice of it was very painful. As I took the pain to Him, He gave me supernatural Joy in exchange. I was able to overcome and do all I needed to do because of that JOY! I received it because I went to the Father and asked for help.

First, He poured it out upon me and then He taught me how to walk constantly in His abounding JOY.

Paul and the church at Philippi were in dire circumstances when he instructed them out of the abounding JOY he had in Christ Jesus to: REJOICE in the Lord always! Knowing that those words would fall on overwhelmed hearts and not penetrate he added: And again, I will say REJOICE!  That admonition was followed by instructions in Philippians 4:5-9

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Holy Spirit’s revelation to me as He taught me about these passages of scripture was that Continue reading

Good Gifts

JetsonsI remember way back in 1964 during Social Studies class we figured out what age we kids would be in the year 2000. That seemed like a Sci-fi year to all of us as it was so very far in the future. We did essays on what we thought the world would be like in the year we would turned 50 years old. Despite the fact that all of us thought 50 was an ancient age, and it was hard for us to believe we would ever be “that old,” we began to imagine and dream what it would be like. Most of us thought it would be like the “Jetsons” cartoon on television replete with spaceship like cars, robots serving us, anti-gravity belts, instant food cooking, and a dog name Astro.

Now, we are all well past that 2000 year marker. While I cannot speak for my classmates, who could be inventors or scientists making stunning Sci-fi gizmos, I don’t have an anti-gravity car, nor can I transport to Hawaii in 5 minutes like Judy Jetson did for a beach party. But, we do have communicators (cell phones), nearly instant cooking (microwave ovens), video calling and a bunch of other Jetsons-like stuff. Too bad the robots haven’t progressed past vacuuming the floor as far as serving us at home, but they are in every industry so even that has come true.

Our imaginations as a generation of kids took us toward those inventions and technologies and many of them were created. It’s all pretty impressive what humankind has done and taken all the credit for.  Yes, I was being a little critical because, by and large, we have left out of the picture a very important component; the central reason we have been blessed with all these creature comforts. Left out by most folks has been the divine inspiration and blessings of the Lord God. There has been a gross lack of spiritual connection to the One giving all these good things to humankind. That Father God would be involved in inspiring invention and technology doesn’t seem to fully compute with our culture. Nonetheless, the Word of God says in James 1:17 “All good things come down from the Father of Lights above.” Continue reading