Pillars of Hope

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Many people asked me if the prayer focus I shared at the 3rd Annual Pray Modesto Prayer Breakfast was recorded. Since it was a prayer meeting, it was not. However, I have gone over my notes and asked the Holy Spirit to help me to reconstruct the message. The written version of “Pillars of Hope: Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health” is posted here. While the Father spoke this over the city of Modesto California on June 4, 2015, I believe the principles in the message apply no matter where we live. May His word to our beloved city bless you whether you live in the greater Modesto area or anywhere in the world!

Pillars of Hope: Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health
By Rev Cheryl Birch

Back in 1911 there was a contest to choose a motto for Modesto.  Whichever slogan won the contest, those words would be placed upon a brand new entrance arch to greet all visitors.

The slogan that won that contest was “Nobody’s got Modesto’s Goat” –

Thankfully, the Modesto Businessmen’s Association made an excellent decision to put the second place winner on our arch.  In 1912, Water Wealth Contentment Health lit up 9th and I Streets for the first time using 696 incandescent light bulbs.

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As I was praying in preparation for this morning, I could see those words – Water Wealth Contentment Health – glowing in the dark. They began to radiate with glory.

In them I could see that the Lord Jesus intended blessing for our city. He had something far more wonderful than “Nobody’s got Modesto’s goat”… I believe He turned the hearts of the decision makers in 1911 toward His promises for this city.

When these 4 words were first proclaimed, they described Modesto in the natural or physical realms.  This area was golden with wheat that brought great wealth, there     was lots of water to grow that wheat and other produce with two rivers flowing, and later because of irrigation.

People were by and large content with life here. All cities have some problems, but Modesto, in the early 1900s, was known for excellence in education, music, entertain-ment and the beautiful rose gardens. The people were healthy because of all the wonderful foods, fruits and vegetables available year round.

Over the years, and most recently, it is obvious these 4 promises have come under severe attack.

We look around and we have challenges: drought and water battles, unemployment and poverty with resulting discontentment and on top of that poor air quality and a challengingly dismal health record.  We seem to be on the bottom of everyone’s good list and the top of everyone’s bad list. And, according to the powers that be, the best we do is the middle of the pack.

What I say to that is Baloney! Yes, Baloney! Modesto is not all that, it is a blessed city!

The Lord spoke to my heart many years ago now to look again with supernatural or spiritual eyes at our city.  When I looked again with spiritual eyes at our Arch, I could see He gave us a Gift — A Gift of Four Pillars of Hope

Hope, He wished to bestow upon the residents back then and Hope for all future citizens of Modesto.  Words to rejoice over during good times, and to stand upon during difficult times.

The word of God is rich with scriptures to define these promises of HOPE.  In fact,  there are too many verses to share in this short time so, I chose key scriptures that stood out to me for each one:

The Promise of Water – A symbol of the Holy Spirit and God’s word – John 7:37-39 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The Promise of Wealth – symbol of Godly treasures, treasures of heaven, and treasures of the heart Colossians 2:2-3  that their (that our) hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The Promise of Contentment – symbol of resting in the Lord, of the fullness of trusting in Christ Jesus no matter what is going on around us … Philippians 4 entire chapter, especially verses 11-13 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.

The Promise of Health – Symbol of Christ Jesus healing our heart, mind and body Isaiah 53:5 (Repeated in 1 Peter 2) But He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The very gates of our city have been and are being assailed by our spiritual enemy twisting and turning the wonderful message found in these 4 words. BUT, City of Modesto, we possess these promises, they supersede our natural circumstances and we can contend together for those promises!

We can stand together and we can Hope again! We can Pray together and unify in faith on God’s promises. We can proclaim together, knowing the Biblical message of Water Wealth Contentment Health defines God’s plans for us! We can come into agreement with the Father’s vision and destiny for our city and see the fulfillment of these spiritual promises also begin to transform our natural atmosphere as He transforms hearts.

As we seek first His righteousness, then all the things we need will be added to us. There is equity in our God but we need to ask.

This is where we are: The very identity and future of Modesto rests in the hearts and mouths of the believers and her citizens.  What we say about ourselves and our city is contagious whether positive or negative.

In this world everyone is trying to make us into their image of who and how and what they think we should be. When we accept that and allow others to tell us who we are; we lose our God given identity.  What we must hang on to at all times, no matter the pressure from others or the demonic spiritual pressures, is that our identity is found in Christ Jesus alone. As we embrace Him more and more fully, who we are in Him is revealed and it becomes evident to all.

The same is true for our collective selves as a city.  Modesto’s identity is to be found in Christ Jesus alone. It is time we stepped away from old paradigms of expression, old mindsets about who we are, and stop allowing others to mold Modesto’s image.  Instead let’s look at who we are individually and collectively in Christ and Christ alone! In Him all things old have passed away and behold all things have become NEW!

Jesus Himself said in Luke 6:44-46 (NKJV)
44 For every tree is known by its own fruit…. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Modesto is suffering from low self- esteem not only because others have spoken badly about her, but because so much discouragement has been flowing out of the hearts and the mouths of her residents.

Let’s break the cycle! Let’s become Champions for Modesto and speak according to the Father’s vision for us.  I see a thriving Modesto flowing in an abundance of the good things of God as we give utterance to our promises.

Let’s take a moment of personal reflection, and repentance if needed, before we pray together…and, ask our Father in heaven to give us His eyes to see the city and His love for this place we live. Let’s truly unify in prayer believing, for there is power in faith agreement, and ask God to release His purposes and His excellence in our midst. Not for our sakes but for the sakes of the multitude of souls waiting in the valley of decision.

Our prayers are more effective than we think they are – They are part of the ministry of reconciliation.  Our words and requests help pave the way to restoring the people of this city to Harmony with God. To restoration of His grace, favor and provision!

We could pray this morning from the point of view that Modesto has problems that are getting our goat… or we can pray from God’s point of view…

We have a divinely appointed and heavenly orchestrated opportunity to bless Modesto in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ this morning. Not one of you is here by accident. What each of you prays will lift up this city to the throne of grace and our Father in heaven will hear and will respond to YOUR prayers.

Let’s ask Him to fulfill in our day, in our lifetime, His promises of Water Wealth Contentment Health…

Everyone, can we say together: Water Wealth Contentment Health?

Yes Father – Water Wealth Contentment Health in Jesus Name we pray! AMEN!

~*~
Copyrighted 2015 Cheryl S Birch – All rights reserved
Contact author for permission to reprint or share.

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Concerned about your health and welfare? Pray for your city!

180 turn

The Lord really spoke to me today about the intense need for His people to make 180 degree turn in how they approach praying for our government and its leaders. This is what He gave me and I felt I was to share it:

First, we know by 1 Timothy 2:1-5, 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 and other scriptures that we are to pray over our leaders and the government structures society has instituted. This next scripture really hit my heart… The Lord said to Jeremiah in verse 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. How vital it is we bless and not curse our city or any governmental structure! When we speak evil it affects everyone including us!

Then I read in Titus 3:1-2 Remind them (that refers to followers of Christ Jesus) to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. And, the Holy Spirit pointed out this scripture in 1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

It is vital not only to bless, but to use our mouths and our actions to create an atmosphere of honor for all people, even if we don’t like them, their actions, or their political stand. Every man and woman is made in the very image of God and we must, if nothing else, honor His decision to create them and the fact they have been placed in leadership over us. No matter how evil or good each person is, we are to pray God’s word over them in our cities, states, and our nation.

Some of the Scriptures to bless and to pray for your city, state and nation that I found after listening and waiting on the Lord in prayer:

Psalm 144:12-15 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;13 may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; 14 may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets! 15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

Psalm 22:28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Daniel 9:18-19 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

Psalm 2:10-12 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Micah 6:9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city— and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of Him who appointed it!

Micah 2:13 He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head.

Proverbs 28:2 When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Matthew 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.

Daniel 9:16-17 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.

Psalm 67:3-7 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Isaiah 62:11-12 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.