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

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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

Rejoicing in Christ Jesus

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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

Hope

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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!

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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