Let the Games begin…

Morning all, for those who read my recent blog Look the Part…Play your Part you will know that the Commonwealth Games are taking part in Birmingham England (my home city) this week. Sports people from many different parts of the world (72 nations) have come together to take part in about 19 different sporting events from cricket, athletics, rugby, swimming, gymnastics, netball, racket sports…a huge range over 10 days.

It’s a massive thing for the city of Birmingham because although Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom, it is generally still regarded as a poor place. It’s reputation has not been great. Birmingham has together with the region where I live (called the Black Country) a long industrial past so a lot of the city centre was made up of factories around the Jewellery Quarter and then there were the coal/tin mines in the Black Country with the glass, chain, steel and other industries. In the other areas of Longbridge and Solihull were the large car manufacturing plants and not forgetting the famous Cadbury Chocolate factories and village for the workers in Bournville.

When the industries, manufacturing and mining declined, and some disappeared altogether, those buildings and areas fell into disrepair and neglect and there was a lot of poverty but over the years the city and its areas have started to be regenerated. One of the beautiful things of the games is that people get to see the “new” and “regenerated” Birmingham. The regeneration is not complete by any means but these games have brought with them the ability to push that regeneration along. The past images of Birmingham are being renewed and people can see what a great city Birmingham is.

God is a God of restoration and these beautiful verses in Isaiah remind us of this:

You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.“ Isaiah 62:3-5

The opening ceremony showed the story of Birmingham and its pioneering achievements but didn’t shy away from some of its difficult history…especially the cruel story of the women who were the “chain makers” of the area. These women worked day and night making chains for industry in terrible conditions and essentially being exploited in their labour. These brave women eventually stood up and said enough. They fought to have better pay and treatment.

There was a powerful scene in the opening ceremony when this huge (and I mean huge) mechanical bull was brought into the arena by these women in their chains. The women then were set free from their chains and released. This representation reminded me so much of Jesus who by His death and resurrection has set us, the captives free, and we are no longer enslaved to sin. We are free in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Hallelujah

There are many people praying for us whilst these Games are on that the light of Jesus will break over our city. Please pray that Jesus will be exalted in these days and the love of God made known. Join with us as we pray.

I started my first volunteer shift yesterday and for the next week will be carrying out various duties in my role and meeting lots of different people. I’ll post some (hopefully) fun stories of my experiences and what happens at the Games. Let the Games begin..

Freedom Friday

I hope you enjoy this re-post today.

God wants us to be free.  He is the God who sets the captives free.  The God of deliverance.   

Jesus died and rose again so that we might live in freedom.   Not chained in any way.

The Holy Spirit desires to reveal to us those things in our lives or our mind sets which are obstacles or hindrances to us living fully as Jesus wants us to live. A Kingdom lifestyle.

The power of the gospel of the Kingdom working in and through us.  

Jesus wants to set us free from every oppressive work and lie of the enemy which is operating in our lives and restricting us.  

It might be fear, unbelief, guilt, lack of self-belief, un-forgiveness, trauma, depression, anxiety, sinful behaviour or addictions – there can be many things which restrict our spiritual growth as believers, hold us back and stop us stepping out in faith.   

Things which restrict the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us to others.

There is a word for this season from Isaiah 60:1

“Arise, Shine – for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you“.   

I heard the The Lord ask me -“What is stopping you from rising – what is trying to stop you from doing things for me?    What is stopping you from shining?   What is tainting the light shining from you?”

In my case it was fear – fear which I didn’t even realise was there.  

The Lord showed me that a traumatic event in my childhood had left a mark of fear on my life.  

It wasn’t a gripping, completely debilitating fear which paralysed me but it still used to rise up out of the blue causing me to question and torment myself over things I had said or done.   Decisions made and actions taken – Was I right or wrong?

Fear brought its friends along too..doubt, anxiety and worry.

It caused me to worry about making mistakes and over analyse the decisions I had made.   

Thankfully the Lord set me free and healed me from this fear.  

Who the son sets free is free indeed.

Fear no longer has a part in me because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and His resurrection power.

I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal things which may also be holding you back too or which may be tainting your light so you are not shining as brightly for Him.  

Jesus wants you to be free and He alone can set you free.

Amen 🙏 blessings to you this day.

00:00 the midnight hour

I had a dream the other night which was so vivid. In the dream my daughter burst into my bedroom and shouted loudly for me to wake up, wake up..you have overslept. I woke bolt upright in a state of confusion. I couldn’t understand why I had slept through my alarm which I had set the night before as usual.

When I looked, my alarm clock was flashing brightly but the number displayed was 00:00. There was no beeping sound coming from the alarm clock though just the flashing of the bright white numbers. 00:00.

I understand that 00:00 is used in military time to show the midnight hour and so the midnight hour is the hour in the dream that the Lord was calling to my attention.

At midnight Paul and Silas were singing hymns and praising the Lord when the power of God came in a miraculous way for freedom and salvation. Praise God 👏👏 Hallelujah 🔥🔥🙌

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” Acts 16:25-26

I believe that there is a season in prayer that the Lord is calling His people to in the midnight watch. Let’s the Saints arise and the power of their praises and prayers shake the heavens.