It’s no secret

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Simon the sorcerer considered himself a big deal. He had used his sorcery to establish himself as a big shot in his area. He was what you could call ‘famous’ among the town folk. He believed he had it all figured out. Then the disciples of Jesus came along…

By Heather Djunga

“Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” (Acts 8:9-10)

Who were these men who wielded such power, Simon the sorcerer must’ve wondered in Acts 8 when he first beheld the disciples of Jesus and saw them at work for the Lord. There’s was a power he could not contain or come against, one he could not imitate. He had time and time again manipulated the physical realm through control in the spiritual realm but these peculiar men who said things he didn’t quite get – whose enthusiasm seemed misplaced, in his opinion (which he considered quite ‘humble’) – were doing something he couldn’t do. He had held many captive through his sorcery. But, he couldn’t set one free.

Jesus’ disciples were laying hands on people and people’s lives were being changed. People were being set free.

Simon wanted what they had. He didn’t know how they did what they did. They operated in a completely different realm, if you will. And they weren’t keeping ‘their tricks’ secret.
They were speaking about proclaiming this Good News from the rooftops. Shouting it out, and so forth.

Simon was curious.

His methods were hidden. He had seen his own fame rise through his secret.
But these men worked in the light.

They didn’t exclude anyone.

They didn’t even have a secret club.

“Come, follow Jesus,” they said, quite openly, even to the outcasts of the city. Apparently, everyone was invited to the table of this Jesus.

Scripture records that Simon eventually came closer to the disciples, even conversed with them, and was eventually one of those baptised in acceptance of the Lord Jesus.

Still, something in him still believed there was a catch.

Scripture records this:
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” (Acts 8:18-24)

The gospel is not complicated as some might believe. It is about a God who so loved the world, that He sent His only Son so that whosoever might believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
He came into His own creation and conquered sin on the cross so that you can be in right standing with a holy God and be in relationship with Him – because He created you for this purpose.

Simon the sorcerer, in his understanding, had reduced God to being a force, and couldn’t understand this concept of relationship with Him.
He wanted to use the spiritual for his own gain and to have the gift which the disciples had, not understanding the one behind the gift of the disciples was Jesus Himself, reaching out to a fallen, broken world in love through their hands and prayers and gestures. Jesus was the gift. Jesus’ disciples weren’t doing magic. They were in relationship with the living Spirit of God.They weren’t interested in the things Simon was interested in. They relished the closeness of fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

I don’t know what happened to Simon the sorcerer but his willingness to be baptised and ask questions about the Lord showed his heart was starting to yield to the Holy Spirit. He was starting to understand that a greater spiritual truth than the one he had been taught existed; that this truth wasn’t a concept but a person, Jesus, the Truth; that the Holy Spirit’s concerns aren’t spiritual manipulation and control, but love and relationship and building an Eternal Kingdom which cannot be swayed by the agendas of this world.

So shout if from the rooftops. The power of Jesus and His Majesty cannot be contained or countered because He is God and His glory shines in both the light and the darkness. It cannot be snuffed out. He doesn’t desire it be hidden.
Jesus said to invite everyone to know Him and to hear the Good News.

Is what you believing costing you as it was costing Simon the sorcerer? Are you missing out on knowing the living Jesus Christ because you have exchanged law and cause-effect religious thinking, and self effort for a relationship with Him? Are you getting tired?
Then Jesus says to ‘Come!’ It’s not too late for you today.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor 1:18)

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.

Game over!

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The Lord has cut the puppet strings. You don’t have to be manipulated and controlled by the enemy’s lies anymore. His Spirit has made you flesh and blood again – don’t go back to being an autobot, swayed this way and that by the world and its desires. Jesus has made you into a New Creation, just as Pinocchio became a ‘real’ person – alive because true love took away his heart of wood and gave him a heart of flesh.

When truth floods in, the chains of deception break and satan’s game falls flat.

By Heather Djunga

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

Because we have the Lord’s Holy Spirit, we have the authority to reject any agreement the enemy tries to bring us into and to reject any thought which doesn’t line up with the Word of God. Our God has purchased our freedom by His Blood and broken satan’s web of lies from our minds.

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world is under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.…” (1 John 5:19)

Did it occur to you that many of the situations and stuff in your life can change if you start to examine your thoughts? You might have agreed with the enemy’s lies and entertained his games, but as you start to align your thoughts to the Word of God and His promises, things will start to look different.

Jesus isn’t the one telling you that you are a failure.

Jesus isn’t the one who stirs you up inside to jealously seek after what belongs to someone else.

Jesus isn’t the one telling you that you are insignificant and that your worth is in money, or stuff, or beauty, or fame. He sees just your heart.

Jesus isn’t the one giving you a vision to build your own empire at the expense of others.

Jesus isn’t into power games.

He’s not the one who keeps throwing your past in your face.

He isn’t the one showing you unrealistic ideals in magazines and pressing you to airbrush your image to‘Keep up with the Joneses’ online.

Jesus wants the mask off. He wants the puppet strings off and for you to be restored to the fellowship with Him which He created you for, as it was in Eden. He has opened the cage for you. He has given you the authority to walk out – free.

This means choosing to reject the lies the enemy has fed you about who you are and about who Jesus is.

Remember blind man Bartemeus? How in reaching for Jesus and desiring to be whole again, he cast off his old coat. We all have a coat like that. It’s the one you have been sitting comfy in for years. It has impressions of your body in its fleece, from years of you sitting in the same position. It’s stained with coffee and laptop dinners.
Throw it away.
You don’t need that anymore.

If any thought doesn’t align with the truth of God’s word, throw it out.

It is God who determines your destiny and the outcome.

It is God who has the final say.

The devil’s lies and curses were overcome at the cross.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13)

Jesus said on the cross: “It is finished!”

Game over!

It is for freedom you have been set free!

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.

Stay awake!

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Have you seen that scene in the Shrek movie where Sleeping Beauty arrives to serenade Fiona at her baby shower? They have to keep waking her up because she keeps falling asleep! She’s awake, then she’s asleep, then she’s awake… Beauty, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty, Sleeping Beauty…

Flittering between identities – eyes open, eyes closed…

Can the lady please just make up her mind?

Yes, that’s her in the picture included (second from the left, next to Cinderella), dozing off for a brief moment while everyone else enjoys a chat over tea.

By Heather Djunga

Peter and the disciples were disillusioned after the crucifixion. We know this because we see towards the end of the book of John the disciples returning to fishing after Jesus’ crucifixion. This was what they were doing when He first called them. They went back to their old identities. Back to sleep.

Maybe they were offended or disillusioned or hurt by how things had panned out. One day Jesus was speaking like He was invincible. The next, it felt to them like He was no longer with them.
What did they think about as they sat in their fishing boats? They must’ve been thinking about Him. Once you have spent time with the living Jesus, you can’t just shake Him out of your thoughts. They must’ve missed Him, recounted their journey with Him over and over… Why had it come to this? He was the Son of God, He knew everything, why hadn’t He warned them they were headed for this dry, empty place? They had been on top of the world, now they were back in their fishing boats.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you were trusting God for something and things seemed to be gaining momentum in your walk with Him. You were seeing His hand move in miraculous ways, you were close to Him – as His disciples had been… but then something unexpected happened. Something which seemed like a hideous obtrusion into your story with Him. Something which left you feeling muzzled and disillusioned.

In that initial period after Jesus’ death, the disciples responded to the pain and disillusionment of what had happened by shrinking back into their old comfort zones – in this instances, fishing boats.
But then these hard working fishermen heard someone calling them from the shore and telling them where to cast their nets. They didn’t recognise Him at first but they soon would when after listening to the man on the shore’s instructions, they caught such a large catch of fish they could hardly pull their nets up.

His presence, His voice was enough to shake off the ‘Sleeping’.

Jesus, the risen Son of God, met the fishermen in their place of despondency, at the same time reinstating their identities, waking them up to who they were and more importantly, to who He was… the RISEN Son of God.

Disillusionment fell away. Hope and identity were restored. He wasn’t about to drop the story half way. He was committed to driving it through to its conclusion.

How did they know this?

Well, there He was. With them.

Waking them up again.

There on the shore, Jesus reinstated Peter who had denied him three times at the crucifixion, asking Him three times if he loved Him and with each answer, asking him to ‘take care of His sheep’. Three times He reminded Sleeping Peter that he was no longer an ordinary fisherman. He was a fisher of men, the beloved of Jesus.

He woke Peter up.

Do you not know He has transformed you by His Spirit from ashes to Beauty so Beauty shake off the Sleeping once and for all and make a decision today – I’ve been called for this, I’ve been equipped for this and I am going to go for it! I’m not going to allow naysayers to steal my focus. I’m not going to allow circumstances to intimidate me. My God isn’t a liar. He breaks chains… not promises!

Stay awake and contend!

From John 21:
“5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.”

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.

Do you not perceive it?

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‘…Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?’ (Isa 43:19). It might not be the perfect artwork yet. It might only be the beginning of something beautiful. It might even look a little messy. But today you can trust this: He who started the good work in you will bring it to completion. He will not put the pencil down until the masterpiece is finished!

Words and drawing by Heather Djunga

When you consider your walk with Him, do you remember moments in the past when His faithfulness amazed you and how He produced some beautiful pencil strokes which left you in awe. In those moments, your hope was high and the vision was clear and you felt you could take on the world.

The Lord has reminded me this past week that I need to trust the process and trust that He finished everything He starts. If He is behind what has been spoken, it will be done.

He has reminded me of how when He gave the promise, He already knew the challenges that would come and also how nothing – no power of hell – can stop or stand in the way of what He has spoken.
In fact, He wove the shadows in your story into the final outcome – which is the fulfillment of His promise.

Do you see how a drawing has both shadow and light? Maybe those working the shadow into your story believe they are powerful. Maybe you even think they have the power to sway God’s promise to you but they are as much passing through the hands of the Sovereign Lord as those who are the light in your life.
Remember in the book of Job, satan had to ask God’s permission before he could sift God’s faithful servant.

“So in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

Everything – the light and darkness – is brought together by the Creator to bring forth the depth and clarity and beauty of the unique picture He is creating through you.

So if you are tired or disillusioned or maybe you don’t get what He’s doing, or maybe you don’t know how the next pencil stroke will come – remember… He is faithful and He won’t put the pencil down until the masterpiece is complete!

Homework today: Stand back and look at what He’s already done. Do you see how He is more committed to the outcome of your story than you are. Trust He will do what He has said. Start declaring what has been promised over your life and standing on His Word (both scriptural promises and His revealed will to you) over your circumstances… believing.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut 8:2-3

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.

Let there be sight!

Sight


I first noticed that my son couldn’t see clearly when he pointed to a ‘spider’ on the wall, and I looked up to see a picture frame hook – no spider.
Relieved as I was that there was no spider, I was somewhat concerned that he had believed it to be one.

People tried to convince me I was being Paranoid Mommy (us moms all step into her shoes at some time or another) but I knew my son wasn’t seeing clearly.
When I had him tested, one of his eyes was weaker than the other and they gave him reading glasses. I was uncomfortable at the thought of my little boy having to put on glasses for classwork but then came the moment they first put the specs on.
His entire face lit up and I saw him smile such a big smile, even his eyes were smiling with him.
He wanted to wear these glasses straight away and wasn’t concerned that they felt different on his face or about any inconvenience of having to carry a glasses case with him to school.
He could see! The world had become something new to him.
The teacher told me that she could see an immediate improvement in his work. “He used to draw just the eyes in his pictures. Now he also draws the eyebrows and eyelashes,” she told me.

Thing is, he had spent the first few years of his life oblivious to any weakness in his sight. It hadn’t even bothered him. But now, he could see the world through new eyes and he couldn’t go back to seeing it as he saw it before.
How good is your sight?

Are you seeing your situation clearly?

With the Holy Spirit, you are given special specs through which to understand scripture. Suddenly, you see the ‘eyebrows’ and ‘eyelashes’ in the Word which were hidden before. Because He has given you a set of new eyes.

Nicodemus was told about these Holy Spirit specs by Jesus in John 3. He arrived to speak with Jesus in a clandestine, ‘after hours’ meeting, asking Him questions about who He was. Jesus’ answers weren’t understood by Nicodemus who raised some silly arguments, like how someone already born could re-enter the womb. The educated pharisee was a great intellectual who knew scripture off-by-heart but he just wasn’t seeing.

“So that, “They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” (Mark 4:12)

Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about how unless you had the Holy Spirit you would never be able to ‘see’ what the Kingdom of Heaven was up to – the Spirit of God was like the wind, He said, and you had to be born again to see His movement and be a part of His kingdom.

Believers often forget to consult with the Lord on how He sees a situation but when He gives sight into what He is doing, by His Spirit, he gives hope and the believer is reassured God is still in control. Jesus said He only did what He ‘saw’ the Father doing.
Through giving ‘sight’, the Holy Spirit opens a way for the believer to step into His plans and purposes. When He shows you what He wants to do in a situation, and you stand in agreement and step into His action, things start to move differently.

I know it’s winter but put on your shades today. Jesus wants you to partner with Him in the greatest adventure of life out loud. You might find that this situation you have rebuked as being from the enemy is actually the very situation Jesus is using for His glory. It might be the very thing He has prepared you for – as Mordecai said to Esther: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as … It may very well be that you have achieved royal status for such a time as this!”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1 vs 1-4)

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light! (Genesis 1 vs 2)

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.

One Word

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According to the back of a Chappies paper, it takes eighty muscles for the mouth to say just one word. Eighty muscles for just one word? How many things does the Lord have to co-ordinate to get just one Word to you? And if He can speak just One Word, and co-ordinate events, and people and circumstances to deliver this to you, how much more can you trust Him for?

This morning, I felt the Lord say to me, ‘Heather, do you really believe I answer prayer?’

Like the persistent widow, we can bring the same things before Him over and over, maybe even feeling a little like a parrot. There needs to be a point where our faith is activated by His goodness and faithfulness and we trust that He has heard. This is not to say that we must not remain persistent in prayer, but we should be people who are expectant because our God is good.

An expectant person acts differently to other people. An expectant person has an attitude of gratitude. An expectant person sees the hand of God in circumstances which others call ‘impossible’. An expectant person goes to the throne of Grace knowing that Jesus is the answer and trusting that since an issue has been raised with the King of Kings and left at His feet, it is in good hands.

He just needs to speak One Word. He is powerful.
And here’s the Good News. He is also good.

Good and powerful. So then why not come before His throne and bring your requests to Him with prayer and petition and supplication? Why not delight in the fact that He has made a way for you to sit in fellowship with Him, this powerful and good God every day. Why would He want to spend time with me and even hear me? I don’t know. But that is the majesty and the mystery of Him.

Today, be expectant when you have come to His throne of Grace – for He is a God who cares for you and a God who will answer you – maybe not in the way you think… He might act out of that box you have put Him in… but scripture says with goodness ‘over and above’ what you could conceive or imagine.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” – Matthew 8:8

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018

When His answer sneaks up on you

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Has the Holy Spirit ever tip-toed up on you and completely surprised you with unexpected goodness?

By Heather Djunga

So many times I have written lists and strategies and weighed possible outcomes concerning how to deal with life stressors and circumstances. I have hypothesied how Jesus will answer me when I have prayed. I have formulated theories of how and through whom He can move.
Then Jesus has responded to my prayers in a way I had not anticipated – effortlessly He has breezed into my impossible situations, like the fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and just changed everything.

Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus. He was travelling to persecute Christians. But His plans were changed by Jesus. Jesus intercepted his mission.
After Jesus’ surprise and sneaky ambush, Saul was instantly changed, and walked away from his encounter with the Lord as Paul, giving glory to Jesus.

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

My friend who told me about a message she had heard about ‘sneaky Jesus’.
Everyone’s sleeping in Bethleham. A relatively ordinary night – without considering the bright star overhead. Some might have even been snoring. They had work the next day. Mothers had to wake up in the morning to look after their little ones.
Sleep was a normal part of their existence.

Into this ordinariness of everyday life entered the Son of God as a baby – not in a cradle in a house, but in the smelly straw, alongside some donkeys and animals. Sneaky Jesus.

I thank God for Jesus being an ‘out of the box’ thinker who can display His glory in an infinite number of ways because when my lists and theories and hypotheses no longer suffice, I know He will answer and I can be expectant… because He is sneaky and can use anyone or anything or anyhow He chooses to reveal His glory and to answer my heart’s cries.

He does hear you. Wherever you are today. And He is able to do the impossible. However it seems.

Don’t put Him in a box. He is God. Let Him wash your feet today. Let Him comfort you that it will all be ok. See the size of Him and the glory of Him.

Our sneaky, and beautiful and all powerful Jesus.

To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/

©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.