Listen to the beat

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By Heather Djunga

The first glimpse that Luke gives us of the King of Kings in his gospel is of His name, Jesus. Gabriel has visited Mary and announced that she will give birth to a son, named Jesus.

The next glimpse he gives us of the King of Kings is of a bump.

The Word has been given and as with every word the Lord speaks, the miracle starts to unfold. The King is still veiled within Mary’s pregnant belly but He is there, with tiny nails and eyelashes, and a heartbeat.
His heart beats in Mary and she knows He is there, even though the miracle is not yet evident to everyone else.

Mary experiences the fevers and morning sickness of pregnancy alone. We don’t know what emotions she experiences as she comes to terms with what the Lord is doing through her life, and as she battles to grasp what the Lord has placed inside of her. There’s not exactly a support group for this kind of thing.
It’s a heavy thing for her to carry alone. But she’s not alone. The Father is with her.

Then she starts to show. At first, as a tiny bulge, which she hides easily enough beneath loose-fitting dresses. Fortunately these kind of dresses are in fashion at the moment. Initially, Mary pulls off this loose-fitting ‘look’ with great finesse.

But then the bulge becomes a distinct bump. This is Mary’s first pregnancy and so she carries fairly well. Still, the bump is unmistakable. Mary’s family, who initially teased her for putting on a little weight, now start to question her.
We can imagine the shame she endures carrying God’s child. We can see the stares and hear the whispered remarks. “Mary isn’t married. Who is the Father?”
A sheepish explanation, “He is the Son of God” doesn’t suffice in freeing Mary from the scorn of family and public shame. “No, really guys, I’m telling the truth. The baby I’m carrying is the one in scripture. You know those passages we recite in the synagogue – they refer to my baby. That’s my boy – I’m his mom.” #awkward.

A nice Jewish girl endures the ‘black sheep’, even ‘crazy’ label for her King.
Luke doesn’t say what Mary went through. We can only imagine. But he does write how she got through it. On her knees, with her hands raised in praise:

Mary’s Song
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
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and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
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for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
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His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
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He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
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He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
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He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
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He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
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to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

God has put something in you – it might not yet be evident to everyone else. When the bump gets bigger, you might have to endure scorn, unbelief, gossip and even rejection from those you thought you could trust with God’s revelation. They might not see the vision, or understand your dream.
But settle everything on your knees before the Father. What He has spoken, He will watch over.

See the baby grow in Mary’s womb. He’s kicking now and Mary can feel Him move.
The world doesn’t yet understand the miracle, but she feels the child’s heartbeat. She knows He is the King of Kings. She can listen to the noise of the world, the criticism and the unbelief. Or she can turn her ear inwards, to the heartbeat of the king.

Today: Which frequency are you tuned into? Choose to listen to the beat.

(The Sketch Chronicles: 17 of 365)

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 rose petals make a ‘bang’

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Foolish? Insignificant? Fragile? It all depends on whose hands it is in.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor 1:27)

By Heather Djunga

You might have seen the rose petal trick before. A fragile petal from a rose is positioned over a ‘ring’ made by the thumb and index finger.
The other hand then comes down at great force over the petal, which then makes a loud ‘pop’ sound.
One could hardly imagine a fragile rose could make a ‘bang’ but in the right hands, this is possible.

Remember how Jesus lifted up five loaves and two fish – an insufficient ‘lunch’. After giving thanks to the Lord, He proceeded to break the fish and bread for the people gathered to listen to His teachings.
It wasn’t the fish and the bread which were enough to feed the people. The miracle was in the hands of the one who was holding them.

He is sufficient in our insufficiency.

Maybe you don’t know how the Lord will take what you have – or even your weakness and fragility – and turn it into a roar for His glory.
But Living out Loud is possible when the ‘squeek’ is given to the Lord, for He, the Lion of Judah is able.

Are you waiting to become strong and powerful before He can use you?

Surrender it all to the one who is strong and powerful and see what He can do!

In His hands, a rose petal can make a sound so loud, everyone turns their head to say ‘What’s going on?’

“Have the people sit down,” Jesus said. Now there was plenty of grass in that place, so the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Then Jesus took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. 12And when everyone was full, He said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”… (John 6:10-12)

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.

True beauty roars

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At His feet, real transformation happens. There is a beauty so gentle and tender it can only be found in His presence.

By Heather Djunga

She told Him her whole story. All her pain and hurt poured out from the alabaster jar, with the perfume purchased from her year’s wages as a prostitute.
This gift, the fruit of her sinful lifestyle, became something beautiful poured out onto the feet of the Lord.

“This alabaster jar is all I have of worth
I break it at Your feet, Lord, it’s less than You deserve
You’re far more beautiful, more precious than the oil
The sum of my desires and the fullness of my joy
Like You spilled Your blood, I spill my heart
As an offering to my King

Here I am, take me as an offering
Here I am, giving every heartbeat for Your glory
Take me.” (From Alabaster Jar)

(The Sketch Chronicles:16 of 365)

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.

Your First Love calls you back home

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“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)

You think it’s in your strength. In your religion. In your daily meditation. In your philosophy and your spiritual wisdom.

You think your status and good deeds and charitable works make you enlightened. You’re well read but still cannot see the Word.

You were so close to Him when you were a child, when the simplicity of love for Him was enough to stir you to believe.

You understood what the love of a Saviour was then.
But how far you have strayed from Him, in putting your good deeds and your practices, and your programmes ahead of a simple reaching out for Him and leaning into His embrace.

When He lifts His voice, do you hear Him? When He reveals Himself to you, do you recognise Him? Or has your heart grown cold to the reason for it all?

You think you need all of this stuff, and accolades, and fame and power and money. But really you just need Him.

He’s the Messiah.

Do you understand yet what Messiah means?

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Rev 2:4 and 5)

(The Sketch Chronicles: 15 of 365)

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.

A sevenfold return of blessing

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His word says He is our Redeemer, which means He comes to redeem those who are lost AND that which has been lost.In the eternal picture Jesus will restore a sevenfold blessing to you for every blessing the enemy tried to hold or steal or destroy. Sevenfold – that’s a rainbow blessing!

Weeping might last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

“People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold…”(Proverbs 6:31)

“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” (Is 40:10)

“I will bring my rewards with me, to give to each one according to what he has done.” (Rev 22:12)

“Instead of shame, My people will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation, they will rejoice in their share; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity; in My faithfulness I will give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them.” (Isa 61:7,8)

(The Sketch Chronicles: 14 of 365)

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.

Straight to the heart of the matter

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Her unkempt hair, distasteful outfit, offensive mannerisms offended everyone present.
Who was she and why did Jesus not correct her?

He wasn’t concerned by the things they were concerned with. He saw just her heart. And He saw their hearts too.

And seeing what was unkempt, distasteful and offensive in their hearts, He spoke up.”Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

The ‘Board of Directors’ present in the room had determined that this woman with issues could not possibly be close to Jesus’ heart. But they failed to see the situation clearly.
She touched His heart so deeply, and He her’s, that He said of her: “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Jesus sees just the heart.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)

(The Sketch Chronicles: 14 of 365)

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.

‘Stupid is as stupid does’

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Am I the only one who didn’t understand what ‘Stupid is as stupid does’ when I watched Forrest Gump? To be honest, everyone seemed to get it and I felt a little stupid asking about its meaning. Did you also wonder the same thing and maybe felt too silly asking others to explain to you – even though, as they always say, ‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’.

By Heather Djunga

I think sometimes we are afraid to ask in case we look a little dumb.
I remember the day I asked, quite innocently, about Star Trek, instead of Star Wars at work and was met with very icy stares. I felt like I had committed the unpardonable sin and made a mental note to always remember ‘Wars’ and not ‘Trek’ when conversing with my colleagues.

There’s another awkward moment that comes to mind. The day I showed up with a roast chicken at a previous company’s Christmas party. I had assumed that since it was at a park and was a picnic, it was a ‘bring and share’. Not only did I arrive a few minutes late, but everyone grew silent when they noticed the roast chicken in my arms. “What’s the chicken for?” someone eventually asked.
As it was, we had hired a caterer.
Hence, no need for the very big chicken from Woolies.

In my assuming, I had forgotten to ask someone whether bringing in order to ‘share’ was necessary.

So today’s blog is about asking.

Jesus tells us to ask.

He encourages it. He commands it.

“Ask and it will be given to you.”

Do you bring the questions you have to Him? To His throne? Have you searched for the answers in His authoritative Word? Do you pray and trust the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, will guide you into all truth?
Or do you ask the guy in accounts or the girl you jog with every morning for their answers on life?
Surely, we should ask Him first?

Asking can take humility at times… like, for example, when we have to humble ourselves to ask a question like, “Excuse me, but do you understand what ‘Stupid is as stupid does’ means?”

It is written that Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord through the night. He wanted to be blessed! He didn’t look for his answer and blessing outside of the Lord. Instead, he focused his asking, seeking and knocking on God Himself – and it is written in the morning he left this encounter blessed.
Let’s make Him the focus of our asking, seeking and knocking and let’s take Him up on His offer… He says we can come to Him whenever we want to and fellowship with Him and ask Him what is on our hearts.

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.