About Deborah - The Honey Bee

I am a Christ lover, Pastor's wife and mother of two handsome boys. My dream is to raise a company of women who know who they are, whose they are and where they are going; women who, like Deborah of old, have embraced their God given roles and are thriving in the home, ministry and market place.

SURRENDER

My car has been my prayer closet for years now. I have made it a habit to make that short or long drive to work a moment of communion with my Father. Something about the endless sky and the horizon connects with my spirit in a way that can only my heart understands.

This morning was no different. After I dropped off our first, I hit the road to work and as I made my way, my heart was pondering on a situation that has been the focus of my prayer for years and today, especially today, I was at the “What next?” stage. As i lifted my heart to the Father, I heard him whisper a single word in the depth of my spirit – “Surrender”.

As I paused to consider the instruction, I realized more than ever before just how powerful the posture of surrender is.

  1. You only surrender to one who wields greater power or authority over you.
  2. Once you surrender, the responsibility for your life or death, success or failure lies entirely in the hands of the one to whom you have surrendered.
  3. Having relinquished control, you are completely at the mercy of your captor. And whatever he bids you must do. He knows exactly what he wants to achieve.

For once, I did not fight the instruction (being helpless or losing control is not my default so…it’s an area of growth). Instead, I was relieved. I knew at that moment my “What next” situation was no longer my responsibility. It’s outcome is no longer mine to worry about. Neither would I, going forward, required to develop and implement any plan to deal with it. All I have to do, ney… NEED to do, is to surrender it and myself to Him and follow his direction.

What’s that your carrying on your heart, shoulder, arms?

Surrender. Let him take you and it captive. He’ll work it out. I promise.

What is in a name?

Hind sight is 20-20.

As an avid student of history, I believe that in looking back, we understand where we are and how we got here and hopefully, prepare for where we are going or want to go. One of the most intriguing things about history is how names, words, symbols, emblems, standards etc. always tend to provide insights into a society’s norms and values, important events, its culture and belief system.

I never paid much attention to my names until the day I reported for a new role in a certain company that was more parastatal than it was private. On my first day, i was taken on a tour to get to know the company and the people. In the process, i was repeatedly asked uncomfortable and unwelcome questions about my names. I think i was too clueless and shocked to read between the lines so imagine my shock when I realized it was all a tribal mapping exercise! I mean, who does that? This was 2009 by the way so the post election issues of 2008 were still fresh in the air! How does an entire organization survive on such a culture? That my tribe would be such a fundamental issue and a huge determinant of my existence and success in the organization was a battle i faced over and over again and by the time i left, i was a sad individual.

In the last few days, i have found myself asking myself many questions around my identity as a child of God vis a vis my tribe in a post election Kenya. How is it that we as believers are always more aware of our tribes especially around elections? When did it become ok for us to refer to each other by our tribes and exalt that above our identity as bond servants of Christ? How is it even ok for us to map churches to geopolitical locations? Shouldn’t we have been the unifying factor for the nation? More importantly, how do we come back from that? Please tell me – I really would like to know.

Anyway – what’s in a name? In Kenya, apparently everything!

God Is Not Your Village Elder 🤭

Yesterday in the course of a crazy day (my body is already in the weekend, by the way), I decided to listen to a session I had missed over the weekend because, time and deadlines happened.

The speaker, a well grounded minister and emotional intelligence coach, was speaking about the many identities and cover ups women need to shed as we seek to perfect his purposes in our lives. She spoke candidly and passionately about our relationship with the Father and while expounding on a particular point, said something that amused me and amazed me in equal measure.

She said that the notion that we should not ask God questions is entrenched in our African norms and values that teach us not to question our elders. She then gave us a serious clap back – “God is not on your village council of elders, neither does he suffer from low self esteem. Your questions will not diminish his sovereignty or endanger his throne.”

Gbam!!

That was something!! Child of God, You and I must realize that God is so big and loves us so completely that we can come boldly into his presence and pour our hearts out to him…and yes, even ask him questions.

I cannot tell you how liberating that was for me. I needed to hear that because, wueh??!! I have many many questions.

Finally, when he called me and predestined you and I, he already knew you through and through. So believe me, he is not in any shape or form surprised when we thrive in foolishness. He does not face palm when we act out or make mistakes or blunder. He does not stop loving you because you messed this morning or 5 minutes ago..

Imagine he factored all that in when he picked you for the assignment. And he loves you completely!!

So, brethren do you have questions?? Ask them!!
The Father loves you completely, eternally, and unconditionally.

Don’t look for me – Leave me at the alter with my Father.

THE TREE OF LIFE

April 19, 1992 – Easter Sunday.

That’s the day i heard the gospel preached in a way that compelled me to consciously give my heart to the Lord. I had given my life to Jesus many times before – after all, i was born into a Born Again Home and it therefore followed that we were all introduced to Christ pretty early (there’s Christian and then there’s Born Again; ours was the latter). However, on that morning, i made a conscious decision being fully aware of its implications, and it was with such a finality that i never looked back.

Over the years, the date came and went without pause or much reflection – in fact, it never stood out for me. However, something makes this year different. As i thought about it, I realized that this easter season marks exactly 3 decades since that glorious morning. Wow. 30 glorious years of walking with the Lord. I can tell you, it’s not been easy – this journey has had as many ups as downs, as many highs as there have been lows and in some seasons, more tears than laughter. Looking back, I can honestly say that it has been purely the grace of God. I cannot boast today of having been the strongest of the bunch, or the one who prayed the longest, or even memorized the most portions of scripture. I would also be lying if I claimed to be the purest, holiest, truest Christian throughout my years in high school, college and later, as a working citizen. You see, in these 30 years, i have had “Elijah moments” of serious self (and God) doubt and i contemplated abandoning it all; “Job moments” where i questioned God and expressed my disappointment in what i assumed was His total abandonment of me; “Moses and Joshua moments” where i saw Him fight my battles; and “Psalms 51 moments” – against you and you only have i sinned; and “Miriam moments” – all praise and honor to you Lord. In each one of these seasons, i can tell you one thing – I know that He was present in each moment.

One of my favorite hymns is “The Old Rugged Cross”. I learnt it as i went into high school, you know, those turbulent yet deeply defining 4 years. I clung to it through college – 5 years in a foreign far place where the world took many different shapes and forms, yet i found new meaning in the depth and truth of its words. And, as i entered the job market, it stood as a reminder that regardless of how choppy the waters of legal practice, i was safe as long as i clung to that old rugged cross.

The last 10 years have been, by all standards, the most defining for me. Like many of you, I have transitioned from one season to another as I settled into the different phases of life. Its been a wonderful, scary yet defining 10 years. But through it all, i found grace to cherish the cross. Yesterday as we celebrated resurrection Sunday the memories flooded my heart – it all came back to me. I reflected on the treasure that i have found at the foot of that cross; the splinters that many times have cut into my own back and hands as i chose to follow Christ over and over again; the tears that i shed many times as i wondered where God had gone off to and the many many times i was assured of His lasting presence. Brothers and Sisters, in these 30 years, He has proven to me that His yoke is indeed easy and burden light. He has shown me that there is no mountain that can stand in the way of His might and no matter how steep the climb or deep the drop, He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that through it all, He carried me.

If you were born as far back as i was, please realize that we occupy the privileged position as a generation that is in many ways, the half way point. While we were the last to play in the rain, we were the first to wean our babies on a staple diet of you tube and smart phones. The information age has come with its own set of belief systems – we have had our faith questioned, challenged and thrown back in our faces and many have sadly, abandoned ship all together. Being a professed Christian has its own set of challenges and the Cross may seem heavier- it will make it hard to maneuver through tight spaces of compromise and logic; it will make it impossible to sit in some places, and I promise you, as you continue to yield to Him, it will determine your next move.

In the face of all these, i want to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on that Cross. No matter how great the challenges, or difficult the choices and questions – keep holding on. Don’t lose sight of Christ and don’t lose your faith. Cling to that old cross until you exchange it for a crown.

And when it feels overwhelming, remember that I and many others are walking right along with you. Do not hesitate to reach out and we shall be there to lend a shoulder – Just keep walking, keep clinging – He’s with you all the way.

Mombasa Road, Twenty Plenty Two and All.

I struggle sometimes, no actually, most times, to make sense of what i am seeing around me. I honestly do not think there is a generation that will match this one. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have taken the trophy. In every category. I mean, which other generation is more vocal and opinionated than this one? Which other generation has radio and tv stations crawling out of the wood work? Which generation has totally, and i mean totally lost respect for each other and its elders? You innocently (or not) post about a random topic like how to cut finger nails, or dust a carpet and the opinions come flying in, makombora mzito mzito. Yaani! This generation takes the cup!! – end of rant.

Anyway, the other day as i was sitting in traffic [it’s become a full time-after-job on Mombasa road these days] i subconsciously started people gazing and in the process, i made quite a few observations. But three stood out – a young man to my left whose radio was blaring old school RnB, wachana na hii kelele ya juzi [not the recent noise we are subjected to in the name of music]. This dude was having a ball!! He was thoroughly enjoying the music. Then to my right was loud kigoco [kikuyu praise] music. At first i was waiting to see an elder gentleman, god father hat and all (because the heat), probably headed to his hardware store hapo chini to collect the day’s sales. Never. Ever. When i finally saw the kigoco driven vehicle, it was a sleek, crisp, shinny, silver lady driven mercedes benz who was dancing in her seat like there was no tomorrow!! She was having a ball. Then there was a Noah, with a visibly impatient man, who kept changing lanes only to end up at more or less the same distance relative to where i was – kujitesa na kujigandamiza.

I concluded that the first two had: a) made peace with the fact that we were stuck in traffic and probably would be for a while and; b) decided to make the most of the situation. They had found a happy spot and occupied it well well. The Noah dude was probably calling the gavment, contractors, workers and the sun all manner of names. A quick self check made me realize i was actually very irritated and frustrated at the road hog habits of Rembo and Embassava Sacco drivers. So, i asked self, Why allow them to rob you the opportunity to enjoy this moment? In fact, why was I stressed about a situation i had little power to change? Why was i worried about the next 5 minutes and totally squandering the opportunity to enjoy the peace and (semblance of) quiet? Or using that time to invest in my personal development? After i dismissed my self-board meeting, i pulled up a video of one of my favorite speakers and hit play. I managed to finish a 50 min video over the next 11Kms – totally worth it.

As we start out this year, many people have probably made plans for this year. In fact, many of us have already hit the road running, chasing the clock and calendar so that by 31 December, we can tick off our list of achievement of this, that and the other. I can only imagine how excited they already are in anticipation of the days ahead. On the other hand, some of us are stuck. Unable to move past an obstacle, a bad experience, the pain of loss or betrayal, or in some cases, memories of past victories. We may even be overwhelmed by the magnitude of our plans and are experiencing analysis paralysis, totally unaware that time is doing what it does best – moving.

I want to encourage you to do one thing and one thing only, regardless of your situation ( yesterday i learnt to say “let us situate the situation”) – you are not alone. We are many occupying either or both categories.

If you are already rearing to go, get those that are like minded to keep momentum and cheer each other on. Motivation alone will not win the war. And if you are stuck – reach out to someone who is several steps ahead and ask for a helping hand. Appreciate the fact that all these thoughts and emotions are helping you identify what needs to be sorted and then, get it sorted. And finally, having done all you can – Stand.

In this year of Mombasa Road (almost done, mercifully), I have chosen to make every inconvenience, delay, pause, detour, halt, denial, answer, open and closed door a learning for me. I am determined to find my happy stops and spots and hit play, then i will stand, or sit, and dance like no one is watching.

Twenty Plenty Two, Mombasa Road and all – Let’s dance.

The Soil – Part 4

As a child, i always looked forward to the school breaks. My dad would take advantage of his business and ministry trips to take us on mini -vacations. And it was mad fun. Our trips took us to Machakos, Nakuru, Kericho, Embu, Meru and Loitoktok [local tourism nani]. My favourite destination at the time was Nakuru. I looked forward to our usual stop over at the Great Rift Valley Check Point to marvel at the wonder that is the Great Rift Valley. Come to think of it, i need to that real soon. The view, especially in the soft glow of the morning sun is absolutely breathtaking. Another habit i had at that young age was lookin up into the clouds and in my head and heart, have conversations with God. Some were as silly as “why that cloud looks like a horse” or “heal those that are sick”. And i know, at the bottom of my knower, that he heard, and he answered. Such precious memories.

I equally loved our 5 hour road trips upcountry. [I was the designated and self appointed singer for the entire journey]. On those trips, i got practical lessons in geography [though i later dropped it like a bad habit]. If you were born before1999 [let’s not argue please], you will remember our G.H.C books had a collection of maps [and we were expected to remember all of them- what for?]. One of them showed rivers and lakes, another longitude and latitude, another the hills and mountain and another, the agricultural segments and so on and so forth. If you remember [no judgement if you don’t], there was one that showed the agricultural segments [arid, semi arid areas, cash and food crops etc], and which crops grew in which areas. For instance, the Rift Valley and upper western region was considered the bread basket because of the predominance of wheat, barley and maize farming [again, i dropped the subject so, just follow my drift. I’m trying to make a point, alright?]. Embu – Mwea was known for rice, the coffee plantations that were common place in Muranga, Kiambu and its environs while Kericho was synonymous with tea. 0

For me, those maps were boring and naturally, i hated having to memorise them. But the truth is, they were extremely important because they taught us which climatic conditions were best suited for what type of crop. For instance, cotton and pyrethrum thrived in regions that had predominantly dark cotton soil, the western highlands were best for tea, maize and bananas and the eastern highlands were best for potatoes, coffee, so on and so forth.

Anyway!! What’s the point of all this banter about Kenya and farming? 😂. The soil.

Let’s go back to our reading in Mark 4.

As you recall, Jesus was telling the story of the sower who went to sow seed. In the process, the seed fell in 4 different types of soil or ground and we have so far, looked at the first three. Now, let’s look at the 4th and last. Yes? Jesus describes this last environment as good ground. Here, we see that the seeds which fell in good ground sprang up and yielded a harvest, some of 30, others of 60 and others 100 fold. As he later explained the parable to his disciples, Jesus described good ground as representative of ones who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit.

By the way, i’ ve just had a flashback – Do you remember the picture used in our Bibles for this parable? The most common illustrations or pictures shown to us during Sunday School had a man, the sower, walking and scattering seed, and all the 4 types of environment were visible in the picture. So, is it safe to say that at any given time, all 4 types of ground are represented in the congregation?

From what Jesus explained, we see that the good ground has 3 characteristics – the ability to hear, accept and be fruitful.

Hearing in this case is not just the physical ability and sense of hearing, no. It speaks of a spirit that is tuned into God’s frequency and is able to pick out from the message being delivered from the pulpit what is specific to him/her. This is a person who is familiar with the voice of God. And has a heart that is constantly searching for God. Acceptance speaks to the ability to allow the word take root and begin to effect change and transformation in our lives. Acceptance creates the perfect environment for the seed to take root and begin to change the “how” we do things. It means the hearer is submitted enough to accept the truth of God’s word and walk in obedience to it. And can i tell you, the faster you accept and walk in obedience, the faster the change is manifested – as fruit.

By the way, this is not just in reference to areas that need to be repented of. No. It touches even those areas that the Lord wants us to grow in. Ubaya ni vile the first thing we think about is sin, eish.

Fruitfulness. Do you know you cannot hide fruit? Do also you know that all trees in the shamba do not produce the same quantity of fruit? And that in one year you can get 55 mangoes and the next 125?

Ok. So why didn’t Jesus simply leave it as, they bore fruit, and instead went on to state the rate or return? In my view, the graduation from 30, to 60 and 100 fold is an illustration of two things – the degree to which we hear and accept the word of God; and the wisdom to remain consistent. So, what should we do?

First, through prayerful introspection, identify your level of fruitfulness in all areas. Yes. You can. A farmer knows which side of his shamba will produce the sweetest maize so don’t try and make an excuse here. If you are honest, you will agree that some areas have more fruits than others.

Secondly, identify why the is less fruit in an area than others. Is it because of what i have set my heart on? My level of obedience? My fears and doubts? And again, this is not simply because you sinned. No. It can be deficiency in understanding, or ignorance of the whole truth in any area.

Third, deal with the hurdles and make a commitment to stay consistent. The Christian walk is not one of perfection but one of repentance. That said, consistency means that regardless of the state of the soil [1,2,3 and 4], we allow the word to continually check us, wash us and restore us to fruitfulness. And the truth is, His word is not a novel. Its alive and well – we jsut need to allow Him to work on us.

Prayer: Search me, I pray and know my hear today. Cleanse me from every sin and make me new. Give me a heart that hides your word, and bears the fruit of righteousness.

The Soil – Part 3

I greet you, how are you? Did you take some time to examine the rocks and boulders in your heart? Have you allowed the Lord to start breaking each one? Has the mirror of the word revealed YOU to you? How many has the hammer pounded down so far? May you find more grace for the rest, yes?

Well, I did my own introspection. I had a few aha! moments – Isn’t it amazing what happens when we allow the Word of God free reign in our lives? Anyway, as i was examining my own rocks and boulders, i started to meditate on the third type of soil – the one covered in barbed wire [sengenge ni ng’ombe] and thorns.

My grandmother [of blessed memory] was an amazing woman. One of the many things i miss about her is the sound of her laughter and, the sound of her clicking her tongue in exclamation. You know that click that does not quite leave the lips but is loud enough for you to hear? Yes, that one. Back in those days, we used to grow pyrethrum, finger millet, millet, tea, maize and beans. I remember whenever my grandmother finished sowing the finger millet, we had to cover the patches closest to the path with briers, or thorns to protect the area from our little feet and the livestock that wandered freely around the homestead. So as the finger millet germinated and grew, we would move the thorns out of the way, otherwise, the crop would not flourish.

In Mark 4, the Bible says that as the sower continued to scatter the seed, some fell on thorny soil. Jesus later, in Vs 18, says this of the seeds and the soil:

Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

You know, all things being equal, fertile soil can grow anything. So i believe that the seeds that landed here actually sank roots and started to grow. The problem was that as the seeds grew, thorns that may have been left unattended or thrown carelessly around sprang back to life and also took root, only much faster than the seed. So, by the time the seeds germinated, the thorns were tall enough to strangle the life out of the growing seeds. Oh my… I’ve just remembered this funny video that has been making rounds of a young man who when asked to write an essay using the words “ghafla bin hu” [suddenly] quickly starts jotting down his essay, only that it in our story, he’d would probably write- ” Ghafla bin hu, wezi wenye miraba minne na silaha kali wali vamia wale mbegu na kuwanyonga!!” [Loosely translated – Suddenly, armed thorns pounced on the seeds, attacked them and strangled them to death”].

As Jesus later explains the parable, we get to understand what the thorns represent – the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things.

You know, as i think about this and look around me, I am of the honest opinion that Jesus was describing this generation. Why? Because we are the generation that witnessed the dawn of the new millennium and the technological advancements that followed [oh…. do you remember a program that used to show on KBC called “Beyond 2000” ? And how we thought the robots would take over?]

But even sadder for me, is the fact that this generation has postulated, venerated and, i dare say, manifested the worship of self. One of the most popular mantras is “Do you babe, the world will adjust”. We’re constantly competing and comparing ourselves with the next person, or their position, network and net worth. While there is a lot of good in this increased sense of self awareness, we are as a direct consequence, walking dangerously close to falling over the edge of life and into death. Did you realise we now have pastel labels for sin? What about our relentless pursuit of wealth, and, all costs?

With all these, when do we suppose, the word of God will grow to fruitfulness? We are so busy that we hardly have time to meditate on the word of God and allow it to take root in our lives! When was the last time you sat and actually studied the word. Not read a chapter in traffic or listened on the app while driving or cooking. No. I mean the old fashioned way – silence, pen, paper and Bible. When did you take time to cross reference scripture for a deeper understanding of its context and examined for yourself, not through Joyce Meyer or Priscilla Shirer, but for yourself how the word applies to your day to day? When last did we commit the word to memory? I mean large chunks of scripture. Yet we somehow have time to commit pages of songs to memory [Ouch!]. By the way, which authority do you quote more – the Living Word or your favourite author?

Sadly, as this trend takes root, you soon realise that as much as you are a Christian, Christ is not really the Head. And even worse, is that the soon enough, all we will see of our lives is a stunted crop covered in thorns. And do you know what, there is a determined end for such soil – fire.

So, dear brethren, what are we to do? Good question. I thing the answer is incredibly simple. Since Jesus already identified the thorns for us, what’s left of us is to do some serious weeding. How? By allowing the sword of his word free reign in our hearts to cut off, uproot and dig up the thorns. Simply put – study the word, meditate on it, let it cleanse you, correct you and burn the weeds, break the boulders and soften the land. Let the word dwell in you richly. Then and only then, can we begin to manifest the characteristics of fertile soil.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you do not leave us to our own ways. As i study your word, i invite your Holy Spirit to be my teacher and counsellor. Remove the thorns and thistles, rocks and boulders and soften my heart so that my life may be a fruitful field. Amen

The Soil – Part 2

How are you today? Have you given any thought to our last discussion, you know, the one about what has been rolling down the road of your heart, hardening it with each rotation? Yes? Have you made any progress in remedying the situation? Do you know that under that hard exterior lies fertile ground that given the right attention, will bear much fruit? Ama I leave you to your thoughts? Ok.

Well, we need to talk about the second type of soil. By the way, you might want to also refer to my post on The Power of Seed – you can find it here. It’s a good read, I promise.

So… the soil. As we read further, Jesus goes on to say that some of the seed fell on rocky places where the seeds sprung up quickly but was soon scorched by the heat of the sun. By the way, notice it said rocky – not stony (the Bible is very deliberate in its choice and use of language). The land has soil, yes, but it also has rocks. In fact, more rocks than soil. Which means that the little soil cover is seriously lacking in depth and therefore any seeds sown will not sink roots. They face the real risk of being easily uprooted and washed away by the rain or wind, or withering in the scorching heat.

This rocky soil reminds me of how often our minds and hearts carry weights – rocks and boulders. Granted, the rocks will eventually break down and form part of the soil. But that is a process that will most definitely take a bit of time. The funny thing is, the land (that is, the owner of the heart) is completely unaware of its state. I think the fact that there is some bit of soil visible creates a false sense of comfort – eh? That after all, si you can see some soil? How can you judge this land just because there are a few rocks here and there? Oh..now you’re judging me. (By the way, Kenyans are an emotional bunch! You have to be extremely bold to try to correct someone – its an extreme sport nani!)

Another thing is, the longer we refuse to address the rocky state of our hearts, the more rocks we collect, and i dare say, some people are audacious enough to throw their own rocks into our hearts. Sadly, we are often so out of touch with ourselves that we don’t even realise it! Anyway, so the Bible says that in this type of soil, the seeds easily sprout – but die quickly.

In my more than 30 years’ walk with Jesus, i can tell you my heart has been in this condition more than once. Let me not dwell on how and why I would find myself in that state and instead, focus on how i responded while there. In retrospect, i can tell you that whenever my soil is rocky, i immediately become erratic and just…….shallow. So, i will look for and listen to speakers who appeal more to my emotions and avoid those who will provoke me to really examine my life in the light of God’s word. In fact, i am sure that if I’m in the room while they are speaking, I’ll probably shout and scream the loudest – emotions. Hey!! No offence to those that receive the word in this manner; I’m just telling you that for me, that’s how i respond when in this condition. Disclaimer!!

The sad part is that after a few weeks in this state, i will be worse off because the word that i heard (up there) has had little impact on my life. Infact, by the way, the weights, the rocks and boulders will look and feel heavier than before!! Its like a dry dry place. Drier than a biscuit. Now, before you start looking at me somehow, ati i am judging the preacher and all, remember, the issue was not the preacher or the word that he spoke, no. (Because i believe that the same message was transformative to someone else – in a deep way). The issue here is the state and condition of my heart. Ok? Ok.

So, how does this turn around?

After days, or probably weeks in this state, i usually have a come to Jesus moment. It’ll get so bad that I’ll have no option but to examine the real condition of my heart, and examine each rock under the light of God’s word. And as i do that, His word that is a hammer and a double edged sword will break down my defences, arguments and justifications and reveal ME to ME. The best response at this point is repentance, receiving the grace of God and allowing Him to lead me back to the place of fruitfulness.

And in no time, the weights are gone and the dryness is replaced by times of refreshing in His presence.

As we continue, allow me to encourage you. The many seasons of life have given me a deeper appreciation of the grace of God – how boundless and inexhaustible it is. There is no state that His love and grace cannot embrace and turn around, no matter how bad and hard it looks. I know how hard those rocks look. You probably know when and where you collected them and some have been there so long, you have forgotten how it feels not to have them… There is no rock that can stand in the face of the hammer of God’s word, no condition that his word cannot slice through and dissect and no stain that it cannot cleanse. We only need to allow Him total unhindered and surrendered access to our hearts.

Prayer: Lord, here’s my heart, rocks and all. Today, I surrender each one to you that you may break them down, and some, simply throw away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Soil – Part 1

Back in the day when we offered my Mom free labour, we on occasion needed to fertilize the soil with manure. Don’t ask me which type we used, that’s not the focus here. All i remember is how awful that stuff smelt! At no point during this season did i worry about how the smell would be eliminated from the soil, or even how it worked. All I know is that we harvested the sweetest maize this side of the sahara!

Often times, our up bringing influences how we understand and apply the word of God. For instance, if you were born and bred in a concrete jungle, you may not fully appreciate the village night life. Therefore, you may struggle to understand our longing for the sights and sounds of mashambani – the smell of cow dung, goats and sheep, the crickets and fire flies, the sky and the stars. You may equally struggle to appreciate some of the parables Jesus used to teach.

Case in point? The parable of the sower in Mark 4 .

Jesus was teaching on the Kingdom and in this instance, chose the parable of the sower. We read that this man, woke up one fine morning and went out to the farm to sow seed. In the process, we observe that the seed fell in four different environments.

Let’s examine each one over the next few weeks, shall we?

The first environment we encounter is the wayside where the birds came and quickly devoured the seeds that had been sown. Yaani, punde, si punde, ghafla bin hu, ndege wenye miraba minne na misuli tinginya, wali zingira na kupora hilo neno ( no sooner had the word landed than army(ed) birds came and stole the word). There was no time for the seeds to even sink a few millimeters into the ground?! Jesus later explained that the birds represented the devil who quickly comes and steals the word. (By the way, with the amount of word stolen, one would think the devil has eaten enough to change. You don’t think so? No? Ok). So, basically, the devil steals the word and the farmer suffers double loss – he can’t salvage the seeds and there is no harvest.

I also noticed one more detail- the description of the environment into which the seeds fell.

By the way, have you been on Mombasa Road of late? No? Ok. We are currently meeting and making new friends in traffic courtesy of the ongoing road works. At this rate, we might as well just form a sacco and start saving. Because, me let me tell you- its for tears. Trenches, heavy machinery, disappeared lanes, dust, noise- name it! Recently, i found myself in mad traffic (- but si that’s daily??!!) as a compactor went over a section of the road over and over again. With each trip, the marram was compacted and made smoother and smoother, readying it for tarmac. Now, imagine if you decided to be a macmende and plant wheat, maize, millet falling on that surface. What are the chances it will take root and germinate? Zero, right?

Ok.

The road side represents your very hard heart. Yes, you. It is obvious your heart has had some traffic given how smooth and hard it is. Ebu tell me – What compactors have been treading all over your heart? What situations, offences, challenges, ideologies have been added with each day to the existing rollers, increasing the weight as they rolled down the slope of your heart? How many times have you blocked the hammer of God’s word from breaking up that marram and turning it into fertile ground? Have you noticed how of late, the verses you had once memorised have become harder to recall? How you’d much rather read the directory than a chapter in the Bible? Have you realised the subtle changes to your language? Thoughts? Anything?

What are you doing about it? Ama you remained focused on the devil? The devil this, and the devil that!

Let me assure you friend, as long as you remain focused on the birds (the devil), you will fail to recognise the state of your heart and miss the opportunity to make critical shifts. May you find courage to allow the hammer of God’s word to break the resistance and change your heart so that the next time you hear the word, it will sink roots and eventually, it will yield a harvest.

Prayer: Lord, break through my resistance so that i can receive your word and bear much fruit- Amen.

The God of Jacob, and Joseph

I developed a love for journaling in my first year of college. My many journals hold a mixture of prayers, bible expositions, decisions and life’s experiences. They are a reminder of how far the Lord has brought me. And its a mighty mighty long way.

I recently took an unexpected, yet very necessary “holiday” – let’s just say that God has a serious sense of humour. I’m still shaking my head at His ways. During my time alone, i took time to go through my journals covering a timespan of about 21 years. Yes. 21 years. I know, some of you are a few off that mark in age, yes? I’ve been writing for a looong time. I’ll tell you one thing, it was an afternoon very well spent. I had moments where i deeply marveled at the things God showed me and taught me. Political events and family situations that later came to pass, dreams, visions and prophetic words that are etched in heaven, as He watches over His word to perform it.

I also had heart breaking moments – i noticed specific issues that have been my prayer points for which i have raised silent and loud petitions to the throne room consistently and persistently, over the last 10 years.10 years. Some of the entries were so bang! (can’t put a clap here so, bang!) that i had to confirm the dates – you mean this was 7 years ago, 5 years ago? This wasn’t this morning? Maaaaann, that hit a spot. Has it been that long since i started banging on heaven’s door? Why hasn’t God answered? Is there “something” I need to do or stop doing to get an answer.

Ah, “something”.

Do you realise that we, people of this soil, are naturally inclined to be superstitious? No? You don’t think that in some way, we think or make God an “oracle”? The one in the villages that demands a chicken for a magic portion and any disobedience meant misfortune? No? Ok. How many have seen anointed salt/oil/brooms on sale – for a blessing? Is that closer home? Ok. Let me go back to my story. We’ll come back to this one day.

Anyway, my journal entries evoked two very strong emotions – first i was really sad and i spent a few days beating myself because i reasoned that God must be keeping me here, delaying the answer because i had a poor attitude, or had not learnt the lesson He was trying to teach me. Did you do tie and dye? No? Ok. When you are dying a material, it must be tied up and immersed into the dye where it must stay until the colour catches. This process can repeated severally depending on the desired outcome. So, i wondered if i wasn’t being dipped into successive tubs of dye. After a few days of turning this over and over in my heart, i then found a spot of hope – maybe God was allowing me to walk through this valley so that one day i can encourage someone! Eventually, i had had enough of my monologue and decided to seek an answer from Watumishi wa Mungu (Wafundis) whose counsel i have come to trust. And….. i was pointed to the word and reminded the stories of two characters who waited 20 years and 13 years respectively for God to turn the page of their lives and make sense of the pain – Jacob and Joseph (Genesis 27 – 50).

Jacob was born to Isaac, the son of Abraham. The young lad, for no fault of his, was given a name that no child deserves. Jacob was translated “thief, deceiver”. Do you know the saddest part? He in many ways actually manifested these traits. By the way, free advise – be careful what names you give your children, and, now as you read this, what you allow people to call you. The man was such a witty thief that he identified an opportunity and moment of weakness in Esau’s life and successfully negotiated and acquired the birth right from his elder brother. Hakumalizia hapo (he didn’t stop there). He later conspired with his mother to deceive his blind and old Father into giving him the blessing of the first born. He did not at any time think it was important to mention that he had rightly acquired it through legal tender? Any way, we know what followed – God is not to be played. This trait needed to be sorted out. Poor fellow became a fugitive. But guess what? God led him straight into the home of the REAL thug – his father in law, Laban. This man Laban manipulated Jacob into marrying Leah, then made him work a further 7 years for Rachel (tchaiii! Those two sisters were not friends by the way) changed his wages 10 times and robbed him blind! I’m talking about an abusive relationship that lasted 20 years. Eventually, when we were all tired, God shows up – in the 21st year. By this time, i am convinced that Jacob was a changed man. Then to teach Laban a lesson, God paid back Jacob for all those years, so much so that it made Laban look poor!! Finally, the ultimate restoration happened when his name was changed from “Thief” to” Prince with God”. Hah!! This God is amazing!! He had been working behind the scenes, all along, intentionally setting up Jacob for His glory.

Joseph was born to Jacob, the son of Issac. He’s the one whose story is used in sermons like “From the Pit to the Palace” or “From Prisoner to Prime Minister” or “In 24 hours!!” or ….. Ok let’s go on. Joseph had the misfortune of being the son of Jacob’s true love, Rachel and was therefore, the apple of his father’s eye. The problem was that Jacob made no effort to hide his soft spot for Joseph. The result was that the other 10 sons grew to really resent the young man. But come to think of it, even Joseph surely! His mehe mehe (no translation available) was too much. This guy had no discretion at all. He consistently talked about his dreams oh bla bla even when he clearly saw they rubbed his brothers the wrong way. Anyway, his dreams eventually landed him in a pit from where he was sold into slavery and eventually, landed in Egypt.

Can you imagine the agony and despair he felt? The raging anger towards his brothers? The tears? The pain of separation from his father and younger brother? What about the Lord? Why would God give him dreams that now, given the circumstances would never come to pass? Why did he allow his brothers to sell him into slavery? How, in this distant land, does God imagine that his father and brothers would ever find him, and then, psshhhh, bow to him? Who? A prisoner? Never ever. I imagine that his dreams had died with each step further away from the familiar and closer to a land he had no idea existed and a culture he was not equipped to survive. Let me pause to wipe my tears. This just hit a spot.

Ok. Where were we…. Joseph. Yes.

The Bible goes on to tell us of Joseph’s unwavering devotion to God despite the circumstances, his spirit of excellence in the midst of a terrifying existence and his request to the butler to speak well of him to Pharaoh. Yet, even then, the butler went ahead and forgot. Until the day God gave Pharaoh a dream no one could interpret. Then, in 24 hours, Joseph moved from the pit to the palace, from prisoner to prime minister. That dream, the one he had many years ago and which must have been filed away “impossi-cant” category manifested so fast, Joseph was left in a head spin. Can you imagine that?

Child of God, the God of Jacob and Joseph is very much at work today. I’ll be honest enough and tell you that have not yet received the answers to my decade long prayer points, or seen the prophetic words come to pass. But i am persuaded of one thing – that when God finally answers, he will show up, show off and show out!!

I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that i will receive from his hand what i have asked. I know he will not let his word over my life, and yours, fall to the ground. I know this very well. So, is today especially rough because of the weight and wait? Ok. Pause, shed those tears, and then, keep watching, keep walking, keep waiting. He is just around the corner, ready to do what only He can do – show up, show off and show out!

Prayer: Lord, this year, i ask for one thing, that you be with me – Whenever i pray, answer me; whenever i stand, stand with me; and wherever i go, go with me. Amen.