About Deborah - The Honey Bee

I am a Christ lover, Pastor's wife and mother of two handsome boys (for now?). 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.

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.

Fallow Ground..

One of my many treasured memories is tilling my Mom’s patch of soil. Yes. Kulima na jembe. The land my Dad bought was in one of the leafy locations on the outskirts of Nairobi. Those ones that sat on a minimum of an acre? You know them? Where neighbours are far between, but near enough for you to know their dogs and other domestic animals? Yes? Ok. There! </p>

Now, this land was extremely fertile. The previous owner had really not done much with it and had opted to only plant avocados. Many of them. Before i continue, let me tell you about those avocados. They were amazing! Yanni one bite and you’d be huko thanking God for the manure, the soil, the roots, the stem, the branches and leaves of each tree!!  Yaani those avocados!! Kashaya! Endebosa!! Mhhhh!!! (No translation available…). Anyway… the land was full of avocados……..and weeds.

We were still dancing in excitement when some one (a “nani”)  put ideas in my Mother’s head and let’s just say, she decided this idea of having a house surrounded by avocados was not her style. I mean, which self respecting Kenyan mother, wife to a man from greater Nyanza will not want chingoko, managu, terere, chinsaga and chibando? So….before we knew which side was North, there was a plan in place! The land was fenced, the staff quarters built and then, boom! We were put to work.

Do you remember that song that used to play at around 6:00am every single day in the 80’s? “Nahata wewe mwanangu, amka kumekucha… kamata jembe na panga, twende shamba…” (Loosely translated – “Psst!!! Boy get up! Pick up your implements, the farm will not till itself!!”) Baaaassss! That song materialised haraka upesi! (as in, fast fast). In no time, our Saturday after school plans consisted of head scarfs, old skirts, gum boots and jembes! Remember this place only had avocado trees and weeds before this, eh? And now, my mother wanted her maize and beans in the soil before the next short rains. Wueh!  Let me tell you… Tulilima! Nail polish and all! That fallow ground had to be broken into. I remember thinking my parents did not like us at all. In fact i was convinced we were born to provide cheap labor. There was no way my mother was tilling that land alone, never ever! We used to arrive, change and wait to be shown our portion for the day, usually described as “from here to theeeere….. where the stone will land”.

The process of breaking fallow ground is as tedious as it is exciting. The sound of the jembe hitting the ground, tearing through thick grass, weeds and roots is satisfying at a level i can’t explain. We toiled over several weeks and slowly, but surely, the soil was turned. We then went over it one more time but this time, digging holes into which we dropped seeds and manure then pushing back the soil with our feet. I will not even start on the weeding process.

In Jeremiah 4:3, the Prophet Jeremiah was reciting a lamentation over the House of Israel, calling them back to repentance – to turn their wayward hearts back to the Lord. Since the House of Israel were predominantly farmers, they were familiar with the principle of resting land for a  year between harvests then returning to till and sow it. They therefore understood, very well i must add, exactly  what Jeremiah was communicating. He was simply telling them that their hearts had been overrun by weeds and in desperate need of attention. The beauty of the message is hidden in the words “fallow ground”.

Why?

Because fallow ground describes land that had previously been fertile and productive and which, with effort and resilience, can be turned back  into a fruitful field. But, that’s not all. We go on to understand that this will need hard work!  It is obvious (at least a reading of the Bible will show) that the House of Israel had gotten into the habit of playing hide and seek with the Lord – One season they would walk in obedience and the very next, bow to idols only to return in the wake of a disaster, war, captivity or Prophetic warnings.

As i meditated on this word, i realised how easy it is for our hearts to turn fallow. It does not take much by the way. It can be as subtle as a hidden offence, or even understandable, nice things like general busyness of life (life ni ku-hustle bana), or worse still, as acceptable as reading books more than the word and hearing the preacher more than the Holy Spirit. Even more dangerous is the justification we give for our state- after all, we all agree that the land must rest to restore fertility levels, right? So, we go around saying how you’re taking time off to “sit back and exhale”.  Meanwhile? Weeds are sprouting! Remember the land was fertile, so the weeds will grow like crazy. By the time we realise, we have a bumper harvest, but not of a thriving spiritual life, no! Of a prayer-less, word-less, fellowship- less life. Yaani, Meh!!

So now? What to do?

Kamata jembe na panga, twende shamba! Break up that ground, eradicate the weeds and get back on the path to fruitfulness. By all means, do not get back to sowing seed until all the thorns have been cleared. Like a farmer, do one thing before you move to the next. Slowly but surely, rebuild your spiritual life. It will take hard work and you will definitely face resistance in the process. But keep going.

Realise that God always calls us to repentance because he loves us and desires that we walk in fellowship with Him. Just like we assisted my mother, God has given us a Helper, His Holy Spirit to guide us as we weed out the nasty and turn the soil of our hearts over so that we can bear much fruit. It’s not easy, i repeat. Some areas will need more than a machete and may require tractors to uproot tree stumps. But he promised that when we call on him, he will answer and show us great things. And the beauty is that once he is done with us, it’s a complete, 100% restoration. I encourage you to trust him.

It is worth it in the end. I promise.

Prayer: Lord, i realise my heart is overrun by weeds and tares and that your word is no longer yielding fruit. Forgive me and by  your Holy Spirit, break up the fallow ground of my heart that i may bear fruits of righteousness. Amen

Grasshopper Mentality

A few days ago, I was chatting with a long time friend whom I treasure dearly. It had been a few weeks since we had talked and there was much to catch up on. After we had given the usual updates – family, work, ministry, life- he asked me a really interesting question: “So, what are you up to this year apart from reading the Bible cover to cover?”

I was not ready. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I know what I wanted to achieve this year. It was just that no one else had asked me that question. Anyone who knows me to a certain degree will tell you I am not the “Que Sera Sera” type. No. I think, I plan, I set targets and I adjust those targets until I am satisfied; then I work the plan. So, after I’d laughed quietly to myself, I promised I’d get back once my head was put together.

The truth is, my answer was purely because I was buying time. As I said, I know what I want. I just needed to give a response that completely captured my “vision” in a manner that could be easily understood. Most importantly, i needed to silence the Negative Committee in my head.

You see, early the previous day, the chairperson (of the negative committee) had summoned an urgent meeting whose sole agenda was to convince me that my dreams are worthless. Yes. The meeting had gone on for hours and through out, Mr. Doubt-flames, Mrs Doitlater and Ms. Fearspring had made submissions, projections and research findings to prove that if I set out on my ridiculous and bold attempt at my dreams, I had less than 10% chances of survival.

And me, in my front frontness, I had foolishly wandered into their meeting just as the chairperson was giving a summary of the presentations and their unanimous findings: “The Negative Committee has upon examining all the facts, resolved that this journey should be retired under the “most likely to fail” category with immediate effect”. Wehhhh…. let me tell you…… Kwanza, tumbo lilijaa maji (my stomach suddenly hosted a dam), macho yakajaa machozi, my hands and feet suddenly felt as heavy as lead… Basically, I could not function…… 😞

As I contemplated my next steps, I remembered the story of the Children of Israel.

As they left Egypt and journeyed towards the promised land, they faced challenges and miracles of incredible proportions. Imagine walking through a sea, then having a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day…light to see even in the darkest night and a cloud to shield you from the hot sun…..I’m telling you if these guys had been Kenyans….. heh… we’d never know peace! Hatungepumua! From business names and ventures and Red Sea Crossing CDs…. you know what I mean.

Anyway, after many days’ journey, they arrived in the Wilderness of Paran. (Numbers 13- just flip over and follow with me). Moses, one of the most patient men to walk the earth, sends out 12 grown men with very simple instructions. Go, see, bring fruit. Simple. Very simple. They were not asked to engage the inhabitants. No just cross, see, bring fruit. Now, the Bible says that these men went and spies out the land from end to end; from Zin, to Hebron for 40 days. When they came to the valley of Eschol, they cut down a cluster of grapes so big, it took two men to carry on a pole. They also carried pomegranates and figs. Assignment: done.

As faithful men, they came back to Moses and submitted their report: the vastness of the land and how it was indeed, flowing with milk and honey; and to prove the point, they had the fruits!! Had they stopped talking at that point, all would have been fantastic!!! ( I don’t know who came up with the notion that men have few words…. did you see any woman in that list above? No. But then again, what do I know?) I mean, you tell me the land is flowing with milk and honey and I refuse to cross? If a bunch of grapes needs two men to carry, can you imagine the size of the pineapples? Who wouldn’t have gathered courage to cross? These people sincerely needed no other motivation to cross. So what happened??

The negative committee.

Oh my word. In two sentences, 10 strong men ruined everything. Everything!!! Oh, the land will swallow us! Oh, the people are stronger than us! Oh, we were like grasshoppers! By the time they were done, some guys were headed back to Egypt!! Nowwwwww…… For you to prefer death in the hands of your oppressor than move into your inheritance, you must be really in bad shape. Your mind must be so opposed to change that status quo, no matter how bad, smelly, disgustingly or oppressive will be a quicker option than to go fight the sons of Anak. You’re in bad shape my Fren, bad shape.

BUT, two men stood out: Caleb the son of Nun and Joshua the son of Jephunneh, who were of different spirit. The Bible says they tried to implore the congregation not to rebel against the Lord. (Just read Numbers 14 please, I need to finish this). These were the right people to speak. But the message by the 10 strong men had already killed the cowards. There was nothing Caleb and Joshua could do other than watch helplessly as the congregation literally rioted. In the midst of all the chaos, Joshua speaks up in Numbers 14:9. If you read that slowly, you will realize that the decision to turn away from the conquest, and to see themselves small was an act of rebellion against God.

In other words, if God has shown you where he wants to take you, and sets out to you the things you may need to fight to get there, including yourself, and you choose to maintain status quo, my friend, you are walking in rebellion.

That verse was all it took for me to walk back into that meeting room and fire the negative committee. Man, I was angry! Angry at how often I had allowed myself to be convinced out of my victory; angry at the opportunities I had allowed to pass me by out of fear and self doubt. Angry that all along, by maintaining the status quo, I was effectively living under the oppression of my slave master. So angry… After I fired the committee, I set my face like flint and matched across the Jordan to kick Anak out of my land. Was it easy? Hell No!!!

But… I did it afraid. I was trembling all the way, ignoring members of the negative committee that tried to call me back, but I matched in steady and strong and drove my stake into the ground! Have I won over all my lost ground? Not yet. But I know one thing- the people of the land are my bread and their protection has departed from them and most important, the Lord is with me.

Will you join me? Come. Fire those chaps and come join me as we take what is rightfully ours. Refuse to maintain status quo – these things are ours! And you know what? We will win. Why?

He promised.

Men like trees, walking….

Hey…… I am back! I took a short break (sorry, long break) to sit exams and ease back into life post exams and before i knew it, it’s 2019!

Oh and on that note, Happy New Year!! I trust you crossed over victoriously? Yes? And now ready to face the next 12 months with renewed energy and vigor? Yes?!!  I am so excited about this year, but more about that later. Yes?

Can you imagine having your sight restored? The wonder, awe and joy? Ok.

Well, I can.  

I started wearing spectacles when I was in Form 1 (or grade 9). Before then, i had been accustomed to squinting my eyes in order to see the blackboard, or watch TV. I actually thought that was normal for everyone.  When I went to High School, we could not ignore it any longer. So, I visited an ophthalmologist and… well… I got spectacles. I remember them:  big red frames that covered half my cheeks.  They were delivered to school by my Dad who instructed me to wear them immediately. And oh boy…. the difference was like night and day!

First, I almost fell on my way back to class; I actually had to use the walls and fence for support. I mean, the floor was suddenly closer and I wasn’t sure I was stepping up here or down there….👀

Then, as my eyes adjusted to the lenses, I remember staring at the trees and flowers and blades of grass….. and oh… the black board!! I could not believe it! The leaves looked beautiful, way up there in the tree! I could see things at a distance without squinting to make out their features, colors, shapes and sizes! Is this what i had been missing all this time?  It was as if a veil, a cloud, mist had been lifted from my eyes! I could see!!! Clearly!!! 

 As we celebrated the last Sunday of 2018, my heart was drawn to Mark 8:22-26. In there, the Bible records how Jesus healed a blind man at Bethsaida (or Bethesda). Shall we read together? Yes? Ok.  I like the New King James Version….. here we go: 

22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. 23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.

24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”

25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, <sup class="footnote" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;" data-fn="#fen-NKJV-24527d" data-link="[d]” data-mce-style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[d]“Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

Now… stay with me. 

This blind man was brought to him while he was in Bethsaida. Isn’t that the same town in which Jesus healed a man who had been lying by a pool for loooooong in John 5? I think so. Were the healings (yes, healings…. ) done in the same period? I don’t know. 

Anyway…. let’s continue. 

Mark records that Jesus deliberately drew him out of the town… interesting. Why? Could it be that Jesus did not want a crowd around to witness the healing? Is it possible that the reason for the separation was to create opportunity for  Jesus to minister to him away from an audience? Maybe…. we’ll find out shortly.

Anyway…. let’s continue. 

After Jesus had put a distance between them and the town, the Bible records that Jesus spat on  his eyes and touched them. Wait!!!! Yaani…. Wait…. Spit. You know, spitting on any one can be taken to mean many things and depending on the circumstances, will elicit several reactions.

Mimi?? I would have wiped that spit and stormed off… I mean, really?? Is that the best you can do? Hata kama I wanted healing…. Spit?? Because there is no water around? We couldn’t  have gone to that porch in John 5 and used the water instead? You couldn’t have spoken a word and restored my sight? Or waved your hands over my face or something? Anything? But this man? He just stood there! Come to think of it…..maybe that’s why they went out of the town…..so that they don’t get sneered at by the crowd like you did a few minutes ago…. Ebu stop sneering… ! (By the way… Ever been to India? Seen the pan? Seen how its chewed and spat out? Ok…. You get the picture? Cool.) 

Back to the story. Jesus then asked him if he saw anything to which he responded  “I see men like trees walking.”

Did you hear that? He could see, but not very well. Isn’t that better than total blindness? Isn’t it better to see men like trees walking than to see nothing at all? Mkenya would have told you ” Pambana na hali yako. Of importance is life.” Maybe that’s why the miracles were in Israel not Kenya 🤔😏

But you know, this man Jesus, is so full of mercy and grace. He knew that was not total restoration. Without total restoration of sight, this man would not live life to its full. He’d miss out on seeing the blades of grass and pollen on flower – the little details that add colour to life. And of what benefit would that be? None, yes? 

So Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes and made him look up. And just like that, the healing was complete and the man’s perspective changed; he could see clearly! Can you imagine how that felt? To see clearly what moments earlier looked like trees walking? I can… to  a small extent. 

Jesus then told him something very interesting: go home. Don’t go back from where we came, neither tell it there – they might not appreciate it. Go home. 

Let’s put this together, shall we?  The story speaks to three stages in our growth: 

Blind –  in this stage, we are totally unaware of  who or what we are, or where we want to go. We are groping around in the dark for direction and stability while trying to make progress. Mercifully, there are some around us gifted with vision; they see you, your gifts and potential but have no power to open your eyes…. Not that they don’t want to, no. They simply cannot. So don’t be mad at them, don’t misunderstand them. They want the best for you, but are incapable of giving you what you need the most. They may help you get from point A to point B; but that is all they can do. 

Men like trees – in the midst of life, you meet with the Healer who takes you out of town.  After the initial interaction, you gain a measure of vision. You can identify things around you, but not fully. That’s why your best description is that men are walking like trees

Interestingly, such encounters are always intimate, away from the crowd. Personal to you. He will not heal you the same way he healed another, no. He will not use conventional means either. He will choose the where and how. We only need to follow, trust and wait. By the way, where are the ones who took you to the Healer? They remained in the town where they most likely will remain. 

Clarity –  the Healer touches your eyes again and now, your vision is restored. Your sight is perfect. You can see!! Everything!! Your potential, your height, your gifts. “What? Is this all I have? Is this all I am? Is this who I can be?”  Wait…. He’s not done. He lifts your chin  and  causes you to look up – look up from where shame and low esteem had bent your shoulders and your back… And when you do, what do you see? Not just men like trees walking. NO. You see them for who they are. The minute details, around you. You can make decisions on where to go, what to do, who to see….. Freedom! 

Final Instructions: Go home – Don’t go back where you came from. Don’t even go announce your healing there. No. That chapter is closed, it’s time to move. Go home. Where you matter, where they will recognise you and rejoice with and over you and your miracle. Most important, go where He will send you. 

This year, may your vision be restored. May the mist, cloud, veil or whatever has obscured and limited your ability to see clearly be lifted. So that you may see clearly. And when that happens, remember to listen and follow His instructions. 

They (those ahead) will receive you, rejoice with you and celebrate you. 

I promise. 





Blessed and Broken

I have a confession – I am plagued by the feeling of inadequacy.

Many times, it grips my heart, its cold iron fist squeezing the breath out of my lungs and suddenly, where I was previously moving along with steady and increasing speed, I find myself screeching to a halt. It’s like this Nairobi weather which creeps up on us and turns a sunny morning into a wet and rainy afternoon, catching us all off-guard and before we know it, the entire city grinds to a halt. In those moments, I find myself struggling to do or even complete tasks which a day earlier, were almost second nature.  The worst thing about these moments is that its tentacles touch every area of my existence; nothing and I mean, nothing is spared from it’s cold icy touch. So in no time, I find myself second guessing all my decisions and actions, I suddenly doubt everything about myself and my steady, strong stride becomes a slow and laboured slouch. I become the judge, jury and ruthless executioner of me.

The cloud may linger for an hour, a day or at worst, a week.

With time, I have noticed how devastating the effects of these moments are. If not reigned in soon enough, I could very easily find myself at the bottom of a ladder I had earlier struggled to climb. I also noticed that it is easier to resign and remain in that place of utter helplessness than to climb out of it: unless…… Unless I deliberately, fiercely and fearlessly face that bull and slay it. Unless I speak louder than the voice of inadequacy.

I am glad to report that with time, these episodes have become less and less. I have spent less sleepless nights in the last several months, shed fewer tears and enjoyed life a lot more. In fact, I am able to trace back to the day I chose to face this bull. I remember that night, many nights ago. I had characteristically lost sleep at around 2:00am. As usual, as soon as my eyes opened, my mind roared to life like a race car and before long, I was cruising along, turning things over and over in my mind. I made mental notes, checked items off mental lists and did an appraisal to determine where “we were”, what improvements to make and what adjustments were required. I reviewed my list of expectations both real and imagined, self imposed and society imposed, and at that point, realized it was all too much for me. I did not have all the requirements to deliver on those expectations. I most certainly did not have adequate resources to even scratch the surface. And instead of pointing my mental vehicle heavenward, I started to turn onto “Inadequacy Avenue”. I felt the icy fingers begin to tighten around my heart and my mind started to spin.

BUT. GOD.

At that moment, that very moment I remembered the story of how Jesus had fed 5,000 men (beside women and children). I took my mobile device and looked through the gospels and found the story as recorded in Mark 6. Here, the Bible records that Jesus and his disciples had set off to a remote place with the hopes of getting some much needed  rest. However, the multitude that had earlier crowded around Jesus saw them leave and followed them on foot, actually running and arrived at the “remote place” ahead of Jesus and the disciples. These guys were determined!  What did Jesus do? He was moved with compassion and sat down to teach them. Soon, evening was approaching, so the disciples suggested that the multitude be sent away to the nearby towns to find food. You know I can relate with the disciples – this was a crowd that decided to crowd their private space! They should go wherever and sort themselves out. Kwani? But Jesus ni nani? He told them to give the multitude food. Now, imagine, uhuru park, jam packed, then Jesus tells you – feed them! 12 men, who last time I checked, had no sustainable source of income, to feed 5,000 people. One word-  I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E! So after Peter and the rest recovered from the shock, Jesus tells them to go and find out how much bread they had.

That caught my attention-  it means that they had some bread. They had something. It may not have been much, but it was something.

So they went, checked and came back with a report – 2 fish and 5 loaves, they said.  Now, they not only knew the what, they knew how many – the quantity of the “something”. Jesus did not fall over is shock, or tell them they were joking. No. Or ask how that was meant to feed even him alone. No. Why? He knew it was enough. So,He instructed them to sit the crowd in groups, ranks of 50s and 100s – that is in order. They needed to know what they were up against, yes? Have you tried counting tomatoes in a gunia…. you must remove them and group them as you count. Yes? Anyway…… after they had sat, Jesus took the 2 fish and 5 loaves, blessed and broke it, and gave the disciples to feed the multitude.

Did you see that? He gave them to feed the multitude. It was multiplied in their hands! The only breaking Jesus did was the initial one.

You see, as long as the small boy retained possession of the 2 fish and 5 loaves, it remained just 2 fish and 5 loaves. But as soon as he surrendered the basket to Jesus, He blessed it, broke it (multiplied it) and gave to the 12 disciples.

End result? 5,000 men besides women and children were fed AND……. 12 baskets of remains were collected – one for each disciple.

As I read and meditated, I noted several things:

  • As long as I focus on the multitude, I will want to make it someone else’s problem. Send them away. 
  • As soon as I send them away, I will not take time to evaluate what I have. My something.
  • Also, as long as I don’t know what I have, I will not come to the place of releasing it to the Lord for His use. Surrender.
  • And as long as I am not surrendered, He will nothing to break. Multiplication.

So before I drove further down “Inadequacy Street”, I screeched to a halt, turned my “car” around and headed up towards Heaven. And oh the joy?! At that moment, I released EVERYTHING. Everything – the 2 fish (smallest) and the 5 loaves (biggest). I emptied my basket…

I simply asked Him to take it all, bless it and break it….. then feed the multitude.

You see, He has seen the multitude and He knows I only have 2 fish and 5 loaves. Once I surrender it to Him, I know He will bless it, break it and give it back to  me to feed the 5,000. And in the end??  I will have 1 basket full of remains to meet my needs.

Imagine that: 2 fish + 5 loaves = 1 basket full for me.

Nowadays? I don’t thing twice- I simply appraise the multitude, take stock of what I have, surrender it and wait. I can’t wait to see which multitudes He wants me to feed next. But when He shows me, you know what I intend to do – surrender.

I promise.

 

The power of a seed

Remember I told you I was born in ushago? Ok.

One of my earliest and fondest yet creepy (yes) memories is sitting on a dried cow’s hide outside my grandmother’s house with my cousins – swallowing “tembe” or tablets. Only that our tembes were bean seeds. (A personal favourite of mine were the small red one…oh… and the slightly bigger one with white spots.)

Why? Because we admired how our grandfather would throw a capsule into his mouth and swallow it with a big gulp of water. We actually thought it was cool!! So we copied… much to the distress of my mother and grand mother.They tried to dissuade us but… we were not interested. In fact, me, Grace, I had even better ideas.

I decided the beans needed an escort.

So, I ate soil. Yes. (By the way, I stopped eating soil a year to my wedding. Yep! I was an addict- I abused soil for over 25 years. Kwanza the red one, baked in the hot Nairobi sun…. goodness. Now add the “smell” of rain and I would be panting for a fix). Anyway…. My Mom devised many a plan to cure me of my addiction to beans and soil. One was to scare me: she told me that one day, all those bean seeds would germinate and grow out through my ears. Si I waited…. in horror ….. but, nothing!  The only things that “grew” were worms… let me tell you!! De-worming me was a horrible process, I will not describe it. Those things…… weh!!! But  you know what, I still did not kick my “habit”. Like any self respecting addict,  I simply found another way to maintain it. I swallowed beans while Mom was away teaching the local school then ate soil in bed … I mean, \o/ what else was i to do. Funny thing is how it made me go looking for answers…..

In my many adventures around my grandfather’s farm, I got interested by the process of germination- I mean,  I noticed how we would “bury” two bean seeds and they would magically grow into plants producing several pods. I wondered how it multiplied itself into so many “beans”? (Maharagwe mingi  \o/ ). My greatest question was why the seeds survived in the ground but not in the soil in my stomach. I mean, I diligently swallowed the seeds and soil and watered them generously, but… nothing!! Of course school ilinitoa ujinga!! Thank God for school.

In the famous parable of the sower (Matthew 13), Jesus taught how a sower went out one fine morning to sow seed. I always imagine him waking up at dawn, splashing water on his face and watching the sun rise as he waited for his wife to serve him breakfast. Seeing the red sky, I imagine he would conclude, as Jesus later explained, that the day will certainly be a good day. That’s found here Matt 16:2. After a sumptuous meal, he would have picked up his bag and head off to the freshly dug up farm to sow. In the account in Matthew, Jesus goes on to explain that as the sower sowed seed (by the way, in those days, the farmers would scatter seed randomly), the seeds fell in four different locations/ conditions/ environments (choose one!!): the path way, the rocky place, the thorny patch and the fertile ground. He (as in, Jesus, not the sower…… Focus!! ) then teaches us (and akina Matthew hapo kando) that the location/condition/environment influenced the life  and success of the seed –  some were stolen by birds, others did not take root, others took root but were chocked yet others…. thrived!!

I’m sure by now you know where this is headed, yes?? Ok.

The seed that fell on the first three environments were no different than the ones that fell on the fertile ground. Agreed? Yes. Each possessed the same creative power – to die, germinate and bring forth a harvest. Yes?  So,  what was the problem?

Yes Class, I asked what was the problem?? Who said the environment? You’re absolutely correct! Please give that student a clap, good job!!

You see, the word of God is the seed. The farm represents our hearts that many times exhibits all four environments. Here’s why: Some of us hear the word spoken every other day in fact, majority of us have Bible Apps on our many gadgets, yes? Complete with an alert to remind us to read the Word (by the way, who reminds you to take your coffee? Yet you need a reminder for the word? But what do I know??) Yet with all that hearing/reading, some areas in our lives remain the same. Yaani, the SAME!! Year in, year out (Miaka nenda, miaka rudi- Kiswahili, kipenzi changu!) Why?

Because of the condition of our hearts, just like the many bean seeds I swallowed never made me a millionaire exporter of fresh produce to the West due to the corrosive environment in my stomach!! I have realized with time that the only Word that bears fruit is the one that falls in the right (fertile) places in our hearts, the areas that are ready to receive and let it germinate and bear fruit –  areas prepared by trials and watered by our tears, or those that have been prepared through a season of surrender to the Master’s hand for thorough plowing. By the way, that fertile place changes with seasons – Yes! How else would you explain it?? Further, I am convinces that as soon as the Word lands in the fertile place, it takes root, it germinates, it bears fruit.

So now?? I’m glad you asked.

I have been challenged to really look — I mean, really examine the harvest that  I am now experiencing because I am convinced that it will reveal to me which “section” of my heart is the most fertile in this season. And I can tell you – the results have shocked me. It has broken me, it has driven me to my knees. I have resolved to pay closer attention to my fertile place at any given time. Because now more than ever, I need a harvest.

I haven’t swallowed seeds in a looong time. And I haven’t eaten soil for over a decade. My palate now desires different things- finer things… #wink. The seed of the Word. And I see progress – first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head (Mark 4:28). Try it; you’ll see results. 

I promise.