Thorns and Fruit

Well, it’s taken a long time, but here’s the final instalment in this series on the Parable of the Sower! There is so much to learn from and enjoy in this parable. It will never stop bringing life to the one who opens their heart to it each and every time. The Word of God is living and active. It never gets stale, there’s always something new to learn. Another facet of God’s goodness, character, instruction. The Word of God, the Seed, is incredible!

When I started with The Path,, I was so excited. I’ll do a series, I said. It’ll be easy, I said! Fresh Blogger excitement. Starting with enthusiasm and lots of ideas flooding my mind and heart, like many of my projects – painting, gardens, songwriting, de-cluttering – I then became stuck. What was it I had wanted to say? I found it so hard to complete. But I persevered with Truth Meets Rocky Ground

Then more procrastination. Doubt. Distraction. Fear. Personal matters that rocked my world; I had to find my foundation and peace and focus once more on Jesus. To be honest, I wrote much of this a long time ago and just forgot it. This is not how I want to do life. I don’t want to forget what I’ve chosen. I want to rise to challenges and struggles. And that’s precisely what this parable helps us with.

Jesus begins,

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

Luke 8:7-8 (NIV)

It’s interesting, Jesus didn’t describe the person who heard the word. Whether along the path, on rocky ground, in the thorns or in good soil, the person isn’t revealed as a believer or not, Jew or Gentile, male or female. This is about how any of us hear and receive the Word of God. It’s the response that makes the critical difference. Here we look at the Thorns.

“That which fell among thorns are those who when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”

(Luke 8:14 MEV)

When the Word of God is planted in us, we grow! God changes us. He doesn’t want that word to be trampled away or stolen, He doesn’t want it to shrivel in the heat and dry places. He wants us to flourish and produce fruit. In one sense, we’re the plant. “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word…” (Matthew 13:22 NLT) but, if we allow, “…the worries of this life and the lure of wealth…” crowd out God’s message, and we won’t produce what he desires.

It’s so easy to judge someone ‘like that’, who would allow the Word to be choked out of their life. And yet with a simple care, or distraction, or focus on earthly worries or pleasures (even really good things) we can all become fruitless, neglecting the Word and its truth in our lives.

I confess, at the time I started writing this, the second lockdown covid season was upon us and was very disturbing for me, maybe everyone. It was incredibly easy to allow the concerns shift me from fruitful to fruitless. I had to focus on the important things, and not let the troubling situation steal my peace, or make me forget who my mighty God was. I didn’t always succeed. Some of those thorns of worry and anger were very stubborn and prickly!

When we allow anything to become more important than the Word of God, following Him, and choosing His ways, that’s when our hearts are choked. There’s no room for the Word to flourish and bear fruit- love, joy, peace… The harvest won’t come.

You may need to repent, confess your sins or worry to a trusted friend or seek some counselling or prayer ministry. Ask the Lord what the real weeds are and how He can help you become free of them. Be open to His voice and know that His heart is one of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. He is good. He cares. He redeems and He brings life.

“You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long…

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You…there is none like You…

You, Lord are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…

You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”


Psalm 86 NIV

Thorns and weeds were a consequence of the fall, man’s sin. They were a part of the curse that fallen man was subject to (Genesis 3:18). But on the cross, Jesus wore a crown of thorns, taking sin and its consequences in our place. No matter the thorns, weeds, or thistles that are choking you, Jesus is the answer. He has redeemed you. Turn to Him for help and freedom.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us,

for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’.”

Galatians 3:13 NKJV

The worries of life, the lure of wealth (N.B. life and wealth are good things, just not the worries or the lure) can be exhausting, taking us from trusting our Heavenly Father to an idolatrous position of trying to achieve something ourselves. If my mind is constantly wondering about an issue of life, instead of praying, praising, seeking wisdom and obeying, then I am not where God wants me to be. He has a much better plan.

” Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden?

Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.

Simply join your life with mine.

Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle and humble, easy to please.

You will find refreshment and rest in me.

For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

Matthew 11:28-30 TPT

This passage is my go-to for this year, and a word with it – Effortless! I know life is NOT effortless, but this was the word the Lord spoke to me as a reference point for this year. And what a blessing it is. Every time I remind myself of it, speaking it, considering the verse, I rejoice that my Jesus has everything in control. He has my back. He is strong and powerful. He carries the Lion’s share of the yoke (see Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV) which makes it easy to bear, alongside Him. I am united with Him. Therefore, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1). I have His strength and wisdom, His favour, His blessing. When I come to Him, consider Him, think on who He is, praise Him, all those heavy burdens, worries, thorns, lures, drop away. I see a new vision of who I am and what my life will be. And as I consistently do this, life does become effortless in Christ.

Now, after hearing the parable, Jesus’ disciples asked Him what it meant. He didn’t answer their question at first. Instead, He encouraged them (or was it a challenge?) with,

“You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom – you know how it works.

There are others who need stories…”

Luke 8:10 The Message

“You know how it works!” Well, this challenges me. I wonder if, as a disciple of Jesus, I’m making the most of those insights, the secrets of the kingdom. I have the Holy Spirit inside me, empowering me to know the Truth, to make decisions based on God’s Word and faithfulness, to trust Him in difficult circumstances and believe that He will turn all things for my good. So, apparently, as a disciple, I know how the Kingdom works! So do you. How do you feel about that? Does it terrify you, or inspire you to seek God even more?

Or we could go the ‘false humility’ route and say no one can understand God – ‘His ways are mysterious and far above’. And certainly, God is Higher and unfathomable in many ways. Yet, the Bible says things like,

“…but we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16

“…and greater works than these shall he do;” John 14:12

“Having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure” Ephesians 1:9

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27


And yet, if I neglect the Seed (God’s Word, Jesus – John 1:1) I won’t know Him and I won’t bear fruit. Or if I do hear it, but allow it to be stolen, snatched away, trampled on, if my heart has become hard, if I allow weeds to choke it out, then any truth planted in my heart at one time, will be wasted, lost. That is not what I want.

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,

ask what you wish, and it will be done for you.

This is to My Father’s glory,

that you bear much fruit,

showing yourselves to be My disciples.”

John 15:7-8 NIV

How exciting, that we can be people who bring glory to God by producing good fruit. Let’s sow the Word of God and produce a harvest of fruit that brings glory to our wonderful Father.

Blessings, Jenni xx

Truth Meets Rocky Ground

As I’ve been contemplating ‘Truth’ in the midst of these disturbing times, I’ve been reminded to keep my eyes on Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); to spend time with Him – in prayer, worship, and the Word, and to continue to join with other believers, whether in person (my preference) or through technology (sadly, my main option at the moment, though I’m grateful for that). Our hearts are revived and encouraged when we keep our eyes and hearts on the Creator and Saviour, the One who has all the answers. His truth trumps every other thing we read or hear. Even God places His Word higher than anything else!

“… For You have exalted Your word above all Your Name.”

Psalm 138:2 (MEV)

Such an incredible verse! His promises are backed by the honour of His Name. (NLT)

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed how we see ourselves, and God, and why we think the way we do. Where we get our information from is critical. Truth is so important. It effects the path our lives take. You can read Part 1 here –

How we engage with His word and the way we receive that Truth, will make a critical difference to how our life looks. This is described by Jesus in the Parable of the Sower.

“Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”

Matthew 13:5-6

Jesus goes on to explain, “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word they quickly fall away.” (v 20-21)

Rocky ground doesn’t have enough soil or moisture to sustain growth in a plant. It needs soil and compost to be added. It needs a source of water, and the rocks need to be removed for the garden to flourish, so the seeds can grow without hindrance.

It’s easy to see how this relates to our lives:

We might feel drained, like dry ground, and need a refreshing from Jesus, our Living Water, from the Word, or just some encouragement from a friend. Our hard journeys might need some TLC to keep us going – a revelation from Jesus, some worship, a fun activity that acts like ‘compost’ to boost us, or some counselling that is like fresh soil to our hard ground. Maybe poor decisions or life’s circumstances have you living on ‘rocky ground’ – distractions, hurt, sin, or unforgiveness. These may need to be attended to, put aside, removed, or forgiven, as a gardener would remove the rocks.

Or we may be living shallow lives – lukewarm, inattentive to Christ.

“But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

James 1 :22

We want to be authentic, not living in legalism or religious habits that have no lasting effect, not holding to traditions that bind us to the world, instead of setting us into God’s freedom. Nobody wants to be called ‘shallow’. Having a deep, authentic faith not only helps our lives grow, but it is also what the world needs to see and experience. Religious traditions that have outlived their ‘use by’ date, words without actions, preaching without truth and love – these ‘rocks’ need to be put aside for a true following of Christ and His Word.

“Thus, you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”

Mark 7:13 (NIV)

Sin, of course, is another rock to remove, along with the shame and guilt that comes with it. But how easy this is when we go to Jesus, the One who forgives, and bring our lives to Him, receiving in turn His mercy, grace, forgiveness and assurance.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 (NIV)

“…Instead with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us.”

James 1:21 (TPT)

“Prepare the way for the people, build up, build up the highway! Take out he stones, lift up a banner for the peoples.”

Isaiah 62:10

And what of our friends who are new to faith? We can be people who remove the ‘rocks’ which hinder their growth. We can speak words of hope to those who need encouragement, truth to those who are struggling with their self-image, like giving water to the thirsty. We can be forgiving, generous, and gracious to those who have a poor image of Jesus and His church, or do our best to remove offenses that block ears to the gospel. Just maybe, our love will gently remove a rock of condemnation in another’s heart, instead of having it hurled at us by someone who has only seen hypocrisy. (And sometimes they will be thrown in any case.) As believers, we want to bring a confident, trustworthy faith to those around us – to help build their own faith and trust, and to give them time to develop a deep, strong root in their hearts. This will help keep them grounded even in a time of testing, instead of withering or being scorched. We have an enemy and so do our new friends. Let’s help protect them.

It’s easy in these times to hear God’s Word and be encouraged for a moment – “it sprang up quickly… and at once received it with joy” – but unless we allow those truths deep in our heart, we may not see the changes we want. Jesus has asked us to act on His Word, to walk it out by faith, to allow it to renew our minds and transform our lives. What a privilege, and what a gift we have in His Word, the seed of God, that can do this.

I don’t want to just hear the Word once a week, ‘receiving it with joy’, but then do nothing to allow the seed to get planted deep in my heart. It takes time and tending, sun and water, protection from harsh elements for a seed to grow and flourish. Let’s protect the seed of God’s Word by meditating on it, speaking and praying it, digging deep into its meaning, thanking God for His promises, and responding by faith upon it. And we can help others to do the same through our encouragement, testimony, right living, and blessing upon them.

“Encourage one another and build each other up”

1 Thessalonians 5:11


  1. Ask the Lord who you can encourage today.
  2. Praise and worship Jesus, and allow His Living Water to refresh you.
  3. What truth in God’s Word are you struggling to believe? Where do you have doubt? Meditate on God’s Word in these areas and pray for strength and courage to believe.

Blessings, Jenni xx

The Big and the Little

Big vistas are spectacular, filling our hearts with joy and wonder, drawing us closer to our Creator. Things in our heart just seem to settle when we see the big picture, giving us hope for the things that trouble us. Times of beauty, inspiration and rest help our minds let go of tension. Creativity is sparked, peace gets a foothold, relationships can grow. Many of us in lockdown are appreciating the beauty in our own backyards as we escape the four walls to find some balance to our unnatural circumstances.

Then there are the little things. They give perspective to the large. I mean, what is ‘large’ if you have nothing to compare it to?

I was wandering in my garden looking at the winter flowers, the dainty, yet so intricate beauty. It gave meaning to the whole. It taught me to honour the ‘small’ in its place, giving contrast and dimension. There’s power in the small things.

“If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”

Luke 16:10 (NLT)

When I was unwell in 2016 I was so encouraged by all the little things people did for me. Flowers, visits, gifts, meals, cards, even a hand embroidered gift. And of course, all the prayers and encouraging words sent to me as people surrounded me with faith. It taught me that the little things we do are so valuable in touching another’s life.

“And to one he gave five talents… So when he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'”

Matthew 25:15-21

Talents were amounts of money, in this case entrusted to his servants to use for his benefit. In this parable, the lord is just as pleased with the faithful servant of two talents as he is with those who had five talents, v22-23. It’s not how much we have that is important, but what we do with what we have been given by God, to use, invest and work with, for His Kingdom.

I was changing the battery inside a clock recently that had been given to our family by two young men from America whom we had hosted. They had come to bring the Gospel to young people through music. Kurtis and Chris had inscribed inside the back, thanking us and reminding us of our small part in changing the lives of many young people. They performed eighteen concerts in eleven days reaching hundreds of students. 271 of those precious young people gave their hearts to the Lord. Our part was small – some bedding on the floor, meals around the table, the craziness of our large family and marshmallows around the fire pit. And yet our small part was important. It was part of the whole picture so that young people could hear about Jesus.

We see this in the Bible: women following Jesus, taking care of His needs, and Joseph of Arimathea risking his position as a member of the high council to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body so he could lay Him to rest – Mark 15:41-46; the Shunamite woman who created an upper room for the prophet, Elisha – 2 Kings 4:8-10; the financial support given to Paul by the Philippians, as he taught them the gospel and then travelled elsewhere to continue in ministry – Philippians 4:5.

Sometimes it feels like there is little we can do. The problems of our world seem so big. We don’t feel we can make a difference. But we can. No one could take away the cancer in my body, but they could surround me with love and care and encouragement. The impact of all those little acts of kindness was so profound. Our small acts of love, generosity, obedience, forgiveness, acceptance, help, and hospitality are vital in these days!

You have been given something from God to work with, to invest, to make a difference in someone’s life here on earth. And such joy that brings. To the person you bless, to Jesus, to you. Your little adds to the beauty and wonder of the big picture.

“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

Philemon 1:7 (NLT)

Blessings. Jenni x