Not just a Doer, but a Dweller

John 15:4,5

Abide in me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, FOR APART FROM ME YOU YOU CAN DO NOTHING.

I felt that I was getting a bit bogged down this week, a bit legalistic in having to perform and do good deeds, in having to reign in my attitude, in having to love my neighbour, in having to be nice!  It just all seemed too much, too hard somehow.  But then it dawned on me – I don’t have to do any of that in my own strength!  I have Jesus, apart from Him I can do nothing – not even good deeds, not even bearing the fruits of the Spirit, not even in being nice to others, or in putting others first, nor in witnessing, nor in serving:  I need Him for all of that.

In order for us to carry out any good deeds, to let the love of Jesus show through us, to show the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, then first and foremost we have to be in Jesus, abide in Him. We have to have a personal daily relationship with Him, we have to cultivate that relationship, we have to abide in Him, dwell there, linger there, remain there.

We are not able to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control without first being in Jesus.  We are not able to love our neighbours as ourselves without first having the love of Jesus in our own lives. We are not able to serve others till we have sat at the Master’s feet.

We are not able to be “doers of the Word” if we firstly don’t have the Word in us.

We are not able to emulate Jesus in our lives, if we don’t first of all know Him, know Him better, know Him more.  The more we know of Him, of His love, of His Ways then the more we can show Him to others. The more our lives are in step with Him, then the more we can be useful in His service. The more of His love we know, then the more able we are to love others.

The more time we spend in His presence then the more our attitude will be like His: kind, loving, gentle, impartial, non-judgmental, respectful, loving our neighbours as ourselves, treating others the way we would want to be treated ourselves.

To be a “doer” we also have to be a “dweller”, to dwell in the presence of God, to make conscious contact with God, to soak up His Word and let His Word transform us from the inside out.

Because I cant “do” on my own, I need to dwell.

“for apart from me you can do nothing”

Grace for Disruptions

Disruptions/changes can unsettle , when illness brings you to a halt or the winter weather closes you in and all your plans come to nought often you are brought to that sense that so much of your labours are futile, just activities, routines, tasks many of which in the light of the bigger picture don’t really mount to that much.  So for me then I shouldn’t really place such a high importance on them, shouldn’t be unsettled when they don’t happen or don’t happen the way I want them to.

When my everyday is not the same everyday when disruptions and interruptions happen I so need to see them as opportunities and not problems or inconveniences!  When that man we are helping comes to the door at an inopportune time, really I should be glad that it is my door he is knocking and not be annoyed by the interruption.  When that lonely person comes in, then I should be glad that they have come and put aside my tasks to talk with them. When my home is full, just be glad and happy that it is and not unsettled by the lack of routine for in a very short while it will be empty again.

In all these everyday disruptions and interruptions the one thing I need is:


Divine Grace from my Lord, who never turned anyone away, who always made time, who used every opportunity to share the love of the Father, who was in tune with the Spirit to go where He led.

I need Grace to put aside the routine, the tasks and embrace the interruptions and accept the disruptions as part of my day, part of God’s plan for that day.

I need Grace from the Unchanging God, from God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, who changes not, nor in whom there is any shadow of turning, but who remains the same: Steadfast; Faithful;  True; Loving; my Rock; my dependable, consistent Lord.

When all around is restless, unsettled, changing then I need to run to the Rock who is Higher than I.  Take refuge in Him, rest in His consistency, dependability and draw from His strength, His grace to meet and face the changeableness of life and the interruptions of my day.

When my heart is overwhelmed , Lead me to the Rock that is Higher than I.

Psalm 61:2

Not Overwhelmed

I am still reading through the book of Isaiah, so my thoughts come from Chapter 43 verses 1&2, thinking about what overwhelms me and what consumes me.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you”

So What is It that overwhelms us? What is it that consumes us?

There is actually a lot in life that can threaten to overwhelm us – personal sorrow and tradegy, sickness, bereavement, disappointment, responsibility, busyness. Like most people I have had my share of these things, I have wept and wept till nothing is left, I have been so crushed by despair that I thought I would never rise again, so burdened by responsibility that it has been hard to think straight. And yet here is God in His Word saying that when we pass through these things we will not be overwhelmed.?  Perhaps it is in the midst of it, we feel we are overwhelmed, but actually when we have “passed through “, we realise that actually we have got through, we have survived, we actually haven’t been overwhelmed to the point of being totally drowned by it.?

I wonder too what it is we allow to consume us? When we are going through the fire, the trials, the adversity, the hard times do we allow them to refine us? Or do we allow resentment, bitterness, disappointments to consume us? I know for myself I would by nature give in to self-pity and allow that to consume me. It would be in my waking thought, “poor me”, “no-one else has to go through what I am going through” , etc. That can then lead to resentment and bitterness and also self-justification- I am the way I am because of what I have been through, because of hurts and disappointments, I display those bad behaviours because I have been hurt. Oh, I can get into a big negative pity party all of my own making!

For me then I have to catch myself before I get to that stage. Really it has to start as soon as I am feeling overwhelmed. I have to surrender all those things over which I have no control and which would threaten to overwhelm me. By surrendering at that stage and trusting at that stage then God steps in and I remember that He is the One who has said “I will be with you”. And because He is with me I won’t be overwhelmed. His grace is sufficient for me.

And because I have surrendered those things ,I can then place my trust in God, and that means I trust Him with His plans, the outcome and also the process and when I do that then all those negative thoughts and feelings will not then consume me!

Through the fire, the trials & testings of life the flames will not consume me. If I remain in grace then these things will not leave me scarred, bitter, resentful, unforgiving, cynical, hardened, but as I hand over each trial, each flame that licks at me then grace will see me through and I will not be consumed, I will not be overwhelmed, but rather refined, purified, shaped to be more like grace.


Insignificant to More than Conqueror

Insignificant to Conqueror

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel!  I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  Behold, I make you a threshing sledge, new, sharp and having teeth and you shall thresh the mountains and crush them and you shall make the hills like chaff. (Isaiah 41:14-20)

So how do you get from being a worm, seemingly insignificant, to being a threshing sledge, new & sharp and having teeth, a force powerful enough to remove even the greatest obstacles in the way? How do I get from feeble to fierce-hearted? Insignificant to more than conqueror?

How can I, insignificant though I may feel, be more than a conqueror over my doubts and fears, my self-defeating behaviours and others giants and obstacles, the enemy within and without?  How? When? Where? Why?


I am the One who helps you, declares the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy one of Israel.

How? Not by my own strength, but seeing that I have a great BIG God and that with Him all things are possible. He is able, He can do it! Looking to Him, He is bigger than my biggest fears.


When the poor and needy seek water and there is none and their tongue is parched, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. (v 17)

 When there is none, when I am at the end of my own strength THEN, He will answer.  When human strength is exhausted and only God remains and declares Himself as Redeemer. When I surrender, when I cant do it on my own.  When there is none – then there is God.


I will open rivers on the bare heights and fountains in the midst of the valleys.  I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.  I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together. (v18-19)

Where? In the midst of it all, in the midst of life with all its messiness and seasons. On the bare heights when I am feeling exposed and vulnerable. In the confusing wilderness when I am wondering aimlessly around.  In the dry dessert places that seem monotonous and endless.  There God will come, there God will make us brave, there He will make us fierce-hearted.


That they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. (V21)

Why? That the Lord may be seen and glorified through my story.  God uses His people (seemingly insignificant) to show His power & His Strength as a witness that He alone is the Lord who is the Rescuer, the Redeemer. When God provides for me, or places people or circumstances in my way to see me through then I have a story to tell, a hope to share, a God to glorify.

He can make me brave in 2018. On the bare heights, through the wilderness and through the dessert places He can make me more than a conqueror.  He can take even me and turn even me into a fierce-hearted warrior for Him.