18 September 2014


By John Ollis

We have all heard this statement many times in different contexts, like in the academic field, or in sporting achievement, and in relation to our spiritual life. If we want to achieve well academically, we must study hard, miss out on much social life, and sleep, and be a very disciplined person. As with sport, much exercise, correct diet, much discipline etc, but often I hear preachers suggest that going to the next level spiritually is like walking from one room into another.Sadly, it is not usually like that at all, some Prosperity preachers suggests its just a “walk in the park” a picnic,life is always meant to be easy !!!!!!
I was reading Ps. 66 this week, and verse 12 stood out to me :
NKJV You brought us out to rich fulfillment
AMP Out to a broad moist place of abundance and refreshment
MESS.  Out to a well watered place
It would be so easy to take the verse out of context, but as we look at the preceeding verses, we see what we have been brought out from.
To come to this place of fulfillment we need the Lord’s keeping power in the midst of the pressure v.9 so our feet were not moved, the message says he kept us out of the ditch. Thank you Lord for that.
Then v.10 says there is a time of testing, life is full of tests, (oh that we would recognise that the Lord is using the test (and stop blaming the devil or other people). The Psalmist says it can be like the purifying of silver to cause it to be purified. You have probably heard how precious metals are purified. Heat is applied to the metal and the impurities rise to the surface, this is removed by a “muck rake” then more heat is applied, more much rises to the surface and raked off. More heat is applied, the Silversmith knows when the metal is pure when he can see his face reflected in the silver.  The Holy Spirit is called “The Refiner’s Fire” and God turns the heat up on us, why ? because he loves us, and wants to remove all the “muck” out of our lives. Sometimes we run away, and reject the fire.
I use another illustration. God wants to bring us into His operating theatre, as we lay on the bed, we look around for the person who will put us to sleep, but there isn’t one. Jesus comes in with His divine scalpel, and it touches our flesh and we wriggle and complain, we must learn to seek to lay still and the operation will be quickly over, if we continue to wriggle and complain, God will raise His hand, we roll off the table, and go all around the mountain, and guess where do we end up? back at God’s operating table, and He says, “are you ready now for me to operate on you” ? Paul talks about the circumcision of the heart, natural circumcision is a one off procedure, but heart circumcision may happen a number of times in our lives. The Message uses the word  “train” as the fire and the scalpel are both part of God’s training for us to become the people He wants us to be.
v.11 Uses the illustration of being caught in a net, or being in a prison fortress or dungeon, again the Message says He “pushes us to the limit” remember He will not test us beyond what we can handle, His grace is truly sufficient for this fiery trial.
So do you want to move to the next level ? We don,t like the pain, but we do want to be more like Jesus right ?? The writer to Hebrews uses the picture of God  scourging us (whipping with the cat of nine tails (pieces of iron and bone  embedded in the whip) all because he loves us. You will never forget the movie “The Passion of the Christ” and the whipping that Jesus received, the Psalmist said His back became like a ploughed field.   We also discipline our children because we do not want them to become delinquents.
Can I suggest it may make the journey a little easier if:
You work hard at living the surrendered life daily, and let the Holy Spirit fill you afresh (also daily).
Don’t be impatient, when you discern a test, respond and don’t react,  let it be a stepping stone (not a stumbling block) to what the Lord wants to do in your life.
I have not fully learnt this lesson, I trust I can before I enter the eternal presence of God, this blog is simply to encourage you. Please let me know your response.
Soon, it will be Sunday, may you have a blessed time in the Lord’s House.