Many times in ministry, whether it’s at the Oaks Church in Drummond, Wi. where I Pastor or doing evangelism in other places, the Holy Spirit often lays messages upon my heart at the last minute. Many messages are the result of whatever might be happening at the time. And this past week was no exception.
It has been a difficult week on many levels. One of the events was at a Catholic church. It was their annual car and bike show and I was given the opportunity to give a testimony over their sound system. I had never heard of this event before but was certainly surprised when I saw a beer tent which was bigger than the one at the Chippewa fair, especially considering this was a “church” hosted the event.
I was given 10-15 minutes to speak, and about 7 minutes into it the sound system quit. I looked over and saw them trying to figure out what the problem was. I just got louder and continued to speak. Long story short, I was told they turned the generator off intentionally and shut me down. The deception is what upset me. The fact that they played it out to me and the attendees that it was a technical problem really surprised me.
I was given no reason why they shut me down, but they told the people I was with it was because I was too raw, (I brought up the fact that I was involved in the occult and had an attempted murder charge) and that I could have kept it PG because of all the kids which were there. Really! Have any of them read the Bible?? The fact of the matter was that I was preaching Jesus!
Later that night I went to one of the prisons I have been regularly going to for the last 5 years to give a message. It was hot out and I was on the bike, so I was wearing my usual tank top, bike vest, and bandana. There were officers at the front desk I had not seen before. Basically, they told me I couldn’t come in with a tank top, my vest, or my bandanna. I told them I had been doing this for 5 years and had always worn this stuff. I ended up having to conform to what they wanted or they wouldn’t let me in.
Later in the week, I went to one of the jails in our area to have a one-on-one with a couple of inmates who requested to see me. When the officer finally came to the window, he said: “What do you want?” in a nasty tone. I pulled out my slip of paper with the inmate’s names on them and said: “I’m here to see...” when he cut me off there and said: “Not today you’re not, we're doing court. Good bye!” Just, wow!
There were many other instances of challenging experiences this week as well, but let me get to the point.
In any one of these situations I could have allowed the circumstances to define my attitude, both immediately and for the rest of the day or week. And 8 years ago, before the Lord got hold of me, it wouldn’t have been good for anyone. But over time, between being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:2), and taking all my thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5), I have learned to no longer allow the world to define my attitude and emotions, but rather let the Holy Spirit within me guide and lead me. So in all of the above-mentioned situations, I used them as a message to give life to others. I used what the enemy meant for evil to glorify God (Rom. 8:28)!
Luke 6:45 says: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Whatever comes out of us defines who we are. It’s Not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
We can feed on the garbage the world has to offer us and maintain our selfish lives as a garbage heap, and that is what will come out of us. Or, we can listen to the words of Jesus, who created us and continues to hold us together. Jesus said: “I am the bread of life! I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. I will give you living water! Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of living water welling up to eternal life.”
And here is the result of feeding on, and getting your life from, the Lord: John 7:38 – “...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” What’s flowing out of your heart when we get into difficult situations? Living water or poison?