When the Holy Spirit Works, Hearts are Changed

Dear Wake Up Family:

Winston Churchill once replied to a critic who had chastised him for ending a sentence with a preposition, “That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!” His lighthearted response was a good one. As a public figure, Churchill probably deserved a great deal of criticism, but to nitpick his grammar is hilarious.

When I think of Churchill’s predicament on a more serious level, I must admit to offering advice when it wasn’t sought. I have received the same. Sadly, I’ve alienated people even though I meant well, because resentment is the natural outcome when criticized for not living up to someone else’s standard.

I remember attending a church service where the guest speaker preached about the 144,000. To begin the sermon, he quoted Revelation 14:4, “They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb.” (NLT) The rest of his talk detailed his personal understanding of what women among the 144,000 would not wear. It was all about the external appearance and nothing about the Lord’s empowering. The speaker had taken this exalted group of people and wrapped their qualifications into propaganda promoting the fallacy that the 144,000 would conform to his standard.

The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus and used Leviticus 24:16 to prove that He wasn’t living up to scripture’s standard. John 19:7 says, “The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!” (NET) They knew scripture but didn’t listen for the Holy Spirit.

When I finally came to understand it was the Holy Spirit’s job to convince and convict—not mine—it became easier to talk with people. I no longer felt a need to convince people to conform to my standards because I didn’t want my prejudices creating distortions of what the Bible says. After all, it’s only when the Holy Spirit begins working on a heart that lives are truly changed.
When I read Larry’s book, The Revelation of Jesus (out of print), I gave my life to the Lord. Soon after, the Holy Spirit began to bring wrongs to mind I could and needed to make right, so I sat down and wrote this letter to the president of an international convenience store chain.

“Dear Mr. [XXX]: It is with great shame and remorse that I send this letter and $300.00 check to you. Please accept it and my most sincere apology for stealing from you when I was employed with your company in 1984. Although I can’t remember the exact location, it was in Alexandria, VA. I believe the amount taken was $200.00. I’m sorry it has taken this long to contact you to make restitution, yet, grateful that the Holy Spirit has placed the burden on my heart to make wrongs right as best I can. I’m doing my best to comply. Please forgive me.”

Several weeks later I received a letter from the head of this company’s legal department along with the check I had sent. The letter thanked me for being honest, offering reimbursement, and blessing him that particular day. He ended the letter by assuring me the matter was closed, and wishing the Lord’s continued guidance and blessing on my life. I was so happy and relieved to read his words, I began to cry. When the Holy Spirit is working, everyone is blessed. I should think no one else has EVER received a letter like THAT from an attorney. (smile)

“Keep your mind and heart open to the Holy Spirit…you will be hearing from Him.” — Larry Wilson


Rex Johnson

Rex Johnson

Rex Johnson

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