5 Key Elements of being the Poor in Spirit

When I was practicing spiritual devotions this morning, I saw the following verse in the Bible: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3), and I thought: Why did the Lord Jesus ask people to be the poor in spirit? And why shall the poor in spirit enter into the kingdom of heaven? As I was contemplating this, some thoughts came to my mind: When the Lord Jesus came to do work, much of His work vastly differed from the work of Jehovah God. For instance, Jehovah God did His work and guided people in the temple, and His requirements of them were complying with the laws and the commandments, making sacrifices, and worshiping Him in the temple; while when the Lord Jesus came, He did not do His work in the temple. Instead, He led His disciples to the towns and villages to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, asking people to repent and confess their sins. And He told the people at that time: “the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. … when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:21-23). As for how to treat the evil, Jehovah God required “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” of people (Exodus 21:24), whereas the Lord Jesus said: “You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39). And so on. At that time people all held fast to Jehovah God’s laws. If they were not humble, did not seek the will of God, they would be much likely to deny and condemn the Lord Jesus, not to mention accepting the Lord Jesus’ work, which is impossible. People didn’t know that the Lord Jesus came to carry out new work and lead human to progress forward. Therefore, the Lord Jesus taught us to be a man with humility, hoping that we would not lightly jump to conclusions or judge the things we don’t understand, but seek more. Only in this way can we be protected rather than be punished and lose the opportunity to enter into the kingdom of heaven because of blindly condemning God and thus offending His disposition. Then I thought: When the Lord Jesus comes to work again in the last days, if His work is different from that He had done during the Age of Grace, can I humbly seek and accept His new work like those disciples who followed Him? If I fail to recognize the Lord when He comes again, will I not be much likely to set foot on the path of resisting God like the Pharisees? During these last days, the critical moment of welcoming the return of the Lord Jesus, what should I prepare? And how to be a seeker with humility? With this question, I searched many passages of the scriptures and some spiritual books. Thanks to the Lord’s guidance, I reaped some rewards … 1. Don’t Be Arrogant and Truth-hating Like the Pharisees As we all know, the Lord Jesus brought the work different from that in the Age of Law. Seeing that the Lord Jesus didn’t abide by the law, didn’t observe the Sabbath, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees didn’t seek or investigate but arrogantly draw a conclusion that the Lord Jesus’ work went beyond the Old Testament. They condemned the Lord Jesus, “This man is not of God, because he keeps not the sabbath day” (John 9:16). From the scripture we can know that the Pharisees confined God’s work within the law of the Old Testament, and thereby they recklessly judged and condemned Him and denied His work. In addition, what the Lord Jesus did at that time, healing and casting out demons, and performing miracles, shocked all of Judea. The Pharisees had ever heard of the Lord Jesus’ work, and what’s more, some of them had ever seen it with their own eyes. However, not only did they not seek or investigate it, but they also blasphemed and condemned the Lord Jesus without a trace of fear, saying that the Lord Jesus spoke blasphemous words (see Mark 14:61-64), saying that “He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts he out devils” (see Mark 3:21-22). More than that, as the Lord Jesus was preaching in the synagogues, they even attempted to stone Him. It is clear that these Pharisees were arrogant and truth-hating by nature, and that they had no place for God in their hearts, speaking and acting without any reverence of God. Faced with the Lord’s work, they stubbornly held onto their own conceptions and imaginations, defined and resisted God’s work at will. Never did they give up their thoughts to seek or accept the truth. It was their arrogant and truth-disobeying disposition, as well as their truth-hating and God-resisting nature that caused them to not investigate or seek the Lord’s work with humility but manically condemn and oppose it, so that they finally walked on the path of resisting God while believing in and serving God. 2. Give Up the Position It is recorded in the Bible, “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:47-48). At that time, the sermons the Lord Jesus preached and the miracles He performed shook up all of Judea, there were a lot of people spreading the Lord Jesus’ name and the facts of His work, and more and more people were following Him. The…

Are You Truly Following Jesus Christ?

By Yang Min I believe that like me, all the brothers and sisters in the Lord have received lots of peace and blessings from the Lord, and that we all have ever been resolved to follow the Lord all our life. I remember, at that time I was fervent within. In order to repay the Lord’s great love, I actively spread the gospel for Him and supported the church, and I had confidence about holding on to His way. Moreover, I constantly contemplated His grace, and I was frequently moved to tears when I prayed, feeling so close to the Lord. I prided myself on being a follower of the Lord. But unknowingly, that feeling was gone. I grew cold in love as well as in faith; and I had no enjoyment in praying, for I received no response from the Lord, feeling like being talking to thin air. I no longer prided myself on being a follower of the Lord; instead, I frequently distressed myself about failing to keep the Lord’s teaching. I committed sins and confessed sins every day, totally shackled without release by sins. In result, I lost my motivation for preaching the gospel, and I even dreaded to have it known that I’m a Christian, for fear that my behaviors couldn’t glorify the Lord, but rather shamed His name. I sometimes felt my belief in the Lord consisted only in paying empty tribute to the name of the Lord Jesus. At times, I would ask myself: Can I, who vainly grasp to the name of the Lord Jesus, count as a follower of the Lord? Can it be that the Lord has forsaken me? If not, why can’t I feel His presence? And why do I feel that I have lost the lamp to my feet and the light to my path, and sunk into the darkness? I often studied the Bible, hoping to get the answer in the Scriptures. Later, from the accounts of the Bible, I found that not all the believers in God could be considered as God’s followers. The standard by which God judges whether a person is His follower differs across periods of time. Here, I’d like to share my gain with brothers and sisters, and discuss with you about what kind of people are approved by God and what kind of people are His followers. In Exodus 6, Jehovah God spoke to Moses, “Why say to the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, which brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:6-7). The scriptures show us that in the Old Testament Age of Law, God chose the Israelites as His people and became their God. He raised up Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, used him to issue the laws to the Israelites, and guided their life on earth. The early Israelites accepted Jehovah God’s leadership, and acted strictly according to the laws. If anyone violated the law, those who committed slight sins would have to offer sacrifices as Jehovah God required, while those who sinned grievously would be put to death. All of them were restricted by the laws. And as they had seen the majesty and wrath of Jehovah’s disposition, they were loyal to Him. Thus they received great grace and protection from God, and were allowed to serve Him in the temple for generations. So, they were followers of God in that age. However, as mankind had been so corrupted by Satan that they became ever more evil and degenerate, the Jews later were not able to observe the law. They often committed sins and violated the law, which put them in danger of being executed by the law at any time. But, as God cared for mankind, He carried out a new stage of work outside the temple in steps and according to His plan. So, the incarnate Lord Jesus came and brought the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to mankind. He hoped that everyone could come to the light and depart from the temple so as to follow the footsteps of God. The Bible records that, when the Lord Jesus spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, He said, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Besides, He healed the sick and cast out demons, and performed many signs and wonders. Then which people are followers of the Lord Jesus? At that time, the Lord Jesus called to Peter and his brother Andrew on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Bible records, “And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Likewise, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother too were called by the Lord. And He also called upon the other disciples in this way. For example, He said to Philip, “Follow me” (John 1:43). The Lord said so because He looked deep into man’s hearts, and knew that Peter and the rest of them longed for and sought the truth. And indeed, through His words, Peter and the others recognized that the Lord Jesus had come from God. So, when the Lord Jesus called upon them, they all followed Him without hesitation. Eventually, they obtained the supply of the living water of life from the words of the Lord, took His words as a guideline in all things, and enjoyed the work of the Holy Spirit at that time. Thus, they became genuine followers of God in that age. But during that time, most of the religious leaders headed by the…

Christian think: Working Hard for God: What Is It For

Does Your Service Come With a “Price Tag”?

A Story of Reckoning: Food for Thought I read a story online about a child who gave his mother a bill, and on that bill he had written out all of the things he’d done to help her with housework and take care of his little sister; he said his mom should pay him 50 dollars. His mom paid him the 50 dollars and then prepared a bill for him. She included all sorts of things like his birth, the time she’d spent with him when he was sick, teaching him to walk, and praying for him. Everything was listed at zero dollars. Seeing this, the boy felt really ashamed and put the 50 dollars back into his mom’s pocket. This anecdote made me smile, and I thought, “Anyway, the kid in the story was still young. Why shouldn’t we forgive children’s naivety?” But then I really gave it some thought: Isn’t the thinking of that ignorant child a reflection of the psychology of most people now? In such a materialistic society so many things have their prices clearly marked, so we naturally expect compensation for our efforts. Sometimes, something that we really should be contributing becomes a heartless transaction. Giving Things Up, Expending Myself, Working Hard for God: What Is It For? I couldn’t help but think of my own experience. Not too long before, I was very busy with the work of the church. I was running around and constantly busy, getting up early and working late into the night, and even though it was difficult and tiring, I really enjoyed what I was doing. One day I left the house at 5:00 a.m. to get to the house of a brother who lived 15 kilometers away before 6:00 a.m., and then I went out with some brothers and sisters to share the gospel. Even though it was no longer the dead of winter there was still a chill in the air, particularly around dawn. The cold swallowed up the earth after a long night; the trees alongside the road were frozen and seemed lifeless. In spite of my heavy coat and windbreaker, the wind on my motorcycle still made its way up my sleeves and straight to my chest—I felt like I had fallen into a hole in the ice, and both of my legs had turned numb from the cold as well. I stopped quite a few times, stamping my feet to warm them up. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “If it weren’t for the work of the church, who would go out so early in this kind of weather? God has to be seeing everything that I’m doing, right?” I also thought about how, over these few years of having faith, I had given up my family and career to spread the gospel and bear witness to God through the wind and the rain. I had endured others’ defamation and mockery, and I’d been arrested and persecuted by the government. I had given so much for God, so I figured in the end I had to be blessed, and surely my reward would be considerable. I thought that when the Lord comes, He would certainly bestow a crown of glory upon me. Thinking of this I felt extremely pleased and I felt strength well up within me. I no longer felt that it was so cold. When I read the story of the boy who gave his mother a bill I couldn’t help but feel a sense of self-reproach. I thought, “What difference is there between my thinking and what the kid did in the story? I’m demanding blessings and a crown from God for my superficial suffering and efforts—isn’t that just doing deals with God?” A passage of God’s words that Brother Li had read in a gathering then occurred to me. “Many of those who follow God are only concerned with how to gain blessings or avoid disaster. … Such people have one very simple aim in following God: to gain blessing, and they are too lazy to attend to anything that doesn’t involve this aim. For them, believing in God to gain blessings is the most legitimate of goals and the very value of their faith. They are unaffected by anything that cannot achieve this objective. Such is the case with most of those who believe in God today. Their aim and motivation seem legitimate, because at the same time as believing in God, they also expend for God, dedicate themselves to God, and perform their duty. They give up their youth, forsake family and career, and even spend years busying about away from home. For the sake of their ultimate goal, they change their interests, alter their outlook on life, and even change the direction they seek, yet they cannot change the aim of their belief in God. They run about for the management of their own ideals; no matter how far the road is, and no matter how many hardships and obstacles there are along the way, they stick to their guns and remain fearless of death. What power makes them continue to dedicate themselves in this way? Is it their conscience? Is it their great and noble character? Is it their determination to do battle with the forces of evil to the very end? Is it their faith in which they bear witness to God without seeking recompense? Is it their loyalty for which they are willing to give up everything to achieve the will of God? Or is it their spirit of devotion in which they’ve always forgone personal extravagant demands? For people who have never known the work of God’s management to give so much is, quite simply, a wondrous miracle! … Apart from the benefits that are so closely associated with them, could there be any other reason for these people who never understand God to give so much to Him? In this, we discover a previously unidentified problem: Man’s relationship with God…

The Inspiration for Teaching Kids From God’s Words

By Li Xin One Sunday morning, Fang Xin’s nephew, Ming Ming, came to her house to draw with her daughter, Ling Ling. Fang Xin kindly touched his head and asked, “Ming Ming, what do you want to draw today?” Ming Ming leaned towards Fang Xin and said, “Auntie, I want to draw mountains, rivers, trees, birds, the sun, clouds, land and people.” Hearing what Ming Ming said, Ling Ling happily clapped her hands and said: “Me too, let’s draw it together!” As they talked, they moved on thinking how the drawing would be like. Ling Ling suddenly had an idea, said: “Mum, bring me a pencil, let me draw.” Less than 5 minutes, a simple drawing was finished. Ming Ming came forward to the drawing and looked at it attentively for a while. He said frowningly: “Auntie, A tiny stream seems to be missing.” As he said, he picked up the pencil and drew a tiny stream. Ling Ling hurriedly said: “It’s wrong, you shouldn’t draw the tiny stream by the road; you should draw it in the grassland.” Ming Ming started to argue back. He thought Ling Ling was wrong and the tiny stream shouldn’t be drawn in the grassland, but by the road … The children kept quarreled, and no one took a step back. At this time, Fang Xin suddenly recalled a paragraph of God’s words which mention about the tiny stream. She gently said: “Children, stop arguing. Let’s read God’s words, and see where the best place is to draw the tiny stream. OK?” Then Fang Xin took out God’s words, gently read to them: “Over the centuries, the tiny stream trickled gently around the foot of the mountain. By following the course the mountain had made, the tiny stream made it back to its home; it joined the river, and flowed into the sea. Under the mountain’s care, the tiny stream never became lost. The tiny stream and the great mountain relied on one another, they restrained one another, and depended on one another” (“God Himself, the Unique VII”). After finishing reading God’s words, Fang Xin asked: “Children, now do you know where to draw the tiny stream?” The Children said happily: “We are all wrong. The tiny stream should be drawn around the foot of the mountain.” Then her daughter drew the tiny stream quickly around the foot of the mountain. After that, the drawing looked better than before. Then, the three of them looked at the sense in the painting. Ming Ming cupped his chin in his hand and kept quite. Fang Xin asked warmly: “Ming Ming, is there anything you still do not understand?” Ming Ming said puzzled: “Why must the tiny stream be drawn around the foot of the mountain?” Fang Xin replied: “God has told us. The tiny stream is around the foot of the mountain, because under mountain’s care, the river never became lost. If without the mountain, the tiny stream will get lost. Because it had no direction, it will flow everywhere, as a result, it will cause more harm than good to us. Only with the mountain as reliance can the tiny stream join the river, and flow into the sea, and it will not become lost and bring harm to us.” As Ming Ming listened to the story, he forgot about the argument with Ling Ling. He kept asking about the relationship between the tiny stream and the mountain, and listened attentively. Ling Ling also listened in fascination. She said delightedly: “Mum, you are so smart! Today not only do we learn to draw, also we know the relationship of the mountain and the tiny stream.” Fang Xin smiled and said patiently: “I know this from God’s words. Though we didn’t know where to draw the tiny stream just now, God’s words give us the answer. God’s words also tell us many other mysteries, that the scientists, celebrities, and great people don’t know. In the future, I will tell all of you something more about belief in God. Gradually, you will understand more.” The children happily nodded their head. Then, Ming Ming picked up a pencil and started to draw trees, the sun, people, and birds. After finishing drawing trees, the sun and people, without thinking, he drew a bird by the river. Ling Ling thought that was wrong, but Ming Ming insisted he was right. Seeing the children were going to argue again, Fang Xin said: “Come on, let’s read God’s words and see the interconnected relationships and interdependence of all things created by God, and then all of you will know where the suitable place to draw the bird is.” Fang Xin opened up God’s words and read: “A ray of sunlight shone down on the tree and the trunk shook. The tree reached out its branches wide and drew deeply from the light. The earth below breathed in rhythm with the tree, and the earth felt renewed, and just then, a fresh breeze blew among the branches, and the tree trembled in delight, bursting with energy. And thus, the tree and the sunlight depend on one another … “People sat in the cool shade of the tree and they basked in the brisk, fragrant air. The air cleansed their hearts and lungs, and it cleansed the blood within. The people no longer felt weary or burdened. And thus, the people and the tree depend on one another … “A flock of songbirds chirped as they alighted on the branches of the tree. Perhaps they were evading some foe, or they were breeding and raising their young, or maybe they were just taking a short rest. And thus, the birds and the tree depend on one another …” (“God Himself, the Unique VII”). After Fang Xin finished reading God’s words, she asked: “After listening to the story God tells us, do you know where to draw the bird? The bird should fly to the tree, because the tree is its house, and the…

the Parable of a Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep

Six-Thousand-Year Calls “Where Are You?”

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3: 8-10) Since human ancestors Adam and Eve fell, man had sins. After man committed sins, they hid themselves for fear of seeing God. Gradually, man strays from God, and becomes strange to God. Although man forgets the God who breathed the breath into them and supplies them with life, God has never left man. God knows man falls into Satan’s scheme and betrays Him because of their ignorance and their lack of discernment between good and evil. So, God doesn’t remember man’s ignorance but is still concerned about man created by Himself, and God has still been calling over several thousands of years.… In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus came into the human world, eating and living with man. During His work, He told His followers many parables. One of them is “The Parable of the Lost Sheep”: “How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14) From this parable, I feel that God is real and true, and feel God’s true heart and His mercy on man. God hopes to awaken the still slumbering mankind by such a parable and let them understand God’s love for man, understand God’s eager desire to save man, and know that God never stops looking for the mankind who lose direction and has still been waiting for their return over these thousands of years. It’s the end time now. Man has been corrupted more and more deeply, and they all live an empty life only concerned with eating, drinking, and the pursuit of pleasure, and enjoy the pleasure of sins. Man completely forsakes God and forgets God is the source of man’s life. To save mankind created by Himself, God returns to flesh again and ceaselessly supplies and waters them with His word of life. The purpose of Almighty God is so that man’s heart and spirit will be awakened and thus they will return before Him soon. As Almighty God says, “Your heart and your spirit have been taken away by the evil one. Your eyes are covered by darkness; you cannot see the sun in the sky, nor the twinkling star in the night. Your ears are clogged with deceptive words and you hear not the thunderous voice of Jehovah, nor the sound of the rushing waters from the throne. You have lost everything that should have belonged to you and everything that the Almighty bestowed upon you. You have entered an endless sea of bitterness, with no strength of a rescue, no hope of survival, left only to struggle and to bustle about. … From that moment, you are doomed to be afflicted by the evil one, kept far away from the blessings of the Almighty, out of reach of the provisions of the Almighty, and you embark on a road of no return. A million calls can hardly rouse your heart and your spirit. You sleep deeply in the hand of the evil one, which has lured you into the boundless realm, with no direction, with no road signs. Henceforth, you have lost your original purity, innocence, and started to hide from the care of the Almighty. The evil one steers your heart in every matter and becomes your life. You no longer fear him, no longer avoid him, no longer doubt him. Instead, you treat him as the God in your heart. You begin to enshrine him, worship him, be inseparable like a shadow of his, and mutually commit to each other in life and death. You have no idea at all from where you originate, why you exist, or why you ‘die.’ You view the Almighty as a stranger; you don’t know His origin, let alone all that He has done for you. Everything from Him has become hateful to you. You neither cherish them nor know their value. You walk with the evil one, from the same day you started to receive provisions from the Almighty. You and the evil one walk through thousands of years of tempest and storm. Together with it, you ‘counter’ God, who was the source of your life. You do not repent, let alone know that you have come to the point of perishment. You forget that the evil one has tempted you, afflicted you; you forget your origin. Just like that, the evil one has been damaging you step by step, even to now. Your heart and your spirit are desensitized and decayed. You no longer complain about the distress of the world, no longer believe the world is unjust. You don’t even care about the existence of the Almighty. This is because you have deemed the evil one as your true father, and you no longer can be apart from him. This is the ‘secret’ in your heart.” “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people without any consciousness, because He has to wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken…

How to Be Honest: 4 Principles

By Qing Jing I read the Lord Jesus’s word in the Bible, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).I came to realize, God loves the honest. He hopes that we do not have pretensions but become an honest person as the innocent and vibrant children. Because only the honest can enter the kingdom of heaven. Then what should we do to be an honest person? I often ponder this problem. Thanks for the Lord’s guidance, I had knowledge of how to be honest. I want to share it with you. First, be honest when praying. It’s recorded in the Book of John 4:23-24, the Lord Jesus said, “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). This part of the scriptures makes me know the first step to be honest is sharing our innermost thoughts, our actual condition and real difficulties with God instead of doing things to show off to others, or saying words that are nice or contrary to our own convictions to deceive God. Just as the Book of Luke 18:10-14 said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:” (Luke 18:10-14). From the Pharisee and publican’s prayer, we come to know that the prayer of the publican was extremely simple, he just asked for the Lord’s mercy on him a sinner. But he owned up to his mistakes with a true heart and repented what he had done before God. On the contrary, the Pharisee only said something nice in prayer to take credit in front of God and show off themselves before man. He didn’t truly open up his heart and speak the words within his heart to God. So, even if his prayers were nice, he still couldn’t receive the approval of God. The Lord Jesus exposed the Pharisees, “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation” (Mark 12:40). In real life, we should practice speaking the words within our hearts to God, tell Him the truth and accept His observation in our every word and action when we pray to God. Only in this way, can we embark on the path of being an honest person. Second, to be an honest person, we should practice speaking the truth and abandoning lies. The Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Mat 5:37). His word demands that we should be straight to the point and speak in a practical and realistic manner, speaking accurately and not doing or saying anything underhand. If we don’t speak honestly, then we will be all evil-doers. Thinking of my daily life, I often said much that is inaccurate for the sake of my own interests and status. For example, I sometimes had to speak against my will to curry favor with others; for fear that others would look down on me, I would cover the truth and say something raising myself up to leave a good impression. When there occurred deviations or flaws in my own work, I would always make a problem smaller and trivialize it into nothing when reporting on my work. These problems frequently occurring in our daily life need to be solved when we practice being an honest person. Then, what should we do to solve the problem of lying and deceiving? The first thing is to set strict demands on ourselves and record what we said. We must accept God’s observation to exam whether every word we said is true to the facts or there is mixture in the words. If there is mixture, we should pray to rebel against individual intentions that are not right. Only in this way, will our lies become ever fewer. Third, we should not deceive God with our indolence in fulfilling our duties. The Lord demands us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Mat 22:37-38). His word tells us that we should love our God with all our heart, soul and mind. When performing our duties, we shouldn’t conduct transactions with God or deceive God with our indolence, but do our best and fully spend ourselves for Him without the adulteration of motivations, aims, or trades. However, when it came to matters that involved my own personal benefit and required me to suffer and pay a price, I was only mindful of the flesh and couldn’t perform my duty well with my heart and strength, but want to be slipshod and cut corners without seeking any outcome, never considering whether it can satisfy God. For example, when watering the new believers, I was just content that it would all get done so long as the new believers were willing to attend meetings, and didn’t care about whether they understand the truth. Sometimes, brothers and sisters were passive and weak, I only fellowshiped with them but didn’t keep track of their situations to go on helping and supporting them. To solve the problem of working perfunctorily,…

The Tragedy of Religious Prayers

We Christians cannot be without prayer to God. Yet do you know how many religious prayers are there among those we make in our real life? Now please read this gospel article “The Tragedy of Religious Prayers”. One day, I came back home from the church meeting, my legs still aching. I sat on the bed, patting my two legs and humming a hymn weakly, “We have to praise Jehovah, because all things are out of Him. He is the Ruler of the heavens and earth and all things. There is no other God like Him …” Just as I was singing, my husband opened the door and came in. Seeing him back, I was very excited and asked, “You have finally come back. How come you go out so long this time? It’s nearly two years.” My husband put the things with him on the table, explaining, “These days, I was busy dealing with the affairs of the church and couldn’t get away.” Then he came to the bedside and asked me with concern, “Why do you massage your legs again?” I said, “I received a notice from the upper-level co-workers and had a meeting for a few days. I came home a little while ago. My legs ache badly. I just massage them to stimulate the circulation.” My husband said with a smile, “Did you kneel to pray for a long time in the meeting?” I said gruffly, “That’s right. The two co-workers prayed for more than one hour and called on the name of the Lord for over twenty minutes. In the end, they again prayed for more than one hour. It was almost three hours in all. In fact, after praying for forty minutes, I felt my legs were numb and my calves swollen. I wanted to stand up to relax my legs and reduce soreness, but at the thought that this suffering would be approved by God, I had to kneel there and continued praying. Later, when the prayer was finished, I could hardly stand up. I felt tired and painful. I really couldn’t bear it.” My husband said seriously, “The Lord Jesus has ever said: ‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24). Prayer is the most direct way for us to worship God. We need to use our heart to pray to the Lord and speak intimate words with Him. That is, we should talk to God about our true state and actual difficulties, rather than show off our eloquence and exhibit ourselves in praying. In the past, when I prayed with brothers and sisters during my sermon, many times I listed the verses and said a bunch of nice sounding words. I didn’t pray with my heart. Instead, I wanted to win others’ favor for admiration and let others look up to me. Now, I am very fed up with the way we prayed.” I said in puzzlement, “Yeah, the Lord Jesus asked us to use our heart and integrity to worship Him. Put like that, I find I have the same attitude that if I pray with many words, list many scriptures and pray for a long time, I will be spiritual and others dare not look down upon me. Actually, we co-workers also list verses to compare ourselves to each other. That’s the reason why each of us prayed longer than the next.” My husband said, “In reality, God pays no mind to our half-hearted prayers. In Matthew 6:5-7, it recorded what the Lord Jesus has ever taught His disciples,‘And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ From these words, we can see that the Lord Jesus loathes the prayers of the hypocrites. But we think that the more words of our prayers are, the happier the Lord will be. In fact, it is not. Our prayers are to flaunt ourselves on purpose and to show off, so that others will mistake our outward practices for our devotion to the Lord. How can such behaviors deceive the Lord?” After hearing his words, I nodded and said, “What you said is truly so. Well, I find you have had much progress. Where did you get so much light? I have never heard before.” He said with a smile, “Such seeing was from some words a net friend sent to me the other day. I felt he had his own unique insights about prayer, so I wrote down some of the important passages on my notebook. When I am free, I can ponder them. Let me share them with you.” Saying these words, my husband stood up and walked to the table. He opened his bag to take out his notebook, and began to read, “‘Prayer is not a case of going through the formalities, or following procedure, or reciting the words of God, which is to say, prayer does not mean parroting words and copying others. In prayer, you must give your heart to God, sharing the words in your heart with God so that you may be touched by God.’ You see how these words are accordance with the Lord’s requirements for us. That is to say, prayer is not going through the formalities or following procedure or reciting God’s words. In prayer, we should give our heart to God and speak from the heart to Him.” Looking at these words, I said, “In this light, our former prayers are reciting verses, parroting words and…

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