Obey God’s Sovereignty, Live Out the Real Human Life

Aside: Everyone has his own life ideals and life goals to struggle for. Some want to be rich; some want to be famous; some want to be outstanding, and some are content to live peaceful lives. No matter what we pursue, we’ll work hard and keep constantly on the run for our ideals and goals. We’ll rely on ourselves, the people, things and objects around us to achieve them. Even if weary in body and mind, we’re not willing to stop our footsteps. Finally, we accomplish both success and fame, having achieved what we expect to pursue. But when we are enjoying the happiness all of this brings, have we ever thought: Is living this way the true human life? When sickness comes upon us and when death is drawing near, we discover that fame, position, money and familial affection, these cannot alleviate our pain at all, cannot put off death for a second. Only at this time do we come to realize: High official position and riches can only bring us momentary pleasure and satisfaction. No matter how much we possess them, it is meaningless. This is actually a mirror of the words Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 2:11, “I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Then, we start to think: Why do we live? What is the significance of life? Is it just for enjoying the pleasures of the flesh—eating, wearing, playing, and making merry? Is it for fame and position, or for supporting the family? Are they really our spiritual needs and the whole value of our life? The Bible records: Job revered God and shunned evil. In trials, he lost all his wealth, all his sons and daughters, and was tortured by the disease. Despite that, he didn’t make any complaints against God but praised God’s holy name. In the end, he stood the testimony and was approved by God, thus living out a worthy and meaningful life. God says, “In actual fact, the real result was not that he became even richer or that he had more cows and sheep than before, or that his sons and daughters were more beautiful than those he had before; these are graces incidentally given to man by God. That which God really allows man to gain is that, through this matter, you gain a better understanding of Him, have a closer relationship with Him and your heart draws closer to God’s heart….” Through experiencing God’s work, we have seen the beautiful and kind countenance of the Creator. And with a flash of insight, we realized: The fame and position, no matter how much we own, is vanity; the fleshly interests, which we previously lived for, is devoid of value. Our life is given by God. But corrupted by Satan, we deviate from the life course predestined by God, and thus our life becomes so miserable, bitter and helpless. Whereas, only if we turn back to the Creator, accept and obey His sovereignty and arrangement for our fates can we live out a real human life! By Li Yiyi

Holy Spirit, true way, salvation

Casting My Care on God, I Felt So Relaxed

When I was 10, my parents sent me to study in Singapore. Under the wonderful arrangement of the Lord, my mother and I accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus in Singapore. Five years later, many Chinese people of the church left and the church was finally dismissed. So my mother and I went to the local church to have meetings. Gradually, I found that the people of the church were outwardly meek and lowly but intrigued against each other in secret and that they looked down upon the Chinese people so much, not at all like Christians. Later, my mother had the privilege of accepting God’s kingdom gospel and preached it to me. At that time, I verbally accepted it in order not to go to the church anymore. After believing in God, when my mother read to me God’s word, I meekly listened but didn’t carefully ponder the truth in God’s word. I listened to lots of words about God’s almightiness and sovereignty, knowing: All things in the universe are operating under God’s sovereignty and the fate of all mankind is controlled by God’s hand, and we should obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement. But I still believed that my fate was controlled in my hands and that I needed to strive for my beautiful life by myself, not at all knowing God’s sovereignty. Later, through the experience of dealing with the matter of studying abroad in America, I had a little true knowledge of God. After I graduated from high school, through discussion, my parents decided to send me to go to college in America. So, I went back to China to apply for my study visa. After half a year passed, most of the materials were well prepared and I, who was confident, looked forward to attaining my student visa in China. I made an appointment of the visa interview on the Internet and then went to Beijing with all the materials. When arriving at the embassy, I saw that everyone waiting in line looked very nervous and that my mother also kept praying to God, asking God to guide us. But I was unworried, for I thought: My materials are well prepared. My English is good. What’s more, I have a tourist visa. So, it is a piece of cake for me to get the study visa. I am superior to them and absolutely can pass the interview. When it was my turn, I confidently handed my materials to the interviewer and fluently answered her several questions in English. However, she said that there was something wrong with my materials and that she was not so satisfied with my answers. Hearing this, I immediately got flustered. She asked me to complete the materials, but I knew that I was rejected. At that moment, I felt unspeakably sad in my heart: My materials were well prepared and I answered the questions in English fluently. There is no reason for me to be rejected. It must be that the interviewer does not let me pass it intentionally. Later, my mother told me that there was God’s good will in everything and asked me not to lose heart but to pray to God and rely on God. At the time, I didn’t listen to her but was intent on solving this problem by myself. After that, I called an American agency. The agent told me that I could go to America first with my tourist visa and then apply for changing my visa there. After hearing this, I breathed a sigh of relief. But the agent continued, “There might be a great trouble when you enter America, because it has not yet been three months since you left America last time. What’s more, you are just rejected for a study visa. So, you probably will be repatriated by the customs.” The agent’s words made me nervous again and feel a bit depressed. “It seems that I cannot go to America now,” I thought. At the time, my parents comforted me, “It’s OK. We can have a try.” Then I bought the tickets and prepared to go to America with my mother. On the plane, I was very upset. I couldn’t eat and sleep, keeping worrying: What if I cannot enter America? What if I cannot go to college in America? What about my prospect? Thinking of these, I felt very depressed. I was dizzy and completely had no thoughts to do any other things. Arriving at the customs, I felt more fearful and anxious. My mother noticed that and told me, “Don’t be afraid and worried. We pray to God in our heart, entrust this matter to God, and obey God’s arrangement. Whether we can enter is not determined by man, but based on God’s sovereignty and arrangement.” I, who was helpless and fearful, prayed to God with the mentality of trying, “Almighty God, I beg You to guide me. I didn’t come before You and read Your word with true heart before. If I can cross the customs, I will believe in You wholeheartedly and read Your word to worship You every day.” It was our turn after I prayed. To my surprise, the customs just asked me my purpose of coming to America and then let us enter. After we got out of the airport, my mother unceasingly said, “Thank Almighty God!” And I also thanked God in my heart. I knew that it was Almighty God’s guidance and protection that made us enter America successfully. After experiencing this, I tasted God’s wonderful deeds and became willing to believe in God and rely on God in my heart. But I had been instilled into the poisons of Satan like “Man’s fate is controlled by his own hands,” and “Human effort is the decisive factor,” since I was a child, so I still relied on my own ability to do things that happened to me. When the agent told me that I could only apply for changing…

The Creator’s Wonderful Deeds Hidden in the Four Seasons

By Lele Spring arrives with silent footsteps. After a whole year of waiting, cherry blossom trees display their best side; they clothed in their most beautiful flowers and they stand out among all sorts of trees. Not to be outdone, weeping willows also can’t wait to play their trump card—their graceful lines, which are still so well-kept after years of being battered by the wind and rain that even fish vie to hop to shake hands with them. Wild flowers come into bloom, red and purple and yellow; putting on their new coats, they confidently sway in the wind. Grass comes to provide patches: Like a streak it overgrows the land, and sets off the flowers in them. Small animals come to life from their winter sleep. Some poke their little heads out, some stretch lazily, and others lay on the green land, enjoyably bathing in the sunshine. Hares casually eat some grass, and then begin to chase one another. … The wind blows off the cherry flowers. In the blink of an eye, the falling petals flutter in the air, and the delicate fragrance sends their last sweet kiss to people. After several strong winds, summer arrives in a hurry. It quickly enlivens the mountains, lakes, jungles, and fields, bringing vibrancy to them, and then come the lush greenery and pounding waves. It’s really a passionate season. Then follows the hot summer with the burning sun like a fire. The plane-trees on either side of the road stretch their arms generously, providing pedestrians with a shelter against sunshine. Cicadas chant their everlasting songs without stint. Night is always the liveliest: Geckos get out to play about in the cool of the evening; frogs vie to sing their own songs; fireflies hurry to serve as lamps for pedestrians…. In autumn, the bright red persimmons hang on the trees in the courtyard, sweet and pleasant to the eyes. In this fruitful season, pomegranates “laugh” with their “mouths” open as if nobody is near, and they don’t care how many “teeth” are exposed so as to express their characteristics and freedom. In this golden autumn, fallen leaves are naturally the common scenery that will never fade away. Their unique charm arouses people’s attention: Some take a seat there for a while to think about their lives; some take a walk in the wood, enjoying the beauty of the scenery; some select their favorite leaves to make samples…. Winter has waited for long and finally goes on the stage. In this season, wild flowers return to their roots and grass is withered, only the wintersweets blossom and pines and cypresses remain green. Seemingly, the winter is desolate, without the heated excitement in summer. But this kind and amiable “old man” spreads his “savings” and offers a different charm. The cold hand of winter spreads a white carpet throughout the wide world, in a flash, trees, the earth and everywhere are snow-covered. The signs of other seasons are nowhere to be found because they know the carpet is the ever-unchanging symbol and warmth of the “old man.” Outside the cottages are several snowmen in sight. A worn broom and a carrot are always most properly put on them. People can take a break during this season. Animals have preserved their food to pass through this cold winter. Chickens and ducks have matured and cattle and sheep have grown strong. These fowls are ready to become people’s food on the table in every household. After visiting their neighbors and having chats with them, people go back to their own homes. Looking at the plenty of grains in the barns, they sit around the stove talking about their plan for the year ahead. … I have passed through tens of springs, summers, autumns, and winters, I have visited oceans and rivers, and I have walked across the grasslands and mountains; all things are really so marvelous that I couldn’t help wondering: Mysteries are everywhere in the nature, and all of them are so miraculous. However, who created all these things on earth? … Until one day, I read God’s words: “God created all things, each of which lives through different forms and different ways and uses different methods to exhibit its power and form of life. No matter what method, it is all under God’s rule.” “The authority of the Creator not only gives the vitality of life to seemingly static material objects, so that they will never disappear, but, moreover, gives the instinct to reproduce and multiply to every living being, so that they will never vanish, and so that, generation after generation, they will pass on the laws and principles of survival endowed to them by the Creator. The manner in which the Creator exerts His authority does not rigidly adhere to a macro or micro viewpoint, and is not limited to any form; He is able to command the operations of the universe, and hold sovereignty over the life and death of all things, and, moreover, is able to maneuver all things so that they serve Him; He can manage all the workings of the mountains, rivers, and lakes, and rule all things within them, and, what’s more, is able to provide that which is needed by all things. This is the manifestation of the unique authority of the Creator amongst all things besides mankind. Such a manifestation is not just for a lifetime, and shall never cease, or rest, and cannot be altered or damaged by any person or thing, nor can it be added to or reduced by any person or thing—for none can replace the identity of the Creator, and, therefore, the authority of the Creator cannot be replaced by any created being, and is unattainable by any non-created being.” It turns out that God created this world and mankind, and directs the growth patterns of all things, the patterns which are never changed starting from the existence of all things until now. Regardless of spring sowing or winter’s storage, day or night,…

Gains From A Score of 73

The final examination was coming. I didn’t worry about my other subjects. However, at the thought of organic chemistry, my worst subject, I felt very anxious. I always wondered how to improve my mark in this subject. If obtaining a low mark in chemistry, I was afraid that my overall achievement would slide. If failing my chemistry examination, I would get more troubles. Desperate, it occurred to me that I had believed in God. God is possessed of authority and has power to dominate over all. I believed that I surely would get a good result by relying on God. Hence, I really studied hard while relying on Him. In class, I took notes when listening to my teacher. To have a solid memory for my notes, I prayed to God, asking Him to strengthen my memory and make me commit the knowledge to memory. And I finished up my home assignments from my teacher carefully. Seeing my roommates playing games, I also wanted to do that to relax myself after a day at study. Yet, I thought if I didn’t do that, but read more God’s words, then God certainly would help me get a good mark in this subject when seeing my “cooperation.” For this reason, I spared my time for playing games to see God’s words. When it came time to attend a meeting, I saw my classmates reviewing their lessons. As I was not good at this subject, I might get a dim result in the end if spending less time than others in reviewing lessons. So I didn’t want to attend the meeting. But then I thought: If I attend the meeting, God will certainly accept me. It will be much better that I get God’s blessings in my examination, than that I review by rote here. Consequently, I gave up my review without the slightest hesitation, and decided to first attend the meeting to “satisfy God.” Before I knew it, the time arrived for the final examination. When thinking of my efforts in this subject and my “cooperation” with God these days, I felt at peace, and believed that this time God would certainly bless me with a good result. On the day I took the examination, I walked toward the examination room with singing a song. I sat calmly in a seat, and prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God! I entrust my examination to You. May You lead me to get a good result. Thank You God.” As time passed one second and one minute at a time, I did my work without difficulty in the previous part, but I was stuck on the last question. In fact, I had seen this question when reviewing lessons. However, I couldn’t remember it at the time. There was shorter and shorter time left before the examination being over. I was even more worried, with my heart thumping violently. Just then, I thought of God, and so I hurried to call out to God silently in my heart, “O, God! Please help me answer this question.” After praying, my heart calmed down little by little. A few moments later, I really remembered a little, and then I wrote it down quickly. I was overjoyed, and repeatedly thanked God for His guidance. A week later, the result came out. My classmates all searched for their marks on the Internet. When hearing their high or low marks, I still felt somewhat nervous. However, thinking of my “cooperation” with God these days, like persisting in reading God’s words and attending meetings, I was sure that God had blessed me with a good result. In addition, God had led me to answer the last question, so my mark could not be too low. With this in my mind, I confidently went to check my marks on the Internet, but only to find I scored 73. I was stunned, and couldn’t help but exclaim, “73? How come I scored so low?” At that time, I was dumb, and spontaneously doubted in my heart: Why do I get such a low mark? Could it be that my teacher made a mistake? No, it couldn’t be. My teacher usually sets a low standard for this kind of examination. Then I thought: I’ve been drawing close to God frequently these days, but how can I receive such a result? Why didn’t God bless me? I could not help feeling particularly depressed. After coming back to my dormitory, I heard my classmate playing games every day say, “I got 75. I merely reviewed a little. It’s so easy. Before I feared that I would fail.” At his words, I could no longer restrain my grievances and complaints: Why could he get a higher mark than me without reviewing every day? How could I get such a low mark? Why didn’t God help me? The more I thought of it, the more I felt miserable and distressed. My heart couldn’t quiet down for a long time. I then remembered that at our usual gatherings my brothers and sisters fellowshiped that we should first practice obedience and not complain when encountering unfavorable things, and that God observes everything. Thereupon, I prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God, this time I didn’t do it well in the test. I feel very distressed now. I cannot see clearly what Your will is with regard to this matter. Please enlighten and guide me to understand Your will, so that I won’t complain anymore.” In a meeting, I told my brothers and sisters this matter. They found a passage of God’s words for me, “What is the problem with people always making demands of God? And what is the problem with them always having conceptions about God? What is contained within people’s nature? I’ve discovered that, regardless of what happens to them, or what they’re dealing with, people always protect their own interests and look out for their own flesh, and they always look for…

Who Has Given Herbs the Medical Effects?

When I was a child, my next-door neighbor was an old doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and I always liked playing at his house. Every time I went to his home, I could detect the strong smell of herb before I entered the yard. As soon as I came into the yard, I saw herbs put on the walls, on the steps, and in the dustpans. I was so curious about them and asked: “Grandpa, these grasses seem to be very ordinary, why do you take them home?” He was grinding herbs at the same time as he pointed to all kinds of herbs and explained them to me with patience: “They aren’t ordinary grasses. You could never belittle them, of which the uses are inestimable. Look, this is Artemisia argyi, which could be used to repel mosquitoes, dispel cold, reduce the swelling, and cure rheumatism. This is Cirsium setosum, which could be used for stanching the bleeding, detoxification, and clearing heat. …” Listening to his words, I felt that these herbs were very miraculous. I never would have thought how valuable these ordinary plants by the roadside were. When I was in primary school, my stomach often hurt because of not eating sensibly. My mother would stir-fry some Chinese red pepper, and crush them up. And then she made me have the soup that was added some pepper. I felt warmth in my stomach as soon as I had finished soup. Before long, the pain in my stomach disappeared. I so frequently caught a cold in secondary school that I suffered from rhinitis and often had a blocked nose. When the illness became severe enough, it gave me a headache. And it was difficult for me to breathe when I was asleep. My condition did not improve after I took lots of Western medicines. Later, my mother unintentionally learned that magnolia flower and the stem of catnip that were boiled together could cure rhinitis. She wanted me to try it, but I harbored considerable doubts about it. I thought to myself: “I have taken medicines for so long, but my illness doesn’t improve at all. Can it cure my illness?” Therefore, I was unwilling to try it. However, the rhinitis made me feel very unwell; in addition, my mother persuaded me to have a try time after time. So I, with an attitude of making every possible effort, tried it for a month. I had not imagined that it became easy for me to breathe through nose and the pain in my head went off. I continued to take the medicine for another month. I was completely cured of my rhinitis and never suffered a relapse. From then on, I felt in my heart of hearts that these plants were very good and very miraculous. I was also curious all the time: How could these ordinary plants cure diseases? Moreover, different plants can cure different diseases; the mix of several plants can cure many diseases. Who gave them the medical effects? I never found the answer all along. Not until did I believe in God and read His word, I finally knew the secrets within. God says: “Among all things, whether it is animals, plants, or all kinds of grass, God also created some plants that are necessary to resolve harm or illness to the human body. What do you do, for instance, if you get burned? Can you wash it with water? Can you just find a piece of cloth somewhere and wrap it up? It might fill up with pus or get infected that way. What do you do, for instance, if you get scalded accidentally by a flame or by hot water? Can you flush it with water? For instance, if you get a fever, catch a cold, suffer an injury from physical work, a stomach ailment from eating the wrong thing, or develop certain diseases due to living habits or emotional issues, such as vascular diseases, psychological conditions or diseases of the internal organs—there are corresponding plants to cure all of these. There are plants that improve blood circulation to remove stagnation, relieve pain, stanch bleeding, provide anesthesia, help people recover normal skin, eliminate blood stasis in the body, and eliminate toxins from the body. In short, they can all be used in daily life. They are of use to people and have been prepared by God for the human body in case of need. Some of these were allowed by God to be inadvertently discovered by man, while others were discovered from certain special phenomena or by certain people prepared by God. Following their discovery, mankind would pass them down, and then many people would know about them. This way, God’s creation of these plants has value and meaning. In short, these things are all from God and were prepared and planted when He created a living environment for mankind. All of these things are very necessary. Doesn’t it show that when God created the heavens and earth and all things, His considerations were better thought out than those of mankind? When you see all that God has done, are you able to feel God’s practical side? God worked in secret. When man had not yet come into this world, before coming into touch with this mankind, God had already created all of this. Everything He did was for the sake of mankind, for the sake of their survival, and for the consideration of mankind’s existence, so that mankind can live in this rich and plentiful material world God prepared for them, and so that they can live happily, not having to worry about food or clothes, and not lacking in anything.” God’s words released my years of confusion. It turned out that all of this was created and ordained by God. God created all things, and also created us mankind. Only God understands us best and knows what we need. So, before God created mankind, He had prepared everything: what we eat,…

Can Money Bring Us Happiness?

One morning, my former leader came to shop at my store. He said to me, “Do you know Boss Ma died last month, the one who built the houses for our unit before?” I asked him in surprise, “I just saw him not long ago and he looked fine. Why did he suddenly die?” The leader sighed and said, “He died of an acute cerebral hemorrhage. He is only 51. He had assets of over 10 million yuan, and owned seven or eight properties. And he also was a well-known entrepreneur in our county. Alas! He died at such a young age. What is the good of possessing so many houses and assets?” After he left, my heart couldn’t calm down for quite a long time. Scene after scene of the past appeared in my mind. Recalling the Past: Bitter Journey Brought by Seeking After Fame and Fortune After our work unit went bankrupt, in order to lead an affluent life, my husband and I contracted to run the general store of our work unit. Thenceforth, we ran it every day from dawn till dusk. Sometimes when we were too occupied with our businesses, we even had no time to eat, and couldn’t get enough rest. We were so exhausted that our backs ached every day. However, we had to welcome customers with smiles. We lived a life admired by others in appearance but exhausted inside. Though tired and hard, when seeing that we had more and more money and gained others’ admiration, we felt the price we had paid was worth it. Later, when hearing selling steel bars was quite profitable, my husband scared up money around and then started the business to sell steel bars in the backyard of our shop. As a result, we became even more busy and tired. Doing the steel business and running the store almost rushed us off our feet. In order to tout for custom, we had to buy dinners and gifts for those in power. My husband always had to drink with the officials of administrative departments for industry and commerce, the tax authorities, and the bureau of quality supervision to deal with their various inspections. He seemed quite honorable on the outside, but when he returned home, he was exhausted and frequently lost sleep at night. He often drowned his troubles in drink to relieve stress when he was so stressed and unhappy. Under the influence of alcohol, he made me his punching bag to vent his unhappiness. Whenever I thought that I had to manage the business in our store, had the members of my family to take care of, and also had to endure my husband’s unreasonable provocations and insults when he was drunk, I would feel very distressed. I had no worries about food or clothing, but I was particularly helpless, painful, empty and confused deep in my soul. I often asked myself: Is this the life we have been yearning for? We have earned the money we are longing for, yet why do I feel my heart is hollowed out? Why do I live so bitterly and tiredly? My husband’s Passing Away Made Me Get to Know What We pursued Was All in Vain Just when I was feeling lost and helpless, my friend preached the gospel of the kingdom of God to me. Through reading God’s words and living the church life, I felt the pain that had been in my heart was gradually reduced and I had new hope and the courage to live. Later, I testified to God’s gospel to my husband in the hope of freeing him from the pain. He, however, always refused with the excuse that he had to earn more money before he was too old and it would not be too late to believe in God when he got old and lived in leisure. One day, he drank all day again. After he got home, he said to me weakly, “For decades, in order to lead an affluent life, we have been painstakingly managing the business from dawn to dusk, exhausted physically and mentally. We are especially busy during Chinese New Year and other holidays, and cannot have our dinner until 8 or 9 o’clock everyday. Within three hundred and sixty-five days a year, we could only have a day off on the New Year’s Day. Now we have both son and daughter and have no worries about food or clothing, but I feel so vexed within. I cannot but drown my agony in drink every day. However, when waking up every morning, I felt hollow inside. I am too tired and I really don’t want to live such a miserable life.” The next morning, my husband got up very early and went out. After a little while he came back. He gave me a wad of money and told me to take good care of the family. Noticing his unusual behavior, I anxiously asked him what was wrong with him. Only then did he stammer, “I have drunk pesticide….” He started to tremble all over as he said. I was instantly shocked and could hardly believe my ears. For a moment I felt at a loss what to do. I said in tears, “How could you do that? What’s the matter with you?” On the way to the hospital, I kept urging the driver to drive fast. My husband lay in my arms. He looked straight at me with a pale face, wanted to say something but could not speak a word. Tears rolled from his eyes, and then spattered down onto my hands. We stared at each other. Seeing his reluctant and helpless eyes, I felt great pain in my heart. When we arrived at the emergency room, my husband was barely breathing. I desperately cried out to him, and begged the doctors repeatedly, “Save my husband please, no matter how much it costs …” The doctors pumped his stomach, gave him an IV, and…

My Thoughts on the Path of Life

“Ring …” The phone rang, and it was one of my friends. She invited me to dine together at her home and I agreed readily. Then I packed up and went out by bicycle. I rode along the path which I often passed through, for it was the shortest way to her home. From afar I saw there were some barriers on the path in front of me. When I slowly came nearer, I found that in fact, a constructional force was mending the path. Then I looked to the right and saw there was a wall and no path to walk on; I looked to the left and saw there was a lawn, on which the construction workers were setting some construction objects, and it was hard for me to cross the lawn. I thought to myself: The path is under construction. What shall I do? Shall I go forward or go back? Just when I was wavering, one of the workers greeted me and motioned to me to walk through the open space of the lawn. I nodded, and then pushing my bicycle, I detoured the barriers and rode forward. However, before I rode much further, I had seen someone walking in front of me. The path was not wide, so in order not to knock him, I stopped to push my bicycle and walked forward. After passing him, I rode my bicycle to go forward again. But before I rode further, I had found there was a piece of wood blocking my way forward. I had no choice but to stop and remove the wood, and then carried forward. At last, I arrived at my friend’s home at the agreed time. Thinking of the things which happened on the path, I couldn’t help but sigh: During such a short journey from my home to my friend’s, I should meet with these setbacks. Similarly, is the path of life not bumpy like this? Many of us want to walk along a smooth path, and hope that we will live peaceful and smooth lives and that there will be no hindrance or obstacle in our studies, careers, future prospects and family lives. However, who can control all of this? Many events are often beyond our expectations, and also make us feel that we cannot control all these occurrences and ramifications at all. It’s just like I couldn’t imagine that the path, which had been always smooth, would be under construction and that there would be some barriers blocking my way forward on this path. However, when we meet these difficulties, many of us will hesitate, not knowing whether to advance or go back, and there are also many times when we don’t know how to face these things. For example, students all want to succeed academically and be famous and successful. However, when falling to pass the examination unexpectedly, they will hesitate over whether to continue to study in the school or not. Many of them will even become dispirited and mired in defeat after failing the college entrance examination. For another example, those who undertake a career all want to realize their ambitions and enjoy the happiness from fame and fortune. However, when unexpectedly running up against a wall in their careers, they will also hesitate over whether to give up or continue their struggle. In the meantime, some of them will become frustrated and hang a leg for they can’t undergo failure. And still for another example, some people only wish to have conjugal affection and a happy family. However, what they wish often can’t be fulfilled because of some unforeseen things. … It’s just as a hymn of God’s word says, “In their lifetime, no person knows what kind of setbacks they’re going to encounter, nor do they know what kind of refinement they will be subject to. For some it’s in their work, for some it’s in their future prospects, for some it’s in their family of origin, and for some it’s in their marriage.” So, when these unexpected things happen, with what kind of attitude will it be correct for us to face these things? God’s words say: “These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that these things’ ramifications, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. … From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that ‘the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,’ that does not convey the eternal truth that ‘the Creator’s authority is supreme.’” “When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. ‘Waiting’ means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to gradually reveal itself to you. ‘Seeking’ means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must keep, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. ‘Submitting,’ of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth into man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let…

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How Can We Leave No Regrets in Our Lives?

Recently, a friend told me a true story, which had a great impact on my soul: In order to live a better life, a couple crossed the ocean to Japan to work. However, the fast-paced lifestyle and the overload of work made them exhausted and miserable, to the point that several times they wanted to give up their work. But when they got monthly earnings, they would forget themselves in happiness, ignoring physical fatigue. They thought that so long as they earned great wealth, they could build their house, take their families abroad, and then they could feel proud and elated before their relatives and friends. So, they endured pains and continued to pursue their dreams. One day, the husband suddenly fell ill, and then went to the hospital for examinations. The result showed that he was in the late stages of cancer. In order to save her husband’s life, the wife spent all their earnings on his treatment, buying the best medicine for him and letting him receive treatment in the best hospital, but finally he still died. Before his death, he said to his wife: “Dear, I’m only 30 years old, but I am about to leave this world, and leave you. I’m really reluctant! You and our children are all before me, but I can’t take you with me! No matter how good and big the house is, I can’t take it, either! No matter how much money I earn, can it give back my life? Everything is in vain! Everything is in vain …” His heartfelt words touched his wife’s heart. When she saw her husband was filled with regret, tears came streaming down her face. Hearing this, I felt sorry for that husband, and couldn’t help sighing: The lives of us humans are so fragile. Even though we possess more money and have higher reputation, it still can’t cure us of the disease or save our lives. We can’t bring them into the world and can’t take them with us after we die. Will not all be empty in the end? Then I curiously asked my friend what happened to this wife later. My friend continued the story: The spending on the husband’s treatment and his death made the situation of this family become worse. So as not to be looked down upon by others, every day this wife exhausted her energy to earn money and couldn’t stop just like a wound watch. Because of working like this year after year, finally she broke down and got insomnia, hypertension and heart disease, being dizzy and groggy every day just like riding on a roller coaster. The tiredness of life and the torment of illnesses made her more miserable who had already been under great stress of bringing up three children. It was not until the doctor said that her blood vessels would disintegrate and her life would be in danger if she continued to overwork like this that she had no choice but to stop working. At that moment, she crumpled to the floor, bursting out crying. However, it was too late. No matter how much money she had, it couldn’t give her back her health. Hearing my friend’s narration, I couldn’t help being in deep thought: Now, I don’t lack material comforts and have my own career, but it’s full of hardships and frustrations as I walk the way. For the sake of wealth and fame, I worked my fingers to the bone every day, like a tight-wound spring, sacrificing my health; besides, I had to skillfully deal with the complicated personal relationships, scheming against each other and deceiving each other more and more. The increase of money and the temporary enjoyment of obtaining fame didn’t bring me the true happiness, but instead I was exhausted physically and mentally and extremely miserable. I couldn’t refrain from reconsidering: Why do we live so miserably? Exactly how should we live a life of significance and value? Afterward, I saw these words in a book: “One exhausts a lifetime’s worth of energy fighting against fate, spends all of one’s time bustling about trying to feed one’s family and shuttling back and forth between wealth and status. The things that people treasure are family, money, and fame; they view these as the most valuable things in life. All people complain about their fates, yet still they push to the back of their minds the questions that it is most imperative to examine and understand: why man is alive, how man should live, what the value and meaning of life is. All of their lives, however many years that may be, they just rush about seeking fame and fortune, until their youth has fled, until they become gray and wrinkled; until they see that fame and fortune cannot stop one’s slide toward senility, that money cannot fill the emptiness of the heart; until they understand that no one is exempt from the law of birth, aging, sickness, and death, that no one can escape what fate has in store. … Only when people are about to let go of this world do they realize that the things they spent their lives pursuing are nothing but fleeting clouds, none of which they can hold onto, none of which they can take with them, none of which can exempt them from death, none of which can provide company or consolation to a lonely soul on its way back; and least of all, none of which can give a person salvation, allow them to transcend death. Fame and fortune one gains in the material world give one temporary satisfaction, passing pleasure, a false sense of ease, and make one lose one’s way. And so people, as they thrash about in the vast sea of humanity, craving peace, comfort, and tranquility of heart, are subsumed again and again beneath the waves. When people have yet to figure out the questions that it is most crucial to understand—where they come from, why they are…

Reflections on the Wondrous Plants

My wife and I both are very fond of plants. As a result, there are various kinds of plants grown in our house all year round, such as early lilac, common oleander, knight’s star lily, Chinese cymbidium, bush lily, candelabra aloe, aizoon stonecrop, spider plant, and so on. Living with them and enjoying their beauty every day, we benefit a lot both in body and mind. In spring, the early lilacs in our yard are in full bloom. As gentle breezes blow, the purple-white blossoms nod gently, with delicate fragrance pervading the whole yard. Whenever I was upset and depressed, I would come to them to have a smell. The delicate scent would immediately refresh me, removing all my distress and depression. Sometimes enchanted by the beauty and delicate fragrance of these flowers, I would linger beside them, unwilling to leave. What attracts me most is knight’s star lily. Shooting out from one bud, those blossoms were just like twin sisters, so dedicate and adorable that I didn’t have the heart to touch them and only appreciated their beauty from different angles. Some plants, though not brilliant, have amazing functions. Take candelabra aloe as an example. It can clear away heat and toxins, subdue the inflammation and relieve itching; moreover, it can improve our immunity, accelerate the falling of dead tissue and help the wound heal faster. With so many wondrous functions, candelabra aloe is very helpful in sultry summer and fall when we are prone to get bitten by mosquitoes or have inexplicable itching lumps. At that time, I would break off a leaf of candelabra aloe, remove its spines, strip off the outer layer to get its cool and lubricated pulp and then apply it to the itching lumps. Soon after, my skin stopped itching and the lumps would go down after being treated with the pulp three or four times. Sometimes when I had a toothache or a sore throat due to the internal heat, I would then chew a clean leaf of candelabra aloe and hold its juice in my mouth for a moment, which would gradually ease my pain. Once, when I had a persistent cough and didn’t get any better regardless of taking many medicines, I then ate some leaves of candelabra aloe with a dose of cough medicine. Surprisingly, soon I completely recovered from my cough. It was amazing! Aizoon stonecrop, though not looking so striking as those bright flowers, has marvelous functions which cannot be ignored. Once while working, my chest was hit heavily by the handle of the sledge-hammer accidentally, which ached so much that I couldn’t speak aloud or breathe deeply. Seeing this, my wife picked off several leaves of aizoon stonecrop, and then fried them with eggs for me to eat. After eating this two days, the injury to my chest miraculously healed. Later my wife told me, “Aizoon stonecrop can improve blood circulation to remove stagnation and swelling, stanch bleeding as well as relieve pain and tranquilize the mind, which helps treat injuries and also works well on sore and furuncle. It’s for both internal and external use: For internal use, we can crush out its juice to drink or fry it with eggs to eat; for external use, we can mash its leaves to a pulp and then apply it to the wounds.” After hearing her words, I couldn’t help exclaiming, “How wondrous it is! Such an ordinary plant actually has so many curative properties!” In the season of ice and snow, although many plants outside are withered and lifeless, my house is still full of vitality with blooming flowers and green plants. These plants, some on the windowsill, some in the corner, and some beside the TV set, regulate the humidity of our room, release oxygen, improve our mood and even can absorb the radiation produced by the electrical appliances. Every time enchanted in those flowers and plants and enjoying the happiness and benefits they brought to me, I would marvel: Planted in the same soil under the same nourishment of sunshine and rain, they actually have their unique functions. How amazing! So, who created them? And who bestowed upon them these miraculous functions? One day, I read God’s word, which said: “Among all things, whether it is animals, plants, or all kinds of grass, God also created some plants that are necessary to resolve harm or illness to the human body. What do you do, for instance, if you get burned? Can you wash it with water? Can you just find a piece of cloth somewhere and wrap it up? It might fill up with pus or get infected that way. What do you do, for instance, if you get scalded accidentally by a flame or by hot water? Can you flush it with water? For instance, if you get a fever, catch a cold, suffer an injury from physical work, a stomach ailment from eating the wrong thing, or develop certain diseases due to living habits or emotional issues, such as vascular diseases, psychological conditions or diseases of the internal organs—there are corresponding plants to cure all of these. There are plants that improve blood circulation to remove stagnation, relieve pain, stanch bleeding, provide anesthesia, help people recover normal skin, eliminate blood stasis in the body, and eliminate toxins from the body. … In short, these things are all from God and were prepared and planted when He created a living environment for mankind. All of these things are very necessary. Doesn’t it show that when God created the heavens and earth and all things, His considerations were better thought out than those of mankind? When you see all that God has done, are you able to feel God’s practical side? God worked in secret. When man had not yet come into this world, before coming into touch with this mankind, God had already created all of this. Everything He did was for the sake of mankind, for the sake of their survival,…

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