Why Have the Churches Become Desolate? (II)

By Xiaoya, Canada Hearing the sister say that the Lord Jesus has come back and done a new work, I was shocked then: Has the Lord returned? What the sister spoke of was something that I had never heard but was quite practical. Moreover, I heard for the first time that someone could explain the source of the desolation of the churches so clearly; even the pastors could not make it. Her words made me know that the reason why the churches became desolate was that God has done a new work and we had fallen behind since we were still attending meetings in the churches. Then I recalled what the Bible says, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). If it is really God’s new work, only if I hurry up and follow it can I receive the work of the Holy Spirit. However, in our hurry to leave for home, we had to bid good-bye for a little while. When the time came to part, we exchanged our telephone numbers and agreed on keeping in touch later. On the way home, I kept thinking of the matter that the sister had talked to me concerning the Lord’s return, as well as their behavior. Although it was our first meeting, their enthusiasm made me feel that they were no strangers to me. Thus I decided to investigate God’s new work carefully. After the start of the new school semester, Sister Chen Wei gave me a call and made an appointment to have a face-to-face talk with me. I agreed readily. In my contact with the brothers and sisters, I felt they had saintly decency in their words and actions, living out a good humanity, being quite devout to God, behaving honestly, and being concerned about and caring for me just like my family. From the bottom of my heart, I realized it was out of God’s love. Hence I told them my puzzle, “Now the whole religious world has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and fallen into darkness. If Almighty God is really the Lord Jesus who has come for His new work, then only by hurrying up and following the footsteps of the Lamb can we receive the Holy Spirit’s work, right?” Then the sisters shared God’s words with me, which had my thirsty heart nourished and made me have more understanding of God’s work as well. One of them read two passages of God’s words for me, “The work done at present has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work in the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, the work of God has progressed further. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? This means that the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace and an uplifting of that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are closely interconnected and linked one to the next.” “After the work of Jehovah, Jesus became flesh to do His work amongst man. His work was not carried out in isolation, but built upon the work of Jehovah. It was work for a new age after God had concluded the Age of Law. Similarly, after the work of Jesus ended, God still continued His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, a new work will continue the management of God. This incarnation is God’s second incarnation following the completion of Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently, but is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. … Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.” Then the sister fellowshiped, “In the beginning, God created the ancestors of mankind, Adam and Eve. At that time, He did not carry out His management work among man. Later on, since our ancestors ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thereby committed sins, then God started His work of saving mankind, accordingly bringing the three stages of the work of the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. These three stages of work are in closely connected links and each of them is carried out upon the foundation of the previous stage. For example, in the Age of Law, Jehovah God led His new-born mankind to live on earth through issuing laws and commandments. If people abided by the laws, they would be blessed by God; if they offended them, they could atone for their sins by offering sacrifice. However, in the late phase of the Age of Law, people could no longer keep the laws, but rather were overwhelmed by sins, unable to break free from the bondage of sin; thus people all faced the danger…

the churches become desolate

Why Have the Churches Become Desolate? (I)

By Xiaoya, Canada At the age of six or seven, once when my eldest uncle and aunt came to my home to visit my grandma, I saw my aunt talk to herself, and laugh one moment and cry another, of which I was extremely afraid. With curiosity, I asked my mother what had happened to my eldest aunt. She said with a sigh, “Your aunt is ill. There’s something wrong with her brain.” Later I was told by my family that in order to have her disease cured, my eldest uncle once sought doctors and remedies everywhere and had spent all the savings. However, she never got better. On this account, my eldest uncle always drowned his sorrows in drink alone. In the summer of 2004, my father and his younger brother brought back a few brothers and sisters who believed in the Lord. At our home, they led us to sing the hymns of praising the Lord and preached the Lord Jesus’ gospel to us. They said, “The Lord Jesus is loving and merciful. He was once crucified for redeeming mankind. As long as we man cry out to Him, He will bestow His boundless grace and blessings upon us….” Only later did I know that my eldest uncle and his household had long believed in the Lord. And because my aunt recovered from the illness not long after they believed in Him, my father brought back the brothers and sisters under the Lord to preach the gospel to us. At hearing the news, I felt the Lord’s deeds were so wonderful that my aunt’s illness, which cost much money yet didn’t get cured, should be gone miraculously through her belief in Him. Thus, our whole family began to believe in the Lord Jesus, and every Sunday I would go to the church for meetings with my family. At that time, there were lots of brothers and sisters in the church and they were all of great faith. Whichever brothers or sisters were experiencing difficulties, everyone else would help them. I was quite fond of such a church. Nonetheless, good times didn’t last long. Since 2006, I found there were fewer and fewer people who attended meetings. Among those present, some did not concentrate their attention while the pastor was preaching; some dozed off or played with their mobile phones at meetings. And some even brought their children to the church, so that the others were unable to quiet their hearts before the Lord and worship Him due to the noise made by the children during meetings. When giving sermons, the pastor just talked the same platitudes. Even more, seeing the brothers and sisters bring their children there to disturb meetings, he never persuaded them with love, but rather reproached them. Gradually, there appeared envy and strife in the church. Once, Pastor Hong spoke of Matthew 6:30, “Why, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” While speaking, he pointed at the believers sitting in the audience and said harshly, “You of little faith, you busy yourselves with matters of the flesh all day; that is, you have no faith in the Lord….” Feeling that he was lectured lecturing the brothers and sisters in a condescending attitude, Brother Li of our church, then gave him suggestions on the spot. However, Pastor Hong not only refused to accept, but rather, in a sneering tone, said that Brother Li did not compare with him in biblical knowledge, maintaining that his own preaching was right. Excluded and ridiculed by him, Brother Li no longer attended meetings. Another time, I was told by my father that Pastor Hong fought with the pastor of the county town for the followers, having completely lost the likeness of a believer in the Lord. The desolation of the church we confronted greatly disappointed my parents and me. I thought to myself: Doesn’t the Lord teach us to be forbearing, patient, and help others with a loving heart? The pastor’s knowledge of the Bible is more than ours, and moreover, these verses are what he is always talking about in the church, but why can’t he practice the teachings of the Lord? Why does the Lord not do something about the pastor who betrays His teachings? Why is the faith of the brothers and sisters gradually growing cold? Is there no work of the Holy Spirit in our church? Is the Lord not with us? Then in 2007, our whole family moved to the county town and we attended meetings in a nearby cathedral. At first I thought the cathedral in the county town must be more prosperous than our former church. But beyond my expectation, it was as desolate as our former one. A great many followers’ attending meetings merely observed rituals; they didn’t listen to sermons attentively at all. And the pastor preached the same old things, which had no new light. I could not feel the Holy Spirit’s work at all, thirsty and weak in spirit, and couldn’t touch the Lord’s presence when praying. I didn’t understand: Why is the cathedral in the county town also so desolate? Why does the Lord no longer work in the churches? When I was at my weakest, I could only pour out my misery to God and always sang the hymn alone silently, “Jesus leads me, I am really happy. Led by the Lord, peace comes to my heart, regardless of day or night….” I expected the Lord Jesus to come back soon to change the desolation of our church. Until one day in February of 2013, my whole family were going back to our hometown from the county town for the Spring Festival. My mother and younger brother went first by bus, and I took my father’s motorcycle home. On our way back, my father first brought me to a sister’s home where several sisters received us with hospitality. Although it was…

salvation, the last days, the church

Get Rid of the Temptation of Mahjong (II)

Although I had a little discernment of the social trends directed by Satan, the Satan’s poisons inside me, which were deep-rooted, could not be removed at once, for I had been corrupted by Satan for many years. After a period of time, my addiction to mahjong hit me again. I was idle every day and my whole body felt uncomfortable, particularly wanting to go to the mahjong hall. I held the lucky mind, thinking: God hates me playing mahjong, then I won’t play. I just want to see how others play. When I had such an idea, Satan stuck a pin wherever there’s room, attacking me again through the people surrounding me. I could not resist the temptation of my mahjong friends again and again and began to play. When my wife knew, she communicated with me the words of God and asked me to see through Satan’s tricks, forsake my own desires, and stay away from mahjong hall. Although I also wanted to get rid of it, but I couldn’t extricate myself. Slowly, the time I spent reading the words of God became less and less, and I even did not go to the meeting but to the mahjong hall once I had time. Because I was farther and farther away from God, losing God’s protection, Satan took the opportunity to harm me. Later, a sudden disease struck me. One day in May 2016, when I was playing mahjong with a few friends, I suddenly felt some pain in the waist, but I did not take it seriously, just simply taking some medicine. After that, when I handled something heavy or sat for a long time, I felt particularly hurt in the waist. Even so, I involuntarily went to play mahjong. One day in July 2016, after I helped my brother finish the work, I felt a particularly severe pain in my waist, so my wife rushed me to the hospital. After the examination, the doctor said I got calcification at the lumbar vertebrae, if acupuncture didn’t work, I would need an operation, which would probably cost 70,000 yuan. The doctor’s words were like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky. I was muddled: More than seventy thousand yuan! It is an astronomical fee for me; how I can have so much money to see a doctor! But if it were not cured, wouldn’t I be a useless man for the rest of my whole life? For lack of money, I had to go home to recover from the illness. On the way home, I felt very painful, feeling like wearing a mountain on my head, which made me breathless. After returning home, my condition was more serious, so that I had to lie in bed without moving, even having to depend on my wife to relieve the bowels. At this point, a sense of frustration filled my heart; I could not help but feel discouraged, thinking: I would rather drink pesticide to die if the disease cannot be cured. If I have to lie in bed for the rest of my life, what is the meaning of my life? How long will I haunt my wife? … The pain of the body and the pressure of my spirit tortured me with unspeakable suffering, and I was plunged completely into despair. My wife knew my pain, so she often comforted me and asked me to see through Satan’s trick. She said Satan wanted to let us give up and lose confidence in life when we were in difficulty. She also read me the words of God: “When sickness happens it is due to God’s love and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light to you” (“The Sixth Utterance”). She fellowshiped, “God says very clearly to us. Outwardly, the appearance of illness is a bad thing, but there are God’s good intentions and lessons we need to learn. Do not be discouraged, and now what you should do most is to come to God to reflect on yourself and see what is in God’s mind when you are in such pain. Do not blame and misunderstand God, but learn from this environment!” Listening to my wife’s words, I felt a little comfort in my heart. After that, I settled down, lying in bed to read the words of God, listen to the preaching and fellowship on entering into life and watch various videos and movies of the church. One day, I read the words of God, “Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that very slowly your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and nurture you, very slowly ruining your will, making you not want to be a good person any longer, making you no longer wish to persevere standing up for what you call righteousness. Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim upstream against the tide, but instead flow down along with it. ‘Destruction’ means Satan torments people so much that they become like neither man nor ghost, then it seizes the opportunity to devour them. “Each one of these means that Satan employs to corrupt man can render man powerless to resist; any one of them can be fatal for people and leave them with no room to resist at all. In other words, anything Satan does and any means it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil so that you cannot escape. These are the means Satan employs to corrupt man and they are extremely cruel, malicious, insidious and despicable….

play

Get Rid of the Temptation of Mahjong (I)

I loved playing chess since a little child, and was obsessed with playing poker when I grew up. Later I learned to play mahjong. At that time, we, a few mahjong friends, often chatted together. Once, we talked about a peer guy, who does not play mahjong, smoke or drink. My mahjong friends laughed at him and said: “First he does not play mahjong, second not drink, third not smoke, fourth not visit prostitutes. What’s the meaning of life without these four things? I would rather die.” Listening to this, I thought: Yeah, life is short, why not entertain in time? Life would be meaningless without entertainment. So playing mahjong is normal. Under the control of this kind of fallacy, gradually I spent more and more time playing mahjong, and finally I became a frequent visitor to the mahjong hall. At the beginning, I just thought of playing mahjong as an entertainment. However, mahjong table is about two words: win or lose. Once I won money, I was not willing to stop, wanting to take advantage of the good luck to win more; losing money, I was not resigned, wanting to win back again. Under the domination of such desire and ambition, as long as I had free time, I would go to the mahjong hall to play mahjong. Sometimes before I finished my meal, they urged me on the phone in waves. I anxiously and casually finished my meal for the fear of that I could not play because of being late. In this way, I unconsciously became obsessed with mahjong, and felt like losing something if I did not play mahjong for two days, so I often played mahjong until 11 or 12 o’clock at night. At that time my family was poor, and sometimes it was even a problem to buy the daily necessities. And my wife developed hyperthyroidism and had to go to hospital for checkups every two or three months. Sometimes when it was time for checkups, we had to give it up for lack of money. Sometimes my wife complained of my playing mahjong, and I also felt blamed, but I had been deep in it so that I could not control myself. In order to stop me playing mahjong, my wife hid the money; then I rummaged through the home to find it. No matter where she hid the money, I would find it and then went to play mahjong. Once I stole the money from home to play mahjong, and my wife hit her own head enragedly after knowing it, crying and scolding me for having no conscience. Seeing the way my wife tortured herself, I felt like a knife twisting in my heart, thinking it would be better that she killed me with a knife than hitting herself. I hit my head with her hands in tears to let out her anger. At that time I also particularly hated myself and felt I was really bad. The family was poor, but I lost all the money on the mahjong table. At that moment, I really wanted to cut my fingers. … During the following half a month, I restrained myself not to answer the phone from the mahjong friends, but in the days without mahjong, it seemed that my whole soul was hooked, feeling upset every day and not having the thought to do anything. As a result, after a period of time, I could not help playing mahjong again. In this way, because of playing mahjong, I did not know how many times my wife angrily quarreled with me and how much tears she shed. I often felt painful, but was unable to get rid of it. Later, my wife accepted the work of God in the last days and preached the gospel to me. By reading the words of God and communicating the truth with brothers and sisters, I know that playing mahjong is a means by which Satan corrupts us, luring us to sin, and bringing us to fall. Since then, when I wanted to play mahjong, I had a sense of guilt in my heart and tried to control myself not to play, but I could not, still involuntarily playing it, and I felt very upset about it. Later, at a meeting when I opened my heart and told brothers and sisters about my own difficulties, they read me two paragraphs of the words of God: “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). “Satan directs the tide of evil, and upsets, impairs, and interrupts every aspect of God’s work. For the last…

salvation, love of God ,Testimonies

Who Was It That Changed Me – A Young Addict? (I)

By Mary, United States I once got addicted to computer games and couldn’t get out of it. Now, I will never indulge myself because of games. It was God who changed me, a young addict. When I first arrived in America, I didn’t know the language and had few friends, feeling that my life was very long and lonely. In order to kill time, I started playing games with my classmates. Gradually, in the game, I found a feeling of stimulation that I had never had. And from then on, I incorrigibly got addicted to games. Every day after I got home, in order to avoid being found by my family, I would say to my aunt: “I’m going to rest, please don’t bother me!” After speaking these words, I would rush to my room. Before I put down my schoolbag, I was impatient to turn on the computer and log on to my game account, starting the happiest time in a day. Sometimes, when I was having a blast, my family called me to dinner, but I would just pretend not to have heard. Not until I finished a round did I go out and hurriedly scratch a meal. And then I would rush back to my room and continue the next round. … When I raised my head again, it had been two or three o’clock in the morning. Wholly exhausted, I fell asleep immediately. Since I indulged in games, the academic grades were not important to me. When I first arrived in America, because of my poor command of language, I listened carefully to the teacher in the class, afraid that I would fall behind. But later on I wouldn’t do that: In the class, while the teacher wasn’t looking, I would secretly take out my cellphone to play games. Sometimes, as the teacher looked closely, I had to stupidly sit there listening; however, the teacher’s voice was like a lullaby, and soon I unknowingly slumped over the desk and fell asleep. During the break, upon hearing that my classmates chatted about the games they were playing, I would become excited and instantly come up and talk eloquently. In order to upgrade my game, I often asked my family for money to throw it into this bottomless pit. As the level of the game I played increased, my classmates saw me make great progress in skills, so they all looked at me with new eyes. As long as they played games, they would take me with them. For the moment, I became “a hot cake” in their eyes. With the promotion of my status, I often couldn’t help feeling proud in my heart: I never thought I could have my days. Not only that, I could often enjoy the joy of victory by frequently defeating others with advanced gear in the games. That kind of feeling was very exciting. I couldn’t help thinking: If only the life could be a virtual game!   My family saw I indulged in games every day and all tried to persuade me to spend less time playing games, but I couldn’t take in one word. For this, my aunt tried playing pain card: As long as she saw me, she would intentionally sigh and say, “I had thought that after you came to America, I could have someone to speak to, but now you play games every day and never say superfluous words to me.” Every time I heard my aunt say so, my heart would have a little guilt. But when I immersed myself in the world of games again, I soon put my aunt’s words to the back of mind. Afterward, my aunt told my mom, who was in mainland China, about my being addicted to online games. After knowing that, my mom was worried about me. Every time when she called me, she would try to persuade me to give up playing games and say it was a harmful thing. At her words, I would say impatiently: “I’m old enough. How could you still manage me? You don’t know the benefit I can gain from playing games. You know, I don’t go to bars, smoke, or drink; my life in America is so boring. If you don’t even allow me to play games, then what else shall I do?” Mom saw I didn’t listen, so she urged me to read more of God’s word when I had free time. I agreed on my lips, but in my heart I was thinking how to upgrade my games. Once, when I was playing games, I was interrupted by a call from my mom and, as a result, my victory at hand was won by others. I was very angry and directly hung up on my mom. Because I often stayed up playing games, my health wasn’t as good as before. Sometimes, in the day time I was in a trance and was lethargic. One time, I played games till deep into the night and when I went to the bathroom, I suddenly fainted on the floor because of my exhausted body. I clearly remembered that at the very instant before I fainted, I called on God to save me. But after I woke up, I still didn’t know to repent. I continued to immerse myself in the excitement of games every day. Because of staying up late, my face was covered with pimples. My family told me that it was caused by my irregular schedule. Everyone wants to be good-looking, including me. So, in order to restore my good face, I secretly determined to change my irregular schedule. Just when I was about to change it, I was attracted by the new activities introduced in the game. Should I protect my face or continue playing games? I thought over and over, and finally I decided to save my face through outside help so that I could play games as well as becoming beautiful. Therefore, I bought a lot of…

Testimonies, voice of God, salvation

Who Was It That Changed Me—A Young Addict? (II)

After that, though I prayed to God every day and asked Him to keep my heart and let me stay away from games, I still couldn’t betray my flesh and indulged in games as before. In a meeting, a sister fellowshiped: Every time when we practice the truth and betray our flesh, actually, it is a battle. Satan makes us satisfy it, but God’s word moves us within. At this moment, it is up to us whether we follow our flesh or satisfy God. Betraying our flesh is a manifestation of satisfying God. If we can practically betray our flesh, Satan will be shamed, and God’s heart will be satisfied. Thinking that I needed to practically betray my flesh to drop games, I felt this process must be a torment. Then I felt a little weak and didn’t want to suffer. My sister read my condition, so after the meeting, she found a passage of God’s word for me, “God does not do supernatural things; in people’s conceptions, God is almighty, and everything is done by God—with the result that people wait passively, do not read the words of God or pray, and merely await the touch of the Holy Spirit. Those with a correct understanding, however, believe this: God’s actions can only go as far as my cooperation, and the effect that God’s work has in me depends on how I cooperate. When God speaks, I should do all I can to seek and strive toward God’s words; this is what I should achieve.” After reading God’s word, I was particularly excited, feeling that God was talking with me face to face. Yes. God is practical. Wasn’t God’s word revealing my views? I just said with my mouth but didn’t cooperate practically. If I want to get rid of the bondage of games soon, I must practice God’s word and betray my flesh. Then, I prayed to God, saying that I would betray my flesh practically and never play games. After some days, my strength of satisfying God disappeared; the desire of playing games began to stir and made me feel uncomfortable all over. But I thought: God’s word has been said so clearly and I have prayed to God and made my resolution. If I continue playing, will I hurt God’s heart? Let it go. I’d better delete it and thus I will never want to play…. Yet when I thought it was my precious painstaking work, I couldn’t bear to delete it and felt stirred in my heart. So I told my thoughts to my sister, and then she found a passage of God’s word for me, “Above all, you must have a plan for your daily life, for what you need to do and how to do it every day of the week, what things to do and how to do them during every time period of every day; make a schedule that tells you at what time to rest, what time to do your duties, what time to take care of some personal business, what time to get up in the morning and what you do after you get up. If your work is not normally busy when you get up in the morning and if time is not too pressing, shouldn’t you do your spiritual devotions? This is the number one major issue after you open your eyes. If there is no regularity to your spiritual life then your faith will not be able to progress. Above all, your life must have rules. The first matter of the day is spiritual devotions and your spiritual devotions every day must be guaranteed; pray-read the words of God, pray in silence, sing hymns, contemplate God’s words, eat and drink the words of God more, find people who understand to fellowship with, find brothers and sisters to fellowship with, seek to resolve your difficulties, examine what corrupt dispositions you have revealed during this time, examine the things you’ve done that do not conform with God’s will, the things that have gone against the truth and the things that have no humanity and no morality. You must sum up each and every period of time, write down in your notepad. In this way, your heart will unknowingly become quiet before God and you will come to like the life of believing in God. You will then have no great interest in those things outside concerned with eating, playing or trends, you will see those things less and less frequently, and they will have less and less ability to attract you and lure you.” That’s right. I want to gain the truth, and also want to satisfy my flesh; how can there be such a good thing? If I always don’t give up playing games, won’t my belief in God be in vain? Though dropping games surely is a hard process, I can take some methods to overcome my flesh. Now God’s word has pointed out a way of practice to me. If I want to satisfy God and betray my flesh, I should first have a clear schedule to regulate my hours of every day, and I also need my sister to supervise me. Owing to my poor capability for self-restraint, I can’t just rely on myself and have to take some man-made methods. In the following days, as long as I had free time, I would watch gospel movies of The Church of Almighty God and fellowship God’s word together with my sister. After practicing a period of time, I surprisingly found I didn’t have to play games and that games didn’t have that much attraction for me. Sometimes I was able to not play all day and I also began to reject the warm invitations of my classmates. In this way, I had more and more strength to practice the truth. Seeing my change, my sister also felt happy for me. However, good time didn’t last long. Some days later, my desire of playing games…

Holy Spirit, true way, Gospel

Returning to God, I Finally Realized My Dream of Being Raptured (II)

In the twinkling of an eye, the time came to the winter in 2005. My husband had nothing to do and stayed at home. One day, my husband wasn’t at home. A strange man, aged 40-odd, came to my home and said to me: “Elder sister, I heard that your husband is a good boiler worker and also can install boiler tube, so I’d like for him to work with us.” After hearing it, I felt very happy in my heart, thinking: The new year is around the corner, and we need a lot of money in many things. If my husband can do this work, he can earn some money to help cover the expense of our family. So I readily agreed. The next day, my husband went to the place the man said to work. At night, my husband came back and said the work was quite good. I felt very happy and asked him to continue working there properly. After a few days, I found my husband was not the same as before. Previously, he was a real male chauvinist at home; he not only didn’t help me do the housework, but gestured to all of me. However, since he did the work, he not only could actively help me do some housework, but often talked about the Lord’s coming in my ears. One day, he asked me: “You say, when the Lord comes, can we really be raptured to the air to meet the Lord?” I answered firmly: “It’s the word in the Bible, so it couldn’t be wrong.” Unexpectedly, my husband said: “It is indeed the word in the Bible, this is not wrong. But it isn’t the prophecy spoken by the Lord Jesus; it’s the word of Paul, and Paul can’t represent the Lord! Since we believe in the Lord, we should listen to the Lord’s word, and shouldn’t blindly worship man’s word. Moreover, the heaven is God’s throne and the earth is God’s footstool. Can the heaven be the place we should stay in? We are creatures; besides, our sin hasn’t been cleansed. How can sinners like us have the qualification to go to heaven? How can we be worthy of seeing God’s face?” Hearing that my husband’s word is similar to what the previous sister fellowshiped, I couldn’t help guessing: Can it be that someone talked to my husband about the Lord’s return? Or, how can he speak out such insightful words? So I asked in puzzlement: “Why is your word today not the same as before?” He said: “Brother Jiao of our church is working in the same place with me. He fellowshiped to me about the Lord’s return; I thought what he said is reasonable and is in line with the Bible. You say, shall we properly seek and investigate it? If we keep holding our conceptions and imaginations not to hear, read, or seek, what if we miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s coming?” After hearing my husband’s word, I didn’t say anything, thinking: My husband’s word is reasonable. If I keep neither hearing nor seeking, how can I know whether the Lord has come back? This time, I can’t refuse blindly. Another few days later, my husband talked to me about the Lord’s coming again. He said: “How will the Lord come to work? How can we human fathom it? Think back to the age when the Lord Jesus came to work. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees determined that God’s name was called Messiah according to their notions and imaginations. And because the Lord Jesus’ work didn’t fit their notions, they finally nailed God to the cross, suffering God’s punishment and forever losing God’s salvation. We can’t follow in the footsteps of the Pharisees. Our conceptions and imaginations are not in accordance with the Lord’s will. I feel that we’d better seek properly. Tomorrow I will bring Brother Jiao and a sister to our home. Let’s listen carefully and then determine whether we accept Almighty God’s work of the last days.” After he finished his words, I doubted whether he had accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Then I thought: My husband isn’t a man without his own mind. He often preached and worked outside in the past, and had more knowledge than me about the Bible. In addition, he has a big change in his living out. His word is becoming more and more insightful, and his understanding about the Bible is full of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenments. If this is not the result achieved by the Holy Spirit’s work, who can achieve it by his own ability? At this time, I was suddenly awakened a little: Since my husband lost the Holy Spirit’s work, he not only was dry when preaching, but also became weak; however, now, not only is he full of faith, but also his fellowship is full of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenments, and his living out also has changed. Is it because my husband listened to the preachings of The Church of Almighty God that he has so many changes? If it is so, I also should investigate practically. Or if I really miss the chance to welcome the Lord’s return, won’t I regret it for the rest of my life? So, I agreed that he would bring Brother Jiao to our home tomorrow. Then, I prayed to the Lord earnestly: “O Lord, now the believers of Eastern Lightning are testifying that You have come back. Hearing this news, I felt very thrilled. Lord, have You really come back? You know I’m immature and ignorant. Please give me a clear heart and let me have discernment on the things about Your coming and be able to make a wise choice.” On the second day, my husband didn’t go to work; he directly brought Brother Jiao and a sister to our home. After greeting them, I eagerly wanted to let them talk about the things of being captured to…

Gospel, true way, faith in God

Returning to God, I Finally Realized My Dream of Being Raptured (I)

In 1995, my husband suddenly got pneumothorax—air was trapped in the space around his lungs. Because our family had no money to treat my husband’s illness, I felt very distressed and helpless. Just then, someone preached to me the Savior Jesus’ gospel. Since I believed in the Lord, I had received tremendous grace from the Lord: My husband’s illness gradually became better. I then preached the Lord Jesus’ gospel to my husband and my sons. All my family lived in the Lord’s love, and our hearts were filled with peace and joy. As the time of our believing in the Lord became longer and longer, we better understood the Lord’s will: The Lord Jesus’ return to heaven was to prepare a place for us. When the Lord came back, He would take us into the air to meet Him. And then, we would enjoy the heavenly life, and there would be no sorrow or pain. Just as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We believed that the Lord is faithful. As long as we believed in the Lord properly and spent for the Lord, in the future we would be taken into the air to meet the Lord and then live in heaven. Subsequently, I did hosting at home, and if I had free time, I would go out to preach the gospel. My husband and my two sons all became preachers of our church, and worked for the Lord away from our home all year around. Unexpectedly, six years later, the church became more and more desolate: Preachers talked about the same sermons over and over again, without any new light. And no one enjoyed listening. Brothers and sisters also couldn’t keep the Lord’s way. They followed the society trends, and saw earning money more important than believing in God. Even when coming to have meetings, they would doze off or chat. They became weaker and weaker in faith. My husband and my two sons were also the same. They couldn’t preach new sermons and had no strength to shepherd brothers and sisters, and for this reason, they became passive and weak, and went out to work. Because the church became so desolate and my husband and my sons were also so weak, I saw in my eyes and grew anxious in my heart. So I had to repeatedly cry to the Lord: “O Lord, the church is becoming more and more desolate. My husband’s and my sons’ faith grow cold; I also feel very weak in the spirit. Lord, when will You come to take us? …” In a blink, the time came to the autumn in 2003. One day, while I was washing clothes in the yard, two strange middle-aged women came to my home and said hello to me with smiles. When I was wondering what they came for, the older sister of them said to me mildly: “Sister, we heard that you’re a believer in the Lord; we are also believers in God. Today we come to your home and want to have a talk with you about faith in God.” Upon hearing that they believed in God, I immediately put down my guarded heart because all believers in the Lord are a family. Since two sisters came, I should entertain them by love; only doing so was in accordance with the Lord’s teaching. So, I welcomed them to my home with a smile. After they sat down, we began to talk about faith in God; we talked together very agreeably. I felt what they talked was quite good. Just when we were in deep conversation, the younger sister asked me suddenly: “Sister, we have thought that the Lord Jesus’ departure was to prepare a place for us, and when the time comes, we will be taken into the air to meet the Lord. But can we be taken into the air to meet the Lord or not?” At her words, I was startled because I never thought about this question. When we were about to continue talking about this subject, I suddenly heard my little grandson crying in the west room, so I hurriedly went to see him. The moment I walked out of the room, I saw my elder daughter-in-law standing in the yard with a long face. She asked me in a harsh tone: “Mom, who are the two women in the room?” I replied: “They are believers in God. We are talking about faith in God.” My elder daughter-in-law continued: “How can you bring strangers into our home? Have you forgotten that the believers of Eastern Lightning are stealing good sheep in all churches? If you receive them, aren’t you afraid of being stolen?” After hearing that, I was astonished, and then I said: “I see they are quite genial. What they said is in line with the Bible. They didn’t say anything else.” At my words, my daughter-in-law went to her own room without any words. I stood in the yard and pondered over what she said. Suddenly, I remembered the church leader once told us that strangers would come to steal sheep. So I thought: I don’t know these two sisters. Though what they said is in line with the Bible, they are strangers after all. What if they are really coming to steal sheep? No, I can’t listen anymore. Therefore, after entering the room, I intentionally said to them: “Today, I still have much work to do, please go now.” Hearing I said like this, they left helplessly. In a flash, the time came to the summer in 2004. One day, when I was about to enter the room after feeding the pigs, I saw a woman, aged 40-odd, came to my home. She said to me with a smile: “Sister, I heard you have a…

God’s New Work

A Turning Point in My Spiritual Path (II)

My Conception Obstructed Me From Accepting God’s New Work Afterward, Brother Chen sent us some God’s words online. After reading them, I felt these words have authority, which are beneficial to us and cannot be spoken by any human being. Nevertheless, I still had confusion in my mind: Is it OK that we don’t read the Bible but read these words at the meetings? If we Christians don’t read the Bible, could that even be called faith in the Lord? However, Brother Chen’s fellowship indeed conforms with the truth, and the Lord Jesus also predicted He would come again. If this is really the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus’ return and yet I don’t take the chance to seek and investigate, then I will regret for the rest of my life. After careful consideration, I decided to continue investigating with Brother Zhang and Sister Wang. In the next meeting, I had a serious headache after I had just listened for a little while. To relieve the pain, I went to the kitchen for a change of air; still I didn’t feel well when coming back. Seeing that I couldn’t calm down for the headache, Brother Chen told me it was Satan’s disruption, and then he led us to pray and entrust this to God. After praying, I felt better and told them my confusion. Brother Chen fellowshiped: “In the Age of Kingdom, God has expressed millions of words, which have revealed all mysteries of the Bible. When we finish reading these words, we will understand the inside truth of the Bible. Just as when we go to high school, there is no meaning reading primary school textbooks; now is a new age, we should read God’s newest utterances.” Hearing his words, I understood much more clearly: Brother Chen not only hasn’t strayed from the Bible, but communicated the Bible very clearly. It seems that I should read more of God’s words in the new age. From then on, I actively attended gatherings of the Church of Almighty God. One Sunday morning, a friend from my original church came to my house and asked me why I hadn’t been attending gatherings recently. I answered: “Recently I have online meetings with some brothers and sisters, for I had no enjoyment at the group meetings.” My friend, after hearing my words, warned me, “Is their preaching according to the Bible? There are many heresies now, if their preaching goes beyond the Bible, you must be careful.” While hearing that, I felt a little shaken; recalling that Brother Chen said today we need not read the Bible, I couldn’t help feeling puzzled: Is it correct to investigate this way? Just as I was in a dither, Xiaojia (a sister who had meetings with me online) learned of my headache and came to my house to communicate with me about the truth regarding how to discern Satan’s disruption. She said: “Now is the critical time for investigating God’s work of the last days. What Satan really hates to see is that we all follow the footprints of God’s work and receive God’s guidance; therefore, it is doing everything in its power, exploiting family disharmony or physical discomfort to obstruct us from returning to God. Its goal is to make us doubt God’s work and give up investigating the true way, thereby losing God’s salvation. We should see through its scheme.” Subsequently, Xiaojia told me that her mother also experienced Satan’s disruption when she had just accepted the work of Almighty God. As I listened to her fellowship, I knew that wherever there is the true God’s work there will be Satan’s disturbance. In the past, as I was about to be baptized, Satan constantly caused disruptions for me when I was sleeping; as I made up my mind to follow the Lord, Satan then drew back. Today when I was going to look into the work of Almighty God, Satan came to disturb me again. So what Brother Chen preached might be the true way. At that moment, I felt my heart gradually brighten up, and said to Xiaojia: “No wonder I had a headache; it turns out that it was Satan’s disruption. Actually, the reason why Satan had the opportunity to disturb me is because my confusion hasn’t been resolved yet. I don’t understand why today we don’t read the Bible. As we know, all those who believe in the Lord read the Bible; if I stop reading it, wouldn’t my years of belief have been in vain? I always thought moving away from the Bible is not believing in God.” Putting Aside My Own Conception, I Gained the Supply of Living Water of Life When I told Xiaojia the confusion in my heart, she read two passages of God’s word to me: “How should the Bible be approached in the belief in God? This is a question of principle. … For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not the belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is an evil cult, and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you say you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, you must eat and drink the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God. … In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God,…

Testimonies of Christians

A Turning Point in My Spiritual Path (I)

My Problems Couldn’t Be Solved in the Church I am a Christian who has believed in the Lord for twenty years. During this period, I’ve enjoyed the abundant grace of the Lord, and my life and business both went smoothly. When my husband and I went to Brazil to do business in September of 2014, I was defrauded of lots of money by my church leader; besides, when relocating the shop, I was falsely accused of breaking the agreement by my former landlord because I didn’t understand the local law. As I encountered such things, my pastor not only did not communicate the Lord’s will to me, but told me that in Brazil, I would have to make restitution once I was charged. Later, through relying on the Lord, I saw the Lord’s deeds that I didn’t pay any compensation. But from this matter, I realized that my pastor had no place at all for the Lord in his heart, and had no knowledge of the Lord in the slightest; furthermore, his fellowship couldn’t solve the problems I encountered in life. The Flattery in the Church Made Me Puzzled When living the church life, I also saw the depraved situation of the church. No matter what my pastor preached, even if he had never preached the way of knowing the Lord, the group leaders always flattered and exalted him; didn’t they make us have a place for man in our hearts? Their actions were simply the same as those of the unbelievers. That wasn’t supposed to happen in the church, for the Lord said: “But be not you called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all you are brothers. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” (Matthew 23:8-10). I felt very indignant at their actions, so I told them that what they did was not beneficial to brothers and sisters, and was the manifestation of resisting God. However, some of them neither paid any notice of my opinion nor accepted the restraints of the Lord’s words, and instead persisted in their old ways. I Really Couldn’t Understand Why Our Church Became Like the Secular Society Once, I went to the church for Christmas with an unbelieving friend. While a sister was preaching on the platform, my friend asked me: “Is she a believer?” Before I could say anything, a church member beside us replied: “Yes, she is a capable deacon in our church.” My friend said with irony: “Is such a person worthy of belief in the Lord? She’s changed her husband four or five times.” Hearing these words, I was very ashamed and felt disgusted with these hypocritical preachers from my heart. In fact, we believers in the Lord should be separated from the world, but in our church, not only the believers but also the deacons married wives, and were given in marriage, which made me feel that their living out was even worse than that of the unbelievers. How could people who served the Lord do such things? I really couldn’t figure it out. In Confusion, I Could Only Earnestly Pray to the Lord After returning home that day, I knelt down and prayed: “O Lord, I don’t know why the behaviors of us believers are so bad that even the unbeliever accused us. O Lord, You are not only loving and merciful, but You are also righteous. Then why haven’t the brothers and sisters been disciplined for their sins? O Lord, where are You? May You have mercy on them and change them.” After praying, I thought of my own performance: I didn’t commit major sins but never stopped committing small sins, and I had no patience or tolerance for others and also couldn’t love others as myself, so I was actually not better than my sisters and brothers. If we believers’ living out is even worse than that of unbelievers, then wouldn’t we be ridiculed by Satan? The more I thought about it, the more depressed I felt. I couldn’t help praying to the Lord in my heart: “O Lord, when will You return?” I Got a Surprising Gain Through Studying the Bible Online By chance, through Brother Zhang and Sister Wang, I got acquainted with Brother Chen, a preacher. When we were free, we often had meetings and studied the Bible online, and the topic we usually discussed was the return of the Lord. Brother Chen integrated the Bible and communicated the way for the Lord to return to us. The more I listened, the more I felt that his sermon was so enlightening. Later, as we talked about the conditions of the churches and the signs of the last days, I said emotionally: “Our church used to be pure; brothers and sisters were intimate to each other in spirit. But now they are only enthusiastic on the outside, and in fact all take advantage of each other, saying one thing and then doing another. Besides, in the church few believers pursue to be spiritual or fellowship how they practice the Lord’s words in their lives; most of them usually talk about their business and personal lives. Even if I spent three or four hours in having a meeting, I still got nothing; it’s just a waste of time, so I’d rather read the Bible at home myself.” After hearing my words, Brother Chen said: “Nowadays, the disasters of the world and the chaos in churches all fulfill the prophecies about the last days in the Bible; thus we can be certain that it is the end of the world, and that the coming of the Lord draws near. There is no Holy Spirit’s work in churches now.” When I heard this, I was shocked and said: “What? There is no Holy Spirit’s work in the churches? Really?” Then, no matter what Brother Chen said, I couldn’t…

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