By Linglin, Taiwan
“Mom, are you still meeting with people from Eastern Lightning online? The pastor has asked us to keep an eye on you, and if you have any contact with them again, we have to stop you!” As he said this, my son grabbed my tablet computer away from me.
At that moment, my husband, who had never touched alcohol in his life, unexpectedly lurched drunkenly from another room and, pointing at me, shouted: “Our son’s mother-in-law is a pastor and you have to listen to her. If she says you are not to have any contact with them, then that is what you will do! She said that if you keep believing in Eastern Lightning, then our church will not admit you anymore. You must listen to us on this. You are not allowed to meet with those Eastern Lightning people again!”
Ever since the pastor—my son’s mother-in-law—found out that I’d accepted God’s work of the last days, she had been inciting my husband and son to try and stop me, to force me to give up the true way. But I had already become sure that Almighty God was thereturned, so how could I give up my belief? And so, the family battles began …
The Pastor Comes to Disrupt Me From Welcoming the Lord’s Return
I should begin with what happened in March this year. One day, I met Sister Liu on Facebook, and she testified to me of God’s work of the last days. After several months of seeking and investigating, I came to understand such truths and mysteries as God’s six-thousand-year management plan, God’s three stages of work,, God’s incarnation, and mankind’s end destination. I therefore became certain that Almighty God, who had always been condemned by religious pastors, was the Lord Jesus returned. I felt a joy beyond all hope—I had believed in the Lord for almost 30 years, and I never thought that I’d be able to welcome the Lord’s return in my lifetime. God was showing me His kindness! Unable to contain the joy in my heart, I wished to get more brothers and sisters from my church to follow the footsteps of the Lamb, and so I told the glad tidings of the Lord’s return to Sister Ruan. I never imagined that, not only would she not accept it, but she would also tell the pastor—my son’s mother-in-law—about what I’d said. I was then in heaps of trouble …
One day, I was resting at home when the pastor rushed over with a deacon from the church. In a very threatening manner, she said, “I hear you are now a believer in Eastern Lightning, and are meeting with them?” I replied, “That’s right.” She went on, “You have been a deacon in our church for so long, how come you haven’t taken any stand? If you want to study the Bible or listen to sermons, then I can preach to you. If there is anything in the Bible you don’t understand, then just ask me. You mustn’t contact them again!” She then fired question after question at me and she made me feel somewhat nervous. What bad visitors they were! In my heart, I silently called out to God: “O God! Please calm my heart, give me wisdom and strength, give me the right words to say and enable me to stand witness for You!” After I’d prayed, my heart felt a little calmer, and I said to them, “Then let’s look into a few issues. What kind of person is able to get into the kingdom of heaven? How will God separate the goats from the sheep, and the good servants from the wicked servants in the last days? Why cannot unholy man see the face of God? How should man carry out the will of the heavenly Father? …” I asked several questions in quick succession which rendered the pastor speechless, and she just stood there looking awkward. I then fellowshiped with them my knowledge and understanding of these issues, and said, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). These two verses prophesied God’s work in the last days. Now, the last days have already arrived. God has incarnated once again, and has expressed millions of words and revealed all of the mysteries of God’s management of mankind. Those who truly believe in God in various religions and denominations all recognize after reading the words of God that they are the truth and the, and so have turned toward Him, one by one. The reason why I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days is not because I was easily persuaded, rather, it’s because through the words of Almighty God, I believe with all my heart that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and that I am following the footsteps of the Lamb. If you were really taking responsibility for the spiritual lives of the brothers and sisters, you ought to have led the brothers and sisters to read God’s words and accept His work in the last days.” Afterward, the pastor had nothing to say, but stood looking very annoyed, and before long she stormed off in a huff. As she left, she warned me, saying that if I preached of Almighty God to brothers and sisters in the church again, she would stop me from serving in that church.
God or My Son—Who Would I Choose
Just a couple of days later, the pastor told my husband and my son about the fact that I’d accepted God’s work of the last days, and she spoke many groundless allegations to them and many things which blasphemed God. A storm then erupted in my family.
One day, I was attending a meeting online with people from Eastern Lightning in my home, when my son suddenly pushed open the door and came in. He yelled at me, shouting, “Mom! I hear you’ve accepted Eastern Lightning? I’m a deacon in the church, so tell me how I’m supposed to face the brothers and sisters there!” My husband, who was normally quiet, also chimed in from the sidelines, saying, “Our son is right! Don’t just think about yourself. Think of your son! Our whole church is now condemning The Church of Almighty God. How will our son face the brothers and sisters in our church in the future with you now believing in Almighty God? You’ll bring shame upon him!” The things my husband and my son said made me feel that I must choose between God and my son. If I took thought to my son’s prestige, then that would mean I wanted to give up my belief in Almighty God. Thinking this, I felt such distress, as though my heart had been pierced. I’d believed in the Lord for several decades, and it had been really hard, longing to see the Lord return in my lifetime. If I gave up my belief now, then I would lose my chance to attain. A battle was raging in my heart and, in a moment of desperation, I prayed silently to God. Suddenly there came into my mind a fellowship which my brothers and sisters had given me before: Satan will never take it lying down when someone comes before God but will always use all manner of trickery and deceit to stop people from turning to God. Sometimes, it will cause illness to befall people, or will cause bad things to happen to one’s family members, and sometimes it will try and stop people by getting family members to coerce them and church pastors to attack them—in short, every person who comes before God must undergo a spiritual battle. I remembered a passage of God’s words that a sister had fellowshiped with me: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men, and the interference of men. Behind every step that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle.”
I came to further understand from God’s words that, although it appeared on the outside that my son and my husband were opposed to my belief in God, it was actually that Satan was making a wager with God in the spiritual world, to see what I would choose. Satan wanted to use my feelings for my son to disturb me, to make me give God up and thereby lose my chance to be saved. Whereas God was using the accusations and harassment of Satan to test me, to see whether I could resist being constrained by these people and events, and follow Him with a true heart. I then felt that God was watching me, hoping that I would be able to stand firm in my testimony to Him. So I said steadfastly to my son and my husband, “I will follow Almighty God no matter what. This is my choice! You should also seek and investigate this way, and not resist or abandon God simply because you fear being mocked or slandered. Son, you are a deacon in the church, so even more so you should think about the lives of the brothers and sisters. You should lead them in seeking and investigating this way. If you would only read the words of Almighty God, you would know that the Lord has returned already!” Unexpectedly, my son cut me off, and said fiercely, “I will not investigate this way! In any case, you are not allowed to attend these meetings in our home any longer, and you are not allowed to have any contact with people from The Church of Almighty God again!” My son’s rigid stance grieved me. I didn’t argue with them any longer, but just prayed in my heart that they would not say anything that defied God. After this experience, I didn’t want to fight with them at home all day every day. I could only take advantage of the time in the early morning before they’d woken up to perform spiritual devotions and attend meetings with my brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. Good times never last long, however, and before long another storm erupted in our family …
The Storm in My Family Breaks Upon Me Again
At the time of the Qingming Festival, my son had time off work and had just got back home when he asked me whether or not I was still meeting with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. He snatched my tablet computer away from me, saying that the pastor had asked him to keep an eye on me. My husband who had never touched alcohol in his life, came drunkenly out of another room and, pointing at me, he rebuked me loudly, saying that I was not allowed to believe in Almighty God anymore. Hearing them both speak to me that way, I was both upset and angry. They were both so confused; faced with the great event of the Lord’s return, they weren’t seeking the truth but instead were blindly obeying what the pastor told them, judging and defying God, and acting as Satan’s mouthpiece. The pastor was the same; she wasn’t seeking or investigating this way, but instead had tried several times to disrupt and obstruct me, and was even instigating my husband and son to oppose my following Almighty God. What on earth was she playing at? At the same time, I also came to understand that I had been afraid of having a stormy relationship with my family, and so had purposefully tried to protect it. Every time I performed spiritual devotions with brothers and sisters or met with them, I would get up very early so as not to let my husband or my son see. Satan knew the weakness of my heart, and so once again it tried to disrupt and accuse me. Yet I had to face it head on this time and rely on God to stand firm in my testimony.
As I thought this, strength returned to my heart, and I said to them, “Though pastors may have studied theology, that doesn’t mean that they will be able to hear God’s voice. The Pharisees in the time of Jesus believed in God for generation after generation and they knew the Bible by heart, and they often explained the Bible to others. But when the Lord came to perform His work, not only did they not accept Him, they led believers to defy the Lord, and ultimately caused those believers to lose, and suffer God’s righteous punishment and cursing. Although modern day pastors and elders also know the Bible well, if they do not have God-fearing hearts, nor humble, seeking hearts, then they also will defy God. When it comes to our approach to the Lord’s return, we should take a stand based on our own judgment and we must not blindly follow what the pastors say. Otherwise, if the blind lead the blind then all will fall into a pit! Through reading Almighty God’s words, I have become sure that Almighty God is the Lord returned. No matter how you oppose me, my intent to follow Almighty God will not change!” My husband saw my resolve and became very angry. His face went red and his eyes glowered at me, as though he wanted to hit me. “How can you be so stubborn?!” he yelled, “If I tell you not to believe in it, you will not believe in it!” My husband’s ferocious appearance scared me. We’d been married for so many years and I’d always had the final say with everything. I’d never seen my simple, honest husband so angry before. In my heart, I called silently on God to expel the fear from my heart.
After praying, I thought of God’s words, “You shouldn’t be afraid of this and that. No matter how many difficulties and dangers you face, you shall remain steady before Me; do not be obstructed by anything…. Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block the road?” God’s words immediately gave me faith. Yes, God holds all things and events in His hands. With God as my shield what on earth was there to be afraid of? If my husband raised a hand against me, I should still stand firm and not surrender to the dark forces of Satan, but cause Satan to be shamed and defeated! At that moment, my son rushed over and got in his father’s way, and once again began to exhort me, saying, “Mom! It was so great how we all used to believe happily in the Lord as a family! For the sake of peace in our family, can’t you return to our church to believe in God?” I said, “Isn’t it you two who have broken the peace in our family? It’s been you two who’ve stirred up trouble every time! If you didn’t keep trying to stop me, wouldn’t we have peace again in our family? I’ll soon turn 60, and I’ve served the church for almost 30 years, yearning for the Lord to return. Now He has returned, and not only do you not accept Him, but you keep trying to stop me from accepting Him! Did you know that God’s work is ever new and never old? Only by accepting God’s new work can we attain God’s salvation. If we cling to the work God has done in the past, then our lives will stagnate, and in the end, we will only be abandoned and sifted out by God! Let me be as clear as I can be when I tell you that I will not betray Almighty God no matter how you two treat me!” Thank God that when I spoke those words, my heart felt very much at ease, and my son’s attitude was much abated.
Later on, I sent my husband a text message, saying, “After investigating for some time, I have become certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. I am determined not to betray God no matter how you try to stop me, and I hope that you will seek and investigate this way in earnest. God has returned in the last days to express His words and perform His work of judgment beginning in the house of God. Only those who can hear God’s voice are the wise virgins and only they can attend the feast in the heavenly kingdom together with the Lord.” After I’d sent this message, I felt much calmer, and my heart was at ease. From that time on, my husband no longer tried to obstruct or restrict me, and my son returned my tablet computer to me. I was then free to meet with my brothers and sisters and read God’s words, and I felt a great sense of liberation and freedom in my spirit.
Undergoing these family storms made me see that all things are in God’s hands. God uses these environments to test my faith, and when I stood firm in my testimony to God, the adversity in my environment receded, and my faith to bear testimony to God’s work was strengthened.
The Religious Pastor Turns Out to be a False Pastor
I once testified to a sister of God’s work of the last days, and she said that she wished to investigate it too. But this was soon known to the pastor, and not only did she warn the sister not to have any contact with me again, but she urgently held a meeting with deacons and co-workers to ban me from their church and to make everyone in the church reject me. After I heard about this, I felt very sad, and I thought to myself: “Is this still my son’s mother-in-law that I used to admire so much? Is she still a good servant who gladdens God? As the pastor in the church, as the leader of the flock who has studied theology and knows the Bible well, why when she is faced with the appearance and work of God does she take such a stance?” I just couldn’t understand it.
During one meeting, I sought the answer to this problem from Sister Liu. Then she sent me a passage of God’s words, “Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?”
Sister Liu fellowshiped, “The words of God have directly exposed the essence of pastors and elders serving God yet defying God. They often expound on the Bible, and even know it by heart and can rattle it off backward, but because they do not experience and practice the Lord’s words, they only understand letters and doctrines and theological theories, and have no knowledge of God, and their dispositions become more and more arrogant. Just like the priests, scribes, and Pharisees who served Jehovah God in the Age of Law, in the face of Jesus’ work, they did not have hearts that sought the truth. In the word of the Lord Jesus, they felt authority and power, but they refused to admit it because they thought they served God and understood the scriptures. To protect their own statuses and profits, they led the Jewish people to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus, and in the end conspired with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. Today, religious pastors and elders are the same. They often expound on the Bible and use words and doctrines to flaunt themselves, but they don’t carry out the Lord Jesus’ words. When God’s work arrives upon them in the last days, their truth-hating nature is exposed. To protect their positions and livelihoods, they seal off the church and obstruct people from investigating the true way and returning to God. From these we can see that they all hate the truth and are antichrists who see God as the enemy. When God’s work concludes, they are bound to receive God’s righteous punishment and retribution.”
God’s words and the sister’s fellowship ended my puzzlement. I thought of how pastors always said that they feared we would go astray because of our small statures. But they used this as an excuse to make us stick to the church and listen to their sermons. It turned out that they were afraid that we would listen to God’s voice and accept God’s work of the last days, and then no one would listen to them preach, and they would lose their positions and their livelihoods! I used to respect the pastors so much, believing that they toiled and worked and expended great efforts for the Lord. As it turned out, they only worked for their own aims, scheming for themselves under the guise of working for the Lord. They were so contemptible and hateful. But this time I was able to discern their essence.
My Heart Is Freed When I Leave Religion
Later on, my son’s mother-in-law sent me a text message, warning me not to go to the church again and preach the gospel of Almighty God to the brothers and sisters there. I texted back, and in reply I said, “By not investigating this way yourself and not allowing the brothers and sisters to investigate it, you are destroying their chances to attain God’s salvation. You are doing evil and you are defying God. Just like what the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in’ (Matthew 23:13). God’s kingdom gospel right now is extending throughout the entire universe, and The Church of Almighty God is becoming established in country after country. No evil power can stop it, no matter how it may try, for things that come from God must be prosperous! To obstruct people from following God is to oppose God. You know better than I the end to which the Pharisees came, so I hope you will no longer defy God!” After I’d sent this message, I took the initiative and withdrew from my old church.
Thank God that, through this repeated harassment, I came to see clearly the ugly countenance of Satan, whilst also gaining some discernment of the pastor’s essence. I have now completely severed all ties with religion and have returned before God. No matter how pastors and elders may seal off the church, I shall still continue to preach the gospel and bear witness to Almighty God, and I shall lead before God all those brothers and sisters who have been deceived and cheated by the pastors and elders, for the comfort of God’s heart.