Overcoming Elder’s Tricks by Relying on God
God’s words say: “God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?”
God’s words directly reveal the evil nature and substance of Satan and its God-opposing hideous countenance. God comes to work and save man, while Satan does everything in its power to disturb and damage God’s work, using various despicable means and machinations to block us from coming before God so that we deny and oppose God alongside it and ultimately are destroyed with it by God. As we can see, its malicious nature of harming and devouring man is detestable. However, no matter how cunning Satan is, God’s wisdom is a step ahead of its schemes all along. Accordingly, Satan can neither obstruct God’s chosen people from returning to God nor destroy the work God intends to do. Just as God says: “We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist theand disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God.”
I have personally experienced the barriers and disturbance of Satan. Under the guidance of God, I finally saw clearly Satan’s ugly face and had some discernment toward its evil essence, as well as experienced God’s almighty wisdom and wonderful deeds in person. Here, I am willing to share my own experience with you.
When I Greeted the Lord’s Return, Sectarian Leaders Came to Disturb Me
It was in 2003. The brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God passed on God’s work in the last days to me and fellowshiped with me about God’s management plan for the salvation of man. Through investigating, I determined that thehad returned as none other than Almighty God. Before long, Elder Tu from my original church knew that I had accepted the kingdom gospel of God, and then he came to me personally. Directly he came in, he said in anger: “You are the primary co-worker in the church. But out of my expectation, you are now believing in the Eastern Lightning, accepting another gospel. Could it be that you’ve forgotten the words in the Bible? The Bible says, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:6–8). Now we’ve received the Lord’s calling and enjoyed His grace, so we should uphold the way of the Lord and can’t accept another way. If what one preaches is different from our belief, not only can we not accept it, but we should curse him. So I advise you to turn back right now, and confess your sins and repent to the Lord. If you start believing wrongly and lead brothers and sisters astray, you’ll be condemned by the Lord and even suffer punishment in the future.”
At that moment, my heart was not quiet before God. As a result, when I heard him say this, I got into a muddle, with some timidness and fear. I thought: I’ve just accepted the gospel and don’t understand many things. If I really take the wrong path as what they said, then won’t all those years of faith be wasted? My heart began to churn: What should I do? What should I do? Then Elder Tu seemed to read my thoughts and so he said many hostile, blasphemous, and profane words against Almighty God, attempting to scare me out of my belief in Almighty God. Just when I was at a loss, it suddenly occurred to me that the witnesses from The Church of Almighty God had fellowshiped about this passage of scripture with me. There was a context to what Paul said and the ‘another gospel’ mentioned in this scripture did not refer to God’s work in the last days. Thereby, I said to him: “I don’t take the wrong way. This is following God’s footsteps. I’ve investigated it. The passage of scripture which you said is from an epistle that the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian churches in around 60 A.D. At that time, it’s in the period when the Age of Law turned into the Age of Grace and there were two groups of people preaching gospels among the Jews: One group of people preached the old work of the Age of Law, making people hold to the laws of Jehovah; the other spread the new work of the Age of Grace, making people repent so that they could be saved through believing in Jesus. Those Pharisees who held on to the laws of the Old Testament said what the disciples of the Lord Jesus preached was different from their belief. And they also said the way of Jesus departed from the laws of Jehovah and went beyond the Old Testament. They not only rejected the new work of the Lord Jesus but disturbed those people who had accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation as well. Lacking discernment, the Galatians of that time departed from the gospel of the Lord Jesus, returned to the temple without the work of the Holy Spirit, and still kept the laws of the past. In such a case, Paul wrote to the Galatian churches to exhort the Galatians to follow the work of the Lord Jesus. From the verse, we can see that the ‘another gospel’ mentioned by Paul refers to the laws of the Old Testament that the people of that time turned back to keep, but not to the gospel of the last days. If it refers to the gospel of the last days, then how do you explain the prophecy of the Book of Revelation, ‘having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth’ (Revelation 14:6)? Besides, when Paul wrote the epistle, there was not the Book of Revelation, much less did anyone spread the kingdom gospel. Clearly, the ‘another gospel’ said by Paul doesn’t refer to today’s kingdom gospel at all. In case we think that way, we are too absurd and preposterous. Now it is at the critical juncture of the Age of Grace turning into the Age of Kingdom. Upon the foundation of the work of the Age of Grace, God has carried out the work of judgment starting from God’s house to cleanse, change and save man, and bring man into the next age and the beautiful destination prepared for us. This fulfills the words in Revelation, ‘the everlasting gospel,’ that is, today’s kingdom gospel.”
When he heard my words, he flew into a rage and said to me fiercely, “If you don’t turn back, we won’t be so polite!” Hearing his words and seeing his angry look, I felt strong antipathy toward him in my heart, and said to him, “Whatever you say, I’ve followed the new work of God and I won’t leave this way. Don’t you often tell us to vigilantly await the Lord’s return? Now the Lord has really come, yet you don’t lead brothers and sisters to investigate and welcome the Lord, or return the Lord’s sheep to Him. Instead, you make up lies to block me from accepting the gospel, what really is your intent? How are you any different from the Pharisees who resisted the work of the Lord Jesus at that time? I remembered the words that the Lord Jesus used to curse 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. … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves’ (Matthew 23:13, 15). From the words, we can see whoever disturbs God’s work and blocks brothers and sisters from receiving the kingdom gospel will be punished by God in the end. So I advise you against hindering and disrupting God’s work.” When he heard me say that and saw my firm attitude, he stormed off. On the contrary, I was in a cheerful mood for having overcome Satan’s disturbance.
When His Plan Failed, He Tried Another One
Two days later, it’s time for us to gather. I took the witnesses from The Church of Almighty God to bear testimony to God’s work for the brothers and sisters from my original denomination. When we walked to the host family, we saw there were pamphlets of vilifying The Church of Almighty God strewn around the house, some even stuck on the wall. Seeing that, I was very enraged, and thought to myself: This must have been done by Elder Tu. Since I didn’t listen to him but contradicted and exposed him directly two days ago, he became very angry then, and he won’t let us off. He knew we would have a meeting today and distributed pamphlets deliberately here. His purpose is to frighten those brothers and sisters in the dark out of contacting brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. What bad deeds will he not do! Maybe he dares to call the police. If that really happens, it will be not safe for the brothers and sisters and the two witnesses to gather here. Once we are arrested, the consequences will be disastrous. At the thought of this, I suddenly had a kind of uneasy feeling in my heart, not knowing what to do. If we stayed here and continued gathering, I worried about our being arrested; if not, I felt it was a pity to lose the chance for the witnesses and the brothers and sisters all came here and this chance of fellowshiping was rare …
Confronted with these problems, I did not know what to do. Then I collapsed like a deflated rubber ball and felt weak and depressed in my spirit. I thought: Why is it so hard to accept God’s new work? Since I received this stage of God’s work, the people from my original denomination have become my enemies. They’ve been disturbing and blocking me everywhere and even said some words of condemning and cursing me to make me distraught. Now if they unite with the CCP government to persecute and disrupt me, my situation will become more difficult. Just when I did not know what to do, a clear thought popped into my mind: Relocate now. We can’t have a meeting in this host family. Thereupon I told my thought to the brothers and sisters and they agreed to relocate. But which host family should so many people go to? Elder Tu knew all of the host families of the church, and moreover, there were many people coming to gather and we were very easy to be found. Worse still, Elder Tu monitors us in the shadows. As a co-worker in the church, facing so many brothers’ and sisters’ lives, I couldn’t be negligent at all. Otherwise, it would cause an inestimable loss. At the moment, I felt that I was shouldering a heavy burden. However, thinking my thoughts just now was God’s reminder, I knew God was right by our side and trusted He was always there to help us. Then I brought our trouble before Him to pray and asked Him to lead and help us to find a suitable home. After praying, all of a sudden I thought my brother’s home was in the vicinity. Although he didn’t believe in God, my brother’s humanity was acceptable. After I prayed to God to entrust him to God, I went to my brother’s. He readily consented to my request, which made me see God’s deeds. With a grateful heart, I offered God thanks and praise silently.
On my way home after the meeting, the boss of a telephone booth saw me and said in amazement: “Well, I didn’t imagine you could come back. Are you all right?” Hearing his words, I was confused and then asked him what he meant. Only then did I know Elder Tu was aware that I would spread the gospel to brothers and sisters today, and then he called the CCP police to have them arrest me. From this I discovered he was really malicious. To prevent us from believing in God, he actually called the police and intended to hand us over to the police. He was completely void of humanity! The more I thought, the angrier I was. Meanwhile, during this experience I felt God’s wondrous protection for us. He arranged for my brother to receive us, or we must have been arrested.
After dark, I went to a sister’s home and wanted to arrange our meeting the day after tomorrow at her home. The host sister said that Elder Tu took the police to all the host families of our church to look for us. So now the host families of the church were unsafe. Faced with the difficulty, I fell into a terrible predicament once again. I thought: The day after tomorrow the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God will come to communicate with us, but now I still don’t know where to find a home for gathering.
When I Was Weak in Spirit, God’s Words Comforted Me
Leaving the sister’s house, I stood at the roadside, hesitating where to go and what to do for hours. Returning home after running off my feet all evening, I was weary in body and mind and became weak in spirit: How is it so difficult to walk the path of believing in God? Because of the frantic hindrance of the sectarian leaders and arrests by the CCP government, we have no suitable place to gather, and even with any carelessness, we may be in the danger of being imprisoned and face a life-or-death choice in cruel torture…. The more I thought, the more afraid I was. Then my flesh was also very weak, but I was unwilling to give up my belief in Almighty God. Had my faith in the Lord these many years not been to welcome the Lord’s return? However, having just believed in Almighty God, I faced such difficulty, wouldn’t I suffer even more in the future? In a dilemma, I buried my head in my hands and wept, keeping crying: “Oh, God! God! Please help me! Help me! …” In pain and negativity, I thought of a song of God’s words “Bitterness Is One of God’s Blessings”: “Do not be discouraged, do not be weak, and God will make things clear for you. The road to the kingdom is not so smooth; nothing is that simple! You want blessings to come to you easily.” God’s words brought me a bit of comfort and confidence. I came to realize: The path of believing in God and gaining salvation is not smooth. We can’t gain the blessings of the kingdom easily. Soon afterward, I opened up God’s words and read: “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete.”
From God’s words, I understood: Because the atheistic CCP government persecutes God, we, believing in God today in China, have to suffer and be subjected to persecution. Through the persecution of the CCP, God makes a group of overcomers and allows us to see His almightiness and wisdom in persecution and tribulations. After understanding God’s will, I felt that depressed no more. Thinking brothers and sisters now had a great deal of faith and a heart of yearning, and wanted to listen to Almighty God’s words more, I must not be negative and weak due to the temporary difficulty. I must seize the time to be equipped with the truth and cooperate with the witnesses in communicating to help brothers and sisters quickly establish a firm foundation on the true way, thereby giving Satan no chance to exploit.
God’s Words Enlightened Me to See Through Satan’s Tricks
Without a suitable home for meeting, I felt anxious. Thus I was up early to ponder this thing the next morning. Through praying to God, I suddenly thought it was said in the Bible: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). I carefully pondered the meaning of the words and understood immediately God’s will. Didn’t God ask us to use wisdom to battle with Satan? I came to a sudden realization and found a way out, thinking of a remote host family of our church. Then I happily rushed to the host family and arranged for several brothers and sisters to stand guard outside, with our meeting time especially fixed from 10:10 am. to 12:30 pm. During the time period, the sectarian leaders went to gather in other places. When their meeting ended, we had already left. In this way they came a few times but did not find us. After that, they did not come to this host family any longer.
However, Satan did not resign itself to failure. When it realized that taking a hard line did not work, it switched to a soft one. Afterward, Elder Tu had two co-workers—Sister Zhou and Sister Huang—come to me twice, wanting me to go back to my former denomination, but all I did was refuse. One month later, Elder Tu personally came to my home again. Seeing him, I got extremely angry: “What are you doing here? You become a Judas and betray brothers and sisters, are you worthy to be an elder?” He said to me hypocritically: “Sister, in fact, you shouldn’t blame this thing on me. Other co-workers did it. I’ve blamed them. Sister, we’ve believed in the Lord together for so long, and I really can’t bear to see you take the wrong path and are abandoned by the Lord. So I sent Sister Zhou and Sister Huang to persuade you, but unexpectedly, you refused to turn back. So I have to set aside my pride, coming personally to urge you. Hurry up and turn back. As long as you confess your sins to the Lord and repent, we won’t hold on to your transgressions. Turning back, you can continue leading a church. In the future, we will expand the church and let you look after those new believers. …” I found out that he attempted to seduce me, but I did not know what tricks he was up to, so I kept calling to God in my heart: “Almighty God, my stature is too small. Please protect my heart, so that I can discern his schemes and not be deceived by him. May you give me faith and strength, enlighten me to see through his tricks, and grant me with the words I should speak.” Under the guidance of God, I thought of God’s words that brothers and sisters had communicated with me, “You must be awake and waiting at all times, and you must pray before Me more. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, recognize the spirits, know people, and be able to discern all kinds of people, events, and things; you must also eat and drink more of My words and, more importantly, you must be able to eat and drink of them by yourselves. Equip yourselves with all of the truth, and come before Me so that I may open your spiritual eyes and allow you to see all the mysteries that lie within the spirit…. When the church enters its construction phase, the saints march to battle. Satan’s various hideous features are set before you: Do you stop and edge backward, or do you stand up and, relying upon Me, continue to move forward? Thoroughly expose Satan’s corrupt and ugly features, spare no feelings, and show no mercy! Fight Satan to the death!” “Satan is ever present devouring the knowledge of Me in people’s hearts, gnashing its teeth and flexing its claws in its final death throes. Do you wish to fall prey to its cunning schemes at this time? Do you wish to ruin your life at the time when My work is finally completed?”
I understood from the words of God that Satan constantly obstructs people from turning to God. It tries all kinds of means and tricks to wage its final struggle, attempting in vain to interrupt, disturb, and demolish God’s work. When Elder Tu saw I did not give in no matter what hard tricks they used, he tried to use status to entice me into giving up following Almighty God. Therefore, I should be quiet before God, and clear the eyes of my spirit so I could see through his tricks and not be misled by his sweet talk. I should bear witness in the critical final moment. At this time I felt at peace, and said calmly: “If you are really for my good, don’t come to disturb me again. Because now I’ve heard God’s voice, kept pace with His new work and accepted His salvation. I don’t take the wrong path. Through investigating the work of Almighty God and reading His words, I know the management plan of God saving man is carried out in three stages: the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. They are all the work of one Spirit and each stage of work is more improved than the previous one. The Lord Jesus we believed in before carried out the work of the Age of Grace; Almighty God we currently believe in does the work of the Age of Kingdom. They are the same Spirit in essence. It’s just that God’s work has made progress. We’ve followed God’s present work, how come you said our faith was wrong? Only those who still linger in the Age of Grace and don’t accept all the truth Almighty God expresses in the Age of Kingdom are the objects to be abandoned. As God’s words say: ‘If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history.’”
At the moment, I saw Elder Tu got grey in his face and stared at me viciously. Before I finished reciting God’s words, he left angrily without a backward glance. I looked at him from behind, thinking: Experiencing the obstruction and disturbance of the sectarian leaders, I have discernment regarding their essence. They always claim that they are looking after the flock for God, but actually they are protecting their own status and livelihoods. They are afraid they will become generals without an army after we keep pace with God’s work, so they exert their full strength to make us return to the religious church. They also misinterpret the Bible to deceive us and unit with the CCP government to arrest and persecute us, and some even exploit our families who don’t believe to block us from believing in God, etc. All they do is to make us give up following God, betray God, and resist God with them, and thereby we will be punished and destroyed by God.
In the spiritual war, although I was weak and distressed, the comfort and guidance of God’s words gave me faith, strength, and wisdom, allowing me to overcome Satan’s temptation and siege. Under God’s care and protection, I could stand with strength. Thank God for saving me! All the glory be to Almighty God!