Spread the Gospel - Faith Grows in the Midst of Setbacks
Finding the Source of Living Water of Life
When I was young, because my parents often went to other places on business, and so my elder sister became my spiritual support. At the age of 15, my elder aunt preached the gospel to my sister and me and then we started to believe in the Lord. After getting married, my husband became a drug addict, so I had no choice but to divorce him. I took refuge, with my two young children, at my sister’s, and I started the work of serving the Lord in the church my brother-in-law was leading.
Ten years slipped by. This year, I began to perceive that my spirit was withering: I got no illumination from my reading of the Bible, and I didn’t feel provided with anything when listening to the pastor’s sermons. In particular, I was unable to grasp God’s intentions. Although I had some achievements in serving the Lord over the years, they couldn’t satisfy the thirst of my spirit. When I was stuck most in this darkness, I got acquainted with Brother Zhao. Through sharing with him, I came to understand that the reason why I felt thirsty in my spirit and why the church was desolate was because God has done new work and the work of the Holy Spirit has moved, and only by keeping up with God’s new work could I receive the provision of the living water of life. Through fellowshiping with Brother Zhao many times and reading more and more of God’s words, my spirit got gradually stronger and I became convinced that Almighty God is the appearance of the Lord Jesus.
Spreading the Gospel and Bearing Witness for God
After I accepted God’s new work, I saw the following passage of God’s word: “They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness—where is the way? How they yearn for the light, like a shooting star, to suddenly descend and dispel the forces of darkness that have oppressed man for so many years. Who can know the full extent to which they anxiously hope, and how they pine, day and night, for this? Even on a day when the light flashes past, these deeply suffering people remain imprisoned in a dark dungeon without hope of release; when will they weep no longer? Terrible is the misfortune of these fragile spirits who have never been granted rest, and long have they been kept bound in this state by merciless bonds and frozen history. And who has heard the sound of their wailing? Who has looked upon their miserable state? Has it ever occurred to you how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see innocent mankind, whom He created with His own hands, suffering such torment? Human beings, after all, are the victims who have been poisoned. And although man has survived to this day, who would have known that mankind has long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Are you not willing to strive, out of your love for God, to save these survivors? Are you not willing to devote all of your energy to repaying God, who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood? When all is said and done, how would you interpret being used by God to live your extraordinary life? Do you really have the resolve and confidence to live the meaningful life of a pious, God-serving person?” (“How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission?”). From God’s words, I saw that God’s heart gets so grieved and anxious when He sees the mankind He created living in Satan’s bondage and torment. God hopes that those people who are still in the desolate churches and are spiritually thirsty and hungry can follow His footsteps soon. I thought how I once had also lived in helplessness and suffering and it was God who saved me from the filth. So at that moment when faced with God’s eager desire, how could I turn a blind eye and be indifferent? Hence, I decided to perform my duty as one of His creations and bring the people who were waiting for God’s return before Him in order to comfort His heart and repay His love. I first remembered a very devout sister—Sister Du. So, I began to pray for her, asking God to grant me an opportunity to share with her the kingdom gospel of God. Not long after I prayed, I got a call from her out of the blue. At that moment, I was very excited because she was studying in another place and we’d seldom contacted each other in over two years. God must have heard my prayer, so she suddenly called me. In our conversation, I learned that spiritually she felt weak and she was unable to raise enough enthusiasm for spiritual devotions. Thereupon, I wanted to bear witness for the work of Almighty God in the last days to her, but I had some worries. I thought: “If she doesn’t accept, will some awkwardness develop between us?” Afterward, I remembered a passage of God’s words a sister once fellowshiped with me: “If you do not focus on your relationships with people but maintain a normal relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, then naturally your relationships with all people will become normal. This way, these relationships are not established in the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no fleshly interactions….” (“It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God”). In the last days, Almighty God expresses words and bestows upon us the truth to solve the difficulties and problems in our spiritual life, letting us achieve knowledge of God, and ultimately receive His approval and be saved by Him. If I was really responsible for Sister Du’s life, and if I had true love for her in my heart, I should tell her the good news that the Lord has returned, thus letting her be able to welcome God’s appearance. Furthermore, to bring Sister Du before God is God’s urgent will. I had to consider God’s intentions and I couldn’t back off for the sake of protecting my own face. Even if she didn’t accept, at least I would have fulfilled my personal responsibility.
Therefore, I contacted Sister Du and told her that there was a brother in the Lord whose sermons had much illumination and his fellowshiping really made me gain great edification and benefits in my life. Thank God! Sister Du decided to fellowship with us together. Through fellowshiping with Brother Zhao many times, Sister Du also accepted the kingdom gospel of God, which made me feel that God had heard my prayers. Having seen God’s faithfulness, I had much more enthusiasm for preaching the gospel.
Direct Engagement With the Obstructive Pastor
One day in early August, Brother Zhao and I spread the gospel to Sister Chen in our church. After the meeting, Sister Chen said that Brother Zhao’s sharing was pretty good and she liked it very much, and hoped that we could continue to fellowship with her. After our second fellowshiping, a sister in our church told her: “If you want to fellowship with the member of another church, you have to ask for our pastor’s permission.” When Sister Chen heard this, she told me she didn’t want to fellowship with us anymore. Right after that, my elder sister found out that I was preaching the gospel in the church. Then, she read some negative propaganda material to Sister Chen and me and required me to stop communicating with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. Afterward, Sister Chen started to avoid me. Even if we had to meet each other for something she would come with her sister to avoid staying with me alone. Moreover, some brothers and sisters also started to guard against me and distance themselves from me.
One day, the pastor, who was also my brother-in-law, asked me to come to the meeting room. Immediately, I realized that something was wrong, so I kept praying to God, asking Him to protect my heart so that I could stand witness during this trial. Seeing me, the pastor said furiously, “Why have you become unwilling to listen to our suggestions in the short two months since you heard the preachings of Eastern Lightning?” I answered, “Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Recently, through reading Almighty God’s words, I have seen that the words expressed by Almighty God are the utterances of the Holy Spirit and are God’s voice.” His face flamed with anger and he said loudly, “If Eastern Lightning is really the true way, then why is the entire religious community condemning Eastern Lightning? Is there anything wrong with my following the entire religious community? If in the end I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to be destroyed along with all the other believers in the five big denominations!” I said, “You are too arrogant and egotistical. You are resisting God! It was exactly because the Pharisees and scribes of that time didn’t acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the Messiah they were waiting for that they nailed Him to the cross. They suffered the loss of their nation, and even their offspring were punished. Isn’t this historical lesson a warning to you? As a pastor, when you hear news of the Lord’s coming, you should lead us to seek and investigate, not resist God based on your own arrogant and egotistical disposition.” He shouted at me in anger, “I’ll give you a month to reconsider whether you will stop communicating with the Eastern Lightning people and continue staying with this church to serve the Lord.” Without the slightest consideration, I answered, “Pastor, I don’t need to consider that for a month. I can leave today but I won’t give up following God.” After hearing what I said, the pastor was speechless with anger while my sister was weeping all the time. Looking at my sister, I said sadly, “Sister, it is after reading many words of Almighty God that I am certain that Almighty God is indeed the appearance of the Lord Jesus. Why are you so stubborn?”
Finishing what I had to say, I started to pack up the things on my desk. Just then, the tears also began to pool up in my eyes. I suppressed the tears and gave my sister the church key, and left after saying goodbye to her. Walking out of the church’s gate, I couldn’t help but shed tears. I thought: “It has been ten years since I sought refuge with my sister and her husband. They once helped me get through some hard, depressing days, but when it comes to believing in God, I can’t compromise.” After returning home that night, I couldn’t control my emotions anymore, and I cried continuously because I had never thought that my family and I would come to this because of my choosing the path of believing in God. Later, a sister shared many of God’s words with me. After hearing her fellowshiping, I understood that God’s work of judgment in the last days is to expose people and group them according to kind. Those who love the truth will accept God’s work in the last days when hearing His voice while those who don’t accept, but resist and condemn God’s work when hearing His voice, are antichrists and evil servants exposed by God’s work in the last days. I then gradually calmed down.
Afterward, I read another passage of God’s word: “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?” (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God”). God’s words gave me some knowledge of the pastor’s essence. He was arrogant and self-righteous, and put himself on a pedestal by relying on the biblical knowledge and theological theory he understood, thinking that he himself was a man pleasing to God. His arrogant disposition caused him to only believe his own judgment, so now that God has come to do work, because God’s work isn’t in accordance with his will, he will not accept any of it. On the outside, he seems very spiritual. But he doesn’t care about the spiritual life of the believers at all, and even obstructs them from turning to God, thus ruining their lives. He is indeed an antichrist who devours people’s souls. I felt that it was even more my responsibility to cooperate with God to help more people break away from the pastor’s grip and no longer be deceived by him. I firmly believed that no matter what difficulties I would encounter, God would surely be by my side.
So, I prayed to God: “O Almighty God! Thanks for your exaltation and salvation. Although the pastor stops believers from seeking and examining the true way, I know You are the almighty God. I only want to fulfill my duty as one of Your creations. I ask You to give me faith and power no matter what difficulties I will encounter so that I can spread Your gospel and help those who really yearn for Your appearance accept Your work in the last days. Thank God! Amen!”
The Preaching of the Gospel Never Stops
Several days later, I unexpectedly got a call from Sister Amei, who lived in Myanmar. She was of good humanity and a true believer in God. Hence, I spread God’s gospel of the last days to her and shared the truth of God’s name with her. After hearing it, she wanted to know more about the truth of God’s work and God’s name, so I invited her to attend our meeting.
In the meeting, Brother Zhao read two passages of God’s word: “‘Jehovah’ is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man; the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. ‘Jesus’ is Emmanuel, which means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and which redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and He represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the work of the management plan. That is to say, only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so, in the current age, all the Israelites, apart from the Jewish people, worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar and serve Him in the temple wearing priests’ robes. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah. Only Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind, and He is the sin offering that redeemed mankind from sin. Which is to say, the name of Jesus came from the Age of Grace and came into existence because of the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The name of Jesus came into existence to allow the people of the Age of Grace to be reborn and saved, and is a particular name for the redemption of the whole of mankind. Thus, the name Jesus represents the work of redemption, and denotes the Age of Grace. The name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law. In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”).
“I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior with love and esteem. Today, however, I am no longer the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past; I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up from the end of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor, and glory. People have never engaged with Me, never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man in the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the blazing flame, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, and that I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind. And all shall see that I was once the sin offering for man, but that in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that incinerate all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. This is My work in the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, the burning sun, the blazing flame, and so that all may worship Me, the one true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and I am not just the Redeemer; I am the God of all creatures throughout the heavens and the earth and the seas” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”).
Brother Zhao fellowshiped this: “Before I believed in the Lord, I didn’t know the mystery of God’s name either. Later, only through reading God’s words did I understand that God originally had no name. It is because of the needs of His management work that God adopts a different name during each age. He uses a different name to initiate a new age and end the old age. That God takes a different name in each age shows God’s intentions and wisdom. The name taken by God in each age represents the work God does and the disposition God expresses. For example, in the Age of Law, God worked and showed mankind—mankind that was corrupted by Satan—how to live on earth so that they would abide by the law and learn how to worship Him. If those people lived according to God’s requirements, they would receive God’s blessings; otherwise, they would be punished by God for violating the law. In that age, God took the name ‘Jehovah,’ which represents God’s disposition as one of majesty, wrath, mercy and curses. By the end of the Age of Law, people faced the danger of being executed under the law because they couldn’t keep the law. In order to redeem mankind, God took another name ‘Jesus,’ to begin the work of the Age of Grace. The name Jesus represents God as a merciful God. So, in the Age of Grace, with His infinite mercy, God tolerated our transgressions and bestowed upon us abundant grace, and in the end He was nailed to the cross for us and took on all of our sins. From then on, as long as we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, our sins will be forgiven, and thus we can come before God to worship Him again. If the Lord Jesus hadn’t done this redemptive work, we all would have been put to death under the law due to God’s righteous disposition. But although we were redeemed by the Lord, we have yet to escape the bondage of sin, and we still live in a state of sinning and confessing. Therefore, as is required for us corrupt mankind, God is doing new work by bringing about the Age of Kingdom in the name of Almighty God. In the Age of Kingdom, with His righteous and majestic disposition, God is expressing the words of judgment in the last days for all mankind. In the judgment of God’s words, we see the truth of our corruption by Satan and also feel God’s righteous disposition, a disposition that allows no offense. Meanwhile, God is also pointing out to us the path of getting rid of Satan’s bondage and achieving purification: As long as we accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, and practice and experience His words, we can truly break free from the bondage of sin and live freely and unrestrained in the light. From the names God takes in different ages and the dispositions God expresses during that age, we can see that each name can only represent a part of God’s disposition, and only if we know God through His complete management work will we avoid casually defining Him. Only then can our knowledge of God be relatively accurate.”
Hearing Brother Zhao’s fellowshiping, I felt very happy inside. In the past, I only knew that this time God changed His name when He came to do His work. He is no longer called Jehovah or Jesus. But I didn’t know that God had no name in the beginning. It was only because He was about to start His management work that He took a name, and God uses a different name to carry out His new work and express His different disposition. After understanding these things, I sensed even more that God entrusting the duty of preaching the gospel to me not only requires me to bring those who are waiting for the Lord’s return before God but also uses spreading the gospel to make up for my deficiencies by allowing me to understand the truth and know God. My heart was full of thanks and praise for God. Sister Amei was also very glad after hearing the fellowshiping. She sent me a message in which she said that she’d never expected that God’s name would have such a big mystery behind it, that she felt God is really very wise, that she would pray to Almighty God that day, and that she would share this good news with her sister. Not long after that, Amei and her sister’s family of five all started to believe in Almighty God. After experiencing this, I understood that what God wishes to achieve is not restricted by any individual or any thing because God is omnipotent. God will surely personally call back those predestined by Him to be saved. Thank God! I thought of God’s word saying: “If you wish to be perfected by God, you must learn how to experience in all matters, and be able to gain enlightenment in everything that happens to you. Whether it be good or bad, it should bring you benefit, and should not make you negative. Regardless, you should be able to consider things while standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study them from the perspective of man (this would be a deviation in your experience). If you experience thus, then your heart will be filled with the burdens of your life; you will live constantly in the light of God’s countenance, not readily deviating in your practice. Such people have a bright future ahead of them” (“Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected”). From God’s words, I came to understand that whether the circumstances are favorable or adverse is all arranged by God. And God wants us to experience, gain discernment and make progress from all kinds of things. My faith in God was becoming bigger and bigger. I saw that God’s work is done by God and we people are only utensils to be employed in His work. What happened to me allowed me to see that God’s word is the truth and God’s sheep hear His voice. No matter how the pastors obstruct people from coming before God, those who are God’s sheep will return to God’s side sooner or later because no one can stand in the way of God’s work.
After experiencing all of these things I couldn’t help sighing with emotion, because God’s deeds are really marvelous. Although I encountered many difficulties, and was once negative and weak in my attitude to spreading the gospel, God’s words always guided me, allowing me to stand firm through my frustration. Thank Almighty God for giving me the chance to grow, which let me understand the truth gradually, see that God’s authority surpasses everything, and that no one can stand in the way of the work God wants to accomplish through the process of cooperating with God. Just as God’s word 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 the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). I have made up my mind: Even if someday I really do get kicked out by my brother-in-law and my sister, I will not stop preaching the gospel but will continue cooperating with God to bring the sheep belonging to God back to God’s house. All the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!
- Extended Reading:
- The Ethiopian Eunuch Accepting the Gospel – Reflection on Act 8:26-38