“blessed be the name of Jehovah.” His blessing of God’s name was unconditional, irrespective of context, and without reason.
Because I Blindly Believed Rumors, I Almost Missed the Salvation of Almighty God
By Li Yang
In 2006, I went back to my hometown. My sister-in-law anxiously said to me, “Do you know that our parents believe in Almighty God? They said that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus.” I said, “Isn’t that great since you also believe in the Lord Jesus? You also said that the Lord Jesus shall come again in the last days. So, since the Lord has returned, we should also investigate.” Surprisingly, my sister-in-law was shocked and said, “Don’t contact the believers of Almighty God. The preacher in my church often tells us during meetings that The Church of Almighty God is an organization that tricks people out of their money. Be careful and don’t get cheated again.” Hearing this, I couldn’t help recalling my experience of being cheated when I was doing business. I really hated those who cheat people out of their money. Therefore, I had some notions of The Church of Almighty God and I was afraid that my parents were deceived. So I began to closely watch my parents’ whereabouts, trying to gather concrete evidence of The Church of Almighty God cheating them out of their money, and would then ask my parents to stop believing in Almighty God.
During that period of time, I found that brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God often went to my parents’ house. They appeared to be dignified and decent and didn’t look like bad people at all. They were only there to have meetings with my parents and didn’t ask for money. However, I was still a little bit worried, so one day I took my father’s bankbook to the bank without him noticing to see if there was any unusual withdrawal, but there wasn’t. I was very confused and thought, “What’s going on? Sister-in-law said that believers in Almighty God were bad people, but their words and behaviors say otherwise. They are decent and upright, not like bad people, and my parents have not lost money. Moreover, my parents have changed a lot after believing in Almighty God. My mother does not shoot the breeze or gossip with neighbors after meals anymore; my father no longer plays mahjong whenever he is free; and both of them quarrel less over trifling matters.” They were really changing for the better. However, I thought of my sister-in-law’s words and I became a little wary again, so I exhorted my parents to be careful of the believers in Almighty God.
Soon after, my parents asked a sister to preach the gospel to me. Seeing how important this matter was to my parents and thinking of how my parents changed after believing in Almighty God, I became curious about The Church of Almighty God. However, my sister-in-law’s words made me feel worried again. After careful consideration, I decided to get to know more about the church for the sake of my parents. If The Church of Almighty God were really like what my sister-in-law had described, I could use this opportunity to get my parents out of the church. With this mindset, I agreed to get to know more.
When I first saw the sister who bore witness to Almighty God’s work in the last days to me, I became guarded. She wore simple clothes and rode a bicycle, and I thought, “Is she the bad people my sister-in-law talked about? She looks very kind. Not like a bad person. But she doesn’t look rich as well, so will she cheat me out of my money in the future with the excuse that she is having difficulties and needs money?” This series of questions kept popping into my head, so I closely watched the sister’s every action. However, every time when she came to have meetings with me, apart from reading God’s words and fellowshiping about the truth, she only drank some water; she did not eat anything I prepared or take any home; she also did not touch or look at anything. Sometimes when I asked her to stay for dinner, she insisted on leaving. Half a year later, I wanted to give her some clothes because her clothes were very simple, but she firmly refused. All of her actions made me feel that the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God were very different from people in society.
Once, during a meeting, the sister said, “I dropped my glasses a few days ago, and one lens got scratched. Although it can still be used, I still want to buy a new pair, but I’m reluctant to use my own money….” Hearing this, I thought, “You are reluctant to spend your own money? Are you trying to borrow money from me?” Instantly, I remembered what my sister-in-law had told me. As I thought of that, the sister continued saying, “At night, when I was at my uncle’s house for dinner, I wanted my uncle to buy me a new pair of glasses, because he is a businessman and very rich. But I was too embarrassed to tell him that, and I also felt that that was something God would not approve of. So I was caught in a dilemma and I didn’t speak a word during dinner. On my way home, I felt very remorseful. Although one lens was scratched, the glasses can still be used, I shouldn’t be so greedy and ask others to buy me a new pair. I reached home and saw these words, ‘Do not harbor improper intentions for anyone, but learn to respect others. You particularly cannot take advantage of anyone in the slightest’ (from The Fellowship From the Above). From these words I learned that my wanting my uncle to buy me a new pair of glasses was taking advantage of him. God requires us to live out a normal humanity, and not to be greedy and have any extravagant desires, so I’m willing to betray my flesh to satisfy God.” After hearing what the sister said, I was very surprised. I thought, “Now, everyone lives by the life philosophy ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ but this sister, not only does she not want to take advantage of me, but she also did not take advantage of her relatives. I really admire the believers in Almighty God! But why did my sister-in-law say those things about them? Should I believe what she said or what I have seen with my own eyes?” I was in a dilemma, so I decided to further investigate.
Before long, the church leader, along with some brothers and sisters, came to my house for a meeting. They also brought along with them a whole set of books of God’s words and told me that they would leave them in my house. Looking at those books, I thought, “These books are definitely worth a lot, will they ask me to pay for them?” However, after quite a while, the church leader did not say anything about paying for them. All she did was fellowship God’s will with me and ask me to cherish and protect the books because they are God’s words. At last, I lost my patience and wanted to know the price for the books, so I asked the church leader, “How much do I have to pay for these books?” The church leader replied, “They are free.” I was astonished. I said, “How could they be free?” The church leader continued saying, “Because the water from the river of life is given freely to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! These words of God are life bestowed upon us by God, which can’t be bought with money. Just like God bestowing upon us sunshine, rain, water, and air, everything God gives man is free, they are for the well-being of mankind. This is all God’s love!” I was stunned by what the church leader had said. I thought, “Nowadays in society, who does things not for money? Printing these books definitely cost money, how could they be free? What is really going on here?” I had a feeling of being deceived because I always thought what my sister-in-law said was right, but reality slapped me in the face—countering my conceptions time and again. I thought The Church of Almighty God would cheat my parents out of their money, but they didn’t; I thought the sister would ask to borrow money from me when she faced difficulties, but she also didn’t; I thought The Church of Almighty God would ask me for money by giving me books, but they didn’t do that either. Why were the things I heard and the things I saw different? I decided to find out what exactly The Church of Almighty God was up to.
So, I couldn’t help but ask the church leader, “In the past, my sister-in-law said The Church of Almighty God do things for money. But what I saw today is not like what she described. I don’t know how to view this matter. Can you fellowship with me?” The church leader said with a smile, “Sure! Let’s fellowship about this aspect of truth. The reason why you thought The Church of Almighty God was an organization that tricked people out of their money is because you believed rumors. If you actually come into contact with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, you will see that they are not like this. From this we can see that rumors will be busted after tested by facts. Furthermore, The Church of Almighty God was established because of Almighty God’s work of the last days. We read Almighty God’s words every day, and we act strictly according to God’s words. Almighty God says, ‘What I want is not human conceptions or human thoughts, even less do I want your money or your possessions. What I want is your heart, understand? This is My will, and even more it is what I want to obtain’ (‘Chapter 61’ of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From Almighty God’s words we understand that God wants our heart, not our money or possessions. God hopes that mankind can know Him and understand His will to save mankind. Almighty God says, ‘God created this world, He created this mankind, and moreover He was the architect of ancient Greek culture and human civilization. Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day’ (‘God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God created the heavens and earth, and all things. He provides all things necessary for our survival, so how could God need mankind’s money? Because we are corrupted by Satan, we think that God also loves money just like we do.” Hearing this, I felt so ashamed and remorseful. I realized that I was wrong.
So I asked again, “Printing these books costs a lot of money, so how are you able to pay for it?” Then the church leader fellowshiped, “There are very strict rules for managing the money of the house of God. Everything has a principle in God’s family. Let’s read some relevant principles, ‘All those who believe in God know very clearly that God’s work requires the coordination of people, and it requires leaders and workers from all levels of the church to supply, water, and guide God’s chosen people in maintaining God’s work. The expansion of God’s gospel of the kingdom requires God’s chosen people to run around and expend themselves; in addition, the various books of God’s word and of communication of truths used by God’s chosen people require printing and distributing. Therefore, God’s work of salvation pays a price for each and every one of God’s chosen people who receive God’s work, and all such expenses are supported by the offerings that God’s chosen people make to God. As a result, God has expectations for all God’s chosen people, and offering to God is a duty and obligation of created beings, and expending themselves for God is the responsibility that they should fulfill. This is justified and obligatory. Everyone should offer up their share for God’s work, regardless of how each person understands this matter. Some insist on making an offering of ten percent, while others contribute in different ways. As long as it is being offered willingly, God will gladly accept it. God’s house only specifies that those who have only believed in God for less than a year are temporarily exempt from providing any offerings, while poor people are not required to provide any offerings but can make offerings according to their faith. The church will not accept offerings that might lead to family disputes. Those making an offering of money must pray several times, and only after they are sure they are completely willing and are certain they will never have any regrets are they to be allowed to make their offerings’ (‘The Principles for Establishing a Church and the Management of Church Life’ in Annals of the Fellowship and Arrangements of the Work of the Church (I)). After reading this, we can understand that the church needs the offerings of God’s chosen people to operate. Tithing is God’s requirement of mankind since the Age of Law. This is the responsibility and obligation of every created being, just like mankind has to honor their parents, it is heaven’s law and earth’s principle to do so. Moreover, offerings have to be made willingly. The Church of Almighty God has never set up any offering boxes; leaders and workers are never allowed to preach to brothers and sisters anything about offerings. Even if brothers and sisters want to make offerings, they have to pray and seek multiple times, and understand the meaning of offerings and relevant principles before they can make any offerings. It is apparent that all books and CDs produced by The Church of Almighty God are free. If anyone says that The Church of Almighty God does things for money, aren’t they fabricating rumors?” Hearing her fellowshiping, I couldn’t help thinking, “What the church leader fellowshiped is fact. I saw it with my own eyes.” I thought back to the days when I used to go to Three-Self Church with my sister-in-law. Every time after worship, there would be people standing outside the door with offering boxes waiting for people to make offerings. I detested that very much. I thought the church was a holy place and should not do things for money like people in society. Afterward, I also went to house churches for a few times before. Over there, they also asked people to make offerings, and no one knew where the money went to. Believers also had to buy the Bible. Comparing to The Church of Almighty God, the churches in the religious community are the ones that do things for money.
The church leader continued to fellowship, “The Church of Almighty God not only has principles of making offerings, but also has strict rules on the use of the money of God’s house. Sister, can you read this passage for us?” The church leader handed over a book to me. I started reading, “The main uses of the money of God’s house are as follows: (1) To pay for evangelical expenditures. (2) To pay for the expenses of all church leaders and workers in traveling to the churches. (3) To pay for all of the church’s printing costs. (4) To pay for all of the church’s office equipment costs. (5) To pay for expenses required in the spreading of the gospel, such as website expenses, etc” (“Administrative Principles for Managing and Using the Money of God’s House” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God). After I finished reading, the church leader began to fellowship, “From these principles we can see that the truth and Christ reign in The Church of Almighty God. Brothers and sisters all do things in accordance with the principles of truth. Those who violate these principles and do entirely otherwise, and steal offerings, will be punished by God and they will meet the same end as Judas. How could a church that is ruled and controlled by God, be said to be an organization that tricks people out of their money?”
After listening to the church leader’s fellowshping and knowing the principles, my confusions were completed resolved. I really hated myself for blindly believing rumors without knowing the facts. And because of that, I almost lost God’s salvation. Thanks to Almighty God’s guidance and brothers’ and sisters’ fellowshiping, I’m now able to discern rumors, I’m more certain about God’s way, and I’m also firmer in my resolution to follow Almighty God!
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