Why does God allow setbacks or failures? How should we trust God in difficult times and thus keep our faith in God? Read this article to find the answers.
God Helped Me Win in a Family Conflict About Belief
By Mary, Burma
Three generations of my family had been believing in the Lord. My father and elder sister were both seminary graduates. At the time, my father could be counted top among the preachers in my local place. Later, he retreated from the rank of preachers because of life difficulties and didn’t begin to preach the Lord’s way as a volunteer until the year 2013. I studied in a church school which opened seminary classes. Any seminary student could go to high school for free, since the fees were covered by the church, or exactly, the church offerings from the believers. During this period, I saw the purpose of the seminarians was not for understanding the biblical truth or for progressing their spiritual life, so that they could serve the Lord better in the future, but for going to school free of charge or gaining opportunities of furthering their study abroad one day. They, in order to realize their life ideals, used the study of theology as a springboard. More than that, their behaviors were beyond restraint with their words very dissolute, and they even pursued the social trends, often comparing their clothes with each other. All in all, their living out was not like that of a Christian.
One time, I went to preacher Zhang’s house with several other classmates. While chatting, he said that pastors were secretly dealing with a preacher, because the latter not only diverted the church money, but also did something illegal. On hearing that, I was quite astonished. As a preacher, how could he do such a base and mean thing? Was he not afraid of the Lord’s discipline and punishment? Another time, preacher Zhang whispered to us that a pastor from Malaysia fired abuses at Pastor Zhang face to face, for he took the liberty of diverting the church offerings. When told such a thing, I thought: The pastors and elders were all seminary graduates, and were also awfully familiar with the theological theories and the biblical knowledge, then why did they run amok, committing sins blatantly? I just could not figure it out: Why had the church been reduced to such a situation? I was really quite baffled by it.
After I finished high school, I went to Singapore to work and two years later, I moved to Macao in August 2014. Wherever I went, I would find a church to attend meetings. In Macao, I found one and went to church every Sunday. But since my work was keeping me busy, I felt tired after some time of churchgoing. Moreover, the sermons of the pastors and elders were always cut and dried and could not supply me, so I was very negative and weak. In time of pain and worry, I always prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, I always can’t go to churches and attend meetings regularly, so my heart is much reproached. But when I have gatherings, I can’t get supplied and so my heart is very weak. O Lord, please prepare a meeting group for me.” Thank the Lord for listening to my prayers. Soon later, I got acquainted with a sister and she warmly invited me to her house to attend their Bible studying meetings.
Once in a meeting, brothers and sisters talked of the present situation of the church. After mutual fellowship, I understood why all the sects and denominations were becoming desolate. It was primarily because the religious leaders disobeyed the Lord’s commandments and only clung to human traditions. They centered on preaching biblical knowledge to reveal and testify themselves, rather than exalt and testify God. They totally strayed from the Lord’s way, so they were eliminated and rejected by God. Another reason was because the work of the Holy Spirit had shifted. For example, in the late Age of Law, the holy temple became desolate and a den of thieves, the priests offered lame sacrifices, and the people exchanged money and sold oxen, sheep and doves in the temple, but God did not discipline and punish them. All this happened because the work of the Holy Spirit had shifted. The Lord Jesus became incarnate and did the work of the Age of Grace and redeemed the whole mankind. Only those who accepted His redemption work could gain God’s salvation. Likewise, nowadays, the Lord Jesus has returned and continued a stage of work of judgment and purification after redemption work. God’s work turned to those who followed His work of the last days. Only when we kept up with the footsteps of the Lamb, accepting God’s work of the last days, could we gain the work of the Holy Spirit and obtain the supply of the living water of life. Through the communication of brothers and sisters, my years of bafflement was finally resolved: As a matter of fact, the desolation of the church originates from the shift of the work of the Holy Spirit. Then brothers and sisters fellowshiped with me about all aspects of the truth with me, such as God’s incarnation,, the three stages of God’s work, and so forth. Besides, they also played some gospel movies and MVs for me, from which I benefited a lot and knew more of God’s work and God’s will. And after I read the words of Almighty God, many questions I had not understood when I believed in the Lord, were answered. The more I read His words, the more I felt that the Church of Almighty God has the work of the Holy Spirit, that all the utterances of Almighty God are the truth, and that Almighty God is the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus. My heart felt an unprecedented sense of satisfaction. I was sure that the Lord Jesus had come back—He is the Almighty God incarnate in the last days.
After I met the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus, I was very eager to send the news of the Lord’s return to my father and sister. However, since I was abroad and afar from them, I could only equip myself with the truth while living the church life, waiting for a proper chance to preach the gospel to my families.
In October, 2016, one of my colleagues was going to return to Burma on leave. So I asked for two books of God’s word from the church and carefully packed them, leaving my colleague to take them to my father and sister. I thought: Papa has been bitterly yearning for the Lord’s return. Now the Lord has come back and carried the work of judgment starting from the house of God. Surely, he will be super excited and elated when he read the words of God. Definitely, he can recognize them as God’s voice and welcome the Lord’s appearance and accept Almighty God’s work of the last days. If so, then the gospel work could be hopefully started in my hometown.
However, what happened later went contrary to all my expectations. One day, I received my father’s phone call, and heard his questioning voice, “Have you believed in Eastern Lightning? Are the books you bring me from the Church of Almighty God? …” Sensing his blunt manner, I tried to persuade him, “Papa, Eastern Lightning is definitely the Lord Jesus’ appearance and work. Investigate it seriously.” Angered at my words, he said, “The pastors and elders all believe in the Lord for long, and know the Bible well. They have actively preached the gospel and testified the Lord’s name; and some of them even have suffered imprisonment for this reason. They have endured many hardships for the Lord, so if the Lord comes back, they must be the first to get enlightened by the Lord.” I said, “Papa, is there a must for God to enlighten those who know the Bible well and labor for the Lord when He comes? Think back to the time when the Lord Jesus came to work. Those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were also deeply versed in the Bible and they labored for God, but God enlighten them? The Lord Jesus only chose those who loved the truth and could recognize His voice. Take Peter and John, for example. They all followed the Lord Jesus after they heard the Lord’s voice. So, only the humble seekers and truth-lovers can receive God’s enlightenment and see God’s appearance. Just as the Lord, ‘For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted’ (Luke 14:11). Papa, of those who believe that they understand the Bible, how many truly understand God’s intent? The Lord Jesus once said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). To investigate the true way, God’s enlightenment is not the key point, but whether we can recognize God’s voice from Almighty God’s words and whether we can accept God after we recognize Almighty God’s words are the truth. Only these people can be called the ones who truly believe in God, who love the truth, and who yearn for God’s appearance. …” Not allowing me to speak more, my father rudely interrupted me, “Enough! What do you know? How many Scriptures have you read? You must hurry out of the Church of Almighty God!” Following that, he said words of judging and condemning God. I said to him, “Papa, the Bible said, ‘He that keeps his mouth keeps his life: but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction’ (Proverbs 13:3). You haven’t investigated the work of Almighty God in the last days, and you haven’t read the words expressed by Almighty God, so you shouldn’t blindly condemn Him, lest you offend God.” However, my father just would not listen to me, except teaching and ordering me in a high position. Faced with his reaction and behaviors, I was sad to the extreme. Not knowing what to do, I could only hung up on him, silently.
Till the second day, I was still thinking of testifying about Almighty God’s work of the last days to my father. But when I opened the Facebook, I found that my father should have taken pictures of the books of God’s word and put the photos in a religious group, with marginalia saying that I had been deceived and walked the wrong path. He also said words judging the Church of Almighty God. Seeing all this, I was dumbfounded. For my father was rational in my heart, but in face of such an important matter as the Lord’s return, how could he be so blindly impulsive, without the slightest intention of seeking? Therefore, I got through his phone, saying, “Papa, you have always been rational, but facing the great matter of the Lord’s return, why do you not investigate it but blindly condemn and resist it, and even post your casual judgments online?” He said, “All I did is for your good. It’s to protect you.” Afterward, my father always assumed seniority, seeing himself as the elder, and commanded me not to believe in God. He did not listen to me at all, much less allow me to fellowship. My heart was greatly hurt and discouraged. My original hope for my father to believe in Almighty God was quenched, bit by bit. I was much confused, not knowing what to do next.
Later, my sister who studied theology suddenly phoned me. Seeing her phone call, I thought: When I was young, my sister and I were very close and she knew me best. If I told her the Lord Jesus has returned, she must be ecstatic and she will understand me. Therefore, I immediately answer the phone. However, again, it was unexpected. She lessoned me on the phone, saying, “Mary, why did you believe in Almighty God without seeking from the spiritual pastors and elders?” I said, “Sister, I have read many words of Almighty God. And I accepted the work of Almighty God only after I found His words are the words of the Holy Spirit, are the voice of God, the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus.” Intolerable of listening more, she said coldly, “You haven’t studied theology, so what do you know? I didn’t care about your spiritual life before, but now I can arrange time to tutor you until you understand the Bible. Or, you will fall from grace.” Her words were quite distasteful to me. I felt she, like my father, always stood up high and taught me relying on their knowledge of the Bible and theology. Can it be that they have studied theology, so they know everything and truly know God? So, I sent her a passage of Almighty God’s words: “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. 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. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne.”
I said, “Sister, how clearly Almighty God’s words have said: Only Christ is the truth. Only Christ of the last days can bring the everlasting way of truth, and only through this way can we come to know God. Knowing only the biblical knowledge and theological theories isn’t the equivalent of knowing God, because the Bible is only a historical record and a testament to the former two stages of God’s work. Any reader of the Bible knows that the Bible only records the two stages of work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. From the Bible, we can’t understand the aims of God’s work. Because Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And only Christ can bestow on us the well-spring of living water of life. …”
Before I finished my words, my sister was unwilling to listen more. She interrupted me, saying, “If Almighty God is really the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus, then why do religious pastors and elders all resist and condemn the Church of Almighty God? I believe their words can’t be wrong.” I retorted, “Sister, two thousand years ago, the Pharisees condemned and crucified the Lord Jesus. But can we say the Lord Jesus isn’t the true God? The Jewish Pharisees of that time all heard the way preached by the Lord Jesus, and they all acknowledged from their heart that the Lord Jesus’ words carry authority and power, and arise out of God. But they didn’tor have the slightest intention of seeking the truth. Instead, they directly convicted the Lord Jesus of blasphemy. They were too conceited and arrogant and they overly worshiped the Bible. So they had no regard for Christ who expresses the truth. From this, we can see the truth-hating satanic nature of the Pharisees. Nowadays, the religious pastors and elders all have seen that the words of Almighty God have authority, power, and contain the truth, but neither do they have a God-fearing heart at all, nor a truth-seeking heart. All they do is merely blindly resist and condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days. Are they not the same as those Pharisees who served God and resisted Him? To judge whether Almighty God is the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus, and whether this is the true way, we shouldn’t depend on whether someone acknowledges it, or follow the mainstream conceptions of the religious world. We should investigate God’s words and work; and just like the wise virgins, we should be able to recognize God’s voice.” Rather than accepting Almighty God, my sister recklessly spoke words of blaspheming and condemning God. In my eyes, she was totally bereft of a humble and seeking heart. She only taught me on a high position, and wanted to make me betray God with her qualifications. Then, I hung up.
After this experience, I saw my father and sister didn’t have a heart of revering God at all, nor did they have the attitude of seeking for the truth. They worshiped theological theories and biblical knowledge too much, and they had blind faith in the religious pastors and elders, so that they have never accepted the truth from God. Later, I saw God’s words say, “Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit. …Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. … ‘Following the work of the Holy Spirit’ means understanding the will of God today, being able to act in accordance with the present requirements of God, being able to obey and follow the God of today, and entering in accordance with the newest utterances of God. Only this is someone who follows the work of the Holy Spirit and is in the stream of the Holy Spirit. Such people are not only capable of receiving God’s praise and seeing God, but can also know God’s disposition from the latest work of God, and can know man’s conceptions and disobedience, and man’s nature and substance, from His latest work; furthermore, they are able to gradually achieve changes in their disposition during their service. Only people such as this are those who are able to gain God, and who have genuinely found the true way.”
Having read God’s words, I understood that following God mainly means following the actual work of God, means obeying and practicing the present words of God, means absolute obedience of the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can we gain the salvation of God. But as believers in God, if we only had blind faith in spiritual celebrities and worshiped the pastors and elders, asking for their advice whatever the problems were, even their permission of researching the true way, then we would be deceived and misled by the hypocritical Pharisees and religious leaders of modern times to walk the path of resisting God. This was following people. Especially when the Lord Jesus has come back and done a work of judgment in the last days, if we did not pay attention to searching for the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches or the work of the Holy Spirit, then we would be eliminated and forsaken by God’s work in the last days, and fall into the darkness weeping and gnashing their teeth. The Lord Jesus ever said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes” (Matthew 11:25). God’s righteous disposition remains the same all the time. God likes the humble, and hates the proud. Only those who seek God humbly can see His appearance, follow the Lamb’s footsteps to avoid getting lost.
Today, neither my father nor my sister accepts the work of Almighty God in the last day, but I am no longer restrained by them. Starting from today, I am willing to pursue the truth, follow the returned Lord Jesus, Christ of the last days—Almighty God, to the end. All the glory be Almighty God!
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