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It Was God Who Guided Me From the Wilderness to Canaan
By Zhenxi, Malaysia
In 1987, after accepting the Lord’s gospel, I started to persevere in attending services in our church. At that time, the brothers and sisters and I sang hymns to praise the Lord together, helped and supported each other, thus our spirits feeling very liberated. However, gradually I couldn’t feel the warmth of our church family anymore.
I remembered that at that time, there were several young co-workers in our church. On the strength of their high academic qualifications, they didn’t take the pastors into account at all. Once, they randomly squandered the church money. After learning this, a pastor accused them of their doing such things. Not only did they not repent, but they joined with some other believers to drive the pastor out of our church. Seeing that they who understood the Bible so well even couldn’t practice the Lord’s teachings, became envious, disputed things and suppressed each other, I felt that our church hadn’t had the blessings of the Lord. Later, many believers continuously chose to leave our church because they couldn’t bear to see their actions, thus there being fewer and fewer people in our church.
Afterward, the pastors and elders of our church decided to use the annual Christmas party to attract more people to coming to our church. Therefore, on Christmas Day, they would invite some actors, singers and known people who were all believers in the Lord to come to our church to share their experiences in the faith. There were many people coming to the party, but most of them were for their idols’ sake. After finishing watching the performances, a half people would leave before listening to the preaching of pastors. Some others would stay and listen; but for a while they would feel that that was boring and then never come again. So, even if we had prepared many gifts for them and entertained them kindly, we still couldn’t keep them in our church. Therefore, after several years, the believers in our church were much fewer.
During recent years, everyone clung to the world more and more. The preachers seldom paid attention to the growth of the spiritual lives of us believers; instead, they often arranged some training courses and church camp programs and encouraged us to travel from time to time, causing everyone to cling to the pleasures of the flesh more and more. When gathering together, the brothers and sisters were just chatting about where they went to travel and where the delicious food and amusing things were, simply having no inclination to communicate about the Bible. Thinking of the previous scenes of the church and looking at the state of the church today, I felt waves of disappointment inside: “Why has our church become like what it is today? The brothers and sisters cling to the world and there is jealousy and strife between the pastors, but why don’t they encounter the Lord’s rebuke and discipline? Does the Lord not love us anymore?” I was very troubled by this. But when I thought of the Lord’s salvation to me, I thought that regardless of others, I would still remain within our church to repay the Lord’s love.
Until one day in June, 2016, I made an appointment with a close sister who was in the same church with me to go out to travel. During lunch, we talked about the situation of the church. She said, “Yes. The situation of the church becomes worse and worse. The pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for many years and are familiar with the Bible but all that they do doesn’t conform with the Lord’s teachings. God has detested and rejected them, and then how could our church still have God’s blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit? The desolate situation of the church and the evil and depraved phenomena of the present society remind me of the words of the Bible, ‘But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:37). In my opinion, these are signs of the Lord’s return! Matthew 24 records, ‘And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. … And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matthew 24:10, 12). Iniquity is more and more prevalent in the church, and this must be detested and rejected by God. Besides, this is also the main reason for the desolation of the church. In such a church, we won’t receive the Lord’s approval and blessings.
Recently, I’ve investigated the Church of Almighty God. From the words of Almighty God, I’ve also understood another reason for the desolation of the church. That is, in order to save us humans, God has once again become flesh and expressed millions of words. He is here doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house to judge and cleanse those who come before His throne. The work of the Holy Spirit thereupon shifts onto the people who accept God’s work of the last days. Just like at the end of the Age of Law, when the temple, which once had God’s glory, became desolate. The Jewish people didn’t hold to God’s laws, improper sacrifices were made, and the temple became a place of trade, a den of thieves. This was because the Jewish religious leaders didn’t abide by Jehovah God’s laws, didn’t fear God in their hearts and departed completely from the way of God, thus losing the work of the Holy Spirit. But another reason was that God had been incarnated to do the work of redeeming mankind in the Age of Grace. God’s work had changed. All those who accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work received the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a new way to practice their faith, but those who rejected and resisted the work of the Lord Jesus were eliminated by God’s work and fell into dark desolation. Now, if we want to receive the work of the Holy Spirit and gain provision of the living water of life, we have to follow the footprints of the Lamb. Because only the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit can supply us with life and only then will our spiritual lives progress.”
After hearing my sister’s fellowship, I recalled scene after scene of the days past and then pondered over her words. I thought what she said was quite right. Now, our church indeed had no work of the Holy Spirit. Although we attended meetings all the time, we didn’t receive any supply in spirit, so our spirits were still that thirsty and weak. I really thanked the Lord’s enlightenment and guidance for allowing her to understand so much and explain the reasons why the church lost the work of the Holy Spirit so clearly. However, she said that God had returned and was doing the judgment work; in the past when I was in the church, I had never heard the pastors give sermons about the judgment work of God, so I was somewhat curious about it. Therefore, I asked her to tell me what the judgment work of God was about. She said that she only recently started investigating the work of Almighty God in the last days, so she didn’t understand many other things and that after going back, she would contact the sisters from the Church of Almighty God to fellowship with me.
After we went back, she gave me the book Listen to the Voice of God Behold the Appearance of God. As soon as I got it, I was just in a hurry to read it. In a few days, I had read more than ten passages. Several days later, she contacted the brothers and sisters from the Church of Almighty God. In our conversation, I talked about my opinion, “After reading these words regarding ‘What is the work of managing mankind?’ ‘The Relationship Between Each of the Three Stages of God’s Work,’ etc. in this book, I was touched a lot in my heart, thinking that they are indeed from God. God has done three stages of work and each stage is built upon the foundation of the last and is more elevated than the last and structured. Apart from God Himself, who could speak the work done by God so clearly? But I don’t understand that God has come to do the work of judgment because I’ve never heard the pastors gave sermons about that. Can you fellowship with me about that?”
A sister said, “Thank God. God Himself does His own work. For the sake of saving us humans, He has expended much painstaking effort and done many works. In the last days, He has once again become flesh and expressed words to save us. Let’s read two passages of Almighty God’s words together and then we will understand the significance of the work of judgment. Almighty God says, ‘Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God was man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken, and hate the flesh, and hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, it frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is not better salvation than chastisement and judgment! … In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning, and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, so he can free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment”).
‘In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God’” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth”).
Almighty God’s words allowed me to gain an understand of God’s work of judgment in the last days: “Although we believe in the Lord and follow Him, we still cannot extricate ourselves from living in sin and even the pastors and elders who have believed in the Lord for many years and are familiar with the Bible can’t practice the Lord’s teachings. So, in the last days, that God comes to do the work of judgment is all too necessary and truly meaningful. Isn’t this just our actual need? Chastisement and judgment are the light of man’s salvation. This word is great. Thank God! In the past, I always thought that as long as we avoided committing wrongful acts, held on to the Lord’s way and did things according to God’s teachings, the Lord Jesus would forgive our sins and we would be saved by Him and no longer belong to sin. My thinking on believing in God and entering the kingdom of heaven was indeed too naive. After being corrupted by Satan, we still have its disposition within us. So we have to go through God’s work of judgment and chastisement and only then can we truly repent and make a real change. And such a work can only be done by God for only He can judge and change man.”
Next, the sister fellowshiped with us about many other truths, allowing me to have some understanding of the work of judgment done by God, the value of it and the results it achieves. This made me even more assured that, Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are one God; God’s work of judgment in the last days is an improved form of work which is being done on the foundation of the work of the Lord Jesus. In different ages,and means by which He works are different but the works are indeed done by the one God in order to thoroughly save and change man.
In the following days, I started to visit the website and study the Church of Almighty God. When seeing the films, videos, hymns and recitations of God’s utterances produced by the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God, I felt incomparably delighted and happy within. To my surprise, the brothers and sisters in the films could communicate the truth on an issue so clearly and in such detail, allowing the doubts and confusions I had had during all these years of faith to be resolved bit by bit; this made me see that the Church of Almighty God indeed had the work of the Holy Spirit and Almighty God was the return of the Lord Jesus! Thanks be to God. It was God’s guidance, enlightenment and leadership that allowed me to follow the footprints of the Lamb and come to the good land of Canaan from the wilderness.
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