In fact, God’s disposition is open to everyone and is not hidden, because God has never consciously avoided any person … Read More God’s word of the day: “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” (Excerpt 20)
An Accident Awakens Me to the Great Importance of Attending Meetings
By Xingwu, United States
Editor’s Note: Many brothers and sisters who have just believed in God fail to attend meetings on time and often indulge themselves with the excuse that they are busy with work and have no time, thus becoming more and more distant from God. It’s the same for Christian Xingwu. Since he is busy helping his sister take care of her business, he pays little attention to attending meetings, and unexpectedly Satan stretches forth its black hand to him—he is met with an accident. Only after this does he begin to awaken and come to understand that attending meetings is so very important to Christians. Let’s have a look at his experience …
My Heart Shuns God Because I’m Too Busy With Work to Attend Meetings
In April 2018, I was fortunate enough to accept God’s work of the last days. I felt extremely happy and joyful to welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. After that, I frequently had meetings with my brothers and sisters. We read God’s words and communicated our individual experiences and understandings. I benefited daily from God’s words. Inside my heart, I had peace and joy. After some time, I came to understand many truths that I had previously never understood, and I gained much more than I had in religion.
In late December 2018, my sister’s store became busy and was shorthanded, so she asked me to work overtime. However, the time needed to attend meetings often clashed with my overtime work. Every time I returned from attending a meeting my sister would say to me unhappily: “Brother, the store is busy; don’t always spend time attending meetings. When you have time, help out in the store.” Hearing that, I thought: “It doesn’t matter if I don’t go to meetings a few times. It is fine to believe in God in my heart. After a while, when I’m not busy, I will attend meetings regularly.” Therefore, I always put the store’s business first and only went to meetings when I was free. Sometimes the meetings had already begun for a long time when I arrived; sometimes when I finished my work, the meetings were already over and so I could not attend. Unwittingly, I felt much less invigorated in attending meetings. What’s more, since I was always very tired from working overtime during that period, when I returned home, I would often fall asleep before I had even read two passages of God’s words, and sometimes I was so exhausted that I would go simply to bed. And I often just went through the motions in prayer. As a result, I felt more and more distant from God.
During that time, my brothers and sisters fellowshiped with me many times, saying: “You’re busy with work and fail to attend meetings regularly. You have fallen into Satan’s tricks. In the last days, the spiritual battle is intense. Satan doesn’t want us to receive God’s salvation, so it tries to use all manner of people, events and things to disrupt our normal relationship with God. From the outside, the store is busy, but in fact in the spiritual world, Satan is using this to disturb you so that you will have no time to attend meetings and pursue the truth. Slowly, you will get further and further away from God, lose God’s care and protection and eventually be captured by Satan. We must be able to discern Satan’s vicious motives.” Every time after hearing their fellowship, I verbally agreed to attend meetings, but I thought in my heart: “My sister’s store is busy and this is the actual situation. If I don’t help out, she will surely complain against me. When I’m not busy in the future, I’ll normally attend meetings. Won’t it be all the same? What’s more, I cannot see and feel how Satan disturbs and devours us. It may not be so serious.” I always turned a deaf ear to the fellowship of my brothers and sisters. I still seldom went to meetings and sometimes even though I went I could not find any kind of internal calm but thought about work matters. As a result, I gained little from the meetings. I could not feel calm and peaceful but felt constantly exhausted. It was just at that time that Satan stretched forth its black hand to me …
Satan’s Affliction Came Upon Me Unknowingly
At 7:00 p.m. on the fourth day of the first lunar month in 2019, a customer came to the store to buy materials. I got everything he asked for except a small bunch of ten-foot-long iron bars. I then climbed a ladder to a shelf over ten feet high to get one small bunch of iron bars from a big bunch (made up of 100 small bunches). I first cut off the iron sheet on the right side of the big bunch which was used to bind it and then cut off the iron sheet on the left side. Seeing that the big bunch was not loose, I held on to the iron rack over my head with one hand, and used all my strength to try to pull a small bunch from the left side with the other hand. Unexpectedly, the big bunch of iron bars suddenly became loose and the iron bars fell on to me like a falling wall. With only one hand holding the rack, I could hardly hold on. I thought: “I’m going to die. I’m over ten feet from the ground and below are stones, cast iron pipes and iron bars lying at sixes and sevens. If I fall down, then I will definitely die or be crippled.” At this critical moment, I hurriedly called on God: “Oh God, save me! Save me!” I then lost all consciousness. I didn’t know how much time had passed when I faintly heard the voices of the people around me and felt that they were pulling me up …
When I had just regained consciousness, I felt an unbearable pain in my chest and felt that someone was cutting my clothes and trousers to rescue me. I struggled to open my eyes but failed. My body was hurting badly and I felt suffocated—I was in terrible pain, as if I was about to die. After a while, I passed out again. When I woke up, I found myself lying in a ward. I was still alive—I knew it was God’s protection and I kept thanking God in my heart. After an examination, the doctor told my sister: “I thought his injuries would be very serious, but in fact he doesn’t have a concussion or any broken bones but only cracked his bones. If he had fractured one of his cervical vertebrae, he would have to have an operation and this would probably cause paraplegia. Now though his injuries are still serious, he doesn’t need an operation. He is so lucky.” I was much moved hearing that. I really thanked God! Thinking back to how I had fallen from that height and how so many iron bars smashed straight down onto me, if not for God’s protection, I would have lost my life. With this in mind, my heart swelled with gratitude to God.
Seeing Through Satan’s Sinister Motives
The second day, my church sisters went to the hospital to see me. When they learned that I only cracked my bones after falling from such a height, they all thanked God for His protection of me. Sister Liu said: “Brother, your encounter with the accident is actually Satan trying to disturb and devour you. Let me read two passages of God’s words to you.
“God’s words say: ‘God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever 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 ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. … Satan is at war with God, trailing along behind Him. Its objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants, to completely extinguish those whom God wants. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession to be used by it—this is its objective.’
“‘On earth, all manner of evil spirits are endlessly on the prowl for a place to rest, are ceaselessly searching for the corpses of men to eat up. My people! You must remain inside My care and protection. Never behave dissolutely! Never behave recklessly! Rather, offer up your loyalty in My house, and only with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s cunning. Under no circumstances must you behave as in the past.’”
After reading God’s words, Sister Liu fellowshiped: “Ever since mankind was corrupted by Satan, God has been working continuously to save mankind, while Satan has been trying everything to disturb and disrupt God’s work. Satan uses all kinds of people, events and things in our lives to disrupt us—it either brings mishaps into our homes or targets and attacks our weak points, in the vain hope of dragging us back into its camp and finally making us lose God’s salvation and be destroyed by God along with it. During this time, you’ve been unable to attend meetings regularly since your sister’s store is shorthanded and you’ve busied yourself with it. From the outside, it appears to be the actual situation but in fact Satan’s disturbance is behind this. Satan tries to use this method to take over your heart, so that you have no time to worship God. You may only see it as missing several meetings because you were busy and think it’s nothing serious, but Satan’s sinister motives are to make you become more and more distant from God, become less and less willing to attend meetings and read God’s words, and even lose interest in believing in God, so that you will lose God’s care and protection in the end and be devoured by Satan little by little. Your sudden injury contains God’s good intentions. Though you’ve suffered some pain in this environment, it is beneficial to your life entry. On one hand, we can truly see Satan’s evil and hatefulness, be able to discern and reject it in our hearts and not fall foul of its cunning schemes again; on the other hand, we can see God’s love. Though we rebel against God so much, He still has mercy on us and watches over and protects us when Satan harms us. This even more makes us see God’s immense love and salvation for us.”
As I heard the sister’s fellowship, I kept nodding my head and said with excitement: “Yes, that’s right! The brothers and sisters have always fellowshiped with me that Satan uses all kinds of ways to draw people in and swallow people, but I never knew how to see things from the perspective of the spiritual world. I thought it was the actual situation that my work was busy and that it was no big deal to not attend meetings. Now I know that Satan uses these things to make me shun God and end up being harmed by Satan. Though I didn’t attend meetings during this period, when I called out to God when the accident happened, He saved my life. Thank God so much! From now on, I must no longer disobey God; I have to attend meetings in earnest, read God’s words more and perform my duty to repay God’s love.”
Attending Meetings Is So Important
The sisters then fellowshiped with me that as believers in God, we must have a place for God in our hearts and prioritize worshiping God. Attending meetings, praying, and reading God’s words are ways to establish a normal relationship with God and they are something that we Christians must do at the very least. Sister Liu also read this passage of God’s words: “‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.”
The sister then shared this fellowship: “We know from God’s words that belief in God is not just about verbal acknowledgment and believing within our hearts. Rather it is to frequently come before God, tooften, to read God’s words often, to attend meetings often, to understand more of the truth from God’s words, to bring God’s words into real life, and to practically experience God’s work in the environments God arranges for us every day, so that we can cast off our corrupt dispositions, obey and satisfy God, and in the end be saved by God. Only this can be called true belief in God. If we fail to act according to God’s requirements and do not attend meetings, pray, communicate the truth or practice God’s words, and if we just believe in God in our spare time or take our faith as spiritual sustenance, then no matter how many years we believe in God, we won’t be able to shed our corrupt dispositions or have a true understanding of God. This kind of faith is just paying lip service and has no substance. God does not acknowledge this sort of faith.”
The sister continued fellowshiping: “We always consider our work more important than meetings and are unable to attend meetings on time. This indicates that we don’t understand the importance of meetings. As a matter of fact, church life is a way to fellowship God’s words and understand the truth. Only through fellowshiping with our brothers and sisters can we understand the truth more and more and become ever clearer on the path of practice. Therefore, we cannot leave the church life. Just as the Bible says: ‘Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25). From this, we can see that attending meetings is of great importance to us believers in God and that we must persist in attending meetings at all times. Since our caliber is limited, we can only understand the literal meaning of God’s words by ourselves and cannot grasp God’s true intentions and requirements. But by fellowshiping with our brothers and sisters about our own experiences and understandings, we can obtain more enlightenment and light, and learn from each other so that we’ll be able to better understand the true meaning of God’s words and the path of practice will be even clearer. In addition, at meetings, we can seek the truth together to resolve the problems we encounter in ordinary times and this will help us to bring God’s words into real life. This way, whatever happens, we can always focus on coming before God, reflecting on our own corruption and seeking God’s will, and then can practice in line with God’s requirements. This is beneficial to us escaping our corruption and growing in our lives more quickly. If we cannot persistently attend meetings, nor do we know how to seek the truth, then when we face difficulties or problems, we don’t understand God’s will without the guidance of His words, and we will often not know what to do nor how to resolve them, and will feel exhausted physically and mentally. Even worse, if we shun God and lose His care and protection, this will give an opportunity for Satan’s work and we will easily be disturbed and swallowed up by Satan and live with Satan’s afflictions. Just as God’s words say: ‘If your spiritual life is not normal, you cannot understand God’s current work; you always feel that it is completely incompatible with your own notions, and you are willing to follow Him, but you lack internal drive. So no matter what God is currently doing, people must cooperate. If people don’t cooperate the Holy Spirit can’t do His work, and if people do not have a heart of cooperation, they can hardly attain the work of the Holy Spirit. … If people do not cooperate with God and do not pursue deeper entry, God will take away what they once had. Inside, people are always greedy for ease and would rather enjoy what is already available. They want to gain God’s promises without paying any price at all. These are the extravagant thoughts within mankind. Gaining life itself without paying a price—what has ever been so easy? When someone believes in God and seeks to enter into life and seeks a change in their disposition, they must pay a price and achieve a state where they will always follow God no matter what He does. This is something that people must do. Even if you follow all of this as a rule, you must stick to it, and no matter how great the trials, you cannot let go of your normal relationship with God. You should be able to pray, maintain your church life, and stay with brothers and sisters. When God tries you, you should still seek the truth. This is the minimum for a spiritual life.’ As it can be seen, a normal spiritual life is very important to us. Praying, reading God’s words, and attending meetings are all an indispensable part of a spiritual life. Only by adhering to these will we be able to build a normal relationship with God and receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, regardless of how busy our work lives are and how tired our physical bodies are, we should still diligently pray, read God’s words and attend meetings to maintain a normal spiritual life. Thus, we will know how to seek the truth when we encounter difficulties and will have a path to practice. And only then will our spiritual life become unyielding and will our relationship with God become more normal over time.”
Only after hearing the sister’s fellowship did I begin to reflect, and I thought: “I just claimed to believe in God, thinking that as long as I held God within my heart, that was enough. After accepting God’s work of the last days, though I felt much enjoyment at meetings that I had never felt in religion, since I didn’t know what genuine belief in God was nor did I know anything about spiritual wars, I just regarded faith as my hobby—when I had the time I would attend meetings and when I was too busy with work I would not. I even went through the motions in praying and in reading God’s words, instead of focusing on pursuing the truth. Busy with work every day, I grew further and further apart from God and was almost pulled away by Satan. If I had been crippled or lost my life in this accident, no matter how busy I was every day back then, what use would it be? Since I have accepted God’s work of the last days, I should cherish the chance to gain the truth and life. I should no longer muddle through in believing in God and I will proactively attend meetings and maintain a normal relationship with God.”
Thankful for God’s Love
In the days that followed, while I was recuperating, I began to focus on reading God’s words and actively participate in online meetings. Hearing the testimonies of the experience of my brothers and sisters, my spirit felt particularly peaceful and joyful. During that period, I felt my heart drawing closer and closer to God. A few days later, when I went to see the doctor to get some medicine, the doctor said: “You’re very lucky that you don’t need an operation after falling from such a height.” I told him that it was God who had protected me and he said it was so wondrous. I gave great thanks to God from my heart. My elder brother had fallen from a height of eight feet, breaking three of his vertebrae, and thus he had been unable to walk for four months. I had fallen from such a height in my fifties and been hit by such heavy iron bars. However, I not only didn’t have to undergo an operation but recovered so quickly. God really was protecting me.
In less than two months, my wounds basically healed. Though I couldn’t do very heavy work, I could work normally. My coworkers also said that I was really lucky that I was not crippled from the fall, and they were all amazed that I had recovered so quickly. I was truly thankful to God!
Now, whenever I recall this experience, I thank God very much. Though I suffered some pain, I’ve seen Satan’s wickedness—it uses all kinds of methods to distance man from God and tries to harm and devour man at any time. Also, I’ve realized that we believers cannot muddle through our belief in God, and that we have to pursue the truth, diligently pray, attend meetings and read God’s words. This way, we can maintain our normal relationship with God and shun the harm caused by Satan. Now, I not only go to meetings regularly but I am also enthusiastically fulfilling my duty. My relationship with God is becoming ever more normal. Thank God for His protection. I resolve to diligently reciprocate God’s love.
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