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How to Discern True God From Various gods?
By Chen Zhiwei
I grew up in my grandmother’s home. She was a Buddhist who paid much attention to worship idols. On the first and fifteenth days of every lunar month, she would worship the earth god in home and ancestors with fruits. And during some festivals, such as Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Ghost Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the like, my grandfather and grandmother would worship them with quite a lot of meat, vegetarian dishes, and fruits, and burn a lot of gold papers. In addition, every New Year’s Day of the Chinese lunar calendar, my whole family would go to a Buddhist temple to worship Buddha. Also, every year we would light worship candles, and if it was the year of fate for any member of my family, he must go to worship Taisui and offer sacrifices to it. Therefore, I naturally took idol worship as a part of my life.
After finishing my masters, I got my first job and formally began my career, and also successfully had a girlfriend. However, real life wasn’t as easy as I expected them to be. My work was stressful and many problems in the manufacturing process were waiting for me to solve. Many times when I encountered difficulties at work, I really wanted to give up my job and look for another. In adversity, people often seek the power of religion to change their present situation. I was not an exception. Once, because of wanting to know what my marriage, job, and fortune would be in the future, I went to a master of a temple whose prediction was said to be very accurate and had my fortune told. There, I saw that the master muttered words with his eyes looking toward the censer. Several minutes later, he said to me, “You will gradually rise to eminence in your present job and your present girlfriend will be your wife in the future.” Having heard his words, I was bursting with happiness, thinking: Seems like my later days will be better off. My career is going to be launched into the stratosphere, and I will be able to make a home for my beloved girlfriend. All of this made me feel blissful and content. So I donated some money to the temple as a token of my gratitude to the master, and then went back home happily.
However, never did I think that later because of my falling in with bad company a misfortune befell me. Once on my travels abroad, two of my companions put the drug heroin in my suitcase, with the result that after returning to China I had been involved in drug litigation for five years. In this period, my mother went to fortune-tellers in many temples to have my fortune told. However, what they said was not the same: Some said I merely belonged in the north of Taiwan and would fail to develop my career in the middle and south of it; some said I could only worship Guan Yu and worshiping the other gods would not help me. … However, no matter how I worshiped Guan Yu, in the end my litigation reached a verdict and I was still put in prison for four-and-a-half years on an unjust charge. Later, after I got out of prison, my girlfriend broke up with me, and I changed several jobs in succession, which made me feel my career was going from bad to worse. Then I began to be confused: The master could accurately tell things about the past of mine and my former girlfriend’s, but when it comes to my future fortune, how come what he told me at that time was completely different from the fact? Gradually, I became suspicious about the gods that I worshiped. But anyway, I had seen my grandmother worship them from a very young age, so in my heart I still believed in them.
Just when bad things came upon me one after another and worshiping various gods and going to senior monks were of no use, I came to know my mother had got colorectal cancer, this was like a bolt from the blue to me and almost broke me down. I once thought to go to Mazu Temple to beg her or ask our ancestors to help my mother through this difficulty, yet because I had developed doubts about these gods, and on top of that I was busy with my business, I didn’t go to worship them all along.
Later, during the time I was taking care of my mother in the hospital, I got acquainted with a Chinese who lived in Brazil on FB. She asked me if I was interested in believing in Christianity. I immediately replied to her, “I can listen to it.” Then, she introduced two brothers to me. After they knew I grew up in a Buddhist family and knew my confusion about gods through our online communication, they fellowshiped with me about how to discern the true God from false gods.
I still remember some of what they communicated with me: “First, the true God has the power to create the heavens and earth and all things. Genesis in the Bible records that God created the heavens and earth and all things. Aside from the Bible, there is no other book that dare say who created the heavens and earth and all things. Take, Sakyamuni Buddha, for example. He practiced yoga and then became a Buddha under the Bodhi tree. This is sufficient to prove that before he became a Buddha, God had already created the Bodhi tree, and that all things were not created by him, let alone mankind. So only the One who can create the heavens and earth and all things is the true God.
Second, the true God is from everlasting to everlasting and is the self-existing and ever-existing. As to those false gods, as long as we examine the history of them, we can know where they are coming from. Most of them are men and only after they died did people worship them as God. In their lifetime, they never said they themselves were God. For instance, Jigong, Li Xiuyuan, was respectfully called Living Buddha by later generations, for when he was alive he helped a lot of people. Guangong, Guan Yu, was also called Enzhu Gong. In Three Kingdoms period, during the times of war, he shared the grains with the people who were suffering from war at that time, so he was honoured as Enzhu Gong. There’s also Mazu, Lin Moniang. It is said that she often appeared on the sea to save the fishermen who were in trouble or the ships in distress, for that reason she was widely respected by people. … From this, we can see actually, it was man who named these people as Gods so that they could be worshiped by later generations. And so, people all worship them as Gods from generation to generation. This means that man created gods for themselves. So, can such gods care for or protect you?
Therefore, we need to find the source of life and seek the One who created mankind and the heavens and earth and all things. There is only one Sovereign of all things, and He is a real and living God. It is He who created us humans, who has led us to today, and who has dominion over our everyday life. All needs of us are supplied by this one true God—the Creator.”
Having finished listening to the fellowship of the two brothers, my mind suddenly became clear. I came to understand: It turns out the gods that I worshiped in the past are all made by ourselves, and are venerated as Gods by our ancestors. They are not the true God. No wonder that regardless of how I worshiped them, what I asked never came true. Actually, there is only one true God in the universe world. He is the Creator who created the heavens and earth and all things, and who rules over all things. Later the two brothers communicated with me some more, allowing me to understand more about God’s creation and sovereignty.
During the time the brothers preached the gospel to me, I felt they were thoughtful and genuine. They read to me a lot of God’s words, and then began by speaking of the climate changes, and then about disasters being happening more frequently around the world. Also, they told me that the people, matters, and things we encounter every day do not come to us accidentally, nor do things around us happen by chance, but instead they are presided, arranged by God. After hearing their fellowship, I had some understanding of the mysteries contained within all these things. I came to understand many things that I had never understood before, which made me become more curious about God’s words. I was bursting to know more about the words expressed by the true God, and about what these thought-provoking words would tell us. Thereupon, I decided to seriously investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days.
Afterward, I saw Almighty God’s words saying, “There is no prohibitiveness in His work, and it will not be constrained by any man, thing, or object, and it will not be disrupted by any hostile forces. … His work was the way to free mankind, to release them, to allow them to exist in the light, and to allow them to live. And those who worship idols or false gods live every day bound by Satan, restrained by all kinds of rules and taboos—today one thing is prohibited, tomorrow another—there is no freedom in their lives. They are like prisoners in shackles with no joy to speak of. What does ‘prohibition’ represent? It represents constraints, bonds, and evil. As soon as a person worships an idol, they are worshiping a false god, worshiping an evil spirit. Prohibition comes along with that. You can’t eat this or that, today you can’t go out, tomorrow you can’t turn your stove on, the next day you can’t move to a new house, certain days must be selected for weddings and funerals, and even for giving birth to a child. What is this called? This is called prohibition; it is bondage of mankind, and it is the shackles of Satan and evil spirits controlling them, and restraining their hearts and bodies. Do these prohibitions exist with God? When speaking of the holiness of God, you should first think of this: With God there are no prohibitions. God has principles in His words and work, but there are no prohibitions, because God Himself is the truth, the way, and the life” (From “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”). God’s words are so practical, and what He said is indeed true. Since I had started to worship false gods, I had always been prohibited from doing this thing today or another tomorrow. In my year of fate, I was told that my stars would probably be temporarily in collision with Taisui, and was then asked to go to temple to offer sacrifices to it in order to spend the year in safety. Besides, as it is said that the Hellmouth was opened in the seventh lunar month, my family would forbid me from doing water activities, and as a result, I, who loved watersports, could not go to waterpark for the whole month. Even before we went to visit our relatives who were in hospital due to a car accident, we must check the farmer’s calendar and see if it was suitable for visiting patients that day. … Thinking back, there were really too many prohibitions, which restrained me from doing everything and made me lose even the normal human life. They are too harmful!
Then, I saw more of God’s words: “So, what sort of methods does Satan use, what does it say to get you to believe in it? For example, you might not have told Satan how many people are in your family, but it might say that there are three in your family, including a daughter who is 7, as well as the ages of your parents. If you had your suspicions and doubts at the beginning, wouldn’t you feel it’s a little more believable after hearing that? (Yes.) And then Satan might say, ‘Work has been difficult for you today, your superiors don’t give you the recognition you deserve and are always working against you.’ After hearing that, you would think, ‘That’s exactly right! Things haven’t been going smoothly at work.’ So you’d believe Satan a bit more. Then it would say something else to deceive you, making you believe it even more, and little by little, you would find yourself unable to resist or be suspicious of it anymore. Satan merely uses a few trivial tricks, even trifling little tricks, to mesmerize you. As you become mesmerized, you will be unable to get your bearings, you will be at a loss for what to do, and you’ll begin to follow what Satan says. This is the ‘oh so brilliant’ method Satan uses to corrupt man where you unwittingly fall into its trap and are seduced by it. … Why is this? It’s because mankind lacks the truth and so they are unable to stand up against Satan’s temptation and seduction. Faced with Satan’s evil and its deceit, treachery, and malice, mankind is so ignorant, immature and weak, right? Isn’t this one of the ways Satan corrupts man? (Yes.)” (From “God Himself, the Unique V”). Only after reading these God’s words did I suddenly see the light. No wonder Satan is able to speak of the past events. It uses this method to deceive us into worshiping it and thus straying far from the true God. Satan and evil spirits are so despicable!
Influenced by my grandmother, I had begun to believe in superstition when I was little. After I grew up, in order to know my future and fate, time and time again I sought senior monks to tell my fortune, but every time I went from being happy to being upset. It turns out that these people were deceitful evil spirits, and they do not know our future in the slightest, for our fate is in God’s hands.
Afterward, through a period of attending meetings and reading Almighty God’s words, I saw through Satan’s schemes, had some discernment of it, and no longer believed in superstition and worshiped them, but instead I followed the one true God—Almighty God. Moreover, I found the real reliance and the direction in my life from Almighty God’s words. God said: “Man was created by God, and ought to worship God, but man actually turned his back to God and worshiped Satan. Satan became the idol in man’s heart. Thus God lost His standing in man’s heart, which is to say that He lost the meaning of His creation of man, and so to restore the meaning of His creation of man He must restore man’s original likeness and rid man of his corrupt disposition. To reclaim man from Satan, He must save man from sin. Only in this way can He gradually restore man’s original likeness and restore man’s original function, and in the end restore His kingdom” (From “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together”). “… without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how great the effort or struggle. Without the supply of life from God, man loses the sense of value in living and loses the sense of purpose in life” (From “God Is the Source of Man’s Life”).
Thank God! After finishing reading God’s words, my heart was much more enlightened. I came to know: Since we are originally made by God, we should worship God. Yet after being controlled by Satan, we wrongly take Satan as our father, and we do not worship the one true God who created the heavens and earth and all things, but rather worship false gods made by people themselves. As a result, we will not seek and accept God’s salvation of the last days. Having known this, I felt I was too ignorant before, and also deeply experienced that Satan was so despicable. It had harmed me so much and completely kept me in the dark, making me a plaything under evil spirits’ commands for these forty years. Today through reading Almighty God’s words and the communication and help of brothers and sisters, I by God’s grace finally have left the false for the true, come before the Creator, and kept pace with God’s work.
By reading Almighty God’s words, I also knew: In the past, I worshiped false gods and offered sacrifices to them just for the purpose of gaining blessings, of having a good future and making a good match, and of becoming successful in society, wanting to get the benefits by relying on belief; this is simply a false faith. I am originally a created creature made by God and so worshiping the true God is my duty and responsibility. Now, since I am able to recognize the true God, to read His words, and to find the direction of life, I must walk the path of believing in God well and pursue the truth properly, so that I can attain true obedience to God and finally be gained by Him. Thank Almighty God!
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