In October 2014, I came to Germany to study. At first, I was full of confidence in the life here, but due to the language barrier and enormous pressure to study, gradually my original confidence faded away. Just when I was in my most depressed state, one of my classmates brought me into a Chinese church. The brothers and sisters there greeted me very cordially, proactively invited me to have meals and blessed me, which made me feel very liberated. Afterward, I often attended Bible study meetings and Saturday worship, and thus became a Christian.
Gradually, I discovered that there was no illumination in the sermons preached by the pastor; the believers engaged in physical interactions, and they ate snacks or chatted during meetings. Thus, I wasn’t enjoying the meetings anymore. Meanwhile, the pastor and his wife often said that their spirit had withered for a long time, and that their lives hadn’t renewed, not knowing what to do. Besides, they didn’t have God-fearing hearts: When they spoke indulgently or saw some brothers or sisters do things not in line with God’s will, they didn’t take it seriously and said, laughing: “No big deal. The Lord Jesus has forgiven all our sins.” Afterward, the church organized all kinds of activities and held dinner meetings, which looked lively outwardly, but I couldn’t feel the presence of the Lord. Later, my spirit withered to a certain extent, and I couldn’t help but begin to live in the flesh, lost myself in online games.
In early 2017, I got acquainted with Sister Sun on the Internet. When talking with her, I found that she was someone who truly believes in God, because she could talk about God’s intentions in many matters, which brought me much help. One day, when we talked about our experiences of prayer, I said embarrassedly: “I don’t know how to pray. My brothers and sisters can pray for a long time, while I can only utter a few prayers.” Then she said: “It matters not how many are the words of our prayer; what is key is whether or not our prayer is accepted by God.” Then she sent me a passage and told me: “It is about the practice of prayer. You can read it.” After quickly browsing it, I found that it wasn’t from the Bible. I thought maybe it was from another book, and then began to read: “What does it mean to truly pray? … Prayer is not a case of going through the formalities, or following procedure, or reciting the words of God, which is to say, prayer does not mean parroting words and copying others. In prayer, you must give your heart to God, sharing the words in your heart with God so that you may be touched by God. If your prayers are to be effective, then they must be based on your reading of God’s words. Only by praying amid God’s words will you be able to receive more enlightenment and illumination.” The more I read these words, the more I felt they were fresh and enlightening and could give us a path to follow, and I was especially inspired. I had never heard of such a way to pray, nor had I heard the pastor or elders speak such words. I felt that there was no way that these words could be spoken by a normal person, thinking: “Where did Sister Sun get it? Is it really from a spiritual work?” Out of curiosity, I looked up these words online, only to find that they were from The Church of Almighty God. I stared at the computer and felt shocked, remembering that some time ago the church informed us, “Recently, there is a sect named Eastern Lightning on the Internet. When you see it, block it.” Unexpectedly, I was actually chatting with them now. What should I do? I became nervous, but felt that these words sent by Sister Sun were really good, for they had pointed out the right ways of practice and made me feel clarity in my mind. And in my interactions with Sister Sun these days, she patiently helped me and told me how to practice to satisfy God in the matters I encountered. I felt she was really sincere, and that there was nothing wrong about her. The more I thought, the more confused I felt. “Is it because I have no discernment? No, I can’t blindly refuse her. I must figure this out.” So, I said to Sister Sun as if nothing had happened, “These words are very good. I like them very much.”
In the following days, all that Sister Sun fellowshiped with me about was our belief in God. When we talked about some problems, she would send me some relevant words, and patiently fellowship with me to make me understand, which greatly benefited me. I felt that she had the work of the Holy Spirit. One day, I couldn’t help but ask her, “These words sent by you are from The Church of Almighty God, aren’t they?” She answered, “Yes, they are.” And then I said, “I heard you bearing witness to the Lord Jesus’ return, but some people don’t believe it. So how can I confirm that the gospel you spread comes from God?” Sister Sun said, “If we want to distinguish whether or not it comes from God’s work and words, and whether it is the true way, first, we should know that whatever work and words from God can certainly achieve some practical results. If we learn about these, we will grasp the principles of discerning the true way from the false way, and thus we can tell the difference.” After that, Sister Sun shared a passage of Almighty God’s words with me: “In distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way.”
Sister Sun then fellowshiped, “Through the words of God, we can know that it can be measured from three aspects whether it is the true way or not. First, we should discern whether there is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus’ work is from God. At that time, after seeing His authoritative and powerful words and work, many people followed Him. Finally, His work of redemption spread throughout the world. Similarly, today Almighty God’s work of the last days has not only been spread all over Mainland China, but also expanded to all the nations of the world. And most importantly, after reading God’s words, His chosen people can throw off weaknesses, and increasingly have faith in God. It is the result achieved by the work of the Holy Spirit.” After hearing Sister Sun’s fellowship, I thought of the actual circumstances in our church: There is no illumination in the sermons preached by the pastor; the faith of the believers grows cold; we all follow the flesh and the evil trends of the world in our daily lives. In order to rejuvenate the church, our church often organized all kinds of activities, but our conditions didn’t improve at all. By contrast, in interactions with Sister Sun these days, I no longer felt that negative and weak. And especially after reading the words of Almighty God, I also knew how to pray in a way that conforms to God’s will and began to have a heart of pursuit. I could feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Sister Sun continued, “Second, we should look at whether or not the way has the truth, and whether it can bring change to our life dispositions. We all know that after being corrupted by Satan, we humans have been the servants of sins. The Lord Jesus’ work of redemption only redeemed us from the bindings of the law, but the sinful nature of us hasn’t been changed. Today God has returned to flesh uttering millions of words, doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house on the foundation of the redemption work of the Lord Jesus. Through reading God’s words and experiencing the judgment and chastisement of His words, we gradually know and have a real hatred of our own corrupt nature; our motivations and views concerning the belief in God have gradually been cleansed and changed. And many videos of these true testimonies have been produced and released online, which are all facts visible before people’s eyes. It can be seen that the truth expressed by Almighty God can really change us.
“Third, we should look at whether or not this stage of work can make us have a new knowledge of God. As we all know, we humans are incapable of penetrating the spiritual realm, so only when God Himself reveals His deeds to us, can we come to know Him. It is just like in the Age of Law when Jehovah God proclaimed laws to guide man in his life. The people who complied with the laws had God’s protection and grace, and the people who broke the laws were struck down and accursed of God. From this we have a knowledge of Jehovah’s disposition of majesty and wrath. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross in order to redeem mankind, from which we know His disposition of love and compassion. Today, through experiencing Almighty God’s work and His words, we know that God’s disposition is primarily righteous: When we obey God and revere God, He protects and cares for us in every situation; when we defy God and oppose God, He will immediately conceal Himself from us, judge and refine us; when Satan’s evil forces disrupt and destroy God’s work, they will immediately be met with God’s burning and punishment. From God’s various work, we can know that He has different dispositions. He is not only merciful and kind, but even more holy and majestic. It is through reading Almighty God’s words and experiencing His work that we can have this understanding of God.”
After hearing the sister’s fellowship, I felt what she said was reasonable, and meanwhile felt brightened in my heart. After grasping the principles of discerning the true way from the false way, I wasn’t afraid of being deceived anymore. Afterward, Sister Sun fellowshiped with me about the three stages of God’s work. Then I watched all kinds of dance and song videos and gospel movies produced by The Church of Almighty God, which made my life and spirit renewed. After many days of investigation, seeking, and fellowshiping in gatherings, I was sure that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. Thereupon I joined The Church of Almighty God, living a church life with the brothers and sisters.
One day, the brothers and sisters from my original church invited me to attend a gospel camp. I thought I could take advantage of this opportunity to preach the gospel to them, and then I went there with them. The next day, I saw there were some books of negative publicity on a shelf, and then I opened one of them and saw some negative information about The Church of Almighty God. Before, I had heard of some negative rumors, but at that time I was sucked in by Almighty God’s words during my investigation, and never looked up the relevant information on the Internet. Today when reading the information, I became flustered. Suddenly, I saw a piece of information: “When people believe in Almighty God, they will abandon their families.” At that time, I couldn’t help thinking: “The brothers and sisters from my original church are busy looking after their families, and even have no time to attend gatherings. Why do the people from The Church of Almighty God have so much time to preach the gospel? Do they really have abandoned their family? But I feel they are the people who truly believe in God. It is impossible for them to do such things. The information on the Internet is not trustworthy.” At that time, I thought of Pastor Zhang, who had a lot of prestige. “He has believed in the Lord for many years and understands the teachings of the Lord, so he won’t tell lies to deceive me. If he reads the words of Almighty God, he can surely discern whether or not Almighty God is the Lord Jesus’ return.” Thereupon, I decided to consult Pastor Zhang.
After the gathering, I asked Pastor Zhang, “There is a church testifying the Lord Jesus’ return; do you know that?” He said in astonishment, “You mean Eastern Lightning?” “Yes,” I said. “I feel Almighty God’s words are really good …” Before I completed my sentence, he quickly asked me, “Did you read their books?” I said, “Yes.” Unexpectedly, he stared at me with glaring eyes, saying, “What’s so good about that? They don’t have truth at all.” Then, he inculcated me with a lot of negative information. After I heard that, my heart felt as if it were emptied, but I couldn’t completely believe what he said. Then I urgently said to him, “Many rumors are fabricated by the CCP.” But he said, “Although the CCP is good at making up lies and skewing facts, their condemnation of Eastern Lightning is believable. I feel you have been enthralled by the way of Eastern Lightning. So I advise you not to read it anymore, or you will be pathetic.” After saying this, he left shaking his head. His expression threw me into a panic. I thought, “He has believed in the Lord his whole life, knows the Bible very well and understands the teachings of the Lord. He couldn’t have cheated me.”
As soon as I returned home the next day, I turned on the computer, contacted a sister, and questioned her, “Do you still love your mother? Is it that you have abandoned your family? I’ve always thought that The Church of Almighty God is the best and most righteous church. So I joined it without any hesitation. But if you are really like what the rumors say, you are too annoying. Now, I don’t know whom I should believe, and you must give me an explanation.” After hearing what I said, the sister made an earnest prayer, and then communicated with me patiently, “Brother, you always think that The Church of Almighty God is the best and most righteous church. This is confirmed from within your heart after you read the truth expressed by Almighty God. Since you’ve contacted the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God for a period time, if they were really like what the rumors say, why didn’t you have any confirmation in your heart? Why do you negate your past knowledge just because of some rumors and hearsay? From whom does your present performance arise? All that from God makes our hearts quiet, while all that from Satan makes us restless without peace, unclear and indistinct about visions, unable to stand our ground, and even suspect God. If we selectively listen to and believe those rumors instead of quieting our hearts before God to seek the truth, then we’ll be easily disturbed by Satan.” The sister’s words immediately reminded me: “Right! All that from God makes our hearts quiet.Look at the computer In the course of investigating, what God’s words and the brothers and sisters’ fellowships brought me was all steadiness and enjoyment, while the negative information I saw online only brought me unease and doubts. Could it be that I’ve really been disturbed by the rumors and fallen into Satan’s tricks?” At this thought, I immediately prayed to God in my heart and asked Him to quiet my heart. At that time, the sister fellowshiped with me, “For every believer in God, it is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle to preach the gospel and witness God. So the statement online that we don’t want our families because of believing in God is purely a rumor and fallacy. All of us know the Lord Jesus’ teachings in the Bible: ‘He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ (Matthew 10:37). ‘So likewise, whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:33). From the Lord Jesus’ words we can see that God requires us to love Him above all else, including our husbands or wives. Let’s think back to the past: To spread the gospel and witness God, all the apostles and disciples throughout the ages cast away their families and gave up jobs, and some of them were even martyred for God. Can we say that they didn’t want their families or that their faith was wrong? Noah sold all of his property to make the ark, preached the gospel for one hundred and twenty years, and never stopped preaching in spite of being ridiculed and despised by people. Peter was another example. He left his parents and offered up his youth to follow the Lord Jesus to preach everywhere. These people all acted according to God’s requirements and will. What they did is good deeds and righteous actions, and they are the examples we should follow. No one blames or judges them as not wanting their families. From their experiences, we can see that everyone who spends for God can stand up and cooperate with Him precisely because they have heard God’s voice and known His will. We also have human weaknesses and don’t want to be insulted by others; if it hadn’t been for God’s words and love conquering us, who could have put aside pleasures of the flesh and forsaken our own family? It’s from God’s words and work that we know God loves man too much and that He is eager for everyone to be saved by Him. So in order to let everyone know this good news and be able to welcome the return of the Lord Jesus in the last days, we have the responsibility and obligation to testify to more people of God’s work. If we only cared about our own families and satisfied our own interests, how could God’s gospel be expanded? The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). Preaching the gospel is God’s requirement for us as well as our moral imperative. So, if you say that our forsaking families and careers to spread the gospel means that we don’t want family and that our faith is wrong, isn’t this a gross distortion of facts? We should learn to discern those rumors and cunning schemes from Satan and must never arbitrarily judge God’s work.”
After hearing the sister’s fellowship, I felt very ashamed. It’s not only everyone’s responsibility but also the Lord Jesus’ requirement for us to preach the gospel and witness God. What’s more, all the saints throughout the ages forsook many things for God’s work; these brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God, who have given up their families and jobs to preach the gospel, are also practicing the Lord’s words. After hearing God’s words and knowing God’s intention of saving mankind, they willingly abandoned everything and endure persecution and humiliation to spread the gospel of God’s work and bring more people before God. This is after God’s heart and is the most righteous thing. Don’t those who slander them precisely come from Satan? Look at those people in my former church. They not only don’t pay anything like this, but covet the comforts of the flesh, and always ask God to keep their families safe and careers prosperous. They just care about their own interests without any consideration for God’s will. Do such people have any conscience and sense at all?
Through the sister’s fellowship, I gained discrimination of Satan’s rumors and meanwhile understood God’s will of His working to save mankind. After the meeting, I came before Almighty God, prayed to repent, and begged God to forgive my ignorance. At night, lying on the bed, I kept thinking about one question: “The words of Almighty God are all the truth, which can be confirmed as long as one reads them. Pastor Zhang has believed in the Lord for a lifetime and is supposed to understand the truth, but why does he fail to recognize that Almighty God’s word is the truth and even spread rumors and condemn The Church of Almighty God?”
In the gathering of the next day, I spoke out my confusion, “Now, I can be sure that all kinds of negative messages are all baseless rumors. In the course of investigating, I’m able to feel that Almighty God’s words are all the truth. But the thing I do not understand is that the pastors all graduated from seminaries, have believed in God for a long time, know the Bible very well, and appear very pious; why do they fail to recognize God’s voice when reading Almighty God’s words, and even condemn and resist Him?” After hearing my words, a sister communicated with me, “Although they have been to seminary school and know the Bible well, it doesn’t mean they have a heart that fears God, nor that they are those who know God and understand the truth. Now, Almighty God does the work of judgment beginning with the house of God, and has expressed several million words to cleanse and save mankind. Hundreds of videos of witnessing produced by The Church of Almighty God have already been published online, for people from all nations and all lands to seek and investigate. This has shaken the whole religious community. Brothers and sisters from all denominations and sects who love the truth, after reading the word of Almighty God, all recognize that this is precisely the voice of God and the truth. One after another they have accepted the gospel of God’s kingdom. We also can confirm that this is God’s voice after reading Almighty God’s words. However, when the pastors and elders in the religious community see Almighty God’s words, some of them don’t seek or investigate; some even spread rumors, publicly condemn God, deny God, resist God, and blaspheme God after reading Almighty God’s words. What is the problem here? In regard to this question, let’s first take a look at a passage of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, ‘Any who do not understand the purpose of God’s work are those who stand against God, and even more so are those who are aware of the purpose of God’s work yet do not seek to satisfy God. Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of “robust flesh,” how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?’
“From the words of Almighty God we can see that even though one has believed in God for years and knows the Bible very well, it doesn’t mean that he understands the truth and knows God. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, He revealed many deeds. According to people’s imaginations, the chief priests, scribes and elders, who were familiar with the Scripture, proficient in the law, and rendering pious service to Jehovah, should have been able to recognize the Messiah’s voice and that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, and they should have taken the believers to accept the Lord Jesus’ new work. But the facts are exactly the opposite of what man conceived. After the chief priests and scribes heard the Lord Jesus’ words and saw the miracles performed by Him, they didn’t have the intention to seek and accept, but instead tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus and resisted and slandered the Lord Jesus’ work. Why is this? According to the records of the Bible we know that the preaching and work of the Lord Jesus at that time shook up the whole Jewish state. Many people were witnessing the name of the Lord Jesus, and then more and more people followed Him. Those chief priests, scribes and Pharisees knew clearly in their hearts that if the Lord Jesus continued what He was doing, then all Jewish believers would soon be following the Lord Jesus and Judaism would shut down. Therefore, to protect the survival of Judaism, to protect the sanctity of the Bible, and actually also to protect their status and livelihoods, they did all they could to make up rumors about, condemn and frame the Lord Jesus, and in the end colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross. Similarly, today’s religious pastors and elders see that the words expressed by Almighty God are all the truth and carry authority and power. If these words are spread to all those in the religious community who love the truth, they will all acknowledge that this is the word of God and the voice of God and thus will return before Almighty God. Therefore, the pastors and elders are extremely afraid of believers seeing Almighty God’s words and hearing God’s voice. They’re even more afraid that believers will all follow Almighty God, as this will make them lose their status and livelihoods. As a result, they especially despise Almighty God and furiously make up rumors about, judge, resist and condemn Almighty God, doing all they can to disrupt and block believers from investigating the true way. This is a fact that all discerning people can see clearly. It shows that the root of religious pastors and elders resisting and condemning Almighty God is the same as that of Jewish Pharisees resisting the Lord Jesus. Although they all know the Bible very well and have believed in God for years, they have a nature that is fed up with and despises the truth. They are all like the genuinely hypocritical Pharisees. They are all antichrists!”
Hearing her fellowship, I suddenly became enlightened: Turns out that the substance of the pastors and elders is the same as that of the Pharisees. Although they all know the Bible well and often expound it, their essence is hating the truth and God; they seem very spiritual but their substance is hypocritical. In order to stop believers from accepting Almighty God’s work, they actually fabricate rumors, slander and blaspheme Almighty God. Is there any fear of God in their hearts? Now I finally understand that when discerning people, we shouldn’t just judge by external appearances but should look at their hearts and essence.
That night, I turned on my computer and found to my surprise that I was expelled by the pastor of my former church. I thought: Pastor Zhang must have told the pastor about my investigating Almighty God’s work in the last days. I never expected that they were so afraid of the believers accepting Almighty God’s work in the last days, to the extent that they would rather expel me than allow me to contact the brothers and sisters again. They are so treacherous and so malicious! Based on this, I saw through their true face.
Thank God for His guidance. Now I have a real discernment of the pastors and elders, and can quiet my heart before God. Thinking back on the road I had walked, I found that though I had undergone delusion and disruption, my heart was awakened by God bit by bit. Afterward, through continuously reading God’s words, and frequently gathering and fellowshiping His words with my brothers and sisters, I unconsciously broke away from the bondage and control of games and had the likeness of a Christian. Besides, my life became ever more orderly. All the glory be to God!
By Qianheng, Germany