126. Almighty God’s Love Melted My Long-frozen Heart
Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
I am from Shenyang City, and was a leader of the True Jesus Church. In 1995, a flood brought our family business to the verge of breakdown, so I went to a Christian church to seek a tower of strength. In the second half of 1996, I entered the True Jesus Church. After I joined this Church where believers prayed in tongues, I felt sure it was the only Church which had the sealing of the Holy Spirit and the proof of entering the kingdom of heaven, and that it was the ark of the last days, into which all other denominations will be integrated in the future. In 1997, I returned to my hometown to preach the gospel and establish the church, and the number of believers rapidly increased to more than forty.
In 2000, an event shocked the True Jesus Church. An elder in Nanjing who often came to Shenyang to preach accepted the work of Almighty God. Since then, the church began to preach that the “Eastern Lightning” was a “heresy,” a “cult,” it had special skills in “deceiving” people, and that everyone should be on guard against it lest they be carried away. The brothers and sisters were all shocked by this and frightened to be taken captive by the “Eastern Lightning.” So no one dared to have contact with the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God or to fellowship about the belief in God with any believers outside the True Jesus Church.
In the winter of 2000, I learned that a sister in my hometown who had once led the church along with me accepted Almighty God, and my parents accepted too. So I hurried back to my hometown. I first forced my parents back, and then went to the sister’s home and rebuked her straightly, “Since you have received grace in the True Jesus Church and hold a firm belief that it is the ark of the last days, how could you do such a foolish thing?” The sister responded mildly, “Brother! When you were here with me leading the church, we were often worried about what we should preach at meetings. The brothers and sisters were all weak in spirit and unwilling to attend the service, and the number of believers in the church was dwindling, but we couldn’t find the root cause. Now I know that the church has become desolate because God has carried out a new work on the basis of the work in the Age of Grace, and God’s Spirit has begun to safeguard His new work and no longer maintains the old one. Just as when Jesus began to perform His ministry, the temple had become a den of thieves where people sold cattle, sheep, and doves, which was because God’s Spirit had not worked there. In the past when we read the Bible, we only knew some letters and doctrines and didn’t understand God’s will at all. Now many problems I didn’t understand become clear after I read God’s word…” “What are you clear about?” I harshly cut her off, “Everyone can speak words and write books, but you can’t say they are all the truth!” I thought the sister was poisoned too badly to be saved. So I informed the churches nearby that everyone should reject her and not receive her anymore, for she had accepted the “Eastern Lightning” and left the “true way” and was no longer the member of the True Jesus Church.
In June 2002, I heard that Brother Li, who had introduced me into the True Jesus Church, also accepted Almighty God. With deceitful intent, I went to his home. I tricked him out of a book of God’s word with an excuse that I wanted to seek and investigate God’s work of the last days. But my real purpose was, on the one hand, to get the proof of his betrayal of the True Jesus Church, and on the other hand, to catch something from the words of the book so that I could use it as evidence to counterattack the preachers of the gospel of the last days and “save” those brothers and sisters who were “deceived.” I wanted to study the book, but as I was afraid of being deceived, I only skimmed over the table of contents without reading the contents of the book. And then I condemned recklessly, “False, it’s entirely false!” A few days after I “borrowed” the book, two sisters who preached Almighty God came to my home. As soon as they entered the room, they said, “Brother Zhang, we’ve heard that you want to investigate God’s new work of the last days, so we come to have a fellowship with you.” But I fobbed them off and sent them away with an excuse. Then I faithfully reported it to my leader, and he told me to give them a flat refusal so as not to fall into their trap and be “deceived.” So when the two sisters visited my home again, I showed my hand, saying, “I tell you the truth, my investigation is false; my true purpose is to know the cause why you were ‘deceived.’ My loyal belief in the True Jesus Church has never been shaken. I warn you, don’t ‘drug’ the brothers and sisters in our church again. We don’t welcome you.” In this way, I drove them out of my house, and I returned the book of God’s word to them.
After I tore off the mask of “borrowing the book,” the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God didn’t stop saving me because of my attitude toward them. In October, our family moved to a new place, and I thought I could “get rid of” them. But never had I expected that for several months after we moved in, they still took the trouble to travel many miles to come to fellowship with me. I admired their faith and love, but I felt sorry for them because they took a “wrong way.” Sometimes, I tried to control my anger and wanted to “reform” them with love, but failed. Once, two sisters fellowshipped with me about the Bible. At first I contained myself and listened to them with “humbleness” and “patience.” But after a while, my anger rose, and I said arrogantly, “In quoting the Bible, we the True Jesus Church can be your teacher. We had already expounded the Bible like this before you were born.” They exhorted that I should read God’s word with a seeking heart and not make a rash conclusion, for no man could see through God’s word and work at a glance. They also said that to know the taste of a pear, we must first try it, or we wouldn’t know whether it was sour or sweet. But I didn’t listen to reason. They asked me to read God’s word, and I refused; they wanted my wife to read the book, and I didn’t allow it either. Before speaking a few words, I lost my temper again. Finally I couldn’t go on pretending any longer. I quickly seized the book of God’s word on the kang and tried to burn it. The two sisters hurriedly came up to stop me. Failing to burn it, I tore the book into halves with force and threw them out of the door. “How could you tear it?” they cried out with consternation. When they picked up the torn book out there, tears rolled down their faces. However, I didn’t have the least regret for my behavior, and even swore at them, “What cheek! You don’t attend to your own business but go about to disturb others from door to door every day. It’s only a minor punishment this time. If you come again, I will beat you!”
In the middle of April 2003, God’s discipline came upon me. One evening while I was performing the Lord’s Supper service, the thirty pigs we raised were seized with a sudden disease, and they didn’t eat food. On that night, one pig died, and in the following days ten died in succession. A young sister who preached Almighty God warned me, “You should have God’s care and keeping while performing the Lord’s Supper service, but why did such a thing happen? You should reflect on it.” I retorted her, “Don’t relate it to belief. I won’t believe in your God even if all my pigs die, let alone ten.”
In mid-August of that year, because our house was to be pulled down, we gave up raising pigs and were going to move to another place. The two sisters knew that and cried their eyes out for failing to bring my wife and me to Almighty God. They made a resolution in their prayer to Almighty God that they would continue to testify Him till they brought us to Him no matter where we moved. Facing the two sisters whose eyes were red from crying, my wife softened and wept with them. Actually, I felt sad too. After all, we had associated with them for so long a time. I really admired their faith and love—they had perseverance and feared no hardship, tiredness, humiliation, and insults. They asked us for the address of our new house, but I didn’t tell them the truth. I thought if I didn’t let them know, they wouldn’t find us. But I never dreamed that on the third day after we moved in, I saw the two sisters sitting on our kang when I got home from outside. “You’re really awesome. How could you take the trouble to find us?” I said. One sister answered smilingly, “Aren’t we in Almighty God’s hand wherever we go?”
That night after they left, I couldn’t go to sleep. Things happened in the past more than one year constantly recurred to me like a film: These simple and honest brothers and sisters put themselves out of the way to come to my home through rain and wind, in order that I might seek and investigate God’s new work of the last days; the two sisters were so sincere with us that they cried bitterly because of failing to bring us to God… These moving and vivid scenes, I could never get them out of my memory. “Who is a true believer in God or a true lover of God, they or I? Isn’t it self-evident?” I asked myself, “What do I have to deserve the brothers’ and sisters’ such concern and efforts? If it were not for God’s love, who would have such a great faith, will, and patience? The Bible says that love comes from God, and that mortal man can’t inherit the kingdom of God. What these brothers and sisters do is in accordance with Jesus’ teachings. Our church spreads that they are a ‘heresy,’ a ‘cult,’ a ‘mafia,’ but during this over one year, no matter how I played tricks or how I was rude and angry at them, they never paid me back blow for blow or did any harm to me, to my family, or to my possessions. I never found any indecent or evil sign in their words, actions or fellowships, let alone a sign of mafia. Could it be that they are right? Has God really come back?” I turned and tossed in bed, spending a sleepless night.
The next day, the two sisters brought me a book of God’s word entitled “The Hidden Work of God.” I took the book and read these words in “Preface”: “‘God’ and ‘man’ cannot be spoken of as equals. His substance and His work are most unfathomable and incomprehensible to man. If God does not personally do His work and speak His words in the world of man, then man would never be able to understand the will of God, and even those who have devoted their entire life to God would be incapable of gaining His approval. Without God’s work, no matter how good man’s doing, it will count for nothing, for the thoughts of God shall always be higher than the thoughts of man, and the wisdom of God is unfathomable to man. And so I say that those who ‘clearly see’ God and His work are ineffectual, they are all arrogant and ignorant. Man should not define the work of God; moreover, man cannot define the work of God. In the eyes of God, man is smaller than an ant, so how can man fathom God’s work? Those who are constantly saying, ‘God does not work in this or that way’ or ‘God is like this or that’—are they not all arrogant?” From this passage, I was completely convinced that the words were spoken by God, and no man could say them. His words made me see that I was so ignorant and conceited. After gaining only an iota of biblical knowledge by reading the Bible, I thought I had seen through God and God’s work, and I even judged recklessly. For the first time I realized that during my many years of belief in God, I only acknowledged in letters and doctrines that there is God, but actually I didn’t know God. I believed in God but didn’t know God; I believed in God but resisted God. I had simply lost all of my sense, unworthy to live before God.
The first time I participated in the church life of the kingdom, seven people were present, three brothers and four sisters. We seven people came from seven different denominations. In the meeting, we fellowshipped about the piece of God’s word “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God,” in which God says: “Regardless of whether your current knowledge of these things is profound or superficial, in the end, you must have knowledge, and must be thoroughly convinced, and all people will see the entirety of God’s work and submit under the dominion of God. At the end of this work, all denominations will become one, all creatures will return under the dominion of the Creator, all creatures will worship the one true God, and all cults will come to nothing, never to appear again.” “Mention of the three stages of God’s work is in order to bring all creatures, and people throughout each religion, under the dominion of one God. Regardless of what religion you belong to, ultimately you will all submit under the dominion of God. Only God Himself can carry out this work; it cannot be done by any religious head.” God’s words are so good! God is the Creator, and man is a created being. The ultimate goal of God’s work is to bring all the created beings under God’s dominion and to worship the only true God, and bring all denominations into one. This work can only be done by God Himself, and no founder of any religion can do it. In the past, I thought that people in the True Jesus Church praying in tongue was the seal of the work of the Holy Spirit, and that all other denominations would come under the True Jesus Church in the future when the time came. However, in 1997, a big division occurred. Each elder and deacon had their own turf, and there was no unity anymore in the Church. It had never occurred to me that the scene of unity of all denominations I had been dreaming of was seen in the Church of Almighty God, which I had always been hostile to. During the days of my rebellion and resistance against God, I never allowed the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God to call me brother, and I never treated them as my brothers and sisters either. However, after I entered the Church of Almighty God, I saw that the brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God never treated the brothers and sisters in denominations as dissidents nor hated those who had beaten, cursed, or humiliated them. They prayed for every brother and sister who didn’t accept Almighty God, asking Almighty God to move their hearts and spirits so that they would be awakened as early as possible to accept His love. In the meeting, the Hymn “God’s Love Remains Among Us Forever” brought me into a high state: “We come together from every direction, and gather joyfully before God’s throne enjoying God’s love. God has been leading us over mountains and seas, through all frustrations, and across the ages and generations. In heaven and on earth all are welcoming our arrival; of all things and everything which does not dance for joy! In heaven and on earth all are welcoming our arrival; of all things and everything which does not dance for joy! God’s love circulates blood through every part of my body; God’s love unites our generation closely. …” The singing aroused my enthusiasm and made me full of excitement. From the brothers’ and sisters’ sincere praise and plain fellowship, I personally tasted the happiness and enjoyment of the church life under Almighty God’s leading. For the first time I fell before Almighty God and prayed in tears and remorse, “O Almighty God! I’m a sinful man who resists You, a desensitized man whose heart has been frozen for a long time. You didn’t treat me according to my evil deeds but forbore with me by Your great love and mercy, and never tired of sending Your messengers to deliver Your love to me, an ignorant, blind, and absurd person. It is Your love that melted my heart and it is You who gave me a new life and revived me, who was as dry as a bone. O God! I am a created being less than an ant and my repayment for Your love is worthless, but I’m willing to commit myself to You and obey Your every arrangement for me. I am willing to carry out Your will and preach Your love for mankind to more people.”
Now I have accepted the work of Almighty God for more than one year. During this period, under the enlightenment and illumination of God’s word, I have gained further understanding of God’s work, and I often felt remorseful and guilty for my past resistance. Dear brothers and sisters, God’s six-thousand-year management plan is drawing to an end, and the gate of the kingdom has been opened to all those who seek the appearance of God. Almighty God says: “If you desire to witness the appearance of God, if you wish to follow the footprints of God, then you must first transcend your own conceptions. You must not demand that God do this or that, much less should you place Him within your own confines and limit Him to your own conceptions. Instead, you should ask how you should seek the footprints of God, how you should accept the appearance of God, and how you should submit to the new work of God; that is what should be done by man. Since man is not the truth, and is not possessed of the truth, man should seek, accept, and obey.” “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. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God?”