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Gospel Reader

Lost and Found Again

232

By Xieli, U.S.A

I came to the U.S.A. to work as hard as I could in pursuit of a happy life with a high standard of living. Though I suffered no little over the first few years, with time I was able to start my own company, get my own car, my own house, etc. I was finally living the “happy” life that I’d dreamed of. During this period, I made a few friends; in our free time we’d go out to eat, drink, and have some fun. We all got on pretty well together, and I thought I’d met a good bunch of guys. But then I came to realize that they were all just drinking buddies who didn’t have a single substantial thing to say, and when I was worried or depressed there was not one of them I could go to share my troubles with. Not only that, but they schemed to rip me off: One of them lied to me about his mother in China being really ill and when I lent him some money he disappeared without a trace. Another, from my hometown, told a bunch of lies about needing financing for a project and cheated me out of some money. And even the person nearest and dearest to me—my girlfriend—betrayed me and cheated me out of a large sum of money that it had taken me years of blood, sweat, and tears to accumulate. The heartlessness of these people and the indifference of society left me depressed and disheartened. For a time I lost the confidence to keep on living; my heart was empty, and I was in pain and helpless. After that, I often turned to eating, drinking and having fun to fill the emptiness within me, but I knew that these temporary physical pleasures couldn’t resolve my spiritual suffering at all.

Finding the Way Back After Getting Lost

(Source: Fotolia)

In the fall of 2015, by accident of fate, I became acquainted with the woman who is my wife today. At that time she had already accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. When she shared the gospel of the kingdom with me, having faith seemed well and good to me, but because I was so busy with work I said to her: “I don’t have time for faith in God, but if you want to believe, go ahead. Knowing in my heart that God exists is enough for me.” One day six months later my wife had me watch one of the videos from The Church of Almighty God with her—“The Days of Noah Have Come.” What I saw in the video really startled me: When faced with disasters mankind was tiny and fragile, unable to withstand the slightest of blows. I suddenly felt that no matter how much money a person has, how much luxury they enjoy or how high their status is, it’s all meaningless. In the face of disaster, when death is coming upon us, all these things are worthless and useless. As Almighty God’s words say: “However, I must tell you that in the time of Noah, men had been eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage to such a point that it was unbearable for God to witness, so He sent down a great flood to destroy mankind and left behind only Noah’s family of eight and all kinds of birds and beasts. In the last days, however, those kept by God are all those who have been loyal to Him until the end” (“Do You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Then look upon the present age: Such righteous men as Noah, who could worship God and shun evil, have ceased to exist. Yet God is still gracious toward this mankind, and absolves mankind during this final era. God seeks those who long for Him to appear. He seeks those who are able to hear His words, those who have not forgotten His commission and offer up their heart and body to Him. He seeks those who are as obedient as babes before Him, and do not resist Him” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In these words I could feel the urgency of God’s intention to save mankind. I thought about how in these times nobody seems to love positive things or long for God’s return. People’s hearts are full of selfishness, arrogance, and trickery. For the sake of fame and gain, they plot and scheme against one another, cheat one another, and even resort to killing one another. People are slaves to their sensual desires, and constantly violate morals and virtue and bury their conscience. People have lost all humanity…. The degree of corruption of mankind in the last days really is far beyond that of the age of Noah. However, God hasn’t outright destroyed mankind because of this wickedness and corruption, but instead is raining down various kinds of disasters to warn mankind and give us the chance to turn back toward God. When I pondered over God’s words, my heart was deeply moved by God’s love. I also thought about how the world was becoming more evil and corrupt by the day, disasters were becoming bigger and bigger, and about how when God vents His rage upon evil mankind and destroys humanity, all of the money and status that I had been pursuing would not be able to save me. Only by coming before God and seeking the truth can a person gain protection. When I thought all of this through it was like waking from a dream—my intuition told me that I should come before God and accept His salvation, as this is the only way to be saved. If I were to lose my chance at attaining salvation for the sake of the temporal enjoyments of the flesh, that would be a lifelong regret! Consequently, in May 2016 I began to believe in God and take part in church meetings.

Finding the Way Back After Getting Lost-1

Not long after gaining my faith, I was surfing the web and came across some negative propaganda condemning and slandering The Church of Almighty God. Reading that left me momentarily stunned. What was this “making people donate money and not respecting the boundaries between men and women” stuff? What I read seemed to be rational, making difficult for me to distinguish right from wrong, fact from fiction. I became adrift in confusion, and the burning fire of my faith in God was instantly extinguished by the negative stuff I was reading. And just at that moment, I overheard my mother-in-law on the phone with my wife talking about donating money to the church, which made me even more inclined to believe what I was reading online. After that, I stopped my mother-in-law from donating money and also urged my wife to give up her faith so that we wouldn’t be taken in. But she didn’t listen to me at all, and told me unequivocally: “The reality of the situation is nothing like you’ve read online. The stuff online is all rumors, all false testimonies! …” She then got a book of God’s words to fellowship with me, but I’d already been blinded by the rumors and didn’t take in anything she was saying. Not long after, some brothers and sisters came to our home, but I wouldn’t pay them any mind, either. Over those few days I was living entirely within darkness, always worried about my wife and mother-in-law being cheated. I was constantly on edge—I couldn’t get food down, I couldn’t sleep well at night, and was tormented psychologically. Seeing how I was suffering, my wife tried to fellowship with me again. She opened up a book of Almighty God’s words and chose this passage to show me: “What I want is not human conceptions or human thoughts, even less do I want your money or your possessions. What I want is your heart, understand? This is My will, and even more it is what I want to obtain” (“Chapter 61” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She then read some of the principles for managing church life for me: “The church does not allow anyone to ask others to make offerings through preaching or any other reason” (“Principles for Establishing a Church and Managing Church Life” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God). She shared this in fellowship with me: “In The Church of Almighty God there are strict required standards and principles for every aspect of church life. As for donating money, the words of Almighty God state very clearly that God does not want mankind’s money or material objects. The church’s work principles also clearly stipulate that the church does not allow anyone to preach about donating money or to encourage people to donate money for any reason. Since I’ve been following Almighty God, the church has not asked me to donate a single cent. Not only does the church not call on people to donate money, but it even gives all the brothers and sisters who are true believers all sorts of books, CDs, and other things free of charge. Now, my mother wants to contribute something to help out some of the brothers and sisters who are experiencing difficulties. She’s doing it of her own free will; nobody is forcing her to do it. Anyway, helping people in need is a good deed, so there’s no reason for reproach, right?”

After reading Almighty God’s words and listening to my wife’s fellowship, something that one of the sisters had shared with me in fellowship before suddenly occurred to me: The Church of Almighty God does not accept monetary donations from new members, and anyone who wants to donate money has to first go through several rounds of prayer until they are sure they are completely willing to do so, and that they will never regret it. If they are not more than willing, the church absolutely will not accept it. When I remembered this, some of the worries and concerns that I had were somewhat alleviated, but the knot in my heart was not entirely loosened. My wife saw my frown, and knowing what I was thinking, she said: “Don’t believe those rumors. In order to disrupt and sabotage God’s work of saving people and prevent us from coming before God and accepting His salvation, Satan will say all sorts of garbage and give all sorts of false testimonies. God is holy and God detests mankind’s evil. As for those with bad reputations and who don’t know how to behave properly around members of the opposite sex, The Church of Almighty God never accepts them. This is something that Almighty God has spoken very explicitly about.” My wife then opened up God’s words and read: “Many people will kneel down for mercy and forgiveness because the seven thunders peal. But this will no longer be the Age of Grace: It will be the time for wrath. As for all people who do evil (those who fornicate, or deal in dirty money, or have unclear boundaries between men and women, or who interrupt or damage My management, or whose spirits are blocked, or who are possessed by the evil spirits, and so on—all except My elect), none of them will be let off, nor any pardoned, but all will be cast down to Hades and perish forever!” (“Chapter 94” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s utterances are majestic and wrathful in order to produce fear and reverence in people’s hearts; this made me aware of God’s righteous disposition that will not tolerate mankind’s offenses. God is incredibly disgusted by those who engage in promiscuity, and those people will eventually suffer God’s righteous punishment. Some of my concerns were alleviated. My wife then fellowshiped the following with me: “When God was doing His work in the Age of Law anyone who behaved promiscuously would be stoned to death. This fully reveals God’s righteous, majestic and wrathful disposition. In the Age of Kingdom, God’s rules within His administration are even stricter regarding men and women consorting with each other. As it says in God’s words: ‘Man has corrupt disposition and, moreover, he is possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception—and no one is exempt’” (“The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

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