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Gospel Reader

The Return of a Prodigal Son


By Ruth, United States

I was born in a small town in southern China, and starting from my paternal great-grandmother’s generation, our family has believed in the Lord. Stories from the Bible, hymns of worship and ecclesiastical music in the church accompanied me as I passed through the happy days of my childhood. As I started getting older, pressure grew in my studies, and in my heart I started to slowly grow distant from the Lord. However, the Lord never left me, whenever I would call out for Him, He would help me. The grace and holy name of the Lord Jesus are rooted deep within my heart. I remember in the year I took the college entrance exam that no one thought I’d be able to test into a good college, and this included my teachers. Amidst all these setbacks I nearly gave up all hope, and I too thought that I certainly would not be able to test into the college I wanted to get into. But I inadvertently recalled a phrase I heard in the church in my childhood: “When people have reached their limit, that’s when God begins,” and in a flash it was as if I’d been enlightened: That’s right, my extremity is God’s opportunity, the Lord’s abilities are the greatest, I believe that as long as I sincerely rely on the Lord then He will certainly help me. Thereupon, I often prayed to the Lord Jesus: “Oh Lord, please help me, if I’m able to test into the college of my dreams without a hitch then starting from today I promise I will never shun You, and I will accept You as my only Savior in this life.” At the same time, I also paid a price that a normal person would be unable to imagine, during my entire senior year of high school, besides when I was eating and sleeping, I was practicing the piano. I was basically keeping up 10 to 12 hours of practice a day. I didn’t know where this strength was coming from that was supporting me, but I thought that it must be the Lord listening to my prayers and secretly helping me, and in my heart I gave more thanks to the Lord. In the end, I was awarded with my long-cherished wish by testing into one of the top music academies in the country, and as a result I believed firmly that the Lord Jesus was my only Savior. In my fourth year of college I didn’t know what path I should take after graduating, so I called on the Lord Jesus and asked the Lord to show me the way and set up a path for me to take. In 2004, shortly after America had gone through the 9/11 terrorist attack, when almost all visas for entry into America were frozen, I was relying on a music CD that I had recorded professionally for myself, and to my surprise I received a full-ride scholarship to a university in America. On top of that, I got a student visa without a hitch and went to America to pursue my studies. After experiencing these two events—testing into college and going abroad—I saw that the Lord had helped me to achieve goals that I would not have been able to achieve by relying solely on myself, and I was of even firmer conviction that the Lord Jesus is the true God and that He is my Savior, and I need to properly practice my faith in the Lord and follow the Lord.

happy days of my childhood

One day in 2007 I gave my mother back in China a phone call as I often did to chat. In our call she blurted out: “Did you know that the Lord Jesus Christ has returned?” When I heard mother say this I felt pleasantly surprised, but then I immediately thought about how in the Bible it says that in the last days false Christs will appear, so I didn’t know if this event of the Lord having returned was real or fake, so I had to treat it with caution. Nowadays the Internet is so fast and convenient, so I thought I should go online to check this out. After I hung up the phone I gleefully went online to seek reliable news sources. To my surprise, all that I came across were voices of protest blaspheming and condemning Almighty God—the returned Lord Jesus. I wasn’t able to clearly distinguish if this negative information was true or false, which made me feel anxious, for I feared that my mother would be unable to distinguish right from wrong and that she would go down the wrong path. So I immediately called her to tell her about the negative news that I had read online, but mother was very calm, and she comforted me by saying: “My child, you haven’t read the word of Almighty God so you don’t understand, and it would take a long time to explain it to you, but don’t be nervous, your mother isn’t going down the wrong path, rather I am following the footsteps of the Lamb. So you don’t need to discuss this matter with me over the phone anymore.” I knew that China was ruled by an atheistic dictatorship, and that the CCP government was always persecuting and arresting Christians, so it wasn’t good for my mother to discuss the matter of believing in God over the phone. I didn’t dare say too much about it with her over the phone, so I gave a call to a pastor in China that I was well acquainted with to ask for help, pleading with him to go “rescue” my mother. When the pastor told me the news that he was unable to retrieve my mother, I got so angry that I practically lost my mind. Afterward, in order to obstruct my mother’s faith in Almighty God, I even forced her to make a choice between me and her faith in Almighty God. After I told my mother this, I had the same dream for three nights in a row. I dreamed that in a pitch-dark night, torrents of rain were crashing down, and I carried a black umbrella as I walked along a once familiar seaside. There wasn’t a single person around, and all of a sudden a flash of lightning as bright as day struck my umbrella…. Every time I had this dream I would wake up scared and in a cold sweat, but I was insensitive, ignorant and stubborn, and I didn’t even try at all to seek through prayer as to why I was continuing to have this dream. Was the Lord warning me and telling me to stop going down a path of resisting God and instead return to Him? Later on, I saw that it was of no use however I tried to persuade my mother, and on top of that I was in a faraway foreign land and had a busy life, so I stopped trying to force my mother’s hand.

I returned to China

In 2010 when I returned to China my mother talked to me about her faith in Almighty God. She seemed to know just what I was thinking, and she asked me bluntly: “You’ve seen how I’ve practiced my faith in Almighty God over the past several years, so do you think there’s anything strange about me like what they say online?” I was at a loss for words by her question, and for a while I wasn’t able to respond. I thought about it carefully, those things they said online that made me tremble with fear had not happened to my mother, she was quite normal, and stood unharmed before me. I even noticed that she went through a greater change after she started believing in Almighty God compared to when she believed in the Lord Jesus, the things she said and the things she did were not only more rational, but she also had a higher understanding when it came to looking at issues. As I looked at these things, I thought: It seems like what is said online isn’t true, because facts speak louder than words. Mother said: “Why don’t you believe your mother’s words, why don’t you look at the facts, why do you instead believe the rumors online? Have you investigated and gathered evidence for those things they talk about online?” I answered shamefully: “I haven’t.” Then mother continued: “You didn’t do any research to find out that it’s all just hearsay, you believe the rumors you hear online, and just come to whatever conclusion you want. You have a great intellect, so how can it be that you don’t have any reason? You should look into the Four Gospels, and you’ll see that when the Lord Jesus was carrying out His work the Jewish priests, scribes and Pharisees at the time made up all kinds of rumors and false testimony. They said that the Lord Jesus was a friend of sinners, that He was a man who imbibed in food and alcohol, they framed the Lord Jesus by saying that He lured the people into banning payment of the Caesar tax, and they even bribed soldiers into giving false testimony, making them say that the body of the Lord Jesus was stolen by His disciples and that He wasn’t resurrected. Surely you know about these things? The Four Gospels are only a small part of the record of the work carried out by the Lord Jesus, and in them there are written accounts of so many rumors that the Jewish leaders made about the Lord Jesus. Have you thought about this before? If they had the Internet at that time then the Jewish priests, scribes and Pharisees certainly would have spread their rumors and false testimony online, and their words of slandering, blaspheming, framing and condemning the Lord Jesus would fill up the Internet just like how it is with the religious world today condemning Almighty God. Do you know what this means? The Lord Jesus said: ‘This is an evil generation’ (Luke 11:29). ‘And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved’ (John 3:19–20). Almighty God said: ‘Man lost his God-fearing heart after being corrupted by Satan and lost the function that one of God’s creatures should have, becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Man lived under Satan’s domain and followed Satan’s orders’ (‘God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘God’s creation of the world goes back thousands of years, He has come to earth to do an immeasurable amount of work, and He has fully experienced the human world’s rejection and slander. No one welcomes God’s arrival; everyone merely regards Him with a cold eye. In the course of these several thousand years’ worth of hardships, man’s conduct has long ago shattered God’s heart’ (‘Work and Entry (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s word very clearly reveals the nature and substance of the corrupt human race’s resistance to God and its treatment of God as an enemy. Mankind has been deeply corrupted by Satan, and the whole human race has become enemies of God, no one loves the truth, no one welcomes the arrival of God. In the time when the Lord Jesus was in Judea carrying out work and expressing the truth, He performed many miracles, attracting many common people to follow Him, which made Jewish leaders worry that all the common people were going to follow the Lord Jesus and abandon them, so they made up rumors and gave false testimony on the Lord Jesus, they frantically resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, and ultimately they nailed the Lord to the cross. This is ironclad evidence of the corrupt human race hating the truth and viewing God as the enemy. Today God has once again become flesh, and He is once again being met with the frantic resistance and condemnation of the corrupt human race. The CCP government is afraid that the people will all follow Almighty God and be able to discern its evil substance, which will cause them to forsake it, then it will lose its position of power, and leaders in the religious world also fear that believers will follow Almighty God, which will make them lose their status and livelihood. So, just like the Roman regime and Jewish leaders of that time, they are adopting contemptible and malicious strategies to make up a large volume of rumors about and give a large amount of false testimony on The Church of Almighty God, thereby slandering and condemning Almighty God and discrediting The Church of Almighty God. Their goal is to make people stand up and condemn and forsake Almighty God’s words and work, and block people from receiving God’s salvation. We must be able to discern Satan’s tricks! The CCP is an atheistic and satanic regime, it has always been an enemy of God, when it first came to power it destroyed copies of the Holy Bible, demolished churches, slaughtered Christians and even deemed the Holy Bible, a work recognized all over the world, as the work of an evil cult and Christians and Catholics as members of an evil cult in order to suppress them and persecute them. It commits every misdeed imaginable, so what rumors would they dare not come up with? The facts show that both the CCP and leaders in the religious world hate the truth and are satanic devils that are enemies of God. We must be able to see this point clearly. In our faith in God we must believe His word, we must believe the truth, and we absolutely cannot believe the rumors and lies of the CCP and the leaders in the religious world. If we do not discern the various rumors spread by the CCP government and the religious world, if we do not seek and inspect the word and work of Almighty God, then in the end we will be just like the Jewish people and forsake Christ and refuse the true way because of believing the rumors that we hear, and in this way we will not only lose God’s salvation, but in the end we will also be met with God’s righteous punishment for resisting Him!”

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