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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, into a family of believers dating back to my paternal great-grandmother’s generation. Bible stories, hymns of praise and sacred music played in church were my constant companions through the happy days of my childhood. As I started getting older and academic pressure grew, my heart started to slowly grow distant from the Lord. However, the Lord never left me; whenever I called out for Him, He would help me. The grace and holy name of the Lord Jesus were rooted deep within my heart. I remember the year I took the college entrance exam, no one thought I’d be able to test into a good college, including my teachers. Facing blow after blow, I nearly gave up all hope, and I too thought that I’d never be able to test into the college I wanted to get into. But then something popped into my mind—a phrase I heard at church when I was little: “Where man ends, God begins,” and in a flash I felt like I’d been enlightened. I knew it was right: Where I reach my limit is where God begins. The Lord’s capabilities are the absolute greatest, and I believed that as long as I genuinely leaned on the Lord then He would certainly help me. And so, I started praying to the Lord Jesus often: “Oh Lord, please help me. If I can test into the college of my dreams without a hitch then from now on I promise I will never distance myself from You, and I will accept You as my one and only Savior in this life.” While doing that, I was also paying a price inconceivable to most people; during my entire senior year of high school I was practicing the piano whenever I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I was pretty much practicing for 10 to 12 hours a day. I didn’t know where that strength was coming from that was propping me up, but I figured it had to be the Lord listening to my prayers and quietly helping me. The gratitude to the Lord within my heart grew. In the end, my long-cherished wish was fulfilled; I tested 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 senior year of college I didn’t know what path I should take after graduating, so I called on the Lord Jesus and asked Him to show me the way, to open up a path for me. In 2004, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States, practically all visas for entry had been frozen, but to my surprise I received a full-ride scholarship to a university in the US as a result of a professionally recorded CD of myself. I got a student visa without a single hiccup and went to America to pursue my studies. These two experiences—testing into college and going abroad—showed me that the Lord had helped me to realize dreams that I never would have been able to achieve on my own. I became even more firmly convinced 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 Him.

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 already returned?” Hearing her say this, I had a sudden feeling of pleasant surprise, 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 thing about the Lord having returned was real or fake. I knew I had to approach it with caution. Nowadays the Internet is so fast and convenient, so I figured I should go online to check this out. After I hung up the phone I went online, feeling like I was walking on air, to try to find a reliable source of information. To my surprise, all that I came across were voices of protest blaspheming and condemning the return of the Lord Jesus—Almighty God. I couldn’t make heads or tails of whether this was true or false, leaving me afraid and uneasy, scared that my mother wouldn’t have discernment over right and wrong and that she would go down the wrong path. I immediately called her to tell her about all that bad stuff I had read online, but mother was very calm, and comforted me by saying: “My child, you haven’t read Almighty God’s words so you don’t understand, and it would take a long time to explain it to you, but don’t worry, I’m not going down the wrong path. In fact, I am following the footsteps of the Lamb. Let’s not talk about this over the phone anymore.” I knew that China is ruled by an atheistic dictatorship, and that the CCP government is always persecuting and arresting Christians, so it wasn’t good for my mother to discuss anything to do with faith over the phone. I didn’t dare say too much about it with her, 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 later told me the news that he had been unable to get her back into the fold, I got so angry that I practically lost my mind. After that, in an effort to stand in the way of my mother’s faith in Almighty God, I even told her she had to make a choice between me and her faith in Almighty God. After telling her that, I had the same dream for three nights in a row, that it was the darkest of dark nights, it was raining torrentially, and I was carrying a black umbrella, walking 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 being so insensitive, ignorant and stubborn, I failed to make the slightest effort to seek and pray, to figure out why I kept having that dream: Was the Lord warning me and telling me to turn back from a path of resisting God, and to instead return to Him? I later saw that no matter what I tried to persuade my mother, it was all of no use. On top of that I was in a faraway foreign land and had a busy life, so I stopped trying to force her hand.

I returned to China

In 2010 when I returned to China my mother brought up her faith in Almighty God with me. She seemed to know just what I was thinking, and she asked me bluntly: “You know that I’ve believed in Almighty God for several years now, so do you think there’s anything strange about me like all that stuff they say online?” I was stumped by her question and couldn’t come up with a response right away. Giving it careful thought, I realized 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. In fact, I could see that she had changed more since gaining faith in Almighty God than she had after she started believing in the Lord Jesus. Not only had she become more rational in her words and actions, but she also had gained a greater understanding in her approach to issues. Seeing all of this, I thought: It seems like the online rumors aren’t true, because facts speak louder than words. My mom then said, “Why don’t you believe your mother, and why don’t you look at the facts, but instead believe the rumors online? Have you investigated and gathered evidence about that stuff?” Embarrassed, I answered “I haven’t.” She went on: “You didn’t do your research to find out that it’s all just hearsay, but believed the rumors you heard online and made a snap conclusion. Shame on you for being so highly educated but so lacking in reason. You should take a careful look at the Four Gospels, and you’ll see that when the Lord Jesus was carrying out His work the Jewish priests, scribes and Pharisees 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 indulged in food and alcohol, and they falsely accused Him of inciting the people to stop paying taxes to Caesar. They even bribed soldiers into giving false testimony, getting them to 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? What the Four Gospels record is just a small part of the work carried out by the Lord Jesus, and they contain written accounts of so many rumors that the Jewish leaders spread about the Lord Jesus. Have you thought about this before? If the Internet had existed at that time then the Jewish priests, scribes and Pharisees certainly would have spread their rumors and false testimony online, and their words slandering, blaspheming, framing and condemning the Lord Jesus would have been all over 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 essence of corrupt mankind’s resistance to God and how it treats God as an enemy. Mankind has been deeply corrupted by Satan, and all of humanity has become enemies of God, no one loves the truth, and no one welcomes the arrival of God. When the Lord Jesus was in Judea working and expressing the truth, He performed many miracles, many common people were drawn to follow Him, and so Jewish leaders became worried 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, frantically resisted and condemned Him, and ultimately they nailed Him to the cross. This is ironclad evidence of corrupt mankind 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 corrupt human beings. The CCP government is afraid that the people will all follow Almighty God and gain discernment over its evil substance, that they will then reject it, and then it will lose its position of power. Leaders in the religious world also fear that believers will follow Almighty God, and then they will lose their status and livelihood. So, just like the Roman regime and Jewish leaders of that time, they are adopting contemptible and malicious tactics, fabricating all sorts of rumors and giving lots 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 get people to stand up and condemn and reject Almighty God’s words and work, and stand in the way of people receiving God’s salvation. We must have discernment over Satan’s tricks! The CCP government is an atheistic and satanic regime that 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 cult literature and protestants and Catholics as members of an evil cult just to suppress 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 government and leaders in the religious world are satanic devils that hate the truth and are enemies of God. This is something that we must see clearly. We are people of faith—we must believe God’s word and we must believe the truth. We absolutely cannot believe the rumors and lies of the CCP government and leaders within the religious world. If we lack discernment over the rumors spread by the CCP government and the religious world, if we do not seek and investigate the word and work of Almighty God, then in the end we will be just like the Jewish common people, forsaking Christ and refusing the true way because we’re taken in by the rumors that we hear. That way, not only would we lose God’s salvation, but in the end also be met with God’s righteous punishment for resisting Him!”

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