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Gospel Reader

The Riches of Life

35

Wang Jun Shandong Province

Over the years since accepting the work of Almighty God in the last days, my wife and I have undergone this together under the oppression of the great red dragon. During this time, although I have had weaknesses, pain, and tears, I feel that I have gained a great deal from experiencing this oppression. These bitter experiences have not only made me clearly see the reactionary, evil nature and the ugly countenance of the great red dragon, but I have also recognized my own corrupt essence. It has also allowed me to experience God’s almightiness and wisdom. I have truly experienced and recognized the actual significance of God utilizing the great red dragon as a foil, from which my confidence in following God has become firmer and firmer.

The Riches of Life

After accepting God’s work in the last days, due to God’s exaltation and blessings, my wife and I fulfilled our duty by providing hospitality in our home. At that time, there were brothers and sisters living with us every day and people were frequently going in and out. So, we were relatively well-known in the area for believing in God. In the winter of 2003, the oppression of the great red dragon became tighter and tighter. One day, our leader said to us: “The police have their eyes on you. You can’t stay here anymore—you should pack your things and go out to fulfill your duty.” Confronted with this last-minute arrangement, I was shocked. I thought: This tile-roofed house that I had worked so hard to build, that we have lived in for less than a year—I’m not willing to leave it just like that! Oh God, if You could just let us live here for a few years before we have to leave, that would be fine. Living somewhere else isn’t as convenient, as comfortable as living at home. But as soon as I thought of the oppression of the great red dragon, I still decided that after selling the house, we should leave home to fulfill our duty. As I was looking around our newly-built house, I felt a wave of sorrow and pain. I really couldn’t bear to part with it; I felt that selling it at that time was so unfortunate. Just as I was accounting for the gains and losses of the flesh and was unable to decide, I heard God’s words ringing in my ears: “Abraham offered up Isaac. What have you offered up? Job offered up everything. What have you offered up? So many people have given their lives, laid down their heads, shed their blood in order to seek the true way. Have you paid that price? By comparison, you are not at all qualified to enjoy such great grace …” (“The Significance of Saving the Descendants of Moab” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words pierced to the core of my heart like a double-edged sword. I felt ashamed beyond belief. It was true! In order to meet God’s requirements, Abraham was willing to bear great pain to part with what he loved, to make his only son a burnt offering to God. When Satan and God made a bet, although Job lost all of his possessions and his ten children, he was still able to praise and extol the name of Jehovah. Even in the end when he suffered the tortures of being abandoned by his friends and family and being stricken with illness, he would still rather curse the day of his birth than blame God. He made a strong and resounding witness for God and Satan suffered a complete and humiliating defeat. There were also all those saints and prophets through the ages—in order to carry out God’s will, some of them gave up their youth and their marriages, some of them gave up their families and relatives and the wealth of the world. Some even sacrificed their own lives and spilled their blood for God’s work. … But looking at myself, even though I was enjoying the rare grace of salvation that generations of saints never enjoyed and rich words for life bestowed by God, what had I given up for God? What had I offered up for God? The church had me leave my home because of the oppression and pursuit of the great red dragon, so that I wouldn’t fall into its clutches and suffer its cruel persecution. This was God’s great love and protection of us, but I didn’t know good from bad, nor did I care about God’s earnest intentions. I didn’t even think of my own safety, I just thought of my longing for that new tile-roofed house and the pleasures of the flesh. I wasn’t willing to obey God’s arrangement—I really was so full of greed, and I cared more about money than life itself! Today, I wasn’t willing to leave my home behind even for the sake of my safety. If I had to turn my back on my own personal interests as an offering to God, or if I had to give up my life or shed my blood for God’s work, how could someone like me—a small-minded, selfish and despicable person who loves money as life itself—be willing to make this sacrifice for God? Would I not just run away long before that point? I thought of myself often shooting off my mouth, saying: I am willing to follow Peter’s example and be a pioneer for loving God. I am willing to give up everything, to expend everything without considering my own personal benefit, my loss or gain. I only want to satisfy God. But when faced with an actual situation, there was no part of me that was focused on God. I only thought of my own immediate interests, and I actually tried to bargain with God for the pleasures of the flesh. Then, I asked myself: Could it be that this is the love I have to return to God? God has said: “If you love, then you will gladly sacrifice and endure hardship, and you will become compatible with Me. You will give up your all for Me…. Otherwise your love would not be love at all, but rather deceit and betrayal! What kind of love is yours? Is it a true love? Or false? How much have you given up? How much have you offered up? How much love have I received from you? Do you know? Your hearts are filled with evil, betrayal, and deceit” (“Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I made an oath in front of God but did not honor it. Isn’t this trying to deceive God, to fool Him? When I thought of that, I couldn’t help but prostrate myself in front of Him and pray: “Oh Almighty God, I always used to believe that I was willing to host any number of brothers and sisters without ever whining about any hardships, and that this was an expression of my love for You. But only now have I seen through the revelation of the facts that my so-called love was conditional and selective. It was all based on what I wanted, and I only had it in a comfortable environment. But when You needed me to endure fleshly hardships and compromise my own interests, my ‘love’ just disappeared. From that I saw that I didn’t actually love You and that I was not at all performing my duty for my indebtedness to the truth and it was even less to repay Your love, but it was to use a small price I paid to barter for great blessings. I really am an opportunist through-and-through, I am a selfish and despicable small-minded person. I simply am not fit to live in front of You, and I am even less fit to receive everything You provide in my life! Oh God, I am no longer willing to deceive You and rebel against You, to hurt You. I am willing to keep my vow, to put aside my own personal benefit, and to obey Your orchestrations and arrangements.”

After that, I put my energy into selling that new house, and I bought a two-room apartment in a strange place. Although it didn’t compare to our previous house, there was a telephone and heating, and transportation was convenient. I was very happy with it, and we resumed our hosting duties there. In the blink of an eye it was the spring of 2004 and the Communist Party police had once again become suspicious of us. They sent two spies pretending to be fortune-tellers to get some information. Thanks to the enlightenment and leadership from God, we saw through their scheme, and relying on wisdom from God, we ushered them out. After the church learned of this, our duties were suspended. They had us find some work in order to safeguard our environment. From that time on, we had almost no contact with our brothers and sisters. Six months passed and the local situation became more and more tense. One day we suddenly received a notification from the church saying that a Judas had sold us out and that we needed to move as quickly as possible to avoid falling into the hands of the great red dragon. Confronted with this arrangement from the house of God, this time I chose to obey, and a hatred for the great red dragon was born in my heart. I thought of the past when I had heard the great red dragon’s words proclaiming: “Citizens have freedom of religion, and their legitimate rights and interests are protected,” and I saw churches being built everywhere. I adored and loved it; I felt that it had won the hearts of the people. But today, in the face of reality, I finally really clearly saw the ugly face of the great red dragon, I saw through its machinations, and I knew that its proclamations and its surface-level actions were all lies and deceit, all pretensions. It was all despicable means, dirty tricks to confuse and blind people. It was sinister and ruthless, cunning and deceitful, regressive, against God, and utterly reactionary. It was a demon that devoured and brought harm to people! God incarnate came to the earth to save His creation, mankind. This was something that was right and proper; it was an enormous, joyous thing, but the great red dragon would not allow God among mankind, would not allow people to worship God and walk a proper path in their lives. It did everything it could to frantically hunt Christ, it cruelly persecuted the chosen people of God, and tried to disrupt and destroy God’s work. It attempted to drive God out, to exterminate the chosen people of God, and to destroy His work in the last days. It truly was utterly reactionary and intolerable by Heaven! Just then these words of God just came into my mind: “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Why put up such an impenetrable obstacle to the work of God? Why employ various tricks to deceive God’s folk? Where is the true freedom and legitimate rights and interests? Where is the fairness? Where is the comfort? Where is the warmth? Why use deceitful schemes to trick God’s people? Why use force to suppress the coming of God? Why not allow God to freely roam upon the earth that He created? Why hound God until He has nowhere to rest His head?” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through His words I was able to clearly see the ugly face of the great red dragon, to clearly see the truth of its resistance to and persecution of God as well as its harm and restraints of people. I thought of how many brothers and sisters who, under its oppression and pursuit, could not return home and led the lives of vagabonds, of the homeless. I thought of how many brothers and sisters had suffered the destructiveness of its inhuman torture, how many brothers and sisters had been imprisoned on false charges and passed so many dark days, leading lives in a dungeon not worthy of a dog or a pig, only because they believed in God and performed their duty. I also thought of how many brothers and sisters who had no freedom at all under its surveillance; they had no way to perform their duty and they could not lead a normal life in the church. Today, us believing in God and offering hospitality was merely performing our duty as creations. We were carrying out our responsibilities, and absolutely had not contravened the laws or regulations of the great red dragon, but we were still subject to baseless strictures and oppression. We could only uproot ourselves and go to yet another place to fulfill our duty. In spite of this, the police did not relax in their pursuit of us, but they actually disguised themselves as fortune-tellers to dig up information, thinking they could find some evidence to entrap us and persecute us. The great red dragon truly is immeasurably sinister, treacherous, despicable, and vicious! At that thought, I felt even greater righteous indignation and was full of deep hatred for the great red dragon. Thanks be to God! It was God’s practical work and words that completely removed the mask of the great red dragon and fully exposed the ugliness of its hypocrisy with an appearance of dignity. This finally opened my eyes which had been blind. My spirit was awakened, and I saw the clarity of the truth that the great red dragon builds up its name by deceiving the public and the truth of its deceit and harmfulness. So I had the confidence and determination to firmly forsake it, to reject it. On top of that, compared to the despicable evil and dark filth of the great red dragon, I gained an even greater understanding of God’s righteousness, holiness, light, and goodness. I saw His great salvation and care for us corrupt humans; I saw that no matter how harsh the environment was, no matter what kind of resistance and oppression there was from the great red dragon, God has never given up His salvation for us. He is still enduring all suffering to do the work He must do. In this filthy, evil world, we can only depend on God—He is our greatest love and our greatest salvation from which we have the aspiration and longing for a lifetime of pursuing the truth, and following Christ. Thanks be to God for laying out such a feast for me to partake of, that in the midst of misery I can gain discernment and insight. From now on, I swear on my life that I will make a complete break with the great red dragon. I will be its sworn enemy. No matter how it persecutes or pursues me, I will not be intimidated by its despotism. I will only closely follow God, rely on His leadership, break through the oppression of all forces of darkness, and fulfill my duty in order to repay the grace of God’s salvation.

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