By Zhang Min
I was formerly a leader of the Independent Church, in charge of more than ten churches. By my ability to preach, to compose songs, to heal the sick, and to drive out demons, I showed myself off and became a “great capable person” and a “great favorite” in the churches and an idol in the hearts of the brothers and sisters. All the church affairs were up to me to have the final say. If I said “Yes,” the brothers and sisters dared not say “No.” Whenever I went out to visit the churches or preach the , the churches would assign a special person to carry my bags or take my luggage. Wherever I went, the brothers and sisters would come from afar to pick me up and see me off. Just like that, I kept the brothers and sisters under my control. Without my permission, no one was allowed to go out to seek the true way or get in touch with strangers. Now, I have known that I was in no sense a leader who led the churches but in every sense an evil servant who indulged in the enjoyment of position, a mountain bandit, and the Beelzebub who hindered the brothers and sisters from receiving the truth and life.
Since 1996 when God’s end-time work was preached to our churches, I had been resisting, blaspheming, and condemning God’s work. I closed the churches everywhere to outsiders and specially assigned people to guard each church, not allowing anyone to receive or get in touch with the people who preached Almighty God’s end-time gospel. If one was found to have received them, he would be publicly exposed and disgraced. I would also hold meetings to criticize and denounce him, calling on every brother and sister to attack and reject him and forcing him to confess his sins before the brothers and sisters of all churches, so that he would never hold up his head again. One time, one of our church leaders kept me in the dark and secretly received the people who preached Almighty God. After listening to the end-time gospel, he was willing to follow Almighty God and also intended to bring the brothers and sisters in his church before Almighty God. After I learned it, I immediately brought along some believers and went to abuse those who preached the gospel. I slandered, humiliated, and created all sorts of difficulties for them, and I also cursed them loudly in and asked the believers to drive them until they were thrown out. After they left, I rebuked that church leader and pondered how to punish him. At another time, the believers of our several meeting places were gathered together to celebrate Christmas. When I heard that a brother among them had received the believers in Almighty God, I dragged him out publicly and forced him to confess his sins. He was so frightened that he slunk off to a cave-house and hid himself. But when I found him, I dragged him out again and asked him to stand well-behaved before everyone and show himself as an example. I pointed at him and said to the crowd, “He has received the people of ‘Eastern Lightning.’ If I hadn’t kept a close watch over him, he would have followed them and led away the believers under him. Today, I make him lose face before you just to let you know that you should not be fooled by ‘Eastern Lightning’ again! In the future, whoever receives the people of ‘Eastern Lightning’ again will end up like him today. …” Hearing my words, they were all scared, not daring to say a word.
I hindered the brothers and sisters from seeking the true way and frenziedly resisted and blasphemed Almighty God to an extent. I remember that on a Sunday in 1998, a brother came to preach God’s end-time gospel to me. That day I was just having a meeting at home. As soon as I saw him, I asked the brothers and sisters to sing songs of driving out demons and also called him a Big Gray Serpent. However, he said calmly, “God has already returned and done a new work. …” Before he had finished his words, I pointed at his head and cursed, “Is your father a male or a female? It is written in the , ‘Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. …’ Isn’t Father precisely a male? The one you believe in is a female; you are coming to deceive people. Go away right now!” Then, I drove him away before he even found time to explain. Later, many other people came to preach to me, yet I not only didn’t listen to them but also fasted and prayed to the Lord, asking him to seal their mouths. In order to preach God’s end-time gospel to me and in order to make me go and listen to the message, two brothers among them endured my cruel treatment all along. Since they came to our church, I had been forcing them to kneel under the cross and “confess and repent of their sins” according to my requirements. I accused them of having “lightning spirit” and said that they must confess their sins thoroughly. I also laid my hands on their heads and sang songs of driving out demons to cleanse their bodies. After a period of time, one of the brothers didn’t come anymore, and I wasn’t sure whether he had other things to do or whether he couldn’t endure my cruel treatment. Yet the other brother still came and even helped me do work and cook meals, never making any complaints or talking much. Once, we went up a hill to cut sesame plants. He pulled the cart up the hill all by himself and was tired out with his face streaming with sweat, but he didn’t say anything. He cut off sesame plants, bound them up, pulled them to my house, and carried them on his back to the roof. I not only didn’t show any compassion for him, but on the contrary, I still made him kneel before the cross and continue confessing his sins. I thought, “Who let you join ‘Eastern Lightning’? It is not unfair for you to be treated like this!” So, I didn’t have any feelings of guilt about what I had done and regarded my doing so as being completely after God’s heart.
I had never stopped resisting and blaspheming “Eastern Lightning.” I ran around all day long, busy with guarding against the “false way.” However, the more I did so, the less faith the brothers and sisters had, the less positive and enthusiastic they became, the weaker they turned, and the more often they fell. Some went to other places to work; some dozed or slept in the meetings; and the number in the churches kept on dropping. I also found that my sermon was dry as dust, having no guidance of God, and was all old stuff. I didn’t know why these happened and thus fell into great distress. So I prayed to God, “O God! Have I done things wrong? If I have done things wrong and have resisted you, I’m willing to confess and repent of my sins. Please inspire me, guide me, and point out the direction forward for me. I am willing to seek to understand your intention and bring the brothers and sisters before you.”
God is almighty; he knows man’s heart. As long as one seeks with a sincere heart, God will surely do the work.
Only a few days after my prayer, the brother who had never talked much but often did work for me without any complaints said, “Sister, will you go and listen to the message with me?” At that time, I looked at him and, without knowing why, a feeling of indebtedness to him welled up inside me. In the past, I had deliberately created difficulties for him and treated him cruelly, but he had never cared about that and only kept silent, treating me sincerely as before. If it had not been for God’s work, who could have had such great faith and love? I didn’t have the heart to hurt him anymore. I thought to myself, “It’s all right for me to go and listen. I have my own judgment anyway and I won’t follow others blindly.” So, I went with him. When we got there, a sister said to me, “God has long since come to the world and done a new work. The place he has come to is China, the darkest and filthiest place where God is resisted the most. He has been enduring men’s rejections and slanders and has been saving those who are earnestly expecting and waiting for him in darkness. However, no one knows him, and they even try every possible means to resist him. No one welcomes God’s coming because God’s work does not conform to man’s notions. The fact that God has been incarnated as a female this time has especially broken man’s notions.” Having said that, she took out the book of God’s word and read these words to me, “God’s work has been progressing forward all the time. Although the purpose of his work does not change, the way of his working has been changing continuously. Thus, those who follow God have also been changing continuously. The more works God does, the more fully people will know God, and their disposition will also change accordingly with God’s work. However, because God’s work is always changing, those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit and those who are absurd and do not know the truth all become ones who resist God. God’s work is always discordant with people’s notions, because his work is ever new and never old and he does not repeat his old work but does works he has never done before. Because God does not repeat his work and because people always measure God’s work of today by his past work, God’s work in every new age is very difficult to carry out. People have too many difficulties! People are too conservative in thought! They do not know God’s work, but they all circumscribe God’s work.” “God’s substance and what God has and is will never change, but God’s work continuously progresses and continuously deepens, for God is ever new and never old. In each age God takes a new name, does a new work, and lets created beings see his new will and new disposition. If in a new age people could not see the expression of God’s new disposition, wouldn’t they have God nailed on the cross forever? Then wouldn’t they have circumscribed God? If God were incarnated only as a male, people would conclude that God is a male and is men’s God and would never think that he is women’s God. Then, men would think that God is in the same gender as they. So God would be the Head of men. What about women then? That would be unfair. Wouldn’t that be showing favoritism? In that case, God would only save men, who are the same as him in gender, and no woman would . When God created mankind, he created Adam and Eve. He did not create Adam only but created man and woman in his image. God is not only the God of men, but also the God of women.” Hearing these words, I couldn’t help crying. Never had I thought that the God whom I had been expecting day and night had long since come, yet I didn’t know him. My resisting, rejecting, and slandering him time and time again had already broken his heart. I had regarded myself as “faithful” to the Lord, but now I became the Beelzebub who stood in opposition to God. “O God! Why is your enemy precisely the person in your family?” I choked with sobs and began to recall the scenes of the brothers and sisters preaching the gospel to me in these years. I had tried in every possible way to oppress, disgrace, and abuse them. I was really a great evil servant and was exactly the same as the Pharisees of that time. The painstaking care God had exerted and the price he had paid for me were too great! He had tried saving me again and again and had given me opportunities again and again, but I, a blind, foolish, and arrogant person, had forfeited them all. The more I thought about it, the more remorse I felt. I cried and prayed to God, “O dear Almighty God! I am such a sinner and have done so many things that resist you. I am grievously sinful and even death would be too good for me. O Almighty God, no matter how you punish me in the future, I will accept it willingly. Now I am willing to hand all your ‘sheep’ over to you because they originally belonged to you. These hungry and lost sheep can receive the supply of life only when they come before your throne. O God! No matter how many tears I shed, they cannot express the indebtedness in my heart. Even if I were torn to shreds, it could not make up for my transgressions. I don’t deserve to ask for your forgiveness anymore, and I feel too ashamed to see you again. I can only expend myself for you for the rest of my life, and even if it needs me to dedicate my life, I’m willing to do it! …”
After I followed Almighty God, I also brought the brothers and sisters in my former churches before God. They all read God’s own utterance and felt extremely excited. The once lifeless churches had completely changed. They seemed to be placed under a new heaven and on a new earth. All the brothers and sisters wore smiles on their faces and were in good spirits. They sang new songs, danced new dances, and drank the living water of life flowing out from Almighty God’s throne. All the churches had seen Almighty God’s true light and had been lightened up by God’s word. Seeing these, I felt somewhat better. But I knew that what I had done was far from enough to make up for my indebtedness to God. So, I made up my mind to bring more hungry and lost lambs before Almighty God so that they could, like us, enjoy the nourishment of God’s word, receive Almighty God’s personal leading, and gain all the riches bestowed by Almighty God.
When I went out to preach God’s end-time gospel, I also saw with my own eyes that the people of various sects and denominations resisted, slandered, and blasphemed Almighty God and that they abused and beat those gospel preachers and even reported them to the police. Their behavior today is that of my past. When I saw all that, my heart dripped blood and wept. I even more regretted my past actions and deeds and couldn’t help but fall down before God. “O God! Dear Almighty God! If you had not saved me, I would still be living in the darkness like them, and I would still be resisting you and disobeying you. Thank you for bestowing such great grace upon me. Such a person like me, who has done all kinds of evil, can still receive your salvation and still have an opportunity to know you and enjoy you. This is really a great uplifting and favor from you. O God! Through what you have done on me, I have seen your love and mercy, have seen your limitless and immeasurable love for man, and have much more seen that your intention for mankind is not to destroy but to save. O God! Your love is so great and so real. My heart has been melted by you. I will love you with all my heart and dedicate my lifetime energies to your gospel work to wake up those brothers and sisters who are still being fooled and deceived by satan with my personal experience. May this console your grieved and worried heart! Amen!”