I was a preacher in a house church. In 1999, because of the church’s desolation, I had nothing to preach and was dry in spirit, much less could I supply brothers and sisters. On a co-worker meeting, almost everyone put forward the problem of how to resolve the church’s desolation. At that time, Sister Wang, who was a preacher, said with a serious expression, “We are in the same situation: Believers are generally weak in spirit. The basic reason is that we have nothing to supply brothers and sisters.” Hearing this, we all felt reproached, and I couldn’t help saying, “I’m so indebted to the Lord.” Then, I turned to Sister Wang and asked her, “Do you know any place holding meetings for co-worker training recently? If we go out and listen more, maybe we can receive some supply and can water brothers and sisters.” Pondering for a while, Sister Wang said, “You remind me that last night, the church leader in a certain County called to tell me they would hold a meeting for training young co-workers, and it would last about one month. Who wants to take part in it?” On hearing the news, I was overjoyed and replied at once, “Me! Maybe it can solve my puzzles and the problems in church.” Because the other co-workers were tied up with their family affairs, they recommended me to attend it as a representative. Seeing the expectation in their eyes, I felt a sense of responsibility. I thought, “Since they have no time for the meeting, I’ll go.” Therefore, I said to them, “All right, I’ll go myself.”
The next day, I took a train to the destination to take part in the co-worker training meeting. On the train, I was full of expectation, hoping the training could help me find out the cause of the church’s desolation. But when I arrived at the meeting place and saw that in such a spacious place there were only 38 brothers and sisters present at the meeting, I could not help but feel a little bleak. During the meeting, the preacher gave us a sermon about “Tenet,” the content of which included God’s creation, the origin of man’s sin, Jesus’ redemption, the return of Jesus Christ, etc. When it came to Jesus’ redemption, Sister Li, who was in charge of teaching hymns in that local church, picked up a piece of chalk and wrote on the blackboard the lyrics of a hymn “Pure and Unblemished Love,” which our hymn book didn’t include:
Refrain: “Love” means a pure and unblemished affection, to love with the heart, and to feel with the heart, and to care with the heart; in “love” there is no condition, no barrier, and no distance; in “love” there is no suspicion, and in “love” there is no cheat, no dealing, and no cunning; in “love” there is no choice and in “love” there is not any mixture.
1. If you have such love, you will not cheat, will not complain, will not betray, will not disobey, will not demand, and will not seek to receive anything or care how much you receive. If you have love, you will be willing to consecrate.
2. If you have such love, you will be willing to suffer and cooperate with God, will give up your all for God, will give up your family and future for God, will give up your youth for God, and will give up your marriage for God. Otherwise, your love is not love but cheat and betrayal!
(from “Pure and Unblemished Love” in The Hymns of God’s Word in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs)
After writing it down, Sister Li gave some explanation about the content of this hymn, “What does love mean? It means that God loves us so much that He bestowed His only begotten son to us. is unblemished. Then, what should we do to repay the Lord’s love? That is to care for the Lord’s will with the heart and honesty. Brothers and sisters, are the lyrics good?” The brothers and sisters answered in chorus with gladness, “Good!” Sister Li went on, “Brothers and sisters, this is a hymn from the . Its lyrics are pretty good and touching and can stir up our love for the Lord. However, it is heard that the message they preach has gone beyond . We should believe in the Lord according to the Bible. Only the Bible is the foundation of our faith. Yet the good points in their church, we should absorb.” With the words, she continued teaching us that hymn, and the brothers and sisters all sang along with her and took some notes. When hearing the hymn, I found the lyrics were really amazing, and I thought, “How can ‘love’ be defined so well? It is for man to love with the heart, feel with the heart, and care with the heart. It is higher and more practical than what is said in the Bible: ‘Charity suffers long.’ Now we only have some superficial good behavior, but in fact, brothers and sisters still live in sin, often having jealousy and strife.As the hymn says, ‘in “love” there is no condition, no barrier, and no distance; in “love” there is no suspicion, and in “love” there is no cheat, no dealing, and no cunning; in “love” there is no choice and in “love” there is not any mixture.’ The love God says is for us to love with the heart, rather than have some good behavior externally.” At that moment, I had some enjoyment in spirit, and thought, “A hymn of the Eastern Lightning alone can even touch our heart and awaken our spirit. What do they preach every day? I really want to hear the message they preach….”
A month later, the commonplace training finally ended. I went back to our church and had a meeting with the co-workers. A sister asked me, “Sister Hemiao, tell us quickly what you heard when you attended the meeting. We are very thirsty in spirit.” I said with a reluctant smile, “Thank the Lord! The content of this training was Tenet, which was the same as before. I put forward the problem in our church, but that leader didn’t solve it. He just asked us to wait patiently and rely on the great power of the Lord.” After hearing this, the brothers and sisters all wore a worried face and sighed in sadness. Looking at their listless manner, I thought of the hymn and said excitedly, “But I have a big unexpected harvest. I’ve learned a hymn, which is very good.” On hearing that, they cheered up again and asked urgently, “Which hymn? Teach us quickly.” And then I sang with emotion, “‘Love’ means a pure and unblemished affection, to love with the heart, and to feel with the heart, and to care with the heart; in ‘love’ there is no condition, no barrier, and no distance; in ‘love’ there is no suspicion, and in ‘love’ there is no cheat, no dealing, and no cunning; in ‘love’ there is no choice and in ‘love’ there is not any mixture. …” (from “Pure and Unblemished Love” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) Once I finished singing, Sister Zhang said enthusiastically, “Ah, the hymn is really very good. It feels fresh.” Sister Zheng said with a smile, “Love is interpreted so specifically in the lyrics. It can’t be written by someone ordinary. It shows us the way. If we can really love with the heart, there will be no barrier or intrigue among us.” Sister He continued, “This hymn truly moves me. In this moment, there is no more sorrow and worry in my heart. Quickly, please teach us.” I was very excited at seeing the brothers and sisters vigorous in spirit again. It seemed we had come back to the time when the church was flourishing and to the joyful atmosphere in which the Lord was with us. I taught them the hymn twice carefully, and the brothers and sisters learnt it soon. After that, Sister He asked, “The hymn is truly good. Why is it not in our hymn book?” I said smilingly, “This hymn is from the Eastern Lightning.” They were all astounded and said, “How can this be the hymn of the Eastern Lightning?” One sister suddenly changed her face, and asked me seriously, “Hemiao, did you listen to the message of the Eastern Lightning?” On hearing that, I replied solemnly, “What’s wrong with the Eastern Lightning? Now we are dry in spirit and have no message to preach. Yet one hymn of theirs stirs up our faith. It must be of benefit to reviving our church if we can listen to the message of the Eastern Lightning. Sisters, we should not reject it and be on guard blindly.” Before I finished my words, Sister Wang’s face suddenly clouded over and she questioned me with an angry face, “So you heard the message of the Eastern Lightning.” I responded sternly, “I’d like to listen, but I only learnt one hymn. You all sang with enthusiasm and felt that you had the way just now, didn’t you? The One we believe in is the true God. Since we have the truth, what shall we fear?” At that time, Sister Zhang urged, “Quick, stop arguing. Let’s copy the lyrics down quickly.” After hearing what she said, everyone stopped arguing and copied the lyrics while singing.
In the autumn of 2000, I heard that Sister Tian, who had believed in the Lord for many years and pursued actively, was converted to the Eastern Lightning. I thought, “What on earth does the Eastern Lightning preach? It can even have attracted Sister Tian, who had believed in the Lord for more than 30 years and had a solid foundation in believing in God. O Lord, what exactly is this denomination? When can I listen to their message?” Thereafter, every time I passed by the housing estate where Sister Tian lived, I would get off my bike and walk while pushing it slowly. For I didn’t know her specific apartment address, and I hoped I would meet and ask her what the Eastern Lightning preached, and whether there was something attractive which made her so resolute. However, I never met her.
Finally, in 2002, I met brothers and sisters who preached the gospel of the last days. They fellowshipped with me about the causes of the churches’ desolation, “On the one hand, pastors and elders carry out their own ideas without walking in the Lord’s ways, only focus on preaching theological knowledge and Bible doctrines, and walk the Pharisees’ path stubbornly. As a result, they are detested and rejected by God and lose the working of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, God has done a new work, and He is , the returned . Almighty God, built on the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work, does a work of judging and purifying man with His word, and thereby thoroughly takes people out of the condition of committing and confessing sins and then brings purified people into His kingdom. Only those who accept God’s new work and keep pace with God’s footprints can receive the work of the Holy Spirit and get the supply and watering of living water. However, those who fail to follow God’s new work and who reject and resist God’s new work lose the work of the Holy Spirit, living in the hungry and thirsty situation and becoming more and more desolate and dry. Almighty God says, ‘God will accomplish this fact: All the people of the entire universe will come to meet God and worship the God on earth. God’s work in all other places will cease and people will be forced to search for the true way. It will be as with Joseph. Everyone went to him to get things to eat and bowed down to him, because he had food to eat. To avoid famine people will be forced to search for the true way. The entire religious world will suffer a severe famine. Only today’s God is the fountain of living water and has an ever-flowing spring for people to enjoy. All people will turn to Him.’ (from ‘The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh) ‘All of God’s work in the entire universe has focused on this group of people. He has devoted all His efforts to you and sacrificed all for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why I say, you are the fortunate.’ (from ‘Is the Work of God So Simple as Man Imagines?’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh)” One sister said, “God has reclaimed the work of the Holy Spirit throughout the universe and worked on those who have accepted His work of the last days, making these people receive the watering of living water and be satisfied in their spirit. The religious world, not keeping up with God’s work, is dry in spirit and has no message to preach. Only those who accept the judgment of the last days from the returned Lord Jesus, Almighty God, are the ones to and brought into the kingdom in the end. If one rejects the judgment, chastisement, purification, and salvation of Almighty s, he will be cast away and eliminated forever without further association with God’s kingdom. This has long been predestined by God, which no one can change.” Hearing the brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship, I was clear as if the fog were dispelled and the blue sky showed, and the question that had puzzled me for years was solved.
After several days of fellowship with the brothers and sisters from the Church of Almighty God, I knew the truth concerning the three stages of God’s work, God’s incarnation, the differences between God’s work and man’s work, how Satan corrupts man, how God saves man and so on. I realized that the Eastern Lightning was the returned Lord Jesus I had long thirsted for, and that the hymn “Pure and Unblemished Love,” which touched and attracted my heart, was exactly the truth expressed by Almighty God. When I sang the hymn with the brothers and sisters, I was quite moved in my heart, and I offered a thanksgiving prayer to God in my heart silently, “Thank Almighty God! Thank You for bringing me to You by this hymn. You are my Lord, my God! I’m willing to follow You all my life!”