By Shunfu, the United States
My aunt is a Catholic. When I was eight or nine years old, together with my family, I believed in Catholicism with my aunt. At that time, I particularly liked to hear my aunt talk about the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, such as: feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, making the blind see, walking on the sea, and so on. Through my aunt’s interpretation, I knew that this one true God is the Lord Jesus: He not only rules over all things in the universe, but also dominates and arranges the fate of all mankind. And I knew that after our ancestors Adam and Eve, because of not keeping God’s words, were enticed by the devil and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then mankind began to sin. After being corrupted by Satan, mankind became more and more degenerate, lived under Satan’s influence, and suffered its affliction. God didn’t want to see us being abused by Satan, so He personally became flesh on earth and took on humanity’s sin through crucifixion. God’s love is so great. I was moved by the great love of God, and determined to be a person who likes what God likes and hates what God hates.
At the age of thirteen, before being baptized, a nun explained to me what the ten commandments are, what the seven deadly sins are, what the big and small sins are, what can be done and what can’t, what the purgatory is, what hell is, how many persons the one God contains, why we believe in God, and other aspects of knowledge, but she talked little about the Bible. However, I still believed in God devoutly: I went to church for Mass on Sundays, said daily Morning and Evening Prayers, and said rosary after rosary every day, observed abstinence and fasting, did not eat meat on Fridays, worshiped the way of the Cross (reading scriptures and worshiping Jesus on bended knees), and did things to suffer and discipline my own body. In addition, I often went to other churches for Mass together with some pious church friends, especially when the grand Mass to worship the Holy Sacrament took place, such as Ash Wednesday, Easter, and Christmas Day. Meanwhile, I also offered my Mass and said rosary to the departed souls (my relatives and my benefactors) in purgatory, hoping that they could have their sins mitigated by rosary and could earlier ascend into the Celestial Regions. I believed that as long as I kept doing so, I could please God and could go to heaven in the future.
After many years, my whole family immigrated to America. I still went to church services, recited scriptures, and said prayers and confessed to priest every day. Near my house, there was a foreign Catholic church, in which there were two Masses every morning: first and second Mass. And I went to attend at least one Mass every day no matter the weather. As a result, I rarely went to the former overseas Chinese church, except for the annual confession in celebration of Christmas Day.
On a Sunday in December, 2014, when I went to my original church, I saw that there were some joss-sticks, which were used for offering sacrifices to ancestors, in an incense burner, and some paintings and lanterns hanging on the walls; the church looked like a theater. I was very puzzled: “Why do these things appear in the church?” After finishing Mass and confession, I went home and felt very frustrated and heavy-hearted. One Sunday in December, 2015, I went to the church for confession again. I hadn’t been there for a year, and when I got there I felt the church had a sense of creepiness. I didn’t know why the church gave me such a feeling. I looked around, and saw many seats in the hall were vacant; people there were mostly the old; the kids were running about and making loud uproars with no one stopping them, and some people were even on their phones. The church seemed to be their place of amusement. In the past, when we went into the church, we dressed up properly and were forbidden from making noise, because it was a holy place—the home of God. I couldn’t understand why the church became this way. On that day, the priest happened to give baptism and he actually asked the baptized for red envelopes (a fee). I was astonished: “Should a priest do that? Unbelievable!” If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. I was astounded and sorrowful, because I had admired priests very much all along. I thought they were the nearest to God: If we Catholics sinned, we must confess to the priests, who then directly passed our confession to God. But why did the priest become so greedy? Could such priests still serve God selflessly and listen to our confession? Could such a church still be the home of God? At that moment, I felt cold within and somehow shed tears. I also prayed in my heart: “O God, why has the church become like this? Even what the priest did goes against Your will; what on earth is the reason for all this?”
Since then, every time I went to church to receive holy communion and pray, I felt a strange emptiness in my heart, and felt the same way in the foreign church. I felt there was something missing from my heart, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I was depressed and weak, and this feeling became increasingly stronger. In the past, when I prayed, especially when I received holy communion after I confessed, I could always quiet myself before God, and could feel God was hearing my prayer, so I was very secure and peaceful in my heart. But now, when I prayed to God, I felt He was far away from me and that my spirit was dry. I felt afraid—afraid that I might have been forsaken by the Lord Jesus. I kept crying to God in my heart when I was in agony, but I didn’t know what to do. …
My life didn’t change until one day in 2017, I met a sister in a supermarket as I came from Sunday worship services in the foreign church. We had a congenial conversation, so we exchanged our telephone numbers. Several days later, the sister phoned, inviting me to attend their small group Bible study, and I agreed. When I arrived at the meeting place, I didn’t think I would discriminate against Christianity, but I still had a few fluctuations in my heart and appeared uneasy when thinking of the nun’s words: “Believe in Catholicism only; don’t believe in other religions no matter what they are.” Then, I silently prayed: “O God, I’m a little uncomfortable to have a meeting together with Christian friends. Please calm my heart. Though we belong to different denominations, we believe in the same God.” I secretly perked myself up: Take things as they come. Just try to listen to them. And then, I put aside my defense and opened my heart to chat with brothers and sisters. Later on, I told them my own state and confusion, as well as the condition of the church. After hearing what I said, a brother said: “Sister, now there are more and more unlawful deeds happening in all denominations, and the churches also become desolate. Do you want to know the root of why the churches become desolate?” “Yes!” I nodded and said. The brother said: “Nowadays, the entire religious world is in spiritual desolation, having no work of the Holy Spirit. This exactly fulfills the prophecy of the Lord Jesus: ‘And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come’ (Matthew 24:12–14). This is a common phenomenon when God returns. Let’s look back on the desolation of the temple at the end of the Age of Law. The temple was full of Jehovah’s glory in the beginning; those who served God in the temple were all reverent and respectful; no one dared to act as they please, or otherwise they would be burnt to death by the heavenly fire which came descending from the top of the temple. But later, the priests offered lame sacrifices, and the people exchanged money and sold oxen, sheep, and doves in the temple; why weren’t they disciplined or punished by God? In the end, the temple became a den of thieves. How did this happen?” This was the very question that had puzzled me. The brother looked around at others and then turned to me: “The main reason was because the Jewish leaders didn’t observe the law of God and didn’t have a heart of fearing God. They only kept the tradition of man and ignored the commandments of God; they completely strayed from the way of God and lost the work of the Holy Spirit. Another aspect was that God came into flesh to do the work of redeeming mankind in the Age of Grace. God’s work had changed, and He was doing a new stage of work outside the temple. Once God started a new work, the Holy Spirit didn’t uphold the old work and didn’t work in the temple anymore, but instead He upheld the Lord Jesus’ work. At the time, those who followed the Lord Jesus all enjoyed joy, peace, and rich grace that were brought by the work of the Holy Spirit; they gained the watering and supply of the living water of life of the Lord Jesus, and also had a new way of practice. By contrast, those Jewish priests, Pharisees, and Jewish people who kept the laws and rejected the Lord Jesus were eliminated by God’s work, and fell into dark desolation.” I had never heard such a good fellowship, so I listened carefully and was afraid of missing something.
The brother continued: “Today’s churches have become as desolate as the holy temple of that age, this proves that the Lord Jesus has left the churches of the Age of Grace and is doing His new work—judgment and chastisement by His words. If we want to gain the watering and shepherding of the Holy Spirit, we must seek and find God’s words. Just as the Bible says, ‘I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon: and the piece whereupon I rained not, withered. And two and three cities went to one city to drink water, and were not filled: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord’ (Amos 4:7–8). The phrase ‘one piece was rained on’ in these words refers to the churches which accept and submit to God’s judgment work of the last days. Because they have accepted the present words of God, they enjoy the supply and watering of the living water of life from the throne. And ‘the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ indicates that the religious world can’t gain the supply of living water of life, falling into desolation. It is because the pastors, leaders, and priests of the religious world don’t practice the Lord’s words, nor observe the commandments of the Lord, and because they reject, resist, and condemn God’s work of the last days, that the religious world is forsaken and cursed by God and completely loses the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the true reason behind the desolation of today’s churches. Besides, the Lord Jesus has left the churches and gathering places of the Age of Grace, and has opened up a new age and is doing a new stage of work. If we neither seek nor investigate, we will be cast aside by the work of Holy Spirit.” The brother turned on his computer and said: “Let’s read a passage of God’s words: ‘God will never start again elsewhere. God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him, and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community is suffering severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him.’ From God’s words, we can see that the Age of Grace has passed and that the Age of Kingdom has come. God has taken back all the work of the Spirit throughout the entire universe and bestowed it upon those who follow His new work. So, only by keeping up with God’s footsteps, can we gain the watering of God’s words of life and be sated in spirit. If we can’t keep pace with God’s work, we will lose the Holy Spirit’s work and lose God’s care and protection, then we will all become weak. In reality, there is God’s good intention behind the desolation of churches; God wants to force us to look for the church with the work of the Holy Spirit, and to seek the true way. Otherwise, we will fall into darkness and lose God’s salvation.” Hearing the brother’s fellowship, I was deeply touched. I thought: “It is true that we Catholics are weary in spirit. We can’t get supply from Mass and all live in our flesh. Even if we sin , there is no reprimand or discipline in our spirit. Moreover, lawless acts are increasing in churches. From these phenomena, it can be seen that the churches no longer have God’s guidance and presence.”
The brother said: “In the last days, God has become flesh again to do the work of judgment by the word, and has expressed all the truth to purify and save mankind, so as to make a group of overcomers before the disaster, that is, the first fruits. This fulfills the prophecy in Revelation: ‘These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb’ (Revelation 14:4). When this group of overcomers are made, God will begin to send down great disasters to punish the evil and reward the good. By then, all those who didn’t accept God’s judgment work of the last days but resist and condemn it will fall into disasters and receive refinement and punishment. Therefore, if we want to gain the work of the Holy Spirit, we must keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb, and only by doing so can we gain the promise and blessings of God.” I was shocked at the news: “Has God come to work again? Have the overcomers been made?”
Next, the brother also fellowshiped about what true faith in God is, what the incarnation is, what the differences between God’s work and man’s work are, and some other aspects of truth. From only a few days of fellowship, I gained much more than what I did in over 20-odd years of my faith in the Lord. I felt that the brother’s fellowship contained the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. However, I still had some doubts: “Is Almighty God really the returned Lord Jesus? If He isn’t, what if I go to hell? If Almighty God is really the appearance of God but I don’t accept Him, then won’t I be the foolish virgin who missed the opportunity of being raptured?” With countless question marks circling my mind, I didn’t know what to do. A battle raged within me, and I was in agony, so I prayed to God: “O God, please have mercy on me, and forgive me. I really don’t know whether Almighty God is Your second coming, may You help me, and lead me to the right direction. Amen.” After my prayer, I turned on my computer and searched “Gospel of the Descent of the Kingdom.” Then I saw the sections including books of God’s words, movies, MVs, articles of life experiences and testimonies, and everything I needed. And then, I clicked on a book titled Selections of the Records of the Three Stages of God’s Work. After reading it, I felt so bright in my heart: “It turns out that the plan of God’s managing mankind has three stages, and every stage of work is done according to God’s management plan and the need of us corrupt mankind, and is a new and improved work upon the foundation of the last stage. In the Age of Law, God issued the law through Moses to lead the people to live on earth, teach man to learn to worship God and magnify God, and meanwhile, let man know Jehovah is God, who can curse man, burn man, and have mercy on man. At the end of the Age of Law, because man became more and more corrupt, God personally became flesh as the Lord Jesus to redeem mankind through crucifixion. As long as we received the Lord’s salvation and prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus, our sins would be forgiven. In the Age of Grace, God showed man that He is the God who has love, mercy, tolerance, and forgiveness. It can be seen that the work of the Age of Grace is based on the foundation of the Age of Law. Though our sins have been forgiven after believing in the Lord, we still live in the painful cycle of sinning and confessing and are unable to escape. In the Age of Kingdom in the last days, God comes into flesh once again to express words to do a stage of judgment and chastisement work—uprooting our sinful nature, so that we can completely get rid of the bondage of sin to be purified and gained by God. God’s three stages of work are complementary and deepen step by step, and they are done by one God.” Thanks be to God. Soon, I confirmed Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus.
In the following days, I avidly read God’s words. One day, I saw God’s words say, “The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is keeping watch by your side, waiting for you to turn back around. He is waiting for the day you suddenly recover your memory: when you realize that you came from God, that, at some unknown time you lost your direction, at some unknown time you lost consciousness on the road, and at some unknown time acquired a ‘father’; when you realize, furthermore, that the Almighty has always been keeping watch, waiting there a very, very long time for your return. He has been watching with desperate longing, waiting for a response without an answer. His standing watch is beyond any price, and it is for the sake of the human heart and the human spirit. Perhaps this standing watch is indefinite, and perhaps it is at an end. But you should know exactly where your heart and your spirit are right now.” While reading God’s words, tears ran down my face. God has always expected and waited for me, a lost sheep, to come back to His side. Thinking back to the days without the supply of God’s words, I was thirsty and hungry in spirit, as if a small lost sheep in the desert couldn’t find water and the direction of home. It is God who found me back and provides me with His word of life, makes me strong and have strength in spirit. This is God’s mercy and salvation for me.
Returning to God’s family, I felt so amiable and warm as if a lost child returned home. Through having meetings with brothers and sisters and reading God’s words, I regained the joy of being with God. Later on, seeing many people still lived in darkness and couldn’t gain the watering and shepherding of the living water of life, I actively joined in preaching the gospel. Thank God. My mother, my sister, and my husband all accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Now, they all attend meetings and fellowship God’s words together with brothers and sisters, and we live in the guidance and leading of God’s words. Our life is abundant and joyful every day. Thanks be to God. All the glory be to Almighty God!