21. I Was Saved by Almighty God

Zhang Min

Luoyang City, Henan Province

I was formerly a leader of the Independent Church, in charge of more than a dozen churches, and had the final say on all the affairs of the churches. By my abilities to preach, compose songs, heal the sick, and drive out demons, I often showed myself off. So I became the “most able person” and the “toast” of the churches, exalted and looked up to by all the brothers and sisters, and became an idol in their hearts. They all thought highly of me and adored me. As a result, I became all the more self-right and arrogant. When I said “Yes,” none of them ever dared to say “No.” Whenever I went out to visit the churches or preach the gospel, a church member would be assigned to carry my book bag and luggage. Whichever church I went to visit, the brothers and sisters there would travel a long distance to pick me up and see me off. I kept all the brothers and sisters in the churches under strict control. Without my permission, no one should overstep the mark (that is, go out to seek the true way). It was not until I had accepted God’s work of the last days that I came to realize that I was in no sense one who led the churches but a leading demon that resisted the work of God.

In 1996, God’s gospel of the last days was preached to our churches. Since then, I began to resist, blaspheme, and condemn God’s work, and desperately hinder the brothers and sisters from accepting it. I went everywhere to seal off the churches. I specially assigned people to guard each church, and forbad anyone to receive those who preached Almighty God’s gospel of the last days or go out to contact them. If I found that a church member had received them, I would hold meetings to denounce and disgrace him. I would have all the brothers and sisters attack and reject him and force him to confess his sins before them, so that he would never be able to hold up his head again. The churches were sealed off by me so tightly as to be impenetrable, and the brothers and sisters were strictly controlled in my hands. But this could in no way hinder their hearts from thirsting for and seeking the truth.

Once, the leader of a church secretly received some preachers of the gospel of the last days. After he heard their preaching about the true way, he was willing to follow Almighty God and also wanted to bring the brothers and sisters in his church to Almighty God. When I learned of that, I immediately rushed there to “save” them. I led some believers to abuse, slander, and insult the gospel preachers and spite them by every means, and I also prayed loudly to curse them, and told the believers to mock and drive them until they were thrown out. After they left, I rebuked the brother who received them, and began to consider how to punish him. Another time, when I learned that a brother whose home was a meeting place also wanted to accept Almighty God, I braved the snow and walked dozens of miles visiting several places at that very night, trying to find a home to host the church in his home’s stead. After that, I had all the believers accuse him of taking the wrong way and falling into the trap of the “Eastern Lightning,” so that he was under attack by all, unable to lift up his head in the churches.

At another time, the believers in several meeting places were gathered together celebrating Christmas. I knew that a brother among them had received the believers in Almighty God, so I dragged him out and forced him to confess his sin in front of everyone and denounced him. I also told all the believers to rise up against him. He was so frightened that he slunk off into a cave-house and hid himself. When I found him, I pulled him out, and forced him to stand still before everyone and confess what he had done, and made an example of him. I pointed at him, like a criminal, and said to the brothers and sisters, “He received the ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers. If I hadn’t kept a close watch over him, he would have followed them and led away the believers in his charge. Today, I make him lose face before all the brothers and sisters just for you never to be like him or to be deceived by the ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers! From now on, whoever receives them will suffer what he suffers today…” At that, all the brothers and sisters were scared into silence.

One day in 1998, I remember, it was raining heavily when two brothers came to my house to preach the gospel to me. No sooner had they opened their mouth than I jumped down my throat and rudely drove them away. After that, some other brothers and sisters came several times to preach to me, but I drove all of them out of the door. Once, a brother came again. It was a Sunday, and there was a meeting going on in my house. At the sight of him, I told the congregation to sing the songs of driving out demons, and I also called him a big gray serpent. But he told us calmly, “God has already returned and done a new work…” Before he had finished his words, I pointed at his head and shouted, “Is your father male or female? It is written: ‘Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. …’ Isn’t the Father male? The one you believe in is female; you came here to deceive people. Get away quickly!” Then, I threw him out before he could say anything. Later, some other people came to preach to me, but I still refused to listen, and I even fasted and prayed to the Lord and asked Him to shut up their mouths. Before long, on a rainy night, two brothers came to our church again to preach Almighty God’s work of the last days. When I learned of that, I rushed there in anger. Pointing at their heads, I said, “Get out, you preachers of the ‘false way’! Or else, I won’t be so easy on you…” Then, I called the brother who guarded the church to me and rebuked him, “How did you guard the church? Why didn’t you drive them away?” Just before the preachers went out of the church, I suddenly thought to try a scheme, and so I said to them, “If you want to be friends with us from now on, come to visit me in my house, and don’t come here again.” They immediately asked me, “Where is your house? We are glad to be friends with you.” I then told them my address. The next day, they really came to my house. I forced them to kneel before the cross and “confess their sins and repent.” And I also spoke some offensive words to them. After a period of time, one of them didn’t come anymore. That might be because he was busy with other things or because he couldn’t bear my ill-treatment. The other brother still came to have meetings in my house. I often asked him to do a lot of work for me, but he never complained. He helped me do the farm work and cook meals, and he never talked much. Once we went up a hill to cut sesame plants, and he alone pulled the cart. By the time he had reached the top of the hill, he was sweating like a pig, but he didn’t say anything. After we cut off and bound up the sesame plants, he pulled them to my house and carried them up to the roof by himself. Seeing all that, not only did I not feel ashamed and uneasy, but I still told him to kneel before the cross and continue to confess his sins. I thought, “Who told you to join in the ‘Eastern Lightning’? You deserve this!” Like this, I didn’t have any feelings of guilt about what I had done, but believed that by doing so, I was loyal to God, responsible for the life of the brothers and sisters, and completely after God’s heart. I rushed to and fro all day long, busy with guarding against the “false way.” However, the more I did so, the less faith the brothers and sisters had. They were passive, cold, weak, and fell. Some went to work out of town to earn money; some, though they attended the meetings, dozed or slept during the service. The number of the believers in the churches kept on dropping. I also found that while preaching, I was dry and had no guidance of God, and what I delivered was all old stuff. I didn’t know the reason for that, and so I prayed to God, “O God! Why all these happened? Have I done any thing wrong? If I have done something wrong and resisted You, I’m willing to confess my sins and repent. May You enlighten me, guide me, and give me the direction ahead. I am willing to seek and understand Your will and bring the brothers and sisters before You.”

God heard my prayer. A few days later, the brother who had never talked much but often labored for me without any complaints said to me gently, “Sister, would you like to go and hear messages with me?” I looked at him, and somehow, a sense of indebtedness welled up within me: In the past, I deliberately created difficulties for him and treated him badly, but he never took it to heart, and instead just kept silent and treated me sincerely as before. If God had not worked in him, how could he have had such great patience, faith, and love? I shall not hurt him anymore. At the moment, I said to myself, “It’s all right to go and listen. Anyway, I have my own judgment, and I won’t follow others blindly.” So, I went with him. After we got there, a sister told me, “God has already come among men and begun to do a new work. His first stop is China, the nation of the great red dragon, the most dark, corrupt, filthy, and cruel place, where God is resisted the most. And enduring rejections and slanders, God has been saving those who are desperately longing and waiting for Him in darkness. But they do not know Him, and even try every possible means to resist Him. No one welcomes His coming, because His work does not conform to man’s notions, and especially His incarnation as a female this time all the more shatters man’s notion.” Having said this, she took out the book of Almighty God’s word and read, “The work of God continues to advance, and though the purpose of His work remains unchanging, the means by which He works are constantly changing, and thereby so are those who follow God. The more work of God, the more thoroughly man comes to know God, and the disposition of man changes accordingly along with His work. However, it is because the work of God is ever-changing that those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit and those absurd men who do not know the truth become opponents of God. Not ever does the work of God conform to the conceptions of man, for His work is always new and never old. Not ever does He repeat work of old but rather forges ahead with work never before done. As God does not repeat His work and man invariably judges the work of God today based on His work of the past, it is exceedingly difficult for God to carry out each stage of work of the new age. Man presents far too many hindrances! The thinking of man is too hidebound! No man knows the work of God, yet they all define such work.” “His substance and what He has and is shall never change. His work, however, is always progressing forward, always going deeper, for God is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows the creatures to see His new will and His new disposition. If people do not see the expression of God’s new disposition in the new age, would they not forever nail Him to the cross? And by doing so, would they not define God? If God was only incarnated as a male, people would define Him as male, as the God of men, and would never believe Him to be the God of women. Then, men would believe that God is of the same gender as men, that God is the head of men—and what of women? This is unfair; is it not preferential treatment? If this were the case, then all those whom God saved would be men like Him, and there would be no salvation for women. When God created mankind, He created Adam and He created Eve. He did not create only Adam, but made both male and female in His image. God is not only the God of men, He is also the God of women.” When I heard this, I couldn’t help crying. I had never expected that the God whom I had been longing for day and night had returned, yet I had failed to recognize Him. I had opposed, rejected, and slandered Him time and again, and had actually become a leading demon that resists Him. “O my God! My God! Why are Your enemies the members of Your own household?” I choked with sobs, and began to recall the scenes of the brothers and sisters preaching the gospel to me in the past years. “The painstaking effort God has exerted on me and the price He has paid for me are too great. He has given me so many opportunities to be saved, but I, a blind, foolish, ignorant, arrogant, and malicious person, have missed them all, and I have even done everything possible to resist, condemn, and impede His work, and have tried by every means to bully, disgrace, abuse, and mock the brothers and sisters who preached the gospel to me. I am really a most wicked servant. Am I different from the Pharisees who opposed the Lord Jesus?” The more I thought about that, the more remorseful I felt, and the more deeply I regretted. I cried and prayed to God to confess my sins and repent, “O dear Almighty God! I, a sinner, have done so many things that resist You in these years. And for so many times I have abused, disgraced, and bullied the people sent by You to preach Your work of the last days to me, and I have hindered the brothers and sisters from accepting the true way. I am grievously sinful and deserve more than death. O God, not only have You not abandoned me, but sent people time and again to preach Your new work to me. O Almighty God, no matter how You punish me in the future, I will be most willing to accept it. O God, I will hand all Your sheep over to You, so that this hungry and lost flock will be filled.” I cried every day confessing my sins to God and asking His forgiveness. When I read the words from the very mouth of God, I felt that every word struck right home to my heart. My hardened and numb heart was touched, and I knew for sure that the work of Almighty God is the work of God Himself. I always couldn’t help shedding remorseful tears. I cried for over ten days, and finally I resolved to offer up my whole being to bear witness to God.

Soon I brought the brothers and sisters under my charge to Almighty God, and so they all could read the words from the very mouth of God, and they were extremely excited. The once lifeless churches completely changed, as if 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 inexhaustible living water of life flowing out from the throne of Almighty God, of which no one can enjoy the last. All the churches saw the true light of Almighty God and were lightened up by His words. Seeing these, I felt my indebtedness was somewhat relieved. 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 in darkness to the house of Almighty God, so that they would, like us, enjoy the nourishment of the words of Almighty God, the watering of the living water, and receive His personal guidance and shepherding and all the riches bestowed by Him.

Later, I went out to preach the gospel, and I saw with my own eyes how the people of various denominations and sects resisted, slandered, blasphemed, and falsely accused Almighty God, and how they reviled and hit the gospel preachers and even reported them to the police, which was no different from how I had resisted Almighty God. So I even more regretted my past doings and disobedience and resistance. And I couldn’t help but fall down before Almighty God and prayed, “O God! Dear Almighty God! If You had not enlightened and saved me, I would still live in darkness like them, and would still resist and disobey 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 have an opportunity to know You and enjoy You, and this is really a great uplifting and favor from You. What You have done in me has revealed Your lovingkindness and mercy, Your infinite and boundless love for man, and moreover, revealed that Your intention is to save rather than to destroy mankind. O God! Your love is so great and so real that it has melted my heart. I will love You with all my heart, and will devote all my life to Your gospel work to repay You, and use my personal experiences to wake up those who are still fooled and deceived by Satan and live in darkness. O God! I will live for You, enjoy Your words gratefully, and seize the opportunity You give me to fulfill the duty of a created being and cooperate with Your gospel work properly, so that more innocent souls may come back to Your house and Your sorrowful and anxious heart may be comforted. O God! I will offer up to You all I have to repay Your love for me!”

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