Relying on God Is the Greatest Wisdom

September 28, 2022

By Ma Hong, China

In the fall of 2011, I met a fellow villager named Fang Min. She had good humanity and was very kind, she had believed in the Lord for more than 20 years, and she had continued attending gatherings and reading the Bible. She was a genuine believer, so I wanted to preach Almighty God’s gospel of the last days to her. At that time, I had just believed in God for a short time, and I understood very little truth, so I asked Sister Li to testify God’s work in the last days to Fang Min. Fang Min decided then and there to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days. At the time, I was very happy. But a few days later, when I went to visit Fang Min, she said she didn’t want to continue investigating. Fang Min said, “I read Almighty God’s words and felt they were good, so I called my mother and told her the good news of the Lord’s return. My mother said that what you believe in is Eastern Lightning, and that I shouldn’t believe it. Our preachers often say God’s words and work are all in the Bible, and there are none of God’s words and work outside the Bible, Eastern Lightning’s preaching departs from the Bible, and it can’t possibly be the Lord’s return.” I saw that Fang Min was deceived by her mother, so I said anxiously, “If we believe that God’s words and work are in the Bible, and that they don’t occur outside the Bible, isn’t this delimiting God to what is in the Scriptures? Could it be that God can’t do new work outside the Bible, and can’t say any new words? God is the Creator, the source of life. He is so almighty, wise, and diverse. Can the Bible alone represent the whole of God? How can God’s words and work be only those recorded in the Bible? God’s work is always new and never old. Each stage of His work builds on the previous one, and He does newer and higher work in each stage. In the Age of Law, God issued laws to lead people in living on earth. In the Age of Grace, God did not repeat the work of the Age of Law. Instead, on the basis of the work in the Age of Law, He did the work of redemption. Is this new work recorded in the Old Testament? No. Those who kept to the Old Testament didn’t accept the Lord Jesus’ new work, and they were all abandoned and cast out by God. The same is true for this stage of work in the last days. Based on God’s plan for the work of salvation, He does the work of judgment in accordance with people’s needs, to completely resolve the problem of people’s sin, so that people can be cleansed. Only by following the footsteps of the Lamb and accepting God’s new work can we gain God’s salvation and enter the kingdom of God. Your mother hasn’t seen God’s new words, so she was saying those things to you. You should investigate first. Don’t decide blindly. If you miss the Lord’s return, you will no longer have the chance to be saved by God.” But no matter what I said, she wouldn’t listen. I wanted to ask another sister to fellowship, but Fang Min wouldn’t agree to see them, only me. She also said she was returning to her hometown in a few days, and had even bought a train ticket. She was so disturbed and shaken. If she went back to her hometown, wouldn’t her pastor and preachers disturb her even more? I was also worried, but Fang Min had already decided, and I had no choice. I knew she wouldn’t listen to what I had to say at the time, so I had to leave.

After I got home, thinking of how little hope there was to preach to Fang Min once she went to her hometown, I had little faith and felt preaching the gospel was too hard. The more I thought, the worse I felt. Just when I was beginning to feel negative, I recalled God’s word, “In the Age of Grace, Jesus had pity and grace for humans. If one sheep was lost out of a hundred, He would leave the ninety-nine to look for the one. This line does not represent a kind of mechanical action, nor a rule; rather, it shows God’s urgent intention to bring salvation to people, as well as His deep love for them. It is not a way of doing things; it is a kind of disposition, a sort of mentality(The Word, Vol. 3, The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). God’s words were very moving. If even one sheep out of a hundred is lost, God will give up ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep. I saw that God’s desire to save people is earnest and sincere. God doesn’t want to lose anyone who truly believes in Him, God’s love for people is so great. As I contemplated God’s words, I was ashamed. To save corrupt humankind, God came incarnate to earth and paid a significant price, all in the hope that sincere believers in God will come before God and accept God’s salvation. Yet when I had difficulty preaching, I withdrew and became passive. I was too inconsiderate of God’s will. Although Fang Min was deceived and disturbed, and had some religious notions, she was a true believer in God. I had to do my best to help her understand the truth, eliminate her notions, and return to God. This was my duty. I recalled another passage of God’s words, “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Is the Source of Man’s Life). God’s word gave me confidence and strength. All things are in God’s hands, including people’s thoughts and ideas. To human eyes, Fang Min was now disturbed, had to return to her hometown, and the hope of preaching the gospel to her was slim, but God is sovereign over everything. If she was God’s sheep, she would understand God’s voice. All I could do is try my best to cooperate, and until the end of the matter, I couldn’t give up. Once I recognized this, I prayed to God, “God! Fang Min was disturbed, and now doesn’t dare investigate the true way. I entrust her to Your hands. If she is Your sheep, I wish to do my best to preach the gospel to her.” After that, I learned that Fang Min believed her train was at 9:10 p.m., but it was actually at 9:10 a.m., so she wasn’t able to leave. I saw that people’s hearts and spirits are all in God’s hands, and it is God who orchestrates and arranges everything. I thanked God over and over in my heart, and I felt more confident about preaching the gospel to Fang Min.

After that, I went to see Fang Min, and seeing that she still clung to her notions, I read a passage of Almighty God’s words to her. “Since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist. In seeking God’s footprints, you have ignored the words ‘God is the truth, the way, and the life.’ And so, many people, even when they receive the truth, do not believe that they have found God’s footprints, and still less do they acknowledge the appearance of God. What a grave mistake! The appearance of God cannot be reconciled with man’s notions, still less can God appear at the behest of man. God makes His own choices and His own plans when He does His work; moreover, He has His own objectives and His own methods. Whatever work He does, He has no need to discuss it with man or seek his advice, much less to notify each and every person of His work. This is the disposition of God, which should, moreover, be recognized by everyone. If you desire to witness the appearance of God, to follow God’s footsteps, then you must first walk away from your own notions. You must not demand that God do this or that, much less should you place Him within your own confines and limit Him to your own notions. Instead, you should demand of yourselves how you ought to seek God’s footprints, how you ought to accept God’s appearance, and how you ought to submit to the new work of God: This is what man should do(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 1: The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age). After reading God’s words, I fellowshiped with her, “If we want to welcome the Lord’s return, we must learn to let go of our own notions. You know that God’s thoughts are beyond human thought. God does not work according to human notions and imagination. You think that all of God’s words and work are in the Bible, and none occur outside the Bible, but does this have a basis in God’s word? No. Then isn’t it based on human notions and imaginings? When the Lord Jesus came to work, the Pharisees didn’t look at how much truth the Lord Jesus expressed. Instead, they clung to the Old Testament, thinking that the words and work of the Lord Jesus were beyond the Bible, so they used this as an excuse to condemn the Lord Jesus, and finally, they committed the heinous sin of nailing the Lord to the cross. We need to learn a lesson from the failure of the Pharisees! God’s words and work are never constrained by any person or thing, let alone by the Bible. God always speaks more words and does more new work in accordance with His management plan and the needs of the salvation of humankind. So, to determine whether Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, we can’t look at whether Almighty God’s words and work go beyond the Bible. We must look at whether the words of Almighty God are the truth and whether Almighty God can do the work of saving mankind, because only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and only God can save humankind. You have read the words of Almighty God, and you acknowledge the authority and power of Almighty God’s word. Moreover, His words reveal God’s six-thousand-year management plan, mysteries of the Bible, who can enter the kingdom of heaven, and the future destination of humankind. No one knows these mysteries of truth, and only God could reveal them….” But before I could finish my fellowship, Fang Min interrupted me and didn’t let me say any more. I thought, “Is it because I understand too little truth and my fellowship isn’t clear?” I wanted Sister Li to give Fang Min more fellowship after that, but Fang Min wouldn’t let me. I was very worried. I had believed in God a short time and understood little truth, but Fang Min believed in the Lord for more than 20 years, and I couldn’t resolve her problems. In the face of these difficulties, I wanted to withdraw. I thought, “If I really can’t preach to her, then I’ll stop. This is too hard.” The more I thought, the more negative I felt, and on the way home, I felt no motivation at all.

Later, at a gathering, the brothers and sisters learned about my state, and they read a passage of God’s word to me. “What does this word, ‘faith,’ refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work does not align with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and faith is something that is followed by refinement; refinement and faith cannot be separated. No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God. You can only have true faith in God if you are able to persist in pursuing the truth through refinement, if you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts about Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and if you are able to seek in the depths for His will and be considerate of His will(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement). After reading God’s words, a sister fellowshiped, “If we are passive and withdraw when we have difficulties preaching the gospel, it is mainly because we don’t understand God’s will. Actually, God allows these difficulties to come to us so that our faith can be perfected and we can learn to rely on God, and at the same time, through these difficulties, we can equip ourselves with the truth and learn to testify to God’s work.” Through her fellowship on God’s word, I realized that there were God’s good intentions in the difficulties I faced preaching the gospel. God wanted to use this to perfect my faith and help me understand more truth. But when I had difficulties, instead of thinking about relying on God to seek the truth to resolve Fang Min’s notions and bring her before God, I stayed mired in difficulty, wanting to withdraw and give up. I didn’t want to expend more effort or pay more of a price, and I wasn’t considerate of God’s will at all. When the facts revealed me, I finally saw I had no faith in God at all, and my stature was pitifully small. I recalled God’s word, “And the more that people cooperate, and the more they pursue the attainment of the standards of God’s requirements, the greater the work of the Holy Spirit(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Know Reality). It’s true, the more people cooperate, the more they have the Holy Spirit’s work. Although Fang Min had believed in the Lord for over 20 years and had knowledge of the Bible, I had Almighty God’s word. God’s word is the truth and can solve all people’s problems. As long as I truly relied on God and paid a price, God would enlighten her.

After that, I sought with those who understood the truth about the notions Fang Min held, and my brothers and sisters helped me find related passages of God’s word. Then, I went to Fang Min’s house again and read two passages of Almighty God’s word to her. “Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must God work according to the foretelling of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to practice in light of the Sabbath and according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (1)). “If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. Today, God has become flesh and selected other chosen ones in China. God works in these people, He continues on from His work on earth, and continues on from the work of the Age of Grace. The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. Thus, work that has never been done before is not history, because now is now, and has yet to become the past. People do not know that God has done greater, newer work on earth, and outside of Israel, that it has already gone beyond the scope of Israel, and beyond the foretelling of the prophets, that it is new and marvelous work outside of the prophecies, and newer work beyond Israel, and work that people can neither perceive nor imagine. How could the Bible contain explicit records of such work? Who could have recorded every single bit of today’s work, without omission, in advance? Who could have recorded this mightier, wiser work that defies convention, in that moldy old book? The work of today is not history, and as such, if you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (1)). After reading God’s words, I fellowshiped with her, “You believe that since Almighty God’s words and work aren’t in the Bible, He isn’t the returned Lord. This is restricting God to what is in the Bible, which is delimiting God. Did God come first or did the Bible come first? Did the Bible exist when God first created the heavens, the earth, and all things? Abraham didn’t have the Bible. He did not believe in God according to the Bible. Can we say that Abraham didn’t believe in God? We must understand that the Bible is only the historical record of God’s work. It was created after God completed His work and after compilation and editing by later authors. When the Lord Jesus came to work, there was no New Testament. People had only read the Old Testament. It was centuries after the Lord Jesus worked that the Old and New Testaments came into being. This proves that God’s words and work came first, and then the Bible was written. This is a fact. God appears and works in the last days, so how could His words and work be recorded in the Bible in advance? If we want to welcome the Lord, we must go beyond the Bible and seek and investigate God’s current words and work. This is the only way to follow God’s footsteps!” After I fellowshiped these things to Fang Min, she seemed to understand some of it, but she was still confused, and said, “What Almighty God says is right. It is true that God’s work came first, and the Bible after, and I understand that God is bigger than the Bible. But I have been reading the Bible for decades, and I can’t simply let go of it. I still need to read the Bible.” Then, Fang Min asked me several new questions. Hearing these was a little confusing at first. I didn’t know which aspects of the truth to fellowship on to answer her questions. After returning home, I prayed to God, asking Him to enlighten and guide me. Then I wanted to fellowship with Fang Min again. One day, I went to Fang Min’s house and I saw an open Bible and book of Almighty God’s words on the windowsill. I realized that although Fang Min said she didn’t accept it, in her heart, she wanted to investigate Almighty God’s work, and I saw some hope for her.

Later, Fang Min fell ill and was hospitalized. I took time off from my job to take care of her and read God’s word to her. The boss saw that I often asked for time off, so he deliberately found excuses to scold me. At first, I was able to bear it. I felt that although I suffered a bit, as long as Fang Min could accept the true way, it would be fine. But after reading God’s word to Fang Min several times, she still didn’t agree to investigate. At this point, I was a little discouraged. I felt that I had paid such a price, but she continued to refuse me. How long would I have to preach before she accepted it? The more I thought, the more dispirited I felt, and the less I wanted to cooperate. After that, I read in God’s word, “Are you aware of the burden on your shoulders, your commission, and your responsibility? Where is your sense of historic mission? How will you adequately serve as a master in the next age? Do you have a strong sense of masterhood? How would you explain the master of all things? Is it really the master of all living creatures and of all physical things in the world? What plans do you have for the progress of the next phase of the work? How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness—where is the way? How they yearn for the light, like a shooting star, to suddenly descend and dispel the forces of darkness that have oppressed man for so many years. Who can know the full extent to which they anxiously hope, and how they pine, day and night, for this? Even on a day when the light flashes past, these deeply suffering people remain imprisoned in a dark dungeon without hope of release; when will they weep no longer? Terrible is the misfortune of these fragile spirits who have never been granted rest, and long have they been kept bound in this state by merciless bonds and frozen history. And who has heard the sound of their wailing? Who has looked upon their miserable state? Has it ever occurred to you how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see innocent mankind, whom He created with His own hands, suffering such torment? Human beings, after all, are the victims who have been poisoned. And although man has survived to this day, who would have known that mankind has long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Are you not willing to strive, out of your love for God, to save these survivors? Are you not willing to devote all of your energy to repaying God, who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission?). We can feel God’s urgent desire from His words. For those who live under Satan’s dominion and have not come before God, God feels worried and anxious, and God hopes people can obtain salvation in the last days. As someone who had accepted God’s work of the last days, I knew I had to bring those who had not come before God into God’s house to accept God’s salvation. This was my responsibility. In the Age of Grace, many people were martyred to spread the gospel, and in the end, the gospel was spread to every corner of the world and known to all. I also thought of Noah, who built the ark to fulfill God’s commission. For 120 continuous years, and despite the difficulties, mockery, and slander he faced during this period, he didn’t give up. In the end, he completed God’s commission and gained God’s approval. Noah had such great faith in God. Although I had some difficulties in preaching the gospel and endured some suffering, these were a far cry from the price paid by saints throughout the ages. I thought back to when my brothers and sisters preached the gospel to me. I also repeatedly refused them, and they had to preach to me several times before I accepted it. Now, with Fang Min, why couldn’t I treat her with as much love as they had? She didn’t understand the truth yet, and was in bondage to religious notions, so wasn’t it normal for her to be resistant? I couldn’t give up on her just because it’s a little difficult. Once I recognized this, I felt deep regret, and then I swore an oath to God: No matter what difficulties I encountered while preaching the gospel, I would do my best to cooperate and spread the gospel. This was my responsibility and my duty.

Later, I continued taking care of Fang Min and reading God’s words to her. One day she said to me, “Through the words of God you’ve read to me during this time, I understand people shouldn’t delimit God to what is in the Bible. God’s work is always new and never old, and what the Bible contains is God’s past work. If God returned and did the things recorded in the Bible, then God’s work would be repeating. It would lose its meaning that way. Only when God does new work beyond the Bible, allowing people to undergo judgment and be cleansed on the basis of accepting the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption can they truly be saved. If I still cling to God’s previous work, even if I read the Bible all my life, I will never gain the truth and life. I need to follow God’s footsteps and accept God’s salvation in the last days.” When I saw that Fang Min had finally come around, I was very happy. I also saw that God’s sheep listen to God’s voice. No matter how much Satan disturbs them or what notions they have, in the end, they will accept the truth and come before God. After that, Fang Min began to proactively read God’s words and attend gatherings, and her illness gradually started to improve. Sister Li gave a lot of fellowship on God’s word to address Fang Min’s difficulties and ideas, and Fang Min quickly became certain about the work of Almighty God in the last days. She also said to me, “When you read God’s word to me in the past, although I outwardly ignored you, I was actually listening to some of it, and I felt Almighty God’s words had the truth, but I feared I might be wrong, so I didn’t dare accept it. Now I understand and am willing to accept.” Seeing Fang Min certain about God’s work, I was very happy, as well as deeply moved. God determines the moment when each person returns to God’s house, and as long as we genuinely rely on God, we can see God’s deeds. Later, Fang Min offered to spread the gospel to her friends and acquaintances. After a period of cooperation, fourteen people accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days.

Through this experience preaching the gospel, I genuinely saw God’s deeds. During this period, although I encountered many difficulties, and sometimes I was weak and withdrew, I experienced how God uses this to perfect my faith and love, and help me equip myself with more truth. I also experienced how relying on God and looking to God is the greatest wisdom. Now, I am even more determined to preach the gospel and testify to God.

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