The Truth of My Pastor Father’s Obstacle of My Following God | Eastern Lightning

I was born into a Christian family. My dad was the leader of a local church and also the bishop of some grand churches in Uganda. Many believers in grand churches in Uganda paid much attention to wonders and miracles, while our local church only studied the knowledge of the Bible instead of emphasizing those supernatural things. Hence, I believed our denomination was pure. I looked up to my dad as well as other leaders very much. In my eyes, they were the ones who knew God and the Bible best. They often encouraged believers, visited the sick, prayed and cast out demons for people, and spread God’s love in the church. From their actions, I thought they were the ones used by God, that they had lived out what the Lord Jesus asked of us, and that they were the most righteous people and the good servants approved by God. Not until I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and experienced some things were these erroneous views changed.

I got to know Alline on Facebook in 2016. She and another two sisters testified to me that the Lord has returned and done the judgment work of the last days. They fellowshiped with me about the mystery of the three stages of God’s work in detail. Their fellowship made me feel God’s true love for the mankind, and understand that the last stage of God’s work is extremely important for those forgiven to be cleaned. Then I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. When I was reading His words, I felt that God’s words are the truth. I gradually understood God’s intentions in many things and felt I came ever closer to God. To equip myself with more of the truth, I asked two books of God’s words from the sisters of The Church of Almighty God. Then, they posted me the books and a TF card and several weeks would be needed to receive the parcel. As it would be delivered to my dad’s church first, I often asked him to check if the books had arrived. One day, when I got home from school, my elder sister told me that my dad had fetched my package. Hearing that, I was extremely happy and thanked God in my heart constantly. I was assured that I would get the books very soon even though they were in my dad’s hand at the time. I quickly shared the good news with my sisters from The Church of Almighty God.

However, things didn’t turn out as I had imagined. Scarcely had we finished the meeting one day when my elder sister told me that dad said I was going down the wrong path. She also read the book of God’s word the sisters posted to me. When she didn’t find the Bible scriptures in it, she believed what my dad had said was right. Upon hearing this, my heart was suddenly empty, and also I was so confused. I thought, “I had read some Almighty God’s words which are really the truth, so I could not possibly follow the wrong path.” But I was still worried in my heart and hesitant about giving up believing in Almighty God because my dad had believed in the Lord for many years and was a church leader with rich biblical knowledge and experience. He would not deceive me. But I was afraid that I would disappoint God if I just gave up in this way. So I came before God and asked God to give me strength and discernment. I prayed to Him, “Oh God, I don’t know what to say to You. Now my heart can’t calm down. Please help me. I don’t want to let You down. Please help me gain discernment, so that I can stand firm for You and shame Satan.”

Later, I thought of what sisters had fellowshiped with me before. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, the Pharisees, chief priests and scribes of that time held onto the Bible and defined God’s work in the Bible. They refused to investigate the Lord Jesus’ work and even nailed Him to the cross. This could fully prove that we cannot know God and His work only according to the Bible because the Bible just records the work God did before. To investigate God’s new work, we should base our determination on whether the way contains the work of the Holy Spirit and the truth. Since it is the true way, there will be the work of Holy Spirit and the expression of the truth, which can change and save man. The judgment and chastisement of Almighty God bring all the truths that we need to gain salvation and these truths reveal all the mysteries. Through His judgment and chastisement, we are able to gain more knowledge of God’s work, be purified and finally live out the likeness of a real man; isn’t it the true way? When I thought back to the time that I believed in the Lord Jesus, my biggest trouble was telling lies. Especially when I did something wrong, I would fabricate lies to deceive others for not being detected. But since I believed in Almighty God, I have been changed a little bit through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. I no longer lie to others as before. I always have a heart that reveres God and would think carefully before my speaking and acting. Is my change not the effect that is achieved by God’s work? When my thought went there, I firmly believed that this is the true way.

I told the sisters about this matter in our fellowship. They fellowshiped with me about Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men, and the interference of men. Behind every step that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God — behind it all is a battle” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). From this passage of God’s words, I understood what my dad and elder sister said was from Satan’s disturbance. Satan knew that my dad was an example for me. In my eyes, he had rich theological knowledge and was proficient in the Bible. So Satan then used my adoration to him to attack me, attempting to make me lose the faith in God’s new work. I realized that I must keep my faith to God. After understanding God’s will, I made a resolution that I would stand witness. I wouldn’t listen to my dad even if he was opposed to my following Almighty God. Because the work of Almighty God is the true way. At that time, all of my doubts and fear disappeared. Moreover, I became stronger and was willing to face everything that would happen next.

Then, I made a call to my dad and asked him: “Dad, have you gotten my books?” He replied seriously: “I have read those books. Your stature is too short to discern the content of the books.” I said: “All the words in the books are God’s words, the truth. You can tell me if you have some doubts.” When he heard me say this, he hemmed and hawed and said nothing, just warning me, “I am thoroughly familiar with every bible verse. It is impossible for you to challenge my theological knowledge. You’d better learn from your elder brother Richard and elder sister Rebecca. They can solve your problems even though they only have a little theological knowledge. Do not contact with the people from The Church of Almighty God anymore!” Then he hung up immediately. Later, I sent my dad some bible verses which the sisters previously shared with me, reminding him that the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable in this life or in the afterlife, and telling him not to jump to the conclusions about God’s new work, otherwise he would regret it later. But he didn’t listen at all. He often condemned and judged God’s work of the last days, frequently making me unable to quiet my heart before God.

At a meeting, the sisters shared a passage of fellowship about dissections of the Pharisees’ substance, “At that time, the Pharisees exalted and bore witness to the Bible; they restricted God within the Bible. They never sought the truth or looked to follow God’s footsteps. The result was that they crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross, using His refusal to follow the Old Testament as their justification. They committed an extremely serious sin! The pastors and elders in the last days are just like those Pharisees were. They exalt and bear witness to the Bible; they define God in the Bible. They also disseminate fallacies, saying, ‘None of God’s words and work exist outside of the Bible,’ ‘To believe in the Bible is to believe in God. The Bible represents God; if you leave the Bible, you no longer believe in God.’ They use these sayings to mislead man into believing in and worshiping the Bible. They treat the Bible as if it were God. They replace God with the Bible. … They exalt the Bible and interpret it out of context to deceive, snare and control people. They subconsciously lead people down a path of following men, worshiping men, resisting God and being enemies of God. They mislead many people into thinking that worshiping the Bible and keeping the Bible is believing in God and having the presence of God. Therefore, these people do not seek or study God’s work in the last days and miss their last chance at salvation.” “They only led believers to engage in religious worship, singing and praise, or holding on to some ancestral traditions, but did not lead believers to practice God’s word, keep God’s commandments, and enter the reality of the truth. Moreover, they did not lead believers to practice the truth and obey and worship God. All they did was use some external actions to confuse and deceive believers! … They are just people who blindly believe in the Bible, worship the Bible, and exalt the Bible. They just hold on to various religious rituals, such as attending regular services, morning watch, breaking bread, partaking of Holy Communion, and so forth. They only pay attention to talking to believers about being humble, patient, godly and loving, but they don’t love God in their hearts, and moreover they don’t obey God and don’t have a heart that reveres God at all.” It was hard for me to believe and accept the fellowship at first because my heart had been occupied by the lofty images of those leaders. I believed they were the people used by God. They had lived out the Lord Jesus’ requirements of us and were the good servants approved by God. How could they be the hypocritical Pharisees? But later when I calmed myself down, I recollected their manifestations of pursuing status and fame. Before, they often gave their own things to others, encouraged the believers, asked after and offered the help to the patients and specially established the organizations to assist the vulnerable groups. However, they never said that they were sinful and corrupt before other believers. Rather, they said other believers were corrupt people. They didn’t bear witness to the Lord in their sermons but often used some profound theological theories to show off themselves. Besides, they said they were the only ones who could train the believers. They didn’t guide the believers to practice the Lord’s teachings, but often called on believers to try their best to improve living conditions and lead an abundant life. As a result, the believers all thought that the church leaders were good and turned away from the Lord’s teachings. When it came to the Lord Jesus appearing in the last days to perform His work, my dad didn’t have the heart of seeking. Not only did he reject the new work but also hindered me from accepting it. Besides, he drew conclusions casually about it. Thinking of this, I admitted that what the fellowship revealed conformed to the truth and what the leaders did was indeed hypocritical.

After I realized these things, I had some discernments about the church leaders, and no longer idolized them that much. I prayed to God: “God, thank You for giving me the chance to allow me to gain the discernment about religious leaders, so that I didn’t be deceived and misled by them. I have seen Your love to me. God, I feel fearful in such an environment, but may You strengthen my heart and guide me to rely on the truth to stand firm, and not to follow these leaders anymore.” Then, I thought of a hymn of life experience “I Will Love God To Eternity”: “I’ll give You a true love, and will not let You wait. I’ll give You a pure love, and please enjoy my love. I’ll give You all my love, and let You gain my love. I will love You for all time; to satisfy You is my wish.” Encouraged by the hymn, I made a resolution to stand witness for God.

Several days later, my dad came back home. He asked me: “I know you spend most of your time staying in your room reading this book. What have you gained from it? I have taught many people the theology. Do you think you can challenge me with such little theory? You cannot refute even a little bit of my theological knowledge. You’d better turn back early.” He then found one of God’s phrases that didn’t conform to his notions, then wantonly judged. Moreover, he laughed at me together with my elder brother. Facing such a situation, I called to God within constantly, “God, please protect my heart. I feel that the environment around me is insurmountable. I know this is Satan’s trick. God, please give me wisdom to overcome this environment.” After that, I kept silent no matter what my dad asked me. I just prayed to God in my heart unceasingly and asked Him to keep me from disappointing and denying God. I believed that God would make a way out for me as long as I told him about my difficulty and had the faith in Him. My dad and elder brother kept mocking, laughing at and insulting me. They equated everything I had said and done to nothing. But I had been quieting my heart before God, keeping silent. Seeing that I didn’t utter a word, my dad questioned me unceasingly, “What exactly do you gain from it?” I still didn’t answer him because I knew that he was not seeking the truth but wanted to debate with me. In his eyes, my stature was too small and I was not qualified to discuss the Bible with him. Then he continued to say some other blasphemous words and told me, “You’d better hinder The Church of Almighty God from expanding here together with us. Don’t contact the people from The Church of Almighty God anymore!” On hearing what my dad said, I felt a little scared inside. I thought: “How does my dad dare to resist God’s work like this? It involves offending God’s disposition. It is not a game! I definitely wouldn’t follow my dad to resist Almighty God. I wanted to follow God not man.”

Later, I got a chance and fellowshiped about this matter with my sisters. They shared a passage of God’s word with me. Almighty God says: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth”). The sister fellowshiped with me: “The root of why the Pharisees resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus is their arrogant and self-conceited nature. They didn’t have any heart of reverence for God and never sought the truth. They confined God within the limits of their imagination and words in the Bible. They paid empty tribute to the name of the Messiah. No matter how profound and correct the preaching of the Lord Jesus are, how His words are the truth or how much authority and power His words have, they still opposed and condemned the Lord Jesus as long as He was not called the Messiah. The Pharisees not only refused to accept the truth the Lord Jesus expressed, but also did they tempt Him and tried to find the fault with Him. All these showed that the substance of the Pharisees were Satan, demons which were full of enmity for the truth and took God as its enemy. In the last days, Almighty God has carried out the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. He’s expressed all the truths that cleanse and save mankind, disclosed all the mysteries of God’s management plan. He judges and exposes humanity’s satanic nature that resists and betrays God. He shows them His righteous disposition which cannot be offended. These truths cleanse and save mankind. However, the pastors and elders obstinately cling to their own notions and try their best to resist and condemn Almighty God even though the words Almighty God expresses are the truth, have authority and power, and can purify and save people. Is their substance the same with that of the Pharisees: stubborn, arrogant and hating the truth? Are they exactly the antichrists who deny, resist and condemn Christ?

Through sisters’ fellowship and comparing what my dad said and did with the behaviors of the Pharisees who rebelled against God, I had some discernment about my dad. When facing the words Almighty God expressed, he, as the head of the church, didn’t seek or investigate but dared to deny and condemn the truth with a line of words that was against his notions. He drew the conclusions casually and did whatever he could to prevent me from following Almighty God and pursuing the truth. Even if we read a novel or story, we still need the time to comprehend what it wants to express, much less the utterances of the Creator which we can understand only by seeking them with a humble heart and pondering them carefully. My dad believed he had grasped the theological theories, so he passed judgment on the word and work of Almighty God and even blasphemed God casually. Was he not the same as the Pharisees? At that time, I had discernment in my heart. I felt incredibly angry at my dad, but meanwhile I was worried about him.

However I never could have imagined that my dad told other church leaders that I took the wrong way. They planned to hold a Bible study class every Saturday to teach me, letting me leave Almighty God. On hearing this news, I thought, “They wanted to attack me in this way, causing me to lose my faith in God, but I must bear testimony.” Thus, I prayed to God, “Almighty God, my stature is very small. Now my faith in You is facing the challenge. God, please guide me with Your words and help me stand firm in this trial.” I felt much peaceful in my heart after the prayer. I thought of a passage of God’s words: “We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those that obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God, disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth, and shall cease to exist” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). The words kept coming into my mind, from which, I understood that all things submit under the dominion of God. God will achieve all things according to His words. God is my rear guard. I had more faith within and was no longer afraid. I firmly believed that no matter how many tricks they would use, how much effort they would spend, and what would happen next, I would not deny God’s way but follow God to the end. Afterward, the church leaders didn’t hold the Bible Study class to teach me. I really witnessed God’s wonderful protection.

In the following days, my dad frequently lost his temper at home. He said to me one night that he felt very regretted to give birth to me and wished that I were not his child. At that time, I thought of what the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10–12). I felt God’s word is indeed true. Though I was rejected by my families and was criticized and persecuted by my dad, a church leader, because of accepting Almighty God’s work, I relied on God all the time and didn’t do anything to sadden God’s heart. I was happy for that in my heart. One day, my dad beat my sister because she didn’t finish reading the Bible verses he required her to read. But he didn’t beat me nor force me to read any Bible verse. I still was a free person. I know this was God’s keeping and care for me.

After experiencing these sufferings, I understood a little bit of God’s will. In order to save me, God meticulously arranged these environments, so that I wasn’t deceived by the good deeds of the religious leaders or their rich biblical knowledge, and didn’t blindly worship and look up to them, but gain some discernment about their nature and essence of resisting God and arrogance. I realized that sufferings are also God’s blessings. Experiencing sufferings is a way through which God bestowed the truth upon me, and there is His earnest intention within it. With these knowledge of God, I felt my relationship with Him became much closer. I felt that God is right by my side. I was grateful to God from the bottom of my heart. Currently I still read God’s words and have fellowship with sisters normally. God is the One who rules over all things. He deserves all the glories and praises. I’m willing to obey God, wait for His guidance quietly and experience His work. I’ll keep pursuing to know God and get the purification in His words. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God!

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Hey, I'm Mary. I’m pursuing to be a devout christian. May God bless us! May we all treat our life with God’s Words. Amen!