I heard this story from my friend recently:
A famine occurred somewhere, and the people there got away in crowds to other places. While fleeing the famine, they were all eager to find food to appease their hunger, since some people had starved to death on the road. When they arrived at a large flat terrain, they saw the land overgrown with golden melons, and they all couldn’t be happier. A woman, who was too starved to bear the hunger, hastened to pluck a melon and was ready to eat. At that point, an old man said in a hurry, “I have heard before that one kind of golden melon is poisonous, and whoever eats it will die.” At these words, all the other people began to talk at once. Some said, “It is a pity that such good melons grow for nothing.” Others said, “These melons are most probably poisonous, so we’d better not eat them.” They looked at each other, and eventually they all dragged themselves away from there, except the family of the woman who was too starved to walk. The woman said to her family weakly, “Since I am starving to death, it is better for me to try the melon and see whether I will be poisoned to death. If I am poisoned, you go quickly to other places to find food. If I am not, you can also eat it.” With that she ate one. Thinking that she would die immediately, her husband and four children cried around her. But out of their expectation, after one day passed by, she was energetic instead of dying. However, they were still somewhat in doubt. So the woman’s husband also tried one, and he didn’t die either. At that time, the family of six felt relieved and began to eat unhesitatingly. After they were full and had strength, they went after those townsmen, for they wanted them to take the golden melons soon to appease their hunger. However, while chasing them, they saw a lot of people starved to death due to not finding food. In the end, the family only found a fraction of people. After these people saw the spirited woman and her family who had eaten the golden melons, they, looking at those starved to death, began to complain against the old man, “He had never eaten this kind of melon and didn’t know at all whether it is edible or not, but why did he say that groundless nonsense? Just because of one word of his, so many people’s lives were ruined. What a sin!”
After hearing this story, I can’t refrain from thinking: On their way to fleeing from the famine, those people were lucky enough that they could see so many golden melons and take them easily to appease their hunger and save their lives. But just because of one word of the old man, they all dared not eat the melons. Actually the old man didn’t know at all whether the melons were edible or not, and he believed them to be poisonous just based on hearsay, but he told the people not to eat them. On account of being stopped by him, none of the people dared pluck a melon and eat though the melons were everywhere. Eventually many of them lost their lives. Only the woman, at the moment of life and death, was able to make a bold bet and tried the golden melon personally to see whether it was poisonous. As a result, she was not poisoned but still alive, and because she made a bold try, her family and a fraction of her companions were also saved.
This reminds me of the present situation of the whole religious world. The religious world today is desolate, and all denominations and sects are suffering “famine”: The preachers have nothing to preach, and the followers are weak and passive…. Everyone is longing desperately for the Lord’s return and praying that the Lord will lead them out of the dry and thirsty land soon. However, when the has really come back, what is their attitude?
Today, the returned Lord Jesus—Almighty God—has long carried out the work of the Age of Kingdom among man by expressing His words. The words and utterances of Almighty God have shaken all denominations and sects like mighty thunders. Some people who longed for and sought the appearance of God, after hearing God’s voice, have all returned before the throne of God and are receiving the supply of the living water of life from God and are sated in their spirit. Meanwhile, this phenomenon has also shaken the pastors and elders in the religious world, but they neither seek nor investigate and instead say these words under the signboard of protecting the flock: “You are rather immature in life, so don’t entertain strangers as you please, don’t listen to what the people of the Eastern Lightning preach, and don’t read their books lest you be stolen by them. …” And some of them even boast shamelessly, “Even if we are parched or starved to death, we won’t listen to the preaching of the followers of the Eastern Lightning. They come to our church to steal sheep….” These pastors and elders are just like the old man on the way to flee from famine. They have never listened to the message of the Eastern Lightning personally, but they condemn and oppose it blindly and even hinder the believers from investigating God’s new work. Due to their hindrance, some believers dare not investigate the new work done by Almighty God though they have heard about it. Others see clearly that the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God have in preaching the gospel and giving messages and that their messages can quench the thirst in their spirit, but they still dare not accept the gospel. And still others have even accepted the book of the words of Almighty God, but because they are deceived by the words of their pastors and elders, they don’t dare to read the book and examine the words of Almighty God anymore. They all know clearly that the churches are already desolate and the pastors and elders have long since run out of things to preach, but they’d rather suffer hunger in the desolate place than go out to seek and investigate the true way. As a result, their spirits become more and more darkened and their faith grows ever colder, and some of them have even fallen into the world and left the Lord. These people, because of listening to the words of their pastors and elders, ignore the work of Almighty God in . Is there any difference between them and those who saw the golden melons but dared not eat them because of one word of the old man? Then will their end not be the same as that of those who gave up the golden melons and starved to death on the way?
In fact, if we give some thought to it, we can know that there is God’s purpose in permitting the desolation of the religious world. As says, “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD. And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD” (Amos 4:6-8). From these verses we can know that the desolation of the whole religious world is permitted by God, for it is Jehovah God who sends rain, and only God Himself can do the work of providing life to man. God “caused it not to rain on the cities” and “gave the people cleanness of teeth” in order for the people to come before Him and accept His guidance. This is just as in the end of the Age of Law, the temple was desolate; it was because God had done a new work outside the temple. Therefore, those who still served in the temple no longer had the work of the Holy Spirit, and only if they came out of the temple and followed the footsteps of the Lord Jesus could they receive the personal guidance of God. Similarly, in the last days, the whole religious world is now suffering “famine” because God has done a new stage of work again. Only those who follow the present work of God can escape from the “famine.” If we want to meet the returned Lord, we should actively seek and listen to God’s voice and follow the footsteps of God like the Samaritan woman, Peter, and Nathanael. Only by doing so can we receive from God the provision of the living water of life. Now, Almighty God’s work of the last days has spread throughout the China mainland and begun to spread to all nations and regions in the world. Facing the return of the Lord, why don’t we, like that woman, make the leap of faith and spend more time seeking and investigating so as to keep pace with the work of God soon and be freed from the agonies of the “famine”?
Almighty God says, “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 starving, 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” (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s work in other places has ceased, and only Almighty God is the wellspring of living water of life which can supply and slake the thirst of our parched spirit. God gives His living water of life to everyone who thirsts for the truth. Only if we listen intently to the voice of God with a seeking heart can we come out of the desolate land of famine and receive God’s timely provision.
Now, have you made a wise choice like that woman at the moment of life and death?
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?