By Lin Jingxin, China
One afternoon, Xiao Han dragged her weary body home. Her nine-year-old son ran up to her elatedly, grabbed her hand and said: “Mom, can you take me out to play tonight?” Xiao Han sighed, “Well, I’m very tired. Can we change it to another day?” Her son pouted in unhappiness and said: “You always lie! You are always busy with work, when will you have the time to play with me?” Looking at her angry son, Xiao Han stroked his head, feeling helpless and said: “If I don’t go to work, we will have no money!” Her son said angrily: “You always talk about money, money, money! You also don’t attend meetings anymore. Yesterday, an auntie came to find you and told you to attend a meeting tomorrow.” After listening to what he had said, Xiao Han patted her head and realized there was a meeting tomorrow. She had been so busy with work that she forgot about meetings, and worked tirelessly for money that she even forgot about believing in God. Xiao Han recalled the time when she attended meetings often, she felt steadfast in her heart. Although she did not live a luxurious life, she had no stress and lived happily. Now, for an unknown reason, she was so busy with work every day that she had no time to attend meetings. Though she earned some money, she felt empty in her spirit, pained and helpless in her heart and strayed further and further away from God. Xiao Han wondered why she felt pressed for time and why she was getting more stressful. The difficulties in life almost overwhelmed her.
One Sunday morning, Xiao Han and a church member, Xiao Yang were having a chat. Xiao Han told Xiao Yang all her pain in her heart, Xiao Yang said: “I once had the same pain as yours. I did not know what I was busy with every day, I made myself very exhausted and even began to pray perfunctorily. Afterward, a friend showed me a short video clip and I found the root of my problem.” Xiao Yang clicked open the video as he said, “Come on, Xiao Han. Let’s watch it together!” Then, they watched it attentively.
After the video, Xiao Yang said to Xiao Han, “Xiao Han, after watching this video, we understand that the reason why we are exhausted by all sorts of stress is because Satan used money, fame and material enjoyments to occupy our hearts, causing us to sever our relationship with God.”
Xiao Han listened and suddenly realized: This busy world makes people from all walks of life out of breath and this is Satan’s deceitful schemes. Satan makes us work day and night for trivial matters of life, spend most of our time and energy pursuing material enjoyments, thus severing our relationship with God. Xiao Han recalled her past spontaneously: When she was contented with sufficient essentials of life, she lived freely, relaxed and without stress; she would not compare herself with others and could serve God wholeheartedly. But what happened to her now? For various reasons she lost herand gradually was drawn into the social trends. Ever since Xiao Han got this job, the only thing on her mind was money. She felt that nothing could be done without money. She needs money for family expenses. She needs money for her children’s school fees. She needs money for social relationships and treating superiors dinners and buying them gifts, etc. The pressures in life made her feel more and more inseparable from money, causing her to stray away from God. These were all the shackles Satan bound her with.
At this moment, Xiao Han sighed, “So, this is how Satan draws me to him with material things and makes me stray away from God. In order to live the life better than others, I worked hard to earn money. As a result, I even had no time with my children and for meetings and lived in pain and darkness every day. I have forgotten about God’s words as well.” Xiao Yang said: “You are right. That we strayed away from God, lost the care and protection from Him, lived in pain and without help were all because of Satan.” With this, Xiao Yang took out a notebook from her bag, and showed Xiao Han two passages of God’s words she had copied down, “Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, as well as advocate wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered man’s heart, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil Satan! This is because of what psychological leaning in the heart of man? What does man advocate? Man begins to like wickedness and violence. They do not like beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of normal humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back, in other words doing whatever they desire” (God Himself, the Unique V). “Fame and fortune one gains in the material world give one temporary satisfaction, passing pleasure, a false sense of ease, and make one lose one’s way. And so people, as they thrash about in the vast sea of humanity, craving peace, comfort, and tranquility of heart, are subsumed again and again beneath the waves. When people have yet to figure out the questions that it is most crucial to understand—where they come from, why they are alive, where they are going, and so forth—they are seduced by fame and fortune, misled, controlled by them, irrevocably lost. Time flies; years pass in an eyeblink; before one realizes it, one has bid farewell to the best years of one’s life” (God Himself, the Unique III).
Xiao Yang fellowshiped to Xiao Han, “You see, people are living in this evil material world, everyone has been pursuing material comforts, has eyes only for fame and gain and works as hard as we can for money in order to get them. When we got them, we only have a sense of ease and satisfaction on the outside, but those material things cannot fill the emptiness of our hearts, it can only make us more tired and stressful. This is the Satan’s contemptible purpose of using fame and gain to corrupt and control us.
After listening to Xiao Yang’s fellowship, Xiao Han was suddenly enlightened, and she felt those God’s words are very practical and had thoroughly revealed the facts of humankind, and that the state of her current life was exactly how it was revealed in those words. In the past, she never competed with anyone and was contented with whatever she had. However, now she was also carried away by the evil social trends, especially when she saw others with fancy cars, big houses and enjoying their life, she also pursued the goals others did; seeing other people’s children all went to expensive private schools, she also did not want her kid to be lagging behind; seeing others buying gifts and treating dinners on festivals to build relationships, she also wanted to follow this social trend, etc. As a result, she became distant from God and all sorts of pressure and troubles in life came to her.
Xiao Yang fellowshiped again: “Look back to the time when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt: They had no food to eat in the wild; God sent manna from heaven to feed them and did not allow them to keep the manna to the next day; some of them picked up extra manna and kept them for back-up, and however, the next day the manna had gone bad. Through their actions we can see the greediness of human and our little faith in God. God actually prepared enough for us to enjoy, He hopes that we can believe in Him, worship Him with our hearts and honesty, entrust everything to Him and not plan for our own future and a way back. Just like those animals created by God, they do not farm and harvest, but they have things to eat, because God has ordained their path to survival. But what about us humans? We are always busy working and planning for our tomorrow. As a result, our ambitions and desires become stronger and we become more selfish, it seems that nothing is able to satisfy us. If we are very wealthy and have everything, by right we should be peaceful in our hearts and living in joy. But on the contrary, we are not happy but feel even more empty in our hearts, with our hearts full of uneasiness and fear. Many people cannot stand the pain and the blow, so they chose to commit suicide. Furthermore, for those who did not get what they wanted, they felt hopeless and also chose to commit suicide to escape from reality. We can see that no matter whether we are poor or rich, the emptiness in our hearts and the pressure in life will only increase. Being pathetic and foolish, we are always led by the nose by Satan’s use of fame and gain, so that we feel exhausted. If we cannot see clearly how Satan abuses us, we will be devoured by Satan.”
Through Xiao Yang’s fellowship, Xiao Han knew her pain was caused by Satan, she began to hate Satan and at the same time she was full of emotional thoughts. She said to Xiao Yang: “Today, God arranged for you to fellowship His words to me, so I’m not so confused and depressed anymore. I really benefit a lot from it! I also understand that if we want to live a good life, we must see through Satan’s methods of corrupting us. We should no longer pursue fame and fortune, instead, we should accept and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Only by doing so, can we live in God’s care and protection and live happily and freely.”
Xiao Yang said: “Exactly! Just like what it is stated in: ‘So likewise, whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:33). ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ (Matthew 16:26) Also in Matthew 6:19-20, ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.’ In fact, the Lord had told us long ago, but we did not obey His words, instead put His teachings to the back of our minds. We really don’t love the truth!”
After Xiao Yang’s fellowship, Xiao Han did not feel confused and look so dull. She stood up and breathed a sigh of relief, and she felt relaxed and released a lot, all her distress in her heart and stress of life disappearing. Xiao Yang also felt happy looking at her, so she sang a hymn to Xiao Han.
Time Lost Will Never Come Again
1. Awaken, brothers! Awaken, sisters! God’s day will not be delayed; time is life, and to seize time is to save life! The time is not far off! If you take exams for entrance into college and you do not pass, you can try again and cram for the test. However, God’s day will have no such delay. Remember! Remember! God urges you with these good words. The end of the world unfolds before your very eyes, great disasters rapidly draw near; is your life important or is your sleeping, eating, and clothing important? The time has come for you to weigh these things.
2. How pitiful! How poor! How blind! How cruel mankind is! You actually turn a deaf ear to, perhaps God is speaking to you in vain? You are still so remiss, why? Why is that? Have you never thought about that before? For whom does God say these things? ! God is your Savior! God is your Almighty! Keep watch! Keep watch! Time lost will never come again, remember this! There is nowhere on earth where you can buy medicine that will soothe regret! So how shall God say this to you? Is God’s word not worthy of your careful consideration and repeated ponderation? (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs)
Xiao Yang and Xiao Han sang it again and again. As they sang, Xiao Han realized the urgency of times, so she resolved silently to take back all her time stolen by Satan and use them to worship God. Two of them sang and smiled to each other …
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