A Wandering Heart Comes Home
By Novo, Philippines
My name is Novo, and I’m Filipino. I have followed my mom in her belief in God since I was little, and would go listen to sermons at church together with my siblings. Although I had believed in the Lord for many years, I felt that I had not changed, and that I was the same as an unbeliever, in my heart thinking all day about how to make more money, and about how to spend my days in comfort and enjoy the good life. Furthermore, I also often went drinking with my friends, and the moment I had any spare cash I’d go gambling. I knew that doing these things was at odds with the Lord’s will, I would often pray to the Lord and confess my sins, and I would make firm my resolution to Him that I would give up these bad habits and never sin again from that day on. But with the cajoling and enticement of my friends, I simply couldn’t control myself. And so it was that I became more and more degenerate, my heart got farther and farther away from God, there was no longer any sincerity when I prayed to the Lord, and every week I would just say a few simple prayers, and do it in a slipshod way. Sometimes I would even feel such despair, as I knew that when the Lord returned He would judge each and every person based on their actions and behavior, and then decide for each person whether they would go up to heaven or down to hell. I felt I was so degenerate that God would not forgive me again. Afterward, I married and had kids. All I thought about was my wife and my children. When it came to my faith, I pushed it to the back of my mind. In order to provide a better future for my children and to achieve my desires to become rich, I decided to go work abroad. And so I came to Taiwan. After I found a job and made some money, I’d still not changed the way I used to live my life, and in my leisure time I would go with my workmates to drink and sing karaoke, living a life of revelry; I’d long since put my belief in God to the back of my mind.
In 2011, I worked as a welder in a factory in Taiwan. One day in 2012, a colleague in Taiwan learned that I was a Catholic, so she invited me for Mass at her church. One Sunday morning, she came to fetch me from the factory and she took me to her friend’s house. It was there that I met Brother Joseph. He asked me, “Brother, do you expect the second coming of the Lord Jesus?” I said that I did. Joseph asked me again, “Do you know what work the Lord Jesus will do when He returns?” I replied, “I believe that when the Lord Jesus returns, He will sit upon a great white throne and judge mankind. Everyone will account for their sins kneeling before the judgment seat, and then the Lord will decide whether they are to go up to heaven or down into hell based on their actions and deeds.” Brother Joseph continued to ask me, “If we told you that the Lord Jesus has already come and is now doing His work of judgment of the last days, thus fulfilling the prophecy that ‘judgment must begin at the house of God,’ would you believe?” I was quite surprised when I heard him say this. I thought: “Has the Lord Jesus already returned? How is this possible? I haven’t seen the great white throne appear in the sky, and I haven’t seen the Lord descending on a white cloud. And yet he says that the Lord has returned to do His work of judgment, thus fulfilling the prophecy that ‘judgment must begin at the house of God.’ It makes sense. God’s wisdom is unfathomable to man, so I’d better keep seeking.” As a result, I replied, “Brother, I don’t dare affirm whether the Lord Jesus has or has not returned, so please fellowship this with me.” Concerning the prophecy of the Lord’s return and His expressing the truth and doing His work of judgment, they found many instances of this within the Bible, such as chapter 4, verse 17 in the First Epistle of Peter which says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” And also chapter 16, verses 12–13 in the Gospel of John: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” Brother Joseph said this “Spirit of truth” refers to the return of the Lord and His expressing the truth and doing His work of judgment. In the last days, the Lord has returned incarnate, to appear and work as the Son of man. On the foundation of His work of redemption in the Age of Grace, He expresses the truth and does one stage of His work of judgment beginning at the house of God. In reality, this work of judgment is a work to thoroughly purify and save man. This precisely fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecies: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). “And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27). I listened avidly to the brother’s fellowship, and I believed that all these messages he was sharing with me were true because I believed that all the Lord’s prophecies had to be fulfilled and had to be achieved.
Afterward, Brother Joseph let me read two more passages of Almighty God’s word: “The work of judgment is God’s own work, so it should naturally be done by God Himself; it cannot be done by man in His stead. Because judgment is the conquering of the human race through the truth, it is unquestionable that God still appears as the incarnate image to do this work among men. That is to say, in the last days, Christ shall use the truth to teach men around the earth and make all truths known to them. This is God’s work of judgment.” “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading these words, Brother Joseph fellowshiped with me many truths to do with God’s work of judgment of the last days. I came to understand that God’s work is very practical and that it isn’t supernatural at all, God’s work of judgment of the last days is not like I had imagined: I had imagined God placing a gigantic table in mid-air, with God sitting on a great white throne and all of mankind kneeling before Him. Then God would list our sins one by one in order to determine whether we were good or wicked, and would decide whether we went up to heaven or down to hell. Instead, God has become flesh and has come to the world to practically express the truth, judge man’s sins, and expose the truth of man’s corruption and his nature and essence. Brother Joseph fellowshiped with us. Our satanic dispositions, such as our arrogance and self-importance, our crookedness and cunning, and our selfishness and baseness, must all undergo God’s judgment before we can be purified. The final result of God’s work of judgment is so that we may see our own filth and corruption, ugliness and wickedness, see our essence that defies and betrays God, that we may know that we have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, that we are filled with satanic dispositions, that we are the embodiment of Satan and that we should perish. Only in this way can we come to hate and curse ourselves, and forsake Satan once and for all; moreover, it is so that, within the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, we may come to know God’s righteous, holy and unoffendable disposition. We then unconsciously give rise to a God-fearing heart, we never again dare to recklessly disobey and defy God, and we are able to forsake our flesh, practice the truth and our life disposition has undergone change and we are then able to truly obey God and worship God. We are then thoroughly purified and saved by God, and we are then qualified to be brought by God into His kingdom. Those people who refuse to accept God’s work of judgment of the last days are incapable of gaining God’s purification, in the end they can only be eliminated by God’s work, and they will have lost the opportunity to be saved and to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Hearing Brother Joseph’s fellowship, I felt that God’s work to save man is so very true and real!
I thought of how I had believed in the Lord for many years and that, although I often confessed my sins to the Lord and repented, afterward I would still keep sinning, lying, cheating, being crooked and cunning, and would even often reveal my wildly self-important, arrogant and self-right satanic disposition, living always in a cycle of sinning and confessing, confessing and sinning, living in such pain. Today I see God coming to do His work of judgment and purification of the last days, and this really is needed by corrupt mankind, and those who believe in the Lord and who have had their sins absolved need the purification of God’s work of judgment in the last days. The Bible says, “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). The Lord is holy. If we only have our sins absolved, but our sinful nature and satanic dispositions are not purified, then at any moment we would still be capable of sinning and defying God, of frequently complaining and even of betraying God. How could we, who are filled with such defilement and corruption, be qualified to look upon the Lord’s face? Right then, I felt in my heart how God’s work of judgment in the last days is so very necessary! Based on people’s conceptions and imaginings, if the Lord came and took everyone up into the air to meet with Him, then that would be so unrealistic and so impractical! Brother Joseph then fellowshiped with me his experiences and testimony of how he accepted God’s judgment and chastisement, and I perceived that his fellowship had within it the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Listening to it, I felt edified. I believed that the Lord Jesus must really have returned. So I decided to seek and investigate God’s work of the last days so that I wouldn’t mess up my chance to welcome the Lord’s coming.
Afterward, Brother Joseph gave me a copy of The Word Appears in the Flesh, and I was thrilled. When I got back to my dormitory that evening, I began to read God’s words and I read them all night long. I read these words of God: “Your mouths are filled with words of deceit and filth, of betrayal and arrogance. Never have you spoken words of sincerity to Me, no holy words, no words of submitting to Me upon experiencing My word. What, in the end, is your faith like? Your hearts are filled with desires and wealth, your minds with material things. Daily, you calculate how to get something from Me, how much wealth and how many material things you have gained from Me. Daily, you await ever more blessings to come down upon you so that you may enjoy, even more and even better, the things that may be enjoyed. That which is in your thoughts at each and every moment is not Me, nor the truth that comes from Me, but rather your husband (wife), sons, daughters, or what you eat and wear, and how your enjoyment can become even more and even better. Even when you stuff your stomach to the brim, are you not little more than a corpse? Even when you adorn your outward form splendidly, are you not still a walking corpse that has no life? You toil for the sake of your stomach until your hair is dappled with gray, yet none of you sacrifice a single hair for My work. You are constantly on the go, taxing your body and racking your brain, for the sake of your flesh, and for your sons and daughters, yet not one of you shows any concern for My will. What is it that you still hope to gain from Me?” (“Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
What these words revealed was exactly the situation in my life, and they were how I truly felt in my heart. The words were like a double-edged sword that cut through into my numb heart. I knew that only God could examine man’s innermost heart and only God could reveal the truth of mankind’s corruption and what’s hidden deep in man’s heart. I felt that these words were the Holy Spirit’s utterances, and they were God’s voice. From God’s words, I came to know that, although I had believed in the Lord for many years and I often confessed and repented to the Lord, my sinful nature and satanic disposition had not been purified and had not changed at all. I was only acknowledging the Lord’s name and there was no place for the Lord in my heart, nor did I expend or work for the Lord. I was only ever concerned about how to make more money, how I could enjoy my flesh even more, and how I could get my family to live more prosperously, never once concerning myself with God’s will. I even knew that I lied and sinned often but thought nothing of this. I had always believed that God was the forever loving, forever merciful God, and even if I sinned, God would absolve my sins, be merciful to me and bless me. Only now having read these utterances expressed by God in the last days did I see God’s righteous and holy disposition, and I knew that God’s disposition is something that no one may offend. The judgment and chastisement of God’s words caused reverence to arise in me for God, and I lamented my own past, fell down before God and wept bitterly: “O God, I have rebelled against You, cheated You and defied You in many things, and I am unworthy to come before You. For all I’ve done, I should only be punished. O God, thank You for giving me the opportunity to repent and be saved. From now on, I shall do all in my power to seek the truth, perform my duty well and repay Your love.” After I prayed, I made firm my resolution: I must accept God’s judgment and change my life of sinning and confessing, I must read God’s words more and contemplate them more so that I may understand more of the truth and have the strength to forsake my flesh, practice the truth and satisfy God’s will.
From that moment on, I took The Word Appears in the Flesh with me to work so that I could read and contemplate God’s words during my work breaks. From Almighty God’s words, I saw how corrupt and rebellious my behavior and thoughts were. Later, I read these words of God that say: “You should pray, step-by-step, in accordance with your true state and that which is to be done by the Holy Spirit, and you should commune with God in keeping with God’s will and His requirements of man. When you begin practicing your prayers, first give your heart to God. Do not attempt to grasp God’s will; only try to speak the words within your heart to God. When you come before God, speak thus: ‘O God! Only today do I realize that I used to disobey You. I am truly corrupt and despicable. Before, I was wasting my time; starting from today I will live for You, I will live out a life of meaning, and satisfy Your will. I would that Your Spirit always works within me, and always illuminates and enlightens me, so that I can bear strong and resounding testimony before You, allowing Satan to see Your glory, Your testimony, and the proof of Your triumph within us.’ When you pray in this way, your heart will be completely set free, having prayed in this way, your heart will be closer to God” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Within God’s words, I found the way to practice that would resolve my corrupt disposition, and I began to earnestly pray to God with a sincere heart, opening up to God about my corrupt disposition and telling God the changes I hoped to achieve, and I asked Him to guide me that I may live relying on His words. When I prayed like this, I often felt that God was leading me and enlightening me, and my heart became filled with faith and strength. I no longer lived the way I had before, and nor did I act any longer in accordance with those corrupt thoughts and ideas I had in my heart. My life had changed; it was no longer the degenerate life of sinning and confessing I had before, but instead I was truly living in God’s presence, and I had God’s care and protection.
In July 2014, I returned to the Philippines, and only then did I become aware that God had also chosen many brothers and sisters in Philippines, and this made me very happy. Now I fellowship God’s words together with my brothers and sisters in the church, we live the church life, we help and support one another. We all seek the truth and seek to change our dispositions and be saved by God, and we also bear witness to God’s work of the last days to the people of our own country and those of other countries as well so that they may be the same as us and may gain God’s salvation of the last days. Thank Almighty God! I now live a very enriched and happy life and I have completely rid myself of the kind of degenerate, decadent life I had before. It is Almighty God who has led me to find my life goal and direction. I feel that living this way is how one can live a meaningful life!