By Bong, Philippines
I wanted to be rich.
I was born into a peasant family in the Philippines. I had a big family and we led a poor life when I was young. I remembered when I was in high school, once I was not allowed to take the exam because my family had no money to pay for the exam fee. My mother begged the school to give me a chance, but they refused. It was not until my mother gave them an IOU that they agreed. That thing had a great impact on me. I was very indignant that without money one could do nothing in this money-centered society. At that time, I made up my mind to be a rich man in the future.
I sacrificed my health in exchange for money.
After graduating from high school, I attended a vocational school to learn car repairs. In school, I studied hard. While other students were all out playing, I was still studying mechanical skills. At night, while others were asleep, I was still immersed in my studies.
After graduation, I came to Manila to seek a job. But because I didn’t graduate from a famous university or have any connections, I failed to find any job. At last, I had to work in my uncle’s car repair factory. In order to earn more money, apart from repairing cars, I also helped my uncle manage his finances and take stock. I worked from dawn to dusk every day; sometimes when others went home after work, I was still working overtime to take an account of stock.
After I got married, I had three children. In order not to let my children live the same poor life as I did, I worked harder than before. During the day, I worked in the garage; after work, I drove my electric tricycle to transport passengers till two o’clock in the morning. Thus I could only sleep for three or four hours every day. Although I got four days off every month, I still didn’t take a rest but went to earn extra money. Through a period of struggle, I finally bought a house and a car. However, unexpectedly I got hypertension due to staying up and overworking for a long time, which plunged me into despair. I thought: “Without good health, I can’t earn more money; thus, my wish to be rich will be shattered.” The doctor suggested that I should cooperate with treatment and not exert myself. After that, while cooperating with the treatment, I still worked hard to earn money day and night. Only when I felt very uncomfortable did I take a rest at home. But seeing that I made less money than before after rest, I felt reluctant and unhappy, so I often endured pains to earn money as a driver. Consequently, my disease got so serious that I had no choice but to stay at home to rest, relying on medicine to maintain my health.
God’s salvation came upon me.
In June 2017, Pastor Jayce and his wife came to visit me. They told me that thehas come back and launched a new work. And Pastor Jayce fellowshiped with me, “The Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross for us to forgive our sins, but He didn’t eradicate the root of sins within us. Thus, we are still living in a state of sinning and confessing. In answer to the needs of us corrupt mankind, the Lord returned in the last days and has carried out a stage of the work of judging and purifying man with the word on the basis of the redemptive work. …”
I was greatly touched by his fellowship. I had believed in the Lord for many years, but I still pursued a luxurious life and didn’t attend meetings regularly, bound by sins all along. At this thought, I truly felt the root of sins is still in me. The more I listened, the more I felt that Brother Jayce’s fellowship came from God, so I decided to investigate. Later on, he testified to me that the return of the Lord Jesus in the last days is Almighty God, and fellowshiped with me about the truths of the incarnation and the three stages of God’s work of saving mankind. Through the fellowship about these truths, I became completely certain that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. Then my wife and I readily accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.
I went astray again.
After accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days, I could keep gathering at the beginning, but a period of time later, I felt it would impede my making money if I often attended meetings. I thought: “Making money is most important, so it’s enough that my wife attends meetings. I should spend more time on work.” Afterward, I didn’t go to assemblies anymore. My wife and my brothers and sisters fellowshiped with me many times, but I didn’t listen to them at all and insisted on making money.
After that, I put most of my time into making money: During the day, I worked in the factory; at night, I earned extra money as a driver. I kept rushing around in this way for several months. During that period, my car was always breaking down, but I didn’tor retreat into the spirit to reflect upon myself. One day in December 2017, when I was about to run my car, I found its engine didn’t work, which would take me much time to repair, so I could only go home. I was thinking inwardly on the way: “Ever since I didn’t attend meetings, my heart has strayed farther and farther from God. What I think about every day is how to make more money and all I pursue is nothing but material things.”
I saw through the root of my suffering.
After arriving home, I found my wife was away, so I went to the church to look for her and ran into two sisters there. Knowing that there was something wrong with my car, they fellowshiped with me: “Brother, as Christians, we should accept it from God. In this period of time, you didn’t attend meetings but was busy making money, so that your heart has strayed farther and farther from God. But can you really earn money as much as you wish? Are you really incapable of controlling your own fate? Today your car broke down, which is presided and arranged by God. It contains God’s will. Actually, God wants you to stop and reflect upon yourself and then turn back to Him in time.” Afterward, they asked me to read a passage of God’s words: “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite always rushing and busying about for himself, man remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a creature?” After reading God’s words and listening to my sisters’ fellowship, I was full of emotional thoughts: “Our fate is presided over and arranged by God. I believe in God, yet don’t know His sovereignty over all things. Thus, I’ve been relying on my own efforts to make money day and night, trying to change my fate and throw off God’s sovereignty. I’m really too numb.” After realizing this, I said to my sisters: “Since I stopped gathering to earn money, my car broke down frequently, and the extra money I’ve earned in these months all went on car repairs. Just an engine cost me as much as I’ve earned in these three months. From this thing, I truly experienced that I can’t control my own fate. Whether I’m rich or poor is not decided by my own efforts, but is predetermined by God. Learning to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements is true intelligence.”
After listening to my words, a sister said: “Thank God! Brother, it is good that you can see God’s deeds in this matter and receive it from God. But if we want to shake off the shackles of money, we should have discernment of Satan’s tricks and know God’s will.” Then the sister read another passage of God’s words: “‘Money makes the world go round’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among the whole of mankind, among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been imparted to everyone and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. … Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. … To what degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying. That is to say, this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by this saying than give it all up. People do this, they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it. Isn’t this the effect of Satan corrupting man? Isn’t this the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart? If you do this, hasn’t Satan achieved its goal? (Yes.)” After reading God’s words, the sister fellowshiped: “Over several thousand years after Satan seduced and corrupted mankind, it has been employing all kinds of fallacies and heresies to corrupt us. It instills all these wrong rules of living into us, such as ‘One’s destiny is in his own hand,’ ‘A man dies for money; a bird dies for food,’ ‘Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,’ ‘Money makes the world go round,’ and so on. After accepting these fallacies and heresies, we place money above all else and live for fame and status in our whole life. Thus, we become more and more greedy, and end up being a slave of money, no longer having the heart to worship God and pursue a meaningful life. From this, we can see that Satan uses money, fame and status to corrupt us and trap us into its scheme; its final purpose is to make us deny God’s existence and sovereignty, listen to it, worship it and be controlled by it forever. We, however, are so foolish and ignorant and have no truth, so we have no discernment of Satan’s tricks and are willing to be led by the nose by it. Yet God has been quietly saving us from Satan’s affliction and trying to awaken us through judgment and chastisement. In this matter you encountered today, on the outside, it’s not a good thing, but actually, it contains much God’s love and for us.”
Through the revelation of God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I came to realize that I had been going with Satan’s evil trends and living by Satan’s rules of survival, such as “Money makes the mare go,” and “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing.” I firmly believed that if people have no money, then they will have no status and can do nothing. So, since I was young, I naturally regarded making money as the goal of my pursuit and mistakenly believed that only money could change my fate and make me live a better life. Therefore, in order to make money, I spared no efforts to work day and night in spite of my ill health. In the end, although I earned some money and enjoyed a more favorable material life, my health was ruined. Even worse, I lost my way and became the slave of money, living in the affliction and corruption of Satan. After I accepted God’s work of the last days, I knew that the incarnate God has carried out the work of judgment and chastisement with His words to save us and cleanse our sins and finally take us into the beautiful destination, and I also knew that it’s the final stage of God’s work of saving man, but I didn’t treasurefor me. In order to pursue material enjoyment, I only focused on making money and had no time to pursue the truth and worship God. If I continued on like that, I would miss the chance of being saved and end up like Moses who just gazed at the land of Canaan but was unable to enter it, dying full of regrets. Thank God. It was His words that made me see through Satan’s sinister purpose. I was unwilling to be deceived and controlled by Satan anymore, but was determined to return before God to attend meetings regularly and worship Him.
Later on, I rearranged my time and spared two nights per week to gather with my brothers and sisters and read God’s words together. After a period of time, I felt my heart was getting closer and. In my spare time, I would also spend some time reading God’s words. Gradually, my disease was getting improved.
Shaking off the shackles, I gained release and freedom.
Before long, God’s test came upon me; there was a duty that needed me to spare several days to fulfill, but it happened to clash with my work. At that time, I thought: “I need to pay for the mortgage and children’s tuition fees every month. And in a few days, I will pay my son’s tuition fees. If I take several days off work, I will be unable to afford them.” I was caught in a dilemma, so I prayed to God about my difficulties. Later on, I saw these words of God: “Only when people actually reach this point do they realize that the first thing one must understand, when one sets foot on this earth, is where human beings come from, why people are alive, who dictates human fate, who provides for and has sovereignty over human existence. These are the true assets in life, the essential basis for human survival…. If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to fulfill one’s mission, then one will necessarily have the correct outlook on life, will live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will walk in the light of the Creator, know the Creator’s sovereignty, come under His dominion, become a witness to His miraculous deeds and to His authority.”
After reading God’s words, I understood His will and came to know that God rules over and provides all things necessary for our survival. As created beings, only by seeking to fulfill our duties can we be after God’s will. Thinking back to how I relied on my own ambition and efforts to chase after money, walking the path of worldly people, I found all I pursued brought me nothing but pain, and that my life suffered loss. I could no longer be as I had been before. I should pursue the truth in my belief in God, live by God’s words and obey His sovereignty in the environments I encounter every day; only by living in this way could I walk the right path of life and gain the approval and blessings of God. After knowing God’s will, I prayed to God: “God, no matter what situation I’ll face, I’m willing to obey Your sovereignty and arrangements, and perform my duty as a created being. May You guide me.” Two days later, I came back home. When it’s time to pay for my son’s tuition fees, I pawned a piece of jewelry I bought in the pawnshop before. To my surprise, the pawnbroker gave me eighteen thousand pesos, which was much higher than I had expected. I thought this piece of jewelry would be worth eleven thousand pesos at most, but I never expected that the pawnbroker would pay seven thousand too many, which was just sufficient for my son’s tuition fees. Through this experience, I truly appreciated that God’s authority rules over everything and I couldn’t help giving thanks and praise to Him. Just as God says: “God’s control and sovereignty exceeds the bounds of human imagination, of human knowledge, of human understanding, of what human science can achieve; the abilities of created humanity cannot rival it.”
Thanks to God’s salvation, I could break away from the bondage of money. If it had not been for God’s salvation, I would still live in the trap of Satan and the vortex of money, being harmed by Satan. God says: “What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. These ways that He uses to work on man are to continually awaken the heart of man, awaken man’s spirit, letting man know where they came from, who is guiding them, supporting them, providing for them, and who has allowed man to live up till now; they are to let man know who is the Creator, whom they should worship, what kind of road they should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are used to gradually revive the heart of man, so man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, they no longer wish to live the life of a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but instead wish to pursue the truth in the satisfaction of God. When man’s heart has been awakened, they are then able to make a clean break with Satan, no longer to be harmed by Satan, no longer to be controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can cooperate in God’s work and in His words in a positive way to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fear of God and the shunning of evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.” After experiencing these things, I came to know that God arranging these environments was to awaken my heart and spirit, and to make me walk onto the right path of fearing God and shunning evil and live in His blessings. This was indeed God’s good intention.
In the past, I felt it was too much for me to spend two hours on one meeting; now, even if I have the meeting for three or four hours, I can quiet my heart before God. Now, I’m willing to spend more time and energy attending meetings, reading God’s words and equipping myself with the truth. Thank and praise God. All the glory be to Almighty God. Amen!
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