Soon after Jesus intervened in my life, he began dealing with strongholds in my heart that were there from my birth and had been reinforced throughout my childhood. I began to receive revelation that the Catholic religion was not of Him. In fact, there is no denomination that is of God. The body of Christ is not divided. Satan has perverted what Jesus started by causing divisions in his church. This division is caused by spirits, and those who are Baptist are led by a Baptist spirit, Catholics by a Catholic spirit, Lutherans by a Lutheran spirit, and so on.

Satan began to divide the church early on and Paul dealt with this in his first epistle to the Corinthians starting in chapter 1, verse 11, "For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." Today, he could say that you say I am of Luther, or I am of Wesley or I am of the pope in Rome. He continued on in verse 13, "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" There is just one church and it is the body of Christ.

Jesus is the vine, we are the branches.
In John 15:5, Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." One doesn't have to be a farmer to know that a branch brings forth fruit of its own kind. Apple trees bear apples, peach trees bear peaches, etc. Likewise, the church doesn't bear different fruit, some Catholic, some Methodist, some Baptist. The Father in heaven used this example to challenge my thinking that I was something because of my religious heritage when in fact I was nothing and my heritage was not of Him. We are simply servants of the most High God and members of the body of Christ. Nothing more, nothing less. God looks into the heart of man, not on what group we are members of. Once I acknowledged this, He began to work in my heart and expose other strongholds which I will share below. These strongholds choke our faith so we cannot believe in the power of God that was manifested when Jesus was raised from the dead.

Doctrines of devils.
Jesus speaking through his servant Paul, stated in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

I could not believe that this was in the bible. Our priests were forbidden to marry and God says this is hypocrisy and a doctrine of the devil. We didn't eat meat on Fridays because we were seduced by religious spirits. These spirits will lead you to follow a set of rules and doctrines and then get puffed up with pride because you follow these rules and therefore must be holy. I went to church, but didn't know God or His Son. I subsequently had to conclude, that if some of the teachings in my denomination were lies, then all of them were. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Call no man Father.
Jesus spoke to the multitude and to his disciples in Matthew 23:9 and said, "And call no man your father upon earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Here Jesus said call no man your Father, yet we addressed our priests as "Father John" or "Father Smith". I was once again faced with making a decision. Do I believe Catholic doctrine or do I believe that the bible contains the words of God. I was troubled because I love my family very much and wondered why they couldn't see these truths.

I now understand that we have all been blinded by the god of this world and until the Spirit of God reveals the words in the bible to our hearts, we cannot see them even though they have been written for almost 2,000 years. I do not blame my parents or even the priests that taught me. We had a bible at home and I could have read it and asked God for understanding. I thank God that he sent Jesus to restore sight to the blind!

A thief and a robber.
When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in John chapter 10, he stated in verse 1, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." He continued on in verse 7, "...I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep." Here Jesus said the only way into the kingdom of God is through him. When I read this along with John 16:23 where Jesus said, "...Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you", I then realized my prayers were in vain. I was praying to Mary the mother of Jesus, or to some dead saint. I did not know I was to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus.

I can see why Satan ordained different denominations. He knows men's hearts are wicked and that we wouldn't be able to get along with each other. He also knew we were smart enough to recognize that outright devil worship was wrong. So he used subtlety and deceit to seduce our faith and pervert our thinking so we would think our prayers were being heard. They were being heard alright, but as idle words and prayers to an unknown god, not as prayers in faith to the Father in Jesus name.

I began attending Water of Life Church in 1988 and within the first few months, the Spirit of God convinced me I had to be baptized in water and I soon thereafter I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues. I can recall several distinct instances where devils left my body. One happened at night when I was in bed. I woke up with a heaviness on my chest and a shortness of breath. I opened my eyes and even though the room was very dark, I saw what appeared to be a large man sitting on my chest. In fear, I said "Jesus" and the man left through the wall and the heaviness left. I immediately knew that it was not a man in the flesh but a devil that was resisting what was planted in my heart. Shortly thereafter, I began to see and receive some revelation of the scriptures I shared above and how they were in direct conflict with my religion. Paul had to count his religious heritage dung to win Christ and I could now see that I would have to do the same.

I thank God he made it easy so that all mankind could obtain the promise. We only have to count all that we are and all that we know as dung; realize that our own righteousness is as filthy rags; and believe that Jesus is Lord and that God the Father raised him from the dead! Then will the promises of God manifest in our lives in this world and in the world to come. Amen.

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