A-1. About the author


Subject heading A-1, my personal testimony.

A-1. About the Author, Mark, at a Matter Of Truth


  This is my personal testimony of how I came to a personal relationship with God.

  I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church religion. I call it a religion because ANY church denomination can become a “religion” to the ones who are raised in a church. They are taught ABOUT God but they do not always come to KNOW God. In other words, not all those who are raised growing up in a church denomination come to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with God.

They might sincerely believe that they are Christians and they may go to church on a regular basis, and some may even read the Bible for themselves, but going to church to many of those who are raised in a church denomination, it is more of a DUTY to many of them. And that was a description of me until I turned 23 years old and asked God to show me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

  I held up a Bible and said to God, I do not know who is right or who is wrong, speaking of all the different church denominations. I said to God, I do not care who is right or who is wrong. I told God, it may be that none of them are right but it is clear to me that they all cannot be right because they teach different things that are opposite of each other. But one thing I do know O God is that they all use this BIBLE I have in my hand. So, I am asking you O God to show me the TRUTH of this BIBLE, the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth.

  Now that you have an overview of how I first began to seek God and His TRUTH, please allow me to back up a few years and begin there. In the Roman Catholic Church, Catholics are taught to confess their sin to the priest in a confessional booth. Usually, every month is the norm for most Catholics to go to confession, but some go for an entire year before they confess their sins to a priest. With me, and I am assuming with many other Catholics as well, that this confessing of sins to the priest is more of a ritual. In other words, confessing sins to the priest is something Catholics do because they are taught to do it. For you see, as a Catholic I was never taught that I could go directly to God to confess my sins. In the Catholic faith, I was taught that it is the priest who is the one who absolves Catholics of their sins. But first, they have to do the penance which the priest gives to them to do in order to receive forgiveness for their sins. So, I did just as I was taught to do in the Roman Catholic Church not knowing that I could confess my sins directly to God WITHOUT going to a priest.

  Then one day I broke the RULES of the church and after confessing my sins to the priest I prayed to God for myself and confessed my sins directly TO God. And for the first time in my life, I FELT something I had never before felt when I confessed my sins to the priest. I felt that God heard me and that he forgave me of my sins. I had a “spring” in my step as I left that church building that day. I felt the joy that God loved me. I had confessed my sins with all sincerity many times to the priest in the past, but I never felt this joy that I first felt when I confessed my sins DIRECTLY to God.

  That experience of feeling God’s LOVE and great joy was when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I do not remember my exact age, but I do remember still being in the Catholic school which went only to the eighth grade in that parish. I was one of the oldest in my class, so I could have been 13 years old. The age is not important, but it gives you an idea of when I first felt the joy from the Lord to be forgiven of my sins. Again, I left the church building that day with a spring and a skip in my step.

  Now, if you are a Christian who believes that God leads people every step of their life, then you would likely say that God then led me to hate the church and leave Him as well so that God could teach me that I needed Him. I personally do not believe in “predeterminism”, but rather, I believe that we make our own choices, and then, because of our own prayers or the prayers of others, God intervenes in our lives to turn what Satan meant for harm to our good.

  Again, I myself am not one of that persuasion of predeterminism or Calvinism that teaches that God has foreordained everything that happens down to the minutest detail and thus God has predestined us to choose what he has already chosen us to choose before the foundation of the world. 

  I personally believe that things happen and then we make our own choice of which path to follow. The THINGS that happened in my life that caused me to make my own choice to hate God and leave the Catholic Church were two things. The first thing was all the fighting and division between the Catholics and the Protestants. And the second thing was the doctrine of eternal torture in hell, that was created by the Roman Catholic Church and that was carried over into the Protestant church denominations, or at least carried over into some of Protestant church denominations.

  Now, I have some in-depth Bible studies on why I no longer believe that eternal torture in hell doctrine that was invented by the Roman Catholic Church. So, I will not discuss the doctrine of hell in this personal testimony. But I will elaborate a little on the fight between the Catholics and the Protestants as being the other reason for why I left God for a short time. 

 You see, my sister who was raised as a Catholic was engaged to be married, and her fiancé was raised in a Protestant church. Both families did not want this marriage to happen simply because they were not of the SAME church denomination, and I saw how much my sister loved her boyfriend and how he loved her. They both believed in Jesus as their Savior, so in my eyes, they were both saved. To believe in Jesus as your Savior is what BOTH church denominations teach, so what is the problem? That was what I thought in my mind. WHY all the fighting to keep two people apart who believe in Jesus as their Savior just because these two church denominations were fighting with each other over other church doctrine?

  That is when I began to question what I was taught in the Roman Catholic Church, and I came up with my own THEORY about God. A theory, that at least I THOUGHT was my OWN theory, because it came out of my OWN mind. You see, I never shared that theory with anyone but my girlfriend and soon to be my wife. And when I told her she point-blank told me to my face that I was wrong! Her rock-solid faith made me think, and later that week at work I was listening to the radio. For you see, at that time in my life I had a real “gravy” or really easy job that only required me to be at work just in case something went wrong with the machines. So, I could watch TV, read a book, listen to the radio and even sleep, so long as I did not leave the premises.

  Anyway, while listening to the radio I heard my theory about God, which again, I THOUGHT was my OWN theory, but later I found that many more people believe this same theory that I THOUGHT came out of my OWN thinking in my own mind. I thought how is that possible? And then the thought came to me concerning the thoughts of TEMPTATIONS not being our OWN thoughts that come to us in our minds. And if we do not know that these thoughts of temptation come from the Devil, then one would think that those thoughts were their own thoughts. 

  And that made me think some more, so I bought myself a Bible remembering my wife's rock-solid faith that I was WRONG, and took the Bible to work with me to read, seeing that I had up to eight hours a night to read the Bible.

  After asking God to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I began to read the Bible. I started reading the Bible like any other book which started in chapter one. I got to the book of Numbers and got bored. So, as I did in school, when I was given the assignment to read a book and give a book report on that book, I would read the first and last chapters. And if I needed more information, I would then read a chapter in the middle and then make my book report because I HATED to read books and even instructions. I am a slow reader, and I must read every word carefully to be able to comprehend what I am reading, and I was ridiculed by my classmates for being a slow reader.

  To make a long story short I skipped to the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, and when I could not understand what I was reading I turned to find something in the middle of the Bible that made sense. Yes, this was the FIRST time I had ever read the Bible and I was raised in church. Back in my day, the Catholic Church did not encourage Catholics to read the Bible on their own. If they did, then I myself never heard any such teaching.

 While flipping through the middle of the Bible I noticed the words, The New Testament. Before that time I never knew that the Bible was divided into two Testaments. So I began reading the New Testament, and when I began reading the four gospels, I thought to myself, now, this stuff, written in the gospels, I have heard before in the Catholic Church. So I continued to read because I was more excited about what I was reading, seeing that at least some of it was familiar to me. And it was when I came to read 1 Corinthians 1:10 that God opened my eyes to see that it was never His INTENT for His church to be DIVIDED.

  1 Corinthians 1:10.

 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 

  I remember that I stopped reading right there and giving God thanks to now know that it was MAN who caused all the divisions in the church and not God. And then, I continued to read the Bible knowing on the inside of me that I could trust God’s word. 

  I started to go to church with my girlfriend and the first sermon was on divine healing. This intrigued me even more because I was never taught anything like this in the Roman Catholic Church. They MAY have taught it but I myself never heard any such teaching in the Catholic Church. This teaching from God’s word on divine healing spoke God’s LOVE to me that he wanted to even heal my body. Now, I was not sick at the time, but God’s willing to heal me, spoke volumes to me about the LOVE of God which was quite the opposite of the vengeful God taught to me in the Roman Catholic Church. For you see, I was talk in the Catholic Church that God would torture me for all eternity in hellfire if I ever left the Roman Catholic Church.

  And thus, to a Catholic to leave the Roman Catholic faith, is to leave God because the Roman Catholic Church teaches that they ALONE are the ONE TRUE church, and if you are NOT a CATHOLIC then you are not saved. So again, to a Catholic it they would ever leave the Catholic Church, then they cannot be saved unless they come back to the Catholic Church. This FEAR was dogmatically taught to me for many years to believe that if I left the Roman Catholic Church then I was leaving God.

  So temporarily, I overcame that fear by coming up with my OWN theory which again, I discovered later was not my own theory. But while I did think that it was my own theory, I left the Roman Catholic Church AND God because I did not know at the time that I could leave the Catholic Church and NOT leave God. To me, it was a package deal so to speak and there were no other options. At that time in my life it did not even occur to me that I could simply go to another church denomination.

  Now, the theory that I thought at the time was a theory that I came up with it out of my OWN thoughts is this. I theorized that believing in God, was like a game where if one chose to play the game, they could either win or lose the game. But if a person chooses to NOT play the game, then they would neither win or lose because they would NOT be a player in the game.

 Well, to me, the odds of winning the Christian game of faith in God to win eternal life were NOT good. In fact, according to what I had been taught in the Roman Catholic Church, the odds of going straight to heaven without suffering in the flames of fire in purgatory to cleanse you of your sins were not all that great. And the consequences of losing this game of faith in God was to be eternally tortured in the flames of fire in hell for all eternity, and that fear of hell was far too fearful for me to even try to win eternal life. So at that time in my life, I simply chose to not play the game winning eternal life at all because the risk of losing was way too high. I would rather forfeit the eternal life of joy and happiness with God than to risk losing and being cast into hell forever to be tortured in flames of fire for all eternity, with no hope of that gross torture never ending. So, I decided to not play the game at all.

  But then, AFTER hearing my girlfriend and future wife say to my face with such boldness that I was WRONG, then her boldness stirred in me the possibility that maybe I was wrong. And just a day or two later I heard my exact theory on the radio. And AFTER finding out that my theory was NOT my OWN theory, then that caused me to remember what I had been taught in the Catholic Church on how Satan plants thoughts in our minds to tempt us to do bad things. So, I began to think that since Satan can put THOUGHTS of temptation in our MINDS, then perhaps Satan put this theory in my mind as well and I could be wrong.

  I could not take the CHANCE if I was right concerning this theory, which had come from my mind. I wondered, what if it was Satan who gave me this theory. So, I bought myself a Bible. This catches us up to where I left off before concerning 1 Corinthians 1:10 which teaches us that all of the different church denominations are NOT God’s intended purpose. 

 As I said earlier, I began attending church with my girlfriend. She was raised in the Assemblies of God church and was filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues at a young age in youth camp. Again, to continue where I left off, I was intrigued by the teaching on divine healing. And perhaps I was even more intrigued by the possibility of Jesus’ return at any time, even today. For you see, that church denomination teaches the pre-tribulation rapture theory that Jesus can return at any moment. Anyway, the pastor at this Assemblies of God church gave an altar-call in nearly every church service which I avoided for a month or two because they would all start praying in other tongues. And at that time I did not understand what praying in other tongues was about and to be honest it scared me a little. So, I would leave the service and go out to my car and listen to my radio. I remember saying to myself that I do not need all that tongues stuff because I have my “music” that gives me joy.

  I do not remember the exact date, but I do remember my girlfriend persuading me to go to a youth meeting with her and to go up with her at the altar call. There were not as many people, so I went forward, and they prayed with me or more precisely they prayed for me to be saved. It was later when I was alone that I made my confession of faith in Jesus being the Son of the living God who suffered and died for my sins and that God raised him from the dead after three days. This is what many churches call the sinners' prayer. If you are not a Christian you can learn how to be saved and confess the sinner's prayer under the heading >>>WHAT MUST I DO to be SAVED?<<<. It was after I was saved that God gave me such an intense hunger to read and study His word and seek Him even more.

  So, I kept reading the Bible on my own having more joy to read than I ever had in my life. It was as if God gave me a hunger to learn more of Him. I read Christian books from cover to cover without putting them down, so to speak. I remember going to my girlfriend’s family reunion and separating myself to a quiet place so that I could read a Christian book about the things of God. This quest or journey to know about God seemed to consumed me.

  I was never taught about baptism by submersion in any church, but rather, I read about water baptism in the Bible itself and I wanted to obey God’s word and be baptized in water by submersion. This was around a month or two after I was saved and I had read over those verses on water baptism many times before. But one day they just seemed to grab me and I knew in my heart that God wanted me to be baptized in water. Again, this was around a month or two after I said the sinner’s prayer to God on my own in private. Now, my girlfriend knew that I had prayed the sinner’s prayer and she told her closest friends who then told the rest of the church. On Wednesday night the Pastor would sometimes have a testimony service where people would get up and testify what they were thankful for and what God was doing in there life. So, I testified that I gave my life to Jesus.

  I then told the pastor what I read about in the Bible concerning water baptism, and I ask him to baptize me. He told me that the baptismal was broken and it needed to be fixed. I ask him if I could fix it because I was pretty handy with my hands. He said that the heater was broken, and they did not have the money to fix it but that I could take a look at it. When he said the baptismal was broken I thought he meant that the baptismal had a leak which I knew how to fix but I did not know how to fix a heater. Nor did I have the money to buy a new heater, but I could afford a portable stock tank heater for cows and horses to heat the water.

  So, I filled the baptismal and got the water heated to a nice bath water temperature and went and got the pastor who then said why not wait until we have others who want to be baptized, and he could baptize us all in just one baptismal service. Now I was thinking to myself, that could take forever. For you see, I had been attending this church for a couple of months now and I was the only one who has been saved in that church during that whole time. So I just assumed that everyone else was ALREADY saved and baptized in water. He also said to me that he would need to preach a couple of sermons on baptism to get people interested and then he would ask how many wanted to be baptized. So, I thought to myself that is another three whole weeks plus the rest of this week, so it will be another month before I would be baptized.

  I could not wait for another whole month to be baptized, so I started asking people on my own if they have been baptized in water. I only knew a few people, but they were very helpful and gave me the names of who they had never witnessed being baptized in water. So, I went and asked them that week and found eight people plus myself who wanted to be baptized. I told the pastor and he made an announcement that Sunday that next week there would be a baptismal service and if anyone else wants to be baptized let him know. There were twelve total Christians that were baptized in water that following week.

 Now, after being saved for around six or seven months, I was talking to another Christian at work who attended a different church denomination. And the same question that he asked me has been asked of me more than one time in my Christian walk with God concerning our free will. In other words, were all the choices we have made according to our own free will, or are all of the DESIRES to make all the choices which we make given to us by God?

  This is a very good and valid question because when I consider the whole word of God, then I can clearly see how God DRAWS us to His Son Jesus. So, I would have to say that God alone desires to receive all of the glory for bringing me to saving faith including giving me the faith to believe. And what I mean by God giving us the faith to believe, I mean that God gives to every human being the SAME ABILITY to BELEIVE and make their own choice to believe what they choose to believe of their own free will.

  However, I do NOT believe that the Bible itself teaches us that God led me AWAY from Him so He could teach me that I needed Him. I do NOT believe that God gives the desire for people to hate Him. I do NOT believe that God gives people the desire to sin. The Bible itself does not teach us that God leads people to hell while at the same time God leads other people to be saved. Now, what I believe is that God can turn around the things that the enemy means for harm and bring good out of those bad situations.

And to me, my own testimony is proof enough to me that God does NOT lead people to hell. And I am even more convinced of this truth through the written the word of God that predeterminism, also called five-point Calvinism, Reformed Theology, the Grace ALONE faith, and salvation for Israel only doctrines are all FALSE teachings that could possibly lead people who are truly saved to lose their salvation. I have also learned through the years that Satan can NOT keep anyone from SEEKING God or from SEEKING God's TRUTH. But what Satan can do is that he can put false teaching in front of those who are seeking God's truth.

  How do I know this? Well, one way is my own personal testimony. If you remember, I left off my testimony after sharing that I was saved and baptized in water according to the gospel of our salvation written in the New Testament of the Bible. So let me continue with the testimony of my personal relationship with God by my seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

  Remember when I said that I would go to my car when all that talking in other tongues stuff started? Well, I was at work one night reading the ads in the back of a paper which said the “Pyramid and the Bible” and I thought what does the Great Pyramid of Giza have to do with the Bible? So I ordered those free books for the price of postage which was less than five dollars for six hardbound books. Well, in those books was the teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit has ceased with the Apostles of Jesus and now we have the Bible, so we no longer need those gifts of the Holy Spirit like speaking in other tongues.

  The Scriptures they used were quite convincing, so I shared what I had learned with my wife. And again, she point-blank told me to my face that I was WRONG! So again, her rock-solid faith caused me to take a closer look for myself reading the Bible. Upon my reading all the verses on the subject and considering what I was hearing about divine healing, and the testimonies of people getting healed, that captivated me to hear more about Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I concluded that being filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, was indeed Biblical.

  That night while sleeping I was physically attacked by the Devil. It was in the middle of winter so we had our windows closed. I was awakened with someone on top of me which I thought was someone who broke into our home, who jumped on me and began squeezing me like I was in a “bear-hug”, and I could hardly breathe. And when I tried to turn my head to see my attacker, I felt a hand holding my face down so I could not turn my head. I then heard a voice within me saying RESIST him in the name of Jesus. So, as I started to speak these words out “I resist you in the name of Jesus”, the hand covered my mouth, and I could not speak. The voice within me said again, “resist him in the name of Jesus”. So, in my mind, I kept saying over and over, I resist you in the name of Jesus and the evil spirit left.

  Now my wife in the meantime knew nothing of what was happening to me but was very aware of what was happening to her and when the evil spirit left me, the visual apparition of an evil spirit, that my wife was having, left her. So, we both sat up in bed turning to each other to tell each other what had just happened. I let her tell me what happened to her first because she said that she saw the curtains blowing straight out into the room, like in a storm with the window open, but they were closed. She then said that she saw standing by the side of the bed an evil spirit that the world describes as the grim reaper with a hooded garment and a sickle.

  Later, I learned from God that the reason I was attacked by an evil spirit was that I had been involved in seeking paranormal experiences while I was going my own way. And then, as I was seeking to be filled with his Holy Spirit, the devils knew that they would lose any hold that they had on me. For you see, I was still using some of what the world calls “psychic abilities” after I was saved and Satan still yet had a foothold on me. 

  Again, Satan can NOT keep anyone from SEEKING the truth, but he can put false teachings in front of any one of us to keep us from God’s TRUTH. And this is what Satan had done to me. Those books I ordered on the Pyramid and the Bible had other books which taught that the gifts of the Holy Spirit had ceased when the last Apostle died. God’s next step in leading me even closer to Him was to lead me to the truth concerning being filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. But first, I had to prove from the Scriptures for myself that the gifts of the Holy Spirit did not cease with the early church. After studying the word for myself I saw that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are indeed for the church today but there still remained a little bit of doubt that some speaking in tongues MIGHT be of the Devil.

  So, I learned that it was Satan that blinded my eyes to this truth from the very beginning by placing thoughts of fear in me. Thoughts such as I did not need any of that Holy Spirit stuff like talking in other tongues because I had my music that brought me joy. So, before God began leading me to study His word on this subject of speaking in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives the utterance, Satan had already planted the seed of curiosity in me to see what the Great Pyramid had to do with the Bible. I thought I was ordering just the one single book, but when it arrived so did five other free books, and I also read them as well. And one of those books taught the false doctrine of the gift of tongues not being for the church today and that it was of Satan. But at that time, I did not know that it was a FALSE doctrine and that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the church until Jesus returns.

  Imagine that! What better way to keep Christians from seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit than to have what SEEMS to be Biblical teaching that teaches that being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues is of Satan. So, again I had to weigh all the evidence from the Bible against what man was teaching.

  This has been my consistent testimony all through my seeking God. First, I had to fight the good fight of faith to overcome the extreme fear of going to hell if I left the Roman Catholic Church. But after searching all the Scripture on how to be saved, I chose to believe the BIBLE over what I was taught in the Roman Catholic Church and I knew that, for ME, I had to leave the Catholic Church completely and choose what the Bible itself teaches in order to be saved. This is NOT to say that a Catholic cannot be saved while remaining in the Catholic Church. But I do believe that if they CONTINUE seeking the TRUTH that God will eventually lead them out of the Roman Catholic Church RELIGION.

 My next hurdle to overcome was this fear instilled in me that speaking in other tongues was of Satan. Thank God that I heard about divine healing FIRST or I might have never been filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. I was saved for six months when I decide to have a brother in the Lord, who I knew was filled with the Holy Spirit, come and lay hands upon me and pray that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Everyone kept telling me of the joy they received when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. So, I was expecting the same kind of experience.

  However, when I was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time, I felt no greater presence of God than what I have felt when praising to God during worship service. In other words, we sometimes feel the presence of God during worship, but yet, we do not speak in other tongues. So when this brother in the Lord laid hands on me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and no other tongues came out of my mouth automatically was because I was waiting for the Holy Spirit to do the speaking through me. So, the brother who laid hands on me said again to me, receive you the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus then started thanking God for me receiving the Holy Spirit. And he instructed to me to just speak out by FAITH whatever words that I felt inside of me to say even though I do not know what those words mean. So, I did what he said by faith and I spoke three or four words which came to my mind as written words which I read out loud.

  He said that he had not heard of anyone with that experience before, but he believed that God filled me with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. He then instructed me that in my prayer time to pray in other tongues by FAITH every day. So, I did as he instructed me to do, and over a period of a week or so I was speaking for ten to fifteen minutes in other tongues but there was still no mighty awesome presence of God like other Christians kept saying that I would experience.

  Then came another trial of my faith when Satan came and kept saying to me, that God did not fill me with the Holy Spirit, and I was speaking useless noise out of my mouth and I was wasting my time. It was then that I remembered a testimony of a Christian on how he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I had read in all those Christian books I was reading that past six months. He was a man of faith who was mightily used of God in the healing ministry. And he received the Holy Spirit the same way as me. He felt no presence of God at first but continued to pray in other tongues by FAITH.

  He had been praying in other tongues for about a half an hour and Satan said to him that he was wasting his time. So, he said if you do not leave right now Satan, I am going to pray in other tongues for another half an hour. Satan said you have not truly been filled with the Holy Spirit. So, he prayed for another half an hour. He said it was one of the hardest things he had ever done. He felt so dry and farther away from God than ever before, but he continued by FAITH to pray in other tongues. 

  Satan came again and he said to Satan, just for that, I am going to pray for another whole hour in other tongues because you are a liar and God has filled me with His Holy Spirit. He began praying again by FAITH in other tongues and before that hour was finished, the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit flowed out of him covering his whole being and he prayed in other tongues under the ANOINTING of the Holy Spirit for another three hours for a total of five hours of praying in other tongues, two hours by FAITH and three more hours under the ANOINTING of the Holy Spirit.

  Remember when Jesus said that he FELT virtue come out of him when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of his garment? Jesus explained to us that it was her FAITH saying or CONFESSING that she WILL be healed if she could just get close enough to Jesus to reach out and touch the hem of his garment. And she RECEIVED what she believed in her heart and CONFESSED with her mouth not DOUBTING that she would be healed.

  Now, every Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them the very moment they are saved but there is a FILLING of the Holy Spirit that some Christians have not yet experienced. They have been filled halfway or maybe even all the way to the top and they were right on the verge of being filled to OVERFLOWING where the presence of God becomes so full of glory that they want to praise God with their whole being.

  Some Christians stop there thinking that that is all there is, but other Christians keep praising God until they can find no more words of their own to praise him and then begin to speak in other tongues. That is one way to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Another way is to be in a church service where many Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit all at the same time. And another way is the way I received the Holy Spirit which is by FAITH having no FEELING at all.

  So, like my brother in the Lord whose testimony caused me to press on and resist the lies of Satan, I too began to speak fluently in other tongues under the ANOINTING of the Holy Spirit. Now I understood the awesome joy that others were telling me that they felt. Some may argue that I did not actually receive the Holy Spirit until I FELT the mighty presence of God, but I KNOW by God's word that we all receive the Holy Spirit to come dwell in us the very moment we first believe and ask Jesus into our life

  Now, I am actually glad that my salvation came by FAITH and NOT by FEELING the awesome presence of God to know that I am saved. God has taught me to have FAITH in His WORD and not to look for FEELINGS to know that I received from God the answers to my prayers. I am glad for those of you who have had mountaintop experiences that cause you to believe in God. But I also see the danger that the enemy may come, one day, to deceive you that God no longer loves you because you can no longer FEEL God. Will you lose your faith in God’s love, or will you fight the good fight of faith, believing ONLY God’s word WITHOUT any FEELING that God loves you?

  This is one of the reasons why I am sharing my personal testimony in such detail. I do not want anyone to lose out on receiving eternal life in the world to come because the devil comes to deceive them that God no longer loves them anymore and that is why they can no longer FEEL God’s presence.

  Before I was filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing, to speak in other tongues, it took me singing and praising God with many worship songs before I would even feel the presence of God. Yes, there were sometimes when I heard just one anointed song that sent goosebumps down my neck, and I could begin singing praise to God with my whole being to enter into his presence. But most of the time it took 20 to 30 minutes of praise and worship before I truly entered into his mighty presence and by then in most cases, the praise and worship part of the service was coming to an end unless there were several Christians feeling the presence of God including the song leaders and the pastor because they were in control of the worship service to decide whether to continue or to stop the worship service and move on to the preaching. So, a lot of times this “time limit” kept me from yielding myself over to praising God with my whole being.

 But after I was filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, I knew that I could pray in other tongues anytime I chose to do so. And when I started praising God in other tongues by faith, then entering into God’s presence became easier and much faster. Where it took 20 to 30 minutes of singing praise and worship songs in my understanding, I could now sing in other tongues and begin feeling God’s presence in a matter of a few minutes, nearly every time.

 I remember one time when the song leader was doing his best to get the people to really enter into worshiping God. By this time in my walk with God, it was more about others entering into God’s presence then it was about me entering into God’s presence. So, I was interceding for the church congregation by praying in other tongues quietly so as to not disturb the praise and worship service. And while I was praying in other tongues interceding, in my mind, by faith, for the church congregation, God told me to STOP praying. It kind of came as a shock to me that God would ask me to stop praying so I asked him WHY? He said because I want to show you something.

 So, I stopped praying in other tongues and immediately the song leader slammed his hands down on the pulpit and started rebuking the congregation saying that he was doing everything he knew to do to get them to start praising God rather than just singing songs. He then walked back to his seat out in the congregation.  

 And when the pastor got up to dismiss the other singers and instrument players, God told me to start praying in other tongues again. It only took less than thirty seconds and the song leader got back up and motioned to the pastor to wait. He apologized to the congregation for rebuking them and the praise and worship service started over. He began to sing “It is beginning to rain; I hear the voice of the Father” and the presence of God fell upon the whole congregation. 

Needless to say, there was no preaching that day only praise and worship with our whole being. That was one of the best worship services I have been privileged to be a part of. Just as the presence of God began to fall, God said, I just want to show you the power of one person’s prayers and that sent me to tears of joy unspeakable and full of glory. So much so, that I cannot tell this testimony in person without feeling God’s awesome presence. Even now while just writing this testimony, I cannot see because of the tears of the joy of the Lord have filled my eyes and are running down my cheeks.

 Trust me when I say that Satan does not like when Christians pray in other tongues. Satan has been working very hard to deceive the body of Jesus Christ that praying and speaking in tongues are of Satan, the Devil, because he knows the POWER of Christians praying in other tongues. You can read the studies that I have on stirring up the gift of the Holy Spirit and other related studies for all the Scriptures under the heading >>>THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!<<<. This is my personal testimony and not a study in God’s word to prove that my experience with God is Biblical.

 One day while being laid off from work because of lack of work, I had been praying all day long for my family members on both sides of the family, mine and my wife’s side. I would pray in my own understanding for each member of our family one by one. After praying in my own understanding, I would begin by faith and pray in other tongues for a while. Maybe five or ten minutes and with some members, twenty to thirty minutes but on average around fifteen minutes in my own understanding and about fifteen more minutes in other tongues for each family member.

 I had been praying for about eight hours and had not even gotten through a third of my family members when I began to pray in Chinese. I knew it was Chinese because I used to watch those “B-grade” martial arts movies that were in Chinese with subtitles, but I could not understand any Chinese words I was speaking. All I knew was that no one in my family was Chinese so I stopped praying and told the Lord that I was praying for my family and that no one in my family is Chinese. The Lord spoke back to me and said to me that if I will pray for what he has need of now, then he will raise up ten thousand intercessors when I have the need. 

 I thought to myself what a deal! I can pray for my family tomorrow. So, I went back to praying in the Chinese language for another couple of hours. Supper had been ready and it was getting cold when my wife called down to me in the basement where I was praying. And she asked me if she should put my supper in the refrigerator, but I said no and that I would be up in a few minutes. So, I wrapped up my praying for the day by saying that I will pray some more tomorrow. But what I meant was praying for my own family.

 But when tomorrow came and I began praying for another family member in my own understanding first and then when I started to pray in other tongues, it did not come out in my usual prayer language in another tongue. Rather, my praying in other tongues came out in Chinese again. I knew in my spirit that God wanted me to pray some more in Chinese. This continued through the entire week and well into the next week where every time I prayed in other tongues it was in the Chinese language. 

 So, during these almost two full weeks of praying in other tongues, in the Chinese language, God showed me some things. One of the things he showed to me was to continue praying until I felt a VICTORY in my spirit and then to rejoice in that victory as if it was my own victory. I experienced several small victories and then toward the end of the two weeks, the strength of those victories increased as an end was close. After those two weeks, I went back to praying in my old prayer language. Then, a few days later, while watching the news, they were talking about Tiananmen Square, and I knew in my spirit that I had been praying for the conflict to end It may not seem like a victory to some people because many thousands were killed. So then, despite their being killed they remained peaceful for the most part in their non-violent protest and that was a victory in my eyes, For you see, if they had not been strengthened by God to remain non-violent, they may have been completely massacred.

 From that time forward God used me as a prayer intercessor and I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit to pray in diverse tongues. This means, to pray in many different known languages of the world that are not learned naturally by the prayer warrior. God would wake me in the middle of the night or early in the morning before dawn to pray. Sometimes I would wake myself up praying in other tongues in my sleep. On a few occasions, my wife woke me up because my praying in other tongues in my sleep was keeping her awake. So, I would get up and go into the other room to continue praying in other tongues. God used me as an intercessor for many years. It is only a guess, but I would say it was around fifteen years. Then one day, and I say this with much sadness, I was so tired due to the lack of sleep that I told the Lord to find someone else to pray. The Holy Spirit stopped waking me up to pray from that point on in my life. I still pray in other tongues and make intercession for others, but it has never been the same as it was when God chose me whenever HE had a need as opposed to me choosing God when I have a need.

 Now while I do indeed miss those times of being used by God to pray in many diverse tongues to intercede for others that I do not know from all over the world, God has led me to another ministry which is teaching God's people, all over the world, through the Bible studies he has given to me. To be honest, it was not my idea to begin this website. God gave me a dream in the night and I awoke terrified. I was losing everything, it was all floating away in the water. I instinctively asked God, what do You want? And He told me the meaning of the dream saying that if I did not begin sharing what He had given me, then I would lose what He had given me. I knew in my spirit that God was speaking of the revelation knowledge that the Holy Spirit had given me while studying the Bible. I argued with God for a while saying that I did not know anything about computers or starting a website. That same week I met a brother in the Lord and long story short, he showed me how to start a website.

 At that time in my life, I did not know how to type so I asked my sister-in-law to type up all my old studies. I had thought that she was already saved because she went to the same church as her sister who is my wife before she died, but while reading and typing the studies I had written, she asked Jesus into her life. I have been writing new Bible studies ever since and adding them to my website, which I do not like to say as being my website because it was not me who wanted this job. But I have learned from experience that it is not good to grieve the Holy Spirit, and over a short time I learned to LOVE this job of teaching that God has given me to do.

 This is not to say that everything has been pleasantly RECEIVED by OTHER Christians that disagree with what I teach. In other words, through the many years of this teaching ministry not all Christians agree with what I teach. So again, please allow me to back up in time a couple of decades to when I had my first encounter of teaching the TRUTH, which I knew full well would bring persecution. It was back when I was still attending the Assemblies of God, which was my wife's church that she grew up in. As you already know, the Assemblies of God Pentecostal church was the church where I heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ and I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The very moment I was saved, God gave me an intense hunger for His word. And all I wanted to do was to read and to study the Bible and to read Christian books about God's word. I was at church every time the doors were opened. I even remember asking some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord, at a church outing, as to why we did not have a church service every day of the week? One sister laughed out loud and said to me, wait a few months and I would be wondering why the church has so many church services. She said to me, to give it some time and I would be like the rest of them dreading to go to church. I thought to myself, WOW! How could anyone feel that way about going to church? And I said to myself, this would never happen to me.

Well, it did happen to me after a few years. I had lost my joy. And when I ask the Lord why I lost my joy, His answer was that I did not guard my heart. I did not know what that meant and everyone I asked did not know either. It took a couple of months studying and praying but then God showed to be the importance of what we speak out of our mouth. I was not guarding my heart by agreeing subconsciously with all the negative talk around me that soon began to come out of my own mouth. Again, this is not a study in God's word but rather my personal testimony. So, if you have lost your joy, please refer to the studies that I have on this subject in the menu list of studies.

During all my reading and hearing the sermons at church, I wanted to know more about the coming of Jesus and the rapture of the church. So, I went to a Christian bookstore. There were no computers back then and no Internet. When I was at the bookstore, the very first book that I picked up was called “Christians Will Go Through the Great Tribulation.” And while I held it in my hand as I was looking over all the titles of the other books on prophecy, I noticed that every other book was teaching a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. So, I put the book in my hand back on the shelve assuming that it was false teaching because there were so many books teaching a pre-tribulation rapture of the church to escape the great tribulation and only ONE book teaching a post-tribulation rapture. Over the next few months, I bought and read some 10 to 15 books on the pre-tribulation rapture of the church and was satisfied that it was the truth. Now, please understand that I had not yet ever heard WHY other Christians believed in a mid-tribulation rapture and a post-tribulation rapture. All I knew was that the Assemblies of God church and all the books I read all taught a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.

 Then one day, while reading the Bible and not really studying any particular subject, I had read some verses in the book of Revelation chapter 20 and I saw instantly that the pre-tribulation rapture teaching could not possibly be true. I closed my Bible immediately and refused to accept what I just saw in God's word because I FEARED greatly to go through the great tribulation. Now, if you have ever read any pre-tribulation books they paint a very fearful picture of those who are left behind and go through the period of the great tribulation. So, I avoided that passage of Scripture in the book of Revelation for nearly a year. Then, after forgetting about those verses, I had just finished organizing all my handwritten Bible studies into nice readable handwriting so others could be able to read them and I asked the Lord what he would like me to study next. The Holy Spirit said to turn to Revelation chapter 20 and begin reading.

 Again, I had forgotten about those verses because I am not good at remembering the chapter and verse numbers. Now I can remember where a verse is found on a page, in my Bible, such as which column and if it is at the top, in the middle or at the bottom. But as far as the verse number, I would have to memorize them if I wanted to remember them. Anyway, as I was reading Revelation 20:4-6, I remembered, and I started to close my Bible again when I remembered that it was me who asked God what HE wanted me to study next. So, I submitted myself to study the Bible concerning the timing of the rapture of the church. I got out all my pre-tribulation rapture books and wrote down all the reasons FOR a pre-tribulation rapture and then told God that he was going to have to answer every one of these questions that I had, and there were fifty questions, that I could not explain any other way than a pre-tribulation view of those verses. Long story made short; God answered every single question which makes it impossible for me to believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. Now keep in mind that I could NOT find that ONE book on the post-tribulation rapture of the church and there was no Internet at that time in my life. So, all I had was the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Not that that is a bad thing and I am glad that I received and still yet receive many truths directly from the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 But early on as a new Christian, I kept many of the truths to myself because I knew that my church taught the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit was revealing to me. Now, I and my wife have always been teachers in the church but mostly we taught the children. On occasion, I was asked to substitute for another teacher in the adult class and he would give me an outline of what he was teaching so I could prepare in advance. Then, one day, I was asked to teach an adult class on the spot with no advance notice and was told to teach whatever was on my heart to teach. Well, you have probably guessed what was on my heart to teach. I taught what the Holy Spirit had been showing me for the past few months. So, I taught concerning the errors of interpretation of the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. To my surprise, most of the class was on the edge of their seats wanting to know more. I know this with absolute certainty because an elder of the church walked by and overheard what I was teaching. He then came into the room to stop the class. And to my surprise, some of the class spoke up, including his own daughter, and told him to let me finish the class. So, he left and I finished the teaching that Sunday morning and that Sunday night a deacon came to inform me that I was no longer allowed to teach against the church's pre-tribulation church doctrine. 

 The only brothers and sisters who approach me outside the church building were those who were hard-core pre-tribulation believers trying to persuade me that I was wrong. I was still a relatively new believer and had only been saved a few years but deep inside, I felt that I had read and studied the Bible more than some pastors. But yet still some doubt crept in for a time and I took another look. By this time, I had thrown away all but one of my pre-tribulation rapture books because I did not want them to fall into anyone else's hands to read. I only kept the one because it had all fifty plus questions in the one book. After going through all the questions again, I became even more convinced that the pre-tribulation rapture teaching is false teaching. And the Lord has shown me even more since that time.

Well, needless to say, that I was not asked to teach an adult class in that church. So, after a few years, my wife and I decided to find another church seeing that the church was going through a church split. After a couple of churches, we found a non-denominational church where we stayed for the next 15 years. My wife died during that time and after a couple of years being alone, the Lord found me a new wife. Most of my friends who knew my first wife told me that my new wife is as if I had never been married before to another woman. I could probably write a whole book on this subject, but the main purpose of my personal testimony is to focus on my spiritual growth. I will say this though. That if you focus on the desires of your HEART and remain steadfast in the faith, then God will give you those deep desires of your heart right down to the last DETAIL.

Now, my new wife and I remained in this non-denominational church for the next eight years. We were both very active and became close friends with the pastor and his wife. I was teaching Bible study classes, and all was good. Then one day, I was asked to teach a prophecy class on the book of Revelation. As some of you may know, as verse by verse study on the book of Revelation cannot be taught with any good sound Biblical teaching in only 13 weeks, during an hour and a half long class. So, the class was extended, and everyone loved the class until the subject came up concerning the rapture of the church. I went very slow and explained ALL the sides as equally as I could. Then I was asked what I believed. I then explained WHY I believe what I believe and only one person had an issue with it. The next issue came up when I was explaining the great DECEPTION and that I did not know what it was, but I was feeling that it had to be pretty deceptive to deceive so many people. I gave the many possibilities of what the great deception could be to cause a great apostasy. I showed a short clip from the Independence Day movie where the UFO came through the clouds of flaming fire and read the scripture where Jesus will come in flaming fire. And I proposed a question of WHAT if the coming of Jesus was similar to this movie clip? I then asked them the question, Would YOU lose your faith in Jesus if your were to what what the world calls UFOs hovering in the sky over your city? All but one person understood what I was saying. But just that ONE person through such a stink that I was asked to keep things simple and on a beginner's level.

Things calmed down again after a couple of deacons in the class stood by me and explained that I was asking a WHAT IF type question that IF such a thing happened then would YOU lose your faith? A few more weeks went by, and I was point blank asked another question of what I myself believed. I proceeded to say that the church believes this and again this brother said that he does not care what the church teaches, and he wants to know what I myself believe so I told him. All seemed fine until the next day. I later found out that he was PLANTED as a spy from the head church who was sent to ask specific questions in THAT WAY. I was not specifically being targeted but rather other spies were asking similar questions in other Bible classes. Please allow me to explain what was going on. Our church was a fast-growing church that outgrew three previous locations, and we needed a bigger church building. Our Pastor had been filling in for a Pastor of a mega church and that pastor heard of our problem and offered to buy us a new church building that we were already looking at.

When the vote came up to vote on whether we should buy the new building ourselves or let this mega-church buy it for us, I thought to myself that it would be a big mistake to basically be owned by this mega church. And I was right, the vote went to allow the mega-church to buy the new church building for us. They not only paid for the building but also made all the repairs and paid to pave the gravel parking lot and driveway. They held classes for all the teachers, and I attended them all. And at no time was I ever told that I could not share what I believed personally even if it did not agree with what the church taught. The question I was asked by this brother was, what did I believe about the doctrine of the Trinity? I knew full well that I was teaching in a hardcore Trinitarian church, even though it was called a non-denominational church, and I tried to explain what the church itself teaches. And when he point-blank asked me what I myself believe, I simply shared what I personally believed and gave a few reasons why I no longer believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. AGAIN, nothing happened at that moment, not even from him, so I continued teaching on the book of Revelation. 

 It was the next day that I was asked to sign a document stating that I believed the tenants of faith of the mega-church and if I did not sign the document, then I had to step down from teaching. I went to my pastor and asked him if I had to sign the document and he said that his hands were tied and that if I wanted to continue teaching then I had to sign their document. I gave him the document and said that I could not sign a paper saying I believe something that is not taught in the Bible. Again, I remained in the church for a while. This time I only lasted a few months before I left. My joy is in TEACHING and if I cannot teach in church then I will teach outside the church denominations because I MUST teach what God has shown to me to teach from His word. And I am not the only Christian and teacher who felt that they were forced to teach exactly what the mega church taught because they felt indebted to them.

 Now, of course, I left many things out of my personal testimony in order to at least try to keep my personal testimony as short as possible. But I feel that I have shared enough for my readers to know my heart a little better. I share some more details of my personal testimony throughout some of the Bible studies that I have written.

 I have posted the Bible studies in order of importance to ME, beginning with the main subject of salvation. Each study builds upon the previous study and like any class in school. So, a student who SKIPS several chapters in a book may get lost and not understand what the book is about. And in the same way, if you, as a reader and student of God's word SKIP over several Bible studies under a particular subject then when you get to the deeper Bible studies you may not fully understand what I am saying. So, I implore my readers to read the studies in the order that they are listed. Of course, I realize that this is not going to happen with every one of my readers so I try to make each study as independent as I can. I have tried to group the studies together by SUBJECT, so please try to read all the studies within that subject or topic because that one study under that subject may not answer all your question. And one of my other studies relating to the same topic will answer your questions. Now, if you have any questions that you can not find answers to, then please feel free to write to me with your questions at MarkatAMatterOfTruth@Gmail.com

 And please do not ask for my phone number. I only communicate with my readers by way of email ONLY, so sorry about not giving out my phone number.

Thanks for reading.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.