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by Cynthia Buhain-Baello
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My country is the Philippines, and if you will observe, 98% of our population are Roman Catholics. We are the only Roman Catholic nation in the Far East and we are surrounded by Muslim and Buddhist countries. Having said that, you would think that we are a very blessed and righteous people, a beacon of light in the face of darkness. Wrong. My country has religion, but its people are empty of God. We are presently second to the most corrupt nations in the world and our politics will shame any righteous thinking human race. Our people wallow in religious practices and rituals, religious processions and novenas, but inside their are spiritually dead. You will see in our country the biggest and the most gigantic idols set up behind slum areas depicting the utter poverty of a people lost in deception and so far away diverted from the real God. Our women are known all over the world as slaves (domestic helpers) and prostitutes. Women in our country abort babies like they were just relieving themselves of stomach ache. These babies are thrown from speeding taxis (to be run over by other vehicles) or thrown in cans and boxes together with the garbage. Some babies are big enough to live, and some are live births that died from being in the garbage too long. Aborted babies are placed in churches (Catholic. One woman even wrapped a rosary around the arm of her dead baby before leaving him inside a church. (Perhaps her guilt made her do that as an act of "atonement".) There is no sense of conscience nor conviction of sin because this religion has made my people blind and spiritually comatose to the remorse of sin. My people are so engrossed in having a "form of religion", but they have no power of God behind it. Thus, they are unable to battle the power of sin in their lives. One can safely assume that the women who do these abortions are Catholics because in my country, one gets baptized into this religion the moment you are a few months old. That explains why we are 98% Catholic. Our people have many idols, from the smallest "Sto.Nino" (Little Child Jesus of Prague) that decorate their dashboards, to key chains of idols and tricycle decors of the same, to the "Mother of Perpetual Help" photos, all of which have served their purposes as amulets and lucky charms. Those who buy these child Jesus idols even put them in stores and business establishments for "good luck" and some put coins inside the idol's bag "for his use" so that he will in return bless the owner. We have a Sto.Nino festival in January where the idol is the child Jesus of Prague (concept passed down from Rome), These are  paraded in various different costumes from policeman to that of native "barong". The procession at Tondo, Manila shows the many faces of Jesus Christ dressed up by man and reduced to a doll they can play with. All this with the blessing and affirmation of the Roman Catholic Church. May is the month of Mary, the Blessed Mother of God (although she is finite and mortal, and God is infinite and has existed from Creation).  Various like processions such as the "Santacruzan" are done in my hapless and pitiful country. Gays and transvestites grace these processions dressed as "queens" although this event is supposed to depict the discovery of the original cross where Christ was crucified. This parade is complete with video, fireworks and "ati-atihan" street dance, a pagan dance done by the heathen. There are so many feasts of Mary in my country, and we commemorate her "Immaculate Conception" in October 8, her birth in September 8, and the "La Naval" feast in the whole month of October, which is rosary month. We have various names and special feasts for Mary, as the "Lady of Fatima", "Our Lady of Guadalupe", and "Our Mother of Perpetual Help". From the many titles and commemorations Mary receives in the Philippines, one may conclude that we have "Marianity" and not Christianity. We also have feasts for St. John the Baptist, people commemorate this by throwing water on each other.  We have "fiestas" in all places where saints are used to name the place, usually in May, and people celebrate by having feasts with various food for these idols. Easter or Lent is another event when one can see the fanaticism that religion has done to my country. Men who wish to "repent" of their sins cover their faces with scarf and go around the streets beating themselves up "like Christ" and are called "flagellants". They scourge themselves and display their bloody torsos as signs of repentance for people to see. In the afternoon, some may go so far as have themselves actually crucified on a wooden cross "like Christ" but of course, minus the spear through the heart. After all these performances, these men usually have drinking sprees over gin and beer after their "show". Most often, they go back to their sinful life throughout the year, knowing they can "wash" themselves clean again come another lent season. Why do I relate these? These are the ways Satan has used to deceive my people. The devil in the form of this despicable form of religion passed on to us by our Spanish colonizers. The work of Satan since Creation has been three things: 1. DECEPTION - like false religion, false salvation, and a false concept of Who God is, the Philippines has been deceived into thinking she has God in her but she is empty. Like Eve, deceived into "being like God".  Her people commit sin without remorse or repentance because they are incapable of it.  This explains why our leaders can commit grave acts of corruption which has been the pattern of our political arena since the early Spanish times, and they are not appalled by it since they are not afraid of God's judgment. Understandable concept, since they do not know God.   2. DUPLICATION - many "miracles" have been happening, has happened, or is still being planned, to deceive and duplicate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order for the "healing miracles" to be a come-on for believers desperate for an answer from God for their illnesses. "Healing priests" have mushroomed and done supposedly miraculous healing. I recall one that had a great fiasco, the one that occurred in Agoo La Union, where a certain Nieva supposedly "saw visions of the Virgin Mary, and wrote what she had to say" and deceived thousands who hungered for a "sign" to reinforce their "faith".  That event saw many trekking the mountainside to Agoo, where leaves and petals with the "image" of the Virgin was sold, and large amounts of money poured in  "for a chapel" in the area.   Later, it was discovered that it was all a hoax, but then the money was already spent for Nieva's physical transformation from a man into a woman,  with house and vehicle to boot.  One thing for sure, Satan can duplicate signs and wonders, healing and miracles.  One can only know whether it is from God, based on His Word ("Rhema") and whether it glorifies Him and not man.  If glory goes to a man for the miracle, it is not from God.   3. DIVERSION - if Satan can divert man's focus from God to "religion" then he will do that. Notice that there is no inner transformation in a man/woman, no matter how many times they say the novena/rosary/procession. None. These acts of self-sacrifice to gain the favor of God is a contradiction to what God says in His Word.   Fasting or abstaining from meat during lent is an empty practice of self-sacrifice if the there is no real repentance, a 360 degree "turn-away from sin". A priest said on television that going to heaven is like using hollow blocks of good works, one at a time, each block bringing one closer to heaven and to God.  Each block of good works a way to reach heaven?   How many blocks does one need to do then to reach it? How much good works does one need to do to "obtain God's approval" to enter heaven?  And if man can save himself by doing good works, why then did Jesus Christ have to die on the cross?   Then there is the matter of the "saints" too. I personally believe I am a saint in God's kingdom, as Paul said in Ephesians and Philippians when he addressed the believers as "saints".  But the Catholic definition of a saint is one who has lived a holy life and gained spiritual recognition worthy of emulation.  If this is the definition, how then do we define the thief on the cross who went with our Lord Jesus Christ to Paradise, since he had no more time to "live a holy life" or do good works?  Yet he entered the kingdom and is obviously a "saint"?   There are many Catholic teachings in my country interspersed with superstitious beliefs and myths, and various "manifestations" of miracles like a dancing "Sto.Nino", a crying wooden statue of the "Blessed" Virgin Mary, and the apparitions of Mary in coconut trees.   Our people are swayed by these supernatural signs and tend to believe that they have the "real" faith because they have these signs and wonders  The Book of Revelation called the "New Babylon" as a harlot that deceived many nations.  Her works are an abomination to God, and her identity is slowly being revealed in our time. Many in my country have come to know the truth through the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, and the Word of God. The life-changing, inner transforming Word. I pray with all my heart that the Philippines, my country so deceived, will be touched by the mighty Spirit of God, that He will have mercy and pour out His Power to open the blind eyes of my people, that He will hear this prayer and grant a rising of a Joshua generation, a breed of Filipinos hungry for truth and the real God in their lives!

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