The hot sun from Macedonia would have been much easier to bear had Paul’s journey there been more fruitful. He felt compelled to go to this region as a result of a vision from God. Macedonia was the gateway to Europe. Little did Paul know that God would use him to open the door to Europe for the spread of Christianity.
At the time, though, few seemed interested in Paul’s message. Paul had been meeting with a small group of Jews by the river. Since there was not enough men to form a complete synagogue, some Jews would meet at a river to worship God. Paul felt this would be a good place to launch the message of the Messiah, Jesus.
One day, as he headed to this small group of Jews, a Gentile woman, who had a demon, began to cry out to all the people. Pointing her skinny finger at Paul and his companion, Silas, she shouted, “These men are servants of the Most High God,, who are telling you the way to be saved” (Acts 16:17). The testimony would have been welcomed had it come from a good person. She was anything but good. As a slave, she was used by her owners to scam large sums of money for her predictions.
Every time Paul and Silas would walk past her, she would continue the same mantra: “These are servants of the most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Could she have been mocking them? We do not know. But Paul became agitated at having a demon-possessed girl testify about God. He could take it no more. “He turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (v 18). Paul had the last word. The demon left her; she was freed.
It is interesting to note that the word “spirit” used in this passage is the Greek word “puthos.” Puthos was the name of the region where Delphi, the seat of the famous oracle, was located. No doubt the author intentionally used this word to describe the kind of demon that possessed this girl.
The word also is where we get the word python. Python is the largest known snake. Satan, of course, is described as a serpent. Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, wanted to convey both the kind of spirit that possessed the woman and the way spirits work to possess people.
A python does not quickly kill its victim. Rather, a python, slowly makes its way to the victim. Through fear, many animals and people become frozen. They become immovable. It is then that the python makes its way around the body of its prey. Slowly, but surely, it begins to squeeze the life out of its victim. In time, the sufferer can breathe no more. It suffocates.
Demons do not come quickly into a person’s life to destroy him. Like a python, the work of demons is slow but meticulous. Very rarely does someone wake up to find demons ruining their lives. Rather, demons slowly work on people, until, little-by-little, they are completely controlled by demons.
A python wants your breath. A spirit wants your spiritual breath. In the beginning God breathed into man the breath of life. Satan wants your breath. Breath speaks of your spiritual life. The devil will work in trying to take away your spiritual life.
Do you feel the devil working at trying to destroy your spiritual life? How does he do it? He begins with fear.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7, KJV). You don’t have to wonder where fear comes from, because the Bible calls fear a “spirit.” The devil will throw trials at you in the hope that you become paralyzed with fear. When you are in fear, you become frozen, and cold in your walk with God.
Instead of resisting him, you become afraid of him. You become obsessed with your problems. You cannot think of anything else but your troubles. Satan is trying to get you from moving forward in your walk with God.
It is at this point that the python spirit begins to move slowly around your life. He begins to squeeze a little here and there. At first, it does nothing to your breath. But then he finds a sensitive spot. He begins to squeeze, and you have trouble breathing. Your spiritual life is starting to wane.
The fist thing to suffer is your Bible reading. You see, the Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16). Without the scriptures, you cannot continue to breathe. Your spiritual life is dependant on the Holy Scriptures. A first sign that the python spirit is squeezing you is when your Bible reading diminishes.
Loss of Appetite
When a person is sick, they lose their appetite. When a person is spiritually sick they lose their spiritual appetite. You are under satanic attack if you have lost your appetite for the Word of God. The Word of God is our “daily bread.” You can live without lunch, but you cannot live without the Word of God.
If you have no desire to go to church to hear the Word preached, if you have no desire to read your Bible, if you have no desire to read Christian books or watch Christian TV, it is a sign your are spiritually sick.
You did not get there overnight. Something happened in your life to put you on your sick bed. Satan throws temptations, trials, cares, pressures and burdens on your life. It becomes too much to carry. As you try to carry these problems on your own, it wears you out. You soon become sick through exhaustion.
It is amazing though, that you are reading this article. It is because God is giving you supernatural strength to read this message that will free you from the coil of Satan’s grip.
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful” (Matt 13:22). The thorns “choked” the man who had received the Word. Like a python, the man is choked. The thorns are “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.“
Not only does worry and fear choke a man from hearing and doing the Word of God, but the “deceitfulness of wealth” does the trick, too.
Satan will bring a lack attack in your life. Have you been in a place where it seems that the money has dried up? I have! What is the temptation at that time? It is to get you worried and obsessed with how you can get more money.
You are vulnerable at this point. With little money, you can easily fall for temptation.
I was shocked to see a pastor friend of mine being arrested, because he had involved his congregation in a pyramid scheme. The pastor’s church had not been growing. Money was scarce. So he came up with an illegal and immoral scheme to get money for his church and his members. Under good conditions, my pastor friend would not have succumb to this awful temptation. Make no mistake about it, the devil uses lack of money to tempt you.
There are two times in your life when you are especially vulnerable to temptation: when you have nothing and when you have everything.
Some are tempted with just the opposite. They have all the money they need, so why bother with God? The rich begin to think that reading the Bible is unnecessary, going to church is a bore, and giving to God is throwing good money away. Satan knows each person’s weakness. If it is lack, he will stop the money from coming to you. If it is riches, he will let you prosper so long as you forget God.
In the end, God is the giver. No matter the lack in your life, trust God to bring the blessings in your life. Don’t compromise to get money. Rebuke the devil. Tell him to get his hands off of your blessings. He will have to back off. Blessings will come.
Satan will also squeeze the life out of your dreams. Hopelessness is a symptom of a spiritual attack. Pharaoh had surrounded God’s people. They had no apparent way of escape from Pharaoh’s brutal hands. This is how it feels when you are under attack. You feel like your circumstances are too great. You see no light at the end of the tunnel. No way out.
But remember God’s promise, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor 10:13). It may seem that the temptation and trials are beyond what you can bear, but they are not. You are stronger than you think.
There may seem no “way out” of your problems. But there is. As you stand on God’s Holy Word, the way of escape from your trials will be made known. For Israel, the way out was through the Red Sea. It seem improbable that they could go through the sea, but God split the waters so God’s people could walk on dry ground.
God will do whatever it takes to get you through your problems. But don’t drown your sorrows with drunkenness.
Two sailors were drinking heavily at a bar. After several hours of drinking, one of the sailors mumbled to the other, “Look,” pointing to two other sailors across the bar from them. “That is going to us in 30 years.” His friend looked closely at those two sailors and then said, “Hey, that is us. You’re looking in a mirror.”
That will be you in a few years, if you choose the wrong way to handle your stress. Trust God that your dreams will come true. Don’t quit!
Back to Church
Right now, you may feel like you are under spiritual attack. What do you do?
Get back to church! The Jewish believers were discouraged over the cruel attacks for becoming Christians. Some had their homes and property confiscated. Others were removed from their parents will. Some were thrown into prison with trumped-up charges. And even some had lost family and friends in death as a result of their Christian faith.
The Hebrew writer saw the toil being taken on the new believers. Some had quit attending church. So he writes, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:25). Some wonder why they need to go to church when they already know the Bible. They already took communion before. They can pray at home. So what does the church offer that they need?
The church offers a community of believers living for the Lord. We are creatures that need encouragement. We do not do the right thing simply because, years ago, we learned what is right and what is wrong. We need a continual reminder to live for Christ.
Think how difficult it is to lose weight and get into shape without group support. Few people will get in shape unless they join with other like-minded people who have the same goals. That’s why they go to the gym instead of working out alone in their homes.
Why do we need others? It is the way God made us. “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). We are social creatures. It is our genetic makeup.
It’s not possible to be as good a Christian alone at home; you need to be part of a group of like-minded believers wanting to grow in Christ. Jesus established the church for a reason. He knew you needed bishops, pastors and priests to help you grow in Christ. You need other sincere Christians to fellowship with so they can lift you up when you fall. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Eccl 4:10).
I receive many calls from people around the world asking me to cast out the demons from their lives. They have seen me on national television or watched my ministry of deliverance. So they call, hoping for help.
The first question I usually ask people who call for help, “What church do you attend?” The normal response is, “No where.” They often make excuses why they don’t go to church.
These people are falling for Satan’s lies. Satan knows, in order to devour a believer, he needs to isolate him from the “pack.” A lion can’t defeat the whole pack. He simply attacks the pack and then looks for one lonely animal that departs from the heard. It is this animal that becomes his prey.
Today, as you read this article, it is no accident that God guided you to read what I have to write. Take this message as God’s direct word to you: Go back to church.
Surrender your life to Christ right now! Read the Bible everyday. Set a time and place to pray everyday. Start fellowshipping with other believers. You will see your life’s problems diminish as you focus more on the Deliverer and on what’s really important: Eternity!
Prayer this Prayer to Surrender Your Life To Christ
Dear God, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Forgive me for allowing the devil to squeeze out my spiritual life. I want to come back to you now. I renounce the devil and all his temptations. I renounce the world and all it has to offer. I renounce the flesh and all its lust. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I accept Him into my life. Be my Lord! Amen
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