THE SNAKE IN THE GARDEN

 

 

In the natural things were not easy. There is much construction on our street. People have to park their cars far away. This evening there was a heavy rain outside.  But the brethren ignored all these obstacles and still came to meet with God. The prayer meeting started well. The grace of God was with us. Everybody was sober and attentive. There is no greater encouragement for a Bible teacher than to see the students coming to the class. To God be all the glory! The following was our message!

 

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb 12:14, 15; LBT)

 

THE ROOT

The root is the underground (invisible) part of a plant. Roots make up around one-third of the total dry weight of a plant. These are the main functions of the roots:

*To anchor and support plants

*To absorb and conduct water and minerals to the leaves and the fruits

*To store products of photosynthesis (carbohydrates, sugars, proteins)

*For winter survival of perennials

It is difficult to predict the root spread of any plant.  Under favorable growing conditions, the typical root spreads very fast. For example, I read that the total length of root tissues in a single rye plant is around 380 miles!

 

THE BITTER ROOT

Bitterness is the result of a past painful injury that has not been healed. It comes from broken promises, lost dreams, proud, unrealistic expectations, childhood neglect or sexual abuse. Bitterness starts with blaming God for the pain. Its root is in rejecting Christ crucified, the only mediator between God and man. Bitterness is lack of peace between God and man. God chastises His people. That is He loving work as a Father. We should be grateful for His corrections. Jonah was angry with God. He eventually repented when rebuked by Him. Absalom was angry with his father and brother but he never repented and died a bitter rebellious man. What a loss…

The work of the Holy Spirit is to create the loving bond between the believers, the unity of the Spirit. Bitterness destroys this holy bond of peace and love. Bitterness is a major source of divisions in the churches, quarrels and divorces even among the believers.

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THE BITING ROOT

Bitterness starts as a personal sin but its spreads very fast. Your heart is God’s garden. He plants holy seeds.  “If the root is holy, so are the branches”. God has to right to visit anytime and delight in what He finds there. Look carefully, inspect and be jealous over your heart, for out of it overflows the Word of life. The Holy Spirit plants seeds of love, joy, peace, patience and kindness that will become sweet fruits.

The devil plants weeds to spoil the beauty and the value of the garden. These strange plants cause trouble everywhere. Weeds are very difficult the remove. One of it is called ‘the root of bitterness’. It grows very deep. ‘Bitterness’ comes from the word ‘to bite’. Bitterness is like a poisonous snake in the garden. When it is little, it looks nice and innocent. It adds ‘color’ to the garden…or so we think…But one day it will manifest and will try to bite the gardener. It causes trouble to the other good plants. It oppresses, harasses and annoys them. It pollutes them so that they become weak and sad.

Spiritual weakness and depression may be a sign that a spell of bitterness is over you. Pray and find its source. Separate it quickly before more damage is done! Remove the ‘snake’ from your garden! Every plant the Father has not planted shall be uprooted at last!

A bitter man takes the grace of God for granted, he wastes all its loving warnings and rebukes. He is an enemy of the Cross. The word ‘fall short’ means to be inferior, to be deficient or to miss its blessings. It is like man going to the airport to board the only plane that goes to heaven. Somebody paid for his ticket. But he comes too late. He missed it!  Esau cried at the “Airport of Life” but his tears could not manufacture another plane. This is so sad…

 

Pray that God reveals if there is any root of bitterness in your heart. Try to remember the most painful event in your life, the greatest disappointment. How did you survive that pain? The only solution for anger is found at the Cross of Christ. Any other location will recycle your pain into false hope and bitterness. Any other god will plant a snake in the garden of your heart.

Before I close…This is a good time to appreciate the grace of God over your life. Worship God who sent His only begotten Son to die for you! There is no other Word I have for better than that…

 

In Christ I declare:

I repent of every connection I had with bitter people who are angry with God!

I repent for indulging in atheism!

I uproot every root of bitterness!

I kill the biting snake of rebellion deposited in my heart!

Holy Spirit please come and fill me…

In Jesus name

Amen!

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THE PYTHON IS DEAD! (5)

 

 

“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment” (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)

 

Paul was attacked by an evil spirit of Python as he was going to the place of prayer. This evil spirit possessed a slave girl who met him on the way. This slave girl was a false prophetess who spoke under the inspiration of the Python spirit. Paul knew that, regarding this girl, there are only two options:

If she was sent by God, then she will be an asset to their ministry, ‘preparing the way for the Lord’. In that case, Paul was supposed to welcome, encourage and mentor her as anew believer.

But if she was an agent of the devil, she was to be rebuked or delivered. Her shout was not to proclaim the Gospel; it was not to the glory of God! Her shout was a warning to the other demons. She was telling them to run away with their ‘captives’, to prevent their salvation, healing or deliverance.

 

The gift of discerning the spirits is very useful in situations like these. I am sure that all this time Paul prayed in the Spirit. Because he was not sure about this girl, so he allowed her to shout. He listened not only to her words, but to the tone of her voice. Demons can be detected by their voice. After ‘few days’ he sensed that his spirit became ‘grieved’. The word means to be angry, sorely annoyed, worn out and worried. The same word also means to become poor, a beggar; to work hard for your daily bread and still starve. The Python was trying to come closer and spiritually bind his feet, his chest and his hands. The result will be slow motion, difficulty of breathing and weakness of hands. This will manifest as tiredness, inability to pray or to be led by the Holy Spirit. The weakness of hands leads to poverty. This Python evil spirit is responsible for many cases of chronic depression, fatigue, laziness, anxiety, backsliding and poverty.

 

The following are some guidelines on how to survive python attacks in the natural:

The best thing is to avoid an encounter by keeping alert for snakes. But if the python is attacking you, trying to coil around your body, do this:

*Wrap your non-dominant arm (left) around your ribs for stability and protection.

*Grab the snake’s head with your free hand, and pull it backwards to break its neck and to unwind the coil

*Stay calm if the snake loops around you. Struggling prompts the snake to squeeze you more

*If you have a knife, with one swift motion, thrust it though the top of the snake’s head

*ALWAYS carry your knife when going to snake territory! Keep your knife as sharp as possible: it may save your life!

 

Spiritually speaking this means to always watch and pray! We wrestle against principalities and power, wickedness in high places! Train yourself and be ready for warfare! Put on the whole armor of God! Do not forget your shield of faith to protect your heart! Use the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! Pray with understanding and also pray in tongues! The Holy Spirit in you is stronger than the python! Fear not! God is with you! Jesus has defeated all demons on the Cross of Calvary! In Christ the victory is sure! Once you are free, intercede for others!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I reject the evil spirit of fear!

I receive power love and sound mind!

I am healed and delivered!

I confront, reject and defeat the evil spirit of Python!

Led by the Holy Spirit I enter the enemy’s territory and I free the captives of the evil spirit of Python!

I saw the devil falling and running!

My family is delivered!

My victory is sure!

To the glory of God!

In Jesus name

Amen!

PHILIPPI (GREECE)

 

 
This is the road entering the ancient city of Philippi (in today Greece). You see the ruins of the church there. It was around this place that Apostle Paul delivered the slave girl from an evil spirit of divination called ‘python’.

Philippi GreeceHe wrote to the believers in that church:
“I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8; AMP)

THE PYTHON IS DEAD! (4)

 

 

 

“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)

 

The slave girl in the passage above looks vulnerable, innocent, friendly and helpful. She was ‘advertising’ Paul and his ministry. These are good and truthful words but, do not forget, she is an agent of the devil. Is that possible? Yes! That is the power of deception!  She was shouting on the road that Paul and the rest believers are ‘the servants of the Most High God’. In Greek, this ‘loud shout’ is like the sound of a raven. What she was saying is true but the sound of her voice had something sinister about it. The scientists say that the raven’s calls can express a wide range of emotions: tenderness, happiness, surprise or rage. Ravens can easily imitate other birds and they can even be taught the human speech.  The devil’s agents are professional liars and successful manipulators!!!

 

She told everybody that Paul preaches’ the way of salvation’. In Greek the word means salvation, healing and deliverance. Paul was not totally sure about the motives of this girl trying to join the evangelistic team. He probably felt some anxiety concerning her appearance and especially the sound of her voice. There was something strange about it. Not quite right! Jesus said that the sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and run away when they hear a stranger (Jn 10). This is a practical question: Do you recognize the voice of Jesus in the voice of other ‘brethren’? To be spiritually deaf is a tragedy for you may follow a hireling, a thief or an agent of the devil. Many have been deceived! When you talk to someone, wait for the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your ears! Wait for the ‘sign of peace’ in your spirit. Without it, do not move! Do not trust! Do not follow! Wait and Pray!!!

 

This is standard evil strategy: The devil first attacks with deception. No demon come and ‘introduces himself’ to you saying: ‘I am a devil…’ He comes as ‘an angel of light’, thru the church or another ministry. As a believer, I am not suspicious on any stranger. But I remain watchful and calm. Long ago I prayed that my spiritual and physical reflexes should be totally under the control of the Holy Spirit. God has answered that prayer and it has been a great blessing to me. As a pastor, every day, different people come to my office for prayer or counseling. I remain calm trusting the Holy Spirit to have His way. Sometimes, the needy person looks obviously ‘fake’. I still remain calm. No need to get angry. Once the light shines, the darkness is paralyzed. But there are other times when the person looks ‘born again’ and speaks good words. Suddenly, from my spirit I get angry and put a stop to that conversation. I immediately find myself ready for ‘battle’ the whole armor in place. With the authority as an ambassador for Christ, I confront the demon hiding behind the religious grab. This is the same reaction for me when in the past, as a doctor I see an emergency. I become focused, alert, calm and active in the same time. This ‘anger’ is totally under the control of the Holy Spirit. I never lose my temper and I never regret it. I am not afraid. My words increase in intensity. They go like arrows straight to the target. Fruits of deliverance manifest immediately. So I totally identify with what the Apostle Paul experienced on that road to Philippi.

“The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]” (1Jn 3:8; AMP)

This is my testimony, my experience, my belief and my encouragement to you: No need to fear! It is possible to be victorious in all spiritual battles! If you are a child of God then you qualify to pray for others that they may be set free! Be holy! Be strong! Let’s put the devil to shame! Enroll in the army that knows no defeat! The truth is marching on…

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I watch and pray always!

The python is dead!

The devil is a loser!

I am lead in triumphant procession as I continue to do ministry!

I get stronger and wiser every day!

I preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified!

My ministry is fruitful!

I set the captives free!

To God be all the glory!

In Jesus name

Amen!

THE PYTHON IS DEAD! (3)

 

 

 

“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)

 

Paul was attacked by an evil spirit of Python as he was going to the place of prayer. This evil spirit possessed a slave girl who met him on the way. This slave girl was a false prophetess who spoke under the inspiration of the Python spirit. Her master made money from other men who benefited from her prophetic gift. She was initiated at the famous Oracle at Delphi. To better understand the evil spirit that possessed her please read the following information about the legend of this shrine.

 

The Delphic Oracle was the most famous pagan oracle among the Greeks. The site of Delphi was located in central Greece on the slope of Mount Parnassus. It was not easy to climb there to meet with its ‘god’. This is the story:

The Greek god Apollo killed the serpent Pytho, who was a snake-god guarding that spot. To atone for the murder Apollo was forced to run away and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival was held every year reminding the worshippers of this story of courage, humiliation and final glory.

The spirit of Apollo spoke through the priestess of the oracle. She had to be a woman of blameless life chosen from among the natives of the area. She sat on a tripod seat over an opening of the earth. When Apollo killed Python, its body fell into this crack. According to the legend gas arose from the decomposing body of the snake. Intoxicated by the vapors coming from below the earth the priestess would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo’s spirit to possess her. Then she will dance wildly or she will faint. In this state she will prophesy. The sessions were exhausting for the priestess affecting her health. Because of that many of them died young.

God’s judgment came upon this shrine. Barbarian invasions burned the Temple, which had been severely damaged by an earthquake in 83 BC. The surrounding area became impoverished. The sparse local population led to difficulties in filling the posts for priestesses. The Oracle’s credibility fell due to doubtful predictions.

The site is now an archaeological site and a very popular tourist destination. It is easily accessible from Athens as a day trip. The site is also protected as a site of extraordinary natural beauty.

 

The slave girl was able to correctly identify Paul and his companions as servants of the Most High God. She could not hide that Paul’s God is greater than her own. The demon in her could not resist the name of Jesus that Paul was preaching. The fearful python god proved to be a coward and ran away disgraced, abandoning its prey. The girl was delivered! ‘The knee’ of the python bowed at the name of Jesus! What a mighty God we serve!

Later there was a backlash. The girl’s master, under the influence of the same python god influenced the whole city to attack Paul and Silas. They beat them and threw them into prison. But God was with them and miraculously saved them. Against all odds, the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ crucified, spread in the whole area.

 

“Jesus is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power]. [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]” (Col 2:10, 15; AMP)

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I repent of all idolatry!

The python-god is dead!

All glory to God!

In Jesus name

Amen!

 

THE PYTHON IS DEAD! (2)

 

 

 

“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)

 

Recently I had to pray for a young woman who attends our church. She is about 25 years old, not yet married. Her mother, a widow has three other children. She complained to me that her daughter is very rude, stubborn and lazy. Each time they quarrel, she runs away from home. The last time she ran to Cotonou and stayed there alone, in a hotel for a month. I confronted her and she agreed that it is so. She told me that herself and the mum they are like ‘cat and rat’. She said that the reason for this longstanding quarrel is the fact that her mum refuses to say who her real father is. She was brought up by the foster father who died two years ago. She said that until she knows the identity of her father she will not stop fighting her mum. Every word from her mouth was bitter and harsh.

Suddenly I got angry, ready for ‘battle’. I told her that she has a demon. The search for the identity of her real father is not a good excuse to be so violent. I told her that if she is not willing to be delivered, I will send her away from the church. She suddenly started laughing loudly and choking in the same time. I then commanded the evil spirit to leave her and go away! She fell to the floor and started vomiting in my office. I did not want to become emotionally involved with her. I continued to quietly pray in tongues. Then I told her to call the name of Jesus. She struggled. Her mouth was shut. After a while she whispered the name “Jesus…” The battle went on for about half an hour. Finally she collapsed on the floor, tired, sweating and yes, free! Her face changed…that hardness and proud look became soft. Her voice became gentle. She started weeping with gratitude for the grace that set her free. She now called the name of Jesus again in again in worship and love. That day the devil lost another follower. All glory goes to the Lamb upon the throne who died that sinners may live!

In the passage above, Paul was ‘met’ by this girl on his way to the place of prayer. The word ‘met’ means an encounter coming from the opposite direction. This describes an enemy. It is like a snake that suddenly pounces on its victim, ready to kill. I pray that you may ‘see’ this: There is a radical difference when you encounter an evil spirit or you meet the Holy Spirit. The evil spirits may come friendly, with flatter or emotional bribe. But all these are deceptions. Observe the direction from where they are coming to you! Spiritually, they attack from the ‘opposite direction’, which is hell! They are agents of your enemy, the devil who plans to take control over your mind so that you too rebel against God. This evil spirit of python attacked Paul and his friends. He came thru this slave girl (‘house girl’). He came from the opposite direction with evil intent. Once Paul was sure of the truth, he confronted and ‘killed the snake’. The evil spirit left the girl and she was delivered instantly.

 

Below are some scientific guidelines on how to kill a python if it attacks you. This is wisdom to survive in the natural, but we can apply the lessons to the spiritual realm:

*Killing a snake is dangerous. It is not a joke. You have to be prepared to do it!

*Keep four to six feet away from it!

*Keep your eye on the snake, especially its head!

*Use the shovel or stick to hit hard the snake on top of its head as many times as necessary, to cause damage!

*After that, approach the snake slowly; it may be dead, but you will need to cut its head off to be sure!

*Use the tip of the shovel to severe the head from the body!

 

These are some spiritual applications: The devil is real. Spiritual warfare is real. Watch and pray! You may need to fast and pray preparing for deliverance. You need to study the Word of God! You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Like David and Goliath, you need just a sling of prayer and a stone of the Spirit to damage the enemy’s head. Put on the whole armor of God! Learn to be skillful with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! Be mentored by ‘old soldiers’ of Christ! You need to attack and defeat the enemy with a single blow of faith! Deliverance is possible! God will give you the victory! At the name of Jesus every knee must bow! Be humble! Always give all the glory to God!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I study the Word of God!

I watch and pray!

The python is dead!

I am free!

In Jesus name

Amen!

 

THE PYTHON IS DEAD! (1)

 

 

 

“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)

 

Recently I had to pray for some brethren who were attacked by evil spirits. Their lives were good in the natural. They were not sick. They had jobs and came to church. But they all had similar complains: they were anxious and experiences panic attacks; they felt a heavy load of care on their shoulders; they were depressed and tired; they were losing money. There was no good (visible) reason for all these complains.

I told them that a demon may be responsible and that they need deliverance. I told them that it is like a poisoned bag pack they carry daily. I prayed with them. I commanded the demons to manifest so that they see the enemy face to face. Then they said Amen! Nothing happened that moment. But after some days, one by one they came back with similar testimonies. For example, one said that in the night, he felt like something was strangulating him. He felt weak like fainting…but he suddenly jumped up and started praying in the Spirit. He said that it was ‘a battle unto death’. The war lasted about an hour. He called the name of Jesus again and again. Slowly the pressure on his neck went away. He felt the Holy Spirit giving him faith and courage to fight unto victory. Lastly, the ‘rope around his neck’ was cut off and he felt ‘the peace that passes all understanding’. He was free at last! What joy! You have to experience such freedom from occult bondage to understand how he felt!

 

The passage above teaches us great lessons about spiritual warfare. Paul was attacked by an evil spirit of divination who possessed a girl in the city of Philippi. Divination is the practice to predict the future, or to understand deep secrets by interpreting omens or by the help of evil spirits. Other words similar to it are foretelling or soothsaying. The people who practice all these activities are false prophets. Please note that the attack happened on his way to the place of prayer. The word ‘prayer’ also means going to church to do ministry, to serve or worship God.

 

This demon closely followed and monitored the believers. The girl was the contact point to the coven of witches in that area.  The demon in her is called ‘a spirit of divination’. In Greek it is called ‘the spirit of Puthon’. This was the name of a famous shrine where men worshipped a deity in the form of a mighty snake, a python. The priest of that shrine insisted that he is an inspired prophet. He boasted that he can predict the future and that his deity brings material blessings on the worshippers. This slave girl and her masters were worshippers of that shrine.

 

What are the lessons for us?

The devil hates prayer. He will attack you if you decide to go to church, to pray or to worship God. The attack comes mostly thru religious spirits or false prophets. Their counsel will weaken your prayer life. These evil spirits promise you revelation knowledge and material blessings. Their source is the devil, the enemy of your soul. They may come thru human beings or they can attack directly. They will try to deceive you pretending that they are holy and friendly. Their intent is to wrap emotionally around you as a python kills its prey. Never give up on prayer! The reason the devil attacks it is because he knows there is power in prayer! So pray always! The Holy Spirit shall strengthen you and give you the victory! Don’t be sorry for the devil! Kill the python! Jesus is Lord!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I am healed and delivered!

I reject all evil spirits, all spells and occult bondages in my life and my family!

The evil spirit of Python has lost its grip and power over my life, my marriage, my family, my ministry and my work!

The python is dead!

I plead the Blood of Jesus over my life, body soul and spirit!

Jesus is Lord over my life, marriage, family, ministry and work!

To the glory of God Almighty!

In Jesus name

Amen!