I didn't realize how strong is the spirit of python's chokehold on my region until I started to personally experience the effects of its presence. One of the only named spirits in the Bible, the python spirit is a coiling spirit that works to squeeze out the breathe of life (the Holy Spirit) and cut off your lifeline to God (prayer).
To accomplish its deadly agenda, this spirit will remind you of wounds from your past, surround you with ungodly influences that tempt you to compromise the Word of God—or just barrage you with circumstances that knock the wind out of you.
Symptoms of a python attack may include weariness, a loss of passion to worship and pray, feeling pressured, overwhelmed, helpless and even hopeless. The severity of those symptoms depends on how long this enemy has been coiling itself around you and how much pressure it has applied.
Let me show you this spirit in the Bible. You'll find it in Acts 16:16 when Paul encounters a girl possessed with a spirit of divination. The word divination in this verse comes from the Greek word for puthon, which translates in English as "python." Vine's Dictionary explains how Greek mythology believed the Pythian serpent guarded the oracle of Delphi until Apollo slew it (and then took on the name Pythian). The word was later applied to diviners or soothsayers, inspired by Apollo.
Where was the church when prayer was taken out of schools in 1962? Or when abortion was legalized in 1973? Or when same-sex marriage started to gain momentum to the point that Christian businesses are persecuted for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple?
Put another way, when did the church fall asleep? What caused the church to fall asleep? And how can we wake up the so-called sleeping giant? I don't have all the answers, but what I do know is the church didn't fall asleep overnight. I recently penned a column called "When the Enemy Lulls You to Sleep" that recounts how evil Delilah lulled mighty Samson into slumber. Of course, Samson was living in compromise, which opened the door to Delilah's seduction.
Paul clearly warned us not to be ignorant of the devil's devices (2 Cor. 2:11), which implies the Lord will reveal the enemy's devices, schemes, plots and plans if we walk in connection with His heart—and that's where many of us miss it. If we are living in compromise, we're likely to become spiritually drowsy—but we won't fall right to sleep any more than we enter deep sleep the second our head hits the pillow.
Even if the enemy does lull us to sleep through weariness, apathy, compromise or blatant sin that threatens to sear our conscience like a hot iron, the Holy Spirit is simultaneously working to convict our hearts so we'll wake up. Of course, it's easier to wake up when you are just drifting off than when you are in a dream state where reality is skewed.
The enemy has set himself up in high places--and in the church. But we battle not against flesh and blood. Check out my latest radio broadcast in which we discuss spiritual warfare and whether it's right to discuss politics in church. Click on the headline to access the link to the show.
You've heard it said the enemy doesn't fight fair. Well, that's a spiritual-warfare understatement if I've ever heard one. The devil is a dirty fighter—and he's just as subtle as he is dirty. He never sleeps or slumbers, but he works to put us to sleep through apathy, complacency and waves of weariness.
Indeed, Satan has been working since the Second Great Awakening to put the church back into a deep sleep. He had some stops and starts. The Asuza Street Revival, the birthplace of the modern Pentecostal Movement, revived the saints at the beginning of the 20th Century. But that slumbering spirit crept back in unawares.
Although Pentecostals and charismatics are the fastest-growing segment of the church in the 21st century, the enemy effectively lulled much of the church to sleep a long time ago—even Pentecostals and charismatics. We were sleeping when prayer was taken out of schools and we were sleeping when abortion was legalized. Some segments of the church are waking up and fighting in the culture wars but the majority is still like listening to the enemy's lullabies (see Judges 16:19).
I was at the Florida Supreme Court recently praying before I got on the air with Pastor Greg Young of Chosen Generation Radio. We talked about the state of the nation but quickly moved into spiritual warfare principles. What's the difference between power and authority? Why do we have to fight if Jesus already won the victory? Click the headline to listen in to this week's broadcast.
When we're in the midst of a spiritual battle—whether over our personal lives, our families or even contending for revival in our cities and awakening in our nation—many sincere believers tend to petition God to rise up and take action against the enemy.
The problem is: When it comes to matters of spiritual warfare, it's not God who needs to wake up and rise up. It's us.
Jesus defeated the enemy on the cross (see Col. 2:15). Now, that doesn't mean that the enemy can't wreak havoc in our lives, in our cities or in our nations. Look at what's happening in Iraq, China and the United States of America. Persecution is rising in the Middle East and Asia, while much of the church is sound asleep on prophetic pillows of prosperity in the Western world.
Clearly, there's a devil on the loose. A literal onslaught of principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places is working hard to fulfill Satan's mission (see Eph. 6:12). Our job is to get instructions from the Holy Spirit in a place of worship and waiting on the Lord, run to the battle line with eyes wide open, fully awake to what's happening in the spiritual realm, and enforce Christ's victory over the devil He defeated. Victory belongs to us if we follow the Holy Spirit's battle plan.
First an artistic, devil-inspired barista took demonic to a whole new level with one lady's latte—crafting a satanic symbol in a Catholic woman's Starbucks drink. That's only somewhat surprising, given Christian complaints over Starbucks' so-called Jezebelic logo over the years.
Now, a burger chain symbolized by its golden arches is making headlines for something nearly as sinister: a golden swastika depicted in butter on a chicken sandwich bun she bought from a McDonald's drive-thru in Morehead City, North Carolina. Swastikas are anti-Semitic symbols made famous by Germany's Nazi Party during the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews.
"Is this a joke? Does somebody really think they're funny?" Charleigh Matice, the customer who discovered the swastika when she set out to put mayo on her sandwich, told WCTI12.com. "Many people died because of that symbol, and it's not something that should be taken lightly. It's not something that should be thrown around. I really didn't have an appetite at that point, so I said I'd rather have my money back."
Not a single woman was listed among David's mighty men but that doesn't mean God doesn't use women mightily in warfare. Of course, in modern times we aren't wrestling against flesh and blood like the Joshua generation, Israel's many judges or David's mighty men. But the battle is just as real in the spirit realm.
Deborah the judge and prophetess offers a strong example spiritual warriors can draw from in modern battle—and so do Jael and Rahab. Whether you are spiritually mature enough to lead the spiritual warfare campaign or are just entering into the truth of spiritual warfare, you can glean lessons from the brave actions of women in the Old Testament.
First let me stress this point: As a believer in Christ, you have spiritual authority. If you are a disciple of Christ, Jesus promises you this: "I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). Jesus also said, "In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:17).
The devil always overplays his hand and, ultimately, the devil always exposes himself in the end. Although there's no Scripture and Verse in the Bible that says that, there are plenty of examples in the Word that prove the point.
When I listened to my voicemail I was absolutely shocked. An angry young man on the other end line spewed, "How dare you, Jennifer LeClaire, tell Michael you don't believe me. Don't you know that I get every message you send and receive on your phone? How dare you!"
Yes, apparently someone I know found a way to hack into my smartphone's messaging system and intercept every text message I sent or received. This person was reading personal details about my life, as well as the lives of those I was ministering to, for months. It was beyond creepy.
Of course, when I realized this I immediately signed out of my messaging account and changed all my passwords. But when the dust settled I was reminded of a lesson: the devil always overplays his hand and, ultimately, the devil always exposes himself in the end. Although there's no scripture and verse in the Bible that says that, there are plenty of examples in the Word that prove the point.