A Tribute to Dad

Daddy Ekpott

ITA D. EKPOTT (1939-2016)

I am blessed to have been born to my dad. He was a model father in many ways. He was caring and patient and was a father who paid attention to his children’s affairs. During our childhood, he spent quality time with us and mentored us through his wisdom and knowledge. Daddy provided for us: food, clothing, education, opportunities to develop our abilities, and fun experiences. Even during our adult years, he surprised us on several occasions with generous gifts.

Toward others, Dad was also generous. He was a giver and had a large heart. He was a man who valued people, whether or not they were his relatives, and was willing to invest his resources in developing their abilities.

Dad was talented and intelligent; he was also disciplined and focused, attributes that enabled him accomplish much during his lifetime.

When I think about my dad, several words come to mind: patient, caring, friendly, creative, giver, planner, achiever, problem-solver, people and community builder . . .

But if these words were all I had to say about him, I would be most sorrowful. Thankfully, I can now add that to God’s glory, Daddy also gained Christ in a very genuine way before he departed this world. The Bible says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) My Dad had many privileges and accomplished much, but all that would have profited nothing if he had lost his soul. As many in his community know, he was a religious man who was active in his local church. But I do not believe he had a personal encounter with the Lord for many years. As his family, we prayed for that encounter. We wanted him to experience salvation through Christ in the way we had. We wanted to see him full of the faith, peace, and joy that attend those who have a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

God manifested the answer to our prayers in the latter part of Daddy’s life. In fact, what seemed to be the most trying days of his life became his most spiritual. In his final weeks, he repeatedly confessed, with understanding, his faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  His eyes opened to the fact that unless a man becomes born-again, he cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. He saw visions and, we believe, received ministrations about his home going to glory. He delighted so much in hearing the Word of God and in partaking in worship and communion. Indeed, those times of worship seemed to be the highlight of his days. We could see that his spirit was hungry, and our faithful God surrounded him with genuine, God-honouring Christians, who ministered love and spiritual food to him.

The end of Daddy’s life was filled with answered prayers. Because he encountered Jesus Christ clearly and truly, I can say, “Daddy, sleep on until we meet again.” And the joy of that reunion will be unspeakable, free of pain and suffering.

Glory be to God forever and ever!

The Real Enemy

family

“And a man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (Matthew 10:36).

Among other things, our Lord Jesus reveals one of the devil’s strategies against Christians in this scripture. Who is the Christian’s principal foe? Who wants to see us dead and all our dreams destroyed? Who wants to see our marriages wrecked and our family relationships marred beyond restoration? It is Satan; it is Satan who is at the root of evil against God’s people (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 6:12).

In heeding the Bible’s warning to be vigilant against the devil, we tend to look in distant circles for his activities. We look at non-Christians or nominal Christians; we look at the difficult colleague at work or the mean boss. But in Matthew 10:36, our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that a major field of demonic conflict in our lives will be our own homes.

Home is the one place where our guards are down and we feel relaxed. It is the place where our hearts are attached, and where we seek solace, comfort, and companionship. Unfortunately, home can also be the one place where we are easy prey for the devil—pretty much like when a soldier is taking a break after a long day on the battlefield.

So what do we do? Do we keep our guards and walls up in our own homes? Do we refuse to love and trust lest we be hurt? Do we avoid delving deep into each others lives just to avoid conflict? I believe that doing any of these would be counter-productive and would compromise God’s purposes for placing us in families. Rather than take such steps, we should purpose to push the devil out of our homes. We should ask the Lord to help us put on His armor and with it drive the wicked one outside the physical and spiritual boundaries of our families.

Satan’s strategies are diverse, intricate, and laced with deception. It is only through God’s light that we can truly discern them. Very often, we see their outcome and ignorantly lay the blame in all the wrong places, but we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth about our circumstances. We also need God’s armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God, plus Holy Spirit led prayer and watchfulness to enable us stand successfully against all the strategies and deceits of the devil (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Friends, we need love and breakthrough in our homes so that we can enjoy our families as God intends. May God grant this to us through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Meditate on this: In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil (Ephesians 6: 10-11 Amplified Bible).

Pray: Dear Lord, please empower me against the enemy of my soul. Clothe me with your armor so that I may be able to repossess every ground that Satan has stolen within my home. Strengthen me so that I am able to keep him outside my family perpetually; make every member of my family vigilant and able to resist his lures. I thank you in advance for victory through Christ our Lord, Amen.