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  • Steve Derenge

Father's Day Tribute


In our home, we have an area in the living room referred to as “the pit.” It is a two-layered empty space a couple feet deep, adjacent to the wall into which the fireplace is built. (See the picture below). This past May, 2018, I had an insight that gives a testament of honor to my parents this Father’s Day. My father and mother strive to honor the Word of God and to instill that same honor into their children.

They are worthy of honor for the many ways they have loved, disciplined, and instructed my siblings and I when under their roof and authority. One practical way they have done so is by reading the Word of God, such as from the book of Proverbs, to us on a near daily basis. This gathering time is referred to as “family devotions.”

This nearly-satirical-but-true insight I had last month is that my parents unwittingly prepared us for deliverance ministry. How is that so? Throughout our entire lives at home, my parents often commanded us to “Go to the pit! (We're going to have family devotions.)” Remembering this phrase, I connected it to how on his YouTube channel “Bob Larson: The Real Exorcist,” Reverend Larson concludes his exorcisms by forcing demons to admit defeat and evacuation with the confession, “We go now to the pit.” (1)

My parents have tremendous experience in forcefully commanding rebellious spirits to “go to the pit.” In the pit, we constantly manifested spirits of rebellion, pride, anger, dissension, etc. as the word of God was read. When my mom frequently asked, “Do you not hear or do you not listen?,” it is like she was addressing spirits of distraction and/or of deaf & muteness. Demons don’t like us listening to the Word of God, so they strove to make us children as disengaged, distracted, disobedient, contentious, and rebellious as possible. I too remember being more-or-less disengaged and reluctant to respectfully pay attention at family devotions, but this may have improved after 1999.

Due to the godly influence of my parents and peers in my church community, I one night surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, telling him that I was sorry for my disobedience and rebellion towards God, asking Jesus to come into my life to change me and to make me who he wants me to be. Consequently, a shift in my spiritual nature occurred such that I would actually find myself listening and getting more helpful insights and practical, life-changing advice from the family devotions than before. Later, after I received what Scripture calls the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” with the evidence of speaking in tongues in 2006, I was even more likely and inclined to be engaged and respectful during family devotions. For more information about that experience from my early high school, see my blog post “My Encounter with God.”

My spiritual growth is due in large part to the honor my parents demonstrated towards the Word of God. Making the Word of God the standard for my life, I was set free to actually obey it by the empowerment of God’s Holy Spirit. As I memorized much of the New Testament during my high school years, one passage that for some reason became seared to my conscience was Ephesians 5:3-5.

It reads, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:3-5 ESV.

As described by Joshua 1:8, this Ephesians 5 passage was always on my mind, I was always thinking about it (meditating on it day and night), and consequently it was a reality in my life. When high school peers who claimed to believe in Jesus would joke about sexual immorality, I would talk to them about this passage. I would ask them why they were not showing love and respect with their words in the way they talked about young women.

As I write this, in hindsight I realize I need to get back to that level of love, respect, and honor that I had in high school. I see that it's not enough for me to merely be grieved and to cringe inwardly when I hear guys degrade the young women around them, but I should call them to a higher level of honor, love, and respect as they were created to do. By demonstrating a commitment to the Word of God as the absolute truth and standard for life, my earthly father prepared me well to be more successful as I grow in my relationship with God, the heavenly Father of my spirit.

No matter how good or bad, close or distant, connected or disengaged, existent or non-existent our relationships have been with our earthly fathers, God--our heavenly Father--desires a vibrant, close relationship with us. If you haven’t yet entered into a relationship with God as your Father, then you can pray the following suggested prayer aloud if it expresses the desire of Your heart:

Father,

I want to know You personally. I confess (admit) that I rebelled against Your authority. I haven’t honored You as a Father or given thanks to You for all Your provision and protection in my life. It is only by Your love and mercy that I am still alive and have this opportunity to be brought back into a relationship with You. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to introduce me to You as my Father. Just as Jesus showed what it looks like to be a child of God who loves, honors, and respects everyone perfectly, I want to become like Jesus. I want to be filled with your love and to make a positive difference in the lives of all the people I come across.

Thank You that Jesus bridged the gap of separation between me and You when he died on the cross for my sins (rebellion). Thank You for pouring out all Your wrath on Jesus, so that You could pour out all your love on me. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You raised him from the dead. Thank You for saving me from Your wrath, for forgiving me of all my sins and rebellion, and for giving me a new spirit for connecting with You in relationship. Thank You for becoming my Father by whom I have been born again. As I commit to love and follow You with my new life, thank You for making me into the kind of child You want me to be.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

(1) To find out more about the pit in regards to demonology, I recommend going to Biblegateway.com and typing “pit” into the word search bar. Then, as you study those verses from the "search" results in their contexts, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what He meant in those passages. As you think about those verses and passages, ask the Holy Spirit how those passages apply to God's plan for your [daily] life and what He is asking you to do about it with His help.



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