"Tychicus will tell you everything." Ephesians 6:21

Archive for the ‘IRM and Prayer Summits’ Category

February 12th, 2019 by Dennis Fuqua

Presidential Quotes on the Bible

This blog is being posted on February 12th, 2019. As I grew up, this was known as “Lincoln’s Birthday” and February 22nd was known as “Washington’s Birthday.” Now we don’t recognize those unique days, but rather lump the honoring of all presidents into “President’s Day” which is celebrated on a Monday between those two days.

In honor of both Abraham Lincoln and the other presidents, posted below are quotes from many presidents about the Bible. Taking this book seriously has shaped my life more than any other source.

The first few quotes are from Lincoln. Each of these quotes, by people who are more honorable then I am, and who have accomplished much more than I have, is worth of contemplation. I offer them here with the hope that they may encourage you to consider the value of not only reading the Bible, but also of letting it “read” you.

Thank you, Tychicus
[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

“I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.”  “In regard for this Great Book, I have this to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.  All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book.”   “That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular….I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.” – Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”  
“Do not let anyone claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics.” – First President of the United States – George Washington

“I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands… the Bible makes the best people in the world.” – Thomas Jefferson, Third President

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison, Fourth President

“The Bible is the first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention.  I speak as a man of the world…and I say to you, “Search the Scriptures.”” “My custom is to read four or five chapters of the Bible every morning immediately after rising. It seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.”  – John Quincy Adams, Sixth President” 

“That Book (the Bible), sir, is the Rock on which our Republic rests.” – Andrew Jackson, Seventh President

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties, write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives.  To the influence of this book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” – Ulysses S. Grant, Eighteenth President

“If you take out of your statutes, your constitution, your family life all that is taken from the Sacred Book, what would there be left to bind society together?” – Benjamin Harrison, Twenty third President

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” – Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty sixth President

“When you have read the Bible, you know it is the word of God, because it is the key to your heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.”   “I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask every man and woman in this audience that from this day on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book (the Bible).”   “The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God, and spiritual nature and needs of men.  It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation.  America was born a Christian nation.  America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.” – Woodrow Wilson, Twenty eighth President

“The strength of our country is the strength of its religious convictions.  The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” – Calvin Coolidge, Thirtieth President

“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.”
“The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience.” – Hebert Hoover, Thirty first President

“We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.  Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.” – Franklin Roosevelt, Thirty second President

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul…. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!” – Harry Truman, Thirty third President

“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”  “Inside the Bible’s pages lie all the answers to all of the problems man has ever known… It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation.  The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, and refresh our souls.” – Ronald Reagan, Fortieth President

December 7th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Masada and Prayer

I have had the privilege of being in Israel several times.  I was there again last month.   There are many, many stories I could tell!

Most of my trips have included a trip to Masada, that huge “rock” near the Dead Sea.  It is known as the place where the Romans finally conquered the Jews who had fled from Jerusalem in 70AD.  It protrudes 1200 feet above the Dead Sea.  You could put any US sports complex on top of it.  It is huge!  This little picture does not do it justice.

I have always gone up and down Masada from the East side (the Dead Sea side).  This time I ascended  the East side, but descended the West side.   We walked down the “Roman Ramp.” Do you see it in the picture?

As I came down that massive ramp, and considered how it was made, the Lord reminded me of Luke 18:1, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

The Roman army set up several encampments around Masada in order to conquer it.  They could not.  It was impenetrable.  Then, at some point a Roman Captain came up with an idea.  “If we put enough rocks into this huge ravine, it will become a ramp!”  So, he picked up a rock and put it in that ravine.  He ordered others to do the same.  Rock after rock were put into that ravine.  It took months.  But, eventually, they saw the ravine fill up.  They kept at it until the ravine became a ramp.  Then, the Roman army walked up the ramp, used a battering ram and broke through the wall.  Here is my question: “Which rock was most important?”  They ALL were!  Each trip and each rock mattered.  It was the long-term effort that accomplished the goal.

Why did I think of Luke 18:1?  Because sometimes, each of our prayers are like one of those rocks.   Sometimes we are called to pray for something that seems impossible, just like filling up that huge ravine did.  But, as we and others “keep on praying” each prayer matters.

It may not seem like there is any real progress, it may not seem like our prayer matters.  But, if we stop praying, we will not see the end result: we will not see the “ravine become a ramp.”

So, let’s learn from the Romans as we pray.  One rock at a time.

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

October 15th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Satan’s key question

While preparing to share at a men’s retreat recently, I saw how a truth from Job 1 fit into what I was asked to share.  After I shared this thought, a brother asked for my notes.  I didn’t have any written out, but felt I should write something up so others could take a look.

The question Satan asks in Job 1:9 reflects one of the most important “mega-questions” anyone could ask.

The most common perspective of the book of Job generally revolves around how the righteous suffer.  Certainly, that is a major part of the story (Job was a righteous man and he suffered much!) but I am not sure that is the primary focus of its message.  Perhaps the suffering Job endured tells us more about God’s worth than about Job’s righteousness.

Here’s some background.  Job was a blameless and prosperous man.  He is described as one who “feared God and shunned evil.”  May that be said of us!  One day, Satan appeared before God.  In the conversation, Job’s name comes up.  Look at Job 1:8-11.

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  (ESV)

As a result of this brief conversation, Job suffered two rounds of absolute disaster.  First, all He had (over ten thousand head of livestock, ten children, many servants, etc.) was all destroyed.  Then, he experienced sever physical sickness and pain.  After the first round of disaster, “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:22)  After the second round, “Job did not sin in what he said.” (Job 2:10)

Why was Job able to go through these two terrible times and still not sin against God?  The question the evil one asked in verse 9 and the further explanation in verses 10-11 give us the answer.

Did Job fear God for no reason?  At first glance we may answer this question with a “no.”  That is, there certainly are reasons why Job feared God.  But as Satan continues to talk, we understand his question better.

The question is really an accusation.  The charge of the accuser is this: the reason Job feared God (and we could add, obeyed God, thanked God, had a relationship with God, at all) is because God protected him and blessed him.  BUT, if God took those things away from Job, Job would certainly CURSE. GOD. TO. HIS. FACE.  That is, the ONLY reason Job had a relationship with God, and the only reason anyone would have a relationship with God.  If God stopped doing those things, then HE IS NOT WORTHY to have a relationship with at all!  The accusation of the evil one is that God, in and of Himself, is not worthy to be known, walked with, followed, or loved.  The only reason anyone would follow Him is because of the “toys” He gives us.  If He were to take the “toys” away, then, surely, there is no reason to have a relationship with Him at all!

Another way to ask this question is:  “Is God worthy of a relationship because of the stuff God has given us, or is He worthy of a relationship, in and of Himself?”

The rest of the book is Job’s answer to that charge.  In essence, Job says, “I am in a relationship with God, not because He protects me from bad things, not because He gives me good things, as grateful as I am for those things.  But I walk with God because of who He is.  My walk with Him is not based upon what happens to me, but on His character and nature.”

For those of us who follow God, and have enjoyed His protection and blessing, if we are going to have an ongoing healthy walk with Him, it is essential for us to come back to this place regularly.  Is God worthy to be followed simply because He gives us good things, or because He is, in fact, good?

June 26th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Prayin’ Around

This past month, Marilyn and I fulfilled an idea I have had for many years.  We drove the perimeter of Washington State.  When I was attending Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah University) in the early 70’s, I would often drive across the Columbia River south on I-5.  At times I would think, “Ya know, it would be fun to get off at exit 1 and just drive around the state.”  The thought was never really strong, but it was persistent.  In the year 2000, we moved to Vancouver, where that exit is.  So, when the thought came to me again a couple months ago, I mentioned it to Marilyn and we decided to go for it.  So, we did.

Then, several months ago, I was thinking about specific ways Scripture tells us to pray.  We are familiar with Psalm 122:6-8 which tells us to “pray for the peace (and prosperity) of Jerusalem.”  I also saw that Jeremiah 29:7 tells us we are to pray the same things for “the city to which I have called you.”  Well, that city was…  Babylon!  God wants us to pray for His “least favorite city” in the same way He wants us to pray for His “favorite city!”

So, as we planned to drive around the state, we decided we would also “pray around” it as well.  We decided we would pray for God’s shalom to be upon each city we drove through.  That word “shalom” is a very rich word in the Hebrew language.  I think the hippies of the 60’s had it pretty close when they would greet one another with “Peace!”  What they meant was they wanted the person they greeted to have a sense of well-being, safety, security, prosperity, wholeness, etc.  That is what this word means.  So, that is what we prayed for.

So, after we drove through 22 of our state’s 39 counties, 1800 miles (on many roads I had never been on before), spent 7 nights on the road (4 nights in campgrounds, 1 in a B&B, 1 in a motel, and 1 at a friend’s house), we made it.  We estimated we prayed for about 150 cities (many I had never heard of before), got to pray with a few individuals, saw a lot of very scenic yet unused land, visited with some great folks, and talked with each other a lot!  There will be lots of stories we will tell for years to come.

I am grateful to Marilyn for being a great navigator and partner!

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

June 6th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Watching Moses

This morning, I watched Moses ascend the sacred mountain and get the two tablets written in God’s own  handwriting.  Then, I watched as he came back down the mountain and broke them because the people already had broken them.  Then, I saw him dialogue (argue?) with God and convince Him not to wipe out all of Israel.  When God agreed, Moses ask to see His glory – and God showed it to him!  It was quite a sight.  I stepped back, just to be safe!  He got some more tablets, ascended a second time – this time he wrote on them instead of God.

No, I wasn’t watching a Hollywood DVD, I was watching on the screen of my mind.

Last year, during the incident with my infected backbone, I came to a place where I didn’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.  Weeks past without me opening and reading it.  I tried to pray, but literally would fall asleep within a minute or two.  It was not a good time.

I remember the time, at the end of May in 2017, I had a clear thought; “I can at least listen to the Bible on my phone!”  So, I began listening… and found that loved it!  I didn’t listen while doing other things.  I set time aside, leaned back in my chair, turned on my phone, closed my eyes, and watched what I was hearing.

I had never interacted with Scripture like this before.  I “saw” new things, heard old things in a fresh way, and was greatly encouraged.  So much so that, after I recovered, I continued to listen.  So, now, just over a year later, I have begun going through the Bible a second time.  Max McLean is “reading me a story” every morning.  This morning, he read (and I watched) Moses in action.

If you have not listened to Scripture recently, or if you are looking for a fresh way to interact with it, I encourage you to pursue this.  Both Bible Gateway & You Version have free audio versions available.  I am sure many other Bible Apps do as well.

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

March 29th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Jesus four prayer requests

Are you familiar with the four requests Jesus prayed in John 17?  This longest recorded prayer of Jesus not only lets us know what was on His heart during His last hours, it also shows what can and should be on our hearts as well.  These requests were so important to Him that He prayed each on twice.  His prayer can become our prayer.  Let’s look at each of these requests.

  • Glorify Your Son (V. 1 & 5)

The Old Testament word for “glory” is also translated as “weighty” or “heavy.”  Perhaps the hippies of the 60’s had it right after all.  When they would see or hear something very impressive, they would say, “heavy, man!”  That really does capture the idea behind this word.  Glory is that part of God that, when we see or hear it, causes us to be impressed!  The New Testament word for “glory” comes from the same word as “to think or consider.”  Glory is that part of God, that when we see or hear it, it causes us to stop and think more about it/Him.

When Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify the Son, He was asking that God would let people see and hear truths about Jesus that would cause them to be impressed and cause them to stop and think more about Him.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, in this situation right here, right now, let me see and hear more of Jesus.  Let me be more impressed with Him and think more accurately and deeply about who He is and what He has accomplished!”

  • Protect the Saints (V. 11 &5)

Jesus knew that we needed to be protected from the schemes and tricks of the evil one.  Twice in this prayer and in other places He warns us to pray so that he would not have his way in our lives.  In fact, most of the NT authors repeat this thought.  Here it is, plan and simple.  The evil one hates us because he hates God.  If he can, he will hurt us so that he can hurt God.  He plays hard and he does not plan fair.  He is stronger than we are.  If we seek to fight him or flee from him in our own strength, we will fail.  We need help from the One who is greater and stronger than we are.  Since He is in us, we always have access to Him.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, protect me and those under my care from every influence of the evil one.  Let me be aware of his schemes.   Let me be strong enough to recognize I need help beyond myself.  Let me be humble enough to call out to you and trust you to deliver me.”

  • Sanctify the Saints (V. 17& 19)

What was Jesus praying here?  What does “sanctify” mean?  Yes, it means to “be holy.”  But what does that mean?  Yes, it means to “be set apart” but what does that mean?   My favorite way to express the meaning here is “to be distinct or distinguished.”   It means I am “different.”  I am different from what I used to be and I am different from those who do not follow Jesus.  Your Word (not my word) is now the standard for my life.  It is not a list, it is a lifestyle.  It is recognizing that when Jesus changed me, He actually did change me.  I now live differently than I used to live.  My thoughts, my motives, my attitudes, my words, my actions, everything about me is now different.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, sanctify me and the other believers around me.  Let me, and us, no longer be conformed to our words, but rather to Your Word.  Bring all of who I am into conformity with Your Son.  Don’t let the way I used to live be the standard for me today.  Don’t let the way others live be my standard.  Let the character and the nature of Jesus be my standard for living.

  • Unite the Saints (V. 21 & 23)

Jesus cared passionately about the unity of His Body.  His last request in this prayer was for those of us who would believe in Him through His earthly apostles would be united.  And the standard of our unity is not that we would attend the same meeting or sing the same songs.  His standard for our unity was and is the unity of the Trinity: the unity He and His Father enjoyed.  This is a unity that leads with love and true transparency, stirs in great mutual respect and appreciation for the differenced of others, and ends with a full agreement and commitment of the mission.

And this unity is not without clear purpose.  There are two “so thats” of this unity.  He wants people to see our unity so that they would believe that He really did come from the Father and that those who don’t know Him yet would believe that the Father loves them as much as He loves His Son.

What a great prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, we agree with Jesus’ prayer.  Let those of us who believe in You be one with one another.  Our unity matters to You and it matters to those around us.  So, let us know one another.  Let us love one another.  Let us like one another.  And let us know we need one another.  As we are committed to You and Your mission, let us walk in good relationship with all others who are committed to do the same.”

These four requests were important enough for Jesus to pray at a critical point in His life.  May they also be important enough for us to pray on a regular basis.

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

 

March 13th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

One year ago, today

I will probably always remember the date, March 13, 2017.  It is one of those days that will live on in (my own personal) infamy.

I had experienced some pain under my left arm and then, as days passed, all around my ribcage for just over a month.  Until now, it was mostly at night and mostly pretty managable.

I was just wrapping up my role as Interim Pastor at Hockinson Community Church.  In fact, I preached my last scheduled sermon on March 12th.  No problem preaching.  It went fine.  And the rest of the day was good as well.  Our youngest son, Joe, was with us for the weekend.  We enjoyed a good day together.  I went to bed that Sunday, got into a comfortabe position, waited for the pain to diminish, and went to sleep.

But Monday was different.   Even though this pain had been around for several weeks, it was now happening during the day.  And it was much more severe than it had been.  This was the first day of (what I now call) “my incapacitation.”  That incapacitation lasted for about 6 months in one form or another.

You can read the “Blow by Blow” further down in this blog.

But today, one year later…  I am rejoicing!  No residue, no pain, no problem!  I don’t take my health for granted.  Every day I am thankful for the health He has given me and seek to use it to bring Him more glory!

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

July 27th, 2016 by Dennis Fuqua

Cousins’ Camp 2016

Here it is again!

This will be the 8th July in which the most important ministry opportunity Marilyn and I have is with our grandkids.

20160706_130226

Our Cousins’ Camp takes place this July 29-August 1.  Two grandparents, 4 days, 9 grandkids, 110 paper plates, countless laughs, and (hopefully) eternal impact.

I have other local ministry opportunities – such as meeting with pastors and prayer leaders, communicating via email and phone with folks around the county, scheming and praying about expanding the kingdom of God, getting away and doing some reflecting and writing, preaching and leading meetings – but nothing more important than ministering to these lives.

This year’s theme is “God the Father Made Us.”  We get to talk about God making everything out of nothing, how He made BIG stuff – like the planets! And how He made little stuff – like DNA and cells.  Then we get to talk about how we and others have dignity because we are made in His image.  And also how He created us either boys or girls.  All this and hand picked blackberry cobbler with home made ice cream!  Ya wanna come?  Sorry!

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

June 12th, 2016 by Dennis Fuqua

His Wish and Mine

The Old Columbia Riv20160610_192646er Highway is 100 years old.  It is a beautiful stretch of road through the Columbia Gorge about 25 miles east of Portland.   When it opened, in June of 1916, there were celebrations at both Crown Point (Vista House) and Multnomah Falls.  Earlier this month they celebrated with some classic cars and some Ladies and Gentlemen dressed in proper attire.

Since I became the director of IRM in 2000 I have enjoyed stopping at several places along this drive to ponder, pray and enjoy God’s handiwork.  So, as our own private celebration, Marilyn and I drove this route again the other night.

On one of my first drives through this part of the Gorge, I noticed a quote from Samuel C. Lancaster, the engineer who designed and build the road.  The picture on the right may not be readable, but it says… “Standing here I realized the Landcaster 1915magnitude of my task and the splendid opportunity presented.  Instinctively there came a prayer for strong men and that we might have sense enough to do the thing in the right way… so as not to mar what God had put there. ”

As soon as I read this, I saw the similarities between Lancaster’s situation and mine.  He realized the magnitude of his task, so did I.  He  did not want to mar what God had done, neither did I.  He instinctively prayed, so did I.  His prayer was for for strong men, I have prayed for strong men and women.  I am grateful for the ways God has answered this prayer for me.

I suggest this is a good prayer for all of us.  That we recognize God at work around us; that we see the significance of that work; that we not mar that work; that we look for and to others around us that God is bringing around us to help us accomplish what He has called us to do.

Thank you, Tychicus

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]

April 1st, 2016 by Dennis Fuqua

He who has ears…

Hearing is a good thing…

For several years I Earshave known this day would come.  I have been saying, “What?” or “Say that again.” or “Huh?” or “Could you repeat that?” quite a bit in recent months.  So, yesterday, I got these little guys and I hope they help me cut down on my vocabulary a bit.

They are a bit inconvenient and rather intrucive.  I end up hearing my voice and extraneous sounds much louder.  (Do you knjow how loud a key in the door can be?  Or the sound your coat makes when you take if off the hanger?)  But, they say I will get used to them soon.  So, I am hoping that the pay-off will be worth what I paid.

Wearing these hearing aids has caused me to wish there were some devices I could purchase to increase my spiritual hearing.  How cool would that be!  I could pay some money, insert a device into the ears of my heart and wallah(!) I could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit much better.  Pretty cool!

So, it is not instanteous, you can’t purchase it, and it is not a device, but there is a process we can all be involved in to increase or (“aid”) our spiritual hearing.  In fact, I think we could say there is such a thing as a “spiritual hearing aid.”  That process is meditation.

Meditation is the process of the Holy Spirit writing His Word on our hearts.  It is the process of hearing and agreeing with what He is speaking to ears of our hearts.  The more we do it, the better we get at hearing.

Isn’t God good to not have a list price on this?  Anyone wh ois willing to “pay the price” can afford it.  There is some inconvenience and even some intrusion that goes along with it.  You may hear some extraneous sounds along the way.  And it takes a bit of getting used to, as well,  but if you stick with it, your hearing will increase.  The pay-off will be worth far more than what you pay.

Now, here is a plug if you want more information about this process.  Check it out here!  (PS There is a list price to this one…)

Thank you, Tychicus

(See Eph 6:21)

[Subscribe using menu on the left.]