Prayer – Fear or Faith?

Praying Hands

Living in a foreign country can put life into perspective from time to time. Sometimes my perspective can also be warped by my surroundings. This particular subject is a bit puzzling and though not fully noted here, there are some fine lines that are not easily distinguished. Therefore, if you have some thoughts about the subject that you would like to share, I would be glad to hear them. You can send me an email or comment on this post.

Prayer is a powerful tool. Many times it is misused, misunderstood or abused. To many it can bring comfort, peace, strength and empower us to accomplish he tasks that God has placed in our lives. The question is, how do you use prayer?

SIN

At times in the Bible, God has said that he would not hear the prayers of His people. Some of these times sin or disobedience was the main factor. Isaiah 1:15 demonstrates this perfectly. Reading the context of the verse we understand that Judah was compared to Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins were as scarlet. This is where God when speaking of prayer says, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

FEAR

You may say, “I am a faithful Christian. I ask forgiveness for my sins and therefore God hears me.” Yet, I challenge you to examine your own prayers. Do they demonstrate faith or fear?

Do you pray because you are afraid? Do you pray because you are afraid you might be hindered by a certain situation? Are you praying for relief? The Bible says that God has not given the spirit of fear. (II Timothy 1:7) We should question our motive for prayer. Some may think that as long as we are praying, our motive should not matter. Yet the Bible says that “ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3) Yes, our intentions and our motives do matter!

FAITH

What has been bothering me over the past few weeks is the matter of my prayers and my faith. Do my prayers show faith or a lack of faith? How can our prayers show a lack of faith? Faith is trust. Sometimes we pray because we do not trust God to do what is right. We may pray because we do not think He is controlling the situation. Sometimes the outcome is not what we would like. This leads us to pray for change.

Faith, on the other hand, cannot be equated with a lack of prayer. True faith is confidence in God! So there is a battle ground here in our prayers. Do I pray because I trust God or because I do not trust Him. The easy thing for us to do is to say, “If I did not trust Him, why would I pray?” Many times we pray because we have been taught that God is able. God is all powerful, therefore, He can solve my problem.

Jesus demonstrated His confidence in the Father in several ways. Just before Jesus raised Lazarus, He prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” Now that is confidence! In the garden He also prayed, “not my will, but thine be done.” Again, this is confidence and trust.

So, do your prayers reflect your fear or your faith?

Busy Months of September and October 2016

February 2016
Prayer Letter – October 2016


E-mail sent with Prayer Letter

New Pictures

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August Adventures While Serving the Lord – Prayer Letter

February 2016
Prayer Letter – August 2016


E-mail sent with Prayer Letter

New Pictures

Here are four ways to keep up with the Tylers…

1. Read this blog and leave a comment – You may also sign up for the RSS feed

2. Facebook – Add me as a friend HERE

3. Prayer Letters – Sign up to receive our prayer letter on the column to the right.

4. E-mail – Write to us HERE

Pray for the Country of Venezuela

Pray for Venezuela

Venezuela Flag

Our church here in Vilhena has been praying for a Brazilian missionary family in Venezuela (Pastor Aguinaldo and Rita Ferreira). Although we knew the situation there was bad, it seems as though the situation is getting quite bit worse. This week I called them to find out exactly how bad the situation is. Here is what I was told…

Aguinaldo and Rita

Pastor Aguinaldo, Rita, Joyce, Julia, and Juan Pedro

Wages

An average person makes about 5,000 Bolivars a week. That is equivalent to 5 American dollars a week. This makes things difficult enough. From the information I received, a carton of 30 eggs costs 4,000 Bolivars. That means you must work for four days to buy 30 eggs. Inflation is through the roof. Just imagine what it would be like to pay $4,000 for a carton of eggs. Just carrying that much money could be a problem. What if you were going to buy a weeks worth of groceries? Where would you keep the cash?

(The $4000 is just a comparison. If you carried $100 bills, then you would need 40 of them. The actual price of the carton of eggs is $4, but minimum wage is $5 a week.)

Shortages

Their biggest problem is not money. The biggest problem of all is food shortages. People can wait hours and hours in a line to see if there is any food for them to buy. Then they can wait for hours to pay for the food they found. There are shortages of everything. Our Brazilian missionary friends said that they are eating mainly rice and eggs. They raise chickens, but are finding it harder and harder to feed the chickens.

Recent news articles are saying that eating three meals a day is a luxury. Most families are eating one meal a day. The government regulates all prices.

Other items like cleaning supplies, deodorant, medicine and other such basic items are not available. Thankfully, the Brazilian currency is stronger than the Bolivar making it easier for the missionaries on the financial side, but the shortages are affecting the rich, the poor, and everyone in the middle.

Dangers

As far as we can tell, Pastor Aguinaldo and his family are in no immediate danger. They are happy to be where they are and have no intentions of leaving the country at the present moment. The country of Venezuela has been rated the second most violent country in the world when measuring on a homicide index. It is second only to Honduras.

That being said, some people around them have committed suicide because of the desperate situation that they are finding themselves in. Many stores are being looted and thieves are trying to provide for their own also. Lines are very dangerous! People start shoving and pushing. Many have been killed while waiting in line. Besides that, there is always a risk that the people will be arrested for one thing or another while waiting in line. The police and military seem to be on the lookout for opportunities to act and threaten the populous.

Pray

There is not much we can do other than pray. Our church is trying to keep a close eye on the situation from here in Brazil. We are sending a special offering this next week to help Pastor Aguinaldo and his family take a much needed trip to the Brazil border to get some supplies. They have been allowed to bring things back in without being searched, but they always run a risk. The government is confiscating many items. They open letters and mail to get anything out that might be valuable.

As I was talking to Rita, Pastor Aguinaldo’s wife, she said they have been providing bread and a drink at church. Many of the children coming to church look forward to getting a small piece of bread. However, she said, “Our flower is running very low. We cannot keep this up if we do not find more flower.”

It is not a crisis of terrorism, but many of God’s people are having a hard time there in Venezuela. Please pray for this family. They are serving the Lord with gladness. They have stayed in Venezuela because they have no other choice, but because they realize that people need to hear the Gospel message.

Though we say the greatest need is food shortages, there is no doubt that there is a greater need than that. There is a spiritual need that must be met. The love of God through Jesus Christ must still be proclaimed and this may be one of the best times to do it! Pray that God will work in lives and may many come to know Christ through the hardships that they face.

 

The Fine Line Between a Christian and a Missionary

Fine Line

There is a fine line between being a Christian and being a Missionary!

Before explaining what I mean, let me ask you a question. What is a missionary? If you could define the word “missionary” in one paragraph, what would you say a missionary is? Think realistically. Who do we call a missionary?

My guess would be that you defined it as someone who takes the the message of Jesus to other people. Some will define it by distance, while others will say anyone who takes the message of the Gospel to another person is a missionary. Some would say that the word missionary is not found in the Bible. They may say it is the modern day evangelist from the Bible. A few may define it as a modern day apostle.

My response would be, YES! Though there may be some differences in the details of the definition, the basic idea is the same. A missionary is one who takes the Gospel of Jesus to people who need to hear it. Most of the time we consider a missionary to be one who leaves his home and takes the message to a foreign land or to a specific group of people.

With this in mind, we can move on to asking, “What is a Christian?” This is where I believe the biggest mistake is! Our definition of a missionary is normally quite accurate and fairly close to the expected. However, the modern day definition of a Christian can vary to all extremes. So how would you define a Christian. Take a moment and think it through. Maybe we should specify that we are speaking of the same kind of person as Luke mentioned in Acts 11:26 when he says, “…the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” We are speaking of disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the day and age in which we live, people have become very informed. We have too much information! The internet provides for us information far beyond our local researching capabilities. Many times we quickly type in the desired query and believe what we find stated on the first few pages. We rarely go as far as verifying the details. We may compare with another website to see if someone else is saying the same thing, but our research though much more speedy can often be inaccurate.

I am afraid we have pulled this same stunt in our own personal beliefs. Our beliefs are based on what others are saying or on what is popular, but they are many times not based on the Bible. We need to check out the facts and compare our beliefs to the Bible. Many times we define our beliefs in a way that justifies our weaknesses.

Let us return to the second question and rephrase it. What is the Bible definition for a Christian? Have you ever looked it up? According to the verse given above a Christian is clearly a disciple. Then, what is a disciple of Jesus Christ?

When we study the Bible we will find that there is a fine line between what we call a missionary and what we call a Christian or disciple. There is very little difference. According to some definitions the only difference may be a geographical location.

A quick glance at passages that use the word “disciple” will give you three simple answers as to what a disciple is.

  1. A disciple is one who follows His master
  2. A disciple is one who listens to the master
  3. A disciple is one who obeys the voice of the master

Luke 14 explains to us some qualifications for a disciple. Read the passage and you will find out a few more things about a disciple.

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Here are a few simple observations.

  1. A disciple does not live for his own pleasure
  2. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ
  3. A disciple must be salt – “Ye are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13)

Through various passages we find that a disciple is salt and light in this world. Christ intended for the disciples to spread the news. The command is given time and time again to the disciples. “Go! Preach! Teach!”

If a missionary is one who simply tries to fulfill the Great Commission, then is that not the same as being a disciple? Should not every disciple be participating and engaged in the Great Commission?

Why do I make this observation? This observation is the result of looking around and wondering where the laborers are. How many people do you know that say they are Christians? How many of them are actively playing the role of a disciple?

Perhaps we should not ask about those around us. We should simply look at our own lives a take the test for ourselves. Am I a Christian?

Have you tried to distance these two terms to justify your own actions? Have you idolized missionaries as heroes when they are simply obeying what Christ commanded all of His followers to do? Please do not make this fine line any thicker than it needs to be! Jesus wants every believer to be a laborer!

Romans 13:11-12 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Easter and Other Services in March

Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks at church. We have been trying to paint the walls around the area where we meet. Due to rain, schedules, and many other variables, we have not quite finished. We were able to change the color by Easter making things a little nicer for the special day.

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