Prayer Warrior or Prayer Wimp?

The Bible teaches us in Ephesians 6:10-18 that we are in a spiritual warfare. Our fight is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual, wicked, demonic forces. For that reason, we are instructed to put on the whole armor of God. The Apostle Paul tells us to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). One of our weapons is the Sword of the Spirit. Just as a good soldier does not go into battle unarmed, we also must fight our spiritual battles armed and ready.

Part of our spiritual armor that is of utmost importance – that we had better not leave off – is prayer. We are told to pray without ceasing. Prayer must not be neglected because when we pray, we get in touch with God. Our guidance, our strength, our power comes from God. Just as we are to be spiritual warriors, we must also be prayer warriors.

However, when the Christian does not take advantage of and utilize this tremendous weapon, he is not trusting in God, but he’s going into battle in his own strength, or rather, in weakness. You don’t stand a chance against your spiritual enemy without God. If you do not pray as you should, then you will not be a prayer warrior, but a prayer “wimp.” You will not be a spiritual warrior if you are a prayer wimp.

In order to become a prayer warrior, one must dedicate oneself to going from a wimp to a warrior. Although it’s not difficult, it’s not easy. It requires time. Time alone with God. Time away from your smartphone and computer. Time away from brain-dead entertainment. Time away from worldly distractions. Many Christians are prayer wimps because they aren’t willing to dedicate themselves to the time required to become a warrior.

Becoming a prayer warrior requires humility. It demands being humble before God in childlike prayer, on your knees, as you seek God’s face and His heart. A prayer warrior recognizes his need for the Almighty on a daily basis, and will bow before His presence in humble servitude to ask for His help.

A prayer wimp will shoot off a thirty-second prayer as he scurries off to his other pressing duties of the day. A prayer warrior will take the necessary time to “suit up” with the whole armor of God, and not run out to face the enemy without taking the time to prepare for the battle.

Sadly, there aren’t too many spiritual warriors and prayer warriors in the churches of today, but churches are filled with spiritual wimps and prayer wimps.

Fellow Christian, how’s your prayer life? Would you be considered a prayer warrior or a prayer wimp? It’s past time for Christians in the twenty-first century to stop being spiritual wimps, put down their electronic toys, and get serious about spiritual things.

Are you a prayer warrior or a prayer wimp?

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner is not just a normal meal at my in-law’s house, but it’s more like a weekly family reunion of the Walters family.  My mother-in-law starts preparing Sunday dinner on Saturday evening. No, she’s not making Saturday’s supper, so don’t even think about digging in until Sunday after church!

The preparation continues early Sunday morning before she eats breakfast. Sunday dinner is a special time as we gather round the big table and wait for my father-in-law to pray. “Dad” is always mindful about thanking “Mom/Nanny” for the hard work she has done in making dinner for us all, and then he thanks the Lord for the food, and he thanks the Lord for Mom.

Mom has been doing this for many years, and there’s not many Sundays that she is unable to do it, unless she is not feeling well, or she’s out of town with Dad. Not only does she serve lots of delicious food (and always some type of dessert), but she puts in a good deal of time, energy, thought, preparation and work.

With all of that being said, there is one more thing that goes into this whole process, and that thing is a huge amount of love. There’s lots of preparation that goes into this weekly shindig, and there’s a good bit of cleanup after all is said and eaten. Why does Mom do this week after week, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade? It’s because she loves me, her favorite son-in-law! Of course, that’s not the reason because we have spent most of the past twenty-four years in Brazil. Simply put, Mom/Nanny loves her family, in spite of all the different idiosyncrasies each family has. (Some of my sisters-in-law have some pretty weird ways!)  LOL.

We don’t go to my in-law’s house each Sunday because we “have” to, but because we love her, we appreciate all that she does for us, and because we like to eat her wonderful homemade food. When my family is Stateside and in South Carolina, we count it a privilege to have Sunday dinner with the family. No one at our church needs to ask if I want to go out to a restaurant to eat Sunday dinner. No! (Duh.) I don’t even need to think about it or consult with my wife. The place for all the family to be for Sunday dinner is at my in-law’s house. It’s not a choice we have to think about because it’s automatic. It’s Sunday, and we’re going! If someone wants to take us out to eat, well, let’s go out between Monday and Saturday.

The past two weeks have been rough for my mother-in-law, but she doesn’t like it when someone makes a “fuss” over her when she’s not feeling well. When she was taken by ambulance to the hospital last Friday I was very concerned, and prayed for her a lot that afternoon and evening. I was greatly relieved when I found out that she was feeling better and able to go home. I was also somewhat surprised – though not entirely – that she was at church today, and even in her usual spot of interpreting for the deaf. I don’t know if she fixed Sunday dinner for the family today (I’m in Brazil as I write this), but even though she shouldn’t have, she probably did.

Let me finish my sentimental rambling by saying that I am grateful to God for the wife that I have, and for the mother-in-law that I have. I love her, and she says she loves me (maybe because I did my part in contributing to the majority of her grandchildren, or maybe because I live thousands of miles away). I wanted to let her know that what she does is not unnoticed or unappreciated. As long as I live I will never forget Sunday dinner at Dad and Mom’s house.

Whether it’s Sunday dinner, pizza-movie night, or whatever your family traditionally does, don’t squander those precious times together as a family, but hold on to those times as long as possible. The “good old days” that you will one day look back on are happening right now.

I missed Mom’s Sunday dinner today because I returned to Brazil a few days ago, but I sure could go for a plate of her stewed beef and rice, green beans, and banana pudding!

Friends, don’t take your family for granted. Love them, tell them that you love them, but most of all, show them that you love them. Love your family more than you love your smartphone. You will never regret the time you spend with family members that love you, but you will regret it if you miss an opportunity that you will never have again.

I love Sunday dinner with the family!

A Desire for God

What does a desire for God look like? The word desire has different meanings, as do many words, but the principal meaning is “to long for, or to crave something.”

People have different degrees of desire, such as a desire to visit a foreign country, get a good education or a good job, and have a meaningful relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Many people work hard to save money, study, or whatever it takes to fulfill their desires, even making sacrifices to accomplish their goals, dreams, and desires.

Edward McKendree (E. M.) Bounds was a man of prayer, and he is credited with saying, “A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully.”

For the Christian, a desire for God should be greater than anything else. If you can get up at 4:00 o’clock AM on Black Friday to go shopping, or get up before dawn to go hunting, but you can’t break the chains of sleep to spend time with God, then your desire, love, and commitment to God is a weak thing.

Going back to my original question, what does a desire for God look like? It looks like someone who sets their alarm early in order to pray and read God’s Word. It looks like a committed Christian on his/her knees in prayer to ask forgiveness, guidance, to worship, praise, and make supplication for others. It looks like a saint of God with an open Bible – not a digital, electronic app – that has a desire to learn, grow, and draw closer to God.

James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw thy to you.” No one draws nigh to God by accident. To draw nigh to God requires a desire to draw nigh which not too many Christians possess. By the way, yes, I know this is the 21st century, and I know that it’s hard to separate time for God. However, it all boils down to how great your desire is for God, and it shouldn’t be that difficult to draw nigh to the One that loves you with an everlasting love.

Forgiveness

Everyone will fall and hurt themselves from time to time. If possible, you will get back up and continue on your journey. You may not be able to get back up without help, but hopefully someone will come along soon and help you back on your feet. You may feel the results of that fall for a long time, but you can only get back up once from one fall. You cannot get back up five times if you’ve only fallen once.

This same principle applies to when a Christian sins. When you sin, there may be long-lasting feelings of hurt, resentment and shame. However, when you repent, confess your sin to God and ask for His forgiveness, He will forgive you the first time you ask. Once God forgives you of that sin, then you do not need to ask His forgiveness for five or ten more times. Yes, you will feel the guilt and shame for some time, but God’s forgiveness is immediate, so you don’t need to confess it or ask for His forgiveness anymore. With God, when you’ve been forgiven, it’s over with. As Jesus told the woman taken in adultery, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Now, you may need to ask someone else to forgive you, so do it without delay.

You will also need to get over it yourself, and not allow that FORGIVEN sin to linger on in your heart and mind. The devil wants that sin – that’s already been forgiven – to keep you down, discouraged and disheartened for a long time. He wants you to feel the pain, the shame, and think about it after it’s already been forgiven. If you confessed and asked God for forgiveness of sin yesterday, then He forgave you yesterday. Don’t allow the forgiven sin of yesterday to hold you down today!

Prayer Letter November 2022

November 30, 2022

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  (Luke 2:11)

On September 25th there were 53 people in attendance for “Blue Sunday.” This is a special day in Brazil that celebrates and brings awareness to the deaf and their culture. Dan preached a Gospel message and planted some more Gospel “Seed.” No one was saved that we know of, but sometimes it takes longer for Deaf people to understand because they did not have any Bible teaching as they were growing up.

In our last prayer letter, we mentioned our invitation to present the Deaf ministry in a church in the city of Boituva. We scheduled six consecutive Saturdays to go and teach a basic sign language class, and there were eighteen people that enthusiastically learned the Brazilian sign language in order to reach deaf people in their city. We were encouraged to see a couple of men that are interested in heading up this ministry.

On November 27 our church, Bible Baptist Church, celebrated her 28th anniversary of preaching and teaching the Bible to the Deaf in and around São Paulo.  There were 56 people in attendance, and we had a good number of visitors. Dan has been preaching prophecy during the month of November, and he finished with a message regarding the Great White Throne. Many of those in attendance had never been taught about “things to come,” and most paid close attention to the message.  We were excited when several people said they would be back.

We are looking forward to returning to the USA for a short visit. We don’t often get to be in the States for Christmas, but on December 27, our son, Joseph, will be getting married to a sweet young lady from his church. Joseph has been the interpreter for two deaf men in his church for three years, and he has taught basic American Sign Language (ASL). Joseph’s fiancé, Cheryl, was in the class, and the two of them have been working together as friends for three years. We are happy for them both, and we look forward to seeing how God will lead them and use them in their marriage.

We are also excited that all seven of our children – along with our son-in-law and granddaughter – will be together again at Christmas for the first time in nine years! Of course, this will be a special Christmas!

THANK YOU for your faithful prayer and financial support throughout 2022. Have a very “Merry Christmas,” and a blessed 2023!

                                                                                                       That all may “hear,”

                                                                                                      Dan & Becky Bennett

Prayer Letter – August 2022

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil!

Over the past few months, we have been staying busy in the work here. As I mentioned in our last prayer letter, our family went to the Deaflympics 2022 in the city of Caxias do Sul. Silent Word Ministries out of Trenton, GA purchased and provided us with thousands of tracts to take and distribute. We were able to hand out many Gospel tracts, talk with a good number of people, and several deaf people made professions of faith.

On May 30, Amilton, one of our faithful deaf men, died unexpectedly at the age of fifty-one. He had just celebrated his fifteenth “spiritual birthday” the day before. Back in November of 2021, Amilton invited a deaf couple to church named Gilson and Marileide. This couple had visited numerous other churches, but when they visited our church, the Gospel was clearly presented to them, and they trusted Christ as their Savior. We praise God that Amilton invited these people to church before he went to Heaven. One person can make a difference!

We have been invited to go to a church two hours northwest of us next month in the city of Boituva. Dan will be preaching, and we will be presenting our ministry among the deaf. The pastor seems to be interested in starting a deaf ministry in the church, so we are excited about this opportunity.

September 25th has been designated as “Blue Sunday.” This is a special day in Brazil that celebrates and brings awareness to the deaf and their culture. Each year, we invite Deaf from all over São Paulo to our church, and Dan will preach a simple, evangelistic message, followed by a small party to show our love for the Deaf. Please pray for Deaf to be saved on this special day.

Our two remaining children at home are doing well. Matthew began his senior year of high school, and Chrissy started seventh grade. Becky not only stays busy with our own children, but also with the children at church. She is often requested to attend doctor’s appointments to interpret for our deaf ladies, and that can take up several hours in a day as we trek all around São Paulo. Thank you for praying for our family!

One important prayer request we have is that God would send us someone to come and work with us. We would love to have a Brazilian man to come and eventually take over as pastor. Dan has begun to work with one of our men who has preached a couple of times, but he hasn’t had any “formal” Bible training. Dan plans to spend more time training this man, but someone to work alongside of us with experience would be a huge blessing.

Also, please pray for our colleagues, Jon and Hannah Speights. They have two children with some serious health issues, but it seems as if numerous medical exams have been unable to find the root causes. Your prayers for this family would be greatly appreciated.

Once again, THANK YOU for allowing us to represent you as we labor among the Deaf in São Paulo. We are extremely grateful for your prayer and financial support.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     That all may “hear,”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Dan & Becky Bennett

How Do You Identify?

It’s incredible that in today’s world, a person can identify as anything he wants to identify as, and it doesn’t even have to be a person. Men are identifying as women, women are identifying as men, and some people are even identifying as animals.

The same type of thing is happening in Christianity. Some people identify as “Christians,” and an increasing number of Christians are identifying as unbelievers.

You can read about the unbeliever that identifies as a believer in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus said that there will be those who stand before God that sincerely identify as Christians and will even point to their good works as “proof,” but Jesus will sadly say, “I never knew you.”

 On the other hand, there are Christians today that, by their lifestyle, are identifying as unbelievers to their peers.

For example, police officers have a badge, a uniform, a gun, and some other pieces of equipment that will identify them as law enforcement officers. Military personnel are easily recognized by their uniforms, as well as their strict military demeanor and discipline.

Unfortunately, there have been imposters that have put on a uniform to either draw attention to themselves, or to receive honor and respect of which they are unworthy. They have identified as something they are not, but they are not what they want you to believe they are. These types of people are often referred to as, “wolves in sheep clothing.”

Going back to the example of the Christian identifying as an unbeliever, the person who has been saved but does not act like a Christian causes the Holy Spirit of God to grieve. The Christians that want to fit in with the world are like, “sheep in wolves clothing.” I cannot understand why a Christian would want to identify as a “wolf.” There is danger in hanging out with the wolves because they will identify you for who you are, and they will eat you up!

Does the music you listen to “identify” you as a Christian or an unbeliever? Do the clothes you wear make it easy to identify you as a Christian, or do you look like the rest of the unsaved world? What about the movies you watch and the words you say? When other people look at you and listen to you, when they see you at certain places that are questionable, how would they identify you?

It greatly concerns me to see that so many Christians are completely comfortable and “feel at home” among people that are drinking, dancing, going to worldly concerts, listening to rock, funk, rap, and country music. More and more Christian women are copying the fashion of the world in regard to short skirts and dresses, tight jeans, and bikinis. When Christian men want to flaunt their manhood with tight clothing, going around shirtless, and sporting tattoos, this is not an indication that, “after all, this IS the twenty-first century,” but rather an indication that we may be living in the end times.

In today’s world, the feeling of many people is that they don’t care what other people think of them. There is a growing trend among Christians that says, “I am who I am, and I don’t care what you think because I am who God made me to be.” The problem with that thought process is that, even though God made you and saved you, He didn’t mean for you to stay the way He found you. He certainly doesn’t want you to copy the world and be identified as an unbeliever. Yes, every person is unique, but the Christian needs to be very careful about not caring what others think of you. You are supposed to be copying Jesus Christ, and your identity in Christ is what others must see in your life.

The Bible says, “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15,16). In 1 Peter 1:16 and 17, the Christian is commanded to, “be holy” in all aspects of life. If a Christian is living a life that is unholy and sinful, and also loves the things of this world, then he or she is not “identifying” as a Christian at all. Don’t identify as a Christian on Sunday and identify as an unbeliever the rest of the week. Love God. Hate the world.

Christian friend, what you identify as is very important. What other people identify you as when they see you is also extremely important. How do YOU identify?

April 2022 Prayer Letter

April 28, 2022

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil.

It’s an honor to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!  Next month will mark our 23rd year of being in Brazil. God has been so good to us, and we praise Him for His faithfulness to us.

The last week of March was our annual BIMI Field Conference. Since our Brazil Field Director, Sean Lunday, took over being the Director over all South America, our Field Conference was attended by nearly eighty people from five different countries (six, if you include the USA). As always, it was a blessed time of fellowship, wonderful preaching, fun activities, good Brazilian food, lots of laughter, and spiritual refreshing. We met some new friends and got reacquainted with old friends. It was great to get our spiritual “batteries” recharged to continue the work of the ministry.

Samuel, a deaf man that visited our church back in October of 2021, has been coming off and on for the past few months.  He told Dan that he didn’t own a Bible, so Dan was able to give him a Bible that was paid for by a church in the USA through the ministry of BEAMS. Dan encouraged Samuel to read the Gospel of John three times, and he said that he would.  On April 17th, Samuel was back in church, and after a visual, Easter/Gospel message, Samuel placed his faith in Jesus as his Savior. Hallelujah!

A few weeks back, Becky was contacted by Danielle, a lady in Pompéia, a city about six hours northwest of São Paulo. We had met this family several years ago through some mutual friends, so they knew that we worked with the Deaf. A couple weeks ago, they contacted a man to do some work, and when he came to their house, he brought his deaf cousin to help. The deaf man, Gabriel, doesn’t know sign language, and Danielle’s family became burdened for Gabriel.  Danielle then got in touch with Becky, and after several conversations Becky agreed to teach this family Brazilian sign language (LIBRAS).  They had their first class on April 19th via Zoom, so please pray that Gabriel could be reached with the Gospel by this family as they learn sign language, and then teach him.

The Deaflympics (Deaf Olympics) will be held in Brazil on May 1st through May 15th. We just found out about this a short time ago but dismissed the idea of making the trip since we didn’t know of anyone else going among our missionaries. However, we felt the Lord leading us to go and be a part of reaching Deaf from around the world with the Gospel.

Dan sent a voice message to his brother, David Bennett, to ask him for advice about going to the Deaflympics. David has organized a couple of groups that went to two previous Deaflympics in other parts of the world, so we knew that he would be able to help. To make a long story short, David was able to get a big, plastic tote on a plane the following day, full of tracts, DVDs, and Gospel literature in several languages. David’s daughter and son-in-law, Brian and Christa Pate, are missionaries in Brazil, and they were leaving the very next day to return to Brazil after their furlough. Dan picked them up at the airport the next day, and also sixty-five pounds of Gospel “Seed” to be scattered around the Deaf world.

Please pray for us as we meet deaf people from around the world, and as we put the Good News of Salvation into their hands. The Gospel could go to Communist, Socialist, and Islamic countries. Only God knows how far the outreach will go. Pray that we would be Spirit filled, and that God would give us wisdom as we share the Gospel with those to whom we can minister. We can communicate in English and ASL (American Sign Language), as well as in Portuguese and LIBRAS (Brazilian Sign Language). Pray for us as we take the Seed of the Word to the Deaf of the world, that Jesus Christ would be magnified, and that souls would be saved. He promised that His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11), so let us pray for a bountiful harvest of souls for the glory of God.

Thank you for having such an important part in the ministry among the Deaf here in Brazil!

May the Lord continue to bless you there in your community as you faithfully serve Him.

                                                                                    That all may “hear,”

                                                                                    Dan & Becky Bennett

Pray for Ukraine

(Written on 25 February 2022)

It’s 11:00PM, and all is quiet, except for the neighbor’s dog that is barking. He barks at everything. He barks at nothing.

One thing at which the dog is not barking is the sound of explosions. There is no gunfire. There are no missiles. There are no tanks. There aren’t any military jets or helicopters flying overhead. The city is quiet, except for the annoying, barking dog.

I walked out of my office and spent a few minutes walking on our back patio (it’s a slab of concrete). The cool, night air was refreshing. I thought about the war that was waged by Vladimir Putin, president of Russia. I prayed for the Ukrainian people as they prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. The people of the Ukraine are asking for help. They are imploring other countries for help.

I have seen news videos of the war that is going on. “God, have mercy on those people.” I am upset over a power-hungry man. I am saddened over the way the people of the Ukraine have been ignored by their allies.

One video showed a young man, twenty-one years of age, guarding a footbridge by himself, alone, waiting for the Russian troops to arrive. He has only fired sixteen rounds of ammunition his whole life. He fears for the life of his family. His family fears for his life. They may never see each other again.

I have seen Facebook posts by people that know missionaries and pastors in the Ukraine, and I even saw a video of a Brazilian man who is a pastor in the Ukraine. My heart breaks for those people, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Their faith is great. They don’t complain. They are trusting God. They are praying fervently.

Do you even wish that there was something that you could do? But wait; there is something that you can do. You can pray. You should pray. As the Brazilian pastor said on the video, “It’s not time for talk; it’s time for prayer.” As you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for the people of the Ukraine. Not a short, hurried prayer, but a compassionate, heartfelt, caring prayer. Pray in the same manner that you would want people to pray for you if you were in that situation.

Lives have already been lost. Sons, grandsons, brothers, fathers, husbands, dads, and uncles have died. Senior citizens have died. Children have died. Women have died. More will die needlessly. You may think that there’s nothing that you can do, but if you pray (with a clean heart), your prayer can move the hand of God.

When you turn off your phone tonight, don’t forget to lift up the Ukrainian people – and the Russian people, too – in your prayers.

One day, they might just thank you.

To whom are you submitting?

Although every Christian is not called into full-time ministry, every Christian should be involved in some ministry of their local church on a voluntary, part-time basis. When you were saved, you were separated from the world in order to serve the Lord. A Christian that is not serving God will not hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” at least, not from the mouth of Jesus. Could it be that you’ll hear those same words from the devil? Of course not, because Satan will not be present when you stand before the Lord.

However, what if the devil were to be in the near vicinity when you stood before God as rewards are given out? Would you hear the Lord say to you, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” for a life that has been faithfully active in serving God? Or, would you hear Satan scornfully say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” because you did nothing in service to God?

Just as Joshua told the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, to choose whom they were going to serve, it’s possible to be a child of God, and at the same time be serving Satan. The word, “serve” is a verb, a word of action. It’s also a word that denotes that someone has authority over you to whom you must submit. Are you actively serving God, or have you submitted to Satan? To whom are you submitting?

Those who do not submit to God are, “by default,” submitting to Satan.

Don’t be a child of God, while at the same time being a servant of the devil. If you’re saved, serve God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Serve God with everything you are, and everything you have. Serving God is loving God. If the only thing you do at church is to show up in time for the service, and then leave at the final, “Amen,” you’re missing out on an opportunity to serve the Lord. You’re not only missing out on being a blessing, but you’re also missing out on receiving a blessing. Serving the Lord is one of the best things you can do after you are saved.

I know that every Christian is not called to be a full-time pastor, missionary, or evangelist, but every person who is saved is called to be a full-time Christian who is serving God in some capacity of ministry.

Are you fulfilling your calling? If not, determine to stop serving the enemy, and start serving the Savior today!