Living on a Prayer
By Pete Garcia
Hello, my name is anonymous. No, not that Anonymous (i.e…anarchist group), but just the ordinary, everyday, average person primarily residing in ‘fly-over’ country. I’m not special according to the world’s standard. I’m mostly invisible to the movers and shakers of the great here and now, except unless if I were to commit some egregious, news-worthy crime. Otherwise, I’m just a number, a statistic, or a percentage point on some survey…according to the world’s standard of worthiness. Feeling marginalized yet? If not, keep reading.
I have a voice and an opinion on political and social matters, but my opinion carries about as much weight as a torn Wal-Mart sack. Mostly, it’s liking or debating issues on Facebook or Twitter. I’ve often been accused of focusing too much on the next life, as opposed to this life. Although I am convinced in what I believe (i.e….Pre-Trib Rapture, eternal security, Trinitarian, inerrancy of Scripture, etc.), being so scripturally literal mean means my voice and my circle of theological peers is an increasingly shrinking one. It also means finding a church where I can worship with like-minded believers, has become like winning the lottery…the odds are not in my favor.
That is not to say, my life here is as invisible as I make it appear. To my family, I am a father or mother. To my spouse, a wife or husband. If I am unmarried, I might be a brother or sister, and an aunt or uncle. At least (maybe), I am a co-worker or peer, supervisor, friend, and subordinate to my higher bosses. I mostly live paycheck to paycheck. I try to live a somewhat comfortable lifestyle, but comfortable is a very subjective term.
Few if any recognize me in public, and my circle of influence (either for good or bad), is relatively small. I make ends meet, and it often feels as if I’m just trudging along, having life happen to me, rather than making it happen for me. So, with all these things considered, let us take a quick self-evaluation to see if any apply.
Choose any/all that apply
– I don’t have a local fellowship I feel comfortable worshipping with
– My family has written me off as a ‘prophecy-nut’
– I’m not allowed to teach or preach at my local congregation because of my eschatological/theological views
– I have financial or medical problems.
– I struggle both financially and medically
– I struggle with a habitual sin
– I struggle with anger, anxiety, depression or other mental/emotional/spiritual problems
– I struggle with over/under eating
– I am fearful for the future of my children
– I am fearful for the future of my country
– I am fearful for my own future
– I am alone
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie-indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” Rev. 3:8-9
Few people go through life without any major issues and for those who do, should consider themselves very blessed. If you’ve checked any of the above (which should be a majority of you), know, that you are not alone. We all have struggles and we all go through trials and temptations in this life. But not knowing you personally, or your specific circumstances, I’ll use myself as the proverbial guinea pig. I am a writer of sorts, having contributed to this and a handful of other websites over the years.
I am nothing of note per say. My opinions and opines don’t make the news, nor are they shattering public perception about any particular topic. I’m not breaking any literary boundaries, or new theological ground. Much of what I write, has been written about many times over…over the past decades and centuries. I’m often discouraged that I am not doing enough, and what I am doing, is primarily ‘preaching to the choir’. And while I might be prone to a pity-party here or there… (Pete Garcia—pity-party of one, sir, your table is ready)…I tend not to stay there long (check please!).
It is because I am keenly aware of the physical suffering and persecution going on around the world, and I grieve as many do, for those who come to faith in Christ while living under the banners of Islamic, Hindu, atheist, or communist nations. While we here in the West have thus far avoided physical persecution; the mental, emotional, cultural, and governmental iron-fisted hammer of political correctness and secular humanism are swinging harder than ever…and it is wearing people down.
Not content with just chipping away at the edges any more, no the Godless are swinging directly at the very pillars of a society…i.e….the family unit. Whether it is gay marriage, gender confusing education, transgendered bathroom rights, skyrocketing divorce rates, abortion, genetically manipulated embryos, or any number of issues, Satan knows the way to destroy a nation, is by destroying the family. While the structure of the family unit is not exclusive to just Christian families, it would seem, that the wrath of man as it were, is specifically targeting Christian families. If you’re Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, or otherwise, the laws of this land are either not targeting you, or your cultural standard has found a liberal exception to policy stamped across your lifestyle. That shouldn’t be all that surprising though is it? I mean, if Christianity is the one true faith, and every other view (John 14:6) is of the devil, then Satan has no need to attack his own pillars of destruction. He need only target one.
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” – 1 John 5:19
If that weren’t enough, I tell you, as hard as it is just being a Christian in the 21st century, it’s even harder being a Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulational, Dispensational believer in these last days. It’s not that we just have the godless attacking us and our way of life, but an increasing number of those within professing Christendom, who are increasingly acquiescing to any number of heretical and damning doctrines of demons. Whether that be liberalism, humanism, eastern mysticism, materialism, legalism, or Universalism, mindsets, they are no longer attempting, but are succeeding in redefining what Christianity is and isn’t.
“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4
The scoffers mentioned above isn’t the world, as the world doesn’t waste time or energy thinking about Christ. No, the scoffer’s sadly enough, are those who are within Christendom mocking the idea that Christ is ever coming back. If Satan is currently managing the affairs here on terra firma, (he is according to Luke 4:5-6) I would expect to him to stack the deck against both Christians and Jews as we draw down to the final moments of human history. Not only that, but he would prefer it if Christian’s formed a circular-firing squad, aiming there attacks at each other as to sow discord, confusion, and enmity between ourselves by confusing doctrines.
I equate living at this specific point in time, a time when the world seems to be enthusiastically and energetically sending itself to hell in a handbasket, to living paycheck to paycheck. But instead of paychecks, we are living from prayer to prayer, increasingly asking for God’s protection, sanctification, and perseverance to continue on in a world that has given itself wholesale over to the wicked one. Scripturally speaking, we were forewarned that these times would be like this. Paul writes… But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. And indeed we are living through them. In His overview of the last days, Jesus said… “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” We were told these things beforehand, so that we could be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the hardships of this life.
Although we are in the world, we are not of it. There is a spiritual battle raging all around us, and it is only ever escalating as the time is drawing closer. We are ambassadors for the coming King, and His Kingdom and we are at the precipice of war. (2 Cor. 5:20) We see the battle lines being drawn and the sides being chosen. (Eph. 6:12-17) But war, as in the case with any war, is always preceded by the withdrawal of its ambassadors before the first shot is fired. This life, as dreary and awful as it can be, is temporary. (2 Cor. 4:16-17) For some, it’s more temporary than others, but know that this will not be like this forever. Everything made, has a shelf-life. The world we currently inhabit, has a shelf-life. And while things appears to be growing increasingly dark and dangerous, be of good cheer fellow pilgrim…
“Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” – Revelation 3:8-12