Finding Peace in the Chaos

By: G. J. Fortier

Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me (Jesus). John 14:10 (NIV)

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)

For me to say that there’s a lot going on in our lives right now would be a bit of an oxymoron. Sure, there is a lot going on, but at the same time, it really seems to me as if our very way of life is in jeopardy of coming to a slow and painfully grinding halt. It feels—at least to me—like we just learned about COVID-19 only weeks ago. Okay, we knew it was “out there”, and that it was “serious”, but that it was “over there”, and we knew that things “like this” happen “all the time”, and that they don’t ever really seem to affect us that much. It does make for some interesting viewing on the nightly news though. Whether it was legionnaires disease back in the day, the swine Flu, bird flu, plain ole everyday flu-flu, SARS, zika, ebola, Spanish … I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There have been so many over the years that it’s easy to lose count. And, with the exception of the plain ole everyday flu-flu, influenza, most of us have only heard about them. And, concerning influenza, we were all vaguely aware that, tragically, tens of thousands of people in the United States alone die each year from this illness, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands who die worldwide. It’s a shame that it happened to those “other people”, but I just got a headache and some sniffles for a week and a half. No big deal, right?


Prudence! (a mini morsel)

By: G.J. Fortier

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Matthew 24: 6-8 (NIV)

For years, I’ve had a feeling, deep in my gut, that something was going to happen. Some of you may remember the predictions that I made about the “mini ice age”, the coming food shortages and the general unrest that the world was about to experience. While I stand by those predictions, I didn’t see this current crisis, that truly is of monumental proportions, coming.

I sincerely believe that people are making this much worse than it needs to be—just my opinion. But there are many reasons about which each and every one of us should be concerned. After all, you simply can’t have a crisis without people. I, personally, worry more about the actions and reactions of people during this emergency than I do about the emergency itself. By-and-large, people are irrational creatures. We tend to act impulsively based on current needs. Have you ever heard that you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Well, with what’s going on right now, multiply the craving that you develop for Twinkies (as you’re passing the shelf in the store—that you were trying to ignore—where they’re kept) by about … oh … say … a thousand, and you’ll get an idea of what motivates people to do what they do.

They panic buy.

If you’ve visited the grocery store—any grocery store—in the past few weeks, you’ve seen exactly what I’m talking about. Empty shelves; people fighting over toilet paper, tissue, hand towels, etc.

This is where we Christians come in.

Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. Isiah 26:20 (NIV)

If you are able, stay home! If you aren’t, then be the example, be the light of Jesus for everyone who you encounter, to see. Make them wonder what makes you act the way you do, and hopefully, they’ll see in you what they’d like to see in themselves. We are Christ’s representatives. His ambassadors. We have an incredible opportunity to show the lost what it is to be a Christian. We are not what they think we are! They only know about us what they’ve seen in the movies or on TV. Or worse, they’ve been there in church on Sunday, seen those of “us” who have taken off the spiritual cloak that they wore to the church service, and tossed it in the floorboard behind the seat, on Monday—gulp!

That ain’t us!

God has challenged us with this crisis! How will you respond?

What-so-ever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.

Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!


Diligence!

By: G. J. Fortier

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (NIV)

I’m guilty, I admit it. I’m one of those people who said, “Oh, they’re blowin’ this coronavirus stuff all outta proportion. I don’t even drink that brand!” Or, “I’m more worried about gettin’ the flu than I am in gettin’ the coronavirus!” Or, “All they’re tryin’ to do is make Trump look bad!” While all of these statements are true, there’s one thing that I failed to consider: People will panic about what they don’t understand.

They say that, in any crisis, 10% of the people will freeze, 80% will panic, and 10% will keep their heads and remain calm. They also say that the majority of that latter 10% are people of faith.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … Romans 5:1(NIV)

In case you haven’t noticed, we are living through an historical event. The world hasn’t experienced anything like the COVID-19 pandemic—yes, it is a pandemic—in a century. Not since the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918 have people been exposed to a virus on such a scale. That’s the reason for all the—I prefer to call it—hype, all the hype buying, the stock market’s plunge, and-so-on, an-so-on. This too shall pass.

The coronavirus is a very serious event. That’s why we must take very serious precautions. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has “recommended” that people not gather in groups of more than fifty for the next few weeks. The White House prefers no assemblies of more than ten. Me? I say, Get outta my house! The idea being that, although the mortality rate is (relatively) very low, we don’t allow this contagion to spread any further than is humanly possible.

For this reason … Ironmen Ministries will be suspending the Ironmen Friday morning Prayer Breakfast for the next two weeks, March 20th and 27th. I recommend that you utilize the time that you would have normally spent at the breakfast by augmenting your “quiet time”. Let’s not let this attack on rationality interfere with the time that we need to spend with the Lord. Also, we should be checking-up on one another by phone, email, text, etc. By-the-way, nobody ever said that you can’t or shouldn’t gather in small groups at your homes during this time. Christian fellowship is essential, especially now.

Wherever two or more are gathered in His name …

Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!


Friday Morning Prayer Breakfast Shutting Down For The Rest Of March

Men,
With the current state of things surrounding the coronavirus and with churches canceling services, we made the decision to follow suit and not meet for at least the next 2 weeks. If conditions improve by next month we will plan our next meeting for Friday, April 3rd. You can check back here and on Facebook for updates as April approaches. Please share this with other Ironmen so that we insure everyone has been informed. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you again in April. God bless!


Current Events

By: G. J. Fortier

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;

“by his wounds you have been healed”.

For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls. 2 Peter 2:21-25 (NIV)

We are living in strange times. Would you agree?

I often wonder if the state of the world, and the United States in particular, is worse now than it was in the past. After all, we, the generations who are alive today, cannot be blamed for placing much more emphasis on what we are actually experiencing, as opposed to what we haven’t personally witnessed (on TV), but only read about in books or (more likely) watched on the History Channel. I’ve heard people say that “it’s definitely worse now”, or things have always been “this bad”, it’s just that we hear about more of “it” because of today’s technology, social media, etc. That’s a valid point. But these people have chosen a more cynical view of the happenings around the globe than I do.


In Memoriam

By: G. J. Fortier

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV)

These words are heartfelt. While there have been Christian men in my life—whom I will not attempt to list here, simply because I will forget one or more of them—who have passed through the years, I haven’t chosen to write about them, and I have no plans to write about others who may pass in the future.

I mean no disrespect.

I debated internally about what the title of this article should be. I chose In memoriam solely for selfish reasons. I chose it for me, because I cannot help but be solemn as I write this. What I could have titled it is:

In celebration!


Is 2020 The Year?

By: G. J. Fortier

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-37 (NIV)

Is this the year?

I’ve heard this question, or some form of it, asked hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years. Heck, I’ve asked it too. Many a New Year’s Eve I’ve pondered whether the coming year would be better (usually hoping for financial prosperity and not the really important stuff), as good as or, Lord forbid, worse than the previous one. The sad truth of it is that the future is entirely what we make of it. There is no luck involved. No amount of kissing pretty women at midnight will harbor good tidings. The coming year will be what it will be. There will be good times and, unfortunately, there will be bad—possibly even tragic times ahead, and the only thing that we can do about them is place whatever situations we might face squarely in the lap of Jesus. Good, bad or indifferent, how we deal with our trials should always honor Him.


You Are One Selfish Son-Of-A…

By: G. J. Fortier

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgement starts quarrels. Proverbs 18:1

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3

Each of you should give what you have decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Recently, I attended a Bible study and the subject of selfishness came up. Believe (admit) it or not, we can all be selfish at times. Some more than others, of course, but we are all perfectly capable. The word itself—selfish—carries with it some very negative connotations, and rightly so. But, is it possible for us to be selfish … for completely justifiable (and even understandable) reasons? At first glance, it might not seem so, but if I didn’t have somewhere to go with this, I wouldn’t have started writing about it. So, let’s take the verses above one at a time.


Was It Always Like This?

By: G. J. Fortier

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring down judgement on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. Romans 13:1-5 (NIV)

When applied to the political theater that plays out now-a-days on any form of media that you care to choose, the verses above can be a bit confusing. Who exactly is “the one in authority”? Our Government is huge! When you just consider the top members of the three federal branches, legislative, judicial, and executive, there are 536 men and woman who have been put there by us (presumably because we believe they will act in the good faith that we’ve placed in them) and 9 who have been appointed and/or approved by those members, though never that I can recall with all parties in 100% agreement. These are the people who, when you get right down to it, are just like you and me. No better, no worse. No smarter, no dumber (as hard as that can be to believe sometimes).

The first question I have is this: Do we trust them?


This one’s going to make you uncomfortable

By: G. J. Fortier

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

Sound familiar? It should, because it describes you – and me – to a tee. And you know it’s true. We are all each of the things described above. Like it or not, and there’s no denying it. I could take each point one-by-one and provide you examples of how what I’m saying is true. But no, that would take way too much of the very limited word-count allotted me in this article.

Well … maybe just one.

Let’s just look at the first six words.