Some Marriage Advice… From A Single Guy

By: G. J. Fortier

Marriage. As far as I’m concerned, marriage is an institution that was created by God and it exists solely between one man and one woman. Oh, I’m gonna have the PC police on me now, for sure.

Oh well. I’ve accepted the fact that—unless God has other plans for my career—I’m never gonna be a successful writer (in terms of this world’s standards) because I am anti-PC, and I’m okay with that. I write because I have a God given gift and I intend to use it simply because it makes me happy.

But, I digress.

Let’s talk about “this world’s standards” for a minute. We live in a world of instant gratification. We don’t want, we don’t expect, we demand that we have it—whatever “it” might be—now! We are the generation that stands in front of the microwave screaming, “C’mon! I don’t have all minute!” (I stole that line from a comedian whose name I can’t remember) We live in a world in which the divorce rate stands at right about 50%, regardless of whether you were married by a justice of the peace or by the preacher of your favorite denomination. Most of us, when we enter into the marriage contract … no, let’s call it a sacrament … do so with the attitude of “if it doesn’t work out, I’ll trade mine in and get a new one”. After all, we rarely fix anything anymore. When our TV (or whatever) breaks, we don’t take it to the repair shop, we go buy a new one … a better one … a faster one … one that’s easier to use, until that one breaks. Then we start the process all over again. If we’re honest, a lot of us feel—or have felt—this way about our spouse … even if … no, especially if we’re still married to them.

Technically, I’m not “single”, I’m divorced. I have been for almost 19 years. I was married for about four years, of which about seven months was “good”. When my ex-wife got pregnant, about five months into it, things began to go downhill. We split after a year-and-a-half and were separated the remainder of the time. In my defense, I had been raised Catholic and DID NOT believe in divorce. But three-and-a-half years of BAD was enough to convince me that it was a viable option. Also, I didn’t file, she did, so there’s that. What I’m trying to say is that I tried, she didn’t. Truth is, we were never on the same page, but I never bothered to figure that out. All the signs were there, I just ignored them. And that’s what most of us do. We ignore all the signs … when we conform to the pattern of this world.

But … wait! The Bible has something to say about that.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Hmm …

I wonder, does the Bible have anything to say about marriage? Well, by golly, it sure does!

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)

Now, any of you who have been paying attention to my writing know that I usually quote from the NIV Bible. But I chose this particular “version” of the above verse for one reason … or, rather, for one word:

Comparable – (of a person or thing) able to be likened to another; similar. Of equivalent quality; worthy of comparison.

What else does the Bible say? I’m glad you asked.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV)

“Obtains favor from the Lord” means that your wife is a gift from God Himself.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)

So, what is your wife the “weaker vessel” of? Why, the Holy Spirit! That’s right, your wife has the Spirit of God dwelling within her just like you do … or, at least, like you’re supposed to. Do you know what that means? It means that whatever you do to your wife (or anyone else for-that-matter) you’re also doing it to God!

Stings just a little bit doesn’t it? It’s meant to!

I’m a single guy and, don’t get me wrong, it has its benefits. I can come and go as I please, eat whatever I want whenever I want, watch whatever I want, I can walk around my house naked (sorry for that mental image) and I don’t have to answer to anyone (at least not yet). But, I also get lonely sometimes. Sometimes I’d like someone to talk to at the end of the day. I mean, my dog is great company, but she doesn’t offer any suggestions or give me any compliments. Heck, she never does the dishes and I have to use a pasta ladle to scratch my own back! The point is, there are times when I’d love to have someone else in the house to simply share life with. And when I hear men complain about their wives doing this or that, or not doing this or that, or about the fact that they didn’t “get any” last night because she “had a headache”, it kinda pisses me off. Just try going fifteen years! That’ll give you some perspective on “instant gratification”!

Turns out that this subject can’t be covered in just one 1,000-word (give or take) article. So maybe I’ll return to this subject next month.

Or … maybe not.

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

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.


Lead Like A Man… of God

By: G. J. Fortier

Here we go again. I don’t really like to get political (please disregard several articles that I wrote during the summer of 2016—and most of my other ones too) but …

As we approach the 2018 mid-term elections, one thing has become glaringly obvious to me. Many of the citizens of this great country have lost their sense of “self”. And no, I’m not confusing this with “identity politics”— which, in my opinion, is just another term for “divide and conquer”. If you’re not sure exactly what “identity politics” is, let me explain it to you as I understand it. It all began with the bull-in-a-china-shop mentality called “social justice”. It started with the rise of feminism, combined with the so-called “free love” movement of the late fifties, sixties and especially the seventies. Now, it’s not my intention to pick on feminists (God forgive them) because there are far too many—oh, for the sake of argument let’s just call them— “factions” to lay blame on any one group for this freight train run amok.

When I was a kid, we were taught in school that the United States was a “melting pot” and that that was a very good thing. It meant that people immigrated—now there’s a hot button word—that they immigrated to this country from all over the world, bringing the best and brightest here to assimilate (some of you trekkers out there might think that assimilate is a bad thing but it really isn’t because the borg aren’t real—and neither is Start Trek) what was best about the culture that they left behind—that’s italicized for emphasis. Thereby, they could simultaneously better themselves by pursuing the “American dream” and better the country with their fresh ideas, hard work and contributions to the common good. I, myself, am a second generation American. That means that my grandparents came here on a boat, and then they made a life for themselves. They didn’t become burdens to the taxpayers by relying on the charity of others to survive. And when the call rang out, my father, two of my uncles, several cousins, my brother and now my grand-nephew stepped up to serve their country in various branches of the military. And, for goodness sake, how many times do we have to prove that this immigrant formula works? That people from all walks of life, American citizens, volunteered to serve and die for our freedoms. There was WWI, WWII, the cold war, the original Star Wars trilogy, I mean c’mon!

But I digress.

“Identity politics” or “social justice” glorifies not the individual based on their achievement, but on the tribal identity of those who look different or think differently or act in a manner that contradicts the social norm. Anytime we place more emphasis on identifying our differences than on celebrating our commonalities we disparage all that is good about our society. Personally, I find it offensive when people who were born in this country use a qualifier to substantiate their citizenship. By way of example, I was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1963, therefore I am an American. That’s where I get my sense of “self”. What I am not (although it’s unclear whether I qualify for dual citizenship based on the fact that three of my grandparents were from Ireland) I am not an Irish-American nor am I a Canadian-American (why aren’t Canadians Americans?) because my paternal grandfather was from Quebec.

So, where did this idea of separation rather than inclusion come from anyway? In large part, the now defunct Soviet Union. Decades ago, covert Russian operatives (no, this is not the plot of a Tom Clancy novel, it really happened) entered this country illegally and inserted a legacy of dissent inside the very core of our nation to destabilize our government and thus, “divide and conquer” us. Take a look at some of the videos with Yuri Bezmenov, a former KGB agent who defected to Canada in the 1980’s, on YouTube. These Soviet operatives sowed these seeds of discord by simply being “good” citizens. By integrating themselves and their families into our communities and patiently awaiting their instructions to begin their real work. And guess what. The results of this dissent have been playing out on our streets and our TV’s for years. We just haven’t recognized it for what it is. The terrorist organization ANTIFA, which originated in Germany in the 1930’s as a counter movement to Nazi fascism, has been hijacked by neo-fascists who have partnered with other “domestic terrorists” that are hellbent on suppressing your God given freedoms. Ironic huh?

I could continue with the history lesson, but I need to get back to the point of this article. The 2018 mid-terms. Two years ago, we Christians, in humility and prayer called upon God to effect a change from where we believed the country was headed. Straight into the tyrannical dispensations of the so-called “progressive left”. I believe that He answered our call but gave us a leader who is by no means perfect. In fact, in my opinion, he’s a bit of a scoundrel. But do you know who else was a bit of a scoundrel? King David. But God used David and, I believe, is using our current President to effect positive change. We cannot allow, by our inaction, this momentum to wane. We must, in prayer and supplication, get out to the polls once more and prevent the mob from taking back the congress, thus plunging this nation into chaos for at least the next two years. Whether you like President Trump or not, we, the people of God, must support him and—as much as I hate to say this—the republicans!

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the King, as the supreme authority, or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone; love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV)

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

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


Some Women Just Know How To Walk In High Heels

By: G. J. Fortier

Bet I have your complete attention now!

Have you ever just watched women who wear high heels as they walked? Okay, I know that it’s a “loaded” question … and I’m quite sure that you’ve done this very thing on many occasions (and frankly, if you’re a man and you said that you haven’t, well …). Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to watch women walking—in high heels or otherwise—in a respectful way. After all, when a woman knows how to walk in high heels, it’s can be an exercise in poise and grace that’s pleasurable to witness.

Okay, that was a rationalization. Let’s face it, high heels were invented—probably by a man—to accentuate the breasts and buttocks (duh). We, Christian men, cannot avoid this in our everyday lives which is why we must be eternally conscious of our respectful example. Having said that, the women who have mastered this skill—walking in high heels that is—have done so primarily because they’ve practiced at it. Now, I’ve never even tried on high heels (except my mom’s when I was six … AND ONLY THEN), but it can’t be an easy thing to do right. And there’s plenty of evidence of that very fact. Just watch the women who don’t have the necessary skills try to pull it off. It can be hilarious!

So, what has this got to do with anything (besides the obvious)? I’m so glad that you asked.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NIV)

Sound familiar?

We live in a world that’s nearly out of control. The country that I grew up in is barely recognizable and the biggest problem that I can see is that there is a complete lack of respect for authority. Or, maybe it’s simply a lack of respect all together. We’ve all heard the stories of how free speech is being suppressed, especially the free speech of conservative Christians. Some of us may have even experienced this. The so-called “democratic socialists”—a.k.a. “progressives”, “communists”, “Marxists”, “fascists”, etc.—have created the environment that’s referred to in 2 Timothy 4:3. Oh, they’ll tell you that you can say whatever you like … so long as they agree with you. But no dissension what-so-ever is tolerated. This can be seen anywhere you look in the “mainstream media”. And it becomes an almost funny thing to behold when they turn on each other. When the “left” finds one of their own who has so much as given a compliment to or offered up a defense for anyone who this mob disagrees with.

So, what can we do about this? See the above scripture and then read …

Remind the people (our neighbors) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)

We, Christians must be not only ready to share the Word with those who are willing to listen;

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. Titus 3:9-10 (NIV)

But we must also be smart about it. We shouldn’t argue and be ready to “get in people’s faces”. We should always be ready to share the Word in a humble, respectful and loving way. If someone wants to listen, great! If they don’t, the least that you have done is either plant a seed, or maybe watered one that someone else planted. Either way, you’ve done your job. The other part of the equation is that we need to be in the Word daily. And I don’t mean that we need to read our daily devotional and check it off the “to do” list. We need to study the Word, asking the Holy Spirit to clarify its meaning so we can call upon it when the situation warrants. I don’t know about you, but I amaze myself when I’m having a conversation and a verse just pops into my head that I may not remember ever reading, even though I’ve read the Bible through. That, my friends, is the Holy Spirit speaking through me.

And that’s another thing. We aren’t alone in this command. We Christians have within us the Spirit of the Lord God Himself!

So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Everywhere we go, He is right there with us. Whether we’re in the mall, people (in high heels) watching, or at Bible study witnessing to someone who’s “coming up” behind us, the Holy Spirit of God is within us, teaching us, coaching us, and sometimes speaking through us. We have nothing to fear by being obedient to the Great Commission because we don’t call ourselves righteous, He does!

Here’s the bottom line; we have to be ready. We have to practice, just like that woman—maybe your wife, maybe your sister, maybe even your mom—in the high heels. We have to get into the Word and, more than that, we have to be in fellowship with not only the Holy Spirit, but with other brothers and sisters in Christ who are ready and willing to help us with our understanding of scripture. Remember, we were never meant to do this alone … and we never have to.

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

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


So, you think you know people?

By: G. J. Fortier

Oh sure, you know your family and friends … to a great degree but not completely. And you know your co-workers … as well as you can, given the time that you spend with them. You even know your neighbors, at least a little bit. But, I’m talking about that guy that flipped you the “bird” in traffic the other day for some slight, whether perceived or otherwise, that you inflicted upon him. Or the woman at the grocery store who muscled her way in front of you at the “15 items or less” checkout lane … when she clearly has more than 15 items! Or the person who’s tail-gating you in the fast lane (in Georgia, the law says that you must move right if you’re the slower vehicle anyway) and being quite “animated” in their zeal for you to get out of their way. What are these people thinking? Why do they get to be rude and inconsiderate and even abusive in their actions towards me and my family? What makes them so special?

Or, maybe you should be asking yourself, what are these people feeling?

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

When you see someone at the mall who’s searching for some new clothes, do you ever wonder what burdens they’re carrying around with them? Whether someone in their family just died and what they’re really looking for is something to wear to the funeral? Or worse, they’re looking for clothes for their loved one to be buried in? Or, maybe they’re about to spend the last of their grocery money on an outfit for a job interview after having been unemployed for a year-and-a-half? What about that guy who flipped you off. Do you ask yourself if maybe he just lost his job and is on the way home to break the news to his family? Or the lady at the grocery store who cut in line ahead of you because she’s running late and needs to get home to fix a meal for a grieving family. And, what about that tailgater? Did you wonder of his son or daughter was just in a car accident, and they’re trying to get to the hospital to sign the necessary forms to allow for some lifesaving surgery … assuming that the child hasn’t already passed-away? And here’s an even better question. Are you supposed to? Is it your responsibility to figure out the motives of the people that you encounter whose behavior may not stand up against your high standards of what’s acceptable?

Okay, you can relax. As far as I’m concerned, the answer is … no. It’s not your job to try to understand why people do what they do, especially strangers. But, would it kill you to at least consider what they may be going through, instead of just how inconvenient it is for you to have to change lanes?

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22: 39

As I write this, I can’t help but think of a video that we watched at the prayer breakfast a few months ago. It was produced by Chick-fil-A and it’s shown to every new employee as part of their initial training. The name of the video is Every life has a story, and I highly recommend that you find it on YouTube and spend the less-than three minutes it takes to watch it.

I used to think that all people were the same. That we all have the same problems and we all think … and therefore, handle them … in the same way. Boy, was I ever wrong, and it took me travelling half-way around the world to figure that out! I was sitting in a classroom with a group of young people at a university in Kamensk-Uralski, Russia, and I actually said the words—no matter where you go in the world, people are just people. The fact of the matter is, people are different. Whether you’re an INTJ according to the Briggs-Meyers personality assessment, green (okay?) according to another, or a rodent (seriously?) by still another, we all have differences in our behavior that others may not easily understand. And we all handle different situations … well … differently. Some of us cry, some clam up, some blow up and some act out. But, whatever behavior we’re confronted with, remember, the only thing that we can control is our attitude. In other words; if somebody is in a hurry, get out of the way … but if you can help them, you probably should.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Hebrews 8:12

Recently, I attended another prayer breakfast and was blessed with the testimony of a brother who I, frankly, knew nothing about. I’d seen him at the breakfast before, many times in fact, but I couldn’t say with any confidence that I’d ever had a conversation with him. And, believe me, I would have never connected the man to his story if I hadn’t heard it from his mouth that morning. He had been carrying the burden of what he had experienced in war around with him for nearly fifty years! And these were the kind of stories that would give most of the men that I know nightmares. I really don’t feel the need to go into the details here, but the images that reside inside his head could only be described as horrific. I now have to ask myself how many people out there have similar stories to tell? How many suffer with memories that can never be forgotten? How many feel the guilt—no matter how justified—of having taken any number of lives while in the service of their country? His story, while extreme, may not be as uncommon as some of us believe … or even consider when we encounter people in our daily lives. The bottom line is, we have no idea what people are going through daily. And if we can’t make it any better for them, let’s at least not make things worse by reacting poorly to the coarse behavior of others.

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

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


What I’m talking about

By: G. J. Fortier

In these articles I like to talk a lot about fellowship. The reason for this is that the Bible tells us that fellowship is an integral part of every Christian’s growth. We were never supposed to try and live this Christian experience alone. We were meant to get out there and use our God given talents to show others how they can use theirs as well. You can kind of think of this as a mission. In fact, we as Christians have been given a commission:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

It’s good for Christian’s to get out there not just because it gives us an opportunity to share the Word with people or groups who may have never heard it, or perhaps have a skewed understanding of scripture based on the incorrect perceptions of others, especially those who have an agenda to present the Bible falsely. We are responsible for this as surely as we are responsible for the development of our brothers and sisters who come to the same building that we do on Sunday mornings. After all, and I think that you’ll agree, there are more people there (in the service on Sunday) who really don’t have a clue, than there are true believers. I’d go so far as to say that the non-believers outnumber us 3 to 1. So, if we aren’t opening our arms, our hearts and our homes to those among us who are, at the very least, making the effort to get there, what good can we possibly hope to be to those outside the walls?

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NIV)

Sure, many of them attend church out of a sense of obligation. It’s something that our parents instilled in us within our familial units when we were kids. Many others are trying to “figure it out”, and some are there to “make an appearance” for the benefit, not of God’s church, but of their status in the community. You know the kind; those who hope to build their customer base by appearing to be solid Christian citizens, worthy to do business with. Others have a political agenda that they’re nursing toward some seat of power in their local, state or federal government. Or even those who are seemingly the perfect church goers, but whose real ambition is to be the “one people look to as an example” regardless of the kind of example that they present.

I pray that you will be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing that we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6 (NIV)

So, you’re probably asking yourselves; in what way can I accomplish this? How can I be in more fellowship than I am already? I go to church on Sunday … and not just church … I go to Sunday School too … and to the “ice cream socials” and “bar-b-que lunches” and the “holiday meals”— once a year.  I go to Bible study on Wednesday, I go to a prayer breakfast once a week, month, quarter. What else can I possibly do?

How about— oh I don’t know— being a friend to someone who hasn’t got many … or— God forbid— any?   

Have you ever looked across the sanctuary and saw someone that you didn’t know— or worse, someone that you do— and thought, “To heck with that guy/gal! He/she must be sitting alone because no one likes him/her. He/she must be some kind of a jerk. He/she deserves to be alone”?

Well, I hope not.

But, why didn’t you take the time to go and visit with that person? Would it have killed you to invite them out to lunch … with the rest of your friends … after church? What about just inviting them over to watch the ballgame, or go with you to that car show? Did you think, “Maybe they like guns too and would like to go to the show in—” pick your venue.

I’m not trying to “toot my own horn” here, but I recently invited someone(s) out for lunch who was new to the church service. Someone(s) who looked like they might be looking for a friendly environment to make a church home for their family. Less recently, I befriended someone who was new to the state. My friends and I invited this person out for lunch after a service, and later decided that it would probably be good for us to invite this person out to do things outside of church, just so he didn’t think that we just wanted him to come only to church. In other words, we wanted to make him our friend and not just our church friend.

The funny thing about people is, regardless of what we do for God, whether we’re a pastor or a Sunday School teacher or a choir member, we tend to be clique-ish, just like we were in high school. We tend to think of ourselves (us, our friends and family) first and “others” second … completely forgetting the fact that we are all children of God … or, at least, potentials.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:2 (NIV)

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)

I can say all these things because I’ve been— I am that guy sitting alone in the fourth pew on the other side of the sanctuary. But, I’m a loner and obviously don’t need the kind of fellowship that I’ve been talking about here. But, I can guarantee you, there are plenty of men and women out there who are in desperate need of this kind of love. Let’s try not to disappoint them. They may begin to think that it’s just how all Christian’s are. And we know that’s not true … don’t we? 

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

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


The Book

By: G. J. Fortier

One of my favorite things about writing is, at the end of any given month when I haven’t been inspired to write about anything in particular, when all of a sudden … boom … there it is! That’s what I’m supposed to write about! It usually happens while I’m in the shower (sorry to those of you who know me personally for any images that may conjure) and then I hurry to my computer and start writing like a banshee that’s been lit on fire (if it’s possible to light an Irish mythological spirit on fire, that is)!

So, what’s the Earth shattering topic that I’ve been inspired to write about this month? Well, it’s right at the top of the page. I want to spend a little time on the Book. Which Book am I talking about? C’mon, I would have thought that the fact that I’ve capitalized the word every time I’ve typed it would’ve been a hint. I’m talking about the Bible. That’s what the word Bible literally means, Book. Now, I could spend some time on why that is, but I’d probably put you to sleep. And, let’s face it, every time you fall asleep on the toilet, your legs get numb.

Okay, you remember the Bible, right? It’s that leather-bound tome on the coffee table that you write the birthdates of all the new family members in … that’s covered with old copies of Field and Stream and Sports Illustrated. Or, maybe it’s in your nightstand, or behind the seat in your truck. It’s the one that you grab on the way into church every Sunday for that time when the Pastor makes everybody stand as he reads the verse(s) that will be pertinent to his sermon … that you have to endure before you can head to Applebee’s.

Here is a statement of truth: The Bible contains everything that you’ll ever need to deal with any situation that you will encounter until the day that the Lord calls you home to Heaven. If you have a problem with anything in the previous sentence … seriously … have you even read The Bible? I know that there are those of you reading this who are of the opinion that the only relevant teachings in the Bible are the ones that come after the book of Malachi. That would be The New Testament for you heathens out there. After all, we call ourselves Christians, don’t we? That makes us followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, doesn’t it? And it’s Jesus’ teachings in The New Testament that are the guidelines for how we are to live our lives. And if that is your stance on the subject, I can only disagree with you on one point: that they are the only relevant teachings. Why? Because, what verses does Christ Himself recall in the of face challenges from … oh, I don’t know … the elders, the pharisees, Pilate, Satan? That’s right, verses from The Old Testament!

Ah ha! Gotcha there didn’t I?

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore, I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119: 129-130

Yes, I agree that there are some pretty funky things in The Old Testament that really do need some serious study. And, if you’re involved with a men’s Bible study like I am on Wednesdays, you will have ample time to do just that. There’s nothing wrong with questioning anything, including the Bible. There’s nothing wrong with a little spirited debate (those who know me just shook their heads) that can provide some much-needed context that we may not be able to see all by our lonesome. That’s how we learn. Just keep in mind that no two people on the Earth will ever believe exactly the same thing on all subjects. And I, for one, encourage you to exercise your imagination concerning the less … shall we say … specific things that are in scripture. Remember, you are allowed to have your own personal beliefs and you will remain Christians, even if some of your closest brothers and sisters disagree with you about the small stuff. Just don’t go off the deep-end questioning the big stuff. If you have any beliefs that are in conflict with what scripture tells us, sorry to be blunt (no, I’m really not), but you’re wrong.

Remember that time that things in your life went all higgledy-piggledy (higgledy-piggledy means got real messy) and you pulled out your Bible, opened it to some random page, closed your eyes and pointed to that verse that was going to explain away all your pain and put you back on the road to peace and harmony? No? Seriously, I’m the only one? C’mon, you know that you’ve done it (or not, whatever). You read the verse and thought … huh? This verse isn’t even remotely relevant to anything that’s happened to anyone who’s every existed in the history of the universe!

Really? Maybe you should’ve read this article before you did that because there’s a word that I used three paragraphs ago … context, that stuff that you don’t ever remember to tell your wife when she gets mad about something that you did … that can make all the difference. Another important point is that we were never meant to go-it-alone. We are always supposed to seek out Christian fellowship rather than try to sort through all of life’s problems by ourselves. But, I don’t want to give you the impression that the Bible is only useful when things have gone, again, all higgledy-piggledy. All you married guys have to do is take a look at The Old Testament book, The Song of Solomon <wink, wink>.

Now, for some serious stuff. If you’re (still) reading this, I can only assume that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ. If that’s so, and you don’t actively want to read scripture daily about His reason for coming here to be with us for that all-too short time so long ago, then I say that you don’t have the right to call yourself a Christian.

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

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


So… what’s next?

By: G. J. Fortier

Well, it’s over. The Awakening 2018 is gone … finito … put away … done … in the history books.

Or is it?

This past weekend, The Awakening 2018 made its presence known in middle Georgia and beyond! With eight dynamic men of God – Pastor Troy Wynn of Freedom church in Warner Robins, GA; former NFL fullback Jonathan Evans, chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys football team; former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp; former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran; minister and U. S. Senate candidate Bishop E. W. Jackson; minister, public speaker, and writer / producer of movies like Flywheel, Facing the Giants, War Room and others (and my personal favorite), Stephen Kendrick; legendry college football coaches Bobby and Tommy Bowden – combined with the music of This Hope, well … what more could you ask for? They were gathered together motivating an audience of hundreds, and well … let’s just say that if you weren’t in Perry, Georgia Friday night and Saturday, April 27th and 28th, 2018 then … shame on you!

Yes, that’s right, the most spiritual event to hit middle Georgia in years (and not just because I was involved in it) lit a fire under men the of God who were fortunate enough to attend. I know, because I was there! It inspired men to return to their home churches, form up with other men and study the Word of God in Christian fellowship. They were learning how to support other men in a passionate, non-judgmental and loving way, and how to hold each other accountable for all the things that we struggle with in our daily lives.

Armed with a super-duper (when’s the last time you heard that?) eight-week Bible study that was designed by men for men to help them ease their way into a fellowship study that will transcend the passage of time and provide the basis to form a more effective men’s ministry. Together, and with those tools in hand, they’ll be able to spread His message of love, humility and redemption throughout their communities back home. In other words, they’ll be able to do what Jesus commanded us to do:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

Ok, so what does all that actually mean?

I’m so glad you asked!

What it literally means is that, for men to train themselves to become more effective Christian leaders in their communities, they need – I can’t even believe that I’m gonna say thisthey need help. Yeah, that’s right, you were not born with a natural instinct to do the right thing. In fact, when you think about it, you were born pretty selfish, and it takes years of training to break us of that. And just when you think you’re done learning what you need to learn to start your walk with Jesus, you realize that … wow … there were older men there all along that helped you prepare for it! How about that! You didn’t do it on your own!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Who’d a thunk-it? You really aren’t self-sufficient, in spite of what your daddy might have told ya.

So, what makes you think that there aren’t men in your life, coming up behind you, who need some help too?

Do you see a pattern forming here?

Whether you’re a son, or a brother, or a father, grandfather, uncle, best friend, friend … you get the picture … no matter who you are to the people around you, there are men in your life that you can help prepare for their Christian walk … even if you don’t see any way on Earth that they’ll ever grow up, calm down, get right, shape up, and simmer down. (You can go on and insert your favorite phrase here) Don’t ever forget that you were young once and you probably did a lot of stuff that you aren’t particularly proud of. Maybe even some things that no one knows about even to this day. Regardless of what you think, there are men …

maybe even some older ones …

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers.” 1 Timothy 5:1 (NIV)

maybe even some women …

“older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 2 (NIV)

that you can, at the very least, provide a godly example for. You never know who’s watching you now, or who God will put in your path tomorrow.

And if you’re thinking that all this is what your pastor or pastors are supposed to do, that it’s their job to do the mentoring because that’s what your tithe is paying them to do … then double, no triple, no quadruple shame on you! Show me in God’s Word where it says that! Our pastors are men just like us. They need our help too! Men, we are each the priests of our homes and our home is anywhere we hang our hat!

Here’s the bottom line. You’ve been given a job to do. Are you doing it? Are you helping to raise the next generation of Christian leaders in your community? Because if you aren’t, what good are you to Jesus? How are you honoring His sacrifice – His death on the cross— for your sins? Who will say, when you’re gone, that you accomplished anything that really matters?

“If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:16-17 (NIV)

This might seem harsh, but if that’s your attitude, then you might as well not even have bothered to become a Christian.

To answer the question that I asked at the beginning of this article – Or is it? Well, that’s entirely up to you.

P.S. The Awakening 2020 … is coming!

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

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his novels, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


Are You Ready?

By: G. J. Fortier

Here we go again! The Awakening 2018 National Men’s Conference is here!

Can it really be that it’s been two years since The Awakening 2016? Well, not quite, but that’s beside the point. We’re here, we’re on fire for God and we’re doing what Jesus Christ commanded us to do:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

Okay, I know that some of you are here for the first time, and the rest of us will forgive you for that, so let me take a few lines to tell you all just what this conference is all about. If I had to describe what we hope to accomplish during our limited time together in one word, that word would be fellowship. We, Christian men, were never meant to walk this walk alone, and it makes little difference if you’re married, or have a girlfriend that you can share your life experiences with. There are just some things that you can’t talk to your significant other about.

Think I’m wrong? Well, how about that porn site that you stumbled onto when no one was around, and you lingered a bit longer than you should have? What about the woman in your workplace that you watch with anticipation to walk past your desk and your mind wanders to places where you really shouldn’t go?

That’s what I thought. There are some things you need another man, and not just any man, to share things like that with. Why not “just any man”? Because you also need a man who will firmly, but with love and compassion, hold you accountable for the things that you struggle with.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

But that’s not all. Fellowship is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for the sharing the Word of God. We all get discouraged, distracted and downright tired with all the things that we’re responsible for in our daily lives, and it’s hard for anyone … including you pastors out there … to stay inspired, especially in this day and age.

“The times, they are a’changin’.”

“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3 (NIV)

I don’t need to tell you that all you need to do is look around to see how different the world has become in the past couple of generations, and I’m not going to take the time to explain the obvious to you now. But whether we’re living in the end times, or simply in a world that’s changing so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to keep up, we, Christian men, have the responsibility to keep the focus on the Word. After all, if not us, then who?  

At the church where I am a member, we have what we call “Halftime”. It’s our Wednesday evening men’s Bible study. To borrow a term that’s popular with today’s youth, Halftime is a real “safe space” where we gather to pray, to study God’s Word and fellowship with our brothers in Christ. But it’s more than that. It’s a time when we can, without fear or reservation, share those things that weigh heavily, and very often overwhelmingly, on us. It’s a place where we can— pardon the term— “vomit” all of life’s troubles out on the floor and have it sifted through by men who care and, more importantly, can in some cases even relate to. Chances are, if you have a problem, no matter how dire it may seem, there are men who have experienced something similar and can offer advice and comfort through prayerful counsel. But it only works because anonymity and confidentiality are strictly adhered to. Do you have a time and place where you can feel comfortable enough to do that? If so, share what you have with others. If not, seek out one of The Awakening event staff— the guys with the different colored shirts— and they will help you find a place where you can feel that same love of Jesus that I feel at Halftime, and believe me, if an introvert like me can find it, so can you. Trust me, we haven’t cornered the market. Jesus’ love is infinite. It may just take some out-of-the-box thinking to make it happen in your corner of the world.

Here’s a question for you: When’s the last time that you shared your testimony with anyone? Isn’t your testimony important to you? Don’t you think that it’s worth sharing? Isn’t it the reason that you’re a Christian— a follower of Jesus Christ? The fact of the matter is that it’s critically important that you share your personal testimony with others, especially the younger people in your life, because I guarantee that it will inspire them, it will embolden them, and it might just give them the encouragement that they need to share their testimony with someone else.

Here’s another question: Do you have a testimony to give? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? Do you know … that you know … that you know, beyond all doubt, where you will spend eternity when you leave this world? If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, isn’t it time for you to find out the truth? There is only one truth. The only way that you will find salvation and eternal life in Heaven is by acknowledging that you are a sinner, accepting Jesus sacrifice on the cross as atonement for your sins through grace, following His Word and obeying his command— to go forth and share it with the world.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

This is the place! Now is the time! The battle is on!

Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his novels, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


The Awakening 2018

By: G. J. Fortier 

Fellowship.

That word deserves a paragraph of its own, don’t you think? I could expound on the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s various definitions of the word, but I really don’t think I need to here. Every man reading this knows what the word means. We come together in fellowship in the church sanctuary. We come together in fellowship in our Sunday School classes, in our Wednesday evening Bible studies, at our Friday or Saturday morning prayer breakfasts, in AWANA, UPWARD, the single mom’s oil change … I could go on, but you get the idea. We come together in all these various capacities to celebrate and worship the Trinity of our Almighty God, His Son, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. We come together in worship, in prayer, in song and … you guessed it … in common fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters. We raise our children in fellowship, recognizing that— while they definitely are our responsibility— they are merely on-loan to us, just like every other blessing that God has bestowed upon us. We share our fellowship with our friends, our co-workers and even (when we’re paying attention … and sometimes when we aren’t) with strangers. And the scary part is … we do it whether we want to or not. But what is fellowship, exactly?

I’m glad you asked.

I had no idea what fellowship was until I joined First Baptist Church in Centerville, Georgia. I was raised in a Catholic household, going to church religiously once a week. But, whether it was because we moved around so much or (more likely) it was due to my parents not really being interested in the whole “god” thing, the term “church family” was something I heard about on TV shows like Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel. As a family, we never prayed together except once a year on Thanksgiving— and I was always the one doing the praying because, after all, I was the youngest (as if that makes any sense)— we never read the Bible together, never talked about God, Jesus or the Spirit at all. We were a family who “didn’t discuss religion or politics”.

Many of you are shaking your head as you read this, and I don’t blame you. You were raised in Christian households, attended church whenever the doors were open and spent one Saturday a quarter doing much need chores around the church campus— and that was on top of everything else that was going on in your lives. And it wasn’t just you either. Your friends and family were right there with you through it all.

Do these descriptions sound like they’re opposite ends of the spectrum? If so, then … good! They should! Because, while there are many of you reading this that can identify with one or the other … there are even more of you who find themselves somewhere in between the two. In fact, I’d wager that there are more of you in this third category than there are in the other two combined. And, you know what? That’s okay. Because, just like our Christian walk, learning the places where we can serve is a process. Not everyone is going to be suited for everything.

That’s what The Awakening 2018 is all about.

Two years ago, God called some men to come together to put on an event such as middle-Georgia hadn’t seen— at least in a long time. The Awakening 2016 was a gathering of men unlike any that I had ever experienced. It had a clear goal. To bring Christian men together to “wake us” from the complacency that allowed us— through our inaction— to let this great nation or ours fall to depths that were, quite frankly, shocking. I don’t feel it necessary to remind you of what kind of men had been running the United States before 2016, but we— and many others like us who were similarly called by the Almighty— spread the word and caused something to happen that, frankly, few of us believed was even possible. We elected a man who, while flawed— and who among the great men of the Bible weren’t, don’t forget— has done some pretty amazing things in his first year in office.

It’s time we did it again.

Just imagine what we can accomplish when we focus the same energy that we summoned two years ago a little closer to home. We’re going to turn the spotlight onto our daily lives. We, as Christian men, are the leaders of our churches, of our communities and, most importantly, of our families. We are the examples that are to be followed. We are the messengers, bringing God’s Word to those who have never heard it at all, never heard it in the correct context, or don’t really take it seriously. It’s up to us, as Christian men, to stand up and be counted for who it is that we belong to! We have a mission, and it’s been clearly defined. It wasn’t a suggestion. It wasn’t a proposal. Jesus wasn’t hinting around at what He wanted us to do.
It was an order!

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

 How do you do this? Through fellowship. We need the love and encouragement of our Christian brothers because, guess what, we’re flawed too. We have things in our lives that don’t need to be there. We need accountability. We need men— no, your wives, girlfriends, etc. will not do— to keep us on track and away from things that will drag us down, making us ineffective in our responsibilities.

We need fellowship!

The battle is on!

Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his novels, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.


Did Santa Miss the Mark?

By: G. J. Fortier 

I remember one Christmas when I was about 9 or 10 when all I wanted was an HO scale electric train set, the one with the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  I’m sure that my fascination with model trains had something to do with one of the many western movies and TV shows that seemed to dominate the airwaves in the sixties and seventies, and I just wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything else that year. I had passed on many a trip to the mall that December, using the opportunity of an empty house to search through my parent’s bedroom for hiding places where they might have stashed my treasured train. I wanted to have a peek at just one end of the package that I could unwrap without leaving too much evidence of my intrusion. But it was to no avail. To my ultimate frustration, my parents had guessed my intentions and found better hiding places for the family’s gifts, so my train remained annoyingly well hidden.

On the morning of Christmas, I, like so many other children on that blessed day, found it impossible to sleep. At 4 AM I could take no more and I snuck into my brother’s room and woke him, so he could share my delight at the treasures that we would find under the tree. But Fred, being six years older than me, looked at his clock and told me to go back to bed until “at least 6:30” or risk serious injury. Reluctantly, I complied, but only after dodging Fred’s half-hearted swing and miss.

So, there I lay, staring at my clock, willing the minutes to pass until I had an epiphany. I would wait until I was sure that my brother was asleep, turn his clock ahead by an appropriate amount of time and rouse him! Why, he’d be so excited by the opening of presents that he’d never know the difference, right?

Well …

We tore our way to the tree, ripping package after package open and wondering at the toys and other gifts (no, not the underwear and socks) that “Santa” had brought us. But, with each present we opened, it became clearer that there was no model train set to be found that year. I was so disappointed and miserable that I didn’t even mind when my brother, realizing that it was not yet 5 AM, left bruises on my upper arms that marked the event for the next several days.

It’s no revelation when I tell you that the whole Christmas experience has become far too commercialized. The idea that we must take time to contemplate how much Sue will spend on our gift so that we might purchase something for her of an appropriate value, evening the score, so-to-speak, is ridiculous to me. In my opinion, the giving of gifts should be limited to children. It should be our way to show them our love for Jesus and honor the spirit of the Wise Men who travelled from afar to shower Him with gold, frankincense and myrrh in recognition of the birth of the One True King. The idea of exchanging gifts between adults seems just a bit petty to me, and the attitudes that some of us display at the stores this time of year is far from godly.

This past Christmas, I ordered for my son a signet ring with the crest of our family engraved upon it. It was possibly the most important gift that I would ever give him, and I had been planning to give it to him on either his twentieth birthday or, the following Christmas. When the package arrived on the Friday before Christmas (the company had guaranteed delivery by Christmas) I rushed home to examine this soon-to-be family heirloom. I was impressed with the polished cherry box where the ring would rest for safe keeping when my son wasn’t wearing it and, upon opening it, I was thrilled to see the shining sterling silver band that he would treasure for the rest of his life. But, upon closer scrutiny, I realized that the crest (our family’s is a castle on a hill) wasn’t anything like the one that had been represented in the “proof” email that the maker had sent for my approval. There was a bear and tree design instead! And where the name FORTIER should have been, was the name HONSBERGER engraved on its face! They had sent me the wrong ring!

I was incensed, I was disappointed, and those feelings only deepened when the customer service representatives that I desperately needed to speak with were all “assisting other customers” … every time I called! At that point, there was no way that I could get my son’s ring in time for a Christmas opening anyway, but I was still going to let those responsible know about my feelings!

Christmas came and went, and my son was far devastated about the turn of events like I was. We spent our time together, laughing and enjoying each other’s company and came to realize that it wasn’t the presents that mattered to us, it was the time that we spent together. I’m sure that the error will be corrected, and my son will have his ring at some point, but I learned an important lesson that day, and I began to wonder how many people, when asked the question, “What did you get for Christmas?” would answer with the only response that matters.

I got Jesus!

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-8 (NIV)

“On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.” Luke 2:21 (NIV)

The battle is on!

Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his books, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com.