Monthly archives: April, 2020

Wisdom (a mini morsel)

By: G.J. Fortier

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

Okay, I know that things are changing quickly, so if you need me to wait …

Done waiting.

Two weeks ago, was Easter and I wrote about the need for us to obey our leaders. In that case, I was referring specifically to Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia (among other officials) who were advising us to stay at home and celebrate our Lord’s resurrection there. Last week, I wrote about patience, and why it’s important for us to wait for our officials to give us the “all’s clear” before we venture out of our caves again and start acting like human beings instead of morlocks.

If you aren’t a fan of H. G. Wells—more’s the pity—you may not get that last reference.

Today, I’m going to roll with the hyperbolic punches, in keeping with those same officials, and write about the fact that restrictions are soon to be lifted (as of this writing) and how I will choose to conduct myself as a result.

With extreme caution!

Look, at some point, we all have to get back out there! We have livelihoods that won’t keep waiting for us, and the longer we’re stuck inside our homes, dwelling on every negative thing that there is to dwell on, especially in the media, the more risk there is of—this is not meant humorously—mental illness. We need to do stuff! We need to get busy and produce! We need—just like that old Cheap Trick song says—to be needed! Most of us are not people—regardless of what today’s educators tell us—who can just sit back and rely on others to provide us with our every need. We value a sense of accomplishment and tangible evidence of the good that we are doing for our communities. As far as I’ve heard, no one is saying we should go out and kiss a stranger on the mouth—an act that I would never, ever endorse or recommend under any circumstances that didn’t involve at least seven figures.

 Kidding.

As it happens, there’s emerging evidence that this COVID-19 virus may not be as deadly as was first feared. As of this writing, there have, in fact, been more fatalities from influenza in 2020 than the coronavirus. Am I saying that we have overestimated the seriousness of this illness? Not at all. That determination will be made by much smarter people than me. But, we will, at some point, have to learn how to live with this reality—whatever that may be—period. Whether we like it or not, we will have to go back to work. Why shouldn’t that time be now?

However

We must use the brains that the Good Lord gave us. We must be cautious. We need to be diligent with social distancing, especially when we’re around strangers or those who we’re unsure of. Wash your hands! Wear masks, whether they’re recommended or not! Wear gloves whenever possible when you’re out in public! Wash your hands … again!

And most importantly, remember that God is our Father, and Jesus Christ is our Savior! The Holy Spirit is within us believers, and He will lead us down the safest path through this … if we let Him!

Bottom line? You have a life to live. Go live it!

For the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:26 (NIV)

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


Patience (a mini morsel)

By: G.J. Fortier

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

Okay, it’s been … about a month. You’re antsy. You’re bored. You’re sick to death of bingeing on shows that you never seriously considered watching until this mess happened. It’s time! It’s time to get back out there! There are things that need doing! Games to be played! Bowling balls that need to be … bowl’d! There are jobs that need going to! There are bills that need payed! Careers are being, if not out-right destroyed, damaged beyond all understanding of what it will take to get them back on track. The President and all those smart people, doctors, scientists, men and women in suits who got where they are by winning popularity contests, who all say that they have a plan. Plans are good, right?

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!

Sure, there’s light at the end of this tunnel. Things are looking—however slightly—up. We’ve reached the “peak” and—presumably—the number of new cases will begin to fall significantly in the coming weeks. Heck, there are even some areas of the country where there’s been only the slightest of impacts. So, c’mon! I mean, isn’t it time for things to get back to normal?

The fact is … we may not see what was viewed as “normal” before this coronavirus event hit … ever again … and I have absolutely no idea what that might look like. There might just be an emerging “new normal” that we will all have to adjust our very way of life to, and I really don’t think, no matter how much you resist it, that you’re gonna have a choice. You know what else? This is nothing new. Throughout our history things just like this have happened, and society had two choices:

  • Accept the change.
  • Die

I can think of countless examples of civilizations; the Toltecs, the Mayans, the Aztecs, Braves fans, who were face with an invisible enemy—disease—that was brought to them from a foreign land and completely devastated them. Yup, it wiped them out … literally. So, it really is time that we start taking this situation seriously, listen to the experts, and do what they tell us to do. Last week, I referenced 1 Peter 2:13:

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority

I know what you’re thinking:

We are a country that takes pride in our right to protest!

Believe me, I think that’s great too! I mean, who doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by throngs of people who are angry about something that we care, literally, nothing about, when we’re trying to get to work … after the alarm doesn’t go off … and we catch every … single … red .. light!

I’m all for that!  

But, in this particular situation, I think that patience—and faith in the Lord—is the way to go.

And not only that, we also glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)

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


Easter! (a mini morsel)

By: G.J. Fortier

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. John 20: 1 (NIV)

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news. “I have seen the Lord!” John 20: 18 (NIV)

Now, y’all do remember last week’s article when I said that these are just opinion pieces, right?

Good.

It’s five something in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020. I just got home from work and took the dog out. Then I realized that I had a short article to write for publication on Friday, the 10th of April, 2020 … which is two days before Easter Sunday … and, up to now, I had no idea what I was going to write about. This is not, by any means, the first time that this has happened either. Often times I realize that a deadline is fast approaching and I’m at a loss for what to write about. And then, just like so many other times, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, telling me what the subject will be this time around.

Only this time He looked exactly like Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp, wearing a blue oxford shirt and khakis.

Huh.

Now, the Lord—I mean Brian—was talking at a press conference concerning the COVID-19 task force’s efforts to combat this scourge, when He—through Brian—mentioned something about church members gathering for worship at their sanctuaries. Well, naturally, I thought, “How stupid can people possibly be? Don’t they know that one of the most virulent viruses’ the world has ever seen is infecting hundreds of thousands of people across the globe? Didn’t they hear the Governor’s decree last week about staying home and not gathering in groups larger than ten?

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority … 1 Peter 2:13 (NIV)

Easter is the celebration, as it says in the verses above, of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s one of two Sunday’s each year when even the laziest among us who call themselves Christians—whether they are or not is debatable—diligently gather in our houses of worship. And rightly so. But not this year.

And you know what? That’s okay!

I could tell you … again … about our collective unprecedented situation, but I’m pretty sure that you’re aware. So, instead, I’ll just say this: it is fine that you can’t get to the “church” for morning worship for the foreseeable future. I’m confident that the Lord understands. Sure, Matthew 18:20 says something about wherever two or three are gathered in His name is a “church”, but when they wrote that, they didn’t have cellphones and the internet! For the past few weeks, my own church family has done tele-Sunday School and online worship on Facebook. God gave us these tools for just this kind of event. Be thankful that He’s done that! We don’t have to risk ourselves and our families in the sanctuary where we could be sitting too close to someone who is sick, or we might be sick ourselves and not even know it! Use your heads! Don’t be an idiot—in my opinion—by exposing yourself to the killer that COVID-19 is. Oh, it might not kill you, but if you become a carrier, how many others will you infect?

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


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?