Category: Article

Disappointment

By: G.J. Fortier

How do you see others?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

How many people, on average, would you say that you meet up with on a daily basis? Almost assuredly, this number will vary greatly dependent upon your employment status and type; where your travels take you; what day of the week it is; etc. It’s also pretty common for the vast majority of these encounters to be, well let’s just say, brief at best. Some could be categorized as friendly; some confrontational; some cordial; some not-so-cordial; some intimate; some confrontational … I think you get the point that I’m trying to make. They’re all different, requiring differing levels of our attention, thought and (sometimes) patience to even get through.


Yes, No, and…

By: G.J. Fortier

Does God answer your prayers?

“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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

Is this verse a familiar one to you? I’m sure that it is if you’ve ever attended any IronMen Ministries event. Every Friday morning, we IronMen gather together in God’s name for breakfast, testimony, and fellowship, and we open with the verse above and the Pledge of Allegiance to our country.

We also pray.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)

On these occasions, our prayers tend, but are in no way limited, to focusing on big things. For example, we might pray for our leadership. Not only within the ministry, but for our local, state, and federal governments (who need these prayers very, very … very much at the minute). We might pray for events such as wars, famine, oppression, etc. around the world. We might even pray that God, in his infinite wisdom, uses all of these situations, and many more, for His purpose, and that He gives us the insight and acumen to accept what’s happening as just that, His will. But prayer is much, much more personal than that.

Being a Christian is all about accepting that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. That He accepted the punishment for the sins of all mankind, living in the past, now, or in the future, by dying on the cross, so that we all might attain the divine salvation and eternal life that He promised us. This can never be earned. It must be accepted as the gift from our Heavenly Father that it is.

But it’s not that simple.


Stolen Blessings

By: G.J. Fortier

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)

Are you a thief? No? Okay, but … are you sure?

I’m not here to judge, but don’t think for a second that if I saw you snag a Snickers bar at the convenience store, or I knew for a fact that you were cheating on your taxes, that I wouldn’t say something to you about it! Now, I’m not a snitch, and I’m not going to “anonymously” tattle on you to anyone about your transgressions. Let’s be real, I don’t have to anyway, because the God of the universe(s) knows everything you do anyway, right? But that’s not the kind of thief I’m asking if you are. I’m asking if you’re robbing others of their blessings. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t ask for help? Or worse, will you tell someone who offers to help you “no” because you’re too proud to admit that it would go much easier and smoother for you if you accepted? Maybe you think that when life gives you lemons, it’s your responsibility to suck-it-up and eat them, rind and all, no matter how bad it tastes because you deserve to be punished for … whatever it is that you did at the convenience store when you were 12.

But like I said, we’re not talking about that.


Isolated

By: G.J. Fortier

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for My Father is with me.” John 16:23-33 (NIV)

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Well, it’s been a while, but I’m back … and I don’t mean that I’m back writing articles (but I am) for Ironmen. I mean that I’m back to honoring God as best I can for a person of my spiritual growth. Where is that, exactly? Dunno. It’s different for all of us, and all the time. Like many, when a new Christian begins their walk, they’re “on fire” for Jesus and bursting at the seams with their enthusiasm to share the Gospel, their own personal testimony, or maybe just how they feel about Christianity in the world today and how they’re going to improve their little corner of it with their newfound knowledge, given even half a chance. It’s a wonderful feeling when you realize that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within, and an even more wonderful one the first time some “obscure” verse, that just happens to fit perfectly into the conversation at hand, pops into your mouth, and you might not even remember reading it!

Talk about confirmation of His presence inside you!


Where is your Strength?

By: G.J. Fortier

“I said to the one standing before me, ‘I am overcome with anguish because of the vision my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.’

Again, the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed’, he said, ‘Peace! Be strong now, be strong.’”

“When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.’” Daniel 10:16-19 (NIV)

Many years ago, when I was in my twenties, I was at a friend’s apartment playing Dungeons & Dragons—yes, I played D&D when I was younger … and may again considering the state of what’s considered “entertainment” that they’re pumping out over the airwaves these days—with a group of my friends when something very unusual occurred. There came a frantic knock on the door. Outside, the knocker screamed, “Call 911! Call 911! The apartment across the street


When?

By: G.J. Fortier

“so, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:28 (NIV)

Recently, I began re-reading the book of Revelations. I am re-reading it because, as most of you know already, often times, when scripture is read and applied to the events of your life as they are occurring, it can reveal something different than when you read the same verses in the past. But, if I’m honest, though I have read this and all of the books of the Bible before, I was simply checking off my “to do” list. I wasn’t really trying to “digest” what I was reading. So, about 9 months ago, I started re-reading the entire Bible. But not just reading it. After however many verses, chapters, books, I would read at a sitting, I would then comment about what I took away from the reading on my Facebook page—see, Facebook isn’t all bad—not for anyone else to read and absorb my wisdom, it was just my way of reminding myself to be diligent in my study. So, please, don’t think that I think that I have any kind of special insight into scripture, because I have only what insight the Holy Spirit gives me.

That is kinda special though, huh?

That said … I’ve been re-reading Revelations.

Revelations is a book that, and if you’ve read it you’ll agree, is fairly unique in the Bible. Where the majority of the books are simply letters written by one of the more than forty authors, Revelations isn’t. When the Apostle John—the disciple who Jesus loved: John 1, John 2, John 3, Revelation—was imprisoned on the island of Patmos, he had a vision of the “End of Days”.

As you might imagine … it was kinda freaky!

For this reason, there seems to be a lot of conjecture concerning the meaning of John’s testimony, though as I’m reading it, it seems very clear to me. Some people … okay … most of the people I’ve asked say that Revelations actually scares them!


Hard Times

By: G.J. Fortier

Take a look around you. What do you see?

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, 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.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

It’s undeniable. Almost everywhere you look around the world, it’s easy to spot all of the above.

What about this?

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars … Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:6-7

And this?

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” Matthew 24:9-13

And what about this?

“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

And this?

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name …” Matthew 24:4 (NIV)

And this?

“… but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved …” Matthew 24:13 (NIV)

Sure, there are numerous things that, if we choose to dwell upon them, can take the wind straight out of our sails … if we let them. There are many who might look at what’s happening in the world today as signs of “the end times”, whatever that is. But I say that things like what’s happening around us, or something very similar, have happened throughout history, over and over again. I ask you, within the past 1¼ century, how many wars have been fought around the Earth?

Well, let’s see …


I Am A Slacker!

By: G.J. Fortier

“Do not conform 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)

 

Okay, it’s been a year (just over 13 months … and 7 days … but who’s counting) and, admit it, you’ve gotten slack too. No in person Bible studies; no Wednesday evening service; no in person Sunday service so we’re “forced” to watch it on Facebook; Sunday School via zoom, where you sit on your couch, a bowl of corn flakes on your belly and a muted viral video playing on Youtube in the background … and no IronMen Ministries Friday Morning Prayer Breakfast to start your weekend off right. Well, unless you live in a city or state that’s run by a certain misguided political party that shall remain nameless here …


The Little Things

By: G.J. Fortier

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

Okay, okay, I know that the verse above is in sharp contrast to the title of this article, The little things, because the verses in Psalm 23 are some of the most powerful in the entire Bible.

That’s why I chose them to start this.

With everything that’s going on in the world today, it’s easy to get caught up in the—I hesitate to use the word hysteria … but I can’t think of a more appropriate one, so—hysteria and forget about … you guessed it … the little things. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have. I’ve gotten caught up in the fear and speculation of the end results of the turmoil we’re witnessing … well … everywhere we look. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get away from the bad news, conflict, and violence. But I’m here to remind you that there absolutely is. Are you ready? Here it is:


The Right Thing

By: G.J. Fortier

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. Ephesians 2:13-14 (NIV)

The times, they are a-changin’ … and not in a good way!

During my writing hiatus these past few months—believe it or not, I’ve been very, unusually, busy … go figure. I have had occasion to watch on that (idiot) box in my living room as more and more unprecedented and decidedly unpleasant events continue to unfold all around us. I’ve heard calls to “Defund the police” and “dismantle or disband the police”. I’ve heard the names, many of which I was brought up to believe were the hero’s, the Founding Fathers of this great nation as it was taught to me all those years ago, besmirched and insulted by people who seem to have no idea that this country wouldn’t exist for them to protest in had it not been for these great men and women. I’ve heard our government officials call for the tyranny and oppression of the capitalist system, upon which this country rose to significance on the world stage, to be dismantled and replaced with … well … to be honest, I have no idea what they want to replace it with.

Or do I?