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5 years, 9 months ago 0

The list of things that God can do is almost endless, and the list of things He can’t do is very short. One of the most important things on that list is; He can’t make us believe.

John 14:1-14
New Living Translation (NLT)

   “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
 5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
 12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Two events led to my writing this entry, my dear friend & pastor, Tim Thompson, and his sermon this morning, and something that happened in an airport. A few months back I was flying through Atlanta going somewhere, don’t remember where, it all runs together after a while. A lady wearing a Nun’s collar, sitting next to me at a gate asked what the cross around my neck meant to me? I told here that I was a Christian and had given my life to Christ, and it was my outward sign of that commitment. We had a cordial conversation but latter I got to thinking about why I wear a cross visibly on my chest. The sermon this morning helped me to focus more clearly on the why.

First let me tell you how I came to wear a cross. Several month back I was excitedly making preparation for the first His Light Ministries workshop up in Shaker Village. I had prayed a lot about how I could honor God and put Him up front in this exciting new workshop series Jim Begley and I have embarked on. I hope Chuck Summers will join jim and I in a future effort as well.
Back to the cross. I had bought some Christian themed t-shirts for the event and when I opened one from a company called Life is God, clever I thought, the little cross made of nails fell out of the package. I little personal note said, thought you might like to have this to go with the t-shirt. I don’t know this person, but I believe, it was a God thing. For years I’ve resisted wearing a cross
because of the countless “famous” people that sport crosses of all sizes and shapes, but who live lives that don’t indicate that the cross has any real meaning to them. I don’t mean to be judgmental, it’s just I always felt wearing a cross should really make a statement that you should back-up with behavior befitting our Lord. Heaven knows I have not always done that, but I was coming to a place in my life that I really did want to be the man God has called me to be. I truly wanted my behavior to match my faith.

It’s easy to see the power of evil in this world, just watch the news or watch how people treat one another. Is it easy to see the power of God? I think it can be, and I think we can be a part of that demonstration of His Love.

If you give your life to Christ, you can walk in these ways:

Forgiveness
Repentance (change)
Unconditional Love
Grace & Mercy
Healings (Physical, Spiritual, & Emotional)
Unusual Power
Great Faith
Unshakable Peace and Joy
Amazing Wisdom
Extraordinary Blessings and Protection

It takes inward commitment to reveal outward proclamation. I cannot display faith and obedience apart from Him, it is only through His power that I can live above my circumstances and this world.

Ephesians 1:3-4 17-23
New Living Translation (NLT)

 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
My hearts desire is for verse 14 to become true in everyone’s heart,
14 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
So why wear a cross? To point others to a life better than they could ever imagine, I life invested in Him.

In Christ,

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: D7000, 85 Micro Nikkor DX, Nikon CLS (one SB-900 off camera,
wirelessly fired.)

5 years, 9 months ago 1

As each phase of our lives pass, we enter new and uncharted territory. In the next few years I will be retiring from my NPS position at Nikon, but I won’t be retiring. I will be starting what I hope is the next part of what has been a fantastic life. My goal is to spend my time devoted to serving Him and teaching and shooting. Since a big part of the future will be my faith outreach, and my photography teaching through my own workshops, and Kelby Training/NAPP, I wanted to have a vehicle that will support all of that. When I started my website, www.billfortney.net some years ago I wanted the web address billfortney.com but someone has bought it with the thought that
when I finally realized I needed it, I would pay their very high fee, ($500.), to have it. They were wrong, I purchased .net instead. Over time they must have realized billfortney.com was not a hot property and let it go, I got it last week for around twenty bucks.

My extremely talented friend, RC Concepcion of Kelby Media, has agreed to help me develop a completely new website with the address www.billfortney.com (If you click on the link now nothing will come up, we hope to have it up and running my October). With this kind of wonderful talent helping me design the site I have high hopes that it will be something you will really enjoy. We will be using WordPress for a clean, professional, and easy to navigate site.

Let me tell you some of what you will find there;

1. First it will be a one stop spot to get to everything. All my information will be there at one simple to find, and easy to remember address.
2. Second, it will become the permanent home for the Pilgrim’s Chronicles. Everyday I will post, just as I have for the last two years, and it will be one easy click away once you get to billfortney.com. A new feature will include great links for other Christian Photographers sites that will inspire you. Also links to great sites to help with Bible study and research. *If you’re a believer/photographer with your own site or know of a great site, please email your site address so I can look it over and see if it would be a good site for my readers. We want to share the Good News……..
3. The new site will be the home of extensive Galleries of my work. The categories for these galleries will be: Aerial, Aviation Art (AVART), Nature Landscape, Close-up, Fine Art, people, Americana, HDR, Black & White, and much more. A link for print ordering will be available as well for those that have requested how to get signed prints. Incredible Aluminum prints will be available through Image Wizards and conventional and canvas wrap prints through MPIX Pro.
4. The new site will include a new feature that I am tentatively calling Tech Talk. Illustrated articles on all things technical about photography, camera reviews, lens comparisons, test reports on new products, accessories, and much more. A fun place to get honest information about all the things photographic we all buy, and use.
5. The new website will also feature a new section called, The Learning Center. This will be a site with articles on how to make better photographs, with illustrated lessons on, exposure, composition, light, color, patterns, texture, sharpness, motion affects and many other subjects directly related to becoming a more effective photographer.
6. The Great American Cheeseburger will finally get it’s own dedicated site. All the info from the current website, and much more will be available, with frequent updates on great burgers across the fruited plain!
7. Another cool sub-site will be “Trivial Pursuits”. All the fun things that made up some of the original website will be expanded upon in the new .com site. The Lists, Quotes, and other fun stuff will always be available and “updated” here.
8. Workshops & Lectures, finally for those kind, and wonderful people that keep emailing me wanting to know where I will be teaching workshops and doing speaking engagements, an
entire section will be one click away, with locations, dates, and all the pertinent information
you’ve been asking for. When I’m no longer punching the 60 hour a week job clock, there will
be time to offer more opportunities for us to fellowship, travel, and shoot in-the–field together.
1. On top of all this we hope to make use of the latest video technology throughout the website
to bring great reports to you with Hi Def video, and sound……..

Don’t worry, we will be giving you ample time to know when the big changeover is coming, we will work on it diligently and hopefully it will be even sooner than October.

Serious Business; Let me take a moment to thank you and make you a promise. When I started the Pilgrim’s Chronicles two years ago I had no idea that the visits would exceed 100,000 hits. We were over 60,000 visits when the site crashed, and have added over 50,000 since then. I want to promise you that I will continue to make serving our Lord the most important thing on my mission statement. He will always be in first place. Second, since this is an outreach ministry to the photography community I will work hard to bring you relevant and helpful photography information that will help you enjoy the process of getting better and better as a shooter. Lastly I will continue to try and share the sheer excitement I have about life, laughter, fellowship, and of course a great cheeseburger.

Because, post full time employment, I will be attempting to support my photography habit with additional income, some aspects of the new website will be for commerce. I may have some sponsors, but only if they are products that I use myself, and have the greatest confidence in. I would never recommend something to you just because their is some gain in it for me, that’s not the way things are done here, and never will bel Any advise offered here will be something I truly believe in or it will go unsaid. If Jesus is looking over my shoulder, and He is, you can be assured that my recommendations will be run through that filter before you ever see them.

Please continue to join me, tell your friends this is a safe place to come. Come often, and enjoy what we all celebrate together, a joy of capturing this great world with our cameras, and holding the Lord in the center of our hearts.

To and exciting future, be blessed,

the pilgrim

P.S. I would welcome suggestions for the new site, I want this to be a place you want to visit and gain much from. Please email all suggestions to: billfortney@earthlink.net

*Photo Note: P7000, Arches National Park.

Sherelene is working this weekend, so I am as well………..

5 years, 9 months ago 0

Isaiah 55:8-9
New Living Translation (NLT)

 8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
      “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so my ways are higher than your ways
      and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
How many times have we mandated what we expect from God? Tragedy strikes, people get sick, family members unexpectedly die, and we demand an answer from God. The problem is not with God, but our lack of understanding of Him and His ways. When things happen that we don’t like it is natural to try to find out who is to blame. Blaming God is never the right answer. Just because we don’t understand why, doesn’t mean that God did not have a good reason for allowing things to happen as they did.
I once was without a job for several months, after a while weekends lost their meaning. Everyday was like Saturday, nothing changed. I came to a stark realization, it is the absence of blessings that make them so appreciated when they do come. The same is true of photography. You can go to the same location, even some beautiful place, but until that magic morning or evening happens when the light and conditions are perfect, you never get that ultimate thrill or image. We learn to endure many mornings dragging ourselves out of bed well before sunrise to be on location, just in case, the magic happens, when it does, it is all the more exciting because of it’s rarity.
One of he greatest gifts of this life is anticipation. The hope for something good. God is good and He gives us only good things, but He teaches us to endure so that when we face real difficult times we can hold on through them. Would we like all times to be just perfect? Sure, but we would be unwise to wish for such an existence. Years ago I had very dear friend, who has gone on to be with the Lord. He was very wealthy, far beyond what I could imagine. He once told me that he truly missed the days when he and his family had very little. They took one, one week, vacation a year and they spent months planning, and in anticipation of it. He said, “Now I could pick up the phone and buy airline tickets to anywhere I wanted to go in the world, and the magic is gone. It’s just not special like it was back then, when we had so little.” That’s real wisdom.
We desire to have everything, and have it now. God in His infinite wisdom, loves us to much to spoil our lives with too many blessings in a constant stream. His ways are higher than our ways, His wisdom is far beyond ours. True peace and joy comes when you can rest in the knowledge that He has a plan and it is a plan for our good. Thank Him for all the good in your life, and then know when hard times come He will be right beside you. Good times will come again.
Instead of trying to direct God’s path, how about letting Him direct yours?
Be blessed and rest in Him,
the pilgrim

* Photo Note: Nikon D7000, 24-120 AF-S VR f4 lens, HDR (3 shots at 2 f stops apart) Processed with Photomatix Pro, Painterly filter. Then desaturated in Photoshop CS-5.
* Today’s entry inspired by Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch daily devotional for today July 15th, 2011.

5 years, 9 months ago 0

Last night I had a rare pleasure, I got to sit at the hospital and wait for a baby to be born. My friend Brandon Pratt and his wife Whitney got the greatest of God’s earthly gifts a new baby.
Lucas Tyler Pratt was born at 7:06 p.m. and one of the largest family gatherings I’ve seen in a long time all gathered in the waiting area erupted with joy. I was there to offer the only service I have the talent to give, make some pictures for him, Whitney and his family. I’m late posting because I spent a lot of the day working on images to distribute to all the grandparents and great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends. Brandon has a terrific family, but then our country is filled with families that deeply love one another and are so proud and happy at these most wonderful of occasions. Sherelene and I have three adult children all married and they have brought us the great joy of six grandchildren. I’m proud to say I was at the hospital for all but one of the six. I am not a part of
their family but after almost
four hours of visiting with
them I kind of feel I am now.
Good people that care
about each other and have
found the sweet spot in
life. Being involved in the
lives of others and less
hung up the capital “I”.

I’ve had a rough couple
of days trading emails back
in forth with some people
I use to work with. Turf
battles, one upmanship,
staking out who will be the winner. They can have it. I really don’t care about that kind of stuff anymore, and really never did. Give me people that live a simple life, work hard, go to church, love their families, and stick by each other through thick or thin. Fame and fortune looks mighty dull if you compare it to devotion, steadfastness, sacrifice, and love. Give me what the Pratts have any day over what the world says we need. The world got it wrong…….

Father, bless this family, watch over them, guide them and protect all their little ones, especially the newest member of the clan, Lucas Tyler Pratt. Amen

Take a deep breath and look close around you, and behold the treasure God has placed at your right hand.

the pilgrim


Photo Note: D7000, 50mm f 1.4 and P300.