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8 months, 1 week ago 2

 

 

Many of you have sent me an email saying, “Count me in”!  For that I am thankful, now comes the hard part.  When ever we take a stand we must ask ourselves, am I living up to my proclamation? So what does that mean?  Once we stand firm for Christ, the enemy will seek every way to defeat us, and thus kill our witness for Him.  The world is trying viciously to run from God, and if we give the lost a reason to doubt the validity of a walk with Him, they will take the first opportunity to point to us as the problem with Christianity!

 

So folks, it falls on us, to live our faith.  Admittedly, not and easy task.  Why?  Because we are human, and we fail, and we sin, and we simply are far from perfect.  It seems unfair that our dear Savior is judged based on our behavior, but sadly many will do just that.

 

We have to have a plan!  Here are some things that I know will help!

 

1.  Be sure our brain is in gear, before we open our mouths!  It’s easy, too easy, to  say things we regret and very shortly after know it was a bone headed move.  You may be wondering why I speak with so much authority on this issue, I’ll bet you can guess!!!

 

2.  Ask your self the old WWJD question before taking action on any issue.  It’s amazing how many things we should not be thinking or doing that can be stopped in their tracks by simply asking, “What Would Jesus Do?”

 

3.  Make it a daily habit to get into the Word!   An empty mind is the devil’s playground, if we fill ours with His word, we will be much more likely to be thinking and doing what we know is His will.

 

4.   Speaking of His will, we need to pray for that.  It is very hard to not go to God in prayer and give Him our to do list, things we are concerned about, worried about, things we desire.  The list is always long, but every prayer should end with an affirmation of our faith in our Heavenly Father, and that we desire His will above all else.  When we tell our Havenly Father, may Thy will be done, we are saying we trust Him, and that is what He desires most!  The great news is He is far more than Trustworthy!

 

A moment to moment walk with Him is not always easy, but always filled with peace and joy. One thing we can do is support one another.  When Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them in pairs. I am sure the message was, we can’t do this alone, we need each other.  I want my brothers and sisters to call me on my behavior, if it falls outside the lines of serving Him.  It may hurt when we get called on the carpet, but it hurts a whole lot less than seeing someone that didn’t get to paradise, because of us!

 

Heavy stuff for the day after Christmas I know, but then Jesus wasn’t born so we could put up a tree and open presents, He came to change the world forever.  If he has changed your world, then you already know the answer to the question, “What are you going to do about it?”  If it helps at all, please know I’m there with you!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

Join us in Artists Standing For Christ!  Read the blog two days below, take the pledge and send me an email if you want to be on the email list!  Either way, please join us!    billfortney@earthlink.net

8 months, 1 week ago 8

 

 

As we come to the closing days of another year I want to take a moment to thank all of you for coming along with me on this journey.  It has been a exciting year in photography, and a blessed year in our walk with Him.  I could never thank you enough for your prayers, your comments, and the friendships that have arisen from this simple exercise of turning the Holy Spirit loose a few times a week!

 

My dear brother Scotty Smith shares prayers with me daily, and they always reveal his deep love for our Father and His Son Jesus, I have gained so much from this friendship and have Pete Collins to thank for introducing us.  God sends people into our lives, people He uses, and He uses them to strengthen us, and prepare us for the battles ahead.  Thanks Scotty for all those prayers and for this one, so appropriate for today!

 

 

A Prayer for Christmas Eve


 

   In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)

   Dear Lord Jesus, whether or not you entered our world anywhere close to our December 25th is irrelevant. What matters is that you actually came from eternity into time and space—not as a metaphor or myth or fable or legend, but as our Savior.

   Luke took great care to detail the history of your birth; but it’s the quietness and “smallness” of your birth that is noteworthy. Any other king would’ve come with great fanfare and a royal entourage. But you came into our world in utter stillness and profound weakness. “No room in the inn” wasn’t an insult to you; it was your choice, your plan, your gospel. We praise, bless, and adore you.

   Indeed, you didn’t consider your equality with God something to be protected or hoarded. Rather, you made yourself “nothing,” becoming one of us—tabernacling among as God in the flesh, the Servant of the Lord, the second Adam. And with joyful obedience, you fulfilled the law for us; and with measureless humility, you died in our place upon the cross. Hallelujah, we cry, over and over again.

  Thank you for coming to us, Lord Jesus; thank you for saving us from our sins; thank you for ruling the world with your truth and grace; thank you for committing to make all things new. So very Amen we pray, in your great and gracious name. 

 

 

I pray you are surrounded by family, friends and God’s mightiest angels on this Christmas Eve, and through out the rest of this year!

 

Blessings in Him,

 

the Pilgrim

8 months, 1 week ago 6

 

 

 

 

By now, I’m sure you are wrapping up your gift list for your Children, Grandchildren, your Mom and Dad, your Grandparents, yours Aunts and Uncles, Nieces and Nephews, Cousins, and Friends!  It is Jesus birthday, what are planning to give Him?  Before you give it some thought, remember He owns it all, everything you have, everything in the world.  We have all we have by His grace, He can take any or all of it back in a moments notice!  I can tell you with great authority, (the Word of God),  that He only desires one thing,  your heart.  Jesus did everything He did so that we might accept Him and receive forgiveness and eternal life.  That’s why he came and why we celebrate His birth!

 

A new spiritual journey started for me in August when we held our Faithful Friends Retreat.  I was looking for new Christian films to share during our devotional time.  I found and purchased a new film, Do You Believe.  I watched it and was immediately, deeply impacted.  A scene at the beginning the movie riveted me with a question I have  been wrestling with ever since.  Early in the film a pastor is driving through the city at night when he sees a black street preacher dragging a huge cross and talking to people on the street, he rolls down his window as the preacher approaches his car.  The preacher asks him, “Young man,  do  you believe in the Cross of Christ?”  The man answers, “I’m a pastor.”  But the street preacher says, “You didn’t answer my question, I asked do you believe in the Cross of Christ?”  to this, the man in the car,  the pastor, says,”yes”. The street preacher goes on, “You see the cross is bloodstained, painful, it loves, forgives and demands…but what does it demand?  That we profess it to this dark world…and if you believe then the question is….what are you going to do about it!”

 

In the months since I saw that film and listened to that line from film, over and over, and the question remains for me, what am I going to do about it!  I’ve watched news reports of Christians being beheaded, students in Oregon being asked if they were Christians, and then shot if they said yes.  I’ve been bombarded with all kinds of groups that want Christmas erased from our society.  My faith is under attack, people are hurting and lost, and the world wants to eliminate their only hope!  So, what am I going to do about it?

 

I’m going to stand for Christ.  I’m going to unashamedly live for him, love for him, reach out to the hurt and lost for Him.  Today I’m forming an organization of men and women that want to take up the cross of Christ and serve a lost world for Him!  There are no dues, no officers, no meetings, no charter, no by-laws, just and agreement.  If you want to join with me, you only need to do one thing, decide for yourself if you are ready to make a stand for Christ, to accept Him into your heart, give your life to Him, and openly proclaim that you belong to Him.  That’s it!  If you want to send me an email saying,  ”I’m in”, with your name and email address, so we can stay in touch with you, that would be great, but you don’t have to even do that.

 

My friends the Oakleys in St. Augustine Florida have designed what they call G Beads or God Beads, shown below, I would encourage you to go to their new website which I will announce here very soon, and pickup a G Beads bracelet.  As a way of us recognizing that we belong to the same army for Him.  I have no financial ties with them whatsoever.  The G Beads can be as reasonable as $20. and they will have a selection with beads from other exotic woods, lava rock, and other materials should you desire something different.  My wife has one with river pearls which is very dressy for women.  I hope this will become a modern day ichthys for us, a way of signaling to one another who we are and an opening to witness to those that ask about the beads.  The central three beads are made from the Olive Tree from Bethlehem and the two beads on either side for ASFC members will be deep blood red.  The three beads are for the Father , Son, and the Holy Spirit, the two red beads for the blood of Christ.  The other beads are decorative and your choice.

 

 

 

 

So what is ASFC.  I wanted a way artists of all stripes, photographers, musicians, painters, sculptors, designers, writers, all artists to join together to honor Christ with our art and craft.  You don’t have to be famous, or a professional artist, just a follower of Christ willing to make that pledge, that you will stand for Him!

 

This is NOT a call to confront the lost.  I believe the most effective way to reach out to others is the model Jesus showed us in His ministry on earth, it is to love others, with God incredible love.  People were drawn to Jesus because His love was like none they had ever experienced, it was love that was unconditional,  it was love that forgave, it was love that renewed.  When we accept Him into our hearts we have that love, His Love!

 

I’ve never asked you, my readers what I’m about to ask you, but I will this once.  If anything that I’ve ever written could go viral, this would be the message I want spread far and near!  Dear friends are spreading the word now.  Ricky Skaggs is telling the country music world, Ken Jenkins is informing the film making community, I’m starting spreading this through out the photography community.  We need dedicated, committed Christians, fellow bothers and sisters of  ASFC, to spread the word through out the art world!

 

So what are you going to give Jesus for His birthday?  How about your heart and your service to Him!

 

Merry Christmas,

 

the pilgrim

 

To register as a member send your name and email to:   billfortney@earthlink.net

 

In case you were wondering about Ichthys

 According to tradition, ancient Christians, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, used the fish symbol to mark meeting places, or to distinguish friends from foes:

 

According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good and safe company.  

 

 

 

 

Our Log Art:  The first three crosses stand for the three crosses on Calvary, that of Christ’s and the two criminals crucified with Him, the last is our cross, the cross we bear and where our sins were forgiven and a new life began!

8 months, 1 week ago 13

 

 

Almost two years ago I got a great Christmas Gift, in March!  I was speaking at the Florida Birding Festival and was introduced to John Oakley and his grand daughter, Ralphi (Raphaella) Oakley.  She was a very sweet young lady and had won the Youth contest at the festival.  The more I talked with her and John it was obvious what an exceptional young lady she was, and how talented.  I offered her a His Light Scholarship.  Later she attended a workshop with John, and her sister Nina.  It went so well that I extended the scholarship for another event.  Long story short, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and come to love a great family!  Tami, her mother is a terrific lady, classy and sweet, and her other sister Carlie has become a great friend too!   She has an assortment of brothers, all great guys, and a new baby sister Mia.  It  has been a real pleasure for Sherlene and I to get to know them.

 

Back to photography, Ralphi has developed into a terrific shooter and gets better by the minute!  The most impressive thing about her work is the diversity of her subject matter!  Ralphi has been willing to try any new subject category and excels at everything!  Here are some of her wonderful photographs!

 

 

 

 

I am constantly amazed at how she adapts to such diverse subjects, and has a great feel for each! When I visited the store the family owns, Original Pieces, I got to see some of the fashion posters she has created and was once again I so impressed with her diversity. Here were  few of my favorites,

 

 

 

 

So almost two years later I keep getting a great Christmas gift over and over, thanks John, and Nina, and Carlie, Tami, and the boys, and most of all, thanks for turning my gift into a great gift to myself! Thanks Ralphi, and Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Nina, John and Ralphi!  I want to nominate John for Grandfather of the Year, he has brought Ralphi to 9 workshops!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim