Original Painting of a Now-Non-Existent Building

Original Painting of a Now-Non-Existent Building

 

Here is a painting I did of a building in my town that is now no longer there.

I title this “The Original Upland,” (24″ x 30″, acrylic on hardboard) because it used to be the home of Upland Distributing, Inc. a vacuum and filtration sales and service company where I used to work years ago, as a traveling service technician.

 

 

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While I worked there I built up a relationship with my boss, the owner.

Since I knew the building was slated to be demolished soon, and the owner would have to move his business into another building after being there for nearly 20 years, I thought a painting would be an encouragement to him. It would help keep the memories alive.

It was something I felt God wanted me to do to bless him, and I waited for a while, but when I knew that demolition was imminent, I got out my camera and took some pictures.

 

 

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Maybe I’m a newbie at camera lenses, or I just tried to do the best I could with my small digital camera, but backed up by the buildings on the other side of the street, I couldn’t get the angle I wanted for image.

So I took a few images and “frankensteined” them together on Photoshop, using the warp and perspective tool to change the angle of the building to match the photos seamed together.

Never mind the cut-up-half floating car! That won’t be in the actual painting!

 

 

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With this layout, I now had an image to paint! Here’s the step-by-step process…

 

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Step 1: The Sketch

I made this very simple–just some lines, using a projector and a ruler to double check the angles. A projector can really distort your image, so you’ll always have to double check using your proportional skills and a ruler for straight lines!

After getting the sketch done, it was time to fill in with paint. I use acrylic mixed with matte medium to thin it out and make glazes. Everything starts out very light.

I used these colors:
Raw umber dark
Burnt sienna
Alizarine crimson
Phthalo blue
Raw sienna
Yellow ochre
Indian yellow
Titanium white
Ivory black


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Step 2: The Underpainting

In this step I block in the initial color of the building. The goal is to create a lot of contrast right away and make the orangish-brick colored building stand out against the pale white background of the snow and sky. Using burnt sienna and raw sienna with a heavy amount of clear acrylic medium to dilute it, I fill in the areas rapidly with a 1″ flat brush.

It’s the perfect size: large enough to cover the area quickly, but small enough to “cut in” around windows and trim. Sounds like house painting!


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Step 3: Defining the Darkest Values

Unless you get a sense for the darkest values within a picture, you’ll never know how dark to go with the medium and light values. So in this step, I darken in the window ornamentation, and the molding on the top of the building. I use a mixture of blue and brown, and I don’t want it to be too dark.

Why?

Because I’m trying to create the look of snow falling. You’ll notice as you look outside on a snowy day (I did on my drive to the studio) that when fine snow flakes are in the air, you don’t see just a lot of white specks. But the colors on everything–especially objects in the distance are muted.

Did you notice something? Or rather something that’s missing? I took out the vehicle that I originally had in front of the building. I decided that I wanted to show more of the details of the large glass windows, and that vehicle was getting in the way.

But to make the composition more interesting, as you’ll see, I add in a snow-covered fire hydrant. It also reiterates the reddish color of the building.


 

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Step 4: Enriching the Colors

This is where it gets fun. All the colors get enriched. I add several layers of burnt sienna and raw sienna to the building, making some areas darker than others. I want to create the look of old brick that is maybe a little dirty in some spots, and catches the light a little bit in areas that are angled towards the sky.

Also, I really add in some details to the Mona Lisa image on the building. That’s a trademark of several buildings in downtown Eau Claire. But in this case, the image has faded after several years, so I paint it with bluish colors, just as I see in my reference photo.


 

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Step 5: The Final Touches

Now the painting is very close to being done. But the final effects really enhance the overall presentation. I add in a lot of snowflakes of various sizes to create that three-dimensional look of some being closer to your line of vision than others.

Next, I make it look as if there’s Christmas decorations on the business’ front window. And last but not least, the details of the 2-Hour Parking sign. That was a very important detail to include, because the business owner recalls how he had to move his vehicle several times to avoid getting a ticket.

All part of the memories!

Finally, just to add some charm: a bicycle, again covered by snow. We have people in our city that bike year-round. I should know. I’m one of them! I made the bike facing towards the painting, intentionally to lead your eye back into the composition.


Now, here are a few detail images so you can see it a bit closer up.

 

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When the painting was done, I gave this to my old boss as a gift, which he now proudly hangs in his new office!

I figured I’d share this painting with you since we are still in the gift giving season. And also in much of the world, that charming season of fresh white snow covering the old memories of the year gone by, symbolically cleansing and preparing a way for the bright promises of a new year!

Be blessed,

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Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below! I will personally get back to you. Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or below. Thank you!
[Light Arises in the Darkness] Chapter 1, Part 2: The Purpose of Suffering

[Light Arises in the Darkness] Chapter 1, Part 2: The Purpose of Suffering

 

In my last post, I shared with you a portion of the first chapter for the book, Light Arises in the Darkness: How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy.

Originally, I put all of Chapter 1 into one post, but it was too long, so I broke it up into two segments…

 

The question in that first post was…Why is there suffering?

I talked about the reasons why–what causes it, but now you may be asking, “What good can come out of suffering? Why is it necessary?”

Let’s dive into that today. We’ll finish up Chapter 1 where we discuss, “What is the Purpose of Suffering?


I invite you to become a part of my Reader’s Review Group and I’ll let you know whenever I have a new section on the book written. Also, you will receive a discount on the actual book when it’s published. Click here and Join today!


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Light Arises in the Darkness

How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy

Copyright 2017 by Matt Philleo. All rights reserved.


(To help you navigate through the book. I’ll be including links below to various posts…)

CONTENTS

Introduction

  1. Why is there Suffering
  2. Acknowledging Your Suffering
  3. Suffering Caused by Financial Problems
  4. Suffering Caused by Health Problems
  5. Suffering Caused by Loss Problems
  6. Suffering Caused by Relationship Problems
  7. Suffering Caused by Internal Problems
  8. Seeking the Lord in Your Suffering
  9. Responding to His Presence and Encouragement
  10. Becoming an Encourager

 

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“Still Before Spring,” 11 x 14, acrylic on canvas by Matt Philleo

 


“This is one of the sad conditions of life, that experience is not transmissible. No man will learn from the suffering of another; he must suffer himself.” ~ James H. Aughey Read more

There is a good purpose in suffering.

We have to realize that God didn’t create suffering. But He does allow it. Why?

Suffering involves a measure of pain. And pain involves a measure of resistance. The resistance is the tension we feel when move forward and don’t things don’t happen like they should or we thought they should. Progress doesn’t come easy.

When the first man Adam sinned against God, by disobeying a clear command not to eat the forbidden fruit, he was kicked out of the garden. It didn’t mean God was through with him. Do you remember when kids were expelled in school? The expelling wasn’t meant to be permanent. It was supposed to be a wake up call. Of course, Adam couldn’t get back into the garden, but God still wanted to be a part of his life.

And just like in being expelled from school, where it is much harder to graduate, so it is was with Adam being kicked out of the garden. Life got tough. Really tough. His job as a gardener would not be a walk in the park in anymore. He couldn’t just drop a seed on the ground like he used to and watch the thing grow like Jack and the beanstalk. No. He had to break up the ground, pull out the rocks, put the seed in deep, water, and remove the weeds, all to get a crop large enough to eat a few kernels and repeat the process. It was hard work now. And for farmers worldwide, it still is today.

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But hard work brings muscles. If you’ve ever gone to a gym before and worked with weight training, you’ve probably seen and heard the big guys grunting, grimacing, and nearly shredding their tendons apart to go for that burn. No pain, no gain, right? It’s true. Suffering, which seems painful at the time, brings the reward of strong and beautiful muscles. There’s no other way to get it.

Suffering involves a measure of pain. And pain involves a measure of resistance. The resistance is the tension we feel when move forward and don’t things don’t happen like they should or we thought they should. Progress doesn’t come easy.

So also God can use suffering in this fallen world to build endurance and reliance on Him. People that are blind to Him will have their eyes opened up, seeking the God they were previously convinced didn’t exist or they didn’t care about, through suffering. People that already know their God will seek their God more, stop relying on their own limited strength, and discover the unlimited power that comes from trusting in Him.

In addition to this, we see the goodness of God shine all the brighter against a pitch-black backdrop of human suffering caused by human sin through human choices.

So what does this mean for you? You are either in the middle of suffering now, or you just got through it, and you’re going to go through it again. Count on it.

But don’t lose hope.

There’s divine purpose in the suffering you can’t always see. And although God doesn’t always let you know what that is, He has a good plan in it, if you’ll trust Him. Jesus said “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

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Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very bottom of the page! I will personally get back to you.
Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
I invite you to become a part of my Reader’s Review Group and I’ll let you know whenever I have a new section on the book written. Also, you will receive a discount on the actual book when it’s published. Join today!
[Light Arises in the Darkness] Chapter 1: Why is There Suffering?

[Light Arises in the Darkness] Chapter 1: Why is There Suffering?

Why is there suffering in the world?

In the last post, I shared with you my intro for the book, Light Arises in the Darkness: How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy.

 

Now, today, I’m going to tackle the question that everyone seems to ask when their world is caving in. Others more scholarly than myself have expounded on the subject far better than I can, but I hope to share a different perspective that may help and encourage you.

 

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Let’s go on to Chapter 1 where we discuss, “Why is there suffering?”


Light Arises in the Darkness

How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy

Copyright 2017 by Matt Philleo. All rights reserved.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

I invite you to become a part of my Reader’s Review Group and I’ll let you know whenever I have a new section on the book written. Also, you will receive a discount on the actual book when it’s published. Join today!

 


(To help you navigate through the book. I’ll be including links below to various posts…)

CONTENTS

Introduction

  1. Why is there Suffering
  2. Acknowledging Your Suffering
  3. Suffering Caused by Financial Problems
  4. Suffering Caused by Health Problems
  5. Suffering Caused by Loss Problems
  6. Suffering Caused by Relationship Problems
  7. Suffering Caused by Internal Problems
  8. Seeking the Lord in Your Suffering
  9. Responding to His Presence and Encouragement
  10. Becoming an Encourager

 

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“God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” ― Augustine of Hippo, City of God

CHAPTER 1: Why is there Suffering?

Suffering is inevitable.

We don’t have to travel long on the journey of life before we encounter pain and suffering. The suffering takes various forms. Sometimes it can be an external struggle, such as a loss of a loved one, a major health issue, a financial setback, or an extremely difficult relationship. It can also be an internal struggle, often triggered by the external struggle.

These internal struggles, manifesting in the form of depression, despair, negative thinking, wrong self-esteem, fear, anxiety, worry, bitterness, temptations, even suicidal tendencies, are often harder to pinpoint, and the struggle is just as real as the external problem. In fact, it’s probably even worse, because the tentacles go far deeper and cause us to walk around with something like sunglasses on all the time, making every fresh moment in life look dark, bleak, and dismal. In turn, this cloudy vision corrupts our judgment to the point that we see things that aren’t there. Instead of opportunities, we see a chance to fail. Instead of people wanting to help us, we suspect they are out to get us. Instead of a God that loves us, we see a God that wants to crush us and ruin our day.

I know. I’ve been there before. Got the T-shirt. And now I’m selling it on e-Bay, because it doesn’t fit who I am!

So, why is there suffering?

That’s a great question. Throughout the centuries, the wisest sages have broken off their collective mind’s teeth, trying to take a bite out of this enigma.

 

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How many times have you heard the question, “If God is good, then why does He allow suffering and pain in the world?” It’s interesting that the question is often posed by atheists or agnostics to discredit the idea of a transcendent supernatural being.

Actually, all they are doing is trying to discredit the idea of a loving transcendent supernatural being. Listen to the core arguments by leading atheistic apologists like Richard Dawkins, Charles Hitchens and Sam Harris and at the root of it, when they have a bone to pick with the Christian worldview, they argue against the existence of God because of all the evil going on in the world. I have listened to many of their debates, and they inexorably keep coming back to that same contention.

They say that the God of the Christian Bible condones, promotes evil and even is evil, and therefore he cannot exist. Not surprisingly, many ardent atheists, often previously religious people, have experienced a traumatic event in their own lives where God appeared to be unavailable or unsympathetic to their plight, and so they concluded there is no God.

And that makes for a compelling point, something they realize innately: If there’s a god, he must and ought to be good. And to some degree, they are right. If god is evil, there cannot be a god.

Now, we don’t invent God. God is not good just because we think He should be or we need a god who is good.

God is good, because that’s just who He is.

I’ll even go so far as to say this: God is good, because if He wasn’t good, He couldn’t be God.

Would it make sense that a tyrannical despot with a personality like Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin could operate the universe?

 

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Certainly, we did see the rise of Germany and Russia in the 1930’s and 40’s, with socio-economic forces seemingly going their way for a decade or two, but then their prospective empires imploded when the devastation they created backfired. They couldn’t successfully govern their own countries, let alone the laws of physics spanning the galaxies. Think of top executives profiting off of corporate theft and how eventually their mismanagement causes their companies to come crashing down, or at least their own careers. Rulers who are in it for themselves only–which really is the definition of evil–may keep order for a while, but sooner or later, narcissism displaces managerial responsibilities, discontent of the subjugated breeds revolution, and all that the leaders built or inherited has an inevitable collapse.

 

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If there is a god, and he’s evil, even if he could somehow manage to keep the finely-tuned clockwork of the universe ticking, we would not expect to see gorgeous sunsets, flowers adorning the tops of hills, majestic waterfalls, babies smiling and reaching out for their mother’s faces, people in the western world waking up each day to take a cold, clean shower and eat a hot meal whenever they want it.

 

God is good, because that’s just who He is.

 

If there is an evil god running the show, we would expect to see the whole world, at every moment and in every place, looking like a garbage dump, with complete mayhem and destruction in every nook and cranny.

But we don’t.

Even more than that, we know that people have the capacity to love, to have compassion, to be generous, to do good things. (At least as far as human goodness goes.) Is it possible that the God who created them and lived for so many years more than them, would not excel in all these qualities? Could the creature be better than the creator?

 

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Recently I created a painting called “Smoldering Wick, a 30” x 40” acrylic on canvas. I consider it my best work to date. It was well received enough that I created reproductions of it. I sold quite a few prints and several of my collectors have remarked on how much they love their copy. But having seen the original up close, the reproductions–as accurate as I tried to make them–don’t even come close to its quality.

So, as an artist, should I expect a reproduction of my artwork to exceed the quality of the original? Of course not! You know too that when you run to the copy shop to print something that there’s always some flaws in the photocopies.

Likewise, should we suppose that as reproductions–in a sense–of God, (the Bible says we are created in His image) we would exceed the deity in all of His good qualities?

Impossible.

And if we can’t exceed Him, then who are we to judge His actions? But people do that every day, and God puts up with it. That is more than we would do, if we looked down every day upon a bunch of tiny ant-like creatures on the one hand thanklessly ignoring us, even as we bent down to feed them, and on the other hand, shaking their fists at us when we turned away for a moment!

God, who is the very essence and definition of good, created this world, and it was good. The suffering came as a result of sin. The disobedience of one person, Adam, brought sin and suffering into the world. This is the world we inherited. The true root of suffering is in the heart of humankind. Lying, stealing, gossiping, racism, warmongering–all those things have come as a result of our rebellion against God. In addition, the Bible says the land has become defiled by our sin, too. That could be the reason for natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and volcanoes.

You can see that the precision of the finely-tuned universe, and especially our Earth, demands a creator, just as a intricately designed device like an iPad demands a designer. The Bible says, “the heavens declare the glory of God.”

 

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When you see the magnitude of the nighttime sky, you know there’s a God out there. We can calculate when the sun will rise to the second three years from now. That is how well ordered our solar system is. God created it, and God sustains it. And again, we know He can only run the universe properly if He is good.

A friend of mine and I were talking with a man one evening at the University of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and shared the good news of God’s salvation with him. I read out of the book of Romans in the Bible in Chapter 3, where it says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” He stopped me and asked, “It says all. Doesn’t that mean God sinned too? God created everybody, knowing they were going to sin, so doesn’t that make him responsible for that evil?”

I replied, “Not at all. If one of my children grew up and robbed a bank and killed someone, but I raised them in a right way, teaching them, praying with them, loving them–would that make me personally responsible for the child’s actions?”

“No, but society would see you as partially responsible.”

“True, but that doesn’t mean society was right in their assessment.”

And this is how society, the world at large sees God. They want to blame him for all the trouble they created.

But then, when things are going well, they want to take all the credit, and tell Him to get out of their hair!

The fact is, God created people with a free will, not as robots. They chose to disobey and sin. They are responsible for their actions, not God.

 

The true root of suffering is in the heart of humankind.

 

It’s important that we get this fact nailed down right away. Nothing in your world will make sense if you don’t believe in a good God. And again, I will reiterate: it’s not your belief that makes Him good. He is good, regardless. But if you don’t recognize that truth, the deception will forfeit your peace. You’ll be like a rock climber without a rope, frantically grabbing at every twig to keep you falling, when all the time there is a strong hand lovingly extended to pull you up.

Aren’t you glad that the God who created everything, including yourself, is good?

The suffering we endure as human beings is all our fault, collectively. But your suffering isn’t necessarily your fault. You could be suffering because of bad decisions your parents made, your wife or husband made, your boss made, or your senator made. But if it is your fault, that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for you.

 

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That will finish it up for today. In the next post, we’ll move right into the rest of Chapter 1: Why is There Suffering? and specifically, “What is the purpose of suffering?”

Be blessed and be encouraged,

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Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very bottom of the page! I will personally get back to you.
Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
I invite you to become a part of my Reader’s Review Group and I’ll let you know whenever I have a new section on the book written. Also, you will receive a discount on the actual book when it’s published. Join today!

 

 

[Light Arises in the Darkness Book] Intro

[Light Arises in the Darkness Book] Intro

 

Recently, I mentioned my new book I was writing, Light Arises in the Darkness: How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy.

So here is my book–in progress–starting with the a cover layout I made on Photoshop. It may change as I get closer to publication, but this will work for now.

 

 

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And here is the chapter outline, followed by the introduction. Keep in mind the book will be edited before publication, but you will get to see it in the rough, first. I really appreciate your comments, as that will be an encouragement and will also help me in the direction I take the book.

Please pray for me that I would write it well–that it would be according to the truth in God’s word, the Bible, that it would encourage others in the midst of their struggles, and that it would help people to see how awesome God is, in the midst of the difficulties of life. Thank you!

 


Light Arises in the Darkness

How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy

Copyright 2017 by Matt Philleo. All rights reserved.

 


CONTENTS

  1. Why is there Suffering?
  2. Acknowledging Your Suffering
  3. Suffering Caused by Financial Problems
  4. Suffering Caused by Health Problems
  5. Suffering Caused by Loss Problems
  6. Suffering Caused by Relationship Problems
  7. Suffering Caused by Internal Problems
  8. Seeking the Lord in Your Suffering
  9. Responding to His Presence and Encouragement
  10. Becoming an Encourager

 


 

 

“Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

INTRODUCTION

This book is not meant for those who have it all together.

I wrote this book partially as way of recording my own struggles, and piecing together in life how God has lifted me up out of the muck and mire, leading me from darkness into light, and is still lifting me up today. He can and will do the same for you, if you let Him. It is my hope that you will find great encouragement through reading this book.

 

 

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But, on the flip side, the best this book, or any book like this can do is serve as a signpost, pointing you to the Book of books, that is the Bible. I believe God wants to jump off its pages, in the middle of your discouragement and despair, give you a warm, life-infusing hug, tell you it will be alright, encourage you by giving you a plan of what He wants to do in your life, and even how you will respond to that by following Him closely.

What I write I am going to share from a biblical perspective, a Christian worldview. If you are not a Christian, it is not my goal to alienate you, but I must be true to who I am. My God has encouraged me through many trials in life. I believe He will do the same for you, because I’m nobody special. (But I am loved by Him, and so are you!)

Even if you don’t believe in God just yet, He still longs to give you peace in the midst of the storm.

But in the process, He may tell you things you don’t want to hear. Now, would you rather have a friend who cared about you enough to tell you that you had a smudge on your face, or someone who was too afraid to tell you the truth and let you walk around all day like that?

 

 

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Yes, God actually speaks today, and it is either through the Bible or words that agree with the Bible. I will be sharing many things from its life-giving pages, as well as my own personal testimonies and those of others who have gone through suffering. As I share the stories of others, I have changed a few of the names to keep things anonymous.

I ask that you pray before and while you read this book. Everything that I present to you that is not directly from the Bible, I sincerely hope can be of help to you, but is subject to error. So please pray as you read this that God would allow that which is true to be remembered, and anything that is not would be forgotten and not retained. You can tell what is true by whether or not it agrees with the words contained in your Bible. May the Lord forgive me if I wrote anything that would diminish His glory and lead you astray in any way. I have almost turned away from writing this book for that reason. But I’ve continued to pray and believe this is what He wants me to do: that somehow, amazingly, God can use these meager words and images to bring encouragement to at least a few people and glory to Himself.

One thing you may be thinking is, “Who are you to write a book like this?”

Where are your credentials?

Well, I’m neither a professor nor a pastor. I’m not a psychologist, though I’ve given advice to many! I’m not even what you would consider a “super-Christian.”

I’m not a theologian. At least not a professional one.

I’m a layman. I’m a Christian, a husband, father, active member of a local church, and an artist. I love to do paintings and drawings that bring comfort, encouragement and inspiration to the brokenhearted.

So why write a book about encouragement?

A couple years ago, I started writing about the ideas in my art when I posted it to my blog. Extant above all was the theme of encouragement. My art is inspired by the times when I have experienced suffering of many kinds: financial, relationship, loss, and internal struggles. Can you relate? I found God to be the only stable source of encouragement in these times of darkness and despair. In fact, I have even experienced incredible joy in the middle of the worst circumstances!

 

 

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“I found God to be the only stable source of encouragement in these times of darkness and despair.”

 

 

I thought it would be great to create an e-book to share with readers of my blog, but soon the idea got wings and expanded to a full-size book, especially as I asked others to weigh in and share their stories of finding light in the darkness as well. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a few words can create a thousand pictures in our minds. With that, I decided to put pen to paper, (or fingers to a keyboard) as well as a brush to canvas to express the concepts of comfort, encouragement, and inspiration.

It is this goal of finding joy in the middle of suffering that I want to share with you. Feel free to disagree with anything I’ve written, but come with an open mind. I’ll be including images of my artwork to illustrate and correlate with the concepts and ideas presented here.

May you come to see how great, loving, perfect, and valuable God is as you find encouragement through this book!

 

 

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And that’s it for now. In the next post, we’ll move right into Chapter 1: Why is There Suffering?

Be blessed, and I’ll be in touch,

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Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very bottom of the page! I will personally get back to you.
Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
I invite you to become a part of my Reader’s Review Group and I’ll let you know whenever I have a new section on the book written. Also, you will receive a discount on the actual book when it’s published. Join today!
8 Reasons Why I’m Back to Writing the Book

8 Reasons Why I’m Back to Writing the Book

Almost two years ago, I decided I was going to write a book on encouragement. Initially, it was going to be just a brief E-Book, but then…

Then, I started asking for a few folks to contribute their stories–stories of how they went through struggles in life, but somehow made it through. Several people responded, and I had stories that I could include to truly add life to the book!

This meant that the book needed to expand and with several concepts brewing in my head, I knew that I had enough content for a full-length printed book. My goal was (and still is) to make this a unique book by including a lot of paintings, drawings, and illustrations to go with the concepts and stories.

 

 

I had a title already picked out for it: Light Arises in the Darkness: How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy. The premise of the book is that in the middle of your biggest trials, fears, disillusionment and devastations, God would meet you in the dark place and pour out His light, love and mercy on you, if you would only seek Him.

I know, because I’ve been there, and experienced it. Maybe you have too! This was a book that I needed to write. Even as an artist, sometimes pictures just aren’t enough to communicate a message that dives down so deep into who you are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I would need at least a hundred pictures to share this message of hope with others.

Words are needed too.

Soon enough, these words flowed out into the keyboard and on my screen, and I had about two chapters done within a couple months. I was feeling good.

Fast forward two years later.

For the longest time, I was sitting with just two chapters in the book! What happened?

Let me be completely transparent here and share with you seven reasons why my book still remains undone:

1. I didn’t feel like I had my outline organized enough.

2. I got so busy with art commissions, teaching classes, marketing, and just life, that I didn’t feel like I could commit to the time necessary to get the book done.

3. Marketing seemed like such a nebulous thing and so the whole project became too daunting.

4. Am I a good enough writer? I was afraid of what people may think–either something they thought that was incorrect, or that it wouldn’t connect with them.

5. I procrastinated on it this long. The people who knew I started the project had to be disappointed that I haven’t finished it yet and so, in my shame, how could I continue?

6. My relationship with God at times is not as close as I’d like it to be, so I thought, who am I to write a book like this?

7. Because this book deals with theological concepts, I was afraid of writing something erroneous, even heretical, and God would be angry with me.

 

 

Recently, I was praying, and I asked God if I should write this book. As I had my Bible in front of me just paging through, I read the words, “write the book.” I know this seems strange, but that is how God often speaks to me!

I flipped through a few more pages, and quickly my eyes fell upon the words, “Tell your friends how the Lord has had compassion on you” (And that is the main thrust of the book.)

Then I thought “Well, I’m afraid.” But the Lord showed me the passage “So do not be afraid…”

And again another: “Why are you so afraid?”

Finally: “Where is your faith?”

I really sensed God’s presence and encouragement as I prayed.

The Bible says that plans fail for a lack of counsel. So recently, I asked my pastor what he thought of the idea and if he would pray for God’s blessing on it of it. He said, “It’s not just a good idea, it’s a God-idea.” He was happy to pray with me.

So for that and many other indications when I’ve asked “Lord, is this your will?” I’ve gotten a green light. I shouldn’t have to have God hit me over the head to get me to do this.

Now, let me write eight reasons why the book must get done, in answer to my excuses–and by God’s grace why I’m going to do it.

1. I’ll never have my outline organized enough. But I have many concepts that I’ve written down in my journals, and soon enough, they’ll find a home within the chapters I already have set up. The book can evolve as I write it.

2. I have to just make the time to write. It only takes about 30 minutes to write about 400 words. I can schedule that time every day, and little by little, I’ll chip away at the project until it’s done.

3. I’m a better artist (possibly writer too) than a marketer, but I’ve educated myself on some of the core concepts of marketing. Basically, it involves letting people know about what you’re doing before and while you do it, getting their feedback, letting them be a part of the experience so that they are truly interested once the project is done and launched! Even if I make several mistakes in the logistics part of it, I will have still connected with people on a deeper level, and that will have been worth it!

4. The more I write, the better I’ll get. There will always be room for improvement. However, the goal is not to impress people with my writing. It is to share something that could make an eternal difference in their lives. Even just one word is able to do that. And since I plan on including scripture verses into my text, I know for sure, that has power to change lives.

5. It’s time to close to door on shame. For those of you who knew about this book idea when I first started writing (and especially if you took the time to share a story with me), please forgive me for how long this has taken to write! I thank God that I still have hands to type with, and as long as I do, I’ll use them to glorify God.

6. My relationship with God–and all of ours–will have its ups and downs, but I’m trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, that He has brought me near to God the Father. If God wants me to write this book–then He will enable me to do it well.

7. God showed me that I don’t need to be afraid of writing erroneous things. Now, I don’t want to swing to the other side, and be prideful or careless with my words, but God can keep me in the clear. Only the Bible is inerrant. I may write some things that are not completely correct, or fail to convey an idea properly, but God can keep me from distorting essential doctrines or theological concepts.

8.  People took the time to write to me and share their deepest struggles, and it would be wrong to not share those things with others who could identify with them and use the encouragement.

And then finally, I need to write it because I believe God wants me to. And doing His will is the most important thing!

Jesus, Isaiah 42:3, Smoldering wick, suffering servant, painting,

“Smoldering Wick,” 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas, 2016, by Matt Philleo

So, the book is on! I’ve already started a habit of writing a little each day on it again, and so far, I’ve been pretty consistent. Occasionally I miss a day or two, but I get back on the saddle and keep going! So far, I’ve written over 25,000 words! 🙂

As I work on the book, I’m going to post segments of it here on my blog, and send you updates as I go along.

Eventually the goal is to have it printed up, possibly in full color, with several of my paintings, drawings, and illustrations interspersed to bring the words alive.

I want to encourage people. In this world, we need as much of it as possible.

Have a blessed day,

If you like this post, please share it with others. And feel free to comment below. Thanks!

P.S. Would you be interested in receiving updates on the book as it’s written (2-3 times a week)? Click here and I’ll send you excerpts of the book as it’s written, before it’s published. I welcome any of your feedback on it…truthfully, it would be much appreciated and very helpful. 🙂 

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