[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.






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.



  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



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.






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?






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!




“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!






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,


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. 🙂 

5 Steps to Shade Your Portraits Right

5 Steps to Shade Your Portraits Right

How do you get your portrait paintings to look lifelike?

Here’s a 5-step printable guide to get you on the road to realism.

Click here to download the full resolution 8.5″ x 11″ printable file.


It will help get you on the right track in using color and value and correctly, so that your acrylic portrait painting looks lifelike.

All of this is in a standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ printable guide that you can keep for easy reference. Although it will not solve all your painting problems,you’ll be able to use it as an excellent tool to get your painting going in the right direction, or even give you some solid principles to go by if you’re stuck.  Let me know what you think of it and how it helps.

Be blessed in your painting adventures and I’ll be in touch!

How to Join My Portrait Painting School

How to Join My Portrait Painting School


I have had a few people question me, how do I log in and purchase your portrait painting course?

Sometimes the technology is a bit challenging to figure out. Let me show you exactly how to do it.


1. The first thing you need to do is login into the Realistic Acrylic Portrait School


At this screen, click the “Login” text in the upper right. (Not the “sign up” button, but the one next to it)




2. Enter your information (email address and password you created.)

Click “Log In”


3. After logging in, select, the “Paint Your First Amazing Acrylic Portrait” course on the left.


4. It will take you to this screen. Click the “Enroll in Course” button.


5. Then, select your payment plan. You can pay in full for $97 USD or you can do a three-month payment plan, allowing you to get started for $39 USD today. But you will save $20 by paying in full!

After selecting your payment plan, click the “Enroll in Course” button.


6. Finally, enter your credit card or Paypal information and you can make payment securely online.


7. Click “Verify Payment.” Then finish the step, and confirm your purchase of the course, and you will be set! You will then be able to login like you did in step 1 and 2 and this time you will have full access to the course.

There is no time limit once you buy the course. You can use it as long as you wish.

Hope this helps… Look forward to seeing you inside the course!

All the best,



Inscribed on the Hands of God

Inscribed on the Hands of God


One day, when I was discouraged and depressed, I read this passage in my Bible from Isaiah 49:


But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
I thought, “God still loves me!” He still loves me–even though I’ve been distant from Him and messed up again. And He won’t forget me. I was comforted by His limitless promise to be faithful.


I thought, I have to do a drawing of this idea.


So I held out my own hand as a model and drew it. This is called “Inscribed.” 14″ x 17,” pencil on paper.


You will find over 300 names written within the creases and wrinkles of these hands.


“Inscribed”, by pencil artist Matt Philleo, detail


Be encouraged. God has not forgotten you either.


If you are a born-again child of God, this scripture passage implies that your name, too, is written on the palm of His hand. This means God will never forget you. He sees every tear. He knows what you are feeling and He knows how you may be failing. But He still loves you just the same.


And the reason He can do that is because, if you’ve allowed Him to, He’s forgiven every sin you’ve ever committed through the righteous sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf.


He shed His blood, died on the cross, and rose again to give you new life.If you are a believer, He sees the perfection, the righteousness of Christ all over you. You are a jewel in his eye. Yes, you have a special place on His hands and in His heart.


Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37) Anyone who continues on in sin and unbelief will end up in hell by default, but if you believe and trust in Jesus you will never be cast away. You will enjoy God’s love for you…forever!


Have a blessed day,


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