Give Your Way Out

Sunflower

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

The reason that spiritual things don’t seem to make sense to us is that they are backward from the natural/physical things we can see.

Think about it: we believe something is real when we can see it, yet Jesus said to Martha at the tomb of her brother Lazarus (after he had been dead four days), “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, NKJV) He said, “believe” and then “see.”

And indeed she did see! Her brother walked out of that tomb fully alive and well.

Another thing we do is to give whatever we get. When people are unkind to us, we are unkind back to them. When money is withheld from us, we tend to hold onto every cent we have left and withhold money from others.

My friend, the Lord’s ways are of grace, of giving, of loving. He allows us to love our way out of unkindness, to forgive our way out of hurt, and to give our way out of lack.

If you want to be loved, then love others. If you want to be free from financial lack, then give. If you want to be free from bitterness and anger, then forgive. Give your way out.

How do we do this? Realize that you are already deeply loved, completely forgiven, and abundantly, and richly blessed. Believe it, then you will see it – just like Martha saw Lazarus walk out of that tomb alive and restored.

Don’t look at what the natural/physical tells you. Simply agree that the Lord HAS already blessed you and provided everything you need. When? When Jesus hung on the cross in our place, suffered the punishment for sin, and paid for our glorious inheritance as children of our Heavenly Father!

When you know you are loved, when you know you have been forgiven, when you know you are rich then you freely love, forgive, and give to others.

Be free, dear friend. Just be free and give your way out of whatever is holding you back today.

Phyllis Keels

In Times Like These

This is a previously posted entry that I needed to read again. I pray it blesses you today.

Pier

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like the world has gotten to be a scary place lately. It has probably always been that way off an on over the centuries. Our parents and grandparents dealt with a lot of in-your-face-evil.

Lately though, I find myself staring at the news (which I don’t like to watch anyway), wondering how can we fight or even escape such scary stuff? In addition, all of this pressure comes on top of what we deal with daily – grief, loneliness, stress, work, family and financial issues…

How can we even survive, much less be more than conquerors, overcomers, and victorious against something that seems so powerful and malicious as what we see happening in the world?

The answer can be found in one verse of Scripture and it’s probably not what you think.

The LORD [Yahweh] said to my Lord [Adonai], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1, NKJV)

God the Father [Yahweh] said these words to His Son Jesus [Adonai]. Jesus is now seated at the right hand (the hand of power and authority) of the Father, while the Father puts all enemies under Jesus’ feet.

In a good novel with a clear hero and villain, do you know what happens when the villain realizes his time is short, and that the hero has the ability to defeat him at any time? The villain becomes more aggressive and inflicts as much pain as he can in the short time he has left.

I believe that our enemy, the Lord’s enemy, the devil is accelerating his activity because he knows his time is short.

You don’t have to take my word for it. I’m nobody, but I’m a nobody who knows that Jesus loves her. When you know the Lord loves you, you can receive the truth of His Word.

My friend, during this time things will likely get worse, but remember that all things work together for good, to those who love God are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

If you’re still afraid (like we all are at times), please cling to that verse, and this one:

[The Lord said] When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2, NKJV)

If that doesn’t give you peace, read Psalm 91 every day until you know it to be true.

The bottom line is this: if you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you are – right now – in the Father’s Hand. You are – right now – in the secret place of the Most High and under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1)

Do not fear. Have courage. Your Redeemer lives and He will never, ever leave you. Jesus is more real than anything your physical eyes can see, and He is faithful.

Don’t try to see it. Believe it, and then you will see it. Believe it not because of what I say, but because your Heavenly Father does not lie. He is faithful, and He will accomplish His Word in you and for you, beloved.

Phyllis Keels

See You Again

Sunset Light

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

In the family of God, we use the terms “brother in Christ” and “sister in Christ” a lot to describe fellow believers. Sometimes we say this without thinking. Other times, we know exactly what that means.

Often there are “brothers and sisters in Christ” who truly live that role.

Like a physical family, we may not always agree with each other. We may even butt heads at times, and we may not see each other every day. But when we need Godly counsel and insight (wisdom from the Lord), these people are often the first we go to for help.

When we ask them to pray for us, they stop right there and pray with us. When we need guidance, they patiently listen while we “vent” our frustration or anger. When we need to cry, they hand us the ever-present box of tissues on their desk for just such an occasion.

These brothers and sisters are more than just people who believe like we do. They are kindred spirits, they are under-shepherds of the Good Shepherd, and they take care of their “family.”

Last week I said goodbye to a true brother in Christ. Two days ago, he went home to be with the Lord.

For fifteen years he listened while I “vented.” He laughed with me, prayed with me, and shared the storehouse of wisdom the Lord had given him.

He taught me what it means to be a caring leader and a servant of Jesus. He did this by his actions and his behavior, and by his unwavering faith each day.

While I know that my brother in Christ is now with the Lord, and is whole, fully alive, and leaping in joy – I will miss him so much.

I will miss his ready laugh, his minute attention to order and neatness, his wise counsel and his caring heart.

Most of all, I will miss his friendship. But I rejoice that he is free, he is complete, and he is basking in the shining love on the face of our Savior Jesus Christ.

And I rejoice in my last words to him, which are the truth that comforts my sad heart: I will see you again, my brother. I will see you again.

Phyllis Keels

The Hope of Home

I know a dear family going through something terrible right now. As I asked the Lord what to write about this week, He brought this past post to mind. I know why.

My friend, the only reason it was possible for me to see what I saw that night in March of 2011 was because my daughter had already received the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

So when I tell you that Jesus is real, that He really loves you, and that He died for you, you can believe it.

I am re-posting this so that you too will have hope. Your loved ones are not gone. They are home.

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Julie Keels (1982-2011)

[Written 4/14/11] Once I got home from the hospital the night Julie died, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I was back in ICU watching her die. I still couldn’t believe it was real. How could she be gone? What was I going to do now?

Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, I drifted off out of exhaustion (or more likely, God’s mercy on me) and I had a dream.

This makes the sixth dream from God in my life. I know they’re from Him because they are, well, spiritual. They are so different from other dreams that there’s no doubt they are from Him. I can still feel what I felt when I dreamed each one. I can still tell you every detail of those dreams – those night visions.

That night, I dreamed that Julie came back. She was standing right in front of me and she was more beautiful than can be described. My baby was alive! But not just alive – she was radiant!

Her face shone with a warm light, and her eyes were even more vividly blue than I’ve ever seen them. Here eyes were a blue that doesn’t exist on this earth. Her hair was shining and auburn, like the color she was born with.

And she smiled at me!

Her smile was completely joyful. I’ve never seen a smile like that before or since. There was no trace of pain or sadness – past or present. Nothing but pure, undiluted joy was in her.

I can’t even find the words to tell you how happy I was at that moment. I can still feel it. My baby was alive! In my dream, I shouted, “Look what God did! Look at the miracle God did!”

But when I tried to show Julie to anyone, she was gone. They could not see her. So I searched for her, and found her again. Three times I tried to get others to see her, but each time she was gone.

When I woke up, I still had that same wonderful joy and relief I’d had in my dream. I realized very quickly that God had given me a precious gift. I’ll never be able to thank Him enough for that sweet image of Julie, for His loving kindness, and for His mercy on me.

I knew that what He had shown me is how Julie is right now. In that brief moment, I saw completeness in Julie. She was finished, like a breathtaking masterpiece that needs no other stroke of the brush. She was fully radiant, completely at peace and filled with great joy. My baby is home.

Sometime later I realized something. Many times in the Bible, people who were visited by angels tried to worship them. The Comforter showed me why. Not that I wanted to worship Julie in my dream, but I know now why people tried to worship angels.

Julie’s face radiated because she had been in the presence of the Living God. She glowed with the light that comes from His holiness and glory. My daughter is standing before the Lord of Hosts and the Lamb of God!

It reminded me of Moses’ face glowing when he came down from the mountain, because he had been in the presence of God.

When my heart is breaking (as it does daily) and I feel the terrifying thought that I won’t ever hear my daughter’s footsteps in the house, the gentle Comforter brings my dream before my eyes.

Every time He shows me, I feel the same swell of joy in my soul. It is a soothing ointment and a clean bandage to a terrible wound. And I know the dream will be there, no matter how long I need it.

Phyllis Keels

Starting Eternity Now

Beach

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

Okay. Forget the, “It’s so hot outside you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.” The reality is, “It’s so hot outside you could fry an egg on top of my head.”

I’m so sorry for anyone who has to work outside right now. I can hardly stand to walk through the parking lot from my car to a building.

The way I’ve started dealing with the heat is to remind myself that in about six months I’ll be crying because it’s so cold outside. Seems there’s just no pleasing me!

The truth is, I love spring and fall. I suffer through winter and summer.

But you know what? I think heaven will have the best of all four seasons. It will have the new life of spring, the quiet of winter, the warmth and full light of summer, and the color of fall. It will be no less that perfect.

The thing is, sometimes we miss enjoying the now because we’re longing for the future or we’re trapped in the past. Jesus said that He came so we might have life, and have it more abundantly. That means life right now. I think He wants us to start enjoying eternity in the moment.

When we take time to appreciate the wonderful light of summer (even if it’s from an air conditioned house), when we can savor the soft quiet of winter (even if it’s while we’re sitting in front of a fireplace), then we begin living in eternity. We begin to live in the heavenly places.

All of that appreciation and gratitude points us to our loving Heavenly Father, who is the giver of all good things. And He wants to give us everything that Jesus’ sacrifice bought for us.

My friend, if you are struggling with something worse than the heat, like disappointment or loss, then please take it from someone who has seen a glimpse of heaven waiting for us and know this: your Heavenly Father loves you with an everlasting love. What waits for us is full of His abounding love for us.

I have seen the golden light of heaven. I’ve seen the vibrant color that doesn’t exist on this earth, and the new life shining in the faces of those who have gone before us. The beauty that awaits us is beyond my ability to describe.

No matter what you’re going through, your Heavenly Father cares. If you are sad, He cares and is waiting to help you. He is such a gentleman that He will not intrude. He waits for you to invite Him into your grief, loss, and disappointment.

Once you do, you’ll be living in the heavenly places, my friend. You’ll begin the abundant life, and you’ll feel greatly loved. You’ll be living in the heavenly places.

Phyllis Keels

More Treasure

Biking

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

Want some treasure? Your Heavenly Father is sending you some today.

No, really. And it is better than gold.

Psalm 23 is one of those passages we’ve read and heard for years, but when I looked up all the words in the concordance, I was blown away by what David had written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (Click the image below to enlarge and read it)

This, all of this, is for you today, my friend. Today, tomorrow, and every day of your life. You are loved, you are protected, you are provided for, and you are blessed. That’s the truth. Simply walk ahead in it. Pretty soon, you will see the evidence of that truth.

I am convinced that this is what Jesus was referring to when He said that He is the Good Shepherd.

With much love in Christ Jesus,

Phyllis Keels

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Come

Several years ago, I looked up every word of Matthew 11:28-30 in Strong’s Concordance. I followed each word back to its root and wrote down the meanings of each word. I have all of it in a journal – pages and pages of definition.

It took a lot of time, but to me it went by in a flash. I love digging into the original meanings of words, especially the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament.

After I had everything written out, I read through it and was amazed at what Jesus had really said in the “Take my yoke” passage.

Then I wrote it out as if He were speaking to me. The images below are of what came out, taking into account the complete meanings of the words and even the verb tenses.

My friend, if you are carrying a burden, please let it slip from your hands as you read what Jesus is saying to you right now.

Phyllis Keels

Take My Yoke Page 1

Take My Yoke Page 2

The Family He Loves

Sunrise

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m ready for a season of smooth sailing. Too much tragedy, too much adversity, too much hardship, too much suffering. Too much…

And my life is easy! Compared to what many people deal with, I know my life is easy, pleasant, and good. So why does life feel so hard sometimes, even if many other people’s lives are harder?

Some things are relative. Some are not. Some things depend on perspective. Some do not.

What I mean is: truth is not relative. There are not truths. That would negate the nature of truth. Truth is true because it’s the truth. Not because we think it’s the truth.

Suffering, however, is relative. What hurts you hurts. It doesn’t matter that there is suffering out there worse than what you’re feeling. It hurts.

My theory about why sometimes life feels harder than others is because the adversity, the hardship that comes aggravates a painful spot in our heart. It irritates the grief we already feel. At least it’s that way with me.

A broken down car just reminds me that I’m single. I’m responsible to take care of everything in my life – house, job, family, car, bills, etc. Most days that’s exhausting.

Seeing a loved one suffer just reminds me that I’ve lost loved ones due to illness and injury. It reminds me of death.

Just about any hardship reminds me of a weakness, a fear, or a lack.

But you know what? Life, real life, is not about what we see – the hardship, the lack, the fear. It’s about what we don’t see – the Hand of the One who has already taken care of all these things.

We don’t deny that there are hardships. We simply acknowledge that those things are no match for our loving Heavenly Father. I promise you that this one thought always melts my fear, sends strength coursing through my veins, and reminds me that the truth is: I have no lack. I have an inheritance richer than my wildest dreams.

No matter what we face, we must face it rooted in the truth: we are not alone, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, and we are greatly, greatly blessed.

If you agree that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, then my friend, you are a beloved member of the family of the King of Kings.

And take my word for it if you will: God always, always takes tender care of the family He loves.

Phyllis Keels

Heaven’s Gold

Heaven's Gold

“Heaven’s Gold” photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

Sometimes when we look up into the sky, I think we can see a little glimpse of heaven. If we’re really looking, if we really want to see, I believe that we will.

Sometimes, I think what we see is the underside of the real thing. Sometimes I think what we see is the base of the streets of gold.

Maybe that’s what fish think when the look up at the surface of the water they are in, and see the sunlight. I guess they don’t know what the sun is, but they see it.

There have been so many times I’ve looked up at the magnificent sky and said, “How beautiful you are, Lord!” If the things He has made are breathtakingly beautiful, how much more lovely is He?

There are many things the Lord uses to call our attention to Him, to show us His kindness and His love. None are more profound to me than the beauty He has created on this earth and in the sky. I cannot look at them without being overwhelmed by His sweet presence and His love for me.

Have you ever walked through a museum and looked at painting after painting done by your favorite artist? After a while you can see the uniqueness of the brushstrokes and the way they painted the light.

After more time of looking at them you begin to want to meet the artist.

That’s the way the natural world has always been for me. The more I look, the more I want to know and be close to the Artist.

Perhaps you’ve had a different experience with God. I understand how it can be. Not everything in life is sweet and pleasant. I’ve been there too.

All I can tell you is that I know Him. I know Him better than I know myself, and He is love itself. He is compassion. He is mercy and kindness.

Whatever you’ve heard to the contrary is not true, my friend. And He longs for you to know Him more than you long for it.

Just look at he pictures He left for you to find. Look and take in the beauty. Look and receive the grace (the unearned favor) He has for you, His beloved child.

Then you will find that you’re looking at the streets of gold. Prepared for you to enjoy even from this side.

Phyllis Keels

(Remember, what we strive to attain here on earth is what the Lord uses to pave the streets with in heaven.)

The Poet Warrior

 

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The Poet Warrior

Who He Was:

I imagine that David is someone most men look up to, and rightly so. He was the man after God’s own heart, a great warrior, and Israel’s most beloved king. He was a gifted writer and musician. He was well spoken and handsome. He seemed to have it all.

Did you know he was the youngest of his family? When Samuel anointed David to be the next king, David was very young and not someone who seemed to fit the king mold.

His Defining Moment:

This is only my opinion, but I believe David’s defining moment had to be during his years as a young shepherd. By the time Goliath came on the scene, David already knew the Lord, YAHWEH of Israel.

I imagine that David spent many long days and nights out in the fields, listening to the voice of the Lord and falling in love with the Great Shepherd of us all.

What the Lord Did for Him:

Because David was human, just like we all are, David sinned, just like we all do. And the Lord forgave David, just like He forgives us. The Lord gave David a heart full of love for the Lord, and it was a heart quick to repent when David had sinned.

This is why David could write, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm 16:6 (NASB)

Man of God, even though you may have sinned,

because the Lord Jesus has paid for that sin,

you are forgiven now and throughout eternity.

That is a beautiful heritage from the Lord.

Phyllis Keels