Hearing the Music

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Well, I’m a little bit behind schedule on the new devotion book, but I’m close. Really close! The book will be up for sale on Amazon before the end of this month.

As I worked on formatting this book, I was able to experience it the way a reader would. I let the words and the beautiful photographs minister to me. The result was a sweet sense of peace and a fullness of the love of our Heavenly Father. It was wonderful and I really needed it.

This should tell you that the Holy Spirit is all in this little book. How could I write something that would comfort me? Only the Holy Spirit can breathe words that give life after you’ve seen death.

When you lose a loved one, everything changes. The way you thought life would be is no more. The music of the future you once anticipated is dead and suddenly it seems there is nothing left but black silence.

But if you listen you will hear it: the Song of the Stream; the river of Living Water flowing toward you; the sound of life itself bringing hope to your broken heart.

Let the Lord Jesus minister to you, friend. Let Him surround you with refreshing and hope. You probably think you’ll never be able to stop crying, much less smile again. I am here to tell you that you will smile, though your smile will be different. It will be real and it will shine compassion on someone else who is trying to hear the music.

Phyllis Keels

The Song of the Stream, written by Phyllis Keels, with photos by Kim Lance, will be available on Amazon soon.

Real Men of God

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Recently, the totally awesome Minister of Education at my church, offered me a book signing table at the annual Sportsmen’s Banquet our church is hosting in March. There will be about 600 people at this event! I am so grateful!

It started me thinking… This event is for men. I wondered if any men would want to buy my books. My writings are kind of girly, after all. The consistent theme of “Jesus is our Bridegroom” and “you are the bride” may not appeal to men.

So, I wrote a men’s devotion book called “Real Men of God (They were human too).” I plan to have it available for sale at the banquet on March 6th.  (By the way, if you’d like to go to the banquet, you can find out how at FBCSalisbury.org).

I’ve been rolling around the idea for this book over the last couple of months, and when it was time to write it, the whole thing poured out in about two days. The theme is this: all of the great men of the Bible had strengths and flaws, just like we all do. They all had turning points and moments of choice – defining moments – just like we do.

The important thing is what the Lord did for each of them during their lifetimes. What I really want men to see is that the Lord made these men the way He did for a reason, and the same is true for you men today.

Our Heavenly Father uses all the things that make you you, and performs a miraculous work in you, around you, through you, and for you.

I want men to see: not only is it okay to be who you are, it is right to be who you are.

Here is a sample chapter from the book. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more of them so you can get a feel for these devotions. It is my earnest prayer that these bless you men, because I appreciate you, and I am grateful for who you are.

The “Valiant Warrior”

Who He Was

When the Angel of the Lord came to Gideon, he addressed Gideon as “valiant warrior.” Judges 6:12 (NASB)

I always imagined Gideon, replying, “Who? Me?” You know Gideon had to be surprised. At that time, he was beating out wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites who had been oppressing Israel. He was afraid.

His Turning Point

Gideon asked for several signs to be given before he finally believed who he was: a valiant warrior. It wasn’t until he and his servant snuck into the enemy camp and heard them talking about the fearful dream the Lord had given one of the enemy soldiers, that Gideon finally believed.

What the Lord Did for Him

The Lord made Gideon whittle down his troops from 32,000 men to 300 so there would be no doubt that Gideon was a mighty warrior, and also no doubt about whose the battle was. The battle was the Lord’s. The Lord fought it, and the Lord won it.

Because Gideon believed, he and his 300 men defeated an army of over 120,000. The Lord gave Gideon the gift of valor, and a fearless heart – all because he believed that this was who he already was, because the Lord said so.

Man of God, fear is your enemy, not the thing you fear. Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. The Lord looks at you, just as He did at Gideon, and says, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior!”

Phyllis Keels

A Daily Dose of Hope

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Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NASB)

Hope is essential to our survival. Just like air. Just like water. We can’t live very long without it.

Hope kept Joseph going while he was a slave in Egypt all those years. It kept David alive and writing Psalms while he lived in the desert so he could escape from Saul. Most of all, I’m certain it was part of helped the Lord Jesus to endure the cross.

It’s what keeps a bride faithful to her bridegroom. It’s what helps a parent through the heartbreaking times when a child rebels. And it’s what heals a terribly shattered grieving heart after an unthinkable loss.

Hope. You can’t see it, but you can definitely feel it. It’s like a bright light inside your soul. It banishes the darkness and chases all the fears away. It is an encourager, a strengthener, a protector, and a foundation.

That’s because hope has another name. It’s Jesus. You see there would be no hope without Him. There would be no joy, no peace, no security. He is the God of hope, because He is hope itself.

If He were dead, where would our hope be? There would be none because hope is tied to the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If He were not alive, we would have no joy, no peace, no security because He would not be here to give those things.

But praise God! Jesus is alive, my friend! And He wants so much for you to know real hope – the confident expectation of the good He has for you today and every day.

That is why I wrote this little book, From Hope, With Love. Something short to read each day for a month, just enough to give you a dose of confidence in who your Hope is, how fiercely He fights for you, and how tenderly He loves you.

Let Him fill you with His hope – the sure knowledge that Jesus is intimately aware of everything you are going through, and that He has good for you in those things. Once you trust Him, you will see how these good things far outweigh any suffering we will ever have, because that is when you’ll be looking at Him.

God bless you, my friend, now and forever more!

Phyllis Keels

Elevator Pitch

I had to write an elevator pitch for the devotion book that I’m publishing through Westbow Press. All I can say is: if you don’t know what an elevator pitch is, you’re lucky.

Writing a short one or two sentence hook that describes your book, what it has to offer and why someone should buy it is evidently not my gift. Could something like that be any more difficult to write?

I did some research on elevator pitches and found a cool formula. It’s: We solve [problem] by providing [advantage], to help [target] accomplish [target’s goal].

While I didn’t follow the formula exactly, it did inspire me to think differently about what I needed to say. I gave it my best shot and I’d love some feedback on it.

The background is this: the pitch is for a devotion book taken from the first year or so of blog posts after my 28 year old daughter Julie died.

The book is designed to walk with someone through grief and loss; especially the loss of a child or close loved one. The desire is that in reading about my experiences of the kindness of the Lord Jesus, the reader will find hope.

I tried to pick the posts I felt gave our Heavenly Father the most praise, and those that gave an accurate representation of His faithful love to us. The book is really about Him.

Here is the blurb for the book titled “In His Hand”:

“In His Hand” – guiding the brokenhearted to the Good Shepherd’s comfort through daily devotions. From one who has walked through the valley with Him.

And that is my prayer for anyone who is hurting – comfort from the One who first went through the valley for me.

Phyllis Keels