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I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;  and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”

~ I Timothy 1:12-14 (NASB)

With school over and work to begin, life gets scary. You go from having constant work and deadlines to no work and free time. You think you knew it all leaving school and leave confident that you will have all you ever dreamed of while zoning out during a lecture on resume writing. And then reality sets in.

It’s not that life gets better or worse once you leave the safety of the classroom. It’s that it’s different. You realise that, even though the Dean says you’ve been given all the tools you need to succeed in your selected career path, all you really have is what’s (hopefully) left of your sanity and a few skills to get you started down a long road.

School ended in September. Graduation was last week. It’s taken me this long to take my first few faltering steps into the great unknown as a freelance graphic designer. It took a shove from my career advisor and a few stern words from my mother, but here I go. Off earning my keep doing something I love to do.

And in all of that, I’ve attached my reminder that the grace of God is more than abundant.  The NIV says “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly”. In all my work, all my successes and even failures, if the grace of God was more than enough for the apostle Paul, it is more than enough for  me.

Everything

Psalm 150:6

 

One of the first full chapters in the Bible I ever memorized was Psalm 150. It seems that those first few verses that you commit to memory stick with you for the rest of your life. I have a lot easier time remembering the scriptures I memorized as a kid than the ones I tried to remember as an adult.

I heard a speaker this weekend talking about the difference between God’s power and other powers we see manifested on the earth (he was speaking in reference to a particular illusionist who is known for accomplishing the impossible). The power that many find on earth seeks only to glorify man. It is selfish and withholds from others. The power that flows from God never boasts and is always beneficial to someone else. It always points back to God and is for the benefit of His creation. This verse in Psalms reminds me of that. We forget that humans aren’t the only living, breathing things here on the earth. Beyond us, there are the animals around us. Pets, farm animals, bugs… And beyond those are plants. Trees, grass, flowers… Everything that lives and breaths gives glory to God.

What we do that most gives glory back to God is to act like Him. In love. In kindness. In goodness. In generosity. In creativity. God is the ultimate creator. When we act like Him and put things into being that once never existed, it glorifies Him whether we see that or not.

HIM

An instructor told me recently that every designer should do a series of creative exercises every day. Something that has nothing to do with a job you are working on and that can be done in a relatively short amount of time (an hour or less). This keeps a constant flow of creativity going and allows a designer to explore ideas that they otherwise may never approach – things like typography, Photoshop brushes, Illustrator clipping masks and an assortment of other goodies we all learned in school and then promptly forgot about. I decided that, if I’m going to build myself up creatively, conceptually and technically, that I could also be building myself up spiritually.

Today I spent an hour staring at these words for Colossians 1:16 (NASB) and as I did so, began to wonder how this verse could be rendered visually. When I think of the sheer vastness of God, my mind immediately goes to creation – this spectacular universe in which we live. I believe I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again – I cannot look at the world, galaxy and universe around me and not believe in a divine creator. If good design cannot happen on it’s own, this world in which we live is not the result of millennia of evolution that magically burst forth from a whole bunch of nothing. Besides, when was last time you multiplied anything by zero and got something other than zero? The idea that the universe came from nothing is a mathematical impossibility.

As I work on these exercises, I will continue to post them. Feel free to download and use them as wallpaper. They will all be sized for 1600 x 900 screen resolution at 72 dpi.

As for how I accomplished this piece, the text was created in Illustrator CS6. “HIM” is set in Bodoni Poster and the verse inside is set in various weights of Avenir. I created outlines of all the type and created compound paths so that I could subtract the verse from “HIM”. Once the vector was saved, I pulled it into Photoshop. The background is made up of three layers of rendered clouds in various colours overlayed with pieces masked out to create the look of a supernova. The stars are from a set of free brushes I found at Brusheezy.