Cover Story

I thought I’d show how  I got to the final cover design for my book “Reaching for Healing”.

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The first design was just a standard one from Createspace. The first chapter talked about not being able to see the wood for the trees (ie we may see lots of individual healing miracles in the bible, but miss the overriding principle that God clearly loves making people well).

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I moved from Createspace mainly because it was based in the USA and so postage costs for proofs were too much plus they took far too long to arrive. Lulu has been great and really easy to use. Even when I was sent some rather badly printed and damaged books the customer support was excellent and more than made up for it. Here is the cover design I used for my first Lulu book. It’s more fruity than the last one.

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I quite liked it but the feedback was that it looked dated so I had another go. A friend got me off to a good start with the lettering which I pretty much kept the same in every design:

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As you can see I had changed the sub-title at this point to be more in line with the main idea in the book and less academic. Feedback on design was that it looked like alien hands, which once mentioned, it definitely does.

My next attempt was a bit impressionistic. It is made up of hands and a cross but I thought it was a bit like a crystal and not a strong enough stand out image.

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Next one kept the background but had a hand reaching for Jesus’ hem. Looks a bit creepy though doesn’t it? Plus it’s even more wishy-washy than the last one.

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Another simpler reaching hand. As you can see I was finding it hard to completely ditch the impressionistic hands and triangle background:

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The feedback was that the hand was a bit strange/not quite right so I tried something different and a bit more bold and colourful:

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I liked it but the red hands looked a bit like they had been skinned. It also looked a bit too much like a primary school textbook, so I tried blue again. Only later on did I find out blue was often associated with healing (Apparently Jesus tassels on his garment would have been blue).

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It was better but still didn’t look stylish, bold and simple enough so tried this:

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It was the best so far but I was having lots of discussions about whether the sub-title should be blue or black.

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I preferred blue. Others liked black best. The problem was solved by someone suggesting that I move the strap line up and Bingo! The winning design. Now I see them all together its the best by a long way.  Thank you everyone for lots of honest feedback! It helped me keep coming up with new ideas.

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I guess I could have kept going (at one point I was designing a new cover or version every evening) but this one is good enough for now. All the different source images are public domain too which is handy.

Here is the print version at lulu and here is the ebook. It’s on goodreads and you can also get it at Amazon as print or ebook.

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How great is our God

Been enjoying this song recently. Here are a few versions:

 

 

 

One day, there will be countless millions, billions even, standing before the throne of God, singing songs like this. Stirred up by the perfect knowledge of God’s goodness and grace in Christ, wave upon wave of worship will build out among the vast sea of saved souls. It will rise and swell, then role in and break upon the Lord Jesus: the lion and the lamb. We will be caught up in the eternal moment with hearts swelling with love and adoration.

 

 

Pinocchio vs Frozen

Ben Shapiro contrasts Pinocchio “probably the greatest animated film ever made” with Frozen.

 

Pinocchio was about becoming a real boy by taking responsibility and making sound moral choices: He declares:

            I want do do right

The central belter in Frozen proudly belted out is:

            No right, no wrong, no rules, I’m free

 

The message of Frozen (or at least that one song): do what you feel.

The message of Pinocchio: Resit temptation ie

the wrong things which seem right at the time.

Here is the Morality piece of the God puzzle.

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God addict

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“For someone addicted to porn, the intensity of craving as measured in an MRI scan is more than twice that of someone addicted to crack cocaine….just out of interest, if you put someone else in the machine and ask them to worship God, the same area of the brain will light up. “As the dear pants after water so my soul longs after you”.

I would like to suggest to you that we are designed, deliberately by God to have an overwhelming insatiable uncontrollable desire for intimacy and connection with him. We were built for that relationship and we are actually physically designed for it. It should be the case that if we have been away form him for a while, not talking to him, haven’t been praying to him, ….we should be utterly overwhelmed with a desire for him… the brain is like a muscle, it changes at it is used…it takes 9 years for it to go back to the way it was…”  Michael Ramsdon

 

 

The origin of evil

 

Where did the first evil desire come from in a good and perfect world?

O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Isaiah 63:17 (ESV)

Just heard Piper speak on this verse this am. Very sobering.

 

Our desire for good has its source in God. If God, for whatever reason, withdraws his presence, we are left in darkness without even the desire for good. God does not create evil, or evil desires. He is the source of only good, but he can withhold his presence in such a way that evil (the absence of good) exists. Piper is only tentatively guessing and feeling for a solution to the problem of where Satan’s first evil desire came from. It’s a mystery but this verse does shed some light on it I think. If our capacity for right desires is completely dependent on God’s gracious presence moment by moment, how much more should we watch our hearts that we do not intentionally pull away form him.

 

It’s not fair!

Whiskey_Chocolate_Cake.jpgHow would you feel if you found out someone else was getting paid more than you for doing that same job? Understandably pretty miffed I expect. It’s not hard therefore to relate to the consternation of the workers in Jesus’ parable when they found out that workers who worked less hard for less time got paid the same as them.

But what is Jesus saying here?

Grace : The payment does not need to be linked to the amount of work. The extreme case of this would be where we get something we have not earned. That is called grace. And in fact does not the employer in the parable answer his critics by saying “its my money to do with what I want. What is it to you if I give more to one person than another”. So this parable is about grace.

Anger : When someone else gets more than us we can get angry. It’s just not fair. We seem to be born with a very sensitive fairness detector. Children are outraged if a chocolate cake is sliced in such a way that someone else gets a molecule more than them. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It is wrong to pay one sex more than another simply because of their gender. It is wrong to take advantage of a workforce simply because they are vulnerable and have no alternative other than working for meagre wages. We should be highly alert to these things for the sake of justice. But that is not what is going on in Jesus parable. The wages are not based on anything about the workers. The reason for the differing amounts is in the hidden purposes of the giver who is not constrained to give based on anything outside of himself. For grace to be grace the giver must be free to give or not give as he wishes. The moment there is outside constraint, grace becomes wages. (Romans 9:21-24)

One final point: We are not the ones who have toiled away all day to earn God’s love! Jesus did the work in the heat of the day. We, who were called at the last minute, get the wages and the inheritance he earned. Our wages would have been death (Romans 6:23). When we start to think of ourselves as having “earned God’s grace” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) we will get angry when others are shown grace. Jealousy is a dangerous emotion. A big warning flash light on the dash board of our heart signalling a potentially deadly grace deficit.

 

Image from Wiki FotoosVanRobin