Scripture Canvas Tutorial

Scripture Canvas Tutorial

This “He is Risen” canvas was a gift to my daughter-in-law on Passover this year.

If you’re like me,

you have probably seen (and maybe drooled over) scriptures in beautiful fonts that maybe you’ve saved to your Pinterest account, but wish you could hang on your wall. Well, now you can. And I’m going to show you how in this tutorial.

What you’ll need:

A stretched canvas
A cutting machine (mine is a Silhouette® Curio)
Vinyl
A weeding tool
Paint in one or two colors
A stenciling brush
A favorite font (or two) — or —
A .pdf, .jpg, or .sfg file of the scripture you want to use
This tutorial assumes you already know how to use your cutting machine and can import images or install fonts if you need to. (These links lead to Silhouette tutorials.)

Step one

If you are using a font on your cutting machine, type in your chosen scripture. Don’t worry about the placement, because you can adjust it on your canvas once you’ve cut it out. I didn’t want to type the scripture in Silhouette, so I did it in Photoshop®. You can also  manipulate the placement of words on your cutting machine; I just like to use Photoshop because I can adjust letter spacing more precisely. Once you’ve decided how you want the words to work, it’s on to Step Two. Again, don’t worry about placement of the words.

This shows the .jpg in Photoshop.

Here’s the text, imported into Silhouette, and traced, ready to be cut.

Step Two

If you have used a program besides your cutting machine software, you’ll need to save the file according to the file type your machine will read. I used Photoshop, so I saved mine as a .jpg. Import the file into your program and trace the image (or whatever your machine requires).

Step Three

Cut the file in vinyl.

Step Four

Now comes the tedious part. Carefully remove the words (or letters) with a weeding tool that allows you to get under the vinyl easily. I use a dental pick that I found at a hardware store sale.  Be especially careful around thin strokes as they can easily break. Also, don’t let the vinyl stick to your fingers, either. Try to keep as light a touch as possible as you transfer the vinyl to the canvas.

When I made the “He is Risen” canvas, this is the tool I used for weeding. But today, I can’t find that tool! (Does anyone else misplace things as often as I do?) So I used an X-acto knife. Worked just as well!

Step Five

This is the point at which you arrange the words in the way you find pleasing. If you lay the vinyl down gently, you can easily reposition it until you are happy with the layout. At this point, I decided I wanted something to span the canvas between the words. So I went in to my Silhouette Library and found a fern I liked. I duplicated it and flipped the copy so they’d be mirror images. After cutting it in vinyl, I added it to the canvas.

This one isn’t exactly a scripture, but more an assignment of a godly attribute to a favorite teacher. The words in Hebrew say “Faithful Teacher.”

Step Six

Burnish the letters down well so that paint will not get underneath in the next step. A credit card is perfect for this task.

Step Seven

You may decide to use a single color of paint or more than one. I have decided on two colors that complement each other. Pour a small amount of paint in a shallow dish. Dip your stencil brush in the paint and pounce it on a paper towel to remove some of the paint. You want the brush to be damp but not wet. Pounce the paint over the letters, letting the brush get kind of dry before you load it again.

If you are using more than one color and you don’t want them to mix, let the first color completely dry before adding another one. You can pounce the paint just around the edges of the letters to create an outline or you can fill in the entire canvas. Each method returns an attractive result. In this example, I pounced a soft yellow color all over the canvas and over the type and the fern leaves I added to the middle. When it is dry, I will use metallic bronze to outline the letters, which will end up being white on a mottled background.

You may want to completely paint the canvas one color before you lay your vinyl down so that the letters will be a color.

Here you can see the yellow paint covering the vinyl.

Both colors have been added to the canvas.

Step Eight

Once the paint has completely dried, carefully remove the vinyl letters from the canvas. If you are very careful, you can transfer them to the backing paper they came from or use a page protector sleeve to save them for another use. I generally end up destroying mine (oh, well!). Note that the font I used was really too thin. A thicker font would have given a better result, as in the He is Risen canvas.

This is the finished canvas for my teacher.

Now you have your favorite scripture in white (or another color if you painted the canvas first) on the background you created with your brush.

To show you how it looks with only one color and white for the background, here is the canvas that I gifted my daughter-in-law with for hosting our Messianic Passover in her home.

This is the finished “He is Risen” canvas.

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Do You Suffer From Spiritual Light Sensitivity?

Do You Suffer From Spiritual Light Sensitivity?

For weeks now, I have been struggling with light sensitivity.

Yes, I have very blue eyes and a bad habit of squinting against the light instead of putting on my sunglasses. Some days, I feel like I need them even indoors!

My doctor tells me that most people in Texas—where I live—have vitamin D3 deficiency. That’s crazy, when we know that only sunlight produces that vitamin in our bodies. You can get small amounts from eating things like mushrooms, but not nearly as much as your body needs. With the abundance of sunlight in Texas, you’d think we’d be the least likely people to develop this deficiency.

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A study at Stanford

In a recent study at Stanford University, researchers found that women who spend at least 30-45 minutes in the sun everyday live longer and have less frequent breast cancers. Yet we’ve been told over and again to avoid the sun! And so we ask, what are we to do? (I’ll come back to that in a minute.)

Of even graver concern is the lack of spiritual light.

If avoiding the sun can cause physical problems in our bodies, imagine how avoiding God’s light can affect our spirits!

Consider the case of the New Testament Apostle Paul. Even though he wrote most of the New Testament, he had not always been a champion of the faith. Indeed, he had letters from the religious authorities to put in jail those who were following the Way. He was on the road to Damascus to do just that when something startling happened.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do (Acts9:3-6).”

Blinded by the light, his whole sense of who he was and who God was, was challenged. He had to be led into the city because he was totally blind.

But blind to what?

Saul was the young Pharisee who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He was passionate for what he saw as the only way to worship God. But the Pharisees had put so many stumbling blocks in the way of the faithful that no one could be assured of not offending them.

However, God was offended by the Pharisees!

He knew that no one could follow the law perfectly. Not even pious Saul. So He enacted the solution He had prepared even before the beginning of time itself. He sent Jesus into the world, to live the life we should have lived. He did that perfectly. Then, He took on himself the penalty for every sin ever committed, past, present and even future. He paid the penalty and bought our freedom and forgiveness.

 

He became the light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).

 

When Jesus showed people the way, those who believed Him still struggled with believing. At one point, the boldest Apostle in the group, Simon Peter, denied he even knew Jesus.

Much later, when the beloved apostle, John, wrote in his letters, he made it abundantly clear who the light is.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-9).

This may be my favorite verse in the whole Bible. I love the light, because that’s where Jesus is.

But it is definitely not always easy.

I suffer from chronic depression. If you think Christians shouldn’t have depression, then you must also think they shouldn’t have diabetes, or heart disease, or any of a plethora of illnesses that are a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, until Jesus returns and make all things new, we live in a fallen and decaying world. One day soon, He will return and restore everything to the way He made it in the beginning, before the fall. (For more information on being a Christian with mental illness, see Amy Simpson’s Blog. You can also read my testimony about depression here.)

We have a worthy adversary—the devil. The word tells us that

he goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8.).”

Do you know what that means? It means he is LOUD! He is ROARING his message of lies to us. But he is also a liar from the beginning and the father of lies (John 8:44).

The enemy roars his lies.

In our ears, in the mirror, in our jobs and our families and even in our churches. That is why it is crucial that we stay in the light. When the light is shining, nothing is hidden. If we believe the lies the enemy roars at us (I’m unloveable; I’m a failure; I’m not pretty; I can’t do anything right.) then we are committing Peter’s sin.

We’re denying that we know Jesus Christ.

I’ve just come through one of the worst depressive episodes I’ve ever experienced. I tried walking backwards in the light, but all I saw were the shadows that I, myself, was casting. I heard the enemy’s lies, and I listened. Fortunately, I have people around me who saw what was happening and rushed to my aid.

Now I’m wearing an elastic band around my wrist. It says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Even though it’s a good reminder, that’s not why I’m wearing it. Every time I hear the enemy’s lies in my mind, I snap that plastic band. Then I counter the lie with the truth of Jesus. I am loved. I am succeeding in my adventure with God. I’m beautiful because God says I am. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

One day soon I’m going to publish my testimony on this website. It’s kind of long, so it will be on a page of its own and you’ll never have to look there if you don’t want to. It isn’t a pretty story, but it is a story of victory!

So how do we balance our need for light?

In the physical, we need 30-45 minutes in the sun every day to produce enough vitamin D3. But NEVER without sunscreen! And I know it’s hot and we would rather sit in the air-conditioned room than walk around the block in the heat of the day. But doing something good for yourself means you’re doing something good for the people you love, too.

And what about spiritually?

Fully live your Life in the Light!

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How to Choose the Right Bible for You

How to Choose the Right Bible for You

How to choose the right Bible for you.

It seems to me that with the advent of global shopping online, the brick and mortar Christian bookstores where I worked and learned the difference between Bibles have gone the way of the dinosaur. Sure, there are loads of choices on the internet, many more, in fact, than any local bookstore or chain could carry. And it also seems like the sheer number of Bibles in new and exciting categories is growing by the day. So what do you do when you want a new Bible but aren’t sure where to turn? Well, for my friends, I have developed a method for you to weigh all the options available to you. Just click on the image to the right!

What’s the difference between not just translations, but types of Bibles? Is a Reference Bible better than a Study Bible? What qualifies as a Journaling Bible? And aren’t there specialty Bibles for just about every interest and need? Yes, there are, and what I’ve tried to do for you is put it all in a chart to help you make the choice that’s right for you.

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But first, some definitions.

Concerning translations, there are actually 3 types you might come across. Verbal Equivalence Bibles (aka Formal Equivalence Bibles) means that the translators have opted to translate word for word. If it is strictly adhered to, it can make reading a bit awkward because there are no strict equivalent words for some Hebrew and Greek words.

The second type is Dynamic Equivalence (aka Functional Equivalence) Bibles. In this translation method, the translator has attempted to convey thought for thought instead of strict word for word. Neither one of these methods is fool-proof, but they are still remarkably accurate when compared to the original manuscripts.

The third type is a Paraphrase, which is not strictly a translation at all. This type takes the meaning of the Scriptures and tries to put it in simple, everyday language. Many people use a Paraphrase Bible for reading, but switch to an actual translation for studying.

More definitions

In addition to the different translations, there are different types of Bibles as well. The three most commonly read are the Study Bible, which includes study helps and commentaries to try to make the passages clearer; the Reference Bible, which has a column either in the center or along the edge that list other references to the same topic; and there is a growing demand for Journaling Bibles as more people embrace journaling in their Bibles instead of in a separate notebook. And then there are Specialty Bibles that include things like Men’s Bibles, Women’s or Kids’ Bibles, Bibles focusing on architecture, or the work of the Holy Spirit, or even just Topical Bibles.

I’ve tried to give you a good sampling of some of the most popular Bibles; obviously, this post would stretch on to eternity if I tried to cover them all.

I hope the resource is helpful for you the next time you decide to purchase a new one for yourself or as a gift for someone else. The most important thing to remember is that time spent in God’s word is edifying to your spirit and God actually says it is “food for the soul.” Remember, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, KJV).

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