Could life exist without patterns - without repetition and rhythm?  At the close of the first day of Creation God said, “It was good.”  After the second day of Creation God said, “It was good.”  After the third day of Creation God said, “It was good.”  We get the idea!  Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset - this cycle continues through the cycles of seasons, through the cycles of years and decades.  “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  There’s a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to weep and time to laugh,” according to King Solomon (Ecc. 3 paraphrased).  

After reading the entire Bible for the first time, one sees the patterns of human behavior and God’s responses.  Man sins, time passes, and God allows man’s ways to rebuke him.  Man repents, and God blesses him, and restores him.  With the turn of every page in the book of Judges we ride this spiritual roller-coaster of human nature and God’s compassion.  

After reading the entire Bible for the first time, one sees the patterns of human behavior and God’s responses.  Man sins, time passes, and God allows man’s ways to rebuke him.  Man repents, and God blesses him, and restores him.  With the turn of every page in the book of Judges we ride this spiritual rollercoaster of human nature and God’s compassion.  

-Younger siblings are often called and chosen instead of firstborns (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah).
-Dysfunctional families produce great children (Jephthah, Joseph, Isaac).
-Repentant sinners are blessed more than the proud keepers of the law (King David, King Manasseh, Woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, Peter).
-The poor are rich in their relationship with God 
-Long and devastating trials build character (Job, Jacob, Paul).
-Those who suffer are richly blessed (Jesus, Apostles, widows, fatherless).
-The minority is right (Joshua and Caleb, Noah, Jephthah, Gideon’s small army, the Rechabites).
-Adopted children do well in ministry (Moses, Joseph, Esther).
-Great leaders were bloody men (Moses, Levi, Samson, David, Paul).
-God chooses the weak to do great things (Gideon, Abraham, the disciples).
-Death brings new life.  We see this from cover-to-cover in Scripture.


God ordered the universe with patterns of sequence - the stars, planets and moons in the orbits.  The rain feeds the rivers; they flow to the sea, evaporate, and re-nourish the earth, to repeat this cycle of life.  In Genesis 8:22 we read, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." 

Although there is nothing new under the sun, all things are becoming new in our lives (Ecc. 1:9, 2Cor 5:17).  Old things are being rejuvenated and taking on a contemporary life and purpose.  Erosion is a destructive and creative process.  Think about it!  Volcanoes spew lava and destroy everything in their paths.  At the same time, this catastrophic event creates new landmasses for new life.  Some of the world’s most creative people are those who’ve found ways of redefining the old and building the new.  

The Old Testament Laws of behavior become new life, as the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ empowers us to be doers of the Law, which God writes in our hearts.  This too is a pattern - a rhythm of life.  The Apostle Paul is a perfect example; having been one who excelled in the OT Law and legalism, he became a central leader of the New Testament. (See Galatians 2:16-21 for a Paul’s testimony on this point.) 


This breath-taking view of wild flowers is an awesome example of repetition.  Innumerable blossoms create a breathtaking pattern.  One little flower by itself could be insignificant, but when thousands blanket a field the beholder is awestruck.  

Here we have the progression of repetition.  The up-close rhythm merges into a visual rhythm in the distant, never missing a beat.  The pattern in lower picture plane contains contrasting black amidst the stems.  Moving deeper into the field, the black is replaced with green foliage, which gives way to countless blooms.  The patterns of life are a lot like this image; although day follows day with familiar patterns, the rhythms change, they evolve on the horizon.  

These fields of flowers are like music, which abounds with mathematical rhythms. The visual pulse of the art is like a heartbeat.  Repeated lines, shapes, colors, forms, textures and motifs provide the vital pulse so that this image lives.  


We see in nature that like kinds in flora and fauna grow well together.  Find one oak tree and there will be others.  Spot a little monkey in your local jungle, and you’ll invariably behold many monkeys amidst the trees.  There’s power in numbers.  A mile or so into this same jungle and the monkey population dwindles.  

This same demographic occurs in the plant world.  Vines of a sort hang together.  Life forms cluster; they congregate; they live in community.  For lack of a better term, this is the cluster-factor of divine design.  It’s God’s way - similar life forms group themselves.  Sometimes the diverse members of such colonies are nearly indistinguishable, like wheat and tares or the good guys and bad guys.  


Repetition fosters visual rhythms or patterns that give artwork a kind of heartbeat.  This visual throb is memorable.  The repeated shapes and colors enter our eyes again and again like an echo in a canyon.  When we make sense of these pattern-images they become fixed in our visual memories - stored for future referencing. 


Repetitious patterns are everywhere. The stacked chairs, the block wall, the floor tile, the ceiling tile, the rhythm of footsteps in the hallways - we are surrounded. Take a walk through mature woods and discover a plethora of life forms living in rhythmic patterns of life, clustered in patterned communities.  A wise designer will imitate God’s divine design principles.   

Unnoticed for its lack of aesthetic value, this vertical file (above) takes on an exciting life, because Alex captured its structural pattern.  The random positioning of the paper within the files contributes greatly to the composition.  This randomness within the structured pattern of the file is essential.  It’s similar to a back beat, counter melody or harmony in music.  The structured pattern and the unpredictability of slumping paper compliment each other. 

The same is true in this photo of the football team.  The regularity of the fence pattern is not exciting by itself.  When we have to look through it and focus past it, the fence provides a visual obstacle, a playful toy.  We have to get through it with our eyes.  It’s like jungle vegetation or a hanging vine, we machete through to get to our destination.  Although the cyclone fence is in the foreground, once we focus on the football players, the fence takes a secondary position like background music. 

What is there to say about this cityscape?  Man is preoccupied with building monuments of pattern?  These buildings pop up like mushroom clusters on what used to be a perfectly green lawn.  We compulsively build and build and build more and more like-kind structures.  Are we very different than the ants, who act as if they are under a spell that compels them to pile one more grain of sand on top of the last grain of sand?  Dig deeper, build higher!  Are we  like little boys and girls who used to build forts, and as adults, we can’t stop ourselves?  Obsessive-compulsions, repetitious behavior, it feeds our need for order through pattern.  We’re compelled.  Artists understand this terribly human experience, and use it to connect with their audiences.  Patterns work because we love them by instinct.  

The precisely defined pattern of berries in the foreground establishes the fact that the blurred orange shapes in the background are the same berries.  The repeated orange shapes far from the viewers eyes, morph into what would otherwise be indistinguishable.  Our minds use the up close data to answer the distant question. 


The design principle of repetition builds a sense of order.  Even a huge junkyard is orderly because its owner painstakingly categorizes the like-kind junk into piles.   

If we could hear visual patterns they’d sound like a heart beating.  The lack of this visual pulse in art leads the viewer to a strange place, where he feels the absence of life - the life that should be inherent in a work of art.  Where’s the heartbeat without repetition?  Experientially, it’s like standing before a wax statue of Abraham Lincoln in a museum; he looks like he’s trying to breathe; he wants to tells us something - no heart beat - no life-giving rhythm.  He’s out of order.  

Every “Out of Order” sign on every soda machine tells us that its rhythmic function has stopped, its heartbeat flat-lined.  Thirst on with your money in hand!  When art has lost its heartbeat of repetition, it has lost its vital sign, its pulse.  It’s dead!  Art conveys life by embodying an element of life within it – the life force of rhythm, visual patterns. 


The patterns of this city building are black and white in hue and attitude.  Precision permeates.  The artist white-knuckled his rap-ideograph pen and ruler with exactitude.  The clarity and forthrightness of this drawing is its wow-factor. 


Unlike the previous image, the patterns in this painting are clearly the result of a kinesthetic experience - a flailing arm, flinging and dribbling thick paint.  The repetition is not at all rigid but spontaneous and happy.  Its organic rhythm sings its wow-factor.  We naturally connect with this piece, if not by experience then through imagining the activity that produced it.  

The following graphics employ repetition to get their message into the minds and hearts of viewers.  Read these works on two levels: the visual and the spiritual.  A successful graphic artists marries the natural elements with the spiritual elements into one visual statement.




The addition of words greatly influence 
how a person processes the visual.  






A swing, a swing, a swing, a swing, then... a strawberry swing!  Quirky is delicious sometimes.  The regularity of repetitious design can lead to boredom - an aesthetic coma.  The strawberries resuscitate us as they grace the un-swinging swing in the foreground with an exciting pattern.    


Spiritually speaking, true life issues from one source – the breath of God.  In our fallen state, new life comes from the resurrection power of God that raised Jesus from the dead - a revived heartbeat.

David grew in his relationship with the Lord because he had a great pattern of meeting with Him every day.  David recorded his commitment in Psalm 55:17: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”  The comfort of repetitious patterns of prayer keeps us close to the Lord.  

The opposite is also true.  When a heart is set on a sin, and repetitiously engages in that sin, there comes a point when the sinner blocks out thoughts of God and God gives “...them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Rom. 1:28).  Wow!  Little thoughts lead to little actions that become habits.  Habits are the patterns that shape us and drive us to our destiny.  

God loves pattern.  You see it everywhere in His gallery of nature.  He also loves patterns of good behavior, biblical traditions.  God established holidays, commemorative feasts, with meaning for contemporary living.  Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles can change our perspectives of life.  (A thorough study of these feasts can bring us closer to the heart of God.)  After all, good traditions are more than comforting patterns with strings of happy memories attached.  They’re reminders of God’s truth and love.


Repetition is both a visual and a spiritual principle of design.  We’ll approach this challenge on both levels, and marry the two in creating one power-graphic of truth.  We’ll design pictorial patterns to illustrate biblical patterns that feed life.  What are these biblical patterns for life?  Think this through.  Make a list of the heart attitudes and actions that God says He loves to see in our daily lives.

Create a Kaleidoscope graphic by cutting and pasting an image or section of an image repeatedly, in a concentric layout.  Select meaningful words to remind your viewers of the patterns of thought and behavior that please the Lord and make us happy followers of the Way. 



Choose a circle or square canvas keeping in mind a final framing of your work.  Pick a size accordingly.  
Use the following Photoshop functions:
Type and Rasterized Type
Edit, Transform, Flip Horizontally and Vertically
Gradient fill
Duplicate and Merge layers
Edit, Transform, Distort and Perspective

The greatest pattern earth experiences is resurrection life.  We witness this pattern every springtime.  This cycle of new life also lives in you and me.  Resurrection life is what we really want, today and every day unto the day of reckoning. 

How do we experience resurrection life?  It’s really simple.  We walk with the Lord; we hold his hand and keep pace with the rhythm of His footsteps.  We move on; we are lead by the Holy Spirit and stay in synch with Him. 

Where will He lead us?  He always leads us upward in our relationship with Him.  Being that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, this upward relationship necessitates willing changes on our part.  Our love for Him is so radical and extravagant that we willingly give Him ourselves in entirety.  

The Lord will graciously show us areas of our lives that He seeks to resurrect.  He turns liars into truthful witnesses.  He transforms a repentant adulterer (like David) into a restored author of praise songs.  He takes timidity out of man like Peter and makes him a bold preacher.  He takes a rich man like Zacchaeus and turns him into an exuberant giver.  See the pattern? This is the lifecycle of resurrection life for daily living. 

God draws us.
We meet with Him and He corrects us.  We see our sin.
God lets us experience His forgiveness.  
We repent.  We turn from our sin in heart and behavior.
God lets us experience His compassion.
We take active steps in the right direction by grace.
God lets us experience His restoration power and new life.

Do you see the pattern here?  This pattern is a way of life; it’s the way to life.  Everything begins and ends with God.  While it’s essential that we wholeheartedly engage in the process, He is the author and finisher of our faith-walk.

Moses knew the ways of God, because God had proven Himself to Moses with patterns of correction, forgiveness, compassion and restoration.  Have you experience these patterns of God? 

Do you know His forgiveness?  You must first have a revelation of your sinfulness to have experienced forgiveness.  Do you know His correction?  You must be a son of God to experience this.  He only corrects His children as a good Father.  Do you know His compassion and restoration?

These may be the most important questions you’ll ever answer.  Is your religion a lifeless pattern of expected behaviors, or is your religion a reality of this pattern of resurrection life?     

May the Lord invite you to experience Him more and more as you grow your relationship with Him through this repeated experience of resurrection life.
Challenge:  Prayerfully answer these questions in the presence of the Lord. 

This is so simple while walloping a huge visual punch like none other!  


- There are many biblical patterns that demonstrate the Lord’s ways of relating to us.
- God has built cycles and patterns into the universe.
- The Old Testament Law becomes New Testament life when God writes His living words into our hearts.  
- Patterns naturally occur in nature.  Like kinds flourish together.  This is the cluster-factor, which is a powerful principle to use in graphic design.  
- Repetition fosters visual rhythm or patterns that give artwork a heartbeat.
- Patterns are literally everywhere.
- Humans love patterns in life, nature and our manmade environments.  It builds a sense of order.
- Repetition creates the heartbeat and life force within graphics. 
- Repetitious behavior patterns can set our hearts in paths of life or paths of death.
- God established patterns of holidays as reminders of His truth and love.
- We can experience resurrection life by keep pace with the Holy Spirit in our lives and completely surrendering every aspect of our being to His will.
- The Lord graciously shows us our needs.  He then turns our greatest weakness into our greatest strength. - This is the pattern for receiving resurrection life. 


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