All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
I know I always seem to be writing about how much I enjoy life, and I readily admit to having an outlook slanted toward the positive.
I understand some people’s cynicism, but I’m honestly not posturing here. I genuinely believe in goodness as a game-changing value, I believe in the power of love to effect positive change, I believe that encouragement is stronger than pessimism, I believe that promise is more compelling than despair, I believe that even the tiniest light always defeats darkness, I believe that grace is more effective than acrimony, I believe that trust can do much more for us than suspicion, and I believe that hope and promise are the most persuasive narratives we can carry into tomorrow.
- I genuinely believe in goodness as a game-changing value,
- I believe in the power of love to effect positive change,
- I believe that encouragement is stronger than pessimism,
- I believe that promise is more compelling than despair
- I believe that even the tiniest light always defeats darkness,
- I believe that grace is more effective than acrimony,
- I believe that trust can do much more for us than suspicion,
- and I believe that hope and promise are the most persuasive narratives we can carry into tomorrow.
And most of all, in the timeless words of Paul, I believe that, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
But I don’t just believe life is good, I actually experience life that way.
UNITY: I was thinking about this Wednesday evening, leaving church. Rebekah had come home early, so we could drive in together; the dinner was great, as well as the conversation around the table; then my small-group Bible study was just wonderful. We walked outside together into the perfect early Spring evening, and I drank deeply of the fresh air and the beauty of our life together.
Our discussion in the men’s group had ranged around the payer Jesus offered at The Last Supper. We’re studying Reaching Toward Easter, and I had asked each of the guys to come ready to share an idea, or a paragraph, from the previous week’s readings – something that had either made them think or helped advance their relationship with God.
What we ended up talking about was unity, and about how essentially simple the message of Jesus is when we consider what God purposed to achieve though Christ’s life, relationships, death, and resurrection.
“That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…” – John 17:21
Jesus came to reconcile us to God, and to one-another. Our unity is Christ’s measure. So that the world may believe.
Like I said, I absolutely believe in the healing power of love.
Rebekah expressed it best (and I’ve probably shared this before) when she answered the nagging cynicism of a preacher who owned a mindset (a spirit-set) that could not accept Rebekah’s consistently positive assessments of ministry, and her experiences as a pastor.
“You’re naive,” he concluded. “One day you’ll catch on.”
“Naive is the wrong word,” she said. “After more than three decades it couldn’t be naiveté – I feel this way about ministry because I believe!”
So Jesus was talking with a man about his child. “Have mercy on us and help us,” he said to Jesus,” if you can….”
Jesus was taken aback. “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” – Mark 9:21-23
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.