great oaks of righteousness


 He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

IMG_2761 (1)I hadn’t planned on blogging our friends’ wedding Saturday evening. But the pictures I took hold such a great message, and the sentiments Rebekah’s words called to mind are so poignant, that I have to share just a few words.

First here’s my disclaimer on the whole photo situation. I honestly wasn’t aware of the “No cellphones and cameras please” sign until I was on my way out of the sanctuary! In my defense I don’t flash, I didn’t leave my seat, and I only captured two images during the service.

The bride’s parents, Rene and Louis, are super cool people. Rene is Rebekah’s secretary (Rebekah says, “she’s my boss”) and Louis is an elder. Their daughter, Kayla, married a really nice young man, Trey. Everything worked together to make this not only a beautiful wedding, but the kind of good, solid, happy union parents pray for.

SOLID AS AN OAK TREE: But it was the picture of the oak tree – above – that convinced me to post. Can you imagine a better image for a a life together centered in Christ? The tree stands in the parking lot outside the reception venue – The Boondocks in Youngsville. Is it two trees grown together? Or, is it one solid trunk? And the canopy, does that not speak to the covering of family and friends, the body of Christ, the commitment to nurture and encourage and support?

IMG_2762The image of the tree makes me think of Rebekah, and our own marriage – two strong lives not only supporting one another but actually grown together; not just drawing life from one another but giving life too, and becoming the foundation for other strong branches, a future that is both promise and bedrock.

THE BEST WINE! Rebekah read the “water into wine” wedding story from Chapter Two of John’s Gospel, pointing out the miracle that Jesus not only blessed the marriage but he baptized it with the very best. Then she imagined how the couple at that wedding might have saved some of the wine, drinking from it on special occasions to remind themselves that the best of everything (the best wine, the best lives, the best stories, the best marriages) always starts with Jesus, a sweetness that only gets better over time.

the best of everything (the best wine, the best lives, the best stories, the best marriages) always starts with Jesus, a sweetness that only gets better over time

And the tree comes back to my mind, the solid oak foundation that only faith in God can provide, covered with the canopy of mercy and grace. The fact is that Jesus still baptizes with the very best, and that his blessing is a sweetness that grows as we remain rooted in him.

THE BOONDOCKS: The reception venue is a restored main street warehouse space, bringing together the best of tradition, history, function, architecture, and art. Our church food ministries director, Mandy, catered an exceptionally wonderful meal, and the evening went off with laughter, and stories, and sweetness, and faith – with love and to spare.

Enjoy the pictures. But go back to the oak tree photo before you leave this page – it holds the message I want you to take with you.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:3b

Peace and blessings – DEREK


derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, 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.

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