What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness does not extinguish the light. – John 1
Happy Monday, friends. My lead image today is that of candlelight in church. It is critically important that we shine with intent and integrity, especially during this time of social unrest and division. Jesus calls us to be light in this world.
May your day, and this entire week, be an exercise in intentional grace, light, encouragement, and love.
- Grace, because this is potentially a contentious week in the United States and we all – regardless of political preferences – must be people of grace who offer and extend grace. There is no wiggle room here, grace is our responsibility.
- Light, because (as John wrote) the darkness has no chance against the light. Light – even a little – will always defeat darkness. Darkness is not actually a thing, it is only the absence of light. The introduction of light, then, is always an effective intervention. So shine already.
- Encouragement must be our “go to” posture. There is more than enough foreboding, anxiety, unbelief, naysaying, and pessimism going around. Our job, as believers, is to encourage others to affirm goodness and love in the way we live, to “live into hope,” and to approach each day as the Children of Promise we are.
- And love because – as I often say in my sign-off – “love always wins.” Love wins because love resides at the foundation of Creation, and we are beings who are created both to love and to be loved. Love is essential to life and it is the most compelling and effective power in the Universe.
Finally, note that I said “intentional” grace, light, encouragement, and love. Intentionality is a critical core component of being a disciple of Jesus, a Follower of the Living Way. We do not wait until we first “feel” like being full of grace and light, or loving, or encouraging; no, we must go ahead and make the choice, and then to act.
The more we choose light, the more of us who encourage one another, the more people who respond with grace, the more intentional our love… the more effectively we will be telling the Good News Story.
This is not a republican thing or a democrat thing, it’s neither conservative or progressive! We can argue politics another time. This week has to be about grace, light, encouragement, and love.
From the bottom of my heart – DEREK
– You will want to see Rebekah’s message from worship this Sunday (“Not What? but Why?“). It begins at the 34:25 mark.
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.