New Identity, New Community

New Identity, New Community

December 9, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

So far in our series of devotions on racial reconciliation we have seen God’s big plan to unite all things in Christ. Ephesians 2 shows that central among these things to be united are divided groups of people. Through the cross of Christ, God makes reconciliation possible, not only between us and God, but also among us and us, if you will. Christ, our peace, wages peace among us, uniting us and reconciling us to God in one unified body.

Reconciliation through the Cross

Reconciliation through the Cross

December 8, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Today, we continue our prayerful reflections on the theme of racial reconciliation. In yesterday’s devotion on Ephesians 1:10, we encountered God’s big plan for the cosmos, to gather together all things in Christ. This uniting of things in heaven and things on earth implicitly includes bringing together divided peoples. What is implicit in Ephesians 1 becomes explicit in Ephesians 2.

God’s Big Plan

God’s Big Plan

December 7, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

This week the focus of our Life for Leaders devotions will be different from usual. Rather than continuing our slow walk through Genesis, I’m going to be doing a series of devotions on the theme of racial reconciliation.

Advent Devotion: Waiting for Forgiveness

Advent Devotion: Waiting for Forgiveness

December 6, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Today is the second Sunday in Advent, a season in which we prepare for Christmas by remembering just how much we need God. In particular, we need God to save us by forgiving our sins. Psalm 130 reassures us that this is exactly what God will do for us, thus inviting us to wait upon the Lord and put our hope in him.

When Trusting God Isn’t Good Enough

When Trusting God Isn’t Good Enough

December 1, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

The main storyline of Genesis 31 features the departure of Jacob and his family from Laban, Jacob’s father-in-law. Included in this narrative is a minor story of Rachel stealing her father’s “household gods.” This is a strange and sad tale, since it involves a daughter stealing from and deceiving her father. Yet, I believe this aspect of Genesis 31 can speak to us about our relationship with God.

Waiting for the Shepherd

Waiting for the Shepherd

November 29, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

This is the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the season in which Christians throughout the world prepare for a fuller, richer celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent is a time of expectation, waiting, and hope. During the four weeks before Christmas, we put ourselves back into the mindset of the Jews as they yearned for a Messiah two millennia ago. Moreover, we get in touch with our own hope for the second coming of the Messiah. (The word advent comes from a Latin word that means “coming” or “visit.”)

Waiting and Hoping

Waiting and Hoping

November 28, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Today is the last day of the year. Yes, yes, I know we’re still in November, and the calendar doesn’t change for another 33 days. But, today is truly the last day of the so-called Christian year (sometimes called the liturgical year or the church year). The yearly cycle of worship, Scripture, and prayer that centers in the life of Jesus is coming to an end. Tomorrow, a new year begins with the season of Advent.

Thanksgiving as a Way of Life

Thanksgiving as a Way of Life

November 27, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Yes, I know Thanksgiving Day has passed. The festivities of yesterday are over. Chances are you’ll be eating leftovers today and perhaps cleaning up after your relatives or driving home from grandma’s house.

Nevertheless, today is a day for giving thanks. In fact, every day is a day for giving thanks.

A Devotion for Thanksgiving Day

A Devotion for Thanksgiving Day

November 26, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

On this Thanksgiving Day, Americans are encouraged to pause and give thanks to God. In his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”