For Believers Before Work, Part 2

April 27, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I explained that I’m taking a short, three-day detour from Genesis in order to share a wonderful hymn about God and work. “For Believers Before Work,” also known as “Forth in Thy/Your Name,” was written by Charles Wesley in 1749. It offers a moving prayer of dedication to God as we think about and commence our daily work.

For Believers Before Work, Part 1

April 26, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

In the seven-plus years during which I have been writing daily devotions, I almost always work my way incrementally through a book of Scripture. These days, as you know, I’m moving slowly through Genesis. But, every now and then, I have interrupted my standard procedure to share with my readers something of unusual interest. I’m doing this today and for a couple more days as well. We’ll get back to Genesis on Wednesday.

A New Twist in the Story of Creation

April 25, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Today, we encounter a new twist in the story of creation found in Genesis 1. Throughout the first twenty-five verses we have seen a fairly consistent narrative style. God says “Let there be” and whatever God has spoken comes into existence: light, dome, waters, vegetation, sun, moon, living creatures in sea and sky, living creatures on the earth.
But verse 26 breaks the pattern….

Did God Create Godzilla?

April 24, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

When I read Genesis 1:21 in the New Revised Standard Version, I must confess that something quickens inside of me. The fact that God created “the great sea monsters” awakens my boyhood fascination with monsters, especially the notorious King of the Monsters, Godzilla. Though devastatingly powerful on land, Godzilla was an ancient sea monster awakened by nuclear radiation. With fearsome might, he could break ships into bits or ravage Tokyo (which seemed to be his favorite pastime). The horrifying sight or iconic sound of Godzilla would send the crowds fleeing for their lives, hoping to avoid certain destruction.

Partners with the God of Peaches

April 23, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s devotion, we reflected on the fact that God created fruit, such as the delicious peaches grown in the Texas Hill Country. Every single peach from this region reflects God’s design and creative power. Yet, God does not work alone to grow peaches, though I suppose that wild peaches exist somewhere. The vast majority of peaches, however, including those grown in Texas, are the result of God’s creative power and plenty of human effort.

God of Peaches

April 22, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

When I read Genesis 1:11-12, I can’t help but think of my life in the Texas Hill Country. For seven years, my family and I lived in this beautiful region to the west of Austin and San Antonio. It features rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, winding rivers, and millions of oak trees. If you’ve never been to the Hill Country, I heartily recommend a visit.

God of Seeds, Part 2

April 21, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s devotion, we considered the implications of God’s creating plants that contain seeds. From small and apparently insignificant seeds grows fruitful and beautiful vegetation, such as bluebonnets in Texas.

I can’t move on from this consideration of seeds without making a connection to the New Testament.

God of Seeds, Part 1

April 20, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

In my plan for what I was going to write today, I was not going to talk about seeds. But, after I read Genesis 1:11-12, I sat back in my chair and lifted my eyes from the screen to reflect prayerfully on the text. There, in front of my eyes, were some of the most wonderful results of seeds that I have ever experienced. I’m talking about Texas bluebonnets. These flowers grow wild throughout Texas. Each year, they bloom in mid-spring, covering the fields and hills with a carpet of rich blue and white highlights. Until I moved to Texas, I had never seen anything like it. If ever there was even the slightest question about whether or not God enjoys beauty, bluebonnets ought to settle the argument in favor of divine delight.

The Step-by-Step God

April 19, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Patience is not one of my strengths. Impatience is. Or, I suppose I might more accurately say impatience is one of my weaknesses. For example, as I write this devotion, my wife, Linda, and I are in the process of moving from Texas to California. If all goes well, we will soon sell our house in Texas so we can buy a house in California. Though, in actuality, things are moving along at a fairly good clip, I can allow my heart to be filled with anxiety. I want our house sold, a house in California bought, and our possessions neatly arrayed in our new home. And I want it today. Yesterday would be even better.

God as the Leader Who Defines Reality

April 18, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

One of Max De Pree’s most frequently quoted lines comes from the opening pages of Leadership Is an Art: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.” (p. 11).
 
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” If you’re not familiar with Max’s work, don’t worry. He’s not some New Age guru who thinks we can create our own reality by thinking happy thoughts. For Max, a faithful Christian, our ability as leaders to define reality is shaped and circumscribed by the ultimate definition of reality by God.

All that Good Stuff

April 17, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

Sometime in the last decade or so I started hearing the phrase “all that good stuff.” I think it happened first when I was ordering dinner at a restaurant. The waitress summarized the menu briefly, ending with “and all that good stuff.” Then I heard a television talk show host use the phrase. Pretty soon, it seemed as if a cultural dam broke and torrents of “all that good stuff” came pouring out. Even my dental hygienist used “and all that good stuff” to describe what she was about to do to my mouth. (For the record, I don’t consider any part of getting my teeth cleaned as “good stuff,” expect for the free toothbrush at the end.)

That’s Pretty Good!

April 16, 2015By Mark D. Roberts

After finishing a major project, have you ever stood back, taken in what you have accomplished, and said to yourself, “That’s pretty good”? I’ll admit that I have on numerous occasions, especially after mowing the lawn.