Author: Mark Roberts

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.

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When God Tested Me, Part 2

This week, my devotions are based on Genesis 22, the story of God testing Abraham. Yesterday, I shared my belief that, during my years as the preacher for Irvine Presbyterian Church, God would often test me by presenting me with unusual and unexpected opportunities to do what I was going to preach about. The following story offers an unusually dramatic example.

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When God Tested Me, Part 1

As you probably know, one of the distinctives of the Life for Leaders devotions is that they are biblically based. Most of the time, this means that each daily devotion includes explicit exposition of the biblical text. Every now and then, however, it seems to me that some additional narrative might help you connect scriptural truth to your own life. So, the rest of the devotions of this week will tell some of my own stories of being tested by God. I hope these will help you see in a fresh way how God is at work in your life as well.

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Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Why Does God Test Us?

I spent much of my life as a student. During those many years, I took hundreds of tests. All in all, I did just fine on them. But the thought of taking a test still makes my stomach churn. Truthfully, I still have nightmares about having to take a test for a class that I forgot to attend.

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Is God a Dragon?

Psalm 18 celebrates God’s deliverance of David from danger and distress. “The cords of death encompassed me,” he writes, “The cords of death encompassed me” (18:4). Yet, as David cried out to the Lord, God heard him and came to deliver him.

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From Tears to Laughter

This is one of my favorite passages in Genesis for several reasons.

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Would You Ever Talk to God This Way?!

The second half of Genesis 18 contains one of the most startling scenes in the Bible. It features a conversation between the Lord and Abraham. The subject is God’s apparent intention to punish, even to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their grave sin. The surprise is Abraham’s persistent boldness as he addresses the Lord, challenging what he perceives to be God’s plan on the basis of what he knows of God’s character.

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Is Anything Too Wonderful for the LORD?

In a previous devotion, we saw how Abraham laughed when God told him that he and his elderly wife, Sarah, would have a son. Today, we focus on Sarah’s part in this story.

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lol and rofl in Genesis 17

NO, today’s title is not a typo. If you do much texting with your phone, or if you have children who do, chances are you recognize the two acronyms in the title. “Lol” is very common, standing in for “laughing out loud.” If somebody says something funny, you indicate your enjoyment by texting “lol” in response. But if something is really hilarious, then “rofl” is appropriate. It stands for “rolling on the floor laughing.”

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If God Gave You a New Name, What Would It Be?

In Genesis 17, God appears once again to Abram, reaffirming the promises he previously made and clarifying the divine covenant with Abram. But something new happens in chapter 17. God gives Abram and Sarai new names.

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Unintended Consequences

Our decisions and actions have unintended consequences. This is especially true for leaders. Though we have done our homework and tried to think through the implications of our decisions, inevitably things happen that we did not expect, things that may be quite unwelcome, in fact.

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How Hard It Can Be to Live Your Faith in Real Life

It’s one thing to have faith in God and quite another to live out that faith in the midst of the challenges and uncertainties of real life. Anyone who says that walking in faith is easy has not done much walking.

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Meet Your Great-Great- . . . Grandfather

I can still remember meeting my great-grandfather. I don’t remember much about that meeting, but what I can recall is fixed strongly in my mind. I was about three years old when my parents and grandparents drove with me out to Monrovia, California, to visit the person my mom called Grandpa. I remember waiting in a room that had lots of plants in it, which I thought to be rather odd. Finally, this very, very old man with a full head of white hair came into the room. He seemed friendly and glad to see me.

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Do Not Be Afraid

Genesis 15 begins with an appearance of God to Abram. The first thing God says to Abram is, “Do not be afraid.” This short imperative appears throughout Scripture. Sometimes this command is spoken by an angel to an individual (Mary, Luke 1:30), by Jesus to his new disciples (Luke 5:10), or by God to his people through a prophet (Isaiah 41:10). Fear is a normal human emotion and there are times when it is wise to be afraid (for example, when you’re being chased by a lion). But God does not want us to be afraid of him, his power, and his ways.

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Are You As Good As Your Word?

As leaders, we often find ourselves making promises and commitments. We say, “I will do this” or “I will not do this.” As Christians, we understand that God is a witness of what we have said we will and will not do. But, inevitably, circumstances challenge us to break promises or commitments, or at least to bend them out of shape. We may be tempted to back away from what we have previously promised, especially if it seems to be advantageous in the moment. In times like these we encounter the incisive question: Are you as good as your word?

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God and Goggles

Psalm 16 begins with a cry for divine help: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge” (16:1). Yet the bulk of the psalm does not focus on that from which the psalmist needs refuge. Rather, Psalm 16 celebrates God’s help in difficult times, his presence that keeps us safe and gladdens our hearts.

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