Life For Leaders

Life for Leaders is our free, digitally delivered devotional, sent to your inbox every morning.

African American woman standing and speaking in a crowd.

Hearing Silent Voices

Because the narrative in Genesis 29 focuses primarily on Jacob and his interaction with Laban, we can forget to pay attention to two of the most important characters in the story, Laban’s daughters, Rachel and Leah. For most of Genesis 29, they are silent. We don’t learn how Rachel felt when, for example, on the night of her wedding, her father sent her sister in to sleep with her husband. We don’t hear how Leah responded to her father’s command that she take the place of her sister in the bed of her brother-in-law. We can sense, however, the powerlessness and voicelessness of these two women whose lives were governed by their father, Laban, who had complete authority over them.

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A pair of masks showing comedy & tragedy.

A Taste of Your Own Medicine

Today, we get back to the story in Genesis of Jacob, the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. As you may recall, in chapter 28 Isaac instructed Jacob to take a wife from his own kin, from the daughters of Jacob’s uncle Laban rather than from the neighboring Canaanite women. So Jacob made the long journey to Paddan-aram. Along the way he had a profound encounter with God, which renewed Jacob’s commitment to the covenant God had made with Abraham.

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Dark water photographic wave texture

The Tension of Faithful Prayer

Today, I’d like to base this devotion on two verses from Psalm 22. In the first verse (22:2), the psalmist laments God’s lack of response to his desperate prayers. Even though he has called out to God day and night, God has not answered. The second verse (22:24) seems almost to contradict the first, affirming God’s attention to those who cry for help in their suffering.

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Image of tea being poured with sugar and lemons available.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 6

Throughout this past week, I have been using the wisdom of Brother Lawrence to help us learn how we might recognize God’s presence in our workplaces. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were to get to the point where, unlike Jacob in Genesis 28:16, we might say about the places where we work: “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did know it! In fact, I know it every day!”

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Photo of Laverne and Shirley at wok among an assembly line.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 5

Recently, I was speaking to a group about the challenge and opportunity of seeing our work as an essential element of God’s own work, and a central part of our discipleship. After I finished, a man approached me. His face suggested that he was upset. After we shook hands, he said, “I’m not happy about what you taught tonight. All of this faith and work stuff is just fine for people who work in executive jobs, for business people and other professionals. But I’m getting sick and tired of faith and work conversations that feature business owners and entrepreneurs. Sure, they can be creative in following Jesus at work. But what about ordinary people? What about those of us who go to work, punch a clock, and do manual labor? What about those of us whose jobs are physically demanding or very boring? How does God make a difference in this kind of work?”

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List of items on a mobile phone.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 4

If you’re new to these devotions, I should say that my usual approach is to examine closely a passage of Scripture, drawing out from the text wisdom concerning the difference God makes in our life and leadership. This week, however, I’m doing something a little different. My devotions are based on Genesis 28:16, a passage in which Jacob recognizes God’s unexpected presence. But I’m drawing wisdom from a classic Christian book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I believe we have much to learn from our mature brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I do.

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Group of happy young business people in a meeting at office

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 3

I might have called this series of devotions “A Week with Brother Lawrence.” If you’ve been with us on Monday or Tuesday, you know that I’ve been using Lawrence’s classic book, The Practice of the Presence of God, to help us grow in our experience of God’s presence in our daily work.

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Image of Jackie Cooper's character washing dishes from The People's Choice, 1955.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 2

In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I began to share with you some reflections based on the classic Christian book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This book will help us, I believe, to think about how we, like Jacob in Genesis 28:16, might recognize God’s presence in our workplaces, even if we have been unaware of his presence in the past.

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Painting "Monk in the Kitchen" 1880 by Hermann Kern

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 1

I spent much of last week reflecting with you on Genesis 28:16. After encountering God in a dream, Jacob woke up and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it.” I suggested that many of us might say the same thing about our workplaces, when we discover that God is present there.

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Painting of heart in hands titled "Take My Heart" by Gwen Meharg

Your Heart’s Desires

May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.” Psalm 20:4     Psalm 20 is a prayer for the king…

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Photo of the backyard of the Boerne House.

Seeing New Things in Scripture

Sometimes our life experiences help us to see things in Scripture we have never seen before. This happened to me as I read Genesis 26 in order to write today’s Life for Leaders devotion. I was struck by how much the theme of water runs through this chapter. In fact, eight times in Genesis 26 (26:15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 32) the narrative mentions wells for water. Wells are dug and filled with earth. Wells are celebrated and fought over. We understand, of course, that wells are necessary for the people in this story because without wells they would have no water. They and their livestock would either move away or perish.

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Mark Roberts with his children

Oh, No! Not Again!

Like father, like son. This can be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing. For example, people have often told me that my son, Nathan, looks like me. Now, I don’t know if he thinks this is a good thing or a not-so-good thing. But it certainly is a real thing, at least according to many people. (Of course, it’s hard for me to see the resemblance. But you can decide for yourself on the basis of this rather grainy, recent photo of Nathan, Kara, and me. Okay, okay, I know there is a slight hair color difference here.)

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