Leadership and Teamwork

Do we agree with everybody? No! Every person in this world has a right to believe what they believe. God gave all human beings the ability to make choices. Can we have relationships with  people when we disagree? Yes and no. In my mind it depends on certain factors.  Obviously in this world we live in, it is evident there are reasons why it is difficult sometimes to develop relationships with some people over others.

God has exhibited his love for all human beings through the visible life of his son. God has given every individual that has ever lived, lives now or will ever live, the option of sonship with all of its benefits. People have been given the right to believe God or something else. Those who choose God and believe in the work of his son develop a relationship with the Father and his son. Jesus Christ is overseeing those who are God’s. God has given him that authority.

Jesus Christ was the greatest example of leadership that ever walked this earth. He was truthful and walked in love. He treated all people well and part of that was that he confronted when it was needed. He stood up to oppressive religious leaders because he loved people. I love the story of Jesus confronting the religious group who were about to stone a woman caught in adultery. He didn’t yell at them and say something like: ‘You jerks, who do you think you are!!” He simply said ‘You who are without sin, cast the first stone.’ He also spoke to the woman. He told her to  ‘Go and sin no more’ after her accusers had, one by one, dropped each stone and left. He was full of unbiased love, truth and boldness because he loved his Father and was bringing his Father’s love into the world.

Just because someone believes in God doesn’t mean he/she can’t get along with someone who doesn’t think the same way. The Constitution of the United States provided for differences in beliefs and free-will choice. However, when people start pushing on others in a negative way that is harmful, a line has to be drawn. That is why there are laws.

When we choose to develop a relationship with God we actually join a team called the ‘body of Christ’. It is the church, a group of people who love God. Because the spirit of God has been given to us  at the time of this new birth, we have the right to function with and among others who also have the same spirit living in their hearts. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, all people both Judeans and Gentiles (other nations) were finally joined together in one group belonging to God. Prior to that time, Judeans and Gentiles were separate groups and did not exactly get along together. There had been lots of contention between the two groups throughout history.

Today we have many thousands of types of Christian groups.  As human nature would have it, even these groups develop animosities because of disagreement of beliefs. When Jesus Christ is truly the head of God’s church, people are united by one spirit. Each and every member has access to the spirit of God and can do amazing things together to accomplish the work of God.  Too often we see division in this group when one person starts sizing up their spirituality against another:

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. II Corinthians 10:12

Have you ever heard the expression “There is no ‘I’ in team”? This phrase probably gives the connotation that there is no ‘ego’ in team, but it shouldn’t mean there are no ‘individuals’ that function in a team. Individuality is important in a team and necessary for team benefits. When the spirit of God has been given to all and really functioning, there is no spiritual elitism nor a restricting hierarchy and certainly no competition.

We are all wired differently. God did not make us carbon copies of each other. Some are managers, some are pioneers. Some lead, some blaze trails, some lift up and support and some double check the details. My boss was a ‘detail thinker.’  I was so thankful for her skills because she could look at the small parts and put them together.  My brain works the other way around. I get the big picture quickly before I start to see the small parts. If people respect and see how different skills fit together, production soars.

My husband is a ‘detail’ person like my boss.  Since my thinking runs at high speed at times we had to figure out how to work together and not get frustrated. Having different skills should be a bonus not a frustration. That is what growing together is all about. Respect, patience and love make marriages more successful:

9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Just as I am typing this, the Cubs just played a great 1st inning.  Zobrist (the lead-off guy) batted first.  He didn’t swing for the hills. He put a very well-placed hit in right field and got on base. Bryant did the same exact same thing to left field. Schwarber( a powerful homerun hitter) then swung for the hills for a home run and 3 runs scored. Every run counts one point whether it’s a homerun or a hit. It was a great example of leadership, teamwork and success. Go Cubbies!


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An amazingly beautiful reality:

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth (extending to everyone), and length (extending through all times), and depth, and height(higher and deeper than we can ever attain by ourselves); (the dimensions of love)

And to know (have first-hand knowledge) the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled (be complete) with all the fulness (completeness)of God.

Now unto him( God) that is able to do abundantly above ( this is big!) all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh (energizes within) in us, Ephesians 3:17-20

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Fruit Production From Within

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering (having a long fuse), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

No can argue that the above list of these nine qualities are wonderful. We can’t make ourselves peaceful or meek or  joyous by pushing our minds. They come by trusting God, exercising our rights and abilities as situations come up in our lives. It is via the spirit of God that is shed abroad in our hearts that fruit is produced. 

An apple tree produces fruit as a result of several biological processes. Light, water and rich soil cultivate fruit trees and promote pollination, seed production, photosynthesis, and transpiration. These are precedent to production. The same is true for the fruit of the spirit.

We all experience difficult times in our lives. God is not in control of the negatives that manipulate and try to influence our world. God is all good and he works in the trusting heart.  

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding (thoughts), shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Our thoughts sometimes race ahead when presented with fearful, dark and pressurized situations, but God comes through in flying colors for us with a peace that just can’t be described. The same is true of joy. Inner joy just cannot be chased away very easily or at all. It is how we love the unlovable and stay still when we want to run and hide. The fruit of the spirit provides us with reassurance and builds a bigger trust that supersedes anything that the world has to offer.

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This morning is a particularly beautiful morning.  The sun is shining and there is a lovely breeze moving the air. I have opened the windows and let it all come in.  Maybe, just maybe, the air-conditioning days are to be coming to an end. The fresh air is revitalizing!

In Galatians 5:1 we are encouraged (and what encouragement it is!) to:

5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

We are invited into wholesome liberty by Jesus Christ. It is through him that we have obtain the third part of our nature, the spirit of God. We are born with a body and a soul and God has provided this third dimension if we so choose accept it. It is a refreshing gentle wind that  can enliven, inspire and comfort us in any situation that arises. It is true freedom that is not burdened with ritual law or enslaving ‘anything goes’ mindset.

Bondage is oppressive, it weighs down our heart and darkens our vision.  God wants us to freely avail of all of his blessings:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3

The reason  the word ‘places’ is in italics in the King James Version is that it has been added by translators for flow in translation.  ‘Heavenly’ is not referring to a geographical place on earth. It is referring to a place above the physical earth and, in this context, more specifically, God’s spiritual realm.

Despite the fact that we cannot see a physical spiritual realm, we can see the effects of it in our hearts.  It like the wind. We cannot see the wind but we can see its action by the movement of things around us. Recognizing and utilizing our spiritual nature produces fruit in our lives:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering(having a long fuse), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

These are all great things! Nobody is against having love, joy and peace emanating from our innermost being! This list is a list of fruit. Fruit is a product of growth. Peace, goodness and gentleness cannot be fabricated. Spiritual righteousness comes from the heart.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk(keep step) in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

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God Is Good

Did God say in 1 John 4:19 that he loves us because we first loved him?  No! We love him because he first loved us. ‘God so loved that he gave’. God is the giver of all givers. Every human being that has ever lived has been loved by God! (John 3:16). That is grace. Every human being also has had the free-will choice to love him back.  God is all good, there is no darkness in him at all. He is not the cause of all misfortune and problems in the world. That is the devil’s work.

The adversary has assumed authority over people in this world (since Genesis 3) and he is the author of misery and pain. Adam and Eve opened the door for him to usurp authority from God.  God never cursed Adam and Eve over this, he just explained what would come as a result of listening and heeding to the wrong spirit. Things became more difficult because the devil was given a place in their world. God was not to blame for any of the consequences that resulted from having the devil take over.

The devil is not some horned red guy with a pitch fork. He is a fallen spirit being. His doctrines and influences are carried by words and thoughts. Sometimes he deceives with what sounds like lovely words at times; things that hit right to the heart of an unsuspecting victim. Deception is part of his programming. We should be vigilant in relying on our spiritual radar from God to discriminate between what is light and darkness. This is especially true when we come across the many memes and quotes on the internet that are virally moving through the various platforms of social media at top speed. I have to admit, I sometimes get taken in by some seemingly inspiring wisdom only later to honestly think about it to find it really wasn’t godly.

At other times the devil pushes events of fear and chaos that are blatantly visible as his work.  Fear is coupled with chaos to cast to deflect blame. Blame is a top tier tool of the adversary. All the evil and dark things that have happened throughout history are not done by God. It may seem to look like that when one reads the Old Testament, but God does not steal, kill or destroy. The Old Testament believers didn’t fully get who the devil was.  In John 10:10 in the New Testament God sent his son to reveal the adversary. The devil is openly visible in the New Testament and his actions are on a list of seven things (Rms 1:13,11;25, I Cor 10:1,12:1, 2 Cor 1:8,2:11, I Thess 14:13) in the word that God does not want us to be ignorant about.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:

God wants us to life a great life. He helps us navigate this world through the good and the bad. Everyday we are confronted with both. Somethings we may have to step through, step around or jump over, but He has given us plenty of resources for that in His Word through holy spirit and Jesus Christ.  God is a gracious God. His grace has been available to all.  We love him because of that and however imperfect we are, we have the joy of knowing he loves us. We can lovingly respond by heeding his Word and being thankful for all he has done for our lives. It is pure joy to use all the resources he has given us to really walk in his grace.

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Shame should Not Be Equated With Humility

Sometimes shame shouts so loud, it upstages humility! Often humility and shame are linked together like a ball and chain by people who think they know what God is about. Humility is joyful; it is exciting and powerful. When true humility exists in the human heart, it outshouts and blows up nasty, sneaky dark thoughts.

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. Psalm 34:4-5

It is the conscience or ‘knowledge from the Word of God within one’s self’ that should guide us, not shame. Shame says “I am stupid, guilt says “I did something stupid” and “conscience says I should be doing this instead which is more beneficial than how I behaved.”

Now go read all of Psalm 34, it makes you want to dance and sing!!!! It is fun not to feel shame or any other feeling that engenders self-loathing. There is so much in those verses. We have so much to be thankful for!


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Discerning the Truth

We all hold certain life experiences, learning and opinions that accumulate in our thinking through the years. As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we can be a resource for others to help them along if they need wisdom and understanding. And hopefully as we grow older we never cease to learn more ourselves and that we never get to the place where we think we have all the answers. Not growing and learning is so boring at any age!

There are so many opinions in the world. We are all assigned the task of discerning truth from error. As I got older I realized clearly that choosing the Word of God as a source for life issues was very important. It still is. Not only do things get clearer, they grow brighter and sparklier. Shedding light on darkness, fear and depression is a big first step to kissing these things good-bye. Darkness is not a “dear old friend”.

We all have to have to filter out the bad from the good. Many choose the consensus to evaluate things, but that does not really separate the good from the bad and certainly not the best from the good.  So much depends on the quality of the consensus. Often evil comes at us disguised as good, although lately it has shown up boldly without a mask. Humans can be deceived and deception is dangerous. We need to be able to draw back the curtains in life. We are not sheep. God has given us so much more in the New Testament. When we keep God in our conversations we learn so much more about living a life that is meaningful and not just following an ‘ism’ for the sake of following an ‘ism’ or a cause because it is popular.

I prefer the ‘clear eyed’ approach and that is what I get when I trust and go to God’s Word. I also like being around people that are humble to the creator of this beautiful universe who have matured a bit  spiritually in discerning truth from error. Discerning truth from error comes as we mature in Christ.

The Bible is not supposed to be just an aid to our worship of God. It is the path to ‘life in its fullest’ experiences. The events in the Old Testament are about life not just commandments.  If you look at the Bible merely as a rulebook, you miss out on truly understanding the love God has for us.

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