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a deeper love

so, we are to love others as we love ourselves, but we are to love fellow believers as christ loved us [ephesians 5:1-3]. now, the question becomes, do we do this? i am not talking about just talking about it - but i mean are we willing to do this? are we willing to die for the person we sit next to in church on sunday morning? are we willing to die for the person we have a bible study with? the person we go to men's group with? or to women's group? are we willing to die for the person who goes to a different church then us? are we willing to die for a christian we have never met?

now, i an not talking about this in the abstract, but in the reality. in our culture we have a hard time with giving a guy $5 what makes you think we would be willing to die for another? the key is to open our hearts of faith and truly allow others into our lives. when we know others as christ knows us - we will become willing to die for others. it is time we go past self, and into the lives of others.

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how do we love?

with this new posting, and the "rebirth" of the praxis blog, i have been thinking a great deal about "love and grace." after all, these are terms tossed that have been tossed around in the church for a very long time - but what does it mean? well, i think i want to spend a few posts looking at love first, then grace. with love, i wanted to start looking at how we are to love "everyone" -

in his recollection of the life and ministry of jesus matthew records these words of jesus; he writes: "But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'[matthew 22:39]." think about that for a second, "love others as you love yourself" - wow, but then the question becomes, "how much do you love yourself?"

in this world where self-medication is the norm, where abuse causes a lost in self-respect and where suicide is on the increase - how much do you love you? i think many of us do love others like we love ourselves, the problem is we do not love ourselves very much.

we need to look past out faults, look past of outer shell and look deep into who we are and know that we are valued, we are loved and we need to share that love with others - look at who you are, not at what others what you to be.

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welcome duncan

duncan macleod will be joining the praxis posting and will be posting over time - it's great having duncan join us - and i am excited about getting the help :) you can see some of duncan's other places by visiting either "gospel notes" of the "pacific highlander"

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looking for help

this blog needs to be a blog of many voices - if you are interested in sharing your voice let me know - we are looking for othters to help post a daily study with an emerging/postmodern reality - a look at scripture with new eyes. there are very little study places for those with an emerging/postmodern thought - let's be a positive place - if you would like to be added and you desire to share your voice - let me know - jxpxus [at] yahoo [dot] com

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philippians 1:9-11 - learning to love

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. [philippians 1:9-11]
one of the things i think the church is missing is the understanding of love. we replace it with rules and "law." we think that when we tell people what to do, we are loving them - we have a worldly twisted view of love and we placed it into the church. we need to learn to love deeply, totally and well.

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ephesians 4:31-32 - acting like a christian

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. [ephesians 4:31-32]

why is it that many christians fall back old ways when dealing with each other? we need to be above the way the world treats people and treat people as God treats us. we are not to insult, backstab or talk about others in any bad way - we are to be gentle and sensitive with each other - if all christians acted this way, we would be bursting with people wanting to belong - because love attracks people more then rules.

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galatians 6:1-3 - working on forgiving

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. [galatians 6:1-3]

forgiving some one often takes a great deal of creativity on our part. it is not only that we are to forgive, we are to bring those people back into our fellowship without critical comments. we can not "rub it in" or "bring it up" we truly need to forgive, and forget. in that, we are also called to help those who have done us wrong. we have to help them carry their burdens of life - because someday we will need the same forgiveness and the same carry - and if we think we are too good for that, we fool ourselves.

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romans 9:6-7 - a spirit thing

"Don't suppose for a moment, though, that God's Word has malfunctioned in some way or other. The problem goes back a long way. From the outset, not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit. It wasn't Abraham's sperm that gave identity here, but God's promise." [romans 9:6-7]

i think that many people who claim to be christian need to examine their hearts. while i would never expect perfection of anyone, growth is a key factor. when we decided to walk with christ, we left behind our old life and old ways - we took on the "burden" of love, grace, peace, forgiveness and acceptance. we looked beyond the prejudice of this world, and accepted the love and way of christ. we realized that it is not a "blood thing" but a "spirit thing."

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colossians 1:26-29 - christ in all

This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me. [colossians 1:26-29]

the idea that christ is in everyone, regardless of who they are and what they believe is hard for many christians to grasp. but as paul says, it is a mystery. but for me, this is a great scripture and a great point of view - it tells me that no matter who i interact with, i must do so as if i am interacting with christ. if i hurt a person, i hurt christ; if i abuse someone, i abuse christ; if i insult someone, i insult christ. to me, this means i need to treat with respect. for some, this is hard because they like the idea of "us vs. them." for me, i would rather embrace the mystery and know that christ is all around.

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romans 6:1-3 - we do not live fallen

So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace--a new life in a new land! That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. [romans 6:1-3]

i have always been amazed at churches, and christian leaders, who claim that the bad way some are treated in the church is due to "living in a fallen world." but whenever i read paul i am confused by that statement - because as i read paul i get the feeling that that is a cop-out and an excuse. you see, according to paul we are changed and not of this world any more. once we accept jesus, and come out of the baptism waters we are no longer a citizen of this world; and, if we no longer live in that world why do we keep returning?

we do not live in a fallen world, we live in christ. if christ does not change us and make us different then the world around us, why become christian?

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galatians 2:4-5 - what does it mean to be "free in christ"

While we were in conference we were infiltrated by spies pretending to be Christians, who slipped in to find out just how free true Christians are. Their ulterior motive was to reduce us to their brand of servitude. We didn't give them the time of day. We were determined to preserve the truth of the Message for you [galatians 2:4-5]

our freedom in christ is so important to our faith. it is the center of our faith, and one of the most important points we can share with others. but even today, people want to limit that freedom with "their brand of christianity." they think law is tha basis, obedience is central and control is in the realm of the "leaders." they desire hard to try to take from us our freedom in christ. what paul was dealing with in his day, we are dealing with in our day. what we need to do today, is know that in christ we are free - and no one can take that from us.

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