Conversion

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Romans, Chapter 13, St. Paul

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Everyone is to obey the governing authorities, because there is no authority except from God and so whatever authorities exist have been appointed by God.  So anyone who disobeys an authority is rebelling against God’s ordinance; and rebels must expect to receive the condemnation they deserve.  Magistrates bring fear not to those who do good, but to those who do evil.  So if you want to live with no fear of authority, live honestly and you will have its approval; it is there to serve God for you and for your good.  But if you do wrong, then you may well be afraid; because it is not for nothing that the symbol of authority is the sword: it is there to serve God, too, as his avenger, to bring retribution to wrongdoers.  You must be obedient, therefore, not only because of this retribution, but also for conscience’s sake.  And this is why you should pay taxes, too, because the authorities are all serving God as his agents, even while they are busily occupied with that particular task.  Pay to each one what is due to each: taxes to the one to whom tax is due, tolls to the one to whom tolls are due, respect to the one to whom respect is due, honor to the one to whom honor is due…

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The only thing you should owe to anyone is love for one another, for to love the other person is to fulfill the law.  All these:  You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet, and all the other commandments that there are, are summed up in this single phrase:  You must love your neighbor as yourself.  Love can cause no harm to your neighbor, and so love is the fulfillment of the Law…

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Besides, you know the time has come;  the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.  The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light.  Let us live decently, as in the light of day;  with no orgies or drunkenness, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy.  Let your armor be the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop worrying about how your disordered natural inclinations may be fulfilled…

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New Jerusalem Bible

standard edition

1999

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Art courtesy of Joel Lewis

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Editor: Rawclyde!

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Blowing Bubbles In The USA

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I urge you, then, brothers, remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, dedicated & acceptable to God; that is the kind of worship for you, as sensible people…

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Do not model your behavior on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God ~ what is good and acceptable and mature…

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And through the grace that I have been given, I say this to every one of you:  never pride yourself on being better than you really are, but think of yourself dis-passionately, recognizing that God has given to each one his measure of faith…

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Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same function:  in the same way, all of us, though there are so many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts are all joined to one another…

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Then since the gifts that we have differ according to the grace that was given to each of us:  if it is a gift of prophecy, we should prophecy as much as our faith tells us;  if it is a gift of practical service, let us devote ourselves to serving;  if it is teaching, to teaching;  if it is encouraging, to encouraging…

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When you give, you should give generously from the heart;  if you are put in charge, you must be conscientious;  if you do works of mercy, let it be because you enjoy doing them… 

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Let love be without any pretense.  Avoid what is evil;  stick to what is good.  In brotherly love let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself…

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In the service of the Lord, work not halfheartedly but with conscientiousness and an eager spirit…

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Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship;  keep praying regularly;  share with any of God’s holy people who are in need;  look for opportunities to be hospitable…

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Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them.  Rejoice with others when they rejoice, and be sad with those in sorrow.  Give the same consideration to all others alike.  Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms.  Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom.  Never pay back evil with evil, but bear in mind the ideals that all regard with respect.  As much as possible, and to the utmost of your ability, be at peace with everyone.  Never try to get revenge:  leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution.  As scripture says:  Vengeance is mine ~ I will pay them back, the Lord promises.  And more:  If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat;  if thirsty, something to drink.  By this, you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head.  Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

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Saint Paul

Romans Chapter 12

The New Jerusalem Bible

standard edition

1999

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