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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Jihad

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Holy War

For man to raise his sword against man, for man to kill man, is not holy war.  True holy war is to praise God and to cut away the enemies of truth within our own hearts.  We must cast out all that is evil within us, all that opposes God.  This is the war that we must fight.

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sufi-muhaiyaddeen

Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

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from his book

Islam & World Peace

Explanations of a Sufi

1987

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My brethren, let me tell you a story so that you may better understand the meaning of jihad, or holy war.  When God formed Adam out of earth, He placed the great trust of the light of Nur Muhammad on Adam’s forehead and decreed that man would know things that the angels and other beings could never know.  The leader of the jinns was watching and listening.  He became filled with jealousy, pride, and vengeance, and these qualities changed him into satan.  At once he began to speak against God, boasting to Adam, “I am more exalted than you.  Allah said that He created you to be most exalted, but you are only made of earth.  I am made of fire.  If you bow down to me I will help you, but if you attempt to rise above me, then I will do many evil things to you and make you suffer greatly.”

Then that light on Adam’s forehead looked closely at satan, and when satan saw the radiance, there arose within him an even greater fear, jealousy, and vengeance.  Once again he sneered at Adam, “You are created out of mere earth, and yet you dare to look at me like this!  Because you were given a higher place than I was, I will create sorrow and suffering for you until the very end.”  Then satan spat on him, and the moment that spit landed on Adam, satan’s poisonous qualities entered him and spread throughout his entire body.  Those qualities became the darkness of the mind and the veils within the innermost heart.

Upon seeing what had happened, Allah commanded the Angel Gabriel to pinch out that spot of hell where satan’s spit had landed.  The hollow that remained became the navel.  Even though the spit itself was cleared away, some of the poison of those evil, envious qualities had already entered Adam and in that way were passed on to his descendents, causing all of mankind endless trouble.  Because of satan’s actions, Allah commanded that he and his followers be cast out of heaven.  Then he elevated Adam to the high position decreed for him.

This is a very great matter.  I have related only a small part of it to show you that the most important jihad, the holy war that each one of us must fight, is the war against these qualities.  Just as satan was thrown out of heaven because he opposed the Almighty, Unique One, we too must cast out all that is evil within us, everything that opposes God.  Those evil qualities of jealousy and vengeance are the qualities that ruin us and take us on the path to hell…

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faded salome

Salome by Henno Drop

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