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But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind

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Romans 12

If there was ever a chapter in the bible to commit to memory, this one is my favorite! I was in a vocal/music group at one time and we memorized it together and recited it together from memory. We spent time studying it's meaning and tried to apply it to our lives. That was 30+ years ago. Anytime now when I hear that chapter of scripture, or even just a verse from it, it sparks a memory back to that time, what it meant to me and my faith, and my relationship then with Christ, and leads me to evaluate where I am now.

Here is Romans 12 (the King James Version):
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Here is a version called "The Message" - I don't own a copy of it, but found it online and it's a bit more up to date than the Living Bible. Complete extreme from the KJV, and please don't judge me for adding this - reading and understanding the King James version is a gift (for me especially ;-), and many churches no longer use it, so this is for those who prefer an extremely modern translation.

1-2 So hereís what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary lifeóyour sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around lifeóand place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Donít become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. Youíll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

3 Iím speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, itís important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body weíre talking about is Christís body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldnít amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christís body, letís just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we arenít.

6-8 If you preach, just preach Godís Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, donít take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you donít get bossy; if youíre put in charge, donít manipulate; if youíre called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, donít let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; donít fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Donít burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Donít quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when theyíre happy; share tears when theyíre down. Get along with each other; donít be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; donít be the great somebody.

17-19 Donít hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If youíve got it in you, get along with everybody. Donít insist on getting even; thatís not for you to do. ďIíll do the judging,Ē says God. ďIíll take care of it.Ē

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if heís thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Donít let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Regardless of how you were raised and what version your church uses or what you prefer, the message is clear (to me) in all translations.

I intend to revisit this one chapter and check my memory and see if I need some refresher memorization. It may sound like an unnecessary task if you are not accustomed to memorizing scripture, maybe reading it seems like enough. But if you were going to try it, this is a great one.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. (KJV)

And a last thought:
I've been a Children's Choir Director for 25+ years. One song we sang back in the day was this:

Input - Output

Input/output, what goes in is what comes out
Input/output, that is what itís all about.
Input/output, your mind is a computer whose
Input/output daily you must choose.

Funny little song sometimes called the Computer Song - but I think it applies in so many ways. Mom's - it's a good one to teach your little ones. A visual to go with it is even better. (type something on your desktop computer then print it out). So ladies, our minds, our attitudes, our outlook, our demeanor, etc. is where we can focus if we want to start positive changes in our lives. Replacing negativity with positive thoughts and plans.

Let me know if you have any good habits you practice, how you schedule your prayer time or favorite scriptures you meditate on that help with the renewing of your mind? I would love to share them here so we can move on in 2015 renewed, ready to live God's best life for each of us!
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