Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2017
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
What is true religion? Genuine faith that expresses itself in outward service to others and inward worship of God through Jesus Christ is true religion. Any other form of religion that deviates from outward ministry and inward devotion is unacceptable. If we serve just to be seen—it’s unacceptable to God. If we attend church just to meet our needs—it’s unacceptable to God. If we help those in the world, but become badly influenced by the world, it’s unacceptable to God. Real religion expresses itself in caring for society’s marginalized, by believers unsoiled by sin’s stain.
James very practically reminds followers of Jesus of our responsibility to “do good deeds” for the sake of the gospel, to “be purified” by God, and guided by moral boundaries in the process. Our service to orphans and widows is followed by personal accountability to be in the world, but not of the world. In the name of Jesus, we rescue the perishing and care for the dying. Anyone dismissed by the culture: the unborn, the homeless, the abused, the mentally ill, the elderly, need the care and concern of Christians who offer hope, healing and hospitality. Genuine faith serves!
“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me [Jesus]” (Matthew 25:36, 40).
Perhaps you invest your organizational expertise by serving on a ministry board of directors that serves the underserved: widows, orphans, the poor and needy, and others who are marginalized by culture. Consider researching the non-profits in your community like Growing Leaders Habitudes, who are the most effective in educating the poor with a Christian worldview. Be persistent as you prayerfully initiate strategies that offer sustainable solutions to society’s ills.
A God blessed ministry model that works well in an urban environment is City of Refuge where jobs are created, lives are lifted up and communities transformed by the Lord and His people. A reliable pathway out of generational poverty is the philosophy of this Christ-centered non-profit. “We is better than me”, so pray for a faithful team and together exercise your faith in Jesus by taking the gospel to heal the broken hearted, to set the captives free and to love on the fatherless.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
PrayerHeavenly Father, show me who to serve who is not being served, in Jesus’ name, amen.
ApplicationWho can I begin praying and working with who has a heart for the fatherless?
Related ReadingDeuteronomy 24:17; Psalm 140:12; Jeremiah 5:28; Luke 4:18; 2 Peter 1:4
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