"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
Saturday, August 1, 2015: 145 SPLASH participants signed-in and were ready to Show People Love And Share Him. We sent out three (3) Evangelism Teams, three (3) Backyard Bible Club Teams, two (2) VBS Teams, eleven 11 Construction Teams, one (1) Cleaning Team and one (1) Nursing Home Team during the three days of SPLASH. In addition, our SPLASH Teams were served by a Food Preparation & Delivery Team and a Transportation Team that graciously feed us and moved us from location to location. On Saturday we combined the efforts of several teams to sponsor a Back to School Backpack Ministry in which families were served lunch and the Gospel, while children received free haircuts and backpacks full of school supplies.
May our religion, the outward expression of our relationship with Christ, be acceptable to God our Father as pure and faultless as we continue to SPLASH those around us! The devotion for Day 3 is below:
Day 3 Devotion:
Religion can make a positive impact upon others! It requires honest self-evaluation, control of our speech, focused charity, and moral purity.
The opposite of "worthless" religion is "pure and faultless" religion. We don't often describe ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, in such glowing terms of praise. "Man, have you spent time with John lately? His religion is awesome! It seems pure and undefiled!"
What if God evaluated your outward expression of your relationship with Jesus, your religion, and deemed it pure and faultless? Wouldn't you like to know how that can be? You can! The first two steps we have learned on days one and two. Honestly evaluate your speech and then bring it under control! In addition, two other qualifications are given in verse 27. Pure and faultless religion is taking care of two groups of people when they are in distress. Identify those two groups.
Take care of the _________________ and ________________ in their distress.
Do you think that God means to restrict our "looking after" to only those two groups of people? I would suggest that these two groups are the starting place for Christian religious expression, not the limit of it. What other categories of people should Christians seek to "look after"? Or, who are the distressed people around you? What can you do to help them?
What is pollution?
We think the act of pollution as the process by which a pure thing is corrupted from an impure outside source. In this verse, the believer is told to avoid being polluted from the influences of the world. A believer's relationship with Jesus can be corrupted by the outside "worldly" influences. 1 John 2:16 says, "For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world." What are some of the real temptations that try to pollute your life with Christ from the outside?
You have spent two days helping people in various ways. The entire SPLASH ministry has tried to bring our personal relationship with Jesus out in the open to impact our community. A small group has planned these three days for a large group to make an impact. But how will you make an impact for Jesus through your religion next week? Who needs your help? Will you plan to help them?
Will you impact the world or will you let the world pollute you? Reach out to your family and your church group to make a commitment to be pure from the worldly pollutions that you struggle with.
"Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:8-10 (NIV)