Our Daily Bread -- Chili Peppers
May 20, 2016
Read: James 1:22-27
Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 10-12; John 6:45-71
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. —James 1:27
“My mother gave us chili peppers before we went to bed,” said Samuel, recalling his difficult childhood in sub-Saharan Africa. “We drank water to cool our mouths, and then we would feel full.” He added, “It did not work well.”
Government upheaval had forced Samuel’s father to flee for his life, leaving their mother as the family’s sole provider. Then his brother contracted sickle cell anemia, and they couldn’t afford medical care. Their mother took them to church, but it didn’t mean much to Sam. How could God allow our family to suffer like this? he wondered.
Then one day a man learned about their plight. He got the essential medicine and brought it to them. “On Sunday we will go to this man’s church,” his mother announced. Right away Sam sensed something different about this church. They celebrated their relationship with Jesus by living His love.
That was three decades ago. Today in this part of the world, Sam has started more than 20 churches, a large school, and a home for orphans. He’s continuing the legacy of true religion taught by James, the brother of Jesus, who urged us not to “merely listen to the word” but to “do what it says” (James 1:22). “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (v. 27).
There’s no telling what a simple act of kindness done in Jesus’ name can do. —Tim Gustafson
Sometimes the best witness is kindness.
INSIGHT: James’s letter to the churches was likely written from Jerusalem sometime before his death in ad 62. As a Jewish Christian, James wanted to be sure that both Jewish and non-Jewish Christians understood and obeyed the heart—not just the letter—of the Old Testament law. When the book of James was written, the best mirrors in the world were made of Corinthian bronze. While they were quite inferior to our modern glass mirrors, they served the same purpose—they reflected reality so the person peering in could become more presentable. James wanted his readers to know that the Scriptures are like mirrors in that they show us what is really going on inside so we can make the necessary changes. Dennis Moles
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