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"God answers my prayers everywhere except on the golf-course."

Billy Graham

True religion

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

I recently had the opportunity to interview the Russian pole-vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva. At the press conference she was asked how had they spent her prize money from the 2007 Grand Prix Series. She replied that she had not spent it but that there was one thing she had done.

She had gone to an orphanage in her city and had asked all the children to write down what they would like. Then she went out and bought all the toys on the list and shared her triumph with the children. It brought a tear to my eye as I listened to her. I dont know what faith - if any - Yelena has but I know that her action brought pleasure to the heart of God who is on the side of the orphans and widows.

So often we define religion as how many meetings we attend, how many church committees we are on, how well we sing on Sunday morning. James defines true religion as caring for others and living by Gods standards in a corrupt and evil world.

At the height of the Toronto Blessing, a Christian leader in London was asked what he thought of people falling down in worship services. He replied that he would judge its significance by what they did when they got up again. I think James would have agreed!

Let us evaluate our Christian lives against the criteria that James gives for true religion.

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