Just a prayer away: Make God No. 1 in ‘04

Judy Brandon

Christmas is now over and naturally our thoughts turn to the new year. With only a week left in 2003, I think back over this year and know that there were times that I disregarded God in my life. I think that I must not be alone.
Two or three years ago an attempt was made by some in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to bring God back into the awareness of the general population. Consequently, an advertising agency launched a non-denominational billboard campaign that included signs along the highways and inside and outside buses. The series of ads constituted 17 different messages.
So as motorists of Fort Lauderdale cross the streets and intersections, ride the buses and drive the highways of their area, these signs are strategically placed to give those passing by something to think about. One such billboard along a highway has this message: “My Way is the Highway. — GOD.”
We cannot unlock the unknown future and prepare ourselves for the uncharted roads of 2004. Yet think about the road you are presently traveling. What is the “high way” for the Christian? Did you travel the high way in 2003 or the low road?
Examine your own personal road from 2003. Specifically, how would your words and deeds be characterized in 2003?
Words are very important and a double message is given when people claim to know God and profess to live a godly life, but their talk does not measure up to what they profess. The New Testament writer James verified this: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. This should not be.” (James 3:10). What about your words in 2003?
Now what about deeds? Heed the words of James, who wrote: “Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17) Doing good when we know in our heart that we ought to do the right thing is critical for Christians. Being available to God and willing to do those things is what He asks of us. It takes a commitment. How much good did you do in 2003?
Amos the prophet warned the people against having plenty and even wasting some and not sharing it with the needy. Today scores of people in society are suffering. Sharing means not just sharing the essentials in life, but it means reaching out to others by changing our attitudes toward people. In this way we help and encourage them. We can help them not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.
I heard a story of a husband and wife in Madagascar who felt a need to minister to the prisoners in the overcrowded prisons. They prayed for God to give them direction in their efforts. So, he as a schoolteacher and she as a secretary started saving money from their incomes and decided that they would take it upon themselves to feed the 700 prisoners at the nearby prison once a week. They spoke with the prison officials and readily received clearance, because the prison system didn’t have enough food to sufficiently feed everyone every day. The couple shared their vision with other friends, took donations of food and other things and began to start their cooking mission.
Every week on Mondays they started preparing their stew mixture for that week. The endeavor took Monday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night. By Thursday, the meal for 700 prisoners was ready.
Then after work they would cart all those pots of strew out to the prison and actually set up a soup line in the prison and feed the prisoners. Doing good … that example seems unbelievable but it is true.
By the way, another sign on those Florida billboards reads: “Will The Road You’re On Get You to My Place? — GOD.” The first step in charting unknown territory is trusting Christ as savior. Direction then is always available to us from God. We don’t have to have a billboard though … his advice and guidance is just a prayer away. That is a good thought for 2004.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: