January 1st, 2010.
Doesn’t it look kinda ominous there? A new year, a new decade. 10 years ago, we were on the edges of our collective seats, wondering if the world was going to come to an end because of the Y2K bug.
Yeah, it never materialized.
Today is the day of renewal for a lot of people. They start the New Year with a fresh set of legs and a sprinting pace. Then, for whatever reason, they figure out that this pace is just way too fast. So, instead of slowing down to a more manageable one, they just figure they can’t reach the goal anyway.
So they stop.
How do I know this? Come on, I’ve been there. I know because I live it. I didn’t want this entry to be another in a long line of how you should start the New Year running messages. There are plenty of those out there.
I’m not knocking anyone else, so please don’t start that either. Each person who does a blog, or a journal, or preaches a sermon, should utter what God has placed on their heart. But it is still wrapped in the framework of their circumstances and surroundings. I’m not here to add to the ones who tell you to read this, and do that, and all. At least, I’m not trying to be.
I’m going this route. Slow, steady, and for the long run. For your consideration, I ask you to grow with God this year.
“Now wait Bo! You just said you weren’t gonna add on to us!”
I know, I know. I want you to know and learn who you are in God this year. It will make everything else fall right in line. These are what I’m gonna concentrate on for right now, and I hope you can get something from them too.
John 3:16-17 (NKJV)-“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV)-“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
First, God loves you. I know, I know-we SAY we know that. Look back on last year. Did you know it then? Did you live it? I know I didn’t always. It was a process. And I had to approach each situation with the same faith and intensity.
God loves YOU. How would it change your life if you TRULY grasped that concept? How many of us would sacrifice our child to save someone? God and Jesus knowingly corroborated to reconcile us back into alignment with them. How? They concocted this boondoggle of a plan. Jesus would step out of His deity and live as a Man. And God would heap all our sins and transgressions upon His innocent Son.
Our belief in His sinless sacrifice would pave the way for our relationship renewal back with God. Simple, elegant, and beyond anything we could ever imagine or conceive. How many of us would do the same? I wouldn’t even sacrifice my most rebellious daughter for the world. Oh, I’d hem and haw around about it and heighten the intensity and anticipation during the commercial breaks. But in the end, I’d sooner step into her place than see her in any kind of pain or anguish.
So can you imagine how that HAD to affect God? And He did it all for US. Everything He did was to bring us back to Him, because we couldn’t do it on our own; WOULDN’T do it on our own given the opportunity.
So when you grasp that concept, then you understand the depths of what has been done for you. Then the second reference comes in; He loved us FIRST. Oh, I love God now, after what I have seen that He was willing to do for me to bring me back to Him. But the truth of the matter is that He loved me first, in my unregenerate, sinful state.
He adored ME enough to do this. He appreciated me enough to break the bonds of fear and anxiety from my life. He has given me hope in a world where it sometimes seems hope is non-existent. He perfected me with His love, and He didn’t do it with a hammer or a mallet, or a thunder stick. He did it with love and affection and gentleness.
He did it with undeserved, unmerited love because He IS the definition of love.
That’s where I want to start you out this year. I’m not even going to ask you to read a bunch of stuff and all. I want you to start there. Learn that God loves you right now. Learn that God loved you before, and He will love you after. WE make the choice to turn our backs on Him. But even then, He still loves us.
I truly believe when we grasp the concept of His love for us, everything else will achieve crystal clarity. I want to do more, read more, grow more in Him, because nothing else (not even my Blackberry, or Crackberry as it is more aptly named) matters. The only thing that matters is Him.
Everything I have, I have because God loved me enough to allow me to have it. Every skill I have is because I have been given that talent by God Himself. Every person in my circle of friends is there because they are someone God specifically put into my life to either grow me or for me to plant a seed of growth.
Set goals this year, but make them manageable. Make your first priority getting to know the One who allowed you to see a new decade start. Be blessed by Him through getting to know His love and affection for you.
This year, I am starting off with a fast, January 4th-24th. I had tossed around not putting it in here, because I don’t know how long it’s going to go. A church I attended in Tennessee started every New Year off with a 21 day fast. Yes, I have done it, and yes, it has helped me tremendously.
I haven’t kept my spiritual (or physical) trim, so I hope to start over again. I’m not going to look back on past failures; I’m looking forward to future triumphs. I say that to tell you, please, please, please if there is something you feel you need prayer for, let me know.
Don’t be scared, and don’t let the voices tell you it’s insignificant or that God doesn’t care. He cares about you, remember? He loves you and wants the best for you.
You can e-mail me at bonocchio(at)gmail(dot)com. [I do that so the spambots trolling around don’t get my address.] And that goes straight to my Blackberry, so I’ll know whenever someone sends me something :) (hey, I’m using it for God!)
Don’t let another day go by without experiencing God’s love and affection for you. Let Him pour out on you and yours the same as He has done for me and my family. I also want to thank those of you who keep in touch with me and keep reading this blog. It means a lot to me; more than you know. Let’s go on to do great things in 2010.
Be blessed in the Lord today.