Saturday, July 19, 2014

A New and Wondrous Place

I needed a break from non-stop artwork for the fund-raiser I am working on. I had finished all I could do, and handed off the detail work to my assistant in this effort, my daughter, Asherel.  I dashed out to kayak. However, since the sky looked threatening, I went to a little lake closer to me than my regular river spot. I kayak there often when I need a place place nearby. If I hurried, I could outrun the forecasted storm. Alas, the entry road to the little lake was closed! What to do now? I began meandering towards Lake Wylie, knowing the storm would probably hit before I could kayak. I didn't quite have the heart to turn around since I hadn't kayaked for days in lieu of volunteer work. At least I would look at the lovely lake. I admit, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Then I passed a sign that said "Lake Access." I have seen that sign before, but always continued on to the public launch that I am familiar with. This one was closer. Since I figured it would storm before I would arrive at any launch site, I decided to explore.

I meandered down a beautiful road that had homes with steep backyards sloping into the lake. And then, I finally saw the public access launch site! The sky had brightened and storm clouds receded. The weather would likely be stable at least long enough for me to kayak an hour, and here I was at a beautiful section of the lake I had not kayaked before!  I quickly unpacked my boat and glided onto the lake. It was a little inlet of the lake with spectacular homes dotting the shore. Pine and rocks lined the hillsides. No one was on the water, except an occasional motor boat. (There was one snake - maybe a water moccasin - but since this is a happy blog, we won't talk about him.) It was gorgeous, and so peaceful. How glad I was that I had gone off the beaten path and explored something new!

It is easy to become so stuck in routine and the familiar, that we become hesitant to strike out beyond our comfort zone. New ventures take time and courage, as well as faith. We must have faith that the new thing will be better in some way than the old, or why bother?

This is true to add excitement and adventure to life, but it is also true spiritually. Since most of us grew up being familiar with the story of Jesus, we forget what a tremendously new thing this Son of God was. He turned everything people had believed about the spiritual life on its head. Most importantly, rather than prove to God we could be good enough to enter His presence, He proved to us we never would be. Despite this, He loved us so much that He would replace our terrible burden of constantly striving and failing to be good with a brand new thing -- the substitute of Jesus' righteousness and perfection. When He looked at us, He would not see our sin, but instead our acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. What a weight of sorrow falls away when we accept this simple, though hard-wrought offer. It is a new way, but when I veered onto this path as a young adult, I realized it was far better than the old way.

As I kayaked along the beautiful shoreline, I could hardly contain my delight. I began singing, and thought how happy I was to have chanced upon this new and wondrous place.


2 Corinthians 5:17 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Isaiah 42:9 

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Revelation 21:1 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

Romans 8:1-39 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

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