that is where i ran/walked this morning. on my forty-third birthday. it is my favorite place to run/walk. and look closely. here is another photo that i took...
it is a cemetery. fitting, huh?
i actually started walking through there a few weeks ago. i had gone past it many times but this one day decided that there was no good reason not to run in there (besides they can’t laugh at my sloooooooooooow pace).
and right as i turned in the sermon (a matt chandler sermon, of course) that i was listening to came to these beautiful verses...
Ephesians 2 (Made Alive in Christ)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
in which you used to live
when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions—
it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,
expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
truly there is no greater word in all of Scripture than that little “but”. i was dead, now i am alive. through no work of my own. no one in those graves can do anything to get themselves out of them. same with me and my sin. i was hopeless, helpless, but not hapless (deserving pity). i deserved wrath BUT i got mercy. i got love. i got Christ. i got life. i got the greatest birthday gift ever. rebirth.
i have trusted Him to bring me to life for this life and for the next. i know enough of Him in this life to have seen small glimpses of the beauty and goodness and wonderfulness that will be to come when He defeats totally the two things that i could not defeat on my own... evil and death.
hallelujah. what a Savior.
what a wonderful birthday gift. the gift of BUT. the gift of running among the graves on a fall morning that just happens to be your 43rd birthday.