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Good Deeds Through Grace

Hello Relentless Students! We are jumping into day 19 of our 30-day Devo. Our practice is service, how are you serving those around you each and every day?

Today we are looking at Ephesians 2:4-10 which says,

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

There once was a man who did everything he could to help humanity. He gave away his money to anyone who needed it, served at local soup kitchens, volunteered at any community events, and more. If there was a need to be filled you called this man. One thing he never did was go to church; he just thought "if I do good now, then maybe in death I will be rewarded." He was crossing the street one day during his morning walk, a car sped through a red light and knocked him to ground. The driver pulled over and called 911, too afraid to go to jail he took off before anyone came. An ambulance arrived and realized his heart had stopped, immediately they began compressions.

The man found himself surrounded by this bright white light. In the midst of the light, he heard a voice calling his name. The voice asked, "do you know where you are?" Confused, the man replied, "I haven't a clue." But the man had this gut feeling, maybe this was the afterlife. "You've come to the gate, but as I look at the book I do not see your name.", said the voice. Anxious as to what that meant the man stayed silent. "What have you done with your life?", the voice called out after allowing the man time to ponder what had been spoken. Hope briefly swept over the man as he knew how much good he had done. "I did everything I could for those in need." There was nothing but silence. Then, the voice spoke, "you also committed great atrocities, sins that can not be permitted." Panicked the man raised his voice, "But I did so much good in my life, does that not count for anything?!?" "SILENCE", the voice said with a voice like thunder. "Do you not understand what is happening? I am the Lord, the one who knows both good and evil. Evil is not permissible to anyone, regardless of their deeds." In tears, the man responded, "then how does one even enter your gate?" "It is by the sacrifice I provided long ago any who believe may enter these gates.", the voice answered.

Suddenly, the man woke up, lying on the road, medics crushing his chest in hopes of a response. A loud *GASP* was heard and the man rose, his mind racing with everything that had just happened. The medics began putting him in the ambulance and all he could think was, "is this a second chance?"

Our good deeds are nothing in comparison to the list of self ones. When we refuse God and attempt to earn our way into the next life then we will always fall short. But God knows this and made a way through Jesus for us to be saved. The verse above talks about how our deeds don't save us, but God does through His sacrifice. Now, this doesn't permit our selfish actions. In fact, turning to God meaning opening ourselves up to the Spirit and allowing God to transform our hearts. Thus, we should respond to the cross with good deeds that are only truly good because we have been redeemed.

The challenge for today is to find a way to serve someone today. Maybe you decided to make dinner for the family, clean the house, make food for a neighbor, etc. The choice is yours on what you do and then take time to thank God for saving you even though you don't always do the right thing.

Our prayer for today,

Father, thank you for being who you are. Thank you for saving us from ourselves. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for our sake. May we be vessels for your good works. Use us to do great things and to serve those around us. May we be open to the transformation that can only be accomplished with you. Thank you for loving us so deeply. Lord, we love you, even when we fail. Continue your good work in us and through us, these things we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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