A host of proverbs in our culture urge the need for wariness: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “It is better to be a living dog than a dead lion.”
 
We learn the lesson while we’re young: don’t trust too much; forgive too much; believe too much; endure too much.
 
But what if God took such an attitude with us? What if heaven’s scorecard righteously declared, “One strike and you’re out”—or even “Three strikes and you’re out”? What if, instead of wounded love, the Father met the prodigal at the door with directions to the nearest halfway house? What if God insulated Himself against the likelihood of our repeated mistakes, our continuing folly, our headstrong rebellions?
 
The gospel couldn’t be clearer: “Love bears all things, believes all things, love hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor 13:7). “But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
 
Grace always takes unlikely risks, defies the odds, and chooses to believe that hearts can soften, pride may melt, and prodigals should get a full embrace.
 
Accept the always-reaching love that knows how grace will lead us home.
 
And stay in it. -Bill Knott
In the maelstrom of our age, when wars erupt, and tyrants strut, and treacheries abound, what place is there for grace? It seems a gentler, weaker virtue, made for temperate times.
 
But what could be stronger than the forgiveness that finally heals the blood feuds of the past, or thoughtfully agrees to end the decades lost to vengeance? Negotiated peace is still the longest-lasting kind.
 
And what is weak about the calm deliberation that stares stark evil in the eye and resolves to love it to death? Those who choose to lay aside their swords are those whom history blesses and God rewards. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9).
 
Grace reverses all our estimates of power, for grace comes from God, and He rules everything. “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful“ (I Cor 1:27).
 
When we choose grace, we choose the power that need not brandish all its strength. Grace is God’s strength in us, and through us to our world. It heals wounds; it beats back wrong; it builds relationships that last. And it will triumph in the end: “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11).
 
Grace wins—both now and when all struggles cease. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

Does God love us more when we deny ourselves chocolate? Or raspberry ice cream? Or long, delicious afternoons in the backyard hammock?

Ask some people of faith, and they’ll say “Yes”—and quote Jesus as the proof: “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.”

But this is the same Jesus who went to weddings and banquets, laughed easily and often, spent afternoons playing with children, and frequently withdrew from the hectic pace of serving others to be renewed by peace and prayer and greenery.

What needs denying—every day, in every way—isn’t the rightful enjoyment of life in the body for which we were created. It’s the ultimately ungodly idea that we can save ourselves, redeem ourselves, or work our way back into God’s favor by things we do—or don’t. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

Grace is all about deeper, joyful living. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:9). That fuller life awaits you. Claim it now.

And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

How frequently do those around you fail?
 
The habit of noting—and recording—the mistakes our peers make every day is so ingrained that we now value it as proof of our discernment and greater moral value.
 
“She’s always late to work,” we say with obvious exasperation, secretly enjoying the superiority of our valued punctuality. “He‘s irritable,” we growl as some overwhelmed and unsupported colleague vents in an unwelcome way. Each stumble made by others somehow elevates us in this secret virtue war we’re waging.
 
And yet, we are undone—disheveled—when our full story comes before the only Judge who really matters. “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you” (Psa 130:3-4). The grace and mercy of our God cannot be overpraised: “I will forgive their wickedness,” He says to all who turn to Him, “and I will never again remember their sins” (Heb 8:12).
 
God’s grace to us is meant to teach us grace to others. His kindness—to us, for us, in us, through us—is never meant for only us.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
Why was that string around your finger?
 
Because you so much wanted to remember that you didn’t trust your ordinary powers. Or you wrote it on a note and taped it to your door. Or set three alarms so you didn’t miss the time.
 
We know how easily we forget even big, important things that undergird our lives—the faithful love of a committed spouse; our need to play with children; the gratitude for those who cherish us—and tell us so.
 
And the grace of God.
 
That’s why we must remind each other every time we can about the love that saves us; how good the gospel really is; why there’s great evidence for confidence about the future. Without such frequent—daily—calls to grace, we slide back into old and useless habits, thinking we must work our way into His love. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).
 
We need reminders of God’s love, for we can never hear good news too often. Grace is the best thing to remember.
 
So stay in it. -Bill Knott
Do you want a better life—a life of clarity and purpose, filled with strength and kindness?
 
We seek it on the self-help shelves of every dying bookstore, or hope to find new fire in our Kindles. A thousand authors sell us dreams of well-toned self-improvement, built on buying exercise equipment, attending costly seminars, finding confidence at work, and getting what we want in marriage.
 
They all assert a common fallacy—that we have untapped power in us, power to reinvent ourselves; energy and perseverance that never have shown up before; and disciplines that usually last like water-only diets.
 
There’s just one power that changes from within. And it’s a force from outside us—the grace of Christ who says He comes to live in us. Paul the apostle said it well: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). To believers Paul wrote: “I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph 3:16-17).
 
Grace gives us power to change and grow: we’re now connected to the One who made us; loves us; holds us; helps us.
 
Your better life awaits. So wait no longer.
 
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
We love being right so much we often get it wrong.
 
It’s sheer deliciousness to know more than someone else, to offer the correct answer when the teacher asks a question or the boss needs information. And when we have the final fact that vanquishes opponents, we bask in the warm glow of self-congratulation. I’m right; they’re wong. New verse; same song.
 
We relish moments when our rightness can’t be challenged. They feed our central narrative of righteous pride in who we are, how well we have prepared.
 
But imagine for a moment if Jesus had done similarly with us. He who made all things, including us, has at His fingertips and in His mind all facts, all truths, all righteousness. But still He stoops to welcome prodigals back home—ragged, dirty as we are, with wrong opinions and bad habits.
 
For Jesus, being right also means “being right with us”—reuniting us to the love that will not let us go: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor 5:19). Grace makes you right, especially when you’re wrong.
 
Don’t get this one wrong. Receive the love that restores and reconciles.
 
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
Loneliness can last a long time.
 
The most persistent evidence of our woundedness is our sense of isolation. Whether we’ve blown it big or made some piercingly narrow mistake, we want to hide—withdraw—to keep our sin a secret. Broken and alone, we discover the trap we’ve fallen into—one that can grip us for days or even years. Like Adam and Eve in the original garden, we hide from the God who so much wants to heal us.
 
Enter a Saviour named Jesus. He joined two frustrated, lonely men for an afternoon walk on the very day of His resurrection (Luke 24:13-35). And He joins us even when our mistakes and pride keep us apart from the caring communities He’s trying to create around us. Grace builds circles of healing and support where we are never alone, never abandoned, and always embraced.
 
The road is never empty. Healing happens as we walk together.
 
So walk in grace. -Bill Knott
Line up 15 people, and ask each in turn to quietly repeat a simple, three-point story from one to the other. You know what happens: the story inevitably changes. We hear differently; our vocabularies aren’t the same; and some of us “improve” the story with elements uniquely ours.
 
So it is with the good news of salvation. Popular variations include: “You are saved by obediently following Jesus,” or “Jesus fills the gap between your effort and the expectations of God’s law.” Even the apostle Paul—just 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection—complained of “a different gospel” (Gal 1:6) that followed close behind his preaching and teaching, aimed at pulling new believers back into the clutches of legalism.
 
That’s why Paul wrote what we must constantly re-read: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8). It takes great grace to not claim credit for what only Jesus could do. Our vanity insists that “God helps those who help themselves.” But the undiluted gospel still proclaims, “God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
 
Grace is the unimproved truth about how God saves us. There is no other gospel.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

“I’m sorry for the tears,” he says with obvious embarrassment. “It’s just that I miss her so much.” He shields his eyes like the toddler he was 60 years ago, perhaps again imagining he can’t been seen behind his hands.

We have it as a social rule that anything so personal as tears must stay discreetly out of sight. Others feel uncomfortable, we think, imagining that even those who know us well expect us to be dry-eyed in the face of loss.

But tears and all that causes them are proof of life—of being fully human, blessed—yes blessed—with deep capacity to care, to feel, to love, to cherish. Our losses are no less a part of us than all our victories. Those who truly love us never struggle when we weep.

The shortest verse in all the Bible—“Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35)—gives us the longest view of who He is. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do” (Heb 4:15). The prophet called Him a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with our grief” (Isa 53:3). He doesn’t only preach from mountaintops. He sits with those who grieve; holds those who weep; heals those who hurt.

Grace is for all moments—good and bad, happy and sad, celebrating or grieving. “I am with you always,” Jesus says, “even to the end of the world” (Matt 28:20).

Accept the company of One who never was afraid of tears. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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