Staying in grace is hard work in the same way resisting the pull of self-congratulation is hard work. Our human nature loves to count: “I haven’t eaten chocolate for 12 days.” “I put 10 percent of my income in the offering plate at church.” “I’ve done five ‘random acts of kindness’ in three days.” We naturally crave applause from others, and most fatally, from ourselves. Yet Jesus urges, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt 6:3). Grace bids us put away our abacus, our calculators, and all algorithms of righteousness that start or end with us. The “work” of faith is learning to believe in Christ alone, and giving Him the glory for the healing of our lives. The grace that saves us is the same great love that changes us. We look to Him, and not within. So stay in grace. 

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Just as there is no human life without oxygen, so there is no eternal life without the grace of Jesus. All other theories, strong and noble though they seem, are grand illusions that overestimate our goodness and underestimate God’s holiness. No string of sins avoided, or good deeds performed with vigor even starts to bridge the gap between our lostness and His law. But forgiveness takes us where forgoing never can. Jesus loves us far too much to let us go on fooling others and ourselves about the cost of being saved. Only He can pay the price—and He has paid it all. We live with gratitude when we are sure of grace. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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If you are a believer, then you learned Christ from another believer. Your story—ups and downs and still unfinished—is still a testament to grace. Someone loved you for no reason. Someone taught you the reality of the unseen world. Someone shared with you the power and efficacy of prayer. Someone built the confidence you have in Him who holds all things together. Your shiny faith is the new link in a centuries-old chain of sharing that began when fishermen and tax collectors dropped nets and coins to follow after Jesus. So pause today to thank the risen Lord for grace that came to you through kindness from a modern-day disciple. And then, be like the one who shared their faith with you. Keep adding links: keep adding hope. For this chain is the symbol of unfettered joy and freedom. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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"Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7, NRSV) “Searching the Obvious” focuses on how the Holy Spirit is ever active in our surroundings and in our lives, urging us to serve others. Personal stories challenge the reader to be mindful of our Christian Walk, recognize our own fallibility and slow down to ‘search the obvious’, the active presence of the Holy Spirit ever always around us.

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For about 25 years now, the Adventist Review has been publishing Clifford Goldstein’s column.  Called Cliff’s Edge, it deals with a host of issues regarding faith, theology, philosophy, science and just about anything else he can think of that he thinks is relevant and faith-affirming.

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Only a lingering belief in God’s persistent grace explains our optimism that our lives can be happier in the new year. If there were no such thing as grace—if we were force d to drag the chains of sin and brokenness behind us for all time—we’d see nothing in the first of January beyond another gray-grim calendar page. But 2019 offers light and hope because the gospel promises that Christ forgets what Christ forgives—that all our foolishness and spite is gently washed away when we believe in Him. Through grace, this new year can become that season of humility, deep peace, and reconciled relationships of which we’re always dreaming. There’s just one resolution worth making this—and every—New Year’s Eve: “By grace, I’ll stay in grace.”  -Bill Knott

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How can opponents reconcile?  What does it take to get those with deeply-held opinions to actually listen to people who think differently? In a five-minute podcast that you’ll want to forward to your friends, Adventist Review editor Bill Knott tells a fascinating—and very relevant—story about a boy, a kite, a string, and a bridge.

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We are not wise like magi, or powerful like Herod. And few can claim nobility by birth or social climbing. 
But God—this Child who sleeps in straw—has chosen us to worship at His cradle. 
So we rejoice in commonness; we gladly play the fool for Him. 
For we have glimpsed in Bethlehem the power that holds all things together—the love that seeks us out, surrounds us, will not let us go. 
We stand in warm, strong light that cannot be extinguished; “for the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). 
We revel in the victories grace has won, is winning, and will win. 
There is no doubt—nor can there be—about the final outcome. 
So come, now: bend the knee. Lean forward with a glowing heart. 
This is an hour for adoration. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott


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This baby born in Bethlehem was both like and unlike every other child —a life so rare, so richly valuable, that still we grope at language edge for words to tell His story, and for names by which to worship Him. He chose fragility, this Lord who once threw stars and galaxies around like pebbles on a beach, so that the powerless would know how well He understands their lives. He entered our dry dustiness where weakness and reliance meet—because grace trusts, grace hopes, grace makes new covenants when all about us are breaking theirs. He chose dependence—releasing Himself, abandoning authority, the majesty, the throne. Christ placed Himself quite literally in our hands, so that—through grace—we might one day learn to place ourselves entirely in His. Stay in His hands. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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All our goodness flows from grace. One of our favorite illusions is that broken, self-consumed people like us can still spontaneously do noble things out of some “inner light” we claim to have. I have followed one too many Volvos bearing tattered bumper stickers urging “Random Acts of Kindness.” Unless the Holy Spirit has vanished from the universe, there are no such things as random acts of kindness.  Unrecognized among the myriad ways we interact with each other—some petty, some brutal—are those kindnesses that first formed in the mind of God and reached our world through common grace.  If ever we are good, it’s only because God’s goodness flows through us. Be available this day for promptings—Spirit-formed and Spirit-led—that testify we aren’t left to spin alone on this unhappy planet.  There is no kindness apart from the great grace shown to us in Christ, and known to us because His Spirit still moves among us. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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