Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which is my sin, though it were done before?
 
Four hundred years ago, the poet John Donne wondered aloud whether God would actually forgive the wild, foolish choices he had made in his life.
 
In the last four days, at least half the people in the world have silently wondered the same thing. Can God—will God—actually erase the record of our anger, lust, and dishonesty? Or will those choices always drag behind us as painful reminders of our foolishness?
 
God’s promise for those who turn to Him is clear and categorical: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer 31:34). The Father knows that we have doubts about His goodness, and so the Bible tells us, “If we confess our sins to God, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away” (I John 1:9). And just in case we need a visual reminder of His promise to repair our brokenness, we hear: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psa 103:12).
 
There’s nothing more dependable than God’s promise to forgive your past. Trust His promise: experience His freedom.
 
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
On some bright Tuesday when we’re feeling poised, benevolent and calm, we set our minds to finally forgive the one whose wrong we can’t forget. “It’s all an act of will,” we say—and so we try to unremember their insulting words; the money borrowed that never was returned; the way they turned their backs to be with finer friends.
 
And like all good intentions, it lasts an hour or two or even ten—until the insult twists again, or we are snubbed, or mocked, or cleaning up for them. Our righteous anger burns like bile, for now we have fresh evidence of malice.
 
The wellspring of forgiveness is the heart from which it starts. “Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done” (Eph 4:32), the Scripture urges. We can’t forgive until we know—again—how much the Father has forgiven us—for all the insults to His grace; for how we misused gifts He gave; for when we turned our backs on Christ.
 
Only forgiven folk forgive. The grace we give is grace we have received: we make none by ourselves. “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).
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
We sift the ash of burnt-out days, and wonder why our faith seems hesitant, half-formed, not ready for the fray.
 
Where was our patience when the boss was overbearing? What happened to our pledge of gentleness when someone threw a verbal brick? Why didn’t self-control rise up and save us from temptation?
 
We want our virtues quickly: why can’t they grow like cultures in a Petri dish? But God’s Word teaches us that all good things need rain and sun; dark and day; bud and flower and long development.
 
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
 
The finest fruit takes time to grow: there are no hothouse virtues. Our thinking and our living both mature as we accept the Spirit’s promptings in each day. Tomorrow will be sweeter than today. Our growth in grace will come in God’s good time.
 
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
It isn’t difficult to disappoint.
 
Expectations crowd around us. We’re reminded by sly colleagues of why we didn’t get the job; why our résumé is lacking; why no one trusts us with the ball. We rarely measure up to super-charged young climbers on the ladder of success, or those who spend long afternoons perfecting three-point shots.
 
Our mere mortality gets glares from those whose motto is Olympic: Faster; Higher; Stronger. Only winners need apply.
 
And often, on our poorer days, we wrongly think that God is disappointed with us too. In our imaginations, He stands for all who ever called us slow, or slack, or sinful.
 
In this, we always read Him wrong, for He has made His deep affection clear: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Cor 5:19). “God showed His love to us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
 
We can’t hear these words too often. Grace never disappoints; does not withdraw; does not let go. Even when we get it wrong, we are the ones God always loves.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
When every tire we ride is losing air and going flat . . . When there are miles to go in this day’s marathon but never knees enough to make the finish line . . . We wonder why our race is all about endurance, and little about joy.
 
Ahead of us—some far ahead—are all the ones with bright and shiny faith—so sleek, so well-equipped, so sure. And we imagine this is how they always race because of gifts not given us. They breathe the air of heaven, so it seems, while we go panting in this smog of trouble and dejection.
 
But there is one who traveled all our roads, who knows the drama of flat tires, and remembers His own Heartbreak Hill. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” (Heb 4:15). And He is still content to travel at our pace. He knows that weariness and doubts don’t ever mean we are disqualified.
 
For “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful” (Eccl 9:11).
 
Grace travels with us when we ride, or run, or walk, or crawl. There is no stretch of road on which we ever are alone.
 
So stay with grace. -Bill Knott
When our last star has flickered out;
When our last square of daylight
Has been canceled by the rolling of a stone
That crushes everything our hope had built,
We grieve like those deceived.
We huddle with our frightened peers,
And wonder just how long a man must walk
To get back to his fishing boat,
Or why Emmaus seems so far.
 
Embarrassed, tortured not with nails but doubts,
We sabbath with no rest, our minds a fright house
Of unscripted dreads.
If we could wake the dead, we would—
Call life back to the silent lips, the pale hands—
As we had watched Him do.
But there is grief, and there is fear,
The burnt-out moons of this dark night.
 
And yet, beneath the hill, behind the stone,
Life stirs in answer to a Father’s call.
And He who made the rock
Some laborer had shaped to close His tomb
Steps out, reclothes Himself with His abundant life
And strides forth like the sun at noon.
 
This day is more than we had dared to dream,
But everything we need.
Dawn does not break: it builds with rays unstoppable
Until all shadows disappear.
He has risen. Grace still rises. We will rise. -Bill Knott
There is no life without its wounds.
 
We spend our decades battling others, trading insults, feeling used by those more powerful or proud. First our knees and then our hearts get scraped by this tough, bruising sport of life. When we aren’t fighting to defend ourselves, we’re putting bandages on wounds that no one else can see.
 
The scars, the tight-lipped bitterness, teach all the worst of lessons: that no one can be fully trusted; that evil lurks behind each smile. We watch the grim parade of former heroes now reduced to injured, hurting souls like us.
 
But there is one whose wounds bring healing to us all. In all our broken, lacerated past, just one man drained the bitter cup, felt sorrow rip His heart apart—and still, somehow, remained the joyous, hopeful Saviour He was meant to be. Beaten, cursed, condemned and killed, Jesus never lost the love He lived.
 
“He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
 
His story doesn’t end with pain, for He broke through our woundedness one cool, spring,
life-affirming dawn. The morning—ours; the healing—ours; His resurrection—what’s in store for us.
 
Choose healing now. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
Can you change your everafter by the good things you do now?
 
Millions all around the world believe it. Tens of billions--dollars, euros, rubles, yuan—are given every year by those who earnestly believe their gifts improve their odds of getting into heaven.
 
Massive projects are begun; hospitals are long-endowed; homeless veterans at the corner get twenty dollar bills. Other light their hopeful candles, fast twice a week, and even cause their bodies pain in hopes the Father will relent.
 
Since everything must have a price, where do we buy our everafter tickets?
 
But heaven never was endowed, nor can we own a single brick on streets bright-paved with gold. “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).
 
Our only claim on heaven is the Father’s great affection for us. You’ve heard the line so many times: this time hear it clearly. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
 
In God’s wise and gracious plan, kindness flows from those who have received His gift, not as a way to earn it. Accept God’s gift before you give your own.
 
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
What if, when we were wrong, the response was thoughtful listening and respect?
 
What if, when tempers snap, we were quick-wrapped in gentle joy?
 
What if, when we confessed our pride, we were embraced by those who deeply know their brokenness—included, freed, forgiven?
 
Why, this would be a heaven on this earth—a place where healing flourishes and misspent lives can be made whole. This is where we’d spend our time—among the ones who make us know we’re safe, accepted, and renewed.
 
Among such people, we could grow. We’d soon discover we no longer need the weapons of our war. If we can be mistaken and yet fully loved, we’ll rapidly repent of all the wasted time we spend defending our depletions.
 
These people will become our sanctuary, our church—with or without a building built of brick and glass. This will be the Holy Spirit’s home.
 
This is the house that grace builds—a living room, a rented hall, a steepled church where Welcome Ave meets Freedom Street.
 
So meet me where forgiven folk still joyously forgive.
 
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
Before we even learned to count, we learned the way the world works.
 
We did “good” things: we picked up toys; ate all our pears; and gave the cat his needed space—and we were praised. Our value was affirmed.
 
We did “bad” things: we fought with siblings; refused to take a needed bath; threw tantrums on the kitchen floor—and we were criticized, less loved.
 
The love we knew was often a transaction: for doing X, we could get Y. And when we took up jobs and cash, the lesson only deepened: value gotten meant value given.
 
And then we heard a strange, new thing: Jesus overturned the economy of value, just as He overturned the tables of the merchants. We are loved, the Father says, before we ever did good things, and even when we do bad things. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
 
So constant is His matchless care we never leave the orbit of His love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
 
Here is the gospel of new value: we are loved because God loves, and not for what we offer Him.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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