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

We mean well when we offer theories of God’s grace. We say things like, “Grace is the application of the unlimited merits of Jesus to the unmeritorious lives of sinners.”
 
And then we actually wonder why millions of people don’t “get it.” Someone has reminded us that “good doctrine is only a description of a good relationship with God.” And it’s that relationship—that unwearied friendship between the Father and each of His children—that we need to keep talking about. Whether we are prodigal or homebound, there’s just “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6).
 
When angry words give way to kind silences, we hear grace. When vengeful plans yield to awkward reconciliations, we see grace. When broken, bitter people are day-by-day becoming healed and healing people, we live grace. When dread and guilt give way to joy and liberation, we feel grace.
 
Everything changes when grace arrives. The grace of God is more real, more solid, more substantial than our fear, or pain, or hate. There’s nothing abstract about it.
 
Put your whole weight on believing. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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

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