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
The words were angry, tight and cold. We spat out syllables designed to wound, expose, pronounce, condemn.
 
And then we crouch behind dark curtains, grieving for the pain we’ve caused; the lack of laughter where we live; the friendships stalled or even broken. We cannot see a way back home, and time drags wearily toward night.
 
But there is light and warmth—and grace—for us. The Bible says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). We reconcile when we restart the conversation pain has paused: we choose to move beyond this dry impasse into the ease and laughter we once knew. Because of grace, our friendly options flower like deserts do from nighttime rain.
 
The miracles of grace first happen to us and then through us. Because we are embraced by God, we learn the language that rebuilds: “I’m asking your forgiveness. I want us to be friends again.”
 
And somewhere God, who never pauses or desists, is smiling as we practice grace. The love that saves us makes us kind.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
We want the verdict we can’t have—to be both right and righteous; to win each argument on points, and yet be counted blameless.
 
But something in our quest to win undoes our fleeting grip on grace. “Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs,” (1 Cor 13: 5) the Bible says—and still we keep a tally sheet of wounds we’re waiting to avenge. We chase a kite tail in the wind to fix what gossip has besmirched, convinced that what we call the “truth” is ultimately more prized than love.
 
But only God can get it right. Only a wise and gracious Father can be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).
“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).
 
The goodness of the gospel is not getting what we’ve earned. For there is One who took our lies, our lust, our longing to be right and washed them with His tears and blood. As grace replaces all our fantasies of justice for ourselves, we yield to the greater truth: “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
 
It is enough if only Christ is right, and through His grace declares us whole.
 
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
We breakfast on the crusts of aging self-help theories. “Believe, believe in who you are,” we mutter as we face another thin and hungry dawn.
 
By lunch, we are negotiating losses, trying hard to still believe that “We are wise, and we are warm, and we are kind.” But conflicts with our colleagues and chasing three-year-olds around a house belie the bromides and bravura.
 
At supper, we go searching for our comfort food, the self-indulgent set-aside of all that didn’t work that day. “No one could have expected more of me than me,” we chant. Our sins were only foolish calories—not consequential, easy to explain.
 
There is, no doubt, a better way. The gospel taught by Jesus doesn’t ask us to think better of ourselves or imagine qualities that never have appeared. “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us,” (Rom 5:8) the Bible says. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 Jn 4:10).
 
Grace builds our confidence in everything God gives. “I am the bread of life,” Jesus says.
“Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again” (Jn 6:35).
 
This is the manna for each day—“not I, but Christ.”
 
Trust what He gives. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
The storyline is so familiar now. A kindly grandfather in some quiet town is found to be a gangster living under an assumed identity. A civic leader loses her elected role when her history is revealed behind a different name. We shake the dust off polished shoes in not-so-righteous indignation, for we prize honesty, we say.
 
And yet, we know this story well. Before we learned to count or read, the orbit of our life was willful, proud, and self-involved. To these we added faults we chose—the cruelties of school playgrounds; the teenaged gossip that cut worse than any knife; the damage done our bodies and our minds through substances and time ill-spent. Our failures ran much faster than our years.
 
And then, one day, the Father offered us a new and strange identity: forgiven sinner; healed outcast; prodigal brought home. He wouldn’t let us take a lesser role, but righteously insisted we accept our place as sons and daughters deeply loved.
 
So now we live with this assumed identity, and struggle with the Father’s robe we feel ineligible to wear. He is relentlessly insistent on this new life He’s given us: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean” (Acts 10:15).
 
To feel unworthy never means that we are unforgiven. Grace is the way we’re learning how to live within the Father’s house, enjoy His love, and welcome other prodigals back home.
 
Put on the awkward robe of grace. And stay in it. -Bill Knott

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