We measure the worth of things by their apparent scarcity. Gold, caviar, Maseratis—all increase in value when we think supply is limited. Much of the joy of ownership is the awareness that others don’t—or can’t—enjoy them. And in our poorest thinking, we sometimes foolishly imagine that the grace of God has been reserved for wise and careful people like us. We pretend God’s kindness is a reward for faithfulness, rather than the cause of it. If grace is freely available, won’t its value be diminished? But the old hymn said it well: “The love of God is broader than the measure of our mind.” “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45). Grace is that rarest of things that becomes more valuable as it is more widely available and more fully embraced. When you love God, my joy is doubled. Heaven has no finite space restrictions, nor is the grace that leads us home reserved for just a few. “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). Embrace the Lord who embraces everyone. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

 

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Good news is only good because the other news isn’t good. It’s the contrast between light and darkness that makes us glad for everything that’s lit and bright and warm. And the Bible is unsparingly honest about our real condition—about the bad news—of our lostness and our darkness. We got what we deserved: we reaped what we sowed. The news couldn’t get any worse. We were the people sitting in darkness. But then a great light dawned. The gospel of the Father’s unending, untiring affection for us is seen in everything Jesus did to bring us healing, joy, and abundance. He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also give us all things with Him?” (Rom 8:32). Jesus is the proof of heaven’s favor, the certainty that we are still loved—have always been loved, will always be loved. In Him, we learn the news we didn’t know: that our lives can be free, and fun, and filled with meaning. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Heb 7:25). Grace headlines every day’s edition. “Now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). “His life brought light to everyone” (John 1:4). Enjoy the news. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

 

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Of all the sins to which we fall, none makes us feel so smug as vengeance. When we’re the injured ones, the hurting ones—acknowledged victims of some sin—we live a perilously long moment of unexpected power. The voices of our culture ring too loudly in our ears: “Retaliate. Require groveling. Make certain that they’ll never hurt you—or anyone—like that again.” And sometimes in our weakness, we savor the imagination of how much pain we could inflict—all righteously, of course. We picture those who hurt us getting stings that we’ve endured. It’s grimly satisfying on some scale of “eye-for-eye.” But then the gospel pierces through our fog of pain, and we hear again the words that once changed everything for us: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor 5:19).” Only people who have been forgiven every truly forgive. The memory of our undeserved redemption pushes through our injury, and we recall how we were once where our abusers are. The grace we give is built on memory of how we’ve been released, and how our hearts have been renewed. So we lay down the lance; give up the sword. We offer others peace and healing Jesus is still giving us. This is His way. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Humility is not in vogue—either in the magazine or in the culture. It’s an age of self-assertion, self-promotion, fueled by surging expectations that we should win an ever-larger share of likes, or votes, or ratings. And so we miss a central pillar of the “law of Christ”—that we should bear each other’s burdens. For the secularist, this makes no sense, for all of life is deemed a competition for vanishing resources—money, spouses, power, or fame. That we would slow our sprint to walk beside a weaker brother or sister—that we would take on wounds or weight not our own—is proof that we have “lost our edge,” and couldn’t be leaders of the pack. But still, humility is vital to the life of faith—before our God, and yes, before each other. I may say I’ve humbled myself before the Lord, but I’m then both observer and observed. Only grace received and grace enjoyed allows us to pick up the burden we don’t deserve, pray for the sin we didn’t commit, and stop to hold the one who so much needs a friend. Humility isn’t a label we award ourselves: it requires an “other” with whom we patiently obey the word of Christ. Grace gives us strength to walk with others in this great and human race. Christ won the race. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening. 
 
Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer. www.adventistworld.org

Chantal Kingbeil serves as an associate director in the Ellen G. White Estate and lives with her family in Maryland, USA.

Global View is a column of biblical and spiritual encouragement urging listeners to stay close to Christ and His Word as they carry out His mission for the world through the Holy Spirit pointing people to Christ’s soon coming. Ted N.C. Wilson is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. www.adventistworld.org

What Christians call the “fruit of the Spirit”—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—is food the world needs. It’s not a banquet to which only believers are invited. These are all relational graces: each is only meaningful when there’s a lack of it. We’re never called to dine alone—to only private holiness. We learn these graces at the table from those who have themselves learned patience, peace and self-control in other times, at other tables. In community, in time we spend together, we practice the kindness the world needs. Your gentleness will teach me to be gentle: my faithfulness in staying with you may be the prompt to loyalty you need. In grace, we build each other up—and all for those who hunger to experience the goodness shown to us. This is no private dinner club: Grace always sets the table for great sharing. Come to the meal at which all hungry souls are filled. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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What we call “the gospel” is an announcement of our true standing before a holy God because of the saving work of Jesus, in whom we place all our confidence. It’s not the same thing as how we feel about ourselves, or an estimate of our progress in living a good life. Our emotions—including our assessments of our spiritual experience—are subject to the vagaries of weather, backaches, or what we ate too late for dinner last night. There are days on which for reasons we can’t fully articulate, we don’t feel “close” to God. That doesn’t mean anything more substantial than that we may be limited by arthritis, sports injuries, or indigestion. There must be—there is—a constancy about the gospel and its grip on our lives that isn’t changed by even our powerful emotions. “By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20). Jesus is more trustworthy than our feelings about ourselves. His word about our reconciliation to the Father is more true than any word we think or say. In living faith, our lives are hidden with Christ in God. From this deep certainty grow life and joy and peace and healing. Believe His word. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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It’s certainly part of God’s unfolding grace to not reveal how little we’ve understood until we’re further down His road. At first, we catch stray glimpses of ourselves—ungainly; sometimes tripping over stones; embarrassed, not repentant. We judge that we can quickly find our stride—that we can overcome our slowness by more practice. And then we learn that more is broken than we knew—that all that looked like confidence and legs was our attempt to fool ourselves, defend our pride, and keep our running reputation strong. We cancel all our marathons. At last, we learn how much we’re like that man beside the pool—the paralytic Jesus lifted from a life that hadn’t moved in years. Unless His grace renews our legs and hope, we’ll always miss the road the Saviour longs to share with us. If we knew all our weaknesses at once, and all up front, we might despair that even grace could lead us home. So it’s a mercy that we learn our ignorance and arrogance in pieces Jesus lets us know, accompanied by gentle, quiet laughter. His grace, just like His love, is always patient and kind. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Deliver me, O Lord, from cool and graceless places where the righteous cluster often to adjust their reputations. Save me from gatherings where no pulses ever quicken, where no tears are ever shed, where sinners are not swallowed up in oversized embraces. Keep me from walking into snares where theology is scrutinized, but no one wants to hear of Your tenacious love for me. Surround me, God, with those who know the pain of brokenness—and know how rich Your healing is. Encircle me with men and women unafraid of dirt—with those who know the words of hope. And do not let me stray from them. Appoint my steps to walk beside—among—the hurting and disheartened, for I will call to mind Your grace each time I recognize their pain. Anoint my lips with silence when I’m tempted to compare myself to those who just began their journey. Your grace is how I seek to live—to laugh, to weep, to learn, to grow—among the many You are saving. I want no better friends than those who pray with humbled heart: “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” Then my lips will sing Your songs: my heart will strike a higher key. Among those ransomed by Your love, my voice will be both loud and clear:

            “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me;

            Bless His holy name.”

So may I always walk with You, and stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Make covenants, not resolutions, as you walk into the year, for covenants give us company in keeping what we pledge. A resolution with no witness is too often just a wish, a good intention with nothing but our declining willpower to make the vital difference. The covenants we really need are bigger than our diets and more urgent than our visits to the gym. We need companions to whom we’ll make the most important promises of all: to tell each other just the truth; to remind each other of how good the gospel is; to continue walking side by side through any guilt or fear the new year brings. Agree with someone in your life—a spouse, a friend, another sinner saved by grace—with whom you’ll travel in days ahead—by phone, by app, by real steps on real roads. Pledge perseverance, not perfection, for walking with another sinner will reveal how much you both need constant grace. And when you stumble, as you will, a hand will lift you up, and brush you off, and help you keep on walking. As this year starts, invite some other to what Jesus now invites you: “Come walk with me: keep covenant.” That’s how you’ll stay in grace. -Bill Knott

 

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