Spoken edition of Adventist Review, a monthly magazine by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
ALWAYS ON MY MIND (September 24, 2021)
Sometimes we have to choose to remember the good things
So much of daily life is, as we say, “taken for granted.” We assume when we go to bed that our eyes will open in the morning. We don’t worry whether the car will start in the morning. We live our seasons believing there will be enough sun and rain to grow the grass and water the trees. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
But the Word of God urges us to actively remember that none of these things is guaranteed: each is the Father’s loving gift. When our happiness increases, His joy overflows. “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” the psalmist reminds himself, “and do not forget all His benefits—who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103 2-4).
It’s easy to take even amazing things for granted—like forgiveness, and healing, and grace. And while He is no less God whether we remember Him or forget His goodness, the choice to celebrate His consistent kindness opens the door to abundant living.
God is both very great and very good. His power—His rulership—is matched with tenderness and vast affection for us. Take what He has granted. Choose gratitude.
And stay in grace.
REGIFTING GRACE (September 17, 2021)
“Love your enemies.”
It’s one of Jesus’ best-known statements—and one of the most misunderstood. The mere mention of those who hurt us, slandered us, or victimized us uncovers all our buried helplessness and anger. Our memories work too well: we can’t summon the will to overlook the painful past. The thought of one day loving those who wounded us seems just another of faith’s impossibilities.
And so we need a power greater than ourselves—which is just what we have received: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Only the gift of supernatural grace—the kind the Father has shown to us “while we were still sinners” (Rom 5:8)—can ever move us to reimagine our enemies as friends: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are” (1 John 3:1).
Our enemies are just as fully loved by God as we are. When we receive His gift of love, we learn, in time, to gift it on to them. Grace is this angry world’s best hope for healing.
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
THE ORIGIN OF FORGIVENESS (September 10, 2021)
It’s the fiercest rule of our culture: the greater the injury—the deeper the wound—the less likely that forgiveness will ever—ever—be offered.
When a friend forgets a lunch appointment or a colleague fails to meet a crucial deadline, we find a grudging grace to overlook the infraction. But if the angry words are public; if the damage done is measured in broken buildings or broken bones, our interest in forgiveness disappears.
We are so fortunate that God’s ways aren’t like ours. According to the Scriptures, we’re all complicit in the greatest injury to God the world has ever devised—the crucifixion of His Son. It was our sins—large and small, deliberate and impulsive—that whipped and beat Him, drove the nails, and pushed that thorny crown on Him. We mocked and taunted Him as He hung dying.
And yet, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). Amazingly, “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).
Forgiveness flows from God’s amazing grace. We first receive it; then practice it; then glory in it, for we are saved by it.
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
THE HOPE OF CHANGE (September 03, 2021)
When we add up all our failings; when we see how frequently we fall, it seems we’ll never find the exit to this sad amusement ride. Our angers still routinely flare; our pride leaps higher day by day; our self-absorption is a carousel of serving just ourselves. The happiness we thought we’d find—in being kinder, wiser, gentler, free—feels always, always out of reach. We circle ‘round and ‘round: there is no merry to this ride.
We need an end to what we’ve been. With the apostle Paul we cry, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Rom 7:24).
To all who hope for better things, the gospel speaks with clarity: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Rom 3:23-24).
Our past need not predict our future: grace abounds at every turn. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb 4:15-16).
Your life can change. Your hope will grow.
So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
UNFAILING LOVE (August 27, 2021)
At the heart of why we struggle to understand the “otherness” of God is our assumption that He must be, in some sense, just a grander and more powerful version of us.
If we’re preoccupied with tomorrow, God must think of nothing else, for He controls tomorrow. If we’re sorrowful or angry when people disappoint us, God’s indignation must be multiples of ours. Because we find it hard to forgive, we think that He forgives reluctantly, and only when petitioned.
But God loves differently. “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isa 55:8). In the heart of God there’s an unquenchable affection for us, even when we’re anxious, even when we’re angry, even when we stumble at forgiving—or believing we’ve been forgiven. “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5).
We know no one who loves like God—who will not be distracted and cannot be dissuaded from loving us, embracing us. “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).
We’ll never comprehend such grace. But we can welcome it; rejoice in it; be warmed by it.
And stay in it. -Bill Knott
SWEET SONG OF GRACE (August 20, 2021)
Ask any skilled musician, and they’ll tell you everything begins with practice.
Behind the brilliant concert hall performance or the music video that goes viral lie a hundred—or a thousand—hours of tedious and undramatic practice. Cognitive skill, muscle memory, an adroit sense of timing, and a touch of interpretive expression meld, at last, into a moment that can soothe or challenge, inspire or amaze.
We practice who we want to be, even though on every day, our practice isn’t perfect. If we rehearse our injuries—the snubs we felt; the spite endured; the untrue things that made us weep—we build the tuneless selves that amplify the world’s dirge.
And if, through grace, we practice peace; if we rehearse transparency and love, the song of Moses and the Lamb becomes the music of our lives (Rev 15:3). We sing with those who celebrate; we comfort those who mourn a loss. We pass the trifling goal of sounding good, and actually start doing good. The grace that filled our dark with song now stirs deep hope for those who need a melody.
So practice gentleness and joy. Rehearse how Jesus rescued you—from sin and from yourself. Let kindness be the memory of your voice. Ten thousand ears will bless you.
And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
Great podcast, format should be revised
I love the info here, it’s so much easier for me to listen to these while driving to work rather than sit and read a magazine at home.
The three star rating is for the inconsistency of podcast length. It might be worth separating the long and short pieces into separate channels. That way if people want to simply listen to a 30 minute podcast they can do that by subscribing to one channel, and if they want shorter snippets they could subscribe to another. Those of us who drive would appreciate this.
Overall great content.
So excited to have this Adventist review available in audio format !! Looking forward to exploring more