At the heart of all we call our faith is a deepening trust that God’s heart is kinder than we were taught and more persistent than we ever knew. For Him, all comparisons ultimately fall short. He is wiser than the best father; more nurturing than the most empowering mother; more companionable than the closest sibling. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”(Prov 18:34). And He offers us, both now and in the end, what family never can—a relationship that transcends our relatives’ best moments and redeems their worst dysfunctions. God’s grace is the unyielding embrace of One whose love cannot be won, or lost, or altered, or improved. Receive the grace you were destined for. And stay in it. -Bill Knott

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June 13, 2019

Gun Rights?

Gun ownership is as American as baseball, apple pie and all-too-frequent mass shootings. But the 2nd Amendment gives every American the right to bear arms. Has our gun culture become a right that has gone wrong? On 14th and U, Dwain and Cliff delve into the topic to argue the pros and cons of this heavily debated issue.

Everybody’s talking about something, and there’s no shortage of opinions. Just watch the daily news and to every issue, there are always many sides of a discussion.  14th and U is a weekly show, fueled by the thoughts and opinions of real people who live, work around 14th and U streets in cities all around the world. 14thU.com

Everybody’s talking about something, and there’s no shortage of opinions. Just watch the daily news and with every issue, there are always at least two sides.  14th and U is a weekly podcast, fueled by the thoughts and opinions of real people who live, work and socialize at places like 14th and U streets in cities all around the world.  Each week, the things that people are talking about in the 24-hour news cycle will be captured through man-on-the-street interviews and in-studio commentary.  Join hosts Dwain Esmond and Clifford Goldstein each week in a local diner as they try to make sense of it all. For more information about these and other similar topics, visit our website  www.14thu.com

Ah, to be the wounded one—the one who gets to be the powerful forgiver.  We covet this rare role because we’re usually more sinning than we’re sinned against.  And when it comes our turn to show the grace once given us, we linger with the choice, as if it were a heavy thing to pardon what’s been done. We can’t, of course, refuse forgiveness outright:  Jesus tied our own forgiveness to the habit of forgiving.  But first, a little groveling, we say.  Some real contrition, perhaps a tear or ten.  Some promises to never—ever—injure us again. And so we fall far short of grace.  We strike a lender’s bargain with the sinner:  pardon only if the penitent submits to our superiority. But grace is always washinbg someone’s feet—abandoning all power in the goal to make the sinner whole.  We cannot—dare not—charge for what was freely offered us.  If it’s not free, then it’s not grace. Remind yourself of how forgiveness made you valuable to you.  And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Stephen Chavez is an assistant editor of Adventist Review magazine. 

Stephen Chavez is an assistant editor of Adventist Review magazine. 

Lael Caesar is the associate editor of Adventist Review magazine and covets the Enoch gifts. 

My pride is stung. My spirit’s wounded. The untrue, unjust thing that someone said, that someone wrote, went viral with unheard-of speed, fanned on by evil angels. And rising with the bitter righteousness of bile, the fantasy of sweet revenge becomes more urgent every hour. “Strike back!” say Truth and Justice. “Set the twisted record straight. Unmask the gossiper for who he is, for what she wrote. Redeem your ruined reputation.” And then Grace whispers, “You have already been redeemed. Your reputation is the best that it could ever be because your life is hid with Christ in God. The pleasures of retaliation are nothing—meaningless—beside the joys of being both forgiven AND forgiving.” Grace dulls our taste for vengefulness, and makes us hungry for the fullness of God’s joy. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22). “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8). And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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We can’t make ourselves more loveable to God by years of good behavior. And yet, because of grace, we seek to do what pleases Him. We can’t earn even half an hour in heaven by acts of sympathy or kindness. And yet, because of grace, we spend unnumbered hours caring for the least of all His little ones. Those shining moments when we sometimes rise to our potential don’t make us even one bit more beloved by God. His love for us cannot be amplified, expanded, or improved. Grace cancels everything we think we’ve earned, and makes us utterly rely on everything God gives us. It is the end of all our goodness, and the place where faith begins. Abandon hope in all you’ve done, but deeply trust what God has done. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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The gospel is only as good as the God who asks us to believe it. If He’s the disappointed, vengeful deity we have pictured in our frightened imaginations, then we do well to hide, to stay away: why would we risk ourselves with Him? But if Christ is, as His Word says, the Lord whose love for us survives even our worst choices and most defiant behaviors, then we may crawl out from beneath the bed and step out from the shadows. When I am loved at my lowest and embraced even at the height of my foolishness, then I can safely trust myself to grace. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). I now believe in Him who has always—unequivocally—believed in me. So here I’ll stand—and stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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