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Adventist Review is the official magazine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Adventist Review is the official magazine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church


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Adventist Review is the official magazine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church






THE FLOWERING OF GRACE (February 26, 2021)

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...



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...


MANNA IN OUR WILDERNESS (February12, 2021)

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...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: ASSUMED IDENTITY (February 05, 2021)

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...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: WHY GRACE MAKES US UNCOMFORTABLE (January 29, 2021)

We’re no good at accepting gifts when we can offer nothing in return. And so we wrestle for the restaurant bill, determined not to be obliged for what someone who loves us wants to pay. We writhe in proud embarrassment when gifted with a sum so large we fear we’ll lose our freedom to decide, to regulate, to choose. We’re willing to be thankful so long as there’s no lingering commitment: we’ve traded Christmas cards and dinners. Our scores must all be evened, and all accounts be balanced. And...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: REASSURING RHYTHMS (January 22, 2021)

When do we offer reassuring words? Whenever there is fear, perplexity or pain. Our words rebuild the vital bridge connecting pain to hope, to peace, to continuity. “Don’t worry, little one,” we soothe. “Daddy’s going to be right here until you go to sleep.” “You’ll be just fine,” we tell the anxious student on the night before the test. “You’ve studied hard: you know this stuff.” “You’re not alone,” we whisper to a saddened soul who cannot see beyond the terrible calamity of now. In these,...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: RECLAIMING OUR IDENTITY (January 15, 2021)

“Who do you think you are?” the bully thundered, and we shrank back into some smaller self that could more easily escape or hide. “Who do you think you are?” the college entrance essay asked, and we explained we were the product of suburban schools, or immigrants, or persons trying on new cultures. “I am a daughter; an orphan; a member of a racially exploited group.” “Who do you think you are?” the counselor gently queried us, and we described our brokenness, our loss of self, our pain, to...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: LOVE THAT WON’T LET GO (January 08, 2021)

When dreams of bright success have stumbled on the hard edge of reality . . . When every scheme for fame or followers has left the needle where it was . . . When all the crowd who live for now have gone on dancing down the boulevard—just then we learn the value of the love that won’t let go. It’s father in the driveway saying softly as we pack, “You can come home again.” A colleague asks us on the elevator ride, “Are you OK? When would you like to talk?” A high school friend calls from a...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: RENEWAL IN THE RUINS (January 01, 2021)

At every rounding of the year, we realize how much we need renewal. On New Year’s Eve, we want to slam the door on the departing year, or banish memories of 2020’s pain and grief. But there are—and must be—great ties between the old year and the new. We live in the same bodies: we inhabit the same homes. We remain related to the same family: we work at the same jobs. We worship with the same believers: we study the same Word. It’s renewal, then, and not a clean break from the past, that...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Love Came Down (Dec 24, 2020)

This painful year has made us clear on what we want for Christmas. Though Lexus and Mercedes-Benz are sure we want a gleaming ride with giant ribbons on the roof, we have no miles we want to drive. The ads all tease us with dark fantasies on Amazon or Netflix, but we still have our darkness to get through. The tech toys that we bought for sport have only one compelling use this year. We want each other more than gifts. We want the long and lingering embrace of two-year olds who won’t let...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Keep On Singing (December 18, 2020)

Electric icicles are draped from eaves that never have seen snow. Inflatables, some 10 feet tall, loom high above synthetic reindeer, grazing on front lawns. Mythical figures never known in Bethlehem crowd close to dash away whatever pain may linger in the story. Back-lit Nativity scenes help us believe that everything that night was just as festive, clean, and comfortable as all the stuff by which we annually remember it. But it was painful to be Joseph—much harder still to be Mary—when...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Saving Our Stories (December 11, 2020)

The story brims with contrasts and disparities, and yet we tell it year by year. We meet an emperor, and then, at last, a baby. We hear of wealth, taxation, and deep poverty. We marvel at the gap between an iron power and abject, fragile weakness. The One who roamed the far-flung galaxies created by His word lies helpless in a trough from which farm animals are fed. Brilliant, iridescent angels terrify poor shepherds, who abandon pregnant ewes to gather ‘round the only Lamb who could deliver...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Grace On The Ground (December 4, 2020)

The soloist soars high above the massive, harmonizing choir: “O holy night, the stars are brightly shining.” But on that night, no soul on earth expected anything but normal. We drape the story of His birth with yards of gauze and billowy bright angels. We estimate a gentleness His weary parents never knew. We decorate the landscape of our Christmas with smiling sheep and camels trudging from the East. And we forget how hard it is to live beside—among—farm animals in fields or in stables. We...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Full Of Grace And Truth (November 27, 2020)

“If you would tell me, tell me true,” a wise old man once said. “There isn’t time enough for lies.” And when we’ve polished all our trophies, and sung again our victory songs, we come at last to stories too painful to be false. Each honest story unwraps our wounds, our hurts—as well as those we’ve given. We grieve the loved ones whom we’ve lost—a spouse; a friend; a much-loved child—though some of them still live and breathe. We mourn the loss of innocence; we’ve soaked up toxic sums of...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: The Choice To Love (November 20, 2020)

“She was very gracious in accepting my apology,” we say with heartfelt admiration. “He gave a very gracious speech in light of the circumstances,” we add, aware he could have done differently. Our common references to grace reveal we most always link it to “something that didn’t have to be done that way,” or someone who made a noble choice to rise above the normal human lust for power, wealth, or influence. Grace is always a choice, even in difficult, vexing moments. And there we find a...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: The Great Unlearning (November 13, 2020)

We crouch behind our walls and fences, readying ourselves for what we’ve learned to fear. We lock all doors, secure the bars. We mentally rehearse our steps, our routes. We twitch at unfamiliar sounds, lie wide awake when branches scrape the roof, and wait for light and morning. Whoever is not us is “other”—a nameless, faceless “stranger” we assume means only harm. “They” are the people unlike us—of different race, perhaps; or language, habits, customs, faiths. We crave the time machine that...


Journeys With Jesus: The Empty Vase

"Journeys with Jesus" is an intimate, personal look at the walk we all have with our Savior. Inspirational, heart-tugging, thought-provoking vignettes of life's journey and life's decisions. Most of all, it points us to our Father, our Friend, as the Source of all wisdom, comfort, and peace. Jill Morikone is the vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network. She and her husband, Greg, live in Illinois and enjoy ministering together....


Searching The Obvious: Keep Walking

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?”(Psalm 139:7, NRSV) “Searching the Obvious” focuses on how the Holy Spirit is ever active in our surroundings and in our lives, urging us to serve others. Personal stories challenge the reader to be mindful of our Christian Walk, recognize our own fallibility and slow down to ‘search the obvious’, the active presence of the Holy Spirit ever always around us. Dixil Rodriguez is a hospital chaplain, serving in southern...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: Beyond The Galaxy (November 6, 2020)

If there’s a mountain anywhere to climb, we scale it. If there’s a chasm some say can’t be spanned, we find a way to bridge it. When we demand a new frontier, we harness all the ingenuity we have to launch deep probes of planets, moons and suns. But there’s one goal we’ll never rise to conquer—how to reconcile a sinner to the Father. Nothing in our repertoire responds to this persistent challenge. Effort will not make it happen; wisdom won’t achieve the goal. Diligence and ritual won’t bring...


Bill Knott's GraceNotes: The Best Kind Of Graffiti (October 30, 2020)

“John 3:16,” the hand-lettered poster reads, and we imagine some sharp zealot who bought a stadium endzone seat to get his message out to millions on TV. “John 3:16,” the spattered license plate declares, as we idle in traffic and ponder why some driver would request those letters and those numbers for his car. “John 3:16,” the understated business card asserts, as we turn over all the notes and papers of our day. These characters—four letters and two numbers—spell out the code of grace....