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TGP Volume 12
(April, May, June 2012)

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Week 15

By Merit of His Presence to Heal, the Minister's Confidence Pointing Hurting People to Christ

If water did not exist, I think I could, with the best of coaches, trainers, etc., motivate athletes to press on with a heroic mentality, commitment, and determination so that they could survive their dehydration (“Real men don’t need water!").

And if the Living Water (God’s Provision of Christ) did not exist, I think I could, with the best of ministers, counselors, etc., superficially motivate church goers to perform heroics in spite of their spiritual dehydration. Actually, I did exactly that in the early days of my ministry.

But water, in fact, does exist and is available. So also is the Living Water. This means, I do not need to hype or artificially stimulate hurting people to perform as if it didn’t. Instead, I am free to point them to intimacy with Christ, and to call them to it.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (godliness).” – Colossians 1:27

“Come unto me all you who are broken and worn out/spiritually dehydrated, and I will give you recovery.” – Matthew 18:28   

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D13

Missing the Message of Grace, Why Ministers Pound on People

A young pastor is joining many others in his denomination to call his church to “repentance from their sins” during a week of prayer. He is also naming the sins. They include pride, lust, hatred, envy, anger, selfishness, cold-heartedness, etc.. His instruction to the church is to stop their sinful attitudes and behaviors so that God can bless them.

He just as well add hunger, thirst, loneliness, and fatigue to his list, because the church can no more turn off pride than it can hunger.

But what else is a pastor to do but pound on his church if he does not understand the concept of God’s grace - that healing and renewal flow into our lives, not by what we attempt to turn off or rid ourselves of, but by what we open our hearts to in order to receive.

“Come unto me,” Jesus said, “and connect to me for the support I provide, and I will renew you.” - Matthew 11:28 (GracePoint paraphrase)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D12 

Investing for Health: God’s Plan for the Sexual Experience

The young man, at the outset of our counseling, was partly irritated and partly surprised that I would ask him to consider if his need for his wife was an addiction. I explained that addictions 
  1. would not exist if the health needs of body and soul health were met, and
  2. are the result of the inappropriate choices we make to deal with the pain of our unmet needs.
These choices are inappropriate because they
  1. disregard God’s provisions for meeting our needs,
  2. use experiences, chemicals, and peopl for superficial pain relief, and
  3. do not support healing.
For example, men who suffer unmet affection needs (missed especially by their mothers) and unmet validation needs (missed especially by their fathers) sometimes find pain relief in using women for sex. Typically, they misidentify their sexual experiences as a normal human need because it helps deal with their pain.

But God provided the sexual experience for the purpose of procreating life, the same as he provided the eating experience for the purpose of sustaining health. When the sexual experience, or the eating experience, is used for pain relief, it misses God’s intended purpose, resulting in disappointment and broken health.

Some have not been able to accept this concept and have walked away from our counseling. Others have confessed their brokenness (using), identified the cause of it (unmet needs), responded to God’s call to receive his provisions for their healing, beginning with intimacy with Christ, and, as a result, are being transformed by him so that they are becoming investors and no longer users. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D11

The Disappointment of Attracting a User: What Women Get When Dressing to Gain Attention

It doesn’t take much for me to have something to say or write about. (I have hundreds of draft postings waiting to be edited.) Ads are always good to get a response from me. For example this one to my Gmail inbox recently: 

“Things you don't want to lose: your keys, your sanity, and that hot guy's attention.” It’s a pitch from a local fitness club. (Like I said, it doesn’t take much to get me going.)

Actually, my response is grief. From the counseling I do, I know the pain suffered by women who use their appearance to attract men is enormous.

They miss understanding that

  • men are users,
  • men who are investors are attracted to modesty, and
  • women will eventually be disappointed with what they get when they pursue a certain look in order to gain a man’s attention.  
Our counsel to women is: Passionately pursue fitness for the sake of health, but do not be overly concerned about outward beauty; instead attend mostly to the beauty that comes from within, which is precious to God - precious also to godly men. (See 1 Peter 3:3-4.)

DonLoy Whisnant/ The Grace Perspective 12D10

The Potential for Defeat Diminished by the Power of Christ’s Presence to Support Success

I have discovered that I suffer pretty much the same brokenness as I did earlier in my life, only not to the same degree and with this difference also:

  • Then, I did not have a solution for my afflictions, except myself, to try harder, especially to suppress them;
  • Now, I have a solution, which is not myself, but “who Christ is” in me, against which my afflictions cannot prevail.
This means that, while the potential for failure remains, my experience of it in a way that defines my life is gone.

The Apostles gave confession to this:

“By the grace of God I am what I am.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge (experience) of Christ.” - 2 Peter 1:3

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (doxa: “the ways and character of God manifested in and through us by our experience of Christ”).”– Colossians 1:27

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D09

Week 14

God’s Redemptive Purpose for the Birth of Babies

Parents sometimes express their desire to have another child and ask what I think. I always ask, “Why?” Usually the answer has something to do with how precious children are, or maybe because it would be nice for their child/children to have a baby brother or sister. I have never gotten a bad answer.

But, while children bring much delight and happiness to the home, God’s plan/purpose for birthing children is not primarily to increase happiness in the home; rather, it is redemptive – that is, so that children can experience his love and support (the same reason he created man in the first place) and, also, so that they will be enabled one day to manifest him into the world, beginning with their own children.

In keeping with this concept, Paul writes (1 Timothy 2:15) that a woman is saved (recovered, healed) through childbearing. Eve is mentioned in the context of this passage, so the meaning may include a reference to the birth of Christ the Savior. More directly, however, it is clearly a promise to mothers, that they are saved (recovered, healed) through childbearing (Gr. teknogonias [from teknogoneo] “to give birth” but meaning also “the maternal responsibilities of child rearing”) – assuming she continues in faith, love, holiness, and sobriety” (v15).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D06

Christ’s Promises, a Reality in Our Lives, But Not by Confession of Platitudes, Rather by Our Choice to Receive His Provisions

We can make sincere confession of God’s love and care for us (which he expresses to all mankind - not just simply by his emotional disposition toward us, but through his provisions in Creation, Community, and especially Christ to make possible our healing and recovery), but confession alone regarding our understanding of God’s provisions is not the same as our receiving them in order to experience the benefit they offer.

Again, we may acknowledge the existence of, intellectually understand, be grateful for, and even speak, sing, and write about God’s provisions, his power, and his promises. But it is not the same as experiencing them.

For example, Christ promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but it is with the understanding that he watches over us and is attentive to provide for our needs (that is, to bring them to the door of our hearts). It does not mean he is viably present within our hearts to support our health regardless of our response to receive him (during our quiet time worship each day).

Or, as grace counseling often points to for illustration, God has provided food and water and also made promises regarding their availability and power, but we do not understand that to mean his provisions are effectual in our lives to support our health apart from the choices we must make daily to include them in our diets.

Otherwise, if our health was by merit alone of God’s faithfulness to provide (with disregard to our choices), then every person on earth would be in full health, and also go to Heaven.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D05

Saluting Attentive Support Staff Stepping Aside in Service to Others

Recently in a market I walked down an aisle to an item I wanted to buy. Standing in front of the item was a young girl and her mother. Seeing me approach, the girl told her mother to move because “a man wants to look.” The mother said, “Well, honey, so do I!” Good for her!

I suspect the little girl had the notion she and her mother did not really matter, that the needs of others matter more, especially if it is a man, and especially if he looks professional. Jumping out of the way may have been something she learned at home from her dad. But, of course, there are many other places and opportunities to learn that reaction. We leaders promote it when we expect to be served by those we are called to serve.

I was reminded of this recently (for a simple example) when a supply store manager-type hurried down an aisle with the expectation for me to move out of his way. He forgot, I think, who was there for whom. More sadly, I sometimes see work staff in offices jump around to get out of the way of the “boss.”

But then, occasionally, I observe a leader who gets it - for example, the godly pastor who stopped and stepped aside at a doorway when the cleaning lady approached coming toward him. He did that for all his staff. That’s because he understood his role as a servant – that, as Christ, he was in their lives, not to be served, but to serve.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D04

Sowing in Tears: An Outreach Concept for the Organic Church

We are happy for the reports that the mega churches are reaching many with the message of Christ for eternal salvation. It is our confidence that God is using them to accomplish his redemptive plan on earth.

But we continue to point to the difference between the organizational, program-oriented, performance-driven, hurry-up church and the organic body of Christ manifesting “who Christ is” on earth as salt and light.

The one produces stimulant energy, the other, holistic health.

The early church, according to our understanding of the Scriptural reports, did not set out to increase numbers per today’s for-profit business model. Instead of a work they could do, they seemed resigned to the work God was doing - first within them (to enable them/make their seed effectual), and then through them into the world. The result was an enduring harvest. See Psalm 126:5-6.

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift (of the Holy Spirit) my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13) … you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and (then) you will be my witnesses (first) in Jerusalem, and (then) in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - See Acts 1:4-8

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:47

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D03

God’s Extended Goal for Our Experience of Christ

Of course, we run to our quiet time early in the morning in order to experience Christ so that we can be set free from our brokenness. What relief! The experience is not too unlike a dying, suffocating, starving, dehydrated person being renewed to life by oxygen, food, and water.

But this deliverance from the depths is not the total of our experience of Christ, not any more than food, water, and oxygen serve only to recover us from hunger and thirst. (Even if it were, I would still run to it.)

The ultimate, extended benefit of our experience of Christ is in order for us to be transformed into his likeness so that, not only do we have support against adversity, but also enablement in service to others.

“With him is full redemption.” – Psalm 130:7

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:13

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D02

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