TGP Volume 11
(April/May/June 2011)

Don, could I get your opinion on a diet/fitness app I am working on? The main problem with exercise and eating healthy seems to be motivation and willpower. My app would use charts and graphs to make diet and exercise a RPG game where users earn points.

Dear ____,

I developed a charting program that works in a similar way to support my motivation and willpower for staying the course toward my health goals.

So I think your app could be an excellent tool.

But I found an even deeper, more powerful and enduring support.

It is the Life of Christ (specifically, the nine fruits of the Spirit), birthed in us by the Holy Spirit and renewed to fuller measure through daily Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet-time worship (in order to hear and experience God) - most essentially, 
  • the fruit of Love (God’s value in us for his provisions, ourselves, and others), which transforms our values so that our health actually matters to us (a passion for purity, I call it), and also
  • the fruit of Temperance, that quality of Christ in us which enables us to timely and appropriately say yes and no.
Please keep me posted.

I googled to find your website. I was impressed.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F30 

Golfer Ben Crane

Ben Crane Website

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F29

Set Free From Pounding Through Our Experience of Christ

Years ago when providing church leadership, my strategy for increasing church attendance was to make God’s expectations known and also his disappointment for our slack and non compliance. It worked! Fear, guilt, and pride were powerful to motivate church members to never miss a meeting. That is, until we all broke under the weight of the legalistic demand (religious performance to win God’s favor or stay out of trouble with him).

Legalists live bound to the rules and expectations of those who they perceive to be in authority over them. But our growth in grace sets us free from the demands of the law. This means the support we now provide to hurting persons for making the choices that increase them in health is not to pound on their wayward behavior but to call them to a daily experience of Christ. His Life in us is our surest hope for support to make wise choices.

"But now, by dying (by virtue of Christ in us) to what once bound us (the sinful nature), we have been released from the law (because, like our first grade teacher, it is not longer necessary) so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." - Romans 7:6

See Religious Performance

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F28

Understanding the Priority Value to God’s Provisions

In counseling, I give a value of one, two, and three to God’s provisions.

His provisions in creation (the soil and atmosphere) to support our biological needs have a value of one. His provisions in community (supportive relationships in the home and church) to support our psychological (temperament) needs have a value of two. His provision of Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life) has a value of three.

This is the meaning of “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:8 NLT). Also, Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

This information helps us to identify the value of God’s provisions which flow into our lives, and also, with the understanding that, the greater the value, the more meaningful and enduring the outcome, to appropriately prioritize the connections we make for health.

This concepts also helps explains the meaning of Psalm 50:23 (KJV), “To him who orders his conversation (way of life) aright (appropriately), I will show the salvation of God” and also of Psalm 111:10, “Respect for (the value of) God’s provisions is the beginning of wisdom (because) all who follow God’s precepts have good understanding.”

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F27

Grace Leadership: Loving, Patient, and Faithful 

When I asked Carole to marry me 22 years ago, I suggested a date early in the year, but she suggested a much later date. I said we really should just wait until the following year. That got her attention. She asked, “Why?” So we set a date early in the year. It was a classic example of manipulation for which I am now ashamed, even though the wedding and the marriage worked out wonderfully well.

Through the years I have come to understand that God does not use manipulation. He does not use guilt, fear, or intimidation to motivate our response to him. Rather, he faithfully sows his Life into the world, and then allows the law of sowing and reaping to govern the outcome.

Grace leadership is a slow process. Many reject our investment, and others are slow to respond, but still we wait. That’s because the heart of Christ in us for others is loving and kind, and also faithful.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F24.

"Don, my wife says she wants to go back to school to help secure our family’s future. I think it would occupy a lot of her time and add more stress to her, but she thinks I am just looking out for my own good."

Dear (Husband):

1) It is God’s plan for the wife to seek her husband’s support for the choices she makes in behalf of her health.

2) When she does not do this, it may be because of her own counseling issues, or because her husband has not won her confidence that her health and happiness needs really matter to him.

3) We husbands do good to consider if we are "just looking out for (our) own good." That’s because of our fallen human nature. So we just confess that possibility and trust that Christ will increase his disposition in us as we give him opportunity each day during our quiet time worship.

4) You should not attempt to control or manipulate your wife's choice in this matter. It will not produce a good outcome. 

5) Your best hope for her to give you opportunity for infuence in her life is for you to
  • focus on your own healing and renewal so that you can 
  • identify, care about, and invest in her core health needs (temperament needs), and then
  • set her free, trusting God for the outcome he gives according to his redemptive plan.
See QUESTIONS: The Home 

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F23

Taking Sufficient Quiet Time to Support Life in a Broken World

My friend said her doctor told her that we do not need vitamins. Well, surely he meant to say that we don’t need vitamin supplements, because, of course, we need vitamins (also supplements) – else we would not need to eat food at all. But the good doctor is probably confused about other things also.

Not only do we need vitamins and minerals, but we need them in sufficient amounts. That means, if we take care to get the required amount of nutrition for the required amount of time, we will get the results they give.

I think of this often when I am encouraging our counselees to take extended time daily for Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet-time worship in order to hear God and to experience the renewal he gives. Taking too little time won’t hurt, but neither will it provide support sufficient for living the Christian life in a dark world – maybe the same as a single candle would not provide sufficient light for life in a dark room.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F22 

Grace Leadership: Follow Up and Review


This is to follow up on our discussion in last night's Grace Leadership class:

The terms pastor, overseer, and elder are used interchangeably in the Bible, although each identifies a different aspects of the role – maybe in a similar way that father, husband, and man represent the same person. It seems to me that

1) Pastor identifies his work to provide support through effectual teaching and counseling,

2) Overseer identifies his responsibility to watch over and protect, and

3) Elder identifies the maturity of his growth in grace manifesting in understanding, convictions, wisdom, judgments, goals, etc.

To illustrate: I support my wife for walking (or other health choices) through education (information), explanation, encouragement, and example (the pastor). On the trail, I chart out the course, blaze the trail, and am vigilant to protect against harm (the overseer). And I am qualified to do so as the senior/veteran member of the team and also the strongest (the elder).

The church elder is not necessarily the oldest person in the church, but he will absolutely be the person whose journey to experience Christ has been most long-term so that he

1) is established in physical, psychological, and financial health,

2) has clarity in understanding of Truth (especially concerning God’s redemptive plan for health, happiness, and going to Heaven), and

3) is purely motivated in service to others by the heart of Christ - for example, to be a help more than to be a hit (hero).

I look forward to next time!

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F21 

GracePoint, A Grace Renewal Church Experience: Clarity Review for Beginning Year Two

Last Sunday marked the completion of GracePoint’s first year for providing “a grace renewal church experience.” As we look ahead, this seems to be an appropriate time to state again the following deep convictions God has given us concerning his purpose for this ministry:

1. GracePoint is a renewal church guided by organic concepts. This means, it is not foremost an organizational/evangelical church which employs traditional church growth strategies (such as, for example, providing for social experiences or opportunities for service to the homeless in the community.)

2. Its mission, goal, and purpose is to provide critical teaching and counseling support to hurting persons for
  • understanding Truth (God’s redemptive plan) revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture – specifically concerning 1) the doctrines of salvation (soteriology - especially justification and sanctification), 2) leadership in the home and church, and also 3) fitness and nutrition, and for
  • connecting to God’s provisions for health which flow through his resources in creation, community (home and church), and especially Christ (by the Holy Spirit through his Word) for healing.
God, I believe, led me to use Psalm 73 for my sermon text on Sunday because Asaph was reviewing the state of the nation (Israel). His confidence that “surely God is good to Israel” (v1) came out of his experience in the “sanctuary of God” (v17) which was God’s appointed place and time for his quiet-time worship.

I paraphrased verses 23 to 26 to read:

“I am always connecting to your resources (as the branch abides in the vine – John 15:1-8). I am supported by the flow of your provisions into my life. You guide me by your counsel with the result that you produce in me your likeness. I have no other resources in heaven or earth that make up the difference for my experience of your presence in my life. My physical and psychological strength withers, but your provisions are powerful and enduring to renew me.”

With much love and care for you!

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F20

Grace Leadership Concepts: Follow Up and Review

Good morning, Gentlemen!

1) The husband is the pastor, teacher, and physician in the marriage. Regardless of his wife’s brokenness or behavior, it is his role to support her for making the wise choices (beginning with her quiet-time worship experience of Christ by the Holy Spirit through his Word) which result in her healing.

2) This support for her begins and is made effectual by his own personal experience of those choices which establish him in health.

3) In the same sense that she experiences Christ through the water she drinks, it is God’s redemptive plan for her to experience Christ through her experience of her husband’s love and care for her. This means a husband cannot pass off his wife’s need for water (or for him) by insisting she really only needs God. Again, that’s because God is providing for her needs multidimensionally.

4) Both personal healing and the healing of relationships is a long process, so we continue in faith and hope to sow in those we serve the seed which God has sown in us.

5) In the interim, it is appropriate (and effectual) for a husband to confess (to God, himself, his pastor/counselor, and those he serves) his personal brokenness and ongoing need for increased renewal.

6) Confession of weakness is a strength.

7) It is not the same as apology for failure to make wise choices for health - which is a weakness, the same as assertion of strength (intellectually, physically, or spiritually) and boasting of success.

8) Confessing our need for support from our resources is also a strength and measures our growth in grace – the same as our denial of weakness and need for support measures our arrogance and carnality.

I hope this helps. I welcome and rejoice in the opportunity you give me to support you in this way.

See Follow Up and Review

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F17

Grace: More than Magic, the Cause and Effect Explanation for Our Healing

God indeed spoke the worlds into existence – that is, he effectually called forth something from nothing. But it was more than an “abracadabra” moment of sorts (magic trick). Instead, it was a sowing and reaping investment in which God, the Holy Spirit, sowed/infused the Logos/Seed/Word (Christ) into the vacuum/darkness, the same as a farmer sows seed into the ground, with the cause and effect result of a perfect universe. Then he breathed his Life into man’s body with the result that man became a living soul (mind, emotions, and will), full of and perfectly manifesting God (the state which was lost when Adam disobeyed).

In this same manner, God speaks Life today into fallen man. But it is not the casting of a magical charm or spell upon him; rather, it is the sowing of Christ's Life (in the person of the Holy Spirit) into man’s spirit so that he is regenerated (born again).

And not only is he born again by virtue of God’s Life infused into him, he also has opportunity to be renewed day by day for healing during his quiet-time worship – that is, through his response to receive the upward flow of God’s Life into him like a river from his inmost being, his spirit, into his inner being, his soul.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (his spirit)." – John 7:38

“Jesus said, ‘If you knew the gift of God…, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water… Indeed, the water I give (you) will become in (you) a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” – John 4:14

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” - Isaiah 12:3

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” – Isaiah 58:11

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E16

Deeply Rooted in Religion: The Long Journey Out of Legalism

I do not at all believe that in Heaven we will celebrate or be rewarded for our heroics on earth to live out the Christian life. Instead, I suspect we will understand God’s grace and his redemptive plan more fully than ever before, and that we will rejoice with hilarity because of the remembrance of our experience of Christ to sustain us in a dark, dangerous world as we were intimately connected to him.

This is contrary to the teaching of my legalistic upbringing. And my recovery to grace was a long journey. That’s because legalism is deeply rooted in the soil of our religious nature. It is only by the cultivating work of the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand Truth at all

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E13

More Than Physical Health, Our Surpassing Need to Experience Spiritual Renewal

My pastor friend continues to insist that the focus of my ministry to call broken lives to extended quiet time worship each day (in order to be renewed by the presence of Christ flowing into their hearts) is extreme and motivated by my own past experience of failure and desperation. The suggestion is that not everyone is broken or has suffered as I have, so the radical choices which help recover spiritual (actually soul) health are not essential for maintaining health.

While it is true that patients in a hospital ICU need support which they will not need in the same way after the crisis has passed (the same as poorly conditioned persons need support for diet and exercise choices which can be modified as their fitness improves), still we do not want to say that any person would ever need renewal in Christ less at one time than another. This means, the renewal of our souls (minds, emotions, and will) is, by far, our most critical need. Paul supported this concept when he wrote:

“For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (outcomes of eternal value).” – 1 Timothy 4:8

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E12

Getting Started on Schedule, Sparing Spouse from Grumpy Sel

Old joke: A friend asked my wife if she got up grumpy. She said she didn’t, that she let him sleep in.

I rarely wake up in the morning full of joy. Instead, I usually get up ill-tempered, oppressed by my fallen human nature expressing itself through my melancholy temperament (or vice-versa). This does not mean I growl like a mean dog so that I am fit to be tied (old expression), but that I am spiritually dehydrated, cold and lethargic to the redemptive needs of others, full of religious condemnation and judgment, and very unhappy. It is in my quiet time that I am renewed by the flow of “who Christ is” (the Living Water) for my service to others. That’s why I rush in the morning to my quiet time – also why my daily schedule begins 90 minutes before my wife gets up.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E11

In Bondage to Recognition, Needy Pastors Resistant to Grace Concepts for Growth

I have had sufficient opportunity to experience how intolerable even good people can be to concepts that call them away from their heroics – which they hold on to as their only hope for recognition of performance and also to retain control of outcomes. Christ experienced this, you know, and warned his disciples, “They rejected me and they will also reject you.” The rejection is not personal, but against the message of grace.

At the outset of my grace journey 23 years ago, working as a church growth consultant, I taught “church growth through investment” beginning with intimacy with Christ who sows into us enablement for sowing effectual seed into others. Before contracting with churches, I explained that our program did not produce quick growth, but a very slow one (as a farmer would know about). I discovered, however, that numbers-oriented pastors have only one frame of reference for understanding church growth (the same as an athlete or retailer), so may not understand grace concepts, even though they think they do. Sometimes, even after only a few weeks, pastors would become antsy. Their hope for a spike in attendance was being disappointed. As it turned out, it was superficial growth they lusted for, not growth rooted in and flowing up from the health Christ gives as promised in John 15:5, "Whoever remains connected to me so that I can be in him will bear much fruit."

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E10

Grace: More Than Minimal Health, Our Experience of Heaven on Earth

We understand most about Plan B that it is a minimal-standard, stop-gap plan for managing pain and other symptoms and also to keep us alive. Absolutely, we thank God for it. Better minimal health, we think, than no health at all.

But God has also made provisions (beginning with our experience of Christ) so that, more than just enduring minimal health, we can enjoy optimal health and happiness – which even at its best is but a taste of the experience we will have increasingly in Heaven.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E09

Disappointment and Death: The Certain Outcome of Superficial Choices

You will become bored with (tire of, build a tolerance to) all you do to superficially relieve your pain. No entertainment, event, or experience is exempt. But you will increase in your enjoyment of the choices you make which increase you in health.

Many of those poor choices will also result in death. The advertisers of beer had it right years ago when they said “It doesn’t get any better than this!” about the lifestyle that included their product. That’s because every experience of drug use is better than the next one. Beginning with the first one, it is all down hill.

In an old barn recently, I saw an advertisement sign from years ago that read “Marboro Country.” On it a strong, handsome cowboy was depicted taking a break from his work to smoke a cigarette. Of course, Marboro Country turned out to be the cemetery.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E06

The Powerlessness of Pronouncing Blessings

Recently at Sam’s, I brought a large bag of walnuts and another of almonds to the checkout for purchase. Wanting to be friendly, the sweet cashier said, “Someone likes peanuts!” I smiled, but only in order to hide my disbelief of her __________ (what’s a kind word for ignorance?)

Words are critical, so I worry/fret about those who don’t seem to think too much about their meaning. That is not the worst of faults – unless Truth is at stake.

I thought of this again yesterday when I heard a minister say “May God bless you!” as he concluded his devotional to a group.

I highly suspect it was understood by the group as a pronouncement of good fortune upon them by the minister, maybe in the way Catholics seem to view “blessings” bestowed upon them by their priests or Pope. The visual in my mind is of someone waving his or her hand like a magic wand. (I wished I had that power. I would travel the world waving my hand over the needy.)

Of course, no person has power by virtue of a pronouncement to heal (which is the meaning of “blessing”). We do, of course, have power to touch the lives of others with our love and care for them so that, consistent with the law of cause and effect (sowing and reaping), they are helped. But not in a hocus-pocus manner as some view it.

“May God bless you" and similar phrases used in Scripture, particularly in the Psalms, are expressions of desire or hope for others.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E05

Reading the Bible But Missing the Message of God's Grace in All Its Truth

One of the most earnest calls I make to our counselees is to give much attention to (of course) the Gospels (especially John), but also to the New Testament doctrinal books (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians).

That's because we can study and know well the Old Testament (and much of the New Testament), but still miss the message of "God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6) which God gave the Apostle Paul specifically for the Church, the Body of Christ.

“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:25-27

“Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace (responsibility) that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.’’ – Ephesians 3:2-11 See also Romans 16:25-26.

All of Scripture was written for us (our benefit), but not all was specifically written to us. Without understanding the revelation God gave specifically to the church, we are left only with the Law as a context for understanding Scripture. For example, the Psalms and Proverbs can be understood either in the context of grace so that it is most relevant to us, or in the context of Old Testament Law, which is legalism.

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts are history,
  • Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are the doctrinal epistles (letters to the churches),
  • 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are the pastoral (leadership) epistles,
  • Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John are general epistles, and
  • the book of Revelation is prophecy, the Old Testament books are Law, History, Poetry, and Prophecy.
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E04

Not Their Loveliness, but God’s Love in Us for Others: The Deepest Support for Our Service

1) Christ lived and died for us, not because of anything about us that was valuable to him, but because of a quality about him (he is God) that values us unconditionally.

2) It is by virtue of his Life birthed in us by the Holy Spirit that we are increasingly enabled to also unconditionally value those we serve.

This means, while there is much about those we serve (lovable, lovely, and loving) which is delightful to us and motivates our interest in them, deeper than all that, it is the heart of Christ renewed in us daily by the Holy Spirit which is the truest and most powerful explanation for our desire to love and care for them.

To illustrate: Carole was beautiful to me in every way when I first saw her. It was not hard for me to ask her to lunch or to be interested in a relationship with her. But a deeper interest showed up in my heart which became my purest motive to pursue her. It was God’s love in me for her.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E03

Satan’s Support for Secondary Choices: When "Thou Shalt Not" is Idolatry

Congratulations to our military and commander-in-chief for catching up with OBL. The world will no doubt be a safer place. But greater by far than the world’s need to be free of evil is its need to experience personal righteousness through Christ.

We are alert to the adverse elements in the world that put our health at risk, and we take reasonable precautions to avoid them. Considered all together, however, they do not represent the brokenness we risk when we miss taking extended time daily for Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet-time worship in order to be renewed to fuller measure by the Life of Christ.

My experience is that Satan opposes more, by far, our commitment to make choices which include God’s provisions in our lives than he does our efforts to exclude harmful choices.

This is the reason grace counseling earnestly warns that our enthusiasm for "thou shalt not" (or even for "thou must do" including the performances of church attendance, reading the Bible through each year, exercise, compliance to strict diets, etc.) is idolatry if it surpasses our commitment to experience Christ.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11E02

Happiness: It's an Outcome, Not a Choice

It is one of the prominent messages of Plan B, but, no, we cannot choose to be happy.

Happiness is not really a choice, but a sowing and reaping outcome of the daily choices we make to include God's provisions in our lives, especially Christ by the Holy Spirit through his Word during our quiet time.

Actually, health is the outcome of those choices and happiness is the outcome of our service to others enabled by our health.

This means, our efforts to serve others which are not supported by health may feel good at first but, in time, will wear us out and further break us.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D18

Distorting the Plan of Salvation: Satan's Set Up for Doubt, Discouragement, and Defeat

At some fateful point along the way, Satan had the idea to distort the Gospel message to mean that God provides eternal salvation to those who repent of their sins (according to his definition of repentance) - that is, to confess their sinful behavior, be sorry for it, so much so that they give it up, and then commit to follow Christ (obey his commands).

The message seems scriptural enough, and also gives needy man opportunity for heroics he can boast about. But (as the scheme is devised to do) it sets him up for feelings of deep discouragement and defeat which, as I have discovered, is the root problem for most of the counseling issues I deal with.

What a set up!

Earnest seekers attempting to live out their commitment to follow Christ have found it to be a hard battle, one they are mostly losing, and in ways too painful to confess, compounded by Satan’s insult-to-injury attacks to condemn their failure.

This is the reason we are passionate to teach that
  • every person comes into the world under judgment (separated from God because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden – Romans 5:12-19),
  • God has made provisions for our salvation (justification) from judgment by the provision of his Son, Jesus Christ (his Blood/death on the cross),
  • the Blood of Christ is the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against us, and
  • all are immersed/baptized by the Holy Spirit into spiritual union with Christ who turn from trusting in what they can do (their good behavior) in an attempt to win God’s favor so they can go to Heaven, to trusting instead, wholly and alone, in what Christ has already done for them (by his death on the cross).
“There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” – Romans 8:1

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D15

Hearing the Message Most Missed: Why We Hurt

The famous speaker told of having a fun time with pastor friends at a large restaurant. He said they talked, joked, and laughed, maybe a little too much for too long. They were interrupted, he said, when a man approached their table to say he did not appreciate them laughing at him. Of course they were surprised, he said, and also a little embarrassed for the man, so made an effort to make him feel better.

I always think of this story when I receive emails expressing hurt that The Grace Perspective postings are sometimes a veiled strike at them. Of course, I always grieve because of their hurt but know that, sometimes when we suffer, it is not really because of the comments we hear that offend us, but the message we have missed hearing concerning God’s love that supports us.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D14

Experiencing Christ: Counseling Support for Making the Essential Choice

The lesbian couple in the next booth at the Italian restaurant was not happy. They complained about the food and service and about almost everything, it seemed. It was the worst I have witnessed. Neither the server nor her manager, trying hard as they did, was able to make it right. The explanation may have been that the couple was deeply suffering from the pain of their unmet needs, consumed by it maybe like a toothache, so much so that they could not enjoy or appreciate any experience. Worse, they may have also suffered from tolerance to their choices for superficial pain relief.

This is the reason our counseling begins with support for experiencing Christ. He alone, his Life birthed and renewed in us daily, has power to heal our deepest brokenness so that we can focus to make the wise follow-up choices that establish us in health leading to our happiness.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D13

Not a Glutton for Pain, Giving the Ol’ Boy the Boot

The caller told the sports radio guy that he hoped his team won the big game because, the last time they lost, he suffered for two weeks. Poor soul! He had not learned that a sports team is a poor choice to support his feel-good needs.

I am at risk to too much pain already and have discovered that putting hope in my favorite team or player for some relief is a stupid choice. I give them my time and money with expectation for a good return, but far more often than not, they disappoint me. I am done with being used by them and don’t plan ever again to put myself at risk for the hurt.

Weak as the illustration is, it helps to explain a wife’s disappointment with her husband’s longtime failure to live out his support role in her life and also why (unless she is comfortable with pain - that is, would not know how to live without it) she gives the ol’ boy the boot.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D12


The expectations we melancholy-types have are high for presentations of any kind to be accurate (including for music, speaking, and writing). Get it right, we say, or sit down. If it is important enough to present, it is important enough to get it right (or at least try).

My list is long, but just for a quick example: It is not narmal; its normal. Pronounce the word correctly, for crying out loud! You are not going to Flarda on Sairdee but to Florida on Saturday. And who is the lova God?

Also, when grandma pats her cheek and says to baby Joey, “Give me some sugar!” she really wants a kiss, but she misses understanding that he can’t really kiss her and give her sugar at the same time. If she wants sugar she should ask, “Can grandmommy have some sugar?” then proceed to secure it by kissing baby Joey’s cheek.

That's fun to consider, but on a more serious note, the Psalmist (2:12) wrote, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way.” Without understanding that kissing is receiving, we are left to believe that, unless we give to God, we will be destroyed by his wrath - which is legalism at its worst. But because kissing is receiving, not giving, we understand that the Psalmist is calling us to receive the Son (his provisions, beginning with his Blood and Life), lest we remain under the judgment of God’s wrath (which came upon the human race because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden).

The Psalmist’s made the same appeal when he wrote, “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (34:8).

This is the reason why boys and girls kiss, you know: They are tasting (testing) each other’s flavor to determine if they like it with the prospect of a future together.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D11

“You, O Lord!” Our Deepest Expression of Awe

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart!" - Psalm 138:1

Recently, cheerleaders and fans at a ballgame called out to an athlete “You, you, you!” as in “You’re the man.” The athlete liked it alot. Must be nice! I don’t remember hearing it from anyone, except I was once called “the man with the plan.”

But I often express appreciation to others. Recently I said to a service provider, “You set the standard for excellence.” (I will also say whatever else needs to be kindly said when the service is horribly poor. The worst and meanest, I think, is when I say, “Have you considered finding something else to do?”)

Recently I said “You’re special!” to a man who took a lot of time and care beyond any expectation I could have had to rescue my car from a tree that fell on it during a storm. I also remember my appreciation years ago for a man who pulled me back into the boat I fell out of on a rafting trip. (I’ve not been back to WaterWorld since! Just kidding! Actually, I was white water rafting somewhere in the mountains of north Georgia.)

But there is really only one “You” who I am truly in awe of. I often come to the confession of it during my Scripture reading (as today in Psalm 138 and 139) when the Psalmist begins his exaltation of God with “You” as in (for example)

“I called and You answered me!”

You made me bold and stouthearted!”

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life!"

"You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes!”

"With your right hand (resources), you save me!"

You, O Lord, know me!"

You hem me in - behind and before!”

You have laid your hand upon me!”

"(Wherever I am), you are there!"

"You guide me with your right hand!"

"You hold me fast!"

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D08

Never Bored with Experiencing Christ, Looking Forward to Experiencing Heaven

We can get bored with earthly activities, entertainment, events, and even relationships - even those which began as exciting to us. For example, residents at the coasts get bored with the beach. Those who live near Niagara Falls don’t visit there often. The entertainment in Orlando is not a big deal to many who live there. We are subject also to become impassive to relationships. Mark Twain said, “Familiarity breeds contempt” (but if not contempt, perhaps indifference).

But the excitement of our daily experience of Christ in our quiet time to meet our deepest human needs never wanes. Bible study can be laborious, draining, and even dull, and church attendance can get old. But each moment and every opportunity we have for an audience with God causes us to laugh, cry, and rejoice and ignites excitement in our hearts beyond our ability to describe - and it is without diminish, even after many years. This is the basis of our understanding about Heaven.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D07

Lamenting My Legalism

I am a legalist at the core of my fallen human nature. At best, I am a legalist in recovery.

I know legalism so well that I can recognize its tendencies from a mile away. I also recognize its ugly self inside me. I know about legalism from observation - but mostly, I know about it from its presence in my own life.

For example:

1. We are in pain.

2. We are driven by superficial goals (appearance, recognition, possessions).

3. We use (and are in bondage to) behaviors, sounds, tastes, substances, and
persons in pursuit of those goals.

4. We are in denial of our brokenness.

5. We resist, resent, reject, and are even hostile to God’s provisions for our healing.

6. We focus on exclusions ("thou shalt not" exceptions) more than on inclusions (investments).

7. We focus also on the inappropriate behavior of others more than on the brokenness that causes it.

8. We attempt to control outcomes through schemes and manipulation, including intimidation.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D06

The Surpassing Greatness of Reading the Scripture in Order to Hear God

No doubt I would know a lot more about the Bible including the various views of good teachers if I read their books and commentaries. But I am persuaded that it would be a trade off for the understanding I have which the Holy Spirit has communicated to me through the years during my quiet time concerning Christ and my need for him.

Also (almost on the same subject), learning new information is a powerful experience. During my seminary training, and even since, I recall the excitement and sense of accomplishment and even empowerment I felt when I learned or better understood the message of the Bible. It was not too unlike, really, the experience I have had learning about any worthwhile subject - for example, fitness and nutrition. Learning a new skill also provides the same experience.

But all of that is surpassed by our most critical need which is to increase in our knowledge of Christ – not the increase in information about him, but the increase of our experience of his person. The difference, as we often say to illustrate, is the same as studying to know about water (essential) and drinking the water to experience its power (most essential).

“What was to my gain (including information) I now consider rubbish for the surpassing greatness of knowing (experiencing) Christ.” See Philippians 3:7-11.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D05

FREEDOM (Sunday Sermon Outline)

“I will walk about in freedom (power), for I have sought out your precepts.” – Psalm 119:45

1. Freedom/Power in the sense of Right/Authority by virtue of us in Christ
  • to do whatever we want without consequence of eternal judgment (but not without consequences of the laws of health or government),
  • to experience God, and
  • to influence or serve others (in the sense that leadership has authority in our lives).
2. Freedom/Power in the sense of Enablement by virtue of Christ in us
  • that enables us to make choices which establish us in health. (Addiction/bondage is the loss of the freedom/power/enablement to choose.)
  • that breaks the bondage of our sinful nature (illustrated by the power of light and water to break the bondage of darkness and thirst).
This is Freedom From


The word PAIN is one of four that we use to guide our counseling. Pain is not the PROBLEM but the result of the problem. Also, the problem is not the presence of adversity in our lives, but the absence of the PROVISIONS which support us. Our counseling presents a PLAN for connecting to God’s resources in creation, community, and especially Christ through which his provisions flow into our lives.

1) Physical Pain which is the result of our unmet need for
  • a strong immune system to help protect our bodies against the elements we ingest in our food, water, and air which are adverse to good health, including viruses, bacteria, toxins, and parasites,
  • properly functioning biological systems (the cardio-vascular, nervous, and digestive systems), and
  • skeletal/muscular strength, flexibility, and endurance;
This need is met through God’s provisions in Creation.

2) Psychological Pain which is the result of our unmet need for
  • a working knowledge of how the world we live in works (the mind),
  • impulse control, the power (ability) for decision-making to say yes and no appropriately (the will), and
  • the experience of affection. i.e., the feeling of being accepted, approved, appreciated, admired, and wanted (the emotions);
This need is met through supportive relationships in the home and church, but especially through intimacy with Christ.

Pressure of Performance

This freedom is from the pressure of performance to

1) Please God

2) Please people (CODEPENDENCY/Pretense/Pettiness)


Our experience of Christ (the fruit of humility/meekness) sets us free from human arrogance so that we are willing to receive God’s provisions for our lives.


Our experience of Christ (the fruit of temperance) sets us free from our disinclination for making health choices.

Preoccupation (Self-Absorption)

Our experience of Christ (the fruit of love) meets our need to be what it is all about to Someone so that we can be what it is all about to those we serve.


Our experience of Christ (the fruit of joy and peace) sets us free from insecurity about outcomes.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D04

God's Provisions for Health: Free and Equally Available for Everyone

Support for our superficial pain relief needs can be expensive, breaking us financially, but also leaving us broken in health.

But God has provided for our essential health needs at no expense except for our time. He does not charge for meeting with us during our quiet times, regardless how often. The gift of Christ (his Blood for us and his Life in us) is free, the ministry of the Holy Spirit to communicate Truth is free, and the gift of the Bible to mankind is free. In community, the church and home are free (no registration fees for their existence), and supportive relationships are free. In creation, oxygen and water are free, and exercise is free (no equipment is necessary). Food is free except for our time to sow and reap, either in the fields or in the marketplace through employment. (A paycheck, remember, like produce from the garden, is only a return on the investment of our time).

Every choice that is available to one of us for increasing our health is equally available to all.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11D01

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved