TGP Volume 10
(October/November/December 2010)

Flash Mob Surprises Mall Food Court

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L25

Grace Leadership: Follow Up and Review

These are notes from past group meetings which have hung around in my draft box for several weeks.

1) Satan is not the opposite of God. He may be the opposite of Gabriel or Michael, because Lucifer was once also an archangel, but he has no power against God. So while we may expect him to oppose us, we are not intimidated by him - that's because of the provisions we have from God against which no powers of darkness, human nature, or the world can prevail.

2) We are not made stronger by performance, but are instead broken down by it. Rather, we are made stronger by the choices we make for conditioning. This means the storms do not make us stronger but, instead, turn us to God who does.

3) Weights (the same as hills) are useful to make us stronger, but only in the sense that they make a demand upon us for a strength we do not have - and for which we must connect to God’s provisions (oxygen and food uptake) to receive it.

4) A schedule is important - the same way as a budget - because of the tendency of our fallen nature to make pain relief choices instead of health choices. Although the time may come when we are increased in strength so that we don’t rely as heavily on our schedule, still at the outset, schedule and budget are needed supports. It is for this reason that I encourage counselees to read systematically through whatever book of the Bible they begin reading, rather than to spontaneously skip about. It is a discipline issue.

5) Concerning giving: It is always
  • to those God has called us to serve in order to meet their redemptive needs (not superficial pain relief needs),
  • as we are enabled, and
  • as the Holy Spirit clearly directs us.
6) To the one extreme, there is a type/style of music (a sequence of sounds - instrument or vocal) which is bland and dull. But to the other extreme there is a type/style of music which appeals to our carnal appetites (like junk food). But there is also a type/style of music which is redemptive (healing). It is sometimes called boring or funeral music by some who have no “taste” for it. Actually, it IS boring because it denies our poisoned appetite the sensual experience it craves. And it is also funeral music because it starves to death our addictions.

7) We leaders have the option to make demands upon others to meet our needs, or to invest in our own health with the hope that they will gravitate to us for support. In other words, we can make their lives about us (our wants and needs), or our lives about them (their health).

8) Nothing may bore and annoy those we serve more than our neediness for them, even our neediness to serve them. 

9) Of course hurting couples want a better marriage (absence of tension), but without the healing God gives, relief from their unhappiness will be fleeting and temporary.

Hope some of this helps!

See Follow Up and Review

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L18

Man’s Critical Condition Makes Crucial His Continual Connection to Christ

Of course there are diet choices which are more critical for those who are broken in health than for others who are well. Persons who have invested long term in their health can eat occasionally and moderately from a less nutritionally dense menu (not to include foods or drink that poison, such as rich desserts or alcohol), especially at occasions when the only option is to be rude or not attend. This is in the same way an athlete may have conditioning so that he does not need to workout every day. Some have called this an 80-20 percent regimen which I think is an excellent achievement for those without adverse health issues.

But we would not use this concept to guide our need for Christ. Man’s fallen human condition is tragic and horrific. Isaiah (64:6) wrote that even our best is as contaminated rags (such as those used to clean infection). Paul wrote,

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident (obvious), which are: : immorality (Greek: porneia), impurity (uncleanness), sensuality, idolatry, sorcery (Greek: pharmakeia, "drug use and witchcraft), enmities (hostility, hatred), strife (quarreling, contentiousness), jealousy, outbursts of anger (fierceness), disputes (rivalry, selfish ambition), dissensions (sedition, divisiveness), factions (heresy), envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21 NASB).

This means the support we need for recovery is daily, not just occasionally or even frequent. Actually, the need is continuous. This is the reason Jesus said, “Abide in (remain continually connected to) me” (John 15:1-8) and also instructed us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread (that which is indispensable to our well-being - the Living Bread).”

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L07

Giving Our Brokenness to God and our Support to Others: A Guide for Giving at Christmas

Gift giving to others at Christmas celebrates God's gift of Christ to us for our redemption. For this reason
  • our gifts to others are redemptive - that is, they support health,
  • we do not give gifts to God (he does not need redemption), except our broken selves for healing, and
  • we do not give to our resources (whose support comes from God).
Instead, we give only to those we serve. 

This is a challenging concepts to understand because of the need we think we have to show appreciation to those who support us - which may be mostly our need to win favor (not having confidence we already have it).

The appropriate way we express gratitude to God for his redemptive gift to us is to receive it, and then, having been renewed by it, to support the health needs of others.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L06

Purely Motivated Ministry to Others Modeled by Christ

Nothing may bore and annoy those we serve more than our neediness for them, even our neediness to serve them. So we serve them motivated and enabled by the heart of Christ within us (his compassion) for their support needs as they give us opportunity. Only then is our ministry to those we are called to serve truly about their needs and not about ours.

In his service to us, God models that concept, you know. Jesus said, “Ask, seek, and knock and you will receive, find, and have opened to you.” He also said, “Come to me and I will give you...” Indeed he did come to us, all the way from Heaven to earth, but he came only to the door of our hearts. It is not until we open the door to give him opportunity for influence that we experience the healing he gives.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L03 

Extended Preparation to Experience Christ: Prerequiste for Extemperaneous Preaching

The presentation style of the classic pulpiteer during earlier times seemed to be oratorical. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, and others, I think, wrote and memorized or read their sermons. A great spiritual awakening in Europe and America followed their preaching. But God may gift some of us to be more extemporaneous – which tends to be conversational in presentation and may accommodate better (but not necessarily) the need for the "reasoning" spoken of in the Bible. For example, Isaiah (1:18) wrote, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” Also, Peter wrote, “Be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15). Then, Paul wrote, “I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship” (Romans 12:1 ISV).

By extemporaneous, I do not mean speaking without preparation in advance, but speaking unrehearsed and without notes. In fact, the preparation for unrehearsed speaking must be deeper and more intense and extended than for reading a sermon or for speaking with notes. It is the preparation of the heart to experience Christ who gives the message. This may help give understanding to the instructions Jesus gave his disciples to “...don't worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say, because in that hour what you are to say will be given to you” (Matthew 10:19).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L02 

Truth and Grace

Truth is passionate and faithful and uncompromising – even when it strongly conflicts with the views of the world.

Grace (the love of Christ within us manifesting to others) tempers the presentation of Truth so that others do not feel attacked or imposed upon.

I speak occasionally to persons who have a different understanding of grace theology. I have three options: 1) to compromise my message in order to spare offense, 2) to impose it, or 3) to present it humbly, motivated and enabled by the heart of Christ within me for the redemptive needs of others.

This means, Truth may find favor only among a few so that its influence will not be fully known in this life. Or it may be responded to by many so that it has an expansive influence. Or it may get crucified.

Whichever, grace ministry is uncompromising to speak the truth in love.

Paul wrote, “God gave … pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up … and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ … (and) no longer infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, we will speak the truth in love” (from Ephesians 4:11-15).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K29

Faithful Obedience to God’s Call - Not to Go, But to Come: Our Hope for Health and Happiness

It would be hard to identify the single most important faith response which supports health and happiness, but faithful obedience comes most often to my mind. Repentance, confession, and trust prepare the way, so we give them their due, but without compliance to God’s instructions, health and happiness are impossible.

But it is not faithfulness to go and give; rather, it is to come and receive. This understanding is at the core of grace theology. Performance-based religion calls us to live for God, to do his work, to perform acts of kindness, etc. - with the outcome, we are told, that we will win his favor and earn blessings from him. Indeed we are called to go and give in service to others, but not before we come in confession of need to receive God’s provisions that establish us in health which makes us competent for that service. Otherwise, the performance of our Christian duties will be without God’s enablement, produce no results of eternal value (“wood, hay, and stubble” the Bible calls it), and also break out health.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K26

Health: The Narrow Road to Happiness

God’s goal for your life is your health and happiness. It is the reason for which Christ died. Jesus said, “I came that you may have life, and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10).

(No, his goal is not for you to “glorify” him – that is, to exalt him in the manner worldly rulers demand and expect it. Actually to “glorify God” means to manifest the Light of “who he is” into a dark world.)

Health is the outcome of the presence in our lives of
  • the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (zoe life),
  • mental (intellectual), emotional, and decision-making competence (psuche life), and
  • biological fitness (strength) and well-being (bios life).
God has provided every element to support our health and made them available to us through resources (in creation, community, and especially Christ) to which he calls us to connect.

Happiness is the outcome of our service to others which has been enabled by the flow of his provisions into our lives. (It is not the same as our experience of the choices we make for entertainment or recreation – which provide temporary pain relief, but soon disappoint.)

In summary:

1. Health is our experience of God’s redemptive investment in our lives, and happiness is our experience of the redemptive investment we make in the lives of others.

2. Service to others is enjoyable, but service to others that is not supported by health is not effectual (called “wood, hay, and straw in the Bible) and will, in time, become burdensome. We are not supported for health by our service, but supported in our service by our health.

3. Appropriate (redemptive) ministry calls us primarily to health, and only secondarily to service to others, not unlike a university would train and teach students (and perhaps provide opportunities for internship) before commissioning or certifying their service.

4. Our fallen human nature is accommodating to fun, fellowship, and function, but is hostile to health. Also, we will experience less opposition from Satan for our service to others than we will for the choices we make which support our health.

5. God calls us to go and give, but not before he calls us to come and receive.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K25

Reading the Scripture, Hearing God, Experiencing God: The Narrow Road to Healing

Healing begins with information in the same way that reaching a destination begins with a reliable map. That is the reason we call hurting people to read the Scripture. The information it provides concerning God’s redemptive plan for our healing is a powerful support.

Isaiah wrote, “My people will go into captivity and die of thirst and starvation because of their lack of knowledge” (5:13).

Hosea wrote, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge - because they have rejected knowledge” (4:6).

But understanding of the information is also needed. So we call hurting people to sit quietly and patiently before God as they read the Bible in order to give the Holy Spirit opportunity not only to instruct them, but also to give them understanding – so that they do not stumble around as in a dark cave, maybe having a map, but no light to comprehend the information it provides.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” – John 16:13

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived (concerning his redemptive provisions) what God has prepared for those who love (connect to) him but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

I call this experience hearing God. See Romans 10:17.

Also needed is: Faith (confidence/conviction), repentance (a change of mind), confession (agreement), and belief (trust, acceptance) concerning the information communicated (regarding God’s redemptive provisions for our healing).

Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23), the seed of which is the Word of God (Christ, the Logos Seed) sown/birthed by the Holy Spirit into the soil of our minds.

“Faith comes by hearing the Holy Spirit communicate his Word (Truth).” – Romans 10:17

Repentance is also a gift from God (Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 2:25).

Confession is our faith-enabled response to the Truth communicated, maybe like the flip side of a coin – the one side, what God does, the other side, what we do in response to it.

Without this confession (which faith enables), we remain in denial. (Denial is the default disposition of man’s fallen human nature which damns his soul to darkness forever.)

Belief is also our faith-enabled response to the Truth. It means more than to agree with Truth but to trust, accept, receive God’s redemptive provisions in order to experience healing.

I call this experiencing God – the result of which is healing.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” – Revelation 3:20

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K24

Free to Confess My Fallenness

Earlier in my ministry, during my performance years, I would have strongly asserted that I was a moral giant - that I was no more subject to failure than I was to fall down walking across the street. In public, I promoted and protected that image, but in private, in those rare painful moments when I dared to be honest, I was conscious of a different reality – that I was morally broken.

It is interesting to me now, as I celebrate 22 years of ever-increasing healing through my experience of God’s grace, that I am willing to freely confess my broken condition, which I do often (although I have not bought space on a highway billboard to announce it.

I note also that I am enabled to make this confession of my fallen sinful condition because of the confidence God’s Word has given me that my hope for healing is not me working on myself to try harder, but the Life of Christ which flows into my heart and life as I take extended time each day to read the Scripture in order to hear God and to experience him through extended quiet-time worship.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K23

Compromise: Sometime Due, Sometimes Deadly

I noted recently that a leading national family-focused ministry offers guidance to Christians for choosing the best movies, music, video games, and other entertainment. But rather than calling Christians to intimacy with Christ, its premise for providing this aspect of their ministry is that Christians are going to be carnal anyway so need guidance and support for making the least deadly choices. Whatever good may be said about all that, it does not seem to be too unlike the idea of providing condoms to unmarried couples because they are going to disregard God’s plan for their health and happiness anyhow.

Sometimes, measured, timely compromise in the presentation of Truth may be life-saving and also make future redemptive influence and gain possible. Truth (grace ministry) is indeed wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove. Also, Truth (strength) does not assert itself (as we often say).

But sometimes, wholesale compromise (abandonment of Truth) is deadly.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K22

Support for Pursuing Christ Fully: The First Goal of Grace Counseling (An Open Letter to Men)

Dear (Husband):

I understand and grieve deeply the pain of you missing your wife in your life in the way you have enjoyed her at times in the past. Consider, however, that

1) You may suffer from a psychological addiction to her. If so, it will be hard for you to think clearly about the choices you should make right now.

2) It is not God’s primary role for a wife to meet the enjoyment or affection needs of her husband, but to take care of the home and to invest in their children.

3) Your needs are met first through your experience of Christ, and then, out of the strength he gives, through your redemptive service to your family.

4) God’s first call to men is to be established in health before attempting to serve as a husband.

5) The first goal of the counseling we offer is not to help you save your marriage, but to support you for pursuing intimacy with Christ – not just mostly, but first, fully, and entirely, so that you can be healed of your neediness.

6) Whatever brokenness your wife has, her healing comes primarily through intimacy with Christ and then, secondarily, through the support that comes from him through you.

7) Your own healing may take many months or even years.

8) Her healing to give you opportunity for influence in her life, which may also take many months or even years, may not start until you have been established in health.

9) If she is “done” with the marriage, your attempts to control her behavior will not have a good outcome, but will continue to push her further away.

10) Your attempt to recover your health while living in your home will be much harder if you do not connect to the essential resources (in creation, community, and especially Christ) which support you. I understand the reasons you give why you do not connect more, but they will not give you a pass on the outcome. For example, you may have good reasons why you do not have time to exercise or drink water, but the outcome will be the same.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K19

Understanding Thanksgiving

“The Lord is near!” Paul wrote the early church (Philippians 4:5), meaning that he is nigh unto them, as he is to all who call upon him in truth (Psalm 145:18), a present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1), and in the midst of them to help, and that right early (Psalm 46:5).

Therefore, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, through prayer (from proseuchomai: worship) and supplication (continued prayer/worship), with thanksgiving (offering of self), present your requests to God” (v6).

So thanksgiving is more than a polite acknowledgement to God for past blessings. It is a giving, an offering, of self to him in order to receive the flow of his redemptive provisions into our lives. This giving is the ultimate expression of our faith (conviction) that God loves us and has provided every need we have, bringing it to the very door of our lives.

Thanksgiving Prayer: “Dear Lord, I open my heart to you today to receive the flow of your provisions into my life with the confidence you give me by the Holy Spirit through your Word that you love me and have made provisions for my healing.”

“He who sacrifices thank offerings (gives himself to me) honors me (gives weight to my influence), and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." – Psalm 50:23

"...they first gave themselves to (receive from) the Lord..." - 2 Corinthians 8:5

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K18

Mrs. Coltrane Transitions to Heaven

Carole’s mom died this week (on 11/16). The following is from my comments at the funeral service:

We just did not want her to go, even though the Bible says “to die is gain.”

Indeed, it was gain for Mrs. Coltrane. During those final days as we stood beside her bed, I prayed that God would make her better. In the moments after she died, it occurred to me that God did exactly that. He made her better. In Heaven he set her free from a body that did not work so well anymore.

It was also gain for those in Heaven. When she died, we said she’s gone. In Heaven, her husband (R.V.), mother and father (Bertie and Robert), four sisters (Ruth, Lillian, Mary, and Treva) said, “Here she comes!”

But for us, her passing was not gain, but loss. Steve, Carole, and Dianne lost their mother. Her 13 surviving grandchildren (Sandra, Lori, Kim, Chris, Jennifer, Kimberley, Eric, Scott, Todd, Jonathan, Susanna, Amanda, and Melinda) lost their grandmother. (Grandson, Mickey, was already on the other side to welcome her.) And her 21 great-grandchildren (Cody, Chase, Kenzi, Brandon, Jacob, Gavin, Ally, Maddie, Abby, Kaylin, David, Jonathan, Ridge, Wesley, Joseph, Thomas, Bennett, Taylor, Casey, Emily and Katelyn) lost their great-grandmother.

But wait! The Bible says we do not suffer loss as those who have no hope. From our counseling we understand that our experience of loss is not the same for those of us who have 1) faith and 2) the confidence of no unfinished business.

Our faith is in Christ as our only hope for going to Heaven. God does not have a generic plan for our salvation. The Bible says that “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

I remember the time I first talked to Mrs. Coltrane about her faith. I knew she was a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church and was their pianist for over 30 years, but I was still interested to know about her faith. I found that we can sometimes learn what a person believes by asking about their church.

So one afternoon, I asked: “Does your church believe the Bible is the Word of God?”

She answered, “Of course they do!”

“Do they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for us so that we could go to Heaven?” I asked.

“Of course they do!” she answered looking straight in my face.

It was as if she was saying, “Of course we do, don’t you?”

So, we who have faith do not grieve our loss as those who have no hope of Heaven. Mrs. Coltrane gave every evidence of her faith in Christ and love for him.

But we also do not grieve as others because we do not have unfinished business.

Mrs. Coltrane did not know much about unfinished business. Anyone who knew her knows that she attended to the business of her personal life, her home, and her church. No duty was left undone, no meals were missed, and no dishes were left in the sink.

That was the legacy she left her children. When The Salvation Army needed someone to take care of an important responsibility for their Give a Kid a Coat and Angel Tree Christmas programs, Carole recommended Steve because she knew he would get it done. And he did. Major Egan, who is here today, will tell you that.

When Dianne’s company wanted to expand their business to the west coast, they sent her. She has been enormously successful and is now a vice president with the company.

I know close and personal about Carole’s work ethic. She leaves no unfinished business in her care for herself, her home, her church, and her work.

Also, the family does not grieve as others because they have no unfinished business in their care for their mother. During her several years at the senior care home, a family member was with her almost every day to attend to her needs. They fussed over her hair, her nails, her clothing, or any other need she had. During most of those years, Steve and Nita were on-call almost around the clock. So also were Dianne and Frank. In these past two years, since moving back to North Carolina, Carole has been able to share in much of that responsibility, going almost every day to the care home to care for the needs of her mom. Also, in the past year or so, granddaughter, Kim, has regularly cut and fixed her hair.  

I welcome the opportunity to make these comments because I am passionate to say to family and friends that, although we will miss Mrs. Coltrane in this life, we do not grieve as others who do not have our faith, but rather take comfort in knowing that, because we have trusted Jesus Christ and his death on the cross as our only hope for going to Heaven, we will see her again.  

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K17

God's Redemptive Plan for Resources: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) Resources serve only to support us for living out God’s calling – which is to be healthy and to serve others.

2) We absolutely do not invest in our resources. Instead, they invest in us and we invest in others. (Sometimes we may consider investing in others through our resources, but we take a lot of care about this to investigate how our investments are used).

3) Our resources do not need us in the sense of dependence. They need God and the resources he provides for them.

4) To honor God (or his resources for our lives) does not mean we jump around to please him or win his favor, but rather, to open the door of our hearts to give him opportunity to invest in our lives so that we can, in turn, invest in those he calls us to serve. Christ told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”

5) The shepherd cares for the sheep and the watchman protects them from thieves and robbers (users) who may seek to come into their lives. God sometimes uses resources to serve in both roles.

6) Of course we want those we serve to "get it" - that is, to embrace grace concepts and to make appropriate choices for their lives which establish them in health. But it is more important that WE (who are the resources) get it. This is God’s redemptive plan – which means, our best hope for the healing and recovery of our wives and children and others we serve is our own healing and recovery.

7) But there is no guarantee. Yes, God’s provisions are effectual, and he has sovereignly appointed the law of sowing and reaping to govern outcomes, but the Bible clearly teaches that some soils do not accommodate the seed we sow.

8) So, although we can trust that God will lead us to invest in appropriate soil so that our harvest will be good, if we nonetheless, willfully or in ignorance and without any consideration of investing, but only of using, make choices for sowing in soil where God does not send us, we may not have reason to hope for the same measure of harvest – at least not without many unfortunate burdens and trials. For this reason I am passionate about premarriage and preenagement counseling, although I have little opportunity to provide it.

9) But during these unfortunate burdens and trials (sufferings of brokenness [the result of our choices], not sufferings of adversity such as Christ had [the result of living in a fallen world]), God calls us and gives us opportunity to experience him in fuller measure than others. This means that a wonderful aspect of his redemptive plan is accomplished after all.

I welcome the opportunity of service to you!

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K16

Plan B: A Failed Hope a Happy Home

The question has been asked: "I tend to gain weight during the winter holidays. What are some good strategies to help me not overeat?"

The information resources are loaded with excellent strategies to help support us for not overeating. But most of them are Plan B strategies – that is, they promote commitment to discipline and boundaries,  a very good strategy, indeed.

The best strategy, however, continues to be Plan A. It promotes taking extended time daily to experience Christ (his love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance) in order to experience healing of the soul (the mind, emotions, and will). It is out of this experience that our values are purified and our appetites are healed so that we are motivated and enabled for making wise choices that result in good health and natural weight management.

This same concept supports the counseling we offer to couples in troubled marriages. While there are many strategies to support commitment to behavior which minimizes conflict in the relationship, they have only a 30% (my guess) success rate. That’s because Plan B strategies to work on the problem disregard God’s provision of Christ for our healing and enablement with the result that our efforts are rooted in weakness leading in time to increased brokenness.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K15

Concepts to Support Husbands: An Open Letter

1) I am proactive at home to take care of myself. I know of a minister who rings a little bell when he is ready for bed at night so that his wife can turn down his bed covers. She also makes his coffee, pours milk on his cereal, and packs his luggage for travel.

2) Absolutely, men enjoy being served. But that is not the same as expecting it. A wife who attends to cleaning the house and preparing meals (for examples) is not really serving her husband but fulfilling her role to care for the home. When she jumps around to perform, it is usually to win favor – which is rooted in fear, not faith.

3) I understand you sometimes being overcome with the pain of your suffering. Some of it is because our fallen human nature is hostile to God and, like Jacob, it sometimes makes a final desperate effort to stay alive when we open our hearts to Christ. Also, sometimes it expresses itself in anger - not too unlike the accounts given in the Bible about demons raging in anger when they were being cast out. I have often thought that counseling sessions are sometimes like exorcisms.

4) When you call, don’t worry that I might be busy. If I answer the phone I can talk. Only my own scheduled health regimen and ministry to my wife would precede my commitment of ministry to you.

5) Take special care to never, never discuss the problems of your marriage in front of your children.

6) Our counseling is similar to the emergency care provided to someone who has been run over by a truck. Its goal is specific to saving a life - not just health enrichment. That is the reason the cop or first responder providing the emergency service will instruct others to step back - so that appropriate help is not hindered or blocked. (It is not true that “any counseling will help.”)

That is the reason I am protective and sensitive about the other ministry resources you connect to. Of course, God uses different ministries to support our growth in grace at different times in our lives. But not every ministry is always relevant to the unique needs of hurting people. A patient lying on the road or in the ER or ICU at the hospital has different support needs than one leaving the hospital for aftercare.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K12

Don: The Bible says that "God gives his beloved sleep." Then why not me? I have prayed and done every sensible, practical thing over the years to sleep well, but if I don't take my sleep meds, it just doesn't happen for me.

I hate that you cannot sleep. Studies continue to show that sleep is critical to health – mainly because it supports the immune system.

If we consider sleep to be a provision of God’s grace to support our healing, then it is
  • available to everyone and also
  • experienced in our lives in the same way all of God’s provisions are received – by connecting to his resources in Creation, Community, and especially, Christ through which they flow.
Our counseling supports hurting people for knowing how to do that.

No one is an exception to God’s law of sowing and reaping. I understand that sometimes our health status may be so challenged that recovery will be long term, but his provisions are true and faithful (effectual and enduring). This means, we can be renewed to a fuller measure of Christ each day so that
  • we are increased in his love, joy, peace, etc., so that, in turn,
  • our minds and emotions are being healed, and, ultimately, so that
  • we are enabled to make wise, scheduled choices for diet (including water - because dehydration, some studies report, is the leading cause for insomnia), exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation. Schedule is important because of the bio-rhythmic tendency of the body, which is also a grace provision.
I am glad you emailed. Try to take care of yourself.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K11

Support to be Patient for a Slow Process: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) You can trust that God will be faithful to prepare you for his use as you continue to offer yourself to him for the work he wants to do through you into your wife’s life.

2) Vows to God are not really a grace concept. We do not live out of our faithfulness to him, but out of his faithfulness to us.

3) We do, however, sometimes make promises or commitments to ourselves and maybe to others, but it is always to connect to God's provisions for renewal, not to perform.

4) God’s promise/vow to you is that he will provide to meet your health needs and that his provisions will always be effectual.

5) As you continue to increase in your experience of Christ, the behavior of others toward you will have less and less power to offend you or to make you miserable (Psalm 119:165).

6) Your wife needs you to respond to her pain and broken behavior more than to react to it.

7) The leadership you provide to your family at the outset is mostly to make choices for yourself which establish you in health so that in due time (probably many months from now) you can be effectual to support your family for making those choices.

8) Even then, you will need to take care to proceed slowly – that you do not move too quickly to make up lost time which will not have a good outcome.

9) Health means that you can move forward in strength (love and faith) rather than in weakness (fear and anger).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K10

Finding Support for a Long Process: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) You are indeed “getting better.” I think it is
  • mostly the result of you more and more allowing God to work in your life and also
  • motivated by your desire to serve your wife in the way she needs.
Getting better, however, is relative. It is not necessarily the same as health – which means you can be better but still broken and only at the beginning of a sowing and reaping process.

2) This process is a long one. As you increase in your health, the seed of your life which you sow into your wife’s life is incrementally made more effectual. Then, after you begin sowing into her life, it will take time for that seed to begin producing fruit in her (relative to the choices she makes for her own health and also her response to you).

3) You cannot work on or fix yourself. You can only include God’s provisions into your life daily. This means, the healing you want is not really the result of something you do, but the results of something God does in and for you.

4) Counseling to help you identify a list of action steps and to provide accountability to support you for following them is helpful. But the most critical action step for which you need support at this time is for 
  • Reading the Scripture in order to
  • Hear God in order to
  • Experience God so that you are enabled to
  • Manifest “who Christ is” to others, beginning with your wife and children.
Without the enablement Christ provides (basically the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23), your commitment to the list of action steps would be rooted in weakness, not effectual, and, therefore, more hurtful than helpful.

5) Your wife will look more to you for support when she does not sense that you are needy.

6) Enjoying your wife’s response to your support for her is not the same as you needing her. Most of the wives I counsel have broken under the weight of their husband’s neediness. The change Christ makes in our lives (incrementally over a long period of time) is to transform us from using others to meet our needs to investing in them so that they can be supported for making the wise choices that help establish them in their own health.

7) Your wife very likely brought her own brokenness into the marriage, and while we do not isolate the husband as the problem in a failing marriage, his taking ownership for the solution is the first step to its recovery.

I hope some of this helps!

See Open Letters to Men

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K09 

The Need of Hurting People to Hear about God’s Plan for Their Healing: Why the Counselor Confesses Failure

During the time of my deepest hurt many years ago, I looked to a well-known pastor for help. He was kind to meet with me, but during the hour long conversation, he skipped over my brokenness and was passionate to tell me about the sufferings of his own life and ministry. I recall how self-absorbed he was.

He may have been venting. I understand that in the pain and weakness of our unmet needs we all sometimes tend to want to talk about ourselves to someone who will listen. It helps to release some of the built up feelings of hurt and disappointment. Or, he may have thought misery loves company, so was supporting me in that way.

I am also passionate in my counseling to tell about the failures of my own life and ministry, even though I am conscious that hurting people are bored by the report of another person’s history. But I do it (except in times of weakness) with the understanding that the greatest counseling need hurting people have is to hear about God’s love and care to provide for our unmet needs and also to hear the testimony of those who have experienced it.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K08

In Denial of Brokenness and Dying on the Vine

An Atlanta church hoped to offer a recovery program in a separate room during their Sunday School time. On the first Sunday, a deacon strayed by, looked in, and asked a friend in the room, “What are YOU doing in here?” The program was moved to another location across town.

I understand the need for privacy during counseling. But I also understand that the discomfort some feel is rooted in a performance-based (rather than a grace) theology. Legalism denies that as many as 90% of lives and homes are broken and in trouble and in need of support for renewal. Instead, it insists that, if we are hurting, it is because we are slack and not trying hard enough. But we who understand the brokenness of mankind and our dependence on God’s provisions for our recovery (grace theology) earnestly seek to connect to God’s resources for support and, as it turns out, are the healthiest among us – the same as those are who attend a school, seminar, or exercise class. This, while others attempt to mask their brokenness and are dying on the vine.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K05

The Pursuit of Personal Significance: A Superficial Goal for Church Growth Strategies

Those who have researched to learn strategies for church growth have concluded that the unchurched will consider programs that meet their human needs – for example, for food, friendships, and function (performance). This is a worthy strategy for presenting the Gospel of Christ and calling the lost to receive him.

But the same strategy works when the goal is superficial – for example, to gather a crowd for the purpose of putting them to work in order to gather a larger crowd. Workers and leaders who are in pursuit of superficial goals (perhaps personal significance) more than the salvation of souls will employ this church growth strategy and thrive for a time – during which much good may be accomplished, although some of it will be “wood, hay, and straw” (Paul’s description of works which have no redemptive value).

That’s the worst of it. It means that, while man’s secondary needs are provided, his most essential need (to experience Christ for healing) is largely, if not entirely, left unattended - with the result that, in time, the church suffers brokenness and burnout, also disillusionment and disappointment, so that they are not only unproductive in their work, but also counterproductive (do more injury to the redemptive cause of Christ than good).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K04

Support for Intimacy With Christ: The First Goal of a Renewal Church

1) Our carnal nature welcomes the opportunity to be used because it experiences superficial pain relief (spr) in performance and service to others, but it rejects receiving support for healing (runs from its salvation).

2) A renewal church serves primarily to support intimacy with Christ through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship. It serves also to provide opportunities for service to others and for social connections to meet family or friendship needs – but only secondarily.

3) These secondary goals have potential to be true expressions of God’s redemptive plan for the church. For example, a church that does not serve its community is not fulfilling the ultimate purpose for which God gave birth to it (to make disciples of all nations). But a church that does not first attend to the health and renewal needs of its members will not be effectual or productive in its service to others.

4) That's because, Jesus said, "Without me, you can do nothing (of eternal value)."

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K03

Shutting the Door to Adversity through Compliance to Your Schedule

The Bible warns about the cunning schemes of Satan (Ephesians 6:11), that he roams about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), also that the world’s culture (system) and our carnal minds are hostile to God’s redemptive plan for our lives (Romans 8:7; 1 John 2:16; James 4:4).

However, you can shut the door to their adverse influence. But it is not by teaching a Bible class, singing in the choir, or other performances of Christian service. That’s because we expend our strength during our service to others. This is the meaning of

“For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.” – James 1:11

Rather it is by staying connected to the flow of God’s provisions into your life to renew you.

This staying connected, however, is impossible apart from the support of a schedule. Schedule is not really necessary to support our choices for entertainment or other feel-good choices, the same as we do not need a budget to foolishly spend money. But we will not make the choices that establish us in health apart from the support of a schedule, or invest and spend money wisely apart from the support of a budget.

The concept of scheduled choices is included in the meaning of Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist till now, the kingdom of heaven is forcing its way in, and men of force take it” – that is, men of resolute embrace it.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K02

Renewed Daily by Christ: Support for Life Long Relevance in Redemptive Service to Others

If what is true about us is energized by the supports of the world, or even by our human nature, personalities, or skills, those supports will one day fail, and we will be left broken and failing, also lonely and without relevance to any person or matter.

But if what is true about us is Christ – that is, his Life in us manifesting as his love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – we will continue vibrant as long as we live to give testimony to his grace and to be useful in redemptive service to others.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” – Psalm 1:3

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.” – Psalm 52:8

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” – Proverbs 11:28

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K01

Grace Counseling: Providing Support to Husbands Consistent with Principles to Guide Their Own Ministry to Family (An Open Letter)

During my counseling time with you, I have followed the leadership principles consistent with those I have held out to you for your ministry to your wife.

1. I have been faithful to connect to God’s provisions for my own life (with some challenges) so that my ministry to you could be effectual and not driven by my unmet needs and addictions.

2. I have been compassionate, caring, and committed, but also tough and firm.

3. I have been stubborn to target your personal recovery as the priority need and goal for our counseling together as you have given me opportunity.

4. My ministry to you has been without expectation of a return from you which would be for my personal or professional gain. This means I have invested in you to set you free. This means, also, I have been willing and prepared for you to walk away - which is not the same, understand, as kicking you to the curb or not caring if you do not respond, but rather, knowing that I cannot rescue you from your choices.

5. I have given up the ownership for the outcomes of my sowing to God “who gives the increase" (although I have had earnest hopes and deep desires for your healing) - which means I have been surrendered to his will, not insisting on mine. (In Gethsemane, Christ asked the Father to alter his redemptive plan, yet “not as I will, but as you will.” He also taught his disciples to pray, “May your kingdom come [redemptive purpose be accomplished], and your will be done on earth [in my heart and life] as it is in Heaven.”)

6. At the same time, I have earnestly called your wife to her own relationship with Christ and to the wise choices that follow which would increase her in health so that she could live out her calling to support her children for making the wise choices that would also renew them in health. Also, because she has insisted she has been unhappy and discouraged in the marriage, I have provided secondary support aimed at keeping her in the home while you were advancing in your own journey. But the goal of my counseling has never been for her to endure or get over her unmet needs.

Please take time to think on this.

Don  Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J29

Missed Opportunity for Lifelong Influence: The Tragedy of Failed Parenting

1) Parents, who fail to meet the temperament (psychological) needs of their young children, usually lose opportunity for influence later in life and have only the option left to them to try to buy their children back through efforts to relieve their pain (codependence).

2) Children who are failed usually move on to make choices for pain relief which result in addictions and further complicate their lives, and then angrily blame those who failed them (and understandably so).

3) This anger and addictions barricades parents who try to get back involved with their children for ministry that heals - although the door usually remains open to help provide for superficial pain relief.

4) When parents fail, it results in a lot of unhappiness for their children who, in their own parenting, usually go to the other extreme (over-parenting, I call it) by focusing mostly on the happy needs of their children more than on their health needs, which they don't really understand because they are not healthy themselves and cannot give what they don't have.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J28 

Personal Health: The Priority Goal for Husbands (An Open Letter)

I am sorry for the hurt you are experiencing right now. I know your heart gets heavy sometimes. Please consider again the following concepts.

1) God's first goal for you is to experience him. But he wants it for you in behalf of your wife and children - because the most important need they have in the home is for a godly, healthy husband and dad.

2) The heart of Christ within you will support you to focus/invest in your own health needs so that you will be enabled to focus/invest in the health needs of your wife so that she will be supported to focus/invest in her own health needs so that she will be enabled to focus/invest in the health needs of your children.

3) Two people needing each other for superficial pain relief (codependence, maybe also addiction) is the dynamic that drives most marriages - but it is also the reason most marriages are hurting.

4) It is possible that your wife may be returning to you on the rebound (although I suspect she is responding to God's call to health and to his resources that support it). Regardless, you can not control her choices, attitudes, or motivations. Your focus must be only on the choices you make that result in your healing so that, in time, as you increase in your renewal, you can sow effectually into her life.

5) Sometimes a husband can do that while he maintains a relationship with his wife in the home, but sometimes he needs to take time away as he would for physical healing in a hospital. It depends on the depth of his brokenness and also the state of his wife's health and interest in the marriage.

6) If a wife opens the door for her husband to come back into her life too quickly (that is, before he is established in his recovery), usually it is at that point where his growth stops in the sense of his commitment to make wise choices for his health, especially to connect daily for intimacy with Christ. This will be particularly true if his goal is more to recover his lost marriage or to meet superficial pain relief needs than it is to be renewed in wholistic health.

7) It may also identify her goals, that it is more to recover her lost marriage or to meet superficial pain relief needs than it is for personal health.

8) Again, personal health must be the goal for the husband and wife or the marriage will always be troubled.

I hope this helps some.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J27

Watch Out for Legalism! It’s Everywhere!

We are told that conservative talk radio thrives during liberal administrations. That may be because the policies and actions of the opposing party energizes its base support. Maybe this is the reason a lot of my writing exposes legalism (performance-based Christianity).

It doesn’t take much to trigger a reaction/response from me. I have been so hurt by legalism that I hate it. Paul wrote the Galatia church that he wouldn’t mind if the teachers of legalism were cut off from them. He was not very kind in his expression of that sentiment either, if you dare to read it in Galatians 5:12, also 1:6-9.

The message of performance-based Christianity is pervasive. Like kidzu, its everywhere. It is also subtle. 

For example, one church sign reads, “God longs for us to talk to him."

While that sounds pious, it calls us to performance to make God happy. Indeed the heart of God grieves because of our disregard for his provisions, but that is not the same as to say he pines after us or suffers separation anxiety or codependence.

God is not in relationship to us for what we can do for him, but for what we will allow him to do for us.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J26 

"Don, what Christian music cd's would you recommend?" 

I appreciate your interest to choose good music. I am of German descent so have a very deep appreciation for music. God uses music in a significant way in my own personal quiet-time worship almost every day. But I am very guarded and particular about it. I have done enough research on the sounds of music to know that it can, sometimes very subtly, call us away from and, in fact, be a barrier to Truth (Sound Doctrine), so that it has no redemptive value. I take great care to strongly and emphatically keep the lyrics prominent in my mind and the sounds which accommodate it in the distant background.

Remember that sound is an aesthetic component (the same as taste) which God graciously gave to support his message. This means that, while the sound (like taste) can be enjoyable, if it drives or overwhelms or defines the experience, God’s purpose is lost. I grieve because of that.

Sound, like taste, can poison the appetite (addiction), which explains why unhealthy people love unhealthy music, the same as they do unhealthy foods (non-foods). So, please take the same very special care about your selection of music as you do about the choices you make for your diet. That means, if the words are not pure Truth, the song is junk. Even a little false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9). Also, if the sound appeals to you sensually (your carnal self) or emotionally more than it does to your mind (intellect), it is not a good choice.

I doubt you will find anything at any book store that I would encourage you to buy, mostly because of the compromised grace message, even if the sound was appropriate. I don’t say too much about this because it would be the same as talking too much about unhealthy food choices at the outset of my counseling.

I suspect the day will come (and already has, I think, to a great degree) when you may use music appropriately in your worship but very limitedly for casual listening.

I welcome the opportunity you give me to comment on this. I hope some of it makes sense. I will teach on it more in the future because it is a very critical concept.

Indeed, take care!

See QUESTIONS: Miscellaneous

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J25

Taking Ownership for the Healing: An Open Letter to Husbands

1) I understand the intense demand your work and home make on your time and energy and know you must often be exhausted, and sometimes even frustrated. You must find extended time, though, for reading the Scripture, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship in order to hear God and in order to experience Christ (his Life). It will support every other good choice you make for your renewal. Without making this first connection, you will not have enablement for the others. That's because God's redemptive plan for your health begins with your experience of him. If you miss it, it will be the same (for illustration) as not including in your diet the food and water you need. Whatever you might learn and understand about living out your role as a husband and dad will only be information to you, but you will not be able to follow through. This is the message of Romans 7:18-25.

2) I commend you because you have given honest consideration to the concepts we have talked about. Not every husband is willing to do that because our counseling calls him to accept ownership for the status of his marriage rather than putting the blame on other circumstances or on his wife - even if she may have brought a lot of unmet needs and pain into the relationship from her past. But still he is the pastor/shepherd/physician of his home, not his wife. This means, the principles of leadership for the pastor of a church are basically the same as for the husband in the home. For example, when a pastor is called to serve a church, he accepts in order to invest in their healing needs. Sometimes the church is not doing well because maybe they have been hurt by previous leadership. If so, he should consider this (count the cost) before accepting the responsibility. But if he accepts, it is with the understanding that his role is to tenderly love, care, sow, and invest for their healing in the way Christ, the Great Physician, would, rather than making demands for behavior that meets his expectations and needs. That is the reason I say that the solution to the issues in a hurting marriage begins with the husband. It is not the same as saying he is necessarily the problem, but that the solution begins with him, and for that reason, if the marriage is failing, it is his failure. This is also the reason the counseling support I give targets the husband more than the wife, especially at the beginning.

3) Our counseling also supports the husband and wife to make choices for their own health rather than to work on their marriage. Of course the goal of health is in behalf of the marriage, but the marriage cannot be the goal. This is in the same way, for example, that conditioning must be the first goal of an athlete, not the performance or score of the game. That is the reason I say that if a husband moves past making choices for his health in order to work on his marriage, he will lose both.

God has put his love in my heart for you and your home. I earnestly pray that he will use me effectually to support you in the way you need right now.

See Open Letters to Men

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J23 

Held on Course by the Power of a Healed Appetite

The need to make wise choices for health during the outset phase of a recovery program are more critical than the choices we make during the maintenance phase of the program, but it is only in the sense that the consequences of missed choices in the maintenance phase are not as immediate as in the outset phase.

But this is not an endorsement for persons in maintenance to pull back from a 100% program to a 80-20% program. Again, it is just to acknowledge that the consequences of missed choices for them are not as severe.

The fact is, as we are increased in health, our appetites are being healed so that we do not have the same interest in poor choices, but rather increased interest in health choices. Again, the healthier we are, the more we desire wise choices, and the more we are committed to them. This means, it is not healthy persons who fall away, but broken ones. That was part of Paul’s concern when he lamented to the Galatia church (5:4),

“You have fallen from grace.”

It was also the message of I John 2:19 that,

“They went out from among us (to make other choices) because they were not of us (i.e., healthy).”

So instead of healthy persons pulling away from their resources, they gravitate to them. Also, while it is true that God uses our brokenness to call us to connection, he also uses our health to call us to an even deeper connection. This is the message of Romans 6:16-19:

“…when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him (to be used by him) as slaves, you are slaves to (belong to) the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin (the sin nature), which leads to death, or to obedience (to make wise choices), which leads to righteousness … which enables you for making wise choices that lead to health and holiness.”

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J22

The Supply of Christ: Support for Grace Ministry Greater than the Most Money Ever

I absolutely know the experience of receiving $500,000. Not everyone knows what that feels like - but I do. It happened this week, actually two nights ago. It was in a dream! So I didn’t really get the money, but anyone who has ever had one of those dreams knows that they seem as true to reality as any experience they ever had.

The dream was caused, I think, by the cost of recent vehicle repairs, also living in the old farmhouse.

Most interesting, however, the dream gave me an opportunity to discover what my heart’s response would be to having that amount of disposable money. I did not really know, so could only surmise.

As it was, the money gave me, in my dream, a wonderful sense of blessing that Carole and I could now better maintain our old vehicles and the farmhouse.

But even more than that, I was excited for the new ability it gave us to support the work GracePoint does. (No one I know does what GracePoint does.)

But even more interesting and significant than all that was - when I woke up to discover that I was only dreaming, I was only mildly disappointed. Instead, I felt a deep, abiding confidence and peace that, more than money, I had Christ who is able to make all grace abound to us so that in all things at all times, we will have all we need and abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J21

"Don, pray for me!"

I carry your burdens in my heart and welcome the opportunity to pray for you. Remember, though, that:

1. God normatively only answers our prayers for others in a way that involves us as a vessel through which he answers those prayers. That means, my prayer for you is more accurately for myself in your behalf - that is, for God to fill me with "who he is" so that I can be useful as a resource to you according to his redemptive plan for the relationship you and I have. This principle also guides your prayers for your wife and children.

2. Also, with regard to resource relationships, you do well to stay connected (John 15:1:8) to the support resources God brings into your life. Your family gets to see you do that, which will build confidence in them that you understand your responsibility to get what you need from God, and then to be a resource for the flow of his support into their lives. Also, it will model for them their need to connect to you, and especially to Christ.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J20

Understanding Forgiveness

Forgiveness means “removal.” It is two-fold:

The first is the removal of God’s judgment against us because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. We receive that forgiveness the moment we trust Christ’s death on the cross as the only payment God will accept to satisfy that judgment. It is a one-time event – like in a court room. That means, when you trusted the payment Christ made for you, God removed (forgave) the judgment. You do not need to seek that forgiveness again because you already have it.

The second is the removal of our sinful condition (of our bodies, minds, emotions, and wills) which remains even after the judgment against us has been removed (forgiven). This forgiveness or removal is not a one-time event but is on-going or progressive as we make choices each day to receive God’s provisions for our healing. It is the forgiveness Christ taught his disciples to pray for in the Disciples’ Prayer (the “Lord’s Prayer”).


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J19 

"It seems my wife is more interested in the men she works with than me."

You cannot control what your wife does or how she feels, but can only invest in your own health so that, in your renewed strength, you can in time sow effectually into her life for the outcome you want. This is one of the hardest concepts for husbands to accept.

Again, if she is interested in other men, that reflects your failure to be in her life in the support way she needs. I find that women would rather be in love with their own husbands. A good confession for you to make is, “If my wife does not want to be with me, I don’t blame her.” You are the investor.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J18

Bosses Day: Not an Opportunity to Celebrate God

Today is National Boss Day. The corporate world, also the various organizations, may do okay to celebrate bosses, but the concept of a power person in authority over others is not fitting for relationships in the home and church. That’s because

1. The dynamics of life and leadership in an organization is not the same as in an organism. When it is imposed, the result is tension, pain, and unhappiness.

2. God does not relate to us as our boss. Rather, he is a loving, supportive, investing Father, and also in Christ, a loving, supportive, investing Husband.

3. Military and law enforcement officers and prison guards are bosses. Parents, husbands, pastors, teachers, mentors, and other investment leaders are not. They are servant-vessels through whom God’s provisions flow to meet the redemptive needs of a broken world.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J15

Grace: God Being Who He Is in Us and Our Opportunity to Be Like Him

Moses asked God, "What name do I give when I say to your people that you sent me to lead them?" God said, "Tell them I AM WHO I AM sent you" (Exodus 3:13-15).

We can understand this to mean that:
  • Not only is God who he is, but he is who he is because of who he is;
  • He is not who he is by merit of any other cause, including who we are;
  • He did not create us because he was lonely or to meet any unmet need he had;
  • We do not need to serve him (attend to his needs) or behave in a way that makes him smile as if he is unhappy.
Consider also that we are who we are because of Adam – that is, we are broken and subject to our fallen human nature and will not be fully recovered until we receive our glorified bodies in Heaven. Consider mostly, however, that we have opportunity in this life to be like him who is who he is by merit alone of who he is because of our intimacy with Christ who is who he is in us. Amen.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J13

Prayer for a Pass from God: A Failed Hope for Healing

I encouraged my minister friend to make good choices daily for his health including eating seeds and nuts, whole grains, 5-7 servings of raw fruits and vegetables, drinking at least 64 ounces of water, exercise to get his heart rate up for a sustained 20-30 minutes, supplementations (at least a multi-vitamin/mineral, 1–3 grams Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, Omega 3,6,9, probiotics, MSM, raw apple cider vinegar, etc.), scheduled 7-8 hours sleep, and especially reading the Scripture in order to hear and experience God in quiet time worship.

He said he did not have enough money and was too busy really to make some of those choices, also that he did not like raw vegetables or water, and thought that supplements were a scam which only made somebody rich.

I asked him what his plan was for health. He said he did not really have one. But in an email from him recently I learned that he did have an emergency, back-up plan. In it he wrote, “I am sick, please pray for me.” His hope, it seemed, was that God would “miraculously” heal him, never mind his choices.

And so it goes. The concept that God has made provisions for our health is a hard sell. Jesus said,

“You refuse to come to me (to receive my provisions for your healing) so that you may have life.” – John 5:40

It is also a hard sell that, by definition, asking in prayer means to open the door of our lives to receive God’s provisions. A hard sell, also, that the Scripture instructs those who are sick to call for the elders of the church who will “pray over him” (for God’s wisdom concerning his redemptive plan for healing) and to provide counseling that supports and guides wise choices that recover health. See James 5:13-20.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J12

The Prayer of Compliance: God’s Redemptive Plan for Healing

God only answers the prayer of faith.

Jesus said to the blind man, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” – Matthew 9:29

He said, also, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it (trust/receive that God has provided for it), and it will be yours.”

But this faith is not just that God is able to heal, or that he wants to heal, or that he will heal. Rather, it is faith that is expressed in obedience to receive God’s provisions for our healing. This is the message of

1 John 3:21-22:

"If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him (concerning his redemptive plan for our healing). And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ (trust/receive who he is), and to love one another as he commanded us (pray for healing in behalf of effectual ministry to others)."

Mark 11:22-25:

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive (minister to) him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." - v.25

Romans 6:11-23:

“Thanks be to God that, though you once were slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching which was entrusted to you. Now you have been set free from (the control/contamination of) sin and have become slaves (vessels) to righteousness (to manifest God’s character).” – vs. 17-18

James 1:6-7:

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt (disobey or make other choices), because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J11

Grace Leadership Guided by Concepts Not Held in Today’s Culture

We husbands sometimes think we need to make our wives happy and attempt to do so at the expense of their health - and sometimes our own. In time, we also lose their respect.

There was a time, you know, when women did not vote in America. At that time, men were more influential in the home. Also, it was thought that men made better principled decisions, not emotional ones as women tend to do. Men are no longer principled in that way and have lost that influence, so do not have the confidence of women to vote in their behalf.

Grace leadership in the home is supported by concepts not understood or held by the world. It provides leadership that focuses on the health of those we serve - even if it does not accommodate their carnal desires or addictions. This means, the husband/dad does not punish to the one extreme, or placate to the other. Rather, he determines for himself what is best, stays on that course, and trusts that his flock will follow.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J08

Confession of Brokenness: The Overlooked Third Option

Plan B counseling supports us for believing we are awesome, that we can do anything, and that pitiful thinking is “stinking thinking” which sabotages our productivity. In a world that works without Christ, Plan B counseling helps.

But the grace perspective is usually the overlooked, unappreciated third option. God calls us to confession of our brokenness. This is a painful place to come, especially when we have no solution for it except ourselves. We have tried that route and know it may start okay but always ends in failure. If, however, our solution is intimacy with Christ, then confession of our need is easy. It is also necessary. That is the reason the Bible has so much to say about repentance (a change of mind) and confession – because it opens the door to healing.

Songwriter, Elvina M. Hall wrote:

"I can hear my Savior say, 'Thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in me thine all in all.'

"Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r, and Thine alone, Can change the leper’s spots, And melt the heart of stone." 

In Luke 18:13, the tax collector stood at a distance from those who asserted their goodness. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said,

"God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” – Luke 18:13

Paul made this confession:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7:24-25

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J07

Reconsidering God’s Mercy and Grace

The young man took comfort in his notion that, although he was not committed to making wise choices for his health, God was nonetheless merciful and would deliver him from his desperate circumstances if he pleaded and cried enough to show how sad and sorry he was. He insisted that the mercy of God withholds from us the judgment we deserve and the grace of God gives to us the blessings we don’t deserve. He heard that from someone else, the same as I did many years ago. It sounds right enough, but it just isn’t supported by Scripture.

Indeed, God is merciful to us, but we do not understand that to mean he gives us a pass on our failed choices – not in the way the young man thought. Rather, God is merciful in the sense that it is his disposition to provide for our healing.

These provisions are his grace. This means, God’s grace flows out of his mercy so that, if his mercy ceased, so would his provisions of grace.

Again, the grace of God flows out of his mercy and is his provisions for our healing. For example, water is God's grace provided for our health. Support relationships are the grace of God. And God’s ultimate grace is Christ.

"For God so loved (his mercy) the world that he gave his only begotten Son (his grace), that whoever believes (receives/trusts) him, shall have eternal life." - John 3:16

“For by grace (God's provisions) are you saved (healed) through faith (to receive/trust), and even your faith is the gift (grace) of God.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

So while God's mercy (love and kindness) endures forever to provide for our redemption, those provisions flow only to the door of our hearts and lives. If we suffer, it is not because God is not merciful, but because we reject his provisions for our healing.

This is exactly the meaning of Paul's words, “I do not set aside the grace of God” (Philippians 2:21).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J06

Grace: The Heart of Christ in Us to Enable Our Service to Others Without Expectation of Return

The heart of man is desperately wicked, more than we know, especially at first glance. But it surfaces in unmistakable ways, none more so than its desire to use others and its expectation to be served. Parents are afflicted by it, so are husbands and pastors.

The Holy Spirit exposes this in my own life from time to time. I also think I see it in others. I have been around long enough in ministry circles to see pastors take money and gifts, then cater to, accommodate, and tolerate if necessary those who give them.

Or, it may not be money and gifts, but attention, even inappropriate attention. Too many times I have grieved to see seemingly good men respond to those who serve them, but ignore others who were not as useful.

The heart of Christ in us changes all that. He who “came to serve and not to be served” enables us to serve the hurting needs of others regardless of any return that might serve our carnal needs.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J05

Why Men Are Lost, Also Sick, and How They Can Be Saved, Also Healed

The teachers/authors I love most will tell you that men are lost because of their sins, that Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for those sins, and will forgive them if they repent (that is, turn away from or give up those sins) and commit to follow Christ.

But consider that:

Men are lost (under God’s judgment), not because of their sins, but because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden - this according to Romans 5:12-19. In other words, we were born lost. And we are forgiven (the judgment is removed) when we, enabled by faith, repent (have a change of mind) and confess (agree with God) concerning God’s redemptive plan for our eternal salvation (justification), convert (turn about face), and receive/trust God’s provision of Christ – his blood/death on the cross for us as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against us.

However, we are sick because of our sins (those choices we make which disregard God’s provisions for our health). And we are healed (progressively saved) when we, enabled by faith, repent (have a change of mind) and confess (agree with God) concerning God’s redemptive plan for our progressive salvation (sanctification – healing and holiness), convert (turn about face), and receive/trust/remain connected to (John 15:5) God’s provisions flowing to us through/from creation (the soil and atmosphere), community (supportive relationships in the home and church), and especially the Life of Christ in us.

"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned (was certain) through (because of) that one man, how much more certain and unfailing will those who receive God's abundant provisions of grace, (especially) the gift of his righteousness, reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:17 (GracePoint interpretive paraphrase)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J04

Calling Hurting People to Social Needs but Mostly to Christ: A Scriptural Strategy for Church Ministry

For the past several decades, the church growth experts have been aggressive to research new strategies for reaching the unchurched. Their efforts have discovered that people are lonely, also bored, and will respond to programming which promotes relationships, also entertainment.

The researchers have also concluded that hurting people enjoy the opportunity of service to others who are hurting – for example the homeless and hungry - to help meet their pain relief needs. (They missed noting that, the more hurting people are recovered to health, the more focused and committed they become in their ministry to others to provide for their health needs.) The local news recently featured a thriving church which provides meals and handouts to needy people on the street. Several members interviewed said serving others was the reason they attended the church.

These are commendable efforts, but while ministry to provide social needs may superficially relieve pain, it will miss providing the most essential need if the lost and hurting are not called to receive God’s provisions of grace for their justification and sanctification (salvation and healing).

Added Note: Hurting people run from their salvation (healing). They will embrace opportunities that help ease their pain, but reject ministry which supports their healing.

The Bible says that exactly. John writes that Jesus offered himself for the salvation of his own people, but they did not receive him (1:11). Jesus said to them, “You are not willing to come to me so that you might have Life” (John 5:40).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J01

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