GO TO First Quarter  Second Quarter  Third Quarter  Fourth Quarter

TGP Volume 12
(October/November/December 2012)
Week 52

Ending the Year Advancing Toward the End of the Age

I would never ever suggest a day and time when I thought Christ may return to earth as he promised his disciples he would, because he said only the Father had that information. But he did say we would be able to know the season. For that reason, based upon what I understand the Bible to teach concerning what the end of this age will look like, I would not be surprised that his Coming is near.

A consensus of Bible teachers I trust believe Christ indicated his return would be signaled by the “budding of the fig tree” which they understand to reference the nation Israel becoming a nation as it did in 1948, that the generation living at that time would not pass away until (would be living when) Christ returned. If a generation is 70 years (and there is Scriptural evidence for that), I consider that Christ might come in my lifetime, since I was born that year.

Mostly to say here, I don’t think overly much about when Christ might return. That’s because eternal life began for me when I was born again so that I have opportunity every day to experience his Presence in my life the same as I will in eternity. With regard to those who have not yet trusted Christ for salvation, I deeply grieve for them, but redemption is God’s big idea, so I trust he will accomplish it in our lives according to his will. The fact I have any concern at all about the salvation of any person is by virtue of Christ’s heart in me. Also, my best hope to be useful to God for winning them to Christ is to be renewed by him daily through personal quiet-time worship.

“Father, the time has come. Fill me with your Life, that I may manifest the Light of “who you are” into a dark world.” – taken from John 17:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L28  

Grace Counseling: Support for Wives Seeking Freedom From Cult-Like Control in the Home

GracePoint provides counseling support to wives who, although they would not consider joining a cult, remain in a relationship with a controlling husband who

  • separates her from resources and lifelines which support her health,
  • controls her (restricts her movement),
  • provides basic support (food, shelter, and protection) sufficient to keep her alive so that she is available for his continued use (the same as a farmer does his livestock), until he
  • breaks her health (sucks the life out of her by his expectations/demands),
  • becomes bored with (builds a tolerance to) her, and then
  • disrespects her, mistreats her, or throws her away.
We provide this same support to employs and church members who suffer similar abuse on the job or in the church.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L27

The Meaning of Glorifying God to “Manifest Christ Into the World”: The Message My Mentors Missed

My religious mentors taught me I needed to glorify God, which according to their understanding included to elevate him in my mind, attend to his emotional needs (mostly to help meet his companionship needs without which he might be lonely), stroke him with my expressions of adoration to him, and to find others ways to make him smile.

Through the Scripture, however, God communicates to us that none of that is necessary, that to “glorify” him means to reflect the Light of “who he is” in to the world - which is possible only as he first glorifies us – that is, to fill us with his Light.

So we pray as Jesus did,

“Father, glorify your Son (fill us with your Light), (so) that your Son may glorify you (we may manifest you to others).” - John 17:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L26

Jesus Christ: Our Hope for Heaven, Health, and Holiness: Who and What We Celebrate at Christmas

Our trust is not only that Jesus Christ is God, that

  • that he was with God (the Son of God) in eternity,
  • that he created all things (so that, without him, nothing was created that has been created), and
  • that by him all things consist (are held together),
but we trust also that he is our Savior,

  • that he came to live among us,
  • that he was born of the Holy Spirit to a virgin in order to live a sinless life so
  • that he was qualified to give his life’s blood on the cross in order to satisfy God’s judgment against the human race so that we could go to Heaven,
  • that he was resurrected to life by the Holy Spirit so that we could be healed and made holy (useful in redemptive service to others),
  • that he is now in Heaven interceding for us to the Father, and
  • that he will resurrect us to live with him forever in a glorified body.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L25

To Heal Your Heart and Home: Why Jesus Came

In time, you will be disappointed with the choices you make for meeting your needs (including for meals, relationships, vocations, and education) because they excite your senses, but you will forever enjoy and be blessed by the choices you make which, although at first might seem bland and boring, will support your health, joy, and peace. 

This means, you may not be served well long-term by the area’s “most exciting church.” The loud, contemporary music, whooptalyptic preaching, heroic service to rescue the community, and even the fun and fellowship (codependent relationships superficially meeting pain relief needs) may not, in time, give you the return you experienced at the beginning, but leave you tired, burned out, and disillusioned.

God’s provisions for health are quiet, unassuming, and experienced first from deep within. Also, Christ did not come into the world to excite feelings, stimulate performance, superficially mask pain, or circumvent the outcome of impulsive choices, but to heal the hearts of hurting people through intimacy with him.

He does not call us first to go and give but to come and receive.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L24 

Week 51

Connecting to Christ: The Explanation for Every Good Outcome

Again this Christmas I won’t be able to write a letter reporting how wonderfully blessed I have been with possessions, experiences, and accomplishments. I can only report that I have health, opportunity of meaningful service to others, deep contentment in my heart, no guilt, no fear, and no unfulfilled goals. Mostly, I have ever-increasing consciousness of God’s presence in my heart to enable my life – that is, I have his love, joy, peace (in me for me), his longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness (in me for others), and his meekness, faith, and temperance (in me for him – his provisions). 

Whatever may be said about my state, God is the explanation for it all, not because I was chosen for it, but because 23 years ago I began learning about his provisions of grace which produce good outcomes in all of us who take time daily to include them in our lives and against which no brokenness in all creation can prevail, and also about the importance of connecting to the resources (beginning with Christ) through which those provisions flow into our lives to support us for understanding the message of grace in all its truth (“Christ in you the hope of health and happiness.” – Colossians 1:27).

“I thank God that, although you were once in bondage to your brokenness, you wholeheartedly embraced the form of teaching God called you to, and now you have been set free and have become useful in service to others.” - Romans 6:17-18 (paraphrased).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L21

You: Why God is Interested in Me

God created man, not in order to experience humanity, but in order to give man the opportunity to experience Divinity.

This means:

1) God is not in relationship to us for what we can do for him, but for what we will give him opportunity to do for us.

2) We do not serve God; rather, he serves us (to meet our needs and then the needs of others through us).

This also means that God provides support for

  • pastors/shepherds in behalf of the church/sheep,
  • parents in behalf of their children, and
  • husbands in behalf of their wives.

  • I am the reason God gave Christ,
  • the church is the reason God gave pastors (Ephesians 4:11-13),
  • the children are the reason God gave parents, and
  • wives are the reason God gave husbands.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L20

Personal Health: The Husband Best Hope to Protect His Marriage

Laws (civil and scriptural) protect marriages against men making a move on another man’s wife to win her affection. Plus the threat of getting hurt (My friend said to a neighbor, “Don’t mess with my wife, man, or I will be all over you.” Good for him!).

A husband’s best hope, however, to protect his marriage is not threats, but to invest in the health and happiness needs of his wife. This investment in his wife begins with him investing in himself. Paul wrote, “The husband who loves his wife loves himself” (from Ephesians 5:28).

Wives are in awe of (respect) a husband who makes good choices for himself in order to be the support person in her life she needs him to be.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L19  

“Don, sometimes you sound critical. I like it better when you are encouraging.”

I know. My melancholy temperament tends to see the glass half empty. This is not necessarily a faith and hope or positive thinking issue (although it certainly has potential to be), but an inborn wiring. It may also be due to the calling I have to preach (the gift of prophecy [not foretelling but forthtelling] which includes sounding out warnings). So, although I usually exercise the gift of teaching (which is mostly to provide Scripture support for making wise choices), I find myself at times expressing my concern for what’s wrong.

The conversion to which we call people is a turning away from a wrong choice to a right choice, so the support we give has both a negative and positive component.

Also, the Scripture is “profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), so has both a negative and positive component to its purpose.

That’s why Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:8), while Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). The one has a negative, the other a positive.


It is also the reason I sometimes warn, “It is impossible without physical and psychospiritual health to be happy!”, but at other times encourage, “God’s has made possible our happiness by providing for our health.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L18

The Coming Storm: When Support for Experiencing Christ Becomes Relevant

The support our counseling provides for learning how to read the Scriptures in order to hear and experience Christ is not relevant to broken people who are surviving/managing their pain propped up by recreation and entertainment, codependent relationships in the home, church, and community (which we define as two hurting people using each other for superficial pain relief), and religious performance.

But those props will not endure (“carry the day” we sometimes say). Sooner than later they will collapse. When they do, the support we offer will suddenly become more relevant and appealing. At that time, when the end-time storm ultimately comes, intimacy with Christ will be all that remains. Those who learn to experience him, so that he is all they have, will find that he is enough.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L17

Week 50

Mass Murder in Connecticut: Explaining Evil in the World

1. This is not my Father’s world!

The lyrics of the popular song are wrong. This is not my Father's world, God is not the ruler over it, and the Lord does not reign as King over the earth.

All of that was lost in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12, 16). The recovery process to redeem (to purchase back) that which was lost to Satan began immediately after the judgment (Romans 5:18), was legally accomplished at Calvary (according to God’s law), but will not be completed until the Second Coming of Christ.

(To illustrate, the buyer of a house may not take immediate possession but give the former owner days or hours to vacate. The account John gives of the Tribulation Period (Revelation 4-9) foretells the war Satan will wage against God when he comes back to earth to claim/occupy his redeemed possession.)

2. In the meantime, Satan and the spiritual forces of evil rule and have authority and power over this dark world.

“Our struggle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (the first heaven [our immediate atmosphere where the birds fly] and the second heaven [the sun, moon, and stars]).” – Ephesians 6:12

3. Satan manifests his evil into the world through broken people.

“You used to … follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (reject Christ - his Blood for justification [going to Heaven] and his Resurrected Life for sanctification [healing]).” – Ephesians 2:2

4. Also, in the meantime, the whole creation groans.

“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to this present time, (and) not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (who have been born again), groan inwardly as we wait for (the consummation of God’s redemptive plan).” – Romans 8:22-23

5. Christ reigns only in the hearts of believers - not necessarily in the heart of every born again person, but only in the hearts of those who “wait” (stop, take time each day to open the door of their minds during quiet-time worship to be renewed by him daily).

“Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart [mind]) and knock; if any man will open the door, I will come in to him.” – Revelation 3:20

“Let (phroneó: ‘seek for’ in the sense of ‘giving opportunity’ so that) the mind of Christ be in you.” – Philippians 2:20

“Give us this day our Daily Bread (in order to)… deliver us from the Evil One.” – Matthew 6:9-13

“(You are) transformed by the renewing of your mind (soul/heart).” – Romans 12:2

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L14

“Don, what is the responsibility of parents to their wayward adult children?”

If your adult children have not been born again, it is your responsibility, by every effort and means possible, to win them to Christ. If they have been born again, your responsibility is to

  • make good choices for your own life which result in your personal health,
  • communicate your love and care for them and also availability to provide support as a resource to them for the health choices they need to make, and then
  • trust the Holy Spirit to call them to repentance through the brokenness they will experience.
I believe we have support for this in Luke 15. Jesus pursued the one lost sheep in order to save it from itself – that is, from its inability to come to the Shepherd. But the prodigal’s father did not pursue his wayward son to the pig pen; instead, because his son had willfully left the support of his father, he waited for him to have a change of mind about his choices and to return.

This also provides Scripture support for the church to

  • “go into all the world to preach (present/sound forth) the Gospel” to the lost,
  • bring those who respond into the sheepfold (the church) in order to
  • invest in their growth needs (primarily through teaching),
but to stop short of

  • imposing lifestyle solutions upon them or
  • making provisions for them which circumvent the outcome (superficially relieve the pain) of their wrong choices, or in any way
  • rescuing them from (or enabling them in) their addictions.
If the work of the Holy Spirit and the competent investment of pastors and teachers are not successful to call believers into fellowship with Christ to meet their core support need, God has another plan – it is to allow suffering, which he does not circumvent, according to the law of sowing and reaping.

Consider this also (from John 17:12): While living in the home, children are not assuming responsibility to be with/connect to parents, but parents are assuming responsibility to be with/connect to their children – this in the same way Christ was with us during his time on earth to provide and protect. When parents are no longer with their children – that is, when their children become adults - it becomes the freedom and responsibility of the adult children to be with/connect to their parents, and the responsibility of parents to be available when their children need their support.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L13

Support for Making the Choices that Heal: The Role of Leadership in the Home

There is a sickness, physically and psychologically, so deep that, although recovery is possible, it is not likely. If Satan can lure us to make the choices that result in that level of sickness, his strategy to destroy us is successful. He can move on to concentrate his efforts on someone else.

This means no nutritional support, pharmaceutical drug, emergency surgery, or heroic care, according to natural law, will make the difference. This is included in the meaning of Romans 1:28 (“God gave them up”) and 1 John 5:16-17 (“There is a sin unto death”).

Short of that, however, God has made provisions to support dying people for making the choices that recover their health. The most essential choice, of course, is to receive Christ (for eternal salvation) and to experience his Life daily (for holiness). Our experience of Christ transforms our values so that we make advanced wise choices resulting in optimal health.

However, hurting people need support for making that most essential first choice. Jesus calls out, “Come unto me,” but hurting people need support for coming to him. The Holy Spirit provides this support but it is mainly through human vessels he calls, prepares, and sends into the world to not only communicate the invitation, but to also encourage a response.

This identifies the support of leadership in the home and church (parents, husbands, and pastors). It is God who heals, but the choice to receive him (his provisions) is supported by the ministry resources he raises up and to which broken people connect.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L12

GracePoint: Earnest Support for Experiencing God

The pastor wanted me to speak to his church with the hope I would be both entertaining and inspirational, maybe like at a banquet, fitting for a social event. I explained I was not much for doing that, but would instead call his church to take time each day for reading the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ in order to manifest him into the world, beginning at home, and that unless he knew experiencing God was the desire of his church, my speaking to them might be too intense. I haven’t heard back from him.

But I do have the opportunity for 10-20 hours each week to teach the concepts that guide our counseling in sessions with individuals, couples, and small groups.

I don’t try to hype or entertain, but passionately and earnestly

  • present the claims of the Gospel (the grace message),
  • call hurting people to open the door of their hearts to receive Christ (per Revelation 3:20 that, if we open the door, he promises to enter our hearts [mind, emotions, and will] in order to meet our information, affection, and decision-making needs), and
  • give testimony to the transformation he has increasingly made in my life for the past 23 years as I have taken time each day for Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L11

Support for Experiencing Christ: Identifying GracePoint’s Goal for Counseling

GracePoint has no goal to build an organization, although I must be renewed daily in that attitude because my human nature tends to think that GracePoint needs to be impactful in a significant way.

Maybe that is the reason I call our grace concepts class, “Institute for Studies in Grace Concepts” - although it is just one class attended by only a few once a month.

Redemption is God’s big idea. He will find a way to accomplish it. If his plan involves us, that’s good. If not, we stay out of the way. That’s the confidence he must renew in us daily.

God’s goal for us is to experience Christ daily in order to have his heart and mind. More times than Christ commissions us to go, he calls us to come and receive. For example,

“If anyone is thirsty, let me come and drink of the Water of Life freely.” – John 7:47; Revelation 21:6; 22:17

So GracePoint exists only as God uses us to support counselees for responding to the Life Christ offers.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L10

Week 49

Grace Concepts: Support for Health and Happiness

The concepts of grace work. They support life.

“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” – Colossians 1:6

Some ideas/ideologies don’t work. They produce death, not life.

For example, Socialism/Marxism does not work. Neither does religious legalism (performance to win God’s favor). Pharmaceutical drugs may help manage pain and treat symptoms; most, however, produce death, not life.

Even so, ideas that don’t work (produce death) are favored by man’s sinful nature and also the world’s system (kingdom). Christ warned about that often. In his Sermon on the Mount he said,

“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).”

Also, Christ was crucified, his followers stoned, driven through with swords, and beheaded, and the first century church suffered intense persecution because they had a different idea – that health begins with experiencing God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L07

Finding Support in the Scripture for Knowing How to Experience Christ: Recommended Reading

There is a growing selection of Scripture passages I read continually - so much that I can quote most of them (including John 1:1-18; 15:1-8; chapter 17; Romans chapters 5-8; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; chapter 13; 2 Corinthians 1:3-11; Ephesians 3:14-21; 5:22-33; Philippians 3:7-14; James 1:1-18; and many of the Psalms including Psalm 1, 15, 19, 23, 25:1-15; 37:1-7, 91, 100, 103; 119; 130, and 139-148). Maybe God has called me to these passages because they are just for me, but I highly recommend them to others to read regularly.

Some object, however, insisting they need to read the Bible through every year. That’s okay, especially if God is calling them to do that, but maybe not so good if they do it because they think it impresses God (in order to have a good standing with him), or have a prideful need to know more than others, or have a need to think there is nothing about the Bible they don’t know.

Reading the Bible through each year, if it is superficially motivated, is a performance and will result in burnout and disappointment.

Also (as someone has said), a wise man seeks to know as much as he ought, not as much as he can – a lesson learned (maybe) by a young factory worker who announced to Henry Ford exactly how many parts were in the Model T(?) Ford. Instead of being impressed, Ford replied, “Young man, I cannot think of a more worthless piece of information.”

No information in/about the Bible is worthless, but the ultimate reason God gave us the Scripture was to call us into intimate fellowship with Christ. Having a textbook knowledge of the Bible without understanding the passages which support us for learning how to experience Christ misses that purpose and is also at the root of the brokenness many suffer.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L06

Codependence: When a Mobster Might Not Seem So Bad After All

Codependent social needs (an addiction issue), rather than redemptive needs, seem to drive most relationships (and may motivate most leadership).

This means the goal of the relationship is not support for healing, but for superficial pain relief. (And the goal of the leadership is to be admired, needed, and appreciated.)

This explains why it seems addicts would pursue a relationship with a mobster who met their addiction needs more than they would with a minister who supported their need to experience Christ for healing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L05

A Strong Commitment to be Faithful: A Failing Support for Holiness

I am disappointed and grieved, but not surprised, when Christian celebrities and others, including church leaders, fail morally – either to be celibate until marriage or to be faithful in their marriage - even though they have made a public commitment to live by the highest standards.

For example, if an unmarried man is determined to remain a virgin until he marries, but has only his commitment, determination, fear of displeasing God, the pressure of expectations, and other superficial motivations to support him, he is at great risk for failure.

Also, if a married man is determined to be faithful to his wife, but has only those superficial motivations to support him, he is also at risk for failure.

That’s because, whatever support lesser motivations may provide, God’s plan for us to be supported for living godly is our experience of Christ - who by his presence within us heals our brokenness and enables us to relate to others as he does.

This is the meaning of

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (manifesting ‘who Christ is’ into a dark world).” – Colossians 1:27

This means, even our most sincere commitment to performance and good behavior, but with disregard to our need to experience Christ daily, leaves us still in our broken condition and vulnerable to the default weakness of our sinful condition.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L04

Grace Counseling: Support for an Outcome God Produces

The counseling God has called GracePoint to provide does not begin with identifying for counselees action steps they can take which will help manage or superficially reduce some of the pain in their homes and marriages; rather, our counseling begins with providing support to counselees for taking time each day to include in their lives God’s provisions for their healing – especially Christ.

This means, GracePoint does not encourage counselees to try harder or to do better with the hype that they can pull themselves out of the mess they are in. Rather, we teach counselees they are broken, that trying harder and working on themselves to improve their circumstances will not succeed long term and also ultimately wear them out, and that God’s plan for their healing and the healing of their relationships and circumstances is not the result of what they can do to work on themselves, but what they give God the opportunity to do for them.

“For we are his workmanship (an outcome God is producing).” – Ephesians 2:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L03

Week 48

Grace: More than Belongings, Busyness, and Big, Support for Meaningful Success

Success under the old covenant means to faithfully live out the performance of the Law (obedience to rules). But success under the new covenant expands to include faithfulness to experience intimacy with Christ (response to a relationship).

This means, under the old covenant of rules, the work we do to accomplish duties and responsibilities may be recognized as successful in the home, church, and world. But it has no redemptive or enduring value apart from the success we have which is identified by taking time each day to be renewed in our experience of Christ living his Life in and through us to enable the work.

Jesus said:

“No branch can bear fruit of itself; it must be supported by the vine. Neither can you bear eternal fruit unless you are supported by me.” – John 15:4 (paraphrased)

Again, this means God’s love, joy, and peace in our lives and homes represent success in the truest, deepest, and most meaningful sense, more than belongings, busyness, and big.

“He has made us competent in our service to others.” – 2 Corinthians 3:6

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K30

Surpassing the Report of Scripture, Our Experience of Eternity on Earth: What Heaven is Like

Just knowing what the Scripture says about Heaven, even so much as to be able to speak or write about it extensively, is not the same as having some experience of it on earth during our daily quiet-time worship and even throughout the day.

The Queen of Sheba, having been informed about Solomon’s kingdom, said, when she saw it for the first time, “not even the half was told me; it far surpasses everything I heard” (2 Chronicles 9:6).

Also, to know about God is not the same as to experience him. We may appreciate him and even desire him because we have read about him, but we are motivated to give up ourselves more fully to him only as we begin to experience him.

" know this love that surpasses knowledge - that is, to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:19

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K29

Turned by Hard Times to Christ for Healing

The saying, “Anything that does not kill us will make us stronger” is not true. Hard times do not build us up or make us better; instead, they break us down. The only purpose God has for allowing hard times is to give us an opportunity to recognize our broken condition and need for him.

Again, God does not use hard times to make us holy, but to call us to the One who does.
This means, God does not pound on us to reshape us, or carve on us to cut away the rot in our lives; rather, he fills us with himself so that our brokenness is healed – in the same way he uses water to flush away dirt, light to diminish darkness, and sunlight to bleach dead carcasses.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men, and the darkness was not able to prevail against the light.”  - from John 1:4-5

“He prunes (cleans) every branch that remains connected to him so that it will be even more fruitful.” – John 15:2b (paraphrased)

DonLoyWhisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K28

Agape: What God Makes True About Me So That Others Matter

I do not have a high social need for people, but I like people. Only very rarely do I meet someone who I tend to step away from.

And I really enjoy some people. They are quiet, slow paced, and easy going so that my reflective brain can process my experience with them. They are quick witted and light hearted so that we can banter a bit, and they articulate the way I listen.

But if these same people are unkind to me, steal from me, or attack me, it suddenly becomes hard for me to like them as much. This is normal. It is the way of human love - which is a give and take love and very conditional.

But there is a love that values people unconditionally. It is a disposition of my heart that supports me for caring about the needs of people without respect to my enjoyment of them. This is God’s love (agape).

Again, human love for others is conditional, based upon what they do for me, while God’s love in me for others is unconditional, based not on anything that is true about them, but on something God increasingly makes true about me every day during my Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K27

Deep Emotion for the Place God Dwells: Our Experience of His Presence

We love (care for/invest in) our bodies because God’s presence (his glory) dwells within us. 

“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16

We also love (care for/invest in) the house we live in with our families where God’s presence is experienced - the same as we do the church building where God’s people gather.

We especially reverence the place of prayer (room) where we have our quiet-time Scripture reading. It is where we hear and experience Christ.

The Psalmist wrote,

“I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells” (Psalm 26:8).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K26

Week 47

Dying of Thirst at The Community Well

We can research to learn about the molecular science of water, have nice thoughts about it, and also adorn, care for, and admire the sources from which it flows into our lives. But until we drink the water, our health will not be supported.

This means, we can dig a well, build a house for it (add a steeple, maybe), hire a staff to maintain it, and then invite the community to gather at the site for a lot of enjoyable programs and activities. But if no one drinks the water, the experience will not support life.

So, for whatever good may be said about the community gathering at the well, they will do better, in terms of health, to stay at home and drink water.

Paul wrote about this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

“In the last days, people will … have a form of godliness (have a well) but deny its power (not drink its water).”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K23

At Thanksgiving: Grief for the Problems That Hurt, Rejoicing for the Provisions That Heal

We grieve

  • for those who are broken and hurting,
  • that the resources (parents, husbands, and pastors) which God ordained to support them are sometimes dysfunctional, and
  • because of the choices broken/hurting people make to superficially relieve the pain which compound their brokenness.
But we rejoice in God’s provisions in Creation (nutritional elements in the soil and atmosphere), Community (leadership support in the home and church), and especially Christ (his Life in us) for our healing – that they are faithful and effectual, and when we open the door of our hearts and lives daily to receive them, the result is healing and renewal.

“Come to me all you who are broken and I will recover you.” – Matthew 11:28 (paraphrased)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K22

“Don, Dr. (pastor/teacher) said on tv that ungratefulness was the first sin of Adam and Eve.”

The first sin was Adam and Eve choosing a provision to meet their needs which disregarded the provisions God had already provided in the Garden for meeting those needs. (They were not already sinful before the first trespass.)

Also, God does not have an expectation for us to show our appreciation to him, and he is not pouty or put off when we don’t. Humans may say about others, “If they are not going to thank me for my gifts, I will just stop giving to them!”, but God does not.

This means, although we are polite to say "thank you" to anyone who helps us, expressing gratitude to God in this way is not the condition upon which we receive provisions from him. That’s because God’s provisions flow to the door of every person’s heart and life unconditionally (without consideration of their worth or behavior) so that everyone/anyone who opens the door will receive.

By definition, the Bible word “thanksgiving” means that, as we recognize God’s goodness to us, we give ourselves to him to receive more of his provisions.

This is the meaning of Psalm 50:23:

“He who sacrifices thank offerings (opens the door of his heart/life to me/my provisions) honors me (gives me opportunity to meet his needs), and (in this way) he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation (healing) of God."

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K21

The Husband’s Hope to Be True

Our experience of song and music, recreation and entertainment, possessions, accomplishments, and even people can relieve some of our tension and pain, but it will not heal the brokenness of our heart/soul.

This in the same way that hugs, kind words, and visits to the hospital encourage the hurting, but are not the same as the treatment and attention that result in healing.

There is a reason Jesus called out, “Come to me! Connect to me!”

It is because healing for our deepest needs begins with him.

“Yoke (surrender) to me, and I will recover you to health!” Jesus promised (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the True Vine! Remain connected to me.” (John 15:1-8).

He is the True Vine because he is Pure and Passionate and Present, and he is also Powerful to heal.

It is by a husband’s experience of the Life that flows into him by his connection to the True Vine that he has hope to be a True Husband, that a parent has hope to be a True Parent, that a pastor has hope to be a True Pastor, and that a Christian has hope to be a True Christian.

“Without me (husbands, parents, pastors, and believers) can do nothing!” Jesus said (John 15:5).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K20

Hurricane Sandy Serving a Sovereign God to Teach a Divine Truth

God has ordained the law of sowing and reaping to govern his creation. This means our choices produce outcomes.

However, we consider also that God may act sovereignly to produce outcomes which accomplish his redemptive purpose while not at all conflicting with his law of sowing and reaping. For example, we believe God has altered the weather in history which influenced decisions made by nations during warfare that produced outcomes to serve God’s redemptive purpose.

Hurricane Sandy, if she influenced the recent election as some insist, may be an example of God acting sovereignly. Whether God allowed the storm’s normal course or altered her course to hit where she did, I consider he may have been addressing man’s notion that government, rather than Christ (our experience of him), is man’s most important need.

So we do not point to conservative government, important as it is, as man's greatest need, but to Christ. Also we do not grieve mostly that America rejects godly leadership, but that the church under appreciates its need to be filled to a fuller measure of Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K19

Week 46

“Don, does God give leaders to a nation?”

We can say God gives leaders to a nation but only in the sense that he does it through the collective choices of individuals, the same as he gives health to a person’s body as a result of the choices he or she makes.

This work of God to give us leaders begins with him providing us information by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture concerning righteousness. It includes also birthing his Life in us which transforms our values to reflect that information. And then, at decision time, he moves us to make appropriate choices.

Otherwise, choices are made by broken people motivated by fear, pain, and human wisdom. The outcome does not represent God’s provisions or his plan for us, but he allows the suffering it causes to call us to repentance (a change of mind).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K16

Calling Christians to the Conservative Principles that Support Freedom: The Work of the Church

The essential work of evangelists (missionaries) is to call the lost to trust Christ (his death on the cross) for eternal salvation (justification). The essential work of pastors and teachers is to support new believers for learning how to experience Christ for health and happiness and usefulness in service to others (holiness/sanctification).

For this reason (because I am a pastoral counselor), I am passionate to teach counselees that intimacy with Christ is the core need of every person, and that healing from brokenness and unhappiness is not possible apart from taking time each day for reading the Scripture in order to hear God and experience Christ.

Also, evangelists avoid having too much to say on subjects that are not strictly related to their calling/mission. That work, it seems, is left to pastors and teachers and (although being a political voice is far from God’s calling for GracePoint) is the reason I do not neglect at appropriate times to write about the conservative principles which help establish a nation in righteousness and freedom based on my understanding of Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)…

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K15

Deep Suffering: Having New Appreciation for Making Wise Choices

I can no longer say that I do not remember a day in the past 23 years when I did not read the Scripture, hear God, and experience him.

Yesterday early morning I woke up sick with food poisoning (I suspect from eating at restaurants on a day trip). By noon, I was the sickest I have been since having the same problem about 35 years ago after eating a convenient store frozen pizza – which put two of the four who ate it in the hospital for almost a week.

I have deep confidence and appreciation for the work God does to heal and support us by his Life within us, but it’s a work that begins when we take time to sit quietly before him with an open Bible to read the Scripture, and I was too miserable to do that. As someone said, I was so sick I’d have to die to feel better.

But I did muster enough strength to take activated charcoal tablets throughout the day along with something to reduce the fever, drink Emergen-C, and eat a few soda crackers. By mid evening I was feeling better. I took a sleeping aid last night, slept ten hours, and this morning I am a bit weak but no longer sick.

I found my Bible this morning where I placed it two evenings ago. It occurred to me that, although the Life of Christ within us is powerful to heal (Romans 8:11), his greatest work in us is to support us for making wise choices so that we don’t become sick (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Indeed, God has a recovery plan, but, trust me, it won’t be without suffering.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K14

Grace Counseling: Support for an Outcome God Produces

The counseling God has called GracePoint to provide does not begin with identifying for counselees action steps they can take which will help manage or superficially reduce some of the pain in their homes and marriages; rather, our counseling begins with providing support to counselees for taking time each day to include in their lives God’s provisions for their healing – especially Christ.

This means, GracePoint does not encourage counselees to try harder or to do better with the hype that they can pull themselves out of the mess they are in. Rather, we teach counselees they are broken, that trying harder and working on themselves to improve their circumstances will not succeed long term and also ultimately wear them out, and that

God’s plan for their healing and the healing of their relationships and circumstances is not the result of what they can do to work on themselves, but what they give God the opportunity to do for them.

“For we are his workmanship (an outcome God is producing).” – Ephesians 2:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K13

Grieving Big Government and Broken Lives, But Mostly Missed Needs in the Evangelical Church

I share the concern many have for the direction our nation is headed, that it cannot survive the idea that government is responsible for more than to protect our freedoms to make wise choices, but that it must also guarantee our feel-good needs and protect us against the outcomes of our impulsive choices.

But more than my concern when socialist doctrine guides the decisions made by a nation’s leaders, I grieve the brokenness and moral bankruptcy of its people.

But even more than that concern, I grieve deeply the state of the evangelical Church, that (although we are active to reach our communities for Christ) we are addicted to feel-good needs (just like the world), so that we miss taking quiet time each morning to be renewed by the Holy Spirit (to be filled “to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” – Ephesians 3:19; 4:13) in order to be qualified (made competent and effectual) as vessels through whom God works to meet the redemptive needs of those we are called to serve.

“You have forsaken your first love (to come and receive).” - Revelation 2:4 (Jesus to the leaders of the Ephesian church)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K12

Week 45

Broken Hearted for Hurting People Making Choices for Pain Relief

I grieve for the single women and young people who have been left unsupported by dysfunctional leadership in the home and church –by parents and pastors (also husbands) who missed their opportunity to support them for making the wise choices which result in good outcomes according to the law of “sowing and reaping” – and also according to the promise Jesus gave, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (that sustain life) will be given you” (Matthew 6:33).

So while, in the recent election, many single women and young people voted their faith, most voted their pain and fears. (Some of course also voted their apathy, laziness, and addictions.)

Many of us hoped for a return to conservative principles in government on November 6, but we underestimated the level of brokenness in America – and maybe also forgot that supported (healthy) voters gravitate to conservative principles, while broken people tend to make choices for pain relief.

Pundits are now saying the current voting demographics are here to stay – that the tipping point has been reached, suggesting that America now has more liberals and “moderates” than conservatives.

That may be true, but it will not be because Christ has not made provision of himself (his Life in us) to change people’s hearts.

That change must first be experienced by parents and pastors (also husbands) so that their hearts are turned toward the health needs of those they are called to serve.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K09

Comments on the Election

I appreciate the passion and hard work of conservative leaders who led the efforts to win support for Christian values in yesterday’s elections. Their efforts failed to fully accomplish their goals, so this morning I was interested to hear and read of their reaction. Understandably, they were very emotional and deeply disappointed.

And so was I – but only briefly. That's because I do not give the same weight to, or have the same expectations for, the support of government programs as some do.

There is Only One True Vine

Of course we always welcome government to accommodate our Christian values and experience, but we stop short of identifying its support as our greatest need - which is to be filled to a fuller measure of Christ each day. He alone is the “True Vine.”

God’s support for our lives begins with Christ (his Blood for us and his Life in us), followed by leadership resources in the home and church (parents, husbands, and pastors) which support our connection to him. We take care not to get that wrong – that is, we do not give more weight/value to supports which superficially relieve pain than to the resources which support us for experiencing Christ for healing. If we do, we will lose both.

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

We have no reason to think the world will not oppose our values. The Bible says that, in the last days before Christ returns, the world/mankind (and even the church) will fall further away from him (his values and resources). The evidence of this decline is all about us. But God sometimes uses adversities to call our attention to our need for him. In the dark hours before his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe/trust that I am God’s provision to sustain you.” - John 14:1 (paraphrased)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K07

Making Choices to Survive When the Shaking Comes

This is an historic day. It may be a "day that lives in infamy" or one to celebrate. That’s because choices will be made at the polls today that will support life or result in death (Adam and Eve did that, you know.)

But wait! We make life and death choices every day – choices that support health or feed addictions.

GracePoint receives a large number of calls from hurting people who are interested in counseling (five today by mid-afternoon) – but sometimes the caller's interest is for support which helps them manage/survive their addictions, more than for support which helps recover their health.

God makes this promise: When superficial supports and false hopes fail, his provisions will remain to sustain those who are connected to him (his resources).

“All of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.” – Hebrews 12:27 (NLT)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K06

The Light of Christ: Support at the Ballot Box for Making Good Choices

The Light of Christ within us will guide us to support government policies that promote and protect

  • the lives of unborn babies (life begins at conception),
  • the sanctity of marriage (one man, one woman),
  • our religious freedom,
  • individual freedom,
  • racial equality, and
  • our national security.
In the darkness, however, man supports policies that protect his carnal desires and addictions.

This means that, while the Christian community needs to be politically active, it is far more critical for the church to teach its members how to experience Christ.  

If today’s election results do not support Scriptural values (They are the only values that work!), our nation will continue in decline. The only consolation may be that, when the party is over, like the addict who hits bottom, some will more clearly hear the call of God to experience him.    

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K06

Investors and Users: Understanding the Values of Conservatives and Liberals

A conservative political pundit noted that women voters for liberal candidates sometimes admit to fantasizing about romance with them. It was noted also that liberal candidates are sometimes willing to accommodate those fantasies.

I don’t know that we should make too much of that, but the same does not seem to be true about women who vote for conservatives or about the candidates.

At the core, however, conservatives and liberals (usually, but not always, represented by Republicans and Democrats) have different values. Liberals tend to use each other to meet superficial pain relief needs, while conservatives tend to invest in themselves and others for health. This explains why liberals will vote for government handouts with disregard to moral and social issues like abortion and the sanctity of marriage.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K05 

Meeting Carole: Celebrating November 4, 1988

On this day 24 years ago, Carole came into my place of business. I had seen her for the first time about a month before (on October 10), but it was very brief and I was busy, so she got away. I remembered her when I saw her on this second occasion and I did not want to let her get away again, so I set out to make a connection. When she left, I told a work associate she would be my wife someday. (Carole, not the associate!)

A week or so later, I called her and we met for lunch. I had not seen her for about a month

when I sent her roses a day or so after Christmas. She called to say “thank you” and we met for a second date (dinner at Steak and Ale). Our third date was New Year’s Eve. A year later, on January 12, 1990, we were married by Dr. Gary Marsh at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, and honeymooned at a bed and breakfast resort in Old Salem. 

We had some growing pains during our early days together, but have never criticized, been unkind, or said mean words to each other. We have no wounds or scars in our relationship.

If our experience together is the evidence, my confidence is that God brought Carole into my life 24 years ago, that it was a tender expression of his love and care for me, and hopefully for her, and that marriage can indeed be a little bit of what Heaven is like.

DonLoy Whisnant/Journey Notes 12K04

Week 44

Working Out at the Ballot Box: God’s Way to Good Outcomes

God’s plan for good outcomes in national elections is for us to

Vote! I was told recently that God is in control, and so voting made no difference. But that is the same as saying the farmer does not need to sow because the ground will produce a harvest anyhow.

Vote our values! That is, vote consistent with the Scriptural principles we hold which support health (including holiness).

This is different than voting for policies which help people circumvent the painful outcome of their foolish, impulsive choices (abortion, for one of many examples).

Human nature, however, is in conflict with Scriptural principles (Romans 8:7). It tends to either

  • invest for nothing, but still hope for good outcomes,
  • work on self to improve behavior, or
  • work to fix problems.
But God calls us to make choices which include his provisions into our lives - for example, to exercise, which increases our uptake of oxygen. This is included in the meaning of Philippians 2:12: “Work out your own healing.”

Also, he calls us to take time daily for quiet-time worship in order to experience Christ (uptake his Life).

It is the Life of Christ in us that transforms our values which guide the choices we make, including at the ballot box.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K02

Grace: Better Than a Movie, God’s Provisions for Experiencing Heaven in a Hurting World

The newlyweds said their honeymoon experience to an exotic location was like a romantic movie. They wanted their lives and marriage to be the same.

In time, they will learn the movies are a lie. The world is broken and filled with broken people, mostly because of unmet health needs - physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

But God has made provisions in Creation (the soil and atmosphere), Community (support relationships in the home and church), and especially Christ (his Blood/death for us and his Resurrected Life in us) so that, better than a movie, our lives and marriages can be a little bit of what Heaven is like.

“Our Father in Heaven, “Who you are” is sacred and dear to me. May your redemptive purpose be accomplished on earth (in my heart and in my home) as it is in Heaven.” – Matthew 6:9-10 (paraphrased)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12K01

Evaluating Our Support Resources: Who Are They Connected To and Our Need to Know

My resources (support services) have a support. For example, my house has a foundation, my calculator and flashlights have batteries, and the tires on my car have air. They would not be useful to me otherwise.

So, as we evaluate our support resources in

Creation (food and water, for example),

Community (leadership in the home and church), and even

Christ to help us decide if we should connect to them for support, we consider if they are supported, and by what.

For example, what is the supply source for the food I eat, the water I drink, and the air I breathe? Also, what leadership resources support the leadership resources that want to support me? I need to know before I connect! Is my pastor connected to a support resource? Who is it? And who are those resources connected to? Who is the husband connected to for support that he should ask his wife to connect to him?

Jesus was asked, “What is the explanation for the work you are doing?” He answered, “It is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work”(John 14:10).

He also said, “I am the True Vine, and my Father is the gardener (support person)” (John 15:1).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J31

Normative Outcomes: The “Sowing and Reaping” Result of Wise Choices

One of my early ministry mentors said again recently on radio that God sometimes gives to nations the leaders they desire and sometimes that they don’t desire. I cringe to hear that kind of explanation for how God relates to us. It totally disregards not only the law of cause and effect, but also common sense.

Actually, we have the leaders we vote for. That’s because God ordained the law of “sowing and reaping” to govern outcomes. Normatively, outcomes are not the result of arbitrary decisions God makes based upon the level of his satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with our behavior or upon the mood he is in to which we are subject.

This means, in the same way the scheduled choices we make for diet, exercise, and lifestyle (sufficient sleep, for example) produce good outcomes, the choices we make at the ballot box in a democracy determine the leaders we have.

Also, the choices we make are influenced by the amount of Light/Wisdom that lives within our hearts. In the darkness, we make poor choices, but in the Light we make wise choices which set us free.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask (open his hearts to receive it from) God.” – James 1:5

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J30

Living Out Your Theology Every Morning

The Bible word “believe” means more than “to accept information as true.” Rather, it means to “live like it is true.” For example, it cannot be said we believe the Blood of Christ is the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against us (because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden) until we trust in it – the same as we cannot say we believe a chair will hold us up until we sit in it, or that water is indispensable to life until we drink it.

Also, it cannot be said we believe the Life of Christ is the Living Water and our Daily Bread and is indispensable to our health, happiness, and holiness (usefulness as vessels in redemptive service to others) until we take time each day to include it in our lives so that we are filled and sustained by it in fuller measure.

Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches… no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain (be continuously) connected to the vine.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J29

Week 43

Too Poor to Be Unhappy

My oral hygienist said she was too lazy to deal with a lot of drama in her life. I told her I was too poor to be unhappy.

The foolish, impulsive choices we make to meet our happiness needs result in a lot of disappointment, tension, and brokenness - physically, relationally, and financially.

God has a plan that establishes us in health and happiness. When we connect to the resources through which his provisions flow into our lives, the result is a quiet, contented (and yet full and meaningful) life - so that even people with low incomes can enjoy life very much because their happiness is not increased by something new, expensive, or exciting.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J26

Social Addiction to People, a Barrier to Seeking Truth

Children who are subject to legalism typically run in the opposite direction when they leave home. But children who are nurtured by the message of grace in their formative years embrace it for a lifetime. Also, people respond to the message of grace when their lives fall apart or they suffer deep brokenness.

One of the leading issues which barricade hurting people from considering the message of grace is addiction – addiction to substances and behaviors, of course, but mostly addiction to people (social addiction) – that is, to the need to experience (use) people for the purpose of superficial pain relief. (A codependent relationship is two broken persons using each other for superficial pain relief.) This social need for people becomes an addiction when it interferes with us making the essential choices that establish us in health.

Also, this addiction to people is at the root of our carnal need to help the homeless, give to the poor, and to otherwise superficially relieve human suffering. That’s because, providing for hurting people feels good to us (and makes us feel better about ourselves), but it is an addiction when it is a substitute for and interferes with supporting hurting people for making the choices that recover their health and improve their circumstances.

This is part of the reason the mega-church grows quickly (but endures briefly), and the teaching church grows very slowly (but endures long-term).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J25

Going to Heaven Because of Who You Are in Christ, Growing in Holiness and Health Because of “Who Christ Is” In You

Our identity in Christ assures we are going to Heaven. But it does not assure our sanctification (health and happiness – components of holiness) – no more than having water in the room assures our hydration.

By our identity in Christ, we are regenerated (spiritually born again), justified (declared innocent and set free from the judgment against us because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden), reconciled (to God), and elected (chosen) – all which make certain our going to Heaven.

But it is by virtue of who we are because of “who Christ is” in us (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance – Galatians 5:22-23) that we are sanctified (made holy/useful to God as vessels in redemptive service to others).

Again, we are going to Heaven because of who we are in Christ, but we are sanctified (for health and happiness) because of who Christ is in us.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." - Ephesians 1:7

"Therefore there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ." - Romans 8:1

"Christ in you, the hope of glory (manifesting the character of Christ)" - Colossians 1:27

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead in living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit who lives in you." - Romans 8:11

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J24

Immersed Into Christ, Our Hope for Heaven: Enabled by Christ, Our Hope for Holiness

We do not walk into Christ as we would walk into a room, but we are placed (immersed) into spiritual union with him (illustrated by placing a sponge into a bowl of water) by the Holy Spirit ("the baptism of the Holy Spirit") when we turn away from trusting in our good works for going to Heaven to trusting instead in God’s provisions of Christ’s Blood/death on the cross as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against us (the human race) because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12-19).

We are sanctified (made holy/useful in redemptive service to others) when we take time each day for Scripture reading, confession of our brokenness and need for God’s provisions, and quiet-time worship (opening the door of our hearts/souls [mind, emotions, and will] to receive his Life flowing into us from his residents within our spirits).

"We were therefore buried with Christ through baptism (our immersion into spiritual union with Christ) in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory (Life) of the Father, we too may live a new life." - Romans 6:4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J23

Learning to Read The Scripture In Order to Hear and Experience Christ: Counseling Support for Healing, Happiness, and Holiness

 I am passionate about the concepts that guide our counseling. They are rooted in my understanding of The Scripture as I have sat quietly before God with an open Bible (without any footnotes or commentaries) for many hours each day for many years. Their validity is also supported by the results they have produced in my own life in terms of health, happiness, and useful in redemptive service to others (holiness).

 But I don't impose the concepts I teach, don’t insist they are right, and am not intolerant to being proved wrong. However, many counselees have given testimony that God has led them to contact GracePoint - which means the support we provide is support they need.

One of the concepts I talk about is our need to read the Scripture in order to hear God - which is not the same as Bible study. Often I recommend that counselees read John 15:1-8 eight times in one sitting. I follow up with support for them learning how to surrender to the Holy Spirit the responsibility for teaching them what he wants them to understand from that passage. Without fail, their initial understanding (which is typically based upon what they have concluded from their previous Bible study and research) will not at all be the conclusions they come to in time as they learn to read The Scripture in order to hear God speak to them.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J22

Week 42

Walgreens’ Pharmaceutical Support for Health and Happiness

The latest Walgreens’ tv commercial portrays a woman struggling with her blender to make an awful looking green smoothie. The narration says something like, “Before you go to extremes for meeting your health needs, come first to the corner of Health and Happiness at Walgreens.”

When I say Plan B counseling is illustrated by the use of pharmaceutical solutions, this ad by Walgreens is what I mean.

God’s plan (Plan A) for meeting our healing and health needs almost never includes drugs. Rather, it is for us to trust (include in our lives) his provisions in Creation (diet and exercise), Community (connection to leadership in the home and church), and especially Christ (his Blood/Death for us for our justification and his Life in us for our sanctification).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J19

Diet and People Support for Health Greatly Surpassed by God’s Provisions of Christ

I give a value of one to diet and exercise, a value of two to leadership support, and a value of three to our experience of Christ.

But to support a more accurate understanding of their relevance, I add one zero to the value of the support God provides through Creation, two zeroes to the support he provides through Community, and three zeroes to the support God provides through Christ – which means: Our need for diet and exercise has a value of 10, our need for home and church leadership has a value of 200, and our need to experience Christ for health and happiness has a value of 3000.

This is what Paul meant when he wrote, “Those things I first considered to be to my profit, I now consider them greatly surpassed by my experience of Christ... I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead.” – from Philippians 3:7-13

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J18

The Power of Sanctification to Support Purity

If knowing the rules and understanding the expectations were sufficient alone for supporting man to make wise lifestyle choices, no minister or community leaders would ever struggle or fail.

But they do - and in alarming numbers.

And it is because

1) they are broken (sinful) at their core - by reason of their relationship to Adam (their inherited sin nature) and also because

2) of the absence of the presence of God’s life within them to produce in and through them the likeness of Christ.

This means, the best of men are at risk for failure because of an adverse factor that is present in their lives (brokenness), but mostly because of a supportive factor that is missing (the Life of Christ).

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts (mind, emotions, and will); and it is there (in my soul/heart) you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me (my record) with hyssop (the Blood of Christ so that I can go to Heaven), and I (my record) will be clean (This is justification!); wash me (with your Word/Life/Living Water), and I will be whiter than snow (This is sanctification!).” – Psalm 51:5-7

“Sanctify them by the truth; your Word (Logos: Christ the Living Word – John 1:1-4) is truth.” – John 17:17

“You are clean because of the Word/Logos (my Life – John 1:1-4) which I have spoken to (sown into) you.” John 15:3

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J17

Grace: God’s Support During the Darkest Storm

Someone said to me this week that he did not think we should expect to go through life without suffering loss. I told him I agreed but believed also that God has birthed his Life in us so that, as we open our hearts to him each day in our quiet time, our minds and emotions can be supported and sustained – during the darkest times and even when other supports are missing. I think this promise is included in the meaning of Psalm 27:10:
"When my mother and father (or any of God’s resources in the home and church) are not present to support me, the Lord will take me up."
Other supports come and go for different reasons (including death), but God lives forever, and his power, commitment, and faithfulness to support us never change.

 I hate it when sad times come unto our lives. But God has a reason why he allows them to happen. It is not to make us stronger - because they do not. But they do cause us to open our hearts to Christ who does.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J16

Sinning Against God: Understood from The Grace Perspective

No, we do not sin against God in the sense it is usually understood (that it is to offend him or fail him in some way with the result that we risk losing his favor). Rather, we sin against him only in the sense we make choices that disregard/reject his provisions for our lives which support our healing according to his redemptive plan.

This means, we sin against God when we do not include in our diets the essential foods which increase us in health, or when we do not exercise regularly or take care to get sufficient sleep, and especially when we do not take time each morning to sit before him

with an open Bible for Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship.

Again, we sin against God (his redemptive plan), not so much by not going and giving, but by not coming and receiving.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J15

Week 41

NIV Only (or At Least Mostly Maybe)!

I do not believe for a moment that the King James Version has the same status (inerrancy and infallibility) as the original manuscripts of the Bible, but only that it is a translation of the Scripture which God has preserved and protected. In fact, I highly prefer the NIV for its readability. God has called me to it as a resource for my growth in grace, and I trust it.

So the “KJV Only” proponents are wrong on that point.

However, the increasing number of translations has a huge downside. Not only does it call into question the reliability of other translations, which may or may not be a good thing, but it interferes with a great need of teaching for everyone to be looking at and trusting in the same text.

Again, the downside of so many different translations present during the teaching of Scripture is that, for the teacher who gives value to the text and calls his students to it, the focus he seeks to place on each word (to define its meaning) is lost.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12F12   

Addiction to People: A Leading Barricade to Health

We have identified Agony, Anger, Arrogance, Apathy, Anxiety, and Addiction as the leading reasons some people do not respond to the support our counseling provides for experiencing Christ.

Maybe the biggest barrier is Addiction - which is the result of the choices hurting people make to superficially relieve the pain of their unmet needs.

Common addictions are to entertainment and recreation (including video games), activity/behavior (including sexual), and substances (food, alcohol, and drugs).

But the leading addiction may be to people – that is, dependence upon people, not for support for making the choices that increase health, but for meeting their social needs (including for acceptance and recognition).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J11

Considering the Grace Message to Come and Receive

I can critique with the best. It is one of my temperament traits to analyze and comment. And I can be trivial.

For example, during a panel discussion recently, a Fox News contributor began his comments by saying/asking, “Do you want to know what I think, I think…”  I ragged on him immediately. I couldn’t decide if he was arrogant to dare assume anyone would want to know what he thought, or if he was just insecure and needed to know. (It’s hard to get a break from my psychoanalyzing sometimes – not that anyone needs to be alarmed by that!)

Then it occurred to me the reason I blog is not just as a creative outlet or to leave behind documents my great-great grandchildren may have interest/curiosity to read someday, but that it is mostly to provide a supplement to our counselees for the counseling I provide and because I dare to assume they may want to know what I think, because God has identified GracePoint to them as a resource to support them for understanding the grace message (essentially, “to come and receive before going and giving”) and for learning how to experience Christ for the healing of their hearts – especially since there is not much (none, actually, that I can find) support for that even in the conservative, evangelical churches.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J10

God’s Plan for the Vine to Support the Branch

God does not have a need for us (or call us) to express to him our opinion about him – that is, to tell him he is great, or to give him a score on his performance, such as “You did good, God, I’m proud of you!” He does not need for us to encourage him or validate him. That is why God is great - because he does not have an unmet need to be great, or for us to tell him he is.

This means, the more pastors and parents and husbands are increased by their experience of Christ to be like God, the less need they have to be validated by those they serve, or to have any other need met by them.

So while it is understandable that a wife might “mother her husband” a bit to encourage him when he is struggling, it is not God’s order – the same as it is not God’s plan for churches to build up their pastors, or children to build up their parents. Rather, it is the role of pastors, parents, and husbands to build up those they serve the same as the vine supports the branches (John 15:1-8).

It was the leader in Matthew 25:21 who said, “Well done; you are a good and faithful servant (willing vessel serving others).”  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J09

GracePoint Counseling: Christ-Centered Support Following a Teacher-Student Format

We don’t use the term “therapy” or “psychotherapy” to define the counseling GracePoint provides. Sometimes, counseling needs require intense therapy or treatment involving complex methods. We support those methods, but the specific counseling GracePoint offers is different: It supports counselees for learning how to read the Scripture each day in order to hear God in order to experience him through confession of need and quiet-time worship. During the initial interview, counselees are asked relevant questions about their need for counseling and are encouraged to take whatever time necessary to share that information. But in subsequent sessions they can expect our counseling to increasingly become a teacher-student relationship for learning grace concepts that support them for making wise choices which result in renewed health and happiness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J08

Week 40

Personal Growth Sacrificed by the Pursuit of Superficial Goals: Concern for the Mega-Church Movement

Churches can grow attendance using the same marketing strategies used by retail or entertainment businesses – for example, by providing a good product, promoting/hyping the product through media and word of mouth, assuring an enjoyable shopping/buying experience, and taking care of customers. 

The church growth mentors of my early ministries insisted that churches should do “whatever it takes” within the guidelines of Scripture to reach the lost and unchurched. I attended the conferences, read the books, and followed the examples of growing churches with the result that I was able to give leadership to several fast growing ministries.

As it turned out, too much of the growth was superficial – that is, it was defined mostly by numbers. Overlooked (sacrificed, actually) was my personal health. Physical and psychological brokenness was the unintended cost of the “whatever it takes” strategy.

The purest ministry, I now believe, focuses first on investing for health. The result is, as I have learned, that our experience of Christ and the healing he gives makes us competent and effectual for ministry that has enduring outcomes and eternal value.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J05    

GracePoint Counseling: Support for Meeting Specific Goals

The counseling needs some have may not at all be met for them by the support GracePoint provides, particularly at a specific time in their journey according to God’s redemptive plan. So they do well to seek counseling elsewhere which will be more appropriate to support the goals they have - with consideration that, perhaps at a later time, our counseling may be helpful.

This means, I am not willing to insist that everyone in the first century church who “went out from us because they were not of us” (1 John 2:19) were Christians rejecting Truth, but may have included some who were not finding the support most needed for living out their understanding of God’s calling in their lives at that time.

So, while we pray as Jesus did that he “would lose none of those” God had given him (John 6:39), we also recognize God does not call everyone to any one ministry, but that he raises up different ministries to meet the specific needs of certain people who will recognize God’s calling, when they hear it, for where they should connect for support.

“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” – 1 John 10:3-5

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J04

The Surpassing Greatness of Experiencing God

Certain experiences are very enjoyable and highly energizing - for quick examples:

  • Winning the ballgame, especially the championship,
  • Family and friends having success and doing well,
  • Getting a work promotion or increase in income,
  • Receiving gifts, hugs, compliments, and thank you’s, or
  • Eating a good meal.
No experience, however, is as meaningful, deep, energizing, healing, and enduring as experiencing Christ in quiet-time worship. It far surpasses all others. I sometimes say in counseling that, if the need of the human heart could be represented by a 100 mile deep hole, 97 miles of that hole is met by our experience of Christ.

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing (gnōseōs, ‘to experientially know’) Christ Jesus my Lord.” – Philippians 3:8

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J03

Support for Learning How to Experience Christ: God’s Purpose for the Church Meeting

God’s gave the church to support us for making the choices that establish us in health. It was not primarily to meet our social needs.

Neither is it God’s primary purpose for the church meeting to give us an opportunity to worship. Rather, it is to teach us how to worship at home and the need to worship daily – so that we are enabled/made competent and effectual to win the lost to Christ (to teach the lost about God’s provision of Christ’s blood and to support them for receiving him), and then to bring new converts to the church meeting to receive support for learning how to experience God through reading the Scripture, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship.

“…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:20

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J02

Personal Growth Sacrificed by the Pursuit of Superficial Goals: Concern for the Mega-Church Movement

Churches can grow attendance using the same marketing strategies used by retail or entertainment businesses – for example, by providing a good product, promoting/hyping the product through media and word of mouth, assuring an enjoyable shopping/buying experience, and taking care of customers. 

The church growth mentors of my early ministries insisted that churches should do “whatever it takes” within the guidelines of Scripture to reach the lost and unchurched. I attended the conferences, read the books, and followed the examples of growing churches with the result that I was able to give leadership to several fast growing ministries.

As it turned out, most of the growth was superficial – that is, it was defined mostly by numbers. Overlooked (sacrificed, actually) was personal health. Physical and psychological brokenness was the unintended cost of the “whatever it takes” strategy.

The purest ministry, I now believe, focuses first on investing for health. The result is, as I have learned and experienced, that our experience of Christ and the healing he gives makes us competent and effectual for enduring outcomes that have eternal value.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12J01   

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved