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TGP Volume 8
(November/December 2008)

Investment Waiting: God's Way for Our Needs to Be Met

(Excerpts from recent presentation)
Text: "But if we have hope (faith expectations) for God to provide what we do not yet have, we must wait on it (invest for it) patiently." - Romans 8:25

Satan, the world, and our sinful human nature, the Bible warns us, all conspire against our faith to wait on God's provisions to meet our needs.

"That new possession or relationship will make you happy," they insist.

They indeed might, but only for a short time.

Satan is a liar. Also, the world does not care about our health and happiness, not really, but only about itself. And our carnal nature is fickle and impulsive.

But God's provisions are true and faithful. They also fully satisfy. This is the confidence (faith) we who believe have in God.

The Challenge

Waiting, however, is the challenge. That's because waiting is not idleness. Instead, it is work - hard work. (Actually, waiting means to "take time" to invest for a desired outcome. The words wait, abide, and investing are intimately related.)

"But," we ask, "how can waiting be hard work?"

Ask the farmer. He knows the relationship between hard work and waiting, that sowing (investing) and reaping is a long process, different from the no-wait quick fixes offered by Satan and the world's system.

This is the reason we take time each day (through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and worship) to be renewed so that we can walk away from impulsive choices.

Impulsive choices are a deal breaker. Adam and Eve learned that reality when God removed them from the Garden of Eden.

The Investment

God has provided for every essential need we have. He has provided in creation (the soil and atmosphere) every element we need to sustain our physical health. He has also provided for our psychological (mental, emotional, and volitional) health through relationships in the home and church in order to support our inborn need for information (for learning how the world works), for affection, and for decision making. The profile testing we do through our counseling ministry shows that each of us has a unique relevance, capacity, and urgency for how we need people involved in our lives with respect to meeting our psychological needs. Also, God has provided for our eternal need for salvation, which is for deliverance from the penalty and power of sin. He has done this through the Blood of Christ shed on the cross for us and through his Resurrected Life birthed and lived in us.

But, although God has provided for our health and happiness needs, they are not automatic. Instead, it is his plan that they are met only as we take time to connect to the resources which provide them.

This means, our physical health needs are not met unless we take time to eat. Our bodies will not tolerate not eating. We must also take time to exercise in order to increase our heart strength and lung capacity so that the food we eat, the water we drink, and the oxygen we breathe can be delivered in sufficient amounts by the blood to every cell and organ of the body, including the brain. Our bodies can not tolerate inactivity.

And just as we must take time to eat and drink properly and to exercise regularly in order to sustain our physical health, and just as we must take time to connect to supportive relationships in the home and church so that our support needs are met for information, decision making, and affection, so, too, we must take time for reading the Scripture, confession of need, prayer, and worship. In John 15, Jesus called this connection abiding in him.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L31

God's Provision of Himself to Heal Our Hearts

Judgment may motivate changed behavior, but nowhere have we seen that it produces healing. So we do not condemn the weaknesses and failure of others, but rather forgive (withhold punishment).

God allows troubles into our lives, not to punish our failure, but to give us opportunity to understand our weaknesses and need for him, and to turn our hearts to receive his provisions for our health and happiness.

He does not pound on us in order to motivate productive behavior. Rather, he has chosen to birth (invest, sow) in us his Life (his divine nature) so that we might have his
  • love, joy, and peace in our hearts,
  • longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness to enable our relationship to others, also
  • humility (for confession), faith (for trusting his provisions), and self-control (for decision making).
How powerful is God's grace to transform our lives and to enable us! And how careful and appropriate he is not to impose it upon us! Rather, he passionately and faithfully pursues us to the door of our hearts, gently knocks, and waits for a response.

Satan, the enemy of our souls (mind, emotions, and will), prowls about to devour us. Our sinful nature and the world system have collaborated with him to deceive us. But we are alert to his wiles: His provisions appeal to our impulses, excite us, then leave us wounded and dying. That is the reason we are guarded against flashing lights and the rhythmic beat of sounds which call to our fallen carnal nature.

By contrast, God's provisions are faithful, unassuming, and come from the Life he has sown within us.

"He chose to give us new life through the Word of Truth (Christ, the Seed of Life - John 1:1-4), that we might be the firstfruits of who he is in us." - James 1:18 (GracePoint paraphrase / commentary)
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L29

James 1: 2-12: A GracePoint Paraphrase / Commentary

We consider that our times of suffering are disguised opportunities to experience the purest joy because it is during such times that we are most aware of our weaknesses and need to exercise faith (trust God, connect to his provisions for our help). The help he gives increases our enablement (perseverance) to make the choices for our lives that mature and complete us so that we are established in health and happiness (do not lack anything).

If we lack understanding and wisdom concerning these choices, we should ask God who does not judge our worthiness or condemn our fallenness, but instead pours himself generously into our lives. But when we come to him like this for his help, we must believe (open the door of our hearts to receive his provisions as well as timing to give a good outcome). If we doubt (give up or stop waiting and impulsively connect elsewhere for our needs), we will be overwhelmed by our troubles, tossed about in our minds and emotions by the winds of adversity like a wave on the sea.

That is the reason we are not too concerned about the lack of worldly support which others have, because it is God's provision of himself that is our greatest need. Even if we have worldly supports, we don't make too much of them because they will all fade away like the beauty of flowers is scorched by the heat of the sun.

Blessed (established by God in health and happiness) is the man who understands about all this because the promised outcome to those who love God (connect to him for his provisions) is a triumphant Christian life (the crown of life).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L27

A Comment on Compromise: How Our Country Got Hurt

We believe about Jesus that, during his incarnate ministry on earth, he was gentle and kind, that he demonstrated deep care for others, also that he was even-tempered, unassertive, and unpretentious.

He was quite different, we believe, than the impression we had recently of the tv preacher who stomped back and forth across his platform, asserting himself like a wounded bull, fearful, weak, and angry.

We believe, also, that he was quite different than the pious looking fellow on the same tv channel, an angel of light, speaking softly to win favor for his compromised message.

We warn about compromise, that it is Evil who calls Truth to conciliation so that we can all "just get along." We note that it is always the hostile enemy who calls for a "cease fire" (because they are losing and so they can rearm).

We warn also that it will be those in Congress who are fearful and up to no good who call conservatives to nonpartisanship.

In the Bible, Jesus was spoken of as a rock. We believe we can learn from this that, like a rock, Jesus was strong and solid, and although he may have presented himself quietly and was perhaps small, he did not compromise Truth.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L24

Worn out Wrongly Focused at Christmas

I hated to hear my new friend say that he was ready for Christmas to be over. I worried that it meant he was a user instead of an investor.

You see, the user in us always tires of the people, possession, and occasions we use to serve our own carnal expectations. That's the reason the home, or car, or holiday no longer does for us like we had hoped. It's the reason husbands grow tired of the marriage they do not invest in. Or why parents grow tired of parenting children they brought into the world, not because they had an understanding and enabled heart to invest, but because they wanted to be loved and served. It is also the reason ministers grow tired of ministry that, for them, has been a self-serving vocation instead of an investment in the lives of others.

That's just the way it is. Getting and using disappoints, stresses, and, in time, wears us out.

However, what we own or do that has been made possible by God's investment of his Life into our lives in order to enable us for investing in the lives of others never gets old, but is forever fresh and enjoyable.

So now we can better understand the meaning of Acts 20:35: "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L27

Provided For, No Matter What Else is Going On

There is a way we can live which will result in our health and happiness. God has provided for it and his faithfulness cannot fail.

But the sooner or later outcome of making choices for meeting our needs with disregard to God's provisions (we call these choices Plan B) is brokenness (physically, mentally, and emotionally, but including also financially).

There are no substitutes for God's provisions. Bailouts and stimulus packages are Plan B measures and will only help temporarily, if at all. That's because, for whatever benefit for relief Plan B provides, it does not really address the problem, but only the pain.

From our understanding of grace concepts, we know that pain is not really the problem, but only the result of the problem. The problem is our separation from God and unmet need for his provisions. When we include them in our lives, beginning with an intimate relationship with Christ, we are established in health and happiness, no matter what else in going on around us.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L22

Living Under the Weight of a Fallen World: God's Provisions to Increase Perseverance in Times of Trouble

We know that the outcome (or training effect) of adding weights and resistance to our exercise workout is increased muscle. It is a law of physics.

But it is not weights really that build muscle. They, in fact, tear down muscle. Rather it is the presence of nutritional elements in our diets, aided by increased blood flow during exercise, that restores torn muscle fibers to a strength and endurance greater than before.

That's why James (1:2-7) says our experience of suffering is a good thing, that the outcome of suffering under the weight of a fallen world or against the resistance of adverse circumstance is increased strength and endurance.

But it is not trouble, really, that produces the benefit; rather it is our increased exercise of faith (to connect more earnestly to God's provisions during times of increased trouble) that, at the completion of the process, results in strength and endurance greater than before.

So if anyone lacks this strength during times of trouble (including for wisdom and understanding for decision making), James encourages him to ask (pray to) God. But it is the prayer of faith (prayer that includes faith to connect to God's provision for the answer) that James is speaking of.

To paraphrase James, "But when he asks, he must believe (connect to God's provisions) and not doubt (not make other choices), because the outcome of doubting is impulsiveness and instability."
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L19

"Remember, Don, all things work together for good!"

Well, no, actually all things do not work together for our good. For example, drug poisoning does not work together for good with anything. Nor does driving on the wrong side of the road. Rather, God is, in fact, working all things together which he has provided for our good to accomplish his eternal purpose - which is our justification, sanctification, and glorification.

God's provisions are faithful, meaning they accomplish every time exactly what he created them to accomplish. The Blood of Christ for you will never fail. The Life of Christ in you will never fail. Water to get you wet and satisfy your thirst will never fail. There is only one outcome for including God's provisions in your life: It is increased health and happiness.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (connect to receive his provisions) ..." - Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Don, no food is to be rejected but rather received with thanksgiving and with prayer for God to make it nourishing to our bodies.

Indeed food is God's provision for our health, but not everything is food. For example, tobacco is not food. Nor is pork, although we tolerate it in our diets. So non foods are not "sanctified by prayer and thanksgiving" to be more than what they are.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L18

Choosing to Survive: When Sometimes a Wife Rejects Her Freedom

We husbands, by human nature, don't care at all for the concepts of investment (grace) leadership. If we can find a wife who will tolerate our self-serving, why should we invest? Only the Life of Christ birthed in us by the Holy Spirit can transform us to invest in the health and happiness needs of our wives instead of to use them.

Wives, on the other hand, usually welcome with tears the grace message of God's plan to support her health and happiness needs through the investment leadership of her husband.

But not always.

Sometimes, the hurting wife has her convenient motivation to reject this particular grace provision. At the outset, she did not serve herself well in marriage when she gave up the ownership of her own growth and well-being to the care of her husband, not because he had proved himself to be an investor, but because of tradition and religious rules. She now considers

• the passing years and whether she has denied her own health and happiness in order to please her husband, also

• whether, by her tolerance of his neglect, she has unwittingly taught him how to treat her, which has been with increasing disrespect (predictably as non-investors do).

She also reckons

• if it is, indeed, her husband's role to invest in her health and happiness needs, and not her role primarily to be his support person, that she puts her security at risk, maybe even her safety, if she dares to make a fuss or serve notice on him midstream (so to speak) that she no longer intends to be used by him or to live without her own support needs met.

So she chooses to survive rather than to thrive – reducing herself to a subservient role in the marriage.

But wives are free persons, made so especially by grace.

"But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:25-29 (See also 4:1-7)

"Having been released from what once bound us, we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." - Romans 7:6 (See also 7:1-6)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L16

God's Purpose for the Home: Dying to Save a Marriage

God did not create people to provide for the heavens and the earth, but the heavens and the earth to provide for people. This means we do not serve the elements in the soil and atmosphere; instead, they serve us. Or the sun and moon and celestial bodies; instead, they serve us. Or the apple and carrot, or water; instead, they serve us.

Also, God gave Christ to serve us. He did not create us to serve Christ. Jesus said about his incarnate ministry on earth, "I did not come to be served, but to serve" (Mark 10:45). And he continues to serve, by his presence in Heaven as our Advocate before the Father (Romans 8:34), and by the presence of his Spirit in our hearts to renew us daily in his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God has also given the Holy Spirit and his Word, including the Law (all of which are health laws), to serve us, not for us to serve them. For example, Jesus said that God gave the Sabbath to support the health of people, not for people to support the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). (Note: The first day of the week, Sunday, is the Christian Sabbath.)

Also, God did not create people for the home, but the home for people. Or children for the parents, but parents for the children. Or the wife for the husband, but the husband for the wife. (This is not to comment strictly and specifically on the normal human needs of people, but on the redemptive roles of parents and the husband as investment leadership resources in the home.) And he did not create people to serve the church (its pastors, elders, and deacons), but he created the church to serve its members.

This means God did not create people to serve marriage, but marriage to serve people. Grace counseling is deeply rooted in the concept that while God instituted the home as a resource for meeting needs, and cares for marriage, he does not care more for the institution than the lives he purposed for it to serve. And while God established and cares for the institution of the church, he does not care more for the institution than he does for the lives it serves.

When the resources for the provisions fail, grace counseling does not support the sacrifice of our health and happiness to perpetuate them. We understand God's purpose for the home and church, but we do not, for the sake of tradition or religious rules, guide and support wives or church members to assume responsibility for the recovered health of dysfunctional resources or to remain in dead-end relationships, especially at the risk of their health, in order to prove loyalty to God, to make him smile, or to meet the expectations of religious legalists.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8L10

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