GO TO  First Quarter  Second Quarter  Third Quarter  Fourth Quarter

TGP Volume 13
(January/February/March 2013)

Week 13 

Married to a Needy Man: Why Women are Broken (Part Two)

And then there is the husband who does not at all intimidate his wife to manipulate or control her, but is mostly mild-mannered. His wife’s disappointment with him is not that he assumes a power position over her, but that he is passive in the relationship (beginning with making good choices for his own health).  Whatever her health and happiness needs are, they do not really seem to matter to him, or even occur to him. If there is a problem, he expects her to fix it (including to make the call to the counselor).

Sometimes, that is because of disabilities - physical or psychological. But mostly, it is because men, by default disposition, are users, so are consumed with expectations for others, especially their wives, to support their happiness needs - that is, until Christ transforms his life to care about her in the way Christ cares about his Bride, the Church.

When wives accommodate/tolerate a husband who uses, she is usually the loser in the relationship. Not only will she eventually begin to suffer his ever-increasing disrespect for her, but, in time, her health will break.

I have often written on this subject in our literature and am willing to always provide clarification for it in our counseling. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C29

The Need to Please (Intimidated by an Authoritarian Husband/Controlled by a Religious Nut): Why Women are Broken (Part One)

After 48 years in ministry providing thousands of counselee sessions, nothing is more certain to me than this:

A wife is subject to suffering deep brokenness and unhappiness who

  • does not
    • understand how Christ relates to his Bride, the Church (according to New Covenant/Testament) grace - John 15:1-8; Ephesians 5:22-33) and
    • expect the same support from her husband,
  • is more committed to/interested in being a good wife/making her husband happy than to her personal health, and
  • is married to a man who denies he is a user, assumes a power position over her, intimidates her, and has expectations (usually based on religious traditions and rules) for her to meet/support his happiness needs.
“A woman is the glory of man (a wife’s health and happiness reflects her husband’s care).” – 1 Corinthians 11:7

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C28

GracePoint: Providing Emergency Support Thru a Limited Schedule

We try to provide information on the website and in our initial interviews which fully discloses the goals of our marriage counseling - that it is to provide support to counselees for making choices that result in their personal healing. This means, while the marriage is the long-range goal, the personal healing of the husband and wife is the initial goal. That’s because, we have found it is impossible for two people who are not healthy to have a healthy marriage.

So GracePoint has a narrow message.

Also, because GracePoint receives more calls than we have staff and space to provide sessions for, we screen heavily so that it seems we provide counseling through a narrow gate.

For example, we give priority to marriage counseling - especially when the husband makes the call. (That’s because, although the husband may not be fully the problem in the marriage, whatever the solution is, we believe it begins with him.)

Also, prospective counselees may find the times available are very limited which means we are not always able, as we would like, to schedule appointments around prospective counselees’ schedules, including for school or work.

This means, prospective counselees may need to take sick leave from work or cancel other appointments the same as they would for other emergency or priority needs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C27

Healing: The Test for Theology

Sometimes, those who are the most impulsive or enthusiastic to embrace information or make decisions do not endure. Also, certain temperament types have very high intellectual energies and expectations so that information must meet a very high standard in their understanding before they accept it.

It must also make scientific sense. Faith does not mean we must accept information that cannot be scientifically explained even though we may not fully understand it. The “incomparably great power which he exerted to raise Christ from the dead” (also to create the world) can be scientifically appreciated - the same as the power of water.

I recall that my reaction/response to some of the grace concepts I heard for the first time was

  • rejection (“No way!”),
  • surprise,
  • rejoicing,
  • hope.
But I was the perfect candidate for a different message because my old understanding (especially how God relates to us) had not served me well. So while I may not have known what Truth was, I was real sure I knew what it was not. Truth heals. There is something wrong with a theology that leaves us in bondage to our brokenness and in pain. If we are not experiencing recovery, we have reason to wonder if what we believe is Truth.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C26

Bondage to Electronic Entertainment, a Barrier to Hearing God

Hearing God communicate Truth to us through The Scripture requires us to stop, open the door of our hearts (essentially our minds), and wait. Whatever good may be said about video entertainment, there is a downside: The explosion of sounds and flashing lights to get our attention and to motivate responses has overstimulated our brains - with the result that many have lost their ability to sit quietly without going to sleep and also to focus in order to hear God communicate Truth to their minds through the Scripture.

For this reason, we support counselees to shut down their connection to entertainment devices for an extended period of time so that they can regain the ability to sit quietly and wait in order to hear God communicate Truth to them through reading the Scripture.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C25

Week 12

God Working IN, FOR, and THROUGH Us: The True Foundation of a Good Marriage

I frequently research to find resources that would provide another level of support to couples for the challenges they are experiencing in their marriage. I appreciate much that I find, but am also disappointed. For example, the following information is from a leading, heavily promoted, marriage support website which has over a million subscribers (GracePoint has less than a hundred) and is typical of the best I have found.

“The ultimate answer to every problem is the same—love. LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR MARRIAGE, and all marital problems stem from a lack of it. Got a problem? You don't need a solution. You need more love. LOVE IS YOUR SOLUTION!”

(I am assuming the author is referring to God’s love [agape] which is unconditional. Human love [phileo] is conditional and would certainly not be the foundation of a marriage. Or he may not appreciate the difference.)

Our course, I was delighted and hopeful at first, but as I read through the very long article, not once did the author explain how love happens, as if it is a choice (a very popular notion) or a power we have but don’t use because we are lazy, don’t recognize the need, or just forget, so that, essentially, the support needed is a rebuke or a reminder to just do it.

But agape love is not the result of a choice or a behavior or an ability we can cultivate by working on ourselves, no more than jumping to touch a 15-foot ceiling. Rather, it is a power God has which he births and renews in us as we take time each day for reading the Scripture, confession of need, and quiet-time worship.

So my search continues to find resources which understand that good marriages are not really the result of something we do, but of what we give God opportunity to do in, for, and through us.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C22

Bondage to Sights and Sounds: A Leading Barricade to Interest in God

It helps when taking inventory of ourselves to note what our values are. (Appestat is a word we sometimes use to identify our values - the status of our interest in/appreciation for a value.) For example, what value do we give to our health and to the choices we can make which support it? Also, what value do we give to reading The Scripture, to experiencing God, to our resources (leadership in the home and church), or to the needs of those we are called to serve? (I call these redemptive values.) If, when making honest confession, we must conclude that the value we give to entertainment, recreation, or relationships (for quick examples) is higher, we may have some explanation for the tension, brokenness, and unhappiness in our lives.

From whence come redemptive values? Well, we are certainly not born with them. Rather, they are cultivated – to some measure by human influences, but mostly by our experience of God. He is the one who “enlightens the eyes of our hearts” so that we may appreciate/value his provisions and the resources through which they flow into our lives (Ephesians 1:18-20).

A barrier to that interest is, of course, our fallen human nature. It is “hostile” to God (Romans 8:7) and to his provisions. That barrier is reinforced by our addictions (which are the result of the unwise choices we make to deal with the pain of our unmet needs, especially for God).

Addictions may be the leading barrier to the support I offer in counseling. (Anger, arrogance, anxiety, and apathy are other barriers.) Whatever interest broken hearts may have for recovery, it is severely opposed and often trumped by their addictions. The ability of their minds to understand and respond to the concepts we teach is dulled and weak. Sometimes we cannot help in the way we would like until they detoxify.

On this subject also, addiction to sights and sounds barricade our minds to hearing and responding to the quiet voice of Truth communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. This is why counselees who have been overstimulated by the sights and sounds (and smoke) of the contemporary church “praise and worship” experience have a difficult time listening to a quiet presentation of grace concepts.   

God calls even the most addicted to experience him. His Life in us has power to cleanse us with the washing of (the Living) water (Ephesians 5:26).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C21

The Solution to Every Problem You Have: Where It Begins

The first goal for my counseling to others is not for them to begin a DELS program (diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation), although they will need to do that if they want to increase their health and live longer. Rather it is for them to learn how to read The Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ.

That’s because: The solution to every problem we have begins with experiencing Christ. His Life in us enables the follow up choices that establish us in health – physically, psychologically, relationally, financially, and even legally and vocationally.

This support we offer in our counseling is a hard sell sometimes. We humans tend to pursue pain relief but run from the choices that result in our healing. The long-term relief we seek, however, is on the other side of health.

“The goal of my support for you is that you are rooted and established in his love (by your experience of him and his provisions).” – paraphrased from Ephesians 3:14-21

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C20

God’s Mercy Accommodating the Measure of Our Brokenness

God’s laws are fixed and unforgiving. If a right turn gets you to the destination, a left turn will not support the same outcome. It is in this way that life and death are in our hands.

But wait a minute. God, because of his mercy, is very accommodating to our brokenness.

For example, during Israel’s wilderness journey, “He pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries.” – Psalm 106:44

For this reason, although God’s plan for our health

  • does not/will never change, and
  • to whatever measure we comply to it, establishes us in holistic health,
he has also allowed for man’s natural genius to discover/devise ways to blunt/relieve some of the pain so that we do not suffer fully the “sowing and reaping” outcome of our poor diet and exercise choices. This helps to understand why, although he created our bodies to respond to natural solutions which heal, he allows for pharmaceutical solutions which relieve pain and sometimes preserve life in emergencies.

So while God’s best is experienced by those who embrace his plan, he seems to be tender to those who in their brokenness do not comply (especially because they have been failed by dysfunctional resources), so that they are spared the worst of outcomes without mercy, at least in the immediate.

This concept guides the support I give to leaders (especially husbands and parents), that although God’s plan which produces good outcomes never changes, his Life in us will enable us to pity the brokenness of those we serve.

Also, in a reverse sort of way, it guides the support I give especially to wives, that although it is not their role to support their husbands (because they are not the vine, but the branch), it is appropriate for them to provide temporary, emergency, marriage-saving support to their husbands which accommodates the measure of their husband’s brokenness, but does not abandon their expectation for their husbands to increase in their experience of Christ who does not need the support of his Bride, the Church.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C19  

The Power of Schedule to Reduce Stress

Schedule (for quiet time, meals, exercise, office hours, and ministry) shuts the door to the powers (including addictions, apathy, depression, and discouragement, but also Satan and the world) that oppose us for the choices God calls us to make.

Schedule supports our psychological and physical health in the way a budget supports our financial health. That’s why, if change causes our schedule to break down, we struggle – some of us more than others. One researcher has said our brains give us only about two seconds when we wake up in the morning to engage our schedule. We are energized when we comply, but if we delay,

  • potential bio-momentum energy is lost,  
  • our responsibilities seem weightier,
  • the performance of our duties becomes more difficult,
  • the amount of psychological energy they consume increases, with the result
  • we fatigue quicker, physically and psychologically.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C18

Week 11

Identifying the Support We Need for Making Hard Choices: It’s More Than Information

Hearing the information that you need to read the Scripture every day may help to introduce the need, but it alone will not provide the support necessary for doing it – no more than hearing the information that you need to eat food, drink water, and exercise.

Knowledge, of course, is powerful. God said, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” But we would live in a different world and our health would enjoy a better state if having information alone was sufficient to support us for making the hard choices that result in the experience of health we want. That’s because we don’t do what we know to do. Rather we do what we are supported to do and are enabled to do. That’s the reason providing information to your children, if that is all you do, will not result in the response from them you want.

The following E words help identify the support we (and those we minister to) need for making the hard choices daily which result in good outcomes:

Education (Information Support)
  • Identifying goals/mission
  • Identifying wise choices
Explanation (Clarification)
  • Teaching/Training/Reviewing to assure learning
Example (Visual Support)
  • I do the work, you watch.
  • I do the work, you help.
  • You do the work, I help.
  • You do the work, I watch.
Encouragement (Emotional Support)
  • Identifying need to make wise choices (Please drink water!)
  • Recognizing success to make wise choices (You did good!), rather than identifying failure to make them (You don’t drink water!)
  • Reviewing goals/mission
  • Inspecting work
  • Reviewing training receptiveness, aptitude, understanding and commitment to mission
Enforcement (Decision-Making Support/Accountability)
  • Discipline to give opportunity for experiencing (rather than circumventing) the “cause and effect” outcome of non-compliance/wrong choices (not the same as "forced" and not punishment to pound on failed behavior)
I have often written on this subject in our literature and am willing to always provide clarification for it in our counseling. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C15 

Love for God, Self, and Others: The Leading Evidence of Being Filled with Christ

God calls us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This is the same as to be “filled to the measure of the fullness of God” and “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 3:19; 4:13). It is not mystical but a spiritual/organic experience, as real as the bio/organic experience of being filled with the water we drink, air we breathe, or food we eat.

The leading evidences of our being filled with the Holy Spirit are our ever-increasing

  • love/value/appetite for the Scripture; also that it instantly comes alive to communicate Truth to us when we read it;
  • awe of God and his provisions, foremostly Christ (his Blood and his Life);
  • passion for personal health; and
  • love/value for the redemptive needs of others, beginning with our families.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C14

GracePoint: Counseling Called to by Confidence in Scripture-Based Support

The support GracePoint provides is for learning how to

  • read the Scripture in order
  • to hear God in order
  • to experience Christ in order
  • to manifest him to others
which is a little different (a more intense, deeper) focus than some counseling, a lot different than most.

Also, our counseling is based in the concept that none of us has ability to follow through on the information/guidance we receive, that taking time each day without fail to be renewed by the flow of Christ’s Life into our hearts is our only hope to do so.

We could put a different face on our ministry to reflect a lighter image. But our commitment is to make a full disclosure of our values and goals for counseling so that hurting people seeking Scripture-based support for healing will not be too surprised by the experience.

Also, we trust that God calls certain ones to us – which means we do not need to merchandise our services to make an appeal to superficial needs and expectations.

SEE Ministry Values

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C13

At Calvary: When the Multitude Missed Seeing God’s Most Significant Ministry

Other than those who crucified Christ, only his mother and John were with him at Calvary when he died. What an experience that would have been to be present at the scene when God acted to save the world! It was of greater magnitude than when he created the heavens and the earth. A lost person standing there could have looked upon Christ at that moment to trust in what God was doing for the lost and, as a result, been born again. Perhaps “the centurion and those who were guarding Jesus” did just that (Matthew 27:54).

Many had the opportunity. But the multitudes who followed after Jesus during his ministry on earth did so mostly in order to find some relief from their circumstances – either physically, materially, or circumstantially (for example, from Roman rule). It was not mostly because they sought to experience God.

But this has always been true about grace ministry to provide support for experiencing Christ. It does not have nearly the appeal to man’s carnal nature as religion, or social-based church programs, or even pain-relief counseling.

That is the reason a large crowd may not at all indicate the work God is doing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C12     

Pretending God’s Presence: A Superficial Support for Growing in Grace

One of the best known pastors explained to his large audience recently that in the morning before getting out of bed he visualizes putting on the armor of God (from Ephesians 6).

Calculating realities to be true has been a central part of his teaching through the years (unless I missed something). For example, he suggests that, since Christ promised to fill us with his presence, we can assume it to be true - that not calculating it to be true would be the only reason we would miss having the experience.

The concept truly grieves me, mostly because it is shallow, the same as positive thinking or pretending, and does nothing substantially to support our growth in grace. It is the same as suggesting we can be hydrated just by calculating it to be true, or by visualizing drinking water!

But if our experience of health is the result of the “sowing and reaping” (cause and effect) choices we make to include in our lives God’s provisions which support it, if it is organic and not mystical, then we can understand how we can put on the armor of God – that it is to open the door of our hearts (the mind, emotions, and will) during our quiet time to receive Christ’s Life by the Holy Spirit which flows into us from his residence within our spirit.

(GracePoint provides support for understanding grace concepts such as this in our counseling.) 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C11

Week 10

Connecting to Grace Resources: God’s Plan for Receiving His Provisions

The hard working young man insisted that God gets involved in our lives to meet our needs only after we have done all we can for ourselves. “He helps those who help themselves,” he said.

But the grace message is: God helps those who take time/are responsible each day to connect to the resources through which his provisions for meeting our needs flow into our lives.

God ordained the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect, investment and return) to govern outcomes. That’s why (for easy examples) farmers can expect the harvest they sow for, athletes can expect the results they prepare for, and students can expect the education they study for.

“Whatever a man sows (invests in himself or others), that will he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C08

Quiet Time: Giving God Opportunity to Do What He Does

Taking a shower is not really something we do… well, no, that is not what I mean to say. Taking a shower is definitely something we do, but only in the sense we give opportunity for water and soap to do what they do - without which the reason we take a shower would not be possible. This means, when we get into the water, we can have strong confidence of a good outcome - because of our action, of course, but mostly because of what we know about water and soap, that they will do what they do.

The dynamics of quiet time are the same. Quiet time is not really something we do, but our opportunity to experience something God does for us. Our participation is to

  • go to a specific place (the same as we do for a shower),
  • for a specific purpose (to hear and experience God),
  • open our Bibles in order to read the Scripture (the same as we would turn on the water), and
  • trust that God will be faithful to do what he does, which is to
“…make us holy, cleansing us by the washing with water (the Living Water) through the Word (Rhema, communication to us by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture in our quiet time calling us to receive him).” – Ephesians 5:26

“You are cleansed through the Word (Logos, the Life Seed, Who Christ is) which I have spoken unto (sown into) you.” – John 15:3

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C07

Grieving the “Champion in You” Message Promoted by the Mega-Church Pastor

The popular mega-church promo “Discover the Champion in You,” if it is suggesting (as the church’s literature indicates) that we have an inborn potential for greatness, it is a grievous disservice to the Christian community! To whatever standing our inborn human strengths elevate us, it will only be a superficial, fleeting experience which the world apart from Christ recognizes and appreciates, but not that which has eternal (redemptive) value.

The clear message of the Bible is that man is wretched at his core (Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18) and our only hope for recovery to health and happiness and usefulness in redemptive service to others is Christ - his Death/Blood for us and his Resurrected Life in us.

The only champion in us is him. “Without me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

This is included in the meaning of Jesus’ words,

“But many who are first (supported by human effort) will be last (in terms of service to others which has redemptive value), and many who are last (according to secular standards) will be first.” – Matthew 19:30

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C06

Organic Support for Living the Christian Life: Understanding Our Spiritual Union with Christ

This union of man and woman is used in Scripture to illustrate our relationship to Christ as his Bride. But there is a difference. The union of a man and woman is legal and positional, not organic. But when God immerses us into spiritual union with Christ (we who trusts in the Blood of Christ as the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against mankind because of Adam’s disobedience), it is not only legal and positional, but also organic. It is as organic as being immersed in water. (The Bible does not say a woman in immersed organically into her husband. That is the reason water baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, but not of the marriage of a man and wife.)

This organic union we have with Christ unfortunately is underappreciated even in the evangelical church. As a result, our relationship to Christ is understood only in the sense relationships are experienced in an organization. But the dynamics of leadership and relationships in an organization are different than the dynamics of leadership and relationship in an organism: Life in the one is supported superficially, even with all the learned leadership skills employed, but life in the other is supported organically, by virtue of Christ’s Life imparted to us, in the same way water supports human life (only infinitely more powerfully).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C05

Pressure by Expectations: A Failing Strategy to Motivate Performance

One of the strongest traits of the melancholy temperament is to

  • identify standards for behavior,
  • have a high expectation for compliance,
  • analyze and inspect, and
  • condemn failure.
A religious melancholy is hard to live with. If he is a church or program leader, he may allow little room for error.

God transforms the melancholy minister so that his focus is not mostly on the behavior of those he serves, to condemn it, but on the brokenness that causes it, to provide ministry that supports their healing. That’s because, broken behavior (procrastination, tardiness, for example) becomes less a problem for broken people as they are increased in health (manifesting in desire for God’s provisions and in commitment to connect to the resources through which the support flows).

Consider also that, while identifying standards for behavior is necessary (scheduling days and times, for example), if that is all the minister does, the opportunity for him to observe/monitor the growth of those he serves is missed, but also, it only superficially motivates them to comply/perform to the standard (never mind they have no enablement for it) which always results in burnout and continued brokenness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C04 

Week 9

Experiencing Christ to Purely Motivate Our Ministry to Others

I wished the need for resources did not exist. Because that would mean every member of every home and church was in health. But this is true about me only as Christ makes it possible. Otherwise, my carnal heart would miss people needing me, which means I am subject to impure motivations for the ministry I provide – that it is to be a hero more than to be a help.

Again, the heart of Christ purifies me to change all that. Christ did not come to earth because he had an unmet need to feel useful, but because of man’s brokenness and need for redemption.

We live in a broken world filled with broken people, but God has provided resources to support us for making choices that lead to our healing and recovery. I welcome the opportunity to serve as a resource. I also rejoice that God transforms my motivations, by his Life in me, so that my desire for hurting people to be healthy is greater than my desire to be needed.

SEE Ministry Values

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C01

Superficial Supports to Relieve Pain Miss Healing Found in Christ

I grieve deeply the suffering of hurting people. I grieve also the superficial choices hurting people make to ease their pain which bring no long-term relief but, instead, because they disregard God’s plan for their healing, extend and exacerbate the pain.

Social networking is not the answer. Family and friends who connect over the internet drift further apart.

Pet ownership is not the answer. Pets are animals, not people, so are not members of the family. They have brains, but not minds, so they can not reason, understand or articulate words or concepts. They have instinct, and are fear-driven to please.

Religion is not the answer. Guilt and fear driven performance to win God’s favor results in burnout and disillusionment.

Church programs are not the answer. Social service to others to superficially relieve the pain of their impulsive choices may feel good momentarily but leave unmet the support that results in healing.

Worldly entertainment is not the answer. It feeds the carnal appetite and changes our values.

Only our experience of God to birth his Life in us has power to meet the deepest needs of our lives for our healing.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for (bios and psuche) life and godliness (holiness) through our knowledge (experience) of him who has (effectually) called (sanctified) us by his glory and grace (the provision of who he is).” – 2 Peter 1:3

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B28

The Holy Spirit: Our Only Hope for Hearing Truth and Helping Others

God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us so that our understanding about him would not be limited to the books we read or sermons we hear, and also to enable us so that our lives and service to others would not be limited to human energies, but be redemptive and have eternal value.

Jesus said,

“Without me, you can do nothing (of eternal value).” – John 15:5

“When he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all Truth.” – John 16:13 (See also John 14:25; 16:13; 1 John 2:27; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.)

Paul wrote,

“He has made us competent as ministers.” – 2 Corinthians 3:6

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B27

Familiar with All Your Ways, God Knowing About You, Fully and In Advance

Someone close to us, especially a parent, sibling, or spouse, may instinctively have a sense about where we are (“I thought you would be here!”) or where we are going, or what we will do next, even what we are going to say next and when we will say it (“I knew you were going to say that!”).

God, the Bible says, knows fully and at all times when you sit and when you stand, when you work and when you rest.

 “You are familiar with all my ways.” – Psalm 139:3

And he knows completely your thoughts and the discourse of your conversations even before you have them.

“Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord (Jehovah).” - Psalm 139:1-4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B26

Grieving Because of the Brokenness, Giving Self to God for Support in Service to Others: The Heart of a Counselor

Jesus sat on a hillside overlooking the city of Jerusalem and wept with deep groanings because those he came to serve chose not to come to him that “they may have life.”

I am certain I experience in some measure that grief in my heart (so much as the heart of Christ is being manifested in me to make it possible). While I rejoice in my quiet time because of my understanding of God’s goodness (grace), I also deeply grieve because of the brokenness of others, that they

  • reject God’s provisions for their healing, and
  • make choices because of their brokenness that do not support healing but only superficially relieve the pain, and worse, result in addictions, further compounding their brokenness and pain. 
Pastoral counselors can make ourselves available, but we cannot rescue hurting people from themselves. Mostly, we can give ourselves to God to be filled with “who he is” so that we are made competent as vessels through whom he can do his work.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B25

Week 8

Clearly Identifying God’s Call for Our Counseling

We have far more calls for counseling than GracePoint can provide. I discovered that attempting to provide support to counselees for ten hours a day left me exhausted so that sometimes I was not as useful to some who came, especially at the end of the day.

The solution has not been to remove our name from the directories in order to reduce the number of calls, but to disclose more fully the goals of our counseling to each person who calls or finds us on the web.

For this reason, beginning with the initial interview and in the information provided at our website, I take extra care to define the mission God has called us to - that it is to provide support to hurting people for learning how to hear and experience God through Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B22

Increasingly Cultivated by Our Experience of Christ

I was born and grew up in southwest Virginia and attended excellent schools. Also, my mother cared about good grammar and constantly guided my correct use of it. Still, I have needed to continually learn and am always attempting to improve.

My interest in grammar increased considerably when I began learning how to experience Christ - which I did during the summer before my senior year of high school. My friends noticed (I did, too) that I was beginning to speak differently.

I discovered also that, as I increased in my experience of Christ, my values changed so that, what mattered to him began to increasingly matter to me – including how I looked and conducted myself.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B21

God’s Sovereignty to Deliver Us from Evil, Making Certain Our Safety and Eternal Salvation

God is in control in the sense he has the power to ordain/decree laws that govern how he relates to us (spiritual laws, we may call them) and also laws of nature to govern his creation.

Some laws are fixed by his nature so that he does not alter them. That is the reason our going to Heaven is a certainty.

But we have good evidence Scripturally and also in our experience of him that he sometimes does intervene to alter the laws of nature - for example, the weather and the behavior of animals. He also intervenes to protect us from the evil one, Satan, who, without God’s intervention to limit the powers of the demonic world, would destroy us.

For this reason, I can trust that, when I am where God has placed me (either connected to redemptive resources which support my health or in redemptive service to others), he will intervene when evil enters a spiritual or natural force (including cyberspace) to harm me or his redemptive purpose. It is in this way God is sovereign. Read again Psalm 91.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B20

The GracePoint Experience: Exciting as Carrot Juice

GracePoint provides information online that identifies who we are, how to contact us, and where we are located. Beyond that, we do nothing to generate response or increase size in the way traditional businesses do. That’s because, we are not a business, but a ministry. The goal of business is to increase income; the goal of ministry is to support hurting people for making choices that result in healing.

So ministries may be small as men consider it – even very small.

GracePoint is very small. The readership of The Grace Perspective is small. Our renewal church is the world’s smallest. We could meet in a broom closet! That’s because, the GracePoint experience is like drinking carrot juice: It is very healing, but does not meet addiction needs for a church experience to feel good. (We can go to a ballgame or party for that!) This means, the potential for GracePoint to be a large ministry is about the same as carrot juice becoming a favorite drink.

In my early ministry, when I did not understand the grace message as I do today, and also deeply broken, I was preoccupied with church growth, the same as a sports team is consumed with winning. Today, however, in health, I don’t think about organizational growth, but trust God is using little GracePoint according to his redemptive plan to support hurting people for “learning how to hear and experience God,” and that he gives outcomes according to 1 Corinthians 3:7:

“We sow and water; It is God who makes things grow.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B19

Filled With God: The Essential Support for Our Service to Others

Hours before Jesus gave himself up at Calvary in redemptive ministry to mankind, he prayed, “Father, the time is now come, fill me with yourself so that I can manifest you to others” (John 17:1-2).

Those aren’t the exact words in the Scripture text (“Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”), but that is my understanding of what they mean based upon the word “glorify” – that it’s meaning involves light reflected from a resource in the way a mirror reflects an image.

With consideration that Jesus is praying in behalf of those he came into the world to serve, his prayer models the prayer every parent, husband, and pastor can and should pray in behalf of those they are called to serve.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B18

Week 7

Receiving from Our Resources: God’s Plan for Our Redemption (Health and Happiness)

God’s love (agape) for us is expressed by giving; our love for him is expressed by receiving. In order for us to experience God’s purpose for our relationship to him (health and happiness), he must be faithful and competent to give and we must be willing to receive.

God’s love in a husband for his wife is expressed by giving; God’s love in a wife for her husband is expressed by receiving. The same is true about God’s love expressed in parents and children. In order for families to experience God’s plan for the home, husbands and parents must be faithful and competent to give and wives and children must be willing to receive.

This is true also of the church. God’s love in the pastor for the church is expressed by giving; his love in the church for the pastor is expressed by receiving. In order for the Body of Christ to experience God’s plan for the church, the pastor must be faithful and competent to give and the church must be willing to receive.

Codependent relationships (two parties using each other to meet superficial pain relief needs) do not support health and happiness in our relationship to Christ or in the home and church.

For example, our attempting to give to God in order to win his favor shuts the door to the work of grace God wants to do in our lives. So does a wife who performs (“jumps around”) to stay out of trouble with her husband or to win his favor. So does the church member who gives to the church in order to have good standing with God.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B15

Trusting God to Value Proof My Marriage

I want my wife to have a safe home furnished suitably for living and working, a safe car, and a fit husband. I can’t promise how impressive these will be, but I want them to be functional to support her health and happiness.

For example, I may not be able to give her a “hot looking” husband or even a good looking husband, but I can give her a healthy one (to include holiness and integrity) so that she can have confidence she has a resource in her life to whom her health and happiness matter, who would not only die for her, but also live for her.

It is my confidence, too, that as I am successful to support her health, while she may not be able to say she would not enjoy driving a $50K car, or living in a $500K home, or (well, I don’t want to think beyond that), the values God establishes in her heart support her for knowing that those things, if they are not from God, don’t satisfy deeply or long term.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B14

Barricaded from Experiencing God for Healing
by Bondage to the Sights and Sounds
of the Contemporary Church Experience:
Why We Become Bored and Continue Broken

If your church or “devotional” experience
is sensual (even emotional),
stimulated from without (externally)
by the senses (sounds, lights, sights, etc.),
as in the contemporary “praise and worship” experience,
you will, in time, tire of/become bored with it
(because of the tolerance factor).

However, if your experience of God comes quietly but powerfully,
from deep within your spirit (where the Holy Spirit resides),
as you sit quietly before him with an open Bible,
illustrated by the movement of the ocean water –
that the deepest flow is the quietest and most powerful –
it will nurture healing,
support your growth in grace,
and forever be without regret
(so that you do not need to lament,
“This is not working for me anymore!”).

This is included in the meaning of Romans 11:29:

“For the gifts and calling of God (the grace provisions to which God calls us) are without repentance (are experienced without regret).”
You may be addicted to the superficial church experience,
so that you do not have an appetite/desire to experience God,
but if God is who you are experiencing by the Holy Spirit,
as you read the Scripture in your quiet time worship,
so that your addictions are being healed,
you will never become bored with him,
but instead be ever increasing in your healing,
beginning at the deepest dimension of your being,
in your enjoyment of him,
and in your awe of him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B13

Support for Wholistic Health: Understanding God’s Redemptive Plan for Sexual Intimacy

The healthy eating experience is supported most deeply by

  • the understanding, confidence, and appreciation (value) God births in our hearts (minds) regarding the redemptive purpose for his provision of food – that it is to meet our nutritional needs (to extend life), our experience of those provisions to energize us, and, of course,
  • our enjoyment of their esthetic value (taste).
Our counseling uses this concept to teach about the meaningful sexual experience – that it is supported most deeply by 

  • the understanding, confidence, and appreciation (value) God births in our hearts (minds) regarding his redemptive purpose for his provision of sexual intimacy – that it is to produce/extend life,
  • our experience of that provision to energize us, and, of course,
  • our enjoyment of its esthetic/euphoric value (sexual gratification).
God was taking delicate care of human needs when he provided for sexual intimacy, but our health needs are met only as we are faithful stewards of the gift.  

Again, just as God’s purpose for providing food is missed by our use of it for taste alone, so, too, his purpose for providing sex is missed when it is used only for the purpose of pleasure. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B12  

Experiencing God Spiritually: Support Exceedingly More Essential than Enjoying People Socially 

Of course, human contact and relationships are a part of God’s plan to help establish us in health and happiness. That’s why God formed the home, and also the church – because interaction and exchange with others is comforting, supportive, and healing. It is in the home that information, affection, and decision making support is experienced, and in the church gatherings that we receiving instructions as well as increased in our appreciation for the Scriptures – what it says and also our need to read and study it.   

But all of the church meetings, men’s and ladies’ retreats, fellowships, and get-togethers for a lifetime that help with our social needs will not make up the difference for the absence of experiencing God daily in our early morning quiet time. There is no substitute for the Life that flows from him into our hearts for the healing of our minds, emotions, and wills.  

“In him was Life and that Life was the light of men.” – John 1:4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B11

Week 6

Making God Look Good: “To Glorify God” Misunderstood

The minister insisted we are called “to glorify God.” Pressed to explain what that meant, he said basically that it was to make God look good. Asked if that was the same as employees making their “bosses” look good or children making their parents look good, he said essentially it was.

But we are called mostly to give God opportunity to invest in our own health needs, and then, out of the strength coming from that investment, to invest in the health needs of others.

This investment God makes in us, and the “strength” we experience as a result, is his Life.

Again, it is God’s Life invested in us manifesting, first, as personal health and, subsequently, as enablement for effectual, fruitful service to others.  

The Light of God’s Life manifesting effectually in and through us into a dark world is the meaning of “to glorify God.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B08

Misunderstanding the Purpose of Marriage: Why the Tension and Unhappiness

In our premarital counseling we teach that God’s redemptive purpose for marriage is the same as his redemptive purpose for providing food – that it is in order to support health needs more than to meet feel good (or taste good) needs.

We take this care because, if couples marry motivated by their feel-good needs (or addiction needs), not only does that make them users of each other, but also, because their health needs are usually not considered, they remain in their brokenness and, as a result, susceptible (after the honeymoon period is over) to considering a relationship with others that appeals to their need to feel good. This the same as, if we make choices for food based upon our taste-good needs, the door is wide open to considering other foods for the same reason. Also, addictions tend to feed addictions.

Of course, this illustration does not perfectly represent the challenge every couple has, but it helps to understand the unhappiness and tension that exists in marriages because of the wrong expectations couples have for their marriage - that it is for the purpose of meeting their feel good needs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B07

“Don, please explain what you mean by this: ‘...we do not really pray for others, but pray for ourselves in behalf of others.’”

In the organic context, asking in prayer means to receive in the sense of opening a door. It does not mean to ask in the sense of making a request to God for provisions we think he may or may not provide (depending upon his mood for the day or whether we have his favor).

That's because, every support God has provided to mankind flows freely to every person without consideration of their worth - but it only flows to the door of our hearts/lives. Prayer is "receiving those provisions." So, we have, not because we "ask" (in the common understanding of the word), but because we receive. Otherwise, Jesus misspoke when he said, "Ask and you shall receive" and “Everyone who asks receives” if he did not mean "Receive and you shall have."

With regard to praying for others, no one experiences God's provisions in their lives because of the requests we or a thousand, million people make to God for them, but only the provisions they receive for themselves. However, we can receive for ourselves God's provisions which meet our needs and then support us for providing ministry to others that meets their needs (for information, affection, decision-making [essentially the ministry provided by the elders in the first century church according to James 5:14-16], and even for food and finances). So we pray (receive) for ourselves in behalf of our service to meet the redemptive needs of others.

Whatever was true in the Old Testament - for example, when Elijah prayed for rain, and Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, or any other of the miracles God gave in response to requests, they were with regard to matters over which we do not have control. Normatively, however, God allows his law of sowing and reaping to govern his creation. No amount of pleading with God changes that – again, with the exception that, at times, God apparently provides needs through changing the course of the weather, protecting us from, and limiting the adversity of, elements in the world over which we have no control, including beasts and demonic powers (which means, by the way, our words have no power against Satan).

This means, in the same sense we do not need to ask God to cause the sun to shine or the morning to come, we also do not need to pray for God to provide support to meet our health needs - that's because, he provides what he provides and does not provide what he does not provide, even if we seek it with tears every day for a lifetime. And if he provides it, our response is not to ask for it, but to receive it.

Well, I was just going to refer you to the information I have already provided on our website, but I am passionate about this subject, so it was easy for me to launch into this. I also grieve because of the misunderstanding I had personally for so many years that we can somehow talk God into circumventing the outcome of the foolish, even misinformed, and often rebellious choices we have made that left us broken in health - for example, to heal our bodies or finances.

But do go to Prayer to read more on the subject. God will need to call you to it, and you will need to take time to read and consider it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B06

Supporting Our Service to Others: God’s Purpose for Pastors

Terrorists, driven by their religious ideology, recruit followers for suicide missions to detonate a bomb pack in a public place with the intent to kill as many innocent people as possible. We are horrified by that.

But I am grieved deeply by another religious mission which destroys the health and happiness of many in the church – with the extended tragedy of communities not being well served. It is the call of church leaders to their members to give themselves up for the good of the church and its mission to relieve pain in the community – never mind their own personal health needs.

God did not give the church (the same as the home) to be supported by its members. Rather, he gave it to be a support. Jesus said he did not come to be served but to serve and to give himself up for the redemption of many (Matthew 20:28). This means, it is the role of pastors (also moms and dads) to give themselves up (in the sense of sowing/investing their lives as a seed) for those God has called them to serve.

It is in this way, according to God’s redemptive plan, that our service to others is always supported by the investment made in us so that we live and serve out of strength instead of weakness resulting in brokenness.

“I will go in the strength of the Lord.” – Psalm 71:16

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B05

Waning Interest in the World as We Increase in Our Experience of Eternity

If death ended our existence, then our time on earth might take on a different interest with respect to possessions, entertainment, pleasure, and even longevity.

Indeed, not only can our lives be full and meaningful here, but because of our deep confidence we have eternal life so that, at death, we transfer to Heaven, our interest in even the best things on earth pales to the excitement and longing we have to experience there more of what God has given us a taste of here.

“…having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better… (but I know I will remain to continue with all of you for our mutual progress and joy in the faith).” – from Philippians 1:22-26

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13B04

Week 5

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

GracePoint does not use the term “therapy” or “psychotherapy” to define or represent the counseling we provide. While we support the complex treatment methods sometimes needed to meet counseling needs, 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.

We take care not to make choices for our lives based on the appeal they make to our senses. For example, we do not make taste the leading basis for our food choices. When we do, it creates an addiction to the foods that do not best support health.

Also, we do not make the rhythm of music the basis for the songs we sing. Some of the most beautiful sounds of music accompany lyrics that do not support understanding the message of grace.

I’ve noticed, too, that some of the most attractive books and magazines covers package the most legalistic messages, and even error.

So we trust God to call us to the choices that increase us in health. They usually will not excite our senses, but like raw spinach, they serve us best longterm.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A01

Fallen Faces Expose Feigned Interest

Commissioned salespeople may want us to believe their interest is in our needs (which it may be at times to a measure), but I suspect the driving motivation for their service/assistance to us is too often making money. If it is not, they are more pious than I was years ago when I worked commissioned sales while completing my education in preparation for the work I do now.

I include physicians in this indictment. Consider that, whatever they want to assert about their care for patients, few, if any, would provide services without the hope of making money – and lots of it. With some exceptions, of course, to professional care providers, we are customers. The test would be whether or not they would be willing to provide their services without payment.

Charlatans unintentionally give themselves away by the coldness that appears in their countenance and demeanor when their products and services are declined. An easy example of this may be the fitness clubs that assert their interest in members’ health – that is until they decline the club’s expensive aftersales; then they are considered deadbeats. That is why I am a deadbeat at the gym, to the credit card companies (because I don’t pay interest), and maybe to my physician and dentist where I go for annual checkups.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A31

I Surrender All? Not Really, Not Without Enablement!

What a wonderful old invitational hymn, “I Surrender All.”

1. All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give; I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.

Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

2. All to Jesus I surrender; humbly at his feet I bow, worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now.   

3. All to Jesus I surrender; make me, Savior, wholly thine; fill me with thy love and power; truly know that thou art mine.

4. All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to thee; fill me with thy love and power; let thy blessing fall on me.

5. All to Jesus I surrender; now I feel the sacred flame. O the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to his name!      

It may be my all-time favorite, because it is such a pure prayer and true to grace concepts.

But wait a minute. The song should be titled, “I Want to Surrender All.” That’s because, it is not possible for broken human beings to surrender all to Christ. It is only as we are increased in our experience of Christ that we have enablement to surrender ourselves fully to him.

Here’s how that happens: First, Christ transforms our values so that we delight in God’s provisions for our lives. Then, he increases in us conviction concerning our brokenness and our need for him. He also births in us humility which purges from us the pride that barricades us from giving ourselves to Christ. Finally, he enables us to open the door of our hearts to receive him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A30 

Rightly Dividing the Truth to Understand the Law of Sowing and Reaping and God’s Plan for Our Salvation

Satan has won the day (sometimes maybe the lifetime) when he succeeds in luring us to make choices that break our health.

That’s because, consistent with the law of sowing and reaping which God ordained to govern organic life, when a certain amount of life has left our bodies as a result of foolish, impulsive choices, our ability to respond to God’s provisions can be lost – for example, to exercise or even to eat or drink.

If the ability lost is, for example, to open our eyes, to think, comprehend, or reason, we are barricaded from the work of grace (redemption) God desires to do in our lives – this, of course, apart from an intervention from God to circumvent the outcome of our choices (which he does not commonly do as we may think, no more than he will grow us another arm or leg).

God, of course, has power to do what he wants and, in fact, protects us from much that comes against us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches that God will not allow anything to come into our lives that has power to prevail against his provisions for our redemption. Romans 8:35-39 promises that no opposing power in all creation can prevail against God’s provisions which flow to his children - to those of us who have been immersed into spiritual union with Christ and have responded to his call (“the called” – Romans 8:28) to remain connected to him for healing (sanctification – “conformed to the image of his Son” – v29).

But we can definitely walk away from God’s provisions for our sanctification (our salvation with regard to healing and health) so that we die…

  • (the sin unto [physical] death – 1 John 5:16,
  • the experience of those whom God “gives up” - Romans 1:26-32, and included in the meaning of
  • “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” – Isaiah 55:6 and
  • “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him” – Psalm 32:6.)
(Note: This is not the same as justification [our salvation with regard to going to Heaven] which is a one-time legal decree made by God in Heaven based upon our trust in something Christ did for us by his death on the cross, not in something we may or may not do).

“Rightly divide the Truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A29

Risking Health and Happiness in Pursuit of Pain Relief 

We encourage counselees to give attention to their health needs (body, soul, and spirit) – more than to making money or growing a business, or even to the success of their children or marriages.

That’s because, the greatest need their businesses, homes, and marriages have is for them to be healthy - physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

This is a hard sell for our counseling. Human nature can be impulsive to rush into each day to conduct business without taking time to make the early-morning choices that strengthen them for the task. Also, hurting people sometime tend to want pain relief for their broken homes and marriages more than they want healing for their personal lives.

The risk is, when superficial goals are more important to us than our health, we will lose both.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A28

Week 4

Passion for Health: An Enduring Motivation for Making Wise Choices

Part of my work in earlier years was to promote health seminars conducted by a nationally well-known radio personality and physician. I found that, in order to assure a large attendance, I needed to make a broader appeal than to people’s need or even interest to know about health, or even to their desire to be healthy. That’s because those appeals alone always resulted in a disappointing number of people to attend the seminar.

But when I offered giveaways and the opportunity to purchase products at heavily discounted prices, we would need to bring out extra seats to accommodate the response.

I learned to do that in my earlier ministry. It was exactly how l grew attendances in the churches I pastored. When I provided for the feel good needs people had, they came. Whatever may be said about the short term value of all that, it did not turn out to be a good strategy long term. That’s because, only a passion for health which Christ births in our hearts is an enduring motivation to support us for making wise choices long term that result in health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A25

Hearing the Holy Spirit: Our Hope to Understand Scripture

The information we learn about the Scripture in a class or counseling session can be helpful to elevate our understanding of the text – who wrote it, when it was written, what was the purpose for writing it, to whom it was written, and what they understood it to mean. There is much to be appreciated in learning this information.

Word studies of the Greek and Hebrew are also very helpful. Our understanding of a text is wonderfully increased by knowing, for example, that the word “submit” in the New Testament means “to give opportunity for influence.”

But our deepest understanding of the Scripture is made possible only by the work of the Holy Spirit to communicate Truth to us as we sit quietly before him with an open Bible to read the Scripture in the way we would read a letter from God or listen to him speak to us on the telephone.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A24 

What and When God “Gives Up”

Years ago, the owner of a mom and pop hardware store was committed to serving his small community. He considered it his calling.

Even as customers were enticed away to the big box stores over in the next town, and while his bottom line plummeted, he continued. Eventually, however, the response to his service decreased so that it was no longer the best investment of his time and energy. So he closed the store.

Christ instructed his disciples to go into a community to provide support, but if the community did not respond, to go into another community, knocking the dust from the bottom of their sandals when they left as a symbol.

We use this concept in our counseling to support leaders for moving on when, after an extended time, those they are called to serve do not respond – also, to teach the need to counselees for identifying and connecting to God’s resources for the flow of his provisions into their lives.

“God gave them up to their degraded minds (allowed their foolish minds to control them).” – Romans 1:28

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A23

Drinking from the Well: God’s Plan for Taking Time to Gather Grace Provisions

God takes responsibility for our learning Truth. He provides the information, gives us the Holy Spirit to teach it, and then calls us to read (hear) it.

God is “in our face” to communicate some Truth about himself, for example, about his existence and care for his creation.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” - Psalm 19:1  

But it is only by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture that he reveals Truth about his plan for our going to Heaven and our recovery from brokenness. 

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

This means we must stop, turn away for a period of time from our busy-ness to perform the duties of life in order to read the Scripture in order to hear him communicate his redemptive plan to us.  

This means, also, that God does not chase around after us to impose this information; rather he provides it and then calls us to stop and listen. 

This is in the same way God provides food and water. Water does not chase after us insisting we drink it (a silly sight indeed!); rather, God provides it through resources (a well, for example) to which we connect to receive it. 

“That which you give them they gather.” – Psalm 104:28 (KJV) 

“You give to them, they gather it up.” (NASB) 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A22 
Christian Tv: A Contradiction to Core Concepts Guiding Grace Counseling 

The loudest, most dominant message on Christian tv does not support, but contradicts, the grace concepts that guide our counseling. It hypes and entertains, but does not heal and enable. Its message may be okay for going to Heaven, but does not support the choices that result in health and happiness in this life.  

Jesus said, "A little yeast (false teaching) works through the whole batch of dough." That means, if counselees get it wrong about (for example) the meaning of prayer and how God relates to us, the foundation is missing for understanding God’s redemptive plan. 

I have seen enough Christian tv (including Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, 700 Club, and even some evangelicals) to know that the performance-based message it presents (for example, “We serve God and must give to him in order to get from him!”) does not produce life but death. And while I would not insist our counselees never listen to it – because I am confident error cannot prevail against Truth – still I am concerned because Truth can only triumph when it is heard.

So we encourage counselees to turn off Christian tv and radio for an extended period of time (forever, actually), and, instead, read the Scripture in order to hear and experience God.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A21

Week 3

Considering God’s Call to the Church to Seek Support from Christ

I suspect God had me in mind when he birthed The Baptist Tabernacle in Danville, Virginia, Green Street Baptist in High Point, North Carolina, and First Baptist in Atlanta, Georgia. Each of these churches was begun before I was born, and I was among the hundreds and thousands through the years who have been impacted.

But none of those churches pursued after me (although they were passionate to pursue the unsaved). Instead, God raised them up and called me to them.

For example, in 1992, God called me to First Baptist Atlanta. At the time I was in Dallas, Texas insisting on my own plans for ministry. But the longer I resisted God’s call, the darker my heart became. In my darkest moment, while wondering why my heart was so dark, I came upon John 8:12, “I am the Light of the World; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the Light of Life.” I surrendered to the call and drove the 1100 miles to Atlanta. The church had not come after me, but had made its presence known in the world, and God called me to it.

The church is called to seek the lost, but the saved are called to seek the church - in the same way Christ came into the world to seek and to save the lost, but calls the saved to connect to him for Life.

This is supported by our understanding that the one lost sheep (Luke 15) represents the unsaved whom Christ sought. But God allows the saved to wander as he did the prodigal and uses their experience of pain to call them to him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A18

Missing Support from Scripture for the Information We Share: How Error is Spread

The information friends/leaders sometimes share with us sounds good to our natural (also religious) understanding, so we embrace it, and then repeat it to others to support them for gathering information they believe and report. It is in this way that reasonable-sounding error is perpetuated.

1. The Holy Spirit is the Teachers. Jesus said, “You do not need any man to teach you Truth, because the Holy Spirit will guide you into all Truth” (John 16:13).

2. The role of those who teach is to provide support for learning

  • what the Bible says, and also for learning
  • how to read the Scripture in order to hear the Holy Spirit communicate to us (teach) what it means.
3. This means, we

  • embrace/trust as Truth only the information that comes to us from the Holy Spirit through the Scripture (as we sit quietly before him each day with an open Bible), and
  • only consider the information reported to us by man in the light of the Truth taught to us by the Holy Spirit.
4. We share with others the Truth we have learned from the Holy Spirit as a confession of our faith (conviction of Truth) which the Holy Spirit uses to edify (enrich) their experience of Truth.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A17

Injury: When There is No “I” in Team

There is no “I” in Team. So say the best coaches to teach athletes the importance of team. It’s a good concept and I like it.

But it’s another example how concepts that guide our understanding of God’s redemptive plan land smack in the middle of the extremes – to the one, that the fulfillment of personal goals is all that matters (never mind the team), and to the other, that the person must give himself up for the good of the team or organization (never mind personal health needs).

Both are concepts (one a positive, the other a negative) that drive human behavior in the world. But neither support redemptive choices in organic life.

There is also no “I” in You, but God’s plan is for us to make choices that establish us in health, to attend first to our own health. That’s because, the best we can do for those we serve or partner with is to give them a healthy us. Also, performance to help the team that is not supported by health will not endure long-term, but sooner than later result in brokenness and injury.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A16

Holding The Scripture, Hearing the Holy Spirit: A Point of Contact to Experience God Similar to Embracing Christ in Heaven

We remember the tv evangelists who invited viewers to reach out and touch the tv screen as a point of contact to receive a blessing from God. Some of us were being unkind when we suggested that, if viewers really wanted to experience a spiritual experience, they could reach inside the tv (the old tube type).

Then we chuckled a little, but mostly grieved, when prayer cloths the evangelists had prayed over were offered by mail (for a donation) as a point of contact with God to receive a healing.

But there is an instrument the Holy Spirit uses as a point of contact – at least he has for me: It is the Scripture. When I take my Bible into my hands, and especially when I open it and my eyes fall on the text to which God is calling me, I immediately begin to experience him preparing my heart (mind, emotions, and will) to hear him and to more fully experience his presence for my healing and renewal.

This is significant to report because I do not have the same experience when I quote or review from memory those same passages of Scripture while (for example) driving down the highway or lying in bed at night or in the morning.

So, although The Bible we hold in our hands is ink and paper and not God, it is an instrument God has provided, prepared, protected, and chosen to use (sanctified) through which he communicates Truth to us he wants us to know and also calls us to himself to experience his Life. (I suspect my experience of holding The Scripture is similar to that of the Disciples when they embraced the Incarnate Christ. This is one of the reasons I never lay my Bible on the floor or place anything on top of it.)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A15

Grace Theology Manifesting in Meaningful Relationship to Resources: Why We Teach “To God, It’s About You!”

The religious understanding of God, that he is in a power position over us with expectations for us to serve him, will manifest in us transferring that notion to our support resources (leadership), including in the church, so that we view them in relationship to us for what we can do for them - with the outcome that, in time, instead of feeling supported, we will feel used, abused, and disillusioned.

This explains why we are sometimes disinclined to connect to God’s resources for the support we need – that is, because it is not our confidence they seek relationship to us for how they can support us (what they can do for us), but for how we can support them (what we can do for them).

This lack of confidence may be based in our experience of our resources – that they are indeed users (instead of investors). Or, we may be transferring to them our theology about God.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A14

Week 2

GracePoint: The Effectual Work of An Ingenious God

Years ago, a godly pastor told me he wanted to increase the number of people coming to his church. Noting the size of his buildings and staff, I asked him where he would put them and who would take care of them. He said he hadn’t thought about that.

Businesses, even churches, often attempt to take on more accounts than they can serve – maybe because of pride or even greed. Their efforts don’t endure long term and, worse, the redemptive needs of people are not met.

God has raised up GracePoint to be in place as a support resource for hurting people, particularly to help with marriage issues. We don’t reach out as some may expect us to, but it is with the confidence that, when God births and establishes a ministry, he always has in mind the redemptive (healing) needs of certain people who he will call to it. We have found it amazing that we have never had more or less counselees than we have had time and resources to help.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A11

Choosing Health: A Couple’s Only Hope for a Healthy/Happy Home

At the outset of our counseling years ago, I attempted to provide support to broken couples for having a happy marriage. I had worked hard for about ten years to get the college and seminary degrees and certifications to do that, and although some marriages were helped, the effort did not result fully in the outcome I had hoped for - which was for couples to have an experience of marriage that was a measure of what I believe Heaven is like, actually using my own marriage as the standard.

So I gave up that effort. That’s because, it is impossible for unhealthy, unhappy people to have a healthy, happy marriage (the same as it is impossible for unhealthy, unhappy parents and pastors to have healthy, happy children and churches).

Instead, our counseling supports broken couples (also parents and pastors) for making choices, beginning with learning how to experience Christ, that recover their personal health. It is their best (only) hope to experience the purpose for which God gave the home and church.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A10

Quietly Taking Time Daily to Make Hard Choices: God’s Plan for Healing

Truth has innate power to produce life. It does not need loudness or excitement. While error will also sometimes be quiet and subtle, Truth is never bombastic in its presentation. Neither does it appeal to our sensual nature in the way worldly entertainment or a Hollywood movie does, or to our carnal appetites in the way sweets and fried foods do; rather, it is like carrot juice or spinach or exercise which are not all that exciting, especially at first.

So, this is why we support counselees for taking time daily on purpose (stopping/scheduling) to include in their lives the essential choices which support healing and health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A09

“Don, what are your views on spanking children?"

A quick answer is: Good parenting makes spanking unnecessary.

Poor parenting substitutes smacking or spanking children for taking the time needed to invest in their health needs – that is, it pounds on the misbehavior instead of ministering to the brokenness (unmet needs). Most, if not all, misbehavior of children is rooted in (is a reaction to) the pain of their unmet needs. Good parenting takes the extended time necessary to identify and meet those needs.

Old Testament and New Testament Models for Parenting

Consider that God in relationship to us as our Father models good parenting. In the early years, God parented his children under the old covenant according to Law (rules, expectations, and punishment). But in time, his parenting by Law gave way to parenting under the new covenant according to grace (relationship, enablement, and discipline [training with a view of growth]). The Law served as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ until such time as we were able to respond to his love and care for us (Galatians 3 and Romans 2).
This model teaches parents to

  • identify for their very young children (ages 12 to 36 months) the health and safety choices they should make and
  • expect them to comply, not because they want to or understand the need to, but because mom and dad say so.
Again, these are rules to support the health and safety needs of children, not to accommodate the convenience needs of parents.

Later, beginning usually about age 3 or 4, as children are better able to reason and to intellectualize concepts, good parenting slowly begins to

  • give explanation for the rules and expectations,
  • teach concepts, and
  • rehearse/practice behaviors that support growth.
This is not a sudden turning of the page but a slow transition from the old to the new.

During the Old Testament phase of parenting, children learn there are immediate consequences to noncompliance. Parents make a mistake when they count to 3 after clearly giving the instruction. Sometimes clapping their hands, snapping their fingers, or even speaking sharply are helpful to get their children’s attention when communicating instructions, but only poor, lazy parenting smacks or hits a child for disobedience. There are other ways for a young child to experience the consequences of noncompliance, including age-appropriate time outs or other loss of freedoms and opportunities.

_______, try to make good choices each day for your own health., especially to be filled to an increasing measure of Christ. It is the beginning of good parenting and the greatest need of your children.

That’s because God’s plan is to parent our children through us. It is only by our experience of Christ that we are enabled to love them as he loves them (agape). If parents’ love for their children is limited to human love (storge/phileo), wonderful and needed as that is, they will not be sustained long term for good parenting, and, worse, their children’s need to experience God’s love (the confidence that, to someone in this world, they are unconditionally valued/their health and happiness needs matter) will be missed.

This is a spontaneous response to your question and may need some editing or clarification. I have provided additional support on the Parenting page at our website that may be helpful.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A08

Support for Experiencing Christ Daily: The Essential Work of Our Counseling to Parents

The concepts of grace parenting cannot be taught in short paragraphs on a website page. A book or class, of course, might help, but only our experience of the heart/mind of Christ makes possible our understanding it.

For this reason, the essential work of our counseling to parents is to provide support for learning how to hear and experience Christ.

Also, our experience of Christ not only enlightens our understanding of grace parenting but also enables it.

It is God’s plan to parent our children through us.

This means our experience of Christ for personal renewal in fuller measure each day is our only hope for the enablement we need to meet the health and happiness needs of our children. Effectual, redemptive parenting is not possible otherwise.

"For he has made us competent as ministers." - 2 Corinthians 3:6

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A07

Week 1

The Daily Bread: Providing Support for Meeting the Demands of the Coming Day

The counseling GracePoint provides supports hurting people for learning how to experience God. This is based upon the invitation Christ gave to “Come, all you who are weary and broken,

  • yoke to (cast yourself upon) and
  • learn from (increase experience of)
me, and I will recover you” (Matthew 11:28-29). It is the same goal for ministry Paul had (“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… that you may be filled to the full measure of God” – Ephesians 3:14-21).

This need to experience Christ daily is not the same as attending church services to sing praises, fellowship, or hear preaching, or reading a devotional to ponder sweet thoughts about Jesus, or even studying or reading the Bible to learn information about God. Rather, it is abiding in (remaining connected to) Christ and also receiving the “daily bread” (epiousios: “that which is absolutely indispensable for our well-being and to support us for meeting the demands of the coming day”).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A04

Dying to Please Users, Missing Support for Service to Others

You will not lose your life but increase in health and happiness by providing service to others which is supported by your connection to the Vine (functional resources). Your only suffering will be the dying of your sinful nature (your spoiled self) to comply each morning to the regimen (choices) which supports your renewal, including going to bed at night so that you can get sufficient sleep in order to get up early enough in the morning so that you have time for including in your life God’s provisions (diet and exercise, but especially to experience Christ during Scripture reading and quiet-time worship) which root and establish you in health and happiness.

But you will suffer brokenness attempting to live out your calling and responsibilities without the strength and support you need, especially when performing to please users.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A03

Broken Hearts Dying to Help Others: When Service to Others Hinders Healing

Active workers in the church are a pastor’s delight. However, if they are hurting, their service will conflict with the choices they need to make - especially to take extended quiet time daily to experience intimacy with Christ - which renew them in personal health. Whatever good their service accomplishes, it will be at the expense of their personal health and happiness.

That’s because service to others (going and giving) is not a cure for brokenness. Although helping others may feel good in the moment to superficially relieve the pain of our brokenness, it will not result in healing, but, in fact, further break us, mainly because (again) it disregards our need to come and receive (Matthew 11:28-30). So we counsel hurting people to step away for awhile from too much involvement in service programs so that they can better concentrate on their recovery - the same as we would encourage an injured person in the hospital.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A02

Connecting to Resources for Making Redemptive Choices in the New Year

Resources (including in the church) are abundant to support us for making the choices that relieve the pain of fear and guilt and also increase pride, or that support us for studying the Bible in order to learn about God and how he related to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, and to learn also the rules we can live by in order to win his favor with hopes of gaining a blessing.

Our greatest need, however, is to identify resources that support us for making the choices that recover our health – for example to drink water, to get our heart rate up in exercise for a sustained 20 minutes a day, or to eat 3-5 or 6-9 servings of raw fruits and vegetables a day.

Most importantly, our need is to identify resources that support us for reading the Bible in order to hear God in order to experience intimacy with Christ in order to be made competent in our redemptive service to those we are called to serve?

That resource is a friend to which you should connect in the New Year. 

“If any of you are sick, let him call for the elders of the church who will support him for making the choices that recover his health.” – (the meaning, in context, of) James 5:14

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13A01

Four Supports for Making the Choices that Result in Healing

1. An Effectual Strategy

The counseling GracePoint offers is guided by four words (Pain, Problem, Provisions, and Plan) that support counselees for connecting to God’s resources (in Creation, Community, and especially Christ) for the flow of his provisions into our lives which renew and establish us in health – physically, psychologically, and spiritually. It is a strategy of giving God opportunity to work in us rather than a strategy of working on ourselves.

2. A Sustaining Motivation

 Ego (to look and feel good), fear (of pain and failure), and religious guilt are common motivations that drive behavior. But they are superficial supports because they are rooted in our brokenness. The purest, most enduring motivation for making the choices that support our healing is Christ’s love (agape: to unconditionally value) birthed and renewed in us daily - that is, his love (value) in us

  • for us (expressed as giving/investing in ourselves),
  • for others (expressed as giving/investing in those we are called to serve), and
  • for God’s resources/provisions (expressed as receiving)
so that the love (value) we have for ourselves, others, and the Father’s provisions IS Christ’s love (value) in us for us, others, and the Father’s provisions. This is densely worded, so take some time with it.
3. A Schedule

A schedule is to time what a budget is to money. It supports focus and accountability. For most of us, what we do not schedule to do, we will not do consistently. We see in creation (day and night, the seasons, etc,) how God’s supports us for living by a schedule. Spontaneous/impulsive living is at the root of broken health, insomnia, and depression.

“Therefore we have an obligation - but it is not to live according to (the impulses of) the sinful nature. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” – Romans 8:13

4. A Sponsor - Someone Who Cares

Essential to our support for healing is at least one other resource person who cares. That person may be a pastor or counselor. For some, participation in a support group may be the answer.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12L31

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved