(September/October 2008)

Learned Lifestyle Choices: The Leading Cause of Lost Health

In a recent presentation which I attended, a state licensed (world system) mental health professional linked depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc., with mental disease and insisted most of it is inherited and therefore likely inevitable. The solutions she offered were professional therapy and, of course, medications in order to cope.

But disease is not inevitable

Central to the concepts of grace counseling, however, is our understanding that disorders of the body and soul are not inevitable, but
  • generally the result of our unmet support needs (nutritionally, relationally, and, most deeply, spiritually) and
  • are made worse by the inappropriate choices we make for pain relief which backfire to intensify the pain because the essential needs for health are left unattended
Using thirst as an example

For example, we have an inherited predisposition to thirst, a metaphor used in the Scripture for the brokenness of unmet needs. But thirst is not inevitable - because God has made provision of water, also the Living Water, to satisfy our need for hydration. That is why Christ called out "He that is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" (John 7:37) and also why the Spirit calls, "Let those who are thirsty come to the water of life" (Revelation 22:17).

A simple illustration

Carbonated colas and coffees are simple examples of inappropriate solutions for the symptom or pain of thirst. They could extend life temporarily in an emergency, but longterm, could also increase risk for disease, not just because of their presence in our food choices, but because of the absence of a sufficient amount of water, the drink of life.

Temperament needs

Psychologically, each of us has inborn temperament (relationship) needs. Either they are met or we suffer - first, mentally and emotionally, then physically (90% of sickness and disease are rooted, according to medical reports, in mental and emotional disorders).

Learned lifestyle choices

Indeed, physiological and psychological predispositions are inherited. But disease is mostly the result of learned lifestyle choices. Studies report that only as much as 30% of inherited health predispositions is a factor. But learned lifestyle choices can be 100% terminal.

We do not at all discourage emergency, Plan B use of professional therapy and medications. But we are most passionate to hold up God's provisions for our health as faithful and true so that Plan B is not necessary.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I30

September 29, 2008

1) Not unlike athletes, actors, or other entertainers, it is the human disposition of ministers to perform before people, even to teach and preach, in hopes of experiencing feelings of personal significance. The heart of Christ in us, however, purges us of our carnality, so that the unmet needs of hurting people far outweigh our own unmet need to be a hit.

2) My young friend seems to want desperately to believe something no one else believes, I suspect for purposes of feeling significant. He has chosen to embrace an extreme soteriological position that God arbitrarily, for no reason knowable to us, selected from among mankind some for salvation, actually imposed it, while others remain condemned. I asked him to what aspect of salvation does God elect. He answered, "What do you mean by 'what aspect'?"

I have long been curious to note that hyper-calvinists (as they are known) do not make much of the separate (past, present/progressive, and future) aspects of redemption, particularly the progressive aspect (sanctification). We suspect one of the reasons is because of the difficulty their belief system presents for them to answer this question: If God imposes Heaven on the lost, why does he not also impose holiness on the saved?

3) God uses the teaching and testimony of man to communicate Truth, but our need to hear from God directly by the Holy Spirit through his Word far outweighs whatever man has to say.

4) Absolutely the Bible is an instruction manual, a rulebook, a blueprint, a recipe, a map, etc., but if we hear only the words of man to teach and explain it, we will understand only our need to obey rules or to perform to a standard. If, however, we hear the words communicated to us by the Holy Spirit during our extended quiet time, we will not miss the essential message of the Scripture concerning God's faithful provisions to enable us.

"But now, having died (by our spiritual union with Christ) to what once bound us (our fallen human nature), we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit (his enablement) and not in the old way of the written code." - Romans 7:6

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I29

September 26, 2008

1) My minister friend is highly motivated for ministry by his desire to teach and preach, but appropriate ministry is motivated by the heart of Christ in us to serve the unmet needs of others.

2) The government bailout of the current national financial crisis is a Plan B solution to a Plan B problem.

3) Of course a husband cannot meet the needs in his wife's life that only God can meet, no more than he can substitute for her need of water; but it is his role in the marriage to find ways to help support the choices she makes for her health and happiness.

4) Heresy resents exposure or opposition. But Truth is not distracted.

5) God made the way to Heaven very simple. The promise of eternal life in John 3:16 is to whoever "believes (trusts) in him" - concerning two things, that:
  • Jesus is the "only begotten (therefore, virgin born, sinless) Son of God" and
  • his life was given (freely provided) as a substitute sacrifice for our salvation.
6) To John: No, we do not have the blood of Jesus flowing through our veins. Also, the blood of Jesus was human blood - just as his bones, hair, skin, etc, were also human.

7) We are saved from eternal judgment by the human life of Christ (his Blood) which he sacrificed for us on the cross, and we are saved from our human contamination on earth by the eternal (resurrected) Life of Christ imparted to us in the new birth.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I26

Working and Giving: God's Way to Live Free from Worry in a Failed Economy

My friend has taken little time and care to include nutrition in his life, but instead has lived hard and fast on stimulants and pain killers in pursuit of power, possessions, and pleasure. His health is now in trouble, not really because of the presence of drugs, but because of the absence of God's provisions for his health which they replaced.

On earth God is accomplishing his redemptive purpose to establish us in health through his provisions in creation (nutrition) and community (supportive relationships in the home and church), and especially through the work of Christ in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and his Word.

But there is another force working in opposition to God's redemptive purpose on earth. The Bible identifies it as the "powers of darkness" operating through our fallen human nature to oppose the well-being of our bodies and souls (Romans 8:6-13).

It also works through the world system as an enemy of God (James 4:4) to oppose our financial well-being (the message and context of James 4:1-4). It is a system of schemes and deceit, impulsive buying and selling, and immoral profit taking.

God's plan to establish us in financial health is sowing and reaping (hard work) - motivated by the desire to have our essential needs met, but also by the desire to give to meet the redemptive needs of others.

Like my broken friend, the nation's artificially stimulated, credit-driven economy is also now broken. But we who are connected to a different supply source are enabled to live free of debt and worry, and also to give to meet the redemptive needs of others.

"God is able to make all grace (his provisions) abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:8

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I25

September 24, 2008

1) It would be refreshing to hear Mr. McCandidate or Dr. McPerfect confess his brokenness and need, rather than to hype an image of perfection. Denial of weakness and failure is a tip-off that something's amiss.

2 My friend does not appreciate the connection between poor nutrition and lost health. He also misses the connection between unhappiness and missed quiet time to experience renewal in Christ.

3) My friend also doesn't make much of the Bible, but says he is deeply spiritual. He has a bumper sticker on his car that reads "God is Nature" and says he sees God in the twinkling of the stars and hears him speak in the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. I asked him if his bumper sticker was his holy book, and was it written by god Nature - or just something he thought up, and did that make him his own source of authority for truth.

4) We will not recognize our growth in grace from day to day, but only from season to season.

5) We are interested to hear what Heaven may be like only from those who have some experience of it here on earth.

6) We can expect that, in all we receive from God, we will wait for it - at least one time. This means we have no evidence that what we go in debt for or purchase impulsively is God's will or provision for us.

7) God's provisions establish us in health and happiness and set us free. We can only be addicted to substances, behavior, or people which we have used to relieve the pain of our impulsive choices.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I24

How to Go to Heaven: Making Clear the Message

The lost miss hearing a clear message of salvation when we who give it do not separate in our understanding the following:
  • God's way for us to go to Heaven,
  • his way for us to be made holy (Christlike), and
  • his way for us to be established in health and happiness.
Although each are received by faith and are intimately related, still they are different, especially in the narrow particulars of how they are appropriated.

The clarity begins with understanding that our salvation is past and present: We have been saved from the penalty or judgment of sin (justification), but are now being saved from the power or contamination of sin (sanctification). The one has been accomplished, the other is in progress.

Note: Our salvation is also future. One day in Heaven, we will be saved from the presence of sin (glorification).

Justification for Heaven

We are saved from the penalty of sin (justified) by turning away from trusting in other payments (e.g., the accummulation of good works to achieve a good report) to trusting instead wholly and alone in the Blood of Christ as the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam's transgression.

Sanctification for Holiness

We are being saved (sanctified) from the power of our sin nature (sinfulness) by turning away from self enabled performance to be like Christ to trusting instead wholly and alone in the Life of Christ birthed and nurtured in us by the Holy Spirit through his Word.

Enabled Choices for Health

We are saved from broken health and unhappiness by turning away from the world's provisions for inappropriate pain relief to connecting instead to God's provisions in creation (nutrition) and community (supportive relationships in the home and church) for our health.

To summarize:
  • We have certainty of Heaven because we are in Christ - placed there by the Holy Spirit when we trusted God's provision of Christ's Blood for our salvation.
  • We have certainty of increasing holiness because Christ is in us and is progressively possessing us to fuller measure in our quiet time through our worship.
  • We have certainty of health and happiness because of the choices Christ (who he is in us) enables us to make.
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I23

Salvation Made Simple

It is not because of our sinful behavior that we are separated from God and in need of redemption and reconciliation, but because of our biological union with Adam who disobeyed God (Genesis 3; Romans 5).

(However, we are sick and in need of sanctification because of our sinful behavior.)

Neither are we justified (freed from judgment) because we "give up" sinful behavior, or even because we try to perform good behavior, but only because we trust in God's provision of himself (Christ's blood shed on the cross for us) as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against us.

Here is how it happened: In the courtroom of God's justice, God, the righteous judge, handed down a verdict of guilty against the entire human race (Adam and Eve). He then passed a sentence: It was separation from him (resulting in death).

But he also, at the same time, provided the only payment that could satisfy in full the judgment. It was a payment no human could pay - the blood sacrifice of an innocent life.

Our choice is either to trust the provision of God's payment for our salvation, or to trust in our own self effort. To illustrate, it would be the same as making a choice to either get into a boat that will take us across the water to the other side, or to trust in our own strength to swim across.

Our appeal to family, friends, and neighbors is: If you believe God's provision of Christ's death on the cross for you is sufficient to satisfy his judgment against you and is your only hope for going to Heaven, tell him so right now (this is a confession of faith). You can pray in your own words or use the following prayer to guide you:

Dear Jesus, I believe you are the virgin born, sinless Son of God, that your Blood which you shed for me when you died on the cross is the only payment which has power (value) sufficient to satisfy God's judgment against me because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. I turn away right now from trusting in anything I can do to earn my salvation, and trust wholly and alone in the gift of your Blood which you have already provided for me as my only hope for going to Heaven. Amen.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I22

September 19, 200

1) Forgiveness begins with the choice not to hurt those who have offended us, and is complete with the choice to help them.

2) Indeed we grieve our losses of family members, friends, and relationships - also, opportunities, income, security, and possessions. We grieve deeply and fully, groan and cry sorely, and find relief of our pain so that it does not manifest to break our health. But we do not grieve in the same way as those who have no faith or experience of Christ. He eases our pain, but also heals our hearts.

3) Our pursuit of lost souls was first with zeal to win the world, but without enablement; then, with prideful pursuit to be recognized, or with performance to win God’s favor - soon followed by failure; later in a new start, with a smiling, seeker-friendly strategy, to stroke sinners; and finally, through experiencing a fuller measure of Christ’s compassion, in boldness to present who he is straight up to a lost world.

4) Money cannot buy God’s provisions for our health and happiness. But it does buy the choices we make that circumvent the pain of our foolish choices. Therefore we love money, so much that it becomes the root of our broken health.

“Therefore do not offer yourselves as a vessel to the sinful nature for its evil passions to take you where they want you to go, but rather offer yourselves as a vessel to God.” – from Romans 6:12-13

5) We have no confidence in our prayers for others that does not include the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the answers through us.

Also concerning prayer: Husbands, parents, and pastors are in an organic relationship with family members and can trust that prayer for those they serve is the same as effectual prayer for themselves. It is in this way that the husband and wife are sanctified by each other, the children are sanctified by the parents, and the pastor has opportunity to pray for God’s blessings and protection for the church.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I19

September 18, 2008

1) Grace ministry points to Christ as the most essential relationship for restored health, invests without expectation of return, and ministers itself out of relevance (so to speak) with those it serves as they grow in health to serve others.

2) The choices we make to avoid the pain of our unwise choices further complicate our lives and barricade us against finding healing solutions.

3) My friend said I would take a different view of pharmaceuticals if I had pain. Even so, the facts would still be the same.

4) Belief in the existence of God and pious behavior to win his favor is the failed message of religion. Intimate relationship to Christ by the Holy Spirit through his Word is our only hope to be established in health and happiness.

5) Misery loves company. The news media report almost only bad news because a broken and pained society cannot tolerate good news.

6) We highly suspect that 1) whatever can be said about any person is potentially true about each of us, 2) God is using us in service to others both more and less than we think, and 3) the most and least intelligent among us don't know it.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I18

An Inconvenient Consideration: Plan B's Disingenuous Dismissal of Grace Concepts

Plan B counseling makes much of personal responsibility, but minimizes, dismisses, and sometimes mocks grace concepts of investment leadership, essential inborn needs, and God's provisions to support health.

We suspect the reason Plan B is not comfortable with the grace concept of unmet needs and the role of leadership to invest is that it strikes too close to an incovenient consideration of God.

Of course we support counselees to take responsibility for their own choices and behavior. But we are most passionate to support leadership in the home and church to live out their responsibility for investing in the lives of those they are called to serve.

Rather than to say "work on yourself" or "try harder," grace counseling encourages connection to Christ for relationship to God who heals our deepest unmet needs and enables us to make wise choices that establish us in health and happiness.

"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace." - Hebrews 13:9a

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I17

September 16, 2008

1) Our behavior does not impress God, so we do not try. Instead, we make choices each day to receive his provisions for our redemption, beginning with Christ, in order to be increased in health and made useful in service to others.

2) We are not called to make God proud, but to grow in his enablement to serve the redemptive needs of others.

3) There is no perfect parent, husband, or pastor. We are in bondage to performance when we strive to present that image.

4) Sadness, depression, and anxiety are the results of unmet health needs. Medications that mask the pain and distort reality undermine attention to the problem, and are not the answer.

5) Junk foods illustrate our general view of pharmaceutical drugs: They may have potential to extend life, but they do not heal or establish us in health.

6) We can trust that God is compassionate to provide the resources we need in order to be established in health and happiness, but if we fail to connect to those resources, we can also trust that he is compassionate not to circumvent the results.

"How shall we escape if we neglect (God's provisions for) so great salvation?" - Hebrews 2:3

7) Living by faith is more than having correct answers to theological questions. It is making choices for our lives with the confidence that God's love for us is unconditional, his interest in every need we have is passionate and intense, and his commitment to provide for our health and happiness is unfailing.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I16

September 15, 2008

Walking with my arm around a young man's shoulder in our youth ministry many years ago, I playfully lifted the side of my foot and swatted him on the seat of his pants, then quipped that every time I lifted my foot that way, it always whopped someone in the rump. He wasn't amused. I learned that he was from an abusive home, so I never did that again.

After years of providing marriage counseling, I have found the concept sometimes a hard sell that it is the husband's role, not the wife's, to take lead responsibility for the health of the relationship (investment leadership).

Sometimes to illustrate to a user husband why his wife is ready to leave the marriage, I press on the knuckle of my little finger and note that, if it is injured, even the slightest touch can be too painful. Grace counseling helps the husband to understand his wife's needs and to work toward her healing.
The wife also may need to understand from the illustration that her sensitivity to her husband's behavior may represent issues of unmet needs rooted in her past, maybe during childhood, which she brings into her marriage, and are not strictly the disappointing behavior of her husband.

Well, Yes, But That's Not Really the Point

Interestingly, the hardest sell of investment leadership can sometimes be to the wife. I recall the concept was so contrary to the traditional views of one wife that it was difficult for her to understand that it was her pain represented by the sore little finger, not her husband's. "I get it," she had said, "I need to be careful how I react to my husband because of his pain."

Maybe the saddest example was a battered, bruised wife who came for counseling years ago asking how she could better behave toward her husband in order to motivate him not to beat her. To her surprise, I presented the concepts of grace leadership. She told me she did not agree, left, and never returned.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I15

September 12, 2008

1) We do not trust in persons, not even the best among us, and not even ourselves, but only in the God who lives within us to sanctify our hearts and transform our lives.

2) When we miss growing in our understanding and conviction (confidence) of God's deep and faithful love for us, no one else, not even family members or our closest friends, can make up the difference.

3) Even with consideration of the great value we place on proper diet, exercise, sleep, etc. to support health and happiness, they pale in importance compared to our essential need to experience the renewing presence of Christ each day by the Holy Spirit through his Word. Yet, sadly, this is the essential need most neglected. The reason we know? It is because experiencing Christ for renewal can only be met as we schedule ourselves to take extended quiet time each day for Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and worship, which few, by their own admission, are willing to do.

4) The carnal mind, set on superficial goals, is driven to keep trying and to not give up. But giving up and walking away is appropriate when it is with reference to our self-enabled performances for Christian living and ministry to others.

5) Indeed, the Scripture enables a holy life. But in explanation of that, we add that it is actually the Word (Rhema) spoken to us by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture which enables a holy life. Further still, it is the dynamic of faith (conviction) and repentance (a change of mind), birthed and nurtured in us by the Rhema, which enables the obedient responses of confession and trust - confession concerning our needs and the adequacy of God's provisions to meet them, and trust, first to rely on God's provision of Christ's Blood (Romans 5:6-21) for our eternal salvation (deliverance from judgment), then to receive the Resurrected Life of Christ (Romans 6:3; Revelation 3:20) for our holiness (sanctification).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I12

September 11, 2008

1) The grace leadership person in the home and church focuses first on personal choices for health, including diet (food choices), exercise, sleep, ongoing education, quiet time for spiritual renewal, also schedules those choices, then assists family members to do the same.

For a very simple illustration how grace leadership can live out this focus in the home, parents can rise early to make up their own bed in the morning then assist their young children to do the same, i.e., to give effectual leadership to any desired behavior through participation.

In contrast, authoritarian leadership identifies the rules, also the failed behavior, then condemns.

2) We embrace and endorse the basic concepts of the Exchanged Life teaching, but note that it has a component to it (I call it positive thinking) which fails to give appropriate emphasis to the need for God's enablement (the dynamic in Romans 1:16-17 for our salvation, including healing).

3) Human nature seeks quick fixes, short cuts, and prideful schemes, but there is no substitute (including positive thinking, word of faith, and fasting food) for making the choice to take extended time each morning to sit quietly before God with an open Bible for Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and worship in order to experience in fuller measure the flow of God's presence in our lives to renew us.

See "Don: Clarify your comments on positive thinking" at Your Questions

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I11

Support for Health and Longevity

Apparently there are a number of variables which support health and longevity. Heredity (as much as a 30% factor some say), occupation, education, culture, environment (where we live), relationships, and, perhaps, economics are strong factors. Reports from the science community seem to indicate that, with all things favorable, we have the potential to live in health for 120 years.


The basic factor, however, is the choices we make, We use the acrostic DELS (diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation) to help guide the essential choices that support health. These choices are daily and include to
  • go to bed early same time at night in order to get up early same time each morning,
  • immediately take quiet time to be renewed by the Holy Spirit through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and worship,
  • exercise to get the heart rate up for a sustained 20 minutes (at least),
  • eat to live, including a high protein breakfast, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts for snacking, and whole grains,
  • drink 64 to 100 ounces of water, and
  • supplement (as a basic regimen) a quality multi-vitamin/mineral, at least 2000 mgs Vitamin C, and a complex Vitamin B.
Optimal Health Begins with Christ

But at the very foundation of our hope for health and long life is our relationship to Christ. His Life flowing into us each day renews in us a passion for making right choices (motivation for movement) and for making the same right choices again the next day (motivation for maintenance of the movement) which increase support (momentum) for making the right choices every day leading to optimal health and longevity.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I10

Basic Principles for Health

Grace counseling makes the distinction between 
  • trusting God's provision of Christ's Blood for our reconciliation (eternal salvation) and
  • receiving God's provision of Christ's Life birthed in our inmost being, the spirit, by the Holy Spirit for our sanctification (Romans 5:10).
This receiving of Christ's Life is worship which is illustrated by the response of a wife with her loving husband in their love making.

The basic purpose for reading the Scripture is to hear the Holy Spirit communicate to us information concerning Christ and our need for him, but also to hear his call to receive Christ.

It is in our quiet time, sitting before God with an open Bible, that we hear this call and respond to open the door of our will for the flow of his Life into our heart for the healing and renewal of our mind and emotions.

Metaphors used in Scripture for the Life of Christ include water, bread, milk, meat, light, and even fire. Each helps identify his Life in us as the dynamic or power of God (Romans 1:16-17) for our salvation (healing).

God has ordained that our need for the flow of his Life into us is daily, that as we receive him daily into our lives through worship we are renewed and increased in health.

The flow of God's provisions into our lives is an eternal flow, never shut down, never depleted, and is freely provided to all who connect to receive it.

The mind of sinful man, however, is hostile to God provisions for our health (Romans 8:7). It is only with the aid of the Holy Spirit and the support of those who he brings into relationship with us that we are enabled to schedule wise choices for ourselves each day, beginning with quiet time for worship, but also including food choices, exercise, education, and rest.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I09

September 8, 2008

1) I like the Randy Travis tune, but the strength that holds a marriage together must be more than the ring "on the other hand."

2) Christ, renewed in us daily, takes the "hard" out of trying to live the Christian life.

3) Hoping to increase Sunday attendance, the church sign read, "7 days without God makes one weak." But it is missing quiet time with God each day, not missing church on Sunday, that makes us weak.

4) We can expect God to watch over all he provides us, but also that we are at risk to lose all we scheme to have.

5) It is impossible that we will have less on earth than we need, except that we do not wait on God to provide it.

6) We give up striving to have possessions on earth, which are paltry compared to Heaven, in order to better know Christ and to be useful to win the lost to him.

7) There is no reason to ever be without faith and hope - because they are the assured outcomes of taking time daily to connect to the Life of Christ which flows into us from the Holy Spirit.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I08

September 5, 2008

1) We may not need to expect that our lives will always be prosperous in terms of long life. Jesus lived on earth only 33 years. As the seed of life (John 1:1-3), he died so that redemptive fruit might live.

2) Love, forgiveness, giving, etc. may indeed be choices (as "Performance Christianity" insists), but they are impossible choices except they are enabled by who Christ is in us. This is true in the same way that bitterness, unkindness, etc. are choices enabled by our fallen human nature and the powers of darkness.

3) Bitterness and unforgiveness may prevent our expressions of love and care for others, but have no power to prevail against the manifestation of God's love and care for others birthed in us by the Holy Spirit.

4) The husband who has controlled his wife against her resistance can expect, when he sets her free, that she will slingshot in the opposite direction until she returns in health.

5) The investment of husbands and parents in the lives of those they serve will produce a greater, more passionate return than they could have ever otherwise demanded.

6) We continue to warn that there is a music which supports us in health, and one (not to mention its message) that undermines health and from which we need to detox.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I03

September 4, 2008

1) Children are not resources for parents, and wives are not resources for husbands.

2) The strength for our lives flows from our resources, not from those we serve. This means, provisions to support our inborn need for information, decision making, and affection must come from God's resources for our lives and cannot be appropriately met by those to whom we are a resource.

3) We do not seek God's favor; rather he seeks ours. Also, we seek the favor of those we serve, not for the sake of our own needs, but for the sake of their needs.

4) The confidence that we have the favor of our resources is our greatest need. Also, our favor is the greatest need of those we serve.

5) We cannot appropriately appoint ourselves as a resource to others, but are prepared and placed in that role by God.

6) Appropriate resources for our lives indeed do pursue us, but only to the door of our willingness to receive.

7) Concepts of grace investment leadership are "things hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16) and can be understood only as the Holy Spirit reveals them.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I03

September 3, 2008

1) Our mind is at risk to be barricaded against receiving Christ, his Word, and God's provisions for our health when we are connected to the world's fare, over stimulated and burned out by it, so that we can no longer sit quietly and patiently for sufficient time to hear God communicate to us his Truth, especially concerning his love and care for us.

2) Now - what we are doing this moment for our health - is our most critical time - not yesterday or tomorrow. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow's outcomes are the result of the investments we are making right now. This means the call of our carnal nature, the world, or Satan to fear or impulsive behavior is neutralized by the simple refocus enabled by Christ to the concept of now.

3) Human nature is consumed with denial, which is the reason the Scripture calls us so often to confession. We do not need to take out a full page ad in the newspaper to confess our fallenness, or even tell our friends. Rather the confession we make that leads to health is only to the resources to which we are connected for support, beginning with God. We have it reversed when we confess failure to peripheral friends.

4) God does not call us to seek his favor, but is in relationship to us to seek our favor (opportunity to influence). The misnotion that we must seek God's favor is at the root of the reason children are in bondage to seek their parents' favor and wives to seek the favor or their husband.

5) Our greatest need is not to discover God's will, but to filled with Christ. It is impossible that his life in us will move and enable us in any other direction or bring us to any other place.

6) We do not need to worry about failing God's purpose for our lives, but only to be increased in fuller measure of who he is in us. The outcome of experiencing Christ will be influence and fruitfulness in service to others, and answered prayer (John 15:1-8).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I03

September 2, 2008

1) The feelings of guilt and pressure to live the Christian life will disappear when we have been enabled for it by the presence of Christ's life within us.

2) The question to ask is not really "Are you saved?," but "Have you trusted Christ's Blood (his death on the cross for you) as your only hope for going to Heaven?"

3) Performance to outrun our need for God's provisions in our lives will result in broken health and early death.

4) Broken health focuses us on the past and on the future, but in the health Christ's gives, we are enabled to live day by day in the moment, trusting God's love and care for us. Fear throws today away, but faith enables us to invest daily in our essential needs and in the needs of those we serve.

5) The first century Christians who insisted Christ's coming again was imminent were all living in their today, experiencing the transforming power of Christ's presence in their hearts each day without fearful focus on their tomorrow. To them, there was really no other reference for time except today. And if they had lived another two thousand years, it would still be in their today when Christ returned.

6) We do not know a calendar date when Christ will return, but only that, for us who live in the holiness and health that comes only through intimate relationship to Christ, it will be today.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I02

September 1, 2008

1) I grieve the knuckleheaded coach who told his players they would get water when they earned it. But also the pastor who teaches his people they will receive from God when they work harder to perform up to standard (to make God smile).

2) Number two ranked golfer Phil Mickelson said recently that if he were number one in a golf world without Tiger Woods, he would not make as much money as he does now. I was reminded to give thanks for the abundance of peace, joy, and contentment we have because Christ is in our world.

3) Indeed we can go to Heaven without Christ being in us, but not without us being in Christ.

4) We are placed into Christ by the Holy Spirit when we trust God's provisions of Christ's Blood as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against mankind because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. But we are filled with Christ in increasing measure only as we take time each day to abide in (connect to) him.

5) Grace theology makes a clear distinction between the words of Scripture written in ink on paper (and through which the Holy Spirit calls us to receive Christ) and the Living Logos (Christ) whom we receive.

6) This means, we can read and study the Bible all day long, and our minds can be filled with the text of Scripture so that we can quote the entire Bible, but still not be filled with Christ ("always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" - 2 Timothy 3:7) who is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit as we take time daily for worship (to open the door of our hearts to receive him).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8I01


We have some information in the Bible for understanding what Heaven is like. But we can also have some insight about Heaven from the report of what our experience of it is like here on earth. This is possible because whatever Heaven is like, it will be consistent with the eternal life of Christ birthed and nurtured in us by the Holy Spirit.

For example, all that we find rewarding, nurturing, and delightful in increasing measure through our experience of God in our hearts in this life, certainly will not change in Heaven. This means, Heaven is a place of values and purity, of rejoicing and peace, of understanding, kindness, and giving, and of knowledge, persuasion, and choices.

Heaven is a place of Relationships. The best of how we know each other here on earth will be the beginning of how our relationships will be enriched in Heaven. Absolutely the home will exist in Heaven, because the home is our opportunity to experience Heaven here on earth. My wife will be my dearest companion in Heaven because the bond that makes us one here on earth is spiritual and eternal.

Travel. We now know that the universe has no boundaries, and for eternity we will venture and explore without ever exhausting the grandeur of God's creation. Our enjoyment of the Seven Wonders of the World is only a flickering glimmer of the sights yet to astonish us during our travels when we are in Heaven.

Beauty. I am not impressed with imagery of floating angels or white castles. Heaven will not be too unlike the Garden of Eden. The colors of the rainbow are God's favorite colors here on earth and we can expect they will be also in Heaven.

Learning. We will not know at once when we get to Heaven all that we will know after we have been there ten billion years. Neither will we at once know everyone, but will meet and develop relationships with people as we do here on earth. We will not know Abraham or Moses or Joshua or David or the Disciples until we meet them. We can expect extended private talks with them, also to attend gatherings to hear Joshua tell of his entrance into the Promised Land, or Noah tell of the ark and the flood, or Paul tell of his missionary journeys. We will have eternity for all this.

Investment and Growth. I expect to run in Heaven and to increase in stamina. Although I will never become sickly, still I will have opportunity to increase in health. Some will indeed invest more than others to be stronger in their own interests. I fully expect to play golf and basketball and to increase in skill, also to keep score, motivated by the desire to improve, yet free from the carnal need to be first or to beat someone.

I expect in Heaven to pursue my love of the sciences, music, and history. I especially expect to sit quietly with an open Bible in order to hear God speak to me through The Scripture and to rejoice in its inexhaustible truths. I also expect to join in fellowship with others to share our mutual faith and experience of God.

Service. We can expect to have an occupation of service to others in Heaven, and to increase in it. I expect to write, also to teach - and with the assurance that every word will be Truth, albeit only a vapor from the vast, illimitable expanse of God's mind.

Freedom. And what can we say more appealing about Heaven than that there will be no sickness, pain, or death, no fear or anxiety, no pressures or intimidation, no misunderstandings or broken hearts, no loneliness or grief, no discouragement or disappointments, and no unmet needs of any kind.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J31

Voting Our Agendas: Human Nature's Default Disposition of Hostility to Holiness

"The sinful mind is hostile to God." - Romans 8:7

With certainty we can know this: In five days, America will vote its disposition to God. Some among us will vote the values of our faith and our experience of Christ in our hearts. Others will vote their hostility to conservative values. This hostility may be overt and venomous (evil), or simply the default disposition of our fallen human nature.

Hostility against God, as the Bible records it, has been the norm since the beginning of time, expressed first when Cain, in a jealous rage, murdered his righteous brother Abel.

"And why did Cain murder his brother, Abel? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous" (1 John 3:12).

This hostility against righteousness was suffered by the Old Testament prophets, by Christ (the Passion of Christ) and the Disciples, and by the early church. Some were stoned, flogged, beheaded, thrown to the lions, and sawed in two (Hebrews 11:32-38).

Human nature has its own dark agenda. It will fall in line with policies and administrations that support it and reject out of hand any person or idea that opposes it.

A righteous man holding values that do not accommodate the way our fallen human nature wants to live can expect our hostility - this our attempt to neutralize the relevance of his faith and values.

Christ warned about it. He said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, That is why the world hates you..." (John 15:18-21).

So we do not think the hostility against President Bush (also others, including Governor Palin) is about policies, flawed as they may be, but rather the disingenuous disposition of our inborn hostility to conservative concepts, also to decency and faith.

It is subtle and denied, but nonetheless real.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J30 

Boasting How Big God Is to Be Our Help

(Excerpts from Sunday's sermon)

"I lift my eyes unto the hills - from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." - Psalm 121:1

When the Psalmists lifted his eyes to the hills, the KJV Bible seems to say he was looking to the place from whence he expected his help to come. But our help does not come from the hills. That would be sorta spooky, like saying our help comes from the moon or the stars.

Actually the punctuation shows that he is asking a question: "From whence cometh my help?"

The "hills" was the place where the writer of the Psalm would be engaged in battle that day. Apparently he had awaken before dawn that morning thinking about the challenges he would face, and he was overwhelmed with the awareness of his need for help.

Dependence Upon Self-Help: A Disappointing Hope for Success

Confession is a big word in the Bible. We are called to confess our weakness and need for help. But it is the predisposition of our human nature to be in denial of all that; in other words, to insist that we are strong and do not need help. So we stand in front of the mirror and chant, "I can do it!" or "I believe in myself!"

But we can't do it. Dependence upon self is a disappointing hope for good outcomes. If Adam had not plunged the human race into darkness by his disobedience, indeed we would be able. But because of our fallen human condition, we are broken and in need of support.

Conscious of Our Common Challenge

The Psalmist's confession is the same as the confession of others among us who begin their mornings conscious of the challenges and responsibilities that await their day, including
  • the farmer toiling the land to produce a crop,
  • the minister serving as a shepherd caring for the sheep,
  • the business owner providing needed products and services to consumers,
  • the teacher in a classroom guiding and instructing growing minds,
  • the health caregiver attending to the sick in a hospital or assisting the elderly in a retirement home,
  • the law enforcement officer, firefighter, or medical technician responding to emergencies in the community,
  • the counselor helping to provide guidance and support to hurting families and individuals, and
  • the parent burdened to meet the critical needs of a child.
One of our most recent counselees was a grandmother who is caring for her troubled grandchildren. Her confession was "I am overwhelmed! Where can I find help?"

This week, after 17 years serving with The Salvation Army in Atlanta, my wife transferred to Greensboro, North Carolina to begin new opportunities working there with new officers and administrators. She is feeling the normal challenges of change and increased responsibilities.

We are also responding to a call we believe God has given us to expand our GracePoint ministry in Atlanta to include a counseling office in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point area.

Together we cry out, "This is overwhelming! Where does my help come from?"

The Psalmist's confession of faith was "My help comes from the Lord!" And maybe like the little boy who boasts that his dad can beat your dad, the Psalmists adds, "And he is the Maker of heaven and earth!"

Getting Our Needs Met: Two Opposing Views

There are two opposing views concerning how the Lord provides for our needs. The one is performance (works) based. It is understood something like this: God has a bag of blessings (so to speak) which he passes out to those who behave in a certain way to please him or make him smile. He has sort of a "naughty and nice" list (you know, like Santa Claus). If we act nice enough, pray hard enough, be sincere enough, read the Bible enough, attend church enough, and follow the rules faithfully enough, and so on, maybe, just maybe, God will give us a blessing. It doesn't seem to happen very often, but just maybe!

The other view is grace-based. It holds that God has abundantly provided for every health and happiness need we have, physically, psychologically (mentally and emotionally), and spiritually.

God's Provisions in Creation: Meeting Our Physical Needs

According to this view, every nutrient we need to support our physical health is present in creation - in the atmosphere and in the soil. Nothing is missing. For example, we now know from health studies that it is important for us to spend 15 minutes a day in the sunlight without sun screen. God does not withhold sunlight, but provides it freely. The same is true about water, oxygen, and other nutrients which are essential to support our health. But we must take time to include them in our lives. They are not to be considered as blessings which God restricts to those who stroke him in order to make him smile, but are freely provided to all who receive them.

To illustrate: This morning I brought my cell phone to this pulpit. The battery is dead and I was hoping perhaps you would join with me in prayer to ask God if he would give life back to this battery. Maybe we could at least begin praying about it. We may need to take some time to fast and pray, but if we can have faith enough, maybe God will bless this battery with renewed life.

Well, I am being silly, aren't I? Actually, we know that God has already provided electricity to us to which we can connect with this cord I have here so that we can have the outcome we want.

I remember my first days of ministry as a kid preacher. Actually, it was the summer before my senior year in high school. My pastor gave me a little Sunday School class of 3 junior boys and told me to grow it. I set out to win junior boys all over our town. Soon we had ten boys in our class on Sunday morning, than twenty. In several months we had over thirty junior boys attending our Sunday School class every Sunday. But it took work. I usually drove my little Corvair 100 miles or more each Saturday. I would start out early, visit my regular boys, and knock on doors to find more. Then I would go back on Sunday morning to pick them up. I would pack as many boys into my little car as it would hold without losing someone out the window or blowing a tire, drop them off at the front steps of the church, then go back for more, sometimes making three or four trips. I remember some of the deacons and the pastor standing at the top of the steps smiling big and cheering me on. No football player running for a touchdown in a packed out stadium ever had more fun.

But it was hard work. On Saturdays, often I would work until dark and rarely stop to eat. After working hard all day on one Saturday, I ran out of gas in my car on the way home. I got a little mad, not with myself, but with God. I sat there in the dark in my little stalled car fussing with God because I had run out of gas. I couldn't understand considering how hard I had worked doing his work. "Why did you allow this to happen to me?" I asked God. Just as quickly as I had asked the question, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Because you didn't take time to stop for gas."

God's Provision of the Home: Meeting Our Need for Health

God has also provided for our mental and emotional health. He did not just create us to roam about the earth without support, but placed us into family units or homes so that we could have the support of a mom and dad to meet our essential inborn needs for attention, appreciation, assimilation, authority, and affection.

Each of us has different inborn mental and emotional needs. In our counseling we call them temperament needs. And it is the role of parents to discover those needs in their children and to meet them. Especially is it the role of a dad to meet the temperament needs of his daughter. And a mother to meet the temperament needs of her son. When the appropriate parent-child connection is met, children are mentally and emotionally healthy. When it is missed, children will be in a search for it the rest of their lives.

The Traditional Home

We care about the traditional home and will again vote in this election cycle to protect it. There are those who would redefine or restructure the family to mean something other than a man and woman, husband and wife, mom and dad, and children.

But the family is the brick of society. And it is a traditional brick. A round brick does not provide for a secure structure. The home, as God designed it, is his plan to provide for our most essential psychological needs. When the home is broken, family members suffer, and society fails.

God's Provision of the Church: Meeting Our Need for Helping Others

God has also provided the church. There is a reason the Bible encourages us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It is not in order to score points with God for getting blessings from him or for going to Heaven, but because the church is a place for believers to learn about God's love and to be supported for the challenges of meeting the needs of others in our community.

God's Provision of Christ: Meeting Our Need for Heaven, Also for Holiness

God has also provided for our spiritual health through Christ. The Bible says that, because of God's judgment upon the human race when Adam disobeyed in the Garden of Eden, we were all born broken, and live in a broken world. The Bible also says that there is nothing we can do, no price we can pay, to satisfy that judgment, and that the Blood of Christ shed on the cross is the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against us.

But our need is not only for God's provision so that we can go to Heaven, but also for his provision so that we can live a holy life in this unholy world. We have no power by self-effort to do this on our own. But the Bible says that God has birthed in us the Life of Christ (this is the new birth) in order to make it possible for us to live like him. This is the meaning of 2 Peter 1:3, "God's divine nature has given us everything we need for life and godliness." Also, Romans 5:10 says we are "made holy by his life."

We close our comments to you with this encouragement: God's provisions are faithful and abundant. And he gives us the opportunity this day and every day to receive them.

"How certain and unfailing will those who receive his abundant provision of grace and the gift of his righteousness, reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:17

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J27-29

Fading Patriotism: Why Love of Country Loses Favor in a Liberal World

Patriotism is not a favorite concept of liberals. They seem to be a bit embarrassed by it.

The word comes from the Latin pater (father) and means "devotion to family and country." (The word patronize "to provide aid and support" comes from the same Latin word.)

But liberals reject this definition of patriotism, insisting it is too narrow, calling it nationalism instead (a term that, in its most narrow sense, they say can be racist), so they expand the definition of patriotism to mean "devotion to all humanity."

Of course, service to all mankind is a virtue. But liberals' redefinition of patriotism is consistent with their disingenuous hostility to grace concepts, particularly
  • the sinfulness of man,
  • God's provisions of Christ, also relationships in the home and church, for our redemption and renewal, and
  • personal investment (sowing and reaping) for good outcomes.
They prefer, instead, for us to be dependent upon big government for our support - because it keeps them in power, also in wealth. It is akin to the God-complex medical doctors sometimes seem to have.

A nation's well-being, however, is not rooted in government, but in the health of its people, also its homes and churches. And our deepest and surest foundation for health is Christ, the True Vine. Liberals have it reversed.

"I am the True Vine, and my father is the husbandman (gardener)." - John 15:1

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J24 

Forgiveness: A Family Plan for Healing the Past

The counseling we offer through GracePoint provides guidance and support to adult children for recovery from the brokenness of their unmet physical and psychological (temperament) needs as the result of the failed leadership resources in their home during their formation years.

But we also offer support to the parents who failed and have lost influence with their now adult children. Our counseling begins with helping them to accept that, generally, those of us who have destroyed will not likely have the best opportunity to restore.

This is because unmet health needs leave children unsupported to make wise choices for life that establish them in health. (Although they may overachieve, at the core of their being they are broken and suffer, usually in ways they are not aware of.) This means children who have been left unsupported because of failed leadership in the home are subject to be angry, condemning, and punishing for a lifetime.

But God has provided a plan to deal with exactly this problem: It's called forgiveness. Through "who we are in Christ," God has made provisions for the penalty of failure to be paid so that we do not need to punish others who fail us, and through "who he is" in us, he has provided for our restoration to health so that we can invest in the healing of others. It's a fine plan.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J23

Lifestyle Choices: Calculating Chances for Living Well

We just may have this figured out. Carole and I don't live a straight 100 percent healthy lifestyle (food choices, exercise, sleep, etc.). We should, but we try to maintain at least an 80-20. This does not mean 20 percent reckless (we don't smoke or drink or act stupid), but nonetheless, 20 percent doing what would kill us sooner than later if we did it 100 percent.

Also, if 100 percent means we should never get sick, then 80-20 should mean we have an 80 percent chance of always being well (not the same as a 100 percent chance we will be sick 20 percent of the time). Calculating on: If we do get sick, we have the option to increase dramatically to 100 percent for recovery. Or, if we are not willing to do that, we should see a doctor. Makes sense to me.

Dealing with Doubting Docs

Carole's long-time traditional Doc seems a little disappointed that she does not have the same appreciation for drugs as he does. For example, he knows she may have a strong hereditary predisposition to high cholesterol levels, based on her family history, and says drugs would be in order. So he is always curious to ask what she is "doing" to maintain her good report (most recently 50 HDL and 116 LDL). She told him "exercise, oats, EFA's (omegas 3, 6, and 9), and supplements including garlic, lecithin, niacin, and red yeast rice." He said, "You know (don't you?) that supplements have never been proven to help." She said she didn't know that.

But he did persuade her to get an EKG and also stress test, just for peace of mind. So we were back to a cardiologist next morning for the EKG and dressed for the treadmill. After about thirty minutes Carole came bopping out to the waiting room smiling big. Seems after the EKG, the doctor said her heart was perfect, that she did not need the stress test. "He said I was a very healthy woman," she gloated.

This is not about Carole, but to testify to a grace principle. Health is not the outcome of leaving off the bad stuff, but faithfulness to include the good. If God is true, then there can be no other outcome.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J22 

Getting it Right About God's Relationship to Us

Usually in our first session with counselees, I write "you" on a marker board and ask this question: "In his relationship to you to provide your needs, where on this board would you place a dot to represent God?"

Almost always the dot is placed above the "you." Absolutely no one has ever placed the dot below the "you." (Once I thought a dad was about to get it right when he corrected his daughter. "No, no!" he said, "That's not right! Make the dot bigger!")

Indeed, God is a big God - Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, Ruler of Heaven and all creation, Law-Giver and Judge. But in his relationship to us to provide for our needs, he is our Savior, Redeemer, and Servant.

This means, the grace solution to every counseling need we have begins with getting it right about God's redemptive relationship to us, that he is not in a power position over us demanding response, but in a support position beneath us (also can be understood as deep within us) to enable it. Otherwise, we will be confused and frustrated to understand God's grace, especially that it is out of his support relationship to us that he
  • provides our need for a judicial solution to his judgment against us because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden (the death/blood of Christ - Romans 5:15-19),
  • provides the solution for the support we need to survive the darkness into which all creation fell because of his judgment (the Light of who Christ is - John 1:4-5; also, Romans 8:19-23), and
  • enables our effectual service to others (the True Vine - John 15:1-8; also, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6; 1 Timothy 1:12).
But it is in the context of the mistaken belief that God is in a power position over us that religious legalism calls us to
  • get right with God,
  • surrender to his authority over us,
  • turn from the behavior that is offensive to him,
  • serve him,
  • please him,
  • don't let him down,
  • make him smile, etc.
All of which set us up for nagging questions and doubts in our mind about whether or not we are being good or sincere enough to receive blessings from God, or even for us to "really" be saved.

But if God is a provider, then redemption is indeed a grace provision we can connect to, a gift we can receive.

"For if, by the one man's disobedience, death reigned through that one man, how much more certain and unfailing will those who receive God's abundance provision of grace and the gift of his righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:17 (also Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 1:16-17; Philippians 3:9)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J16

Bailouts: A Plan B Calculation to Circumvent Pain

God has established laws (sowing and reaping, for example) to govern his creation. Our compliance with those laws establishes us in health and happiness. This is the message of Psalm 119.

As a rule, God does not circumvent the outcome of our disobedience, although he has mercifully created us seemingly with a measure of tolerance for slack or error, in the same way, for example, a vehicle may continue to run for a short while without oil, or for a better example, an organism (plant or person) may survive short-term without water.

Also, it is our confidence that God sometimes acts to rescue us from our weaknesses and stupidity (Luke 18:12), otherwise we would perish. But we can trust that even this will not be gratuitous or ongoing, but with the ultimate goal for our training (discipline) to bring us to a place of conviction (faith) and repentance (a change of mind) about how God has ordained life to work.

But the rule remains: God does not generally do bailouts. This despite our performance tears, groaning, pleading, fasting, and bargaining. The preacher may say so, but there is no evidence. Just look around.

Bailouts are a Plan B provision for pain relief. The world does not really have any solutions for health but only schemes to circumvent the outcomes of its foolish choices. At some point, the vehicle, our bodies, and our nation's economy will croak.

Is God then not compassionate? No, in fact, he is compassionate to provide a plan for health that we can trust to be true and faithful. When we connect to it, it produces the same results each time.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J15

October 14, 2008

1) After getting an early start on a recent road trip, we stopped for breakfast at a favorite restaurant. Almost always in such places I am nosey to observe families and individuals praying before their meals. Across from our table on this occasion, a mother prayed while her preteen son stirred his grits. Apparently he did not have much appreciation for the moment. I thought of my own past legalistic performances to pray publicly at meals. I have made a scene more than a few times, once rising to walk around a large table to invoke God's best blessings upon everyone sharing in the meal.

(I recall a pastor in west Texas who stood on a chair in a hotel restaurant and asked patrons to pause with him for a moment while he prayed.)

I have settled down to understand the appropriateness of thanking God at meals for his faithfulness to provide our needs and also for those persons he used to prepare the meal, but I have concluded either the food before us is nutritious, or it isn't. If it is, what's the point asking God to bless it? If it isn't, to ask God to make it otherwise, seems nonsense.

2) My hyper Calvinist friend says he does not believe in easy believism. Wow! This is the same young man who believes that God imposes salvation on selected persons (called irresistible grace). In which case, the selected person does not really need to do anything. Zap and he is in! How easy is that! Irresistible grace is the ultimate easy believism!

3) This is my best advice and personal testimony with regard to enjoying the maximum benefit possible from reading the Bible:
  • Read it at the beginning of your day at about the same time,
  • read it as a communication from God to you personally,
  • trust that he who gave the message will also give it life in you
  • understanding,
  • resist reading it as you would a textbook or an instruction manual, and
  • be content to hear and understand only the message the Holy Spirit gives you.
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J14

Easy Believism for Eternal Life? Absolutely!

The Bible word for believe in the context of eternal salvation means "to trust" and points to Christ's death on the cross as God's provision to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden.

The traditional, dictionary meaning for the word believe is "to accept information as true." This is superficial believism (we might call it) and is not quite the same as the Bible meaning.

For a simple example, accepting as fact that a boat is seaworthy to carry us to our destination is not really the same as choosing to board it (trust it). And to intellectually accept as fact the information recorded in the Bible about the death/blood of Christ is not the same as to trust in it as the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against us.

Religious legalists agree that believing for salvation involves more than just accepting facts, but insist it also involves more than simply trusting in God's provision of Christ death on the cross (easy believism, they call it), that we must give up all known sinful behavior, surrender to Christ as slaves to our Master, and commit to live for him (this is Billy Graham's position, by the way). In some extremes, the conditions include water baptism, church membership, and partaking of certain sacraments. Actually, the list could go on.

But while we do understand about superficial believism, we do not reject the expression "easy believism" (used as a put down by religious legalists for our understanding of the Bible word believe) because believing for eternal salvation IS easy. Otherwise, we are forced to think that God makes the way to Heaven difficult. But it is not. How difficult is it to make the choice to board a boat?

In John 3:15-16, Jesus himself said that just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness and called those who were dying to look upon it, so also he would be lifted up on a cross, and that anyone who believes (trusts that he is God's only begotten, thus virgin born, Son, and that his death/blood satisfies God's judgment against the world) would not perish but have eternal life.

"And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has this life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have this life." - 1 John 5:11-12

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J13

Celebrating God's Love and Grace Concepts Learned

This is to remember a significant event in my life on this date twenty years ago.

Having suffered through a failed marriage and ministry, and in the deepest discouragement, I was pushing to perform my job responsibilites in a downtown High Point, North Carolina business. I was also being called away by sights and sounds and new fragrances to places I had never been before.
But on this day, in one seemingly chance occurrence, I turned to catch a visual, hear a sound, and smell a fragrance as refreshing (may I say it) as an early morning run on a North Carolina country road.

Dressed in modest business attire, Carole stood before me asking a question. Her voice and smile were perfect. Her eyes and hands were perfect. Her conduct was perfect. Then she was gone - forever I thought. But a month later, I saw her again. This time, she did not get away.
I don't write this to bore you with the report of a private matter, but as an opportunity to share several grace concepts that the occasion illustrates.

1. God is intensely interested, committed, and attentive to our lives, like the caring shepherd for his sheep - both for those safe in the fold, but also for the one wayward sheep that is in trouble.

2. His care is not based upon our deserving, but upon our need. Had God not looked beyond my faults on that day to see my need and to intervene, I think I could have been lost to a different world.

3. Usually, God provides for us as we wait on him, but apparently, he also sometimes chooses to act sovereignly in order to rescue us from the brink of our destruction.

4. God will bring into our lives exactly what and who we need. Only Carole could have tolerated my growth out of legalism into grace, from being a user to becoming an investor. Never once did she ever react to attack my stupidity when she had good reason to shoot me. This is the reason I can say with confidence to wives that there is hope if by God's grace they will not react in anger and discouragement to a husband who is embracing the concepts of investment leadership and is committed to living them out in their marriage.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J10

Wondering What's Up When We Dress Down

I heard my dad say "pishaw" one time. Other than that slip of the tongue, I never heard him utter a slang word, talk crude or common, or behave uncouth. Forget vulgar. Not in our home.

I also never saw my dad dressed down in his public life. Of course, he lived in a different era (which will help make my point), and also was not a farmer or factory worker, but a pastor. Dad was always in a suit, taking off his coat and tie only at home, or maybe when traveling.

Beaver's dad, Ward Cleaver, comes to mind.

We modern day parents, husbands, and pastors have relaxed that standard. Wonder why?

Some clue may come from the Scripture, that all of creation is in a free fall downward from purity to crudity (Romans 8:19-22). .

Paul warns: "Just as you used to offer your bodies as vessels for impurity and ever increasing wickedness, so now give them to righteousness (Christ) leading to holiness." - Romans 6:19

The Life of Christ in us is effectual for our sanctification (Romans 1:16-17). "The called" in Romans 8:28 means "saints" or "saints by effectual calling." It is a call upward, like the sun calling up vapors from the earth, not a call downward, as by the call of the world and our fallen human nature. Remember, it was the enemies of Christ who called him down from the cross.
"Come down," they called to him.

In Heaven, when this sanctification process is completed, there will be no crude conversations, behavior, or appearance. The passion of Christ within us for purity, integrity, and excellence will be totally satisfied.

But this can also be our experience in increasing measure on earth.

"God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy - keep thinking about these things." - Philippians 4:8

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J09

How the Bulldogs Got Hurt: When the Hype Didn't Help

I am not much into sports in recent years. Those who have known me in past times as a big fan would be surprised. I now check scores only rarely, usually just to see how favorite football teams like the Georgia Bulldogs or Indianapolis Colts, both led by Christian coaches, are doing in the standings.

The main reason is, I have learned that energy for life is supported by the investments we make. Since I don't party or do chemicals to kill the pain for my disappointments, I don't want to make poor investments of time for my health and happiness. Believe me, some of these teams are not good investments. They will break your heart.

For example, the Bulldogs were the 2008-9 preseason pick as the number one college football team in the nation. So I thought they were a safe investment for a little of my time. Last game, visiting team, ninth-ranked Alabama, beat them badly.

Seems my most favorite coach, Mark Richt, had the brainstorm to publicly announce a week in advance that his team would be dressed in black for the Alabama game. Apparently he thought image and hype would intimidate the Crimson Tide, so during the week (according to my analysis), they may have missed a little intensity to prepare for the game.

I have not read or heard any comments or reports, but suspect the Georgia coach and team are embarrassed to have forgotten a basic principle of life: Image and hype are not a substitution for preparation and enabled performance.

More heartbreaking is this: On the day after the Saturday game, Rev. Happy Hooey hyped hurting people in the church pew to perform for God. Never mind their unmet needs for his provisions to enable them.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J08

After the Election: How It Will All Turn Out

After the election, we may just have some additional insight concerning where we are time wise relative to the Coming of Christ. But for now we can say this: The time will come, perhaps soon, and exactly as the Scripture indicates, when we will not have a government or judicial system or society which has favor or benevolence to any measure at all for our conservative Christian values.

We have no problem understanding Bible prophecy, that the Church Age will end (at the Rapture) during a dangerous time of increased apostasy (hostility to God and a falling away from the faith). It is really the only course a fallen people/civilization living in a broken world can have, like rotten apples decaying on the ground.

We can expect sinful man, already hostile by his inborn nature to God (Romans 8:7), to increasingly make choices to cope with the pain of his unmet needs (especially for God) - with the cause and effect outcome of increased addiction to lifestyle choices that destroy (Romans 6:15-23).

This prophesied end time scenario becomes reality in our national life, in large part, as unregenerate fallen people make choices in the voting booth for public policies that protect their addictions to pain killers, including their entertainment choices and sexual mores. Also, that help assure escape from the adverse consequences.

Every other motivation for voting becomes secondary. Never mind abortion, the breakdown of the traditional family, the threat of terrorism, the loss of religious expression, and the principles of individual rights, free enterprise, and limited government.

Still, we do not grieve mostly the presence of adverse elements in the world which undermine a nation's health, but the absence of God's provisions in the home and church which support it.

So our hope is not in man, governments, or other world systems, including its financial systems, but in our personal, intimate relationship to Christ.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J07

Can a Saved Person Be Lost Again?

Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

1. Most important to understand is that salvation is a work of God; we do not save ourselves. This is the meaning of Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace you have been saved..." (See also Titus 2:11.) We are not saved by anything we do, but by what Christ has already done for us by his death on the cross.

2. Salvation is past, present, and future. We are saved from the penalty of sin (past), the power of sin (present), and one day in Heaven we will be saved from the presence of sin (future).

God has made provisions in Christ for all three aspects of our salvation.
  • Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin (which is separation from God for eternity). In soteriology (the study or doctrine of salvation), this includes the doctrines of regeneration, reconciliation, and justification. (See Romans 5:10a.)
  • Christ rose from the dead so that by his resurrected life in us we could be saved in this present life from the power (control) of our sinful nature. In soteriology this includes the doctrine of sanctification. (See Romans 5:10b.)
  • And, Christ is coming back again to save us from the presence of sin by transforming our bodies to be like his and taking us to Heaven. In soteriology this is called glorification. (See 1 Corinthians 15:49-57.)
It is important to view these three aspects of salvation separately because we are saved from the penalty of sin the moment we trust Christ's death on the cross as our only hope for going to Heaven, but salvation from the power or control of the sin nature is a process. Sanctification is the only aspect of salvation that is experienced in measure and can be lost in measure.

Remember, though, that sanctification is not a condition for going to Heaven.

It has only to do with this present life.

3. The Christian life is not a life that we live, but a life that is lived in and through us. Only one person ever lived the Christian life. WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) is an impossible standard for us to try to live by. No human being can live like Jesus did. He had a sinless nature; we do not. Our only hope for any measure of holiness is for Christ to live his life in and through us.

4. The belief some have that a saved person can be lost is partially based in the idea that we must turn from sinful behavior in order to be saved, and that if we turn back, we will be lost again. But we are not saved by turning from the "sins" we think will send us to Hell; rather, we are saved by turning from trusting in the "good works" and religious rule-keeping that we think will get us into Heaven. There's a difference.

5. Also, if we can lose our salvation by turning back to sinful behavior, where is the line? How do we determine which sins or how many sins will result in losing our salvation? Does it make sense that a reasonable, fair God would set a boundary, but not tell us very clearly where it is?

6. Also, understanding the purpose of God's laws is important. God did not give the Law as a set of rules for us to follow so that we could go to Heaven. That was exactly the teaching of the Pharisees. Rather, God gave the Law in order to teach his people how to be healthy and happy. Obedience to God's laws is essential to health and happiness - just like driving on the right side of the street or observing any other law that increases health or protects us from harm.

7. The definition of "sins" is also important to understand. Sin, by its simplest definition, is disobedience to God's health plan for us. Sin is not behavior that makes you bad, but behavior that makes you sick. If sinful behavior can result in losing eternal salvation, than all sick people are at risk of being lost.

8. We are kept by the power of God, not by our own power. We have eternal security because God holds to our hand, not because we hold to his. (See 1 Peter 1:5.)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J06


We cannot understand the meaning of forgiveness until we understand the meaning of the words sin and judgment.


By definition, sin (Gr. harmartano) is an act or behavior and references the choices we make to meet our needs with disregard (in disobedience) to God's provisions to meet those needs. It is not behavior that makes God mad or us bad, but that makes us sick.

This is exactly what Adam did in the Garden of Eden which resulted in God's judgment upon the human race (Genesis 3 and Romans 5).

[Note: Sin (Gr. hamartia) is also understood as the condition of sinfulness, an inward element, governing principle, or organized power which produces an action or behavior." This is our fallen human nature.]


God the Righteous Judge could have imposed any judgment he wanted on Adam's disobedience, including a $100K fine (to be silly) or actually whatever else we might want to imagine. But the judgment God imposed was the departure of his Light (who he is) from man's spirit, the inmost chamber of his being. The result of the judgment was spiritual, psychological, and physical death and darkness, and ultimately, eternal death.

The word death in any language means separation. It does not mean annihilation. Man had a beginning, but he will not have an end. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God with the "cause and effect" result of darkness. This means, we can be physically alive but separated from God - that is, we can be spiritually dead and in psychological (mental and emotional) darkness while we live (Colossians 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:6). This is the judgment of sin we experience in this life that is manifested by broken health and unhappiness.

(Note: Physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. We may also say that psychological death is the disconnect of the body and soul from the born again spirit where the Holy Spirit or Life of Christ is resident. This is the aspect of redemption addressed by Christ in John 15:1-8. Eternal death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God for eternity.)


The best definition for the word forgiveness is removal. It begins with God's removal of our spiritual separation from him (this is reconciliation) by our faith to trust Christ's Blood as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam's disobedience (Romans 5:10).

Forgiveness is also the removal of the physical and psychological contamination and brokenness - which are the "cause and effect, sowing and reaping" lifetime consequences of the choices we make in the darkness - when we trust in Christ's Resurrected Life, imparted to us (our spirit) in the new birth experience.


Prayer for the forgiveness (removal) of the eternal consequence (judgment) of sin is based upon our faith to trust God's provision of Christ Blood as explained above.

Prayer for the forgiveness (removal) of the "cause and effect, sowing and reaping" lifetime consequences or judgment of sin is based on our faith to receive (connect to, abide in) God's provision of the Resurrected Life of Christ (mentioned above) which enables us to make redemptive choices that result in our healing, (the removal of our brokenness).

This means, God is not arbitrarily, selectively, or even mystically forgiving (removing) the consequences of one particular sin or another based on our good works, penitent behavior, tearful pleading and begging, or anything else short of receiving (connecting to) his provisions which are the dynamic for their removal (Romans 1:16-17).


Our forgiveness of others is two-fold and is possible only as the Life of Christ within us enables it. Forgiving others begins with withholding (removing) our judgment to punish their offensive behavior toward us. It is completed as Christ lives his life through us to impact their lives for the healing (removal) of the hurt and pain which motivated their offensive actions.

This is the meaning of "forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:13).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J03

Performing to Please God: Debunking the Belief that Blessings are Based on Pious Behavior

The Dolly Parton character in Steel Magnolias told her friend that God did not care which church she attended - just as long as she showed up. This puts blessings from God on the basis of behavior to impress: Forget about "cause and effect."

But "cause and effect" is exactly the "sowing and reaping" principle that God has established upon which our health and happiness are founded. Otherwise, our lives are in bondage to a hocus-pocus scenario of striving and stressing to guess what pious behavior God likes and dislikes in order to stay out of trouble with him or to make him smile, with hopes of possibly gaining an emergency favor or two.

The fact is, God has provided resources to which we can connect that result in the blessings of health and happiness. This means, we are mostly what we include in our lives. Just as certainly as no one can be holy apart from intimate relationship with Christ, we can not be healthy apart from including in our diet and lifestyle God's provisions of nutrients in creation or apart from connecting to supportive relationships in the home and church.

This helps to understand the definition we give for the word "sin." Sin is not the choices we make that make God mad or us bad, but that make us sick.

It also helps us to appreciate the testimony of the Psalmist (119):

"Blessed are they who walk according to (by reason of) the law of the Lord." - verse 1

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your word (promise of provisions) preserves my life." - verse 50

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J02

God's Provisions: Faithful and Free, Not Forced or Based on Behavior

One prevalent view of God is that he is sort of a self-absorbed omnipotence in the universe manufacturing circumstances and manipulating people for whatever might be his self-serving purpose. But we are not pawns for God's amusement.

God lives for us

God created us and is in relationship to us, not for what we can do for him, but for what we will allow him to do for us. He lives for us, not we for him.
He prepares the table

We do not feed God; he feeds us. It is he who prepares the meal. He also who sets the table.

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." - Psalm 23:5

The effectual call

Not only so, but he also comes to where we are to bring us back to the table. This is the effectual call. It is more than an invitation to come, but a drawing - like the sun calling up vapors from the earth.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." - John 6:44

"When I am lifted up (in death) from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." - John 12:32

"...God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14b

Not based on merit

This calling to the table is without regard to anything that is true about us - not even how valuable or deserving we are (which we are not).

This means we do not need to strive to make ourselves worthy - to superficially posture ourselves to turn this way or the other, bow east or west, crawl on our knees, or have one particular religious thought or worthy disposition of the heart or another.

Provided but not imposed

God's provisions to sustain life flow faithfully and fully to all, but they are not imposed. The effectual call of the Holy Spirit is powerful to draw us to the table, but he does not force us to receive the meal he has prepared.

"Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." Revelation 22:17

"Ho! Everyone in need, come to the waters, and he who has no strength, let him get food: come, get bread without money; wine and milk without cost." - Isaiah 55:1 (Bible in Basic English)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 8J01

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved

TO Volume 6