TGP Volume 10
(July/August/September 2010)

The Grace Perspective: 2000-2010

The first TGP was written July 26, ten years ago. Several thousand postings have followed. Each presents a grace perspective on The Scripture which is not mainstream, but also, not usually supported by our conservative, evangelical brethren, who have not been shy to tell me so. But I have never insisted that our perspective is right and am not intolerant to being considered wrong. Actually, it is not my particular perspective that matters, but the understanding given to each of us by the Holy Spirit as we take extended time daily to sit quietly with an open Bible for
  • Scripture reading (in order to hear God),
  • confession concerning who he is and our need for need,
  • prayer and quiet-time worship (in order to experience Christ and manifest the Light of who he is into a dark world.)
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective      

Why a Renewal Church?

In the 1970’s, Christian Life magazine listed the 10 largest Sunday Schools in America. It was noted that seven of those churches were pastored by men who had been influenced by J. Frank Norris. Dr. Norris in the 1950’s had pastored the world’s two largest churches at the same time, First Baptist Church in Fort Worth and Temple Baptist Church in Detroit. (The man God used to most influence my early ministry was mentored by Dr. Norris.)

Several observations:

1. Most, if not each, of those seven churches do not exist today as they once did. In fact, Norris’ Fort Worth church merged about 20 years ago with another church in order to remain viable.

2. It has been noted by some who were there that, while the impact Dr. Norris had for good was great, many lives were also hurt as well. That’s because the passion leaders sometimes have to reach their organizational goals is at the expense of workers who are crushed by the intense pace and demands made upon them.

3. The need for renewal churches exists for just that purpose – that is, to serve the renewal needs of hurting people who attempt to give more than they have received. It was to these that Jesus called,

“Come to me all you who have tried to do God’s work in your own strength and are now worn down and broken, and I will give you recovery.” - paraphrased from Matthew 11:28-29

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I30

Serving Notice on God

God does not serve notice on us, but we on him. This in the same way water or food does not say to us “you are on probation to love me, and if you do not, you will be in trouble with me.” Instead, all of God’s provisions call out for us to “come, receive, and you will be supported.” The promise/challenge/guarantee of God is: "If you do not find me faithful, you do not need to tolerate me just anyhow."

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” – Psalm 34:8

So we do not hesitate a second to say to God, "You have made promises to me concerning who you are, I have opened the door of my heart to you, and expect you to be in me who you promised to be, and to do what you promised to do. If I do not find you to be true and helpful, I am not going to continue connecting to you."  

It is on the basis of this concept that grace resources do not abandon those they are giving opportunity to serve - that is, parents do not slap punish their children who misbehave, but rather investigate to discover how their support needs are being missed. Also, husbands do not kick their wives to the curb who aren't happy, but seek to learn in what ways they have been failed.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I29

"Torn by Three Calls: To Travel, Transition, or Continue" is at Journey Notes

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I28 

Thanksgiving: More than Etiquette, It’s the Ultimate Expression of Our Faith

God desires only the opportunity to invest in our lives. His goodness to us is motivated by his love for us and commitment to our redemption (recovery). It is not with expectation of a return that meets his needs (because he has none). Nor is it to win our praise in the carnal way humans seek it, but only in the sense that we recognize him as the source of our health, remain connected to him for the flow of his provisions into our lives, and commend him to others.

Indeed, we give thanks to God, but it is not in the sense of politeness or even gratitude so that he is not offended with us. Rather, it is the ultimate expression of our faith (along with confession, trust, and obedience) that God’s provisions are faithful and effectual to accomplish his redemptive purpose in our lives and of our desire and commitment to stay connected to him.

This is the reason we can confess throughout the day, “I thank you, Lord, that you are right now accomplishing your redemptive plan for my life at this time and in this place.”

"O LORD my God, you are very great (because of your support to me)." - Psalm 104:1


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I27

Chasing After God’s Care and Attention: It is Not Appropriate or Necessary!

Indeed, God is great! His resources are great! We magnify him, not in order to win his favor so that maybe we can receive provisions from him, but because he works faithfully, purely, and sacrificially to support us for making the choices that establish us in health.

"O LORD, I will honor you highly (in the sense of giving you opportunity for influence in my life), because you have pulled me out (of the pit)." - Psalm 30:1

God is in relationship to us, not for anything we can do for him, but for what he wants us to give him opportunity to do for us. This means, chasing after God's care and attention, or his provisions, is not appropriate or necessary. We already have them! They are at the door of our hearts waiting for us to receive them.

We sometimes pursue God because we miss understanding his redemptive plan or have no faith concerning it. Or it may be that we have no experience of it - not because God has failed to provide, but because, either we have not connected (opened the door) to his resources that provide them, or the resources we are connected to are dysfunctional.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I24

The Codependent Church Caper

I grieve because of the failure of parents and husbands to live out their roles to support the health needs of those they are called to serve. I grieve also when church leadership fails in that way - when "missional" churches receive significant offerings, and then use the funds to build impressive structures (as monuments to their egos, I sometimes think) or even for noble outreach causes, including to feed the hungry and homeless in the community.

Never mind that among its own members (those who give the money and volunteer help) are hurting, broken lives and families.

It does not occur to them that God’s purpose for church leadership is to first care for its members, the same as a minister first cares for his own health and that of his family. Maybe they are too focused on being heroes in the community and winning denominational recognition. Whatever, they fail to investigate the needs that exist among their own.

Instead, the hurting are called on to give and serve their way to health. They are provided opportunities for participation in community service which makes them feel good for a time, not understanding that service which is not supported by health soon results in injury. They are supported by motivational preaching and teaching to identify what the Christian life looks like and the standards for life and service to others which God expects of them. They go to classes to study so that they can be increased in their knowledge of what the Bible says. They call it being fed. I call it being puffed up. Sheep who are being fed are being increased in health, not brokenness.  

On the flip side, I grieve for members who are not really seeking support for making wise choices that establish them in health, but seek mostly for hugs and comforting words which provide superficial pain relief. This is classic codependent behavior.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I23

The Grace Option: Speaking the Truth in Love

Legalism cares little for health, but only for conformity to the rules, and will verbally pound on others to get it. The pounding is criticism to condemn and intimidate.

But the other extreme is to say nothing. At the root of wimping out to not speak the truth is the fear of offending others and losing their favor – which means our relationship to others is about us after all.

Speaking the truth in love is the grace option. It takes care not to offend but is motivated by the heart of Christ to support the health needs of others - which means, the relationship is not about us, whether we are liked, but about others, whether they are supported for health.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.” - Ephesians 4:15


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I22

Plan B: The Blind Leading the Blind

Carole and I enjoy day trips into rural areas just for sightseeing. When she is driving, I will sometimes say, “Wow, look over there, Honey!” and I will put my hand on the steering wheel to guide the vehicle while she looks. But I have caught myself on occasions also looking in the direction I asked her to look. This meant, of course, that although my hand was on the steering wheel, no one was really driving. It gives new meaning to the blind leading the blind.

I remember this when I sometimes hear about the plans carnal parents have for rearing their children. Recently, a mother insisted her children needed to be exposed to the world so they would know how to deal with life when they got away from home. It was the same as suggesting they would know better how to deal with drugs by taking them. Once a wife expressed her hope to work out of the home so that she could support her husband to stay home and care for the children and duties of the house.

God has a perfect plan for our lives and our homes. If we embrace the vine principle to guide our understanding, God’s perfect plan is for the husband/dad to provide and protect and for the wife/mom to minister to the children and care for the house. I understand that other scenarios exist that are acceptable to our American culture, but I believe they are mostly Plan B, wilderness experiences, not God’s perfect plan which has the best outcome.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I21

Comments on Codependent Behavior in the Church

Textbook definitions for “codependent behavior” can be wordy. Actually it means (GracePoint definition) “two people using/tolerating each other for the purpose of superficial pain relief.”

It can exist in the home, among friends, but also in the church. In the church, folks gather, not so much to find support for making choices that increase them in health, but in search of a superficial feel-good experience. Health is not in the equation.

The feel-good experience may be the exchange of hugs and kind words. Stroking, I call it. Or it may be service to others to meet pain-relief needs, such as to the homeless, hungry, etc..

Sometimes, the experience is tolerance - tolerance to the preaching, teaching, and singing. They have become boring, but it is the price paid for the little payoff of getting stroked.

Grace counseling contrasts codependent behavior with grace living which, by our definition, means enabled investment in the health needs of others in the home, church, and community without expectation of return.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I20

Receiving Our Way to Health: God’s Plan for Giving

The radio preacher insisted that God’s plan for our personal prosperity is to give to others. He reported giving $5 to a stranger and, in only a few minutes, a stranger gave him $20. Indeed, Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given to you” (Luke 6:38). But if we want to consider this instruction and promise in the context of organic life (the grace covenant principle), we must conclude that it was given with the assumption of God’s enablement in our lives to comply. That’s the reason Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But what about the law of sowing and reaping? Does that not mean we must sow before we can reap? Absolutely, but we can sow only what has been sown into us by our resources. We cannot (and should not attempt to) give what we do not have. Injury, by definition, is the result of a demand made upon us (by others or ourselves) greater than our strength to meet it. It was exactly to those injured in this way that Christ called “Come unto me and I will give you recovery” (Matthew 11:28).

We do not give our way to health, but receive our way to health. God’s plan is for us to live and give out of our faith, strength, and abundance, not out of our weakness.

“And God is able to make all grace 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 10I17

She's Famous

"Do you know who I am?" the young lady asked.

"Well, um, I..."

"It's okay, you can be honest."

"Well, I don't ... but now that you mentioned it..."

"So you don’t recognize who I am?"

"Are you famous?"

"Yes I am, sort of, I think. I want to be! That's why I am asking."

"Can you tell me why I should know you?"

"Yes, I'm on Facebook!"

"Of course! You are on the World Wide Web!"

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I16

The Miracle of Health 

Health Minister, David Williams stated to a small group this week that he had received a miracle. He explained that he did not mean an instant event as some understand miracles, but that the sowing and reaping outcome of the choices he has made for health during the past year has had a wonderful outcome.

"My health," he said, "is a miracle."

Of course it is human nature to want God to give us an instant "miracle" which we think will immediately change our circumstances. But from a grace perspective, we have a different understanding about miracles. 

1) God has provided every need we have for health. We experience healing when we receive his provisions. (“Asking in prayer” means “to receive.”)

2) This means, in the same way we can open our hearts to receive God’s provision of Christ's Life for holiness and happiness (the process of sanctification), we can also make appropriate choices for diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation with the timely outcome that they will produce in us the miracle of health.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I15

An Open Letter to a Healing Husband

Whatever your wife feels right now, it is important that she is honest with you and herself about it. Only then can the healing begin. Wives can get stuck when they are told their feelings are not valid and to "get over" them. By gender, women tend to be people pleasers anyhow. Sometimes the tendency is compounded if they are Sanguine in Affection needs. Also, when they are connected to resources who have an expectation for them to perform, especially in the name of religion or tradition, in time, they will get burned out and unhappy. My counsel to wives is to 1) focus on their own health (not just superficial pain relief) so that they can be enabled for ministry to their children, and 2) stop attempting to be a support person for their husbands or others who are not their responsibility to support.

On your part, you are a recovering user, which means you are subject to the tension and anxiety of withdrawals, much the same as an addict. Maybe years from now, after your wife has recovered from the “making everyone happy” load she has carried for so long, you will be able to occasionally express in a small amount the challenges of your recovery, but you absolutely have no opportunity to do that at this time. Instead, she needs leadership from you. That means for you to live in health so that you can be a support to her. Again, she is not a resource or support for your recovery.

That is part of the reason for you to be out of the home during your recovery period – so that she won't continue to see you in your current state of brokenness – even though you are healing.

You are doing good right now to have your quiet time each day. But that is only the foundation. There are other critical choices you need to be making. They include:

1. The Sunday A Grace Renewal Church Experience
2. The Thursday Basics for Building Fitness, Faith, and Family class
3. Weekly individual or couples counseling

If you hit and miss with these, even to substitute other choices which are "good" but not most important for you and your family at this critical time in your lives, the outcomes you hope for will be compromised.

Also, you would benefit by talking with others who have been on the journey you are now on and who know The Plan and the challenges.

This is straightforward, but I want very much for you and your family to be established in health and happiness.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I14

Remembering 9/11: Revealing the Worst of Religion

Legalistic religion demands outright compliance to rules. It is motivated, not by compassion for our health, but by its lust for power and control. Its chief strategy for imposing its will is fear and intimidation. When its expectations are not met, it reacts in anger to punish.

The events of 9/11/01 revealed the worst of religion to pound on a way of life (freedom) that does not accommodate its need to control. Contrasting religion, God calls us to health through his faithful love and care for us. He is very kind to put up with us and to deal patiently with us in order to lead us to him and to change the way we think and act.

“The purpose of God’s goodness is to lead you to repentance (a change of thinking leading to a change of behavior).” – Romans 2:4



Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I13

Receiving Grace Provisions: God’s One and Only Plan for Our Redemption

I hear frequently that hurting people need mostly to experience God’s love and acceptance. The notion seems spiritual enough but misses the grace perspective that God’s love is expressed to us through providing for our redemption (healing and recovery) needs - physically, psychologically, and especially spiritually - and is experienced by us through receiving those provisions.

The Scripture provides strong support for that concept, but the pseudo-grace perspective insists that hurting people need comfort support, not a theologian - the same as to say, it seems, that beliefs do not necessarily need to be rooted in doctrine. That’s a dangerous concept!

It is a particularly dangerous concept to guide counseling. For example, the pseudo-grace perspective insists that actively listening to let others release pent-up emotions is healing.

But however active listening may be fundamental to effective counseling, and whatever value providing opportunity for venting emotional buildup may have for pain relief, or even as a life-saving measure to support additional counseling on another day, venting, in and of itself, has no value for healing.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned (was certain) through that one man, how much more (certain and unfailing) will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of (his) righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:16-17

“I am not ashamed of the gospel (God’s redemptive plan), because the provision (of Christ’s blood/death and resurrected Life) it proclaims is the power (dynamic) of God for the salvation (healing/recovery) of everyone who believes (receives it): (It was given) first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God (Christ) is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live (are enabled) by faith (to receive God’s provisions).” – Romans 1:16-17 (GracePoint Interpretive Paraphrase)


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I10

Leadership: An Open Letter to Husbands

The leadership husbands are called to give begins with the investment we make in ourselves. This means, every man should focus first and foremost on
  • the choices he should make for his own health renewal and 
  • the resources he connects to that support him for making those choices.
Then, after a period of time (months, maybe), when he has been renewed to a good measure of strength, he can begin investing in (giving leadership to) others, beginning with his family. Now that's leadership.

This means, also, that right now you should be identifying where you need to be and what you need to be doing throughout the day for your own health. We can easily be drawn away by good things which interfere with God's best for us. For example, recreational time with family is important, but if they are hurting because you have failed in your leadership to them, your most critical need right now is to stay connected to the resources which support your renewal. That’s because, the greatest support you can give your family is a healthy husband and dad.

I always have God's care for you in my heart. 

Don Loy Whisnant/ The Grace Perspective 10I07

Redemptive Giving: It Is Not to God, But to Others

Labor Day is a fundraising time for organizations and ministries. The charlatan tv program this weekend insisted that God has promised blessings to those who sow into their ministry. But God’s plan for giving is for resource ministries to support/give to those they serve, not the opposite, and then for those served to give to those they, in turn, serve.

Also, the giving is redemptive giving - that is, it is not only to others, but for the purpose of supporting their healing and recovery needs. (That is the reason we do not give to God: He has no redemptive needs.)

Pre-school Logan and little brother, Gavin, each brought me an envelope recently with enough money to have bought themselves a nice toy. And they did it with excitement and big smiles. When I asked mom what she and dad were teaching them about giving, she explained it was about giving a percentage of the money they had earned to help meet the needs of others. I was blessed.

Sometimes it is appropriate for us to give to resources, but only in the sense that they are a surrogate or proxy in our service to others – that is, when they are our best opportunity to serve a particular need others have. For example, God may burden us for the needs of the lost in a far-away place where we cannot go, in which case we could sponsor another person or ministry to go in our behalf.

Somewhat on the same note: GracePoint ministers to the needs of others without expectation of return. That is the reason I do not accept payments or large personal gifts. When I sometimes say (usually trying to be cute) “don’t offer me anything you don’t want me to take,” I mean it with regard to the redemptive needs of others, but maybe also a token gift of kindness (a cup of tea or a slice of freshly baked bread) that we would give to friends and family. But mostly, I am attempting to teach about God’s redemptive provisions which he brings to the door of our lives, which we must also be willing to receive.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I06

Hard Concepts for Hurting Husbands to Consider: An Open Letter

You should not think too much about being a leader at this time except in the sense you are attending to yourself. The leadership you give right now to your wife will not be effectual, which means it may do more harm than good. That's because, as I have explained, the seed which God is sowing into your life must have time to produce healing in you. Only then should you hope to sow it into others.

Also, you should not think too much about your wife's issues. My support to you is to set her free. Actually, she needs to set herself free because God does. I understand your grief and your fears for her, but the solution begins with your embracing and trusting in God's redemptive plan leading to your personal healing and, in time to the recovery of your marriage.

Setting her free means you give up your expectations for her in your life. I know that is hard and may not make sense to you sometimes, but it is consistent with you focusing on your own health needs right now. Indeed, the investment you make in yourself is in the behalf of your family, but the program begins with you investing in your own recovery.

You should also give up your expectations for outcomes. Making wise choices for your health is your business, outcomes is God's responsibility. If God is the explanation for the healing in your life, the outcome will always be the same. 

Trust that God is working in you as you remain connected to him.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I03

The Willing Savior, Waiting to Serve

My frustrated friend suggested that he should react to be unkind to his neighbor in the way he had experienced his behavior to him. This, he thought, to teach him a lesson. I told him that was the reason thugs pounded on those they don’t like. I reminded him also that it was the way of terrorists.

But the Father of compassion never reacts to fight with us. Although we reject and ignore him, he remains faithful, patiently waiting at the door of our hearts.

“And remember, our Lord's patience gives people time to be saved.” – 2 Peter 3:15 (NLT)


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I02

"Sharing the Spotlight with Peter Marshall" is at Journey Notes 

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I01

Embracing the Gospel Message, Seeking to Be Set Free from Religious Nonsense

The well-known preacher expressed horror and grief recently because of the “Freedom from Religion” billboards popping up in major cities, 50 in Atlanta alone. One reads “Sleep in on Sunday!” Another, “In Reason We Trust” inscribed on a penny. He then followed to preach a passionate sermon declaring that God is faithful to those who honor, glorify, obey, and live for him – totally missing the connection between the legalistic message he preaches and the disinterest many people have in Christianity.

Actually, I would not mind having some freedom from his performance-based religion myself - especially the sermons to be heard in the pulpit and on tv and radio that are strong to identify what the Christian life looks like and also God’s expectations for us to conform to the standards it represents, including to tithe, attend church, read the Bible, etc., plus the long list of “don’ts” – all in order to make him smile and to win his favor so that, maybe (just maybe), he will give us a blessing – or, at the least, in order to stay out of trouble with him.

It’s just nonsense. God has no expectations for us to conform to his likeness, but only for us to open the door of our hearts and lives to receive his provisions for our redemption (healing and recovery). The promise of Scripture is that his provisions in us (beginning with Christ) are powerful/effectual to conform us to his likeness (Romans 8:29) - that is, to transform our minds, emotions, and wills - so that we are enabled to make the wise choices which establish us in health for this life and the next.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel (God’s redemptive plan), because the provision (of Christ’s blood/death and resurrected Life) it proclaims is the power (dynamic) of God for the salvation (healing/recovery) of everyone who believes (receives it).” – Romans 1:16 (GracePoint Interpretive Paraphrase)

“For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned (was certain) through that one man, how much more (certain and unfailing) will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of (his) righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:16-17


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H31

Pure Religion: Enabled Service to Others to Meet Redemptive Needs

Religion that is defiled is sacrificial (not enabled) compliance to performance (rather than health) rules in order to win/earn favor for self from God and even from others.

Said again: It is pursuing a relationship with God (or other resources) through obeisance (submission, genuflection) for the purpose of winning/earning a blessing or favor. It can also include service to others motivated by self need to feel or look good (codependent behavior driven by unmet needs for superficial significants).

Pure religion (expressions of piety, service) cares for others. James wrote,

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (1:27).

It is enabled service to others purely motivated by the compassion of Christ within us for their redemptive needs (healing, recovery) without expectation for a return that serves personal gain.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H30

Considering the Concepts of Grace: A Hard Sell to Some Husbands

My ministry friend said he disagreed with the concepts I present in counseling. I asked which concepts. He said he believed the husband is the head of the home. I said so did I. He said he meant that the wife should submit to her husband. I said so did I. When I explained the meaning of “head” and “submit” in the context of grace and the organic home, he was resistant. I asked him to consider whether he disagreed because he did not understand it or because he did not like it.

Grace leadership calls us to investment, first to connect to God’s resources for the flow of his investment into our lives, and then, out of our renewed strength, to invest in the renewal of those he has given us to serve. Our fallen human nature, however, calls us to our carnal desires (sometimes addictions) to be served. That is the reason lonely, hurting girls sometimes want to have babies so that they will have someone to love them, and also why men sometimes marry because they want a wife to meet their affection needs.

But Jesus said,

“I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life (for the redemption needs of others)." - Matthew 20:28

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H27

Christians Called to Performance: Satan’s Subtle Ploy

God’s best for us sets us free, not only from an eternity in Hell, but also from the hell that can exist in our lives on earth. We can indeed experience a measure of Heaven in this life. But that experience is the outcome of responding to the call of God to include his provisions in our lives every day.

The battle rages. God calls us to him for health, and “the enemy” (Satan, the world system [its culture and religion], and our fallen human natures) calls us away to brokenness.

The call away from God is not always to evil. Sometimes it is to good, but only in the sense that it does not outright destroy our health – that is, it does not poison our lives so that we drop dead on the spot. But neither does it establish us in health. This compromise is an acceptable outcome for the enemy because it leaves us in brokenness.

Satan called Jesus to that compromise in the wilderness. The crowd called him to political activity during his entrance into Jerusalem on the day before his crucifixion. At Calvary, when he was investing to provide for the redemptive needs of the world, they called him to show off his power by coming down from the cross.

Sometimes the call to good is to religious activity. This call may be Satan’s most subtle ploy – that is, to call Christians to “do-good” activities as a religious substitute for giving attention to their personal health and to the support of their families’ health needs.

Sometimes the call to good is to diet, exercise, Bible study, and even social ministry (to the homeless, hungry, etc.). It is also even to evangelical ministry (outreach to the lost). But when we are called away from careful attention to include God’s provision in our lives daily which renews us in health, we will miss God’s best.

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


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H26

God’s Control Over Circumstances: Invited, Not Imposed

“The Lord reigns!” (Psalm 97:1) Hallelujah! Indeed, he is in control.

By control, however, we do not mean he manipulates or circumvents outcomes, but that no power in all creation can prevail against his power.

“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

“If God is for us, who can be against us? …We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” - Romans 8:31-38

This means God is in control only in the sense that we are connected to the resources that supply his provisions. For example, if we drive on the wrong side of the road (tempting God), or step out from beneath the umbrella of his protection, we are removing ourselves from his care and making ourselves subject to the control of other forces. But when we are connected to God's provisions for our redemption (healing and recovery), we can live in confidence that God is indeed in control because his provisions cannot fail.

“If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the Lord, who is my refuge— then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” - Psalm 91:9-10

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H25

More Core Concepts to Guide Grace Counseling (A Review)

1) By a husband’s expectations of his wife we are referring to his carnal desires for her to meet his pain relief needs. It is not the same as hope - which is our confident expectation, rooted in and produced by faith (Hebrews 11:1), that
  • God’s provisions are powerful/effectual to accomplish his redemptive purpose (Philippians 1:20; Romans 1:16), and 
  • the seed of Life we sow into others which God has sown into us will produce fruit according to the promise in Psalm 126:5-6 and other Scripture.
When using the word expectation, it may be best to think in terms of our expectations of God to be who he is and to do what he does, not of others to meet our religious (and certainly not our self-serving) expectations and standards for them.

2) The covenant vow which the wife makes to her husband is to open the door of her heart (for the purpose of connecting to him as a resource) in order to receive his love, care, and influence for her life. It is based upon her confidence that her health matters to him and that he is a faithful, enabled resource. She has come to this confidence after an extended period of time during which she has had the opportunity to experience and evaluate his investment in her. It is not confidence she has because of the words he says to her which he wants her to believe anyhow.

3) Suffering is not a tool of God to produce holiness in us. This means, he did not identify qualities he wanted us to have and then chose suffering as a means to accomplish it. Every man is subject to suffering because of the judgment. If suffering produced holiness, every person would be holy. God’s provision to establish us in holiness is the Life of Christ renewed in us daily. He allows suffering as a sowing and reaping outcome only to call us to Christ. When the Bible says suffering is a test, it means that the adversities of life make a demand upon us for which we have no strength. It is in our confession of weakness that we turn to God’s provisions.

4) It is not weakness for us to stay on course to make wise choices each day for our health, trusting that God's provision which we include in our lives will make our seed effectual. Rather, it is weakness to abandon those choices, then attempt to manipulate, intimidate, or enforce the self-serving outcomes we want.

5) We look beyond behavior to the brokenness - of the person, but also of the system they are rooted in.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H24

Concerning the mercy of God, consider that
  • by definition, mercy is the compassionate nature/disposition of God out of which his grace (provisions for our salvation/healing) flows,
  • God is always merciful,
  • his grace flows to every person (Romans 5:15) - but only to the door of their hearts (mind, emotions, will); and
  • we are healed when we by faith trust/connect to receive those provisions (John 1:12; Romans 5:17; Revelation 3:20).
Consider also that God is in control in the sense his provision are powerful (effectual) and unchanging and no adversity can prevail against them, but not in the sense he arbitrarily imposes his will to do this or that because we have pleaded with him.

Consider also that the outcomes we hope for will not be the result of an intervention from God to provide in a way he has not already provided, but that they will be consistent with the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) which he has ordained to govern his creation. James 1:1-18 among many other verses of Scripture supports this.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H23

Don: You write about our need to stay connected to Christ, but if we are in Christ and he is in us, how can we ever be disconnected from him?

1) The Holy Spirit is resident in the spirits of believers, but enters our souls (mind, emotions, and will) only as he is invited during our quiet time worship.

2) We are immersed into Christ by the Holy Spirit (so that we are in him) when we trust God's provision of Christ's blood/death on the cross for our eternal salvation. Think of a sponge being immersed into a bowl of water. Also, consider that it is by this immersion into Christ that the spirit is born again. But the body is not born again, and neither is the soul. The soul experiences sanctification and fruitfulness only when we open the door of our hearts (the mind, emotions, and will) and are filled incrementally to fuller measure of the Life of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Again, by our spiritual immersion into union with Christ, we are in Christ. This is the basis/security of our eternal salvation. Christ is in us only in the sense that the Holy Spirit indwells our spirits, but he lives in our souls (to transform our minds, emotions, and wills) only as we abide in (remain connected to) him. This means we can be in Christ, but not connected to him so that he is in us.

3) This is supported by

Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, you will find rest for your souls."

Galatians 5:4: "You are severed from Christ, you who seek to be righteous by obeying the law; you have fallen away from (God's provisions of) grace." (Paul wrote this to the Galatia church.)

Hebrews 4:1: "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it."

Hebrews 6:4-6: "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit (who have been born again), and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away (from God's provisions for healing/sanctification), it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (because there is no other provisions other than God's provisions for them to consider or turn to), since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (since they reject God's provisions made possible by the blood/death of Christ)."

Hebrews 12:15: "See to it that no one misses the grace of God."

John 15:4-5: "Remain in (connected to) me. If you do not, you will not be fruitful."

Revelation 3:30: "I stand at the door (of the Laodicea church - his Bride) and knock; if any one will open the door, I will come in to him..."

Philippians 3:12-14: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize (sanctification) for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H20

Set Free from Performance to People-Pleasing: The Message Parents, Pastors, and Husbands Sometimes Hate

People-pleasing can exist in parent-child, husband-wife, and pastor-people relationships, usually child to parent, wife to husband, and people to pastor. But it can also be a codependent behavior (two people using each other for the purpose of superficial pain relief). It is rooted in the theology that God is in a power position over us demanding performance to meet his standards in order to please him and win his favor. Many parents, husbands, and pastors tend to love this theology because it supports the relationship they want that sets them up for being served.  

Our grace message is rooted in the theology that God is in a support position beneath us, that he is not in relationship (covenant) with us for what we can do for him, but for what we will allow him to do for us. Pastors, parents, and especially, husbands sometimes (actually more often than not) resist (even hate) the message of grace because it calls us to connect to God’s provisions for our health and sets us free from performing to please him or others.

But it is also for that reason (because it calls us to health) that sometimes wives resist the grace message. When health is not the deep desire of their hearts (and it is for superficial pain relief instead), they will settle for a "you please me and I will please you" relationship (codependency). 

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H19

Pointing Counselees to Christ: The Priority Call of Grace Counseling

I welcome the opportunity counselees give me to provide guidance and support, including to teach the Scripture. But if the foundation of their understanding about God is the information I share, they will have reason to wonder if what they believe is Truth.

My role as a counselor-minister is to point hurting people to Christ - that is, to hear and experience him by the Holy Spirit through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship. Everything else I say to them must be weighed in the light of the Truth which they are learning from him, coming to faith (conviction) concerning, and embracing.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H18

The Goal of Grace Ministry: Support for Making Choices to Increase Competency in Service to the Community

I rejoice in the report that a local "missional" church has experienced rapid growth recently. It means that many are hearing the message of Christ who probably would not. Of course, growth does not always mean God’s redemptive plan is being accomplished. For example, there are groups and movements which grow quickly who do not at all communicate the gospel. But this church, I think, presents a needed message.

The concern, however, is that their goal may be growth in numbers for the sake of numbers – maybe like a college or professional football or basketball program.

I read this week that my favorite college coach, University of Georgia’s Mark Richt, might be on the “hot seat” if his program does not win the SEC championship this year – never mind that his teams have averaged over 10 wins a year during his 9 years as coach. But in the SEC, the demands are high for each team to win big. It’s a bondage to numbers, I fear, because numbers represent their self worth.

I lived a lot of years in that bondage. My goal was to build a large church, although I would have piously insisted it was because of the compassion of Christ in me for the lost. Whatever measure of that virtue may have been true, I confess now that I was driven too much by my need to be a winner. The local missional church leaders insist they are not afflicted in that way. I say good for them.

They are obviously on a high. There is absolutely an emotional payoff in a winning performance. Just ask any athlete or entertainer. I remember those highs: It was for those feel-good moments that I worked so hard. It was a drug I depended on to deal with/survive my brokenness.

Grace ministry has the same missional goals long-term. But the priority goal is to support believers for the choices they must make, especially to experience daily intimacy with Christ, which establish them in health. This means, the ministry they provide in the community to others will be enabled and effectual. All other efforts are “wood, hay, and stubble” and, in time, will prove to have no eternal value (John 15:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

"He has made us competent as ministers." - 2 Corinthians 3:6a

"God gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." - Ephesians 4:11-12

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H17

Addictions: Satan’s Strategy to Call Seekers Away from Christ

God calls us to intimacy with Christ by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture. But we are also called away from him by
  • Satan, the Deceiver,
  • the love of money,
  • the pride of life and
  • the lust of the eye.
We are also called away by our addictions (the lust of the flesh).

“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire (lusts), he is dragged away and enticed.” – James 1:14

During the time I worked as a family ministry director with drug and alcohol addicts in a treatment center, many of those we served had a deep desire to experience Christ and the healing he gives. Some had even been called into ministry, licensed by their churches, and served effectually for a time. But the call of their addictions overwhelmed them and they found themselves in defeat and in a recovery center for treatment.

Addictions to drugs and alcohol, pornography, and even sex (also video games, entertainment, and recreation) are powerful to oppose the goal we have for our counseling with men for them to experience Christ. For this reason, few who are in addiction follow through to the recovery which God promises. But it is not because his provisions are not faithful. No darkness of sin can prevail against the light of God’s presence within us

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H16

"Don, how can having sex be an addiction when the need seems so normal?"

When sex is a recreation, it will result in an addiction. To illustrate: God gave food to support health. Every food he provides empowers us for living. He also gave aesthetic value (taste) to food. He was not obliged to do that, but he did. Thank you, Lord, very much!

But when we make taste the reason we eat, it becomes a recreation. Rather than food being a resource to which we connect for the flow of God’s provisions to support our health, we use it for superficial pain relief. The problem is: When we eat food because it tastes good rather than because it is good for our health, the result is unmet needs and broken health.

The result is also addiction. God's provisions establish us in health and empower us for life and service to others. But every choice we make to meet our essential needs which disregards God's provisions for meeting those needs results in addiction. That's because of our fallen human nature: We become bored with (build a tolerance to) the foods that taste good and move on to something more interesting and tasty. Actually, we become bored with anything we do for superficial reasons (because it tastes good or feels good). However, the foods we eat that God provides to support our health always satisfy. Whoever tired of water or became addicted to it?

God’s plan for sex was to procreate life. The husband is a resource for the investment of the seed that supports his wife for living out her calling to be a mother. God gave aesthetic value to the experience. He was not obliged to do that, but he did. Thank you, Lord, very much! But when we make the aesthetic value the reason we have sex, it is reduced to a recreation.

Again, the problem is the nature of our fallen human condition. We become bored with anything we do for superficial reasons. A husband thinks his wife is the problem, but the problem is that he is a user, and whatever he uses today for superficial pain relief will not serve him in the same way tomorrow. So he begins to look around, never mind his health and commitment to his wife and family. This is classic addiction.

To use another illustration: God gave music to provide an aesthetic value for the experience of hearing the Gospel. But when the music instead of the words becomes the reason we listen to a song, in time, we will tire of the song. However, if the words are the reason we listen, the song never gets old. That has been exactly my experience. I got very bored with the church songs of my childhood because I did not have an appreciation for the words, but sang and listened to them for the sound. Fortunately, I learned about God’s redemptive plan for music (to provide aesthetic value to our experience of hearing the Gospel message), returned to hear the words of those old songs, and wonderfully benefit from hearing and singing them today.

See Q&A: The Home

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H13

Christ In Us and We In Christ: The Reality

We are in Christ, and he is in us. Make that, literally we are in Christ, and he is in us. No doubt the underappreciation some have for that reality is because they view it as positional – that we are in Christ and he is in us only in the mind of God or the same as a child is in the family.

However, when we trusted the blood/death of Christ on the cross for our eternal salvation, we were literally immersed into spiritual union with Christ by the Holy Spirit making us members of his Body as literally as a sponge can be immersed into water. This means, we are each members of the Body of Christ (the Church, his Bride) which is a living spiritual entity of believers existing on earth as one in the same way that three distinct Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as one God. The Body of Christ is more than an assembly of believers in a local church sanctuary; it is the existence of Christ on earth as a spiritual entity. That is the meaning of

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” – Romans 12:4-5

"For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.” – Colossians 2:19

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:16

“In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in (sanctuary for) the Lord.” – Ephesians 2:21

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

Christ is also in us. Not figuratively, but literally. He dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit - in the inmost chamber of our being, the spirit. He entered our spirits the moment we were immersed into spiritual union with the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Just as surely as food and water fill our stomachs and air fills our lungs, Christ lives within our spirits.

It is by this immersion that our spirits are born again. This is the meaning of

“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth (the Logos, which is Christ – John 1:1-18), that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (manifest in kind who he is).” - James 1:18

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H12

Don, God is in control.

Yes, God is in control, but that does not mean he arbitrarily manipulates his creation in order to accomplish the outcomes he wants; rather, it means his provisions prevail against all adversity and are powerful to produce healing in us when we are connected to the resources that provide them.

Don, God is working out all things according to his purpose.

We know (by our experience of the evidence) that in all circumstances, including failure and defeat, and even in the darkness, God works (is working) to meet our redemptive (healing/recovery) needs. This is the promise of Romans 8:28.

But the promise is not unconditional, or to everyone. It is to those who “love him” (value his provisions for our healing and recovery) and are the called (connected) to his resources for the flow of his provisions into their lives.

The “called” are not those who are being called, because he is calling everyone, but those who have responded to his call by receiving his provisions. This understanding is based upon the Greek word, kletos, which means “saint” (as in sanctified).”

Don, the problem is that Christians want Christ as their Savior but not their Lord.

If you mean that we should not only want Christ as our Savior (Healer and Provider) but also as our boss, consider that God has no interest in being our boss. He is interested only in our recovery to health and our willingness to receive his provisions.

God’s new covenant relationship to us is not a power position over us, but a support position beneath us. Christ indeed is Lord (Greek, kurious: master, owner) but not Lord over us in the sense he imposes rulership over us. Rather he is Lord in the sense of his power to provide our needs.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H11

Boarding God’s Boat: A Grace Primer on Prayer 

Rodney, my senior friend, loves to tell the story (short version) about the man who was forced to climb a tree during a flood. He prayed for God to save him from drowning. A boat came by to offer rescue but the man said he had prayed and that God would save him. The man drowned and in Heaven he fussed at God for not answering his prayer. God told him he had sent him a boat but that he had refused to get in.

I encouraged my young counselee friend to take time each day to read the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ. He said he was reading a book on prayer. I encouraged him to attend our Grace Renewal Church meeting. He said he was going on a mission trip to a developing country. I encouraged him to enroll in our Basics for Building Fitness, Faith, and Family class. He said he was planning to enroll in a training course for church workers.

Recently he called to say that he was struggling with his life and asked me to pray for him. I asked him how I should pray. He said to pray for God to intervene to change his circumstances. I said I would, and then I asked him to put down his book on prayer and take time each day to read the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ, also to attend our Grace Renewal Church meeting, and to enroll in our Basics for Building Fitness, Faith, and Family class.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H10

Making the Effort Effectual: The First Focus of Ministry to Enable Evangelism

Grace ministry passionately embraces winning the lost to Christ as its extended goal. It has no Scriptural right to exist otherwise. However, in order for the effort to win the lost to be effectual, grace ministry first attends to the need broken people have for a season of healing and renewal in preparation for the effort. This is contrary to the notion “missional” or mega churches seem to have that humans are increased in enablement for the work by the performance of it – never mind the preparation, as if we can work and give our way to health, the same, for example, as attempting to prepare for a marathon by setting out on a 26.2 mile run instead of first implementing a program of conditioning. Whatever might be learned by that effort would be through injury.

Consider also that we come into this world broken and need renewal before we attempt service to others – in the same way an injured patient needs a period of recovery before attempting to return to the duties and demands of life.

Attention to preparation before attempting performance seems to make good sense. Who would want to live in a house, eat a meal, or ride in an airplane provided by persons who were learning on the go? For this reason, GracePoint focuses first to support those we serve for making the wise choices which help establish them in health so that they are enabled in their service to others.

“God gave (to the church) some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for the work of the ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-13

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful (enabled me to be faithful), putting me in the ministry.” – 1 Timothy 1:12

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H09

The Secret for Enablement in Service to the Community: The Call to Experience Christ

Service to others is noble and religious, but it not a substitute for experiencing Christ. Sometimes it might even be an interference to the cause of Christ. That’s because service that is not enabled is ineffectual and may also misrepresent to others “who Christ is”. That may be the reason recent research has reported that the mega church movement has had no impact on their communities to support social values - to reduce drug and alcohol abuse, crime rates, and broken homes. This gives additional insight to the confession Paul made in Philippians 3:7: 

"But whatever was to my profit (including religious activity), I now consider loss (a detriment) for the cause of Christ."

The focus of grace ministry is to hold up Christ, call hurting people to him, guide them for knowing how to experience him through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and private, quiet time worship with the confidence that the Light of who Christ is in us will manifest to reveal God and make him appealing in a dark world.

"He has made us competent as ministers..." - 2 Corinthians 3:6a

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H06

Priority Giving to Relieve the Poor: When Good People Reverse God's Plan for Redemption

Daily quiet time to be renewed by Christ is our most critical need. Our experience of him will support us for making the follow-up choices which connect us to supportive resources in the home and church and, further, for making the choices that help establish us in physical fitness and health (Diet exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation or DELS).

DELS does not typically call us back to Christ (as the root or foundation of our health), but instead to pride and performance, and can become a religious experience in and of itself, substituting for intimacy with Christ. Also, while supportive relationships may encourage us forward to DELS, they most often do not call us back to Christ. For this reason, grace ministry calls hurting people first to Christ and then only secondarily to supportive relationships in the home and church and to DELS.

In this same vein, we hate to hear the reports of cruelty to animals, but more than for the animals, we grieve for the brokenness of those who are cruel to animals. My pet-loving friend missed that sentiment when he insisted that "people who torture animals will also torture people." But that would be true only if they valued people less than animals. He may have meant to say that people who torture people would also torture animals.

Taking the thought even further, God calls good people to care about the survival needs of starving people, especially those in the poorest nations. But the most critical ministry to which he calls us is to care about the spiritual need of broken lives to experience Christ. However, if time and money invested is an index of concern, good people sometimes reverse the priority of God’s redemptive plan.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H05

Service Focused on Others: The Purely Motivated Ministry

Jesus is the Gate to ministry. We enter into redemptive ministry, called and prepared by him - this so that we are enabled, made competent, and purely motivated for it by his Life in us. Otherwise, we may be wrongly or superficially motivated by self interest, which might include to experience appreciation or significance (or even prominence, position, and power).

But any motivation for ministry which is superficial will in time diminish – mainly because our carnal nature builds tolerance to the experience of self-serving, tends to expect more, and then moves on elsewhere in hopes of finding it. (Co-dependency works that way also: Two people using each other for pain relief, in time, become disappointed with the return.)

Purely motivated ministry, however, (which only Christ makes possible) attends to the redemptive needs of others without over-attention to self-centered needs.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” – 1 John 2:19

“Having fallen in love with this present world, he left (the ministry).” – 2 Timothy 4:10

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H04

God's Provisions to Meet Our Priority Needs, Manifesting in Increased Enablement (A Review)

1) God is faithful to provide resources for meeting our essential needs. These resources are multi-dimensional - physical (biological), psychological (mind, emotions, and will), and spiritual.

2) God has provided for these resources in 1) creation, 2) through community (supportive relationships in the home and church), and especially through relationship to Christ and his Word by the Holy Spirit.

3) When our multi-dimensional support needs are met we are energized and happy and enabled for life and service to others, beginning in the home. When they are not met, we suffer.

4) The deeper dimensionally our need are, the more essential they are to our holistic health. This means, as essential as food and water are to our physical health, our met relationship needs are even more essential long-term with consideration of our overall well-being. That’s because 90 percent or more (we are told) of physical illnesses is the result of unmet psychological needs (called psychosomatic illnesses).

5) Also, the more inclusively our needs are being met, the more supported we are for energized living. This means, when our biological and psychological needs are both being met, we have wonderful increased potential each day to be energized for our lives and work.

6) But this means, also, that our most essential need for health is our experience of Christ's life flowing up from our spirits (where he lives by the Holy Spirit) into our souls (our minds, emotions, and wills), then onward and outward, psychosomatically, to manifest in health for our bodies.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H03

Asking in Prayer: It is More Than a Request

1) God has made provisions for our good health. When we miss including them in our daily lives, we suffer brokenness. But God has also made provisions for our healing: They are the same provisions that support good health.

2) But what about prayer? Doesn’t the Bible instruct us to ask God for healing?

Absolutely, but not in the sense of pleading, imploring, and crying out to God for a quick-fix restoration to health. Rather, it is in the sense that asking means to include in our daily lives God’s provisions for our healing and good health.

(The Bible meaning of words are sometimes expanded beyond our English understanding. For example, to believe that a boat is seaworthy means, in the Bible sense, more than just having an opinion about it; rather, it means to get on the boat.)

In counseling, I use water to illustrate. When we miss including water in our daily lives, we suffer thirst. But God has made provisions for our healing from thirst: It is to include water in our daily lives.

3) But can we not ask God for relief from our thirst?

Absolutely, but only in the sense of lifting up a bottle of water to our lips and drinking it. That’s because “asking” in the Bible sense means more than requesting a favor; it is opening the door to receive God's provisions for our health. That is why Jesus could promise, “Ask, and you will receive.” It is also (for illustration) what we could say about someone who past a test because he studied hard, that he “got what he asked for.”

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

4) These provisions are biological (nutrition from the soil and atmosphere), psychological (supportive relationships in the home and church), and spiritual (Christ). Each is powerful (effectual and faithful) to accomplish the purpose for which God provided it.

5) But the most powerful, by far, is God’s provision of Christ.

His Life in us has power to support us in long-term health. That’s because he IS Life and the Giver and Sustainer of Life.

“Through him all things were made.” -John 1:3

“All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16b-17

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

6) Also, it is his Life in us which supports us for making wise choices to include the other of God’s provisions for our health.

It is the very presence of his Life in our hearts (mind, emotions, and will) which produces in us “who he is” – that is, his love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness (giving), meekness, faith, and temperance (support for perseverance) – which psychosomatically promotes in our bodies a healthy environment for healing, in the same way stress, anger, fear, anxiety, and tension promote the production of toxins in the body which sabotage our healing.

“For it is God who works in us both to desire and to do (i.e., to include in our lives his provisions for our health) according to his good will.” – Philippians 2:13

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10H02

More Core Concepts to Guide Grace Counseling (A Review)

1) Our failed past is relevant only as a reference to remind us of the law of sowing and reaping. It has no power to prevail against God's provisions to heal our present.

2) All failed behavior is rooted in brokenness which is the result of unmet needs. This means we do not fail because we are bad, but because we are broken.

3) God gave the law to teach us the choices we could make which will establish us in health and happiness. It was not given as a standard by which God measures our worthiness or loyalty to him with consideration of blessings or threat of punishment.

4) God’s covenant with us is based upon what he can do for us that establishes us in health, not what we can do for him. He is already healthy.

5) Sin, by definition, is the choices we make that disregard God’s provisions for meeting our needs. It is not behavior that makes us bad, or God mad, but that makes us sick.

6) Forgiveness means removal. It is two-fold. First, it is the instant removal of God’s judgment (separation from God) against us because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. It was removed the moment we trusted in the blood/death of Christ on the cross as the only payment he will accept to satisfy that judgment. Second, it is the incremental removal of our broken sinful condition as we include in our lives each day God’s provisions for our healing which flow into our lives through his resources in creation, community, and especially Christ.

7) Forgiving ourselves means to make choices everyday to include God's provisions into our lives which result in our healing.

8) Our most critical need is to experience Christ each day through reading the Scripture (in order to hear God), confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G30

Grace: God’s Plan for Health Focused on the Fullness of His Provisions

The Old Testament (Covenant) is loaded with “thou shall not’s,” but grace (the New Covenant) calls us, not so much to exclusions, but to inclusions - that is, to include/receive into our lives God’s provisions which support us for making wise choices that increase us in health.

Of course, exclusions are critical. That is the reason we take care not to drive on the wrong side of the road and also to exclude elements of the world which sabotage our health. But a regimen that focuses mostly on "don'ts" (touch not, taste not, handle not), while it seems pious, has no power to enable righteousness leading to holiness.

This is the teaching of Colossians 2.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men, but with the circumcision done by Christ (the spiritual procedure to cut off the sinful nature), having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead (vss. 9-12).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G29

“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

God makes himself available to us so that we can know him in the sense of experiencing him - in the same way, for example, that we can be conscious of the sun, but also experience its warmth, or be conscious of food or water on the table, but also experience its presence in our bodies to renew our strength. This means the love, joy, and peace of God can be more than the attributes of God but also our experience of “who he is” in us.

This also helps us to understand the meaning of

“Jesus, the Bread of Life” (John 6:48-66).

Jesus said, “I am the bread (Seed) of life (See John 1:1-4). Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the (Seed) that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living (Seed) that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this (Seed) (through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship), he will live forever. This (Seed) is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the (Seed) of the Son of Man and drink (trust/receive) his blood (as God provision to satisfy his judgment against us because of Adam's disobedience), you have no life in you. Whoever eats my (Seed) and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my (Seed) is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my (Seed) and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me (See also John 15:1-8) will live because of me. This is the (Seed) that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this (Seed) will live forever.”

Upon hearing this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

“This is a hard teaching”, they said, “Who can accept it?”

Jesus said to them, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh (self-enabled effort) counts for nothing (John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 3:12). The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe (connect to receive).”

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G28

Codependency: Broken Behavior Based in Unmet Needs and Biggest Barrier to Redemptive Ministry

GracePoint's definition of a codependent relationship is two hurting people using each other for superficial pain relief. It is based in unmet redemptive needs, results in addiction and anger, making it the biggest barrier to ministry which supports recovery.

I thought of this again recently when a young man approached me at the gas station to ask for money. I asked him if he had a driver’s license (the question to always ask). He said he didn't, but I could tell he felt judged and did not appreciate me asking.

(To digress a bit: The most impossible persons to provide redemptive ministry to may be the one who is intolerant to confessing their brokenness and need because of their pain of feeling judged. They feel judged, not because of what they hear that condemns them, but because of what they have missed hearing, especially in their formative years at home, that wins their confidence they are valued.)

I asked if he had a job. Quickly tiring of me and stepping away, he said he didn’t, that he just needed money. I called to him to ask if he had any family. He shook his head and waved me off. It may have been to say he had family but that they only cared about themselves because they would not give him any money.

The young man may have been failed by the people God put in his life to serve him, so that, in his pain and pursuit of relief, he had made some poor choices which left him broken, in addiction to pain relief, and without a job. Worse, the only help he really wanted now was for a handout - which meant, the people he approached for money had the option to offer help that would support his recovery, or, in order to avoid being judged by him as caring only about themselves, to give him money to support his addictions.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G27

God’s Faithfulness to Provide Every Need as Promised, But Always According to Priority

If this is true, it means that 
  • although we cannot ask God, even with bitter tears, to circumvent the outcome of our past choices in the sense of making them go away or giving us a pass (so to speak),
  • we can begin to include his provisions of grace in our lives which will support a different outcome in due season.
We can trust that God is committed to meeting every essential need we have for our health and happiness. This statement is sometimes challenged, however, when we have needs which are not being met, for example, for relationship support.

“If God is committed to my happiness, why has he not brought into my life the friends and family I need?” is sometimes the question I am asked.

We can better understand the reason when we consider that God meets our needs in the order of their priority (as he has determined it) and that our deepest, most important need is to be renewed daily in our experience of “who Christ is” in us by the Holy Spirit through his Word.

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11

This means you can hope for God to provide a specific need which you have identified as important while God has identified your deeper need for love, joy, peace (inwardly), longsuffering, gentleness, goodness (to others), humility, faith, and obedience (toward God) which are graces produced in us by Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (your hope to experience and manifest God).” – Colossians 1:27

”But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (his redemptive provisions for your life), and all these things (other essential needs you have) will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G26

Doing Great Things for Jesus: The Misfocused Message of a Performance-Driven Church

I am earnestly searching for ministries who have a strong grace message - that is, a message which strongly focuses on God’s love and care for us and his provisions of grace to heal and enable us.

They surely exists, but I can’t find them. I welcome help from anyone.

Sometimes we do not need to look beyond their Sunday morning sermons for a clue. Recently, I noted the sermon titles for the past several months of one of the ministries that insists they have a grace message. Here they are in the exact order presented:

“What If Today Is Our Last Chance?"
“People Are Important"
“I Can Do That!”
“This Is Our Moment!”
“Conflict Resolution: Forgiveness”
“Honor Your Leaders!”
“Forgive and Live!”
“I Can Be An Instrument of Peace”
“Celebration Sunday: Whatever It Takes!”
“Giving Is A Heart Issue”
“Growing In Maturity”
“Love, Faith, Sacrifice”
“I Want To Do Something Great For Jesus”

I was born into and grew up in a pastor's home (cut my teeth, I say sometimes, on a church pew) and have lived and served in ministry long enough to know the difference between a performance-based “I can, you can, we must, God depends on you” sermon and the message of “who God is, his love and care for us, and his provisions, beginning of himself, to enable our Christian lives and service to others.”

So while I enthusiastically appreciate the work of a church to win the lost to Christ, at the same time I grieve for those who attempt to do it with too little understanding and appreciation of God's enablement, especially of himself, to make their efforts effectual and fruitful.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G23

Considering the Elders’ Prayer for Themselves in Behalf of the Sick

Our grace message concerning prayer and healing is sometimes a hard sell even to my closest conservative, evangelical friends. They seem quite certain that their best chance for healing is their faithfulness to pray, fast, and turn from bad behavior (their understanding of it), in hopes maybe of catching God in a benevolent mood – which means they miss making the connection between good health and the choices we make.

This week a young man was less than enthusiastic about the concepts for health that I presented in my talk to his group. He confessed that he did not care much for water, or raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, or exercise, or supplements. Nor did he understand experiencing Christ through Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship. But he did seem enthusiastic about miracles, especially of healing, and insisted that when he is sick, he should call for the elders of the church per James 5: 14-16 to anoint him with oil and pray for his healing.

I asked him to consider that

1. The ministry of the elders to the sick in the early church was to
  • instruct the sick concerning God’s provisions for their health,
  • anoint them with oil in order to teach the power of the Holy Spirit to renew their inner man, the soul (mind, emotions, and will),
  • provide whatever additional practical support they could, including medicinally, and then surely
  • give testimony to the reason for their own health.
2. Their prayer for the sick was actually for themselves in behalf of (rather than strictly “for”) the sick – which means they prayed for God’s enablement in their own lives to support their ministry to the sick.


Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G22

Conviction to Provide Pure Ministry Sometimes Challenged by the Prospect of Poverty

Charlatan ministries invest in (stroke, entertain) others in order to get something back which accommodates their carnal needs. But pure ministry (especially of the parent to the child, the husband to his wife, and the pastor to his people) invests in the health and happiness needs of those it serves without expectation of return. In other words, it invests, and then sets free.

But I take care to tell every parent, husband, and pastor who begins to invest without expectation of return that they will be sorely challenged (especially at first) to live out their conviction to providing pure ministry. That’s because when we dare to release those we serve from our expectation for return - that is, to set them free - we can expect them in their brokenness to take flight. My friend said his wife did (old joke), so he told her he was just being pious, that he did not mean it! 

But as we continue to invest, and as those we serve are increased in health so that they are enabled to also invest in the needs of others, they will begin to value and honor the source of the investment which has supported them. The well from which they drink (so to speak) will become dear to them and they will begin to reciprocate to care for it as a resource, especially as it supports them in their service to others.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G21

Giving: The Monetary Policy of Pure Ministry

I understand the need for people to be willing to pay for services. People in need will often pay for superficial pain relief but not be willing to invest in their health. They will buy videos but not vitamins. They will pay to party but not give to support the work of ministry.

I understand also the appropriateness of a dentist, mechanic, plumber, etc. charging for materials and labor. They are providing a redemptive service and should be paid.

But charging a fee to hurting people for ministry to point them to God’s provisions for their healing (beginning with Christ) is not pure ministry. It means that only those who have money to pay are served - which is exactly the concern James (pastor of the first church) had when he wrote,

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism (to those who have money). Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention (offer services, a book, or counseling) to the man wearing fine clothes (who can pay) and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges (respecters of persons) with evil thoughts (for example, how to make money)?” – (James 2:1-4).

The ministry of Paul to the church at Ephesus is a model for pure ministry.

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:32-35

This does not mean that Paul did not encourage the churches to give, but the giving he encouraged was always in behalf of the needs of others (1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:1-5), never to accommodate the carnal needs of comfort seeking ministers.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G20

Quick-Fix Quackery: A False Hope for Healing

A week or so ago, I crammed my mouth full of walnuts and raisins and ate them with such enthusiasm that I strained my left jaw. I also (push mower) mowed for an hour, came in to get water, sat down for thirty minutes at my computer to respond to emails (without stretching for a cool down), returned to mow another hour and irritated my Achilles heel. Also, I sprained my wrist trying to carry a dozen plastic grocery bags into the house in one trip, so that last week I had a lot of pain going on at the same time.

Since I had too much to do to be in pain, I began to think about hurry-up solutions. Benny Hinn was not in town, so that option was out. Perhaps I could call on my friends to pray for God to heal me, maybe even lay hands on me. Then I thought about maybe praying for myself. Perhaps if I told God earnestly enough how much I loved him, and maybe gave an extra offering to the church, he would quick-fix my problem. That would be nice. It would save me having to pull out Dr. Balch’s “Guide to Natural Healing” in order to review 1) the choices I could make that would support natural healing and also 2) how I might need to be more attentive to keeping my body conditioned if I wanted to make extreme demands of it.

Today, I can give testimony that as surely as God is faithful, my jaw, heel, and wrist are all healed.

As it turned out, God had already made provisions for my healing in creation. All I needed to do was include them in my life (the same as I would drink water to meet my need for hydration - which illustrates the grace concept of prayer) and then give them time to work.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G19

God's Commitment to Us: Understanding the Concept of Connection to Redemptive Resources Through Covenant

The resources to which we connect for the flow of God’s provisions into our lives for healing are multidimensional. The deepest resource is Christ through whom God provides for our need to experience holiness and eternal life. Community (the home and church) is the resource through which God provides personal relationships to support our need to 
  • learn how the world works (information),
  • experience love (affection), and
  • make the choices which establish us in health and happiness (decision-making).
And creation (the soil and atmosphere) is the resource through which God provides our nutritional needs.

Each of these resources from God for the flow of his provisions into our lives must be connected to through covenant. For example, a man and woman would not just start living together, at least not according to God’s plan; rather, they would covenant together formally in a wedding (covenant) ceremony - the same as we would enter by covenant into relationships with each other to form a church and especially as we enter by covenant into relationship with Christ for salvation.

Covenants involve commitment. To illustrate somewhat: Biologically, humans exist as organisms, but also as organizational structures. God created Adam, then breathed into him the breath of life. So not only do we have the dynamic of life, but we also have a skeletal-muscular structure which makes movement possible. Our organic life and organizational structure (for example, schedules, budgets, etc.) work together and are interdependent. 

Also, the covenant/commitment we make in connecting to God’s resources is not the same commitments that the world understands. In other words, it is not the commitment which organizations insist on that calls us to submit to their demands; rather, it is the commitment God makes to us to serve and support the needs we have which establish us in health and happiness and our commitment to abide in (remain connected to) him (John 15:1-8).

This means, the covenant that is made when we connect to Christ is not our commitment to serve him, but his commitment to serve us (to which we say, “I do”). Also the marriage covenant into which a man and woman enter is not her commitment to serve him, but his commitment to serve her (to which she says, "I do!") and her commitment to give him opportunity to serve her as he proves himself to be faithful the same as Christ is to his bride. (This is exactly the teaching of Ephesians 5:22-33.) And the covenant which believers enter into with each other to form a local church is not our commitment to serve God or the church leadership or even others in the community, but it is the commitment which Christ makes, as the Head of the Church, and the Holy Spirit makes, as the Administrator of the Church, to serve us, including through the pastors and deacons which they give to the local church (Ephesians 4:11), and to which we connect (Revelation 3:20).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G16

God in a Support Position Beneath Us: One of Many Core Concepts Separating GracePoint from Mainstream Ministry

Conservative, evangelical mainstream ministries exist through which God is accomplishing his redemptive purpose, and although they do not share the exact calling or message of GracePoint, I deeply respect and appreciate them. I accept that GracePoint is not mainstream, but, as it turns out, our perspective doesn’t seem to exist even as a dribble or wet spot. For ten years, I have sought to find commonality with others, but have not yet found a ministry whose message of grace is without a mixture of performance. (Our search is not for ministries which hold exactly every position we do, but only the core concepts concerning God and his redemptive plan for man). The following is one of those basic concepts we hold to that serves as a measure in our search to find other ministries which share our understanding of the grace message:

In the Old Testament (Covenant), God is in relationship to his people as a King over a nation. If you were to diagram a flow chart to identify the dynamics of leadership in that relationship, it would be the same which exists for governments, the military, corporations, and institutions. In other words, it would be organizational with the Head being a power person in a power position over others who were subject to him.

In the New Testament (Covenant), God is in relationship to his people as a husband to his bride which is an organic relationship. The dynamics of relationships and leadership in an organism are different than in an organization – for example, the Head of an organism is not in a power position over others, but in a support position beneath them.

This means, submission in an organic relationship is not the same as in an organizational relationship. To submit, in the context of an organization, means to comply with the rules imposed by the Head. But in the context of an organism, submission means to give opportunity for influence. This is illustrated by Christ knocking at the door of his bride in Revelation 3:20. He does not impose himself but calls out for us to open the door to receive his provisions for our healing.

Also, authority in the context of an organization means power to rule. But in the context of an organism, it means freedom – freedom to enter through the door which has been opened in order to provide support and influence.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G15

Death to Preferences: Putting Grace Ministry in Perspective

When God calls us into redemptive service to others, our human nature may prefer to just stay where we are, especially if we are comfortable in our world of self-indulgence. Comfort can be pretty addicting, you know. My human nature reports to me that it would prefer that I buy a RV and travel across America for an extended retirement.

But then there is that ever-present calling from God. It began with his work of grace in my heart many years ago which has been setting me free from my deepest hurts and unmet needs. As I have been increased in my experience of him, his Life has produced in me a compassion for the hurts and unmet needs of others - so much so that I call out to him daily for his enablement to serve others in the way he has served me.

So instead of retiring to the self-life, I surrender daily to the Christ-life in service to others. At the outset, I thought the response of people to God’s provisions for their healing would be very satisfying, especially if it were in significant numbers. But then I learned that healing is not usually the need hurting people identify for themselves. Rather, it is for superficial pain relief, which redemptive ministry does not provide.

I did not know what to think about the lack of wide-spread response to our message of redemption and hope. Then I remembered the words of Jesus that ministry is dying. “I tell you the truth,” he said (John 12:24), “unless a seed is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it will produce a plentiful harvest of new lives.” He also said, “the Son of Man has no place to sleep (no home)” and also that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 8:20 and 20:28).

Christ is our model for grace ministry. He did not come to earth to build a worldly kingdom or anything that the world would appreciate or recognize as successful. He came to provide ministry that could only be accomplished through his death. He knew before he came that he would be “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), that, during the moments when he would make his greatest sacrifice in redemptive service to others, he would be alone. Still he came.

This helps us to understand better the meaning of the prophecy that the life of Christ would be “poured out like water” (Psalm 22:14) and also the words of Paul that “I am being poured out in service for your faith, yet I rejoice (Philippians 2:17).

So we conclude this about grace ministry: It is about giving and serving and also being renewed for more giving and serving until the body gives out (although not the soul). Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are being consumed, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

It is also about dying to cross-country retirement and even to the perks and trappings of traditional ministries in order to be useful in service to those who hear God’s call to healing.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G14

Meaningful Ministry Missed by My Unmet “Me-Me” Needs

If it is not our confidence that we are “what it is all about” to someone in this world, we will make ourselves “what it is all about” to ourselves. Or something like that. We become “me-me” persons.

I thought about this recently when I read a website posting that would have been much smaller if the words “I” and “me” had been removed. It screamed “me-me!”

Instead of simply and forthrightly communicating a message, the posting was cluttered with comments like, “Do you want to know what I think?” or “I have been thinking recently about…” or “I must tell you that …”. We do it, I think, because of our need to say the words “I” and “me”.

Of course, personal pronouns are sometimes necessary or else the communication would make no sense. Also, some of it is a temperament trait to be thorough even to exhaustion when communicating information. But an excessive use of personal pronouns may be rooted in our unmet need to be significant to someone. 

Actually, it's no big deal, except that self-absorption can hinder effectual ministry. For example, if I were calling out to neighbors in a burning house, my urgency would be to save them. So I would just earnestly call out, “Mrs. Jones, your house is on fire! Get out now!” I would not preface it by saying “I came over here today to share a message with you which I have given a lot of thought to and one which I think you will need so I hope you will give me your attention as I present it to you in the way that I trust will be meaningful to you.”

Don Loy Whisnant/A Grace Perspective 10G13

Our Experience of Christ: Greater Than Our Need for DELS

The epistle (letter) of Galatians was written by Paul to the churches of Galatia where on his first missionary journey he had won many to Christ and founded new churches with the new converts. (That's what missionaries do, you know.) After Paul had left, Judaizers (Jewish Christians who believed that many of the Old Testament ceremonial laws were still binding on the New Testament church) came to the young churches to challenge the gospel of grace (God’s provision of himself to enable our Christian lives and service to others) which Paul had preached. In his writing to the Galatians churches, Paul reminded them that God gave the Law to teach how they could live in order to be healthy, but that he gave Christ so that they could have enablement to comply with the laws that instructed them about health, that the rules of the Law were not more important than their relationship to Christ.

So that is the reason why, though we may be fitness runners, fitness running does not identify who we are or the message we teach; rather, our relationship to Christ and “who he is” in us does. It is the reason also why, though we are attentive to our diets (food choices), exercise, lifestyles, and supplementations (DELS), and also to our hygiene and appearances, those things do not identify who we are or the message we teach; rather, our relationship to Christ and “who he is” in us does.

The choices we make for health are critical. Few Christians, it seems, make the connection in their understanding between those choices and good health. Fewer Christians, however, seem to make the connection between holiness and our experience of Christ renewed in us daily, which is by far the most critical need.   

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." - 1 Timothy 4:8

“The life I live in the body, I live enabled by the faith Christ gives me to receive the provision of himself to enable me. If righteousness (justification and character) could be gained through obedience to the law without Christ, than Christ loved me and gave himself for me for nothing.” – Galatians 2:20-21 (GracePoint paraphrase).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G12

The Risk of Mega Churches to Hurry Past the Support Needs of Hurting People

As much as I grieve for children who do not have parents to focus on their core health needs, and for wives who have user husbands, I grieve also for churches that burden hurting people with expectations to serve and give with little attention to their health needs. I worry that the mega church movement hurries past using their ministry to build people to using people to build their ministry.

Absolutely we should serve others. In fact, I say to every counselee that it is impossible to be happy apart from service to others. But I always add that service which is not enabled will be ineffectual and, in time, also break their health - that our happiness is the result of the investment we sow into others but the health that enables our service is the result of the investment someone has sown into us.

So the issue is not service to others, but enablement for the service! Injury (burnout, etc.) is always the result of attempting to perform beyond our strength, of trying to give more than we have. We may succeed to run a one-time fast lap around the track, but not have enablement to endure. Some studies have shown that 2½ years is the average burnout time for performance driven church workers. That’s because we can not serve, tithe, or perform our way to health.

I am also passionate to say that this service to others does not begin with the church serving the community, but with parents serving their children, and husbands serving their wives, and pastoral leadership serving the church.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G09

GracePoint: Providing Ministry Focused on Renewal

Since Carole and I came to North Carolina in 2008, GracePoint has provided counseling to about 40 individuals and couples. They came hurting, broken, and worn, and as it turned out, none of them, in my assessment, were connected to churches which focused on their renewal in the effectual way I believed was needed. And even though I knew that one counseling session per week could not substitute for a supportive church experience, I attempted to make up the difference anyhow. The result was that my personal strength was overwhelmed by the overload.

So beginning the first of this year, I stopped taking new counselees and began praying for God's will concerning how he could use GracePoint more effectually. The result was that Carole and I covenanted together to begin a grace renewal church. Its mission is to provide full-time pastoral care, church ministry, and personal counseling which will work together to meet the support needs of the couples and families God sends to us.

We are doing this by providing
  • a renewal church experience on Sundays that focuses on our counselees' need to grow in their confidence concerning who God is, his love and care for them, and their need for him,
  • a Thursday evening class for teaching Basics for Building Fitness, Faith, and Family, and
  • individual and/or couples counseling as needed. 
Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G08

Ministry to Support Health May Sometimes Sadden Hearts

It is not infrequent that someone I minister to will say that I hurt their feelings. This, although I seek to be renewed daily by the heart (love) of Christ in me so that I can effectually help those he has given me to serve.

Helping others, of course, includes gently speaking the truth in love in order to support them for making wise choices which increase them in health. It does not mean to scratch their itch, ignore the issues, or to support them for making choices that superficially relieve pain. This means that sometimes the support I give is not the support those I serve want.

Recently I critiqued the message of a friend – to say that I worried it focused too much on what the Christian life looks like, also on performance to serve others, but not much, that I could tell, on God’s love and care for us and his provisions to enable our Christian living and service to others. The young minister replied to say that my comments to him were hurtful.

I understand his reaction because I have been there. But in time I have learned that there is a difference between 1) the heart of Christ in us pained because of the unmet needs of those we serve and also because of their resistance to God’s provisions to meet them and 2) the heart of our carnal man pained because of the wound of our own unmet needs, especially to know that God values us unconditionally, so that we are reactive to any comment that is instructional for health.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G07

Christ: God's Perfect Provision for Health and Healing

I understand the health challenges hurting people have, biologically and psychologically, that
  • illness is based in unmet needs,
  • people are broken, not because they are bad or inferior, but because something is missing, and
  • the need may have been missed in the formative years of life, even at or before birth.
But it is not a need which God failed to provide. Rather, for whatever reason, the resources were dysfunctional through which the provision should have flowed according to God’s redemptive plan and purpose.

This means, God’s design was perfect. Every part of creation in the beginning was functional and served an indispensable role to support health. But after the fall, and because of man’s wrong choices, the machinery – the body's parts and systems - began to fail consistent with God's law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) which he had enacted to govern his universe.

Our message to broken people is this: God has made provisions for your healing. It is not to push forward to somehow survive the brokenness, or to stand on your head with hope to impress God so that he will supernaturally reverse the brokenness, or to opt first for shortcut fixes, including pharmaceuticals and surgeries. Rather it is to
  • identify and confess the brokenness,
  • trace it to the unmet needs,

  • identify and include in your life God’s provisions in the soil and atmosphere, through supportive relationships in the home and church, and especially through your experience of Christ, which will recover you to increased health.
The particular passion I have for ministry to others is that they come to appreciate the power of experiencing Christ by the Holy Spirit through daily personal quiet time worship. “Who Christ is” in us is God’s most effectual dynamic for our healing, and is to be embraced before any other choices the world offers.

“Thanks be to God that, though you were once in bondage to your brokenness, you wholeheartedly embraced the form of teaching that was delivered to you (concerning God’s provisions for your healing), so that now you have been set free and made effectual and fruitful in your service to others.” – Romans 6:17-18 (GracePoint paraphrased and amplified).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G06

"GracePoint, A Grace Renewal Church" is at Journey Notes

Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 10G04

Core Concepts on Prayer

1) God only provides that which is redemptive (essential for our salvation - justification and healing).

2) God has brought every redemptive provision needed to the door of every man's heart/life (Revelation 3:20).

3) This means, there are no redemptive provisions which God holds back, waiting on us to prove our worthiness to him.

"If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men freely without judging his worthiness." - James 1:5

4) Asking God for what he does not provide is not prayer.

Many years ago, I sat with about 20 high school teens in a hamburger place. I was just having some fun at someone else's expense when I asked one of the teenage girls to go to the order counter and ask for a large carrot juice. She did and was told (of course) that they did not have carrot juice. I remembered that story recently to illustrate that asking God for what he does not provide is not prayer.

5) No amount of behavior to win God's favor will change his mind to provide it anyhow.

6) God provides every redemptive need we ask for. The Bible says so.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-11 (See also, John 16:24; Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; Romans 8:32, Revelation 3:20.)

7) Asking in prayer for God's provisions assumes receiving. It is the same as opening a door.

Asking in prayer is receiving. It is not begging or putting in a request for supplies. Rather, it is opening the door to receive God's provisions in the same way we open the door to receive Christ. Opening the door to Christ is the same as asking him to enter.

8) Asking/Receiving assumes we have faith a) to connect (open the door) and b) that God provisions are indeed available at the door.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - Mark 11:24

9) Asking/Receiving assumes obedience to connect for the answer.

Obedience, however, is not rule keeping to prove our loyalty to God. Rather, it is obedience to connect to God's resources through which his provisions come into our lives. For example, asking God for water is the same as obedience to drink it.

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

10) The only sin that hinders receiving God's provisions is the sin of not connecting to God's resources through which they flow.

Sin, when defined as a behavior, is making a choice for meeting our needs with disregard to God's provisions for meeting them. James (1:6-7) and Jesus (Matthew 14:31; 21:21; Mark 11:23;) called this sin "doubt." Remember. sin is not behavior that makes us bad, or God mad, but that makes us sick.

11) Prayer is asking for self in behalf of others.

This means I do not pray for God to heal or provide a need across the world, across town, or across the room which does not involve me as a part of the answer. The only prayer I have confidence in is the prayer I pray for myself in behalf of others. That prayer would be, "Father, increase in me who you are so that I am enabled as a resource to serve as a vessel for the flow of your provisions into the lives of those you have called me to serve and who are connected to me." If I prayed for the lost to be saved, it would involve me going to where they are to present the message of salvation - or to support someone in some way for going in my stead. Also, if God used me to pray for the sick, I would seek his enablement to hold their hand (one expression of laying on of hands), look them in the eyes, assure them of my care for them, then investigate to know what provisions are missing in their lives so that I could support them for beginning to make the choices that would help lead to their recovery. That is exactly what the elders did in the early church who were called to the bedside of the sick (James 5:14-16).

Jesus taught exactly this in Luke 11:5-13 when he said to his disciples,

"Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' Then suppose he from inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness (persistence) he will get up and give him as much as he needs."

12) Answered prayer is not usually an event but is experienced as a developing outcome as we continue to ask/receive.

(from above text) .. 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread (a process, first one, then two and three for full measure of Christ - See Ephesians 4:13; John 1:16; Philippians 3:3-16; Colossians 1:28)'

"So I say to you: Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened (receive in full measure the provisions he needs). (Note: Sanctification and enablement is not an event but a process.) Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good (redemptive) gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit (or any redemptive provision) to those who continue to ask (stay connected to receive from) him!"

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G02

Possessing God’s Provisions for Our Lives Thru the Prayer of Obedience

Strictly understood, God did not bring into existence his provisions to meet our needs in answer to our prayers. His provisions to meet our needs have always been available at the door of our lives for us to receive through prayer.

For example, it was not in answer to prayer that God created the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere and the soil, or the sun and the moon and the stars. They existed before we got here. It was not in answer to prayer that God gave the Scripture, the Holy Spirit, or supportive relationships and leadership in the home and church. It was not in answer to prayer that Christ came to earth to walk among man to teach, heal, and bless. It was not in answer to prayer that God gave his Son to die or resurrect him to life. These provisions of grace flowed from his mercy to every person impartially “without respect of persons” (1 Peter 1:17) and “without finding fault or judging worthiness” (James 1:5).

We possess God provisions for health through the prayer of faith.

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” – James 5:15

“If you (have faith to) believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." – Matthew 21:22

Faith is expressed by trust and obedience to receive.

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands (to receive his provisions) and do what pleases him (makes us useful in service to others – Vine).” – 1 John 3:21-22

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will (for our redemption), he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” – 1 John 5:14-15

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10G01

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