Week 21

Support for Scheduling Time to Hear God and Experience Christ: The Heart of Grace Counseling and Healing

By the third session, we ask our counselees to schedule the same time each morning for a week to read the Scripture, usually the same passage every day (Psalm 138-147, for example). It’s a hard request for some. Not only is scheduling hard, but so is sitting still to read material that is not entertaining – even harder than daily exercise and preparing/eating healthy meals.

It is also a pride and control issue. Quiet time is not something we do to work on ourselves, but what we give God opportunity to do for us. So some do not comply, but walk away to find a different kind of counseling (performance-based pain management, I call it).

Yet, without scheduling quiet time every day for Scripture reading (in order to hear God), confession of need, prayer, and worship (in order to experience Christ), recovery at the deepest, most needful level of our being is impossible.

Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

Paul wrote, “Christ in you (is the) hope of glory (healing and recovery).” – Colossians 1:27  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E25

Calculated Conclusion Why We Cannot Charge Counselees

There is a reason we do not charge for our services. One person suggested (teasingly, I hope) that it was because we knew what it was worth. But that’s not it. The reason is, if the solution we offered was a drug, we could charge because not only would our overhead for providing drugs be high, but the client would be enthusiastic to take it and also have instant relief.

But the service we provide is support for experiencing Christ, the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16-17; Colossians 1:27). Not only is God’s provision of Christ a free gift (so we could not in good conscience charge for provisions we receive free), but, also, if a counselee refused to receive it, then their visit to our office would have no benefit. So we would not want them to pay for nothing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E24    

Grace: Greater than Superficial Help for Suffering, God’s Support for Our Healing

Anger management classes are, of course, a good thing. So also is support for pain management. Anger and pain are epidemic in the world and on the rise. Professionals who provide help with these are in demand and have opportunity to make a good wage and even to become wealthy.

But it is hard work both for the professional and the client. And at the end of the day, the problem has only been managed – not resolved in the sense of healing.

It does not have to be that way, however. Anger and pain are the result of unmet needs – needs for which God has made provisions. The work of grace counseling helps to identify inborn needs and God resources to which we can connect for the flow of those provisions into our lives.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E23

Abiding in God’s Provisions for Protection from Accidents

God’s provisions for our healing flow into our lives (body, soul, and spirit) through resources in creation (the soil and atmosphere), community (support leaderships in the home and church), and especially Christ (his death on the cross for us and his Resurrected Life birthed in us). As we remain connected to these resources, the promised outcome is not only healing and health, but also longevity.

Another promised outcome, sometimes forgotten, is protection from accidents. We do not want to insist that people trusting in God do not sometimes suffer accidental injuries, but only that, per the Scripture, God protects those who are connected to him.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 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. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name (who I am). He will call upon (receive) me, and I will answer (come into) him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” – Psalm 91

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E22

More than Entertainment, God's Purpose for the Sunday Church Experience

We need to hear what God says to us through his Word in our quiet time - that’s our most important experience. But God also has a purpose for the church coming together for teaching. That is why Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Coming to church to hear teaching is the same as coming for a meal. Also, the work of the pastor/teacher is to serve the church as a spiritual chef.

Meals ought to takes good, but eating for health is about nutrition and not about taste. This means, foods that are good for us will serve us better long-term than foods we choose that, at first, taste and feel good.

As much as I support churches presenting themselves as a place for people to come to experience family and a place to belong, it seems there is also a need for a place we can go where the goal is to increase us in health - not so much to entertain us.

Our Sunday church experience is like some of the others things we do that support health. For example, a gym is really not a place we go to be entertained. Sure, there is an element of it we like, but it is mostly a place we go because it supports us for making the choices that increase us in health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E21 

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