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TGP Volume 12
(July, August, September 2012) 

Week 39 

A Safe Place to Connect: God’s Plan for the Husband in the Home

Plan B counseling makes much of husbands being a “soft place for their wives to fall.” Plan A concurs, absolutely!

But more than to provide comfort, condolence, and reassurance, God’s plan for the husband is to be "safe place for his wife to connect" – that is, to serve as a resource through which her need is met to
  • experience God’s love and
  • be supported for making the choices for her life that establish her in health.
Again, a husband meets a wonderful need in his wife’s life when he listens to her, empathizes with her, holds her, and strokes her when she hurts, but he meets the deepest, most essential need of her life when he
  • makes wise choices for his own health,
  • seeks to learn about her health needs,
  • wins her confidence that to him her health and happiness needs matter, and
  • then supports her for making the choices that result in those needs being met.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I28

Enablement for Staying the Course Supported by Our Experience of Christ 

The pastor of one of America’s most famous churches fell into immorality recently and is now in jail. He was the very last person most of us could have even imagined failing in that way. But with consideration of his “work on yourself, try harder” message, he was at risk for failure.

Man is subject to fail/fall because he is innately sinful, but he is increasingly at risk if his understanding is wrong about 1) God, 2) man’s need for him, and 3) motivations for the choices he makes.

Some theologies and agendas don’t work. Performance-based religion (legalism) does not support life but death. That’s because it is rooted in weakness (man’s sinful/broken condition). Deep desires, earnest commitments, and trying hard may help so that we do better than others, but they will not support us long term. Only God’s enablement which flows into our lives through our experience of Christ’s Life supports us to sustain the course for making right choices.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I27

How God Meets Needs: Understanding the Meaning of Prayer

The Scripture does not support the notion that prayer means to petition/requisition God to supply a need for ourselves or others – for example for finances, or healing, or strength.

That’s because, God has already provided for every possible need every person has - physically, psychologically, and spiritually. And he brings those provisions to the door of our hearts.

Prayer, then, means to open the door to receive his provisions.

To illustrate: God has provided water to meet our need for hydration. But we are not hydrated because we petition/requisition God to hydrate us; rather, we are hydrated because we open the door of our mouths to receive his provision for meeting that need.

Also, others are not hydrated because we petition/requisition God to hydrate them. We can “pray” for it, and they can “pray” for it, and a whole church or nation of people can “pray” for it, even with earnest pleadings, fasting, and tears, all day and night for 20 years, but they will not be hydrated until they open their mouths to receive God’s provision of water.

Praying for others, then, can only be understood in the sense of our praying in their behalf – that is, to receive into our lives God’s provisions which 1) meet our needs and 2) enable us, in turn, to support others for opening the door of their hearts to also receive them.

Again, we do not “pray” for (petition/requisition) God to save others, give them peace and joy, fill them with his Spirit, heal their bodies and souls, or in any other way meet their needs. Instead, we receive God’s provisions for meeting those needs in our own lives which enable us to support others for receiving those provisions also.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I26

The Heart of Christ in You: Sustaining Support for Making Wise Choices

The list is long of wise choices (for diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation) that will establish us in health. Motivations also exist to support us for making those choices, including fear of death or pain and the need to look and feel good. These are good motivations, but they are not the most enduring and will not support us long term for making wise choices. For example, when the pain is gone and the goals are met, so is much of the motivation.

So God has provided support that goes deeper than fear and ego. It is the Life of his Son imparted into us by the Holy Spirit. His Life in us births in us an enduring and ever-increasing passion for health, so that the value we have for ourselves is his value in us for us.

This is the meaning of,

“Christ in you (is) the hope of glory (the health God gives).” – Colossians 1:27

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I25

Support for Holiness: A Hard Sell

If our counseling assigned (for example) several exercises, food choices, and books to read, with the promise it would result in happiness, counselees would enthusiastically comply. Some would even be willing to pay a fee for the support.

But our counseling supports counselees for opening the door of their hearts to Christ,
  • first to receive/trust his Blood/death on the cross for them (as the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden), and
  • then to receive/trust his Life in them through daily quiet-time worship (to remain connected to the Vine – John 15:1-8) as God provision to enable their holiness (Christlikeness).
Providing support for intimacy with Christ is a hard sell. I would not want to try making a living charging a fee for it. So I give it away. And sometimes it is a hard give away.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I24

Week 38 

Preferring the Lesser: The Leanings of Performance (Religion)

Our carnal appetites often tend to prefer certain experiences, behaviors, and foods/tastes over others – for a few quick examples,
  • junk foods more than fresh fruits and vegetables,
  • entertainment more than exercise, and
  • looking good more than feeling good.
Also, our religious nature prefers to
  • go to church more than to come to Christ,
  • serve others (go and give) more than to S.T.O.P. (Scheduled Time Out for the Psalms and Prayer),
  • read a devotional book, listen to Christian music, and watch Christian tv more than to read the Scripture,
  • study the Bible in order to learn what it says more than to read the Scripture in order to hear God,
  • talk to God more than to listen,
  • perform more than to prepare, and
  • feel valuable based on our performance more than to be valued unconditionally.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I19

Busting Ahead Getting Behind

During my early ministry, I averaged working over a hundred hours a week. I got so many speeding tickets trying to get to too many places in too short a time that I lost my driver's license two or three times. (Favorite old joke: I apologized to my doctor for being late, but told him it was not because I did not drive fast enough. I got a speeding ticket, but told the police officer I thought a yellow light meant to hurry up.) Once I was late to an appointment with my barber. He scolded me and explained what that meant especially to other customers, not to mention his business. I have never forgotten that. I was young and, apparently, it had not yet occurred to me that making an appointment meant to be on time. I realize now that at least part of the reason for my busting about in a hurry and always running late was my performance-based theology.

During these past 23 years of growing in my understanding of grace, I have come to understand and to trust that ministry is not work I do for God, but work he does through me. Since it's his work, I dare to let him do it. Nothing has changed more in me than my slowing down. I haven't had a speeding ticket since, never miss appointments, and can't remember the last time I was late.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I18

MisLed About Loyalty: Considering the Competence of Leadership Before Connecting

Past mentors in my early ministry called for wives and churches to be loyal to their husbands and pastors. By "loyal" they meant to serve and obey.

But in our counseling we do not use the words “loyal” or “obey”, except in the sense of “giving opportunity for influence.”

For example, in the same way we would evaluate the value of a water supply before choosing to drink from it, or a healthcare person before complying with their instruction, our counseling supports churches and wives to consider the goals and competence of resources (including pastors and husbands) - whether their interest is to support or to control - before connecting to them to receive their support.

DonLoy Whisnant/The GracePerspective 12I17

Week 37
Ministry to Hurting People Driven Mostly by Relevant Needs

The needs of our counselees drive my relationship to them – that is, their ministry needs, which is for support to make the essential choices, beginning with intimacy with Christ, that establish them in personal health. God has not gifted me, called me, or provided for me to meet, as some ministries do, a wide range of needs hurting people may have – for example, financial, housing, family/social, or Plan B (pain management) counseling needs. Those needs have relevant value, and God
  • has made provisions for them to be met accordingly, and
  • calls each of us to connect to the resources through which they flow as they are available and as we recognize them.
This means, my hope for counselees is that, as they continue to increase in their experience of Christ, they will increase in
  • the wisdom and confidence he gives to identify their most essential needs and to trust his resources for meeting them,
  • the humility he gives them to slow down (the impulsive behavior/talking) in order to connect to those resources, and
  • the enablement he gives them to first receive his support so that they in turn can give support to others.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I14

Our Changing Need for Our Unchanging Needs

We never outgrow our need for God’s resources (in Creation, Community, and especially Christ) to support us, although our needs may change for a specific provision, such as food, exercises, people (parents, teachers, pastors, etc.), and even parts of the Scripture.

For example, I no longer need my parents in the way I did as an infant or adolescent, but I have never outgrown my Community need for a support person, particularly for my ministry, and doubt anyone ever does. (As it has turned out, I don’t have such a support person, but the need remains.)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I13

Ministry to Hurting People Driven Mostly by Relevant Needs

Absolutely God (the leadership he gives through resources) is the initiator of ministry.

That is the reason he provided the Scripture and also the Holy Spirit, and the reason he came from Heaven.

But he comes only to the door of our hearts - which means he does not impose himself, but gives us the opportunity to respond (or not). I have never experienced God chasing after me; rather, he allows me to experience my unmet need for him, and then calls me to him and to the place where he is always faithful to be.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I12

Increasingly Purified in Our Service to Others by the Heart of Christ

The heart of Christ increasingly purifies the grace minister so that, more than to be recognized as a successful parent, pastor, or husband, his desire is increasingly for his children, church, and wife – that they experience God through intimacy with Christ.

This means, I enjoy the experience I have when people give me the opportunity to be helpful to them. Also, I welcome people to express to me and to others their respect and appreciation for my ministry to them. But rather than me having a great need for that, I note about myself that, as I am increased in fuller measure with “who Christ is” in me, my purest and deepest desire is for people to experience God in their quiet time – regardless who God uses to support it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I11

The Minister’s Goal for Connecting to God: It’s for Himself in Behalf of Others (Ephesians 3:14-19)

“For this reason I kneel before (connect to) the Father.”

1. He is the root

“…from whom we (his family) derive who we are.”

2. The wealth of his provisions

“…that out of his glorious riches”

3. (Flowing into and through me) for you

“…he may strengthen you"

4. His power (“who Christ is” birthed in us by the Holy Spirit) in your inner being (your heart)

“…with power through his Spirit in your inner being (that Christ may dwell in your hearts).” 

5. To deeply establish you

“…that you being rooted and established in love (by his provisions and care)”

6. By your experience of God’s love (his provisions and care) – that is, by more than just informationally knowing about it

“…to know this love (in a way) that surpasses knowledge (of information) – that is, to be filled (with him)”

7. Increasingly every day

“ the measure of all the fullness of God (“…attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” – 4:13).” – Ephesians 3:14-19

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I10

Week 36

The Innate Power of Truth to Make Itself Understood

In my early teaching and preaching presentations, I worked hard to present Truth so that it was interesting, compelling, maybe even entertaining, so that it was believed and also understood.

Whatever may be said about the value of all that, I now understand I was taking on a responsibility that was not mine, that the message of Grace cannot be fully believed or understood by man apart from the work of the Holy Spirit – also that, in the same way water, bland as it is, is powerful, in and of itself, to meet our biological needs, Truth has innate power to give life and does not need in its presentation the assistance of (to be mixed with) human efforts/elements.

That’s because Truth is alive, a living Seed. It needs only to be sown into and received by the soil/heart.

“For he spoke, and it (including faith and enlightenment) came to be.” – Psalm 33:9a

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I07

GracePoint Counseling is Different: The Reason Husbands Resist (Response to a Wife)

The counseling GracePoint provides is different. (There are other counseling strategies which are helpful and certainly more popular which will support you for learning how to manage/reduce the unhappiness in your home and marriage, mainly through learning coping and communication skills.)

Sometimes, husbands don't like our counseling. If they agree to attend sessions, they often find ways, even pious and, sometimes, very wordy ways to sabotage it.

That's because I teach the following grace concepts:

1) The home is essentially an organism (although it has a necessary organizational element to it). The husband is the Vine/Savior in the marriage, which means it is his role to serve and support (invest in) the health and happiness needs of his wife (John 15:1-8; Ephesians 5:22-33).

2) We men, even the best among us, are, by default disposition of our fallen human nature, users (in relationship to others for what they can do for us to meet our pain-relief needs) - that is, until God transforms us to be investors (in relationship to others for what they will give us opportunity to do for them to meet their redemptive needs).

3) "The wife is the glory (reflection) of her husband (his care for her)" (1 Corinthians 11:7). This means, it is not the role of the wife to be responsible for the health and happiness needs of her husband.

(In my early ministry, I was taught the wife should give herself up to make her husband happy, that behind every successful man is a supportive wife. Women have a mother instinct so they sometimes accept that responsibility, but it gets old, and they weary of it, while at the same time, they miss having the support God intends for them to have from their husbands according to his redemptive plan for the organic home. It is the core issue for most of the marriage counseling I do.)

4) The love of God expressed through a husband for his wife is a "giving" love. The love of God expressed through a wife for her husband is a "receiving" love.

5) When a wife lives/gives herself up to make her husband happy, and also takes on the leadership role/responsibility to make the marriage happy and successful, her husband will eventually lose respect for her, then mistreat her.
(That's why our counseling is most successful when the husband calls for/initiates the appointment.)

6) The first goal of our counseling for the organic home is not happiness in the marriage but the healing and renewal of the husband and wife, beginning with the husband, especially of his heart/soul (mind, emotions, and will), and especially through intimacy with Christ.

(If happiness in the home and marriage is your goal more than personal health, you will be disappointed with the outcome of both. I have never seen it otherwise.)

7) I do not provide counseling to fix the children, but work to support parents for making the connections/choices which result in their own personal healing. That's because, the best hope parents have for happy children is to give them a healthy mom and dad, the same as the best hope a man has for a happy marriage is to give his wife a healthy husband.

(It is not possible for two unhealthy parents to have happy children or for two broken/unhappy people to have a healthy/happy marriage.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I06

Relationship to God: The Forgotten First Rule

Counselees often ask for help to learn communication and behavioral steps/rules which will improve their lives and relationship to others. Our counseling instructs them about a rule that often gets overlooked or forgotten: It is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” Jesus called it the first commandment.

1. The heart is not separate from the soul, but is the soul. And the soul is not separate from the mind, but is the mind (also the emotions and will).

2. God’s love for us is his unconditional value for us.

3. His love for us is a “giving” love. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).

4. Our love for God (actually, his love in us for us - Romans 5:5) is a “receiving” love. It enables us to value and receive his provisions into our lives.

5. To “love” God, then, means to value his purpose for our lives and also the plan that accomplishes that purpose – which is to receive his provisions, beginning with the information he provides through The Scripture concerning who he is and our need for him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I05

Counseling for Pain Relief: Putting the Health and Happiness of Counselees at Risk

The counseling we offer is different. It supports counselees for making choices that increase health, especially of the heart/soul (mind, emotions, and will), and especially through intimacy with Christ.

There are other very popular and helpful counseling strategies that support hurting people for learning how to manage/reduce the tension in their homes and marriages, mainly through learning coping and communication skills, but they target the behavior (including of the children) more than the brokenness (especially of the parents).

But when pain relief is the goal of counseling more than personal health, counselees risk losing both.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I04

Intimacy with Christ: For Counselees Needing More Intensive Support

I received the following email this week from a local counseling program:

“I would love to meet with you and anyone else on your team to conduct a presentation about our agency and to hopefully become an additional support for families needing more intensive services. I look forward to hearing back from you!”

I responded to express appreciation for the support they provide and also for their offer to be an additional support to those we counsel, to state that the most intensive support needed by our counselees is to experience intimacy with Christ, and also to offer our help in that way to their clients.

DonLoyWhisnant/The Grace Perspective 12I03

Week 35

Before the Wedding: Understanding the Three “I Do’s”

In a traditional wedding ceremony, the minister does not ask “Who gives this man away?” with the expectation that the mother will say “I do” - indicating that she has invested in the needs a boy has for his mother and is now giving him away to the bride to continue forward with that responsibility. 

Rather the minister asks “Who gives this woman away?” with the expectation that the father will say “I do” - indicating that he has invested in the needs a daughter has for her father and is now giving her away to the groom who has successfully demonstrated his intentions and ability to meet the needs a woman has for a husband. 

The grooms “I do” is his commitment to his bride to care for her in the way Christ cares for his Bride, the Church, and the bride’s “I do” is her willingness to give her groom opportunity to care for her in the way her father cared for her and also in the way Christ cares for her. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H31 

Experiencing Christ: How God Meets Our Need for People and Possessions

Counselees are sometimes disappointed with God because they are not experiencing having their needs met for finances and, especially, for relationships - this even though they go to church, give money, and help their neighbors.

“Where are you, God?” they cry.

“I am in your spirit, at the door of your heart (soul), calling you to open the door to receive the provision of my Life for the healing and renewal of your mind, emotions, and will.”

“No,” they argue, “Where are the people and possessions I need?”

“They come into your life as the result of you first receiving my Life which enables you for making the wise choices that produce them according to the law of sowing and reaping.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H30

A Receiving Love: Understanding God’s Love in Us for Him

The love God has for us is a giving love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).

The love he puts in our hearts for him is a receiving love.

In the contexts of an organism (life in us supported by our connection to the resources through which God’s provisions flow into our lives for our redemption/salvation/healing), the meaning of the words believe, trust, and obey is “to receive.”

“Life (health) is certain and unfailing to those who receive God’s abundant provisions of grace.” – (Romans 5:17b paraphrased)

Jesus said “The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.”

By this, he did not mean to give to God and receive from others, but to receive from God (his investment in us) so that we have what we need in order to give to (invest in) others.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H29

Support for Opening the Door to God’s Provisions: The Role and Relevance of Resources

1. God’s provisions are faithful and effectual to recover us and establish us in health.

2. But they are not imposed; God brings them only to the door of our hearts to receive them.

3. Unless we open the door to receive God’s provisions, it will be impossible for us to experience the support for health they give. This is the meaning of John 15:4:

“Abide in (remain connected to) me and I will abide (remain) in you. No branch can bear fruit (be healthy and productive) by itself; it must abide (remain connected to) the vine. Neither can you bear fruit (be healthy and productive) unless you remain in me.”

4. Abiding in (remaining connected to) Christ begins with receiving him. That’s why Jesus said,

“Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock (call out). If anyone will open the door (to me/my provisions) I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

5. Opening the door to Christ begins with opening our Bibles to read/hear him (the Holy Spirit) communicate Truth to us. Opening the door to his provisions means to open our mouths to include nutritious rich foods in our diet, to drink lots of water, to exercise, etc..

6. The work/purpose/role of God’s leadership/resources in the home and church (the pastor, parent, and husband) is to support us for opening the door of our hearts to his provisions.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H28

Making Plain How to Go Heaven: The Curse, the Cross (the Blood of Christ), the Confession, and the Choice

The Blood/Death of Christ on the cross is the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race (separation from God because of Adam’s choice in the Garden of Eden to turn away from God’s provisions for his life).

“The judgment followed one sin (Adam’s) and brought condemnation (separation from God), but the gift (of Christ’s Blood/death on the cross for us) brought justification (freedom from the judgment). For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death (separation from God) was certain because of that one man, how much more certain will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace (the Blood/death of Christ) and the gift of his righteousness (the Life of Christ) reign in life (have eternal life) through the one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:16b-17

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes (receives/trusts) in him (his Blood/death on the cross as the only payment God will accept to satisfy his judgment against us) shall not perish but have eternal/everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Do you agree?

If yes, are you willing to stop trying to satisfy God’s judgment against you by offering a payment to him of your good behavior, church membership, charitable works and gifts, etc. – that is, by the accumulation of your good works - to trusting instead in the payment Christ has already made for you by his death on the cross?

If yes, tell God exactly that. It is on the basis of you choosing to trust God’s provision of Christ that he imparts his Life into your spirit.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath (judgment) remains on him.” – John 3:36

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H27

Week 34

Religious Carnality: Raising Man Above Christ

One of the signs of religious carnality is the elevation of man and his work above the work of Christ in man. Paul asked, “Why do some of you say ‘I follow Paul’ and others say, ‘I follow Apollos’ or ‘I follow Peter’? A man did not die for you, nor were you immersed into union with a man (for salvation/healing) but into Christ” (paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 1).

So we are happy for
  • the chef, but mostly for the food he prepares,
  • the vessel, but mostly for the water it carries,
  • the road, but mostly for the destination,
  • the music, but mostly for the lyrics,
  • the singer, but mostly for the song,
  • the messenger, but mostly for the message, and
  • the book written, but mostly for the Truth it communicates. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H24 

Our Call to Ministry: More to Experiencing Christ than to Correcting Error

Although I am deeply and increasingly grieved and alarmed by some of the writings of some of the most influential evangelical ministers and authors, God has not called me to comment on their message, but to support hurting people for putting away their books and for learning, instead, how to

  • read the Scripture (in order to)
  • hear God (in order to)
  • experience God through intimacy with Christ (in order to)
  • manifest Christ in the community beginning with family. 
Our understanding of the New Testament Scripture will expose the shallow support offered in the most popular books authored by man.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H23

GracePoint: Help for Hurting People Called to Hear

People, who find themselves forced to interact with me socially or even for business reasons, when they learn that I am a minister, will sometimes attempt to control the conversation with the hope they can avoid the subject of God. I recall having this experience with service providers to my home and family members at a meal. Also, on a business trip years ago, a work associate talked non stop, turned on talk radio, or read a book he brought with him.

But God has raised up GracePoint to provide support for understanding the message of grace (God’s provisions for our healing), and he also calls hurting people to it. When they come, they have no problem listening, sometimes for two hours or more, then return for many weeks and months to hear more.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H22

Support: The Secret of Success in the Organic Home and Church

Mark Sanchez says Coach Rex Ryan is in control, that what he say goes, and players who don’t do what they are told face repercussions including being cut from the team.

That’s great for the NFL and also for the military. But it does not work for relationships in the home and church. It has been tried, but the result has been tragic. That’s because the home and church are basically organisms, and only marginally organizations.

The dynamics of leadership in an organism are different. Organizations thrive on forced compliance, but success in an organism is the result of support flowing through leadership resources to which its members are intimately connected.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:13

“I work harder than anyone, yet not I, but Christ who is working through me.” - 1 Corinthians 15:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H21

Not by the Presence of It’s Provision, but Taking Time to Drink Water: Our Hope for Hydration

The famous pastor said to his audience again this week that, when we receive Christ as Savior, he takes away the pain and breaks the power of sin in our lives.

But that is only true in the sense that water takes away our thirst – that is, it has the power to take away our thirst. However, our experience of hydration is not by merit of water’s power to take away our thirst, but by our taking time to drink it.

In this same way, although Christ has power to heal our brokenness, healing will not be our experience/reality just because we have received him as Savior (his death on the cross for us), but only because we have received his Resurrected Life into our hearts.

This is the meaning of,

“…we have been justified through faith (to receive).” – Romans 5:1

“…we have gained access by faith (to receive) into this grace in which we now stand (which causes us to stand).” – Romans 5:2

“…for by grace we are saved through faith (to receive).” – Ephesians 2:8

“…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of his righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:17

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H20

Week 33

Understanding Prayer

I would not want to be in a relationship with a “god” who sometimes answered prayer, but sometimes did not, no more than I would want to do business with a provider whose products or services sometimes met the need, but sometimes did not – for example, a water supply that was hit and miss.
But this is based on our understanding of prayer, that it means to “receive” – like turning on a faucet to receive water – and that it does not mean to ask in the sense of making a request to a boss for supplies which he may or may not give.

Otherwise, Jesus misspoke when he promised,

“Ask (in the sense of opening a door) and it shall (with certainty) be given you.” – Matthew 7:7

“Till now have you asked nothing in my name (according to my redemptive plan for your healing): ask, and you shall (with certainty) receive.” – John 16:24

“If you believe (open the door), you will (with certainty) receive whatever (in Jesus’ Name) you ask for in prayer." – Matthew 21:22
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H17

Experiencing Christ, Existing in the World as a Normal Expression of Christ: Focus of the Renewal Church

God commissions us/the Church to "go and give" in service to others. But it is with the understanding that we must first "come and receive" so that we are enabled/supported for the going and giving. Paul wrote, "God has made us competent as ministers/servants" (2 Corinthians 3:6). Disregard for this concept is at the core of the brokenness I deal with in counseling. It was to broken people that Jesus called out, "Come unto me you who are broken and hurting attempting to live out the Christian life in service to others without my enablement, and I will give you recovery" (Matthew 11:28). Many good churches are passionate to impact their communities, and also to meet the social needs of their members, but I personally do not know of a traditional church that focuses first on the essential health and healing needs of its members.

Two years ago, I reorganized GracePoint as a grace renewal church, providing it as an advanced phase of our counseling. Membership is entered into through a covenant to first come and receive rather than to go and give. Our calling is not to build/grow a traditional church organization, but to experience Christ who increases/enables us to exist in the world as a normal expression of "who he is."

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H16

“Don, why are you negative about Dr. Phil?”

Actually, I like and appreciate Dr. Phil a lot, so it is not in my heart to ever say anything about him that is negative. I only mention him in our sessions as a way to help explain how our counseling is different and is an alternative; it is not to suggest he is wrong. Our counseling is not for everyone, and God does not call everyone to it. Dr. Phil's counseling meets a different need - the same, I think, as traditional/ pharmaceutical medicine - which is essentially to manage pain more than to provide healing.

But we thank God for that, because traditional medicine and Dr. Phil-type counseling save lives and increase quality of life, and is also all some people understand or want. I would hate to live in a world without the availability of traditional supports. My father-in-law did not understand or appreciate God's provisions for health in the way I teach it, but he lived to be 87 because of the pharmaceutical support he received. He did not always feel well, and he was not the happiest and most contented person, but he was alive and enjoyed a quality of life he would not have had otherwise. I thank God for that!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H15

“Don, my first impression of you is that you are a quack and a charlatan.”

In time, you may learn about GracePoint and think/feel differently. Or you may be right about me, although I don't recognize those things about myself - but I may be delusional, and worse, in denial of it. You are not the first to feel the way you do.

But God has used GracePoint to help others. See Comments/Testimonials.
GracePoint began in 2002. We have never charged for our services, and I have never taken a salary. GracePoint's budget is about $12K a year. Carole and I give about $10K of that (which is almost 30% of our total annual income.) We have very little materially (a furnished house and 3 very old, high-mileage, well-maintained cars), but owe nothing, and need nothing. I have no goals to build anything or become anything. If God will leave me alone, I will buy an RV, travel America, and mind my own business. Dr. Phil, by the way, is a multimillionaire. 

The goal of our counseling is stated on the home page of our website: It is to

”guide and support a step-by-step journey that begins with trusting Jesus Christ as Savior, is sustained by vital union with him through daily Bible reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship, and leads to renewed strength and understanding for making life choices that increase health and happiness.”

Although God uses me as a vessel, I am not the answer to anyone's support needs. I serve only as an advocate for the support God provides through our connection to his resources in Creation (the soil and atmosphere for biological health), Community (support relationships in the home and church for psychological health), and especially Christ. Christ births and nurtures in us "who he is" - that is, his love (value for self, the Father, and others), joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (decision-making support).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H14

“Don, I need to make different choices for my life, but I do not want to upset my husband.”

I hope you will have some time to read the information at Home/Marriage. The most intense experience you will have of Christ will be his love/passion/unconditional value in you (for you, for his provisions, and for those you serve). It will focus you to give attention to your personal health - which begins with you evaluating

1) the essential choices you need to make which help establish you in health and happiness and

2) the resources you are connected to which support you for making those choices.
If your first goal is not your own personal health, but is, instead, to please your husband, to support his emotional needs, to keep him happy, to stay out of trouble with him, or in other ways attempt to earn his attention to your needs, you will be disappointed with the outcome. It is a failed strategy because, in time, he will disrespect you (especially the needs of your heart). I have never seen it otherwise.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H13

Week 32

Prayer: Receiving God’s Redemptive Provisions

I received an email to pray for a minister friend who is in the hospital. I dearly appreciate him and hope for his recovery, and will tell God so. But it won’t help to pray for him in the sense it is commonly understood – that is, to ask God (as in making a request) to heal his body.

That’s because, God has already fully and freely provided everything my friend needs and has brought it to the door of his heart to receive. The only prayer I can make in behalf of him is for myself – that is, to receive God’s provisions for my own life so that in some way he can minister through me to my friend, at least to send him a card to express my appreciation for him, which would be encouraging. Also, I could serve as an elder to support him for better understanding God’s sowing and reaping plan for our healing and health. 

Otherwise, God is now at this moment already doing what he does redemptively for every person alive. He is not waiting on us, maybe on an impressive number of us, to be desperate and sincere enough, petition him, make vows to him, bargain with him, and if that does not get a response from him, to fast food.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H10

“Hey Don, I'd be interested to know how you got into the profession and your thoughts on counseling in general. Thanks!”

Our counseling is not the typical model. We are not a business, but a ministry which God birthed in 2002 to serve as a resource for meeting the redemptive needs of specific others. We never know who those others are, but trust he knows and will call them to us to connect for support according to his redemptive plan. If he ceases to do that, my wife and I will buy a RV and vacation across America.

Also, we do not charge for our services or accept donations from counselees - which is consistent with our confidence that God, who is in a support relationship beneath us (as the Vine to the branches), is the source of our support (2 Corinthians 9:8). This is not something anyone should attempt to do except as God calls them to it and enables it.

This means, for me, counseling is not a vocation I pursue, but a calling I have surrender to as a vessel.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H09

“Don, my husband disagrees with your views. What should I do?”

If the majority/pervading view in the evangelical church is correct, then your husband is right to disagree with the views I present. In fact, I disagreed with the concepts I now teach when I first considered them.

We should all take care, however, that we do not allow

  • Agony - the intense pain of unmet needs, sometimes so consuming that interest to hear information is lost.
  • Addictions - bondage to failing, fleeting, feel-good solutions which shuts down interest in health, the result of the unwise choices to mask/manage the pain;
  • Anger - rooted in disappointment with dysfunctional resources transferred to the provider;
  • Anxiety (Angst/Apprehension) concerning the competency, goodness, and faithfulness of God’s power and presence in the world to meet our needs; and
  • Arrogance - a disposition of all-knowing, intolerance to being wrong or to not always being right, usually a childhood validation issue, which disrespects/disregards support information provided by resources, including God. 
to barricade us from considering the counsel of an elder whose life and marriage give testimony to God's redemptive plan for our health and happiness.

Regardless what others do, God calls you to experience him daily. His Life in you will birth and renew in you a passion for health and for the resources which support it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H08

The Enjoyment of a Spouse Surpassed by Our Experience of God

I enjoy immensely (and say so often) the time I have with my wife, whether on a date, working on a project, or sitting together at home. At such times, my world is good.

But those times do not compare to my experience of Christ during my quiet-time worship. His love communicated to me by his presence in my life surpasses all other experiences.

God initiates our experience of him by calling us to him through the Scripture. It is more than an invitation but an effectual calling, like the sun calling up water as vapors into the sky. My response, motivated by my awe of him, is to open the door of my heart to receive him (his presence and provisions).

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will open the door, I will come in to him (so that he can experience my presence).” – Revelation 3:20

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H07

Providing for Our Redemption: God’s Purpose for Resources

When superficial needs (including social contacts/interaction, service to the community to relieve homelessness and hunger, and even to “please” God or to win his favor) is our motivation for connecting to resources (attendance to a church, for example), we will, in time, become disappointed with those resources.

That’s because whatever superficial needs we hope for a resource to meet, we will increasingly become bored with our experience of them due to the tolerance factor (the same as to a drug).

That’s why God’s purpose for providing resources (including the home and church) and for our connection to them is in order for our redemptive needs to be supported and met – including the need we have for support to make the essential choices that increase us in health/holiness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H06

Week 31

Counseling for the Home Focused on Support for Personal Health

I am very passionate to teach that the husband is the Vine/Savior in the marriage, which means it is his role to serve and support the health and happiness needs of his wife (John 15:1-8; Ephesians 5:22-33). Men, even the best among us, are, by default disposition of our fallen human nature, users (in relationship to others for what they can do for us to meet our pain-relief needs) - that is, until God transforms us to be investors (in relationship to others for what they will give us opportunity to do for them to meet their redemptive needs) through daily connection to his resources in Creation, Community, and especially Christ (sanctification).

My first marriage failed because I was a user, even though I was recognized as a successful pastor. I was taught that behind every successful man is a supportive wife. That information did not serve me well, especially because I thought it meant that a wife should give herself up to make her husband happy. (By the way, when a wife lives/gives herself up to make her husband happy, and also takes on the leadership role/responsibility to make the marriage happy and successful, her husband will eventually lose respect for her. That's why our counseling is most successful when the husband/man initiates to call for the appointment. When he does not, he will sometimes find reasons to sabotage it.) My second marriage of 22 years is, I think, a little bit of what Heaven must be like. The difference is not the person I married, but me. 

The counseling GracePoint offers focuses on supporting both the man and woman for making the essential choices which establish them individually in health. That's because, it is impossible for unhealthy, unhappy persons to have a healthy, happy marriage. Again, a husband and wife are not healthy and happy because their marriage is healthy and happy, but their marriage is healthy and happy because they are healthy and happy.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H03

Elevated Higher Than Eating and Exercise, Our Experience of God for Healing the Heart

At the very outset of our new birth experience, we will experience God calling us to him – that is, to his resources/provisions which recover/establish us in health. It will include to physical health, because God cares about the body/temple we live in. Greater than his interest in our physical health, however, is his passion and care for the prosperity of our souls.

This is included in the meaning of:

“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

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2

This means that, as we are increased in our experience of Christ, we will be increased in our interest in food choices, exercise, rest, and sleep. But the most intense value he will birth in us will be for the health of our hearts (mind, emotions, and will) and for his provisions which establish us in it

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H02

Healing: The First Goal of Grace Counseling

On the home page of our website, I identify the counseling we offer: It is to guide and support counselees for a step-by-step journey that
  • begins with trusting Jesus Christ as Savior,
  • is sustained by vital union with him through daily Bible reading, confession
  • of need, prayer, and quiet time worship, and
  • leads to renewed strength and understanding for making life choices that increase health and happiness.

This means, the goal of our counseling is healing. It is not to help counselees manage their unhappiness. That's because, it is impossible for two unhappy, unhealthy people to experience a healthy, happy marriage.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12H01

“Don, I am wondering if I have the right tools to apply the information you give.”

Absolutely, in order to benefit from the information our counseling provides, the right tools would be necessary. I identify those tools most essentially to be:
  • a Bible and
  • the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart (placed there when you were born again).
The most important question, however, is whether you are hearing/sensing God’s call to:
  • health and renewal and to
  • our counseling for support.
If so, I can present concepts from the Scripture for you to consider, and the Holy Spirit will enable you to understand and also to respond to it.

Barriers to the counseling we offer are: Agony (the intense pain of unmet needs, sometimes so consuming that interest to hear information is lost), Addictions (bondage to failing, fleeting, feel-good solutions which shuts down interest in health, the result of the unwise choices to mask/manage the pain), Anger (rooted in disappointment with dysfunctional resources transferred to the provider), Anxiety (Angst/Apprehension) concerning the competency, goodness, and faithfulness of God’s power and presence in the world to meet our needs, and Arrogance (a disposition of all-knowing, intolerance to being wrong or to not always being right, usually a childhood validation issue, which disrespects/disregards support information provided by resources, including God).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G31

Husband and Wife Enabled by the Holy Spirit to Give and Receive God’s Love: Securing Health and Happiness in the Home

The love a husband and wife have for each other is both human (eros and phileo) and divine (agape).

Human love is a give and take love, but the agape love a husband has for his wife is a giving love (the same as Christ has for his Bride, the Church and as parents have for their children) and the agape love a wife has for her husband is a receiving love (the same as we have for Christ and as children have for their parents).  

The capacity of a husband and wife to experience human love for each other and the ability to express it are inborn and can be cultivated by human effort.

However, agape love is possible to experience and express only as the Holy Spirit sows/births and daily renews it in us (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22-23) and, of course, as we receive it in quiet-time worship.

This means, a husband can not express God’s love for his wife (to give to her) until he has experienced/received it as a grace enablement from God. It also means, a wife can not express God’s love to her husband (to receive from him) until she has experienced/received it as a grace enablement from God.

These two grace dynamics, God’s enablement of the husband to provide redemptive support to his wife, and his enablement of the wife to receive that support from her husband, increasingly establish their home in health and happiness and secure their marriage for life.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G30

Week 30

God, The Word of God, Jesus, the Body of Christ, The Scripture, and the NIV

It is correct to say “God” when speaking of Jesus and also when speaking of the Body of Christ on earth, the same as it is correct to say “The Word of God” when speaking of the Scripture (both the original manuscripts and their translations into different languages).

1. But the “Word of God” is God, the Son (John 1:1-2), who was with God in eternity (before time began).

2. The incarnate Word (Jesus) was God, the Son, made flesh (John 1:14) - born to a virgin and sinless indeed, yet still
  • flesh
  • reflecting perfectly the Glory (Light) of God (although not fully until he was glorified after his resurrection), and
  • the vehicle through whom God manifested himself (the Light of “who he is”) to the world.
3. The Body of Christ (the born again Church, the Bride of Christ), although made holy (useful) by God (the Holy Spirit), is imperfectly the expression of God’s glory (Light) on earth.

4. The Scripture (the original manuscripts), like the body of Jesus, was material - infallible and inerrant, indeed - yet still
  • ink on papyrus
  • reflecting perfectly (although not fully) the Glory of God, and
  • the vehicle through which God communicated/communicates Truth to man,
and the Bible translations (including the NIV, NASB, NKJV, and KJV), although imperfectly the expression of God’s Truth on earth, are made holy (useful) by God (the Holy Spirit).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G27

Finding Support for Adversity through Our Experience of God

We ask God to deliver us from the issues/adversities that inconvenience us, also irritate us – for example, barking dogs, quacking geese, noisy neighbors, loud traffic, inconsiderate people, etc. (My list is long!). But he does not. So we run from the problem, ending up someplace else where we suffer a similar set of issues.

That’s because, God’s goal for our lives is not to change our circumstances or to accommodate our need for convenience; rather, his goal is to change us so that, no matter what our circumstances are, we feel supported and are okay.

Again, we can attempt to run from our adversities, but our hope for God to remove them will be disappointed. That’s because, God’s plan is for us to be increased by his Life so that we are not shaken by the adverse circumstances that surround us, whatever they are.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you (receives your provisions).” – Isaiah 26:3

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G26

Receiving God’s Provisions for Our Redemption!: Getting It Right about Prayer 

To pray for God’s provisions means to receive them. It is asking, but not in the sense of making a requisition for supplies; rather, it is the same as opening a book or bottle to receive their contents.

Scriptural prayer begins with confessing to God our confidence and joy that he has made provisions to meet our redemptive (health) needs and that, because we have opened the door of our hearts and lives to receive them (through food choices, exercise, lifestyle, supplementation, and especially extended time for Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet time worship), those needs are being met.

So, rather than to pray “Dear God, I pray you will give me health,” we confess, “Dear God, I receive these provisions from you with confidence (also rejoicing and thanksgiving) that they will renew and increase my health according to your redemptive plan.”

This is the prayer of faith.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G25   

The False Hope Everything is Going to Be Okay Anyhow

I wished I could tell counselees that everything is going to be okay anyhow. That is exactly what Pastor Positive Thinking tells millions of tv viewers each week. It has something to do with his notion that God loves us so much that, if only we will “believe” (by his definition, “to think positive”), he will not allow us to suffer.

That might be true if only Adam and Eve had not made the choice they did in the Garden of Eden (to disregard God’s provisions for them) which plunged the human race into darkness. But because of their sin, the Light departed from their hearts (souls), leaving mankind broken and empty of the Life/Light that supports and establishes us in health. 

Our only hope now for everything to be okay is to open our hearts daily to receive into our lives God’s provisions for our healing and recovery which flow to us through
  • Creation/the soil and atmosphere (appropriate food choices and exercise
  • Community, (connection to leadership resources in the home and church), and especially
  • Christ’s Blood and Resurrected Life (worship).
“In him was Light and that Light was the Life of man.” – John 1:4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G24

“Love, Serve, and Obey”: The User-Husband’s Expectation of His Wife in a Failed Marriage

In a 1937 movie I saw recently, the bride vowed to “love, serve, and obey” her husband. Mentors of my performance theology during the 60’s and 70’s were still insisting wives should make that vow, with the promise that their husbands would be motivated to be better men and husbands, and also that God would “bless and protect them.” But that didn’t work out so well. (I do enough counseling with unhappy wives to know.) Perhaps such a vow would be okay if couples, beginning with the husband, experienced Christ daily in increasing measure so that they were transformed to be like him. But when/because they do not, it results in a lot of unhappiness in the marriage. That’s because the default disposition of man’s fallen human nature is to use, and, also, the traditional religious expectation for wives “to love, serve, and obey” means “to give, give up, get going, get over it, or get out.”

But in the context of the organic home (according to grace theology),
  • the love of a wife for her husband (or any resource) is a receiving love,
  • her obedience to him is saying “I do” to his provisions and support, and
  • her service to him is to their children and home supported by the strength she receives from his love and care for her (investment in her).
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G23

Week 29

Unmet Support Needs in Aurora: The Deepest Suffering

We grieve because of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. The suffering of those who died or were injured or lost family members and friends is incalculable. I don’t think many of us have felt such deep pain of loss.

But there is a deep pain we who are called to ministry experience daily. It is the grief we feel for a world filled with people suffering from unmet support needs – those inborn needs which are absolutely indispensable to our health and happiness, especially psychological needs which we don’t just get over, but must be met or we suffer. 

Particularly we feel this grief for those who are in homes and churches led by dysfunctional leadership – that is, by resources (parents, husbands, and pastors) who use people instead of support them for making wise choices which help establish them in health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G20 

God Misrepresented by the Church: The Reason for Increased Voter Rejection

According to a recent Gallup survey (June 2012), 54 percent of Americans say they would vote for a "well- qualified" atheist in a presidential election. In 1958, when the question was first asked, only 18 percent said they would vote for a nonbeliever.

"We have seen an enormous change over time in the willingness to vote for an atheist," reports the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in its current newsletter.

Indeed we have! But at the root of this change is the public’s changing view
  • of Christianity - that it is a legalistic, mean-spirited, performance based, ego, fear, and guilt driven system of striving to please God, and
  • of God – that he is a ruler over us making demands for our behavior rather than a support person beneath us offering provisions to heal our brokenness.
I would not be enthusiastic to vote for that religious mentality either.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G19

Getting It Right About God

The most needed understanding about God is that:
  • He is in a support position beneath us, not in a power position over us;
  • He seeks relationship to us, not for what we can do for him, but for what we will allow him to do for us;
  • He loves (values) us unconditionally - which means his love for us is based upon who he is, not who we are;
  • His interest in every detail of our lives is passionate and intense; and His commitment to our health and happiness is unfailing.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G18 

Experiencing Christ: Enabled for Effectual Service to Others by His Heart in Us

I have a commanding knowledge of the concepts I teach. They are stored in my understanding and memory so that I can communicate them passionately at any time to an audience of one or a thousand.

I also have God’s love in my heart for those to whom I speak. But I must be renewed daily in that quality because, like any energy or fuel, it is being continually dispensed so that the supply diminishes.

This means the potential exists for me to be intellectually prepared for teaching a group but to be without the love of Christ in my heart for them – making me ineffectual and disqualifying me for usefulness to God as a vessel.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G17

The Reasonableness of God’s Provisions

I decline offers to officiate weddings when I am not confident the marriage is based upon a Scriptural foundation. But I would attend the wedding and express my desire that the couple will enjoy lifelong health and happiness.

This in the same way I would not personally prepare or offer to friends and family a meal that did not support health. But I would attend a dinner and eat food which others prepared and set before me, even if every bite of it was not the very best for me or did not taste the best, the same as I would breathe the air and drink the water, even if it was not the purest, and would reject them only if they were poison.

Jesus instructed his disciples to do this. 

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you (be content with the amount and also quality).” – Luke 10:8

Religion makes extreme demands, but God’s redemptive plan to provide our needs is reasonable and within reach of all. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G16

Week 28

Outcomes: Not an Impending Threat but an Ongoing Reality

We appreciate Chick-fil-a’s founder Truett Cathy’s statement to Baptist Press that the company is unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.

“We are,” he said, “very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

However, Cathy is wrong to suggest that America could face God’s wrath over its redefinition of marriage – that “we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’”

Cathy’s understanding of God’s judgment is that it is pending - that God is still considering how he might deal with a nation which disregards his guidance and instruction for our health.

But every ounce of God’s judgment came upon mankind immediately after Adam disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden. There is no judgment reserved in storage for a later time.

But our experience of God’s decreed judgment against mankind is past, present, and future – which mean it is experienced in our lives according to the law of sowing and reaping ordained by God to govern his creation. And our deliverance from it is through our daily including his provisions into our lives (the meaning of “obedience”) which begins with receiving Christ (his Blood/death on the cross for us and his Resurrected Life in us), but includes also receiving his provisions in Creation (resources in the soil and atmosphere) for our physical health and in Community (leadership resources in the home and church) for our psychological health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G13   

A Loving God Misrepresented to/Dismissed by the World

The following headlines were in the news recently.
  • Air Force Removes ‘God’ From Logo
  • Obama Leaves God Out of Thanksgiving Address
  • School Removes “God” From Lee Greenwood Song
Of course I join with others who are grieved and alarmed by the removal of any reference to God. Mostly, however, I am grieved because the “faith” community has misrepresented God to the world – that he is a power person over us making demands and setting standards for our behavior under threat of judgment, rather than a support person beneath us offering provisions to heal our brokenness.

I am turned off by that definition of God also.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G12

Grace Parenting: God Parenting Our Children through Us

The support which GracePoint offers for parenting is a little different. It begins with understanding that redemptive parenting is rooted in and flows from God. Essentially, it is God parenting our children through us. This means, the Living Seed/Logos/Word (his Life) sown and increased in us by the Holy Spirit (during our worship experience) and through us into our children can have only one outcome - consistent with God's promise that he is faithful and that his Word (Christ, but also all of God's provisions) will not/can not return void, but will accomplish the purpose for which he gave it (Isaiah 55:11). When that outcome is not realized, it is not because the efficacy of God's plan or provisions is iffy. John 15:5 is a promise: "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." The fruit of the branch which abides in (remains connected to) the Vine (God's resources, beginning with Christ) is godly children.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G11

Taking Time to Consider God’s Calling When Choosing Grace Counseling

The leading goal of our counseling is not to change our counselees’ theology, but to present concepts for them to consider - especially with regard to how God relates to us and his redemptive plan for our health and happiness. Although the concepts we teach are rooted in our understanding of The Scripture and supported by our personal experience of Christ, we do not insist they are correct and are not intolerant to being considered wrong. Other counseling models exist which are guided by different concepts. This means, each person seeking counseling should take time to hear and discern God’s leading concerning his will for the specific support they need.

“Test everything. Hold on to the good.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

“Test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” – 1 John 4:1

“Bless (from eulogeo, “speak well of, commend to others”) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (from paraklesis, “support, encouragement”), who (supports) us in all our troubles, so that we can (support) those in any trouble with the (support) we ourselves have received from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G10

Surrendering to the Holy Spirit Man’s Need to Understand Truth: The Limited Responsibility of Human Teachers

As ministers, we can teach what the Bible says, and also give testimony to (share) our understanding of it, but only the Holy Spirit can teach what it means.

This means, the need of those we serve to understand Truth is not our responsibility; it is God’s, so we should surrender that burden to him. That’s because, if what they understand about the Scripture is not what they are receiving from the Holy Spirit as they sit quietly before him with an open Bible in their quiet time, they have reason to wonder if what they understand is Truth.

Also, those to whom we minister should not consider what they read in the Scripture in the light of what they hear us teach, but take care to weigh everything they hear from us in the light of what they are taught by the Holy Spirit.

“But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all Truth.” – John 16:13

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G09

Week 27

Finding Support for Understanding Truth through Our Experience of God

Apart from the work of Holy Spirit to sow/birth Truth (about ourselves, God, and our need for him) into us (our minds), it is impossible for us to comprehend it. We may be able to have some memory of the information taught to us by favorite authors and speakers, but not have God’s mind concerning Truth – maybe in the way (for a simple illustration) we can learn directions to destinations in town but have no sense of east and west or north and south.

Again, what we know through intellect, human wisdom, or the ability to analyze or organize thoughts will leave us short of understanding the message of grace. That’s because Truth is organic, and like faith or love, it is rooted in God who sustains our experience of it by his presence which we are renewed in every day.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G06     

Considering the Competency of Counseling Before Connecting

Having a burden for the needs of hurting people is not, in and of itself, reason for resources to take on the responsibility to provide support. So our counseling cautions parents, husbands, and pastors to evaluate their strength, including physically, psychologically, spiritually, and financially, before they take on the responsibility of serving as a resource, because they can only serve effectually out of the strength they possess – the same as any vehicle is supported for whatever it does by its conditioning and also the fuel it has.

We also counsel hurting people in need of support
  • to evaluate resources before they connect,
  • to review them continually, whether or not they are competent to provide the support they need, but also
  • to understand only God is unfailing, that no human resource can make up the difference for their unmet need to personally experience the support he gives through intimate connection to Christ.
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More Intense Than Physical Health, the Extended Need for Support During Psychological Brokenness

For physical health, we have foundational needs which must be met in our formative years, and maintenance needs which we take care to meet throughout our service years, but also recovery needs which God has provided for when we have fallen into disrepair because of our neglect.

The needs we have are most critical after an extended period of neglect which has resulted in collapsed health – that is, a crisis (bottoming out) when either we get better or we die.

The care and support needed in a health crisis is the most critical. We call it “emergency care” because it is lifesaving. Also, the choices we must make at this time sharply narrow, and the need for us to comply with a strict regimen becomes intense. When the emergency passes, the care and regimen can be relaxed accordingly.

This means, the care we are given and the choices we must make when the crisis is over, when our status has improved from critical to stable, is changed appropriately as the need is being review. 

We say this about recovery to physical health, but this principle also applies to psychological health needs and care – with this exception: the recovery time for the heart to heal can be much longer – which means the emergency care provided and the high need for strict compliance to an intense regimen may be extended for years, maybe a lifetime.

Especially is this true about our deepest need, which is to experience God through intimate connection to Christ. Man’s fallen nature is so deeply broken that it is never fully recovered in this lifetime, making us fully and continually dependent on taking extended time each day for reading the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience him in order to manifest Christ in our lives and service to others. 

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Fanatical Focus on Health: A False Hope for Happiness

God calls each of us to personal health, physically and psychologically, but worthy as it is, health is a part of God redemptive plan only as it enables us to meet the redemptive needs of others. This means, health is not God’s ultimate/end-all goal for our lives - also that our commitment to health for the sake of not being sick is misfocused and will not result in the happiness we seek. Otherwise, Christ would not have allowed himself to be crucified and Stephen and other followers of Christ would not have put their lives at risk for the sake of the Gospel.

Again, God’s work in the world is to reconcile lost mankind to himself. This is the purpose for which Christ came into the world. He did not come specifically to elevate man’s financial, positional, or physical status. Rather, he came to reconcile man to God. All other goals and outcomes are secondary. When they are not, they become false gods.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

“I consider my life worth nothing unless I can finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.” – Acts 20:24

“…my Father is glorified when you bear much fruit.” – John 15:8

“Whatever I considered to my profit (very valuable), I now consider loss for the cause of Christ. More than that, I consider all things a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of experiencing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I main gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9

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A Supporting Husband: Identifying the Source for Happiness in the Home

Of course, a successful marriage “takes two.” But we do not place on the wife the same responsibility for the marriage as we do on the husband. That’s because, in relationship to his wife, he is the fountainhead, the resource, the vine, the trunk, the sower, the investor, the husbandman (gardener) – the same as parents are to their children, and pastors are to their flock, and especially as Christ is to his Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Again, according to God’s redemptive plan for the organic home, support flows from the husband (because he is the resource) to meet the support needs of his wife for health and happiness.

This means a successful marriage begins with one – the husband, and that whatever support flows back to him from his wife comes reciprocally out of the support she has received from him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12G02