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TGP Volume 13
(April/May/June 2013)

Week 26

Missing the Grace Message, Losing Opportunity for Meaningful Ministry

Included in the work of the church is to identify behavior that is wrong (that disregards the instructions God has given which establish us in health and happiness), but it has done so for so long with condemnation that the world is now intolerant to hearing it.

This is the reason Paul instructed the church to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). That is, to not leave out of its message that God has made provisions to meet every health and happiness need of every person. Hurting people do not feel judged because of what they hear that hurts but because of what they have not heard that heals.

So the opportunity is lost. The church now, with hopes to gain hearers, speaks only of the goodness of man and the benevolence of God. This is the same as throwing away the blueprint or recipe or map with the suggestion that everything will turn out okay anyhow.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F28   

The Grace Option to Religious Programs Pounding on Gay Behavior

Exodus International recently closed its doors one day after apologizing for its programs which for 37 years focused on efforts to “cure” gay people through “prayer and therapy.” In his statement, the ministry’s president said, “We have caused undue suffering and judgment.”

Pounding on brokenness may superficially manage behavior, but it does not result in healing. And whatever good might be said about behavioral programs which support gay people for making wise choices, they are not a cure for man’s sinful condition. Gays, the same as straight people, have the option to surrender to the default disposition of their fallen human nature or try to suppress it. Neither option has a good outcome.

And then there is a third option. It is to be renewed daily in their inner being by the presence of Christ and to live out of whatever strength his Life manifesting in and through them provides.

This is included in the meaning of,

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” – Philippians 3:14-16

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F27

Waiting for God to Accomplish His Work According to His Will

To whatever work God calls us, he will prepare us for it, and then he will open the door to give us opportunity for doing it. This will be a lengthy process: In all of it, we wait; and to all of it, we surrender.

Sometimes, the work changes. This means, the specific work we do at the beginning of our ministry may not be the specific work we do later. But (again) for each specific work, God will call, prepare, and give opportunity concerning it.

This has been our experience with GracePoint. For example, we no longer provide support today, in the same targeted way we did at the beginning, for fitness and nutrition, recovery from addiction, learning temperament traits, or even for family recognition or divorce intervention.

Instead, the goal of our calling has narrowed to provide focused support to hurting people for learning how to read the Scripture in order to hear God, in order to experience and manifest Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F26 

When Giving Our Lives to God May Mean Nothing for Going to Heaven

Family members of a notorious prisoner reported recently that he had “given his life to God and been baptized.” This likely indicates, at the very least, that the prisoner is experiencing needed rehabilitation, but it may mean nothing at all in terms of going to Heaven.

Of course, sometimes it is a matter of semantics. The prisoner may have, indeed, given his life to Christ, and been baptized to give testimony to his faith in (and identification with) the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

But Jesus said that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Trusting in the One who gave is not the same as trusting specifically in the One who was given.

That’s why Jesus also said, “You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F25

Holiness: Essential to Usefulness in Redemptive Service to Other

Holiness manifesting in integrity, purity, wisdom, humility, faith, hope and other qualities of good character are not really necessary to financial success in the culture of a fallen world. With exceptions, of course, deception, compromise, and manipulation drive the outcomes sought for by many in the world of making money.

Also, parents can sometimes rear children to be successful in business, entertainment, or athletics, but who may be bankrupt in character. And, sometimes, marriages last for many years in spite of deep unhappiness. Even morally broken pastors can lead a church to large organizational growth.

But usefulness to God in redemptive service to others is absolutely impossible without our experience of Christ to make us holy.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F24    

Week 25

Victims Indeed

We warn about the “victim mentality” of hurting people, that they have been wronged so are owed recompense and are also justified to punish those who have hurt them. Especially is this way of thinking nonproductive when it interferes with making the essential choices which support healing.

But there is an understanding of victimization that is valid. Employees and students who have been failed by dysfunctional resources are victims indeed. And, especially are children victims indeed who suffer a dysfunctional home life, and also wives who suffer dysfunction leadership/servant headship in the marriage.

We take care not to confuse the two so that we don’t abandon victims indeed to “just get over it.” Rather, we provide support for their healing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F21

Motivated by the Heart of Christ to Speak the Truth in Love

Hurting people tend to want to hear that everything is going to be okay, that God is kind and sweet, like a doting grandfather. Apparently ministry organizations can grow very large presenting this message.

Sometimes hurting people are intolerant to Truth, maybe because it is not presented in love and makes them feel judged and condemned.

But Truth will not always feel good. That’s because, it identifies

  • what is right,
  • what is wrong, and
  • how to get right what is wrong.
Otherwise it is hype.

For this reason grace counseling seeks to be motivated by the heart of Christ for the redemptive (healing) needs of others so that, while it does not pound on people or their behavior, it cares enough to speak the Truth in love.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F20

Making Wise Choices Supported by Schedule, Giving God Opportunity to Do What He Does

The “resident physician” (no less) on one of the tv networks recommends we should wait to eat until we are hungry, and even wait to drink water until we are thirsty. I miss understanding what reasoning supports that.

Our counseling passionately encourages counselees to schedule a regular time for the choices they make which support health rather than to wait until they “feel like it” - for this very simple reason: So that their nutritional needs do not get missed.

That’s because our fallen human nature, while it may be motivated to action by pain and the need to survive, is really not a friend of health. So it is not wise to trust our “want to” for the timing of the good choices we make which support us.

Most importantly, we should schedule our quiet time (for Scripture reading, confession of need, prayer, and quiet time worship). That’s because, we will not always have a desire to read the Scripture.

So we read, not because we want to necessarily, but because it is scheduled.

And we do it with this confidence: In the same way food, water, and exercise energize us because that’s what they do, God will communicate Truth to us by the Holy Spirit because that is what he does and has promised to do.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F19

Anger, Fear, and Lust: An Early Morning Plan for Recovery

A counselee sought improved physical health and energy. I shared my successful experience with

  • diet (food choices),
  • exercise,
  • lifestyle (schedule), and
  • supplementation.
After several months he reported back that his health and energy had been renewed.

A counselee also sought recovery from anger, fear, and lust. I shared my successful experience for early morning

  • Scripture reading (in order to hear, experience, and manifest Christ),
  • confession of need, and
  • quiet-time worship.
After several months, he confessed he had not yet begun having a quiet-time in the morning in the way I had shared with him. I asked if he was experiencing recovery from anger, fear, and lust. He said he was not.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F18

Wornout by Work: The Call to Connect for Support to Continue

Work does not make us stronger. The saying, “I get my exercise at work” in on my list of famous last words.

Instead, work wears us out. The Bible says “even the strongest fade away as they go about their business” (James 1:11 GracePoint Interpretive Paraphrase).

But when we become wornout, physically, mentally, and emotionally, God has a plan to renew us - so that we can return to work again. That’s why Jesus called out to those who were weary and broken, “Come to me, yoke (connect) to my plan, and I will give you recovery” (from Matthew 11:28-30). 

Christ’s plan to renew us includes

  • food choices (because our bodies are fueled and supported by vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, etc.);
  • exercise (because we must exert ourselves beyond our normal effort for a sustained 20-30 minutes on most days in order to maintain our ability for that normal effort);
  • sufficient rest and sleep; and
  • supplementation (for example, raw apple cider vinegar, vitamins C, D, and E, aloe Vera juice, grape seed extract, and fish oil.)   
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F17

Week 24

Celebrating Dad’s Influence on Father’s Day

Dad was born in 1903. It occurred to me recently that, 39 years before I was born, Theodore Roosevelt was President, but 39 years before Dad was born, Abraham Lincoln was President. Also, 75 years before my grandfather was born, Thomas Jefferson was President.

During the 17 years Dad was in my life, I never saw him in a sweat shirt, or jeans, or shorts, or athletic shoes, or bedroom shoes, or without socks, and rarely without a tie. For casual wear I remember him in dress pants, a short sleeve dress shirt, and white top dress shoes. He worked hard, did not watch tv except a rare boxing match or baseball game, did not play cards or board games except checkers (I never beat him!), or partied. 

Of course, those times were different. I used to wonder why it seemed men in those days did not smile in family portraits. I understand now that their faces were “set like a flint” on their duties, responsibilities, and calling, including to take care of their families. Some may have been too hard and needed to experience more of God’s grace to temper their dispositions, but there seemed to be little room to be casual.

He won many people to Christ and founded many churches, especially in the Carolinas and Virginia. Mostly because of Dad, I am going to Heaven and in the ministry today because of his influence. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F14 (for Father’s Day)

In Our Weakness, Protected by the Power of His Provisions: The Meaning of God in Control

Absolutely, God is in control. But he does not exercise that control in the way some insist.

God asserts his control to protect us with regard to matters in our lives over which we have little or no control. For simple examples, we have very limited control over our experience of

  • Weather
  • War
  • National economy
  • Federal government
  • Evil/the demonic world
  • People, what they say or do
  • Cyberspace
  • The Law of Physics
But we do have this power: We can shut the door to God’s provisions (in the way light can be boarded from entrance into a room), or open the door of our hearts and lives to receive them. No power can prevail against the power of God’s redemptive provisions for our lives. That’s the true meaning of the sovereign control which God exerts.

“The Light shined into the darkness, and the darkness could not prevail against it.” – John 1:5

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F13

Surrendering to God Ownership for Responses and Outcomes

Well-meaning friends have suggested through the years that GracePoint does not serve our counselees well by not charging a fee. That’s because, they insist, people respond better to solutions they pay for – for example, a book – than to ones which are free.

Whatever merit that reasoning may have for some, God has called GracePoint to

  • communicate the New Testament message of grace, and to
  • support broken people for making choices that will recover their health
– this without attempting to manipulate their responses or taking responsibility for outcomes, but, instead, trusting that redemption is God’s “big idea” and that he will accomplish it.

We sow and water, “but only God makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F12

Responding to the Alarm Clock: The Ultimate Early Morning Manifestation of My Surrender

It can only be said we “believe” (concerning anything God says in the Scripture) when we “live like it is true.” 

That’s why James (2:17) wrote, “Faith (the same as love, or any fruit of the Spirit), when it exists in us, will always manifest in works” (GracePoint paraphrased).

Also, if we follow this concept for understanding Bible words, it can only be said that we are surrendered to God’s call to serve (invest in) the redemptive needs of others when we “live like it is true.”

Of course, surrender begins with a disposition of the heart, but ultimately, it must also include (manifest in) an action. That action, for me personally, is to say YES to the alarm clock calling me to my scheduled early morning quiet time for Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet-time worship.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F11

GracePoint: Support For Wives When Husbands are Dysfunctional

Mostly, the focus of GracePoint’s counseling is to support husbands for learning and living out God’s redemptive plan for the husband in the home.

We do not identify the husband as necessarily the problem in an unhappy marriage, but he is definitely the beginning of the solution.

But when husbands resist the support we offer, our counseling encourages wives who are unhappy in their marriages to

  1. begin making choices that establish her in physical and psychological health, most importantly, to schedule an early morning quiet time for
·        reading the Scripture (in order to hear God, in order to experience and manifest Christ),
·        confession of need, and
·        quiet-time worship;

but to also include daily scheduled choices for

·        diet (food choices, most essentially, 5-9 servings of raw fruits and vegetables, lean meats, ounces of water equal to half the number of pounds of body weight),
·        exercise (a sustained minimum of 20-30 minutes on 5-6 days a week for strength, endurance, and flexibility),
·        lifestyle (scheduled sleep, for example), and
·        vitamins/minerals supplementation. 

  1. connect to resources that support her for learning about and making those choices;
  2. communicate to her husband
·         that God is calling her to 1 and 2 above,
·        her health and happiness needs as God helps her to understand them (without identifying to him his failure to meet them), and
·        her hope that she will not live the rest of her life in a marriage with a non-supportive husband;

  1. not to remain in the marriage with a husband who is abusive or unfaithful (including use of pornography).
The above needs to be read carefully. You can email or schedule an appointment for additional information or clarification.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F10

Week 23

Grace: Surpassing Support for Living Out God’s Calling

We do not need to push through in our weakness each day to accomplish God’s calling for our lives. God has provided support for our physical renewal through elements in the soil and atmosphere (food, oxygen, water, etc.) and also through exercise and sleep. 

He has also provided support for our psychological renewal - for information (the mind), affection (the emotions), and decision-making (the will) – through support relationships in the home and church (parents, husbands, and pastors).

Most importantly, God has provided support for our purity, integrity, wisdom, humility, faith, and hope through

  • his Son (his death for us and his Life in us),
  • the Holy Spirit, and
  • the Scriptures.
“How certain and unfailing will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." – Romans 5:17

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (in your dependence upon me)." – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“In him was Life and that Life was the light of men.” – John 15:4

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F07

Image Without Substance: A Shallow Hope to Support Holiness

The civic leaders of a small town adopted strict codes to support an upscale image for their commerce areas. It resulted in a nice view, not only for its citizens, but also for visitors to the area. The town, with its landscape and building designs, indeed looked upscale to onlookers. That is, until they looked closer. Beyond the entrance doors, the decorum was typically dank, the sanitation scores were often low, and dirty bathrooms were the norm.

So codes alone don’t work. Not really. Except maybe for an outward appearance looking from a distance. They may support a certain image for a time, but image without substance to support it cannot be sustained.

That is the reason Christ came into the world. The Law had not worked to produce righteousness, so he came, not to do away with the Law, but to enable our compliance to it by living his Life in and through us (Matthew 5:17).

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (godliness).” – Colossians 1:27

“We serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” – Romans 7:6

“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” – Matthew 23:27-28

“For what the law could not do because it was opposed by the sinful nature, God did by sending his Son.” – Romans 8:3 (GracePoint Interpretive Paraphrase)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F06

Meekness: Grace Support for Receiving God’s Solutions

I read a report recently that people tend to resent others more for their successes than for their failures.

The report reminded me of a parable about a man who discovered an inexpensive, easy way to produce a greatly needed and sought after outcome, and he freely shared the secret with his friends and neighbors. But because it was not their idea, they rejected it. It also highly motivated them to seek for a solution of their own. But nothing worked for them. Even so, rather than accepting a solution they could not boast ownership of for themselves, they decided the outcome was not that greatly needed after all.

 “The fruit of the Spirit is… faith (conviction concerning Truth) and meekness (humility to accept Truth).” – Galatians 5:23

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F05

Standard and Premium Counseling: Considering the Difference

All counseling is not the same, no more than all product materials are the same. That’s why retailers of products offer discount, standard, and premium qualities. We get what we get.

So it is not true that any counseling is better than no counseling (as my pastor friend suggests). 

Basically, there is a Plan A and Plan B counseling (I call them) - or better, standard and premium counseling. The goal of standard/Plan B counseling is to provide support which superficially relieves the pain (to feed the hungry, for example). Premium/Plan A counseling, however, offers support for making wise choices which heal the brokenness and build character.

Plan B is wildly popular. That’s because hurting people typically run toward support for superficial pain relief, especially if they suffer addictions.

Plan A is wildly unpopular. That’s because hurting people typically run away from support for their healing.

Plan B is also big business because hurting people will pay for it - and go broke doing it (the same as for entertainment, drugs, and alcohol). Also, donations to Plan B relief efforts are enormous, sometimes making organizations and people very wealthy – which represents another way Plan B is different from Plan A.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E04

God Alone: The Explanation for our Experience of Him

Salvation, every aspect of it, is from God, the gift of God, and because of God. This is the meaning of

Ephesians 2:8-9: “You are saved by grace (God’s provisions)” and

Titus 3:5: “We are saved, not by the religious works we have done, but by the provisions which flow from his mercy.” 

This means, God is the explanation for every experience of redemption we have, including our

  • justification (forgiveness),
  • regeneration (new birth),
  • sanctification (holiness),
  • glorification (resurrection), and
  • eternal life (going to Heaven).
Again, none of these are accomplished by the merit of any effort we make.

God is also the explanation for our enablement in redemptive service to others. That’s why we surrender to him ownership for both the work and the outcome of our ministry. It is his work, redemption is his big idea, and only he can do it! We are only the instruments he uses, not unlike the tools used by a gardener or carpenter.

God is also the explanation for our enablement to understand the Scripture. In the same way we surrender to God responsibility for our salvation and also for our enablement in service to others, we also surrender to him the responsibility for communicating Truth to us during our quiet time to read the Scripture.

Help for understanding this concept is the support our counseling provides.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13F03

Week 22

The Message of Grace: An Organic Explanation for God

The message of grace is foolishness to sinful minds.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:18.

But the hocus-pocus, name-it-claim-it, perform-to-win-God’s-favor message is foolishness to analytical minds, not because of sinful bias, but because the message doesn’t make sense.

For that reason, I suspect the many, who are turned off by the representation of Christianity heard on Christian tv (TCT, CBN, etc.), would embrace an organic, cause and effect, scientific explanation for how God relates to fallen humanity.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E31

Superficial and Sanctified Choices: Supports That Cover Up, That Cure

God has made provisions to support us for every good outcome (health, happiness, and Heaven). I call these provisions sanctified supports. Other provisions exist (drugs, alcohol, stimulants, entertainment, for simple examples) to support us for pain relief outcomes. I call these provisions superficial supports.

There is not really a vacuum where neither exists to support us. That’s because we humans do not tend to live in our pain. We make choices which superficially relieve the pain or that result in healing. The one is a cover up; the other is a cure.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E30   

The Need to Be Controlled Rooted in Weakness

Usually, in our counseling, wives grieve their experience of an oppressive husband. But, occasionally, wives will express their desire for a controlling, commanding, and even demanding experience, including with God. 

However, God has no desire to control us, but only to support us for making wise choices which result in our healing.

Redemptive relationships heal. By our connection to them we are set free. That’s how we know they are from God. (Controlling headship, oppressive to women, is a tenet of most religious ideologies/cultures.) 

The need to be controlled (also to control) is rooted, not in health, but in brokenness.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E29

Got GPS?

What a wonderful friend Magellan GPS has been on our trips out of town, and even to new locations locally. Carole and I have named the female voice providing direction, “Maggie.” She’s become a member of our family.

Traveling to Virginia on Business 29 North recently, the road dead-ended into Highway 700. I did not remember whether to go east or west. On a guess, I headed west, but also asked Maggie. “When possible make a legal u-turn,” she instructed. So I turned around and went east, which took us to U.S. 29. Thanks Maggie! “GPS is helpful,” I said to Carole. “It can also be lifesaving,” she said.

Then it occurred to me. In the same way Maggie communicates information which can be helpful and also save lives, the counseling GracePoint offers can also be helpful to provide support to hurting people for making the essential choices which result in good outcomes – maybe not so much for directions to an address, but to personal health and happiness, and especially to Heaven. To most, GPS means Global Positioning System, but to some, it might also mean GracePoint Support.

It doesn’t take much to entertain my mind.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E28

Supported for Health and Holiness: God’s Purpose for His Provisions

John (the Baptist/Baptizer), the Bible says (John 1:6-7), was sent from God as a witness to testify concerning his experience of the Light (Christ).

Following John’s example, we give testimony to the following:

By our experience of

·         water, food, and oxygen, we are hydrated, nourished, and oxygenated;
·        exercise, sleep, and rest, we are renewed and energized (including our cardio-vascular system and immune system);
·        training/teaching, touch/hugs, and guidance, we are nurtured/affirmed intellectually, emotionally, and for decision-making; and
·         Christ, we are made holy – transformed to be like him.

“Anyone who remains connected to me so that I remain in him will bear much fruit.” – John 15:5 (GracePoint interpretive paraphrase)

“God knew beforehand who would receive the gift of his Son and he predetermined at that time to conform/transform each one of them to his likeness (to make them holy).” – Romans 8:29 (GracePoint interpretive paraphrase) 

“How certain and unfailing will they reign in life who receive God’s abundant provisions of grace, beginning with the gift of his Son.” – from Romans 5:17-20

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E27

Week 21

Caring for Self: The Surpassing Call

We make much of God’s calling for our lives to attend to the redemptive needs of our neighbors. Repeatedly, Jesus said, “Love (Invest in) your neighbor.”

Indeed, helping our neighbor is the work of the church and every Christian.

But there is a call from God that surpasses serving our neighbors. It is his call for us to attend to the redemptive needs of our wives and children – or else, Paul writes, we are like (actually worse than) unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8).

But wait. There is even a greater call from God.

It is to invest in/attend to the redemptive needs of ourselves. That’s because, we cannot meet needs in the lives of others which have not been met in ourselves. We cannot give what we have not received/do not have. That’s why Paul wrote,

“He who loves his wife, loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:28

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E24

Grace: Faithful Support to Those Who Receive

GracePoint provides counseling support to those God calls to us.

Actually, the support we provide is to those who

  • hear and respond to that call, and
  • receive the support we offer.
Jesus said (Matthew 22:14, “many are called, but few are chosen.” From the context of vs. 1-14, we understand he meant that his provisions and support flow to those who receive it. (Many other Scripture support this concept including James 1:5-8.)

So the support is based on the receiving. 

Paul wrote the church at Rome (Romans 6:17-18 paraphrased), “Thanks be to God because you wholehearted embraced/received the concepts taught you, and, as a result, you have been set free from your brokenness.”

But some do not receive. To them Jesus said (John 5:40), “You will not come to me so that you may have life.”

The reason some do not come, Jesus said, is,

“Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (they were up to no good). Everyone who does evil hates the light (a thief, for example, like those who come to kill and destroy [John 10:1,10]), and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth (God’s redemptive plan for our recovery and health) comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done through (enabled by) God.” - John 3:19-21

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E23

GracePoint Counseling: Strong Support for Husbands to Serve Their Wives

Our marriage counseling is strong to support husbands for understanding that they are the pastor/shepherd of their home, and that, if the home is broken, the solution begins with them, since the husband is the fountainhead of the home (the person responsible) – which is the meaning of the New Testament word “head” when understood in its organic context.

This means, our counseling does not ask wives to make changes which motivate their husbands to treat them better. Rather, we support husbands for making the necessary changes in their own lives so that they can win back their wife's confidence in them and desire to live with them.

Also, our counseling does not support a wife for staying in her marriage on the basis of the vow she made to “love, cherish, and obey until death” – that is, to stay with her husband regardless of his success to attend to her health and happiness needs. Rather, we support her for notifying her husband that

  • God is calling her to make choices for her personal health and, also, to connect to functional resources which support her for making those choices and, on that basis,
  • she needs for him to live out the role God is calling him to.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E22

Life on the Boat: Secured for Heaven by Our Life in Christ, Supported for Holiness (Health and Happiness) by His Life in Us

It is not hard for me to pick on a theology, even one that contains a good measure of Truth. But a theology that misses getting it exactly right about the salvation God has provided for our eternal salvation (from the judgment of sin) will have a hard time getting it exactly right about God’s provisions for our living the Christian life.

So, recently, when the well-known tv minister was enthusiastic to teach that “the Blood of Christ gets us from the boat to the shore (Heaven),” I went into tweak mode. It was not the worst illustration but totally missed the opportunity to teach about the security we have in Christ and also about God’s provisions for supporting us after we have been born again.

Consider that

  • it is (our receiving/trusting) the Blood of Christ that gets us, not from the boat, but in the boat (in Christ),
  • we have no interest or need to leave the boat to go anywhere,
  • the boat will arrive in Heaven with us in it – which is the security we have in Christ, and
  • it is the Life of Christ in us that enables our health and happiness for our journey on the boat. 
 DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E21

The Call of Christ: Saying YES to God

Christ Calls us to

1. Consider him

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

2. Come to him

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

3. Connect to him

“Abide (connect and remain connected) to me.” – John 15:4

4. Commit to (Trust in) him

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe (trust) also in me.” – John 14:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E20

Week 20

Why GracePoint Does Not Charge for Its Support

A friend suggested recently that, considering the large number of counselee sessions GracePoint provides, we could generate a significant income. I replied it would be appropriate for GracePoint to charge only if we provided, for example, medical treatment for injuries – maybe to a runner for an Achilles heel injury – but not for providing counseling support for learning how to increase conditioning in order to prevent injuries.

The work to which God has called GracePoint is to support hurting people for learning how to include God’s provisions in their lives which help establish them in health. Again, it points (refers) hurting people to God, to the support he gives (a plan A strategy, I call it), rather than providing support to them for working on themselves – for example, learning to cope, trying harder, etc. (a plan B strategy).

We could appropriately charge a fee for Plan B, but not Plan A.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E17

Organic Sowing and Reaping: How God Relates to His People During the Age of Grace 

Grace concepts are easier to understand when we consider that

  • under the Old Covenant, God’s relationship to his people was mostly organizational (compliant behavior motivated by rules and expectations, promise of blessings, and threat of punishment),
  • during the Kingdom Age, Christ will rule with a rod of iron over the governments of nations (Revelation 2:27; 19:15), but
  • during this Age of Grace/the Church Age, his relationship to his bride, the church is mostly organic (life supported by intimate relationship/connection to a functional resource), according to the New Covenant (Colossians 1:27; John 15:1-8),
  • the dynamics of leadership and relationships in an organization are different than the dynamics of leadership and relationships in an organism, and
  • while Christ controls (for example) the weather and seasons, he does not normatively impose his will on organic life, consistent with the law of sowing and reaping which God ordained to govern his creation, but is standing and knocking at the door of our hearts/minds, communicating Truth about himself and our need for him, and “patiently waiting an entrance to gain.”
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E16

Faith and Hope: Support for Living in a Hurting World

Fear and anxiety are the result, not of the pressures and adversities that are present in our lives, but of support that is missing.

The support missing is not therapy, although it may help, or prescribed drugs, although they may provide some short-term relief, or even relaxation or mental exercises, as helpful as they may be.

The support that is missing runs much deeper. It is our experience of Christ who, by his organic presence in our lives produces in us faith (conviction concerning God’s love and care for us) and hope (the confident expectation concerning his purpose and plan for our lives - that he will accomplish it).

“Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God.” – Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E15

Straightforward Support for Wives When Husbands Say NO to Counseling

My schedule is usually filled with men or couples, so I am rarely able to schedule individually with wives of husbands who resist counseling. Instead I encourage them to read and reread the information on the Counseling/Home/Marriage page - which is basically the following:

  • It is not the role of wives to rescue their husbands, no more than it is the role of children to rescue their parents;
  • If your marriage is more important to you than your personal health, you are at risk for losing both;
  • Your husband will disrespect your needs to the extent you tolerate it, also to the degree you attempt to win his favor;
  • God does not call us to remain connected to dysfunctional resources.
This is straightforward but the counsel I give to wives.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E14

On Mother’s Day: Giving Weight to Mom’s Values

Children can wonderfully express appreciation for their mothers by giving thoughtful gifts and cards. They do so mostly, however, by giving themselves – that is, by opening the door of their hearts to receive their influence.

The meaning of the word “honor” (“Children, honor your father and mother.” – Ephesians 6:2) is more than to be polite and kind to them; it means, rather, to “give weight to their redemptive values.”

Of course this assumes mom has redemptive values – that is, she

  • puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help,
  • manages well the duties of her home, and
  • helps those in trouble, devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. (See 1 Timothy 1:15).
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E13 for Mother’s Day 2013

Week 19

“Don, I sometimes skip reading the Bible because I don’t feel very spiritual.”

In the same way we do not need to feel better before going to the doctor, or to get over our thirst or hunger before drinking water or eating food, we do not need to feel spiritual before reading the Scripture.

A certain level of mental energy may be needed to motivate us for studying the Bible in the way we would a textbook (in order to learn content, maybe to prepare for a test), but for the purpose of hearing and experiencing God, we can simply open the Bible and begin reading, motivated only by the awareness of our brokenness and need for God – with this trust, that the Holy Spirit will do the rest, the same as water can be trusted to energize us and to satisfy our thirst when we drink it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E10  

“Don, when I read the Bible I don’t think I hear God in the way you talk about.”

During the past 24 years, I do not remember a day (except once when I had food poisoning) when I did not hear God during my quiet-time Bible reading. So I talk about an experience I know something about.

I also know why and how it happens.

The need, at the very outset, is for learning how to

  • wait on God and
  • surrender to him the responsibility for communicating whatever Truth he wants us to know as we sit quietly before him with an open Bible.
To illustrate the point, if you received a phone call, but the caller did not say anything when you answered, you might pause a moment or so to give the caller an opportunity to speak, but you would not likely attempt to take responsibility for identifying the subject matter s/he called you about – because normally you would not have a clue. So it would be appropriate for you to conclude that, since s/he made the call, it was his/her responsibility, not yours, to communicate whatever s/he might have in mind to say. Otherwise, you could just go on about your business.

I welcome the opportunity to support you for learning more in our counseling sessions. Just let me know.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E09  

By Chance or by Choice? How Do Good Outcomes Happen?

Are good outcomes, including good health, the result of chance (“It was just meant to be!”)?

Or, are they the result of positive thinking (“Everything is going to be okay! God is merciful and, if I give enough and be nice enough, he will take care of me.”)

If so, why can’t we, in order to be hydrated for example, just think positive about how good water is? Why do we need to actually drink it?

It makes sense to me that, if we cannot be hydrated without drinking water, neither can we experience any other good outcome without including in our lives God’s provisions which produce it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E08 

Connecting Health Choices and Good Outcomes

I like Bob Greene’s fitness book, “Making the Connection!” – including the title because it points to the cause and effect relationship of the choices we make and the health we experience.

That simple concept seems to get missed a lot. It’s an easy notion that good outcomes just happen, for no reason we can know of, except maybe luck, or the alignment of the stars.

Or that good outcomes in our lives are acts of God based on our performance to impress him or make him happy, or maybe just because he is God and can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

The Scripture, however, teaches that God has ordained the law of “sowing and reaping” (cause and effect) to govern outcomes - that physical and psychological health is the result of the diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices we make.

So we take care to make good choices.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E07

“Don, I am not sure I agree the husband is the vine in the home.”

I personally do not know of any theologian, pastor, or Bible teacher who believes the husband is the vine in the home. (But surely there must be some. Of course there are those who have phased through our counseling.) So if you reject the concept, you probably hold the majority view and are in the best of company. Also, good men would encourage you to reject an opinion that does not have the support of at least the ministers you trust.

Still, I would say that we do not learn grace concepts from men, but from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that, when the Holy Spirit comes, he will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13). Also, John wrote that we do not need any man to teach us because the Spirit teaches us everything God wants us to know (1 John 2:27).

For that reason, it makes sense to me that, if what we believe is not what the Holy Spirit is teaching us as we sit quietly before him with an open Bible in our quiet time, we have reason to wonder if what we believe is Truth.

I appreciate your email and willingness to give me opportunity to share the Scripture texts which I believe support the counseling we offer to husbands concerning their role in the marriage. This is not an invitation for you to debate with me, but to listen, ask questions for clarification if needed, and then surrender to the Holy Spirit the responsibility to confirm in your heart what he wants you to know.

Hope this helps!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E06

Week 18

When Husbands Initiate Counseling: What It Means (An Open Letter to Wives)

Dear ____,

If you are hurting and unhappy in your marriage, it is the role of your husband to find solutions, including to seek and schedule marriage counseling. Usually a husband will do this when he

  • embraces his role as the vine in the home - to be a support resource for meeting the health and happiness needs of his wife,
  • agrees that any problems in the marriage reflect, at the root, unmet leadership needs - that they are not just "issues" his wife needs to "get over."
I hope you will take time to read again some of the information I have included on the Counseling/Home/Marriage page at our website - especially that God is calling you to

  • make choices for your health, and then to
  • connect to resources which support you for making those choices (and to disconnect from resources that do not).
Husbands, typically, provide support to the level wives expect/insist on. Men are users by default human nature and tend to provide as little support as their wives will tolerate.

Again, I will provide individual counseling for you, but will schedule couples counseling only if your husband initiates the appointment – that’s because the success of our counseling would be limited otherwise.

I welcome the opportunity to help.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E03

Opening the Door to Receive Support: The Cost of Counseling

GracePoint does not charge for its services as businesses typically do (actually, we are not a business, but a ministry), nor accepts donations from counselees.

But our counseling is not free. That would not be wise - because counselees benefit most from support they pay for. For example, they will more likely attend a class or read a book that costs them something.

But the cost for our support is not money. Fees are appropriate and necessary for the marketplace where people are employed and also when counselees’ goal for counseling is to have someone to talk to, or for support to help manage their pain. But for the work of ministry, to meet spiritual and eternal needs, the cost is not dollars; it is self.

God provides support on that basis also, you know – that is, to those who open the door of their hearts (give opportunity) in order to receive it (John 1:12 et al).

That’s why the Macedonian church “first gave themselves” to receive from God before they gave support to others (2 Corinthians 8:5), and also why the Scripture calls the husband to give himself up to God (in order to receive support from him) in behalf of his wife (Ephesians 5:25). This is understood also in the meaning of Ephesians 1:16.

So our counselees give, not money, but themselves – that is, they open the door of their hearts to receive the support we offer. The support GracePoint receives comes from God according to his promises in Matthew 6:33 and 2 Corinthians 9:8.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E02

An Open Letter: Considering Your Counseling Needs
Good morning, _______.

As I have indicated on our website, our counseling is different. Its first goal is to provide support to you and your husband for

  • identifying your inborn health and happiness needs,
  • learning about God's provisions for meeting those needs through resources in Creation (the soil and atmosphere), Community (leadership support in the home and church), and especially through intimate relationship to Christ (which includes
  • learning how to read the Scripture in order to hear and experience God in your quiet-time worship each day.)
This means, if a couple's only goal for counseling is to learn how to get along together (which is a valid goal), there are other types of counseling that can provide support for that, mainly by teaching communication and coping skills. While, of course, happiness in the relationship is also our hope for couples, it is a secondary goal. Our first goal (as stated above) targets their personal health. This is based in our understanding that

  • tension/unhappiness in a relationship is because of unmet temperament needs and
  • it is not possible for two tense, unhappy persons to have a happy marriage.
So while I appreciate counseling that can help couples learn how to manage their pain so that they can survive their issues, it is not specifically what our counseling does.

Also, our counseling identifies the husband as the vine in the home. That means, he serves as a support resource to help meet his wife's health and happiness needs. If there is a problem in the relationship, it is his role to seek a solution, including to initiate the call to a counselor. (The success rate of our counseling is limited when he does not.) Men don't always embrace this concept, but it is the basis of the counseling support we provide.

I hope this helps as you consider your counseling needs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13E01

Who Knew? The Unlikely Savior of the World

Jesus said, “No one comes to me unless the Father (effectually) draws him” (John 6:44). So we can assume that Christ relied on this drawing of people to him by the Father.

Of course, he fed the crowds and performed miracles to validate he was God, but I doubt he gave too much attention or weight to the importance of style, personality, or appearance in order to communicate his message.

I suspect Christ may not have had a winsome personality or handsome appearance – that the qualities which the world would appreciate and find appealing may not at all have marked him (although certainly nothing about his person would have offended them).

Isaiah (53:2-3) prophesied about the Messiah that

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”

Yet those who heard him speak said of him, ”No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:46). And those who were closest to him reported they had seen the glory of God, that he was full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D30

Looking Closer at the Feel-Good Family: Understanding Codependent Relationships

Relationships must be redemptive so that they are not codependent. A codependent relationship, by its simplest but truest definition, is two hurting persons using each other for superficial pain relief (“I will make you feel good if you will make me feel good so that we can like each other!”).

Redemptive relationships consist of

·        a Redeemer/Savior who gives his/her life up to God to receive from him enablement to invest service in the health needs of
·       another who receives (gives opportunity for) the investment of that service.

This means, at first look, codependent relationships may appear warm and fuzzy at times and even nurturing, but because they give attention to superficial feel good needs rather than to health needs, and give little thought to eternal values, the participants in the relationships are in bondage and remain broken. Out of view, they are driven to destructive choices by their pain.

Redemptive relationships, on the other hand, may appear cold compared to the performances seen in codependent relationship. That’s because, investing in personal health in order to have enablement for investing in others feels more like working out at the gym, studying for an exam, or sowing and harvesting a crop which is not as much fun as a party. Health is a greater value than fun.

Also, hurting people can party all night. On the surface, they seem to be happy, love each other, and having a good time together. The investor works hard, and then goes to bed to get up early to do the same on the next day. The difference is in the long-term outcome.

“Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to (vessels for) impurity and ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to (vessels for) righteousness (God/godliness) leading to holiness (health and usefulness). When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control (influence) of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! Now that you have been set free from your sinful condition (brokenness) and have become slaves of God (servants/vessels for God’s use in meaning service to others), the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” – Romans 6:22 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D29

Week 17

Providing Support for Learning How to Hear and Experience Christ: The Purpose of the Church

In our counseling I listen to hear what the church experience is of our counselees. Typically, when the experience is positive, the superlatives they use (wonderful, exciting, great, etc.) are in reference to the

  • music,
  • speaker,
  • praise and worship, and
  • fellowship.
In strong “service” churches, members celebrate the success of their programs to help the needy in the community. In strong missionary churches, members celebrate the number of missionaries they support. In strong evangelical (soul-winning) churches, members celebrate attendance at meetings and the number of people trusting Christ for salvation.

These are all good qualities. When none of these strengths are present, the church will probably be very small, boring, and dying.

But even if they ARE present, the church is still at risk to becoming very small and boring, and even die. That’s because, the best qualities of the best churches can sometimes miss the essential purpose for which God birthed the church - which is to support members for learning how to hear and experience him daily. No other experience will sustain the life and health of the church long-term.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D26  

Pure Ministry: Investment Support to Set People Free

Carole and I sometimes watch tv on date night. “Global Trekker” and “Monk” can be fun to watch. Recently we watched “Shark Tank” – a reality show which features a panel of wealthy investors who consider requests/pitches/offers from individuals to invest in their start up products/companies. Both the investment amount and percentage of return is negotiated. A typical request/offer is a $100K investment for 25% ownership in the new company. Of course, the investors’ absolute first goal is to increase their personal wealth. If the entrepreneur also makes money, that’s okay too. This is how capitalism works in the Western world.

But there is another investment – one God makes which accomplishes his redemptive plan in the Body of Christ, the Church. It is guided by principles and motivations different than found in the world. The goal of God’s investment is

  • to accomplish our healing and recovery (redemption), not to increase his wealth through a percentage of return,
  • to set us free, not to gain control or ownership of us,
  • freely made with only the condition we receive it. 
We are not God, and this is not Heaven, so the investments we make to survive living in a broken world reflect goals and principles that accommodate the world’s system. However, the more we are transformed by Christ to be like God, and the more we grow in grace so that our experience in the home and church is increasingly what Heaven is like, the more purely our investments in others will be motivated, guided, and enabled by God’s love in our hearts for their healing and recovery (redemption).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D25

When Husbands Refuse Counseling

Typically, a husband who resists counseling

  • is okay with his personal experience of the marriage,
  • does not really respect the needs of his wife, and
  • expects her to just "get over" her unhappiness.
Our counseling to wives supports them for

  • making wise choices which increase their personal health,
  • connecting to resources which support them for making those choices, and
  • disconnecting from resources that are dysfunctional.
This is based on our understanding that

  • the level of tension and unhappiness experienced by wives will continue to increase as long as they tolerate it,
  • when a wife’s goal is to make her husband happy - to meet his needs so that he will be more motivated to meet her needs,
    • her mothering instinct may enjoy that for a short time, but
    • the performance will soon wear her out, and
    • she will be disappointed with the outcome (especially his growing disrespect for her), and
  • when happiness is more important to wives than their personal health, they usually lose both.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D24

“Don, why do bad things happen to good people?”

Bad things sometimes happen to good people because we live in a broken world filled with broken people.

But the message of grace (the Good News) is this: Only good happens to people who daily include God’s provisions into their lives. This appears to be a contradiction, but not when we consider the meaning of the word “good.”

If we are referring only to our good behavior or performance (to go and give), as in being a good employee, citizen, neighbor, or church member, then we are very much vulnerable to evil in the world and subject to bad outcomes. I find no promise in Scripture that being good, in the sense of going and giving, protects us from evil.

But if by “good” we are referring to the assured/promised outcome of including in our lives God’s provisions for our health (which is the meaning of the Bible word “obedience”), only good can happen - that is, in the measure we include them.

This means, broken health does not/can not happen to people who include God’s provisions daily and in sufficient amounts in their diets and lifestyles. For example, dehydration does not happen to people who drink sufficient water.

Otherwise, God’s provisions are a lie, because he says,

“My word (provisions) will not return to me void, but will accomplish the purpose for which I gave it” (Isaiah 55:11).

It would mean also that God is not faithful, and that his provisions are not the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus meant exactly this when he taught us to pray, “Heavenly Father, we honor your redemptive plan for our lives and your provisions (daily bread) which accomplish it, and we receive them into our lives so that our brokenness (debt) can be healed (forgiven/removed)” (Matthew 6:9-13). 

This is also the meaning of

Romans 8:28 – that, “God is continually working for the good of those who value his provisions and are responding to his call to receive them into their lives.”

Psalm 91:14-16 – that, “‘Because he loves me (receives my provisions),’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name (who I am). He will call upon me (receive my provisions), and I will answer him (meet his needs); I will be with him in trouble (adversity that comes against him living in a dangerous world). I will deliver him and honor him (lift him up). With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation (for Heaven, holiness, health, and happiness).’” 

Galatians 6:9 – that, “If we do not give up making good choices, they WILL produce good outcomes.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D23

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled! Protected from Assaults, Accidents, and Adversity by God’s Provisions

We live in a dangerous world. The Bible says it would be this way. Paul wrote,

“This know also, that in the last days perilous (dangerous) times shall come.” - 2 Timothy 3:1

But God promises, that, to whatever measure we include his provisions into our lives, we are protected from assaults, accidents, and adversity which others are subject to in a fallen world.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This is the meaning of Romans 8:15:

“For you did not receive a spirit (of performance) that makes you slaves again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (parental love and care) whereby we call out to him as our Father (for provisions and protection).”

And also why Jesus said,

“Let not your hearts (minds and emotions) be troubled; you believe (trust) God, believe (trust) also me (and my provisions).” – John 14:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D22

Week 16

Forgiveness: A Grace Enabled Response to Offenses So That We Don’t Pound on People

I woke up this morning to discover a car parked on our lawn which damaged some of the landscaping. It may have been out of gas or broken down, so I knew someone was not having a good day. Still, I was disappointed (Okay, I was mad!).

But it was an opportunity for me to forgive.

Actually, it was an opportunity for me

  • to confess my powerlessness to do so and also
  • to respond to God’s call for me to connect to him for his enablement.
You see, Scriptural forgiveness means more than to just suppress or “get over” our disappointment. In fact, it is not really a human ability at all that we can just “choose” to do - no more than we can just choose to jump up to touch a 15-foot ceiling.

Rather, it is a Christ-like response to an offense

  • to which God calls us, and
  • for which he also enables us. 
Again, if God does not enable us to forgive, it’s not going to happen – not according to the Scriptural definition of the word, which is the following (two things):

1.     To withhold punishment – literally, to give a pass to someone who offends us – that is, to be angry but sin not (Psalm 4:4);

(But this does not necessarily mean the offender will not suffer consequences, but only that I will not execute the punishment. Punishment is not the purview of individuals, but of God and governments only. God’s call to individuals is to forgive. That’s why I won’t pound on the driver, despite my disappointment. But if the car is not moved and the damages paid for, I will ask law and justice to do what they do.)

2.     To minister to the brokenness – that is, to learn about the offender’s brokenness (whether it is drunkenness, poverty, or irresponsibility) at the root of the behavior, and then to provide ministry (if it is received) which supports healing (not the same as pain relief from foolish choices).

This is exactly how Christ forgives: He removes the judgment (by his death on the cross), and then, provides ministry (beginning with his life) for the healing of our brokenness (Romans 5:10).

He also calls us to receive his enablement for doing the same.

“Forgive as Christ forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D19

Addicted to Their Husbands, Wives Losing Long-Term Health

Behaviors are addictions when they interfere with us making choices that support our health.

For example, entertainment can be an addiction if it interferes with sleep, exercise, or school studies. Also, participation in church programs can be an addiction when it interferes with daily quiet time to be renewed in strength by our experience of Christ (Daily Bread).

Relationships are also an addiction when they interfere with taking time to invest in personal health. The worst relationship addiction can be wives to husbands. The addiction may be physical or psychological. Whatever the payoff, it will be at the expense of their long-term health.

Healthy relationships, the same as behaviors, do not control us, but set us free.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D18

Mood Music: The Holy Spirit Does Not Need or Use It (Why We Miss Meaningful Worship)

I am of German descent, which may explain why I am a music lover and can be deeply moved by the sound of good music (the same as I also enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and am energized by it). But for whatever reason God gave music (also sights), our experience of it is not intended to be a substitute for experiencing God by the Holy Spirit through reading The Scripture.

The Holy Spirit, whom God gave to teach Truth, cannot be heard with physical ears (or seen with our eyes). That’s because he makes no sound, but communicates spiritually to our minds. We must be very still and quiet in order to hear him. He speaks quietly from within us (not loudly from without). He does not need mood music or stimulating sights.

That’s why the most meaningful worship is quiet, and the reason we bow our heads and close our eyes.

“Be still and know (experience) that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D17

Receiving Support for Healing Thru Connection to Resources: A Call to Humility

It can be a humbling experience for those I am called to serve to have lunch with me – because I always insist on paying. I pay because I am the resource. (Of course, if a businessman seeks my business, he can buy my lunch any time.)

Not to comment on that, but on this:

It is the role of resources to provide support. We are in relationship to those we serve, not for what they can do for us, but for what they will give us opportunity to do for them. My buying lunch is consistent with that concept and helps teach it. It also gives those served an opportunity to practice receiving.

Man’s religious nature, however, reverses that by attempting to give to God rather than seeking to receive from him. Paul wrote (Romans 8:7), “The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God (to receive from him).

Our experience of Christ, however, changes (humbles) our hearts so that we

  • confess our brokenness and need for support and
  • are made willing to connect to God’s resources in order to receive it.

Humble yourselves before (Open the door of your heart to) the Lord, and he will lift you up (heal you).” – James 4:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D16

Y and Z Responses to Resource Support

Our ministry does not practice foot washing, but I understand and appreciate the concept – that God calls us to open the door of our hearts to receive ministry from our resources.

Two men: The one (Y) is living out grace principles for his life and is increasingly experiencing the good outcomes God promises, including meaningful service to others. The other (Z) struggles physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and is unemployed. Y gives me opportunity to provide mentoring support to him for his growth in grace. Z does not.

“Pride brings a person low...” – Proverbs 29:23

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10

"God shows favor to the humble (provides support to those who receive it)." – James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D15

Week 15

The Need for Renewal: When it’s Time to Temporarily Disconnect from Performance Programs

GracePoint calls broken people to disconnect temporarily from church or community programs which exist primarily for the purpose of providing ministry to the community (going and giving), and to connect instead to resources which support them for receiving God provisions which renew them in personal health (coming and receiving).

This is based on our understanding of God’s Redemptive Plan for our healing and recovery – that it is

1. for the Holy Spirit to call us through the Scripture in our quiet time to make choices which increase our physical, psychological, and spiritual health,

2. for us to respond to that call,

3. for us to connect to his resources (in Creation, Community [home and church], and, especially, Christ) which support us for making those choices, and then

4. for us to provide ministry to others out of the strength his provisions give.

“Come unto me you who are broken and worn out attempting to do my work without the strength, and I will give you recovery.” – Matthew 11:28-29 (GracePoint interpretive paraphrase).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D12

Considering Your Need for Counseling

When we are suffering brokenness and pain, we should consider what resource supports are missing, if counseling would help, and where God may be calling us to receive it.

Sometimes hurting people try to push on through their brokenness, thinking hard times make them stronger. But it does not. That's a horrible notion based in a performance-based, legalistic theology.

Instead, God allows hard times to break us, and to keep on breaking us until we come to an understanding of his redemptive plan - that it is for us to

  • stop trying to perform or "church" our way back to health/recovery,
  • identify his provisions for our healing, and
  • connect to the resources through which they flow into our lives.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D11

Making Choices for Health: Counseling Support for Wives Suffering a Self-Centered Husband

You are blessed if your husband has won your confidence that, to him, your health and happiness needs matter – to the extent that his opinions, about anything really, but especially about your life choices, matter to you.

But there is no Scriptural rule that your husband must approve everything you do. If he fusses when he is not happy with your choices, look him square in the eyes and firmly tell him to “Stop it!” – maybe like swatting a mosquito. If he gets verbally abusive (which he may do if you have tolerated his verbal battering for too long – and especially if he is an insecure bully or control freak), tell him to leave the house. If his abuse accelerates, or if he threatens violence, call 911 and have him removed.

This advice is based in our understanding that …

  • God’s place for the wife in the home is to be supported by her husband for living out her responsibility to care for their home, and especially for their children.
  • God calls the husband to be a support resource for his wife, to give himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25) - that is, to make good choices for his own life so that he can be in her life the way God intended.
  • God calls each of us to make choices which establish us in health, and then to connect to resources that are functional to support us for making those choices. When resources are not competent to do that, we disconnect.
  • GracePoint provides counseling to help recover deeply broken marriages – so addresses needs and issues different than for marriage enrichment (illustrated maybe by the difference between a hospital and a fitness gym).
  • There is another type of counseling that supports wives for learning how to give up their health and happiness needs in order to hold on to their self-centered husbands (a codependence or addiction issue), maybe with the hopes of changing them, or maybe just to survive them. But, long-term, whatever they may gain, it will not be worth the disrespect, unmet needs, and broken health they will suffer.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D10

Pursuing Personal Renewal: Potential for Problems with Relationships

If we understand that God is calling us to invest first in ourselves and to connect only to resources that support us for making that investment, and if we state that understanding to friends and family who only understand codependent relationships for meeting superficial pain relief needs, they may think about us what is true about themselves.

This is included in our understanding of Christ’s warning that:

”Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

So we take care about to whom we share that which is holy to us, even friends and family, lest they attack us.

"Do not give to dogs (those who do not share our convictions and calling) what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” - Matthew 7:6

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D09

The Contemporary Church Experience: Considering an Explanation for Continued Brokenness

God communicates Truth to us through The Written Scripture. It is not heard with our ears, not spoken or sung. Rather, we see/read the text with our eyes and the Holy Spirit quietly unfolds its meaning in our minds. It is not thunder but a quiet-time experience. It is also a healing experience. For those who are addicted to sights and sounds and superficial feel good experiences (suffering from a spiritual ADD of sorts), it may be a boring experience and unappealing.

Whatever may be appreciated about the different ways people hear and communicate, particularly with respect to hearing and experiencing God, if you are not being set free from your discontentment, tension, and unhappiness, consider that the rhythm and loudness of the music you are listening to during the contemporary "praise and worship" church experience may be barricading your mind from hearing the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit during your quiet time. There is something wrong with a worship experience that does not heal your brokenness.

There is a difference in stimulant energy and organic energy, in arousal and inner support. The one will superficially mask the pain, the other will minister to the brokenness that causes the pain.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D08

Week 14

Understanding the Meaning of Thanksgiving

In the world, saying “thank you” helps to build good will with others who give to us and may also motivate them to help us again. But to God, saying “thank you” means nothing in terms of us having our needs met by him. That’s because, in the Bible sense, giving thanks to God (thanksgiving) means more than offering a polite “thank you” to him for provisions offered; rather, it means to receive those provisions.

Thanksgiving is not giving something; it is receiving something. We know this, in the first place, because we say “thank you” when we receive, not when we give.

So, to give thanks (thanksgiving) to God means to give ourselves to him (that is, to open the door of our hearts and lives) in order to receive his provisions.

Otherwise, we are left to believe God provides our needs on the basis of our polite behavior toward him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D05

Enriched: When the Church Meets for a Mutual Experience

The experience of the early church when they came together was called koinonia. The word is a derivative of koinos, meaning “common.” Essentially it means “mutual burden bearing” based in shared values/desire/goals. It is experienced when a church comes together for a specific purpose. When that purpose is for those gathered to share their growing understanding and experience of God and his redemptive plan, the church is edified (informed, enlightened, and increased). When all present are mutually motivated and engaged, the renewal needs of everyone are richly met, but if their interest and participation are limited, God’s plan for their mutual enrichment is missed. Maybe the idea can be illustrated by a group bringing provisions for a meal: The occasion can be enriching – or not, based upon the level of preparation and participation.

From a minister’s perspective, when he speaks to groups who share his deep desire to experience God, it affords him a wide open door of opportunity and freedom for the entrance of the ministry he provides, and has the result of everyone present being more richly renewed by the presence of God. (This purpose of ministry to a group to guide worship for experiencing God is not the same as speaking to non-believers for the purpose of evangelism.)

The purest experience of koinonia is two or more people called together by God for the purpose of

  • hearing Truth communicated by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture and
  • experiencing his presence through worship.  
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D04

Lost Influence: The Lasting Fallout of Leadership Failure

I became a Christian when I was 5 and surrendered to the ministry when I was 17. But I missed having essential temperament needs met at home in my early life (especially for validation and affection), and as a result, I was not only left broken, but also unsupported later in life for meeting the redemptive leadership needs of others - especially my family.

We can recover from some failures. For example, our bodies can recover from the foolish choices we make that break our health. We can also recover financially, vocationally, and even psychologically. And sometimes, elements of a relationship can also be repaired. I can give testimony to all of these.

But recovery of lost leadership influence with those God gives us to serve is very difficult. It has something to do with the addictions and anger those relationships fall into because of the pain of their unmet leadership/support needs.

Of course, this is not the same as codependent (make-me-feel-better) relationships. Those relationships seem to never be lost because they do not depend on effectual leadership to meet redemptive needs but on performance (also handouts) to accommodate superficial pain relief needs.

Even if the support leadership is good, those it serves may still temporarily drift away. We see this in the Gospels during Christ's ministry on earth, and also in the New Testament account of the first century church. Paul expressed grief in his letter to some he had pastored at Galatia.” What happened to you!” he lamented. “You have fallen from grace (the grace message).”

But, as a rule, the falling away is because of poor leadership, not regardless of good leadership.

The support we offer in our counseling to parents warns about this – that we may not get but one chance to get it right. This means the fallout of our failure to meet the redemptive needs of our children (lost leadership influence/opportunity) can be passed on to several generations (become a "generational curse").

But if we do get it right - that is, if we are enabled by our experience of Christ to provide effectual leadership to those we serve, it will support them for getting it right with those they serve.

This is included in the meaning of

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."- Ephesians 3:21-22

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D03

Emergency Care: Timely Treatment Extending Life for a Second Chance

God’s provisions support us for meeting our formative needs, also our maintenance needs, and also our recovery needs.

Provisions for maintenance are mostly for prevention. They support us for staying well.

But if we disregard those provisions so that we end up suffering from disease or injuries, God has a plan for our recovery. It is to return to his provisions which support us for staying well. Not only do they have power to sustain us, but also to heal after we have become sick. But it will be slow, and we can expect that, during the time of healing, our experience of the pain may continue for a while.

God’s recovery plan also includes the emergency services provided by modern medicine. If we have drifted away from God’s plan, purpose, place, and provisions for our lives so that we are exposed/vulnerable to dangerous elements or find ourselves where we should not be (Psalm 91) and, as a result, get hit by a truck or shot by a thug or become deathly ill, a return to a DELS program (diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation) for prevention is not our most urgent need. Rather, it is for the most advanced medical treatment available to save our lives giving us extended opportunity, a second chance, to begin including God’s provisions which recover our health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13D02 

GracePoint: 2002-2013

GracePoint was begun on Easter Sunday, 2002 – so we celebrate God’s faithfulness in significant ways today.

I recall that, in 1974, during a time of discouragement and only a few years after I had surrendered to the ministry, I sensed God telling me he would use me for ministry to others in a special way. I have never forgotten the day or where I was or what I thought “special” meant. The scope and size of such a special ministry seemed overwhelming to me.

Today, I understand better that “special” did not mean scope or size as I first thought. If it had, the very best of that scenario would have sorely paled, in terms of eternal value, to the opportunity God has given GracePoint to support our counselees, even if only a few, for learning how to read the Scripture in order to hear God in order to experience Christ daily for recovery from deep human brokenness and in order to be made competent for meaningful service to others, beginning with their families. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13C31/D01

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