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TGP Volume 13
(July/August/September 2013)

Week 39

The Superficial Support of An Exciting Church Experience

If we choose food mostly because of the taste, we risk our diets not supporting us for health in the way the food we choose mostly because it is good for us - spinach, for example.

Also, if the church experience we are having is enjoyable because of the music, flashing lights, and theatrics, and even social opportunities, we risk missing the support we need for healing in the way we are by experiencing Christ in quiet-time worship.

That’s because, sowing seed is not a loud process. Also, the fruit it produces grows quietly. That’s why we do not hear apples or oranges or grapes grow.

Also, the work of the Holy Spirit to sow the Seed of God’s Life into our hearts is a quiet process. So is his nurturing of that Life.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I27

Grace Solutions: Safe and Sensible

The solutions offered/marketed to meet superficial needs (to look good or become wealthy) will typically be

  • extreme,
  • risky,
  • quick to produce results, and
  • short-lived (including satisfaction). 
But the solutions God has provided to meet redemptive needs (health and usefulness in service to others) will always be

  • reasonable,
  • safe,
  • slow to develop - consistent with the laws of sowing and reaping, and
  • enduring. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I26

Redemptive Resources: Making the Case for Staying Connected

Jesus calls us (John 15:1-8) to “remain connected” to him – as a resource to support our redemptive (recovery/health) needs, that is.

This means:

1. The interest of appropriately motivated (pure) ministry is not its own needs - how we can meet them - but our needs.

2. The time never comes when support for our recovery needs (growth in grace) is not needed. That’s why Jesus said, “remain connected.”

3.  We will “remain connected” to resources for only as long as the need we seek support for is relevant to our redemptive needs.

4. We will not “remain connected” long-term for any other reason – for example, to meet our social, quick-fix, superficial pain relief, or feel good (versus health) needs. (That’s because we build tolerance to them and become bored.)

5.   Each of us has specific needs. Support for meeting those needs is provided by different resources to which God leads us.

6. The meaning of 1 John 2:19 includes, “They went out from among us because their need was not for the support we provided.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I25

Pure Motivation for Ministry to Meet the Redemptive Needs of Hurting People

If you can identify what people want, and then provide a service or product that satisfies their want, they will make you rich. I got that from Kenneth Cooper, recognized as the “Father of Aerobic Exercise.” His exact quotes was, “If you provide a service that gives people the results they want, they will make it successful for you.”

It is a sound business principle.

However, I consider another concept: It is to identify what people need and then provide a service or product that meets that need - regardless who may or may not want it.

The one is motivated by the need to be successful in business (make money). The other is motivated by the heart of Christ in us for the redemptive needs of hurting people.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I24

Our Experience of Prayer: What You Can Expect

In our time of prayer (communicating to God), as the Holy Spirit directs and enables it, we can expect to

1.     express/grieve/confess to God our brokenness (fears, anger, sinfulness), as the Holy Spirit gives conviction concerning them, not because God requires it in order for him to release his provisions, but for clarification in our own minds of our needs;

2.     confess/rejoice in

  • God’s goodness (grace provisions),
  • unconditional love for us,
  • power to heal and renew, and
  • faithfulness to do as he as promised; 
3.     express our grief for

  • a lost, dying world and
  • specific people who are hurting and broken; 
4. give thanks – that is, we give ourselves to God, in confidence and confession concerning who he is and our need for him, expressed by opening the door of our hearts to receive the flow of his Life into us (worship).

This is not necessarily a formula or pattern for praying, but will be the experience we have as the Holy Spirit guides it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I23

Week 38

Evidence of Being Filled With the Spirit: What Charismatic Theology Overlooks

Charismatic theology insists the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. I find no support for that in Scripture. There was indeed a special work of the Holy Spirit during the early church age (first century) beginning at Pentecost that enabled believers to communicate the Gospel message in languages they had not learned.

But I do find support in Scripture (including Galatians 5:22-23) for the following evidences of being filled with the Spirit:
  1. Value for God’s provisions, ourselves, and others;
  2. Longsuffering and endurance for making wise choices living in a fallen world filled with adverse people and circumstances;
  3. Gentleness;
  4. Generosity to help support the redemptive needs of hurting people;
  5. Faith manifesting in obedience to receive God’s provisions;
  6. Humility to say “I do” to God’s redemptive purpose for our lives and his plan for accomplishing it;
  7. Sober, structured lifestyle;
  8. Passion/appetite for purity – including for hygiene, diet, and entertainment; and
  9. Honesty and Integrity in deportment of duties.
 DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I20

“If It Is Your Will!” A MisNotion About Prayer

The radio minister asked God to grant his requests. “If it is your will” and “if you can” he pleaded. It was with the hope he was deserving or that he might catch God in a benevolent mood. But his notion about prayer missed understanding that

  • God has already provided every redemptive/support need we have,
  • it was his will (predetermination) in eternity to do so,
  • we do not need to ask him (in the sense of making a request) for his provisions and support but
  • we need only to connect to his resources (in Creation, Community, and especially Christ) through which they flow - in order to simply receive them. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I20

Giving Up to God Responsibility for Communicating the Message of Grace

The singer sang like she knew something. God used her message in song to call me to him.

On any day, at any time, I would rather hear someone who can’t sing but has a song than someone who can sing but does not have a song -  the same as I would rather hear someone who can’t speak well but communicates the message of grace in all its truth than someone who is talented to speak but communicates a performance-based message that feed’s the need of human nature to be entertained and hyped.

So, with respect to my own ministry to others, I confess I am not as talented as others to teach or communicate. But because I have not identified others who share my understanding of the message of grace (although there may be many), I offer myself to God to use me - with this confidence:

  • The communication of the grace message, and also the hearing of it, is his responsibility;
  • He will give it and also call to it those for whom it is intended.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I19 

The Failure of Condemnation to Support Choices for Health

The first transgender teen to be named a high school homecoming queen last week gives opportunity for us to again communicate the message of grace.

1.     God values every person equally and unconditionally.

2.     Judgment and condemnation (hatred/rejection) of behavior that fall short of our standards or God’s law does not heal or help.

3.     Whatever may be said about

  • the reasons we make the choices we do and
  • the importance of making wise choices, 
God has made provisions (in Creation, Community, and especially, Christ to support us for making wise choice with the promised outcome of health and happiness and eternal life.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I18

The Wisest Investment of Time

Just guessing, I calculate my favorite athletes or sports teams win only about 30 percent of the time, making them a very poor investment of my time, and explaining why I don’t watch them play (although I sometimes check scores and read recaps). There are some investments, however, that produce a good return 100% of the time. For example, I have never been disappointed with the outcome I have from the choices I make each day to

  • include 5-9 servings of raw fruits and vegetables in my diet,
  • get my heart rate up for a sustained 30-45 minutes each day, and
  • go to bed early so that I can get up early and still get 7-8 hours sleep. 
The best investment I make is taking time each day for

  • reading the Scripture in order to hear God,
  • confessing brokenness and need for him, and
  • quiet-time worship in order to hear and experience Christ. 
My experience of his Life flowing into my heart is never without effect. It never fails to accomplish the purpose for which he gives it. In the way water always accomplishes in us and for us the biological purpose for which God gave it, so also the Living Water never fails to accomplish God’s purpose for cleansing and renewing us.

This is the Scriptural meaning of “God is faithful!”  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I17

Our Best Hope for Optimal Health: Prioritizing Our Supports

For longevity and quality of life, we trust

  • mostly in the wise choices we make for diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation (DELS), and
  • also in the care and support of resources to which we connect in
    • community (ministering leadership the home and church) and especially
    • Christ, and  
  • only complementarily (or for emergency/life-saving needs) in modern medical care (drugs and surgery). 
To reverse this order – that is, to be careless about DELS and to miss connecting daily to redemptive resource in community and especially Christ – will result in minimal rather than optimal health and happiness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I16

Week 37

Grief for the Brokenness: The Grace Response to Sinful Behavior

I saw the video recording recently that captured a favorite singer verbally attacking an extremist church group that was picketing his performance to protest his divorce and remarriage. The singer explained that he confronted the group because he wanted “to see what hate looked like.” He got to see it, of course, but so did the group.

Human nature reacts to rule breaking either with acceptance (non-judgment) to the one extreme or condemnation to the others. But excusing/overlooking sinful behavior never healed anyone; and neither does judgment.

The grace enabled response to broken behavior is to grieve, then to minister to the brokenness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I13

More Than Pain, God’s Plan for Health to Motivated Wise Choices

More than our pain, it is our health that supports us most for the wise choices we make that increase our health.

God’s purpose for allowing pain is to

  • call/cause us to consider our brokenness and need for God and
  • increase our interest/willingness to come to him/open our hearts to receive his support. 
But drugs and alcohol and other superficial pain relievers shut the door on that consideration and willingness (also compound the problems and increase the pain).

This means, while hurting people are often intense to seek God and to hear Truth, they also sometimes make choices which barricade them from the help they need.

So, it is not always the most hurting people who come to Christ,  welcome most the support he gives, and are the most committed to making wise choices.

Rather, sometimes it is the most healthy – because they have the healthiest

  • priorities,
  • motivations,
  • appetites. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I12

Feeling Valuable, Needed, and Significant: It’s Not Our Greatest Need

Our need for someone to be proud of us is a normal inborn temperament trait. Also, to be approved by God is a deeply embedded religious need.

As I look back, I remember how much my early ministry was motivated by/in bondage to my need to win God’s favor, to feel approved by him, and for him to be proud of me. Adding to the reasons above, I think it was because my need was missed as a boy to be validated by my dad.

We are set free from this brokenness and the bondage of performing to win God’s favor through our understanding and confession that

  1. there is nothing inherently good about us, which means
  2. nothing we can do in our own strength has eternal value or pleases God,
  3. God is pleased with us only in the sense we are “useful” to him (because he has made us to be competent) as vessels for his redemptive work in the world (which is consistent with the meaning of the Bible word “please” in its organic context), and that
  4. more healing and supportive than our need for God to be pleased with us (to consider us valuable to him based on our performance) is our confidence and understanding that, in reality, he values us unconditionally, regardless what is be true about us. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I11

Grace: God’s Provisions, Good and Perfect

“Every good and perfect gift” comes from God (James 1:

Not only are God’s gifts to us are good, but they are perfect. For example, he gave us light and fragrances but also gave us the ability to experience them.

He gave us food and water, but also created our bodies so that we are nourished by them. Exercise is good, but also perfect because of our bodies’ capacity to increase (training effect).

Also, God did good to give us sounds and also ears to hear them. We love the sounds of

  • music,
  • the wind blowing through the trees,
  • a creek, water fall, or the ocean. 
But God made those gifts perfect to give us

  • words (so that we were not left to live in a world with only sounds),
  • a brain to identify words.
  • a mind to interpret and understand their meaning, and
  • teachers, especially the Holy Spirit, to clarify and expound on their meaning.  
The greatest of gifts is words. That’s why John called Jesus the Word.

Words of

  • Identify (your name, address, etc.)
  • Encouragement (“You did good”)
  • Warning (“Go back”)
  • Instruction and salvation 
More Important than Words is Truth – concerning

  • you – that you are
    • a sinner
  • God – that he is
    • loving, kind, and caring,
    • true, faithful and unchanging,  
    • powerful and able, and
    • values you unconditionally (even if you are not valuable to him) 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I10

The Book of Job: The Basic Message Sometimes Missed

The essential message in the book of Job (sometimes missed by over-thinking commentary) supports the following concepts:
  • Man is opposed for making right choices not only by
o        his fallen human nature and by
o        adverse people and circumstances, but also by
o        Satan.
  • God ordained the law of cause and effect to govern outcomes in his creation – which means,
  • the outcomes we experience are the result of our choices.
  • God uses painful outcomes to call/cause us to consider/confess our brokenness and need for him.
  • God, in wisdom and according to his redemptive plan, 
o        limits adversity (1 Corinthians 10:13) and
o        prioritizes the outcomes of our choices according to our redemptive needs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I09

Week 36

The Absurdity of Asking God for “Blessings”

The notion that we must “ask” God for his blessings (according to the common understanding of the word, “to make a request”), and to do it

  • in faith (typically understood to mean the same as positive thinking),
  • with fasting (self denial to impress God that we are sincere), and
  • obedience to religious rules (“going and giving” so that we are deserving) 
is the reason, I think, for the confusion and frustrations in the church with regard to answered prayer.

God has already provided every redemptive need we have, and is continually calling us to it by the Holy Spirit, so asking for it is an absurdity. Instead, we take time each day to open the door of our hearts and lives to receive it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I06

Considering Life in Heaven: It Will Not Be Too Different Than Our Experience of It on Earth

Even if we are able to, I doubt we will fly when we get to Heaven. There will not be a reason to, since we will have no time limitations there or ever be in a hurry.

I doubt also we will have super strength so that we can lift heavy objects. What would be the need except to show off? I doubt the need to show off will occur to us in Heaven.

Also, I suspect life will continue to be very organic in Heaven. We will increase in godliness, giftedness for service to others, talents, knowledge, and appreciation for beauty. In Heaven, we will also eat, entertain, play golf and enjoy other sports and activities, study, research, discover, travel, and experience intimacy with family in ways not too much different than on earth.

I bet you a hug we will.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I05  

The Miracle of Lifting Heavy Weights: A Theology of Prayer That Makes Scientific Sense

Prayer is not asking God to do for us something he has not already made provisions for or that he has not already done, or that he would not otherwise provide if we did not ask; rather, it is receiving from God his provisions which make possible our redemptive needs being met.

To help illustrate this concept, I sometimes ask groups to pause with me a moment while I ask God to help me lift the piano off the floor. I follow through to bow my head and make my request to God. Sometimes, I ask if others will join with me in that request. And then, I attempt to lift the piano which, of course, I cannot do. Then I ask the group to help me determine the reason. Is it because of a lack of faith? Are some things too hard for God to do? Do I need to pray longer or more fervently, or perhaps to fast in order to demonstrate my sincerity?

No, the reason I cannot lift the piano is because God has ordained that outcomes are the result of the choices we make to include his provisions in our lives which make those outcomes possible according to the scientific law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) – in this case, the choice to do conditioning exercises which increase strength for lifting heavy weights. This is called “training effect” and it is one of the miraculous ways God created our bodies to work.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I04

Worse than the Fire, How the Lost Suffer in Hell

According to the Scripture, Hell is a real place with real fire where people go who reject God’s provision of Christ’s blood as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.

Conservative theologians agree that Hell is a place of suffering - darkness, loneliness, and the sense of falling. But some waver a little bit on whether the fire is literal. The question is moot, however, because the lost person’s suffering in Hell will not be the fire; rather, the most intense suffering in Hell will be separation from God, the experience of his presence, the provisions of his care, especially to meet their need to be valued, and the finality of that state.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I03

The Role of the Wife in the Home: The View Not Widely Held

The wife serves in her home

  • as a resource to her children to support their health and happiness and also
  • to care for the daily operation of the house,
  • as an undershepherd of the father/husband (who is the fountainhead, overseer, provider [resource person for faith and finances], protector [for the maintenance of life and property]). 
She is not responsible, however, as a resource person for the health and happiness of her husband, including his recovery or growth needs – although her love and care for him is cherished, appreciated, needed, and immensely enjoyed by him.

Of course, this is not the view of our culture, but it is supported by the Scripture.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13I02  

Week 35

The Grace Perspective: A Review

GracePoint provides counseling from a grace theological perspective. Grace, in my understanding, is God's provisions

  • which flow to us through resources in creation (the soil and atmosphere), community (leadership relationships in the home and church), and especiallyChrist (his death/blood for us and his resurrected life in us)
  • to recover us (from the state into which mankind fell because of Adam's disobedience) and also
  • to enable us/make us competent in redemptive service to others.
Grace is not the same as God's mercy (the disposition of God from which his grace/provisions flow - so that if he ceased to be merciful, his grace would cease to flow). Sometimes the two seem to be confused.

I lived 40 years in bondage to a performance perspective - that is, to the notion that "blessings" from God are the result of our striving to "go and give," motivated by

  • fear (of judgment),
  • guilt (because of all Christ has done for us), and
  • ego (to be a champion for Christ). 
For the past 24 years, I have been growing in my understanding of a new perspective (dynamic) - that our

  • relationship to God is not mystical but organic, based upon the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) which God ordained to govern outcomes, and our
  • recovery and healing and enablement for "going and giving" are the result of our surrender to "come and receive," motivated by conviction/confession concerning who we are (broken), who God is (faithful), and our need for him. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H30

It’s Organic: The Simplicity of Experiencing God for Our Recovery

Our experience of God is not metaphysical or mystical but organic, not too much different than our experience of an apple or water. Researching man’s elaborate explanations of God and the universe makes my head ache. What can be simpler than God’s revelation of himself and his redemptive plan in The Scripture – that

  • man is born broken and needy,
  • God has
    • provided for our recovery through resources in Creation, Community, and especially Christ,
    • brought those provisions to the door of every person’s heart, and
    • calls us to receive them into our lives with the promise
  • his provisions are
    • effectual and faithful to accomplish our healing and recovery,
    • consistent with the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) which God ordained to govern his creation. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H29

Outcomes! Debating the Cause

The debate has gone on for a long time: Is our lives the result of something God does, or of the choices we make?

Some insist God is absolute sovereign and he orchestrates every experience of life we have. This is usually what people mean to indicate when they say “God is in control!” Actually, it’s called “fatalism.” It was the belief of the man who fell into a hole and broke his leg: He said, “I’m glad that’s over with!”

Others insist, God has removed himself from us and the outcomes we experience are the result of our choices. These are the two most opposing and extreme views.

But, as always, Truth is the third option: God, of course, controls the weather, beasts of the field (bush, forest, woods, jungle, wherever!), suppresses evil and the demonic world (John 19:11), and the heart of the king (rulers) is in the hand of the Lord (Proverbs 21:1). But the experiences of our lives are normatively governed by the law of cause and effect (sowing and reaping) – that is, they are the result of the choices we make (Galatians 6:7).

Those choices, of course, are performance/action or application choices (going and giving, I call them). But mostly, they are preparation choices (coming and receiving).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H28    

Supported for Experiencing God, Health and Happiness, and Christian Service Through Connection to Community and Especially Christ

If we are experiencing God so that we are healthy and happy and enabled in our service to others, it is because we are being supported – because Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

That support may be coming through our connection to resources in Community (leadership in the home and church). We are indeed blessed if such support is available.

Or, most critically, it may be coming through our connection to Christ – that is, through our daily quite time worship (opening the door of our hearts to receive the flow of his Life). He is always available and willing (faithful).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H27

Having, Reading, or Giving a Devotion: What It Means!

I think I finally get it!

I have long not understood what was meant by reading or having or giving a “devotion.” I have been asked at times to give a “devotion” to groups. Also, we are told how important it is to have personal “devotions” each morning. I understand “devotion” to mean loyalty or deep love, but it has not been clear what the word means with reference to reading it or sharing it with a group.

Part of my aggravation has come out of my need for words to mean something. For example, I sometimes ask people if they have ever been on a “swiss hunt.” Occasionally someone will say they have, even though there is no such experience as far as I know. But I use the words to provide a rhyme to help people remember how to pronounce my last name, Whisnant (pronounced “Whisnunt”). What is a “whisnant” anyway? I understand Mr. Smith is a blacksmith and Mr. Tanner tans hides, but what is a “Whisnant?” I need to know! (Actually, it means “wise hunter.”) And what is a “donald?” Whatever it is, Donaldson is the son of Donald. So I have that figured out.

I think I have also figured out what is meant by having or reading or sharing a “devotion.” (No, I did not run out of subjects to write about. Hundreds, maybe thousands of drafts are waiting to be edited for posting.) It means to have a time of

  • giving or committing ourselves to God in order to receive from him the flow of his Life into our hearts,
  • reading a short sermonette calling us to do so, or
  • sharing such a sermonette with others.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H26

Week 34

“Forgive In Order To Be Forgiven”: What Does It Mean?

Mark 11:25-26, “forgive so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins,” is commonly understood to mean that our forgiveness is conditioned upon our forgiving others – that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.

But that interpretation of the words of Christ disregards the clear message of the Gospel - that we are not saved by works we have done but by faith in Christ’s death on the cross.

So we consider Jesus means that we can minister to the brokenness of others only as we have received his ministry to us for the healing of our brokenness.

It is in this context also that we understand “Forgive us our debts (heal our brokenness and failures) as we also have forgiven our debtors (ministered to the healing of those who are broken and have failed us)" (Matthew 6:12).

“Forgive us…as we also have forgiven” is understood, not as a condition in the usual sense – that God’s forgiveness is based upon a certain disposition of our hearts to those who have offended us which earns it, but as “Heal us by (we receive from you) your provisions which enable us in ministry to others which supports their healing.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H23 

Understanding Prayer for Others from the Organic Perspective

We can minister to others only the support we ourselves have received.

How can we pray for the healing of another if we are not in health, or teach a lesson we have not learned, or provide directions we don’t know?

This is the reason

  • our praying for others can only be understood in the context of us praying for ourselves in their behalf and that
  • prayer is receiving from God his provisions so that we can support others for doing the same. 
So, when Paul prayed, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16), we understand from the organic context of the New Covenant Scripture that he was praying (receiving) for himself in their behalf – that is, he was opening the door of his heart to receive (which is the meaning of prayer) strength from God

  • for his own experience of him, but also
  • in behalf of his ministry to others to support their doing the same in behalf of themselves and also of others. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H22

The Message of Grace: Fear and Guilt Motivated, My Mentors Got It Wrong

My fear and guilt driven, performance-based, mentors had it wrong. God indeed does bless those who are obedient to him, but not in the sense that obedience (as a condition for God’s blessings) means going and giving – that is to

  • tithe to the church,
  • testify to the lost, and
  • task for the Lord. 
And this with disregard to

  • the enablement we need for the going and giving, and
  • the cautioning of Jesus that, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 
The message of grace which sets us free is that God’s blessings (healing and support) flow to everyone who comes and receives – that is they connect daily to God’s resources in creation, community (home and church), and especially Christ through which his provision flow into our lives.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H21

Support for Receiving God’s Provisions: The Ministry Need of Broken People

The legalistic church judges and condemns the behavior of broken people. Judgment and condemnation, however, do not heal, but only further break people.

That’s because, the disappointment and rejection of broken people by religious legalists is matched by the disappointment and rejection by broken people for those who judge and condemn them. Whatever opportunity for support the religious church might offer, it is lost.

The great need of broken people is for the Church to manifest the likeness of Christ (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance), to understand their pain (that it is the result of unmet needs), and then to support them for identifying God’s provisions which bring healing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H20

The Healing Outcome of Experiencing Christ: Convincing Evidence That Worship is Organic, Not Magic or Mystical

Our experience of Christ is not magic or mystical, but is as organic as experiencing food or water or any of God’s provisions, or as organic as a branch experiencing the vine. I know this because

  • I can mystically visualize (new age theology) or verbally declare (name it, claim it theology) that I am hydrated, yet I remain dehydrated. Also,
  • I can pray (ask) for God to remove the tension and darkness from my heart, yet it remains (although the exercise of groaning and calling out to God may vent some of the pain I feel so that I experience some superficial/temporary relief – which is not the same as healing).
However, consistent with the law of cause and affect (sowing and reaping), I can drink water with the result I am hydrated every time.

And, most convincing to me that our experience of God is organic, when I open the door of my heart each morning for quiet-time worship to receive the flow of his Life into me, the darkness and tension in my heart dissipates every time, with out fail (which is not the same as an emotional response to music or a walk through the woods to experience nature).    

“In him was Life, and that Life was the light (health) of man.” – John 1:3

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H19

Week 33

Basic to understanding the message of the Bible is the meaning of the word “redemption” – that it is
  •  by definition, “deliverance from the judgment of God against the human race because of Adam’s disobedience”,
  • the message and theme of The Scripture
  • God’s purpose and plan for his relationship to mankind,
  • the core concept for understanding/defining the meaning of forgiveness, salvation, and freedom,
 and most importantly, that it is
  • past, present, and future.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H18

Past (Regeneration, Justification, and Reconciliation)

Our past salvation is deliverance from (forgiveness [removal] of) the sentence of God against the human race (condemnation, separation from God) because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.

  1. This salvation was a one-time event. The disobedience was a one-time event (Romans 5:16a), the judgment was a one-time event (Romans 5:16b), the payment (Christ’s death on the cross) was a one-time event (Romans 6:10), our faith, repentance, confession, conversion, commitment, and calling out was a one-time event, and our regeneration, justification, and reconciliation to God was a one-time event.
  2. It was a legal event.
  3. It is assured by the work of the Holy Spirit to baptize us into spiritual union with Christ.
  4. It was also perfect. By virtue of this salvation, the judgment against us is completely removed. 
Present (Sanctification)

Our present salvation is deliverance from (forgiveness [removal] of) the contamination/broken condition of our human nature (souls: mind, emotions, and will) and physical bodies (because of the judgment/sentence that separated us from God but also because of the choices we make in the darkness – Romans 5:12-13).

  1. This salvation is a process, and not a one time event (Philippians 3:10-14).
  2. It is an organic experience.
  3. It is assured by the work of the Holy Spirit to birth in us the Life/Logos/Seed of Christ.
  4. It is incomplete in this lifetime. 
Future (Glorification)

Our future salvation is full/complete deliverance from the contamination/broken condition of our human nature (souls: mind, emotions, and will) and physical bodies.

  1. This salvation is a one-time event (in a twinkling of an eye), and not a process.
  2. It is an organic experience.
  3. It is assured by the work of the Holy Spirit to resurrect and make perfect our souls and physical bodies.
  4. It is perfect and accomplished at the resurrection of the dead in Christ (1 Corinthians; 2 Thessalonians).
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H16

Teachings about Prayer That Don’t Make Sense: Why Scientific Minds Reject Hocus-Pocus Christianity

The notion we can ask God for an outcome without receiving the provisions that make the outcome possible doesn’t make sense. It is the same as asking God to provide a harvest we don’t sow for, or to pass a test, run a race, or accomplish a task we don’t prepare for, or to hydrate us without drinking water. But that seems to be exactly the prevailing notion taught especially in the charismatic church concerning prayer – that, never mind including in our lives the elements that support health, if we are sick, we can ask (petition) God, and especially if are successful to meet his standards for good behavior (to go and give, sacrifice, say nice things to him, etc.), he will supernaturally grant our wishes, Santa Claus style.

If that was all I was knew to consider about God and how he provides for us, I would be an atheist. Scientists and other “thinking” people typically reject Christianity because they are asked to believe in a hocus-pocus god who works magic. The silliness of it is an assault on even average intelligence.

But I have found that, with the exception of the most hostile minds against God (bound by their addictions), even the strongest minds will consider a God who normatively works organically in the lives of people, consistent with the laws of cause and effect, according to principles that make scientific sense.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H15

Don, what does Paul mean when he writes “as you help us with your prayers”? 

This is a text  

“On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us with your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:10b-11 NIV)  

sometimes used to support the notion that God, if we ask him to (especially if we fast or join with others to form a coalition of prayer warriors), will work in the lives of others (including ministers/missionaries) to bless them in some specific or general way, and in a way he would not otherwise do.

But consider that Paul is writing (to paraphrase verses 10-11 in context),
  • our confident expectation is that
  • God will continue to use us –
  • that is, many will open the door of their hearts (‘give thanks’) to receive the support we have received from him (that makes us competent and effectual in our ministry to others), 
  • helped/encouraged/motivated by (not only the support we have received from him, but) the support you have also received from him (that makes you competent and effectual in your ministry to others).”  
Again, whatever the meaning of “as you help us with your prayers” is, the result is many will give thanks (“Then many will give thanks.”). 

This goes to the meaning of “giving thanks” or “thanksgiving.” Unless we want to limit our understanding of “giving thanks” to a polite, superficial expression of appreciation (a typical “Thank you!”) to God (motivated maybe by our hope to make him happy or, at least, to not offend him), then, “giving thanks” to God means to “receive” from him. (When do you say “thank you”? When you give or when you receive?) 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H14

Understanding God’s Provisions from an Organic Perspective: The Mostly Unheard Message

Pardon this expression of grief: Some of the largest, best supported, and most popular ministries on earth sometimes provide support for living the Christian life that would not be sufficient to carry me past the end of the day. (I know. In my early ministry and Christian life, I tried connection to a representation of about all of them without success.)

That’s why I grieved the support offered today on radio by an enormous, well-known ministry to men and women struggling with sexual identity.

“Support,” the popular speaker insisted, “is found in our identity with Christ.”

But I doubt few if anyone listening had a clue

  • what identity in Christ means,
  • how it happens,
  • that, while it makes possible our going to Heaven (justification, reconciliation, and regeneration),
  • it is our experience of Christ in us that specifically supports us for being made holy (sanctification). 
So, for that reason, I have been highly motivated through the years to provide information on this website which supports the message of grace from the organic perspective. And I am bold to say that most of the concepts taught here can not be found anywhere else. That’s a bold statement (I welcome to be proved wrong), but I make it with the hope it will motivate some to consider it, if not now, at a future time when they become disappointed and disillusioned by all else they are currently considering.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H13

Don, if we are born sinful, doesn’t that mean we are not responsible for our behavior?

No. Consider the following:

We are indeed born sinful - victims of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden (because it

  • separated us from God,
  • cast us into darkness,
  • left us unsupported for making wise choices,
  • resulted in unmet needs and pain). 
We know this from Romans 5:12-19.

BUT, while we are not responsible for the broken state of our being (in that we inherited it from Adam), the following is also true:

  • God has made provisions for our recovery in Creation (nutrients in the soil and atmosphere), Community (organic leadership support in the home and church), and especially Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life);
  • These provisions are effectual and faithful (Lamentations 3:22,23; 2 Corinthians 4:16), flowing freely to the door of every persons heart and life;
  • his grace which flow out of his mercy.,
  • intervenes in our lives to supernaturally/effectually call/draw us to consider those provisions (He did this in early times through dreams and visions, also through the Prophets, then through the Incarnate Christ, and now, in this age, by the Holy Spirit through The Scripture), and
  • gives us opportunity to open the door of our hearts to receive/include those provisions into our lives which renew and strengthen us to make additional wise choice which incrementally heal our brokenness (consistent with the law of sowing and reaping which God ordained to govern his creation). 
This is the message of the Gospel (the Good News)!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H12

Week 32

Anticipating Our Experience of Heaven: Why We Long to Go There

There is much that highly causes us to long for Heaven, including our:

1. Experience of a universe without boundaries;
2. Reunion and extended time for fellowship with family and friends – some whom we
  • have not seen for many years,
  • knew well, or, for whatever reasons,
  • knew too briefly;
3. Introduction to people we did not know – including, Bible characters and famous people;

But mostly,

4.     An ever-growing experience of God;
5.     One on one visits with Christ; and
6.    Glorification – the state of perfect health resulting in deliverance from
  • our sinful nature and
  • broken bodies. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H09

Experiencing Support for Continued Growth in Eternity: What You Can Expect in Heaven and Reasons For Wanting to Go There

The notion that in Heaven we will float around on clouds, have wings, and play harps is silly.

Heaven will indeed be perfect and pure but not in the sense that our experience of it will forever remain exactly the same as when we first get there – that it will never increase.

Consider that in Heaven:

1. We will enjoy and be supported/energized (the same as we have opportunity to do here on earth) by

  • information (about God, Truth, others, and places),
  • affection (acceptance, appreciation, approval, attention, etc.), and
  • structure (scheduled coordination of meeting times will still exist);
2.   Eat and be supported by food, maybe not the same as now on earth, but in the way Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden;

3.  Family and marital relationships will exist in Heaven - that is, husbands and wives will live together and enjoy each other similarly as they did while on earth – with only the exception that, in Heaven, the brokenness is gone so that the needs being met are not for recovery, superficial pain relief, or to meet codependent/addiction needs, but for continued growth.  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H08

Warning About Sin: A Needed Support but Not a Substitute for Learning About Health 

The list of issues, circumstances, policies, beliefs, and behaviors, etc. that are grievous, both in the world and in the Body of Christ (the Church), is long. I sometimes tend to want to expose them and warn against them in my writing and speaking - this partly because of the disposition of my inborn temperament, but also because of the presence of Christ in my heart.

Actually, it is the calling of the prophet to

  • identify sin and
  • call sinners to turn from it. 
But while sounding the alarm has its place, it is not enough. That’s because it leaves unmet the great need hurting people have for ministry – ministry that not only

  • identifies what is wrong and also what is right, but most importantly
  • provides support for learning about the choices that make right what is wrong.  
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H07

A Godly Husband Who Supports His Wife: The Grace Alternative to Weak or Authoritarian Headship

Wives with husbands who provide no leadership/direction/support for the home or marriage are sometimes so disappointed they think they would rather have an authoritarian husband. But wives who have a controlling husband become weary of it very soon and begin to think they would prefer to have a more mellow husband.

This is another example

  • of how human nature typically flip flops between solutions that are extremes,
  • that the grace solution is always the third option. 
God’s plan for the home is for the husband to identify his own support needs, connect to God’s resources through which grace provisions flow into his life to support those needs, and then out of the strength and resolve he gains, to provide support to his wife for making the choices which strengthen her for the work God has called her to, including her care for the home, and even her vocation outside the home, but especially her ministry and care to her children.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H06

Coming and Receiving: Reviewing the Concept of Obedience

We are supported for health by sunshine, food and water, and oxygen. But only in the sense we include them in our lives.

This is important to note in our counseling because of the pervading notion humans sometimes tend to have about good health, that it is automatic, has nothing to do with connection, choices, or cause and effect, but that, since God was good enough to provide supports for us, somehow we are necessarily beneficiaries of those provisions. But that is the same as saying we are hydrated because we have water in the house.

This goes to the meaning and importance of obedience. The concept is, God has provided the elements that support us for health, and then calls us to receive them. So, while obedience includes going and giving in service to others, it begins with coming and receiving God provisions which enable us for the going and giving.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H05

Week 31

A Husband: The Right Hand of God to Support His Wife to Be the Right Hand of God to Support Their Children

The right hand of God is his resources through which his provisions to support us flow into our lives. Most essentially, Christ is the Right Hand of God (Resource) to

  • support us for making the choices that increase our health and happiness and
  • enable/make competent/effectual our living out God’s calling for our lives in redemptive service to others.
In this same way, a husband is the right hand of God into the life of his wife to

  • support her for making the choices that increase her health and happiness and
  • enable/make competent/effectual her living out God’s calling for her life in redemptive service to others, beginning with her children.

  • Christ is the right hand of God (Resource Support) for the husband’s life,
  • the husband is the right hand of God (resource support) for his wife’s life, and
  • his wife is the right hand of God and of her husband (resource support) for those she serves, beginning with her children. 
This means, a wife is not the right hand of God (resource support) to support her husband for making the choices that increase his health and happiness or to support him for living out his calling, but her husband is (again) the right hand of God (resource support) to support her for making the choices that increase her health and happiness and to support her for living out her calling.

This helps us understand why God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmate (helpmeet) - that she was

  • his mate to help and
  • his help to serve/meet the needs of their children.   
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H02

Giving Weight to Words

Every pain and failure is rooted in unmet needs – either biological needs (the body) or needs for information (the mind), affection (the emotions), or decision-making/structure (the will).

The Bible indicates our most critical need is for information.

  • Jesus said the first commandment is to “love (receive from) God with all your heart, (which is the) soul, and (mostly importantly the) mind” (Mark 12:30).
  • Paul writes we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2).
  • John identifies Christ as the Word of God (John 1:1-18).
  • James writes “we are born again by the Word of Truth” (1:18).  
So we give much weight to information and to the meaning of the words that communicate it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13H01

Learning As a Child to Be Content

When I was a small child, a new gas station in our town offered a miniature motorized car to its customers in a drawing. I recall passing by, looking out the window of the family car, and marveling at the for-real little vehicle and thinking how much fun it would be to have it. It was the strongest desire to have something that I can remember having as a child. But after a while, the little car was gone, so I knew some other child had won it.

As I look back, this may have been the time I first learned that I will not always get what I want and will need to get along without it.

Parents provide for children everything they need, but they do well not to give children everything they want. In this way, they will learn to

  1. identify the difference in the supports they need and the things they want,
  2. find happiness and contentment in having their needs met,
  3. work for their needs, and
  4. wait for or do without their wants. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G31

Why We Sometimes Must Wait for Our Needs to Be Met

God’s provisions to meet our biological needs flow freely, faithfully, and fully into our lives through resources in Creation (the soil and atmosphere). His provisions to meet our psychological needs flow into our lives through resources in Community (leadership relationships in the home and church). Most importantly, God’s provisions to meet our need for forgiveness flow into our lives through One Resource – Jesus Christ, his Death on the cross for us, and his Resurrected Life in us.

This means, God does not withhold his provisions from us to provide for us at a later time, as if waiting (as some insist) for us to perform to a standard that pleases him or makes him smile.

So why must we sometimes wait for our needs to be met?

It is because

  1. God’s provisions are prioritized and lined up in the order of their value to us – which means we must receive the most essential provision (“The Daily Bread”) before receiving another.
  2. Also, our experience of the outcomes which his provisions produce may be delayed according to God’s law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect). Again, it is the outcome that is delayed, not the provision. (The farmer understands this: He sows the seed God has provided in the spring but must wait until summer or fall for the harvest.)
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G31

Considering God’s Provisions for Health, Happiness, Holiness, and Heaven: They Are Waiting at the Door of Your Heart

The popular tv pastor insists we do not have from God the blessings we claim (declare faith for) because “God is preparing our hearts to receive them,” which, he says, “takes time.”

That sounds like a truth but, actually, it is theological mumbo jumbo – pointless and meaningless and not helpful or supportive in any way I can think of. It’s the same as saying we need food and water but God is delaying to provide it until we deserve it or can appreciate it or for whatever other reason he might have.

But consider this: A loving, attentive God has created/provided every need we have to meet our redemptive needs (for healing and recovery) and has brought those provisions into our lives, to the door of our hearts, so that we only need to open the door to receive them, the same as we would open our mouths to drink the water, eat the food, breathe the oxygen, or step into the sunlight to receive the light he has provided.

He has also provided relationships and leadership in the home and church to support our need for information, affection, and decision-making (schedule and structure).

And, especially has God provided the Blood of Christ to satisfy the judgment against us (because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden) so that we can go to Heaven and the Life of Christ (the Water, Bread, and Light of Life) so that we can be holy (useful in redemptive service to others). 

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will open the door, I will come in…” – Revelation 3:20

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G30

The Message of Grace: God’s Provisions Flowing Freely, Fully, and Faithfully to Meet Our Needs

God will absolutely provide for us every need we have which establishes us in health and happiness, and he call us (by the Holy Spirit through The Scripture) to the resources to which we connect and through which they flow into our lives. This includes his provisions for meeting our
  1. biological and material needs (including our nutritional, safety, housing, and financial needs),
  2. psychological needs (our information needs, affection needs, and decision-making/structure needs), and especially our
  3. spiritual need (our need for forgiveness - the removal of God’s judgment against us [separation from him for eternity and darkness in our hearts during in this life] because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden). 
This is the message of Grace.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G29

Week 30

Don, if we are born sinful, doesn’t that mean we are not responsible for our behavior?

No. Consider the following:

We are indeed born sinful, victims of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden - victims because it

  • separated us from God,
  • cast us into darkness,
  • left us unsupported for making wise choices,
  • resulted in unmet needs and pain. 
We know this from Romans 5:12-19.

BUT, while we are not responsible for the broken state of our being (because we inherited it from Adam), the following is also true:

  • God has made provisions for our recovery in Creation (nutrients in the soil and atmosphere), Community (organic leadership support in the home and church), and especially Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life);
  • These provisions are effectual and faithful (Lamentations 3:22,23; 2 Corinthians 4:16), flowing freely to the door of every persons heart and life;
  • God supernaturally/effectually calls/draws us to consider these provisions (He did this in early times through dreams and visions, also through the Prophets, then through the Incarnate Christ, and now, in this age, by the Holy Spirit through The Scripture) and
  • gives us opportunity to open the door of our hearts to receive/include those provisions into our lives which renew and strengthen us to make additional wise choice which incrementally heal our brokenness (consistent with the law of sowing and reaping which God ordained to govern his creation). 
This is the message of the Gospel of Grace (the Good News)!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G26

Making the Hard Choices for Health: The Sufferings of Christ, What It Means

It is not possible, apart from suffering, to experience health and happiness. But this is not the suffering of

  • adversity against us by Satan or the world. Nor is it the sowing and reaping outcome of suffering which is
  • the result of our foolish choices (although God uses this suffering to call us to him – that is, to turn our attention to our need for him). 
Rather, it is the suffering we experience when,

  • under the weight of a fallen world and
  • against the resistance of
    • adverse people or circumstances and
    • our own addictions and fallen human nature, 
we make the hard choices for

  • diet (food choices),
  • exercise,
  • lifestyle (for example, going to bed early in order to get 7-8 hours sleep, in order to have quiet time each morning), and
  • supplementation.  
An athlete preparing for the Olympics understands this suffering. So does a student preparing for a test, or an injured person in rehab.

This is the meaning of

“Workout your salvation (healing and recovery)” – Philippians 2:12

This is the suffering Christ experienced – he “was made perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10).

But it was not the suffering of wrong choices. Rather, it was the normal experience humans have when we make the hard choices that increase us in health and strength.

“We share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory (health). – Romans 8:17

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G25    

Providing Support for Experiencing Christ: The Purpose of the Enduring Church

From the account given in the Book of Acts, the early church met for the purpose of finding support for learning how to experience Christ in fuller measure.

It was in obedient response to the call of God to press on “to win the prize (sanctification) for which he has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Every other reason they met (Bible study, fellowship, evangelism, service to the community, for example) was incidental. 

Church attendance today may be more superficially motivated than in the past. To whatever extent that is true, the excitement will run its natural course, and then die.

But the church in pursuit of Christ - that is, of being “filled to the measure of the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) will endure “throughout all generations” (v21) to change its community (manifesting in changed values and lifestyles).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G24

The Confidence God Never Misspeaks! The Basis of Our Peace

Humans sometimes misspeak, even the best among us, and even during the most significant occasions.

For example, Neil Armstrong misspoke when he became the first person to walk on the moon. As he stepped from the Apollo Lunar Module, he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Actually, he should have said, “One small step for a man…” since man and mankind mean the same. But we understood what he meant.

But God never misspeaks. The words he gave us by the Holy Spirit through The Scripture are without error in every part (although man’s copying of them and even interpretation of them are not without error).

This means, the confidence we can have in who God is, who we are, and concerning his redemptive plan for our lives is rooted in certainty. This is why we have peace during the day and sleep well at night.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G23

Rejoicing in God’s Care to Protect Us from Opposition that Overwhelms

1. Our choice to daily include God’s provisions in our lives, especially the Light/Life of Christ during our quiet-time worship, changes our values (appetites, desires) so that the darkness in our hearts (also bodies) begins to be dispelled and the brokenness healed.

2. The potential for this healing is unlimited, but it will not be to perfection in this lifetime.

3. This means, to whatever measure we remain broken, we are vulnerable to the adversity of our fallen, sinful human disposition and also to Satan (demonic oppression) and are at risk for failure.

4. God gives us opportunity to experience the outcomes of our choices, but intervenes to protect us from any adversity that would overwhelm us.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G22

Week 29

Giving Feedback to a Faithful God

GracePoint encourages counselees to always give feedback for the products and services they receive. When doing that, they serve well themselves, others, and also providers. Reporting a problem is not always appreciated, but when it is not, we consider that the provider may be up to no good and does not deserve our patronage. That’s because, the best of companies welcome the opportunity to learn from our feedback.  

Personally, I enjoy the experience of receiving competent service. And I always comment. I send emails, make phone calls, and speak to managers. I like to say “You guys are the best!” At restaurants, I am a big tipper (if 25-30% is a big tip). But when the service is poor, I try to find a tactful, helpful way to say so. Usually that means following up with an email or phone call.

Yesterday, I had one of those not so good experiences. I don’t recall a service person following through to provide so little of what was promised. My feedback in an email to the company (under the subject “Losing One Customer at a Time”) was, “You would do better not to promise more than you can provide.” 

It brought to mind the faithfulness of God. He has never come up short to make good every one of his promises. And not one of his provisions has ever been less to do what he gave it to do. I so rejoice in that and make comment to God about my experience of him all the time.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G19

Freely Receive, Free Give: The Purest Ministry

We appreciate the many businesses and organizations whose goal for their existence is to meet needs in the lives of others and to solve problems in the community. It is only secondarily that they hope their investment will generate a profit.

But we grieve the businesses and organizations whose goal is more to generate wealth than to meet the needs of others or to solve problems in the community. So they do whatever they can get away with, including providing inferior products and services to unsuspecting consumers and lying about it in their sales pitches. Satan does this, you know!

The purest of all is the ministry called by God to invest without charge into the lives of hurting people supported by the abundant provisions which flow into their lives by their connection to the grace resource which produce them. Christ does this, you know!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G18

Supported by Resources Rooted in Strength

Each of us has a calling and opportunity to provide support to at least one person: It is to ourselves.

If our support is effectual so that it produces a good outcome, it qualifies us for providing effectual support to others.

Also, while it may be possible for a sickly healthcare professional to provide information support to others for making choices for their health, the same as an aging coach can provide support to a young athlete, each having a good outcome, it is not likely that we can effectively support an experience we have not had.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G17

Experiencing God: It’s by Protocol

When we have an interest to go online to retrieve emails or gain information, there is a protocol we must observe to make that happen. We cannot be too occupied with too many tasks, but must slow down (actually stop) to redirect, concentrate, and isolate our choices (which is included in the meaning of the Bible word “conversion”) so that we have adequate time and energy to make the application of ourselves which produces the desired outcome.

We experience God in this same way – that is, we must make a focused choice to still and quiet ourselves, and then, open/read the Scripture, listening with the ears of our hearts in order to hear God

  • communicate Truth to us and also
  • call us to open the door of our hearts in order to receive him (the act of “worship”). 
This means, experiencing God is not a gradual, unconscious outcome we have just by virtue of us living in the universe where he exists, but an experience as veritable and measurable as the one we have when we follow the protocol that connects us to the internet or (for the simplest illustration), take time to drink water or eat food (drinking and eating being protocols).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G16

“God Bless You” and “Have a Nice Day”: What Saying It Means About Your Theology (Provisions from God Based on Performance: The Pervading Message of the Church and Religious Media)

The sweet elderly lady said to me, “May God bless you for helping me.” When we parted she said, “Have a nice day!”

She was being kind and sincere, but she was also revealing her understanding

  • of God, that he blesses (protects, provides for) those who help others or otherwise do good,
  • about prayer, that we can ask (requisition) God to bless others,
  • we have power to instruct God who to bless, and that
  • we can pronounce blessing on others. 
However, the message of grace is that God’s blessings (provisions) flow out of his mercy (love) to every person without consideration of their worth (James 1:5), that it flows to the door of every person’s heart and life, and that their experience of those blessings are based, not upon their performance to earn or deserve them, but upon their receiving them (John 1:12; Romans 5:17).

Otherwise, God’s care for us is not based upon his love which is unconditional, but conditionally upon our performance to win his favor.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G15

Week 28

The Best Give Some, But Only One Gave All

The best among us are willing to make the hard choices each day for food choices, exercise, sleep, continuing education, and especially to rise early for quiet-time so that they may be equipped and enabled in redemptive service to others. Pressed by love for country or cause or commitment to duty, public servants in law enforcement, fire and rescue, and the military sometimes give their lives. 

But most among the best of us, having the choice, would not be willing to give all we had, especially our lives, in behalf of the redemptive needs of others, except maybe for our family, but especially not for those who loathe, mock, and reject us. This makes very meaningful the words of Scripture,

“When we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and “When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:8, 10).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G12

Getting It Right About Giving to Resources

The popular tv minister encourages his audience to give to his organization if they appreciate his message and want to continue receiving it. But we are not called to give to ministries

  • in payment of past service or
  • in appreciation for it, or even
  • in order to make possible their continued services to us. 
Rather, we give to resources

  1. ourselves (an open heart to receive their support) and then out of the strength we receive, we give
  2. in order to support their ministry to others. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G11

God and the Confused Agnostic

The agnostic said he had problems understanding how a power could exist that had no beginning. I asked him where man came from. He said he was an evolutionist. I asked if he had problems understanding how an effect could exist without a cause. He said, “What?”

Repeating, I asked which he had more problems understanding, how a cause could exist without a cause or how an effect could exist without a cause. He said, “What?”

Answering my own question, I told him I had less problems understanding the existence of a God who had no beginning than the existence of man without him. I explained that, if every effect must have a cause, there must be a first cause without a beginning, or else it would not be the first cause.

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1

“In the beginning (of effects), God (existed as its Cause).” - Genesis 1:1

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G10

Experiencing God’s Enablement: The Greatest Evidence of His Existence

God does not leave us to trust without evidence that he exists and is present in our lives even if we aren’t experiencing him, perhaps in the same way we can trust the sun is shining although it is hidden by the clouds. We are told that, you know.

The evidence is abundant that God lives and has a redemptive plan for our lives, including

  • the marvel of his creation (for example, the eyeball),
  • the miracle of Christ’s birth and resurrection,
  • the accuracy of prophesy,
  • the faithfulness of his provisions to support life and to heal brokenness (for example, sunshine and rain and the fertility of the soil and atmosphere), and
  • the arts and science. 
Most convincingly, however, is our experience of him, especially his presence during our quiet-time worship, but also his enablement throughout the day.

What otherwise could be the source of this unconditional value we have in our hearts for

  • God (so that we open the door of our hearts and lives to receive support from him),
  • self (so that we invest in our health), and
  • others (so that we invest in their health)?
From whence otherwise comes this confidence we have in our hearts that, to Someone greater than ourselves, our needs matter, and that he has a redemptive plan for our lives, including vocation, education, employment, and support resources to which we are invited to connect? What is the explanation otherwise for this joy and peace deep within us which dispel the fear and anxiety concerning this life and the next?

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G09

The Lost Powerfully Moved Toward Christ: God’s Purpose for a Holy Church

God, of course, can use the witness and testimony of one person to communicate the Gospel message to a crowd of many people, as he did John the Baptist (John 1:6-7), so that some might believe. But he also uses the witness and testimony of a crowd of many people to communicate the Gospel message to one person, so that the prospect greatly increases he or she will be saved.

This helps with our understanding the meaning of

“… as you help us with your prayers.” - 2 Corinthians 1:11 (in its context)

“… through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ … I eagerly expect … Christ will be made manifest in my life like a beacon light.” - Philippians 1:19 (in its context)

“Where two or three or gathered together in my name (in behalf of my redemptive purpose and plan), there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20

It also explains God’s purpose for a holy church to which the lost can come and be moved toward Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G08

Week 27

How God Uses Imperfect Ministries to Support Our Growth in Grace

God uses imperfect people along the way to support our growth in grace.

Many years ago, during a time when I was being wonderfully supported for basic concepts, I was consciously rejecting concepts which I later received. Today, I would not be helped by the concepts which supported me during either of those times. I have moved forward.

That’s why, for support to grow in grace, no one ministry is for everyone at all times. This means ministries should take care to focus on their own personal growth and then trust God to bring to them those they can support.

(Of course, this does not apply in the same way to evangelism. We are absolutely called to be aggressive in our efforts to seek and win the lost to Christ. That’s because, people cannot grow in grace until they have been born again.)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G05

Living by Faith: What It Means

The evidence of faith is believing, the evidence of believing is trusting, the evidence of trusting is obedience, the evidence of obedience is receiving God’s provisions, the evidence of receiving God’s provisions is holiness (usefulness in ministry [works] to meet the redemptive needs of others), the evidence of holiness is hope (the confident expectation of a good outcome concerning God’s redemptive plan for our lives), and the evidence of hope is psychological health and happiness.

Said another way, faith manifests in believing, believing in trusting, trusting in obedience, obedience in receiving, and receiving in holiness, holiness in hope, hope in health and happiness.

Faith is a noun, not a verb. It is what we have (“Have faith in God” – Mark 11:24), not what we do. It is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9), one of the nine fruits of a seed (the Word) sown into (received by) us (Galatians 5:23; Romans 10:17).

This is the meaning of

“We live by faith.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G04

The Miracle of Grace: Free to Dislike Some, Enabled to Love All

Nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to like people, or even ourselves, or even God - no more than we are instructed to like a particular fragrance, sight, or food.

What is there not to like about God? Nothing, but we are free not to like him.

We are also free not to like ourselves. And we are free to not like some people, how they are or what they do – their lifestyle, dress, disposition, personality, or behavior, even if it is a feature about them others enjoy. For example, while some may like the sound of a singer’s voice and the songs he sings, we are free not to. (This is good news to some temperament types. For example, it’s hard for melancholies to like anything.)

But, while we are not instructed to like anything, we are instructed to love ourselves, people, and especially God.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” and Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves his bride, the Church,”

And this love is more than human love (an affinity for what we enjoy), but is “agape” love (the word in the Bible used to represent God’s love) which means “to value unconditionally.”

This means, we are instructed to unconditionally value what we may not like.
But who can do this? No one can, not really. And we make full confession of that. How do we love food we don’t like?

This is the miracle of grace. By our experience of Christ living his life in us, we are transformed to value God, ourselves, and others unconditionally the way Christ does.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G03

GracePoint: For When the Shaking Comes

The need exists for counseling that supports couples in a troubled marriage for learning improved coping and communication skills. Counselors who provide that support do a good work and will not have a lack of clients.

But a greater need, by far, exists. It is counseling that supports hurting couples for learning how to

  • Read the Scripture (in order to)
  • Hear God (in order to)
  • Experience and manifest Christ. 
Counselors who provide that support will have opportunity to remember when Christ looked out over the city and wept and said, “You will not come to me so that you may have life.”

Indeed, hurting people run to support for superficial pain relief, but run away from support for making the choices that recover them to health, especially to be rooted and established by Christ in their inner being.

That is until the shaking comes - more than just a tropical storm, but a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, or earthquake - when everything is swept away except what cannot be shaken. Sometimes we call it “hitting bottom.” It may be finances, family, famine, or health. At that time,

  • values suddenly change,
  • the interest people have for matters that are eternal suddenly soars, and
  • GracePoint is in place to provide the most essential support people need. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G02

Diminished Capacity to Experience Christ During Departure

The religious notion is that the sinner’s failure may be so gross that he must suffer punishment or do penance before he can be restored.

But Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are broken and I will give you recovery” (from Matthew 11:28-30). And James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom (Christ), let him receive from God who gives to everyone without judging their worthiness” (from James 1:5).

This is based upon the principle that no brokenness can prevail against God’s provisions for our healing – the same as thirst cannot prevail against water.

But we consider this: Although water has power to hydrate us regardless of how dehydrated we are or how neglectful we have been to drink it, our bodies may need to regain/relearn its ability to fully use it.

And, in this same way, although you can trust that Christ, the Living Water, has power to renew you regardless how spiritually parched you are or neglectful you have been previously to experience him, your capacity for his fullness may have been diminished during your departure and must be regained.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 13G01

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