donloyw's Journey Notes
Volume 20

February 2020

Carole and I drove into a large retirement community, just the kind of place we would like to live. We learned that the entrance fee for living there was as much as a half-million dollars, and then about five thousand a month. I explained that, although I was a pastor, I was not on tv, so was of the less wealthy ones. But the community is crime free, quiet, beautifully maintained, and occupied by the friendliest of people. I imagined it may be a little bit what Heaven is like. Leaving the place, Carole and I decided our current home and community will do just fine after all. It is definitely not crime free, especially in the areas surrounding us, but I have organized and direct a Watch program in our community. The homes are older and while not all the neighbors take as much pride as we would like, Carole and I lead by example to maintain our home and property. Also, not every neighbor engages with others in the community, but we wave at passers-by and engage at every possible opportunity. We have decided this is what we will need to do and how we can practice living a little bit of Heaven on Earth until we get there.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 20B01

January 2020

I like to hear conservative talk show guys argue for their beliefs, but I am disappointed when they resort to unkind name-calling. Some name-calling may be acceptable. I’ve called people nuts, boneheads, butt-ins, idiots, etc. (but never vulgar names). Even so, through the years, I have begun to experience a little more of the heart of Christ for people – even those I don’t like. While watching the House Managers make their case against President Trump this week, Carole and I just shook our heads in disappointment. At one point, Carole got really upset, and I knew exactly what she wanted to express about one accuser; but instead, after looking at me, she said he was “mixed up!” I said he was “obtuse.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 20A25

Recently, a young man walking with two girls through J. C. Penny, and after looking at my wife and me, shouted out loud to the girls for everyone to hear, "(Vulgar Expletive) NO, I DON’T WANT THAT (Vulgar Expletive)" I am 71, I worked for Sears and Penny for 7 years while in college and seminary, and have enjoyed for many years going to malls to shop and also to walk, but have never heard such an outburst of vulgarity in a mall or any other family-friendly, privately-owned venue. Not too long ago, I asked two security officers if parading around the mall wearing a t-shirt with a vulgar term emblazoned on it violated the mall’s code of conduct. They didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I asked if they thought it contributed to diminish community and public values. They agreed but weren’t motivated enough to confront the violator. So my dilemma became what can I do. Do I confront offenders with a frown, or verbally chastise them? That’s what I want to do! But I am seeking to be increased with the Heart of Christ so that I can minister to their brokenness – which I am sometimes enabled to do. At other times – for example, at a restaurant recently, a party of four was so loud that everyone in the restaurant seemed disturbed. I thought maybe it would help if I stepped over to the table and kindly ask if they would tone it down a bit. But, instead, I looked at them from across the room and stuck my fingers in my ear. When they finally saw me, they got up and left. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 20A11

When I was a youth pastor in my early 20’s, I didn’t have a clue how to counsel gays except to warn them of the judgment of God upon them. Today, I support gays for learning how to experience Christ for healing and salvation. Once, when Georgia showed up at one of our camps as George, I told her that I was going to have a few of the guys on our camp staff to take her behind the cabin and depants her. She quickly changed back to Georgia and, best I remember, had a good week.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 20A04

donloyw's Journey Notes
Volume 19

December 2019

When I saw that the name of the new store at the mall was a vulgar acrostic that violated the mall code of conduct, I first spoke to the store manager, then went to see the mall general manager. In a few weeks, the store closed. Also, recently, when an open mall kiosk displayed a vulgar t-shirt, I asked the owner to remove the shirt. She said she didn’t see anything wrong with it. So, I went back to the general manager who said she would instruct the owner to remove the shirt. When I returned several days later, the display was gone. Darkness prevails when good men do nothing.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19L28

Times were different many years ago when I was a young pastor: Pastors were revered and the church house was respected. I was different too, more like an Old Testament prophet. I was influenced by J. Frank Norris, once pastor of the largest church in the world at one time, who shot and killed a man that burst into his office to make good a threat he had made. I would not have been an easy target for an angry someone who wanted to cause harm. The word was out not to mess with me. And no one did. Except maybe for the time a belligerent man challenged me when I asked him to leave the building. So I had to grab him and throw him out the door. On the parking lot, he had an epileptic seizure - so I ended up assisting him with pastoral care, which a more mature pastor would have done in the first place.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19L21

I dreamed one night this week that the world had been shaken - that the only thing left standing was what could not be shaken (our experience of Christ). In my dream, a group of maybe a hundred people was gathered in a gutted out cinderblock building to hear me talk about the power of Christ to produce in us the Life of God. They listened carefully (as I have experienced hundreds of times through the years). When I was done speaking, no one left but remained (as the 120 did in Acts 1:14-15) in a spirit of fellowship (koinonia: mutual hunger to experience Christ). When I awoke, I understood the dream was of a time during the coming Kingdom Age when Satan will be bound, Christ will govern the nations in peace and righteousness, evil will not be tolerated, and we (the lowly in this life) will reign with Christ to preach and provide support ministry throughout the world.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19L14

I was told in my early life that credit buying was the American way for us to obtain our needs. But during the last thirty years I have learned that credit buying is not God’s way. Today, Carole and I owe nothing – not for our home or vehicles or anything else. And it is not because we have large incomes or wealth – because we don’t. We have modest savings equal to the average middle class salary and live mostly on SSI. I have never taken a salary from our ministry or accepted payment for our counseling - except for small amounts that showed up occasionally in an envelope (which were always used to buy gasoline or pay utilities, or re-gifted to help others). My first life’s verse was Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God (his Redemptive Purpose for my life), and everything you need will be added unto you.” I have a Bible packed away somewhere that misprinted the verse, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” to read “Godliness with contentment is great pain.” I have thought about that misprint when I walked to my destination because I did not want to charge the cost of gasoline, driven old cars when I did not want to finance a new one, and ate cabbage for a week or peanut butter sandwiches because I did not want to charge a meal. Today, when I am asked what I need, I can’t think of anything to say except that, at the core of my being, “Christ (God’s Provisions of Grace which flow to us through him) is really all I need.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19L07

The only slang word I ever heard my dad say (one time) was “pishaw!” But my mother got upset once and said she felt like saying “shoot!” So I did not grow up at home or with friends hearing curse words or vulgarity, which meant I was left with the need to learn better words to express myself. As a grade school kid, I remember venting my need to say a bad word by repeatedly calling a neighborhood kid DARNnell. Today, I don’t have the need to say DG words, (doggone, gosh darn, etc., or even dagnabit – substitutes for goddamn). That kind of language won’t be heard in Heaven. I know that because I have found the more I am filled with Christ, the less I have a thought to say anything except yea and nea as Christ instructed.

November 2019

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19K30

I told the service person at a local business that I remembered her from my first visit months ago, that her service was perfect and absolutely set the standard for excellence, and that I had told her manager how impressed I was. “Thank you so much” she said teary eyed. She asked if I was sure it was her. I said absolutely, that I even remembered her name was Theresa. She said her name was Christy. I apologized and said yes, of course. She said it was okay, that the names were close. Usually, I am good to remember names, but do recall many years ago renaming people. After knowing Diane for a year or so, she told me one day that her name was not Diane. I asked what it was. She said it was Ruth. I asked where I got the name Diane. She said she had no idea. I also remember asking the name of a young lady who I was meeting for the first time. She said Melva. I thought she said Nova, so I nicknamed her Scotty, short for Nova Scotia. She is still called that by her friends today. One of my favorite stories is about the little girl who said the park in her little town was named after Hall of Fame football player, Sam Huff. I said the name of the park was spelled Hough. She said it was misspelled.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19K23

At a fast food restaurant this week, I observed a new employee working with a lot of energy and commitment. As I was getting out of my car, he was sweeping the parking lot, but looked up to say “thank you for dining with us today.” Inside, he cleaned tables, swept the floor, washed the entrance windows, and welcomed diners – all with a broad, non-stop smile (either amusing or irritating his coworkers). He asked each customer how they were doing. If they responded to say they were doing fine, he would smile, say he was doing fine also, and then thank them for asking. Or, if a customer did not respond, he would do the same – smile, tell them he was doing fine also, and say thank you. Years ago, I remember a famous evangelist and former Hall of Fame football player coming to our church. When he drove onto the parking lot in a big motorhome on the afternoon before the evening event, I and several other staff members looked on star-dazed. When he emerged, he greeted each of us with an enthusiastic handshake and said, “You are glad for me to be here, I know you are, I am sure!” (I think a hundred or so youth trusted Christ for salvation during that week of meetings.)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19K16

My new favorite tv program is Caught in Providence. It’s a courtroom tv program with a compassionate judge who gives breaks to struggling people for traffic violations, sometimes to offenders who give teary-eyed excuses that seem a little phony. I have really never had a judge who gave me much of a break, even when I gave explanations that were exaggerated – like the time I told the judge I was speeding because a little yellow sports car was chasing me. He laughed. So did the courtroom. This week I dreamed I was in the house of a neighbor who was not at home. When he arrived, he caught me going through a drawer. I explained that the door was not shut when I dropped by, so I thought thieves may have broken in. When he asked why I was looking in the drawer, I said I was checking to see if they had taken anything.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19K09

Wife, Carole, likes to ask my opinion on things political and especially Scriptural. She says God has identified me as a Resource for her. I welcome that, but tell her that nothing any of us has to say is Truth unless it comes from God. So sometimes I have to say I don’t know; other times I say I need to think about it. But I try to be careful that I don’t give her an answer just so she thinks I’m smart. I have learned that the smartest people among us know what they don’t know. The least smart have not learned that yet. (I told my know-it-all friend one day that he did not know everything, that everyone is smart, but only in different areas. He said he didn’t know about that.) I also sometimes don’t understand what I know. For example, I don’t really understand how a phone can transmit the likeness of my voice to a receiver hundreds of miles away so that someone can comprehend what I am saying. (My dad use to say he did not understand how a brown cow could eat green grass and give white milk!) But I do understand the dynamic that makes possible me hearing God and understanding Truth – that it is the work of the Holy Spirit producing the Mind of God in me per John 16:13, Ephesians 1:18, and Psalms 119:30. Otherwise (as my uncle liked to say), I don’t guarantee anything I say or think I know.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19K02

Carole and I drive slow. We learned years ago in our travels to make the journey a part of the experience – rather than to hurry to our destination in order to begin whatever. We did not always do that. Earlier in life, Carole was always in “get there” mode. So was I, and I have a lot of fast driving awards to prove it, losing my license at least once. Now, we rarely pass anyone, but mosey along in the right lane. I have enjoyed how stress free traveling can be. The only problem has been misjudging traffic lights when they turn yellow. In our fast driving days, we could get through the light before it turned red. But when driving slow, the light can turn red before we get passed it. So we have decided we are okay as long as we do not see the red. Which is a good plan - if we don’t cheat. This week, I came upon a traffic light that turned yellow. When I continued through the intersection, Carole asked me if the light turned red. I told her I didn’t know because I didn’t look. When she asked why not, I said, “If a tree falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Or the new version, “If a wife is fussing, is her husband listening?”

October 2019

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19J26

I asked the park ranger to identify the big white bird I saw on the lake. He said it was a swan and that its name was Ron Swanson. I asked the young lady at the check out to pronounce her name. It was a pretty name but different. She said she named her little girl Amour, which means “love” - because she wanted her to know that she was loved. I asked Carole if her name meant “awesome” because I thought she was awesome. She asked if my name meant “awesome.” I said it did (it doesn’t), and that we must be the Awesomes.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19J19

October 2019

I’m a confessed germaholic. I don’t like to stay in hotels or buy used vehicles, don’t kiss dogs or let them lick me (their saliva may not hurt me but worry the poop and vomit I’ve seen them eat will). I also wash my hands with soap and hot water before meals, although I have been told that exposing myself to germs will increase my immunity. That may be, but to expose myself deliberately seems foolish, the same as putting God to the test. Also, Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that, when you expose yourself to evil, it will overtake and enslave you” (from Romans 6:15-16). The nastiest animals I know are Canada Geese. When I see them anywhere near our neighborhood, I launch bright colored pieces of wood at them that terrifies them so that they fly away and don’t come back. We hear them hysterically honking occasionally when they fly over our house, but I tell Carole they are warning each other, “Don’t go down there!”  At the Sunday buffet this week, Carole said she didn’t want me to eat any pork. But the ham looked so good that I took a small serving. I told Carole I just wanted to taste it. When I ate the whole piece, I explained that, as I thought about it, I decided I shouldn’t waste food.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19J12

I remember a young seminary student many years ago who launched into a long pious-sounding speech to God when he was asked to close a meeting with prayer. He was high energy at the start but began to sputter when he exhausted all the pious words he could remember, so could not think of an impressive way to close his prayer. After a moment’s pause, he recovered to say, “And, dear God, you pray for us and we’ll pray for you!” Carole came from the other side of the house into my work office yesterday to tell me she heard me whisper to her, but didn’t see me when she turned to look. I told her it was not me, that it must have been the Lord. You think? she asked. Could be I said. I asked her what he said. She said it was “Hello Darling!”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19J05

September 2019

Carole and I renewed our driver’s license this week at the DMV. I ask the lady given out numbers if we could get the two for one special. She said she was not laughing today because she did not feel well. But my assigned agent was a friendly guy. He said the DMV had made a few changes in recent years, so I would need to take my glasses off for my photo. I told him they were a part of my attire. He asked if I had a different pair for each outfit. I told him real men did not wear outfits. He glanced at me and asked if I wanted to fix my hair for the photo. I said my barber moved, so I was letting it grow out, and that, anyway, real men don’t fix their hair, they comb it. I told him that, years ago when I moved to another state to work as an associate pastor, the DMV included my occupation on my new license. When I saw it, I asked if they would add a “t” to their abbreviation for associate, that I did not want to be an ass pastor in my new position. As it turned out, identifying my occupation (the corrected one) was a benefit. When I was pulled over later that year to receive a fast driving award, the officer looked at my license, closed his tablet and told me I could go, that he needed all the help from the Man Upstairs he could get.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19I28

A friend emailed to say he enjoys Journey Notes. Writing about self is tricky. People who are being supported in their relationship to Christ welcome to know a little more about the Resources they are connected to. (Others may not have an interest.) This, in the same way children honor parents, churches honor pastors, and wives honor husbands. A husband is blessed to have a wife who honors him, especially to give him opportunity for influence. No husband could be more blessed than I. Carole wants to know my opinion on about almost everything, especially the Scripture. I had an old uncle to whom I asked a lot of questions. He was good to give helpful answers but sometimes he added, “But I don’t guarantee ANYTHING.” So this week when Carole was asking me questions I couldn’t answer, I just said, “I don’t guarantee ANYTHING!” I got on a roll saying that just to be funny. At first she laughed but finally told me to stop saying it. So later, when she asked me another question, I said, “I don’t humahum HUMAHUM!” I couldn’t help myself.  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19I21

I enjoy engaging with gracious people. I love their joy and happiness, their smiles and humility. They cut up and laugh with both friends and strangers. The service person at the tire store this week was especially friendly and helpful. Later, at WalMart, the voice that called shoppers to attention was energetic and engaging. After making her gregarious pitch to promote an item, she gushed her appreciation for customers who chose to shop at “their wonderful store.” She was fun to listen to. But she was soaring so high that I feared she was going to have a hard time finding a way to land. But she did. After a brief pause, she said, “So, again thank you SO MUCH for shopping with us today!” And then with a final burst of energy, she said, “And thank you for … FOR HAVING A WONDERFUL DAY!” I thought it was very funny, but, then, I am easy to entertain.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19I14

On our trip to the mountains recently, an elderly, homeless-looking lady stood in the heat at an overlook parking lot offering her paintings. But instead of selling them, she placed a little box for donations on the trunk of her car. As I looked on, two Millennials walked up, selected a painting, and then walked away thanking her. Disappointed, she kindly called after them, “Absolutely, this is my hobby. I love to give my paintings away!” But God has provided for us so that we do not need to be so broke that we can’t give to help deserving others, or so that we need to panhandle. The financial advisor on radio says that, before retiring, baby boomers should at the least have their home and vehicles paid for, no credit card debt, enough cash flow to buy food and pay utilities, and some savings for emergencies. Carole and I don’t owe anything to anyone, have a small income and some savings so that, if we live modestly, we will be okay. But living modestly means we don’t take cruises or expensive vacations, and limit our time away to day trips. Carole said it would be nice if we could live in a golf course community. I told her that maybe we could think about a putt-putt community.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19I07

August 2019

I was grieved this week when I heard a church lady harshly criticize her neighbor. Unkindness toward others must surely be a stench that grieves God. I thought about that later in the day when I walked into a small business shop. The person who greeted me suddenly had an unfriendly look on his face and grunted at me. I also noticed the most foul odor coming from somewhere in the shop. So I left. Outside, the odor lingered in my nose as I walked to my vehicle. I looked back at the business and shook my head with disappointment. Just then two men walked into the shop, but then after only a few moments, they came out, pointed at the sidewalk, and then across the parking lot at me. Looking at the ground where they were pointing, I saw a trail of dog poop leading to where I was standing, which I must have transported into the shop. I took my shoe off, banged it on the ground, and placed it into a plastic bag. At home, I sprayed it with a water hose, scrubbed it with soap, vinegar, and a stiff brush, then left it to bleach in the sun. Stench is hard to get rid of. A floating molecule must have grabbed onto the inside of my nose, because I think I still smell it. It may take awhile. Worse, the shop may need to shut down for a day or two.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19H31

One day the Disciples were arguing about who of them was number one. Jesus said to them, “The first in this life shall be last in eternity and the last shall be first.” But my early mentors taught me that I should strive to be number one in whatever I did - that, as a pastor, my goal should be to build the largest or at least fastest growing church in the world, and if not in the world, in America, and if not in America, in my state (which I did in 1983), and if not in my state, in my town, and if not in my town, on my street. So for 15 years, I set out to build large and fast growing ministries, motivated by my need and desire to be number one (which as it turned out was mostly a psychological need for validation missed during my childhood). During his ministry on earth Jesus was not first, especially among religious rulers and even family members. Instead, he suffered intense opposition, and then was crucified, dying alone except for his mother, two women, and one disciple. But he is now positioned in Heaven at the right hand of the Father “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given” (Ephesians 1:21-23). He will also reign during the Kingdom Age as King over all the earth for a thousand years, during which also we who are last in this life (according to religious and worldly standards) will preach the message of grace to millions who will welcome and rejoice to hear it. Scripturally, a home is established by two persons, a man and a woman, who covenant together for the purpose of being fruitful, producing few or many children. (Old joke: Adam lamented that the only problem with Eve and him being the only two people on Earth was that, whatever he told his wife, the whole world knew about it.) A local church is also established (according to Matthew 18:20) by at least two persons who covenant together for the purpose of pursuing and living out God’s Calling for their lives in the world. This means, a church can be the world’s largest with thousands of members or the world’s smallest with two members.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19H24

On Saturday, Carole asked me to wash her car before our day trip. I washed the car, but since it was hot and humid, and since she was driving, I asked her if I could detail only the driver’s side. Out of state, we found gas prices 30 cents cheaper, but we were already 3/4‘s full. I said we should leave the engine running when we stopped to eat so that we could buy more gas. I like to save money, so when I found a pair of work pants on sale at Roses, I asked the checkout lady if I could get a second pair for the same price. She laughed and said I could. Carole doesn’t think everything I say or do is as funny as I do. I tell her I am just having fun. She said she may have me committed to a funny farm.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19H17

We sold our 2000 Nissan van for money to help buy new tires, brakes, and paint for our ’86 Toyota, then went to the DMV to turn in the old license plate. Carole took a number and we sat down to wait. The first number called was 78. Carole said our number was 86. I turned the number around and told her it was 98. She said I was being bad because she trusted me and sometimes did not know when I was teasing. Leaving the DMV, Carole said she needed to pee bad. I told her to be good, not bad. I asked her if she knew where bees went to pee. She said she didn’t. I said it was to the BP station. At home, I edged my neighbor’s yard in 90 degree heat. Carole said I was being good. I told her I drank a lot of water.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19H10

Once I lost track of time, so was running late for an appointment. (It was not because I didn’t drive fast enough.) Coming up on a red light, I “prayed” for God to turn the light green so I would not need to stop. The light stayed red. When my “check engine light” came on, I “asked” God to heal the engine. The light stayed on. When my tire went flat, I “asked” God to re-inflate it. I ended up changing the tire. So, I am re-thinking my plan to promote a “miracle” healing service, although I know a large crowd would attend. Instead, I may promote a meeting to pass out bottles of water, which is the number one health need people have (besides oxygen). In my early ministry, I hyped church attendance – once by promising to show something that had never been seen before and that, after I showed it, it would never be seen again. It was a peanut that I shelled and ate. When I stopped doing that sort of thing and began announcing instead that I would teach hurting people how to experience Christ, the Water of Life, the crowds stopped coming. As a result, I had to give up my gig as a church growth consultant. But I am still available to churches who want to downsize. Recently I helped a church downsize into their broom closet.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19H03

July 2019

On my runs through communities, I notice new homeowners sometimes have a good start with maintenance. The house and lawn look nice when they move in but they don’t follow through to meet the demands of regular maintenance, so the place gradually gets run down. Others buy an older home but invest time and care so that it is more beautiful every year. There is a lot to say about people who fail in early life but are renewed to make wise choices so that they end well in their later years. (“God’s Provisions will keep you strong to the end.” – 1 Corinthians 1:8) Maintaining old cars has become my hobby, especially my ’86 Toyota Camry (Grandpa) with 97K miles and ’93 Buick Century (Grandma) with 130K miles. I have two other old vehicles, both about 20 years old with low mileage. My new neighbor has a ’95 Ford Ranger with over 200K miles. He said his ’94 Ranger had 400K miles when he sold it for a $1000. So we have a lot in common to talk about. I remember the young guy who thought he could increase his gas mileage by driving fast because he would get to his destination faster. I told him that a conditioned runner could run a marathon faster than a race horse. I also told him about the famous long distance runner who died young, and said that God created us so that, if we make wise choices for health consistent with his law of cause and effect, we increase our prospect of living longer. Billy Graham lived to age 99. Earlier in life he said he walked a lot where he lived and that his wife was committed to preparing healthy meals. Carole helps watch out for my food choices. At Cracker Barrel on our day trip this week, I spotted the Jordan Almonds at the check out. Carole knows I could eat a ton of them, so asked me if I would just eat only a few. I said I would, but if I failed, I’d keep trying.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19G27

I dreamed this week that I was a young minister living in the same house with one of my former employer-pastors. But I never saw him, except once when he told me I would need to run 90 miles an hour. I awoke thinking about what Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are overburdened, broken down, and wornout and I will recover you.” Working as a young minister to win God’s favor broke me. I remember the day I stopped doing his Work, and began trusting him to do his Work through me. Carole and I have had our needs met ever since, although we have had modest incomes. Our modest home is paid for, worth twice what we paid for it. We have five older cars (only one newer than 20 years old), all paid for. We owe nothing for anything, except the utility bill which is amazingly low every month. Our doctors and dentist tell us we are in excellent health and to keep doing whatever we are doing. Health, however, is not automatic, but is organic: That is, it must be renewed daily or it diminishes. That means, we must make wise lifestyle choices for diet, exercise, and supplementation and especially to be renewed in our experience of Christ (the Daily Bread) every day - or else our brokenness, like a weed, will begin to resurface. This week I told Carole’s hard-of-hearing 100-year-old friend that she looked more like a young 80. I said I liked George Burn’s song, “I wished I was 18 again.” She asked me why I wanted to be 80. I said I wished I was eighteen, not eighty. She said I didn’t look 80.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19G20

I bragged to Carole that I had lost weight when I tried on new workpants this week and was able to take them off without unzipping them. But when I checked further, I found the size printed on the inside label was larger than the information stapled to the outside. I was disappointed. I told Carole that I got pranked. Carole said she thought I was wealthy when she first met me but then found out I wasn’t. She said she also thought I was smart.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19G13

I don’t ever remember being called a boy. But I do remember the first time I was called a man. I was a young minister going house to house knocking on doors to introduce our church and talk about Christ. A little girl answering the door at one home called back to her family inside to say there was a man at the door. I was 18. Thus far, I have not been called an old man, although I expect one day it will come. But I think the sales associate at J. C. Penny this week may have come close. I was standing at a distance away from the register where Carole was making a purchase when a second sales associate arrived to ask if I needed to check out. I said that I was with my wife but teased that she had instructed me to stand ten feet away from her until I got my hair cut. The lady said, “OH NO! You look so retro!” I forgot what retro meant so asked my smart phone. The best I could understand, google said it meant vintage-inspired or imitative of an old-world lifestyle. In other words, I think she was suggesting I was old fashion. I recall being told as a 19 year old preaching church revivals that I was a prude and did not act like a teenager. And I remember that I always liked to say that the rest of the story was I hoped to stay that way.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19G06

June 2019

Carole’s friend Louise just turned 100. She only recently stopped driving and sold her car, but still lives alone with a caregiver visiting once a week to check on her, provide company, and take her shopping and to get her hair done. Once or twice a week, Carole visits with her for an hour or so. During a visit recently with seniors, Carole asked a new friend her age. She said she was 84 but that, after she turned 80, she started counting backwards, so said she was 76. I told Carole I liked that, and that on my 71st birthday I would begin counting backwards so that I would be 69. She said she did not like that idea. I asked why. She said because in 70 years when I got to zero I would be gone. But I do need to do something about getting older! Carole says the older I get, the funnier I think I am. I asked her if she minded me teasing her so much. She said she didn’t and would not know what to think if I stopped, but that I really needed to stop teasing strangers in public. She already had opportunity to say that to me earlier this week when I saw my hair in the mirror at Rose’s Department Store and asked a lady going into the fitting room if she had a comb I could borrow. The lady laughed but Carole didn’t think it was funny.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19F29

A mentor once warned me that giving too much time to reading the Scripture would result in me becoming so heavenly-minded that I would be of no earthy good. But I found in the years that followed that a worse danger was being so earthly-minded and performance-driven that my work was not effectual and had no eternal value (John 15:1-8). I dreamed recently that a famous pastor became deathly ill. I was told I could save him, but that I would need to have holes drilled in my hands. I said no, that Christ had nails driven through his hands and died on the cross so that we could have health, and that God does not call us to give up our health to save others.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19F22

There is a hole in my house where things fall, never to be seen again. My favorite pair of work boots has disappeared into that hole. So have my baseball glove and a new baseball hat. I told Carole that at least I knew where they were. Years ago, I lost my cell phone in a warehouse. I was horrified and pleaded with angst for God to help me find the phone. I found it exactly where he told me to look. Recently, when I drove too fast over a bumpy railroad track, my van almost shut off, but corrected so that I made it home. I told my Pentecostal pastor friend who said he once prayed for his old truck when the check engine light came on and insisted the Lord healed his truck. But when I prayed for my van, the Lord told me to look under the hood. When I did, I saw that a battery cable was loose, apparently because of the bumpy ride over the railroad track. This week, I could not find a business card. It reappeared when it fell out of my undershorts before I got into the shower. So I still have hope for my boots, glove, and cap.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19F15

I told Carole I thought pollen was making my ears feel stopped up. She asked if my head was okay. I said maybe not but that my heart was. She asked if my heart had anything to do with my hearing. I said it did. God seems to allow just enough adversity in my life to remind me of my temperament afflictions and need to be renewed by him each day. I wished I had more of Carole’s temperament. Nothing much bothers her. I can’t remember her being irritated with me except to roll her eyes and shake her head in disbelief. A husband that gets the breaks from his wife that I do for stupid behavior is blessed. I didn’t fare as well with the guy I was talking to yesterday. When a spider landed on me, he nearly slapped me down trying to save me.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19F08

Looking at fences on a day trip in the country this week, I told Carole that my mom put up a fence at the side of her house to block the view of her neighbor’s yard, but had it installed backwards with the finished side facing her - so that it looked like it was her neighbor’s fence and because she did not want to offend her neighbor. I said to Carole, “There’s a right way to put up a fence, you know!” I showed her a rail fence and said it was installed correctly. She asked how I knew that. I told her the rails were facing the road. She asked if I was a fence expert.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19F01

May 2019

After my run today I told Carole I ran like I was 60. She said I meant like I was 50. I said I ran like I was 50 when I was 60. She said I meant like when I was 40. I said I ran like I was 40 when I was 50. She said I meant like when I was 30. I said I ran like I was 30 when I was 40. She said I meant like when I was 20. I said I ran like I was 20 when I was 30. She said I meant like when I was 10. I said when I was 10, I ran like a 70 year old. When I returned from my run yesterday, Carole said she was tired. I told her to take a nap. She said she was laying down when I came home. I asked if she meant she was lying down. I said builders lay bricks and hens lay eggs. She said no wonder she was tired.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19E25

On date nights, Carole and I watch old black-and-white reruns on a 9-inch iPad. Our favorites are Restless Gun, The Range Riders, Gene Autry movies, and especially, Tales of Wells Fargo. There is always a lot of shooting and fighting, but the good guys always win. In the early years of tv, our grandparents had a hard time separating tv entertainment from reality. I remember many year ago an elderly man fussing because his favorite cowboy was not fighting very well and was getting beat up. I told him it was just tv. He said I was right, that he forgot.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19E18

I told a teenage runner at the track that I was 70 and could beat him in a 20 yard sprint. That is, if he didn’t cheat, I said. He didn’t believe me, so we marked off 20 yards and lined up. I told him we would start on the count of three. When I said “one,” I took off. So did he and easily beat me. I told him I would have beaten him if he had not cheated.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19E11

Behavior can break out in brokenness in every relationship - at home with the family, in the community with neighbors, in the workplace with employees, and sometimes even on Sunday with members of the Church. The brokenness can manifest as ugly behavior but also as coldness to care about the needs of others. At the cafeteria on Sunday, the line servers were wonderfully friendly. I told everyone I could how much I appreciated them (although the dining area attendant needed some extra training: He asked a couple of times about us and our meal, but it was always as he zoomed by, not pausing long enough for us to appreciate that he was there.) The checkout lady greeted every guest with a big smile and lots of friendliness. I sure liked her. She said have a blessed day to the couple paying ahead of us. I hoped she would say that to us. And when she did, I was ready. “Christ will do that for us, you know!”  I said. “AMEN!” she said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19E04

April 2019

I asked the checkout lady if I could pay for my two-dollar-something purchase with cash. I told her I had ID. She laughed. I said the older I got the funnier I thought I was. I said my wife was trying to get me to stop trying to be funny. The checkout lady said no, no, don’t do that, that I made her day. Later, going into the gym after eating a big lunch, I asked the desk person if he had a cot in the back where I could lie down. He said no, that I needed to go ahead and workout. Forty-five minutes later on the way out, I told him “My fine now!” explaining that was what my grandson had said after he burped. He said I was funny.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19D27

At Walmart this week, I waited at the intersection of two main aisles watching for Carole to reappear. I see a lot of people that way - some very friendly. From my right, an older man with a hitch in his stride threw his hand up and nodded his head as he approached where I was standing. I nodded, smiled, and threw my hand up at him. As he neared, he threw his hand up and nodded again, so I threw my hand up and nodded at him again. After he passed by, I noticed he had an impairment that caused him to throw his arm out and bob his head like Grandpa McCoy when he walked. Carole said I should tone it down and just smile.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19D20

On Monday, I called to make an early morning appointment for Friday with a service company to give us a quote on some needed work. So on Wednesday, I got dressed early in advance of the appointment. When no one showed by 8:30, I called the company to ask if they had us scheduled for 8:00. The office lady assured me that, yes, we were scheduled for 8:00. I asked if I could expect the service guy to be on time. Yes, she said. But it’s already 8:30, I said semi-snarky. But it won’t be Friday until the day after tomorrow, she said kindly.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19D13

When I practice playing our Yamaha piano, I use earphones. Carole and I knew a minister who had perfect pitch when he whistled. He never needed to warm up or practice. The server at lunch this week whistled while she worked. I had never heard a server do that before. She also smiled beautifully at guests. I can’t whistle but told Carole I had been practicing and asked her if I could whistle a tune for her. She said no. She said I could hum if I wanted to. I asked her if I could whistle for her if I practiced more. She said I could if I used earphones. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19D06

March 2019

On a long walk recently while passing by an elementary school, I noticed teachers were dismissing students with strict security measures in order to ensure their safety - precautions not even thought of or needed not too many years ago. In recent years, I have also begun taking extra precautions for safety, although I have great confidence that we are safe doing God’s work in the place he uses us. Still, I had an experience this week that was pretty scary. While driving a 20-year-old vehicle I just bought, I heard a ticking. I turned off the radio, then the heater fan, and then pounded on the dashboard, but the ticking continued. It sure sounded like a ticking bomb to me. I was within a serious moment of stopping and getting out of the car to run for my life when I noticed my turn signal was on. I turned it off and lived to see another day.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19C30

I looked over in a place of business this week and saw the politician who represents my district. When I called out his name he looked up and smiled. He remembered me, not by name, but because of the issue he helped our community with. I don’t have a relationship with any other politician, but I have had the privilege of knowing and working on staff with some well-known names in ministry, including two national radio ministries and also pastors of several of the largest churches in America. But I have also had encounters with other influential people who I doubt today know I exist, including a missionary couple who I spent some time with as a kid preacher. When I saw them several decades later, I had such appreciation for them that I wanted to give them a hug. They had to think a minute or two to remember who I might be. I was disappointed. But I have always taken delight in knowing that God knows me intimately. He is absolutely my best friend, and assures me of it every morning during my quiet time. My relationship with Christ is intimate and meets to the depths of my soul the intense health need I have for validation, affection, and significance – and supports me to stop short of throwing things at providers who disappoint me.  

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19C23

Things get old and wear out, including roofs, sump pumps, appliances, vehicles, lawn equipment, and office equipment, even though we take care to maintain them. I am trying to get the very last bit of use out of my 11 year-old laptop even though a half dozen keys are falling off. Parts of us wear out before others do. A 90-year-old family member suffers advanced dementia. He hardly remembers anything about anything. But when time comes to pray, everything makes sense to him. He talks to God clearly and passionately. When I reach his age, I fully expect to be experiencing Christ the same as ever – although other areas of my well-being may be challenged. This week, after getting a few items at Walmart, Carole asked me to find her a cart. I asked if she meant an empty one. She said yes. The first empty cart I saw was being pushed by a woman with her young son. Walking up from behind her I told her my wife asked me to find her a cart and asked if I could have hers. She didn’t get my friendly humor and looked at me like I was a derelict. When I told Carole, she shook her head and said I really needed to stop doing that.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19C16

Carole and I schedule our sleep, meals, and work (the same as we budget our spending). We also schedule our entertainment. On date nights, we like to watch old black and white movies on tv. Tales of Wells Fargo has been a favorite. Agent Jim Hardie rides hard, draws fast, and shoots straight, so usually catches the bad guys in a hurry, leaving us time enough to watch another episode before bedtime. But this week Hardie faced a whole gang of outlaws in a gun fight. The sheriff’s posse with him was not much help, so the fight seemed to go on and on. In mock exasperation, Carole looked at me and said, if the good guys don’t do any better than that, we’ll be up all night.   

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19C09

In my early ministry some thought I was quite the success. So did I – that is, if the measure of success for ministry is rapid growth in church attendance. But my ministry was motivated in those days in large part by my need to be a “Champion for Christ” and by the notion I needed to win God’s favor. But about 30 years ago I began learning how to experience Christ to enable me for Christian living and ministry. Still, I have plenty of opportunities to feel sadness for elements of my past. For example, at a restaurant with Carole recently, our server called her husband her “old man” and confessed a lot of disappointment with him. Carole saw the sadness that came on my face. After we finished our meal, she took my hand, looked straight in my face, and said, “Honey, you are my teacher, my pastor, my best friend, my husband, and my resource, and I thank God every day for you. Whatever your past was or however different it could have been, nothing can compare to the wonderful life and ministry God has given us for these past 30 years.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19C02

February 2019

I don’t want to lose my ability to remember or process thoughts, so I take supplements to support brain health, exercise to increase blood flow to my brain, and do memory work every day. I also organize – that is, I put everything where I know it will be when I need it, especially my keys and wallet, even tools and equipment,  and including also my shoes and socks, underwear, and other clothing. Singer Glen Campbell explained his dementia as forgetting things he did not need to know. But I already don’t know much of anything I don’t need to know. Still I can be forgetful, and when I am, it concerns me. That’s why I was more than concerned this week when getting dressed. Since my t-shirts don’t have a label, I always feel for the vertical seam on the right side of the collar to know which is the right arm of the shirt. That has worked successfully for me for many years. But, on this day when I felt for the seam, found it on the right side of the collar where it always is, then put my shirt on, I had it on backwards. So I pulled it off (hate that), checked again for the seam, found it, and then put it on again. Once again the shirt was on backwards. With sadness and dismay, I reluctantly accepted that, after all these years, I had forgotten which side of the shirt the seam was on, and that my mental well-being had taken a sudden plunge. I was about to lament my fallen state of health to Carole when I noticed (O could it be!) that I had my t-shirt on inside out.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19B23

Immature youth sometimes lack appreciation for rules. But as we grow, law and order become more important to us. Then as we age, some of us begin to mellow. But not so quickly for others of us who have the Melancholy temperament. I may still be too much like the elderly man in a favorite tv commercials who slowly hobbled past a red sports car parked on his street. Stressed, he shouted at the parked car to “SLOW DOWN!” I still have a strict protocol for drivers merging onto the highway, the same as for walkers and runners who enter walkways and trails. (And it’s not whoever gets there first!) Melancholies also have a strong sense of fairness. At a favorite cafeteria a few years ago, their food was not its usual best. At the checkout, I told the manager I did not want to pay for the entree. When he argued, I shared my tension with him and then left. I also didn’t go back for a year. Never mind it was my favorite cafeteria, I showed them.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19B16

During the coldest days of winter, Carole and I usually go to the gym or to a closed mall to exercise or walk. But a lifestyle commitment to daily exercise is demanding. That’s why we fail to do it unless we are supported – by
  • a sustaining motivation (desire for health),
  • a safe, sensible regimen,
  • a schedule, and
  • someone who cares - for example, a family member, friend, or coach, and
  • especially Christ. (Our experience of Christ, renewed in us daily, transforms our hearts to value our health.)
Participation sports like softball, basketball, or golf can be good choices for exercise. The benefit is not really in the participation itself, but in the preparation (conditioning) so that we can participate without injury. George Foreman is one of my favorite athletes because he boxed into his late forties. Tom Brady is another excellent example of conditioning at an age when others have retired. I didn’t watch this year’s Super Bowl, although I like the Patriots. Carole is not a football fan but was curious to see what the big deal was about Brady, so she turned the tv on to watch the start of the game. I came into the room later to check the score and to ask what was happening. She said she didn’t understand much what was going on - except that everyone was beating up on each other.   

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19B09

Our actions and appearance sometimes reveal who we are. For example, a modest person will behave modestly and a honest person will have an open countenance. Shyness, humility, and happiness also have a way of revealing who we are. But not always. That’s because we sometimes learn how to mask our true selves. For example, we wear clothes and makeup to make us look more attractive than we might otherwise be, or drive a fancy car to appear rich and famous. Years ago, a small town in Georgia mandated a building and landscape code for a new retail complex. But years later when I went into some of those establishments, I was disappointed how dirty they were on the inside. So while Carole and I take care to look healthy, we also want to be healthy. That’s why I was happy when the eye doctor said again this week that my 8-10 year old prescription has not changed, that I do not need new glasses. But Carole thought new frames might be nice, so I got new frames with my old prescription. “I like them,” Carole smiled. I asked why. She said they made me look intelligent.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19B02

January 2019

Squirrels and raccoons, even coyotes and bears, fine creatures I am sure in their own habitat, would like to get into my house, and so I build barriers to keep them out. Canada Geese, created by God and also fine creatures perhaps (surely in some way in their own habitat), try to invade my community and destroy our lawns, but I found a way to keep them out. When elements in the world are not willing to peacefully coexist with me on a win-win basis but target the wellbeing of my home and community, I build barriers to keep them out. When cyber enemies try to download their images and messages onto my computer, I buy anti-malware programs to protect against them. When members of a religion knock on my door wanting to share information from a different bible about a different god, I don’t let them in, per 2 John 1:10. When family and friends, and even counselees, come to my home with no interest to receive support or to provide support for learning how to experience Christ, I spend limited time with them. When immigrants want to come into my country, but are not willing to embrace our Constitution and the values our government was founded upon, I support policies to keep them out.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A26

My pastor dad was a cut-up. I guess I get that trait from him. Sometimes teasing people may be my way of releasing tension, or maybe of getting attention, or maybe it’s because I am getting older, and the older I get, the funnier I think I am, so want to spread the joy – which is sometimes appreciated (“You made my day!”), but sometimes maybe not. On Friday this week at Zaxby’s, I ordered the Tuesday special from the young, fearful-looking order taker. She didn’t know how to take my humor and seemed intimidated. I told her I was just teasing, that I would just go ahead and take the Thursday special instead. On Sunday mid-afternoon, Carole and I walked into a steakhouse when the lobby was empty, so I said to the young greeter, “One more customer comes flooding in!” But she didn’t get my stupid humor. She said, “So will that be three dining with us today?” Earlier in the week, we entered a restaurant when the young greeter was on her knees behind her desk doing something or other. Seeing her on her knees, I asked her if she was taking prayer requests. She didn’t know what to say. After a meal last week at a favorite restaurant, the young checkout person asked if everything was okay. I said it was good, except that, every time I came in, it always ended the same way. When she asked “How’s that?”, I handed her my bill and credit card. She didn’t seem to get it and may still be wondering what the bricka brackum I was “complaining” about! This week, I was telling the managing owner of one of our favorite restaurants how impressed I was with her young staff. She said today’s kids are so connected to their devices that they don’t know how to engage with the public and that she had to go through a lot of hires before finding young people who were socially healthy enough to communicate with customers. Later, on the way home, Carole said I interacted with almost everyone I met. I said especially when I am in ministry mode. I offered further thoughts on the subject, but got too deep in the woods for her to keep up while she concentrated on navigating the trip home in heavy traffic. So I stopped by saying, “That’s what I think. So what do you think?” She said she agreed. About what I asked. That what you said is what you think, she said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A26

During the holiday months, I gain about a half-pound a week. That’s 6-8 pounds. Carole may gain one or two. I hate the cold, so don’t run on the trail as much. Instead, I use my exercycle at home and also walk 2-3 miles several days a week with Carole at a converted mall. Yesterday, I told Carole that excessive exercising to offset our overeating was not good. She agreed and said we were walking fools. I said no, we are walking Whisnants. She said that’s what she said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A26

The leadership God used most in my early years to influence my life didn’t know I was alive, especially at the time God called me to connect to them, and in some cases for a long time after. But, even so, God used them wonderfully to support my growth in Grace. (Conversely, relationships that fawned over me and were aggressive to recruit me were interested, as it turned out, mostly in using me to develop programs that would increase church attendances and offerings.) In 1992, when God called me to Atlanta to connect to the ministry of First Baptist, the church did not know I existed. During the four years I was there, Dr. Stanley faithfully provided pulpit ministry (preaching and teaching) to support my growth to understand the message of grace.  “I passionately press on to take hold of that (sanctification) for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (placed me there)” - Philippians 3:12. Through the years since, God has called many hurting people, none of whom I knew, to connect to our ministry, not for the purpose of giving support to us, but for the purpose of receiving support, especially for learning how to experience Christ. That’s why the only gift we receive from those who come to us is of themselves (2 Corinthians 8:5), to open the door of their hearts, to receive the support we offer. That principle is also the reason we welcome the opportunity to be supported by the Resources God sends to us – including a dear, 88-year-old whom Carole and I met for lunch this week who again came bearing gifts. Smiling, I said to him not to offer me anything he did not want me to take. He laughed and said he noticed that.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A19

Carole and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary this week. God knew what I needed when Carole came into my life over 30 years ago. I was broken and she was patient to give God opportunity to recover my life so that I could be in her life the way she needed me to be. During the 1990’s, God began calling and preparing Carole and me to provide support counseling to broken people who were suffering the same failing circumstances I had come out of. Through the years since founding GracePoint Counseling in 2002, God has brought hundreds of hurting people to our ministry whose hearts have been fertile for the Message of Grace he has given us to sow. And it is my confidence he will continue to do so to the end of this Age, also during the 1000-year Kingdom Age, and throughout eternity. I told Carole that eternity is a long time. She said eternity will not seem long in Heaven, not long.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A12

When running in a neighborhood years ago, a large, loud barking dog charged across a yard at me as I passed by. When I turned to charge back at the dog, its owner came running out to berate me. I told him I was disappointed he had more concern for a dog than a human. He said anyone who would charge at his dog was less than a human. So I realize I risk hurting feelings when I make comments about the obsession our present culture has with pets. God has a place for animals or he would not have created them. But they are not humans and should not be treated or talked to the same as humans or invested in the same as humans. And there is no such thing as a dog having a human sister or a human mama or daddy. That’s why I winced this week when I saw frozen desserts for dogs in the ice cream freezer at Harris Teeter. Also, animals don’t understand English or speak it (although they can react to sounds). So, yesterday when a dog charged at me on the running trail, I was amused when its owner hollered “et” at the dog. “Et”? When had I heard that word before? O, yes, I remember! When a childhood caregiver many years ago needed to stop me from darting off in the wrong direction or doing something stupid, she would holler “et” at me. Somehow, without any explanation from her, I understood that the word meant no, and that it did not mean to go for it! Now that I have rediscovered the word, I have a use for it when I see humans obsessing over their pets.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 19A05

December 2018

Health decline, of course, is the result of aging. But not so fast! Although we are all leaky buckets, we can make choices each day so that the life force in our bucket is renewed to extend our years. That’s included in the meaning of Psalm 90:10, that “the length of our years is 70, and may be 80 if we are strong.” Still, unless we are raptured or die, we will experience the wear and tear of aging. Muscular strength declines, while recovery time from injury and sickness increases, and also mental sharpness, including short-term memory, tends to decrease as we age. (That’s one of the reasons I memorize large passages of Scripture – because memory is like a muscle, so I exercise it almost every day.) My favorite old joke is about the old guy who half way up the stairs forgot if he was going up or coming down. At the steakhouse yesterday, I saw a framed drawing of a confused looking old cowboy holding a rope saying “I can’t remember if I found a rope or if I lost my horse!” Our five senses also decline. Sometimes our hearing is the first to go. The word most often spoken in our home is not “love” (as in “I love you!”) or “sorry” (as in “I‘m so sorry!”) or “would” (as in “Would you please pass the biscuits?”). The word most spoken in our home (by far) is “what” (as in “What did you say?”)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18L29

This week, a sweet little lady who doesn’t have enough supply to care for her own health needs gave us a $100 bill in a Christmas card. I was shocked. She has heard me teach often enough that God does not call us to give sacrificially out of our brokenness to our resources (an Old Testament teaching), but only to receive from them. Sometimes the religious notion that we need to give to God as a performance to make him happy in order to win his favor is so ingrained in our understanding of God that it is hard for us hear the Message of Grace (that we don’t give to our resources but they give to us and to others through us). Anyway, I continue to go on record to say that I don’t accept gifts from those I serve as a support resource, that our personal needs are met from the income we earn from our employment and that the expense needs of our ministry are met by a few resources (non-counselees) God has raised up to give support out of the overflow of their abundance. When funds turn up in Christmas cards and such from counselees in a way I don’t have a chance to politely refuse or return, I always delight to pass it on to meet the redemptive needs of others.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18L22

Carole likes to look nice. She dresses modestly and has an appropriate sense of style. Her health also matters to her, so she takes care every day to make choices for diet and exercise that support her to look and feel healthy. She trusts in God’s commitment to her safety, so expects him (me) to provide her a safe home to live in and also a reliable vehicle to drive. (She said a camper and a healthy horse would not do). So we bought a $120K home and also paid cash for each of our four cars – an ‘86, ‘93, ‘98, and 2000. (Carole’s employer provides her income to lease a 2016 Kia for her work.) Her birthday is in a few days, so last week I bought her the necklace, watch, and sprays she wanted, and strolled along with her at the mall to tell her I liked the sweaters and tops she bought. Christmas is here also, so we bought two Lazyboy recliners and a new GE dishwasher, and a thing or two else that serve good purposes. We are not impulsive spenders but budget conscious, make highly routine and predictable lifestyle decisions, and content to live modestly. We owe nothing, take no expensive vacations or trips, buy only when items are on sale, eat out at family restaurants, use coupons, and never waste food. Once when eating with an associate, he said he was really full. I told him to stop eating. He said nope, he couldn’t do that. I asked why he ate all the food on his plate at one time. He said, “One continuous taste!”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18L15

Doctrinally, GracePoint Counseling is a Baptist Church. But we don’t always include that information in our literature - not because we attempt to hide it, but because the name Baptist has been hijacked by performance groups who don’t represent the name well. The word “Grace” to identify our message and ministry has also been hijacked by groups that don’t have much of a clue what the word means (at best they confuse it with the word “mercy”). A “Grace Point” church recently popped up in a nearby town that is performance-based and an absolute contradiction and embarrassment to the Scriptural message of grace. I cringe to think our ministry may be confused with them. But what are we to do! Also, the name Whisnant has not always been well represented. That’s why I care about my moral and financial standing in my neighborhood and community – that I represent Christ well and also so that the lies and distortions of a few haters are not believed. The surname “Whisnant” bears its own burden. That’s why on occasions, when it doesn’t really matter, I have introduced myself as Smith. My mother was with me on one such occasion and she looked like she was going to faint. Whisnant means “wise hunter” and its pronunciation rhymes with “swiss hunt.” Surprisingly, most people get it right. Some don’t. I have been called Dan (instead of Don) Whiz-nit, Whiz-ant, Wise-not, and Wise-nut. The spelling is Whisnant, not Whistnant, Whisenant, or Whisenhunt. My mechanic friend has problems with pronunciations and maybe also with memory, so after learning I was a minister, he calls me “Brother Man.”  That’s okay. Carole sometimes calls me “Mister” and I call her “Person” - or sometimes “Curly Sue Darling.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18L08

Confession of ignorance (lack of information) is painful, so we tend to deny it. But I’d rather confess to ignorance and be committed to learning than to think I am smart while watching the smart train go by leaving me intellectually behind. The most informed people never assert how smart they are. That’s because strength never asserts itself. That’s why I trust people more who admit they may be wrong than those who deny they might not be right. I don’t want to confess it to excess, but I sometimes admit that I may be a quack. There is plenty of evidence that I am not, but also that I may be – even though I am smart enough to know that going north is always up even though it may be going downhill. Carole sometimes worries the worst about me when I point down the hill and say let’s go up there or when I tell her I am going down to my office upstairs. I traveled once with a young man who asked me to raise the window down. I said, “Do what!” For several months after moving to North Carolina, I drove back and forth almost weekly to Atlanta to phase out our counseling ministry there. Going either north or south, I always liked to stop midway at a favorite place for gas. Once I forgot if I was coming or going and drove back twenty miles in the direction I just came from.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18L01

November 2018

Carole and I always ask for the best price, and sometimes for discounts that don’t exist. Surprisingly, sales people sometimes come up with an additional discount. But sometimes not. Recently I asked the sales girl if she gave discounts to members of the owner’s family. Elated, she asked if I was for sure related to the owner. I said I wasn’t but was just wondering who the store gave discounts to. For lunch on Black Friday, we wanted to get the early bird special at our favorite restaurant. So we sat in the car 15 minutes waiting for 3:00. Then at 2:55, we remembered the early bird was Monday thru Thursday. So we hurried inside to get the daily lunch menu from 11 to 3, but were told we would have a 15 minute wait. I asked if we could still get the lunch menu, but was told the computer changed pricing at 3:00. So we paid full price. The meal and service, however, were worth it. Anyway, we couldn’t afford to save any more money.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18K24

My friend Andy said that when growing up it seemed he could not do anything right. He joked that he was 12 years old before he realized his name was not “Andy Don’t”. He also said his dad spit tobacco out the window when the family traveled, and that he thought those spots on his face were freckles. Things aren’t always what they seem. At a sandwich shop yesterday, two girls and a guy sat in a booth beside us. Or it may have been two guys and a girl. One of the three acted and dressed like a guy, but may have been a girl because s/he wore a bra. They seemed to be nice kids having a good time. I enjoyed watching them. When their meals came, they bowed their heads and prayed, and then talked about the church service that morning. Sometimes we can know a lot about a person by their appearance, but not always. God looks on the heart. “Though God is on high, he looks on the lowly; but the proud he know from afar” (Psalm 138:6).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18K17

I met Carole 30 years ago on November 4. At lunch this week I told her she did not know what she was getting into when she married me, that I was sometimes a smart-aleck. She said that was okay, that she did not think I was so smart. I also told her that I was sorry for the times I had been a jerk. She said she could not believe I had been a jerk and asked when I thought that was. I said that, “a week or two before I met you,” a young lady had become friendly who I thought was very pretty and nice, but that “after meeting you,” I had lost interest, so that, when the young lady stopped by again one day, I asked if she would like to take a walk, but that, when we stepped outside, I told her I needed to get back to work and turned to go inside, that, when I looked back, she was taking our walk by herself, and that I never saw her again. Now that’s being a jerk I said. Carole shook her head at me and said yes it was.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18K10

After my steak and potato dinner today Carole caught me sneaking a look at the dessert menu. I said I was just looking. My father in the ministry many years ago was R.J. Barber when he pastored the old Baptist Tabernacle in Danville, Virginia. Never a word of scandal was uttered about him in 75 years of ministry. As a kid preacher in the early 1970’s, I was walking behind him one day on the way to a hotel restaurant for a meeting with pastors when a woman in a bathing suit came toward us from the other direction. While still at a distance from her, he turned his head fully around to look behind him until she passed. I always appreciated that. Carole asked me if I turned my head. I said no. She asked why not. I said because I was looking at him, of course. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18K03

October 2018

I dreamed last night that, while visiting the Bible college (now university) I attended many years ago, its famous founder spotted me on campus and stopped to say that it was good to see me again and that if he could help me in any way, we could schedule a time to meet. I said that I would absolutely appreciate that. After scheduling with his secretary, I woke up troubled because I could not think of anything that, after these many years, I needed to talk with him about. I told my dermatologist this week that I just turned 70. He jumped back and said I looked 55. At my annual checkup, I asked my doctor if he knew how long I had to live. He said he didn't. At home, I told Carole that the doctor said he didn't know how long I had to live. She did not think that was funny.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18J27

Many years ago, I pastored in a town with a park named Hough Park. A little girl said it was named after Sam Huff, the famed football player. I said Sam’s name was spelled Huff. She said the spelling didn’t matter. I told a friend that my mother was born on Black Mountain in North Carolina and that her mother was a Boone who said she had a great uncle named Daniel. My friend said that was nothing, that he was related to Elvis Presley. When I met Carole I told her that I might be part Cherokee Indian. She grinned and said she was part Sue. I said she could call me Chief if she wanted to. She said she would but never did. She said she spelled her name C-a-r-o-l-e. I asked if her name was Carol Lee. She said no, that it was Carolyn. “So your name is Carole Lynn,” I said. She said no. I asked if it was Carol Ann. She said no, that it was Carolyn Sue. “So your name is part Sue!” I said. “Yes,” she said, “that’s what I said!”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18J20

Carole is a classic encourager to those she serves in her ministry to seniors. She also sometimes needs to rescue me from my melancholy brokenness. She tells me I can do anything, even when I don’t know what I am doing. This week, she asked me to repair a broken item. I said I did not know how. She said I did. I said I didn’t. So she suggested step-by-step instructions that guided me to put the item back together. “See,” she said, “I told you you could do it!” Carole says she is certain that I am not an idiot, but that I just act like it sometimes. My friend said his neighbor was not the brightest bulb. I said neither was he. He said neither was I. I said that makes three of us.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18J13

I’ve never thought too much about birthdays, except for the big one that came up this week. I won’t tell my age except to say I’ll never be 69 again. Also that I love the number 70. That’s because, Scripture seems to teach that, unless we make reckless choices, we can expect to live 70 years (and beyond, to 80 or more, if we are faithful to include God’s Provisions into our lives). Also, Scripture seems to teach that a generation is 70 years. That’s significant because the Scripture also seems to teach that Christ will return (the Second Coming) during the generation that is living when Israel becomes a nation - which it did in 1948, the year I was born. That means, I am that generation and have a Scriptural basis to expect that Christ will return in my lifetime and that I will be in Heaven soon.

On board the Gospel Ship,
by death or raptured glee,
I make my destined trip
to where I long to be.

-from Heaven’s Now Real to Me
(Words and Music: Don [Carole] Whisnant/2018)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18J06

September 2018

In an initial interview years ago, a potential counselee declined our counseling when she learned I had been divorced and remarried. I told her that, on that basis, I would not be able to support her for making wise choices for her diet because I was once overweight. I am very conscious of my brokenness and past failures and, in my religious, self-righteous days, found confession to it was painful. But not so much now that I have a Solution (God’s Provision of Christ). Still, I take care how much I am willing to report - especially to the unregenerate world and also to self-righteous religious people, both who do not understand or appreciate God’s Redemptive Plan for our healing. Entertainers know how much people dislike know-it-alls, so they confess to all kinds of stupid behavior which we find funny. Ministers sometimes like to entertain, but we make a mistake to think we increase our influence for supporting others to grow in grace by self-debasing. Because who wants an airplane pilot or physician to announce they are drunks or that they cheated on their exams? We should absolutely confess our brokenness, but mostly we should make much of God’s Provision of Christ to support us so that the brokenness we confess to does not need to define our lives or our futures.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18I29

Watching an old black and white movie made in the 1940’s, a young boy repeatedly said “gee” (a euphemism in those days for saying the name “Jesus”). Other JC words and phrases like “Jiminy Cricket” were euphemisms to tone down profanity (using God’s name in vain). Growing up, I never heard vulgarity or profanity in our home, not even “darn” or “heck” (except I did hear my dad say “pshaw” one time). I never used and still do not use profanity or vulgarity. But I did get in the habit of saying GD euphemisms like “doggone” and “dead-gummit” and also “what the heck” and “shoot” - I guess to show that I was not a complete prude. (I remember a buddy once tried to stop saying DG words, but he slipped and said “doggone,” then shook his head and said “doggone it, I said it again!”) In Heaven we won’t have that problem because Christ puts a new song in our hearts and elevates our language – the same as he does in this life so that, the more of Heaven we experience in our hearts, the more like Christ we speak. I dreamed last night that, after waiting 3 hours in a long cafeteria line, I was met by a disrespectful server. I reacted by saying, “You know, young lady, I didn’t wait 3 hours in line to be met by a rude server.” I fussed so loud and so long that I lost my voice and had to miss speaking to a group that evening.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18I22

If I should confess the sinful choices teens and young adults sometimes make, that I cursed, drank and did drugs, cheated, fought, bullied people, stole, behaved inappropriately on dates, and attempted to murder a person I hated, and that, as a result, I spent time in prison, I would not be telling the truth. That’s because I did not do any of those things. Instead, I was a good kid, grew up in a pastor’s home, never caused problems at school or in the community, president of the Christian Youth club in my high school, a good student, tapped as a member of the National Honor Society, surrendered to ministry at the age of 17, went to college and seminary, and was a virgin when I married. But I do confess that, as a kid preacher over 40 years ago, I failed as a husband and dad while preoccupied with attempting to build a large ministry and become a “Champion for Christ,” and that, after losing my marriage and ministry, I eventually became discouraged, and for about six months began going to places with work buddies that I had never been to before. But I can also give testimony that God does not abandon those in whom he has begun a good work, that when we fail and then hit bottom, he lifts us up out of the pit, guides and supports us on a journey in Grace that renews us to health and holiness and establishes us with a faithful and enduring testimony - at home, in the workplace, in business, in the community, and in ministry which is affirmed by everyone who knows us, including hundreds of counselees – although maybe still condemned by the religious self-righteous from our past who have no appreciation or understanding of God’s Redemptive Plan for our lives, that he does not throw away the broken vessel, but renews it again to become a new and stronger vessel through our experience of him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18I15

I dreamed I was attending a conference featuring Governor (Reverend) Huckabee. At lunch break, I came upon him in a cafeteria sitting with a large group of pastors. So I sat down among them. Just as I did, he disappeared. I said to the remaining pastors that I had wanted to speak to the Governor about the need in America for the Church to support its members for learning how to experience Christ through quiet-time worship. I excused myself for a moment to get a forgotten item from the service line; when I returned, the pastors had also disappeared. I woke up thinking that it wasn’t the first time I had cleared a table talking about Christ.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18I08

A son’s inborn need for significance (to be validated) is met in childhood by his dad, also by his experience of Christ in his life – a need which was not fully met during those critical years in my life, so I sometimes acted out in my pain to make up the difference, to make me significant to myself. Such a child has trouble receiving instruction, because of the pain of feeling ignorant, considering instruction just another example of something he doesn’t know. Such a child also fights for his identify that he is somebody he wishes he was but fears he is not. That’s why, when I asked a pastor once for the reason he did not talk to me as a young man about the wayward choices I was making, he said he did not think I would listen. He was right. On the first day of my first job as a young college student, I strutted past security on the way to my workplace. I assumed they knew who I was. They took a few moments to enlighten me. As a young minister, when I showed up late for an appointment with a businessman, he dared to tell me that disrespect for my appointments was not responsible behavior. Years later a pastor’s teen daughter felt the need to instruct me. “Don’t you know who I am?” she asked. I remember thinking she was who I used to be. Favorite story: A famous minister recalls that as a young man he thought God was calling him to work for Billy Graham. So he saved his money to buy a one-way ticket to Minneapolis, Minnesota, ignoring his dad’s advice to buy a round-trip ticket. Arriving at Graham’s national headquarters, he walked in to tell the receptionist that he was there. When told that God had not yet spoken about the matter to Billy Graham, he called his dad to send money for a return ticket home.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18I01

August 2018

I was called to pastor my first church (which had 7 deacons) when I was 19. To the old, well-known preacher retiring I was “a kid preacher.” I didn’t appreciate being called that because I was a bombastic preacher and proven attendance builder. (The Sunday morning attendance of that church tripled from 33 to 99 in three months.) But I was definitely a kid preacher and didn’t need to be anyone’s pastor. (I would not want me then as my pastor now.) After three months, I left for an opportunity in ministry that didn’t have so many deacons telling me what to do.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H25

As a kid preacher I thought the Power of God was a mystical anointing of sorts from Heaven to energize my preaching (which is not my understanding now - that God’s Power is his Life flowing into my heart from his residence within my born again spirit to make competent my ministry as I remain connected to him in quiet-time worship per John 15:5). Standing one day on a street corner with a preacher buddy who was dumb as I (Dumb and Dumb), a transformer exploded above our heads giving us both a thrill. “That just goes to show you the Power of God,” he said. “Amen” I said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H25

“Don’t make me mad,” a nervous little man once warned me, “or I will tell you what I really think.” I remember providing ministry many years ago to inmates at a maximum security detention center along with several other ministers, one a fearful, frail little man who talked loud and acted tough. He reminded me of an outlaw character in a movie who found an officer’s uniform. He said he was going to ride into the next town and declare marshal law. His partner asked how he planned to do that. He said he was going to ride in hard and talk loud.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H18

My friend worries he is being monitored at home through his microwave. It occurred to Carole and me that, if our conversations were being monitored, eavesdroppers would think we did not get along very well. That’s because I tease Carole a lot. For example, after she worked hard to prepare another wonderful meal today, she asked me to pass her a napkin. I said “Well, if I have to do that, I just as well do everything!” After the meal, I told Carole how much I enjoyed and appreciated everything she did, and that we could have just eaten the tuna salad left over from yesterday. She said there probably wasn’t enough for both of us. I told her that she wouldn’t need to eat that much.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H18

I’m impressed with people who are talented to mimic voices and sounds. I wished I could do that, but I can’t. Neither can my wife. The difference is, she can’t resist trying, even though she makes every person, vehicle, and animal sound the same. While walking recently on a nature trail open to bikes and cars, we saw deer crossing ahead of us. Carole worried about the deer running across the road and getting hit by a car. “They could be ‘umph’ surprised by a car!” she said. Teasing her I said that was probably true but I did not know if they would make that sound. “They would if they got hit!” she said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H11

While I was visiting with a friend this week, a neighbor stopped by to say hello to him, and then when leaving said to him, “good to see you old man.” But my friend is only a few years older than I am. So I took it personal. Years ago I was a church growth consultant for a 53 year-old pastor who referred to himself as “this old man.” I’m a decade or so older now than he was then and I am in no way close to considering myself old. I feel great, eat and sleep well, and if blood test results, pulse rate, blood pressure, and endurance (I am on pace to log 1000 fitness miles again this year) are indications, I am in excellent health. And I don’t have a pain in my body except a sprained thumb. But other people don't help sometimes: They insist on reminding me that I am past my prime - for example when I am offered senior discounts I don’t ask for. And worse, when female servers who once called me sir now call me sweetie, and the guys call me buddy.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18H04

July 2018

My haircutter said her pets were her children, that she would refuse rescue from a flood if they were left behind. I wanted to ask if she believed her pets would be left behind at the Rapture, but decided not to while she was cutting my hair.

When I saw a recent headline that read, “Study shows dogs go out of their way to help upset owners,” I said to Wife, “I knew it! Dogs sometimes help upset me too.” She said the headline meant that dogs help comfort their upset owners. I said, “Oh!” Years ago I told a group that I was disappointed with the message of a new tv show called “You Can Do It!” - because Christ said without him I can do nothing. Someone spoke up to tell me the show was a talent show called “You Can Duet!” I said I can’t do that either.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18G28

A story isn't necessarily a lie. For example, the stories I post in Journey Notes are true accounts – that is, unless combining two events or characters into one, or changing a name or gender to protect privacy, or just not telling the whole truth is lying. A story does not need to be the whole truth. For example, I sometimes say that I was 59 on my birthday. And I remember telling an older girl when I was 13 that I would be 16 on my birthday. I also once told an employer that I was spending up to thirty minutes a day on a special project he had assigned me. He seemed impressed. Also, I once told my wife that I ate one donut. That was the truth, but the whole truth was I ate several. But sometimes I go ahead and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Recently I told Carole that of all the women in the world, she was one of them. And then, sometimes even a lie can be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For example, I boldly stated to a group recently that I was absolutely certain that, unless I was wrong, 2 plus 2 equals 5. And I will maintain that lie to be the whole truth as long as I live.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18G21

I need an editor for my postings. I try hard but don’t always get it right. That’s because I tend to write extemporaneously – the same as I speak. My writings and speaking are too often little more than first drafts. When I don’t take time for one more read, I risk poor grammar or a silly misspelled word. And if I would muse a bit more on my subject before speaking (not the same as quiet-time to experience Christ), I might make more sense. But while I haven’t given up the need to get it right, I am no longer in bondage as I once was to being perfect. For one thing, making mistakes keeps me humble; also, as Glen Campbell famously said, if I am always perfect, people will begin to expect it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18G14

Twenty-five years ago when a friend told me he had just won a lottery, I said I had won big a few years earlier (meaning the day I met Carole). I became his hero. To this day he may still think I’m a millionaire. And I am (and more), considering my wife, the opportunity I have for meaningful ministry, and especially my experience of Christ in my life. This week, I bet Carole a kiss that I was the world’s happiest person, and said I was so sure of it, that I would go ahead and collect on the bet in advance, and if I was found to be wrong, I would give it back.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18G07

June 2018

I have pondered 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter) so often through past years that I can quote it. I have been revisiting it this week so that it stays fresh in my heart and life. I also wrote the song

“O Christ, live your Life thru me,
Your Love for others to see”

which I sing often during my quiet-time worship. I also recently wrote

“I trust you (Your Kindness) through me to give care,
Support you give me freely share.”

Still, my sinful nature can resurface to be impatient with people and to be unkind - for example: I was not happy recently with the driver who butted in front of me in the turn lane where I had been waiting through three light changes; and again later I was less than happy when I waited 10 minutes (at least) on a new store employee to do her register thing just to exchange a size; and then at dinner I had something to say when a server repeated my food order and asked loud enough for all the restaurant to hear if I had a coupon. Only a few days earlier I had fussed to a manager that the chicken tenders were cold and tough. I meant only to give helpful feedback, but when he argued with me, I lit up. Then, later at home when I answered the phone and a telemarketer asked, “Mr. Whisnant, how are you doing?” I said I was not doing well enough for his nonsense, then hung up. I bowed my head and lamented to Carole that I was a mess. She said I just needed more rest and, besides, I inherited my temperament from my mother. I said I got it mostly from my sin nature and from Satan. Desperate to help me, she called out, “Get thee behind him, Satan!” 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18F30

A few times through the years, after speaking to a group, someone has been bold enough to tell me they didn't understand a word I said. So, as an experiment to test whether it was me or them, I have on occasions inserted a 5-10 second statement into my presentations which made absolutely no sense. But I was just being mischievous yesterday when I told Carole that God gave me a wife I didn’t deserve. Without hesitation she said she didn’t get the husband she deserved either. I dreamed (old joke) that Saint Peter was asked why I had such a beautiful wife. He said I was being blessed. Asked about her, he said she was being punished.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18F23

My biological father is in Heaven (so I don’t have a father resource to support me), but my Heavenly Father imparts his Life to live within me each day to support me here on Earth (per Psalm 27:10). Carole likes to celebrate Father’s Day as Husband’s Day. I tell her that means I get to recommit myself to her as a Resource to support her health and happiness. But she is stubborn to want to celebrate “Husband’s Day” by doing something special for me. So this year we took a daytrip, went to one of her favorite restaurants, walked at the mall instead of on the trail so she could stay out of the heat, bought a new weedeater so I could better help keep her plant beds looking good, and replaced my ten-year-old sports watch and wornout running socks to help me remain physically fit so that she won’t be too soon burdened by an unhealthy husband. Back at home, she said she had a happy Husband’s Day.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18F16

I admit it. I’m a fusser. It is the downside trait (affliction) of my Melancholy temperament - which means I can be intense and also make blunt comments when circumstances do not meet my high need for perfection (or excellence, I prefer to call it). God was gracious to give me a wife who is my opposite in that she responds kindly to almost every adversity, including my tense moments. Recently on a daytrip when Carole drove through a parking lot full of speed bumps, I just had to say, “Well, you managed to hit every one of those speed bumps didn't you?” “Thank you for that!” she replied. When I told her I liked her taking four parking spaces to park, she seemed to appreciate that also.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18F09

When I began in ministry many years ago, I was chasing after what I thought (was told) was success – that is, to build the largest and fastest growing church in America, and if not in America, in my state, and if not in my state, in my city, and if not in my city, (teasingly) on my street. Any of those goals I accomplished only temporarily met my need to feel successful. So when I received a phone call years ago from Atlanta offering me an opportunity to interview for a position with In Touch Ministries, I thought maybe I had finally arrived. As it was, however, I was committed in another state and was not able to respond timely to the offer. For a time, I was disappointed, but not today as I consider the deep joy I have had to serve for the past 15 years in the capacity God is now using me. So when I dreamed this week that I was new on staff at First Baptist Atlanta, I had no joy in the experience, and was glad when I woke up.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18F02

May 2018

I walk slow, think slow (I prefer to say deep), and speak slow. It’s a temperament trait, I think. Wife, Carole, is blessed with quick twitch muscles, so works, thinks, and talks much quicker than I do. She gets things done while I am still reading the instructions. I think I try her patience sometimes, including when I am talking to her. Often when I pause to think about the next word to use or statement to make, she will select one for me. But sometimes her contributions don’t communicate my thoughts. Yesterday before leaving the house, I attempted to tell her where I was going. But when I paused mid sentence to think, she volunteered information that had me going in the wrong direction.

“No,” I said, “I won’t have time to go there because…”
“You need to get there early,” she said.
“No,” I said, “it’s…”
“A long drive,” she said.
“No,” I said, “I need to stop first…” 
“To get gas,” she said. 
“No, I, I… Now where did I say I was going?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, “you didn't say.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18E19

I expect to run when I get to Heaven, maybe even for health reasons, but mostly because of Joy in my heart. I already experience that Joy in this life – not only while running, but also while power walking when push-mowing the lawn. A member of my dad’s church many years ago liked to run to places he needed to go, including sometimes to church. He also grinned a lot. I asked him why he ran to church and grinned so much. He said he liked to dress up for church – that it made him happy, especially when he could wear his favorite trench coat. Sometimes, he said, it made him want to run. He said the cops stopped him late one night after church to find out why a grown man wearing a trench coat was running the streets with a grin on his face.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18E12

GracePoint Counseling, A Grace Renewal Church

  • was formally organized on July 4, 2010 as a New Testament church by the adoption of a Commitment Statement, Confession of Faith, and Constitution;
  • is not a traditional, attendance-driven, seeker-friendly, open-door, everyone-welcome, come-as-you-are, performance ("go and give") church, but 
  • is a renewal (“come and receive”) church - that is, it
  • provides support to its members (and to new converts who enter its meetings by invitation of current members who have supported them for trusting Christ for salvation and growth in grace) for learning how to
    • read the Scripture in order to
    • experience Christ during personal quiet-time worship in order
    • manifest his Likeness into the community, beginning at home;
  • meets privately, usually in members’ homes;
  • does not advertise or identify its meeting place to the public;
  • meets multiple times 4-6 days a week for teaching and counseling in
    • individual counseling sessions,
    • groups, sometimes as small as 2-3 members, and
    • institute classes for studies in grace concepts (Institute for Studies in Grace Concepts);
  • does not charge for counseling sessions or accept donations from counselees or "receive offerings" (take up a collection) from its members;
  • is supported by churches and organizations and also by individuals who give, not sacrificially out of their brokenness, but from the overflow of their abundance per 2 Corinthians 9:8;
  • does not pay salaries, but may help pastoral and administrative staff with expenses for housing, transportation, education, and professional dues; and
  • has an extended goal for its members, as they phase through its programs, to serve in a leadership role within the church or to formally organize a renewal church in their own homes supported by GracePoint Counseling. 
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18E05

April 2018

While waiting in my parked car at the yogurt shoppe recently, I enjoyed seeing an elderly man drive his well-maintained 1970-something Oldsmobile onto the lot and park across from me, and then get out to enter one of the small shops. He was dressed nattily and as agile as could be. When he got to the door of the shop, he wiped his feet on a mat at the door. Every evidence of a happy life well lived, I’d say. Also that he was a neat freak! Later that evening, Carole and I watched an archived 1970’s Paul Harvey interview with a fit looking Billy Graham, then in his mid 50’s, at his Montreat home. Harvey commented on Graham’s fitness and asked him for an explanation. Graham said he walked often up and down the mountain from and to his home, was also a runner, took time regularly for calisthenics, and ate meals that his health-conscious wife prepared for him. So, on my last checkup, I said to the dentist that I was hoping for a good report because I wanted to live to age 99 like Billy Graham and also without the need for expensive dental care. She said everything looked good, but still wanted me to buy her dental membership program just in case I didn’t need it. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18D28

Mistreated by the doctor but too manly to scream

On a regular checkup at the dermatologist recently, the receptionist said it had been a crazy day. I said I was going to tell the doctor she said she was seeing a lot of crazy people. She laughed, “No, no, don’t do that! I said it has been a crazy day!” I said, “Oh!” Signing in just seconds behind me was another Don: Don Smith, another fun loving guy, I could tell. I asked him if we could swap last names - that mine was Whisnant and I always had to spell it. I told him I once had a counselee whose last name I suddenly forgot. Too embarrassed to ask again, I thought it would be clever to ask her how to spell her last name. She said S-M-I-T-H. After a few minutes the nurse lady stepped out and called, not me, but Mr. Smith. When she called me later, I said I was mad – because I had signed in before Mr. Smith. She said, “So you’re mad are you?” I said not really, that I would be okay. When the doctor came in, he found some sun damage to freeze which he said was not pre-cancerous, but that it was “thinking about it.” After giving me a warning, he shot me several times with the nitrogen gun. When I stiffened, he said he knew I had not planned on being mistreated by the doctor today. I told him that I taught our counselees that screaming was therapy when they hurt - a way God gave us to vent our pain - but that a woman told me she did not think a man should scream. On the way out, the good-bye lady looked at me and asked if I was doing okay. I told her no, that when I got to my car, I was going to scream.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18D21

Helping God Keep Us Safe

The weather reports recently warned of tornadoes in our area. So Carole and I decided to stay inside. We also sang the first verse of a confession song we wrote earlier this year:

We trust you, dear Lord (your Provisions of Grace)
for shelter and needed supply;
We trust you to safeguard our lives and our home,
for Watchcare of all you provide.

We also prepared to hunker down in a coat closet at the center of the house.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18D14

Wife okays servant leadership

I told Carole our meal was fit for a king. She said I WAS a king. I said no, I was not a king, but a servant to support her health and happiness needs. She said she was okay with that and asked me to pour her some more tea.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18D07

March 2018

Clearing the Landscape Talking about God

I dreamed this week that I attended a gathering of friends for an Easter picnic. Christ was not mentioned, so I called everyone together to say that Christ was raised from the dead, not only to prove he was God, but to also be resurrected in our hearts. At first, no one said anything. Then, they tried to ignore me, and then began laughing. Some rolled their eyes and even mocked. When I pressed on to speak, they told me to go away, that they would read up on it later in the Bible. That dream may have come from an experience I had earlier this week while clearing out a wooded area next to our home. A passer-by called out and stopped to talk. And talk and talk - mostly about politics and government conspiracies. After listening a while and needing to get back to my landscaping project, I found an opening to begin talking about God’s faithfulness to live in our hearts in order to support us for making wise choices which result in good health and happiness. The passer-by quickly got quiet, became blank-faced, began backing up, looked at his watch, and then said he needed to go. So I got back to landscaping.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18C31

Lesson for Living Learned Later in Life

I hate to think that teenagers (whose brains have not yet fully developed) have more understanding than adults. It has only been as I have grown older that I have begun to understand (for a few first to mind examples) that
  • good health is not mainly the result of what we exclude that hurts but of what we include that helps,
  • live food is medicine,
  • eating fat doesn’t make us overweight, sugar does (so does eating after we work, also resting/sleeping after we eat), 
  • work doesn’t wear us out as much as neglect to exercise does,
  • we run in order to increase energy and build muscle in order to manage weight, and
  • the time to exercise is when we don’t want to. But mostly, that
  • God is not in a power position (as a king) over us demanding compliance to his rules but is in a support position (as a shepherd) beneath us providing for our needs.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18C24

Learning to Wait on God Watching Little Girl

If there is a better place to eat out than Zaxby’s in Archdale, I don’t know where it is. The commitment of ownership and staff to good service at that particular location is on the order of Olive Garden and Chick-Fil-A, especially at our favorite locations. At Zaxby’s this week, we heard a tiny little voice call out, “Daddy, what do you want me to drink?” I looked up to see a 5-6 year-old darling little girl walking with a cup toward the beverage dispenser. Daddy answered that he would be there in a moment to help her. So she sat down in a booth to wait. Waiting on God? Now that’s what I am talking about! 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18C17

Having Fun Bantering with Wife

Carole knows she married a recovering perfectionist and authoritarian. Through the years she has become willing to give me opportunity to provide leadership as I have earned her confidence that I no longer just want to be in control, but that she is in my life, not for what she can do for me, but for how I can support her health and happiness needs. This means, for example, I had to learn to drive the car at the speed she is comfortable with, go to the places she wants to go, and to go and be there when she wants to, and to delight in her experience of it. As I learned to give up control, she began feeling safe to stop fighting for it. So now, when we are together (and although without her needs in mind I would do nothing), she delights to depend on me to decide where we walk along the trails, what we do for entertainment, and who our resources should be (for example, nutritionist Roy D. Strand, M.D.). Most enjoyably, we love to banter. She frequently threatens to “pow-zoom” me to the moon and I love to ask her if she thought she did anything while we were apart that I needed to fuss about. 

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18C10

Staying in Shape to Outlive my Failures

This week I moved a truck load of wood chips one wheel barrel at a time to a landscaping project on the opposite side of a two-thirds acre lot. After 2 days work, it occurred to me that I should have first put down a liner to help reduce weed growth. So I raked back the mulch, put down the liner, then replaced the mulch, wearing myself out taking 2 or 3 times longer for the project. At my last physical fitness exam, a technician checked the arteries on one side of my neck for blockage. “Beautiful!” she said. When she checked the other side, she said “Umm!” I said “Not so good?” She said no, that it was “gorgeous.” The doctor called later to say that whatever I was doing, to keep doing it. What I am doing is sleeping hard, eating good, and then working/exercising hard before sleeping hard again. The work/exercise part is regular workouts, including running and weight lifting, and also lots of yard work. I call it staying in shape so that I can outlive my failures.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18C03

February 2018

Aunt Helen, 94, fussing about old people

My next door neighbor is 98, still remarkably independent, and has a sharp mind. My neighbor directly across the street is 94. Carole’s aunt is 94 and just moved into a retirement village from her home of almost 60 years when her husband, aged 91, died several weeks ago. She is in good health, active, likes to read, and most of the time, sharp as a tack. She has a full head of hair, all her teeth, and a good appetite. She says that, growing up, her brothers did not care much for vegetables, so she ate them. She has an option to eat her meals in a dining hall – which is okay she says except she doesn’t like to listen to “those old people” talk. At lunch this week she said she did not know what the meat was on her plate. Carole told her it might be fish because of the tartar sauce that came with it. She said she didn’t think so, that it looked more like chicken. Carole persuaded her to try it with the tartar sauce. “Is it fish?” Carole asked. No she said. “What’s it taste like?” Carole asked. “It tastes like tartar sauce,” she said.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18B24

Poor Man’s Fun with Valentine at the Mall

Carole and I could not think of anything extra special to do for Valentine’s, so we took a day trip to Crabtree Mall in Raleigh. We ate in the food court and shared a waffle cone before roaming around the mall holding hands. Walking into Hallmark Gold, the staff was having fun bantering. So I joined in. I told one lady who said she and her husband were going to Rome that I had been to Rome, Georgia. She laughed, then asked if she could help me. I told her no, that I was broke and would need to come back on payday! She lowered her head and whispered, “I’m sorry!” She didn’t need to be. I don’t really need anything. I’m debt-free including my home and have some savings. Also, a financial advisor told me this week that, although we didn’t really have enough money for him to manage, the good news was, we qualified for food stamps.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18B17

R. J. Barber

R. J. Barber, the person God used most to influence my life for Christ, died February 10 at the age of 90.

When my pastor/dad died (51 years ago on February 20), Brother Bob brought my mother from 90 miles away to work in the church day school at the Baptist Tabernacle. I was a rising senior in high school, on the basketball team, and was not happy about moving. But God transformed my life at the old Tabernacle in a way I have never gotten over. After graduation before going to seminary in Arlington, Brother Bob hired me to canvas door to door with Cleo Hunley. Two years later, he called me back from seminary to serve as youth director. (When I answered the phone in Texas, he told me he was with the IRS and that I was in trouble.) On at least a dozen occasions I filled in for him on Tabernacle Time, usually on short notice (but I remember always being loaded and ready), during a time when he was doing two early morning broadcasts back to back on WDVA and WBTM. I didn’t hear about Brother Bob’s death until after his memorial service. As I listened to a recording of the service, I thought again how deeply influenced I was for ministry by his preaching. I tried on several occasions to share my appreciation with Brother Bob, including in comments to the broadcast website, and also the last time I talked with him on the phone. But I was never specific (that hundreds had been saved and also changed in the way I was, with a dozen or so serving as pastors and missionaries), so I don’t think he knew to what extent in my life that God had extended his ministry. But he knows now.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18B14

At the Gym, Outrunning Broken Health

Acting silly, Carole asked, “Why do WE need to go to the gym today!” I said so that we can be healthy. Or, we could just pray about it, I said. She said she didn’t think that would work. Recently a high school buddy emailed to say he’s “a tired old man, just hanging on, although he never smoked or drank.” But good health is not the result of excluding harmful choices which sabotage our health but of including wise choices (for diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplementation) which support our health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18B10

Qualified to Help: I've Been There!

Performance-based “go and give” churches don’t understand God’s Provisions of Christ for recovery. “Come and receive” churches are best served by recovered pastors. A friend suffered a running injury. Since I had once suffered the same injury, he sought my support for his recovery.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18B03

January 2018

Elevated to Hero in Wife’s Hallucination

On movie night at home this week, Carole and I watched Gary Cooper lead a small squadron of soldiers to destroy an old Spanish fort used by the Seminole Indians to store weapons and then to escape to safety through the Everglades. Next morning, Carole said she dreamed she was one of the troops and that I was Gary Cooper leading them. She said they trusted me and followed me through the swamps back to safety.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18A27

Wife not Worried: My New Beard and Longer Hair Fails to Increase Risk for Good Looks

I began having issues with my longer hair and new beard when a counselor said his wife told him that she liked his beard and longer hair because it made him look “sexy”. He said he didn't want to look sexy but Christ-like, especially for ministry. So I asked Carole. She said the risk for me was low, that I didn't need to worry.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18A20

Going to Church, Saved from Injury and Jail

There is a reason drivers are more aggressive in America’s largest cities: It’s because of the enormous traffic that limits their space to drive. In big cities a small town driver is at risk to make somebody mad. While driving in Atlanta back in my heroic days as a hot-shot twenty-something, I looked over to see an angry-looking driver giving me the one-finger salute. I pulled in behind him at a service station and told him that, on most days, I’d break his finger (which I thought I was capable of doing since I had busted a few heads in my youth). He told me I’d better get back in my car and move on if I didn’t want to get hurt. He was angry and my size did not intimidate him. So I told him I had on my Sunday clothes and was on my way to church.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18A13

Wasting Miles Having a Merry Time Making the Same Mistake

Returning home from our travels, we exited Interstate 74W to a restaurant on State Highway 74W, the same restaurant we exited to on the same travels three years earlier. Leaving the restaurant we continued on our merry way on  State Highway 74W, driving 25 miles before realizing we were not on Interstate 74W – and making the exact mistake we made three years earlier. Lessons learned:
    • We ended up at a location in the direction we were headed.
    • We experienced the same outcome as we did before when we made the same mistake.
DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 18A06