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Do You Live to Love or Live to Please?

By Jesse Jost

I love to please other people. I thrive on affirmation and will bend over backward to gain approval. And I wrestle with whether this is a positive or negative trait. Wanting to please other people is a sign of love, is it not? But when I honestly look deeper into my motives, the picture is more murky.

Why do I want to please people? Am I really just putting their desires ahead of my own? Or are there more sinister psychological forces motivating me? Am I trying to find my worth in other people’s approval? Do I have a self-centered need to be admired? Am I looking for acceptance into a group to validate my identity? Maybe my driving force in wanting to please others is not love, but pride and insecurity.

The different motivations of love or desire to please may not change my outward actions, but will have a huge effect on my soul and emotional well-being.

An unhealthy dependence on the approval or acceptance of others can become an idol that drags us around, filling our days with activities we are not called to or created for.

I think we were made with a desire to find our identity in something larger than our self. God wants us to find our sense of worth and purpose in Him and in His body, the church, doing the good works that He created for us to walk in. (Eph 2:10) If our identity is not in Christ and fulfilling our calling from Him, we will seek to find this identity and purpose in man-made social groups or organizations.

I was homeschooled growing up and felt like an outsider of the larger local community, even overhearing other kids being mocked for wanting to play with my siblings and me. Now, as an adult, I hunger for community acceptance, wanting to meet the community’s expectations for what is required to be a recognized insider – whether it be involvement in sports, or putting our kids in the school system. Continue reading…

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My Ten Favourite Reads of 2017

 

By Jesse Jost

I didn’t quite reach my goal of reading 75 books, but I did finish 62 and read large portions of several others. From that list of books, here are my top ten books that I read this year. Ratings include enjoyment factor, life impact, and mental stimulation.

I also list the 10 books that didn’t quite make the top 10 but also receive my hearty recommendation. At the end you’ll find my complete list of books finished in 2017.

It should go without saying, but I don’t endorse everything in these books, and many of these books contain rough language and descriptions of human misery that should upset most readers.

# 10 The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

by Jason Fung

So I gained a bunch of weight the first year of our marriage and it stuck regardless of what I ate or how I exercised. The number on the scale didn’t move much but my gut circumference, um, expanded. My heartburn was getting way out of hand and keeping me awake at night. Turning 35 made me realize that I really needed to start taking my health more seriously before it is too late. I read several books on diet this year, and have made some serious changes, mainly cutting out refined carbs as much as possible, eating higher fat and low carb, and doing intermittent fasting. I’m finally seeing results, I’ve lost 13 pounds, several inches, and have far less heart burn. It’s a good start and I’m excited. Of all the books I read, I think this one would be the one-stop resource that I would recommend. Continue reading…

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Why I Don’t Want to Treat My Kids Fairly

By Jesse Jost

I recently took two of my sons and my youngest brother, Judah, into town to see a movie and do some shopping. While we were in Princess Auto, my astute 10 year-old John-Michael noticed there were complimentary doughnuts by the front door. He and Judah, who have working pancreases, blissfully devoured the treats without an issue. My 5 year-old son, Elijah, whose immune system destroyed his pancreas, and is now a Type 1 diabetic, also wanted a doughnut. His last shot of insulin wasn’t enough to match his breakfast carbs, and his blood sugar was already way too high, so I had to say no. My poor little boy started sobbing on the spot, “I wish I didn’t have diabetes.” Oh, that hurt to hear those words.

We are so grateful Elijah is alive after we almost lost him this summer to complications from his undiagnosed diabetes, but there are times it is hard to watch our sweet boy have to deal with all the insulin shots, finger pokes, and food restrictions.

I told Elijah to go get a doughnut and wrap it up in a napkin and that he could have part of it for dessert after lunch when I could give him extra insulin for it. He cheered up at this prospect and the solution worked fine.

All the unique challenges we face with Elijah have made me think a lot about fairness. It doesn’t seem fair that Elijah has to be so carb conscious at this age, or have to deal with 6 or 7 injections a day just to stay alive. As a parent, self-pity is tempting when I can’t sleep because I am concerned Elijah’s blood sugar will drop and he will slip into a fatal low.

It used to be nice to just pack up and leave the house without having the stress of making sure we have his blood sugar monitoring equipment, insulin, glucagon kit, juice and granola bars for lows, plus making sure it’s all in a well-insulated container so it’s not ruined by too much heat or cold.

It was so easy before to put out a bedtime snack and not worry about the carb count, or let the kids at the cold cereal in the morning, without having to read labels or weigh and measure everything. It’s easy to be just a little jealous of the uncomplicated eating habits of non-T1D families. Continue reading…

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2017 Christmas Letter

(family photos by Hannah-Grace Jost)

By Heidi Jost

Dear people,

It is said that life is full of storms: If you aren’t in the midst of one, you have either just come through one or are headed into one. Mercifully – and frighteningly – we don’t know what clouds lie on our horizons. There are sea charts noting shorelines, shoals, ocean currents, and doldrums. But God offers us something infinitely better than a comprehensive print-out of our life’s hardships. He gives us Himself.

This angers some people, who would rather have explanations for their suffering or a tangible hand of God than be offered the invisible presence of Jesus to accompany them. The thing is: What do we really need more when breakers of pain and fear are washing over us? Clinical answers? Or Someone who has been to the depths of human suffering and promises to deliver better comfort than anyone else can give us?

The reality of our past year held the most terrifying storm we have ever been through, and our five year old Elijah’s life was at the centre of it.

Through the month of July, our middle child – big-eyed, slender Elijah – was increasingly whiny, thirsty, hungry, and unable to keep from wetting his bed at night. Something was off, but we couldn’t put our finger on what. He seemed to be thinner than ever – was he going through a growth spurt? Then after a full week of vacation Bible school at church, Elijah puked and showed flu-like symptoms. We were so frightened by how he had become skin and bones so rapidly, and on August 15, he woke listless, mumbling, and complaining of chest pain. Jesse hurried him to local ER. After multiple tests, consultation with Lethbridge doctors, and being intubated to pump excruciatingly painful built-up air from his stomach, Elijah was rushed by ambulance to Lethbridge. He was severely dehydrated; very constipated; blood sugar, ketones, and heart rate very high; liver stressed: the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). His tiny body was fighting to survive the shutting down of insulin-producing cells in his pancreas, cells we’d never heard of before, but were suddenly the reason our son was teetering between life and death. Elijah was now a Type 1 diabetic, the doctor told us. Unless a cure was found, he would have this autoimmune disease for the rest of his life. A nurse from the Lethbridge diabetic team came the next day to explain insulin injections, glucose readings, etc., and I couldn’t stop crying the whole time. It was so much to process. Continue reading…

  • Carolyn Anderson

    ❤️

  • Anne-Marie

    So loved your family newsletter Heidi!! You shared beautifully how God has shown Himself strong on your behalf with all the storms you have been through this past year. Praise God for the healing that has come, and for what He is doing through it all! Love you! Btw, the pictures are precious of your adorable family! Love cousin Anne-Marie

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When Your Search History is Revealed

by Jesse Jost

There is no such thing as a private moment. One of the great corrosive lies spread through the invention of the internet and hand-held devices is that lust can be indulged privately and anonymously, without consequence and without shame. But there is always a record of the pages you have visited and what you have searched. Jesus warned us: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17.

I wish that I could say that I have nothing to hide. That if everything I have put in the search bar was revealed, and everything I have allowed on my screen were put on public display, that I would have nothing to fear. It is to my shame that I have let lust hijack my curiosity and I have foolishly ventured into dangerous territory.

I visit a facebook site and it tells me which of my friends have checked in at this site and I have a moment of panic: are there pages I have peeked at in moments of weakness in the past that are currently tattling on me?

The fear of being found out is a powerful deterrent. But the damage that is done to the soul happens whether another human finds out or not.

I have been so angered and disheartened by the cases of sexual abuse and molestation that have come to the surface lately and I vow to never be one of the perpetrators.

But I also know the seeds of such abuse are planted in secret whenever I am tempted to look at another woman selfishly or indulge in a private fantasy. I am shocked by the secret desires that rise to the surface in such moments.

If I am not diligent to fight these private battles it will only be a matter of time before I am enslaved to them and a host of pain, brokenness, and betrayal will be left in their wake.

I want to be a man of integrity, and I want to lead my sons in the fight against sexual impurity and the degradation of women, but there is an enemy within that constantly lurks and threatens to sabotage my best efforts. Continue reading…

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When The Body Attacks Itself

We have a picture of Elijah that is too painful to share. It’s him in his underwear, skin and bones, barely able to stand the morning I took him into Emergency. We had no idea what was wrong with him. Was it some form of cancer? Worms? Metabolic disorder? Why was he losing so much weight and deathly ill? It happened so fast we barely noticed the warning signs until it was almost too late. It turned out the culprit was his own body. He was dying from an auto immune disease that caused Type 1 Diabetes.

Before our son Elijah’s diagnoses of Type 1 diabetes, I had only a vague notion of what an autoimmune disease was. In Elijah’s case, his autoimmune disease meant that his body’s immune system flagged part of his pancreas as the enemy, and turned his own defense system on a healthy part of the body, destroying it for life. This mistake would have proved fatal if not for the discovery of insulin and his daily injections that replace what his own body destroyed.

As I was grieving the loss of Elijah’s beta cells, it struck me what a potent warning analogy an autoimmune disease is for the body of Christ. It is so easy to “flag” or mark other Christians as “the enemy”, and set the immune systems of gossip and condemnation upon that person.

With a sense of our holy mission to protect the body, we break fellowship or shun and encourage others to do the same. In so doing, we can unwittingly destroy a genuine and vital part of the body of Christ. We walk away congratulating ourselves on our “discernment,” and have no idea the fatal blow we may have dealt to Christ’s local body. Christ alone knows the function he had designed that person to perform in his body, the church, and how the body will suffer because it is missing that key component.

Don’t get me wrong: there is cancer and genuine disease that the body needs to be protected from. There is a place for warning against wolves and false teaching. But the immune system is explosive and powerful. We need to be so merciful and cautious in our attacks.

Continue reading…

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Modesty Reconsidered

By Jesse Jost

Until women stop having curves and men stop having libidos, I doubt the modesty issue will go away quietly.

Women have many reasons for what they wear and evaluations of those reasons have been discussed at length elsewhere. What I want to explore now is the effect some kinds of modesty teaching have on the male brain.

I have grown up in circles with a pretty clear understanding that women should dress modestly so that they are not “defrauding” or a “stumbling block” to men and boys. It is common to hear that men have enough trouble with the battle for purity without Christian women adding to men’s distraction with careless dress. I was also raised to avert my eyes away from a woman who dressed “immodestly.”

The ideas behind guarding your eyes are admirable:

– Look away before arousal kicks in and you find yourself being led astray by the deceptive passion of lust.

– It’s a fact that what we fixate on sexually retrains our sexual taste, and if we are lustfully gazing on porn or other women, then we could become less satisfied with the wife that God has given us. And worse, if a wife knows her husband has a wandering eye, his comparing her to other women can make her feel an increasing sense of inadequacy.

– The two best reasons to guard your eyes are 1) the example of Job who “made a covenant with his eyes to not look lustfully on a young woman,” and 2) the teaching of Jesus who said that “looking lustfully” at a woman is the equivalent of mental adultery.

Modesty teaching has some worthy elements (you can read my previous thoughts on modesty here and the importance of guarding your eyes here). But lately I have been realizing that there are some ways that Satan twists these ideas and they can become destructive forces in the battle for purity, the most destructive of which is this: the way to combat men’s lust is through “modesty.”

Continue reading…

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The Birth Story of Eric Spurgeon

by Jesse Jost

Two years to the day after our son Justin was born we awoke in the maternity ward with broken hearts and an empty womb. Our little Emmy left us to join her sibling Davey in heaven at 11 weeks pregnant. Heidi haemorrhaged fairly seriously and was taken by ambulance to Lethbridge the night before. As I looked at Heidi’s pale shaking body, I begged God for more time with her. God spared her and the following week was filled with sadness but also euphoria and fresh love between Heidi and me.

We both felt so carried. But the thing that made this miscarriage harder than last time was how hard it hit our kids, especially 7 year old Sophia. She thought for sure this was a girl and she would finally have her sister. It’s so hard to watch your little girl cry herself to sleep. But it is a faith builder to see how God uses these things to reveal Himself to our kids. Sophia has often said how God comforted her during those dark times.

A couple months later the pregnancy test read positive. Hope was mingled with anxious thoughts, just what adventure would this little baby take us on? Elijah who loves the story of how he arrived after a miscarriage, was fully confident that this baby would arrive safely just like he did. Mommy and Daddy really wanted to believe this, but knew that God’s ways are mysterious and not always our ways.

Continue reading…

  • Rachael

    Hello Josts!
    My name is Rachael Miller and I am familiar with your family because of TKSA when I went up to the Wahl’s while they still lived in Montana with my grandma. I first read your work and Heidi’s in the two books we received from the week: “If only you knew” and the other one about romance. (“Extreme Romance” ???) I was so excited for find your blog on here, and this post really sticks out to me because my husband and I just went through a painful miscarriage back in October of 2015. I am actually in the process of writing a book about our story to share because I feel like miscarriage is an issue that a lot of people don’t talk about and it happens a lot more often than I ever thought. I hope to publish this year. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Karen Davis

    Thank you for your timely words of testimony and encouragement. They were needed more than you will ever know! We have 7 sweet little ones safe with Jesus, and 7 here on earth (2 from adoproom). Our most recent joy is our 11 month old son Jaidon. While every one is a miracle…he is extra special. We had lost 4 in a row before him and 2 of them being ectopic. It was brutal and traumatic to say the least. I ended up losing a tube and damaging the other beyond recognition (according to Drs). They told us having more children was impossible. 2 years later….the Lord did the impossible…we were pregnant and the baby was safely and securely in the womb. Our son Jaidon was born healthy and beautiful, and continues to be a constant reminder of Gods will, timing, and goodness. A testimony for His glory!
    Now we find ourselves praying and trusting again as we wait for results on a mass/ lump in my abdomen. Oh the battle that ensues in the wait on our minds and thoughts!
    Continually reminding myself of His goodness and miracles looking at all He has done and continues to do in our lives. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away….blessed be the name of the Lord!
    Thank you again for your family’s faithfulness, transparency, and hearts for our Jesus. We will be praying for sweet Heidi and your family!
    In Joy for Jesus, Nolan & Karen Davis & family

  • Jesse Jost

    Wow, we will be praying! I know God is a God who loves to restore what is broken, and bring such beauty from the ashes. Thank you for praising Him in your storms.

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Righteous Anger: Can You Handle It?

By Jesse Jost

If you open your web browser these days, you’ll find plenty to get angry about: Planned Parenthood ripping up babies, ISIS mutilating Christians, politicians using corruption for selfish gains. Getting angry can feel good, maybe because our rage reassures us that we are in the righteous group of people who are above doing such filthy things, and that we still know how to acknowledge evil.

But is anger a healthy state for a Christian? How much of our anger is righteous and pleasing to God?

Righteous Wrath

Modern man is offended by the idea of a wrathful God. It seems a barbaric holdover from a more primitive time. “I can’t believe in a God of wrath, only a God of love.” My response would be, “How loving can God really be if he doesn’t get angry at what destroys his children?” Could a truly loving God simply smile benignly at rape, genocide, and oppression?

If you pull the wings off a fly, I won’t care. But if you harm one of my kids, I’ll get angry. What makes the difference? I love my child far more than I love the fly. The greater the love, the greater the wrath toward what harms the loved one.

My love is weak and unsubstantial compared to the mighty hurricane of God’s love. If you truly believe in a God of love, then I don’t think you have a choice but to also believe that God’s love makes Him angry at all that lures us away from Him into self-destruction.

When God became a man, He certainly got angry about the cancers of greed and self-righteousness. In a fit of zeal Jesus overthrew the temple tables and drove out merchants who were using religion as a means of financial gain. Jesus vehemently condemned hypocrisy and the casting aside of the broken and needy.

So if God the Father gets angry, and his Son, the God-Man gets angry, then surely we have the right – maybe even the obligation – to get angry, right? Isn’t the fear of the Lord to hate evil (Prov. 8:13)? Aren’t we commanded to “be angry, but do not sin?” (Eph. 4:26) Well, don’t get all worked up just yet, because I think the issue is a little more complicated. Continue reading…

  • Jan Jones

    I appreciate your thoughts. I have heard our (late) pastor speak the same thoughts; how we cannot really have righteous anger when we don’t know all the facts. And I frequently hear people wanting to punish wrongdoers in a horrific way instead of focusing on dealing with helping the victims heal and recover. It is easier to get angry than to get involved. I have heard mixed reviews on the book you mentioned, but your recommendation makes me want to read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And thanks to your mom for sharing this link on Facebook.😊

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The Heart of the Worship Wars

By Jesse Jost

We just visited a church while on family vacation, and as I walked into the darkened auditorium, I felt tears welling up in a rush of strong emotion. Was this the presence of the Holy Spirit or a physical reaction to the pulsating music? The gathering was a campus church broadcasting a service in which a visiting worship band led music.

I grew up with the belief that drums and back beats were sensual or even demonic. While I now believe all musical styles can be redeemed and proclaim the glory of Christ, my staid and proper past sometimes colors my experience of worship music.

At first I settled in at the service, marvelling at the wonder of God, letting the music focus my mind on His glory. But soon, I found myself critiquing a style I am not used to. Thoughts cloaked in an air of righteousness intruded: Those pants are too tight. That dancing borders on sensual. Are they really worshipping God or simply performing? Do they have to jump around so much?

I stopped, forced to consider: Are these thoughts from God or some other place? What effect is my “discernment” having on me? Chastened, I closed my eyes and focused on God again.

My experience stirred up plenty of age-old questions. How should worship be done? What is true worship? Does God like the music loud or quiet? These questions split church after church, and bring division and tension into relationships as people contend for the righteousness of their view.

“We need to sing more hymns; these modern worship songs are bland, shallow and repetitive.” “These acapella hymns sound terrible and are putting our young people to sleep.” “We need excellence in our music, and a sound system that truly honours God.” “How can I be expected to worship when that song leader is dressed like THAT?!” Continue reading…

  • Ken Jost

    Jesse that was a beautiful revilation of worship as I have often criticized a rocking form of praise in my spirit. You nailed it.

  • Sonya Jost Shatto

    I liked your article very much Jesse. I’ve been thinking many of the same thoughts recently. I miss the hymns and the real piano so much but if we had to switch to only hymns, I’d miss some of the choruses now too. It would be nice to have more of a mix but we really do have much to be thankful for.

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