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You are what you sow

By Jesse Jost

Our brain is always looking to form habits in an attempt to put activities into the daily auto-pilot playlist. It does this so that it can focus our limited conscious awareness on essential tasks. The brain’s criteria for what should become a habit is pretty indiscriminate and devoid of moral judgement.

Many destructive things become habits in our life pretty quickly. These habits form without our permission and under our conscious radar, because the start of a new habit is often so small it seems inconsequential. 

But we need to be aware that habits snowball and gain in their controlling power and influence. We need to be watchful and observant of our little habits in life and ask if this habit is taking us to a place we want to be. Is this habit making me the person I want to be?

Whatever we sow in our little choices and habits is what we will reap. Time will take our insignificant habits and make them significant! If we have good habits, time will compound them in rewarding ways. If we have habits that are contrary to our aspirations, they will, over time, become devastating.

Every choice you make, every thought you allow, and every bite you eat, has the potential to silently grow into a habit.

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A No Shame, Fail-Proof way to Memorize Scripture

By Jesse Jost

In the last year and a half, my soul has been so refreshed by taking up the habit of scripture memory again. The Word has been so comforting and invigorating. If there was one spiritual habit I could convince other believers to take on, it would be the memorization and meditation of the Word.

Unfortunately, in most cases, all my nagging and pleading with other believers has resulted in very few verses memorized. I’m not judging them. In conversation with these people, motivation is not the problem! They WANT to memorize. It’s just so hard to change our habits, especially with memorizing, which seems so difficult at first, and is also a habit that will cause you to face spiritual opposition.

I have been so encouraged lately by studying behaviour change, and the power of tiny habits to produce long-term change. I realize that I have been going about motivating people the wrong way. I have been challenging them to make too big of a change at once by giving them the goal of a whole book of the New Testament, or asking them to do a verse a day.

The problem is that these goals seem insurmountable at first and make people feel like this is too difficult. It makes them feel like a failure. We hate the sense of failure, so we quit or neglect the activities that make us feel bad.

A tiny habit is one that starts so small, we can’t fail to do it. And as we consistently do this small change, we start to believe that change is possible. We feel good; we feel hope.

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Wake up! A Covid Call To Action.

By Jesse Jost

The feedback from my latest forays into social media seems to imply that what some people have been hearing in my posts is this: don’t worry about the encroaching threats to our freedom. Don’t fight for our freedoms. The corruption in government and big pharma is all just conspiracy theory. We can safely ignore it and just spread positivity.

That is not what I am saying at all! My passion is two-fold:

  1. What can I do practically to make a difference in staving off the very real threats to our medical and religious freedoms?

We’ve heard it many times: all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. That thought chills me and motivates me to action. But I want to do something that is making a real difference.

Social media provides a paradox: it’s easy to share and raise awareness, but it can also lessen the steps people take in the real world to make a difference.  I’m using social media right now to participate in a conversation, but I must fight the temptation to think that because I wrote that post or shared the article, my work is done. That’s my first concern.

  • Is what I’m advocating truly biblical? Is it in line with God’s word?

I am always asking:  What does God’s word say about this? It’s easy to adopt ideas and trends that make sense to us or sound good, but they can directly contradict God’s instructions to New Testament Christ-followers.

In light of these two concerns, let’s look at just of the few possibilities that believers are sounding the alarm bell about and how we should respond.

“Government is inflating covid deaths to make the threat more scary and control us.”

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Four Ways to Fight For Your Freedom During Covid-19

By Jesse Jost

Six months ago, few of us would have believed the reports coming from the future. We seemingly have entered a police state overnight. We have lost the freedom to travel and assemble. We face fines for simple activities. There is talk of increased military presence in our towns to enforce lockdown. And some communities have set up hot lines where we can report our neighbour’s violations.  We’re also hearing about tracking devices and mandatory health checks.

For the most part we have accepted these shocking conditions willingly because we understand we are in a pandemic, and sacrifices must be made to protect the vulnerable.

However, I am hearing more and more rumblings from some quarters that we have relinquished our freedoms too easily, that human rights surrendered to the government in times of crisis are not willingly handed back when the crisis is over.

It’s haunting to read what life was like under communist or fascist dictatorships.  I’ve wondered how long we in North America could hang on to our freedom and whether we might end up in a state like Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia.

Continue reading…
  • Dale Jost

    Encouraging and practical applications to our present conditions!

  • Rachel Jamieson

    Thanks Jesse. I appreciate your thoughts. Do you think there is a place for civil disobedience when the government takes away one’s abilty to provide for one’s family? Does it have to be motivated by the Gospel? We are reading Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson” as a family, written right after WW2. You think the economy will bounce back, but most of us weren’t creating goods and services to spend. In short, Hazlitt says, “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” p. 17
    Thanks for the reminder to keep trusting God through it all.

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Beware the Phantom Future

By Jesse Jost

One of the unexpected challenges of dealing with Type 1 diabetes is the fear that another child will develop diabetes. I’ll have stretches of feeling fine, but then I’ll wonder if our two year old wet too many diapers in a day or is drinking too much (these things are so subjective and hard to measure!) and then it becomes an obsession.

I’ll get chronic stress, and have painful, vivid flashbacks to our son’s diagnosis (he was in severe DKA). And a sense of impending doom just becomes hard to shake.

In the night our two year old had a diaper that leaked in the night and the fears just gripped me. I weighed him in the morning and he had gained two pounds (a reassuring sign, as T1D causes weight loss). I did a finger poke and two hours after eating waffles and cold cereal he was 7mmols (126 US). Everything I found online says that under 7.8 (140) two hours after eating is normal, but I just can’t shake the stress.

I know there is just no assurance anyone can give me that he won’t develop diabetes and that is the part that is hard to accept.

I reached out to our Facebook support groups for advice about how they deal with this anxiety. It is a common issue, but the majority said that what helps them is knowing that if it happens with another child, this time they have the knowledge and the tools to deal with it.

One mom who has had a second child develop T1D, said that while it is hard to accept, you do adjust. She added that worrying about it happening was worse than dealing with the real problem.

This got me thinking. One of the symptoms of developing diabetes is excessive peeing. So when I hear a kid peeing copiously, my heart skips a beat. When I find out it’s our T1D son, there’s a wave of relief. We’ve found a level of peace with our T1D son, and I’m sure we’d reach that place eventually again with another child if we had to.

I realized that if we had to deal with a toddler developing diabetes, it would come with moments of holding him still to inject a painful needle while we both are crying. It would mean even less sleep and more mental stress as now two kids would need constant monitoring and more night checks.

But I also saw that if this were to happen in real life, it would be accompanied by God’s grace and tools to deal with the situation. In contrast, the phantom diabetes of my imagination makes me feel helpless. Because of its unreality, there is nothing I can do fix the problem I’m imagining. No shot of insulin to make the high go away, no gummy bear to give to fix the low.

Phantom diabetes of my imagination comes at me with vivid force all at once, with the painful moments compressed into a collage of terror. Real life diabetes comes at you one moment at a time with huge amounts of normalcy in between.

Dealing with the phantom diabetic toddler causes a selfish focus on what it will cost me and fills me with terror. Dealing with a real life child fills you with an overwhelming love for that child that gives supernatural strength to do whatever sacrifice is necessary. It would come with a sense of purpose that quiets the mind and steadies the will.

Phantom diabetes has no value, it doesn’t make me more aware of my non-T1D’s kids needs, it doesn’t help prepare or stock up on needed supplies. It does nothing but torment me and waste the precious time we should be savouring while our kids pancreases are working and they can eat and sleep without worry.

The phantom future is one of Satan’s favourite tools to torment us, rob us of peace and joy, and take our eyes off God and the gifts we should be grateful for. The phantom future comes as an angel of light saying that this worrying is the responsible thing to do. And that if we aren’t actively worrying about it tragedy will strike again. But that is all a lie.

So if you find yourself tormented by a possible scenario in the future where some difficulty or tragedy strikes, be it job loss or cancer, ask if there is some wise step you can take to avert the crisis or prepare. But if there is nothing you can do in the present to prepare, then be ruthless in identifying the distressing imaginings as unreality from the enemy. There is no value dwelling on it.

Jesus sternly commands us not to worry about the future, then adds compassionately that each day has enough troubles.

Real life will be hard, and the hardest things you will have to deal with will probably be the things you never saw coming rather than the things you worry about.

But real life will come with God’s grace, strength, comfort and wisdom, and a sense of purpose to deal with it effectively, and the support of family and community. So be ruthless with the phantom future, and trust our wise Heavenly Father to guide us into the real future with Him always by our side.

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Practical Tips for Meditating on Scripture

By Jesse Jost

Imagine if…every time after you ate, your food just went right through you? Suppose it never lingered in your stomach acid to get broken down, and the nutrients never got absorbed in your intestines? What would happen to your body? You would quickly grow weak and malnourished and you would not live long. It wouldn’t matter how regularly you ate, or what you ate, because without the process of digestion, you would die.

In a similar way, it is not enough to just “eat” God’s word by reading and memorizing it. For our souls to grow spiritually, we also need a process of digestion where we break down and absorb nutrients, applying them to our lives.

Scripture calls this digestion process “meditating.” Psalm 1 says that the righteous man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

Here are some ideas that have enriched my meditation process. The Holy Spirit ultimately takes the text and uses it to bring us light, convict us, and comfort us, so none of these ideas should replace a prayerful dependence on Him.

Continue reading…
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Why Churches Struggle with Relationships (and How They Can Thrive)

By Jesse Jost

Before Jesus died, He prayed that His followers would have unity and be marked by love. Today, churches are often seen as places of petty division. Church splits are common, and the number of denominations rises yearly. It’s a sorry cliché that “churches are the only army that shoots its wounded,” as almost everyone has been hurt by other Christians.

Why do Christians, who have been showered with undeserved grace and forgiven so much, struggle greatly with relationships with each other?

I am not offering definitive answers here to this troubling question, but rather exploring possible reasons so that solutions can be found.

What is the Church?

The church can be two very different things: First, it can be a place where people who are supernaturally regenerated and indwelt with the Holy Spirit exhibit the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When this is the case, there is warmth and grace.

Second, the church can also be a place of religious effort where members attempt to earn heaven by good works. This spirit of religiosity may seem very similar to true Christianity but the fruits of this kind of religion are very different: guilt, fear, and pride.

Yet even genuine believers who are saved by faith and filled with the Holy Spirit still struggle with a sinful nature that hijacks good impulses and wreaks all kinds of relational havoc. This combination is why I believe churches struggle so much with relationships. Continue reading…

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My Ten Top Reads of 2019

By Jesse Jost

I completed reading 53 books in 2019. Here are my top ten with comments on each one and the ten that just missed the cut.

  1. Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

by Matthew McCullough

Lots of fresh insight in a often neglected area. I really felt like I benefited from this book spiritually, and was given lots to chew on.

  1. Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything

by Randi Hutter Epstein

This books is a great introduction to how our many hormones work and what they control, and also a fascinating history of how our understanding of hormones has developed through some truly terrifying human experiments.

  1. A Hunger for God

by John Piper

I rediscovered fasting the last couple years for health reasons, Piper makes a powerful case for the spiritual benefits of fasting.

Excellent resource and inspiration on the reasons a believer should fast and the pitfalls to avoid.

  1. You Can Have an Amazing Memory: Learn Life-Changing Techniques and Tips from the Memory Maestro

by Dominic O’Brien

One of a few helpful mnemonics books I read last year that helped reignite my passion for scripture memory and enabled me to memorize over 65 chapters of the New Testament this year. Continue reading…

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2019 Christmas Letter

by Heidi Jost

December 23, 2019

Meeting you here, at year’s end, I have one word for both of us to grab hold of as we look backward over 2019 and forward into 2020: gratitude.

It’s a weapon, friends. Wield it against the dark forces of discontent and anxiety that are always attacking our minds! Being thankful isn’t a nicety. It’s a necessity if we want to be present in the moment and grow closer to Christ. Lack of gratitude draws us away from the Good Giver and deeper into ourselves. I speak from the trenches: it’s a daily fight to be thankful and focus on all I have been given rather than on all that I wish I had or on all that I fear might be taken from me. Continue reading…

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The Birth Story Of Thomas Paul Whitefield Jost

By Jesse Jost

On Nov. 1 at 5:02 PM our little Thomas drew his first breath of air, weighing in at 7lb 2 oz. His cry was brought a rush of relief and gratitude. His first 9 months inside the womb had been quite an adventure for all of us.

I have a tradition of writing up a detailed birth story for each of our kids, including details of what the emotional journey was like for Heidi and I. These are usually very detailed, over-emotional, and drawn-out so read at your own peril.

I first learned of Thomas’s existence one frigid (-20 C) March morning as I pulled down our driveway for my school bus run. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw Heidi in her house coat and night gown running towards me. My heart stopped. Who died? I carefully backed the bus up to her, and she breathlessly told me I was a daddy again. Wow. I could barely stop smiling for the rest of my bus run. February had been exceptionally cold with constant snow, and we spent a lot of time snowed in, but it had paid off wonderfully….

Heidi had miscarried twice before and in each case the morning sickness was not as bad as it was with the healthy pregnancies, so nausea is one of the first things we look for. This time the nausea hit hard. Poor Heidi, grateful for the indicator of baby’s health, still had to stoically face the reality of months of feeling trapped in a nauseated body. Continue reading…

  • Ally

    Wow. Lovely and beautiful, I especially liked

    “and we spent a lot of time snowed in, but it had paid off wonderfully….”

    I notice you say, you prayed on your knees. Is this an expression you use? Or do you actually do that. I always feel led to, not sure why I hesitate.

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