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5 Reasons Satan Loves Conspiracy Theories

dreamstime_xs_51403657By Jesse Jost

There is something so tantalizing about a conspiracy theory. It helps us make sense of the evil in this world to place the blame for societal decay on some secret organization, or sinister plot that is going on behind the scenes. I am fascinated by conspiracy ideas, they make for best sellers and great entertainment. But are conspiracy theories spiritually beneficial to us? I don’t think so and here’s why:

1. They create intellectual pride.

Our pride is fed by the belief that we have access to information to which the ignorant masses are unaware. We feel good, knowing we are among the “enlightened ones.” Satan uses conspiracy theories to make us feel “wise in our own eyes.” We enter dangerous territory: “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)

We need to realize that we are all prone to seeing patterns where none exist. We suffer from confirmation bias that only allows us to recognize evidence that confirms our theory and discount everything else. And we have motivated reasoning that makes us prone to self deception. Only by a humble acknowledgement of our own fallibility and a deep dependence on God’s spirit to guide us to truth can we minimize the blinding effects of pride.

2. They cause us to lose credibility.

Intellectual pride blinds us. While we feel that we are more likely see through shams and less likely to be duped, we actually become more susceptible to both. When Christians are quick to share conspiracy theories or urban legends, our role as ambassadors is damaged. We are to be prophets of truth and one of our most important messages is the miraculous, but also historical, resurrection of Christ. When our unbelieving neighbours see us believing stuff that a quick trip to snopes.com would easily dispel, how can they trust that our proclamation of the resurrection or our faith in God’s word is credible?

3. They cause fear and discouragement.

A common implied message accompanying conspiracy theories is that certain problems are too big for anybody to handle. Power is entrenched in high places, and there is nothing we can do about it except be faithful Chicken Littles warning that the sky is falling. I’m all for exposing corruption and shedding light on a problem, but only for the sake of a call to action accompanied by practical steps we can take to reduce or eliminate the problem. What we need more than ever is hope. When we lose vision for how we can make a difference, evil starts to win. Continue reading…

  • L. M.

    Great post, Jesse! The obsession of many good Christian Conservatives with conspiracies has long bothered me as well. We truly do damage the credibility of our witness for the Lord Jesus by being obsessed with paranoia about unsubstantiated things like the Illuminati or GMO’s or the dozens of other conspiracy theories out there. There are plenty of genuinely diabolical evils out there that we as Believers should be working to expose (the abortion crisis and human trafficking come to mind) – but being frightened at shadows only dilutes our ability to deal with genuine concerns and separates us from our only source of hope and power to overcome, Jesus. The real “shadowy power” manipulating people is, simply, the power of sin – not just some mere human organization – and Christ has called us to be agents of deliverance to overcome this very real – but very defeatable – evil.

  • Guest

    It’s not just bad for our credibility, it can lead us to hell. Because of conspiracy theories and the fear of modernism more and more people are coming to loathe Pope Francis because he is compassionate but is not concerned about the small t traditions. Jesus also did that and the Pharisees hated Him for healing on the sabbath. People hate him because he refuses to condemn sinners, thinks the good deeds he does in public are just for show, and doesn’t follow their traditions. They think he’s a false prophet and antichrist, even thought he’s the Pope.

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My Glory Weed and the Way of the Cross

dreamstime_xs_39198853By Jesse Jost

A glory weed threatens to strangle me. Its ravenous appetite for praise, recognition, and social media likes devours moments where my strengths are on display. Twined by its thorny embrace, I am jealous of others’ chances to shine, and frustrated when platforms are denied me. I can be reduced to a pathetic approval addict, compulsively checking my phone or computer for likes and comments. With deep-reaching thorns, my glory weed stabs my ego, tormenting me with past criticisms and a haunting sense of being rejected and ignored.

I hate this weed. Yet nothing feels as good as watering it by revelling in past successes and words of praise.

My predicament goes much deeper than my glory weed. I also have a deadly form of spiritual cancer that is attacking my passions and desires. Physical cancer corrupts healthy tissues into a lethal, spreading force. In the same way, my cancer perverts healthy, God-given desires into enslaving passions that grow painful tumours on my soul. My cancer is my selfishness, my greed for my will, done in my way, in my time. It morphs my sex drive into lust, my desire for justice into a cruel passion for revenge, my hunger into gluttony, my protective instincts into anxiety and fear-based control, my need for love into a crippling pursuit of approval, and my worshipping into idolatry. The reach of such a soul cancer is broad and terrifying. A godly desire to use my gifts for God’s glory has often metastasized into a yearning for self-promotion.

I am troubled by the disease and enslavement within, but am often at a loss for how to deal with them. Fasts and self-discipline have been impotent to bring lasting change. I can clean up fairly nice on the outside. I have been a Christian long enough to know the right things to say that will make me sound humble, godly, and spiritual. But deep down I see too clearly that the person I truly am is nowhere near as Christ-like as the person I want you to see. Continue reading…

  • Bill Emmerson

    Praise God for his mercies

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The Books That Have Shaped Me

IMG_6201By Jesse Jost

Its been said that the person we are becoming is shaped by the people we hang out with and the books we read. These are some of the best books that I have ever read; they have stirred me, convicted me, and also brought great pleasure. They are listed below in no particular order, but organized by category. I highly recommend any book on this list! Comment below on the books that have had the biggest impact on you or brought you the most joy. Happy reading!

ChristianLiving/Theology

Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

Very impacting book that set me free from a lot of self righteous anger and my critical spirit that so often “wounds me.” So good!

Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ by Matt Papa

One of several books I’ve read lately that keep me focused on Jesus and the power of the Gospel. Jesus truly becomes more desirable and awesome to me with each passing year.

Eyes Wide Open by Steve DeWitt

Really opened my eyes to the beauty of God and how much we miss.

Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves

Showed how the love exemplified in the trinity is the foundation for a correct understanding of all theology. Amazing book.

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken

A man discouraged and feeling abandoned finds the power of God among the most persecuted Christians around the world. Makes you squirm, but is so faith affirming.

The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War by Joshua Ryan Butler

As someone who has struggled with doubts about God’s goodness because of the doctrine of hell and the God-sanctioned brutality in the Old Testament, this book was so refreshing and convicting. Hell and Judgement day are not truths that call God’s goodness into question, they are great proofs of His passionate love for His creation. God has a love with teeth that will not stop until He has removed the hell from our hearts, and hell from from His glorious creation. Judgement day is good news for the down-trodden and oppressed and all who are in Christ Jesus.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis Continue reading…

  • Rebecca

    Makes me want to order a stack of books for my nightstand!! Your recommendations hold more clout than you may realize. = ) Grateful for how you use your reading to gain and give a more detailed picture of the Father.

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New Podcast!

12370863_1120135844672293_7840213459121591541_oWe are pleased to announce the creation of our own podcast channel. You can find our channel here: http://purityandtruth.podbean.com/

Or find our podcast on itunes by searching for “purity and truth” or “Jesse Jost”.

I am currently uploading all 20 sessions of my three part church history series, after that I plan on continuing to upload the audio from many of my past speaking engagements on topics such as apologetics, evangelism, and romantic relationships. Check it out and book mark the page to check back in the future.

I hope my words are an encouragement to you. God bless!

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Food Police: Punching Our Ticket to Heaven?

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By Jesse Jost

” I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Ps 81:10

I love food. I dream about it. Some of my greatest memories centre around it. But I’m also leery of it. I partly blame food for my being overweight. Evenings are ruined with a stuffed after-dinner belly, and some foods keep me up nights when I suffer heart burn and acid reflux. I wonder which foods might give me cancer or lead to a heart attack. Believe me, I want to be healthy, especially now that I’m in my early thirties. I want to have energy to play with my kids and be as free from disease as possible.

I want to know how big a role diet plays in our health, so I’ve been reading and studying this topic a lot. Our culture has the idea that the key to health, youth, and beauty is to find the perfect diet formula: which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.

This idea is mercilessly exploited to sell food and supplements. When food is in such abundance that we not only have access to every food group year round but also multiple options in each category, what will make a product stand out? Sellers need to make their product dirt-cheap or convince the buyer that their food fits in the magic food formula and the competitors’ doesn’t.

This good-food-equals-health idea is a source of much guilt and anxiety, especially for a mother who longs for a healthy family. If her family has any health issues, she thinks that because she failed to feed her family the correct diet, the health issues are her punishment for those desperate trips to McDonalds and the last minute instant noodles.

If this idea is a source of anxiety for moms, it is even more a source of self-righteous pride for others. It is so easy to judge the food choices of others, and blame their health struggles on their “un-healthy” diet.

But what is a healthy diet? The more you research nutrition, the more confusing it gets. Each new health finding seems to directly contradict another study. One study shows a food to be a super food, while another will link that same food with cancer.

Continue reading…

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To Judge or not to Judge…

dreamstime_xs_36474293By Jesse Jost

Our culture’s favourite verse, which is applied very selectively, is “do not judge.” (Matt 7:1) A verse that is not so quoted is where Jesus sheds more light on the topic by warning us “not to judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.” (John 7:24)

In a world full of evil and danger, wisdom forces us to try to discern between the harmless and the harmful, between the hazardous and the healthy, and between the true and the false. So at one level, making judgments is unavoidable. But our need to judge others seems to go far beyond our need to survive. We love to size up other humans; we make snap-judgments and stereotype. We are quick to make assumptions that aren’t warranted, and declare a verdict based on insufficient evidence.

Judging an issue or another person is serious business. Our judgments have consequences: they dictate our attitudes and our course of actions. When we judge, we are deciding reward or punishment. We reward with trust, time spent with a person, words of affirmation or praise, money spent on a product, etc. We punish by avoidance, emotional withdrawal, silence, criticism, boycotting, slander, or worse.

Clearly, getting our judgments right has huge implications for our self and others. To punish the innocent or reward the evil is a serious offence to God and results in the decay of society.

Incorrect judgments cause much misery and relationship breakdown. I’m sure you don’t have to look too far into your own past to see hurt brought about by an unjust judgement. Our capacity to judge is a loaded weapon with explosive power. Sadly, we swagger around firing the bullets of judgment with reckless abandon, caring little about the serious damage we are inflicting on others.

Some will advocate for judgment pacifism, a mutual disarmament on all judging. I don’t believe that is the answer. Dangers need to be recognized, frauds need to be exposed, evil needs to be unmasked. These are vicious cancers that prey upon the weak. When evil lurks, the vulnerable suffer the worst. Love that stands by and does nothing to speak up or protect is not love, but sentimental cowardice.

Sin is always destructive, which why our loving God abhors it. To not judge sex slavery as evil is to contribute to the ongoing torture millions of girls are experiencing every day. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. The more we grow in our relationship with God, the more we will passionately love the world He has made and those who bear His holy image. Greater love will result in greater passion to bring freedom and healing to those who are enslaved in sin’s corrosive clutches. This requires making a right judgment.

But while fighting for truth, goodness, and beauty requires judging, we must be ever wary of the devastation a hasty and incorrect judgment inflicts. I would like to suggest a quick safety course on the correct handling of judgment. Continue reading…

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Free Personal Evangelism Course

dreamstime_xs_34535108

by Jesse Jost
The topic of witnessing can be so guilt inducing for many Christians. We know we have an obligation to the lost, but there is so much confusion surrounding how to go about it without alienating the very people we are trying to grow closer to.

In 2010 I was invited to Ecola Bible School (in Cannon Beach, OR) to teach a week long course on Personal evangelism. In preparing for the course, I read several powerful books by people who had so much more wisdom and life experience in evangelism than I had. I was so encouraged and inspired by the practical tips and strategies they offered. I tried to include their most helpful ideas. The class objectives were as follows:

To have a clearer understanding of what the gospel message really is and how to communicate it effectively to the world around us. To grasp the importance of clear communication and how perception and worldviews will affect how our message is interpreted. To learn how to handle the tough objections people often need to deal with before they are ready to listen. To discover a fun and valuable way to memorize Scripture. And finally to see the lost through God’s eyes, and determine what He requires of us in our interactions with unbelievers.

I am happy to offer free audio downloads of the sessions and the syllabus. I hope you are encouraged by these talks to step out of your comfort zone and share the incredible good news of Jesus Christ in a loving and winsome way!

Download the podcasts of the sessions: purityandtruth.podbean.com

Download the Syllabus: Personal evangelism syllabus

Session 1: The Atonement Topics: Why did Jesus have to die? What did his death accomplish? How could God’s justice be satisfied by the worst crime in human history? Did Jesus save us from our sins, or the penalty of our sins, or both? Will cover different views on the atonement that have been held throughout church history.

Session 2 “What is the Gospel message?” Topics include: What must I do to be saved? Can you lose your Salvation? How can I know for sure I am going to heaven? What is required on our part? Illustrations that will communicate the gospel ideas in fresh ways.

Session 3 “What do they hear?” Topics: The importance of listening in evangelism. Overcoming the language barrier. How worldviews and past experiences affect how our message is perceived. Communication skills that are critical to evangelism.

Session 4 “Worldview Awareness” Topics: What is a worldview? Objective Truth vs. Subjective Truth. Worldview and Evangelism. False Worldviews. Strategies for discerning and exposing a false worldview.

Session 5 “The Ambassadors methods.” Topics: How questions can move people farther along than answers will. Questions that can turn conversations toward spiritual ideas. Conversation starters.

Session 6 “Dealing With Doubters and How to Prevent Backsliding” Topics: My personal journey with doubt and the truths that strengthened my faith.

Session 7 “Dealing with objections” Topics: Strategies for dealing with common objections. Concise apologetics arguments that work in real life conversations. Objections covered, “There is no God.” “How can there be a God when there is so much evil in the world?” “Jesus was just a myth.” “The Bible is a man-made book full of contradictions.” “God won’t send anyone to hell.” “The church is full of hypocrites.”

Session 8 “How to memorize Scripture” Topics: New techniques that are guaranteed to make scripture memory easier, and help with longer retention.

Session 9 “The Plight of the Lost.” Topics: Why evangelize? How does the Bible tell us to witness? The emptiness of those who are outside of Christ. How does God see the non-believer?

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The Most Valuable Exercise You Can Get

dreamstime_xs_34568158By Jesse Jost

Would you like to hear God’s voice more clearly? Would you like to be filled with the Spirit’s power? Do you yearn for greater wonder at God’s glory? Hungry for insight into life or wisdom for life’s many choices?

If you have even the slightest spark of spiritual life, you will answer resoundingly, “Yes!” I think we all desire these things and request them frequently in our prayers. But our actions prove how much we really desire these things. God has given us means to experience dramatic growth in each area mentioned. But unfortunately it requires work, sacrifice, and discipline.

“Oh, I was hoping that it could just kind of happen by magic. That I could hear a great sermon, or attend a worship service that would change everything.”

Yeah, me too. In fact, I keep hoping and praying for such an experience. Sometimes God does work that way. The instantaneous filling of God’s Spirit is powerful to change us. But from the track record of history and the recorded experience of the saints, it seems that the normal way God transforms his people is through His Word.

God’s Word is not like our words. We use words to describe things or attempt to convey thoughts. But God’s Word creates and transforms. God speaks, “Let there be light,” and the planets and galaxies rise, shining in space. Jesus shouts, “Lazarus, come forth!” and a man dead for four days springs to life. When God speaks into our soul, we are changed. His voice is the most explosive power in the universe. Power of this magnitude is terrifying. Who else do you know that could destroy you and your soul with a single word?

Thankfully, the heart behind such awesome power is full of great mercy and tenderness. It is a heart of an artist, full of beauty. It is a kind and compassionate heart.

At some mysterious level, it seems God has restrained the power of His voice. At least for the time being, He has given us freedom to decide how much we want to tap into this power. We have to seek for wisdom diligently and will find it when we seek with all our hearts. But make no mistake, this power is available to all through the pages of the Bible.

I believe the equation is simple: the more you get the Bible into you, the more you will experience the benefits mentioned at the beginning of this article. It’s what God’s Word itself promises: Continue reading…

  • Rachelle

    Great challenge!! I memorized a ton as a child, but it has seriously fallen to the wayside in the past few years. I appreciate the “jump start” and ideas!
    Another tip my dad taught us was to make up cards with the first letter of each word. It’s a great middle ground way of pushing yourself to remember without reading it, but make sure you’re not missing words. ????

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The Righteous Quest God Hates

dreamstime_xs_43204263By Jesse Jost

We hate this world’s evil, and hate even more the villains we hold responsible. We may believe that wars and turmoil are sparked by cold, calculating despots who care nothing for right and wrong. But I’m wondering if the most dangerous people in the world are those passionate about the rightness of their cause, willing to lay down their life to impose their vision of the way things should be.

I believe the great disruptors of peace and unity, the real cancers to churches and communities, are not men who have knowingly signed a pact with the devil, but men who believe they have the truth and are crusaders for righteousness. No one thinks he is the problem, or that he is spreading poison. It might be obvious to those around him that he is the divisive man Paul warned to admonish twice, and “then have nothing to do with him.” (Titus 3:10-11)

Yet the man who is stirring up division will believe that he is simply “standing with the truth,” and that he is being “persecuted for righteousness’s sake.” Meanwhile, he has become someone who God hates – one who sows discord among brothers! (Proverbs 6:19) This should sober us all to self-examination. Wouldn’t it be terrifying to discover that the Almighty God of the universe hates what you are doing?

In every conflict and war, there will be opposing sides – people who believe they have truth on their side and that truth is worth dying for. Each side simply can’t fathom the stupidity or ignorance or wickedness of the other. But at least one side is deceived at some level. In your conflicts and crusades, how do you know that you are in cause of Christ? How do you know that you are not the divisive person or the one sowing discord?

How much does God care about unity and peace?

Continue reading…

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The Relentless Love of God

dreamstime_xs_22964162By Jesse Jost

I don’t know about you, but I often doubt that God really loves me. Part of me wonders if the message of God’s love is too good to be true. Maybe it’s just more Joel Osteen syrup lulling me into a sugar coma where I’m safe from the hard truths in scripture about holiness, judgement, and God’s wrath. 

Is it possible to over-proclaim God’s love? Does focusing on God’s unconditional love make us lazy about discipline and obedience? Can we have too high a view of God’s love? Can we conjure a false god who would love us more than the real God does? I don’t think so.

If there is one truth that Satan does not want you to grasp, I believe it is this: God loves you with an overwhelming, steadfast, relentless love. Spiritual problems don’t crop up in our life because we have too exalted a view of God’s love, but because our view is not great enough.

There are two partial views of God’s love that Satan desperately spreads to wreak havoc with your spiritual growth:

  1. God wants you to be good and holy, but His love is contingent on your spiritual performance.
  2. God loves you unconditionally just the way you are, and He’s content to leave you unchanged.

Both partial views make far too little of God’s love and are no threat to Satan’s ultimate goal of destroying your relationship with God.

Some of you have grown up in a legalistic home where God was portrayed as harsh and stern. God only loved you when you were good; He had such ridiculously high expectations that you felt He was always disappointed in you. You are in dire need of seeing the unconditional aspect of God’s love.

But sadly we often exchange one incomplete view of God’s love for another. The Stern Critical Father is replaced with the Infatuated Teenager view of God’s love, where God is “crazy about you” and “obsessed with you.” God loves everything about you just the way you are. Here God’s love is reduced to dreamy infatuation that doesn’t seem to care about your bondage to sin. He’s not bothered by your little failures; He just wants you to know that He loves you.

Both of these views of God’s love are pitifully weak compared to the raging holy passion that the real almighty God of the universe has for you. God loved you while you were dead in sin, an enslaved enemy of God. God loves because He IS love. His nature is to love sacrificially and without end. God can’t NOT love you anymore than God can lie. God loves you just the way you are. But God loves you far too much to leave you broken and enslaved to things that are destroying you! Continue reading…

  • Sara Daigle

    This is a wonderful, wonderful, article. Thank you so much!

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