By Jesse Jost
There is a universal human condition known as “naïve realism.” It is the tendency to believe that what we perceive is reality. Our brain prides itself on its ability to see things clearly. Our sight is reliable, isn’t it? Our ability to observe and make sense of what we perceive is remarkable. But life is far more complex than we can comprehend. There is way too much going on for our minds to be able to take it all in. We miss details – in fact, it is impossible to not miss them.
In the center of your eye there is a blind spot that cannot receive information. We are walking around with a hole in our vision but we never know it because the brain says, “No problem, I’ll just guess at what should fill in that blank.” The brain then makes up information to complete the picture. It does an amazing job of guessing correctly most of the time, and we get along fine, until someone asks us to get something for them from the cupboard!
What our brain does with our physical blind spot is exactly what it does with our metaphorical blind spots. We have huge knowledge gaps about the world around us, but the brain makes up information to complete the picture and we smugly think we see it all. Naïve realism. Not a big deal, right? It’s a system that seems to be working well. You’ve probably heard it said that the devil is in the details. I would like to argue that the devil is in the details that get missed. Our faulty perception is the devil’s playground. I believe our enemy is very eager to help fill in the blind spots with erroneous information that is designed to deceive and destroy the body of Christ. Continue reading…
By Wormwood, Ph. D.
(Intercepted by Jesse Jost)
The human brain is a disgustingly powerful little tool. But there are certain design flaws (others would call them “efficiencies”) that we demons can capitalize on to maximize human misery. I want to share some strategies I’ve honed over the centuries that take full advantage of the brain’s natural weaknesses.
These strategies work because humans place way too much trust in their powers of perception. When a human looks at the world, he believes that what he sees is the way things really are. When he remembers, he trusts that his vivid memories are accurate, and when he imagines the future, he assumes he is seeing clearly. Obviously we know that there is far too much going on in the world for any human mind to fully grasp it all, so the brain is selective in what it records and what it ignores. When the brain records what is going on around it, it chooses what sensory details to remember and what to leave out. If a person did not have this ability to tune things out, he would go crazy.
Most humans are aware of the fact that they miss certain details and they are okay with that, yet they are also confident that they have an accurate view of what is going on. But when they pull up their memories, there is a process going on they seem to be blissfully unaware of. You see, they think their memory is like a video recorder and that the memory files are stored just like they are recorded. But if everything was actually recorded that way, these files would be way too big for the brain to handle. In reality, the brain only selects a few key details and stores them in a compressed file. When the brain recalls a memory, it pulls up those details. However, in order to recreate the memory, the few details are not enough, and this is where it gets fun for us. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
I struggle with lust. I have found myself doing things that if I knew others were watching me, I would nearly die of shame. I know what it is like to feel that I am no longer in control, shocked at where I am headed. When I hear of another Christian leader falling prey to sexual scandal, I cannot judge them; I can only shudder at our mutual frailty. I have been terrified to look back and find that I was under some kind of spell, hungry for something that I normally would abhor.
Fighting when you don’t want to win
In most battles, the combatants want to win. What makes the battle against temptation so difficult is that when the battle is the fiercest, you no longer want to win. Fighting for a victory that you want to lose takes more willpower than most of us have. So I fall. Then I prayerfully knock off the dust and get up and keep fighting. Why? Is the battle for purity really that important?
In the middle of the struggle, our hideous enemy uses some kind of potent chemical warfare that causes us to forget the reasons this fight is important. I want to record why I fight for holiness. But first, I want to clarify what this purity struggle isn’t. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
In an effort to keep young people from entering a damaging series of physical and emotional romantic entanglements followed by painful break ups, a number of writers have appealed, “save your heart for your future spouse!” They claimed that every time you had your heart broken, it became lessened in some way, and was now less special because you had an emotional attachment to someone other than the one you would marry. You had given away a piece of your heart and no longer had your whole heart to give. The pure un-bruised and unbroken heart was more valuable to your spouse and would make your love deeper and more fulfilling. It was an idea that sounded good on the surface, and appealed to parents and young people alike. But I believe presenting the message in these terms has put a fatal twist on the truth and is creating devastating consequences.
The side effects:
In a world of deceptive hearts longing for love, it is just a matter of time before someone breaks yours. The only way to avoid having your heart broken is to never love and never hope. People who choose to love will give parts of their heart away and will be hurt. For the vast majority of young people who have loved and been hurt, it’s a discouraging thought that their chances of a quality marriage are tied to whether or not their heart has been broken. Continue reading…
A demon’s guide to using communication effectively.
By Dr. Wormwood PhD
(Message intercepted by Jesse Jost)
Communication breakdown is an excellent way to destroy relationships. Historically this has been one of our greatest and most effective tools. I always marvel at how easy it is to use and how much damage it can cause. One of my favorite books is Jack Hornfield’s inspirational “Human Soup for the Demon’s Soul.” In it he includes story after touching story of countless marriages crumbling under the skillful use of communication breakdown. In this article, I will explore some tactics I have found very effective after centuries of seeking new means to bring down these loathsome creatures. I will show you the pitfalls to avoid and how to ensure that the lines of communication stay down. I know you will be inspired to use these simple tricks to bring ruin to your own subjects. Continue reading…
by Jesse Jost
Recently a young father in our community was suddenly taken from this life when his sprayer made contact with an over head power line. He left behind a beautiful wife and two small boys and a whole community searching for answers. How could God let this happen? How dare he break up a young couple like that? Those are tough questions. Losing your life partner ranks near the top of the list of the most painful things that can happen to a human. When God allows a spouse to die, emotions are shattered and God’s goodness is called into question. But this tragedy raised a different troubling issue for me. This same community that is in shock that God would allow a death in a marriage has seen the death of many other marriages. These other marriages were not involuntarily broken apart, rather the death was willingly chosen. No, it wasn’t murder that broke the sacred bonds of matrimony, it was divorce.
The Importance of Listening in Evangelism
Good communication is a challenge at the best of times. With a myriad of differences in the way each person thinks, processes, and uses words, the seemingly simple procedure of sending and receiving information can become as difficult as rain-making. Continue reading…
by Jesse Jost
“Always be joyful.” (1 Thess. 5:16 NLT)
The rain beat down on the husband and wife who wept softly as they watched the casket being slowly lowered into the black hole. The wooden box contained the physical remains of their twelve-year-old daughter who had passed away in a tragic accident. The girl’s mother turned to her husband, Dr. R. A. Torrey, and quietly said, “I’m so glad Elizabeth is with the Lord and not in that box.” But even knowing this to be true did not remove the terrible sting of the moment. The next day as Dr. Torrey thought of their loneliness without her presence, he was again overwhelmed by the horrible pain of his daughter’s death.
When I read about such intense pain and heartache, and when I see the sorrow and hollow look in the eyes of suffering friends, I wonder how the apostle Paul could have brought himself to write those divinely inspired words, “Always be joyful.” What could be meant by such an admonition? I know he didn’t mean for you to ignore the pain you are going through, put a plastic smile on your face and just be happy, happy, happy! At the same time, we can’t solve the dilemma by redefining joy until the word is stripped of all connotations of mirth and gladness. How can we be always joyful, and yet weep with those who weep? Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
“If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”
What comes to your mind when you think of pleasure? Do you feel the same way Walter Bagehot did when he quipped, “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”? Or do you think of God?
Think about it. Who created pleasure? Was it Satan’s idea, or God’s? Satan gives us the false impression that he has the patent number on pleasure. His first lie to Eve was that God was withholding something special from her and Adam. He told her that if they did things his way, they would find real fulfillment. Since that time, he has been constantly modifying and adjusting this lie to fit each appropriate circumstance. He harps on the old song that God is trying to deprive us, to rob us of pleasure. He deceives us into thinking that surrender to God will result in sheer misery.
But who created pleasure? God did. He offers real pleasure to anyone who will comply with His conditions. David took God at His word and accepted the offer. Here is what he subsequently told his Creator in Psalm 16: 11, “You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” And in Psalm 36:8 he said, “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and you give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.” Continue reading…
by Jesse Jost
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20 NKJV)
What do you need to be happy? Two ladies were discussing this subject, and one lady said, “If I had fifty dollars, I know I would be happy.” A wealthy man overheard their conversation and thought to himself, “If that lady only needs fifty dollars to be happy, I can help her.” The man walked up to her and gave her a $ 50 bill. The lady was overt in her show of gratitude, but as the man walked away he heard her grumble, “Man, why didn’t I say a hundred dollars!”
I think most of us have our own list of things we “need” to be happy, but will getting those things really make us happy? George Bernard Shaw quipped, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your hearts’ desire; the other is to gain it.” Chuck Swindoll likewise observed that “often one seeks greener grass on the other side only to find when he get there that it’s not edible. Sometimes, however, it is, but if the grass is greener on the other side, you can bet their water bill is higher!”
What is the secret to happiness? Continue reading…