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God’s Truth Prescription For Anxiety

By Jesse Jost

When you pause to consider all the ways life can take a tragic turn, it can be terrifying: Rare medical disease, cancer, accidents, financial ruin, chronic pain, sudden physical disability, brutal nature events, economic collapse… you get the idea.

If you’re like me, you manage to block out most of these harsh realities, but occasionally one of these items starts to feel like a plausible and imminent threat. Once the emotional brain is triggered, it becomes a near impossible battle to find reassurance.

We think about God’s power and try to tell ourselves: a good God wouldn’t let this bad thing happen to me, would He? Then you remember that He HAS allowed such tragedies and far worse to happen to millions of other people, so why should I get to be the exception? And so the anxious torment wheel rolls on.

However, Jesus and the Apostles command us firmly to not be anxious about anything.

 What truths can combat the vicious mental cycles of fear and anxiety?

These are the truth combinations that calm my troubled mind:

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Redeeming Your Private World

By Jesse Jost

It’s fascinating to me the contrast between the big objective world out there, and our individual private experience of it.

Everyone wakes up to a different experience of the same world. We see things from different perspectives, and have different emotional reactions and interpretations of similar events.

Sometimes the outside world is filled with prosperity and peace and vibrant growth, while the private world can be filled with pain, anxiety, and depression.

In 2017, the reports from the outside world seemed mostly positive, but our private world was falling apart as we dealt with a whooping cough outbreak in our community, with a new born in the house. There were lumps and cancer tests, and hardest of all, a brand new diagnoses of type 1 diabetes in our five year old son. This completely turned our life upside and gave it a big shake.

Conversely in 2020, when the outside news was filled with death, ventilators, job loss, political upheaval, and riots, our private world was serene with extra cuddles and local family adventures and exceptionally good health.

The quality of our private world does not just depend on the immediate circumstances, though; it is also affected by our daily habits, attitudes and thought patterns.

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Redeeming Social Media

By Jesse Jost

Please humour me with a thought experiment: If you replaced all your time on social media, with time meditating on God’s Word, what effect would that have on you?

Would you have more peace or less? More joy or less?

Would a deeper awareness of God’s majesty and power, replace a sense of frustration with human corruption?

Would there be a greater sense of personal conviction of where you need to repent instead of outrage for the stupidity of others?

What would the drawbacks be to this switch? Would you feel less informed about what is really going on in the world?

Do you think a person spending more time in the word and prayer and less on social media is more likely to be duped by propaganda or less?

I love Facebook and Twitter, I love engaging in the conversation of ideas, and seeing the pictures, adventures, and life updates from other people.

The problem is not that we use social media; the problem is in the balance. The poison is in the dose.

I did not ask the previous questions to get you to get off social media completely, but to consider the effects it is having on your mind.

We are commanded to set our minds on things above, where Jesus is, and not on things below. (Col 3:1-4) We are to keep our mind stayed on God. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Rom 12:1-2)

We are changed by what is currently in our view. There is a psychological weakness we have because of our limited brain power: What you see in moment feels like that is all there is. Another way to state it is “Out of sight, out of mind.”

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  • Bianca Jago

    Wow, some of this is exactly what I needed right now. Thanks for the great post–I just found your blog.

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You’re wrong! (So am I.) Now what?

By Jesse Jost

Have you ever stopped to think about how many wrong beliefs you might currently have?

 We can be wrong in our judgement of other people: Some have worse character than we assess, other people have more virtue than meets the eye.

We can be faulty in our memories of the past, and very wrong in our predictions of the future.

We can be in error in our views of God and our interpretations of the Bible.

We can have wrong beliefs about what will make us happy and what is truly meaningful.

We can be wrong in our interpretation of causation, with many theories about how the world works that may be way off.

We can be wrong in our understanding of health and nutrition and medicine.

The crazy thing is that while we can fully accept that other people have their heads full of wrong beliefs, it is almost impossible to accept that we are in error!

It Feels so Right!

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Who Has Loved You Today?

By Jesse Jost

In the movie “A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood” there is a powerful scene where Mr. Fred Rogers asks his friend to take a moment and just remember all the people who have loved him to where he is today.

It’s an exercise I have been trying to do lately: Making an effort to remember and focus on all the ways that those around me have sacrificed for me, and poured their love and affirmation into my life, and have shown me acts of service and kindness.

It’s amazing the effect this has on me. The fear of rejection, and sense of insecurity and alienation starts to dissipate and is replaced by a sense of feeling loved and protected.

It’s so crazy how our thoughts naturally gravitate to the ways we have been hurt and obsessively doubt if we are liked or loved. Left to its own paths, our brain will constantly focus on what could go wrong and compulsively pick at the scabs of doubt and confusion.

My experience of the world is so different when I firmly direct my mind to focus on all the gifts in my life and the ways people have loved and supported me.

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Is A Christian Called To Always Obey The Government?

This past year many North Americans have had a first taste of having civil rights, protected in our charters of freedoms, taken away. There is strong disagreement about whether the threat of disease justified the government removing these rights.

This has raised difficult questions for believers about when to obey our authorities and when to resist.

It’s easy to apply the commands in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 about obeying every ordinance of man when it comes to laws against stealing or murder.

But what do you do in the grey areas when the government mandates make it challenging to fulfill other biblical commands like hospitality or gathering for worship?

Obviously it is a complex issue, but what might the Bible suggest as a short answer to the question of when to obey and when might it be okay to disobey?

If you look at the context, the chapters before and after the biblical injunctions to obey earthly authorities, you see two prerequisites to these commands:

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4 Ways To Test If You Are Motivated by Hate Or Love

By Jesse Jost

The most insidious thing about hate is that while it’s relatively easy to spot in our enemy, from the inside, our own hate doesn’t feel like hate. It doesn’t feel evil. In fact it feels like a desire for justice, a passion for purity, and a desire to rid culture of immorality. It can even feel like a desire for God’s glory.

Hate hijacks noble desires, which make it a destructive force, and cause its carrier to become immune to the conviction of the conscience. It’s why people full of hate feel so righteous as they cause church splits, civil wars, abuse on minorities, and even genocide.

We all despise hate in other people, and obviously want to be motivated by love. But when hate feels so righteous, how can we test to see if we are truly being motivated by love and holiness, and not just hate and pride and self-will?

Here are four biblical tests:

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The Threat More Lethal Than A Virus

By Jesse Jost

How do you get people to plug their ears to the cries of a suffering people? How do you get young men to march children and grandparents to their deaths? You encourage a spirit of hate that dehumanizes the other.

The only way a human can cope with killing and torturing another human, is to refuse to look at the other’s humanity and see them instead as an animal, a social menace, or a threat to personal safety.

The apostle John wrote that he who hates his brother is a murderer. Jesus warned of the danger of anger and hate by comparing them to committing murder in the heart.

Hate reduces our view of other people to a label or a one-dimensional threat to the causes that are important to us.

When viewed through the lens of hate, other humans are no longer thinking, feeling individuals, with dreams and hurts and insecurities. They are instead problems that need to be fixed or dangers that need to be quarantined or eliminated.

None of us would ever let hate so infect our hearts that we would commit genocide… right?

Hate doesn’t start with murder. It starts with a subtle irritation toward those with differences in opinion.

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Remember The Good…

By Jesse Jost

There is such a fascinating aspect of our human condition that puzzles me:

 Why do we have such a tendency to focus on and remember the negative aspects of life?

Why do we first want to talk about the hard things we experienced in our life?

Why is it easier, when talking about other people, to discuss their flaws and irritating quirks than their character strengths?

Why, after a conversation, do we ruminate more on the hurtful things that were said or the points of disagreement, than the words of praise or agreement?

Why, when reading a post or email, do we zero in on the annoying and negative and forget the positive?

When talking about our country, community, or government, why is it so much easier to bring up the things that frustrate us, than the things our leaders are doing well?

When discussing our church, how much of the conversations are about the exciting things God is doing and how much is about how people are failing?

There are probably beneficial reasons for this human preoccupation with the negative. After all, what is going well doesn’t need our attention. It’s the problem areas that need fixing.

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Activism Burnout, Freedom from Fear, and His Healing Love

By Jesse Jost

This past year has been so difficult because we have been cut off, to varying degrees, from in person fellowship and human touch and real life community.

We are desperate for human contact. Without it, we turn to the substitute of social media.

It has been wonderful to see babies being born, and cute stories and embarrassing moments. These good things from social media have been a gift.

But among the positives, have been the way social media has stirred up so much fear and frustration.

People feel frustrated that they can’t make more of a difference in the real world right now, so they turn to social media activism. At least we can bring awareness to the problem, they feel.

Awareness is such a vital first step to solving problems and injustice. It used to be that you were blissfully living your life, and someone would show you a graphic image of a slave ship. You were shocked. You woke up to the problem. You wanted to make a difference. You could take real action.

The problem today is the non-stop bombardment of social media activism. As I scroll through my facebook and twitter feed, I see activism about global warming and the need to reduce emissions, I see activism warning me that global warming is a hoax and part of an agenda to reduce human population.

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