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Top 10 Reads of 2021(and the 10 that just missed)

By Jesse Jost

I finished 50 books this year. Here are 10 I found most enjoyable and/or beneficial:

10. Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

We have to sort through a ridiculous amount of data and complexity as we try to make sense of things and endeavour to make wise choices. Often times we don’t have time for thoughtful reflection, so we develop mental shortcuts that work most of the time. However, these shortcuts and assumptions end up causing truly troublesome errors in belief and judgement.

This is a comprehensive book examining our biases and what we can do to mitigate their harm.

9. Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

by Rob Brotherton

Obviously we will never agree on what ideas are overblown conspiracy theories and what are verified facts that are being suppressed. This book takes a historical look at how conspiracy theories have played a role in events, and what makes us susceptible to conspiracy thinking that is not warranted by the evidence.

This book was written before many of the emotionally charged theories common today, so it should be able to be enjoyed regardless of how you interpret current events.

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Another Letter To Me 2021 Christmas Letter

written Dec 22, 2021

Dear Jesse, I bring you greetings from the future.

I see you sitting there near the end of 2020, scrolling your phone as you try to digest the crazy things 2020 brought into your life.

You read about how your beloved province of Alberta is in lockdown as government officials try to contain the latest outbreak of covid, or maybe as they try to restructure society. It’s not clear in the moment which is really behind the lockdowns.

You have so many questions and are trying to sort out what the future will hold.

Well, here I am, writing to you from one year later.

I’m sorry to report that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and we are still facing government restrictions on gathering. I’m also a little embarrassed to tell you that you were dead wrong in your prediction that vaccine passports weren’t going to become a reality. Believe it or not, we now need to show proof of vaccination (or a negative covid test) to eat indoors or go concerts or movie theaters or to cross the border.

Yes, as we end 2021, covid is still our hot topic.

Some updates though: we now differentiate new variants by the letters of the Greek alphabet. We’re currently dealing with Omicron. So the good news is that we are over half way to the end!

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  • Ken Jost

    Enjoyed your letter Jesse

  • Cousin Anne-Marie

    Such a wonderful, creatively written letter Jesse! You guys have had quite the year! Grateful for how God has sustained you all!!

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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 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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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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Wormwood’s 2021 Demon AGM report

(Stealthily obtained by Jesse Jost)

Greetings fellow Demons,

2020 was one of the best years we’ve had in a long time. Our labs worked on a virus that would cause a worldwide pandemic – right in the sweet spot for our purposes.

As you know, our ultimate goal is to divide people and keep them focused on the issues that cause contention rather than focus on what our Enemy wants: love for Him and each other.

To achieve this, a pandemic has to be in just the right range of severity. If a pandemic is too deadly, it can bring out the best in people. They often sacrifice personal freedoms and safety to minister to the grieving and afflicted. When people are surrounded by death, they also become desperate for our Enemy and His horrid gospel.

Death awareness creates dangerous conditions for our cause. In the truly lethal pandemic, we lose way too many souls to the Enemy’s camp. Our demon scientists wanted to make sure it wasn’t too deadly.

At the same time, we needed it to be dangerous and deadly enough to accomplish our purposes. If the virus is too weak, it gets ignored and forgotten. I’m looking at you, “Swine Flu.”

This needed to be a virus that people would notice and become obsessed with. It needed to be bad enough so that even freedom-loving conservative politicians would be pressured into demanding drastic lockdown measures.

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  • Rachel Jamieson

    Things are happening in the US that are concerning. The equality act going through Congress for example with no religious exemptions may force us to go against nst Scripture. Sinful agendas are in full steam ahead. This will affect us sooner or later.
    I agree love is to predominate as we stand on the Bible.

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3 Reasons I Now Love the Wrath of God and His Coming Judgement

By Jesse Jost

I almost became an atheist because of the doctrine of Hell. I used to choke on scriptures about God’s wrath or the coming fiery judgement; they felt unfair and cruel. I gravitated to passages about His love, grace, and mercy.

But even though you may rarely hear about God’s judgement and wrath in modern sermons, you can’t escape these ideas in the New Testament.

Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven. Sin was so serious, Jesus warned, that it would be better to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand then let those offending body parts lead us to hell. He said not to fear those who can kill the body, but rather Him who can destroy the soul in hell.

Knowing the terror of the Lord motivated Paul’s evangelistic pleas. He warned about the coming day when the “Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thess 1:8-9)

Almost every epistle mentions the coming wrath and judgement that will consume this planet. Peter warns that judgement will begin with the church. The writer of Hebrews says, “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30-31)

We squirm over this doctrine. Seeker-sensitive messages avoid or soften it, fearing that it makes Jesus unattractive.

But whether we like it or not, it’s a reality we have to grapple with. God’s judgement will come whether we agree with it or not.  The only real issue is: are you ready for it?

After meditating on these passages further, I now find them a source of comfort and delight. They free me from miserable chains of self-centeredness, and stir my desire for God. Here’s how:

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10 Steps You Can Take to Prepare For the Coming New World Order.

By Jesse Jost

I have numerous posts that come across my feed asking “Are you awake yet?” and telling me to “Wake Up!”

I hear warnings that a new world order is coming, the church is headed for persecution, our freedoms are a thing of the past, and that we are headed straight for economic collapse and communist dictatorship.

These things may all be true, only time will tell, but what is driving me crazy right now, is that hardly any of these posts give me any practical steps I can take to do anything constructive with this ominous information.

It’s as if people just enjoy casting prophecies of terror and just letting them hang in the air like a horror movie sound track.

I’ve seen over the years that God has given me a sphere of responsibility – actions He is calling me to take.

But there is also a sphere or jurisdiction that is way bigger than me, things that are out of my control. These things are God’s responsibilities.

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  • Barry Neufeld

    Rod Dreher’s book: “Live Not by Lies” gives practical things for the followers of Christ to do when we are overrun by tyranny.

  • Karen Glanz

    Thank you for this. Christians NEED to hear this today.

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Top 10 Reads of 2020

By Jesse Jost

I finished 50 books this past year. Here are my top 10 with a word of recommendation, as well as the 10 that just missed the cut but are still highly recommended, and also a complete list of all 50 books.

10. Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920’s

by Frederick Lewis Allen

The 1920’s were a fascinating and often overlooked time in North American history, a decade of religious decline, sexual revolution, family upheaval, and booming business. Frederick Allen wrote this book in the early 1930s. His voice is fresh and his eye for interesting detail makes for a riveting read. I loved his sequel about the 1930s:

Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America, September 3, 1929–September 3, 1939

by Frederick Lewis Allen

9. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

by Timothy J. Keller

Timothy Keller always writes with simplicity, but profound depth, and has much practical application. His book on prayer covers the subject in rich historical detail and draws from a wide range of Christian thinkers on the subject. An excellent and soul-stirring overview.

8. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

by Cal Newport

Is modern technology serving us, or are we becoming enslaved? I got an eye-opening look at the ways that social media and our devices are designed to make us addicted and take more from us than we intend to give.

Newport is not anti-technology and he sees the value in social media, but he challenges us to live the life we want to be living rather than carelessly throwing away our most valuable possession: Our time.

I also high recommend “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” by Nir Eyal, Julie Li which also covers similar themes.

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2020 Jesse and Heidi Jost Christmas Letter

This is us back in September

by Thomas Jost (almost 14 months)

I know its not traditional for authors to include their age beside the name, but in my case it is so impressive I made sure to add it.

A couple years ago my Dad wrote the Christmas letter from the perspective of “a letter from your future self” to last year’s version of you. He thought about doing that again this year, but he says this year was so crazy that past selves would never believe it!

So Dad asked me to write the letter this year. I’ve never done a Christmas letter before, but being 14 months means always trying things you’ve never done before, even if everyone is screaming around you that it is a bad idea. So here it goes.

Your Truly slaving away

I am Thomas, with luscious blond hair and dark brown eyes. I am currently single but that won’t last long, I’m sure. I’m often referred to as a miracle baby, and I’m not always sure if that is because my Mom almost miscarried me, or if they are referring to my magical ability to make things disappear in the toilet.

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  • Dale Jost

    Creative overview of 2020 Thomas! Loved it❤️❤️❤️

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