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The Belt of Truth In An Age of Disinformation

By Jesse Jost

We sure seem to be in the thick of spiritual battle right now. When in the heat of a war zone, armor suddenly becomes a lot more precious! We desperately need our spiritual armor.

The first piece of armor that Paul mentions in Ephesians is the Belt of Truth. The belt in his day provided a place to tuck the long tunic so you didn’t trip and fall on your own clothing. Truth is one of our most critical protections.

But what is truth?

Today with the vast amounts of data, memes, talking clips, and rumors, information and disinformation, truth about what is going on is harder to discern than ever.

With trust in mainstream media evaporating, people are turning to social media for their news and information. It seems more free and less subject to government censorship, as anyone can share their perspective.

The problem is that social media outlets like Facebook, don’t care about informing you as much as they care about winning your attention.

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It’s Not What You Know That Shapes You…

By Jesse Jost

After a painful struggle with bulimia and pornography, my wife’s sister, Katrina, decided that the battle was too exhausting. Rather than continue giving into temptation, she would end the struggle for good. She took her own life in 2001, shattering the lives of those who knew her.

When I hear about her struggles, or read her journal from those dark days, there are so many things I wish I could have told her, verses I could have pointed her to, truths I wish she had known. But then I keep reading her thoughts, or notes she wrote other people, and I am reminded that she DID know the very things I wish I could have told her.

All the factors that led Katrina to end her life will remain mysterious; she clearly was not fully rational at the time. But this much is clear: Her problem wasn’t that she didn’t know truths that could have set her free. The problem seems to be that these truths were forgotten and pushed from her focus by the lies and desires that enslaved her attention. 

Her attention was filled with despair over her failures, and belief that her life would always remain an exhausting struggle. There was no room in her mind for hope in the Holy Spirit’s power to transform, or the power of confession and accountability, or the love and mercy of God. It wasn’t that she didn’t know about these truths; they just didn’t shape her attitudes and behaviours any more, because her mind was captivated by other tormenting ideas.

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“The Science is Clear” – And Other Lies That Cause Division

by Jesse Jost

“The science is clear” has to be one of the most division-causing sentiments of our time. It is a phrase used confidently and sometimes condescendingly by people on opposite sides of an issue.

If you can find intelligent people arguing for opposite positions, there is a good chance that the science is not as clear as one side wants you to believe it is.

We live in confusing times and we are desperate for certainty and clarity. But the reality is that 2020 has thrown us a whirlwind of issues that are complex and baffling. We have educated experts confidently giving us articles and sound bites that make their point of view sound obviously correct.

It’s easy to come away from these articulations feeling confident that we have the truth, and that those who see it differently are gullible “sheeple” who refuse to think for themselves. Both sides can feel this way about those who disagree.

Emotional certainty that we are correct and have an issue all figured out is comforting in confusing times, but this confidence is rarely warranted by the evidence.

Scientific truths are far more challenging to discover and establish than Facebook memes would have you believe. Here are some cautions to keep in mind as you navigate scientific claims and arguments.

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  • Tim Lipp

    Beautifully put Jesse, thank you for sharing!!!

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The Easiest Way to Control Your Human

(Private correspondence from demon Dr. Wormwood PhD intercepted by Jesse Jost)

My Most Odious Apollyon Jr.

I want to inform you about the latest research on how to effectively sabotage a human’s life, especially the vermin claiming to be Christians. These Christians pride themselves on having right ideas about God and doctrine, and spend infinite hours arguing and dividing over these ideas.

Their ideas of doctrine and theology are an important battle ground, and I do try to twist them wherever I can. But I have found that as long as their ideas about theology are kept at a rational level of mental assent, and don’t reach the deeper level of their heart, even the most orthodox theology is harmless to our cause.

You see, my fellow destroyer, people have a set of professed beliefs that they think they believe. What they don’t realize is that they also have a deeper set of beliefs brewing in their subconscious, or what Solomon called “the heart.”

The deeper beliefs are what I call impact beliefs because they shape the vermin’s emotions, attitudes, and actions. Impact beliefs are rarely scrutinized, and can be changed without evidence or well-reasoned arguments.

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You FEEL you’re right, but are you? The Liabilities of the Emotional Mind

By Jesse Jost

I’m studying emotional intelligence, and am fascinated by how our rational mind (the frontal lobe) and emotional mind (the amygdala) work.

The data from our senses passes through the emotional part of our brain before it hits the rational part. Consequently, we have feelings about things even before we have thoughts about things.

The lightning-fast emotional response enables us to recognize danger and react by reflex when needed. If you see a rope being thrown at you, the data gathered by your senses will trigger fear because your amygdala senses that the object could be a snake, and will cause you to react by jumping out of the way before you have time to decide if it’s a rope or a snake. The emotional response needs to be fast, because if the object is a snake, time wasted evaluating the object may be fatal.

Our instantaneous emotional response to life can be life-saving; it can also be a liability. The “eyes” of our emotional brain see life in a simplified way, devoid of the complexity and nuance afforded by the more careful deliberation of our rational mind. This simplicity allows the emotional mind to make quick judgments and produce instant emotions.

Emotions are a gift that make the experience of life so rich, as well as a source of wisdom that can help our rational mind make wise decisions informed by empathy and awareness of emotional consequences.

However, the way emotions are formed by snap judgments can make strong emotions a liability if they are not questioned by our rational mind.

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What Seeds Are You Planting With Your Tongue?

By Jesse Jost

Seeds are remarkable. They can lie dead and dormant for years. Yet put them in the soil and water them and new life magically springs forth with enough explosive power to crack concrete.

Seeds are always faithful to their DNA. They always reproduce according to their kind. You will never get a watermelon from a pumpkin seed. If you want a watermelon, you had better plant a watermelon.

Whether we realize it or not, our words are like seeds. They have the same explosive power to shape someone’s world. Proverbs says that “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov 18:21)

The thing about words and seeds is you don’t have to realize what you are sowing to reap the consequences. We put some straw on our garden one year to protect our strawberries. What we didn’t realize was that the straw was full of Canadian thistle seeds. Those thistles are unbelievably nasty and sharp. They have taken over our garden and made weeding a nightmare.

It didn’t matter that we didn’t consciously sow those thistles. Just the same, we have been dealing with the fallout of our careless choice. 

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The Propaganda Wars Of Social Media

By Jesse Jost

I love that we have social media platforms to share perspectives and be educated by different opinions. In the past, we only got our information from authorized sources. This ability to share information freely should be a safeguard against governments’ attempts to use propaganda to control us.

But on these platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to post and share without deep reflection. Also the brain-exciting notification makes us addicted to the need for positive, self-affirming feedback.

I think these two aspects of social media are playing a role in how polarized our countries are becoming. When I’m trying to form an educated perspective on what’s happening and how I should respond, it drives me crazy sometimes that the issue in question is hijacked by becoming politicized.

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Thoughts on Weight Loss

By Jesse Jost

I’ve struggled most of my life with being overweight. So the subject of diet and weight loss is fascinating to me. Lately I’ve been on a research binge, devouring several books on the topic as well as running a two week experiment on myself by wearing a blood glucose monitor to see how different foods affected my blood sugar levels.

After processing all this information, I wanted to write up some basic conclusions that I have gleaned.

Weight gain is at root a basic issue of calories in exceeding calories out. Everyone knows this, right? Except for the fact that while that is true at a physics level, there are so many more additional psychological and biological factors that complicate the equation. Simple ideas about calories in and calories out are very unhelpful.

Calories In

Take the calories in portion of the equation. Some calories are far more satiating than others. 100 calories of broccoli will fill your stomach far more than 100 calories of Reese’s Cups.

There are calories that will incite a raging fire of cravings and desires that cause you to overeat.

And there are calories that will leave you feeling satisfied.

There are calories that will trigger fat storing hormones, and there are calories that will boost your metabolism.

Calories Out

Now let’s look at the calories out. It’s easy to think that our bodies are a basic machine right off a Ford assembly line that come with preset daily caloric needs.

 We think that some bodies need 3,000 calories to maintain weight, and other bodies need 2,000.

With this understanding, it seems like weight loss should be an equation of eating less and moving more.

 Some weight loss books tell us that if we can just cut back 100 calories a day, that will translate to 10 pounds lost in one year. Conversely, adding 100 calories a day (1 banana or a slice of bread) will lead to 10 pounds gained.

What this completely misses is that our bodies have powerful regulating systems.

For instance, our body temperature will stay in a narrow range because, when we are in the cold, it will raise our temperature and when we are in the heat, it has cooling systems.

In the same way, our bodies have developed a set point of weight. While many of the factors contributing to this are still unknown, our bodies seemingly do have a set point of weight.

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Never Trust Your Angry Thoughts

By Jesse Jost

Anger is a very motivating emotion. If you want people involved in a cause, getting them angry enough to step up and make a difference seems like the only way to see results.

Christians believe in a God who displays his wrath in spectacular fashion. The sinless Son of God vented outbursts of anger on the corrupt and hypocritical. So surely “righteous” anger should be a powerful force for positive change in a believer’s life, right?

You’d think so if you never opened up the New Testament. But James warns in James 1:19-20, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

That verse should rein us in before we embrace anger as an unmitigated force for good. “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” In Ephesians, Paul warns that we need to be careful not to sin in our anger, or “let the sun go down” on our wrath, because it could “give place to the devil.” (Eph 4)

How can we discern between righteous anger and the sinful “wrath of man”?

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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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  • Rebekah F

    Wow, thank you for those timely words! They were just what I needed to hear, and a great encouragement!! Thank you for the reminder!

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