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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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A No Shame, Fail-Proof way to Memorize Scripture

By Jesse Jost

In the last year and a half, my soul has been so refreshed by taking up the habit of scripture memory again. The Word has been so comforting and invigorating. If there was one spiritual habit I could convince other believers to take on, it would be the memorization and meditation of the Word.

Unfortunately, in most cases, all my nagging and pleading with other believers has resulted in very few verses memorized. I’m not judging them. In conversation with these people, motivation is not the problem! They WANT to memorize. It’s just so hard to change our habits, especially with memorizing, which seems so difficult at first, and is also a habit that will cause you to face spiritual opposition.

I have been so encouraged lately by studying behaviour change, and the power of tiny habits to produce long-term change. I realize that I have been going about motivating people the wrong way. I have been challenging them to make too big of a change at once by giving them the goal of a whole book of the New Testament, or asking them to do a verse a day.

The problem is that these goals seem insurmountable at first and make people feel like this is too difficult. It makes them feel like a failure. We hate the sense of failure, so we quit or neglect the activities that make us feel bad.

A tiny habit is one that starts so small, we can’t fail to do it. And as we consistently do this small change, we start to believe that change is possible. We feel good; we feel hope.

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Wake up! A Covid Call To Action.

By Jesse Jost

The feedback from my latest forays into social media seems to imply that what some people have been hearing in my posts is this: don’t worry about the encroaching threats to our freedom. Don’t fight for our freedoms. The corruption in government and big pharma is all just conspiracy theory. We can safely ignore it and just spread positivity.

That is not what I am saying at all! My passion is two-fold:

  1. What can I do practically to make a difference in staving off the very real threats to our medical and religious freedoms?

We’ve heard it many times: all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. That thought chills me and motivates me to action. But I want to do something that is making a real difference.

Social media provides a paradox: it’s easy to share and raise awareness, but it can also lessen the steps people take in the real world to make a difference.  I’m using social media right now to participate in a conversation, but I must fight the temptation to think that because I wrote that post or shared the article, my work is done. That’s my first concern.

  • Is what I’m advocating truly biblical? Is it in line with God’s word?

I am always asking:  What does God’s word say about this? It’s easy to adopt ideas and trends that make sense to us or sound good, but they can directly contradict God’s instructions to New Testament Christ-followers.

In light of these two concerns, let’s look at just of the few possibilities that believers are sounding the alarm bell about and how we should respond.

“Government is inflating covid deaths to make the threat more scary and control us.”

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Four Ways to Fight For Your Freedom During Covid-19

By Jesse Jost

Six months ago, few of us would have believed the reports coming from the future. We seemingly have entered a police state overnight. We have lost the freedom to travel and assemble. We face fines for simple activities. There is talk of increased military presence in our towns to enforce lockdown. And some communities have set up hot lines where we can report our neighbour’s violations.  We’re also hearing about tracking devices and mandatory health checks.

For the most part we have accepted these shocking conditions willingly because we understand we are in a pandemic, and sacrifices must be made to protect the vulnerable.

However, I am hearing more and more rumblings from some quarters that we have relinquished our freedoms too easily, that human rights surrendered to the government in times of crisis are not willingly handed back when the crisis is over.

It’s haunting to read what life was like under communist or fascist dictatorships.  I’ve wondered how long we in North America could hang on to our freedom and whether we might end up in a state like Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia.

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  • Dale Jost

    Encouraging and practical applications to our present conditions!

  • Rachel Jamieson

    Thanks Jesse. I appreciate your thoughts. Do you think there is a place for civil disobedience when the government takes away one’s abilty to provide for one’s family? Does it have to be motivated by the Gospel? We are reading Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson” as a family, written right after WW2. You think the economy will bounce back, but most of us weren’t creating goods and services to spend. In short, Hazlitt says, “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” p. 17
    Thanks for the reminder to keep trusting God through it all.

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Beware the Phantom Future

By Jesse Jost

One of the unexpected challenges of dealing with Type 1 diabetes is the fear that another child will develop diabetes. I’ll have stretches of feeling fine, but then I’ll wonder if our two year old wet too many diapers in a day or is drinking too much (these things are so subjective and hard to measure!) and then it becomes an obsession.

I’ll get chronic stress, and have painful, vivid flashbacks to our son’s diagnosis (he was in severe DKA). And a sense of impending doom just becomes hard to shake.

In the night our two year old had a diaper that leaked in the night and the fears just gripped me. I weighed him in the morning and he had gained two pounds (a reassuring sign, as T1D causes weight loss). I did a finger poke and two hours after eating waffles and cold cereal he was 7mmols (126 US). Everything I found online says that under 7.8 (140) two hours after eating is normal, but I just can’t shake the stress.

I know there is just no assurance anyone can give me that he won’t develop diabetes and that is the part that is hard to accept.

I reached out to our Facebook support groups for advice about how they deal with this anxiety. It is a common issue, but the majority said that what helps them is knowing that if it happens with another child, this time they have the knowledge and the tools to deal with it.

One mom who has had a second child develop T1D, said that while it is hard to accept, you do adjust. She added that worrying about it happening was worse than dealing with the real problem.

This got me thinking. One of the symptoms of developing diabetes is excessive peeing. So when I hear a kid peeing copiously, my heart skips a beat. When I find out it’s our T1D son, there’s a wave of relief. We’ve found a level of peace with our T1D son, and I’m sure we’d reach that place eventually again with another child if we had to.

I realized that if we had to deal with a toddler developing diabetes, it would come with moments of holding him still to inject a painful needle while we both are crying. It would mean even less sleep and more mental stress as now two kids would need constant monitoring and more night checks.

But I also saw that if this were to happen in real life, it would be accompanied by God’s grace and tools to deal with the situation. In contrast, the phantom diabetes of my imagination makes me feel helpless. Because of its unreality, there is nothing I can do fix the problem I’m imagining. No shot of insulin to make the high go away, no gummy bear to give to fix the low.

Phantom diabetes of my imagination comes at me with vivid force all at once, with the painful moments compressed into a collage of terror. Real life diabetes comes at you one moment at a time with huge amounts of normalcy in between.

Dealing with the phantom diabetic toddler causes a selfish focus on what it will cost me and fills me with terror. Dealing with a real life child fills you with an overwhelming love for that child that gives supernatural strength to do whatever sacrifice is necessary. It would come with a sense of purpose that quiets the mind and steadies the will.

Phantom diabetes has no value, it doesn’t make me more aware of my non-T1D’s kids needs, it doesn’t help prepare or stock up on needed supplies. It does nothing but torment me and waste the precious time we should be savouring while our kids pancreases are working and they can eat and sleep without worry.

The phantom future is one of Satan’s favourite tools to torment us, rob us of peace and joy, and take our eyes off God and the gifts we should be grateful for. The phantom future comes as an angel of light saying that this worrying is the responsible thing to do. And that if we aren’t actively worrying about it tragedy will strike again. But that is all a lie.

So if you find yourself tormented by a possible scenario in the future where some difficulty or tragedy strikes, be it job loss or cancer, ask if there is some wise step you can take to avert the crisis or prepare. But if there is nothing you can do in the present to prepare, then be ruthless in identifying the distressing imaginings as unreality from the enemy. There is no value dwelling on it.

Jesus sternly commands us not to worry about the future, then adds compassionately that each day has enough troubles.

Real life will be hard, and the hardest things you will have to deal with will probably be the things you never saw coming rather than the things you worry about.

But real life will come with God’s grace, strength, comfort and wisdom, and a sense of purpose to deal with it effectively, and the support of family and community. So be ruthless with the phantom future, and trust our wise Heavenly Father to guide us into the real future with Him always by our side.

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Practical Tips for Meditating on Scripture

By Jesse Jost

Imagine if…every time after you ate, your food just went right through you? Suppose it never lingered in your stomach acid to get broken down, and the nutrients never got absorbed in your intestines? What would happen to your body? You would quickly grow weak and malnourished and you would not live long. It wouldn’t matter how regularly you ate, or what you ate, because without the process of digestion, you would die.

In a similar way, it is not enough to just “eat” God’s word by reading and memorizing it. For our souls to grow spiritually, we also need a process of digestion where we break down and absorb nutrients, applying them to our lives.

Scripture calls this digestion process “meditating.” Psalm 1 says that the righteous man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

Here are some ideas that have enriched my meditation process. The Holy Spirit ultimately takes the text and uses it to bring us light, convict us, and comfort us, so none of these ideas should replace a prayerful dependence on Him.

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