Blog Posts by Jon Bloom
When God Seems Silent
So you desire God and ask for more of him and what do you get? Stuck in a desert feeling deserted. You feel disoriented and desperate. Don’t despair. . . . It’s how it feels, it’s not how it is. You are not alone. God is with you (Psalm 23:4).Continue Reading
The Cool God Is a Puny God
Americans, and most Westerners, live in cultures governed by the god called “Cool.”
Cool doesn’t have a temple we can see or visit, but his images and shrines are everywhere. Cool is a god that we actually invite to take up residence in the unholy of unholies of our fallen nature’s heart-temple. Once there, it entwines itself with our narcissistic selves, becoming part of our desired identity, the self-image we…Continue Reading
The Unexpected Answers of God
In John 16:23–24, Jesus makes a stunning, sweeping, glorious promise to us:
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
So we ask the Father for things we…Continue Reading
Before the Children Are Gone
Time is our most precious earthly asset because all other earthly assets are governed by it. We can’t really save time. We can only spend it. So we try to manage it.
But that’s very hard. Never in history have human beings had so many options for spending time. And there’s no way to manage time well enough to spend it on all the things we want to do, nor…Continue Reading
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
July 4th is the day we commemorate the Continental Congress’s declaration of independence from the nation of Great Britain. People still debate over whether or not Britain’s offenses warranted colonial secession and war. Regardless, it was a bold, very risky move for the signers of the Declaration.
Looking back over 238 years, with America now an affluent global superpower, it’s hard for Americans to get a sense for just…Continue Reading
So Good Things Can Run Wild
Everything God creates is good (Genesis 1:31).
We Are Out of Sync
But we must take this in large measure on faith because under the curse of the Fall, our fallen perceptions often don’t see it and our fallen natures often don’t believe it. We are disordered and pathologically self-centered. We are out of sync.
The only things fallen humans tend to believe are those that sate our appetites, increase…Continue Reading
How Can Self-Denial Be Hedonistic?
The Christian life is a journey to the greatest joy that exists. But “the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). Why is that? Because, paradoxically, as Jesus’s disciples learned in Mark 8, in order to pursue our greatest joy, we must deny ourselves.
It was a moment of euphoria for the disciples. Jesus was the Christ. Peter had confessed it…Continue Reading
God Makes Our Misery the Servant of His Mercy
Naaman was Syria’s foremost general when Elisha served as God’s foremost prophet in Israel. After a Syrian raid on Israel, Naaman brought back his wife a gift: a Hebrew servant girl. When she saw that Naaman suffered from a serious leprous skin disease, the Hebrew servant girl told Naaman about Elisha and the power of Yahweh. As a result, Naaman was healed.
In this story from 2 Kings 5:1–19, God’s…Continue Reading
Jesus Wants You to Be You
God had you specifically in mind when he created you and called you to follow him. You are custom-designed for your calling. But when you face the difficulty of your calling, you may look at others and be tempted to wonder why they don’t seem to bear the same burdens you do. Don’t be discouraged; in John 21, the Apostle Peter faced the same temptation.
“What About this Man?”
This May Push You over the Edge
Most of us read, see, or hear thousands of messages during the course of our lives. But only a few strike us with such force that we remember them distinctly. These messages uniquely shape us. They haunt us. We can’t shake them. We go back to them over and over.
I heard of those messages in March 2001, when John Piper spoke at John MacArthur’s Shepherds’ Conference. I’ve listened to…Continue Reading
The Treasure Makes All the Difference
One of Jesus’s most powerful parables is also one of his shortest:
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matthew 13:44).
Fifteen minutes before this man’s discovery in the field, the thought of selling all that he owned to buy it wouldn’t…Continue Reading
Let Darwin Teach You
Charles Darwin loved his scientific studies. They were his “chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life.” However, as the years passed, Darwin experienced a tragic atrophy. He described it near the end of his life in his autobiography:
Up to the age of 30 or beyond it, poetry of many kinds … gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare…. Formerly pictures…
Why Was Judas Carrying the Moneybag?
Jesus put a thief in charge of his moneybag. Has that ever struck you as odd?
Last week we focused on Mary, who poured a year’s wages on Jesus’s feet, and Judas, who saw Mary’s worshipful act as huge waste, because “he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).
But this fact raises the…Continue Reading
When Wasting Your Life Is Worship
We all are happiness hunters. We are all treasure seekers. And as Judas and Mary illustrate, there’s one sure way to measure what we treasure: what we’re willing to spend to obtain it.
The dinner table was buzzing with happy conversation. As Lazarus fielded a stream of questions about what it was like to die and Martha cleared empty plates and filled empty wine bowls, Mary quietly slipped away into…Continue Reading
Memorial Day, as Americans have come to know it, began in the years immediately following the Civil War. But until World War II, most people knew it as “Decoration Day.” It was a day to decorate with flowers and flags the graves of fallen soldiers and remember those who had given, as Lincoln beautifully said, “the last full measure of devotion” to defend their nation. It was a day to…Continue Reading
The End of Books
Why is reading so important to Christianity?
How is the Internet changing the way we read?
How can we become better readers?
These questions, and other critical topics about literacy, were addressed by Desiring God’s own Tony Reinke in an interview with Cees-Jan Smits today in the newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch).
Tony is the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books, or as it’s known in the…Continue Reading
Escaping the Slavery of Selfish Ambition
Selfish ambition is a sin that always seems to be “crouching at the door” (Genesis 4:7). It contaminates our motives for doing just about anything. It shows up even in the most holy moments, like it did for Jesus’s disciples in Luke’s account of the Last Supper (Luke 22:14–30). But in that account we also see how Jesus frees us from the suicidal slavery of selfish ambition.
Jesus’s final meal…Continue Reading
Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible
You can memorize big chunks, even books, of the Bible. Unless you’re part of the very small percentage of us who suffer from a traumatic brain injury or stroke or disability, you really can. And you should. But why should you?
1. Because you have a bad memory.
Don’t say you can’t memorize because you have a bad memory. That’s why you need to memorize. I have a bad memory…Continue Reading
When Waiting Doesn’t Work
Fifty-one years ago this spring, thirty-four-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in a Birmingham jail cell, technically because he had been “parading without a permit.” But that was a sham. Everyone knew it. He was in jail because he had led thousands in a non-violent protest against unjust and dehumanizing laws of racial segregation in Alabama.
Sitting in the cell, Dr. King read an open letter in a newspaper by…Continue Reading
Don’t Idolize Your Leaders
Barak was a hero of early Israel, serving during the pre-monarch period when Deborah judged the nation (Judges 4–5). His great military feat was the complete rout of the Canaanite general, Sisera, and his army. However, in the process he learned the important distinction between imitating and idolizing the faith of a leader he respected.
Deborah sat praying on the roof of Barak’s house in the small lakeside village of…Continue Reading
When It Seems Like God Did You Wrong
The story of Naomi in Ruth chapter one teaches us that how things look and how things feel are often not how they are.
The last time Naomi had seen her hometown on the Judean hillside, the barley fields had been barren in the House of Bread.
The famine had stirred the specter of starvation. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, not a patient man even in bounty, was convinced that Moab held…Continue Reading
It Is Finished (Good Friday)
It is Friday, April 3, A.D. 33. It is the darkest day in human history, though most humans have no clue of this. In Rome, Tiberius attends to the demanding business of the empire. Throughout the inhabited world, babies are born, people eat and drink, marry and are given in marriage, barter in marketplaces, sail merchant ships, and fight battles. Children play, old women gossip, young men lust, and people…Continue Reading
When Fear Attacks
Without exception, regardless of our situation, following Jesus requires all of us to repeatedly exercise courage, because God frequently calls us to face or do things we’re afraid of. In this, Joshua, the son of Nun, is an example for us. His call was to lead Israel in battle after battle, decade after decade, facing strong army after strong army in order to occupy the land the Lord had promised.…Continue Reading
Why God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle
The next time someone says that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, point them to Judges chapter seven. God instructing Gideon to take on over 100,000 enemy soldiers with just 300 fits in the “more than you can handle” category. Imagine how Gideon and his servant, Purah, must have felt trying to come to grips with a humanly impossible assignment.
Standing on the side of Mount Gilboa,…Continue Reading
God Wants You to Know How Much He Loves You
The greatest love you can know is when someone lays down his life for you (John 15:13). Especially when you were an enemy when he laid his life down for you (Romans 5:10).
And that’s when Jesus laid his life down for you (1 John 3:16),
on a Roman cross of torture (Philippians 2:8),
to bear the guilt of your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3),
and pay your debt of infinite…