Blog Posts by Jon Bloom
The Folly of What Noah Preached
Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). In Noah, we have an Old Testament illustration of this. Ponder how Noah’s warnings about fantastic “events as yet unseen” (Hebrews 11:7) must have sounded to his hearers (I’ve imagined two, Talmai and Bakbukiah).
“This is madness!” Talmai was alarmed…Continue Reading
How to Get Your Mind Back on Track
How are you feeling? What’s on your mind?
These are very important questions, not just polite conversation starters. They’re questions we should ask ourselves (and others) frequently because they tell us what direction our train is heading.
Our Train of Thought
The train of the mind is linked together like this: the car of our thoughts is hitched to the car of our emotions, which is hitched to the car…Continue Reading
Extraordinary Help for Gospel Productivity
Does God care about how productive we are? He does. Deeply. Consider:
Our fruitfulness reflects on Jesus: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
We are to live purposefully and manage our time: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”…
Nine Practical Pointers for Plodders
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
Today is going to be a challenge.
You will not make perfect plans. You will not work your plans perfectly. You’ll find a bog of ambiguity that you’ll need to step through carefully. There will be detours and delays. There will be equipment failures. You will spin your wheels. There…Continue Reading
The Dead Snake Handler and the Dead Poet’s Society
On February 15, Jamie Coots, pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and co-star of National Geographic’s reality show Snake Salvation, died from a snakebite to the hand. Christianity Today has the story. It was his ninth bite in twenty years. The previous eight made him very ill. Once he even lost a finger.
Snake handling as a form of worship is practiced by a small number…Continue Reading
The Insanity of Leaning on Our Own Understanding
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)
When the Bible tells us in this verse not to lean on our own understanding, it is not encouraging us to be irrational. The Bible puts up no wall of separation between our intellect and faith. In fact, the book…Continue Reading
Why We Shouldn’t Neglect to Meet Together
Have you ever thought of this simply stunning statement by God as a reason why we are to gather together in corporate worship?
It is not good that the man should be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
What’s so incredible about this is that God said it before the fall, when Adam’s heart was undimmed by the dark night of sin and he enjoyed unbroken fellowship with his Creator.
What was not…Continue Reading
What Dead Abel Speaks to Us
The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 tells much more about Cain than Abel. In fact, not one word is recorded from living Abel. But the author of Hebrews says that, “through [Abel’s] faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). So what is dead Abel speaking to us?
It was dusk. Cain was working late. Not wanting to face his parents, he was trying to disguise…Continue Reading
Valentine’s Day Is for Getting Drunk
The evolution of Valentine’s Day has followed a course similar to the evolution of Santa Claus. It began with legends surrounding an obscure saint (actually, there’s more than one St. Valentine) from early Christian history that oddly morphed over the centuries into something else entirely. Then it exploded into a pop culture and commercial phenomenon in Victorian England (thank the Brits for greeting cards, flowers, and “confectionaries”), with the United…Continue Reading
Bind My Wandering Heart to Thee
In my observation and experience, the most loved verse from Robert Robinson’s hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is this one:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
The Merciful Gift of Desperation
Do not underestimate the power of desperation to do good for your soul.
A couple of years ago I listened to a sermon by a friend who leads a missionary team that has planted itself into one of the least reached nations in the world. The most optimistic estimates of the number of indigenous Christians in this nation is less than the number of people who attend Bethlehem Baptist Church…Continue Reading
Make the Most of Your Conference
This afternoon Desiring God kicks off the 27th annual Conference for Pastors in Minneapolis.
Yes, in Minneapolis. In February. Early February. More than 1,500 brave souls from all over the States and numerous other nations will travel to the capital of the polar vortex. Why Minneapolis, you ask? We are lovingly serving attendees by removing distractions like warm theme parks and Pacific palms so they can give their full focus…Continue Reading
Don’t Miss the True Bread
One of the strangest things Jesus ever said is recorded in chapter six of John’s Gospel, where Jesus stated that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood.
These words are disturbing. Almost everyone, including his most loyal disciples, misunderstood them at the time. Many disciples stopped following him after he said them (verse 66). They have been the subjects of much debate for centuries in the church.…Continue Reading
Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is
Abortion is rarely talked about.
I’m not talking about the word “abortion.” We hear this word a lot it in the public square. But we rarely hear about it. Abortion almost always refers to something else. We hear that abortion is fundamentally about a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. Or abortion is a litmus test for judicial nominees. Or abortion is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the social discourse…Continue Reading
Read This If You Want to Burn
Some things you read are invigorating and expansive for your imagination. Some things you read give you penetrating insight into dealing with complex issues. Some things you read hit the sweet spot of your interests and you’re lost in them for hours. Some awake your wonder or make you weep or laugh your head off. Some simply bore you to tears.
But a few things you read light you on…Continue Reading
The Weakness of the World’s Strongest Man
When the writer of Hebrews listed the Old Testament heroes of faith, he included Samson (Hebrews 11:32). Really? Samson’s story, recorded in Judges 13–16, reads like a narcissistic super hero’s whose Kryptonite weakness does him in in the end.
But God wanted Samson included in the list because there are crucial things about faith that God wants us to understand from him. To explore these, let’s imagine two of Samson’s…Continue Reading
Come, Look Through This Telescope
He gave . . . teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. (Ephesians 4:11–13)
When you look heavenward on a clear night, you can see glory. But look through a strong telescope, and your mouth may drop.
That’s what sitting under…Continue Reading
Love Is Not a Verb
Two weeks ago, I encouraged us all to make a 2014 resolve to “pursue love” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Based on the following statements by Jesus, I would say that love is the most important thing to pursue this year.
[The greatest commandment:] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.…
22 Million Reasons to Pray with Us
Do you ever think about the Internet as an answer to centuries of saints’ prayers that “the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thessalonians 3:1)?
We must not take this marvel for granted. In reading this post, you are experiencing something that just a couple of decades ago was the stuff of sci-fi imagination and a century ago was unimaginable.
With a few keyboard or…Continue Reading
Jesus Must Increase: A Prayer for the New Year
“Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
If the prayer below captures in some way the deep longings of your heart, I invite you to join me in making it a prayer for 2014.
O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
When John the Baptist made the beautiful declaration in the text above about your Son’s public prominence…Continue Reading
Your Most Courageous Resolution for 2014
Pursue love. (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Resolutions are good things. They’re biblical: “may [God] fulfill every resolve for good” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). And I think developing New Year’s resolutions is a very good idea. A year is a defined timeframe long enough to make progress on difficult things and short enough to provide some incentive to keep moving.
A resolve is not a vague intention, like “one of these days I’m…Continue Reading
The Greatest Blessing Mary Received
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:42)
Mary was unique in human history. It is absolutely true. She was “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42), and among men as well. She received the singular holy gift of being the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:43). God dwelled inside of her body in human form. Then he lived in her home and was under…Continue Reading
When a Sword Pierces Your Soul
Simeon had a painful message for Mary. But she discovered that for those who trust God, he uses soul-piercing events to unleash more grace, salvation, and joy into the world than we could have ever imagined.
It was mid-morning when Joseph and Mary and their infant son entered Jerusalem’s Fountain Gate at the city’s southern tip. They passed the pool of Siloam where the disabled and diseased hoped for a…Continue Reading
Making Christmas Melancholy Point Hopeward
Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling melancholic. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we sit in the messy aftermath watching the taillights and music of another Christmas fade into the distance.
Such melancholy is common — known as “Christmas let-down.” Everyone feels sad for different reasons. Younger children are sad that the excitement is…Continue Reading
For All Who Ever Lost a Child
Suffering. Evil. Death. All of us experience them. They consume the lives of our precious loved ones — sometimes in unspeakably horrible ways. They bend us to the ground and produce tearful groanings too deep for words.
Jesus was not immune from these realities. Nor were those who found themselves caught in the cosmic crossfire surrounding the Incarnation. In Bethlehem, babies were killed because Jesus was born.
Reading what is…Continue Reading