Blog Posts by Jon Bloom
Are You Content with Weaknesses?
Every day, as we seek to follow Jesus, we deal with incessant weaknesses in our bodies, emotions, relationships, families, vocations, and churches. We are “beset with weakness” (Hebrews 5:2). And they tempt us to discouragement, sometimes exasperation.
But one of the precious gifts of Second Corinthians, especially chapters 11–12 is that, through Paul, God teaches us a great gospel paradox of the life of faith: God’s grace is more clearly…Continue Reading
What Love for God Looks Like
The greatest commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:36–37). But what that looks like can shock us, as it did Simon in Luke 7:36–50.
He had the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 54:5) in his house, reclining at his table. The Prophet that Moses had foretold (Deuteronomy 18:15) was sharing dinner with him. The Lord of glory, the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), was speaking with him face to…Continue Reading
I Will Not Let You Go Unless You Bless Me
Is there a fear staring you in the face right now? Are you finding your faith in God’s promise shaking? If so, you are likely praying desperately for God to be with you. God will answer you. But you might, like Jacob in Genesis 32, be surprised by his answer.
Jacob leaned on his staff, staring at the stars. He was looking for hope. “Number the stars, if you are…Continue Reading
Staying Faithful When Things Get Worse
Genesis chapters 37–41 only tell the low and high points of Joseph’s Egyptian slavery and imprisonment. But he spent at least 12 years there before he suddenly became the Egyptian Prime Minister. And during that terribly lonely, desolate time, things seemed to go from bad to worse. Imagine what Joseph might have experienced at about year nine into his sojourn.
Darkness had swallowed the light again. Joseph dreaded the night…Continue Reading
When a Rock Sunk Slowly
The new banner above has its inspiration from the following story about Peter’s walking on (and sinking in) the water (see Matthew 14:13–33 and John 6:1–21). We must think carefully about this because in following Jesus we are called to do essentially the same thing.
The day had been another mind-blower for the disciples.
As they rowed toward Capernaum it was hard to stop talking about what they had seen.…Continue Reading
When the Perfect Comes . . .
“…when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:10).
Another year is passing away. Thank God. Not only for the massive amounts of unquantifiable grace we have received from him, but also because we are one year closer to the passing away of this partial age and all of its incumbent sorrow and weariness.
“When the perfect comes.” Those inspired words stir up deep longings for a…Continue Reading
A Stable of Desperation
This imaginative story, including character names, was written as a sort of prequel to John Piper’s moving story, The Innkeeper.
The first Christmas night was a holy night. But it was not a silent night. All was not calm. After walking a hundred miles, Joseph arrived in an overcrowded Bethlehem, with a wife in advanced labor. And “there was no place for…Continue Reading
Christmas: The Dawn of Death’s Destruction
The Apostle Paul wrote, “O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Anyone grieving the death of someone they love deeply will say that “sting” hardly begins to describe the pain.
And Christmas often heightens this pain. Certain decorations recall hands we will never hold again. Gatherings make visible precious absences. Sweet voices now stilled echo in our memories as we sing or share stories.
But this is not…Continue Reading
Show Them the Light in the Bleak Midwinter Night
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Where I live Christmastime is cold. Just days ago Minneapolis was wrapped in a frigid blanket of snow 14 inches thick. Though the drab brown city was transfigured into a winter wonderland, every Minneapolitan longed for warmth.
Where I live Christmastime is dark.…Continue Reading
Christmas Bloodline: Notorious Women in Jesus’s Family
Buried in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter one is a gospel treasure. That treasure is five women. Their inclusion in the list is notable because it’s a patrilineal genealogy — a record of fathers and sons. Their inclusion is also notable because they were among the most notorious women in biblical history.
The first mentioned is Tamar (Matthew 1:3). Remember her? Tamar entered the royal bloodline of…Continue Reading
Beware a Quaint Christmas
If you’ve been a Christian for a number of years or if you grew up where Christmas is traditionally celebrated, the idea that a member of the Godhead became veiled in flesh may have lost its strangeness. It’s Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year! It’s kind Joseph, serene Mary, and incandescent baby Jesus in a manger. It’s a crèche with quaint figurine shepherds, three wise men, sheep, a…Continue Reading
Do Not Be Afraid
Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
In 2 Chronicles 20, the armies of Moab, Ammon, and Edom were on the move. Destination: Jerusalem. These were relatives of the Israel, Moab and Ammon being descendants of Lot and Edom of Esau. But this was no family reunion. This was a slaughter…Continue Reading
The Apologetic of Pointing
Most people don’t feel the need to struggle with Descartes over how they can be sure that they exist. And most don’t doubt the existence of the sun. These things are self-authenticating when one sees them.
And so is Jesus Christ.
He is the supreme I am (John 8:58). He is the “sunrise from on high” (Luke 1:78). He is the most self-authenticating Reality that exists.
But he must be…Continue Reading
We Must Have Help to See Right
If I take my glasses off the world becomes blurry. In fact, things begin to diffuse at about six inches from my nose and grow more distorted the further away they are. I am very dependent on my corrective lenses to see correctly.
Richard Dawkins believes that this is evidence that there is no Designer. What Designer would make such a crucial organ as the eye so prone to defection?
What You Teach Really, Really Matters
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)
Do you have a communication gifting? Have others commented on how well you speak or write? Do you find yourself dreaming about using your gifts in ministry? Wonderful! We are praying for more herald-labors in the gospel harvest (Matthew 9:38). Consider it…Continue Reading
An Antidote to the Disorder
America is the most affluent nation in the history of the world. And affluence is at once wonderful and perilous in its potential. Listen to what Michael Ramsden has to say:
Our affluent culture looks for ease in everything. Comfort is prized more than anything else. In his book, The Challenge of Affluence, Professor Avner Offer makes the observation that moral prudence is required in order to build up…
John the Baptist's Doubt
Are you struggling with doubts in the middle of painful circumstances? So did John the Baptist. As he sat in Herod Antipas’s prison waiting likely execution, he was afflicted with doubts about Jesus.
“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
This was a surprising question coming from John the Baptist.
It’s unclear exactly when John first consciously knew that Jesus was the Son…Continue Reading
Remember What’s Really Going On: Jesus Is Gathering His Sheep
I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:16)
Jesus Christ is hard at work gathering the rest of his sheep that he “bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28) and that are “scattered abroad” (John 11:52). This is the main thing that is happening in the…Continue Reading
Give Others the Gift of Being Slow to Speak
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)
Listen. Wait. Respond.
How many of our conflicts would dissolve or never even materialize if we:
- Listened to really understand a person’s concern or complaint,
- Waited... till our typically wrong initial impulse passed, till we’ve prayed, till we’ve asked clarifying questions,
- And then responded with patience, graciousness, honesty, clarity, and,…
What I Am Doing You Do Not Understand Now
Peter watched Jesus make his way toward him, washing the feet of other disciples.
It had already been a confusing Passover. Jesus had been unusually burdened, close to tears all day. The atmosphere during the meal was charged with ominous anticipation.
Peter had grown used to Jesus doing and saying unpredictable things. But what Jesus was doing now was wrong. He was the last person in the room who should…Continue Reading
Seize the Christmas Moment
Fast approaching is a cultural moment we should not miss for trying to help people see Jesus Christ.
America may be post-Christian, but Christmas is graciously stubborn. There it is in December, immovable. God has mercifully ordained that much of our economy depends on a cultural remembrance of the birth of the Messiah. God employs irony by using the power of unrighteous mammon to force pagan Westerners to look at…Continue Reading
Piper and Edwards On Election (the Presidential One, I Mean)
The 57th U.S. presidential election is bearing down hard on us. Well-funded propaganda warships are shelling us from every media outlet. Dire consequences are prophesied if the wrong vision for America is elected to power.
But here’s something that you haven’t seen on any yard sign, heard in any debate, or read in any party platform:
If we do not join God in advancing his aim for the universe, then…
How I Forgot the Gospel
I forget the gospel. It’s one of the most maddening things about living with a truth-distorting sin nature. Let me give you a recent example.
A few weeks ago I said to my wife, “I’m feeling gospel fatigue. I’m tired of hearing ‘gospel’ in just about everything.” She looked at me funny. I explained that I was probably just feeling jaded by the commercialization of the gospel or how it…Continue Reading
Jesus Understands Loneliness
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
Sometimes we feel alone in the world. Jesus understands this feeling. In a very human sense, he was alone.
Imagine what living in this world was like for Jesus. He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). That might sound like a pleasant problem to deal with. I don’t think so. I think it…Continue Reading
Give the Priceless Gift of Corrective Lenses
Jesus died for me. What a treasure I must be!
I can think of a number of times over the years when I’ve heard people say something like this. And typically they were people I knew read the Bible frequently. But this idea isn’t in the Bible. Jesus didn’t die to purchase treasures. He died to ransom (Mark 10:45) enemies (Romans 5:10). We’re not the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew…Continue Reading