Blog Posts by Jon Bloom
Don’t Miss the Subtle, Ironic Poetry of God
When it comes to God, you must always keep your eyes open. If you don’t pay attention you’ll miss jaw-dropping glory.
Take the book of Esther, for example. If you’re not careful, you’ll only see a Hollywood-like story of a beautiful young orphan girl who against all odds becomes queen of Persia and, with a little help, recognizes her moment of destiny and courageously faces down a Persian Hitler.
The Crux of History
Human history swings on the hinge of a Palestinian Jew. They can call it “Common Era” if they wish, but every event known to man is recorded as occurring (approximately) before or after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
And no single event in recorded history is more influential than his execution. Because of Jesus’s death nearly 2,000 years ago, over 2 billion people now call themselves Christians. Most statisticians…Continue Reading
Why Jethro? The Wisdom of What God Doesn't Say
“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
“[Jethro said to Moses,] What you are doing is not good… Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you”… So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. (Exodus 18:17, 19, 24)
Have you ever wondered why…Continue Reading
Withdraw to a Desolate Place So You Don’t Waste Your Life
But [Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:16)
A retreat might just be what you need in order to not waste your life.
Note that Jesus, in the middle of very busy ministry, would withdraw to desolate places to pray and listen to his Father. Think about that. Jesus only had a public ministry of three years. He didn’t have any life to waste in planting the…Continue Reading
Beware the Peril that Lurks in Success
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. (2 Samuel 11:2)
We are never more vulnerable to sin than when we are successful, admired by others, and prosperous, as King David tragically discovered. Imagine him reflecting on his adultery a year later.
It was…Continue Reading
Wrong Thinking Is Behind Wrong Living
Everybody knows this is true. It’s a very simple principle.
But right thinking is very hard. The forces wielding a distorting influence over our reasoning powers are immense. Though God is revealing himself all the time in every aspect of his creation (Romans 1:20) and his Word (Hebrews 1:1–2), Satan is constantly trying to blind us to that revelation (2 Corinthians 4:4). And indwelling sin mixes with culture, education, and…Continue Reading
Most of the Work of Ministry Is Done by Christians Who Work Secular Jobs
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him… in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. (1 Corinthians 7:17, 24)
Most Christians struggle at some point with the sense that ministry jobs are just more sacred than other jobs. You can see this reflected in our terminology: we tend to call non-ministry jobs…Continue Reading
A Prayer for What I Need Most
O gracious God, Father of the Lord Jesus,
Through your Son’s words I hear you ask me “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41). This is my answer: I want Ephesians 3:16–19.
I want you to “strengthen me with power through [your] Spirit in [my] inner being” (verse 16). I need your power more than I need prosperity or popularity or peace in my family because…Continue Reading
Make October "Faith Month"
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
October will be here before we know it. And October ends with Reformation Day, because on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, lighting the fuse that exploded into…Continue Reading
Give Them Words of Eternal Life
Lord… You have the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)
Christians are word people. We’re really into words because the Founder of Christianity is the Word (John 1:1). He came to earth to deliver a message in words. Those of us who have believed his words recognize them as the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). And we seek to speak these words to others so they too can have…Continue Reading
What God Is Building Through All the "Inefficiencies" of Life
Time and energy is money. And money is money. So when we want to get something done we typically want it done as efficiently as possible.
That’s why we are often bewildered when God gives us work to do and then allows the “inefficiencies” of trouble and opposition to consume so much time, energy, and money. Why does he do this? We see a clue in the book of Nehemiah.…Continue Reading
The Pride of Nazareth
Jesus and Nazareth are inseparable. Jesus spent most of his life in Nazareth. The prophets had said, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). History would remember him as Jesus of Nazareth. Even the demons called him that (Luke 4:34).
That's why this verse is one of the saddest in the Bible:
And he did not do many mighty works [in Nazareth], because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)
The More Wood, the Bigger the Fire
People don’t really care how many books we’ve read. So it’s a waste of time to read kinds of books or numbers of books to impress others.
And it’s also a waste if we spend most of our reading time escaping into a fantasy. I don’t mean fantasy as a genre. I’ve seen glorious realities while sojourning in Middle Earth. I’m talking about literary fast food that tastes good but…Continue Reading
Refuse to Be Numbed
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:2–3)
Hundreds of millions…
Sexy, Successful, and Smart
He had… no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men. (Isaiah 53:2)
Are you feeling hopeful today? Take a look under the hood. How much of your hope is linked to some promise of a more attractive, prosperous, impressive future you — a you others will admire? Feeling discouraged? How much is linked to someone else’s disapproval?
The world has a gospel and preaches…Continue Reading
Throw Off the Shackles of Conventional Coolness
Life is Christ. (Philippians 1:21)
One of the great hoaxes of our time is that we’ve learned to worship posers. American heroes are mainly entertainers. Our heroes don’t have to do anything particularly great, they just need to look and sound great. Lewis was right in more ways than one: “we are far too easily pleased.”
My beef is not with skillful entertainers as such. Working hard to become skillful…Continue Reading
Don’t Let Discouragement Choke You
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)
Discouragement is a temptation “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). And in dealing with it sometimes we need tenderness and other times we need toughness. But either way discouragement is not to be tolerated or wallowed in. It’s to be fought.
If we linger in discouragement it can be costly. Its sense of defeat and…Continue Reading
You Obey the One You Fear
At the root of insecurity — the anxiety over how others think of us — is pride. This pride is an excessive desire for others to see us as impressive and admirable. Insecurity is the fear that they won’t, but instead they will see us as deficient. As King Saul1 shows us, it’s a dangerous fear because insecurity can lead to great disobedience.
Samuel’s heart was broken and heavy…Continue Reading
Come, Take a Look at This!
We impoverish ourselves by not lingering more. Whipping from one thing to the next does not make for a rich, memorable life. Understanding and wonder and worship don’t typically result from doing or reading as many things as possible. It comes from focus and contemplation and rumination. For most of us the wise choice is to go deep, not broad.
When you stop to examine, to search through, to figure…Continue Reading
Fight the Poverty of Attention
Oh, that my people would listen to me. (Psalm 81:13)
“Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information.”1 I’ll bet you’re finding that difficult to do, aren’t you — paying attention? As you read this are other flies of information buzzing around your head?
Ever since sin clouded the human mind with disparate impulses and voices, paying attention, particularly to the right things, has been hard.…Continue Reading
Your Emotions Are a Gauge, Not a Guide
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).
Your rest is coming. Sooner than you know you will receive your “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4). And when it comes you will understand why your faith was more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). This…Continue Reading
When You’re in a Spiritual Storm, Trust Your Instruments
“Spatial disorientation” is what a pilot experiences when he’s flying in weather conditions that prevent him from being able to see the horizon or the ground. Points of reference that guide his senses disappear. His perceptions become unreliable. He can no longer be sure which way is up or down. It can be deadly — it killed John Kennedy, Jr.1
The only way a pilot can overcome spatial disorientation…Continue Reading
Jesus Comes When You Least Expect
“The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). Jesus said this of second coming. But it’s also a familiar pattern of Jesus’ dealings with us in almost all areas. His reasons for this are mysterious and glorious, as the woman at the well in John 4 experienced.
Let’s imagine this Samaritan woman many years later as Photine1, living in Rome and…Continue Reading
The Most Precious Treasures Are in the Most Difficult Things
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation (Hebrews 11:1–2).
Hebrews 11 is in the Bible to remind us that God hides his most precious treasures for his saints in their most difficult and painful experiences.
When we read this chapter we are supposed to stop and reflect more deeply on this strange…Continue Reading
God Is Merciful Not to Tell Us Everything
There is more mercy than we realize when God chooses not to tell us everything. When the disciples were with Jesus on the Mount of Olives just before his ascension to the Father, one of them asked a question that must have been on everyone’s mind: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
It had been a long wait. 2,000 years had passed since…Continue Reading