Blog Posts by Jon Bloom

When It Feels Like God Is Punishing You

Jon Bloom

As a Christian, when you experience a painful providence like an illness or a rebellious child or a broken marriage or a financial hardship or persecution, do you ever wonder if God is punishing you for some sin you committed?

If you do, there is some very good news from the letter to the Hebrews.

The original readers of this letter had been experiencing persecution and affliction for some time.…

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When Homosexuality Became a Man

Jon Bloom

“Man, that guy’s got a voice!” That was my first impression of Joe Hallett.

In the fall of 1990, my wife and I joined Bethlehem Baptist’s young adult Sunday School class. And during the worship times Joe’s voice would soar above everybody’s. He wasn’t a big guy — about 5-foot-7, maybe 130 pounds. But when he sang he was a man among men.

Joe wasn’t shy either. In our first…

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Thank You, Bill Walsh

Jon Bloom

In January 1999, Desiring God was four years old and in a growth spurt. Our office was partly in two old Sunday School rooms and partly on the balcony of Bethlehem Baptist Church's vacated (and now demolished) old sanctuary. We had eight staff members, growing demands, and new dreams. But we needed someone with serious organizational horsepower to help us before things got out of hand.

And the Lord sent…

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Let Wonder Lead You to Worship (Don’t Let the Devil Dumb You)

Jon Bloom

How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this” (Psalm 92:5–6).

The devil does not want you to wonder. Wonder is deadly to the domain of darkness because of its dangerous tendency to lead to worship.

So the devil is going to do his level best to keep you stupid — stupid in the sense of…

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Jesus Commends Shrewd Money Managers

Jon Bloom

In Luke 16:1–9, Jesus told his disciples an odd parable where he used a dishonest manager as an example of shrewdness. What did he mean? Imagine a discussion about this between disciples Simon (the Zealot) and Matthew.

________

“Matthew, you know more about these things than I do. Why did the Master commend the dishonest manager’s shrewdness?”

Simon’s question stung a bit and Matthew’s look said so.

“Oh. I didn’t…

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Joe Encouragement: Let’s Be Like Him

Jon Bloom

“Encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

His name was Joseph. But he “was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)” (Acts 4:36). Joe Encouragement. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be such an encouraging person that your friends simply call you Encouragement?

Courage is the resolve to face a fearful threat. And courage comes from hope — a hope in something stronger…

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Jesus Also Had Unbelieving Family Members

Jon Bloom

Do you, like me, have family members who do not believe in Jesus? If so, we are in good company. So did Jesus. And I think this is meant to give us hope. 

According to the Apostle John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5). That’s incredible. Those who had lived with Jesus for 30 years really did not know him. Not one of Jesus’ brothers is mentioned…

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear

Jon Bloom

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied. (Proverbs 19:23)

Franklin D. Roosevelt coined one of America’s iconic maxims in his first inaugural address: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s not true.

Roosevelt was trying to quell the national panic of financial crisis, urging Americans not to succumb to “unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts.” It…

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He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease

Jon Bloom

All of us want to finish well. But so many of us do not. Why? Because we too easily cherish our roles in the Great Wedding more than the wedding itself. Which is why John the Baptist1 must become our mentor.

________

It was all a bit hard to comprehend.

John’s disciples had understood his mission. He had come to prepare the way for the Hope of Israel. It…

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You Don’t Have to Obey

Jon Bloom

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions (Romans 6:12).

It bears repeating: if you want life, deny yourself (Matthew 16:24–25). Your narcissistic nihilist self will kill you if you do not.

This truth left me trembling again when I heard last week of a respected, seasoned Christian leader who committed suicide after his sexual sin was exposed.

Such a horror is alarming.…

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What the Lilac Preached to Me

Jon Bloom

The man at Home Depot said I had to choose between having kids and having a yard.

I have five kids. And our friends next door have five kids. Inner-city living means that most of the biking, digging, running, building, light saber wars and ball games occur inside the fenced confines of our little yard.

Choice made, I guess.

Spring’s advent has resurrected my fantasy of a lush, well-kept lawn…

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A Prayer for a Lukewarm Heart

Jon Bloom

O Infinitely Passionate Father,

You have created me with the capacity for deep affections — to love, to loathe, to desire, to delight, to excite, to grieve, to laugh, to enjoy, to fear, to be depressed, to be thankful. And you made me this way that I may glorify you by finding you my Supreme Satisfaction and the Fountain of everything delightful.

But I confess that my affections for you…

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If You Feel Overwhelmed, Eat!

Jon Bloom

When your soul is troubled and you feel overwhelmed, sometimes you need to just stop stewing and praying and tell yourself to eat, for God’s sake.

I get this from psalms like Psalm 43:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

This psalmist feels overwhelmed…

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The Cross Guarantees the Death of Our Dark Guest

Jon Bloom

Easter is for shouting. But Good Friday is for not much talking.

Good Friday is for long looks at the fulcrum of human history when the most beautiful and most horrible events converged in one glorious gory moment as the mangled, tortured holy Prince of Glory willingly became unholy (2 Corinthians 5:21) and died under the damning wrath of his holy Father, who loved him supremely and infinitely.

When we…

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When the Angel Didn't Come

Jon Bloom

Luke says it so quickly, so matter-of-factly: “[Herod] killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). In the flow of the story this little phrase sets the stage for Peter’s dramatic prison rescue by the angel. So that’s what we remember. When Peter later wrote, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9), this is the sort of rescue that easily comes…

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Whom Are You Really Serving?

Jon Bloom

When Martha welcomed Jesus and his contingent into her home in Bethany (Luke 10:38–42) there could have been a hundred or more people. The seventy-two had just rejoined Jesus after their itinerant ministry tours. And considering his fame at this point, no doubt his visit attracted a number of locals.

And when the group had packed inside, Jesus taught them. But Martha wasn’t one of “them” because she was too…

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God Loves Good Wine

Jon Bloom

God likes using wines and vines in his miracles and parables.

I thought of that a number of years ago when I read the following in an article:

Great wines come from low-yielding vineyards planted in marginal climates on the poorest soils. Though hard on the vines, these tough conditions are good for the wine, because the vines that are stressed must work harder to produce fruit, which leads…

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God Wants You to Complain

Jon Bloom

Psalm 142:1–2,

With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.”

To live in this age is to frequently experience trouble. We are troubled within and we are troubled without. Our troubles span the spectrum of trivial to traumatic. And these various kinds of troubles…

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Don’t Focus on Your Strengths

Jon Bloom

The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation (Exodus 15:2).

For the past decade or so, discovering our strengths has been the buzz in North America, particularly in leadership and management circles. Lots of books have been published and numerous tests developed to help us identify our strengths.

The closest biblical parallels are texts like Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Romans 12:6–8, and others…

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The Darling Object of William Wilberforce

Jon Bloom

At 4:00 AM on February 24, 1807, the British Parliament overwhelmingly voted to abolish the slave trade and then “rose almost to a man and turned towards [William] Wilberforce in a burst of Parliamentary cheers…while he sat, head bowed, tears streaming down his face.”1 

This extraordinary moment was the culmination of 20 years of relentless, determined personal and legislative exertion to bring this evil trade to an end.…

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Spiritual Leadership May Be Heartbreaking, but It Is Always Hopeful

Jon Bloom

Any time a selfish sinner is tasked with leading other selfish sinners in a Godward direction — whether in families, friendships, small groups, churches, or broader movements — there’s going to be trouble.

Take Moses, for example. No Old Covenant leader was as meek as Moses (Numbers 12:3), had more intimate interaction with God (Exodus 33:11), and was more unjustly and harshly criticized by those he led.

Here’s an overview…

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He Finished Well: A Tribute to Mike Stohlmeyer

Jon Bloom and Matt Heerema

On February 11, 2012, at age 61, Mike Stohlmeyer, a good friend of and mission partner with us at Desiring God, entered the joy of his master, Jesus Christ. After a 39-year battle with Crohn’s Disease, Mike’s body finally succumbed but his spirit did not. He finished well and no doubt was greeted with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Mike lived in Ames,…

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Don’t Give Up

Jon Bloom

“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints” (Revelation 14:12).

We all long for rest and refreshment. That’s a God-given longing that he promises to fulfill: “I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:25).

And in a very real way Jesus gives rest to “all who labor and are heavy laden” and come to him (Matthew 11:28). But in this age,…

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Jesus Chooses and Uses Failures

Jon Bloom

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved. Sitting on the beach after breakfast, Jesus had just asked him for the third time if he loved him. Peter had already wholeheartedly answered yes twice. What else was he supposed to say?

With these questions, the Lord was putting his finger on a very tender wound in Peter’s heart. Peter’s failure on the night of Jesus’ trial had…

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