Blog Posts by Jon Bloom
Lay Aside the Weight of Christmas Expectations
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
At Christmastime, it’s good for us to remember just how dangerous fantasies are.
I’m not talking about Narnia-type fantasies. I’m talking about how out of our self-centered desires we construct ideas and expectations of the way we want things to be and project them on to people and events. If those people…Continue Reading
No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard
Nobody said it was easy;
No one ever said it would be this hard. (Coldplay, “The Scientist”)
O Christian Hedonism! That ancient, beautiful, biblical truth that our treasure is what most captures our heart (Matthew 6:21), that what measures our treasure is our pleasure, that if God is our “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4) then God’s pursuit of glory and our pursuit of happiness are one wonderful, wild pursuit!…Continue Reading
When Black Friday Becomes a Mission
With the Christmas season and all its commercial blitz and glitz upon us (seen especially on Black Friday), let’s lay aside the grousing and see the grace. No throwing wet blankets over Christmas.
May Christmas always blaze healthy and strong in the fireplace of our Decembers, radiating golden light and drawing loved ones and strangers together around its warmth to share a cup of joyful wonder.
And please, let…Continue Reading
How Can We Give Thanks in All Circumstances?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
In last week’s post, I described grumbling as the accent of hell and gratitude as the accent of heaven. But as many of us prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, let’s take a longer look at gratitude.
More specifically, how is it possible to obey 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and…Continue Reading
Don’t Raise Good Kids
Parents, don’t raise good kids. I’m a recovering good kid, and I’m here to tell you that the gospel isn’t for good kids.
I was pretty easy for my parents to raise. I was generally compliant, had a buoyant, warm personality, didn’t get into any serious trouble, was liked by my teachers for the most part, usually did respectably in school, was a leader in my church groups, and had…Continue Reading
We Are Far Too Easily Displeased
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:14–15)
I am a grumbler by (fallen) nature.
Just this morning a malfunctioning software program required my attention. Experience told me the likely course: at least two times on the phone with…Continue Reading
God Desires You Far More Than You Desire Him
Christianity is not so much about you desiring God as it is about God desiring you. I wonder if you believe that.
We are all about desiring God at Desiring God. We believe with all our hearts that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
But the truth is that we will not desire God if we don’t believe that really God desires us.…Continue Reading
Five Ways to Refresh the Saints in Your Life
When reading Paul’s letter to Philemon this week I saw a theme I hadn’t really seen before. This letter is an instruction on how to refresh the saints.
Philemon was a refreshing person. When Paul thought about Philemon he thought about the joy and comfort Philemon had given him and others:
I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have…
When the Vine Really Became Precious
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
It was a July morning in Manila in 1985 when union with Jesus really became precious to me. I know right where I was sitting having devotions in the courtyard of the YWAM outpost.
I was a…Continue Reading
Lay Aside the Weight of Discontentment
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13)
In the race of faith, it is crucial to remember that our contentment is not determined…Continue Reading
What to Neglect to Have a Rich Life
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
This verse from Colossians is so full of nourishment that there is no way to put the whole thing in our mouths at one time. It’s going to take a few blog bites to chew on it.
The Powerful Glory of Yielding Power
Perhaps the only thing harder for prideful humans than humbly wielding power is humbly yielding power.
And the most beautiful Old Testament example of this is the way Jonathan yielded Israel’s throne to David. But as we see in 1 Samuel 23:15–18, he did far more than just yield.
Abinadab had watched his fugitive younger brother receive Jonathan like royalty. Such an embrace. Such intimate talk. Such weeping in farewell.…Continue Reading
How to Humbly Give and Receive Correction
Because we struggle so much with pride, correction can be difficult to give graciously and difficult to receive graciously.
That’s one reason to be very thankful for Exodus 18. God is so kind to have Jethro and Moses give us a clinic on what humble correction looks like on both sides.
At this point in the story, Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, had escorted Moses’s wife (his daughter) and two…Continue Reading
God’s Bright Design for Your Bitter Providences
This is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
God tells us everything we need to know to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3). But sometimes we wonder.
The unexpected, unexplained twists and turns our lives take create all kinds of apparent uncertainties for us. And the profound pain we endure can be so perplexing. There is so much God doesn’t tell…Continue Reading
Hope for the Battle with Intractable Weakness
We all have sin-infected weaknesses that are intractable. They are deeply woven into the fabric of who we are and are frequently exacerbated by our sinful responses to them.
Inherent weaknesses are different from indwelling sin. Indwelling sin is evil that is waging war against God in our very members (Romans 7:21–23). Inherent weaknesses are our bodily experience of God’s curse of futility that is affecting all of creation (Romans…Continue Reading
Six Benefits of Ordinary Daily Devotions
Private devotions aren’t magic. We know that (for the most part).
But still, we can be tempted to think that if we just figure out the secret formula — the right mixture of Bible meditation and prayer — we will experience euphoric moments of rapturous communion with the Lord. And if that doesn’t happen, our formula must be wrong.
The danger of this misconception is that it can produce chronic…Continue Reading
Lay Aside the Weight of Prideful Comparison
By the grace of God I am what I am. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
God made you to be you.
You have the body God gave you — with all its genetic capacities and limitations (Psalm 139:13). You were born at the time and place he determined (Acts 17:26).
And if you’re a Christian, he has called you out of darkness into light (Ephesians 5:8). God considers you a necessary part…Continue Reading
The Impoverishing Power of Financial Prosperity
The story of the rich young man in Mark 10 has a chilling message: earthly prosperity can make people spiritually destitute.
“Teacher! Teacher, please wait!”
Jesus and his disciples were just leaving town. They turned and saw a young man hurrying toward them. His clothes, carriage, elocution all communicated “aristocrat.” But his face was distressed and there was urgency in his voice. The disciples assumed someone else needed healing or…Continue Reading
You Can Take Heart in Uncertainty
Uncertainty is a difficult thing to bear. We want to know where the provision is going to come from or if we’re going to die of this disease or how this child is going to turn out or if our job will still be there next month.
But as we see in Luke 9:57–58, Jesus makes it clear that his disciples must be able to bear uncertainty if they are…Continue Reading
Jesus Has Overcome the World
One thing the Bible is not is utopist about life in this world. It gets unfairly criticized for encouraging a pessimism that makes people passive about doing anything to improve things; people who are “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.”
Of course, that’s a lot of hogwash. History has shown that those who have a hope of heaven are far more likely than their agnostic neighbors to willingly…Continue Reading
Lay Aside the Weight of Fragmented Focus
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. (2 Timothy 2:4)
The Debilitating Weight of Too Much
If we’re going to successfully run the race of faith with endurance (Hebrews 12:1) and finish our course and the ministry we receive from the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:24), we must learn the martial art of doing less.
I call it a “martial…Continue Reading
How to Endure Common-to-Man Temptations
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“No temptation.” I love that phrase. It covers them all. But the temptations that Paul is talking about specifically in the preceding…Continue Reading
How Jesus Exposed the Idol of Self-Glory
The love of our own glory is the greatest competitor with God in our hearts. And sometimes we cloak this idol in a pious disguise. In Matthew 21, Jesus exposed this idol in the hearts of a few men with a single question.
It was the final week before Jesus’s day of judgment — the day he would stand before his Father’s bar of justice bearing the sins of all…Continue Reading
Seven Ways to Pray for Your Heart
Over the years, as I’ve prayed for my own heart, I’ve accumulated seven “D’s” that I have found helpful. Maybe you’ll find them helpful as well.
With seven you can use them a number of ways. You might choose one “D” per day. Or you could choose one “D” as a theme for a week and pray through these every seven weeks. You’ll also note that I have a verse…Continue Reading
Lay Aside the Weight of “Not Feeling Like It”
What do you not feel like doing today?
You know what I mean. It’s that thing that’s weighing on you, which you know would honor God because it obeys his law of love (John 15:12), or is a work of faith (2 Thessalonians 1:11), or puts “to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). You know it would be good for your soul or body or family or vocation…Continue Reading