Blog Posts on Encouragement

You Can Take Heart in Uncertainty

Jon Bloom
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 to follow him.

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

I’m sure that whoever made this public declaration to Jesus was sincere. They likely... Continue Reading

Lay Aside the Weight of Sluggishness

Jon Bloom
Lay Aside the Weight of Sluggishness

*“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11–12)*

Sluggishness in a runner signals danger to a coach. Something isn’t right. Something is causing ambivalence, draining confidence. The runner is losing heart. Half-hearted running is a forerunner to quitting.

That’s when a caring coach... Continue Reading

Embracing Weakness Will Change Your Life

Jonathan Parnell
Embracing Weakness Will Change Your Life

Achilles was a vicious warrior with a complicated history. In Homer’s Iliad we see him rise to the top as the preeminent player at the end of the Trojan War. His full backstory is melodramatic enough to make Downton Abbey blush, but suffice it to say that no one was quite like him. Achilles was simultaneously drunk in rage and meticulous in skill as he led the Greeks in battle.But most of us probably only know him because of his heel.

Achilles doesn’t die in Homer’s... Continue Reading

Don’t Feel Qualified for Your Calling?

Jon Bloom

For the first forty years of his life, Moses lived in a place of strength. As a member of Pharaoh’s household he had social prestige, wealth (Hebrews 11:26), and youthful strength. When he became aware of and troubled by his peoples’ oppression he used this strength to exact vigilante justice on an oppressive Egyptian. That wasn’t God’s plan for deliverance. He had to flee for his life and ended up tending livestock in the quiet fields of Midian for his second forty... Continue Reading

What God Is Building Through All the "Inefficiencies" of Life

Jon Bloom

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.1

At first, God just seems to prosper Nehemiah. He rose through the ranks of... Continue Reading

Don’t Let Discouragement Choke You

Jon Bloom

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 hopelessness saps us of energy and vision. It can consume a lot of time. It... Continue Reading

Jesus: Lord of Feast and Famine, Homeruns and Strikeouts

David Mathis
Jesus: Lord of Feast and Famine, Homeruns and Strikeouts

. . . 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 gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11–13)

Smash a homer. Climb a mountain. Blast through the pile for a touchdown. Run a marathon. Establish a new personal best on the bench press. Hit the... Continue Reading

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 than what we fear.

Discouragement sets in when our... Continue Reading

Praising Others is Not Optional

Sam Crabtree
Praising Others is Not Optional

God-centered praise of those who are not God is not optional. A fire not stoked goes out. A refrigerator unplugged rots the eggs. A garden not tended erupts with weeds. Affirmation is the fire-stoking, refrigerator-electrifying, garden-tending side of relationships. Relationships in which commendable things are not commended, but overlooked, take on a flavor. The relationship is marked, and we take on a reputation to those around us.

Barnabas is called the “son of... Continue Reading

Moving From Fuzzy Platitudes to Concrete Praise

Sam Crabtree
Moving From Fuzzy Platitudes to Concrete Praise

Yesterday we saw wisdom in commending that which is most commendable in people. What is it that makes something commendable?

All beauty is rooted in Jesus Christ, who is the flawless standard of everything good. We should praise that which is praiseworthy, and that which is most praiseworthy is the Father’s beloved pre-eminent son in whom he is well-pleased. All praiseworthy qualities and characteristics originate with him, are derived from him, and mimic him... Continue Reading