Blog Posts on Encouragement

Don’t Give Up in the Lean Seasons

John Piper
Don’t Give Up in the Lean Seasons

I want to encourage you who are younger in ministry that lean seasons will come, and by grace you can make it through.

A Billy Graham illustration and a personal one.

Sometimes It Rains

We always think of Billy Graham’s crusades as full and successful. It was not always the case. The London Evening Standard recounted “a rain-soaked service on Streatham Common where Graham’s music director, Cliff Barrows, had to give up trying to play his trombone, and heavier members of the... Continue Reading

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 been simply horrible. In the hour of his Lord’s greatest anguish, Peter had denied even... Continue Reading

What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile

John Piper
What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile

There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.

As I look back over about 50 years of such periodic mornings, I am amazed how the Lord Jesus has preserved my life. And my ministry. The temptation to... Continue Reading

How God Makes Futility Serve Your Joy

Jon Bloom
How God Makes Futility Serve Your Joy

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope (Romans 8:20).

Are you tired of fighting futility? Evil and disorder relentlessly throw wrenches into the gears of your life. What’s the point?

For God, the point is hope. Which is very strange. Futility and hope are not friends. The former tends to kill the latter. Humans can’t make them both be true at the same time. But God can.

Futility — Turned on Its Head

Futility... Continue Reading

Luther on Five Actions for Struggling Believers

Jonathan Parnell
Luther on Five Actions for Struggling Believers

Jerome Weller was a theology student under Martin Luther's direct influence, living in his home and tutoring his children for nearly a decade. In July 1530, Luther wrote a letter of advice to Weller who was in the midst of a depression.

. . . Excellent Jerome, You ought to rejoice in this temptation of the devil because it is a certain sign that God is propitious and merciful to you. You say that the temptation is heavier than you can bear, and that you fear... Continue Reading

How Responsible Are We When the World Rejects Our Message?

John Piper

It is a humble impulse to feel that our weak effect on people is our own fault. And it may often be true. There are character traits in speakers that God uses to overcome resistance in hearers (Acts 11:24; Matthew 5:16).

But we must not bear more than we should. Not all rejection of us and our message is our fault. The apostle John writes,

The reason why the world does not know us
is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)

John does not say: The reason... Continue Reading

Don't Neglect Reminding

John Piper

It is essential to say grand old truths again and again. There is ample evidence in the Bible that they are quickly forgotten.

Remember, there are different kinds of forgetting.

One is that great truths are gone out of the mind never to return. The other is that they are gone out of the mind for a season (a day, a year) while we languish in discouragement and sin.

Don’t follow Israel here:

“And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the... Continue Reading

When God Will Not Use Bigness

John Piper

There are saving works that God will only do through small churches and ordinary people, not through large churches and more sophisticated people.

The Lord said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.’” (Judges 7:2)

Beware of missing your appointed fruit by envying bigger trees.