Monday, January 15, 2018

Have you ever known the terror of depression but you keep on without getting help?

The Private Terror in “Paradise”

The days progressed as we clung to our perch in south Florida. Steve was leading an evangelism team, leading an adult Bible fellowship in our home church, and planning his next preaching opportunity in central Florida. Every night and early morning we faced our private terror.
Terror is exactly what it was becoming. Steve looked so full of fear and in such agony. I could hardly bear to look at him. In fact, the phrase that kept coming to my mind was from Luke 16:23: “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” That’s exactly how Steve looked. I remember standing over him while he sat in one of our kitchen chairs. He looked up at me with that “beyond pain” expression. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “I could whip you right now, couldn’t I?” He nodded, knowing he was weaker than I. This time we both cried.
More of the classic symptoms cropped up. Of course we didn’t know they were the classic symptoms. Steve began to walk and walk, around and around the neighborhood. He paced, wringing his hands and rubbing his head. This is called psychomotor agitation.
Mornings were always worse, an effect called diurnal mood variation. He cycled up a bit at around two in the afternoon and could almost function for a few hours. He used these precious hours to plan his next ministry opportunity. He was mostly using old material now because his concentration was gone. How could he expect to prepare new sermons and new presentations when he could hardly make a decision?

Years later I came across an interesting side note in a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. He was preaching on a Sunday night in 1869 and was horribly depressed. He states,

"My brethren, I am quite out of order for addressing you tonight. I feel extremely unwell, excessively heavy and exceedingly depressed, and yet I could not deny myself the pleasure of trying to say a few words to you. I have taken a text upon which I think I could preach in my sleep; and I believe that if I were dying, and were graciously led in the old track, I could with my last expiring breath, pour out a heart full of utterance upon the delightful verse I have selected. It happens to be the passage from which I first essayed to speak in public when I was but a boy of sixteen years of age; and I am sure it contains the marrow of what I have always taught in the pulpit from that day until now. The words are in the second chapter of  the first Epistle of Peter, and the seventh verse, Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.

He went on to preach a wonderful sermon on the truths of that text. It was comforting to think that even so powerful a preacher as Spurgeon sometimes was so sick that he had to speak on something familiar. One time when Steve was horribly depressed, I hugged him and told him, “I always wanted to marry a man like Spurgeon—I just hadn’t known exactly what that meant.”

Steve preached one of his “familiar text sermons” in central Florida on the way down to West Palm Beach. Such preaching opportunities are called “pulpit supply.” Churches sometimes ask prospective pastors to fill in when they are without a pastor. It is understood that no strings are attached. Then if the congregation feels that God would have them pursue the man further, they ask him to return to candidate. On this Sunday, Steve preached, spoke with many people, and basically hid his depression from the church. I was amazed at how well he handled himself when I knew the full extent of his pain.

When that weekend was over, we proceeded down to West Palm, to a place of safety, tucked away from wondering eyes and questions. This isolation was so hard for me. If Steve had been diagnosed with almost anything else, or if I had even feared that he might have a heart condition or cancer, I would have gone to friends, praying acquaintances, or anyone else who would sympathize. I wanted to physically throw myself on the shoulder of someone who would have cared about us and our children. But I couldn’t. It was all too confusing and scary. Bloem, Robyn and Steve. Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. (Grand Rapids, Kregel Publications (2005) pp38,39 

The above paragraphs were taken directly from Steve and Robyn's book (picture is on the left,} The book is published by Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  If you would like to order this book; in paper back, a signed copy  by
the authors, please go  You will scroo' down to the donate button and put in $11:00 + 3 dollars shipping, for a total of $14.00.

 If you would like to buy it in kindle, please go to

Friday, January 5, 2018

God does not promise born again Christians that they will be fee of sickness, depression and poverty!

God does not promise His people that they will be free from sickness, problems, poverty and more. People who buy into the health, wealth and prosperity gospel tend to believe that God will deliver everyone from all kinds of problems if only they have enough faith in Him. There are examples throughout Scripture and in church history of people who have had sickness and weakness of mind.

Image result for john the baptist in prison
One example is that of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:1-6). The fiery preacher, who in his near past had great multitudes hanging on his every word, now lay imprisoned in a dark dungeon with its stale air and rodents. Why was this mighty and prophetic voice silenced? It was because he had preached the judgment of God to Herod and his so called wife, Herodias. Why did the Baptist  do so? It was because of their incestuous and adulterous relationship.

John was in a dark dungeon; he no doubt longed for the fellowship of his disciples and even of Christ. Instead, because of his identification with our Lord Jesus he was participating in His sufferings.

John had not seen many of Christ’s greatest miracles. However, he had clearly testified that Jesus was the Son of God (John1:24). Now he was haunted with doubts about whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. That is why Matthew records for us how John sent his messengers to ask Jesus about His claims to be Messiah. They said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else" (John 11:3 NASB)? Jesus answered John’s disciples, "go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind received sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who does not take offense at Me" (Matthew 11:4-6 NASB). The same John who had said, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 NASB) was now disappointed, lonely and out of the mainstream. He would die alone by the sword of the executioner (Mathew 14:8 NASB). But Heaven gave him a glad and abundant welcome.

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An Abundant entrance into Heaven

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Peter 1:10, 11). Taken from . Bloem, Robyn and Steve CAMI Leader Guide, support group for Christians with mental illness, (copy right 2010) self published.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be evidence to convict you?

Steve Bloem All rights reserved, 2017

I was surprised , when I learned that a youth group of a church, of which I was a member, played a game called, "The Persecuted Church."  Part of the game include  to capturing believers and putting them in prison.  At least they had the persecuted church in mind, but  it is hard to simulate an actual persecuted church, the weeping, the torture, the years of not being with loved ones are difficult to imitate.
Perhaps of the greatest  sins of omission of the evangelical churches in the western world is apathy towards the persecuted church. Modern technology has made it possible to interact with those who are constantly and repeatedly being arrested and thrown into prison. But do we do it?

Persecution does take place in the United States of America
I lost a job due to persecution! But back to the question, Would you be tried and convicted or would the courts say, "no I am sorry there is just not enough evidence to convict this professing criminal."
You can start demonstrating that you know Christ by obeying the command in Scripture seen below.

This Scripture warns us against such apathy. Sympathy is important but empathy is commanded.

Go to

Friday, December 29, 2017

Joeseph was once the "spoiled one", and then the "hidden one.".

Psalm 105:17-21

Psalm 105:17-21 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave
They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of          the LORD tested him;
They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of          the LORD tested him;The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. He made him lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions

Psalms 105:17
He sent a man before them, even Joseph
Who, though but a lad of seventeen years of age when he was sold into Egypt, yet was a grown man when he stood before Pharaoh, and interpreted his dreams of plenty and famine to come; and advised him to lay up store in the years of plenty, against the years of famine; by which he appeared to be a wise man, as the Targum here calls him; see ( Genesis 37:3 ) ( 41:46 ) . Him God sent before into Egypt; before Jacob and his sons went down thither, to make provision for them, to support them in the time of famine, and preserve their lives. God is said to send him, though his brethren sold him out of envy; there being such a plain hand of Providence in this matter; and which is observed by Joseph himself over and over again, ( Genesis 45:5-8 ) , in which he was a type of Christ, in whom all provisions are made, and by whom they are communicated unto his people; who all receive out of his fullness, and grace for grace.
Who was sold for a servant:
either "to a servant": as to Potiphar, as Aben Ezra, who was a servant of Pharaoh's; or rather to be a servant, as Joseph was in his house: he was sold for twenty pieces of silver, as Christ, his antitype, for thirty; the price of a servant, ( Genesis 37:28 ) ( Zechariah 11:13 ) ( Exodus 21:32 ) , and who not only appeared in the form of a servant, but did the work of one: and a faithful and righteous servant he was to his Father, and on the behalf of his people.
Image result for man in prison in chains
Whose feet they hurt with fetters
For it seems Joseph was not only cast into prison, upon the calumny of his mistress; but had fetters put upon him, and his feet were made fast with them; and these were so close and heavy, as to pinch and gall and hurt him; which, though not mentioned in his history, was undoubtedly true; see ( Genesis 39:20 ) .
or "the iron" (or, as the Targum, "the iron chain") "went into his Soul" F6; his body; it ate into him, and gave him great pain: or rather, as it is in the king's Bible, "his soul went into the iron chain"; there being, as Aben Ezra observes, an ellipsis of the particle (b) , and which is supplied by Symmachus, and so in the Targum; that is, his body was enclosed in iron bands, so Buxtorf F7. In all this he was a type of Christ, whose soul was made exceeding sorrowful unto death: he was seized by the Jews, led bound to the high priest, fastened to the cursed tree, pierced with nails, and more so with the sins of his people he bore; and was laid in the prison of the grave; from whence and from j
He sent a man before them, even Joseph
Who was sold for a servant:
udgment he was brought, ( .

Until the time that his word came
the word of the Lord tried him:


Monday, December 25, 2017

Have you heard how "romantic" Christmas time is? How about, as I witnessed on T.V. the "magic of Christmas" which seems to bring snow to unexpected places on Christmas Eve?  We could go all the way back to the "Miracle on 34th Street" and witness Kris Kringle's cane in the corner of the house that little Susan wanted for Christmas. All wishes come true because of Christmas!

 How's your stomach this month?

Do you get a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach around the holidays? When your ever-cheery friends and family members begin to gush about how they "just LOVE Christmas"? 



This is the last time we went to cut down our own tree; Lindsay's last Christmas with us. It was much too painful to do anymore. We bought them at Home Depot instead. 
 Just thinking about those days with the kids all at the table, goofing around when they were supposed to be serious; playing with the dripping wax of their candles, nudging each other about who-knows-what, singing intentionally out of tune; all of those memories bring that ache that I can mostly avoid now after sixteen years. It's not unusual for parents of adult children to feel melancholy about all of that anyway; the kids are grown, where did the time go, etc., etc. But when a person has a child in a cemetery and he or she is so very gone, Christmas traditions are not just nostalgic, they are painful!

This is the place where we as Christians have a different perspective. 

 It is the family time and the lights and the ornaments and the "feelings" of Christmas that take me down. It is those overly happy people who cannot imagine how awful and deep the abyss can be for us. And how it never goes away.

Lindsay, our nineteen year old daughter and her unborn baby, Emily Hope are safe in heaven. They have seen the Savior without looking though that dark glass that we use here. They have enjoyed Him for these sixteen years and we will eventually join their chorus.

My advice, as one who has traversed this land of loneliness for these years, is to focus on the Christ of Christmas, worship, enjoy and remember why we celebrate. If the happy tunes of the season are too hard, turn the station to the real carols and worship instead of conjuring up some feeling you just can't locate. Here is the song that friend I mentioned, Simonetta Carr, sent me a few hours ago. This is how we cope this month; by remembering our loved ones but worshiping the Savior!The Sweetest Gift 

 Our daughter and grand daughter went to meet Him on 9-11-01.
Lindsay Ruth
Emily Hope

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry Christmaas is not so Merry! The Srong and the Brave are world wide.

No,  whatever happens to us, our only course is to pursue the right path, and to avoid all that is wrong. Let each of us say, “My Master, if any act of obedience to You were to cost me many a pang—to cost me my liberty—to cause me to be put into prison”—and it has done so to many of the saints of old—“yet I will do as You command me, whatever the consequences may be.”

 What said Master John Bunyan, after he had lain in prison many years simply for preaching the gospel? The magistrates said to him, “John, we will let you out, but you must promise not to preach again. There are the regular divines of the country; what have you, as a tinker, to do with preaching?” John Bunyan did not say, “Well, now, I can see that this preaching is a bad thing. It has got me into prison, and I have had hard work to tag enough laces to keep my wife and that poor blind child of mine. I had better get out of this place, and stick to my tinkering.” No, he did not talk like that, but he said to the magistrates, “If you let me out of prison today, I will preach again tomorrow, by the grace of God.” And when they told him that they would not let him out unless he promised not to preach, he bravely, answered   answered, “If I lie in jail till the moss grows on my eyelids, I will never conceal the truth which God has taught me.
Metropolitan Sermons
 Sermon Title -Nevertheless at Your Word”,Volume 48, sermon 2810  
This sermon is also found Spurgeon's Expository Encyclopedia. It was published by
starting at page 319.

From Belarus -
ec. 14, 2017 | Belarus
Pray for Christians Detained for Distributing Christian Literature

Police have detained and questioned members of an evangelical church in northern Belarus three times in the last two months for distributing Christian literature. On Oct. 14, police arrested Andrei Fokin as he and other believers distributed Christian books and magazines in the Lepel town market. He was released after a warning, but later fined for repeat offenses. On Nov. 4, police again interrupted their literature distribution, this time taking nine Christians to the police station. Prior to the Oct. 14 arrest, the church had served the community through its street library ministry since 2004 without objection from authorities. Pray that church members will be able to pay their fines and resume their library ministry without harassment.

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Where is the Child?

We all talk about Christmas being a time for friends and family, a time for gifts, choice desserts and even new cars. Have you ever complained about Christmas being too materialistic? I know I have.  But we still spend too much money for presents (and sometimes even go into credit card debt) in spite of resolutions to cut back on the craziness.

I would like to briefly share what the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ means.  
The Bible is the place to look for who really is the Christ of Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of the Son of God.  As a nation drifts from what the Bible says Christ becomes more and more neglected. 

Luis Palau tells this illustrative story of this very problem:
"Many years ago a wealthy family decided to have their newborn baby baptized in their enormous mansion. Dozens of guests were invited to the elaborate affair, and they all arrived dressed in the latest fashion. After depositing their elegant wraps on a bed in an upstairs room, the guests were entertained royally. Soon the time came for the main purpose of their gathering, the infant’s baptismal ceremony. But where was the child? No one seemed to know.

The child’s governess ran upstairs, only to return with a desperate look on her face. Everyone searched frantically for the baby. Then, someone recalled having seen the child sleeping on one of the beds. The baby was on a bed, all right-buried underneath a pile of coats, jackets and furs. The very object of that day’s celebration had been forgotten, neglected, and nearly smothered!"

Truths about Jesus Christ Birth.

Image result for messiah
1. It was a Messianic birth; Matthew 18:21 tells us, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: He was the Logos, the Son of God who was born of a woman, and born under the law. As the God/Man, Jesus was the promised Messiah. The term Messiah translates as the "Anointed One."  Jesus was and is the anointed Prophet, Priest and King.  As a prophet He preached the gospel, As the Priest He offered Himself through the Spirit as a sacrifice for sin; As the Son of David He will reign  during the Millennial period      He now is on His Father's Throne.

2. It was a Virgin birth; when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child  by the Holy Spirit. Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Christ except to help Mary during her pregnancy. The virgin birth is miraculous and to deny it is blasphemy. The apostle John tells us that Christ was the Word of God (second person of the trinity) who became flesh and revealed God to mankind (John 1:1-18).
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3. It was a birth that was accompanied by angels; we know that angels are beyond numbering (Hebrews 12:22). The special angel called Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist in the Holy of Ho lies. Gabriel  also appeared to Mary and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah (Luke 1:19).

4. It was a birth that made it possible for the God/Man to preserve the honor of womanhood that was lost in the fall. His birth was also the conduit where the Son of God could shed His blood for the sins of the world.

5. It was a birth which was achieved by a  sinless conception and It was a conception where He did not join himself to a man but rather to an impersonal human nature. He had a human body and a human soul. He leaned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:7-9). It was fitting that men should become adopted sons because of God's natural son.

6.. It was a birth which gave him human emotions; sorrow (Matthew 26:38), surprise (Luke 7:9), He felt agony (Luke 33:44), He felt desolation in the garden and on the cross where He, as an infinite person, bore the wrath of God (Matthew 27:45-46).

7..It was a birth which had human limitations such as the need to eat (Matt. 4:2); the 
need to exercise Matt. 1:26); and the need to rest (John 4:6).

Top 29+ Jesus On The Cross Images Pictures And Hd Wallpaper

8.. Finally, it was a birth that fulfilled Messianic prophecy. Many prophecies were fulfilled while He visited earth.  Many  prophesies will yet be fulfilled and will be until the end of time. I ask you reader: Have you ever been saved by Jesus Christ? Have you experienced the wonderful cleansing and saving that is written about in this song?

You can have the most precious Gift of ALL gifts this Christmas season! Take some time to think of the Wonderful Savior who came and lived and died for you. The cross was always the point of His coming. Let's not leave Him under a pile of "things" to be neglected and forgotten; He, Who is the reason for our celebration, needs to be brought to the forefront of our activities with love and praise for all He has done for us. 
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