Monday, August 21, 2017

Do you understand the devastation of Panic Disorder?

Fear is the controlling emotion in a panic disorder. It comes on quickly and powerfully. Sometimes the panic is a reaction to environmental “cues.” In some people, though, the panic comes for no identifiable reason.

Impending Doom for Millions

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An estimated 6.5 million persons in the United States experience panic attacks. It is common to have both classic depression and panic attacks, and many who experience panic disorder also suffer from other mental illnesses. Attacks can cause almost unbelievable distress. This is not the “panicky” feeling one gets when a real threat is perceived. Panic is a normal stress reaction when there is threat of danger. Panic attacks relate to no discernible threat, but the person feels paralyzing terror. The person feels a sense of impending danger or dread, sometimes called “angst.” The heart pounds and races, as the body goes into its “fight-or-flight” physical response. The person may feel chest pain, light-headness , and have difficulty breathing.

The Hurricane Tornado Analogy

Image result for hurricane and tornadoes

Episodes can come in clusters of perhaps two or three a day. A set of attacks can continue day after day, or they can stop for months and suddenly reappear at any time of day or night.

A panic attack that occurs in the middle of a depressive episode is a particularly serious event. It might be compared to one type of storm. Living in Florida, Robyn and I endured the ninety-mile-an-hour winds of Hurricane David (1979). David was a “category 5” monster storm in the Caribbean, but it was losing its punch by the time it reached Florida. Still, like depression, the wind was constant, severe, and seemed to go on and on.

Then there was Hurricane Andrew (1992), the most destructive U.S. storm on record. What made Andrew so devastating was that embedded within its massive cell was a meteorological phenomenon that caused winds to swirl into tornadoes. In addition to the straight winds, tornadoes unexpectedly swept through south Florida, destroying entire communities. A tornado hidden inside a hurricane describes a panic attack that comes along in the midst of an episode of depression. Panic attacks come and go, while the episode of depression remains to debilitate the person.

My Personal Panic Attack.

In the midst of my initial depression, I suddenly felt the pounding heart and feared I was having a heart attack. My hands tingled and I hyperventilated, to the point that for a time I carried around a brown bag to breathe into. It reinforced my fears that I was “going insane,” since the experience of panic also included some feelings of derealization and depersonalization. Those who work in trauma centers of hospital emergency rooms commonly see persons who are certain that they are having a heart problem, when actually they are experiencing a panic attack. EMTs on emergency calls must ascertain whether heart attack symptoms presented are coming from the heart

Do you need help? If you are in South Florida, we can come to you and counsel you where you live.Here is a link to learn how we can also use Skype or by phone.  Please click on our first link then scroll down.

Below is the book from which this  excerpt was taken.
For Kindle please go to:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Spiritual Battlefield,The Persecuted Church

 One of the purposes of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is to make known to Christians the persecution and killing of other true believers in the world around them. We seek to  to stimulate the evangelical community in every place to pray for the persecuted church and to help them in anyway possible.

The number of countries where persecution is widespread is hard to comprehend. In our own United States, persecution occurs often but seldom results in death. Students, who hold to a biblical world and life view and attend American universities are ridiculed
and scorned by many of their professors.

America is just about ready to declare by word and by practice that the right to die will become the duty to die. Babies are being killed for nothing that they have done but because it is convenient for one or both of their parents. Other murderers (those who kill people who have actually been born)  seem to receive very "light sentences."

 Our daughter, who knew Christ and loved him, was hit by a car on September 11, 2001 at about 7:40 pm. The young delinquent who slammed into her, cared nothing about our troubled nation on that day of terrorism and certainly nothing of Christ. This is another case of home-grown terrorism.. The terrorist that killed her was on enough heroin, cocaine and marijuana to "put down six men" (according to the Michigan State Police Forensics Lab). It is likely that this addict, probably unknown to him, was connected to the Taliban, who  had been making and selling opioids from the poppy fields of Afghanistan.. The heroin that he and his friends were injecting, while in the car on 9-11-2001, must have come illegally into the United States.

 He was given three consecutive sentences of fifteen years. How can a person be given such a light sentence?  How can the  three sentences run concurrently? It is the language of lawyers and judges, a concept that the common man does not understand.  In fact, he served thirteen years and a number of his possible paroles were extended  because of his poor behavior in prison.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15,16 
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame."
“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”
Joseph’s words in Genesis 50 may reflect the sentiment of many front-line gospel workers in the persecuted world. These workers have seen an increased openness to the gospel among Muslims as a result of increased persecution. We have heard them request prayer, not for release, but that they will persevere in their faith as they continue to suffer for Christ. These men and women are the real heroes of today. They live out what we preach and we must remember to pray for them.

One thing I have heard people say about broad prayers for the persecuted is, "How can I pray in such general terms?" One person shared with me, that he prays for someone his own age who may be struggling in strength and grace and who may be also worried about a grown child who needs grace or grand children who miss their parents and grandparents because they are imprisoned. He just tries to be a little more specific in his prayers and to personalize his requests. You can also go to Voice of the Martyrs and get specific people whose names you can then take to the Lord. HE knows how to answer your prayers for them.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Depression and Spurgeon

 As many of you know. my wife Robyn and I wrote a book called, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  In this book we talk about the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). We were sailing in uncharted waters. We did not use researchers or electronic concordances to write this book.  It came from a heartfelt reading of his sermons. If you would like to purchase that book, please go to: This deal is is brand new and it costs half the retail price which is $16.00.  Robyn and I will sign the book also if you wish. The cost buying from us is  $.8.00.  The shipping is $3.00. No one can beat this deal!This book which is published by Kregel comes in paper back and digital devices. This is a limited time offer.
Rev. Steve BloemCo owner of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries.
 Keep reading you won't want to miss the material below. For Kindle go to

I recently was sent a blog by a friend that talks about Spurgeon and depression.
Here is a good historical  treatment of the depression that Charles Spurgeon suffered
FYI: Christian George, “11 Reasons Spurgeon Was Depressed” (11 JUL 2017), on [accessed 11 JUL 2017].

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Exaltation is not grabbed. It is given by the Father...

"Exaltation is not grabbed.  It is given by the Father, in His Time and His way.
For some of us, it may be on the other side when we hear from Him, "Well done you
good and faithful servant." Fascinating isn't it, how many of us in spiritual leadership, program
our lives around ways in which exaltation can be gotten in our time and our way?
And when it never comes, we are discouraged and defeated.  A proper view of
 authentic Christianity is that it is not about the exaltation of ourselves, but about
the exaltation of Him.  It it not about building and gaining our kingdom but about the
advance of His Kingdom."  Joseph Stowell, Shepherding the Church into the 21st century,
Victor books,First Edition (1984) p.120)

"I began to look at God’s providential hand in our lives. As I sat by myself at my kitchen table, reading His Word, remembering that sermon, and praying in my faltering faith, I knew the greatest event in history still was at work in my heart.
I was still His child. I had not run from the cross. He was still enabling me to trust Him by faith. It was not a faith that said, “Everything will be okay.” It was a faith that said, “God is in control. If things are not okay, we will still follow.” I finally was able to accept God’s will, realizing that I may never fully understand why He has allowed a certain trial. But His plan is good, even if the reason for what He is doing seems to be none of my business. 
(Robyn Bloem, Coauthor of Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It Kregel Publications, p. 81,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This is one of my favorite quotes regarding the depression and disappointment of Elijah.

"It was that he might know that the LORD was still the same God who had nourished and sustained His whole nation in the desert with manna from Heaven for forty years. And just as the forty years sojourn in the desert had been to Moses a time for the trial of faith and an exercise in humility and meekness (Numbers 12:3), so was the strength of Elijah's faith to be tried by the forty days wandering in the same desert and to be purified from all carnal zeal for the further fulfillment of his calling, in accordance with the divine will," (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 3, I Kings. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, reprinted, 1983, page 255.

My wife Robyn and have many times conducted seminars in the United States and Canada. One of our favorites is called, "Whispers in the Foyer and Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness."  If your church or ministry desires to obey God's command to help the needy and to shepherd the flock of God, this will be an instructive eye opener for those who attend. 

If you   will have ten or more members, we will come either by plane or by car (depending on the distance). We live  in Florida, more specifically, Palm Beach County. 

You can email me at 
Please tell me if you would like sent to you a brief introduction to the seminar on Power Point.
Every one who comes to the group will receive a certificate and if they wish a Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness (CAMI) membership. 
Please see our website


Monday, July 3, 2017

If you are married and have depression, bipolar etc., read this blog.

Marriage, Mental Illness, and Love

Product Details  One helpful section of this helpful book, Broken Minds, is the authors’ emphasis on the importance of the Christian marriage covenant.  In other words, what does a husband do when his wife suffers a mental illness?  What does a wife do when her husband is debilitated by mental illness?  What do you as a husband or wife do when you’re the one who is mentally ill?  A brief biblical answer is love one another.  Keep your family in mind during a crisis.  The Bloem’s expand on this main principle.  I’ve listed their anchoring precepts for a family crisis below (they are edited for the sake of space).
1) Remember God holds the marriage covenant in high esteem.  If your loved one is sick, it can take what seems a superhuman feat to persevere.  Pray for grace and submit to God’s Word by sticking with your spouse and family.
2) Never make a decision of importance while either depressed or manic – especially manic.  In a state of mania, you must be aware that you cannot trust what you may be certain is true.  The side effects of some mental illnesses include inflated self-esteem, hyper-sexual fantasies, and other extremes.  Those with a tendency toward a manic phase are well advised to adopt a conscious habit to always doubt the truth of impressions, perceptions, feelings, and judgment.  Don’t trust yourself.  Rely upon someone who is trustworthy to help you sort out your thoughts, emotions, and desires.  Don’t trust perceived revelations from God, but stick to simple, direct precepts in Scripture, praying that he guides you through the valley.  And deny any urge to find previously hidden meanings in a biblical text.
3) Make a conscious decision not to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.  The Devil wants to destroy God’s ordained institutions, and the breakup of the family is one of his chief aims.  Too many counselors are quick to advise the spouse that it is far more advantageous to separate or divorce than to stick it out when the symptoms become severe.  Some counselors will even say that to the one who has the mental illness.  You may have to utilize treatment centers or hospitals, but don’t take the “easy” way out of divorce.  When you and your spouse are in a right frame of mind, make this firm decision to press on together.
4) Do not go off your medications for any reason, except as directed by a knowledgeable medical doctor.  When you are feeling well, it is hard to remember how bad it can get.  Do not let your ‘recovered’ brain chemistry deceive you into thinking that the medicine’s benefits were ‘all in your mind’ or a ‘placebo effect.’  You are feeling better because the medicine is doing its work!
5) Do not abandon God’s economy for order in the family because of illness.  Whatever society may tell you, gender roles do matter, and they are biblical.  Husbands are the heads of the home. It may be difficult, but they must do their prayer-filled best to maintain their role even through illness.  And when a wife is ill, the husband has a holy responsibility to protect his wife and that means not shrugging off the times when she ‘has the blues.’  Pray for your wife, and support her as much as you can during the desperate times.  Sometimes you have to go through regular schedules and routines while ill; don’t throw in the towel.  Spouses should support one another in their biblical roles.  It is also advisable to seek help from your church family (p. 92-96).
Again, this is just a summary of a helpful – and much-needed! – discussion.   I recommend this book for pastors and elders who have parishioners suffering mental illnesses.  I also recommend it for those who struggle with mental illness as well as those involved in lives of others who face this difficult trial in life.  As Steve and Robyn Bloem know so well, there is hope in Christ and his Word for those who are mentally ill.  It is a hellish trial, but mental illness, like any trial, is temporary for the people of God.  It will not last forever.  On that last day when Jesus makes all things new, not a single one of God’s people will suffer any sort of illness.  Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

rev shane lems

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Stigma of Mental Illness

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Fresh out of seminary over 30 year ago, I remember being so depressed that I was unable to candidate at a church in Florida. After a stay in a psychiatric hospital, I had gotten better and tried to reapply. The head deacon said to me, in a smooth southern drawl, "Steve, do you have a case of the nerves?" They did not want me back.

Certainly, mental illness has to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness. Mental illness is biological in its origin. Christians cannot claim to have immunity from it.

Let’s Pray For Our Poor, Mentally Ill Member

Evidences of the stigma of mental illness in churches persist. For instance, when is the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? If people in your church or your town would really be honest, they would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.

However, most church goers will not mention mental illness, their silence for themselves or their loved ones in the church speaks loudly to us. Instead, there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, having a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

Heaven Knows No Stigma

Thankfully, there is no stigma in Heaven about our subject. Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ through His shed blood and resurrection has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which to many was feared more than death itself. Matt. 5:3 tells us, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the kingdom of God.

A pastor friend of mine contacted me about a godly man in his congregation who had severe mental illness. The tried Christian died suddenly, in the middle of reading his Bible one morning and went to be with the Lord.  My friend, the pastor said, “Now his torment is over forever.”
Let us be brave and face the horrible suffering of mental illness head on.  By doing this we will bring glory and honor to God.

Romans 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another ; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

 Many books today by Christian leaders still blame the person who has the disease of depression. We do not create a "culture of blame."
You can still get one of the best Christian books that has been written about depression. It is a story, and a look at Christianity, the Bible and mental illness.
It is available in Kindle and paperback.

 Steve and Robyn would like to invite you to a special support group! This is for people who suffer from depression, bipolar, panic disorder, OCD, etc., or for those supporting loved ones and friends who have these conditions.

 CAMI Support Groups


We meet every Thursday evening at
Boca Glades Baptist Church
10101 Judge Winikoff Road
Boca Raton, FL 3342

It goes from 7:00 – 8:15 pm in the Education building. Look for the signs!

If you have any questions or need any
 other information call Steve or Robyn Bloem 
at Heartfelt Counseling Ministries 561.909.9109.
We look forward to seeing you!
Come as you are!