Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Come out and help others who are ashamed.

Stigma Websters definition- a mark of shame or discredit

It seems like everyone knows it. Most people with mental illness who attend church refuse to broach the subject. Why the silence? They are ashamed.
The result is a person who suffers from one of the most painful diseases known to mankind, faces it alone and then because of this error, the devil gets the advantage.

One reason for this misplaced stigma is many in church leadership regard the roots of mental illness as moral and/or spiritual. This non-shepherding approach assumes that spiritual people do not get depressed or hear voices. This approach breeds a critical spirit. It also drives the person away from the church and discourages transparency.

The Lord Jesus Christ and a weak spirit.

Another reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to listen to what Scripture says about believers in a weakened state. It was said of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:20; A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory(NIV). A bruised reed represents a person who is emotionally damaged. This emotional pain could stem from problems with assurance of salvation, it could be from a strong Satanic attack or it could be the result of a mental illness. A bruised reed is almost broken, a smoldering wick is one that is flickering and its flame is almost out; while both are "almost" destroyed, they will not be because Jesus Christ makes sure they will survive. If He is so generous to His weak ones, why should others try to break the spirit of the depressed?

God has chosen the weak to confound the wise

Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God has chosen the weak and
foolish of this world to confound the wise. The apostle Paul said that he gloried in his weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. No one really has it altogether.
We should glory that we have a vital union with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
A third reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to look at the experience
of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mark 14:33,34- ; And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch . The word for distressed in the Greek is ekthambeho. It means to, throw into terror or amazement. Please notice the word is preceded by "very." He was very terrified and surprised at his suffering. The word in the NASB troubled is Ademoneo in the Greek.

Thayer who was a Greek scholar says about this word. It means to be troubled, in great distress or anguish, depressed.
This is the strongest of the three Greek words in the NT for depression
Jesus Christ was wholly God but also wholly man, the theanthropic person, the God/Man. He felt depression and like the writer of Hebrews says, He was touched by the feelings of our infirmities. He is the One who understands your suffering and He does not condemn you or blame you; Christ is not ashamed of you and your illness. Take heart; He knows.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A letter from a pastor in Myanmar (formerly Burma)

I would like to share with you a recent email that I received from a pastor who has an orphanage in the country of Myanmar. I had emailed him about the news report of Christian orphans being killed by evil men in his country. His email below helps show how God has used Heartfelt Ministries in his life and ministry.

He has asked that we come and minister to his church and orphanage. We also have had pastors from Pakistan and Australia ask us to come and share our ministry. Our problem is we don't have the funding. I will publish his email as sent.
If you would like to support our non profit ministry please go to our donate now link at the bottom of the page. If you get the check in the mail before January 1 2011 you would be able to get a IRS tax reduction (America Only). You can also donate be credit card on our website.

The letter

Dear Steve,
Thank you for your continually praying and sharing for my orphans. Yes, this bombing in our country is very tragic. They slay the widow and the stranger, And murder the orphans.(Psalm.94:6).I ask question myself that Why God allow the wicked people to kill theorphans, I thought, my tears felt down, I pray for them, I could notstop crying for them,as we the Christians excite to use thisChristmas, how the orphans would have hoping to use the birth day ofour Lord Jesus Christ.I, my orphans and Bible students have two daysfasting prayer for them,and we keep them in the hand of the Lord.I pray that, Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled, And afoolish people has spurned Your name, Do not forget the life of Yourafflicted forever. Consider the covenant, for the dark places of theland are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the oppressedreturn dishonored; let the afflicted and needy Praise Your name. Thank you for your great love and consider for my orphans.We pray that the Lord may fulfill your desire and visions what youwant to serve for His glory.may God richly bless you.
In His great Commission,
Name witheld

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My letter to the judge who sentenced Lindsay's killer.

Honorable Dennis Kolenda
61st District Court
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
April 7, 2002

Dear Judge,

I respectfully write to you as one who God, by His providence, has appointed to determine the judicial sentence of Timothy Fields according to the laws of the state of Michigan.

Lindsay was a law abiding citizen.

First, I would like to say that as a father of four children, I have always taught my children by example and by precept to obey the laws of the United States of America.

Secondly, I have also instructed them that the disobeying of those laws should be met with swift and just punishment.

In addition, Robyn and I taught them that ignorance of the law was no excuse for violating it. We taught them that our country is only as good as its individual citizens, and the laws are only effective to the extent that they are enforced. We painstakingly inculcated into them the truth that God had blessed this nation because of individuals and churches that cried out to Him for salvation, protection and welfare.

Call 911.

On the tragic day of September 11, 2001 when external enemies attacked our nation, our daughter Lindsay came to our house upset but interested in world events. During the conversation regarding the mayhem of the day, I told Lindsay that our church was having a special prayer meeting for the nation and the families of the victims. She said, Dad, I would like to pray for our nation's spiritual welfare and the hurting family members of those who were killed in the attack. Little did I know that I, along with many others at the scene of her accident, would be screaming, call911.

Our Lindsay had taken a separate car to church so that she could pick up her husband from work after the service. We were so thankful that she was living for Jesus Christ and that this nineteen year old citizen was a woman of prayer. Lindsay never hurt a flea. She often would go with me to help the homeless persons who were living under bridges in Grand Rapids. She was always for the underdog.
She was the opposite of Fields.

A New Baby, Emily Hope

The baby's name was to be Emily Hope. Lindsay was going to set up the crib with her husband on September 12, 2001. Instead of setting up the crib that day, we were in a funeral home setting up her funeral.

Two teenagers, two destinies

She had met Timothy Fields and the two other young men in a violent fashion on September 11, 2001. I remember seeing Fields without a care in the world slumped over the steering wheel, crossing four lanes of traffic and then crashing into Lindsay. The horror of that scene will be forever imprinted on my mind. I saw that two other men were also in Field's car.

We were behind Lindsay and saw everthing

We were following right behind Lindsay. She was trapped in the car and I could not get her out. I pushed back her lovely hair and kissed her forehead. Later, she lay in the casket with her beautiful baby in her arms; both showed severe trauma to their heads and faces.

The driver had enough drugs in his body to put dowm six men, Head of Michigan State Police Forensics Lab.

Fields was shooting up heroin with his friends while driving. Blood testing also showed that he had large doses of marijuana and crack cocaine in his body. He had stolen our precious treasures from us.

On that day our nation stood still, but not Fields and his friends. They partied on and became terrorists at home on a day that would live in infamy. Fields' heroin most likely came from the poppy fields of a Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Before the judge came into the courtroom, I said to any one would listen;
We talk about the terroists all over the world, what about the terroists at home? I meant by this, not only drunk drivers, but drugged drivers impaired. These home terroists use a car as their weapon and generally get light sentences.

When I later learned of the results of Timothy Field's blood tests and that our daughter was killed by a driving drug addict, I was tempted to kill him and his two passengers. However, as a believer in Jesus Christ and as a law abiding citizen I resisted this temptation.

Judge, we are powerless and you are in the driver's seat. We pray and expect you to impose a sentence to the fullest extent of the law on Fields and his companions.

With respect Steven Bloem Senior

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mental Ilness and its Stigma, Part 2

Do Nerves Break Down?

Another reason why stigma persists in the churches and in society as well, is the continuing use of the term nervous breakdown to describe mental illness. This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States. It conjures up the images of women, lacking in energy, eating chocolates, popping downers to calm their frazzled nerves.

The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology(see our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like Losing It Bloem Steve&Robyn(2005) Kregel Publications,pp 32,33).

I still remember being so depressed that I could not candidate at church in Florida. 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

Bloem, Steve and Robyn, CAMI Leader Guide,(2007) available only from the authors. Study Guides are also available. Please follow the link to read reviews of Broken Minds.

Thanks, Steve and Robyn Bloem
My email is camimovement@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heartfelt Ministries is moving.

Hello to all who read this blog.
I have not written a blog for almost a week. The reason for this is Robyn and I have moved to West Palm Beach, Florida where we will be temporarily staying with her Mother. Heartfelt Ministries has moved with us. Nothing has changed in regard to it except local contacts. Our new phone number is 616-427-0775.
If you are supporting us please use the same address in Grand Rapids. We will soon be switching to another address and phone number. We will let you know what they are. We still do phone counseling, seminars etc. Please be patient about my blog. It will take a while to begin blogging again.

Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.
Director of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Hell Real?

My flippant remark about Hell

When I was a teenager and did not know the Lord, I heard frequently the words, Go to Hell . My flippant and even blasphemous remark was, I got kicked out for selling ice cream cones. I had been taught the idea of a real hell in my church and from my parents but suppressed that teaching. After my conversion, I have come to know through the Holy Spirit and the word of God that hell is real and not everyone will be saved. Our Lord Jesus said, Enter through the narrow gate ; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction,and there are many who enter through it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (NKJV Matthew 7:13,14)

Without the wrath of God and the existence of a real hell we would not need a Savior. God's love won for us eternal salvation. The Father planned it, the Son executed it and the Spirit applies it.

Associated Press article - hell unpopular, it is not user friendly.

I copied an article some years ago from our local newspaper written by an Associated Press writer. The title was “Hell’s Fires Growing Cold among Americans.” The writer states,
The long running crusade by liberal Christians and Universalists against the eternal punishment idea seems to be getting somewhere. Religious observers say preachers increasingly avoid mentioning hell. And polls indicate increasing numbers of people don’t believe in such a place.
Why is this so? It is because hell is not a user friendly term. People are afraid of hell and they don’t want to hear about it.

Paul's exhortation to Timothy

This phenomena is spoken of in 2 Timothy 4:3-5,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
We may contrast today’s “no hell preachers” with the honesty of the great English puritan/ preacher, Thomas Brooks. In his series of sermons “Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices,” he preaches about those who die without Jesus Christ;
But this is not all; thou shalt not be only shut out of heaven, but shut up in hell forever; not only shut out from the presence of God and angels but shut up with devils and damned spirits forever; not only shut out from those sweet, surpassing, inexpressible and everlasting pleasures that be at God’s right hand but shut up forever under those torments that are ceaseless, without remedy and endless.” He then quotes the great preacher Chrysostom; preaching about hell saying, Let us not seek where it is, but how we shall escape it.

Brooks, Mr. Thomas. The Works of Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”(1861). London: James Nisbet and Company, p.56

Make sure you have sincerely and surely trusted in Jesus Christ who bore the penalty for our sin on the cross to keep us from going to hell and to ensure everlasting life with pleasure and enjoyment.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Quotes from Great Men

There are many who preach about the Lord Jesus Christ to no effect and we can see why. They have no doctrine of sin, they never convict or convince people of sin. They always hold Christ before men and say that it is enough. But it is not enough; for the effect of sin upon us is such that we shall never fly to Christ until we realize that we are paupers... The first two essentials to salvation and to rejoicing in Christ are the consciousness of our need, and the consciousness of the riches of grace that are in Christ."{Lloyd Jones, D. Martyn, (1959) }Sermon on the Mount Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, ( pp. 199,200).

"It is all very well for those who are in robust health and full of spirits to blame those whose live are sicklied o're with the pale cast of melancholy, but the evil is a real as a gaping wound., and all the more hard to bear because it lies so much in the region of the soul that to the inexperienced it appears to be a mere matter of fancy and diseased imagination. Reader never ridicule the nervous and the hypochondriac, their pains are real; though much of the evil lies in the imagination is is not imaginary."
Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, 3 vols. (Newark, De.:Cornerstone, 1869, 2.132)

"If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend on it that you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.” - D.L. Moody

He (man) is an enemy to His maker; a rebel against Jehovah; a blank-nay, worse--a blot in God's creation; dead to every virtue, dead to everything but sin;..... lost to every gracious purpose of his being; A withered branch, fit only to be plucked off, and cast into the fire; stubble, ready for the burning. "Let him alone!" said Reason. "Cut him down!" cried Justice. "I hate the workers of iniquity!" added Holiness. "He or I must perish!" exclaimed Truth.
"Spare him! Spare him! Spare him!" pleaded weeping Mercy. And Wisdom came forth, leading the Son of God, and said: "I have found a ransom!”Behold the Mediator!" And all the attributes met and embraced at the manger, and kissed each other at the cross"
Evans, Christmas. (c.1846) " Sermons of Christmas Evans" (Philadelphia: J.

Harmstead), p. 123.