Monday, July 30, 2012

Foreclosure, Greed but our God Reigns

 I never thought that are house of nine years would be foreclosed on.  I had heard many say, "the bank doesn't want your house, they will work with you on keeping it." It started out with small things, part of Saxon's Mortgage mantra was, "We are a debt collector." I thought, "Oh, I believed you were my mortgage company. "  We did not choose Saxon Mortgage, they bought our mortgage because our mortgage company  was going out of business.

 Saxon was  not giving full disclosure.  For instance, I had read about the Obama Modification program, so I called Saxon. They sent me a form which I filled out. They told me you make too much money to qualify. Later, I filled out more forms and then Saxon told me, You don't make enough money.
I started to think that they were part of the greed of Wall street; so I asked them,  Did you profit from the bail out? Their customer service (which isn't really customer service) person said, No, we didn't at least not directly.

Later I found out my hunch was right. I recently read, the government released data showing that there's a big problem at Saxon Mortgage, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley. Of all the mortgage companies participating in the administration's mortgage modification program, Saxon has the largest proportion of homeowners caught in modification limbo.
Source -

And Saxon had profited from the bailout.  They are a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley.  How crooked is Morgan Stanley? According to  Taibi, Those kinds of deals were the essence of the bailout — and the vast mountains of near-zero government cash turned companies facing bankruptcy into monstrous profit machines. In 2008 and 2009, while Christy Mack was busy getting her little TALF loans for $220 million, her husband's bank hauled in $2 trillion in emergency Fed loans. During the same period, Goldman borrowed nearly $800 billion. Shortly afterward, the two banks reported a combined annual profit of $14.5 billion
Read more:

 When we bought our house, ten years ago, we put down one hundred thousands dollars. This money came  from a wrongful death suit, money that was given to us by the insurance company of the Mother whose son killed our daughter Lindsay and granddaughter, Emily Hope. He  was a drugged driver who was shooting up with heroin while driving.

We  as so many others were referred to a HUD specialist by our congressman. They advised us to send Saxon a letter of hardship.  Saxon was  unmoved. Some said we qualified for the Obama Modification, others from Saxon  said we were not. Finally, they denied the loan. We found out that they had over charged us about $6,000. We had no money to pay for a lawyer.  We went  to  legal aid.   Our assigned lawyer  took a history, said we had been cheated but he declined to do anything legally. Robyn and I had to sell our house in a buyer's market for just over one hundred thousand dollars.  We were at least able to pay our taxes, our bills etc. We loved that beautiful spacious house. It was suppose to be an inheritance for our three sons and their children.
 We decided to move to Florida.  We had no house, our possessions were put in storage, We had no job and we did not know what to do.
Now where is God in all this? After all this is a Christian blog. When I was in college (Grand Rapids Baptist College), I was asked to preach in our Senior chapel, May 1978. The text I chose was Psalm 115:1-3. It states,

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your loving-kindness, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, Where, now, is their God ? But our God is in the heavens ; He does whatever He pleases..
I still believe it and so does my wife of thirty-three years. God answered the prayers of His people
 We still grieve the loss of the house and the injustice that was done to us but we are now house parents in a beautiful house, (Joann's Cottage, Place of Hope) an additional ministry and a good paying job. Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is stronger than ever.

We need good and godly Christian lawyers who will help fight organizations who are greedy and dishonest and unfeeling.
We need to also realize that we are bound for a heavenly city and those we loved who in Christ are there.  Christ Jesus will not fail us.Trust in Him at all times, pour out your heart before Him for He is our refuge. Selah (Psalm 62:8)
Please check out our book, Broken Minds

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moody and Spurgeon on prayer and revivlal.

Recently the Lord has impressed upon me through His word how important prayer is to a  born again , blood bought child of God.  If you are one, then according to the word of God you have
special privileges. In the epistle of Paul to the  Ephesians (3:11,12 , NASB)  states:
 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,       in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. The Greek scholar Thayer says, the word boldness  means freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech,  openly, frankly, i.e without concealment  without ambiguity or a need for many words. The word confident means to be persuaded that God will hear you, that you are certain of it.  The word access means that our Lord Jesus has brought us into a relationship with God and we have 24 hour a day access because we are standing in grace.

Romans 5:2 says, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ; and we exult in hope of the glory of God

Please see Matthew Henry  on Romans 5:2, below.

The saints' happy state is a state of grace. Into this grace we are brought, which teaches that we were not born in this state. We could not have got into it of ourselves, but we are led into it, as pardoned offenders. Therein we stand, a posture that denotes perseverance; we stand firm and safe, upheld by the power of the enemy. And those who have hope for the glory of God hereafter, have enough to rejoice in no, M.H.

Many times I have people who contact me and they tell me the pitiful story of  a loved one suffers from depression, schizophrenia, bipolar etc. Some times I counsel them and some times,
I don't know what to say.  However, I always tell them that I can pray.  I have seen some amazing answers to prayer that have helped me or others in being helped while in the clutches of a brain storm
and being tossed up and down as in a sieve. One of the purposes of this blog is that we pray for one another, support one another and care for one another.
Here are some great quotes on prayer.

"What the Church needs today; is not more machinery, or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use---men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men.  He does not come on machinery, but on men.  He does not anoint plans, but men --- of prayer" (E.M. Bounds, Power through Prayer).

"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

Revivals, if they are genuine, do not always come the moment we whistle for them.  Try and whistle for the wind, and see if it will come.  The great rain was given in answer to Elijah's payer; but not even the first time he prayed, and we must pray again, and again, and again, and at last the cloud will appear, and the showers out of the cloud ( 1 Kings 18:36-46),  Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Persecution, then and now, Hugh Latimer



 14 April 1554, commissioners from the papal party (including Edmund Bonner and Stephen Gardiner) began an examination of Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer. Latimer, hardly able to sustain a debate at his age, responded to the council in writing. He argued that the doctrines of the real presence of Christ in the mass, transubstantiation, and the propitiatory merit of the mass were unbiblical..
Latimer believed that the welfare of souls demanded he stand for the Protestant understanding of the gospel. The commissioners also understood that the debate involved the very message of   salvation itself, by which souls would be saved or damned:

After the sentence had been pronounced, Latimer added,
 I thank God most heartily that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death'; to which the prolocutor replied, If you go to heaven in this faith, then I will never come hither, as I am thus persuaded.


Latimer was burned at the stake with Nicholas Ridley. He is quoted as having said to Ridley:
Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.[7]

The deaths of Latimer, Ridley and later Cranmer — now known as the Oxford Martyrs — are commemorated in Oxford by the Victorian Martyrs' Memorial which is located near the actual execution site which is marked by a cross in Broad Street, (then the ditch outside the city's North Gate). The Latimer room in Clare College, Cambridge is named after him.
Hugh Latimer said, "It may come in my days, old as I am, or in my children's days, the saints shall be taken up to meet Christ in the air, and so shall come down with Him again" (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4).
You can

Please scroll down to modern day persecution and pray for them.

VOM-USA Prayer Update for July 13, 2012
On Thu. Jul 12 2012 at 03:02 PM Moderator wrote: Vietnam -- Two Hmong Churches Destroyed by Officials
Sources: VOM Contacts, Compass Direct News
Hebrews 11:16

Vietnamese officials in Muong Cha district, Dien Bien Province, destroyed two new church buildings of ethnic minority Hmong Christians last month and threatened to tear down a third. The Ho He Church, erected in April by the unregistered Vietnam Good News Mission, was demolished on June 17. The Phan Ho Church of the registered Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) was destroyed four days earlier on June 13, 2012. As local police, paramilitary forces and other authorities descended on the church buildings by the dozens, the Christians could only watch as the houses of worship were reduced to rubble. Both congregations have since divided into small groups and continue to worship. Thank God that they have stayed faithful during this time of persecution and ask that no other churches in the area will be torn down.

Iran -- Pastor's Six-Year Sentence Upheld
Source: Elam Ministries
Matthew 5:14

Iran's Revolutionary Court recently upheld Pastor Farshid Fathi's six-year sentence for "political offenses," forcing him to complete a prison term that began more than 18 months ago. Farshid was arrested in December 2010 for his Christian work, but authorities continue to cast his activities as political offenses. He was convicted for allegedly being the chief agent of foreign organization in Iran and for administering funds for foreign organizations, a charge often used to arrest and convict Christians. Farshid has become much beloved among inmates in Tehran's Evin prison, according to Elam Ministries. Farshid's trial had been repeatedly postponed by judicial authorities until earlier this year. Farshid's wife, Leila, relinquished the deed to their home to pay his bail, but even so, he was never released. Farshid and Leila have two children. Pray for Farshid's endurance as he continues to bring light to those in Evin prison during the remainder of his sentence.

Kenya -- Seventeen Wounded in Somali Militant Attack on Kenyan Churches
Sources: Reuters, BBC News
Matthew 6:25-34

At least 17 Christians were murdered in simultaneous attacks on two churches in Garissa, Kenya on Sunday, July 1. Along with the 17 killed, more than 40 people were wounded. Masked assailants launched grenades and opened fire with assault rifles on two churches, a Roman Catholic church and an African Inland Church (AIC), which are approximately two miles apart. Television footage showed the attacks' effects: benches knocked over, blood pooled on the floor or splattered over the walls, garments lying on the floor and Bibles strewn throughout the church buildings. The attacks occurred in Garissa, a provincial capital about 120 miles west of the Somali border. Local officials called this the worst attack since Kenya sent troops into Somalia to crush the al Shabaab militants. Christians in the area are concerned about what this means for their future.

Pakistan -- VOM Project
Pray for Christian prisoner Imran Ghafur, accused of false blasphemy charges and serving a life sentence. VOM is supporting his family, including his elderly parents who need ongoing medical care. Imran hopes to be released early so he can serve as a missionary to his people.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Bible and helping, persons with mental illness.

This past week has been a difficult for me.  It became that way when I found out my insurance company would not completely cover my Seroquel.  They would cover a little over half the cost. This is the only information I could get from a company called Med/Co who is responsible for implementing what the insurance company deems a correct amount.  They said I could appeal by mail but they had no phone number or email.  I will appeal the injustice vigorously because the medication Seroquel is very expensive.
When I have a set back like this, I get upset and fearful.  I also think how paying this extra money would affect my family. Right now I am not experiencing depressive or manic symptoms.  If I were my wife Robyn would take over as she has many times.
This brings me an important principle which is found in the Bible.

Mentally Ill people need advocacy
People who have mental illness need advocacy on a number of different levels. In the Psalms we are told,    For You save an afflicted people, But haughty eyes You abase, Psalm 18:27 (NASB).  The word afflicted in the Hebrew is translated from the Hebrew word, `aniy.  Aniy is used seventy-four times in the Old Testament from Exodus through Zechariah.  The English words translated for it are many.  Some are poor, needy, afflicted one, humble lowly and oppressed. In the Hebrew Levitical law, Israel was told again and again, to protect, lift up, advocate for and help the needy ( `aniy ).

New Testament explains the need for the true church to help the afflicted, needy.
Now the New Testament carries on with this idea of helping the afflicted, oppressed etc. and part of the mandate of the church is to help and advocate for this.
How do I put shoe leather to this command? There are many persons who are taken advantage of by the mental health system and this includes insurance companies.  The church should have trained individuals who can help do the necessary paperwork and leg work that is needed to help persons who have mental illness.  I have seen time and time again people in a mental health agency out of greed fail to help those not only who have depression but schizophrenia, a devastating disease that renders a person socially unable to get help. I am not talking about discussing with  them how to budget their money and food.  This could be included in t;he help.  But there is a time which you must give money to help those who cannot afford medications.  You also may need to  fill out the paperwork that is needed for a person to get SSI or a State ID card.
Part of helping the aniy is to actually talk to doctors and social workers and ask them about what has been done to help the mentally ill person that is your friend, loved one or one who is afflicted and needy.
Those with mental illness who are symptomatic cannot concentrate, they may be hearing voices, they may be too depressed to do anything but fight the illness. Part of helping them is giving them good reasons why they should not commit suicide.

These concepts are covered in our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It

A good article on getting help with your insurance company is found at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Are you a Christian who is suffering for God?

Purposeful Suffering, I have suffered greatly because  of depressive episodes and the loss of a child. What has helped me the  most I think, is that our Sovereign God who chose me before the foundation of the world  to be a new creature in Christ, uses trials and troubles of many different kinds to accomplish His purpose in making me more like the Son of God.  Suffering/Glory themes in the Bible are a study in and of itself!

My wife Robyn and I  talked about having four children before we were married.  And by the grace of God we were able to do so. We never thought that we would lose Lindsay, our only daughter in a car accident  Lindsay and her daughter Emily Hope were killed by a man in a car who never had a driver's license  and who had  a history of juvenile felonies. On September 11, 2001 he had  been abusing drugs with his two friends. This man according to the Michigan State Forensic office had enough heroin and cocaine in his blood  to put six men down.  He hit Lindsay's car head on, we were right behind her and saw it.   She was eight months pregnant and was going to pick up her husband from his place of employment. She had left the prayer meeting which was called by our pastor that day, to pray for the nation.. I can't began to tell you of the horror of that accident and of hearing the Chief of Police say, I am sorry, she has passed.  But  God had a purpose for our suffering.
He was and always is  in control of everything that happens to His beloved children.  He does not effect evil but He is in control of all things.  This truth is wonderfully seen  in Isaiah 42:;7, which states, I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

In our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You  Feel Like You're Losing It, (Kregel Publications)  Robyn and I talk about the depths of suffering that are experienced by those who are depressed and those who have other types of mental illness.  The spirit of a man sustains his sickness but a wounded spirit who can bear, Proverbs 14:12
When we suffer we are given a choice.  Will we continue to persevere in the faith and glorify God by worshipping Him or will we become offended when things happen to us because we don't understand why we have to suffer.
Our Lord Jesus encouraged and admonished John the Baptist when the  prophet was having serious doubts about whether Christ was the Messiah and was locked up in Herod's dark dungeon  Our Lord Jesus Christ  said said to him (by way of messengers that had come from John). Go and report to John what you hear and see:the blind receive 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."

Below is one of the greatest statements about the assurance that we must all suffer but it is part of the plan and program of God.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren   and these whom He predestined, He also called ; and these whom He called, He also justified ; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.   What then shall we say to these things ? If God is for us, who is against us?   Romans 8:28-32 .

 The quote by Spurgeon below has often comforted me in my afflictions.

… But this is the lesson for you.  You only have to bear your  burden for a certain length of time.  The God who appointed you to bear it, also determined  when you were to begin to bear it, and when you are to leave off bearing it.  When God says you only to have ten troubles, the , the devil cannot make eleven of them; and you cannot reduce them to nine.  Every particle of bitterness that is to go in your cup is dropped out with all the care of a qualified dispenser, and there will not be one drop more of bitterness in your cup, than the Lord knew was necessary to make the medicine just what it should be.  I do delight in this truth, and I hope that you do also.”  Spurgeon, Charles. Spurgeon’s Expository Encyclopedia of Sermons, (1984) Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, Volume 2,  p.288
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Read more about our book at

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hi Readers,
I have posted a blog whose author is Pastor Shane Lems from Sunnyside, Washington.  I am especially excited about it because Shane is a pastor.  While I'm at it, another thing I like about Shane is that he reads the Puritans.  I have been accused of needing to be dragged from the 20th (and now 21st) century kicking and screaming.

My response, He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm, (Proverbs 13:20).
We also have study guides that help a person learn how to start, conduct and lead a Christian mental illness support group.  If you are interested in a study/leader's guide please email me @
Below is Shane's blog

Two weeks ago, I recommended this book on depression from a solid Christian perspective: Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray. Since then, Steve and Robyn Bloem kindly sent me a copy of the book they wrote on this topic: Broken Minds: Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re ‘Losing It.’ I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect before I read this book (I’ve received some very odd books in the past!). However, having read it, I have to say it is outstanding. In fact, it is better than outstanding. It is one of those books you’ll read and not soon forget.
The book is partially an autobiography by Steve and Robyn on the ‘hell’ of depression that Steve faced while in the pastoral ministry back in the 1980′s (when views on depression were a bit different than they are now). I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but suffice it to say I was in tears during parts of this book, only to later rejoice in the grace God showed to the Bloems as they rested upon him through their struggles. If you are a pastor who has struggled with depression – either mild or severe – you must get this book soon. Though I don’t suffer from depression, the Bloem’s story was helpful and edifying to me in more ways than I can list here.
This book is also about how Christians should deal with depression in a wise, medically informed, and biblical manner. Since Steve has gone through the dark fog of depression, his wisdom in this area is invaluable. He talks about how nouthetic counseling can be damaging to those with endogenous (biological) depression. He also talks about the dangers of some secular approaches to depression. And he evaluates the integrationist approach and points out its strengths and weaknesses.

  Before reading Broken Minds, I only knew a little about the different medicines and methods for treating chronic depression. Though I still do not know it all, this book has reminded me to weep with those who weep and it has given me a respect for medical professionals who work with depressed people. Finally, I now better understand the courage, strength, faith, and grace it takes for Christians to struggle through the dark fog of depression.
The Bloems also talk about theology as it relates to depression. I loved how they interacted with the Puritans’ explanations of melancholy. There’s even an appendix that gives Thomas Manton and Thomas Goodwin’s meditations on Isaiah 50:10. The authors state how God uses afflictions for our good and they show the importance of the Christian church and fellowship for those who fight depression.
I’ll have to come back to this book later and give some specific quotes that I found helpful. For the time being, please trust me when I say that Broken Minds is a necessary resource for those of you struggling with depression or those of you who have loved ones struggling with this. Pastors, you should get this book to help you understand depression, help you address it in the pulpit when the text allows, and help you counsel those with depression. Actually, I recommend this book for all Christians who want to read a testimony of God’s grace that brings Christians through the valley of the shadow of death. The Bloems have been in the shadow, and they describe it well. But they also know the Shepherd who leads them, and the book ultimately is about him.
Thank you, Steve and Robyn, for putting your story, wisdom, and counseling in words for us. I have no doubt the Lord will use your story in this book to help other Christians in many ways. This book is a help for pilgrims making their way heavenward while slogging through the fog of depression. And Amen, we do have great hope in Christ, that one day in the New Creation our infirmities will be totally gone.
shane lems
sunnyside wa

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Frightening E.C.T. Response to Mental Illness

This is an excerpt from our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It    (2005) Copyright All Rights Reserved Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI

The Frightening E.C.T. Response to Mental Illness, pp. 126
Robyn: “Please Anything but E.C.T.”!  {ECT stands for Electro Convulsive Therapy).

When Steve’s antidepressant medications stop working, or as mental health people say, “poop out”, the question arises: “ Now what?”  For a while we believed that, since we once had been so violently overpowered by this monster, it could never really get to us again. Unfortunately, knowing the characteristics of an enemy does not necessarily grant the power to elude it. We confronted this in 1991 when Steve’s medication was “pooping out” and he was becoming deeply depressed.  We were living in West Palm Beach when Steve started to be a little absent minded.  He was having trouble concentrating.  Then  he seemed overly sentimental, especially toward the children.  He developed separation anxiety, when away from me.

Finally, his moods crashed to hand-wringing, pacing, deep, dark weeping depression.  For weeks, doctors worked on his medication levels.  It was a ride nowhere. Then we found ourselves in the office of a very caring general practitioner who had an unusually strong interest in clinical depression.  After a few weeks of experimentation with the new drugs, the doctor asked, “Do you want to try E.C.T., Steve?”    He sat on the floor next to Steve, telling him how it would help him.  The thought scared me to death.  No. of course he would not that try that barbaric treatment. To my surprise, Steve answered with a hearty, “Yes!”
Losing His Mind?
Electroconvulsive therapy—shock treatments.  I envisioned those black-and-white- pictures of mental hospitals and my husband eternally shuffling around in pajamas.  I asked about memory loss. The doctor reminded me that depression itself damages memory.  Once again, a church in Kansas wanted him as pastor.  Our house was on the market to be sold so we could move.  Boxes were packed in the living room, now four children were looking for stability, and I had another deacon board to call.  It was happening all over again.

Steve was admitted to the hospital as an E.C.T. candidate. Staff checked his physical condition. After tests, we met the anesthesiologist, Steve’s room was assigned, and I was summarily dismissed.  I had to leave him alone there nervous, depressed, anxious, crying, and pacing endlessly around the halls. He had to call me from a pay phone.  He was back in “groups” again, part of the drill to reap E.C.T benefit.

Steve somehow survived the week end.  He was to have his first treatment on Monday. I could go up to see him afterward.  Monday morning.  Our families had been praying for him. We were all apprehensive.

After the treatment, I rushed up.  When I walked into the recovery area, he was reclining in a chair with an I.V. running, listening to the radio. He turned and asked, without changing his expression, “Do I know you?”   Blood drained from my face.  Then he grinned.  I really felt like beating him up.  He proceeded to tell me what was wrong with the theology of the preacher he was listening to on the radio. Not bad.

Everyone had assured me that memory loss would be insignificant, and it was.  Mainly he lost track of current events, the details of the Gulf War that was then in progress. Every day over thirty-two days of his hospitalization, he lost a little more memory abut world news.  He had other lapses, but once he was reminded, he could recall it.

The doctor told me that the memory is like a row of tabs, each connected to the next.  When Steve didn’t remember something,  I should go back until I found an associated event in time or a subject that he did recall.  Then his brain would link events automatically.  Soon the events and circumstances of our lives were safely tucked in his mind again, right where they belonged.  He eventually remembered just about everything.   His long term memory was never affected.

I could not argue that the E.C.T. was doing its intended job.  He was still depressed but noticeably improving.  The swap of minor memories for suicidal thoughts was well worth it.

If you would like to know more about Broken Minds Hope for Healing It,  please go to:
You can email me