Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sodom and the Poor, part 2

Obedience means help the poor

Isaiah, a prophet to the nation of Judah, rebuked them for desiring the nearness of God even to the point of fasting, but sadly neglected God's standard of righteousness. Isaiah in chapter fifty eight begins with, theLORDs call, "Cry loudly, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet
and declare to my people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1, NASB).

The Jewish people were very close to God's cascading judgments rolling over their heads because oftheir sins against the poor. Part of Isaiah's message includes, "Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into thehouse; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh" (Isaiah 58:6)? We should not deceive ourselves thinking that America has no real poor in it. The church of Jesus Christ should not only help the poor in the United States but believer's in other countries. (Please read 2 Corinthians 8).

Sodom not like Israel but still judged for not helping the poor.

Sodom did not have a covenantal relationship with God like Israel. However, both were judged because of their failing to help the poor and the needy. The more light that Israel, in the north and Judah in the south, were given the more severely were they judged in regards the poor. Our Lord Jesus teaches us in the New Testament about sinning against God's special revelation.
In Matthew 10, Christ is ordering the disciples to preach the gospel to Israel.He then tells them, if they are rejected; truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city.

Pride flowing from fullness of bread

Sodom was an organizd society. It was financially well off. One of the reasons for this was it was located in the valley of Jordan and was rich in well irrigated land which would make for a booming economy. This prosperity created arrogance and a hardening of the heart toward the poor and needy. According to John Calvin, "Sodom’s sin was not merely her notorious lusts but the secret spring of them, pride flowing from fullness of bread,caused by fertile soil producing idleness" (Calvin's commentary, Volume 12, The Book of Ezekiel).

The Economy, the Economy, and don't forget, the Economy

At this time in the United States and many times before, the issue that concerns Americans the most is whether or not we have a good economy. I am thankful I am an American and I am aware that I have benefited financially morethan many my brothers and sisters in other nations. However, there are many inthis country and others who think that they are self made men or women andshould be congratulated for their God given intelligence and health. "Give the glory to God' for whatever you have achieved. In the part 1 of the Ezekiel text, the word arrogance in the Hebrew has its origins ina word that denotes, "excellency, majesty, pride and swelling." Sodomand her sister city-states felt that they should be congratulated for all theprosperity that had come to them.

One step from homelessness

The fact is that any of us are a mere paycheck away from poverty and homelessness. At age 29, when hit by a severe clinical depression, I could notsleep, I could not eat and I could not work. I was a college graduate but I had to go to a government agency to get food stamps and Medicaid. All of oursavings were spent on medical expenses and daily living. My wife, Robyn, and our three children (at the time) had to live in a basement of a relative’s house. (Please see our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. Please see our donation now page if you desire to give a gift to the poor. When you give let us know that it is for the"poverty fund" and it will only be spent on the poor and none to salary or printing costs, etc.

google-site-verification: google0f4c38d6cc0611bb.html

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pray for the Persecuted Church

VOM-USA Prayer Update for
February 17, 2012
On Tue. Feb 14 2012 at 08:42 AM
Moderator wrote:
Algeria--Church Attacked in Ouargla,
AlgeriaSources: VOM Contacts, International Christian

Muslim extremists attacked a church in Ouargla, eastern Algeria, damaging
church property. According to VOM contacts, Pastor Mourad had received a
threatening letter two weeks earlier demanding that he leave the area but had
not taken the threat seriously. However, around midnight on Feb.1, several men broke through the rear gate of the church and destroyed some church equipment.
They also tried to break into the church building but were unsuccessful. In
2009, Pastor Mourad's wife was beaten and seriously injured by an unknown group of attackers. And last year, an angry mob shouted death threats while throwing heaps of trash over the church walls. Despite these attacks, Pastor Mourad is convinced that the Lord has called him to serve in Ouargla, and he refuses to leave. "No matter what happens, we will stay here," he says. Praise God for his faithfulness.
Bosnia--Believer Uses VOM-Provided Book to Share
GospelSource: VOM Contacts
A Christian in Bosnia recently shared the gospel with his neighbors by giving them some humanitarian supplies along with a VOM-provided gospel story book. After receiving a package of supplies from the Christian relief organization,Samaritan's Purse, "Henry" offered the supplies to his neighbors, along with an illustrated Jesus: He Lived Among Us story book, which tells the story of Jesus from the gospels. A 25-year-old woman kept asking Henry questions about the difference between Croatian Christmas celebrations and Christian celebrations."It came to my mind to use the book to talk more about Jesus and his plan for humanity," Henry said. "In the end, I told her to read the book and find out more about the life of this wonderful and unique man." Praise God for the creativity and willingness believers all over the world have to share Christ's message.
Sudan--School Bombed by Government Forces
Sources: Samaritan's Purse, State Department,

Sudanese forces bombed a school run by Samaritan's Purse in the Nuba
mountains in Southern Kordofan. The bombing occurred on the first day of school, when the Heiban Bible College campus was crowded with students, teachers andfamilies. Although Sudanese forces dropped eight bombs, destroying twobuildings, no one was killed. A statement from the United States' ambassador to the United Nations said the attack "underscores the viciousness of Sudan'son going military campaign in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states" in a conflictaffecting 50,000 people. Samaritan's Purse reported that four churches in theregion have been destroyed since August. Nearly 30,000 refugees from the Nuba
mountain have filled a camp across the border in South Sudan. Please pray forthose affected by the ongoing violence and for those who are bringing Jesus' name to the area.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sodom and the poor, part 1

Sexual sin was not the only sin of Sodom. When most Evangelicals think of Sodom and her sin, they think of sexual immorality. The Scriptures make it clear that the sexual sin of the city and its neighboring Gomorrah was very great (see Genesis 19). But according to God's prophet, Ezekiel, there was more that displeased a holy God than that particular sin. Ezekiel 16:49, 50 tells us, Behold this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it (NASB).
You could become homeless faster than you think
One heart attack, one accident, one brain chemical gone awry, one stroke could reduce us to ignominy and dependency on others. Remember that born again believers are meant to exist in community with a responsibility to help other needy believers including the poor and homeless of our society. In many ways, this stewardship of help has been relegated to the American government and perhaps the government of the country where you live.
Reach out the poor
The New Testament Church spoke often of helping the poor (Galatians 2:9-19; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15) . The Hebrew word for careless, shaquat means to "be at quiet, tranquil, to be at peace." The Theological Word Book of the Old Testament states, “The word careless in the Ezekiel text overlaps with the word 'security' (betah) which is a feeling of confidence." Sodom had its good times, the best of times. Again like many today, they had the attitude of "Come on; let's party!" There was plenty of apathy toward the poor and needy in the city of Sodom and her daughter cities(Please see Ezekiel 16:48 and Genesis 10:190).
Pleasure and the absence of pain were the ultimate objective of life for these cities. The outcome was ethical and psychological hedonism at its worst. Those who were not in the mainstream were taken advantage of or ignored.

Willful ignorance of the poor and needy
People in Sodom simply walked by the poor. The word Ezekiel uses in Ezekiel 16:49 for help, means literally, "to seize by the hand and set up again." In their insatiable lust and greed they did not reach out and lift up the sick, the afflicted and the poor. The word for poor means to find oneself oppressed, afflicted and wretched. The word "needy" connotes having no clothes, no land and no food.
A friend of mine who was from a nation which had no Christian roots said, "You Americans have to learn how to walk over those who sleep on the sidewalk." Sodom was like that.
Please bear with me. Which would interest you more, five ways to have a better sex life or five ways to help the mentally ill poor? If you are a pastor what is your budget for the poor, especially those who have mental illness? Do you support missionaries to the poor and mentally ill? Do you pray for them?
We are a small non-profit. I hear at the end of the year, non profit organizations asking for anywhere from five hundred thousand dollars to two million dollars to help them exist. We brought in twenty thousand dollars in donations. Why is this? True religion is helping others who cannot give you anything back. Heartfelt Ministries ministers to anyone who is need. We never turned anyone away.
I don't consider myself much of a fund raiser. So please pray for our non-profit ministry and enlist others to pray and give. Robyn and I will continue to help the afflicted, poor and sick.
Rev. Steve Bloem
P.S. We will speak more of this in Sodom and the Poor, Part 2.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Every parents nightmare, part 3

Was this an Accident?
Of course, they were all fine. Our dear, sweet, beautiful Lindsay died at the accident scene along with her baby, Emily Hope. Instead of setting up the crib the next day, we were setting up their funeral.
Her baby was in her arms in the casket and our arms still feel empty. As I thought in my human condition, if only I would have hugged her a few minutes longer in the church parking lot, perhaps that other car would have hit a post-- or something, anything besides her. Brant said he was supposed to drive theother car home because it was getting uncomfortable for her to fit behind the wheel, thus he would have been able to avoid the “accident” altogether. Of course, only God knows the possible outcome of that scenario—we may have lost them both if he drove.

Where were God's mighty angels?

Later, I asked my theologian husband, Steve, the father of only one daughter, Lindsay, “Where were the angels that night for her?” I remember thinking of all the miraculous tales of others who had some event that they testified of, giving full credit to angels, and thus testifying of God’s unique love and care for
them. In this vein, I started to feel that we were somehow unworthy of the angelic attention devoted to others as heaven stopped everything to rush to the aid of the more fortunate, or more spiritual or more important. After all, it seemed to me that we were just an average family traversing life and somehow we didn’t play it quite right that night. The angels were on break or something. We stood there on the side of the road watching life unravel.

His answer was that the angels do God's bidding and so they stood with wings folded, worshipping and waiting to transport Lindsay and Emily to heaven. An hour, actually a moment, had changed our lives forever. “Your daughter has passed.” -Robyn Bloem
An excerpt from a book in the writing

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A mother's look at a disgusting psychatric hospital

Hi Honey! thanks for the encouragement! I guess we all are hanging in the balance just depending on the Lord to keep us breathing... We get Brant today and will bring him back to the pastor's house where we are staying....not sure where he will sleep--but we will work it out.
A needed bail out
Steve and I were just glad to get him out of the nasty psychiatric hospital over there...it is disgusting! They are building a 6 Billion dollar hospital across the street, the present hospital is great downstairs, but the moment you enter the psych ward--YUCK!! Dirty carpets, sticky window sills--sticky coke rings in multiple black circles on top of one another, food crumbs on the tables, potato chips on the floor for FOUR days and a complete orange peel under a chair that has been there for 3 days. Brant and his roommate have a bathroom I wouldn’t use….A couple of days ago when Brant felt a little more “with it” he cleaned it himself.
Please let me out of here.
Yesterday a woman picked up a chair and banged it HARD against a window because she wanted to get out. They patted her on the shoulder and led her to a chair and told to sit down. Steve said, "Well, she didn't have any repercussions, so she'll just do it again." Sure enough (her first attempt was during our noon visit) during our 7 pm visit, she succeeded. She picked up a heavier chair and smashed the window this time to "get out." (third floor) A maintenance man came up and duct taped a board across it. Unbelievable! I just don't understand why the mentally ill are such low class citizens. There is a woman in there who looks like we would look if we were a little more confused than we usually are :). Her husband comes rushing in every noon in a suit and looks very successful. She sits in the dirt like the rest of them...and the others are just depressed--they're not homeless or something.
Chemical restraint
One guy who is always getting put in the "quiet room" had some kind of break at an airport in CA while trying to get home to Indiana. He is probably about 25-ish and he keeps asking for his Blackberry and threatening to sue everybody and is very nervous and annoying-- he keeps swearing at everybody and slamming the public phone down; they have him super medicated and he is zombied out--I understand that to an extent--but he is a nicely dressed young guy who got psychotic and his family is as far away as we were.
Broken Minds Hope for Healing Like You're Losing It, keeps disappearing
I just feel so sorry for these people with Broken Minds...speaking of which, we brought a book in for Brant’s roommate and one to give to Brant’s favorite nurse. They both disappeared…someone stole them so we gave another one to the roommate. the other one is floating around somewhere and other patients are talking about it. I THINK WE FOUND OUR TARGET AUDIENCE!! One thing, no one there is in denial or saying there is no such thing as mental illness.
Robyn Bloem, Co founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries, Coauthor of Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.
Broken Minds is a nice gift you could give to a person in a psychiatric hospital. It has help many while they are in a psychiatric hospital or after they are released.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Broken Minds, Guess Who Likes It?

All you need to do is to google, Steve Brown. Now that must be one of the most popular names in the English language. But Dr. Steven Brown of Key Life, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (I think he is semi-retired) and one of the most popular speakers in the world will come up on the first page. He was kind enough to give a review of our book when it first came out. In case you have not seen his handsome face, he is the guy with the smile.

Steve & Robyn Bloem, Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing © 2005, Grand Rapids; Kregel Publications Endorsement by Dr. Steve Brown, Key Life Ministries Professor or Practical Theology, RTS Orlando

Wow! What a great book-- a book that we’ve needed for such a long time. With clarity, Biblical faithfulness and grace, Steve and Robyn Bloem lead us from their personal experience to hope for the rest of us who have experienced, or loved those who have experienced, the pain of a "broken mind." This is a book that should be mandatory reading for every leader in the church. It is one of the most (perhaps "the most") helpful books I’ve ever read on mental illness." (Then on a personal note) "I really do think this is a great book and will be making it mandatory reading for my practical theology classes."

Broken Minds includes very readable large narratives by Steve and Robyn Bloem. It has helped thousands of people who are evangelical Christians and is read world wide. Broken Minds tackles the issue of mental illness from a Biblical perspective. It has been given academic status by Kregel Publications and is being used in seminaries and bible colleges across the globe. Broken Minds can be read with Kindle and E-books. If you purchase Broken Minds from us,the proceeds will go to Heartfelt Counseling Ministries. The copy you will receive will be signed by authors,Steve and Robyn Bloem. Please go to the link below.

Please go to 

Dr. Bob Kellemen

Our second reviewer, Dr. Bob Kellemen is Director of the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network and Chairman of the Christian Counseling and Discipleship Department at Capital Bible Seminary.

Refreshing Candor
Bloem and Bloem write a telling personal and biblical narrative for those dealing with depression. This is a rare book from a conservative Christian perspective. Many authors from a secular perspective have shared about their own battle with depression (William Styron, Lewis Wolpert) or bi-polar disorder (Kay Redfield Jamison), but few evangelicals have done so. Fortunately the stigma of depression is fading as Christians of today realize what Christians of the past have known--there are many causes of depression (for a powerful look at "famous" Christians who struggled with emotional issues, see "Genius, Grief, and Grace").
For an honest, open, biblical, theologically-sound, and helpful conservative Christian approach to hope for healing, "Broken Minds" should be tops on your list. Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., author, professor, Capitol Bible Seminary, Washington D.C.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bipolar Disorder Type 1 or 2:

Bipolar disorder can begin with a bout of either depression or mania, but about two-thirds of cases start with a manic episode, and mania tends to predominate. Just as there are many forms of depression, there are several types of bipolar disorder. The two main subtypes are bipolar type 1 and bipolar type 2. Both are characterized by one or more major depressive episodes, but the type and degree of mania differ.

Bipolar type 1
People with bipolar type 1 experience mania consisting of distinct periods of persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood. The mania may involve delusional ideas and impaired judgment. A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more other symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for one week or longer.

Bipolar type 2
People with bipolar type 2 experience what's called hypomania, a mild to moderate level of mania that is generally a less destructive state than mania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Impaired judgment is rare. Symptoms of bipolar type 2 can be so mild that patients -- and their doctors --mistake these periods of good mood for recovery between depressive episodes. Therefore, even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can turn into severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Manic Episode

By definition, a manic episode may include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or paranoia during euphoria. About one-half to two-thirds of people with mania have psychotic symptoms. In hypomania, no psychotic symptoms are present.

Getting the correct diagnosis is crucial. Certain medications and health conditions can cause significant mood swings that mimic the symptoms of bipolar disorder. These include corticosteroids, antidepressant or anti anxiety drugs, drugs for Parkinson's disease such as tolcapone (Tasmar), abuse of alcohol or other drugs, an under active or overactive thyroid gland, a neurological or adrenal disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency and other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. These potential causes of mood swings should be taken into account when a person is suspected of having bipolar disorder or is not responding to treatment.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Every parent's nightmare, part 2

Copyright all rights reserved

Lindsay Comes for Comfort and Prayer

At about 3:00 in the afternoon, I heard Lindsay come in the front door of our house. She had to go and cash her check and Bill told her to get gas in case the gas prices spiked. She told us we should fill up, too; so we did. Then we all came back to our house and Steve sat down with her to explain some of what was happening. She told me she felt much better after their talk.

A Very Special Prayer Meeting

Meanwhile, our Pastor called to tell us we were having a special prayer meeting for our nation and the victims’ families of the then known terrorist attacks. Two of our sons were still living at home. Brant was sixteen and Tyler, eleven. Steve, Jr. was living in his own apartment. The two younger boys had just started school a couple of weeks previous and said they had homework. We told them this was an important thing to do, to go and pray for our nation and assured them they would have plenty of time to do their homework afterward. Lindsay stated very emphatically that she wanted to pray and even said that the girls at work seemed more open to the gospel and she was excited about some evangelistic opportunities. She stayed and ate dinner with us and then we rushed out to pray for our country. Bill was to get out of work at 8:00 pm, so Lindsay drove her own car so she could leave early if need be to get him on time.

Our pastor spoke briefly about trusting the Lord in difficult times such as these, and then we went to prayer. We were all finished at about 7:40, so Lindsay and we left at the same time. Our family spoke briefly outside church and I remember giving her a hug and a few suggestions about setting up the crib. Then off we went toward home. I was driving because my husband, Steve had just gotten out of the hospital. The boys were in the middle van seat and we waved as Lindsay pulled ahead of us. She smiled her beautiful smile and we all watched something else we will never forget as we added these new images to the ones shown on television.

Oh No! He is going to hit Lindsay!

Unbeknownst to us, coming toward us was a drug addict who was passed out and slumped over the steering wheel. He crossed four lanes of traffic and we all watched as he hit our precious Lindsay head on. He completely spun her car around so she was facing the opposite direction. I pulled over and we all ran to her aid. We did’t have a cell phone at the time and I started yelling to the gathering crowd, Somebody, call 911. This is our daughter in here and she is 8 months pregnant! Brant, our sixteen-year-old son and Steve tried to pull the wreckage off of her. Steve said his feet felt like they were on fire and then we noticed the hot gasoline running out of the engine; the gas Lindsay had so recently put in her tank. It just seemed so ironic to me. Cars began to pull over. Brant yelled to some big, burly guys from a nearby restaurant to come and help. They couldn’t do anything.

The worse, She has passed

The worst moment of our lives was being played out in front of a hundred complete strangers who were powerless to do anything useful. I had run over to the open car window and was calling to her, “Linds, open your eyes, honey. It’s Mom. Come on, honey, open your eyes.” Before very long, the ambulances arrived…many ambulances. Brant was actually assisting the paramedic with CPR or something and they put the rest of us behind the huge fire engine so we couldn’t watch everything, I guess. It all became so strange and so terrifying! An already horrible day now became chokingly horrible. We had to call our eldest son, Steve Jr. to the accident scene and Lindsay’s husband, Bill. We had the police call our pastor whom we had just left a few minutes before at church. The paramedics and the officers told us, “We’re doing everything we can.” Later, “We have a pulse.” Still, later, “She is in cardiac arrest.” Then, “Please get in the vehicle, we have to talk to you.” In a moment, we heard, “She has passed.”

The terrorists at home

We sat on the ground on an otherwise calm, quiet night --shaking our heads. This was a different kind of shock than we felt in the morning watching the suffering of others. This was our day of terrorism. This happened in Grand Rapids, Michigan; in the suburbs returning from church. There were three guys in this vehicle, their weapon of death. Two more were passed out in the car as well as the driver. There were open syringes in the car and the Michigan State Police said the driver had enough heroin in him to put down six men, besides cocaine and marijuana. They were trying to go to a rock concert and because of the terrorist attacks it was cancelled. So, as Steve said later to the sentencing judge, Two destinies met that night; one returning from a prayer vigil for others and one car load of drug addicts who were shooting up as they drove home.

This An excerpt from a unpublished book, to be continued.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Every parent’s nightmare , all rights reserved

Robyn - Description of the Accident

The Terror of 9-11, a true story.

“Mom, what’s going on? I’m afraid.”

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning when our nineteen year old daughter, Lindsay, reported for work at a nearby bakery. It was 6:00 am and she had many things for which to be thankful. She planned to “retire” when her baby was born the next month. We were very excited anticipating the welcome of our little Emily Hope to the family. The following day, Wednesday, she told me they were not allowing anyone to interfere or come over to visit. It was their own special day and they were setting up the crib and the rest of the accouterments for the nursery.

First Terror

In West Palm Beach, Florida on the same morning, at 7:45, my mother boarded a plane for Pennsylvania to visit my sister and her family. While watching the morning news, every station seemed to break away to cover the events of September 11, 2001. The visuals of those horrific scenes will forever be ingrained in our minds. Within a few hours, more and more details were revealed. I remember that we had become aware that the airports were closing and my siblings all over the country began to wonder where our mom was. My sister, Sherry, who lives near our mother, said she would run over and check the flight itinerary that Mom left on her desk. Sherry had not really thought she would need to know any of that until the two week vacation began to draw to a close. Under the present circumstances, we had to have the flight numbers to find out what was next. After a few agonizing hours, we were told Mom’s plane had landed in Charlotte, N.C. and she would be returning to West Palm Beach on a Greyhound Bus. Honestly, it just seemed crazy. Poor Mom would miss her visit with Kathy and of all things had been stuck on a bus.

Mom, Is this the end of the world?

Lindsay called me from work probably about six times during the day. She asked me if it was the end of the world; if Jesus was coming back; if we were all going to be killed by these people who could do such a thing. She was very nervous about all the scary possibilities. She had been diagnosed a few years before with a panic disorder and had always been quite timid about current events for one reason or another. I teased her husband, Bill, about having the news channels set under parental controls because the news made her so nervous.

This An excerpt from a unpublished book, to be continued.

Steve Bloem