Friday, May 31, 2013

Why does God allow evil and suffering?


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Thanksgiving  in the United States is a legal holiday. But for many their trials have robbed them of happiness and a sense of well being at the Thanksgiving. For those who have lost their young sons daughter by way of war, the empty chair causes grief. We should pray for and thank God for their sacrifice and the  service  to our country and the world.

For those whose marriages are breaking up, we grieve. Thanksgiving meal will not be much,
for those who have lost children by disease or accident or murder, giving thanks is an effort.
Robyn and I lost our daughter, Lindsay and our granddaughter, Emily Hope to a drugged filled man whose weapon was a car.  He hit her head on. We saw the whole thing on September 11, 2001. This morning I walked into a department store and saw the Christmas Lights on the trees. My heart ached, because of losing our daughter, Lindsay and losing my sister, Cindy to a suicide in 2006.
Don't think at this festive season that you have to paste a smile on your face and buck up. What many are struggling with good and evil. Please read below.
This is one of the best articles (it comes in tract form) I have read on the subject of suffering
and why does or does not allow it.  As always, please don't forget our book, 
Please see our informative web site,

David Scholer is the author of this article/tract.
Image result for murder
A 20-year-old woman had been murdered by her husband in her mother's kitchen.
The man then shot his 18-month-old son (who survived) and finally killed himself. In the hours that I sat with the grieving mother at the funeral home she repeated over and over, "God wanted my daughter murdered."

In her grief and despair this woman was attempting to reconcile and maintain what she believed about an all-powerful God in the face of evil and suffering.
  We sense immediately that her conclusion is not right; God could hardly have wanted her daughter murdered. Our problem is, "How can a God who is both loving and all-powerful allow evil?" It seems that God is either not loving enough or is not powerful enough to prevent some evils. It is a dilemma, a legitimate theological problem.

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We cannot give complete answers to these questions.
The questions would not resurface generation after generation if there was what is traditionally called an "answer." Yet, we are forced to say something when someone asks, "If God is in charge of everything, why did He let our friend have a heart attack?"

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Reflection is important
If only to keep us away from irresponsible thoughts about God that captivate some people from time to time. These seven perspectives have helped me and others cope with the problem of evil and suffering, even if they do not totally solve or answer the problem.

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone" (James 1:13).
Whatever the omnipotence and omniscience of God mean, they do not imply that God causes evil .

The Scripture Says
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). In the face of the first assertion, some people have attempted to resolve the issue of evil by claiming that there is no reality to sin and evil. This is a delusion. Both experience and history on the one hand and biblical evidence on the other are stout witnesses to the grim and fearsome reality of sin and evil in our world and in our lives. The Bible affirms that sin and evil entered our world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12-14). And so, all of human history and God's creation are subject to the reality of sin and death, decay and evil (Hebrews 2:14-15).

"Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted.

The biblical stories are replete with examples, from Abraham to Paul, and of course the Gospel story of Jesus is itself the ultimate confirmation that God never guaranteed deliverance from pain, suffering, abuse or evil. The author of Hebrews points out this reality: "Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted" (Hebrews 2:18) and, "He learned obedience from what He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8).

This must be the intent of Paul's affirmation in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Notice also the Lord's response to Paul's request for relief from physical pain: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is another witness to the conviction that God works through the realities of sin and evil.

God never effects evil, (ed.)

  I think the teaching that we should thank God for everything, even that which is evil, is wrong.
It is not for everything that we thank God, but in and through everything, for God is never overcome by evil or sin but uses for His purposes even the tragic realities of human experience. I do not need to understand how God's purposes work out. It is enough for me to embrace the biblical understanding that God does work in and through all experiences.

 The Bible is clear that among God's purposes for us in the midst of suffering and pain is the molding and strengthening of our character
 James wrote, "You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete" (James 1:3-4). Challenge, even the challenge of suffering and evil, can provide a  unparalleled opportunity for growth toward spiritual maturity.

The Love of God
Paul's assertion, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), is consistent with the whole Bible; God provides comfort and support and love and assurance to those who turn to Him in their sorrow and suffering.

In the introduction to the beautiful narrative of Jesus' healing of the man born blind, Jesus' disciples asked, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2)". Jesus explicitly rejected the disciples' assumptions and declared that the man's blindness provided an occasion for the good purpose of God to be demonstrated: Jesus is the light of the world (John 9:3-5)! Unconfessed sin and unbelief have their consequences. to be sure, but this is not the answer to the problem of evil and suffering.

From the beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the final testimony in Revelation, the Bible reveals that God will triumph over sin and evil. God's victory is given through the Lord Jesus Christ's defeat of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). The reality and triumph of God's raising Christ from the dead means that tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life - indeed, "nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
 Image result for person being robbed in 1600's
More than 360 years ago Georg Neumark, as a youth of 20, was robbed on his way to study law at the University of Konigsberg. He had to give up his plans to study and wandered for some time as an unemployed, destitute person.
Then he unexpectedly found a position as a tutor. On that day young Neumark wrote what has become the well-known hymn, "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee." It was his expression of thanksgiving for the grace of God in his life. And it was his testimony of trust in God and the belief that God will "give thee strength, what e'er betide thee, and bear thee through the evil days."
As we respond to God's calling, facing again and again the problem of evil and suffering, we too can join together in the affirmation that "God never yet forsook at need, the soul that trusted in Him indeed."
American Tract Society
Box 462008
Garland, Texas 75046-2008 USA
For orders in the US: 1-800-548-7228

Monday, May 27, 2013

Syrian Church is Exhausted, No Arab Spring, pray!!

John Foxe


John Foxe (1517–18 April 1587) was an English historian and martyrologist, the author of what is popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs (properly The Acts and Monuments), an account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history but emphasizing the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the fourteenth century through the reign of Mary I. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped mould British popular opinion about the Catholic Church for several centuries. -- from Wikipedia

If you would like to read about how the martyr's that died many years ago, please go this link

Fighting has caused tens of thousands of Christians to flee their homes in Syria!

A Syrian Christian leader has spoken of the desperate plight of the church in the war-torn country.
Dr Mary Mikhael, of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria, said churches were being targeted in the conflict and that many Christians were being displaced.As refugees, they lack adequate shelter, medicine, food supplies and "their human dignity", she said.
Dr Mikhael was addressing commissioners at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meeting in Edinburgh this week,; She said there was no Arab Spring for the people of Syria but "only a stormy dark winter". In particular, she expressed concern that there would soon be no Christian presence in the country."The tragedy is getting bigger day by day … Now the big question is about our future."
Syrian churches are stepping in to help meet the needs of displaced people but she warned that they are "exhausted". Pray with us, be in solidarity with our church, help us bring hope to Syria," she said.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood paused proceedings to give commissioners a moment to pray about the situation.
She prayed: "Help us to stand beside them, to offer not only our prayers but all we can do as a Church to support them, to be with them and somehow through the power of your Spirit, the power of your love and your peace, bring once again peace and an end of strife and hardship to that land through Christ our Lord, Amen."

Former Moderator, the Very Reverend Professor Iain Torrance said the situation in Syria was a "tragedy that is beyond description".It is also causing "enormous problems" for neighboring Lebanon as a result of the influx of refugees, he noted.

Norma Packham, a General Assembly member originally from Iraq, urged the Church of Scotland "not to allow the Christians in Syria to suffer like the Christians in Iraq suffered" after the 2003 US-led invasion
The Syrian people become like the Iraqi people who are still suffering," she said."It's good to pray for them to support them, but here the Church of Scotland with its authority, [it is good] to speak to the governments, the Scottish Government and the UK Government, to help them in a practical way, and not just to look for oil and not to allow the Syrian people become like the Iraqi people who are still suffering," she said.
The Reverend Na'el Abu Rahmoun, of the Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, drew attention to the abduction of Syrian bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, who are still missing after one month.
He asked Christians to keep praying for their safe return as well as the release of all people who have fallen victim to kidnapping in Syria.
"We ask Scotland, the UK, to work to stop violence," he said.
"We are not sure who is right in Syria but we are sure we want to stop the violence there and we need justice and peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world."
Dr Bernard Sabella, executive secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, said Christians were not alone in being on the receiving end of unprovoked attacks.
He said the conflict was "making all of us victims" but he also pleaded with Christians across the Middle East not to leave the region.
"The solution for me is not to come out to Scotland but to stay put in my own country," he said.


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reactive Depression versus Biological Depression

Steve Bloem
Copyright, all rights reserved 2011
This is a repost from 2001

The term reactive depression is not used nearly as much as it was twenty – forty years ago.

A person may feel depressed which  often is a grief reaction to a life event or loss or    Reactive  depressions, which often a response   to a life event or a significant loss.  It is unlike endogenous  depression which is not caused by faulty brain chemistry. Endogenous  has unrelenting sorrow, loss of hope, depression, constant sleep disturbance, loss of appetite and often loss of sex drive.

Reactive depressions are very distressing and often occur during holidays and anniversaries.
It involves a person reacting to a life event.Reactive depression is also known as exogenous depression. It comes from outward circumstances, feelings of loss and inadequate coping resources.

Reactive depressions can include a response to particular life pressures and of course a reaction to loss of a cherished object or dream   For example, a person wants Christmas to be the way it used to be before the death of a loved one; when they sit at the holiday table there is an empty chair and it causes deep pain. The missed loved one's absence, in this case, permanent absence engenders a reaction of grief and loss. Reactive depressions may be a result of someone who has been devastated by an unwanted divorce; they begin to think "if only it could be like when it was when we were first married, we were so happy.” The loss of the past and the future haunts them daily. But there is a certain resilience in the depressed person's mood, especially as time goes on.

Sometimes parents torture themselves with thoughts of what it would be like if their children were godly and they cry out like David, over the prodigal, “O Absalom, my son, my son.” Reactive depression should not be suppressed or suffocated. It is something that is very real and it needs to "run its course."

Reactive depression can also be spiritual in nature. Job, who had lost all of his children and everything he possessed, laments saying,   Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me; When His lamp shone over my head, And by His light I walked through darkness; As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent ; When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; 6 When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil (Job 29:2-6).

Understanding God and His purposes are important in resolving this kind of depression. Job was boxed in by His sorrows and only God Himself could bring him through and out of the deep waters and the sorrowful pit from which he could not climb. A lowering of expectations can be helpful, as is being thankful for whom you are, and what you have in Christ. Recognizing God’s sovereign purposes in trials are an overriding theme in Scripture. Peter, in his first epistle after he spoke to his readers about their eternal inheritance and salvation tells them:
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a “little while,” if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (1 Peter 1:6).
The “little while” is life between the dash (on a grave stone), in comparison with eternal glory. The distress is only a little while when compared to eternity. God has deemed it something that is needed during our stay on earth.
I will say more about spiritual depression in another blog.

I leave you with a quote from the great poet and song writer William Cowper who suffered from bipolar disorder which demonstrates the unyielding pain of being depressed, biologically.
He was a poet and a writer. When talking about one of his depressive episodes (which lasted about a year); he states It was with such a dejection of spirits, as none but they who have felt the same, can have the least conception of. Day and night I was upon the rack, lying down in horror, rising up in despair. I presently lost all relish for those studies, to which before I had been closely attached; the classic had no longer charm for me; I had need of something more salutary than amusement but I had no one to direct me where to use it. Thomas, Gilbert. (1943) William Cowper and the Eighteenth Century. London: George Allen and Unwin LTD, page 75.

His endogenous depression was unrelenting, something he described as torture on the rack. In endogenous depression there is a certain detachment from those who around you. It lacks the elasticity of reactive depressions.
All of us should try to be pastors of the soul and realize that depression has many faces.
If you would like to read about depression please go to this link:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Christ the Savior, Do you know Him personally?

Hello Reader,
Perhaps you have visited this blog for  the first time.  You may have joined this blog and follow it regularly.  Whatever your situation, I am glad that you  have visited us.
But I must ask you a couple of  questions;  If you were to die today would you know for sure that you would wake up in heaven?  Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He said to you; Why should I let you into heaven what would you say to Him(Evangelism Explosion, J. Kennedy)?

The Bible tells us:  And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27.  Contrary to what you may have been heard or read, there is no second chance after death.  When I was sixteen years old and was at a camp in Northern Michigan, I looked to Jesus Christ as my Savior. I trusted Him for salvation and since then I have had great assurance that I am His child and will someday be with Him forever.  Hell is a very real thing but I will never see its gates.  It is all because my Savior, Jesus Christ paid the price for my sins when He shed His blood on the cross for me.  He satisfied God's wrath through the offering of Himself  on the cross and when you come to know Him you are no longer under that wrath. He was resurrected and now is alive at the right hand of His Father. He pleads through His people that you would be saved.
Here is something from Grace Community Church that can help you understand what it means to be a true Christian. I also have given a link to a three minute gospel presentation. It is very good.

What It Means to Be a Christian

Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.
God Is Sovereign Creator
Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.
God Is Holy
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3); therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Mankind Is Sinful
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10–12).
Sin Demands a Penalty
God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior
Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).
The Character of Saving Faith
True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28–30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).
If you would like to see the gospel  presented in your own language, please go to the link below.

The link below has a three minute presentation on how to become a Christian.
If you have made a decision to accept Christ as Savior, please let me know.  You can do so by sending me an email at  or you can go to our contact us form on our web site.!contact/cito  
I can send you by email some material that will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. All you have to do is go to the heartfeltmin org link directly above.

Steve Bloem