Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Information about Normal and Abnormal sleep

I have been a pastor and a counselor for quite a while.  One of the first things I ask my  client is:
How did you sleep last night?  If you read the article, below you will know why I ask this.  One of my psychiatrists, Dr. Donald Goodwin, who was the chair of the University of Kansas School of Psychiatry and who died in 1999 once said to me; Steve, sleep disturbance is a litmus test for depression.| And the article below echoes his statement. when it says:  In fact, insomnia is one of the diagnostic hallmarks of an episode of major depression
Experts tell us that the fundamental biological manifestation of endogenous (also called major depression) depression consist of changes in the hypothamlic centers of the brain that govern food intake, sexual drive and circadian rhythms..  Circadian rhythms which involve the timing of the cycle of rest and activity are altered which results in symptoms being worse in the morning, (early morning awakening) and endocrine abnormalities such as increased stress hormones (cortisol.  .

Remember that  drugs like Lunesta and Ambien are not antidepressants, they are hypnotics.  Often people will mix them with Klonopin or Ativan.   Many psychiatrists believe these combinations of drugs can make things worse for a good night's sleep, most of them will tell you they should be  used short term.  But those who manufacture hypnotics want you to use them long term.

A medical doctor can deal with sleep problems but if you suspect a disorder of the mind, you should go to a psychiatrist rather than a primary doctor. In an age of speciality this only makes sense. 

If you would like to read more about the subject of depression and Steve and Robyn's Bloem story of dealing with it, please go to this link;
So back to the sleep question. It is important to determine what are the characteristics of the person's
sleep at night and during the day. All sleep problems do not constitute a mood disorder.  But where there is a mood disorder, there is a problem with sleep. This includes when a person is in mania or depression.  You might wish to study this more in depth.
 Steve Bloem

From John Hopkins University
Persistent trouble falling asleep at night, or waking up too early, is neither normal nor inevitable with age. Nonetheless, insomnia is a common complaint among older adults. According to the National Sleep Foundation, two out of every ten Americans sleep less than six hours a night -- and nearly 90 percent have symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights a week.

Insomnia leaves people feeling mentally "foggy," contributing to problems with memory and concentration, for instance. Insomnia also slows a person's response time -- and this is potentially dangerous, because it can affect driving ability and increase the risk of falls. In addition, insomnia is a risk factor for depression.

When age is a factor for insomnia. Many believe that older people sleep less at night because they need less sleep. But in fact the need for sleep stays the same as people age -- what changes is what's known as "sleep architecture."

Normal sleep consists of two major states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is further divided into four stages, starting with Stage 1, the lightest level of sleep and progressing to Stage 4, the deepest. But as people hit middle age, the deepest levels of sleep -- Stage 3 and Stage 4 -- begin to decrease. This means that with aging, a greater portion of the night is spent in lighter levels of sleep, which increases the odds that an individual will wake up during the night.

When mood is involved. The relationship between sleep and mood disorders is complex. Insomnia not only contributes to the development of depression but it also is a classic sign of the disorder -- in fact, insomnia is one of the diagnostic hallmarks of an episode of major depression. In addition, insomnia is an independent predictor of suicide in someone who is depressed and of relapse in a person who has been successfully treated for depression.

In a National Institute of Mental Health study of nearly 8,000 people, those who had insomnia when the study began and at the one-year mark were far more likely to develop a new episode of major depression than those without insomnia. In contrast, those whose insomnia had resolved by the one-year mark had a much lower risk of depression.  Insomnia also is deeply intertwined with anxiety disorders. Panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia are all associated with sleep disruption and insomnia.

John Hopkins

Johns Hopkins White Paper: Depression and Anxiety


Sunday, June 23, 2013

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Please keep praying for and remembering your brothers and
 sisters in Christ who are being beat up, hunted down and
killed for their faith.
 If you go to you can pray for
 them by name and even send letters in their language
I have one question for you.  If you were arrested for being a Christian
would there be enough evidence to convict you?
VOM-USA Prayer Update for June 22, 2013
On Fri. Jun 21 2013 at 02:39 PM Moderator wrote: Mexico--Christians in
Chiapas Forced from Homes
Source: VOM Sources
Psalm 34:15

Twenty-six Christian families were recently forced to leave their
homes in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico, when local authorities
denied them municipal services, including water and electricity.
 A spokesperson for the families said authorities demanded the
equivalent of $380 per family and that the families abandon their
evangelical faith in exchange for reinstating the services. "The
community didn't kick us out directly," the spokesperson said.
 "But ... we didn't have water, they didn't allow us to gather wood.
Sunday at 9 p.m., 130 people left the city, and we remain as
refugees." The group said the conflict originated from their
 refusal to contribute to local religious festivals of those who
mix folk beliefs with Catholicism. The festivals involve large amounts
 of alcohol and debauchery.[/quote]

Two Pastors Attacked by Muslim Extremists
Source: VOM Sources
Isaiah 64:1-4

On June 2, Pastor Robert Ngai in Geita, northeastern Tanzania, was

attacked by a large group of radical Muslims. The attackers broke
into his home and attacked him with machetes. The pastor received
serious cuts on his hands and arms when he raised his arms to protect
 his head from the blows. The injuries were beyond local doctors'
ability to treat, so he was rushed to a hospital in a nearby, larger
 city for treatment. Ngai is the pastor of the Evangelical Assemblies
 of God Church. At last word from VOM contacts, he was still in
 ICU. Two nights before the attack on Pastor Ngai, the home of
  Pastor Daudi Nzumbi in Geita also came under attack. Pastor
Nzumbi leads the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania (FPCT)
in Geita. Thankfully, the attackers fled after they were confronted
 by Pastor Nzumbi's large, barking dogs. When Pastor Nzumbi
 called the police, the officer in charge told him, "I cannot protect
every pastor!"[/quote]Iran--Three Christians Arrested
Sources: VOM Sources, Mohabat News
1 Peter 4:13-14

Three Christian converts were arrested on May 29 at a house church
service in Esfahan. Security forces entered the house and arrested
 Mohammad-Reza Farid, Saeed Safi and Hamid-Reza Ghadiri.
Authorities also seized the Christians' identification cards, and
family members have not been told where the men were taken.
Christians, especially those who are of Persian ethnicity, have faced
 increasing persecution as Iran's Islamic regime attempts to stop the
 growth of Christianity.[/quote]Bangladesh--VOM Project

Pray for Christian families who will receive hand-pump water wells.
Muslims in Bangladesh often pressure Christian converts from
Islam by forbidding them to use community wells, saying they
don't want the wells contaminated by "infidels."[/quote]

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Narrow Path, the Good Shepherd

 From Shane Lems blog


by Reformed Reader

 In the first part of Christian’s journey, he had to travel through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  In this valley there was a very narrow path with hellish dangers on both sides.  If Christian would veer too much to the left or right, it would be the end of him.
The narrator explained it like this – which, by the way, is an outstanding analogy of the Christian life.

“I took notice that now poor Christian was so confounded, that he did not know his own voice. And thus I perceived it: just when he was come over against the mouth of the burning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stept up softly to him; and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to him--which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind. This put Christian more to it than anything that he met with before, even to think that he should now blaspheme him that he loved so much before! Yet could he have helped it, he would not have done it; but he had not the discretion neither to stop his ears, nor to know from whence those blasphemies came.
When Christian had traveled in this disconsolate condition some considerable time, he thought he heard the voice of a man, as going before him, saying, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me" (Ps. 23:4).
Then was he glad; and that for these reasons:
First, because he gathered from thence that some who feared God were in this valley as well as himself.
Secondly, for that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark and dismal state; and why not with me, thought he, though, by reason of the impediment that attends this place, I cannot perceive it (Job 9:11)?
Thirdly, for that he hoped (could he overtake them) to have company by and by. So he went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what to answer, for that he also thought himself to be alone. And by and by the day broke; then said Christian, "He hath turned the shadow of death into the morning" (Amos 5:8).
Steve and Robyn's book
Praise God for what He is doing through Steve and Robyn Bloem! Sadly, many lives have been lost to depression, but the Bloems have taken a strong stand on the front lines trying to keep more people from giving up on life. It's sad that the insidious belief, that one can merely "snap out of it," has pervaded even the walls of the Church. This book is especially helpful for those who know someone dealing with mental illness.
Grace Bollman

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mental Illness awareness hits largest Protestant Denomination in the world.!

Dr. Ronnie Floyd
What happened at the Southern Baptist Convention?
by Dr. Ronnie Floyd,
Senior Pastor at Cross Church, Arkansas

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, I presented a motion to the convention about the issue of ministering to those dealing with mental health challenges. My motion requested that the Executive Committee and the entities of the SBC work in cooperation to assist local churches in finding ways to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.

I feel so strongly about this issue — so many people in our church, community, and region are coping with mental illness. Did you know that 58 million Americans and 450 million people globally suffer with the enormous challenges presented by mental illness? My motion appealed to the SBC to be passionately pro-active about this concern and to start dialoging about ways to minister to those dealing with mental illness in a positive, hopeful manner.

So what happened? The Committee on Order of Business determined to refer my motion to the Executive Committee and the 11 entities of the SBC for consideration. I was asked to speak to the Convention for three minutes about the subject of mental illness, which I did. The good news is that yesterday the SBC messengers overwhelmingly approved a resolution. The approved resolution urges Southern Baptists to “oppose all stigmatization and prejudice” and supports “the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate.”
As always, God is in control. It is my prayer that entire SBC will stand for and reach out to those struggling with mental illness.

For  the actual words of his statement and not just a summary.

End of Pastor Floyd's statement

From the Wartburg Press

Nouthetics part of Southern Baptist Convention.
Perhaps those who read our previous posts on biblical counseling saw the same RED FLAGS we did in those amendments — "sufficiency of Scripture as the final authority on all mental health issues" (which was defeated) and "godly biblical counsel" (which was affirmed).
In our upcoming post, we will expound on our concerns about 'biblical counseling' when used to treat mental illness. We are greatly concerned that phrases like 'biblical counseling' and 'godly biblical counsel' squeaked (sneaked) into the resolution approved by the SBC messengers. We have learned quite a bit about biblical / nouthetic counseling, and we are troubled that Christian counselors are implementing it.

Please continute to scroll down.

Rev. Steve Bloem's Response

Introduction, The first paragraph below is not mine.
There is another large issue that affects the SBC and mental health issues and that is the inevitable and career stifling stigma that follows any clergy admitting to clinical depression or other serious mental health problem. They instantly become damaged goods. Every community where I have served as pastor has a tale of a pastor who committed suicide. Perhaps the SBC will do something that has the potential to change such attitudes. I’m rather skeptical of its efficacy, though.


 I am a member of a Southern Baptist church. I trained at the undergraduate and the graduate levels to be a missionary or a pastor. I was ordained at a Baptist church in 1984. In January of 1985, I began to shown signs of a clinical depression. Since I had been trained that J. Adams was the one true light when it comes to counseling, I turned to him.  I was reading his book, Shepherding God’s Flock.  I could not sleep. I read it all night and into the morning. I had terminal insomnia which is a symptom of clinical depression. I found nothing in the book to help me.

Pastor, Do you have a case of the Nerves?
 I had never heard of Nouthetic Counseling or that J.Adams was the founder of it. I was being considered for a pastorate in central Florida. They were very positive until they found out I was depressed.  The chairman of the deacons and the pulpit committee called me and one man said, “Pastor, do you have a case of the nerves?”  And that was the end of that potential pastorate. 

Lafayette, Indiana was the Bastian of Nouthetic Counseling

  Later, my wife and I moved back to our home church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.I decided to go back to my Seminary which I respected.  My study involved attending a satellite school for my Master of Ministry and lo and behold it was at Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana. They came on very strong against the  medical model of mental illness. I and vowed to write a definitive paper on the Christian and Mental Illness, and I wrote it. Much of my academic work was used when we wrote our book a few years later.

No longer considered for the ministry

I was no longer considered for the ministry; I was considered damaged goods. This is one of the reasons why my wife and I wrote a book, Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel like You're Losing It.  Kregel Publications afforded us a platform to explain in a biblical, personal and technical sense what biological/ clinical mental illness really is. I honestly believe that God allowed me to suffer this way for such a time as this and I am excited to see the issues finally and rightly being addressed. God bless!
Steve Bloem                                                                                           
Executive Director
Heartfelt (Counseling Ministries)

Steve Bloem has been trained in Suicide awareness and prevention. Robyn and Steve Bloem talk about suicide and ways to avoid it in their book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. The largest chapter is on suicide. If you would like more information please go this link:

If you would like Steve and Robyn to speak to your church, or your ministry or conduct a seminar called Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness, please go to our contact us page on our web site.!contact/cito

We also have an online CAMI support group which is available by way of the Internet. There is no charge except for a fee of $6.00 for the work book. If you live in Palm Beach County, we can counsel face to face. We are a non-profit agency who charges on a sliding scale. Please contact us through our web site above.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why is there such a debate about medications for mental illness?

My Medications
As you probably know; the writer of this blog is an evangelical Christian. I have walked with the Lord for forty years.  When I was twenty nine years old, I had to go on medications for a full body disease called Bipolar 2 disorder. I am on four medications for my disorder. I am on Zoloft 200 mgs for depression and OCD. I am on 350 mgs of fluvoxamine for depression and OCD. I am on 60 mgs of Buspar, which is a non-addictive anti-anxiety drug; and I am on 1100 mgs. of Seroquel which is an atypical anti-psychotic which is used in my case for bipolar II disorder. Seroquel is also is effective in preventing a severe relapse of endogenous (biological) depression.
I also am on a medication for high blood pressure, a medication for cholesterol and a medication for type 2 diabetes. If you asked me how I feel, I would rightly say, fantastic! None of the medications  mentioned above are addictive, they all serve a purpose and I unashamedly take them.
Much Ado about nothing
What I don't understand is why is there so such  debate among Christians concerning whether believers should take the pills I mention in the first paragraph of this blog?

You may have heard of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC).   Historically thy have been quite opposed to medications. I know that they have received a lot of flack on the subject, which is as it should be. Many a mentally ill person have lost their way because of their unbiblical counsel.
 As of late I have noticed that those who believe that bipolar disorder and depression are not mainly biological(NANC included), grudgingly acknowledge that there may be a place for medications. There are many reasons for this attitude but space does not allow me  to put them here. You can read much more about these issues in our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. Please scroll down to the link below which is below the picture of our book.

These nothing buttery approach counselors are not being so dogmatic in regard to telling people to go off their medications. However when you really look at their beliefs they are opposed to medications for depression, bipolar etc. For instance, this is posted on a NANC  site:

What is your view on medication?
We are not opposed to medication, but we have found that it has been over-prescribed in many cases. We prefer to begin addressing issues of the heart with people, even if there may be a need for medication. We often discover that when heart issues are addressed biblically, the need for medication significantly lessens or vanishes altogether. We counsel people who are currently on medication, and also people who are not on medication.
 They and many others still discuss the need to be careful about medications.  These same people will take an asprin or flu medicine at the blink of an eye. 
Having said that, I am posting an article from the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) which is a non-evangelical agency for helping people understand medications taken for mental illness. I hope you find this information helpful.

Rev. Steve Bloem

Here is the DBSA material on medications.

Medications for Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Your health care provider (HCP) might prescribe one or more medications to treat your symptoms. These may include:
  • Mood stabilizers
    these medications help even out your highs and lows. Some mood stabilizer medications are called anticonvulsants, because they are also used to treat epilepsy.

  • Antidepressants
    these medications help lift the symptoms of depression. There are several different classes and types of antidepressants.

  • Anti-psychotics
    these medications are primarily used to treat symptoms of mania. Even if you are not hallucinating or having delusions, these medications can help slow racing thoughts to a manageable speed.

It may take some time for you and your doctor to find the right medication(s) for you. It can also take several weeks for your medication to be totally effective. You may feel some of the side effects of your medication before you feel the benefits—that doesn't mean the medication doesn't work.

Do not stop taking your medication, change your dosage, or add any kind of medication without first speaking with your doctor.

Questions to Ask your doctor about Your medication or treatment

  • How does this treatment work in my brain? What chemicals or processes does it work on?
  • When will I start to feel some improvement? What symptoms should this treatment relieve?
  • What might the side effects of my treatment be? How can I cope with them?
  • What are the risks associated with my treatment?
  • How can I recognize problems if they happen?
  • Is there anything I can do to make this treatment more effective?
  • Is this the usual treatment for my illness? If not, how did you choose it?
  • What is our next step if this treatment is not effective?
  • How will this treatment affect the treatments I'm receiving for other illnesses?

Medication Side Effects

Sometimes it is hard to tell if something (such as sleepiness, anxiety, or headache) is a side effect or a symptom of your illness. Many side effects will go away as your body gets used to the medication. Keep track of your side effects and talk about them with your doctor. He or she may prescribe an additional medication, adjust your dosage or change your medication.

For a link to this article which has more helpful tips about you, your medication and your doctor, please go to:

CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness) now has on-line support groups for mental illness. Robyn and I have written our own material. People are saying how much they have been helped. If you are having a problem with the stigma of mental illness in your church, you can be a part of this group in the privacy of your own home. You can call us at 616.447.0775 or visit our contact us link on our web site.!contact/cito

We have written a book called Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel like You're Losing It. For more information on this book including reviews, please go to:


Monday, June 10, 2013

'Suicide Bridge': Portland Group Calls for Prevention Barriers at Suicide Hotspot.

Vista Bridge in Portland, Ore. has become known as the Suicide Bridge.


I thought this article on suicide was interesting. I applaud the attention given to the subject.  Suicide is an epidemic across the world.  However, if any of you are getting ideas about taking your life, please think again.  You have a life worth living.  You are important to your loved ones.  Believe me, there is help. God values your life.  If you are a Christian the Bible says that every hair on your head is numbered.  And, I am sure that every neurotransmitter is  also numbered.

 I once was tempted to stop the psychic pain  of severe depression  by  jumping off a bridge, which is similar to the one in the picture above.   Someone, from my church (at the time) who had been assigned to keep track of me left me alone on the extremely high bridge. The reason he  had been assigned to watch me because I was a high risk for suiicde. Obviously, I did not jump. In fact at that time (1985), I was being under treated for my severe depression.  All seemed hopeless.  I felt like I was being tortured every minute, but later I got the right treatment.

I have not had a severe episode in fifteen years.  My aunt has severe bipolar disorder. For many years she had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations before she got the right treatment. After she was much better and no longer needed hospitalization, she came up with  a saying; God did the miracle and Lithium did the trick.  In my case it the Father of Mercies used, Seroquel.  And for the antidepressant medications and mood stabilizers are not addicting, they go right to the source of the problem in the brain.

The state of  Oregon, where this bridge stands is  conflicted on the subject of suicide.  It is legal to have assisted suicide in Oregon. But the vote in 1994 on whether or not it should be legal was very close. It is very possible that in the future that people from all over the world  could be assisting many who have mood disorders to commit suicide.
As Christians, we need to hold fast the word of God, which condemns suicide. (I do not mean by this if you commit suicide you go to Hell).  I am committing to help those who are suicidal, are you?

Steve Bloem has been trained in Suicide awareness and prevention. Robyn and Steve Bloem talk about suicide and ways to avoid it in their book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. The largest chapter is on suicide. If you would like more information please go this link:

If you would like Steve and Robyn to speak to your church,  or your ministry or conduct a seminar called Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness, please go to our contact us page on our web site.!contact/cito

We also have an online CAMI support  group which is available by way of the Internet.  There is no charge except for a fee of $6.00 for the work book. If you live in Palm Beach County, we can counsel face to face.  We are a non-profit agency who charges on a sliding scale.  Please contact us through our web site above.
Here is the article

A bridge has now become known as "Suicide Bridge" in Portland, Ore. with numerous people jumping to their deaths from the bridge even in just recent months, and now local residents want authorities to address the issue and take action to prevent more suicides in the future.

In January it was reported that a newly engaged 19 year old jumped to her death from the Vista Bridge west of downtown Portland. The just last month a 40 year old man also committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. Again, just last week a 15 year old girl jumped and died in yet another apparent suicide.
Now local residents are saying enough is enough, and are pushing for authorities to address the issue.
A group called "Friends of The Vista Bridge" are asking the city to install suicide prevention barriers at the bridge to bring a halt to the loss of life at the now-notorious site.
Such barriers have been installed at other landmarks around the world where suicides had become an increased threat, and local residents in Portland now want similar action to be taken at their location.
The campaigning group believes that if the barriers are installed it will act as a deterrent and make potentially suicidal people stop and think twice before doing anything rash.
Skeptics have pointed out that the City is facing a $20 million budget shortfall, and installing the barriers at the site would cost $2.5 million, acting as a potential bar to the project moving forward. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and so only architecturally appropriate barriers may be installed at the location.
The budget shortfall will likely mean a federal grant will need to be applied for.
City Commissioner Steve Novick has said, "We certainly think of it as a high priority. But there's a whole mess of competing priorities and not much money," according to The Associated Press,

By Daniel Blake, Christian Post Contributor


Friday, June 7, 2013

Pastor was dragged out in front of teen daughter and executed.Will you pray?


Nigeria—Pastor Murdered by Muslim MilitantsSource: VOM Sources

Psalm 34:18

On May 14, Pastor Faye Pama, Secretary of the Christian Association of  Nigeria (CAN) Borno State and Senior Pastor of Rhema Assembly Church, was murdered by Boko Haram militants. The attackers reportedly followed Pastor Pama to his home in Maiduguri afterhe left a Bible study at his church. The gunmen dragged Pastor Pama out of his house and shot him to death in front of his 17-year-old daughter as she pleaded for his life. Pastor Pama was a husband and father of four children, ages 19, 17, 11 and 6. He served inministry leadership for more than 26 years and believed that Muslims could be won to Christ only by showing them love, ratherthan through fighting. The Muslim militant group Boko Haram has  reportedly killed more than 4,000 people since 2009.

VOM-USA Prayer Update for June 1, 2013
On Fri. May 31 2013 at 07:18 AM Moderator wrote:
Vietnam—Pastor Beaten to Death in Prison
Sources: VOM Sources, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Persecution in Today's World
Philippians 1:21

Vietnamese church leader Hau Nyak from Dak Nong province
died in prison on March 17 after being severely beaten by
police officials. Hau and his brother were reportedly arrested
on March 15, one day after the arrest of Hau’s wife and
sister-in law, and told to bring bail for their wives’ release.
The reason for the women’s arrest is unclear, as police
did not present an arrest warrant. On March 17, Hau’s brother
heard the sounds of a violent beating coming from Hau’s
cell. As Hau was removed from his cell, his brother-in-law
saw that he was “completely limp, as if he was dead,
with purple marks on his throat.” On March 18,
police claimed that Hau had died from putting his hand
into an electric socket. The local church community
described Hau as a courageous and compassionate
person who defended the church he helped to build
and refused to pay bribes to officials.[/quote]

IranPastor Arrested and AOG Church Raided
Sources: VOM Sources, Farsi Christian News Network
Pastor Robert Asserian, of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran,
was arrested and taken to an unknown location on May 21, after a
large detachment of Islamic Security agents raided the church and
arrested everyone present. Security agents first raided Pastor Asserian’s
home, confiscating many of his belongings. They then searched the
church, seizing books, documents and some equipment. The arrests
and raid are thought to be in retaliation for the church’s refusal to close
its doors after Islamic officials offered to release Pastor Farhad and
is wife (arrested in December 2011) if the church would close.
A source from the church said, “The pressure has become
unbearable; the government authorities constantly threaten the church
leaders and their families with imprisonment, unexplained accidents,
kidnapping and even with execution. We cannot go on like this.”

Colombia—VOM Project

Pray for widows and fatherless children who will be ministered to
at the Life Center Safe House during their grieving and healing
process. While at the Life Center, widows are trained to become
the financial provider for their family and children attend school
and church on a regular basis. They also help with chores around
the home and are enrolled in a counseling program to help them deal
with the loss of their fathers.[/quote]






The First Persecution,

Under Nero, A.D. 67

Nero burned the homes and palaces of Rome.
This dreadful conflagration continued nine days;
when Nero, finding that is conduct was greatly
blamed, and a severe odium cast upon him,
determined to lay the whole upon the Christians,
at once to excuse himself, and have an opportunity
of glutting his sight with new cruelties. This was
the occasion of the first persecution; and the barbarities
exercised on the Christians were such as even excited
the commiseration of the Romans themselves. Nero even
refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments
for the Christians that the most infernal imagination
could design. In particular, he had some sewed up in skins
of wild beasts, and then worried by dogs until they expired;
and others dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to
axletrees, and set on firein his gardens, in order to illuminate
them. This persecution was general throughout the whole
Roman Empire; but it rather increased than
diminished the spirit of Christianity. In the course of it, St. Paul and
St. Peter were martyred.
To their names may be added, Erastus, chamberlain of Corinth;
Aristarchus, the Macedonian, and Trophimus, an Ephesians,
converted by St. Paul, and fellow-laborer with him, Joseph,
each of the Seventy.