Monday, December 28, 2015

Who is Jesus Christ, the Reason for the Season

 Merry Christmas!

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We all talk about Christmas being a time for friends and family, a time for gifts, choice desserts and even new cars. Have you ever complained about Christmas being too materialistic? I know I have.  But we still spend too much money for presents (and sometimes even go into credit card debt) in spite of resolutions to cut back on the craziness.

I would like to briefly share what the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ means.  
The Bible is the place to look for who really is the Christ of Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of the Son of God.  As a nation drifts from what the Bible says Christ becomes more and more neglected. 

Luis Palau tells this illustrative story of this very problem:
"Many years ago a wealthy family decided to have their newborn baby baptized in their enormous mansion. Dozens of guests were invited to the elaborate affair, and they all arrived dressed in the latest fashion. After depositing their elegant wraps on a bed in an upstairs room, the guests were entertained royally. Soon the time came for the main purpose of their gathering, the infant’s baptismal ceremony. But where was the child? No one seemed to know.
The child’s governess ran upstairs, only to return with a desperate look on her face. Everyone searched frantically for the baby. Then, someone recalled having seen the child sleeping on one of the beds. The baby was on a bed, all right-buried underneath a pile of coats, jackets and furs. The very object of that day’s celebration had been forgotten, neglected, and nearly smothered!"

Important Truths About Jesus Birth
  1. It was a Messianic birth; Matthew 18:21 tells us, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: He was the Logos, the Son of God who was born of a woman, and born under the law. As the God/Man, Jesus was the promised Messiah. The term Messiah translates as the "Anointed One."  Jesus was and is the anointed Prophet, Priest and King.  As a prophet He preached the gospel, As the Priest He offered Himself through the Spirit as a sacrifice for sin; As the Son of David He will reign  during the Millennial period      He now is on His Father's Throne.

2. It was a Virgin birth; when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child  by the Holy Spirit. Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Christ except to help Mary during her pregnancy. The virgin birth is miraculous and to deny it is blasphemy. The apostle John tells us that Christ was the Word of God (second person of the trinity) who became flesh and revealed God to mankind (John 1:1-18).

3. It was a birth that was accompanied by angels; we know that angels are beyond numbering (Hebrews 12:22). The special angel called Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist in the Holy of Holies. Gabriel  also appeared to Mary and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah (Luke 1:19).

4. It was a birth that made it possible for the God/Man to preserve the honor of womanhood that was lost in the fall. His birth was also the conduit where the Son of God could shed His blood for the sins of the world.
It was a sinless conception and It was a conception where He did not join himself to a man but rather to an impersonal human nature. He had a human body and a human soul. He learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:7-9). It was fitting that men should become adopted sons because of God's natural son.

5. It was a birth which gave him human emotions; sorrow (Matthew 26:38), surprise (Luke 7:9), He felt agony (Luke 33:44), He felt desolation in the garden and on the cross where He, as an infinite person, bore the wrath of God (Matthew 27:45-46).

6.It was a birth which had human limitations such as the need to eat (Matt. 4:2); the need to exercise Matt. 1:26); and the need to rest (John 4:6).

7. Finally, it was a birth that fulfilled Messianic prophecy. Many prophecies were fulfilled while He visited earth.  Many  prophesies will yet be fulfilled and will be until the end of time. I ask you reader: Have you ever been saved by Jesus Christ? Have you experienced the wonderful cleansing and saving that is written about in this song?

You can have the most precious Gift of ALL gifts this Christmas season! Take some time to think of the Wonderful Savior who came and lived and died for you. The cross was always the point of His coming. Let's not leave Him under a pile of "things" to be neglected and forgotten; He, Who is the reason for our celebration, needs to be brought to the forefront of our activities with love and praise for all He has done for us. 
Merry Christmas!  Steve (and Robyn)

If you would like to give an end of the year gift to enable Heartfelt Counseling Ministries to continue to help low income people access mental health care, please go to our website, and scroll down to the donate button.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Persecution, fear not him who can kill the body!

Wandiya, 12, and Praise, 8 are brothers who were seriously injured after being kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria.

Two brothers in Nigeria

Pray for Two Brothers Recovering from a Boko Haram Attack in Nigeria 

Two brothers from a village in Nigeria continue to recover from serious injuries they received after being kidnapped on Oct. 24 by Boko Haram insurgents. Wandiya, 12, and Praise, 8, were kidnapped along with their family and others from Mubi, Adamawa State, and taken to a compound that was 
 later bombed by military forces. Wandiya received severe injuries to his leg, eyes and hands, and Praise lost his eye. The children are now receiving medical treatment, and VOM is helping pay for their education. The boys still have pain from their injuries, but they thank God for saving their lives.
(See the pictures below), Dec. 18, 2015 | Mexico
A Christian couple in southern Mexico was harassed and threatened on their way to a wedding celebration. “Cesar” and “Laura” were on their way to a wedding when they were stopped by a large group of people, who began insulting them because they were Christians. Locals had already threatened to stop the Christian wedding and had blocked roads in the village. Cesar and Laura asked police officers for help when they arrived, but the officers told them to handle the situation themselves and left. Two women then grabbed Laura by her arms, threatening that she would be the first person burned for sharing the gospel in their area. Cesar rescued his wife Laura and they fled in their car.
Cesar and Laura shared their story of being attacked for their Christian faith in southern Mexico. 

Christians from a house church in Iran meet to worship secretly 
 Christians from a house church in Iran share the gospel in strategic ways despite the risk of imprisonment. Two Christians from the house church recently spoke with “Ramin,” who was bitter about his life. They introduced the gospel to him through Christian reading materials, and Ramin says after putting what he learned into practice his relationships with his family improved. He believes God has changed his life. Pray for Christians sharing the gospel in Iran.
A word from David Martyn Lloyd Jones, "do not fear those who persecute you."
"Then finally, we must always refuse to be frightened by our adversaries.  They will try to frighten us in various ways, but here we just take hold of the word spoken by our Lord when He said,  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear : Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him" (Luke 12:4.5 KJV).
What a wonderful thing it is to remember that. We do not know what may be awaiting us, but we know this for certain--and to me it is wonderful-man can only destroy my body, my soul is beyond his reach. With all the atomic power and everything else, he cannot touch my soul, let him do what he will; there is that in me which is imperishable and beyond the reach of  harm. "in nothing be terrified  by your adversaries," says Paul to the Philippians, there is a limit to what they can do. They can pour forth their venom, their sarcasm and their scorn, they can ruin your life and your career, perhaps, but they leave you uninjured in everything that is vital and eternal. (From The Life of Joy, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, c. 1989, Mrs. Bethan Lloyd Jones, pp 131,132).

Did you know that Robyn and Steve have written a book which was published by Kregel Publications?  It is a personal, technical and biblical look at the Christian and mental illness. For a review of Broken Minds please go to:  .
If you click on the button,  Buy Broken Minds you will be able to view the details of purchase. Clicking on this page does not mean that you will automatically have to buy it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Martin Luther's quote, "We Do Not Bear Him"

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Martin Luther

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Here’s a wonderful excerpt from a sermon Martin Luther preached on Isaiah 9:1-7 (Christmas Day, 1532).

“Thus, now, we hear how wonderfully and lovingly the prophet Isaiah describes Christ. He is a child and son, he says, who is born and given to us, is a Lord and possesses a government. But what kind of a Lord is he? He is a Lord who bears us and on whose shoulder we lie. If he does not bear us, we are lost. If pope, bishops, monks, and priests believed this, they would deal much differently with this matter. However, they do not want to be borne by Christ; instead they bear Christ, as they seem to think, and to them Christ is merely a painted Christ. For in their thinking they believe they are to live in this or that manner, fast and pray, do enough to pay for their sins and appease God’s anger.”
“But that sort of carrying is contradictory. If Christ does not bear you but you try to bear him, that will be a very heavy load for you, just as if a lost and strayed sheep would say to its shepherd who wanted to carry it: No, dear shepherd, you are not to carry me; I wish to carry you; sit on me! Obviously that sheep would be crushed by the load.”
“But if the sheep is to be helped, the sheep must speak like this: Accept my thanks, dear Shepherd, for seeking and carrying me; I cannot carry you, but I shall let you carry me.”
“So also in Christ’s kingdom! Christ wants to carry his sheep, just like a shepherd carries a poor, wretched, strayed sheep. He speaks to a poor sinner in this manner: You are conceived and born in sin, you have angered God by many sins and are condemned to death; but you are not to suffer anguish on account of this, for your sins are forgiven you; simply lie on my shoulder, I want to carry you before God.”
This sermon and quote is in Volume 7 (pages 227-8) of The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther.
Shane Lem's blog

Did you know that Robyn and Steve have written a book which was published by Kregel Publications?  It is a personal, technical and biblical look at the Christian and mental illness. For a review of Broken Minds please go to:  .  .
If you click on the button,  Buy Broken Minds you will be able to view the details of purchase. Clicking on this page does not mean that you will automatically buy a copy of it.

 During this Christmas season many evangelical Christians are refuges because of ISIS. Many have lost family members because of persecution in hostile countries who oppose believers is Christ. Here is a list of Christian workers who have been put in prison because of their faith in Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What is a Christmas Spirit?

Do you have the Christmas Spirit?

Have you ever heard of the concept of "The Christmas Spirit?"  Years ago, I  belonged to a church which presented an elaborate musical production every year during the Christmas season. It almost always revolved around the theme of the "Christmas Spirit."  Along with this elusive spirit of the holiday was the "magic" of Christmas. I remember waiting and waiting for the gospel to be presented but I waited in vain.

With everything going on this time of year, we can get caught up with external signs of the holiday, but we should be mostly concerned with the signs within. My wife, Robyn, says that she can focus on Christ more fully on any given Tuesday than during the Christmas season which is only made possible because of Him. But the hectic holiday parties and concerts and shopping and trying to please everyone with the perfect gift are distractions that can actually rob us of the meaning of the season altogether.

                                                                      THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS

An online article I read recently attempted to explain how to capture this Christmas spirit.
What is it, anyway?  How would you define the Christmas spirit?
  “It is about giving to other people more than to yourself.”

 “The Christmas spirit is being jolly and remembering all the things to be jolly for.”
 “The Christmas spirit is about getting excited, and having belief, and magic, and faith.”
 “The Christmas spirit is about having everyone available in your family together.
 “The Christmas spirit means, even when you don’t get what you want, you’re still grateful for what you did get.” She paused thoughtfully. “But if you don’t get what you want, don’t start yelling at the person, as they tried their best.”

Now I will take a turn with this spirit of Christmas. I have thought about this for quite a while and I have three things I'd like to share.
1. It is focusing on the fact that Jesus Christ was God who became the God-Man. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and in her womb, the Son of God from eternity past became a man. The Son of God put aside the insignia of deity and and became 

  the God-Man. He  was born in a manger, which was a feeding trough in a barn,
 2. Part of the Christmas spirit  involves looking intently at the person of Christ and realizing He came, through the Holy Spirit, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. One of the greatest statements about the incarnation of Christ was said by the Apostle Paul; For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake's he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich ( 2 Corinthians 8:9). He was rich in all of his glorious attributes but put aside the independent use of them.  He was rich in righteousness but came under the wrath of God so that in Him we might become the  righteousness of God. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 The Bible says, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NASB).

The Hymn writer, Issac Watts, says about this:
Was it for crimes that I have done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut its glories in,
When God, the mighty maker, died
For His own creature's sin. 

3. It recognizing that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDS.  He  now sits at the right hand of God and will some day rule from His throne in Jerusalem. See Philippians 2:9-11.

Charles Wesley said:
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings
 Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

 The United States is fast becoming a nation who wants the spirit of Christmas without the Christ. What can we do this season to honor Christ?  We can share the gospel with our neighbors, our friends and even those we barely know. We can share the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins in our place. 

The apostle John tells us in His epistle:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
 Your Turn: Today, take a moment to bring the Christmas spirit alive in your household. Ask each family member, over dinner, to define the Christmas spirit. Then post their answers on your refrigerator as your personal family-reminder of what this season is all about.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Five ways to fully treat those with a clinical depression.

This a repost, copyright 2015 Steve Bloem, all rights  reserved

 1You should have a complete medical examination to rule out other causes of clinical depression. A leading expert tells us about some of these; “Thyroid conditions are extremely common in the adult population in the United States and they can often lead to depression, both an overactive thyroid and an under active thyroid can lead to depression. And a simple blood test can diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and lead to appropriate treatment that may be very helpful for relieving the depression.

2. There are certain diseases that can cause depression.  Examples of these include a stroke, brain tumor or multiple sclerosis. Degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's disease or Huntington's disease also frequently cause depression, as does traumatic brain injury. Cardiac conditions often are often associated with depression and treatment for the cardiac condition and the depression should begin aggressively and at the same time.  Psychiatrists need to be thinking as medical doctors when they approach their patients who are complaining of depression. And at times they may need to order a variety of blood tests, brain images or EEG to rule out seizure disorders. And in many cases psychiatrists need to collaborate closely with primary care doctors and other medical specialists to clarify the diagnosis and to find and implement the appropriate treatment.

 3. You should never settle for having a doctor/psychiatrist tell you, “I don’t know what else to do; you are just going to have to live with the symptoms. Top researchers tell us that  the goal of today’s psychiatrist is to control/arrest all of your depressive symptoms. If you have depressive symptoms you should always be working on a treatment plan to alleviate them. Research suggests that more than half of treatment non-response can be attributed to either poor treatment adherence to a medication regimen and/or to severe side effects.  Before making any changes to a medication regimen, the clinician should first ensure that the patient took the prescribed medication consistently and correctly; that the recommended dose was at least a moderate level; and that the patient took the medication for a sufficient duration typically considered to be at least 8 weeks.

 If you would like to purchase a copy of our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, please do the following: For a hard copy new, go to our website
It retails for $16.00 + $3.00 shipping (In USA). If you would like a Kindle copy, please visit -

D Martyn Lloyd Jones
 4..You should consider the possibility that your depression (or part of it) is a spiritual depression. The causes and cures of spiritual depression are numerous. Some of which are: chastisement,vain regrets, false guilt, not understanding what constitutes the doctrine of justification, demoralization, weariness in well doing and so many more. See Spiritual Depression, Its causes and cures.
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5. The cost is too much – This is one of the most difficult barriers to beating a treatment resistant depression. First, let me say that the evangelical church must concern itself with this blatant need. The Bible tells us, we are to contribute to the needs of the saints (Romans 12:13). We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and be compassionate towards their suffering (Colossians 3:12). We are to bear one another burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). The government funds for effective treatment of mental illness are drying up. People will be looking to religious non profits to take up the slack. Psychiatrists will need to volunteer time in faith based clinics, pastors will need to be trained in the dynamics of mental illness and depression. If you can get a job, look for one with insurance benefits. If you are poor, apply for Medicaid, or for Medicare if you qualify. You should find out who the Gate Keeper of public mental health is in your county or state and tap into the resources they have to offer. It would be advantageous to get a copy of your County services that are available through the United Way. There are sliding scales for low income persons.  Either you or someone else needs to contact the drug company that makes your medicine and check their programs to help those who do not have insurance. You can also call 211.
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Friday, November 27, 2015

My World, Tricked by Mania, mania-bipolar-trick By Julie A. Fast All rights reserved

Hello Readers,
I came across this article on the Internet. Julie Fast, who suffers from bipolar disorder, takes her disease head-on as she describes her periods of mania. I can identify with her as one who has bipolar 2 and had some hypo-mania in a time of great grief reaction and pain when our daughter, Lindsay and her baby, Emily Hope, were killed in a car accident- which, by the way, we witnessed.  I was talking way too much and I had a hard time realizing that when I engaged in conversations. I was taking people as "listening" hostages and would not let them go.
I also had a lot of anger during this period and was trying to resume my regular work schedule even though the month before Lindsay died I, myself, almost died from Lithium toxicity. So, my near poisoning added to the grief response brought my first period of hypo-mania into the mix of my illness. Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.

No matter how good it feels, euphoric mania is destructive. Learn to identify and manage your warning signs to stay on track. Have you ever wondered why people with obvious signs of mania won’t get help?
This often happens because mania tricks those of us with bipolar into thinking that out-of-control and sometimes dangerous symptoms are actually a positive. Here’s a description of what it’s like for me.

When I’m in a euphoric manic episode, life feels wrapped in loving-kindness, with every cell infused with joy juice. (Other people might experience the flamboyant or irritable aspects of mania; for example, by becoming the life of the party or turning into an angrier Oscar the Grouch.) A rock on the ground becomes infinitely fascinating to me because my brain no longer processes information in a linear way. See how that rock has flecks of green! See how it is situated right next to the blue-green grass and how it shines in the sun! I need to take a picture! I’ll put it in in my pocket, as it will bring me luck today—this beautiful day when all things are possible. I stand up and skip down the street. What fun thing can I do next? Ah, my room needs to be rearranged. To the store! I need storage boxes! The colors are so wonderful! Look! I can get a purple box, a green one, and wow, an aqua one! My shopping cart is filling up. Oh, the delicious possibilities!

My brain has no boundaries when I’m manic—no thoughts of the work I need to do or how much money I have in my bank account. I hit the candle aisle and oh, it’s buy two get one free! I’ll get six! Why don’t I see this as mania? One reason is that my depressive episodes consume me to the point that I can hardly leave my room without a struggle. It makes sense that I would not see my manic behavior as a negative; I see it as the opposite of my horrific depression, so it must be a positive, right? I might be feeling a little pang of worry when I see the bill, but hey, it always works out. I’ll be fine! Right?

 I can’t stress enough how serious mania can be, and how we must all learn what our mania looks like in order to prevent it from getting too out of hand.  During this kind of mania, my brain stops producing reasonable questions and thoughts. I’m not ignoring any warning signs—my manic brain isn’t sending me any; it truly is not creating any checks and balances to keep me on track.
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Although I manage my bipolar, hypo-mania still stalks me every day. If I don’t watch for it all the time, I can get tricked into thinking that euphoric mania is actually happiness. Before I was diagnosed at age 31, I believed that the hypo-mania was the “real me” and the depression was the “sick me.” Realizing that mania and depression are two sides of the same bipolar disorder coin changed my life. I now know that no matter how good it feels, euphoric mania is destructive.

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I manage my mania with a plan that uses symptom listing, trigger management, and a team around me that is always allowed to tell me if I seem manic. There have been times when I’ve been in a store doing my Hyman thing and suddenly realized by looking at my cart, Julie, this is mania! Get out of here! I’ve taught myself to see what is happening and to act on visual cues because my ability to understand or rationally process what is happening is simply not there. My mania and I are in our own world.I’ve learned that taking pictures of rocks, redoing my room, and filling up shopping carts are signs that I’m sick and I have to stop and manage the mania immediately—no matter how good it feels.

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A Tip from Julie

Make a list of your or a loved one’s first signs of mania and memorize the list. For example, my euphoric mania always starts with vision changes and a sense of profound well-being. I can’t let this catch me off guard! Once you know your first signs of 
mania, you can go in the management direction instead of in the I’m-going-to-give-in-to-this-mania-
because-it-feels-so-good direction!
For a brief treatment of bipolar disorder, please go to:


Broken Minds is available from this author and in Kindle Format, For a  new copy of Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. go to our web-site,  Follow the link to our donation button. .The book sell retail for $16.00 and $3.00 for shipping.  I promise you that you will not regret getting this book.

Here is a link to one of my blogs that explains bipolar disorder.