Friday, July 24, 2015

The Rev. Franklin Graham says Christians should never deny Jesus Christ.

 Image result for Franklin Graham, picture

 The Rev. Franklin Graham says Christians should never deny Jesus Christ in order to spare their lives from slaughter by terrorists, such as ISIS, and further asserts that doing so would be a betrayal against martyrs who stood strong for their faith, despite persecution.
"Christians have been martyred going all the way back to the Romans when they fed them to the lions. We would be betraying every person who stood for their faith, who stood for Jesus Christ, if we turn our back on Jesus Christ. … I think we take a stand for our faith," Graham said on Fox News' "The Kelly File" when host Megyn Kelly asked if Christians should lie in order to save their lives when confronted with death at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
Noting that Christians who live in countries where they're the religious minority are the most persecuted people in the world, Kelly commented on a story about four Iraqi Christian children who were beheaded by ISIS militants after they refused to convert to Islam, a story reported by The Christian Post earlier this month.

Kashmir July 2015
Yousf in the earthquake relief camps.
An entire community of believers is grief-stricken by the murder of Mohammad Yousf Bhat, a Christian convert from Islam who was shot to death at his home in Kashmir. On July 1, four gunmen wearing uniforms and masks pushed their way into Yousf’s home before shooting him to death. Yousf had been involved in sharing Christ with Muslims for more than 15 years and was a key Christian leader in the region. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Image result for Franklin Graham, picture
 Jul. 24, 2015 | Syria

A Christian medical worker and several other believers were detained recently when a militant group stormed a Syrian city. The militants tried to force the Christians to renounce their faith, and after they refused they were tortured and interrogated for three days. The medical worker was asked to treat the wounds of the other believers after they were tortured. Upon release, the medical worker fled the city with his wife.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Plain of Oh NO!

This is by Robyn Bloem,

Recently while sitting in a bible study group focusing on the book of Nehemiah; (I admit my mind had wandered), I distinctly heard this phrase. “And they dwelt on the Plain of Oh No!” I looked quickly down at my bible and saw the quote-okay, granted it was spelled “Ono” but I heard what I heard.   
Steve and I were reeling over some recent events where that short phrase was the first thing out of my mouth. OH NO! So, I leaned over to Steve and my friend, Heidi, who was privy to the recent events and whispered. “…sounds like where WE live.”  Steve and I shared one of those married “looks” and refocused on the lesson. 

But have you ever felt like that? Okay, let me answer that for you.  
YES! If you live in this fallen world (and if you are reading this, you’re still dwelling here amid many OH NO! events) where sin and sickness and tragedy happen daily in the lives of earth’s inhabitants, then yes, you, too live in the Plain of OH NO! Sanballat and Tobiah actually did want to harm Nehemiah in that Plain of Ono, but Nehemiah was steadfast and wouldn’t bend to their proposal. Like Nehemiah we need to stay focused on what on what the Lord has called us to do-we may say OH NO! But we have to keep doing His will. 

How do we respond in this Plain of Disappointment, the Plain of Sadness or the Plain of Regret? If we know the Lord, we persevere in tribulation, trust the Giver of Life, the Allow-er of Difficult situations and the One who has His hand in our lives-always! 

When our daughter, Lindsay, was killed, I had to ask myself the question: “Can someone else ruin God’s will for MY life?” I used to sit in my extreme sorrow and wonder how this could happen to us and how something so tragic, dramatic and totally life-changing could happen to us and perhaps be the ruin of our family? And how could it happen at the hand of a complete stranger? Well, the answer may seem obvious now, but then it became my heart’s deep truth that a drugged driver who hit and killed our innocent daughter and granddaughter could not ruin God’s will for us-not for me personally and not for us as a family. Now, the way we chose to deal with it could change our lives and then that becomes our fault if we choose wrongly.  

We all know that bad situations can be turned for the better. We know that man can mean it for evil and God can use it for good.  Even culture says “If you are given lemons make lemonade.”  Well, as Christians, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will work something good and beautiful through our circumstances when lived out within His will and in His way. Some days in that Plain of OH NO!  we can only trust.  

Steve and I made a cross country trip five years ago when our son was in a very serious car accident. Details were sketchy, our son was confused from slamming his head over and over again and all Steve and I could do was pray, sing the old hymns and keep driving. We drove four days from Grand Rapids, Michigan to San Francisco and didn’t know what we would find when we got there. He has since recovered and is doing fine, but what a nightmare that OH NO! experience was. And even though it turned out positively, we still had to cross that plain.  

So, if you are now in the Plain of OH NO! Or if you should be called to cross it tomorrow, stay steady; trust God and don’t allow it destroy you or your faith.  God will sustain you as you keep close to Him. Heaven is coming and then we will never have to pass over that plain again. 

Please visit our author page  on our web site.  If you wish to purchase a copy of our book.  visit 
If you then go to our donation page, donate $10.00 + $.300 shipping.  We will send you a signed copy of our book which shares how God helped us while in the brainstorm of depression. This is a saving of $6.00. SB

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Waiting on God, from the Treasury of David

C. H. Spurgeon

One of the most amazing books that I have read is Charles Spurgeon's, Treasury of David.  For the history of how Spurgeon wrote this book and its publication process please go to:                  

Spurgeon speaks about how Joseph went through great suffering and also had a great delay regarding his dream; that dream was how God would exalt him. Joseph dreamed of his parents and brothers bowing before him in what was a divine revelation. There were many prophecies that were foretold that came to pass in God's timing.  Joseph had to go through much tribulation before he became a prominent leader of Egypt where there was no one greater than he except Pharaoh.
EXPOSITION Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon.

  Psalm 105:18. Whose feet they hurt with fetters. From this we learn a little more of Joseph's sufferings than we find in the book of Genesis: inspiration had not ceased, and David was as accurate an historian as Moses, for the same Spirit guided his pen.
He was laid in iron, or "into iron came his soul." The prayer book version, "the iron entered into his soul," is ungrammatical, but probably expresses much the same truth. His fetters hurt his mind as well as his body, and well did Jacob say, "The archers shot at him, and sorely grieved him." Under the cruelly false accusation, which he could not disprove, his mind was, as it were, belted and bolted around with iron, and had not the Lord been with him he might have sunk under his sufferings. In all this, and a thousand things besides, he was an admirable type of him who in the highest sense is "the Shepherd, the stone of Israel."The iron fetters were preparing him to wear chains of gold, and making his feet ready to stand on high places. It is even so with all the Lord's afflicted ones, they too shall one day step from their prisons to their thrones.
Psalm 105:19. Until the time that his word came. God has His times, and his children must wait till his "until" is fulfilled. Joseph was tried as in a furnace, until the Lord's assaying work was fully accomplished. The word of the chief butler was nothing, he had to wait until God's word came, and meanwhile the word of the Lord tried him. He believed the promise, but his faith was sorely exercised. A delayed blessing tests men, and proves their metal, whether their faith is of that precious kind which can endure the fire. 
Of many a choice promise we may say with Daniel "the thing was true, but the time appointed was long." If the vision tarry it is good to wait for it with patience. There is a trying word and a delivering word, and we must bear the one till the other comes to us. How meekly Joseph endured his afflictions, and with what fortitude he looked forward to the clearing of his slandered character we may readily imagine: it will be better still if under similar trials we are able to imitate him, and come forth from the furnace as thoroughly purified as he was, and as well prepared to bear the yet harder ordeal of honor and power.
Psalm 105:18. -- His soul came into iron. Till we have felt it, we cannot conceive that sickness of heart, which at times will steal upon the patient sufferer; that sense of loneliness, that faintness of soul, which comes from hopes deferred and wishes unshared, from the selfishness of brethren and the heartlessness of the world. We ask ourselves, If the Lord were with me, should I suffer thus, not only the scorn of the learned and the contempt of the great, but even the indifference and neglect of those whom I have served, who yet forget me? So Joseph might have asked; and so till now may the elect ask, as they stand alone without man's encouragement or sympathy, not turned aside by falsehood or scorn, with their face set as a flint, yet deeply feeling what it costs them. --Andrew Dukes, in" The Types of Genesis," 1858.

 Don't forget our book, Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. We will match any competitor's price for an autographed copy. It retails for $16.00.

What is unique about Heartfelt Counseling Ministries? One unique aspect is that Robyn and I suffer from biological depression ourselves. Some also find it unique that I am an ordained minister. Yes, ministers get depression, too. I am not afraid to challenge those who place blame on those who live with these painful diseases of the mind and mood. In fact, I do this in Broken Minds.
We, too, are in God's waiting room.We need  more exposure to the ministry. Robyn and I conduct seminars and host luncheons for pastors who would like to learn about mental illness. We do counseling and speak in churches or small groups. We have a Board of Directors and we are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) agency. Our ministry is in great need of funds and your gifts are tax deductible. It would be very helpful if we could get additional monthly supporters. We are asking for fifty persons to give fifty dollars a month. We counsel on a sliding scale, which is funded by donors like you. We need print materials updated and our office equipment is terribly outdated. Please go to our Contact Us page  and let us know if you would like to book a meeting, a seminar, receive counseling or become a partner in Heartfelt Ministries. Thank you- and imagine the suffering in silence that occurs among the Christian mentally ill. It is a desperately under served community and we cannot do it without your help.

Of course you can give more or less than the amount mentioned.  SB.  Here is the link to our  Getting Involved Contact Us page. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

part 2 - Respectfully Leaving Your parents by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

 Marriage Memo
Sometimes without realizing it, we may allow our parents to reestablish the severed connections.

When parents want to reattach

It could occur during a Christmas visit. It might happen during a phone call when the child mentions to the parent some disappointment or failure experienced in the marriage relationship.

I remember how, early in our marriage, I shared a weakness about Barbara with my mother. Now my mom was a great mother, but I was astounded at how she rushed to my side, like a mother hen coming to aid her wounded little chick. Her response startled me. I told Barbara about it and apologized. I promised I would not again discuss negative things about her with my mom.

You must not allow parents to innocently (or not so innocently) drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Some parents may seek to manipulate and control their child. For example, a father won't stop telling his "little girl" what to do. The husband may need to step in and explain to his wife how destructive this is to the health of the marriage. Boundaries limiting the amount of communication between father and daughter may need to be installed for the long or short term.

Or a mother may be trying to call the shots with her son. The wife needs to explain carefully to her husband what she is observing. If the situation doesn't improve, there may need to be a cooling-off period where the husband minimizes contact with his mother and directs his attention toward his wife.
These showdowns may be intimidating for either spouse, but boundaries need clarification. You may need to call on an older mentor for advice before you take action, but your allegiance must first and foremost be to your spouse.

At this point, I want to encourage you husbands to be the man and protect your wife. Sometimes you may need to graciously but firmly step in and shield her from a manipulative parent. I implore you to gently guard your wife's heart and your marriage from a dad or mom whose intentions may be good but counterproductive.

If you are having trouble maintaining a clean break as a couple, you may decide to spend less time at home for out-of-town visits. Instead of a week, perhaps the stay should be shortened to two or three days. Or skip a holiday altogether, just as a way of clarifying where your primary commitment lies.
A way to forestall some misunderstandings and help with decision making is to determine your family's values early in the marriage. For instance, one value may be establishing your own family's Christmas traditions as your children leave infancy. It will make it easier to explain your choices to your parents if you have a clear idea of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

As your parents grow older, they may need your assistance. Again, approach this issue prayerfully as a team. Take as much time as you can to make decisions, especially those with long-term ramifications. Some choices will be very difficult, but in most cases, the health of the marriage must take precedence. Although you must consider the financial implications, a parent may need to live at a retirement center instead of with you, if the parent's presence will adversely affect your marriage.

One final thing to keep in mind: Leaving is not a one-time event or limited to the early years of marriage. The temptation to reconnect some of the old bonding lines will continue as long as parents are alive. For example, when grandchildren come along, most parents want to share from their vast stores of experience on how to raise kids.Both parents and their children need to remain on guard so that leaving remains just that—a healthy, God-ordained realignment of the parent-child relationship. 

Adapted from Starting Your Marriage Right,© 2000 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Respectfully Leaving Your Parents


 Marriage Memo

I just read this article by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.  I thought it was so good I want to share it with you.  Early in my ministry I learned that the three biggest problems of marriage are, sex, in - laws and finances.  Here is article about leaving your parents and cleaving to your mate.  I have put about half on this blog and will share the other half on tomorrow's blog.

Rev. Steve Bloem 
Executive Director, Heartfelt Counseling Ministries

Respectfully Leaving Your Parents
by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

You may have moved out from your childhood home, but have you really left your parents behind?
God did not mince words when instructing a married couple to leave their parents. The Hebrew words used in Genesis 2:24, which states that "a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife," mean "to forsake dependence upon," "leave behind," "release," and "let go."

Later, Jesus addressed the issue when he said that no one was ever intended to come between a husband and a wife (Matthew 19:6). No one! No in-laws, no mother, no father was meant to divide a couple who had made a covenant with each other to leave, cleave, and become one flesh.

This pointed instruction is needed. Psychologist Dan Allender says in the book Intimate Allies that "the failure to shift loyalty from parents to spouse is a central issue in almost all marital conflict." God knows that leaving parents will be a difficult transition, especially in homes where the child-parent bond has been solid and warm. Unfortunately, many (if not most) couples do not cut the apron strings—they lengthen them!

After our wedding ceremony, Barbara and I walked down the church aisle together, symbolically proclaiming to all those witnesses that we had left our parents. We had forsaken our dependence upon them for our livelihood and emotional support and were turning to each other as the primary relationship of our lives. The public affirmation of our covenant to each other meant, "No relationship on earth, other than my relationship with Jesus Christ and God, is more important than my relationship with my spouse." 

If we do not leave our parents correctly, we will be like a couple I knew who were dependent financially on the wife's family. The situation was robbing the husband of his family leadership potential. The wife kept looking to her dad to bail them out after poor choices. Her husband wasn't able to grow up, face his responsibility to make correct choices for his family, and live with the consequences of his decisions. He was losing self-respect as a man, and it was undermining his wife's respect for him as well.
It can be equally destructive to continue to be emotionally dependent on a parent. This dependence will hinder the Super Glue-like bonding that must occur between husband and wife.

How to leave, yet still honor, your parents
Leaving your home does not mean you permanently withdraw and no longer have a good relationship with your parents. That's isolating yourself from your parents, not leaving. The commandment in Exodus 20:12 to honor your parents means that when you leave them, you need to go with respect, love, admiration, and affirmation for their sacrifices and efforts in raising you. But you must make a break from them and sever your dependence on them. As time passes, you must be diligent to prevent any reestablishment of dependence at critical points in your marriage.

tomorrow -when parents want to re-attach

Please see our book called Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.