Sunday, May 29, 2016

Feelings of Guilt: Satan’s Conniving or the Spirit’s Conviction? by the Reformed Reader

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Please note that the blog below was copied from Shane Lem's blog, the Reformed Reader. In our book on mental illness, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, we have a sermon from Thomas Goodwin's the Child of Light Walking in Darkness."   We also have an excellent piece by the fiery Puritan preacher, Thomas Manton.  Furthermore in Broken Minds, we have a chapter on, "Reclaiming the Puritans." Please see more about Broken Minds on our website, But don't forget to  read below.

New post on The Reformed Reader

Feelings of Guilt: Satan’s Conniving or the Spirit’s Conviction?

by Reformed Reader
In one section of Thomas Goodwin's book called "A Child of Light Walking in Darkness," he explains how Satan tricks and deceives a true Christian so that he doubts his salvation.  Sometimes Satan will remind us that if a person is a hypocrite, if sin reigns in a person, and if a person is full of self-love, that person is not a Christian.  Then Satan says to us: "You played the hypocrite last week and last month.  You constantly give in to the sin of anger.  You love yourself more than your family and more than God.  Therefore you are not a true Christian."
Notice how this works.  Satan uses half-truths to get us to doubt our salvation.  It is true that hypocrites, lovers of self, and those who are ruled by sin will not inherit the kingdom of God.  However, there's more to the discussion.  A true Christian can stumble into hypocrisy, can give in to sin for a time, and can disobey God by loving self more than Him or others - but this doesn't mean he is not a true Christian!  It just means he's not yet perfectly sanctified, and that the Spirit in him struggles against the sinful flesh (Gal. 5:17).  Satan, the lying deceiver and enemy of Christ and his people, takes our sin, our failings, our stumbling, and our sinful nature and rubs them in our face in order to get us to feel guilty to the point of doubt and despair.
A question comes up: How do we know if the guilt we feel is due to Satan's conniving or due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8)?  Goodwin says that the difference is this: when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins He deals "sweetly" with us without putting any "sting" in the conclusion by making us think we're condemned sinners.  He deals sweetly with us, convicting us of our sin, but He doesn't then infer that sin reigns in us, that we are children of darkness, or that we are under God's wrath.   Satan's conniving is not sweet at all, but it is full of sting: you are a lost hypocrite, not a child of God, and sin reigns in you.  The Spirit's conviction is followed by sweetness: God forgives you in Christ.
Another way Goodwin put it is that Satan presents our sins to us alone, by themselves, with the intention of making us forget God's mercies and comforts.  Satan doesn't remind us of our sins and our Savior.  He makes our sins bigger and supremely visible while making God's mercy small and invisible.  The Holy Spirit works in the opposite way: he convicts us of sin, but with the purpose of driving us to the mercy of God in Christ.  The Holy Spirit reminds us that sin does indeed abound in us, but then he tells us that grace abounds all the more.  The Spirit convicts us of sin, but then sweetly brings us to the Savior.
Satan may attack us and make our lives miserable sometimes, but we can press on knowing 1) that Christ's blood has washed all our sins away, and 2) that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet (Rom 16:20).  Then Satan will never be able to touch or torment us again, because he'll be where he belongs: in the lake of eternal fire.
(The above references to Thomas Goodwin's book is found in volume 3 of Goodwin's Works.)
Shane Lems
Hammond, WI
Reformed Reader | May 24, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016


(c)  Copy rights all rights reserved, May 2016

At the beginning of my illness, my family was thrown into utter confusion, but I felt that I'd been thrown into a fight for my very life. The actual disease is simple enough to define, but difficult to describe.  My own type is called major depression, recurrent.  Depending on the school of therapy, major depression is also referred to with the technical names unipolar depression, major affective disorder, and clinical depression.

People talk about being depressed in every context of life.
So the word depression is too broad in meaning to be very useful.  People talk about being depressed in every context of life.  By "depressed" they usually mean that they feel a little "down." Everyone get the "blues," and they describe it as feeling depressed."  So it isn't surprising that these same down feelings come to mind when someone is said to have biological depression .Yeah, they can relate.  They've experienced the same thing. "I got over it. It passes."

You can't pray your way out, just get over it, try positive thinking.
But there is no "getting over it" with major depression.  After awhile the onlookers reevaluate. No, they do not change their opinion that the depressed person has the "blues."  But obviously he or she can't handle emotions as well as they did when they were down." Can someone be so weak emotionally that they have to take medicine to cope? Someone needs to tell this guy to get a life...buck up... try harder... trust God.
The critic mentally throws the depressed person into the "defective" bin.

People were not trying to be cruel about my depression but they did not get it.
In my case as with the most who have depression, people I encountered weren't intentionally being unkind or judgmental.  Nor were they so clueless that they would have berated a man with a broken leg because he couldn't run in a marathon race.

Myths and Misconceptions
But the misconceptions are the reason Robyn and I have been very vocal about my illness.  We want to do our part to dispel the myths.  To this day, I know people who would like to know the "real" cause of my condition.  It is my fault, or was I damaged by someone else?  One man spoke for many when he confronted me with the question, "You, a man of God on "pills?”

Yes, I am a man of God "on pills." I will be on them for the rest of my life.
Robyn and Steve Bloem Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.(2005) Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications  pages 24-25

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Christians are being slaughtered to the brink of extinction.

May 23,2016

ISIS (the Islamic State) is crucifying, burning alive, and beheading Christians. There are disturbing reports of mass graves and chemical weapons. Every day more Christians die.
It’s our sacred duty to protect Christians from genocide.
Now that we’ve successfully pressured the Obama Administration to recognize the “genocide against Christians,” America has a legal obligation to act
At the ACLJ, we’ve launched our largest legal advocacy campaign for persecuted Christians. We’re about to submit critical filings at the U.N. We’ve already engaged the U.N. Secretary-General and are seeing results. Now, we’re demanding world leaders implement the Genocide Convention: 1) stop the genocide and 2) protect Christians. .(Jay Sekulow, ACLJ) Chief Counsel.

A Christian worker sits between Pastor "Kam" and his wife.
.May. 20, 2016 | Myanmar
Pray for Pastor "Kam" and His Wife, Attacked in Their Home

A pastor and his wife were seriously injured in January when four men entered their home at about midnight and attacked them with a knife. Church members helped Pastor “Kam” and his wife to the hospital, where the pastor was treated for three stab wounds to his stomach and his wife was treated for a head wound. Pray for their complete recovery. The pastor and his wife lead a congregation of 25
 believers in this predominantly Buddhist nation.

 A group from Bosnia holds Christian literature recently distributed there by Christian workers.

May. 20, 2016 | Bosnia and Herzegovina
Pray for "Petrus," Who Received Christian Movies from Front-Line Workers

Two front-line workers gave Christian movies to a gas-station attendant while on a trip to distribute Christian literature in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The workers had stopped at the gas station in the early morning hours, and “Petrus,” a store worker, came out to inform them that they had overpaid by about 30 cents. Impressed by Petrus’s integrity, the Christians began a conversation with him about God. Petrus was open to hearing about the gospel and invited the two men to return for a future visit. He also accepted two Christian movies, including Jesus: He Lived Among Us. Pray for Petrus, and pray that the Christian workers will be able to meet with him again. Pray also for the workers as they distribute Christian literature in an area hostile to the gospel.

 Pray for Pastor Nikolai Levin, Charged for Disobeying a Court Order
Believers in Kazakhstan who gather to pray or read the Bible must register or face severe fines and imprisonment.

A Christian leader in Kazakhstan was charged in April with “failure to fulfill a court decision” after he refused to pay fines for leading illegal worship services in his home. In February 2014, Pastor Nikolai Levin was fined two to three months’ average wages for leading the illegal worship services, and in April he was fined an additional week’s wages for refusing to pay the original fine. In addition, he is prohibited from traveling outside the country. Pastor Levin is part of the Council of Churches Baptist, a group of unregistered churches that do not believe state permission should be required to meet for worship.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Biblical principle for contentment

I believe that contentment depends very much upon taking right views of things. There is what is called the short view. To live by the day is the way to be cheerful. If you try to live by the month you will bring home a month's troubles to eat up a day's meat. God has not constructed His people to live by the month: their souls, like their bodies, are fashioned to live by the day. His supplies, His promises, the very prayers He puts into our mouths, all deals with days: Give us this day our daily bread." As your days so shall your strength be." Live by the day, then, and you will be content.Spurgeon's Expository Encyclopedia, (1984) Volume 5, from the sermon A Vile Weed and a Fair Flower, pp 345,346.

One of my favorite hymns (I hope you know some favorite hymns) is,
 "I need Thee very hour."  Here it is sung by Selah

This book is available on Kindle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why stigma still exists in the evangelical church.

Copy right All Rights Reserved, Steve Bloem

Image result for stigma, mental illness in church

A key verse for today's blog is:  Romans 12:15, 16 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty toward one another, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation” (NASB).

It seems like everyone knows it; mental illness carries a stigma. Most people with mental illness who attend a church realize the stigma of having a mental illness is so great they fear telling anyone about it.  There are a number of reasons why stigma does still exist.

Image result for mental illness, sin and weakness

 One reason is that mental illness is presented by many in church leadership as a moral flaw.  They teach that spiritual people do not get depressed or hear voices.   These depressed people are labeled, “Weak Christians”. But Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God has chosen the weak and foolish in this world to confound the wise.  The apostle Paul, said “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV).

Image result for nervous breakdown 
Another reason why stigma persists is the continued use of the term ‘nervous breakdown’ to describe mental illness in our society. 

This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States.  It conjures up the image of women in their homes, wringing their hands, weak, laden down with sin and popping tranquilizers to calm their frazzled nerves.   The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology.  Certainly mental illness has something to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness.  Mental illness is biological in its origins.  Christians cannot claim to have immunity to it.
Image result for man with hand up
A third reason why stigma exists is people are ashamed to tell their church that they suffer from it.  For instance, when was the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? 
 If people in your church or your town would really be honest, you would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.   But they will not mention it.  Instead there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

Image result for millions in heaven
Thankfully, there is no stigma in heaven about it.  Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ, through His shed blood and resurrection
has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which was feared by many more than the idea of death itself.  Matt. 5:3 tells us, “Blessed are the poor in
spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NASV).


 Read our story that has helped thousands break the stigma which comes as a result of mental illness.
 Please go to the web site below.

If you would like to learn more about our support group, see the link: