Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Are you suffering in a prison of depression or some other type of affliction?

Copyright,2016  Steve and Robyn Bloem
Image result for joseph in chains
I have, in God's providence, often been disappointed that some longing of mine was not realized. But I have found comfort in the Bible character, Joseph. Joseph had visions (longings) of leadership. He was ready to rule, but God’s purpose was to try him so that he would be a leader with proven character. The Bible tells us in Psalm 105:18 -21, He sent a man before them, Joseph, {who} was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples, and set him free.  

He made him lord of his house, ruler over all his possessions.

He (God) sent Joseph to Egypt before Israel was a nation and Joseph led them in the pre-bondage era. However, Joseph had to first be sold into slavery by jealous brothers and later found himself in iron shackles, imprisoned on a trumped up charge of rape,which  the result of a scorned woman. Joseph’s dreams faded as he lay in the dark dungeon. 

Although he had the fresh vision of power in his youth, he needed the iron of affliction to enter his soul.      He found himself running the opposite direction of his prophetic dream, the promise of God. This vision of  leadership had been revealed in an early dream that he shared with his brothers, his father and mother.

The fulfillment  of the prophecy  occurred in  the moment that Joseph went from the dungeon to the throne of Egypt. God made him lord and ruler over Pharaoh’s house and possessions. He became a happily married man and he memorialized his sufferings by naming his two sons, Manasseh, God has made me forget all my trouble and my father’s entire household  and Ephraim, God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.

His neck was put in irons. (Psalm 105:18).
The irons of sorrow and loss, the burdens carried as youth, and the soul's struggle agains sin all contribute to developing an iron tenacity and strength of purpose, as well as endurance and fortitude. And these traits make up the indispensable foundation and framework of noble character.
Never run from suffering, but bear it silently, patiently and submissively, with the assurance that it is God's way of instilling iron into your spiritual life. The world is looking for iron leaders, iron armies,iron tendons and muscles of steel. But God is looking for iron saints, and since there is no way to impart iron into His peoples's moral nature except by letting them suffer. He allows them to suffer...
Your iron crown of suffering precedes your golden crown of glory, and iron is entering your sould to make it strong and brave. F.B. Meyer, Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman, December 27.
Notes for Bible Students from the Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon

If you would like to read our personal,biblical and technical treatment of depression and healing.http://heartfeltmin.org/resources.html

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lahore, Pakistan, bombed, women and children are targeted!

lahore blasts

Hello Readers,
I have made a number of evangelical friends in Lahore Pakistan over the past five years. Most of the victims of this attack were women and children.
I have been praying for them and I ask that you pray for them, too.  They are suffering  persecution after years of protection.
Many Christians in Lahore talk freely of tracing their faith which started when the Apostle Thomas came and preached to them. Tradition also tells us that Thomas was active in India.  I have spoken to a significant number of evangelical Christians in Pakistan and they for the most part mention Thomas and his preaching the gospel in 50-100 A.D. We do know that Christ's original apostles were certified witnesses of the resurrection. All of them are believed have been martyrs for the faith.

Please read about the present situation below and you can keep updated by going to the Voice
of Martyrs website. Please read the newspaper account about a suicide which killed many
innocent people.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 27, 2016 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least 65 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore on Sunday in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction which said it had targeted Christians.More than 300 other people were wounded, officials said.
The explosion occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park close to children's swings. The park is a popular site for members of Lahore's Christian community, many of whom had gone there to celebrate the Easter weekend holiday.

Witnesses said they saw body parts strewn across the parking lot once the dust had settled after the blast.
"When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air," said Hasan Imran, 30, a resident who had gone to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park for a walk.
Officials said 65 people were killed and about 300 wounded. Police Superintendant Mustansar Feroz said most of the casualities were women and children.

The Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack.
"The target was Christians," a spokesman for the faction, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said. "We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore."
"He can do what he wants but he won't be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks."
Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the past decade. Many Christians accuse the government of doing little to protect them, saying politicians are quick to offer condolences after an attack but slow to take any concrete steps to improve security.

Salman Rafique, a health adviser for the Punjab provincial government, said many of the wounded were undergoing emergency surgery in hospitals."We fear that the death toll may climb considerably," he said.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Are you worried about tomorrow?

It is easy for Christians to try to get grace for the future, but the Bible says, "As thy days so shall be your strength be."

Re-post from 2012

Our Lord Jesus said, "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?" or 'What will we drink?' or "What will wear for clothing?" "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things ; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.So do not worry about tomorrow ; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:31-34

God is in every tomorrow,
Therefore I live for today;
Certain of finding at sunrise
Guidance and strength for the day,
Power for each moment of weakness,
Hope for each moment of pain
Comfort for every sorrow,
Sunshine and joy after rain.

God is in every tomorrow,
Planning for you and for me,
Even in the dark I will follow,
Trust where my eyes cannot see,
Stilled by His promise of blessing,
Soothed by the touch of His hand,
Confident in His protection,
Knowing my life-path is planned.

The grace of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you..

“If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a
 part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not
everything He is nothing to you.”
  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
-Jim Elliot
 Please check out our web site. you can purchase  our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel LIke You're Losing It. Kregel Publications

Monday, March 21, 2016

Secular psychiatry and the born again believer.

Steve Bloem All Rights Reserved. March 2016

 My intention with this blog is to look at some of the basic underlying  assumptions that are part of a secular psychiatry which includes bias against the supernatural, whether it be God or Satan. We do cover the difference between  demon possession vs. schizophrenia in our seminars, though here we discuss the subject with  brevity.  

My assumption is that as a culture gets further and further away from God, more people in that culture will practice witchcraft and there will be more occurrences of demon possession. But the flip side of this is that a culture that does not honor Scripture will often deny the existence of demons as well as the existence of God. Demonic doctrine is organized, powerful and deceptive. 

Paul the Apostle writes, But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1 ).  

In the 1970s the Soviet Union authorities sent evangelical pastors to psychiatric hospitals, psychiatrists prescribed them medications that normally were used for the treatment for bipolar disorder.  Those in the Soviet Union did not believe in God nor in anything that was supernatural. This deluded thinking was a result of the deceptive doctrine of demons mentioned above..

I have also read and  pieced together that this bias against the supernatural and more specifically against the work of the Holy Spirit in revival and conversion  was part of  the psychiatric treatment  practiced  by the  mad doctors of the 18th century England,  please see, http://www.amazon.com/Undertaker-Mind-Mad-Doctoring-Eighteenth-Century-Medicine/dp/0520231511 .   These English psychiatrists actually petitioned the court to hospitalize the despised Wesleyans because they had ecstatic utterances.  Some of these evangelicals were put in the infamous Bedlam, which was actually Bethlem Royal Hospital.

I remember the desperation I felt when I was looking for a psychiatrist that would prescribe the medicine that I needed to alleviate the symptoms of  my clinical depression. I found a doctor in a neighboring town who was no help to me; he ridiculed me because he felt that evangelical Christians should have, "the joy of the Lord."  He also told me that John the Baptist suffered from psychosis and  depression.  Since part of psychosis is hearing voices, I assume the "psychosis" to which this doctor referred is found in Matthew 18:15-17.   

But Jesus answering said to him, 'Permit it (the baptism of Jesus by John) at this time ; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he (John) permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,  and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased)" Matthew 18:15-17).

 We must understand that the devil is literally a "quick change artist)."
 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.. No wonder, for even Satan disguises (metaschematizo)  himself as an angel of light.Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds (2 Corinthhians11:13-15))
He can deceive us in so many ways that we could not possibly depend on our own wisdom to understand him. The only way to deal with him is to know the Scripture and compare it with other Scriptures. He can come as a snake in the grass or a roaring lion and one of his goals is to convince us that God, our Wonderful Savior, does not care about our suffering.

He also enjoys the confusion that mentally ill Christians must deal with in the various debates about the causes and cures of brain disorders. He is a murderer and a liar and he loves to see Christians suicidal. If he can convince us that it is merely a spiritual battle when it is biological in nature, then we stop taking medication, sink into despair, feel the Lord is against us somehow and we may as well give up. Or if he can convince us there is no God, then we are just a higher form of animal and who cares if we live or die anyway! So, we must fight, know the scriptures and support one another as we experience these eclipses of our understanding that are many times part of the disease itself.

In the case of my depression I described here today, others were praying along with me for my healing. I was working two jobs and pursuing my Masters of Social Work-all with moderate depression. I had begun to think I would always feel like that and I was trying to keep going. In this extreme weakness, God had mercy on me. Shortly after that discouraging encounter with the psychiatrist, God gave me a different psychiatrist that tried "one more medication" and within two weeks I was completely well. My spiritual questions, my fears, my fatigue, my moderate but hanging depression and the flatness I felt for two years all went away.

The devil did not win in that case and even after almost thirty years, this is still a great miracle to me. When we are depressed and suffering we must remember our great High Priest always has us on His heart and He prays for us!

So, don't give in to the devil's lies, seek wisdom from others who have traversed these paths and keep fighting to get your life back! God loves you and deliverance could be right around the corner.

May He bless and comfort you today. I get it; I have been there and we care!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Take this quick and easy test, which tells you how much stress you're under!

I have been counseling men and women  for many years. Many of these persons that I counseled were under considerable stress.  I have found  that in the last fifteen or twenty years, people that I have met because of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries, did not know about the famous chart that is depicted  below.  When I was first depressed in 1985, the authors  and the scale were quite popular.

 I remember taking the test at the beginning of my first depressive episode. I scored  300 points or more on this very helpful scale.  One major cause of stress is change. Robyn and I had multiple changes that were affecting us more than we realized.  For instance, the factory where I worked went out of business. Our middle son was born in 1985 and we had a major change in our finances. We had to give up our temporary housing.  Many experts believe that change and stress in general are often factors in triggering the first episode of  a major depression. If I had known this at the time; I would have tried to reduce the stress, but I was not aware of the the dangers of stress and how it affects the brain.  I hope this helps my readers, SB

 If you would like to read the rest of our story, which is told in our  best selling book, Broken Minds Hope  for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, you may purchase it from our web site.


This table is taken from "The Social Readjustment Rating Scale", Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 11, Issue 2, August 1967, Pages 213-218, Copyright © 1967 Published by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Persecution in different places!

Mar. 04, 2016 | Syria

Some of the 43 hostages released after a year-long captivity

Praise God for Release of Assyrian Christians, Held Hostage by ISIS

Islamic extremists released a group of 43 Assyrian Christians on Feb. 23, after holding the men, women and children hostage for a year. In February 2015, ISIS militants overran dozens of villages along the Khabur River, taking 253 Christians hostage and demanding ransom payments in exchange for their release. In September 2015, the militants released a video showing the execution of three Assyrian Christian men and demanding $10 million for release of the remaining hostages. Most of the hostages have been released over the last few months. However, ISIS militants abducted another large group of Assyrian Christians in August from Qaryatain and are still holding 179 hostage. Please pray for those who have been released and for those who are still being held.

 Mar. 04, 2016 | Mexico

 Flag of Mexico.svg

 Pray for 11 Families Expelled from Their Village Because of Christian Faith
Eleven families in Chiapas, Mexico, were expelled from their village earlier this month because of their Christian faith. Over the past year, the Christians have faced increasing harassment from those opposed to their evangelism. Zapatista rebels arrested three Christian leaders and accused them of creating division in the community. The men were released after paying 1,500 pesos each, but they were warned that they could be imprisoned if they continued to preach the gospel or meet for worship services. The Zapatistas then forced the 11 Christian families to leave the village and their homes behind.

Mar. 04, 2016 | Indonesia
A Muslim mob attacked this Indonesian church, causing extensive damage.


Pray for Pastor Jackson Muliku, whose church in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was attacked by a Muslim mob on Thursday, Feb. 18, during a prayer meeting. While no injuries were reported, the attackers destroyed the inside of the church as well as another parish building. In the past, Muslim youth have thrown rocks at the church to intimidate church members. Though there is religious freedom in the country, it is extremely difficult for Christians to obtain building permits, and Muslims often accuse churches of lacking a permit in order to close them down.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Depression is more than a mental disorder: it affects the whole organism.

 This blog is a about a scientific study of depression. More and more people who play down the biological element of depression are being assailed by the evidence that it truly is a disease.  I am not talking about getting down in the dumps for a while or feeling bad after you didn't ace a test. I am talking about the increasing preponderance of evidence that demonstrates depression is a biological disease. Now, who is brave enough to admit they not only have been wrong about this fact but also by negating the effects of medication have discouraged those who suffer from painful mental illnesses? Editor, Steve Bloem
Date: March 1, 2016
Source: University of Granada
Summary:Scientists have shown for the first time, that depression is more than a mental disorder: it causes important alterations of the oxidative stress, so it should be considered a systemic disease, since it affects the whole organism. The results of this work could explain the significant association that depression has with cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and why people suffering from depression die younger. At the same time, this research may help finding new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of depression.  
An international team of researchers lead by the University of Granada (UGR) has demonstrated, for the first time, that depression is more than a mental disorder: it causes important alterations of the oxidative stress, so it should be considered a systemic disease, since it affects the whole organism.                   
A study with 3961 people -This research is a meta analysis of 29 previous studies which comprise 3961 people, and it's the first detailed work of its kind about what happens in the organism of people suffering from depression. It studies the imbalance between the individual increase of various oxidative stress parameters (especially malondialdehyde, a biomarker to measure the oxidative deterioration of the cell membrane) and the decrease in antioxidant substances (such as uric acid, zinc, and the superoxide dismutase enzyme). 
The researchers have demonstrated that, after receiving the usual treatment against depression, the patients' malondialdehyde levels are significantly reduced, to the point that they are indistinguishable from healthy individuals. At the same time, zinc and uric acid levels increase until reaching normal levels (something that does not occur in the case of the superoxide dismutase enzyme).

Journal Reference:
Sara Jiménez-Fernández, Manuel Gurpegui, Francisco Díaz-Atienza, Lucía Pérez-Costillas, Miriam Gerstenberg, Christoph U. Correll. Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Parameters in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Compared to Healthy Controls Before and After Antidepressant Treatment. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2015; 165 DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14r09179

If you would like to order our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, please go to our web site: