Friday, July 29, 2016

Important things to know about bipolar disorder

People on a rollercoaster at an amusement park.
 From Web MD and Medicine Net

Monday, July 25, 2016

Persecution, part 2

Persecution unites Christians.  In times of peace and prosperity there is division, discord, biting and quarreling among Christians. But when persecution comes upon them, this unites them together!  When a storm or wolf comes, sheep huddle together.  Sometimes Christians who cannot stand to talk to one another in times of peace become close brothers in times of persecution.

  1. Times of persecution are times when truth advances.  Truth thrives most when it is most opposed and persecuted.  Philippians 1:12-14 says that the persecutions that happened to Paul caused a furtherance in the gospel.  By Paul's chains others were emboldened and encouraged to preach the word without fear.  After Stephen was martyred, the scattered Christians preached the gospel. 
  2. Persecution is a time for the Christian's joy.  A Christian's heart is never so full of joy as it is when he suffers.  Acts 5:41: '...rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.'  Stephen found the joys of heaven in his heart as the stones came clattering around his ears (Acts 7:55-56).  So Paul and Silas sang for joy in prison.  See also Romans 5:3-4.
  3. To suffer persecution is the greatest and highest honor you are capable of in this world.  The crown of a martyr is a crown that angels are not capable of winning or wearing.  1 Peter 4:14 says if you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you."  The apostles all along counted their sufferings for Christ their highest honor (cf. Heb. 11:36-38). The world was not worthy of those being persecuted for righteousness' sake.
  4. Though persecutions may come with your pursuit of holiness, God has a thousand ways to preserve you from being destroyed by persecuting hands.  Several afflictions and persecutions came upon Paul at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, but the Lord delivered him out of them all (2 Tim. 3:11, see Acts 18, 19).  As a righteous cause led him into sufferings, so a righteous God led him out of sufferings.

  1. Finally, all the persecutions that you meet on earth will advance your glory in heaven.  The more saints are persecuted on earth, the greater shall their reward be in heaven.  As persecutions increase a Christian's grace, so they do advance a Christian's glory.  Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake...rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven."  So also Luke 6:22-23.  The more afflictions and persecutions multiplied upon them in this world, the greater shall be their recompense in another world.  Chrysostom hit the nail on the head when he said that if one man should suffer all the sorrows of all the saints in the world, yet they are not worth one hour's glory in heaven.

If you have been are being persecuted, these are great biblical reminders.  Also, for those of us whom are not being persecuted at this time, if the time comes, we do well to remember these blessed truths.  God is sovereign even in and through persecution.
The above summarized and edited quotes by Thomas Brooks are found in volume 4 of his Works, p. 281-300.
Much of this blog is taken from an original blog post by
Shane Lems-
The Reformed Reader,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Persecuted but not Forsaken, Part 1


I've not faced any serious persecution.  I have been made fun of at times for being a Christian and there have been times when I was treated poorly because of my faith.  I was fired at one of my jobs because of my Christian faith. It was a matter of the rich, taking the poor man's money.
 I vehemently protested and I followed the money trail.  it cost me the job. It  was at the same time my Robyn was diagnosed as having breast cancer.

But I haven't faced jail time or physical torture for following Christ.  I'm guessing quite a few of our readers have had similar experiences as I have had.  However,  some of our readers have experienced serious persecution from their family, friends, neighbors, or authority figures. This blog has over eighty thousand hits,  and half of them are from other  countries, than the United States of America. Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is very concerned about the cruel persecution and genocide that is happening in the world today.

There certainly are Christians today who are beaten, tortured and killed by the hands of evil men and woman. They are  persecuted simply because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thankfully the Lord knows the suffering of his people, hears their cries, and does not leave them when they are persecuted.  In fact, because he is sovereign, our Father can  use persecution for his glory and for the good of his church.  In one section of his 1662 publication, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, Thomas Brooks summarizes various Bible teachings on the advantages of persecution.  I'll summarize some of them below:
  1. By persecution you will give an evident proof of the soundness and uprightness of your own hearts (Phil. 1:27-29).  Afflictions and persecutions will discover what metal men are made of.  All is not gold that glisters...he is a golden Christian indeed, who remains gold when under fiery trials.  Persecutions will show that the true Christian is the one who built his house on the rock; when the storms come,
  2. All the persecutions which Satan brings against God's people will not diminish their number, but rather increase them.  So it was in Egypt under Pharaoh (Ex. 1:10-13).  In the 8th chapter of Acts you read of great persecution and scattering, but it was so far from decreasing the number of believers that in fact their numbers increased greatly.  Like Cyprian said, they may kill Christians, but they cannot overcome them.
  3. The persecutions that befall you in your pursuit of holiness may mean the conversion of others.  See Acts 8.  Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, and he was content to suffer that God's elect might be called, saved, and glorified (2 Tim. 2:9-10).  Philemon was converted while Paul was in chains; Paul became Philemon's spiritual father while in bonds (Philemon. 10).  Prisons in these times are made into churches.  Luther once said, "The church converteth the world by blood and prayer."  So neither fear nor faint during persecution. 
  4. The persecutions that Christians meet in their pursuit of holiness will further the increase and growth of their grace.  Grace [Christian virtue] never rises to so great a height as it does in times of persecution.  Suffering times are a Christian's harvest times (Ps. 69).  As one said of the French Protestants, "When Papists hurt us for reading the Scriptures, we burn with zeal to be reading them; but now that persecution is over, our Bibles are like old, dusty almanacs."  As stars shine brightest in the darkest nights, so the graces of the saints shine brightest in times of persecution (.to be continued)Please see our seminars at the link below.


 This book won  a reward for the best fiction of 2005. Its message still appeals to many people who have mental illness and their loved ones.  This book has been very useful for pastors.

    Thursday, July 14, 2016

    Heartbeat News Letter

    Summer 2016
    View this email in your browser

    Steve's Current Musings

    The Stigma of Mental Illness

    Fresh out of seminary over 30 year ago, I remember being so depressed that I was unable to candidate at a church in Florida. After a stay in a psychiatric hospital, I had gotten better and tried to reapply. The head deacon said to me, in a smooth southern drawl, "Steve, do you have a case of the nerves?" They did not want me back.

    Certainly, mental illness has 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 origin. Christians cannot claim to have immunity from it.

    Let’s Pray For Our Poor, Mentally Ill Member

    Evidences of the stigma of mental illness in churches persist. For instance, when is 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, they would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.

    However, most church goers will not mention mental illness, their silence for themselves or their loved ones in the church speaks loudly to us. Instead, there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, having a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

    Heaven Knows No Stigma

    Thankfully, there is no stigma in Heaven about our subject. 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 to many was feared more than death itself. Matt. 5:3 tells us, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the kingdom of God.

    A pastor friend of mine contacted me about a godly man in his congregation who had severe mental illness. The tried Christian died suddenly, in the middle of reading his Bible one morning and went to be with the Lord.  My friend, the pastor said, “Now his torment is over forever.”

    Let us be brave and face the horrible suffering of mental illness head on.  By doing this we will bring glory and honor to God.

    Romans 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another ; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

    Upcoming Seminars

    Whispers in the Foyer
    August 13, 2016
    Grace Reformed Church
    Leduc, Alberta (Canada)

    October 15, 2016
    Boca Glades Baptist Church
    Boca Glades, Florida (U.S.A)

    Visit for more information on these excellent seminars.

    Prayer Points
    • Robyn and I are under contract to write two more books. We are very thankful for this opportunity!
    • We have 2 seminars planned for this year.  Pray for clarity and strength for both Robyn and myself.
    • Pray that Satan's arrows of discouragement would not find their mark as Robyn and I continue to carry out the work the Lord has called us to do.
    • Pray for our brothers and sisters who continue to wrestle daily against mental illness. 
    Partner with Us
    Our ministry has prevented many people from taking their own lives. We have helped put families back together and kept many from giving up on their marriage.  We offer a support group every week, all year long at no cost.  We train churches across the world how to have a ministry to the mentally ill.

    Since Heartfelt is a ministry, we depend heavily on donations like yours to help those who cannot afford to get the mental help they need.

    Visit click on Join Us, and scroll down to find our Donate button.  All donations will receive a tax deductible receipt.
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    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    Insanity, Do we neglect those who are psychotic?

    Dear Reader,
    Robyn and I are under contract to write two more books. We are very thankful for this privilege and opportunity! As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and because of this I have had less time to work on my blog. Please be patient with me.  I continue to have many ideas and burdens about which to write. One of these areas, of course, is the area of mental illness. I have always been intrigued by the disinterest shown by many people toward those who suffer from insanity.

    For some reason the mentally ill have been neglected more during times of war (I am speaking of United States).  I have worked helping the insane inside psychiatric hospitals and helping those who suffer from it the community. These were agencies which for the most part were in the "downtown" areas.  I believe that Christians will someday stand before their Lord at the "Bema" seat.  One question will be something like,  "How did you shepherd those who lost their minds?"  Another perhaps could be, "How did you reach out to those who wanted to kill themselves?" There are many pastors here and abroad who either don't know how to or don't want to help the mentally ill especially those with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder.   My hope is that the words in this blog will cause a change of attitude.  SB
    “Those who danced were thought to be
     quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
    Angela Monet

    The most remarkable thing about insanity in contemporary America is that its existence as an epidemic is unknown.  Despite the evidence of its startling increase over two centuries, despite its enormous fiscal and human costs, and despite the fact that it still may be increasing, there is virtually no interest in this issue.  Insanity has become accepted, like an unwelcome guest who slowly settles into the household and eventually is thought of as a member of the family.  AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer continue to evoke adversarial feelings---they do not belong.  Insanity, by contrast, is widely thought of as part of the human condition and assumed to have always been with us in its present form.  Such acceptance betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of its essence.”  Torrey, E. Fuller, M.D. and Miller, Judy, The Invisible Plague, The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present. (2001), New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, page 299).

    On average, a seriously mentally ill person in the USA is three times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, a report concludes today. In no state was a seriously mentally ill person — someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for example — less likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, the report by the National Sheriffs' Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center found.

    But there were wide variations among states. In North Dakota, a seriously mentally ill person was equally likely to be hospitalized as incarcerated. But in Nevada and Arizona, such a person was nearly 10 times more likely to be jailed than hospitalized.
    "We're not trying to say this is a criminal population," says co-author James Pavle, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a non-profit based in Arlington, Va. "All they have to do is step over a line — public urination, a misdemeanor. Then they get in jail, and the whole thing can spin out of control."

     Related image

    The report was based on previously unpublished 2004-2005 data from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of Justice. "These people should be getting treatment, not jail time,"Pavle says. As a result of the De-institutionalization movement that began in the 1960s, "it is now extremely difficult to find a bed for a seriously mentally ill person who needs to be hospitalized," Pavle and his co-authors write. In 1955, they write, there was one psychiatric bed for every 300 Americans. In 2005, there was one for every 3,000 Americans. "There are forms of treatment that don't necessitate hospitalization," Pavle adds.
    The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reported Friday that Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander had threatened to stop accepting violent mentally ill people at the county jail. "We don't want to be a dumping ground," Alexander told the paper. "Everybody knows we need someplace other than a jail for these people."

    We need to keep these problems in the spotlight to create an atmosphere of change. Think of the major illnesses that have been moved front and center by advocates and  those who have the power and drive to make a difference. We can be part of that change; in fact we must!

    Steve and Robyn, through Heartfelt Counseling Ministries, are doing seminars in Canada, Great Britain and the United States. Learn more about how we can come to your church or ministry and present one of our seminars. 
    Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.  We also have a support group on Thursday nights in Boca Raton, FL. We offer Skype at this time.  In real time you can interact, share and pray with other Christians.

    Thursday, July 7, 2016

    Plagiarism, Are you guilty of it?

    For most of my ministry I have given little thought to plagiarism.  I actually called a publishing house and asked if I could copy an outline from an Old Testament Commentary and they said; "sure no problem." It was not until Robyn and I wrote a couple of books and our material was used without crediting us that it really hit me.  Plagiarism has always been a problem in this world and also in the Christian world.  It has legal and ethical ramifications. Authors work hard and long on writing a book and editors do the same in making it fit for being published.  So please if you use the material credit the writer or preached.

    Matt Perman
    From Matt Perlman 

    From this point in the article the material is directly taken from
    Matt Perlman.

    The essence of plagiarism is to give the impression that the ideas or
     words of another person are actually your own. This can be done
     intentionally (in which case it is outright theft) or unintentional
     but either way it is wrong.

    Image result for dictionary image

    The tenth edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
     formally defines the term "plagiarize" from three different angles:

    1. "To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own"
    2. "To use (a created production) without crediting the source"
    3. "To commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source"
    In a nutshell, you have committed plagiarism whenever you use another ideas or words without crediting or acknowledging the source

    Committing Plagiarism 

     Image result for light bulb moment images

    We can spell this definition out more concretely. There are basically three ways in which plagiarism can be committed:
    1. Quoting someone else word for word but not crediting them as the source.

    2. Paraphrasing another's words without acknowledging the author whose words you are restating. In other words, if you do not quote the person verbatim but instead just change a few words and do not give credit, you have committed plagiarism.

    3. Using the ideas of another without acknowledging their source. Hence, even if you state another person's ideas entirely in your own words, you still must credit them as the source of the ideas. The only exception is when the idea is well known and has become common knowledge. For example, if I state that "it is 93 million miles to the sun," I do not need to cite a source. It is common knowledge.

     Image result for thou shalt not steal

    The Problem With Plagiarism

    The central problem with plagiarism is twofold: (1) it is stealing; and (2) it bears false witness. Obviously, both of these are unacceptable for Bible-believing Christians (see Exodus 20:15; Mark 10:19; Matthew 15:19, etc). Stealing and bearing false witness fail to love your neighbor as yourself (Romans 13:9). The words and ideas of another person are precisely that—their words or ideas.
    To fail to acknowledge their source is to give the false impression that they have originated with you. Hence, plagiarism steals from another and gives a false impression to your audience. Both of these factors should be of utmost concern to the Christian, and especially pastors and teachers who should have the utmost respect for the sanctity of truth.

    Overcoming Plagiarism in Preaching and Teaching

    1. It is not hard to avoid plagiarism. All that you have to do is acknowledge the source whenever you quote, paraphrase or use the ideas expressed by another. But, of course, life almost always throws us complex situations where it is not clear how to apply a general principle such as this. Hence, it will be helpful to spell out some specific guidelines.

     2. Detailed bibliographic data is not necessary. It is not necessary to give detailed information as to the page number, publisher of the book, date of publication and so forth when attributing a source in a sermon. It is helpful to do this in papers, but even then the absolutely necessary thing is to name the person from whom you got the idea or quote, and if possible the specific book or lecture or article.

    3. Common knowledge does not need to have its source cited. "Common knowledge" does not necessarily mean that everyone in your audience knows the information. What is it then? The Purdue University English Department suggests helpful criteria. You have "common knowledge" when (1) "You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources"; (2) "You think it is information that your readers will already know"; (3) "You think a person could easily find the information with general reference sources" (source). Hence, "Jonathan Edwards was born in 1703" is common knowledge. "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him" is not common knowledge.

    4. If the original source simply cannot be found, it is acceptable to say "As someone has once said…" (Most sources, however, can be found. For online searches, is indispensable. You might also try the new "Search Inside the Book"."

    Friday, July 1, 2016

    Jesus Our Leader in Darkness


    From a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Our Leader in Darkness, found in Spurgeon's Expository Encyclopedia,

    Image result for man walking in the gloom
    Yet, dear Friends, there are glooms which fall to the lot of some of God’s best people. I would have you beware; my brothers and sisters who have made a great advance in grace, and are very joyful in the Lord, of judging your fellow Christians. I have noticed with sorrow on the part of some, whose shoelaces I am not worthy to unloose, that, nevertheless, they are hard towards the lambs and the lame of the flock. Because they have not reached your own high attainments, do not condemn them! If you have strong faith, you may condemn unbelief, but do not condemn weak  believers, who may have beautiful points of character, although they are as yet mere babes in Grace!

     Have you never heard of the strong cattle, of whom the Lord said, “Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns till you have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save My flock and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.” Beware lest you become proud of your attainments and unkind to those beneath your level! I believe that there is such a thing as being so long in the light that you do not believe that others are in the dark. Or, if they are, you judge them to be weak and foolish and you are apt to scold them.

    Image result for sympathy
     Brother, you cannot scold the darkness into light! A little sympathy will do far more than what you are pleased to call faithful upbraiding. That word, “faithful,” sometimes means, “cruel.”  None can doubt that some excellent children of God are often in gloom through bodily sickness and weakness. There are forms of sickness which bring no depression with them. You might suffer from them through life and never be saddened. 

     Image result for empathy

    But there are certain forms of disease which touch not only the bone and the flesh, but also the mind. The pain of the mind encroaches upon the spirit and the spirit is darkened with trouble. “Oh, but they ought not to be troubled.” Granted, but they are troubled, and I have noticed this—that your very strong men, yes, and your very strong ministers, too, who can say rather sharp things about the weak—and may be justified in saying them, yet, nevertheless, are not themselves beyond incurring the same rebukes! Great teachers may not make good sufferers. When the hot iron touches them, it is another thing from what it seemed to be. It sounds fine for them to say that we ought not to be cast down, but ask their wives what these strong men are like when their head aches or their heart is out of order! When nights grow long and weary with sleeplessness, do they show all the faith of which they now speak? Ah, Brothers, the flesh is weak!

    End of Spurgeon-  Our Leader Through Darkness
    If you want this sermon in its entirety, go to the link below and then scroll down on the title list to Our Leader Through Darkness
    When you are on this link, scroll down alphabetically to Our Leader in Darkness.

    Robyn and I have written a book Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. It is published by Kregel Publications.  We tell our story.  We also deal with biblical matters and mental illness and some technical points.  You can get it on Kindle and other digital formats. If you would like to see what some are saying about it. Please go to