Monday, December 26, 2016

Moderate Depression, How it Feels!

 Image result for biological depression

I have suffered from endogenous (biological) depression for many years. Its intensity has ranged from moderate to severe. If you really want to know what depression is like you should speak to those who have suffered from it.  Here are some of the notes that I jotted down while being moderately depressed.

1. It is a kiss good bye to pleasure.
2. It is a shot of Novocain to my brain.
3. It is a broken mind, that does not work right.
4. It is like being in a dark, foggy mist that covers my brain.
5. It is to  have heaviness in my heart.
6. My mind is dead.
7. I lack spontaneity of thought and speech.
8. I feel like I am in a depressive purgatory.
9. It is a great opportunity for growth and character.
10. It is a call for perseverance in the faith.
11. It is a riddle to be solved.
12. It is a link to suffering humanity.
13.It causes a preoccupied and  quiet spouse.
14. It is a constant forcing of one's self to act and to help others.
15. It prepares me for comforting the people of God.

Some people believe that having moderate depression means that your
depression is not biological in its origins.  While some of the above
characteristics may be true of spiritual and reactive depression, it differs from
it in that it is a constant disturbance of the body, the intellect, the
will and the emotions.
 Image result for wind blowing tent

Having and coping with  moderate depression is like trying
to pitch a tent while in a hurricane. This is why it is important
 to see a mental health professional to help diagnose your problem
and help you with appropriate referrals . You may need  to have
 your medicine go to a higher dose or get on another anti-depressant.

 End of the Year Donations
We are a small agency and we never turn anyone away because of finances. We help save the lives of those who are on the precipice of suicide.  We  also help the  persecuted evangelicals church  around the world.
Losing our daughter, Lindsay and granddaughter, Emily hope qualifies us for a bereavement ministry. I can assure that your donation will help real people in real time get the help they need. Your gift will enable you to get a tax deduction if you live in the United States. Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M. CTPC. Please go to our website and please share this blog with others. Please go to our website, and scroll down to the donate button.
Thank you, Steve and Robyn Bloem

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Where is the Child at Christmas?

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!"

Truths about Jesus Christ 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)


Saturday, December 10, 2016

What is the Christmas spirit?

This is a re-post, All rights Reserved, 2015

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 true 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 true 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.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Image result for charles wesley

In my opinion, Charles Wesley was one of the greatest hymn writers of all time. He was said to have averaged ten poetic lines a day for fifty years. He wrote 8,989 hymns, ten times the volume composed by the only other candidate (Isaac Watts). He composed some of the most memorable and lasting hymns of the church: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "And Can It Be," "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," "Soldiers of Christ, Arise," and "Rejoice! the Lord Is King!" And yet he is often referred to as the "forgotten Wesley."

 Image result for john wesley

His brother John is considered the organizational genius behind the founding of Methodism. But without the hymns of Charles, the Methodist movement may have gone nowhere. As one historian put it, "The early Methodists were taught and led as much through [Charles's] hymns as through sermons and [John] Wesley's pamphlets." For the rest of this very informative article, go to:
What I am concerned about at this time is Wesley's words of that great Christmas song.
Hark the Heralds Angels Sing.  Please take some time to meditate on these words and then to think about the biblical principles on which they are based.
There are many Christmas "stealer's" these days.  One of them is the Christmas spirit. Another is crass materialism.  And then there is the hideous phrase, Xmas. You can bet that  the demons of Hell have for many years introduced ways to take the Christ out of Christmas.
Many wish people happy holidays and go out of their way to be politically correct. In doing so they neglect Christ the Lord.Our view of Christmas should come straight out of the Bible. And that is what Wesley accomplishes in this wonderful Christmas hymn. Thanks, SB

Now you have to go to a You tube post to see a flash mob sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I think it will go viral! 
If you would like to donate money to Heartfelt Counseling Ministries at the end of this year, then please go to the link below.  We are a IRS non profit and you will be able to write off the gift.!donations/c1mb0

Here is the song:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled:
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With the angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem:    
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King."

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel:
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen 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 New-born king!"