Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the 1950s-"Tell us?" the officer shouted, as he brought the whip down again across the pastor's back.  "We must know who else is working with you."  Day after day, the Chinese Communists tortured Rev. Fang-Cheng, but no matter what they did to him, he steadfastly refused to give them the names of his fellow Christians.
One day Cheng was brought again before the examining officer.  In a corner of the room, he saw a heap of rags and heard a rattling of  chains. 

As the image became clearer, he realized it was his mother. 
Before she did not have white hair; now she had. The color of her face was like ashes.
He could see that she too had passed through heavy suffering.
The Communist spoke to Cheng: "I have heard that you Christians have Ten Commandments, supposedly given by God, which you strive to obey. I would be interested in knowing them. Would you be so kind as to recite the Ten Commandments?"

Cheng was in a terrible state of heart, but any opportunity to acquaint a Communist with God's law must not be neglected. He began to list the commandments. When he arrived at "Honor your father and mother," he was interrupted. The Communist told him. "Cheng, I wish to give you the opportunity to honor your mother.  Her she is, suffering in chains.  Tell us what you know about your brethren in the faith and I promise that tonight you and your mother will be free.  Let me see now whether you really believe in God and wish to fulfill His commandments."

It was not easy to make a decision.  Cheng turned to his mother: "Mother, what shall I do?"
The mother answered, "I have taught you from childhood to love Christ and His holy church.  Don't mind my suffering.  Seek to remain faithful to the Savior and His little brothers.  If you betray, you are no more my son." This was the last time Fang-Cheng saw his mother.  It was likely that she died under torture.

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you to come through it."

From: Jesus Freaks Story of Those Who Stood for Jesus and the Voice of the Martyrs: Honor Your Mother; Minneapolis: Bethany House, (1999)  pp.221-222.
If you would like to learn more about how Christians in China still are persecuted, please go to

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Depersonalization Disorder

What is the disorder?
Depersonalization   disorder is marked by periods of feeling disconnected or detached from one's body and thoughts (depersonalization). The disorder is sometimes described as feeling like you are observing yourself from outside your body or like being in a dream. However, people with this disorder do not lose contact with reality; they realize that things are not as they appear. An episode of depersonalization can last anywhere from a few minutes to many years. Depersonalization also might be a symptom of other disorders, including some forms of substance abuse, certain personality disorders, seizure disorders, and certain other brain diseases.
Depersonalization disorder is one of a group of conditions called dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, consciousness, awareness, identity, and/or perception. When one or more of these functions is disrupted, symptoms can result. These symptoms can interfere with a person's general functioning, including social and work activities and relationships
What Are the Symptoms of Depersonalization Disorder?
The primary symptom of depersonalization disorder is a distorted perception of the body. The person might feel like he or she is a robot or in a dream. Some people might fear they are going crazy and might become depressed, anxious, or panicky. For some people, the symptoms are mild and last for just a short time. For others, however, symptoms can be chronic (ongoing) and last or recur for many years, leading to problems with daily functioning or even to disability.
What causes the disorder?
Little is known about the causes of depersonalization disorder, but biological and environmental factors might play a role. Like other dissociative disorders, depersonalization disorder often is triggered by intense stress or a traumatic event -- such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence -- that the person has experienced or witnessed.
How Common Is Depersonalize  Disorder?
Denationalization is a common symptom of many psychiatric disorders and often occurs in dangerous situations, such as assaults, accidents, or serious illnesses. Depersonalization as a separate disorder is quite rare.
How Is Depersonalization Disorder Diagnosed?
If symptoms of depersonalization disorder are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose dissociative disorders, the doctor might use various diagnostic tests, such as imaging studies and blood tests, to rule out physical illness or medication side effects as the cause of the symptoms.
If no physical illness is found, the person might be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist, health care professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a dissociative disorder.

How Is Depersonalization Disorder Treated?

Most people with depersonalization disorder who seek treatment are concerned about symptoms such as depression or anxiety, rather than the disorder itself. In many cases, the symptoms will go away over time. Treatment usually is needed only when the disorder is lasting or recurrent, or if the symptoms are particularly distressing to the person.  Please  Web MDfor a test on this disease.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pastoral Considerations and Obessive Compulsive Disorder.

Steve Bloem, copyright 2016. all rights reserved.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, O.C.D., is an anxiety disorder that is  characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.  O.C.D. is not a personality disorder.  It is treated effectively by Serotonin Selective Re-uptake Inhibitors , Some of these are: Zoloft,Celexa, and Lexapro. Behavior management has also had some success in treating this disease. 

Pastoral Considerations and O.C.D.
There is a pastoral consideration that needs to be addressed.What is the difference between temptation to sin and an obsession?   All of us  have to deal with thoughts that are are sinful and even blasphemous.  There is a difference, of course between the  temptation  sin and the actual act of sinning (James 1:13-17), yet we also know that thoughts can be sinful when we act on and accept them. The common saying "''you can't stop a bird from flying over your head but you can stop him from building a nest there. The difference is a conundrum for people who have O.C.D.

 Where then, does theology fit in treating O.C.D.? Most secular psychiatrists, suicidal workers and psychologists  do not believe in a literal devil or demonic hosts That doesn't mean that everything these professionals  say is wrong, but Christians should keep in mind, that a secular therapist may not not be able to recognize spiritual forces at work.  Demons do have schemes by which they use  to discourage, depress, and make the child of God is displeased.  


Think of how Satan can use unbidden thought of O.C.D. to burden with guilt,
There is an ongoing debate about whether demons have access to the mind.  They are not omniscient but they are celestial beings who have studied humans for at least ten thousand years.  Since they are beings of rank and intelligence, and they are spirit (ethereal beings), it would be feasible to think
that they can have access to the mind.   I see no reason to believe the Devil and his demons cannot attack the mind by throwing his fiery darts in some sort of metaphysical communication that exists among celestial beings. 

Look at Jesus Christ, the God-Man who was tempted in all points as us without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). The Devil brought scenes before the mind of our Lord; he also brought our Lord to certain places and offered him shortcuts to glory without the cross. Does he come to us audibly?  I do not think this is the norm. Some Christians avoid  praying aloud because they fear that the Devil or his demonic minions, hears what is said but not what is thought.  This seems as ridiculous  as believing Christians can be demon possessed.  Scripture is clear about a couple of things related to Satan. We must know his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11;1-3, 1 Peter 5:8)  We must be prepared for the evil day when the Devil come in force (Ephesians 6:13). We must be strong in the Lord and the strength  of His might.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

 Photo of a child with autism

This is an informational publication from the NIMH allrights reserved

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

Spectrum refers to wide range of symptoms, skills etc.

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer includes Asperger’s syndrome; the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome are included within the broader category of ASD.


Scientists don't know the exact causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.

Genetic factors
In identical twins who share the exact same genetic code, if one has ASD, the other twin also has ASD in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. If one sibling has ASD, the other siblings have 35 times the normal risk of also developing the disorder. Researchers are starting to identify particular genes that may increase the risk for ASD.
Still, scientists have only had some success in finding exactly which genes are involved. For more information about such cases, see the information below about Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis.

Most people who develop ASD have no reported family history of autism, suggesting that random, rare, and possibly many gene mutations are likely to affect a person's risk. Any change to normal genetic information is called a mutation. Mutations can be inherited, but some arise for no reason. Mutations can be helpful, harmful, or have no effect.
Having increased genetic risk does not mean a child will definitely develop ASD. Many researchers are focusing on how various genes interact with each other and environmental factors to better understand how they increase the risk of this disorder.

Environmental factors
In medicine, "environment" refers to anything outside of the body that can affect health. This includes the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, the food we eat, the medicines we take, and many other things that our bodies may come in contact with. Environment also includes our surroundings in the womb, when our mother's health directly affects our growth and earliest development.
Researchers are studying many environmental factors such as family medical conditions, parental age and other demographic factors, exposure to toxins, and complications during birth or pregnancy.

As with genes, it's likely that more than one environmental factor is involved in increasing risk for ASD. And, like genes, any one of these risk factors raises the risk by only a small amount. Most people who have been exposed to environmental risk factors do not develop ASD. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is also
conducting research in this area. More information is available on their web site http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/autism/index.cfm

Scientists are studying how certain environmental factors may affect certain genes—turning them on or off, or increasing or decreasing their normal activity. This process is called epigenetics and is providing researchers with many new ways to study how disorders like ASD develop and possibly change over time.

Early Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) vary from one child to the next, but in general, they fall into two areas:
  • Social impairment, including difficulties with social communication
  • Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.
Children with ASD do not follow typical patterns when developing social and communication skills. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child. Often, certain behaviors become more noticeable when comparing children of the same age.
In some cases, babies with ASD may seem different very early in their development. Even before their first birthday, some babies become overly focused on certain objects, rarely make eye contact, and fail to engage in typical back-and-forth play and babbling with their parents. Other children may develop normally until the second or even third year of life, but then start to lose interest in others and become silent, withdrawn, or indifferent to social signals. Loss or reversal of normal development is called regression and occurs in some children with ASD.

Information on ASD can also be found on the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and  http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/autism/Pages/default.aspx and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

Scholarly disorders
Brain structural abnormalities in young children with autism spectrum disorder

Heartfelt Counseling Ministries has a weekly support group for Christians and Mental Illness. It  happens every Thursday night at  Boca Glades Baptist Church and goes from 7:00 p.m.- 8:15 p.m. It is led by Rev. Steve Bloem.  A study guide is available  The address is 10101 Judge Winikoff Rd.Boca Raton, FL 33428.  It is in the Education building. Please call or just come. Our phone number is 561.909.9109

For reviews on our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, go to http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

10 Myths About ADHD

 ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder is often misunderstood.  Here is a great article which helps fight the stigma and the myths about ADHD.

ADHD is caused by bad parenting


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Are you contemplating what is going on with your brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted across the world?


Thanks to the Voice or Martyrs for making these facts available.  persecution.org

 This Christmas Season. I am as free as can be.  Yet many Christians from other nations are experiencing severe persecution.  ISIS has repeatedly raped young girls and women who are Christians. They have crucified  children of have Christian parents. Please pray for them and ist, please,  "continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3, NIV version)."


Medhat Ishak was imprisoned for handing out Bibles at a mall in Egypt.
 Medhat Ishak was imprisoned for

 For other informative material about the  persecution in Egypt please see: http://www.persecution.org/2016/12/29/egypts-cruelty-to-christians-2/


Medhat Ishak, a 35-year-old Christian man from Minya, Egypt, is facing up to three years in prison for distributing Bibles at a suburban mall near Cairo. After receiving a complaint that he had given a Bible to a Muslim man, security officers interrogated Medhat for several hours. He was charged with “despising religion” and ordered to serve 15 days of detention, but a judge later added two more weeks to the detention period. “We are concerned that they will give him 45 more days, then transfer it into a case,” a VOM worker said. “Prayers are needed badly for our brother.”


 A Christian worker in Pakistan who received a Village Outreach Kit shares the gospel with a group of children.

 The Voice of the Martyrs is providing Village Outreach Kits to 40 ministry partners in Pakistan who are involved in the evangelism and discipleship of children. These ministry partners are serving in areas of Pakistan where Christians face opposition and potential persecution every day. Pray for our partners and their workers as they share the gospel and the love of Christ in Muslim communities. Pray that the Lord will open unique doors to the gospel for those front-line workers who receive the Village Outreach Kits. In addition, pray that those who come to know Christ will grow in their new faith despite persecution.


A mother and child in Sudan who received aid. Sudan’s offensive in the Nuba Mountains in the spring of 2016 has been some of the most severe since the fighting began nearly five years ago, affecting thousands of Christian families who live in this region. Aerial bombings and ground attacks drove thousands of people out of their homes and forced them to take shelter in caves. With little access to food, water or medicine, VOM has been providing emergency medical and food aid to those living in the war-torn region. Please remember to pray for the Christians and those living in this dangerous region. Pray the medicine helps the Christians in the region experience God’s love in new and profound ways.
Sudan Mother