Monday, May 22, 2017

Are you a defender of the weak?

 Image result for broken minds

Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?” (NASB)

The writer is saying that the human spirit given by God is resilient and helps people get through all kinds of sicknesses. But when the spirit itself is wounded or broken, there is much to endure and no inner resource to help endure it.

The word spirit is used here of the person’s inner being. If your spirit is broken, then you cannot endure the daily routine of life,  you cannot sustain sickness. Proverbs doesn’t offer a solution for this dilemma, nor does it go into reasons why the spirit may be wounded. It simply makes a statement: When the healing mechanism is what needs to be healed, that’s a serious problem. A broken spirit, whatever the cause, puts a person in the category of not being able to go on with life in a normal fashion. 
When I have a severe patient and my spirit is broken, as well as my mind, I am devastated, harassed and full of terror all the day long. People who say there is no such thing as a mental illness are not only ignorant of science but they disrespect the sufferer.You might say that when Robyn and  I became weary of people questioning us"what was wrong," we wrote a book about our own experience with depression. Please see our book,


 I especially liked the verse, " You are a defender of the weak."

"Everlasting God"

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles
by Christ Tomlin

Monday, May 15, 2017

Are you in denial about having a mental illness?

Denial Runs Deep

 Image result for a person who is in denial

Part of my denial was that, as a born-again believer and a trained theologian, I did not want to entrust myself to a “system” where I would be vulnerable to mistreatment or psychological brainwashing. A deeper reason was that I had been taught that depression was for wimps. Surely if Christians walked with God, they would not get depressed. 

It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard the other side of the issue. One of the professors during my pastoral internship was a psychiatrist who spoke to us about the chemical imbalance that causes depression. I’d listened to part of a radio program devoted to the story of a man who had depressive episodes. I heard only part of the program because I was so afraid of identifying with the symptoms that I changed the station. God was working in subtle ways to prepare me, in spite of my denial.

Another reason for the denial was that I had a family I desperately wanted to care for. As symptoms grew more acute, I increasingly was a burden on Robyn—in addition to her responsibilities with an infant and two other young children. I knew I was failing to live up to her expectations. She had worked hard and lived with insecurity long enough. But instead of stepping up to the plate, I was making her life miserable. My illness was a burden on everyone who cared for me. 

Image result for a person with a smiling depression

To the extent that I was able, I developed a “smiling depression,” trying to prove the adage, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.” I ignored a more truthful expression in Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Paul’s command benefits the body of Christ when members open their lives to each other. Quite honestly, my temporary charades fooled no one, and I couldn’t keep up the act very long. My condition was starting to haunt me relentlessly.
 Image result for couple holding hands in the dark

Robyn and I were experiencing what the Puritans called dark providences. Actually, the idea of providence is not very popular in our day. Many good definitions of providence have been given, but one I particularly like is from John Murray, the Scottish Presbyterian theologian and educator. Murray said, “Providence is that marvelous working of God by which all the events and happenings in His universe accomplish the purpose He has in mind.”5

Steve: The Issue of Stress

Scripture speaks about trials and tribulations—stress—as universal to human life and sometimes useful to help us grow. I do not believe that pressure in itself causes mental illness. When mental illness is present, though, stress brings it out into the open because a person’s natural resources for dealing with stress are suddenly unavailable. 
 Image result for Blame it on stress
I looked at my hectic life and came to the natural conclusion that I was depressed because I was “stressed out.” That was hardly a surprising diagnosis. We were moving, without definite work prospects, and I was pursuing my vocational dream. The error of the doctors was to assume that stress in itself caused my symptoms. They didn’t ask whether I had been able to handle stress in the past, so they missed the fact that something was radically different—the onset of a mood disorder. 

Stress is an easy catchall explanation for a host of maladies. Doctors tend to be under considerable stress themselves in the examining room. When someone comes in with symptoms of anxiety and nervousness, they perform a cursory check on heart and blood pressure. Everything seems basically to be working. Must be “stress.” Prescribe a generic pill to settle the nerves.
Next patient please. 

Changes in the amount of time and money a doctor can spend with a patient under “managed care” make accurate diagnosis of mental illness more difficult. Tests indicate mental illness by ruling out alternative causes for symptoms. That takes both time and money. There are many forms of imaging that are know being used to see mental illnesses and the brain. 
(Bloem, Steve and Robyn : Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're  Losing It.
Kregel Publications:Grand Rapids MI, ( 2005) chapter,pp. 30-32

 This book was written by Robyn and Steve Bloem.
 If you would like  to purchase this book or get more information about it. please go our website.It is on sale at this time.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Christian children are beheaded and burned to death!

The extermination of Christians is being executed on a global scale.
Our urgent deadline to defend them is midnight, but we need you.
ISIS beheads Christian kids. It barbarically burns Christian girls alive. It stones and crucifies others. It bombed churches as Christians worshiped on Palm Sunday in Egypt. Syria's Christians - 66% decimated. Iraq's Christians - 82% destroyed or displaced.It makes my blood boil. It makes my heart ache. If we don't act, more Christians will die.  Jay Seukulow

How can we act? We  must pray for those who are left behind.  We must pray for those who are in prison, we must remember their suffering. SB

From the Voice of Martyrs
 Pastor "Kasun" faced similar community opposition to his church in Sri Lanka.
On March 25, a Buddhist monk led a group of about 50 people into a church and demanded that the Christians cease worship activities. When police arrived, they scolded the Christians for disturbing the peace and ordered the pastor to go to the station for an interview. Pastor “Ishara” visited the police station twice but never met the officer in charge. A week later, the pastor, who had led worship in the area for 17 years, received a letter stating that his church must register with the government. When he again visited the police station, he was met by a mob of about 200 people. Police demanded that he immediately stop all religious activities, warning him that he would face severe consequences if he failed to comply. Police subsequently charged Pastor Ishara with disturbing the peace, and villagers have attacked him on several occasions, throwing rocks at his house. Pray for Pastor Ishara’s strength and peace during these difficulties, and pray that he will find favor with the government so his church can continue to worship.

 Village authorities in Laos often accuse describe Christianity as a tool of the American CIA.
“Kamea,” a single mother of three children, is starting over in a new village after being evicted from her home because of her Christian faith. She was led to Christ through her 18-year-old son, who became a Christian while working in a large city for a year.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Nouthetic Therapy

 Image result for man pounding the pulpit
Nouthetic Counseling

The word nouthetic comes from the Greek noun nouthesia and verb noutheteΓΈ. The word, used primarily by the apostle Paul, is translated “admonish, correct or instruct” (e.g., in Rom. 15:14). It is a focused bringing to bear of Scripture on a counselee’s life. It is a refined, intentional approach to what pastors have always done. Nouthetic counseling is overwhelmingly the counseling philosophy of fundamentalist nondenominational churches, conservative Baptists, and other conservative Christians. The movement seems especially strong in suburban churches. 

A growing National Association of Nouthetic Counseling and numerous other organizations for nouthetic counselors have tried to establish a bedrock foundation for counseling in conservative churches. This foundation was first laid in the writings of Jay Adams, particularly his book Competent to Counsel

Dr. Adams based his watershed book in part in what he experienced as a counselor in two psychiatric institutions. He refined his theological base when he became a professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and developed a course on the theory of pastoral counseling. His interpretation of Scripture and observations led him to a central conclusion:
Apart from those who had organic problems like brain damage, the people I met in the two institutions in Illinois were there because of their own failure to meet life’s problems.4
Adams states, in his Christian counselor’s manual, “The hope for the depressed persons, as elsewhere lies in this: the depression is the result of the counselee’s sin.5
It may seem that such a view places Adams in complete opposition to psychology, but this is not the case. From the early 1970s, he primarily attacked one dominant psychological view—psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis arose out of Freudian theory and permeated the psychiatry of the 1950s through at least the 1980s. It had influenced pastoral counselors, who may have attended psychology classes in college without ever hearing a Christian critique of the Freudian worldview.

Preacher-educator John MacArthur has been quite involved in this movement.  Several pastor training institutions strongly base counseling instruction on nouthetic principles. Nouthetic counselors are solidly Bible-believing Christians who love the Lord and adhere to the Bible as God-breathed, infallible, and inerrant. 

 Nouthetics: Schizophrenia and Mania
The problem is that Nouthetics was designed with everyday problems and mood swings in mind. It seldom concerns itself with the difference between feeling “down” and clinical depression. Nouthetics doesn’t accept that there are differences between the two levels of depression, for it recognizes no physical causes for clinical depression or most other illnesses.8
Nouthetic counselors surely do run into persons who have made a break with reality, but the nature of the counseling seldom brings counselors face-to-face with schizophrenics so conceptually disorganized and paranoid that they can’t function.

Image result for teaching an insane man from the Bible
 With Bible in hand, counselors would not get very far with persons whose auditory hallucinations make it impossible to concentrate. Bringing spiritual reality into a severely psychotic or manic person’s world is like standing at a fixed point and talking to someone who is riding a high-speed merry-go-round. The person counseled might be able to comprehend a simple verse or biblical concept, but there is little ability to focus, and the merry-go-round never slows. I’ve listened to the nonstop monologue of someone in a manic state without getting in a single word. 

The rationality needed to hear Nouthetic counsel and meditate on Scripture simply does not exist for such a person. Such lack of rationality and inability to concentrate indicate that there might be a flaw in the theory that mental illness relates strictly to spiritual need and will go away as Christians grow in biblical concepts.

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Laboratory Evidence? The Litmus Test of Nouthetics?
As science continues to learn more about neurology, nouthetic counseling will no doubt have to make concessions. So far, however, proponents of nouthetics have resisted much consideration of developments. Nouthetic counselors rest on a belief that there is no biological basis for mental illness on the same rationalistic basis by which evolutionists reject consideration of a Creator. The argument of proponents is that biological connections to mental illness have never been proven in a laboratory. An unbiased look at the study results makes this argument sound weak. 

From our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.


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