Thursday, March 29, 2018

Though I am Chastened, or Tormented or Killed, nothing can take away my being a child of God.

have been a Christian for many yearsRobyn and I have many
times been overwhelmed by the storms of life. I had my
first episode of serious biological depression at the age of
 twenty nine. I had to seek other employment besides the ministry.  
Robyn and Ifelt the stigma of such an illness and it permeated our social interactions.

Lindsay Bloem

We lost our daughter and grand daughter on September 11, 2001because a drug addict used the powerful weapon of a car to kill them.  The driver and his friends were using cocaine and "shooting up" heroin" on their way back from a cancelled rock concert. We saw the whole thing and the trauma impressed itself on our brain.   

Charles H. Spurgeon

Genuine Christian my reasoning is this;"I have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that as many as receive Him are the sons of God. I have received Him, and I am therefore a son of God."

Now, whether my Father kisses me or flogs me, I know that I am His son. I am not going to be guided by my state and condition, but by looking by faith at the promise of the Word. The Lord says that if I have received Christ; I have the privilege to be a child of God. 

"Then, whether I am rich or poor—whether I am sick or healthy—.! I do not bring them into the calculation.You must take the naked Word of God as it stands—that I am God's child. If He slays me I am His child. If He lets me go to prison, if He should suffer me to rot in a dungeon, or to burn at the stake, I am still His child! Io not look upon circumstances as at all affecting my position.

Oh Beloved, if you once begin calculating your position before God according to your temporal circumstances, where will you be? Do not talk any more of believing you have given it up—and you are really walking by sight."

Rev. Steve Bloem
Co-founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries
Co-Author of Broken Minds.
We will soon becoming out with an informative new
book on mental illness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My journey with depression, what it feels like.

Depression is not a subject which is usually talked about by evangelical Christians.  But if you counsel those who are born again,who have a mental illness, they will tell you what their symptoms are, and how they affect their mood, thinking, and behavior. Now I have read some great but grisly descriptions of depression and the best ones come from those who have experienced mental illness.

I bought a book once by Kathy Conkrite, the daughter of the legendary newscaster, Walter Cronkite. It included descriptions of her depression, and by many famous people who also suffer suffered from the black plague.. I could only read so much of it because I would start having Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Symptoms which are a result of the trauma that I have because of my own horrible, episodic depresion.  People have asked me many times (including psychiatrists); how does it feel when you are depressed?

It (depression) is hard to describe after you are feeling better. The problem is that when you are in the clutches of a depressive episode, you are too depressed to take the time to write about it. The best descriptions that I can come up with are, "it is unbearable anguish, unrelenting sorrow, it is a living Hell."  I hope you don't think I am being profane.

 I use to joke about Hell when someone would tell me that I should go there. My answer was, "I got kicked out for selling ice cream cones." This was not original to me,  but I was not converted and I knew very little on the subject. I no longer joke about Hell. When I say that depression is a living Hell; I am not talking about eternal Hell but I am saying that as far as I know, it is a time of agitation, anxiey, deep sadness, not know how you are going to make it thourgh the morining and when it comes to your family, you feel detached and unable to participate in neither their joys or sorrows.

But there always the hope that medicine will help you.  Those who die forever in Hell have no hope. If you don't know Christ as your personal Savior, you will go to Hell and have the most awful depression., forever

But if you believe in Jesus Christ , you will by faith believe the infinite God/man,  who hung on the cross  and became sin for sinners.  Read what the prophet Isaiah said about Him in Isaiah 52, just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigued beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness, so he will sprinkle many nations,and kings will shut their mouths because of him

Every time I have a severe depressive episode, I think; "when I get out of this; I am going to warn people about Hell."  Of course Hell is not  a politically correct subject these days.  Someday all those who in are Hell will be cast into the lake of fire.Whether you are depressed  or not,, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!  Receive Him as your Savior ,and Lord! He gave Himself for you to redeem you from your sins. 

Below is a brief diary of my decomposition into the dark dungeons of depression. I had recently been diagnosed by my psychiatrist as having, Bipolar 2 disorder. This was because my depressive episodes come on quite suddenly and they are  very severe in nature. Here is a brief excerpt from my diary.

May 11, 1997,
 I spoke in a little country church today. I wondered, do I have Post-traumatic Stress disorder because of what I had gone through when i was a pastor in the
Flint Hills of Northern  Kansas.
Also,  I am bombarded by everything is temporary obsessions, and the doing  routine things seem so hard today., I am feeling emotionally drained,. and I fear that this is the beginning of a new severe depressive episode.

May 12, 1997 -I called the doctor and asked him to put me on Buspar to augment my Zoloft.  This was hard for me to request because, I become passive while in a depressive episode. He said he would call my prescription to the pharmacy. I hope this augmentation will work quickly.

May 13, 1997- I am quite depressed today, it is very difficult to concentrate; I have moment by moment sorrow. My mind feels dead, but I was able to get my work done and even teach a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group this afternoon. I was able to relate to many of the woman who have Borderline Personality Disorder and many of them also were depressed.

May 14, 1997 - I started work at about 8:00 am today. It seems that none of my fellow case managers have noticed that I am in a depressive episode. Maybe they do but don't know how to approach me. 
From about 10-12:00 noon, I was in agony and intense sadness. I was  was panicky  and my stomach hurt, my appetite was gone. I finally told the staff psychiatrist that I could no longer work and had to go home.

Immediately separation anxiety overwhelmed me and I want to be with my wife. I called her and she asked me, "is it alright for me to go to a bible study with the ladies this afternoon or do you want me to stay here with you? " I try to be brave but after I hang up, I think, "I have to go home." I sob uncontrollably as I drive home, wiping away tears to be able to see. My youngest son greets me at the door and as soon as I see him, I burst into tears.  He is stunned after seeing me sob and calls for Robyn. I pray to God, "Father please don't let me commit suicide."  Deeper and Deeper I descend into a Hell on earth. My thought in the middle of the most intense suffering, "How will people be able to stand Hell--- the real Hell?"

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Please do not forget the persecuted church, which numbers in the thousands.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A well known hymn says, "If through fiery trials your pathway should be".  The history of the Church has much to say about  fiery trials.   The apostle Peter in the fourth chapter of his First epistle uses that expression in the twelfth verse: "Beloved, he says, "think not it a strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you." 

It is not strange, it is the lot of God's people. It always has been, it always will be.  "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus," says Paul to Timothy, shall suffer  persecution"( 2 Timothy 3:12, KJV).

The wicked one can bring these things suddenly to bear upon us.  By these means, Satan,tries to alarm us, tries  to fill us with fears.  Do our enemies intend to kill us?  Do they propose to take everything from us? Am I going to lose my position because I am a Christian?  Or will you be troubled about your wife and family?  Will you be troubled about your church, about the whole cause of Christ? Terrible periods of persecution come to the Christian Church.  Again there may be long intervals when there is no persecution except some minor matter, just an occasional shot here and there.  But sometimes the devil, as it were, has been preparing a great mass of fiery darts, and he hurls them all together at the same time; and the onslaught may continue for a period...

The Apostle's teaching is that there is only one way to deal with these attacks.  We must take an use the shield of faith.  It is the only thing that can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. What you must do is to take your shield,.and hold it up, so they they may hit against that portion of the shield which is specifically meant  to deal with them as they burst against it, and  so do you no harm...  These excerpts are from The Christian Soldier, An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10- 20.
The author is D. Martyn Lloyd Jones.

Did you know that you can write  people  who  are in prison, because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  The Voice of Martyrs has made it easy.

1.Go to, "Prisoner Alert 
2. Click on "Write Letter," which is found next to the image of a prisoner. This will enable you to greet the prisoners, and write encouraging Scriptures, which are in their own language.
3.You can then print it out (the address will be on it) and send it to the prisoner.

Photo - Hadi Asgari

You can still order our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You
Feel Like You're Losing It.  . The  book tells how I was a prisoner of my own mind. Robyn powerfully writes about helping me through deep depression.. Throughout the book she reaches out to the caregivers of mental illness.. I also tell my story, and challenge what I believe are incorrect beliefs about the nature of mental illness.You can get Broken Minds  in book form, Kindle and other formats.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Five ways to get treatment for depression and/or mental illness. Part 2

 1. You should never give up on your self or a loved one. Good treatment may be hard to find,  If your psychiatrist or doctor gives up on you, or you loved one, fire him/her. Do the same with therapists, who do not help you . They may discourage you  telling you that you should stay away fromantidepressants and mood stabilizers.. If you need a referral, ask me.

Parasagittal MRI of human head in patient with benign familial macrocephaly prior to brain injury (ANIMATED).gif

You need to address your depression, bipolar, or even schizophrenia because mental illness is a neuro-degenerative disease.  Many people don't realize this,  and some say it is not so. It is easy for friends and family to  discourage you from getting psychiatric help.. There needs to be a sense of urgency on your part, your caregivers, and your doctors. to find out why treatment is not working. 

3. You must not let others "blame the victim" and try to discourage you from getting good treatment. There are still  are  certain counseling theories which blame mental illness on the victim.  Many will not dare come out against using antidepressants or anti-psychotics but their clients are made to believe there is something else deep within them that is wrong. This has  Sigmund Freud written all over it. I knew one Christian psychiatric hospital which actually used"truth serum" on a a patient to get to the "real problem."

image description

4. This generation is faced with the important task of destroying the stigma that  people who have mental illness and their families face. One of the most used phrases in the media is the term,
"lunes," which  stands for lunatics.  It is not user friendly to call them out but we must do so.  Many churches don't even recognize that  mental illness is something to be talked about.  Millennials are much more open about having a mental illness and getting the right treatment than baby-boomers.

Sorry can be a touch word to say so let our blue smiley help you out!
5. Pastors and Missionaries do should not lose their jobs,  because they have bipolar disorder or depression or panic disorder. If they are not getting treatment for their disorder,  is likely that the symptoms will become more intense.

 Mission Agencies continue to remove missionaries from the field, some at the first hint of problem with the brain.I have written a book which should be a great help to pastors on the subject. The editors are now working on it. It is coming out in the summer of 2018!

I close with this thought.  I have been a counselor for many years. I counsel people with marriage problems, people who are depressed, sorting out what is spiritual depression, and what is  and is not biological depression.

I have been a children's therapist, a clinical case manager and a pastor.  and I have worked with State Penitentiaries in helping identify those who have a mental illness and to help them reintegrate into society. I aslo have used a modified DBT to counsel those with borderline personality disorder.  Heartfelt Counseling Ministries offers therapy on a sliding scale. We counsel using the telephone, Skype and other media  that facilitates good contacts..  Please go to our website:

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The ministry and depressed Christians, Part 1

Image result for the thinker statue

As I pondered my present situation, I thanked the Lord for my not so "broken mind." I reflected on how God in His great mercy helped me, when the howling winds of depression were making my life miserable. I was at the end of my puny resources.    There was nothing that encouraged me.  I remember a pastor's sermon saying, "God will never give you more than you can handle" In my opinion that is a bit of a trite saying.;

Foe example, Look at Heman in Psalm 88:3-5. 

 Image result for heman the ezrahite

For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.  I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength, forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave. (NASB).


  2 Corinthians 1;8-11
 For we do not want you to be unaware,brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively , beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;  you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many, indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead

Image result for a man sitting on a  bench, head down

The great Apostle Paul and his missionary team were very serious about their depression. There is some difficulty in believing that all the missionaries were clinically depressed at the same time.  But their testimony is that they all were saying, "I can't stand this any more. I have reached my optimal level of stress.  I feel that I an going to die." They were like those who were on death row. I wonder how many of Paul's teammates,who were very depressed at that time, if it were today, would be  yanked from the mission field because of depression.  It does happen today. If any one reads this blog,and  is in a position of  leadership for  an evangelical, mission agency; and there is someone who is on the field,who may be depressed, someone who suffers from a mental illness, please contact us at Heartfelt Counseling Ministries. Be careful not to call the missionary back home and let the churches drop his support.
 When Paul said he was beyond what he could bear, he did not mean that he had to sin. No, they had the sentence of death in them. This could also be translated, "we were on death row."
 The Father of Mercies and the God of all comfort  helped them and the prayers of the saints were  part of their deliverance.


Thursday, March 1, 2018


What is CAMI? 
CAMI stands for Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness. CAMI is an organization within Heartfelt Counseling Ministries. Mental Illness is a disease that begs for community and it is often more subtle and much more prevalent than we imagine 
One of our greatest achievements has been to write our own CAMI Material for Mental Health Support Groups. This includes Leader/Starter Guides with all the instructions on how to start, lead and maintain these groups as well as the Student Guides.  



CAMI Guide - These provocative and interesting manuals pose questions relating to the issues so relevant to those who live with these diseases. Each lesson has sections entitled Key Verse, Theme of the Week, Talking Points and The Crux of the Matter. There are six lessons in each workbook with approximately eight questions each. The Leader’s Guide has an additional section with all the questions answered and helps to lead the discussion.  

The subjects for the lessons in the first series are as follows 

     The Providence of God and Mental Illness 
      Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness   
Elijah, a Depressed Man  
The Lethality of Mental Illness  
The Consumer and Links to Help   
Shepherding the mentally ill 
How would you or your friends benefit from a CAMI group? Or why buy the material? 
1) There is nothing similar available 
2) It is Scriptural,  
3) It is Affordable  
4) Easy to read,  
5) Stimulates discussion  
6) Tells you from A-Z(ed) how to start and conduct a support group  
We have recently decided to offer this material to the public. This is not a repeat of our book  
Broken Minds. There is new information and the Leader’s Guide answers over a hundred and twenty questions about mental illness. The Leader’s Guide is only $12.50 and the  Student Guide is just $8.50. Training for using this material is available from Heartfelt Counseling Ministries if you feel you need it.  
Please go to, donate page and pay the amount owed.