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."

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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

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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. 

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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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Now, I would like to make a few comments in regards to the violent mentally ill.


1. The violent mentally ill are a statistical rarity.

A recent writer with the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) said this,
"Is violence more common in people with SMI? Yes, during an episode of psychosis, especially psychosis associated with paranoia and so-called “command hallucinations”, the risk of violence is increased. People with SMI are up to three times more likely to be violent and when associated with substance abuse disorders, the risk may increase much further.i But, mental illness contributes very little to the overall rate of violence in the community. Most people with SMI are not violent, and most violent acts are not committed by people with SMI. In fact, people with SMI are actually at higher risk of being victims of violence than perpetrators. Teplin et al found that those with SMI are 11 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

2. The most common form of violence associated with mental illness is not against others, but rather, against oneself. In 2007, the most recent year for which we have statistics, there were almost 35,000 suicides, nearly twice the rate of homicides. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.Although it is not possible to know what prompted every suicide, it is safe to say that unrecognized, untreated mental illness is a leading culprit."
End of Article

3. We should not wait until violence occurs to discuss the whole issue of mental illness.
People tend to care very little about the mentally ill until there is something newsworthy that may (or may not) involve a mentally ill person. Obsta  Principa, or check the first symptoms is important when dealing with those of the mentally ill who indicate they may be violent.

4. We should be informed that secular psychiatry does not believe in a personal devil.but evangelical Christians do! People sense "evil." in mass shootings, especially when children are involved.
But teaching of Scripture informs us in Ephesians 2:1-2.
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sinsin which you formerly walked according tothe course of this world according to to  Prince  of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience" (NASB).
The  Lord Jesus Christ tells us in: John 8:44::
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your fatherHe was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies "(NASB).

5. We need to pray for revival in  our land an in other nations!!

Thank you,
Rev. Steve Bloem

Executive Director, Heartfelt Counseling Ministries

Friday, February 23, 2018

One of the most comforting truths in the Scripture, God's providence

New post on The Reformed Reader

The “Unspeakable Consolation” of Providence

by Reformed Reader
One of the great things about the Christian faith is the deep comfort it brings to the weary heart – specifically I’m thinking of God's sovereign providence.  Scripture abounds with teaching that our Triune God is in complete control of all things for the good of his people (e.g. Lk 21:18, Rom. 8:28, 1 Cor. 15:27, 2 Cor. 9:8, etc). Here are a few comforting quotes on providence from some Reformation confessions and teachers:
 “This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father.” Belgic Confession of Faith XIII.
 “As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so after a special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.”  Westminster Confession of Faith 5.7.
 “Knowledge of this doctrine…is the beginning of true happiness.”  Caspar Olevian in A Firm Foundation.
 “Our faith does not look to those means which God uses [in providence], nor does it depend on them, but rather to God who alone can relieve all our necessities, either with or without means as it appears good to him.”  William Ames in The Marrow of Theology.
 “God by his providence preserves his church in the midst of enemies; a spark kept alive in the ocean, or a flock of sheep among wolves.”  Thomas Watson in A Body of Divinity.
It is above all by faith in Christ that believers are enabled – in spite of all the riddles that perplex them – to cling to the conviction that the God who rules the world is the same loving and compassionate Father who in Christ forgave them all their sins, accepted them as his children, and will bequeath to them eternal salvation. … Although the riddles are not resolved, faith in God’s fatherly hand always again arises from the depths and even enables us to boast in afflictions.”  Herman Bavinck in Reformed Dogmatics II.
 “Now to understand in a spiritual way the universality of providence in every particular happening from morning to night every day, that there is nothing that befalls you but there is a hand of God in it – this is from God, and is a great help to contentment.”  Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.
 “From this contemplation of God’s providence, there ought to arise in the hearts of believers an earnest desire of patience and humility in adversity by the example of Christ, of Joseph, of Job, that in all things which happen somewhat harshly to us we may acquiesce without a murmur in the will and providence of God.  Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, I.
(This is a re-post from August, 2010).
Shane Lems   Compiling of providence Copyright Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015