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Update: Kelly Orr’s Tuition Costs have been met!

Thank you to everyone for responding so quickly and generously. It only took a few days to receive enough to completely cover Kelly’s required studies to obtain her state licensing as a therapist/counselor.

Now all that is left is for Kelly to do the really hard work at her university. As we said earlier, she has already been accepted into the program which will take one school year to complete over and above the masters degree she already holds.

May the Lord bless and use Kelly in a great way in days to come. I am sure she will be a tremendous new resource and help to victims and survivors of this evil of abuse.

New Bible Study in Revelation

Part One of a new study through the New Testament book of Revelation is now on our youtube channel (Christ Reformation Church), our channel at sermonaudio.com/crc, and on our Facebook page. I will be posting a new installment each week, taking us through the whole book and relying quite a lot on my favorite Bible scholar, G.K. Beale to help all of us learn AND to sort out the typical nonsense that is so often taught from Revelation.

I will have each new video posted online by Thursday morning of each week. Sometimes I may livestream it then, but at other times earlier in the week. The current Wednesday Bible study through the Gospel of John will continue, livestreamed each Wednesday morning at 7AM our time, then posted to those same sites as above.

Revelation opens our eyes to see this world from a true, divine perspective and encourages us not to cave in to being conformed to the fiction this world demands we accept.

The Trauma of a Broken Mind – An Important Article by my Friend

The following is an important article by my friend Ruth Anne Dean. In it she tells us about a widely misundertstood disorder of the brain which almost took her life. She is an encouragement to me for the way in which she has endured deep suffering and yet emerged in joy and a persevering faith in Christ:

It was a warm spring day that matched the mood of our six-year old daughter. For her it was a day of hope that seemed to spill from the earth as it was warmed by the sunshine. As we walked home from the kindergarten bus stop she bent over and plucked a dandelion that had gone to seed. I paused to watch her purse her lips and blow the dandelion’s white down into the fresh air as she whispered, “I wish for a puppy.

The sweet side of my children came out especially when they were playing with their pets. Our son always had a cat. For the new kitten he chose a very soft old blanket and made the new kitten bed in his bottom desk drawer.

This was the calm before the storm. Our family of four was not prepared for me to suddenly develop major depressive disorder with psychosis. I had some knowledge from nursing school about mental health, but no amount of knowledge could prepare me for the vortex of confusion and heartache that lay ahead.

I was already struggling physically with Crohn’s disease and the stress it caused. A rheumatoid type of arthritis went with it and caused swelling and pain in my joints. Within three weeks of starting a new medication for my health problems a reaction to a medication caused me to slip into a severe low sodium called hyponatremia. I had symptoms of chills, sweats, weakness, confusion and pallor with this low sodium.

When a person in a low sodium state is returned to normal too rapidly, severe abnormalities can develop in their brain. Unfortunately this is what happened to me causing my brain to take a free fall into hell.

In his book The Case for Grace, Lee Strobel, the former investigative journalist and current Christian apologist and author, provides an excellent description of his brief episode of insanity when he experienced a life threatening health crisis with hyponatremia. Here is his description:

“what threatened my life the most was hyponatremia—my blood sodium level had plummeted to the point where life was unsustainable. Water was entering my cells and triggering dangerous swelling of my brain. Doctors needed to raise the level back to normal to stabilize me, but it had to be done slowly and carefully. If it were elevated to quickly, the brain could be irreparably damaged, leading to death or severe disability.”

“Alone in the bedroom, my yet-to-be diagnosed hyponatremia continued to worsen. I became utterly convinced that everything in my life was gone. My wife was leaving me. My children were denouncing me. My friends were abandoning me. My bank accounts were dry. The house and cars were being repossessed. Police were hunting for me for unspecified crimes. Though innocent, I was headed to prison and disgrace. I imagined myself living in a dirt field, alone, shivering against the Colorado cold, with nowhere to go and nobody to help me.”

“From my perspective, this was no medically induced fantasy; this was indistinguishable from reality. I felt the full emotional impact of every part of it.”

Without minimizing Lee Strobel’s experience with hyponatremia in any way, the consequences of my experience with it were catastrophic and life-altering. I experienced similar delusions, convinced that my family would soon be starving and living under a bridge because of the imminent world economic crisis. On my mind was a picture of me huddled in a small cave with walls of dirt and bare roots with the devil in the background waiting to take me.

My whole life I had eagerly anticipated the joy of being a mother, but now the role I treasured brought nothing but pain. Thoughts of my imagined failure as a mother assaulted me. Another delusion was that I lost my salvation and relationship with Jesus. Repentance was not an option for me, and hell was what I deserved. The emotions attached to these delusions were intense, and profound loneliness and hopelessness engulfed me. This all began suddenly and lasted for one very long year. I was experiencing psychosis which made it impossible for me to grasp the person I had been for the previous 48 years. It was like being alone in a black hole and falling, falling, falling. Every thought convinced me I was worthless. Psychiatric care was needed. My psychiatrist described my brain as being in a total shutdown. My normal brain function had ceased; it was as if I had lost my very self.

My brain continued to deteriorate and I began having suicidal thoughts. One day, alone in the upstairs of our home, tragedy struck. I suddenly felt as if my head was detached from my body and I started running but didn’t know where I was going. I was like a marionette on a string, with a puppeteer in charge of my every move. Unable to control my actions, I ran to the window and fell twenty feet below to cement, permanently damaging my spine. The nightmare continued. Two hours by ambulance to the hospital, seven hours of surgery, seven units of blood and seven days in the hospital. Of that time I remember almost nothing except the shocked, heartbroken faces of my children when they learned I would never walk again. I was still psychotic, but knew my behavior could not be understood by my family or anyone else, including me. I’ve heard actions like mine were a choice. It was actually like a seizure. These actions were something I would never choose.

The term that describes our family’s sorrow at that time is “ambiguous grief.” We were all grieving the loss of me; my body was there, but in it was someone else’s brain. My children gave voice to what they were experiencing. My son missed my laughter when I talked on the phone. My daughter missed the sound of my voice as we talked because I rarely talked. We hoped medication would help me recover my personality but there were no guarantees. When the correct medication and dosage were found, my brain began to slowly function normally again. I was so thankful when normal returned although by now I had to learn to do life in a wheel chair because of the spinal cord injury, but that was absolutely nothing compared to pain of depressive psychosis.

Twenty years passed before I told my psychiatrist about my detached mind experience leading to the fall. He described my experience as a psychotic break, caused by the brain’s chemical serotonin level falling so low that there was an actual break in the transmission of nerve impulses between my body and brain. What I had experienced was something with a medical explanation. My strange behavior which included self harm were symptoms of a mental illness like spots are a symptoms of the measles.

My thoughts while I was ill were strange and illogical, which was very hard for my friends and family’s logical brains to understand. On occasion one would try to convince me out of a delusion by logical reasoning. Absolute failure was the result.

I have found many people who are unacquainted with mental illness do not understand or accept the illogical thoughts of the mentally ill. There are over 200 brain disorders that demonstrate how crippling a brain disorder can be. Here are three of them, imagine yourself living a normal life with any one these:

  • Cotard’s syndrome causes a person to think he or she is dead.
  • Prosopagnosia can cause a person to not be able to recognize their own face in a mirror.
  • Capgas delusions causes a person to think that their loved ones have been replaced by an imposter.

Jesus understood illnesses and touched all types with His healing power.

Mathew 4: 23-24 KJV “and Jesus went out about all Galatia teaching in the synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of diseases among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases, and those that were possessed with devils and those who were lunatic and torments and those that had the palsy and He healed them.

Over the years Christians have fed the hungry, cared for the sick, taken the orphan for their own, built hospitals and orphanages, and started schools. They have worked to end slavery, infanticide, child labor and widow burning. Treatment of the mentally ill has been bogged down by fear, stigma and lack of knowledge. But mental illness and the pain that accompanies it can be just as devastating as these other scenarios. It is my hope that the reader of this article will see the human brain as an amazing work done by an awesome Creator. It is an organ that can suffer disease like any other organ of the body. When someone is experiencing pain or dysfunction of any kind, we should be a reflection of the compassion that Jesus showed, also helping to provide what is needed to accomplish healing and alleviate suffering. While we are created in the image of our awesome Creator, we are called to do His work of healing in whatever ways He calls us to do.

This is What Enables Evil to Hide in Our Churches

This post is difficult for me to write because I have lived it so many, many times. The subject gets my blood pressure, dander, ire and anger “up” big time. I hate this stuff. It is soooo prevalent in our churches and there is no excuse for it. This time, as is so common, it comes from a pastor.

Now, I do not know Pastor Brian G. Najapfour, pastor of Dutton United Reformed Church in Michigan. I did however read his recent article in The Outlook magazine entitled “Reflections from My 16 Years of Experience as a Pastor.” I am not trying to do him harm here, but I am attempting to keep his words from doing harm to others.

First of all, let me say that 16 years is not very long. I have been a pastor now for 38 years and it seems like it has only been in the last six or so that I really started to grasp real wisdom, especially wisdom about wickedness parading in the church in a Christian disguise. Perhaps in another 20 years Pastor Najapfour will see the nature and tactics of evil more clearly. I hope so.

But listen now to what he wrote in this part of his article:

In the ministry you will encounter someone who will dislike you for no good reason. And that person can be one of your church leaders. I remember talking to a fellow pastor of another congregation. He told me that one of his elders just doesn’t like him and he did not know why. This elder treats him unfairly and negatively. When dealing with people like this elder, seek by God’s grace to always take the high road. Don’t pay these people back with evil for the evil they do to you (1 Pet 3:9). Instead, pray for them and show more the love of Christ to them.

Why does this kind of thing get me so riled? Because for years and years as a pastor I was told this stuff by people who were supposedly eminent holy wise ones in Christendom. I read it in their books. I heard them say it in sermons. Some of them told me these things in person. And all the while it kept me in bondage to evil.

There is no excuse for a minister of the gospel to teach such things. Why? Because God’s Word is so very, very clear and what Pastor Najapfour says is absolutely contrary to Scripture. What he is doing is teaching as Scripture what is really the tradition of man. Let me bullet-point what he is saying:

  • A Christian can dislike another Christian for no good reason
  • Such a Christian can even be a church elder
  • A Christian can treat another Christian unfairly and negatively
  • A Christian can do evil to another Christian
  • And a Christian can do these things habitually, in an ongoing pattern, with no repentance
  • The Lord’s command to us is to pray for such a person and show them the love of Christ

Now, what does God’s Word really have to say on this? Here you go:

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11)

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9-10)

See it? There is nothing unclear about God’s Word and there is everything unclear about man’s traditions parading as Scripture. What this pastor is saying is exactly opposite of what the Apostle John writes here. The result? An evil man parading as a Christian is allowed to remain in church leadership, continuing in his abusive ways for his own glory as he lusts for power and control. How should he be dealt with according to Scripture? The Apostle John has the answer to that question to, in the second paragraph of this passage:

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:5-11 NIV) 

Now, what do these words of Pastor Najapfour accomplish in regard to an abuse victim and her abuser in a local church? Most all of you know the answer because you have lived it. The abuser is going to be most certainly enabled, allowed to go right on parading as a Christian, his salvation never, ever challenged and in fact he is not even going to be confronted. His victim? Well, Pastor Najapfour gives the same common and terrible counsel to her ‘ “suck it up, be a better Christian yourself, love him more and pray for him.”

Do you see why what he has written makes me so angry? I lived it. For decades I lived it as a pastor in three local churches. I was in bondage to this very same false teaching until ultimately, after over 25 years in that condition, the Lord turned the lights on for me. I saw these kinds of people Najapfour tells us we must love, pray for, and be sooooo patient with, for what they truly are. Wolves in wool. Children of the devil parading as sons of righteousness. And we are to deal with them as such, not as Christian brethren who sometimes sin.

That is Christ’s truth. And it really does set us free.