Daily devotions



Prayer That Works

Charisma Magazine - "Read this if you don't want your prayer life to become mundane.
Everyone has a different preference when it comes to prayer and how he or she feels is the best way to connect with God. The important thing is that you don’t want your prayer life to become mundane and never grow or change. You want it to be fresh, exciting and even explosive in the Spirit. We all want our prayers to be effective, and anyone who is full of the Spirit has the anointing to pray powerful prayers that produce miracles.

Testimony Aivis Ilsters

Sweden & Latvia is one of TSA Territories that adopted the Single Spouse Officer provision. We will be sharing information on the effectiveness of the provision, pro and con, from all of the territories where the provision was endorsed and adopted.
LATVIA December 19, 2011  from FSAOF.blogspot.com

My name is Aivis Ilsters and I live and minister in Latvia, one of the three Baltic States. I live and work in the capital Riga. I have lived here all my life, apart from two years which I spent in the Soviet Union Army (military) fulfilling my obligatory duty, while our country was still under the USSR.

I grew up in a time when there was little information about the God and His Son Jesus Christ – no books, no Bibles and no films. Most of the Churches and congregations that maintained any semblance of religious order did so without buildings. Their buildings were turned into theatres, sports halls, TV studios, museums, clubs, cinemas etc.

To attend church could cause lots of problems, although it was not actually forbidden. Our state church, the Lutheran Church’s only activity was a Sunday service, which were quite formal and attended by a small number of old people who rarely had anything in common with each other. There were lots of horrifying rumors spread about Baptists, for example; and what they got up to, but only a few people had met any Baptists or really knew anything about them. It was forbidden to preach the gospel or tell anyone about God (who the Soviets said did not exist) and most of the best workers in the Kingdom’s field at that time were old people who sowed the seed of Truth in their grandchildren’s hearts.

My parents were not Christians nor were my grandparents, although one of my grandmothers who lived in the countryside went to Church occasionally and had a Bible at home (an old one with old script). While spending summer holidays with my Grandmother I would sometimes wonder what could be written in such a big Book and I remember even trying to read it a few times.

I believed that there was a God, but I did not know Him – did not know THE MESSAGE, I had never heard it. I did not know that I needed to call Him to Save me; I did not know how He had created the world and how sin had broken our fellowship with Him and how Jesus had come to restore our eternal spirits through His death for us. In Soviet times we did not celebrate Christ’s birth, death and resurrection as public holidays.

The messenger of Good News.
God sent me the first messenger when I was studying in Technical College. Tom was my classmate and we became good friends. He was a Christian and he talked to me about God and Jesus. I remember being quite open about The Truth and I almost started to attend his church. After I met him, I promised to myself that I would read the Bible one day.

When I was drafted to serve in the regular military service, my first prayer (which I did not realize at that time was a prayer) was the words of one church chorus. My grandmother gave it to me to take with me to the Army. The words of the chorus were:
 You are the best of friends
Be with me as you always are
In a midst of greed and jealousy
Only you can strengthen me
When the storm of trouble comes
Be my shelter, be my guard
Take a place in me
What you want me, I will be.

I was sent to a country called Uzbekistan (in Asia), which is a country neighboring Afghanistan. At that time the USSR was still involved in a war there and soldiers were being sent to the war zone from our training base. Fortunately, God ended the war and I stayed in Uzbekistan where I served for two years as a military cook (for which I was trained).

I came home from the Army just before our country got back our independence. We had had independence only once before in our history from 1918 until 1940. I returned very depressed. I could not see the meaning of my life and I lived in fear of death. It was Christmas time and as a present from my friend I received a New Testament. This was the same friend – Tom, who had shared his faith with me when we had studied together. I remembered my wish to read the Bible someday and decided this was the day. I started to read the New Testament and as I read it I discovered the Truth – Jesus Christ as the only way to know God and have faith in Him. The more I read, the more I was amazed about the stories and statements that the Bible held. God opened to me His treasures and His truth. I realized how precious it is to know Him and belong to His family of believers. I realized that my sin even involved my ignorance of God’s love and my life without Jesus in it. This was not just a one-day confession, but over a period of time the Spirit worked around and in my life as I got to know and understand the Word of God.

Around this same time the Soviet Union broke apart and the unbelievable became the reality – freedom, the taste of which was long forgotten, was suddenly there. The dream, which many had stopped to dream for a long time was fulfilled by the Power of God and many acknowledged it as His miracle and presence. With the freedom He granted came the revival of the Church and many came to faith in the Living One.

With the freedom that Latvia received, together with the other post-Soviet republics, the door was open for missionaries to come, to live and to work in the fields of hearts and soon there was a flood of missionaries representing different denominations and religions. Some shared the Truth, some who were themselves deceived, deceived others to believe in other gods. I had been a Christian for two years when God put into the hearts of the Navigators from the US to come and live in Latvia. Through them, God worked greatly in my Christian life, causing me to grow and become mature in my relationship with God. Besides Bible their training material was Navigators “Colossians 2:7” Series. During the time they lived here they made “2:7” series available in Latvian language.

Now I am involved in ministry to repeat the process and share with others the same things that were taught to me. “Col. 2:7” Bible study series is the main material I am using in the process.
Many more things I have learnt over the years from co-laboring with my American friends. I have been involved over a period of years with the Church Discipleship Ministries work in Russia. I have traveled on missions to Siberia together with John Sackett, Dick Taylor and Jim Remeur. Through these trips God taught me how I can help Church people to organize small groups to aid them in the process of discipling people.

So now, for six years I have been involved in a small group ministry in various towns all around the country of Latvia. Many of the Churches I am involved with are Lutheran Churches as this is our state religion (church). Experiencing small groups is quite new for many of them and they are excited to get to know more about God in the atmosphere of a small circle of people where everyone can share their experience and also get to know each other and build each other up. My aim is to work together with the pastors of the Churches to start up these small groups – to give advice and help where possible. Sometimes this has meant that I go and lead the groups for some time to model what I am talking about. It is my aim though for other people to take over the leadership of these groups and so I try and work towards this. Over the six years, I have started to see the process multiply as people move to new places and start up groups where they move to.

My vision for the future here is to see this work in small groups growing in the Churches here. After our countries non-Church history, people do not have all the background knowledge of growing up in some sort of Christian environment. This makes the discipling process so vital. I would like to find more people to join me and to train some more people up, but it is quite hard to find those people who are ready and available. I know though that if God wants the work here to grow, he will provide those people.

Aivis Ilsters
Married to the Corps Leader; Riga I Corps


Sunday morning Christmas Day - December 25

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."  (Luk 2:10-11 )

A great joy for all the people! Even if the great joy was meant for all the people, many people did not know about it. Most people were sleeping in their houses believing it was just another ordinary night. There were only a few shepherds who knew. And then there was some wise men from abroad who knew. And then perhaps also king Herod knew, since he did all he could to stop what was happening.

Today, many hundred years later, the situation is similar. Most people do not know. Some have forgotten and some had never been informed that a Saviour has been born. I believe that some angels are needed also today to bring the good news to the people. You are maybe one of them...

The Christmas week is coming to an end. An intense week for us with many Christmas Parties. Wednesday it was the Christmas Party at Patverums, an after school program for children with difficult famlily situations. The children performed a great play about how you can find the life answers in the Bible.
Christmas play at Patverums

Next day it was the Christmas Party at the Children´s Home in Riga. It was more sad. It was the last time there would be a Christmas party at the Children´s Home. The Home will be closed after Christmas.The reason is perhaps a bit more positive. The need for Children´s Homes has been going down and the Riga authorities are now closing three Children´s Homes. In January we will start a new program at the premises, an after school program similar to the program at Patverums.
The gospel was presented by a group of clowns at the Children´s Home in Riga

On Friday it was time for the Christmas Party at Skangal. Many people were gathered in the school building for a great celebration with drama, singing and christmas gifts.
Christmas at Skangal

On Christmas eve we drove to the west coast to celebrate Christmas together with the corps in Liepaja.
 The hall in Liepaja was full already twenty minutes before the meeting when we arrived
 The girls sang beautifully
 All the children sang and performed a play
 Christmas gifts from Sweden
 The celebration ended with candles

And tomorrow, second Christmas Day we will go to the prison in Riga to have a Christmas service.

Have a great, blessed week!
Peter Baronowsky

The Christmas story


A beautiful Christmas story

Sven Ljungholm is writing from FSAOF Mission Trip to Latvia:

Last night we hosted a Christmas party for our Latvian children- 40+- dancing, games, singing and a movie highlighting our 8 previous visits... then came SANTA! The children literally jumped for joy!

The children's toys and games were doled out, too slow for some, by Santa (Derek) and the childrens' faces said it all; "thank you American, British and Swedish donors"! All except one...

Natasha, top Sunday School helper/student at the Seda SA outpost, tearfully showed Glad the gift she'd received, and we realized it was intended for someone aged 4 NOT 14!

All the gifts were distributed and Natasha had none! Glad gave her a loving hug and said; "Wait, I've got a gift for you I hope you'll like." She removed her favourite gold ear rings, a gift from her father some years ago and said, "I was wearing these in order that I wouldn't lose them and to not forget to bring them tonight; I brought them just for you..." And so that precious gift was re-gifted, a gift that meant so much to Glad because it had been gifted to her by her father.

That is the story of Christmas- God, the Father gifted us with that which was most precious to Him, His son- what precious gift are you re-gifting in love this Christmas?

I know what I'll be shopping for today, golden ear rings!



Glad Ljungholm writes:

Today has been a relatively quiet day in Skangali as we waited for the arrival of the Christmas presents for the children.  We had already brought them to Latvia back in August but since then they had been in hiding from curious eyes.

We received them this afternoon when it was all hands on deck with Sven, Derek and Glad as we looked through what there was, sorted and began to wrap the gifts hoping and praying they will be put into the right hands for each child to get the best enjoyment out of them.  Suddenly we had the arrival of more help that brought about a magical sense to the evening …

This was followed by a most enjoyable time of ‘food, friendship and fellowship’ as we were joined by Captains Sergey and Aizan, and Cadets Dmitri and Ilona for an evening meal in what has become our favourite restaurant in Valmeira; Latvia for that matter.

Plans were discussed and finalised for tomorrow evening as we ate and hoped that tomorrow night will be a very special and memorable evening for the children of Sakarni and Seda as they join together for a party.

Our prayer is that will have a few hours of joy to lift their thoughts from the misery so many will return to after the festivities are over...

Major Glad Ljungholm on loan to the FSAOF serving in Latvia

The Christmas story rapped

Headlines week 51

Don't Miss Christmas
Greg Laurie - "This Christmas, don't miss the point of celebrating Christmas. Don't be like the innkeeper who missed Jesus because he was too busy (see Luke 2). Make time for the Lord. Don't be like King Herod who was too afraid to let Christ rule His life (see Matthew 2). Turn your heart over to Christ. Finally, don't run your life like the Roman Empire, who missed Christmas because other gods took the place of Christ in their lives. Allow nothing else to take the place of worshipping Jesus Christ."


Report from a visitor at Riga 1

Sunday morning found us at the Riga 1 Corps.

This was a first for us as we have usually been to Riga II on a Saturday and at Seda on the Sunday, so this was a really refreshing change.  I was looking forward to worship, this fourth Sunday in advent and I was not disappointed.

As we entered the hall it was warm and welcoming as were the people.  The Christmas d├ęcor was stunning in its simplicity.  Candle lights dancing in the draft and there was an air of happiness and expectancy as together we gathered to worship Emmanuel, God with us.

H & S folk would have raised an alarm... 

There was a mixed congregation, English, Welsh, Latvian, Russian and Swedish that I know of.  A very real sense of:

‘They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west and sit down in the Kingdom of God’ and we did just that, young and old alike.  It was encouraging to see a good number of young people, probably the largest part of the congregation who enthusiastically participated in the service.

A contemporary worship group provided the music for us.  This was made up of both uniformed and non uniformed people.  The translator was a non uniformed Salvationist and excellent in her ministry and she reflected what Lieutenant Sarah Ilster was saying to us in English.

Sarah has just been commissioned as a Salvation Army Officer this year and has been a distant learning Cadet coming across to the UK from time to time to help complete her studies.  Sarah is an English, single spouse Officer, married to Alvis who is Latvian and SA soldier.

Alvis works for Navigators, a Christian organization and uses his God given gifts specifically in the area of teaching discipleship and at times lectures at the training college in Riga.  And so together, with their differing gifts they serve God along with their young son.

It was a delight to sit under Sarah’s thought provoking and challenging ministry.  She is an excellent communicator and shared the Gospel message in a simple, expressive way that left us in no doubt how Elizabeth and Mary’s story is relevant to our world, our lives today in 2011

Some of you who read this blog regularly may be interested to know that Sarah has agreed for me to interview her and to share it here in the new year, and hopefully when she is over in the UK she will be able to meet with our ‘Explore’ group  

(those who are exploring Spiritual leadership in Liverpool).  

Today, Monday as we visited the Regional Headquarters an invitation was extended for some of you to come and meet the Army in Latvia, during the summer of 2012.  Watch this space for further details.

Sunday, however brought its own challenges, its own encouragement, its own delights.  Voluntary testimony from young students of what God is doing in their lives.  The enthusiasm and youthfulness of some of the Cadets who joyfully worshiped God and as always the beautiful sight of witnessing people kneeling to pray at the Mercy Seat.

Thank you Riga 1 for welcoming us into your midst.  Thank you Lieutenant Sarah for your ministry to us and may God bless you real good!

Major Glad Ljungholm
Liverpool - DHQ

reporting for the FSAOF


Christmas gift from Charisma

To download and share “The Wonder of Bethlehem”, by Fuchsia Pickett, click here.

Early Sunday morning in Riga December 18

Another week without snow in Latvia.

This week we have had two special staff gatherings.

Firstly we had the great bowling competition between Head Quarters and the Training School. The winner was: Head Quarters!  (See more pictures here)

Secondly we had our yearly Christmas Staff Party, with staff from all over Latvia. We were around 60 people gathered for entertainment, fun and good food.

And now it is early Sunday morning in Daugavpils, three and a half hours southeast of Riga. In a few hours we will start the meeting at the corps. Today it will be junior soldiers enrolment. We are looking forward to that.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky

Advent Calendar

Don´t forget to check our Advent Calendar daily. 24 memorable moments from the Salvation Army in Latvia during 2011.

Look here

Early Sunday morning in Riga December 11 - 05:36

Another Sunday in a Riga. Winter has not really arrived yet.

Wednesday evening Ruth and myself took part in the evening meeting at Riga second corps. As usual the hall was packed with approximately 120 people. We sang duets in Russia, played cornet and piano and preached.

Friday evening we were invited to the Lucia celebration at the Swedish Embassy. We met a lot of people we knew and still more people we did not know. In this picture we are together with the ex-president of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers (Photo by the Swedish Ambassador Mats Staffansson).
When the Ambassador presented us to the ex-president, Zatler immidiately told us the address to our regional Headquarters, Bruninieku 10A. The reason that he was so well acquainted with our address was that he spent many hours of his time as a teenager in our hall playing drums in a rock band. This was during the time of the Sovjet occupation when our house was used by the Sovjet labour union.

Saurday evening there was a big consert in the Dome of Riga arranged by the Swedish Embassy. The Salvation Army was given permission to be in the Dome with a Christmas Kettle that evening. The Swedish Ambassador talked about the Salvation Army in his speech and asked the people in the packed church to donate money to the Salvation Army social work on their way out. All this thanks to our active members in our newly started Advisory Board.
The Christmas Kettle in the Dome of Riga

Now it is Sunday morning and it is soon time to go down to the Sunday service at Riga 1 corps.

Have a blessed new week
Peter Baronowsky


Choosing Beliefs vs. Submitting to Beliefs.

By Keith Drury

"Sometimes my columns are picked up and posted other places and one such posting gave me the idea for this column. My denomination, The Wesleyan Church, hosts a blog discussion and picked up my column on hell-Bell. I was prompted to go there when a couple of anonymous folk called me out, insisting I state my own “stand” on hell. That sparked the idea for this column.

Since I host discussions online that include Calvinists and Charismatics, liberals and fundamentalists, traditionalists and emergent, some suspect my beliefs are up for grabs. Worse, a few suspect I harbor all kinds of illegal positions on homosexuality, hell, abortion or something else. I am sorry to disappoint them. I’m pretty traditional. So traditional that all my positions are published in detail at http://wesleyan.org/beliefs . These are doctrines of The Wesleyan Church, my denomination. I like to hear those who differ with us, including Rob Bell, but there is no light between my own stands and those of my denomination.

When did I come to believe these doctrines? I did not decide them one by one. In fact I never “decided” to believe these things—I submitted to them. I submitted when I became a member of The Wesleyan Church and submitted even more so when I was ordained. I didn’t decide…I submitted.

That disappoints some people. They imagine another process. These folk elevate the individual, so they expected that I would have studied the Bible, read everything I could find on a subject like eternal security or tongues or hell and then I would have made up my mind on that issue, crafting my own personal statement of faith on that subject and move on to the next issue. After a decade or more of deep study, I would then have crafted my own personal statement of faith on all the issues. Then I suppose they’d have me go shopping for a denomination that matched my own private apostle’s creed.

That’s not how I “decided” what I believe. How it really happened for me as I was gradually exposed to doctrines as a child, teen and then a college student. But I joined my denomination long before I had read every book available on eternal security or tongues or anything else. How could I become a member of a denomination before I “made up my mind” on these things? I submitted to the Wesleyan doctrine. Maybe you suspect I believe these things less for submitting to them instead of deciding them? Maybe you think it would be better if I had “dated around” and tried out the other options before marrying the Wesleyan doctrine. Sorry, I didn’t date much (though I went steady with Calvinism for a few years before we broke up).

How I came to believe the Wesleyan Articles of Religion is the same way I came to believe the Apostle’s Creed. I didn’t study the Bible for a few years, then read a couple hundred years of church fathers, then write my own personal apostle’s creed. I simply submitted to the Apostle’s Creed that’s been around a couple thousand years. I believe it just as deeply even though I didn’t write it myself. I don’t plan to revise it personally. I believe it “as is.”

The only exception to my submission is if I want to get involved in changing my denomination’s doctrines. But, in that case, once the vote is taken, I would submit to whatever decision was made and believe it…submit to it.

All this makes me look weak to the rugged individualists. They think the individual makes the final decision on doctrine. I think the church makes these decisions and the individual submits to them. I’m not smart enough to write my own Apostle’s Creed. I don’t trust myself—or any other single individual—to decide matters this important. That’s why I have submitted my beliefs to the creeds, the councils and the articles of religion of my own denomination. For me, belief is less about “choosing” than submission.

So, what do you think?"

From fsaof.blogspot.com


Who is called?

By Adam Couchman, Bexley North, NSW, Australia

"A question that’s been on my mind lately has been this; "What is a Salvation Army Officer?” More specifically, what makes a Salvation Army Officer different from anyone else? Indeed, are they different at all (apart from the obvious red epaulettes)? I've observed an emphasis upon the "call to Officership”, accompanied by an attempt to understand the place of ordination within our movement. All of this has led to, I would suggest, an ever increasing divide between Officers and Soldiers.

The problem here has been identified and analysed masterfully by Major Dr Harold Hill in his book Leadership in the Salvation Army: a Case study in Clericalisation.

The problem is whether Officership is seen as a function within our movement or does “Ordin›ation” and “Commissioning” somehow place Officers into a different "class" or even "caste". Historically and theologically we would align ourselves with the first option but more and more, at least in practice I suggest, we have begun to act like the second.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the way we speak of the "call to Officership". The “call” is treated with deep reverence within The Salvation Army. Ind›ed the Officer’s Covenant, which all Officers must sign, starts with the words (in capital letters, no less) "CALLED BY GOD". Those who wish to apply for officership need to demonstrate throughout the application process that they have indeed been called and that this calling is evident in their lives. Cadets are also expected that their calling would be affirmed and confirmed throughout their training.
The problem, as I observe it, is that this calling is frequently viewed as an "add on" to Soldiership. In this way Officers become those people who have received “something extra” from God that others have not (in this case a “calling”). An extreme interpretation of this may even suggest that it is a subtle form of Gnosticism.

Some of the symptoms of this problem include the expectation that it is the Officers who are called to be Evangelists, Preachers, Pastors, Administrators, Leaders, Prophets, Worship Leaders and a myriad of other functions since they are the ones that have been "Called by God ". It is entirely unsustainable for them personally or for us as a movement to rely on one small percentage of our movement. As a result of this we have ended up with under-active Soldiers and over-active Officers.

So what's a possible solution?

A colleague of mine, Major Dr Dean Smith, preached recently on the topic "How do I know God's will for my life?” During what was an outstanding sermon he provided what I think is a different way to conceive of the relationship between Soldiership and Officership. He suggested this;

"We should assume that all Soldiers should be Officers unless they are called to something else."

In this way the calling to officership is viewed as a function of Soldiership not as something added on top of it. Officership, in this understanding of it, is not a status acquired over and above Soldiership, but a specialised form of Soldiership. The “call to Officership” is not an "add-on" for some Christians but a function of the one calling that all Christians share in. This is the calling of Isaiah 43:1 "I have called you by name; you are mine." The calling of some Christians will express itself functionally through Soldiership within The Salvation Army. The calling of some of these Soldiers will also express itself functionally through Officership within The Salvation Army. Indeed some Officers will later function in other specialised ways; teachers, drug and alcohol specialists, business administrators, divisional and territorial leaders. Of course, that does not mean that those who are not Officers are not called at all. Rather, the complete opposite is true. We must assume that all Christians are called but that the calling will functions within different, but no less important, frameworks; be that as school teachers, bakers or candlestick makers... or, indeed, Officers within The Salvation Army.

So, again, we return to the original question "What Is a Salvation Army Officer?" I've come to the conclusion that any answer to this question must be expressed in terms that intrinsically link it to Soldiership. Personally, I'm drawn to the phrase "Strategic Soldiership" for this purpose. This, for me, inseparably links Officership to Soldiership. Officers are, first and foremost, Christians, secondly Soldiers, and thirdly Officers.

If we relate this further to the mission of The Salvation Army we have to be honest and admit that entering into Officership actually requires a candidate to take a step backwards from the mission front. This is not to say that Officers are not involved in the mission, but rather that they have taken on a new strategic role. Importantly, they remain Soldiers themselves but take on the responsibility of leading other Soldiers in the mission. The reality is, though, that Officers are not primarily on the "front line"... Soldiers are.

This strategic role is very important. This is a very necessary task. We need people to be Officers within The Salvation Army. What we don't need, however, are Officers who “think of themselves more highly than they ought” (Romans 12:3). Officers must not see themselves as somehow better, or more important than Soldiers because they are called and Soldiers are not. Soldiers are at the front line of Salvation Army mission. Officers are called to “Strategic Soldiership”, which necessarily remains one step back from that front line. The front line of Salvation Army mission will take place where soldiers engage in vocations in the world; as butchers, writers, child-care workers, doctors, businesspeople, cleaners, and a hundred other possibilities. This calling is, though, the same calling that all Christians share, including the calling that Officers have received. The calling is to God's mission field - for everyone; Officers, Soldiers, Adherents, and all Christians alike. Officers have a strategic role to play in encouraging, supporting and equipping Soldiers to carry out the mission of The Salvation Army wherever they are.

That is what it means to be a Salvation Army Officer. That is what it means to be a Strategic Soldier."

From fsaof.blogspot.com


Early Sunday morning, December 4 - 04:59

The General is in Riga!
Yesterday (Saturday) the meetings with General Linda Bond started in Riga. The first meeting was a special gathering for all the Officers in Latvia.

 The General recieves an exclusive Salvation Army Emblem, made by Janis
 The group of officers after the Officers meeting
Now it is Sunday morning and a full day with the General is coming up. Two public meetings at Riga 1 Corps and a special gathering for the young people with the General.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky


Advent Calendar 2011

Click here
24 memorable pictures from the Salvation Army work in Latvia 2011. One for each day until Christmas Eve. Two for each month of the year.

I´ll fight day, December 3

I'll Fight Day is a Salvation Army youth servant evangelism day that will take place all across the world on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011. I'll Fight Day is a way for you to share the Gospel through practical acts of kindness: like giving out free hot chocolate, returning shopping carts or cleaning up at a mall food court. These acts are done "in Jesus name" for the purpose of sharing God's love in a way that leads others to ask "Why are you doing this?"

This event is a local, youth-led initiative where you and your friends can decide how you want to serve others in your community. There are many helpful resources available to help you participate in this event. Instructions, resources and promotional videos can be downloaded on this website.

The opportunities are endless for you to show the love of Christ in practical ways and help identify the Kingdom of God in your community. This is a great chance for you to join the revolution. I'll fight to the very end! Will you?

I'll Fight Day happens in your own city, neighborhood, corps, local mall, parking lot, intersection - wherever you can plant the seeds of revolution! Use this site as a resource for ideas, but I'll Fight Day is what you make of it, right where you already are!

Read more


Mad Enough To Walk On Water ! Part Two

From FSAOF.blogspot.com

·      A Picture of Panic

This is a picture of peril and it is a picture of panic!  Momentary panic.  We thought they were scared of the storm, but no, that was nothing compared to the panic that seized hold of them as they saw what looked like a ghost coming towards them.

We are so quick to panic at times, some yes, are more gifted in the art of panicking than others.  Some of us may manage to throw ourselves into a real frenzy over many things that others might consider to be relatively small concerns.  But telling panic-stricken people not to panic or worried people not worry, is not a rule of thumb seen to be overly helpful!  If someone came to me and said ‘ now Sheila, I don’t want you to panic, but’  I would immediately interpret that as ‘ O no, I should get ready to panick!’

Jesus is the great rule breaker.  And as these big strong men are crying out in fear and panic Jesus says; ‘don’t be afraid’, and the reason for them to not be afraid comes as they hear the words amidst the storm, ‘It is I’ - Jesus has not let them down, abandoned them...

When we are doing the will of God we may still encounter storms.  We may wonder why.  But the boat will not capsize; the winds will not sweep you out to sea.  The evil one will not consume us.  Amidst the storms of life hear the words: ‘It is I’. Jesus is with us – keep on rowing!  The quiet waters and the green pastures are within us.  He never lets us down.
Isaiah 43, ‘but now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, He who formed you, fear not for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you, when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.’,

·      A Picture of Peter

And that brings us back to the picture of Peter, he who had never done it before.  Would probably never do it again, but for one, mad, dizzy, amazing, extreme moment he does some water-walking.  Jesus said, ‘come’ – so he did!  He had wanted to but hadn’t been sure that he should do so; could do so.  But Jesus says, ‘come’, and he jumps overboard.  It’s the bravest thing Peter ever did prior to Pentecost!

He desired to be with Jesus.  He wanted to do what Jesus did.  Despite the raging storm he took the risk.  After all, it was Jesus who had sent them out there in the first place.  He knew in these moments that the One who had placed him out there in the danger zone, would bring them safely back home.  And he came to know that if in the mean time he should begin to sink, Jesus would answer prayer.
‘Lord save me!’  Peter cries – and He did.

His prayer of necessity was brief but sincere.  And although only three words were uttered, his simple plea was effective.

Peter had for one brief moment allowed the waves to overwhelm, flood his thoughts, but soon he was safe in the hands of the One who created the waves!

·      Conclusion

When we find ourselves in the middle of a storm, while doing God’s will, learn from this story.  The Creator of the waves is greater than the waves!  He will not let us down.  Keep trusting and you will be led by the quiet waters and green pastures…

Commanding Officer - Pastor
Birkenhead Corps UK


Mad Enough To Walk On Water ! Part One

From FSAOF.blogspot.com:

Is there anything in the world that you would never, ever do and yet would love to do?

For example, when I lived in Surrey my house was on a hill and from my living room window, during the summer months I would often see hot air balloons rising up into the sky and floating across till out of view.  I used to sit there watching, thinking; ‘I would so love to do that’ to go up in one of those balloons and glide across the sky.  I’d love to do it but will never do it!  Why?  Not because of the expense.  Not because of lack of time. But simply because, I am petrified of heights.  Therefore it seems to me that to take time out and spend lots of money on a hot air balloon ride would be utter madness because I would not see a thing.  I would be crouched down on the floor of the basket with my head between my knees, breathing deeply, whilst holding on to someone’s ankles for dear life!

Is there anything you would love to do but will never ever do?

Peter although a strong, fit fisherman, was not, as far as I am aware, something of an extreme sports fanatic.  But we all know that Peter did something that he had never done before and would probably never do again.  For one mad moment, one dizzy, crazy, exciting moment, Peter walked on water – in the middle of a storm, with waves crashing, washing over the side of the boat.  He walked on water!  He did what his head was telling him was the most reckless, crazy thing to do.   Peter was mad enough to walk on water.  And from this picture, this story, we constantly have much to learn.

This is a picture of peril at sea.  I love a great storm! When I lived on the Isle of Wight I used to go down to the pier head on a windy day and watch the waves crashing over the rocks.  But I wouldn’t have wanted to be sat on the rocks; I liked wave watching from a comfortable distance.  I love a big thunder storm –  if I’m tucked up in bed with the duvet wrapped round me and I have a big mug of hot chocolate in my hand (preferably with marshmallows on top!!)  I wouldn’t be so pleased to be caught outside in it though.

The disciples didn’t have the choice of being on the shore watching the waves or tucked up in the bed listening to the thunder.  They were right out there in the thick of it all.  They know that they are in real danger…

And do you know why they are in such peril?  Why they are in a boat, out on the lake, in the middle of a violent storm?  Because Jesus placed them there! After a remarkable day of teaching and the most incredible miracles – 5000 people fed with one lad’s packed lunch.

After the most incredible day we read, ‘Jesus made the disciples get into the boat.  These men are doing the will of their master.  They are obeying Christ, taking him at his word and in doing so they now find themselves straining at the oars with the boat being tossed about by every wind that blows.

Yet the psalmist says that, ‘he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.’
That makes more sense – doesn’t it?!  That’s what we have come to expect from God.  So what has gone wrong with this picture in Matthew 14?  Why would Jesus send out his disciples to where no one wants to be?

The truth is that the quiet waters and the green pastures spoken of in Psalm 23, are within us.  Our love for God.  Our trust in God.  Our faith in God brings with it an inner peace that comforts us despite that which might be going on externally.

And the truth is this, yes the men are being obedient to Christ.  Yes, they have gone and done exactly what he has asked them to do.  And now, while being in the centre of Christ’s will they are being tossed about by this sudden, violent storm.

Sometimes doing the will of God isn’t easy for us.  Sometimes we wonder what on earth is going on.  And sometime in the middle of the storm rather than being tucked up in bed with our hot chocolates, sometimes through the struggling at the oars of our boat we learn something valuable and we grow.  We don’t capsize.  We don’t get swept away out to sea.  Because Jesus, who places us where we are (outside comfort zones), is on the shore watching over us.  And then, just when it all seems too much – there He is, beside us.  The quiet waters and the green pastures are within us, despite the storms around us!

Major Sheila Loman
Birkenhead Corps UKT


Early Sunday morning in Riga, November 27

Sunday morning again! And not just any Sunday morning. It is the first Sunday in advent, when the count-down to Christmas starts.

We are lightening the first candle of advent and we put up our Swedish electric seven branched advent lights in all our windows. It is soon time for children all over the world to open the first window in the Advent Calendar

This year it will even be an Advent Calendar here in our website. From the first to the twentyfourth of December there will be a new window each day to open. And behind the window I will present a memorable event from the Salvation Army work in Latvia during 2012. There will be space for two events per month.

The word "Advent" means "arrival" and during advent we will also welcome the arrival of General Linda Bond coming to Lativa in the weekend of second Sunday of advent. That is of course a big event for the Salvation Army in Latvia.

Together with the General, Commissioners Robert and Janet Street will arrive in Riga. They will also come back to Riga for the Latvian Congress, June 15-17 2012.

In a few hours Ruth and myself plan to arrive in Bauska, south of Riga. We will celebrate the advent service at the corps in Bauska. The theme for the service will of course be the Arrival=Advent of Jesus, which is presented in different ways in the advent songs and in the advent Bible texts:
-Jesus is born as a little child in Jerusalem
-Jesus is riding into Jereusalem on a donkey, which really is more an easter event
-Jesu will come back back one day in the end of times
-Jesus is coming to us in our daily life through the Holy Spirit

I look forward to remember all this and to sing the old advent psalms.

Have a blessed advent Sunday and a blessed week after that. And do not forget to follow the Advent Calendar at rupeba.se. It starts on Thursday.

/Peter Baronowsky


Leaving Amish Paradise

Yesterday I published a series of short films from BBC about problems in the Amish Paradise.
Two years later BBC made a follow up on what happened with the family. Here is first of four films from BBC::

Here you can see the following parts.


Problems in Amish Paradise

There has been a number of articles lately in Swedish papers about the Amish People.
BBC made a documentary about two Amish families questioning the Amish society.

Here is the first part of six ten minute films. It gives a good insight in the Amish society and is well worth seeing.

The other parts can be seens here.

Headlines week 47

 It's Time to Pray
Greg Laurie - "Prayer was, and still is, the church's secret weapon. Although the devil struck a blow against the church, the church gained victory through prayer as Peter was miraculously released. Sadly, we don't pray often enough. It is essential that Christians learn more about effective prayer, because all of us will certainly face difficulties, hardships, problems, and more than a few box canyons. So we need to discover what God can do through the power of prayer."

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Psychologically Tortured
Charisma News - "Sentenced to death a year ago after a court of appeals in Iran found him guilty of leaving Islam, pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in deteriorating health, having endured physical and psychological torture to stand for his faith in Christ."

Why the Church Needs a Change in Strategy
Prophetic insight - "It doesn't take a prophetic voice to point out that our nation and our world are in trouble and the trouble we're facing won't go away any time soon. The body of Christ must prepare to stand in the midst of it to exert influence for the kingdom of God—and the clock is ticking. It remains to be seen whether we have adequately prepared spiritually, in attitude or materially for what must come."