Daily devotions


Headlines week 39

Holy Spirit Ignites Hearts in Sweden
Charisma News - "Last May, Operation Mobilization Sweden asked staff newcomer Karen Daniels, from South Africa, to organize the mid-August initiative. The name “IGNITE! Sweden” was her inspiration, born of a desire to see this land on fire for God once again. After orientation and training at the base in Jönköping, 20 participants from 12 countries (including seven from OM Lifehope’s Transit Challenge 2011 Team) divided in two. One group traveled to Malmö in the extreme south, and one headed to Stockholm in the north."

Should Churches Have Multiple Worship Service Styles? Consumerism or Contextualization?
Ed Stetzer - "I'm often asked about whether churches should have multiple services. It's a big question because it addresses issues of preference, consumerism, and mission. I've been thinking about it and wanted to ask your help to ponder it further.
This is another one of those areas where the pendulum seems to be swinging. When "praise choruses" were being introduced into corporate worship around the 1980s, churches that begin to use them were typically considered to have "blended worship," whereas churches that did not had "traditional worship

The Value of Obedience (Devotional)
In Touch Ministries - "Despite Peter's vast fishing experience, he returned from a night's work with nothing to show for his efforts. It's quite possible that the Lord's request to let the nets down one more time struck him as unreasonable—after all, Peter and his partners were the professionals. Nevertheless, the fisherman complied, and his obedience blessed many.
Scripture demonstrates that divine plans often defy human logic. For instance, who would design a battle  strategy that involved only marching and shouting? God told Joshua to conquer Jericho that way, and doing so proved successful
(Josh. 6:1-5)."


Rob Bell Leaves Mars Hill Bible Church

From CharismaNews
Rob Bell, the pastor who enraged Bible-believing Christians with his book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, has resigned from Mars Hill Bible Church. Bell, who makes controversial—and some say unbiblical—claims about hell, says God is calling him to pursue a “growing number of strategic opportunities.”
Bell’s leadership team announced his decision on a statement published on the Grandville, Mich., church’s website on Thursday:
"The infamous quote 'change is the only constant' certainly holds true at Mars Hill. We have experienced ongoing changes that have improved and transformed—as well as at times unintentionally created tension or heartache within our community. And now, we have another significant change to hold together.Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God’s love with a broader audience."


Early Sunday morning - September 25

We are living in an unstable world. The headlines in the daily papers sounds more and more like Jesus´ talks about the last days in Mathew 24 and Luke 21 and like the descriptions of the last days in the book of Revelation. But the purpose with all texts about the last days are not to make us scared, but to give courage and confidence about a better future. "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke:21:28)

During this week the officers in the Eastern division in Norway have had their Officers meetings in Latvia. Ruth and myself have done the teaching and the visiting officers have made several visit at SA operations in Latvia: Riga second corps, The Social Centre in Riga, The children´s house in Sarkani and Skangali Manor.
The officers from the Eastern Division in Norway

The faithful daily work continues in our different operations in Latvia and pictures are frequently sent in to us from the corps and institutions. Here is a picture from the soupkitchen in Iecava 40 minutes south of Riga.
A normal weekly program at a Latvian corps can be soup kitchen, giving out food packages, giving out clothes, showers, laundry machines, Bible studies, Soldiers meetings, prayer meetings, worship services, Sunday school and youth meetings.

A very hard decision this week was to close our Children´s Home in Riga at New Year. The local authorities have cancelled the contract with our Children´s Home because the need to place children in Children´s Homes has decreased. It is of course good news that the need has decreased, but it is with a heavy heart we will have to lay off the staff at the institution who have served so well for many years. Specially since we are constantly working to create job opportunities for the people we meet in our ministries. and then we have to lay off staff ourselves...

From the personal sphere I just read in Dagen Nyheter that our relative, Mikael "Musse" Håkansson, just has become historic by becoming the person who have played most games ever in the top Swedish Hockey League. Mikael is grandson to Edith and Erik Håkanson, a great officers couple serving in Sweden for many years.

Now it is Sunday morning and it is soon time to go down to the Sunday meeting at Riga first corps. Soon a new week will be here and then we will be travelling down to Daugavpils for two days Leader´s Council with all our leaders in Latvia. I hope it will be a blessed week for you.

Peter Baronowsky


Headlines week 38

Beliefs About Heaven & Hell Impact Views on Work, Economy
chron.com - "Early last year, pastor Rob Bell stirred up controversy with a book and a discussion that questioned the strong, historically held, Evangelical belief in hell. In Love Wins, the aforementioned book, he introduced Scriptural arguments questioning the traditional Christian doctrines of heaven and hell, God’s judgment and love. Siding with God’s limitless love, Bell put hell in question. While many criticized Bell for undermining Evangelicalism and Christian orthodoxy, no one critiqued him for undermining the American economy."

Home Bible Study Fined in California
Charisma News - "Did you ever think you’d see the day in America when the government would harass you for studying the Bible in your own home? That day has finally come, and it’s a danger to the home church movement that’s spreading across the US.
A Southern California city is demanding that a small home Bible study group stop meeting unless they obtain a cost-prohibitive permit.
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were fined $300 for holding the Bible study."

Are You Serious About Being a Christian? Godly Character Is Key
Christian Post - "Book Examines What Blocks Christians From Spiritual Growth. Barna’s recent book, Maximum Faith, concludes that without complete determination to live like Christ and for Him, the path to complete transformation and spiritual growth is blocked."


Love Wins - A Review of Rob Bell's New Book

Tim Challies writes a book review on Rob Bell´s new book:

"Questions matter. They can help you to grow deeper in your knowledge of the truth and your love for God—especially when you’re dealing with the harder doctrines of the Christian faith. But questions can also be used to obscure the truth. They can be used to lead away just as easily as they can be used to lead toward. Ask Eve.Enter Rob Bell, a man who has spent much of the last seven years asking questions in his sometimes thought-provoking and often frustrating fashion. And when he’s done asking, no matter what answers he puts forward, it seems we’re only left with more questions."

Read more>



We need Officers ... "They are not better than anybody else ... Officership by its nature is about availability and mobility. In a worldwide Salvation Army we need people who are prepared to serve anywhere and be of service to the cause of Christ, with all their gifts. We need people who are available. So the more officers the better! We need officers who see this not as a profession in a secular sense but as sacrificial service. Officership needs to underscore sacrifice." - General Linda Bond


Headlines week 37

Reconciling God’s Love and Justice
In Touch Ministries - "Some people reject the message of salvation because they are offended by the Bible's description of God's wrath. Even believers struggle to reconcile the Lord's love and justice. How can He at the same time be perfectly loving and perfectly just?"

Finding God at Church
Wesleyan Life - "The rate of church attendance has been falling for decades in North America. The primary reason, I believe, is not that the music isn't contemporary or the preaching doesn't talk about real-life issues, but that there is not power in our worship. We seldom sense an authentic connection to God."

Obama, Giuliani Read Bible; Bush Mentions God at 9/11 Service
Christian post - "Despite efforts to keep the 9/11 Memorial Service free of religion, invited speakers chose to read prayers and Scripture at the event. President Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani read from the Bible on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City Sunday morning. Former President Bush read a letter written by Abraham Lincoln that mentions God."

Weekly Meeting Surrounds the World in Prayer
TSA International Web Site - "Salvationists and friends from more than 80 countries have already signed up to take part in the weekly Worldwide Prayer Meeting launched on 1 September by General Linda Bond."



Ken Silva has written an interesting article about conterfeit christianity in our time.

"One of these teaching a counterfeit Christianity, which more and more within the evangelical camp are now openly embracing, is Emergence Christianity pastor Rob Bell. You need to understand that Bell is absolutely HUGE within youth groups right now and is well on his way to becoming an idol among ”Christian Untouchables” such as Ravi Zacharias and Ray Comfort. Right now Bell’s every bit as much an icon with youth pastors and youth ministers as Elvis was to so many adults in this nation. Now lest you think this is simply an old issue I literally received a letter this morning from somone whose evangelical church has started using Bell’s materials; and at this point, let’s keep in mind his book Jesus Wants to Save Christians. And just what do you suppose Bell’s Jesus wants to save Christians from; well, as you can see in Rob Bell In A Nutshell: The Bible, stodgy old Sola Scriptura for one. "

Read more at FSAOF


The grave threat to Israel you haven’t heard about

From Jerusalem Prayer Team

"A frightening report from Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Oren raised the specter that the tottering Assad regime in Syria might lose control of its extensive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons to Hezbollah terrorists. The Assad government is believed to have killed at least 3,000 of its own people and tortured and injured tens of thousands more in its desperate attempt to cling to power. 

The Syrian stockpiles are missile-ready—and Hezbollah already has highly accurate D-class Scud missiles capable of striking any city in Israel. They would simply need to put the two together—a matter of a couple hours of work, and they could launch an attack using deadly Sarin nerve gas, mustard gas, or one of the other illegal chemical weapons Assad is known to possess. As you read the news reports from the Middle East, keep in mind that in many cases, a brutal dictator is being overthrown but replaced by even more radical enemies of Israel
Read more


Headlines week 36

Do Not Neglect the Holy Spirit in Parenting
The Gospel Coalition - "A better parenting paradigm is faithfulness-driven rather than results-led. Our role as parents is not to “produce” children who exhibit certain behavior criteria, but to be mere instruments in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work in the heart of our children."

God Does Not Coddle Those Who Break His Commandments
Charisma News - "We in the church have failed to remind this generation that while God is love, He also has the capacity to hate. He hates sin and He will judge it with the fierceness of His wrath."

Oklahoma Church Has Ninety New Believers in Four Days
Wesleyan Church  - "Ninety conversions in four days! That’s what happened at Alva Wesleyan Church on August 21-24, 2011. Pastor John Smith said, “Eighty-member churches don’t have ninety converts. God does that!

Salvation Army Respond to Hurricane Irene
TSA international website - "Salvation Army teams in the Caribbean and along the east coast of the USA are providing assistance to people affected by Hurricane Irene."