Daily devotions


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."


Early Sunday morning on the Baltic sea

Now it is Sunday morning and I am sitting on the boat between Stockholm and Riga on our way back home. It has been a busy week with half of the week in Riga and the second half in Stockholm.

On the boat, as well as in Stockholm, Christmas has already started. Here you can see some of the Christmas decorations on the boat, Tallink Romantica.

We will arrive in Riga harbour at 11 o´clock. The same time as the meeting starts at Riga 1 corps. Today the meeting will be full of young people from all over Latvia. After the meeting it will be lunch and a youth meeting "Open Microphone" where Ruth and myself will listen to the young people and answer questions about the Salvation Army in Latvia. I look forward to that meeting.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky


Headlines week 46

The Spirit of God Descends on India
Charisma News - "As thousands begin to gather at Ford Field for TheCall, nearly 50,000 others poured into Lal Badahur Stadium in Hyderabad, India, yesterday, to hear Franklin Graham preach the Word of God."

21 Skills of Great Preachers
Desperate Pastor Blog - "The one thing most of us would rather do than preach, is hear another great preacher. I mean a “Great” preacher. I’ve learned plenty from hearing the best preachers, especially in a live setting. For most of my life, when sitting under a great preacher, I’ve taken dual sets of notes, including content on one list, and a separate set of notes on their communication skills. What have I discovered in these 40 years worth of notes? Here’s my summary:"

Tourist or Pilgrim?
Wesleyan life - "Growing up in a beach community in Delaware there were locals, and then there were the tourists. During the safe summer months when the sun was shining, the beaches were pristine, and the waves manageable, the tourist saturated the seashore like ants at a picnic.
Tourists are always associated by crowds, prime real estate, and main attractions. The tourist carefully selects the times and seasons of his arrival through the grid of comfort and convenience. During November when the nor'easters stir up an angry Atlantic, the beaches are always bare and no tourist can be spotted. (To the local, November is one of the best times to comb the beach and visit the pounding surf.)
By definition the tourist avoids the tough, the painful and the messy.

Francis Chan Helping Ministry Plant 586 Churches
Charisma News - "San Francisco's Tenderloin district houses 37,000 people in 586 apartment buildings. Francis Chan and a local ministry dream of planting churches in those apartment buildings—in every single one of them."


The General is coming to Riga

General Linda Bond will visit Latvia and Riga December 3-4. Saturday evening she will meet the Officers in Latvia. On Sunday there will be two meetings, 11.00 and 15.00. On Sunday evening there will also be a youth gathering together with the General.


The Salvation Army in Korea enters its Second Century

There exists a growing, vibrant and ultra-modern Salvation Army who hardly know of any barriers when it comes to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. The 100 year anniversary Jubilee Congress was quite different than those celebrated in the USA or Europe. It was aimed primarily at people "outside" of the Salvation Army.

TSA had seized on the enormous "Seoul Plaza" in the heart of the 10-million city of Seoul. Over the course of a week thousands of people visited the many exhibition booths and tents, where professional presentations took place highlighting the Army's diverse work in Korea with great props and hundreds of Salvationists everywhere to greet and provide information to the public.

"Youth Cultural Festival"

On Friday evening there was a, "Youth Cultural Festival" at this huge plaza, which attracted an estimated 20,000 listeners, mostly young people. Present were famous Korean artists (professing Christians), and many modern SA bands, great vocalists from the Salvation Army, dance groups, street dance and humor.

Sunday Evening - A great salvation meeting plaza with over 20,000 people, all sitting on the ground. Lots of idle policemen, who sang along with the songs. Everything was reported on giant big screens and using advanced information technology sponsored by the Korean world-leading brands such as Samsung and LG. The major TV channels in Seoul stood in line to broadcast the meetings from the Plaza.

The Congress highlight was the Service of Thanksgiving on Sunday morning in Changchoong Arena. An hour before the meeting began a crowd of 12,000 had assembled. Several thousand were turned away from the meeting due to lack of space and watched the meeting on a big screen outside the building.

The general, Shaw Clifton, said, “the Salvation Army in South Korea is a well kept secret in the Salvation Army. That can not continue, we have much to learn from them”.

Facts about Salvation Army in Korea

Korea has undergone profound historical changes in the last 100 years, from the Japanese occupation to independence and then the Korean War in the early 50's. Since the 50s, the country has experienced something of an economic miracle. TSA during this period had an incredible growth. Today there are 43,000 Salvation Army soldiers, 10,000 civilian members, 7000 junior soldiers, nearly 800 officers, 62 cadets, over 800 civilian employees, over 100 000 Volunteer members, a variety of social institutions, the business of government schools, a private technical college, professional medical assistance to the needy, including many children from North Korea and Russia.

(Sven Ljungholm) fsaof.blogspot.com


Early Sunday morning - November 13 - 05:07

We are living in a shaking world in many ways:
-in the Arab world the people are protesting aginst their leaders in one country after another
-in Europe the economic crisis is escalating
-will Israel attack the nuclear settlements in Iraq?

When I see what is happening I am reminded of a song we used to sing in the Salvation Army when I was younger: "When world countries are shaking and trembling down, and everything seems to be falling, then it is good to have your house build on the rock that will stay forever" (my translation)

There are many signs pointing towards the second coming or Christ:
-An economic crisis which seems impossible to handle by the present leadership
-An increasing international aggressive approach to the state of Israel

Meanwhile we keep on doing our work in the Salvarion Army in Latvia. The week has been filled by budget meetings and assessment talks, but we have also been working with two major co-operation projects:
-We have had a visit from the leader of the Salvation Army work among alcohol- and drug addicts in western Norway. We plan to start a cooperation project in Latvia supported by Norway.
-Is seems as we will recieve money for a EU-project together with a partner aiming to help people enter the labour market. People who have up til now never have succeeded to enter the labour market

Today it is Sunday morning and soon time to travel to Iecava for the Sunday morning service. The corps has just started a course for people interested in becoming members in the Salvation Army. Today we will also hand out certificates for the faithful volunteers in the corps.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky

Early Sunday morning, November 6

Sunday morning again! First of all I want to thank everybody for all greetings on my birthday.

During the week we have decided where we shall have our meetings during the Latvian Congress in Riga, June 15-17, 2012. Our Congress will be held in the middle of the Old Town in the Great Guild Hall.

You are welcome to experience the Congress together with us. During the Congress we will also celebrate the commissioning of our cadets.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky


My name is Bond.....Linda Bond!

Headlines week 44

Coptic Christian Massacre Costs Egypt Credibility
Charisma News - "The Egyptian army’s killing of 27 people—including at least 23 Christians—who were protesting the burning of a church building has removed any respect most Egyptians had for the transitional military government, according to Christian human rights activists in the country."

Cain says he’s pro-life, with no exceptions
Washington Times - "Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain, saying he wanted to clear up previously contradictory comments on abortion, said Sunday that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake."

Lithuania's Proof: 'Miracles Can Happen'
Charisma News - "Just on the outskirts of Vilnius, Lithuania, a line of cars stretched for miles, waiting to get into the cemetery for Sunday's national holiday, All Souls Day.
Inside Siemens Arena, there was a different celebration of souls taking place Sunday night.
But first, Franklin Graham posed a simple question to the 8,500 in attendance.
"Tonight, I want to talk to you about your soul," Franklin Graham began his message on the final night of the Lithuania Festival of Hope. "Is your soul secure in the hand of Almighty God?

Day and Night Prayer for Justice to Continue in 2012
SA international website - "Picture God’s people united in prayer, where one hour isn’t enough in the prayer room and there is a desire for more, where children and youth are crying out for justice, where people are committing themselves for a day, a week, a month, a year or more of non-stop prayer."