Daily devotions



Holiness and our self-defense mechanisms
Harry Brocksiek
I will bet you a dozen hot chocolates from Starbucks (I have escaped coffee addiction) that you have a problem with the self-defense mechanism of rationalization and I do not!

Rationalization is when the ego (mind) substitutes an acceptable reason for an unacceptable one in order to explain a given action or attitude. This action deludes the superego (will or soul) into accepting something which might otherwise result in guilt. We all think that we are capable of acting in a reasonable, logical and realistic manner. If we get ourselves in a situation where we are pushed or have to push ourselves we are apt to substitute a ‘better’ if not truer reason for the action we have just taken or will take. Almost everyone we know has or does utilize this self-defense mechanism (except me). For example:
          A new movie release coincides with a big exam so the student rationalizes that he needs to relax before the big exam rather than study so he goes to the movie.
       The officer finding visitation out of his comfort zone will visit the critically ill person in the hospital if he gets his stats done.
       If there were fewer Lotus Notes I would be a better preacher.
         If the worship leader was more sensitive I could worship better.
         If I won the lottery I would tithe.
        If my family of origin had not been so dysfunctional I would be a better parent.
         If I had not been abused I would be more intimate with my spouse.
         If my cousin had not introduced me to pornography I wouldn’t have this problem.
         I think I am a boring person so to keep you from getting close to me I seem angry, preoccupied or hurt.
The Holy Spirit will help us 1) by helping us seek for truth in our connections with others 2) help us be more honest with ourselves and 3) help us apply the fruit of the Spirit to this area of our lives.
1)      Why am I not more honest and open with my connections with others? Why am I not more reasonable, logical and realistic?  What causes my ego to look for responses to my situations that keeps me from guilt?

Isn’t it because I want to look good to those around me? Isn't it because I want to present myself in a favorable light to myself?  Is it because I don’t want to be uncomfortable? Is it because I like to think I am superior or better or at least OK so my mind presents a positive image to others and also to myself. Sometimes I do things I wish I had not done – sometimes it is sin and sometimes it is human error, or poor judgment or need to grow in an area of my life. But my mind wants to prove I am the best, not so bad or at least OK.

The Holy Spirit helps me look at those deeper motivations when I encounter the experiences of life. He helps me uncover and deal with those motivations. The process of holiness is for the Spirit not only to cleanse me from the sin nature but over time deal with these motivations to free, correct or redirect them. Many of these motivations are sub-conscious. We may have learned them before we were a Christian so we have to submit them to the Spirit for His re-education, His redirection, His discipline. We don’t see the motivation we only see the results of our self-defense mechanism. These we submit to the Spirit for His transformation.

A personal example: Last Saturday at Men’s Fellowship S/M Paul continued his series about holiness for ordinary people. We talked about where our corps came from and where we are heading. In jest I said something about Lt. Craig’s sermons thinking that I was raising thought among the men present about the good quality of his sermons but the jest had a negative twist. I did go on to tell how much I enjoy his sermons and gave concrete examples of why they are so good. (Note my rationalization.)  Then on Wednesday night at Bible study Lt. Anney was leading the study of James, she began with “Last week we solved the problem of the tongue.” I tapped my friend, Earl, next to me and said, “Sure glad you were here for that.” Everyone who knows Earl knows that he does not have a problem with his tongue (my point exactly).  Earl’s words are only encouraging. However, my words of jest may have questioned that in the minds of others there.
In both instances my jest may have been jabs.

 What were my intentions – consciously they were jests but was there an underlying issue that the Spirit wants me to deal with? Am I angry with Lt.? Am I upset over something he has done or not done? Am I jealous because he gets to preach and I don’t? Did I wish Earl’s reputation was mine? Did I need others to question him so I would look better? I don’t see the motivation but I see the results.

2)      The Holy Spirit will help me to be more honest with myself by educating my mind (ego) to truth, justice and righteousness. The Spirit will bring to my will (superego) the various options available to me. He will help me be more sensitive to accept the right decision. The Spirit will help me see the situation the way the Spirit sees it. The Spirit will also provide the energy to function the way the Spirit wants me to. I am not on my own in this. I have the Spirit of truth to help me get at the real truth of my life. This can be painful until I get used to His help then when I see the results of His work in my life I embrace and even seek His work to free me and make me whole

The Spirit works to eliminate the underlying issues that may have caused me to jest with a negative twist and to be more honest upfront rather than after the fact, the Spirit will help me be more realistic in speech and if necessary conquer a habit of jesting at the expense of others.

3.  The fruit of the Spirit that will help with  my rationalization is goodness. The Spirit wants to permeate my personality with goodness.

Goodness is:

·         Plenteous in mercy,

·         Abundant in loving kindness,

·         Usefulness,

·         Shrewd kindness,

·         In the best interest of,

·         The mark of transparency and simplicity of the soul.

 Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit for those who want to live in harmony with those who are going to live in the Kingdom.

God desires goodness, not a request for forgiveness but a need not to have to be forgiven.

The Biblical people we think of when we think of rationalization would include

                Eve conversing with Satan

                Adam hiding behind a fig leaf

                Cain asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

                Moses impulsively striking the rock      

    King Saul before the witch of Endor

                Peter responding to the maiden

                Paul holding the wraps before Stephan

                7 churches in Revelation


    (but not me)

Happy Lent,


From the General

Sharing the Vision
The General´s writes in TSA International Website - "The other evening I watched a short DVD about the song-writer Fanny Crosby. The narration was interspersed with the singing of some of her songs. As a very young child, she lost her sight because of the incompetence of one posing as a doctor. Though she never regained her physical sight, the Lord opened her spiritual eyes to see life from his perspective. Songs like 'Blessed Assurance', 'To God be the Glory', 'He Hideth my Soul' and 'All the Way my Saviour Leads Me', express this deep faith, resilience and incomparable hope. She has opened our eyes to see the richness of his grace."


Early Sunday morning March 25

Normally I do not tend to be private on "Early Sunday Morning", but today I will make an exception. The reason is that we had a wedding yesterday. Our son Daniel married his Jessica in Borås, in southern Sweden. And our family was together again for one day. Last time it happened was one day last summer.

Normally it is a bit risky to have an outdoor wedding in Sweden in the middle of the summer. But now it happened in March!!! That is close to impossible. But everything was perfect. Not a cloud. No wind. Perfect temperature.

I was doing the wedding, Ruth played the piano. Mikael played the trumpet and Johanna sang a solo. Stefan and Karin read from the Bible.

Now all of our sons are married and we have another "Mrs. Baronowsky".

Tonight we are heading back to our home in Riga and a new week. Next week will start with a couple of days in Daugavpils in the southeastern corner of Lativa.

I wish you a blessed week.
Peter Baronowsky


Reflections from an old codger

Harry Brocksieck continues to write his "Reflections From an Old Codger"
We are looking at how holiness affects our self-defense mechanisms.

Fortunately one of the defense mechanisms that I rarely use is regression. (cough)

Regression is when we abandon a stage of adjustment which we have achieved and return to an earlier and more infantile stage. Children might return to a stage that is easier or more comfortable or where they get more 'benefits' from the parent(s). For instance, when a new child enters the family the new baby gets a lot of attention that at one time went to the older sibling so by returning to a stage of growth they had previously left the older child gets the attention they lost. They may talk like a baby or wet the bed or act out in ways previously resolved. Another reason a child regresses is when an over indulgent parent will make a stage of growth more enjoyable than the stage a child is being pushed to by peers, like at school, therefore, the child will revert to that easier stage in the presence of the parent(s) thus receiving the 'benefits' of that stage while functioning at a higher stage at school. Another reason for regression is just the opposite occurs when a child had to move too quickly through a stage of development and the needs of that stage did not get met. It is easy to see this when a teenage girl develops physically more quickly than her peers and attracts older boys to her. She may like the attention but has not developed healthy 'girl' relationships so may have to return to this phase of development in order to be healthy. Another example is when a couple gets married before they have decided who they are going to be in life. They may want to return to the 'no responsibility' phase of life before moving on to being responsible individuals. I remember a female officer who upon reaching the age of 50, her 5 children now on their own, began wearing min-skirts, shortening her uniform skirt and wearing extra make-up. She was trying to relive the years she was a mom instead of a teenager. Or the man who buys a muscle car in his 'mature' years or tries to prove he is still as good as ever on the basketball court. Or when we return to the skills we used in our previous appointment or job because it is easier than facing the challenges of the present appointment or job. We regress when 1) our sense of security is threatened, 2) life becomes difficult where we are or 3) when we missed something we needed for our growth.

Holiness is not just the 'spiritual' aspects of our personality. Holiness is wholeness. Holiness is important in the total personality. When dealing with our regression self-defense mechanism the Spirit helps us in at least 3 ways:

     1) the Spirit helps us grow to richness in the various stages of our personality development;

     2) the Spirit helps us move into new stages as we are ready;

     3) the Spirit helps us by giving us the fruit of the Spirit needed for our growth and development into the people God wants us to be or the best person we can possibly be or the most complete person we can be (these are all the same idea).

1) The Spirit helps us grow in each phase of our lives. The Spirit pays attention to each phase of our development helping us find the richness and joy in each stage of our development.  By making Christ the center of our lives the other pressures in our lives are not so dominant. We are not forced to be what we ought not to be. We don't put girls (or boys) at the center - that keeps the right perspective. We don't put our emotions at the center so we can have emotions but they don't control us. We don't put our job at the center, etc. These are all unhealthy centers but with Christ at the center the rest is more balanced. With Christ at the center this helps us garner from each stage of life the richness needed to be ready to go on to the next stage fully ready to move at the right time because Christ is our center.

2) Moving into the next stage of our lives is usually caused by some unhappiness in the old stage. James Fowler in his “Stages of Faith” notes that when we are new Christians our faith looks very much like the person who led us to the Lord - we are new at this so we want to do it correctly and who is more correct than the person who led us into this experience. However, we will eventually see the weaknesses of our fellow human and feel that we need to model our lives on other examples.  The next stage of our spiritual development is to identify with a group of believers.  For example, it is a delight when some women officers have a following of young women who look just like them in clothing, hair style, etc. As these young women grow they will abandon some of these ‘look a likes’ sometimes to the consternation of the woman officer. Ultimately we will, hopefully, grow out of being like others to being like Christ. There is an interesting phenomenon that the more like Christ I become the more like the person God is developing me to uniquely be comes about. ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me,’ etc. leads me to becoming like Christ, which when the fully developed Christlikeness occurs I become the fully developed me - unique and rare, fully Christ's and fully myself and fully useful in the Kingdom.

3. In dealing with the self-defense mechanism of regression, the fruit of the Spirit God wants us to develop is faithfulness. Keeping Him at the center, keeping focused on Him rather than the forces around or within us, keeping up with His will for our lives, keeping up with the new demands life gives us needs faithfulness. Regression returns us to former, more infantile stages of development. Christ wants us to keep moving forward. Normal growth causes stress, distress and discomfort at times as we move into new areas to conquer. Usually our growth depends on our getting out of our comfort zone.

A personal example:  I am an introvert so I like focusing on my inner processes. Opening myself to friends and letting me be more me can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I have heard a thousand times, “No one knows you are a fool until you open your mouth and prove it” so my tendency is to want to protect myself. While working on my degree the professor said to me, “Harry you are a good listener but no one knows you. Open up and tell them about yourself.” I wanted them to think highly of me because I was a good listener rather than the stupid things I sometimes say. So the Spirit moves me to be faithful, get out of my comfort zone, open up and be more vulnerable and real.

As the Spirit speaks to us, leads us, moves us toward more wholeness:

·         The extrovert needs to learn to listen to others and not so much have a need to talk,

·         The officer facing a new appointment needs to step up to the challenge of the new place rather than repeat past experiences,

·         The spouse who is afraid of intimacy needs to open to the fullness of love,

·         The good pastor needs to learn to be successful at administrative work,

·         The ‘I hate to visit’ officer becomes an ‘I will and will learn to like it’ officer.

·         The ‘I don’t like public relations’ officer becomes an ‘I will be good at it even if I don’t like it’ officer.

·         The ‘I hate diets but I need to do it’ will get on with it,

·         The ‘I hate exercise person,’ will make it happen,

·         The ‘I haven’t given anything up for Lent’ will start now.

The Spirit makes us work through these things until we are free to be our true selves - we develop the fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness.

The Biblical example is the Children of Israel as they faced new challenges in the wilderness - they had hated Egypt, hated being slaves, hated working for the Egyptian masters. They had no future and the goals belonged to someone else but while on their journey to the Promised Land when difficulties arose they wanted to go back to Egypt, they wanted the 'comforts' of Egypt rather than having to go through the hard work of nation building, learning to trust new leaders, learning to accept the responsibility that comes with freedom, learning to step up to serve God who had higher moral standards and higher goals for them.

We could also think of Peter and the disciples returning to fishing after the crucifixion of Christ but when the Holy Spirit came upon them they no longer looked back but were faithful in moving forward.

Happy Lent

Resource: Introduction to Psychiatry, O. Spurgeon English, M.D. and Stuart M. Finch, M.D., Stages of Faith, James Fowler


CBN News - Home-Schooling

Swedish Home-School Family ‘Broken to Pieces’
CBN. com - It's been called one of the worst cases of government abuse ever committed against a home schooling family: the abduction by Swedish authorities of Domenic Johansson,  a happy, healthy, 7-year-old boy taken from his parents Christer and Annie Johansson in 2009 as they waited to leave Sweden on a flight to India.
After the abduction, the Johanssons' story spread quickly on the Internet.
But three years later, Domenic is still being kept from his parents, and Swedish authorities keep finding new reasons for why the child can't go home


Another new corps in Latvia

Last Sunday we opened another new corps in Latvia. That was corps number 9 in Latvia and the new corps is situated in the village of Seda. At the same time it was time for a new soldiers enrolment in Seda. Here are pictures from the great event in Seda:
Seda: Corps number nine in Latvia
People came early to the meeting and the children started by playing games
The corps building in Seda
The corps leaders received a diploma of recognition from the local authorities for their work in Seda
The corps leader Sergejs reading from the Bible
The children presented singing
The new corps flag was presented to the congregation
A new soldiers register book was handed over to Aizan...
...and the flag to Sergejs
The new soldiers reading the soldiers covenant

Signing the articles of war
After the enrolment: flowers!
The "oldest" soldier in the corps (since 2009) greeted the newest soldiers

Song by Peter and Ruth
Leaving Seda after the meeting. The new corps has by now ten soldiers

If you want to know more about the village of Seda you can watch this YouTube clip:
Seda. People of the Marsh. from ELM MEDIA on Vimeo.


Early Sunday morning in Riga

Another Sunday morning after an interesting and busy week.

The week started with meetings in Stockholm with the board for the Baltic Children Foundation and with the Latvian Council. The trip to Stockholm also gave us opportunity to meet one of our grandchildren and her parents, Here she is joking with us testing her father´s glasses.

After coming home to Riga we have also had a meeting with the Salvation Army Advisory Board in Latvia. The board members are prominent persons from different areas of the Latvian society, giving their time and expertise to promote the work of the Salvation Army in Latvia. Is is really an exciting and inspiring group of people.

Yesterday, Saturday, we had a worship service at Riga second corps. During the first half year we are visiting all corps in Latvia for three different gatherings: a meeting, an open information gathering about the Salvation Army worldwide and in Latvia, and a corps review with the leadership of the corps. Here is a short clip from the meeting at Riga 2:

Today, Sunday, we will go to Seda, two hours drive northeast of Riga. The outpost in Seda will today be upgraded to a Salvation Army Corps. At the same time there will be another soldiers enrolment in the new corps. We look forward to that visit.

Tomorrow, Monday, it will be a very early start with a flight to Stockholm for meetings with the Clapham Institute.

Have a blessed new week
Peter Baronowsky


Atheism and Religion

Atheism Is a Religion - Or at least it requires a God for you not to believe in.
Reason.com - "You can call atheism a belief system, which Newberg guardedly does, or you can make a stronger assertion and say that atheists and theists, who have conveniently developed hate-tinged froth and vitriol for one another, are quacking and waddling in the same way in different ponds. Either way, they are ducks and atheism is a religion. At least it is in the hands of those who are so religious about their disbelief that they place the weight of the argument on the feathery shoulders of their believing brothers and sisters."


Heaven and Hell

Is Hell Real and Does God Really Send People There?
The Christian Post - "Christian apologist Mark Mittelberg knows well that believers are often faced with tough questions about their faith. He is the author of the book, ´The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask.´
It's a topic no one likes to think about and that, frankly, isn't a lot of fun to teach about either," Mittelberg told The Christian Post on Monday. "But therein lies the problem: if we don't teach about it, if we don't warn people, if we don't emphasize the reality of hell the way Jesus did, then it soon fades to the back of people's minds


New corps in Drusti

If you drive northeast out of Riga towards Moscow one and a half hour, and then turn right on a sand road 16 km out in the rural areas you will end up in the village of Drusti. In Drusti the Salvation Army has been running an outpost for several years and the last two years the outpost has enrolled a number of soldiers. Last Sunday the outpost was upgraded to become a Salvation Army Corps. The new corps in Drusti is corps number eight in Latvia.
The congregation was gathered long time before the meeting started
The children sang "This little light of mine"

The Soldiers´ register was handed over to the corps leader...
...and the flag with the number eight
Ruth, Peter and Iveta singing trio
Cadet Arturs giving his testimony
After the meeting we had information about the Salvation Army internationally and in Latvia

  The mercy seat in Drusti comes from the Salvation Army Hall in Nacka.
Aftrer the meeting there was of course fellowship round the tables. Here is the children´s table.


Early Sunday morning in Riga, March 10

Sunday morning again! And we will soon leave to have another meeting in rural areas.

"Now I understand the meaning of salvation"
During the past week we have had corps reviews, where we take the temperature of the corps. This story was told by one of our officers:
When the Salvation Army took over the manor "Skangal" they found in one of the sheds an alcoholist who was tired of living. After some time he was saved and stopped drinking. After some more time he became a soldier in the local corps. The mayor in the town had known this man for many years and one day when he met this man he said: "I have never really understood what they mean when they are speaking about salvation. But when I see you today compared with the man you used to be, I start to understand the true meaning of salvation."

A new corps
Today we will drive the two hours ride to the village of Drusti. In Drusti the Salvation Army has been running an outpost for some years. The oupost has had two soldiers enrolments the last couple of years. You can see pictures from the enrolments in Drusti here and here. Now we will make the outpost a corps. We are bringing a new corps flag and a new soldiers register. It will be corps numer eight in Latvia. After the meeting we will also have an "Open Microphone" with information and questions.

A new week
When we come back to Riga on Sunday evening and a new week is waiting. The new week will have an early start for us at 4 a.m. Monday morning when we are leaving for the airport and some board meetings in Stockholm..

I hope it will be a blessed week for you.
Peter Baronowsky


The Economist writing about the change of spirituality in England!

The rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church
The Economist - "EVER since the 18th century, England’s established church has harboured a suspicion of religious enthusiasm. Anglicanism’s cosy ubiquity as a reassuring, if vestigial, presence in every English suburb and village is regarded as a defence against the sort of fanaticism that leads to social or ethnic conflict. But every so often in English church history, compromise and emollience have triggered a countervailing reaction: an upsurge in faith of a more passionate kind. Such a change may be under way now.
As the number of people who are actively committed to the Church of England falls, the proportion of churchgoers who are serious about their faith—and its implications for private and public life—is growing. Peter Brierley, a collector of statistics on faith in Britain, reckons that 40% of Anglicans attend evangelical parishes these days, up from 26% in 1989. That is against a background of overall decline; he thinks the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England will have fallen to 680,000 by 2020, down from about 800,000 now and just under 1m a decade ago. The lukewarm are falling away, leaving the pews to the more fervent."


Reflections from an old codger

Harry Brocksieck writes his reflections from an old codger:

"One of the advantages of being an old codger is that when Lent comes around I can skip the usual ‘disciplines’ of Lent. I don’t need to give up Coke, for instance, since I gave that up a decade or two ago and never got back to it. I have given up second helpings of food, chocolate for the season, deserts in a like manner but they don’t satisfy the Spirit’s criteria for me at Lent. A couple of years ago I had to give up my pride and write some reflections on various things but it wasn’t enough to have to write them I had to actually share them. That seemed to be where the Spirit has led me again this Lent season. So I have to dig into my personality and ‘discipline’ my ‘self‘ to use this Lent season to develop a character that is more like Jesus.

Since I am writing to be obedient no response is necessary or expected.

The area for this old codger to work on this year is how holiness impacts my self-defense mechanisms.

I (we) came by my self-defense mechanisms honestly as a child as my ego constructed attempts to deal with instincts whose gratification would be dangerous or painful for one reason or another – like the belt in my step-dad’s hands or the hurt look in my mother’s eyes. When a forbidden urge for gratification sought expression, anxiety appeared and anxiety became painful. To avoid the belt or the anxiety that came before it I avoided the gratification but the desire was still there. Like the cookie my mother baked for the Home League meeting – I wanted the cookie, I deserved the cookie (she was my mother) but the next time I wanted the cookie I had the memory of the belt for taking the cookie. Another example was at puberty when my God created self started thinking about gender differences. That raised some anxiety – and still can. Over time as a child I probably developed all 10-12 self-defense mechanisms that Brother Freud discovered. There are a few mechanisms that are used more than others but I bet that I have them all. Sometimes it is not easy to draw a clear distinction between them since some are very similar except for minor differences. Sometimes I use several under the assumption that ‘the more the merrier.’ These mechanisms are mostly in my sub-conscious so I am not very conscious of them but if I look, under the direction of the Spirit, I might be able to find the results of the mechanism and therefore look for the mechanism and deal with it.

Probably my all time favorite self-defense mechanism is denial. The things that I find painful or unpleasant - I can just deny that they are there. I learned this when I was a child when my mean sisters would not play with me or wanted to play something I didn’t want to play like sweeping the floor, feeding the chickens or taking out the garbage. So I developed an alternate reality. This was healthy since in the world of children there are so many things unknown and potentially dangerous and denial helps master some of the anxieties that would otherwise have overwhelmed me. But as I grew older, living in my own world of make-believe and fantasy while I deny reality is less productive and can be dangerous. Mind you, this is not my normal conscious process of deliberate prevarication.

So how does holiness impact the self-defense mechanism of denial? There are at least 3 areas in which the Spirit’s impact can be experienced. 1) Past experiences where we had no control, 2) Past experiences for which we are responsible and 3) current situations that are encountered.

Past experiences where we had no control like dysfunctional family situations, parents who had their own hang ups, girls and boys who were abused and misused – sexually, physically and emotionally - unfortunate family experiences, unhappy school experiences, name calling as children – fatty, dummy, etc.

How we have responded to these past experiences runs the gambit of adult behaviors – we may have low self-esteem and be overly shy and retiring; we may feel the need to continually brag about ourselves, incessant talking, unreasonableness (to ourselves and others), meanness, work alcoholics, etc. Studies show that the vast majority of parents who were abused also abuse their children. We may not even be aware of past experiences over which we had no control showing up in our current behavior. We will want even sub-conscious experiences from our past to be freed so that we are able to be who God wants us to be today.

When we enter the experience of holiness and beyond we have the resources to more adequately deal with these past experiences. The sinful nature that fed those negative experiences in our personalities is now gone. The Holy Spirit now has more control of us. The Spirit will now help us explore healing in these areas. The fruit of the spirit, peace, is the focus of the work of the Spirit in this area of denial. Peace will come as we explore, heal, learn and move into the marvelous freedom from the negative past that was of no fault to ours.

A personal example: My biological father left my mother and 4 small children when I was 3. Later contact with him was that he was distant, not interested in any aspects of our lives. My mother then married a man who would take care of her and 4 children but he was not a good father and he earned my hatred. This was not a situation for which I was responsible. So when I was to pray, relate, and experience a Heavenly Father it was difficult to do. When I had trouble with relating to the Father the Spirit helped me go back and review my relationship with my step-dad. I had to work through who he was, his background, why he was the way he was and work at building a relationship. Over time I was able to forgive him and remove this hindrance from my life. My biological father committed suicide in the county jail before the Spirit could help me through this.

The second area of denial the Spirit will help us with are the past experiences for which we are responsible – often sinful experiences, sometimes things we have done as our responsibility for someone one else (like service men and women who may have gone beyond their duty or even in the line-of-duty experiences which can haunt), missed opportunities, unhealthy relationships, etc. Here the Spirit helps us see these experiences the same way God does. This is not forgiveness but understanding with God why these behaviors are unhealthy for us. These experiences are often brought into our consciousness as we escape to these experiences when we are under stress, when life is not as satisfying as we anticipated, when we have a disagreement with our spouses or our supervisors, when we don’t get the appointment or job we feel we have earned, etc. The Spirit spotlights our reliance on them so we can deal with them as God would deal with them. We may experience shame or remorse (for having behaved in this way or that we have to give up these memories) but as the Spirit brings healing we experience the fruit of the Spirit, peace.

The third area of denial the Spirit will help us with is our current situation. Denial comes from difficult experiences that overwhelm us. We may be beyond our skill set, facing illness that dramatically changes our lives, parents who need us or we lose them; friends change, our goals change, rewards don’t have the same source, etc. Our denial response may be to become indifferent, isolated, angry, blaming, disappointed, depressed, or unresponsive to life and its opportunities. Here the Spirit will help us by recreating us, re-inspiring us, helping us to move out and on, giving us the fruit of the Spirit, peace, about life and the future.

King David is our example of denial – he knew what he had done to Bathsheba and Uriah. The prophet Nathan shattered David’s fantasy world of denial. David responded to the Spirit’s help to overcome his self-defense mechanism of denial. The Spirit revealed David’s true situation, David worked with the Spirit through the denial and arrived not only at forgiveness and freedom but peace (Psalm 51).

I am discovering that the more I live in the Spirit the more I dislike denial and enjoy reality.

Resource: Introduction to Psychiatry, O. Spurgeon English, M.D. and Stuart M. Finch, M.D. Pages 53-69

P.S. Many of you have asked how Barbara is since her recent shoulder replacement surgery. She had her two week check up this last Wednesday. The doctor is very pleased with her progress. She is in therapy and making good progress. She thanks you for your prayers and cards. In spite of the comments about how I am caring for her she seems to be prospering. I can now make meatloaf.


Single Spouse Officers

Living the SSO life (SSO=Single Spouse Officer)
On www.fsaof.blogspot.com you can find a series of articles about officers married to non-officers in the Salvation Army. Glad Ljungholm is writing - "If someone had asked me five years ago what I thought of the concept of single spouse Officership I would have said it had been too long coming in the UKT. As far as I could see, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, but, it wasn’t for me. I could never have imagined marrying someone who was not a Salvation Army Officer, someone who was not 100% committed to mission and ministry within the Army. I could imagine it creating split loyalties and conflicts."


Early Sunday morning in Riga, March 4

Another week. Another step closer to the spring.

During the week we have visited some corps in Latvia. Tuesday evening we visited the soldiers meeting at Riga second corps. Every Tuesday they have a meeting for soldiers and recruits. In those evenings they gather between twenty and thirty people. I wonder if there is any other corps in the Swedish/Latvian territory that has a soldiers meeting every week !!?? That should be interesting to know.

At Riga second corps we had an "open microphone"-program with information about the Salvation Army in Latvia and worldwide. Several of the soldiers expressed their gratitude for the second floor in the corps house. A couple of them were now living there after the Training School had moved to their new facilities.

Last week we received a request from the corps leaders that they needed two computers for the second floor, so the people there could search for job opportunities on the web. The two computers will arrive already on Thursday next week togeher with many other things on a truck from SA humanitarian aid in Västerås/Sweden. The soldiers also expressed how much they appreciated the new central storage for humanitarian aid in Riga. Several of them had already been able to visit the storage to collect clothes for the corps "social day" where they give out clothes to people in need.

Thursday morning we had information at the Home League at the corps in Bauska. Between fifty and sixty people showed up for the Home League.
                                                          The Home League in Bauska corps

Friday we had a full planning day together with the Chief Secretary, Johnny Kleman, and today we are going down to Iecava to have the Sunday morning meeting and after coffee an "Open microphone"-gathering at the corps. The corps in Iecava has been growing very much the last six months.

When we come home from Iecava Sunday evening, a new work week is approaching.

I pray it will be a blessed week for you.
Peter Baronowsky


International Congress to Take Place in 2015

International Congress 2015
From TSA international webpage - 'The General has decided that an International Congress will be held during the first week of July 2015,' writes the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Barry C. Swanson. 'The Congress will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of The Salvation Army.'
 He continues: 'London, UK, is where the Army was born and so it seems fitting that we should gather in this city to celebrate God’s faithfulness and blessing on our mission."