Lest We Forget

Poppy Field 3

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

This poem was written by a soldier on the front during World War 1. As he looked over the field where the fallen were buried, all he could see was a mass of poppies waving in the breeze, and was compelled to write these words – words which captured the heart of all who read it…of his fellow soldiers, who encouraged him to publish it, plus the newspaper that eventually published it, and all of its readers.

Poppy seeds lie in the soil. When the soil is turned over, the seeds germinate and the poppies then grow. Due to the mass disturbance of the soil on Flanders Field where the fallen where buried, poppies grew in abundance. So, when the anniversary of Armistice Day rolled around, the poppy was the natural thing to be used as a symbol of remembrance for those who had fallen.

In the UK and many other commonwealth countries, the symbol of the poppy is still used today. IMG_0774Tomorrow sees the launch of our Poppy Appeal for 2014. The Royal British Legion each year organises the selling of the poppies in many places all over the country. A donation is given and in return you are given a poppy to wear, showing you remember the fallen heroes. The money raised during the appeal goes to help support current and ex soldiers and their families with whatever they need.

I love this tradition. It gives us time out each year to remember those whose lives were lost as they laid down their lives for their country to give us the freedom we experience today. I particularly like the mark of respect of the 2 minute silence at 11am on Remembrance Day, when the country stands still to remember the fallen. It’s now 100 years after the war first started, and we haven’t forgotten them.

Always during this time, as I remember the fallen heroes of my country, my attention is also turned to another fallen (although now risen) Hero – One who gave His life for the whole world, to grant us freedom from sin and its penalty of death to all who will recognise their sin and their need for forgiveness. The Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, saw the penalty of sin was death. He loved us soCross much, that He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, so that we could have a place in heaven. He stood in my place – He stood in your place. All you have to do is reach out and ask for forgiveness. God then looks at what happened at Calvary and says – Your sin has been paid for, you are free, you have a place reserved in heaven for you.

I pray I never forget what Jesus did for me on the cross. I echo the words of the refrain of Jennie E. Hussey’s hymn Lead Me to Calvary:

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

~ Wendy Sparkes ~

(Lest We Forget is a repeat from last year’s post on 23/10/13, apart from a couple of changes to make it relevant for 2014.)


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The Missing Ingredient

DSCN0123Several years ago I traded my UGGS®  for flip-flops and my wool slacks for cotton capries. My husband and I became empty-nesters and decided to migrate south with the birds. I love living in South Florida! I keep in touch with my northern friends and extended family with emails, Facebook, and frequent visits. During the winter months there are times when our home feels like a bed and breakfast! I don’t miss the snowy roads, the icy driveways, or the frigid temps. I don’t miss chapped lips and dry skin. But there is something I do miss—apples! Yes, I know—I can walk into any grocery store or green market and find many kinds of apples. Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, and Granny Smiths are all there, waiting for me to make my selection. But there are no Northern Spy apples! In fact, many people in the south have never heard of Northern Spy apples.

So let me tell you why I need my Spy apples—they make the BEST apple pie! When I lived in Michigan, they were the only apples I used for my amazing apple pie. Since living in Florida I have made some pretty good apple pies using other kinds of apples. But when I taste the pie, it seems like something is missing. And it is—Spies!

The Bible tells us about an important ingredient, but it has nothing to do with apples. The ingredient is love. In 1 Corinthians 13, it says that I can have beautiful language and spiritual wisdom and knowledge. I can can give to the poor and have enough faith to move a mountain. But if I don’t have love, something is missing.

So I wonder—do I care about adding love to my daily life as much as I care about selecting the right kind of apples for my pie? I would hope the answer is yes.

Lord, please fill me with your love so that everything I do matters–even making apple pies!




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Is Your Candy a Trick or Treat?

It’s almost impossible to go shopping without bumping into mounds of Halloween candy on display. (Let’s not even talk about Christmas candy…nope, we won’t go there!)Halloween candyBut the candy I’ve been seeing is not the candy I remember from my childhood.

Hershey Kisses? Yes.
Hershey Kisses Pumpkin Spice flavored candies? Okay.

M&Ms? Of course.
Pumpkin Spice M&Ms? Hmmm…think I’m seeing a pattern here.

Jelly beans? Yum.
Tabasco-flavored jelly beans? Ummm…not for me.

Chocolate bars? Absolutely!
Pigs ‘N Taters milk chocolate bar with bacon and potato chips? Maybe all three ingredients separately, but together? I’ll pass.

Last year, the confections manager for Walgreen Company noted, “People’s palates are changing….It’s important to be on the cutting edge of that.”

I’ve heard the term cutting edge used to refer to fashions, management philosophies, and technology, but candy?

Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, but some things just shouldn’t be messed with. Then again, a few of my favorite childhood candies would never be produced today. After all, when was the last time you saw a candy cigarette?

As I ponder the candy industry’s need to come up with cutting edge flavors, I’m reminded of how often Christians today think we have to jazz up the gospel before it can be presented to a new generation. These days, the good ol’ gospel isn’t interesting enough, so we dream up new, cutting edge ways to entertain children to keep their interest.

However, for two thousand years, the Church and the gospel have thrived by being different from the world. Our goal is not to be cutting edge or entertaining. Our purpose is to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child with the unchanging truth of their need to be restored to our awesome God and to share how He meets that need in Jesus Christ.

Of course, we need to speak to children—and adults—in the language they understand. But let’s not run after change for the sake of change. The result might be as much of a failure as butter-flavored lollipops. (And yes, those were a real product!)

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