“For love of country they accepted death.”
- James Garfield
A few weeks ago, I decided to get my oil changed over my lunch hour. While waiting in the lobby I looked up at the skylight and was pleasantly surprised to see this picture... broad stripes and bright stars, freely waving... our American flag.
One week from today is Memorial Day. It originally began in 1868 and was known as Decoration Day, because of the flags and flowers that were placed on the graves of soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It was started as a way to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, but was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Trivia: On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
Trivia: The poppy, by nature, is a wildflower. It’s seeds will lie stagnant in the ground until they are disturbed. During times of war, soldiers would stir up the ground as they marched though fields. The result was a beautiful growth of poppy flowers found to flourish in conditions where most other flowers would die. The red poppy was first recognized as the Memorial Day flower in 1915 when a woman by the name of Moina Michael was the first to wear the flower as a reminder of the holiday. She began to sell poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.
For most of us, our day will be filled with picnics, family get-togethers, and outdoor activities, with not much thought being given to the real meaning of the day. I don’t know about you, but I want this year to be different. All the fun stuff is great, but sometime during the day I plan to “be still” and offer up prayers for our military... past and present!
Below are two resources that offer great ways to remember the importance of the day...
GOD BLESS AMERICA
G - God is the center of our joy!
O - Order our steps in Your Word.
D - Daily communication with God is the answer for everything.
B - Be steadfastly in love with God.
L - Loving our neighbors as ourselves is His way.
E - Except God builds our house, our labor will be for nothing.
S - Stay connected to God by accepting His Son, Jesus, as our lifeline.
S - Sweet savours to God are our prayers to Him.
A - Abide in God’s Word, and faith will make you whole.
M - Mercy and grace follow true godly sorrow.
E - Evening prayers are acceptable sacrifices unto God.
R - Rock us in the cradle of Your love.
I - In the midst of your storms, get into the arms of Jesus.
C - Conditions of peace result from effectual prayers.
A - Accentuate the positive always.
Posted on Presidential Prayer Team website by Martha E. 5/20/11
After my oil change, I was headed back to work and listening to K-Love radio. They were talking about “Operation Worship” ... an outreach ministry that ships Bibles to those serving in the military, and also offers words of encouragement to the families waiting at home. Check out their website to find out how you can get involved: http://operationworship.com/
1. Make a donation to help them ship more Bibles ($5.00 each).
2. Write an encouraging message online, and they will transcribe it into a Bible being shipped to a military service person.
3. Check out the free One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional that offers encouragement to those of us staying behind to pray for those who are taking a stand for our freedoms. So many people are affected by the absence of those who leave home and serve in distant lands. Those who are left behind often struggle to find contentment and hope. This devotional will not only meet the needs of those individuals but will also encourage all Americans to take a stand by praying for our country and the men and women serving overseas.
4. Share their website with others.
While reading through some of the Yellow Ribbon Devotions, Day 5 caught my attention. The devotion was entitled, Onward Christian Soldier, which was the name of a hymn we used to sing quite often in the church where I grew up.
Trivia: Words of the song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865. He wrote this about the hymn: “Whit-Monday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire. One Whit-Monday, thirty years ago, it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing when marching from one village to another, but couldn’t think of anything quite suitable; so I sat up at night, resolved that I would write something myself. “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was the result.”
The words of the refrain go like this: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” As Christians, we are much like service men and women going off to battle every day. We need to put on the armor of God daily as described in Ephesians 6:10-18...
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
The Day 5 devotion ended with the following prayer (a gentle reminder that while we are remembering the heroes who have died for our country, let us not forget those who are still serving in our military):
Dear Lord Jesus, bless those who are serving our country as soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and coastguardsmen. I thank you for those who know you as their Lord and Savior. I thank you that they are going forward with the power and strength of the Holy Spirit leading the way. Amen.
In our country we have many freedoms... among them are freedom of speech and freedom to worship. As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, help us remember that they are following in the footsteps of Christ, our Savior. They stand in the gap for our protection and He stood in the gap for our salvation.
May your day be filled with friends, family, fun, food, prayers and most of all PEACE! Until Friday...
Blessings & God’s Peace, Donna Weaver
“Blessed are the peacemakers
for they shall be called the children of God.”
– Matthew 5:9