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A True American Hero Comes Home

If I mention his name, most of you will not recognize it. He was never famous, never rich. He never recorded a hit. He wasn’t an actor, or a singer, or a musician. He never won a Grammy or an Oscar.  But he was a true hero, deserving of all the accolades given to him. Captain Nicholas “Nick” Schade Whitlock came home Saturday to a hero’s welcome. In his hometown of Newnan, Georgia, American flags flew at half-mast. On Sunday, by order of Governor Nathan Deal, all the flags in the state of Georgia flew at half-mast for a man who truly deserves the honor.                                                                                      
Saturday, yellow bows adorned mail boxes, telephone poles, front doors of local businesses. The cold winter’s breeze caused the ribbons to flutter in the wind.  An American flag was attached to almost every downtown parking meter. I can’t say for sure, but there must be at least two hundred parking meters around the square. The flags furled and unfurled in the wind, as if paying homage to the hundreds of flights Nick had flown in his short life.

My dear friend, Connie, and I found a place to stand near the First Baptist Church where Nick’s body would lie in state during visitation later that day. Hundreds of people lined the streets, quietly, solemnly waiting.

Nick’s last flight brought him to the local county airport where he was met by the Air Force Honor Guard, over one hundred motorcycle riders, including members of the Patriot Guard, his wife, parents, brothers and other family members. Hundreds, probably thousands, stood alongside the processional route, waving their small American flags, honoring this American hero.

Those of us downtown didn’t have to wait very long. Although the crowd had not been noisy, total silence reigned as the red and blue lights of the lead police cruiser appeared at the top of the hill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        there

Then there was the sound. In the distance, it was a low buzz, like hundreds of swarming bees. But the closer the procession came, the noise became the distinctive sound of over one hundred motorcycles, moving in formation. It was an awesome sight and sound. Never again will I hear the roar of a motorcycle without remembering this day. Most of the riders, if not all, were veterans. Many had tears in their eyes as they escorted one of their own home

The long white hearse bearing Nick’s body slowly moved forward, followed by the limos with Nick’s family.

The processional parked in front of the First Baptist Church and was met by the current and former pastors. The pall bearers and the Patriot Guard stood at attention as the flag-draped casket was removed from the hearse and lowered onto the stand. The pall bearers, with stoic faces, gently lifted the casket and followed the pastors into the church. Nick’s beautiful wife, his parents and brothers and other family members walked behind. From my vantage point, I saw no one in the crowd of by-standers with dry eyes.

Visitation was later that day from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Connie and I went back, arriving around 4:00 PM. As a testimony of how well-loved the Whitlock Family is, there were so many people waiting in line to speak to Jimmy and Claire, that it took us two hours to reach the front of the sanctuary where they stood by their son’s casket. Before I could even say anything to her, gracious and kind as always, Claire asked me how my mother was (who had been hospitalized earlier in the week). That’s Claire. Always looking after everyone else. Thinking of others and putting others before her own needs.

Claire and her husband, Jimmy, are strong in their faith. It is their faith that will bring them through this tragedy. That—and the fact that they know they will reunited with Nick again someday.

I wrote this blog for several reasons.  First, to remind all of us that our freedom isn’t free. There are men and women who daily pay the highest price of giving their lives so that we might have our freedom. May we never become so complacent that we fail to pray for our troups every day and when we see a serviceman or servicewoman in public, we stop our busy lives long enough to express our gratitude. I wrote this blog to pay tribute to Captain Nicholas Schade Whitlock and to thank his family for their sacrifice.

 Finally, I wrote this blog to encourage everyone to be ready to meet God. We do not know the day or the hour when God will call us home. So we must be ready in all seasons.

This story will have a happy ending because Claire and Jimmy know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will be reunited with Nick in heaven.

What about you? Will your story have a happy ending?
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THE “CHIVE CHECK”

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25, KJV

Before you start your day, do you look into the mirror? It’s only natural. We want to see if anything needs to be fixed in order to make us fit to be seen. The mirror does not make us presentable. The mirror does not make us ugly or beautiful. Our reflection simply shows what we look like. Once we acknowledge what we see, we set about fixing whatever needs fixing. I call this a “chive check.” You know what I’m talking about: the obligatory after-meal peek in the mirror to see if anything other than our teeth smiles back at someone.

God’s word is His special mirror for us. A day started with Scripture and prayer is not a waste of time. Before we can glorify Him, we need to look into His truths and see what is reflected in our hearts and our minds. Only then can we reflect Christ to others.

We should live each day seeking to become more and more the image of Christ. Time spent looking into God’s mirror each morning before we endeavor to glorify Him brings the opportunity for God to make our hearts and minds presentable. There should never be anything other than Him reflected back at us when God’s word is our mirror.

I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies,
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in Thy precepts
and have respect unto Thy ways.
I delight myself in Thy statutes:
I will not forget Thy word.”

~Psalms 119:14-16, KJV

Not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancée, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?

Available through all fine book retailers, Amazon.com, and Mountainview Publishing (http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb), a division of Treble Heart Books.

BIO

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group, offers services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is available at all book retailers and Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing, www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb.

Fay’s passion is working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.

In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

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Spiritual Greatness, Guest Post by Zeke :Lam

I’m pleased to have as my guest again today, Zeke Lam. He writes about “spiritual greatness” and compares it to what the world considers greatness.

Spiritual Greatness

 A typical discussion concerning the word “greatness” will tend to revolve around one concept: earthly success. If one attains significant material wealth, elite athletic status, or maybe even popularity in social media, then no matter how he/she arrive there, they may be considered great. The discussion we are about to embark on is not designed to bash the concept of greatness from an earthly perspective. There is certainly nothing wrong with success, but the point to consider is simply this. Worldly greatness is always relative, therefore rendering it debatable. Spiritual greatness is divine, therefore making it irrevocable.

Let me explain with this illustration. The 2011 World Series champions walked off the field carrying the title of “greatness”. The runner-ups did not and carried the title of “loser”. However, from the perspective of a college athlete even the runner-ups would be considered great. Why? Those “runner-ups” are playing at a level that he only gets to lay in bed and dream about.

Consider the same World Series illustration. The champions that year were heroes right? Yes, to baseball fans and followers of the game. Many people around the globe consider it a shame to tie the word greatness to a group of men who are good at hitting a round ball with wood stick.

As you can see, from an earthly perspective, greatness is always relative and debatable. In Christ, our identity is not subject to debate. If we submit to His voice and obey His Word, we position ourselves for spiritual greatness. A greatness that accompanied by the approval and love of God will spark national revival. This status however is not attained by certain accomplishments or achievements. It is acquired by operating daily in a manner that submits ALL your authority to Jesus Christ and follows His voice.

Read Luke 7:6-10 for a great illustration of this topic:

Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

To have Jesus say of your faith that it is the “greatest” He has seen in all Israel is a monumental statement. What did the centurion do to merit such a comment? Was he a marvelous commander? Was he a popular leader? Perhaps, but these reasons had nothing to do with this lesson on spiritual greatness. It revolved around the fact that this man of authority had to relinquish his power so that the authority of Jesus could do the miraculous and bring healing to his friend. Despite his ability to give orders, the centurion was faced with a situation beyond his capability. As he submitted to the authority and power of Christ in this situation, he positioned himself for spiritual greatness. He witnessed and was a part of something that went beyond the scope of human possibility.

If you and I desire to witness and accomplish things that go beyond the possibilities of man, we must submit EVERY area of our lives to Christ. Whether this is on a baseball field, or the mission field, this level of submission will position you for the spiritual greatness!

Zeke’s Bio:

Footnotes: I am 27 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife, Kathleen, for 6 years. We have three children (4, 2, and 2 months) that we love very much. I have ministered since the age of 18 as a youth minister and evangelist. In addition to this, I operate a small business which constructs ornamental concrete such as flower pots, bird baths, etc. I also help out with the family furniture when time permits. We are passionate to see Christ glorified through our lives, and constantly remain seek to use our lives to share the Gospel. This has led our family all over the world. Our most recent “adventure” involved us literally driving to a town in Texas, renting an apartment, and seeking the Lord. Although we knew nobody or anything about the place, God gave us an entire church fellowship in 2 days! This turned into an incredible 7 month stay that is surely not finished yet.

I am 27 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife, Kathleen, for 6 years. We have three children (4, 2, and 2 months) that we love very much. I have ministered since the age of 18 as a youth minister and evangelist. In addition to this, I operate a small business which constructs ornamental concrete such as flower pots, bird baths, etc. I also help out with the family furniture when time permits. We are passionate to see Christ glorified through our lives, and constantly remain seek to use our lives to share the Gospel. This has led our family all over the world. Our most recent “adventure” involved us literally driving to a town in Texas, renting an apartment, and seeking the Lord. Although we knew nobody or anything about the place, God gave us an entire church fellowship in 2 days! This turned into an incredible 7 month stay that is surely not finished yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
To learn more about Zeke and his ministry, visit his website at http://submisssionministries.org
To purchase subMISSION: Heeding Only His Voice:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=SUBMISSION+Zeke+Lam&x=13&y=20
~

To learn more about Zeke and his ministry, visit his website at http://submisssionministries.org

 To purchase subMISSION: Heeding Only His Voice:

AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=SUBMISSION+Zeke+Lam&x=13&y=20

               Luke 7:6 Or Sir

    Luke 7:7 Lit say with a word
      Luke 7:7 Or boy

        Cross references: