An Uncommon Man – My Life with Charlie

Charlie is charming and endearing, even though he is six foot two inches tall, strong and muscular, and one of the most handsome men God ever created. He loves a practical joke, the Bible and eating at Waffle House.

He will do almost anything to get a laugh; and he seeks out places to go where he will have an audience to entertain. Charlie is a Pastor, and he even uses his pulpit as a venue to tell his funny anecdotes; some of which I have heard hundreds of times in our many years together.

He has been known to pick on me, just to get a laugh; but he has learned that I am overly sensitive and he will not hurt my feelings in order to reap the coveted chuckle.

The cutest thing about Charlie is that he laughs at his own jokes, and that makes his audience laugh even louder. You know a joke is coming, because his huge smile and the little glint in his eye give him away.

He is so cute, adorable really; a man of integrity and worth, hard-working, diligent, conscientious, full of common sense and of the highest character. His moral fiber is woven tighter than a woolen blanket and his love keeps you just as warm.

Charlie enjoys fishing for brim, eating farm-raised catfish on the bone, reading his Bible, drinking his morning coffee with his buddies and talking about his favorite sports teams.

He is very knowledgeable about many topics and can converse with anyone about anything. He cares very deeply about everyone’s feelings; and he no longer likes to hunt as he did in his youth, because he does not want to cause anyone, not even an animal, pain of any sort.

Charlie has been known to proclaim that his love language is food. Grilled steak, smoky ribs, chicken wings, and a big turkey dinner are all his favorites.

He has food moods that change almost hourly. I never know what to cook; but he politely eats everything on his plate and always compliments me when he is done with both lunch and supper.

Charlie appreciates me and lets me know it. He loves that his socks match in his drawer, he always has clean clothes to wear, that his home is casually spotless and orderly, and that he usually has everything he needs right at his fingertips whenever he needs it.

If I am behind or remiss or too tired, he never berates or belittles me. He never gets frustrated with me; and nourishes and cherishes me and makes a huge effort to always think of me before himself.

He makes time to cuddle me, which is my main love language; and tells me at least five times a day that he loves me. He always defers to me in making choices, which I do to him too; so our main disagreements are over which of us will be allowed to serve the other.

Politics, the news, comedy movies and TV show, and sharing funny photos or sayings on Facebook are a few of his favorite things. When he sends me his sermons so that I can make his sermon slides each week, he always writes me love notes attached to his emails.

Charlie can predict the weather better than any weatherman just by looking at radar photos of impending fronts. Almost to the minute, he can predict when the rain will start or how much time is between showers, so that we can steal a half hour at the pool for exercise.

His children and grandchildren are very precious to Charlie. He hears from them all several times a week. He patiently listens as they chat about the events of their day or current concerns in their life and he always prays for them all by name.

I adore Charlie, simply because he is so adorable. His constant smile warms my heart; and things that make him sad, break my heart in two. If he would allow me, I would fight all of his battles; but he won’t hear of that.

He vents his feelings to me, and then wakes up the next morning with his normal positive attitude fresh and new; ready to take on the world, the flesh and the devil all over again.

Charlie loves to watch civilization wake up. Newspapers are delivered, the sun breaks over the horizon several hours after he wakes up, and lights turn off in neighborhood houses as cars back out of driveways on their way to work.

Charlie works 8-12 hours a day; and some days of the week, he works morning, afternoon and evenings without complaint. He rarely takes all of his vacation days in a year; and some holidays he works while others take a play day. So tired that he can barely stand up, he rejoices in all he accomplished for the Lord with his day.

He will talk about the Bible with anyone with a question. In fact, he will talk about the Bible at the drop of a hat; and sometimes, he will even drop the hat to get the conversation started.

His favorite Biblical topic is prophecy. In his early teens, he read Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and he never looked back. Pastoring his first church at age 22, his wisdom soon caught up with his anointing and enthusiasm for God and the Bible.

During the winter season every year, people come from all over the world to hear his preaching; and many a Yankee threatens to tuck him in their suitcase to take him back home with them.

His preaching is simple, yet profound. His expository sermons are all Bible-based. He never makes a statement that he has not thoroughly researched and found true, using several sources, commentaries and other verses to verify what he is saying.

The mayor calls Charlie “the friend of the city”; and he is known by all the city council, police, fire, rescue and veterans of the community. They actually smile widely and call his name in delight when they see him out around the town.

The greatest fact about Charlie is that he is my best friend, my soulmate and my husband of several decades. He treats me like a treasure and calls me his “little woman”. Sometimes, he even adds “my little Italian woman”.

Meeting at Books-a-Million bookstore in Pensacola, Florida, we have been together ever since. We cannot believe the perfect timing of the Lord to have us both in the same microcosm of time and space in order to form a most perfect union.

We thank God for bringing us together and allowing us to embark on a journey through tough times, times of hurt and misunderstanding and times of joy and comfort, which we continually gain from dwelling together in unity all the days of our life.

The best part about our relationship is that Jesus Christ lives in both of us – dwelling in our spirit. We love one another, but we love God even more. We serve Him together and make the perfect team. We look forward to continuing as best friends in eternity, as we serve our Bridegroom together even then. – Kitty Bradley

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Prayer Journal

Contrary to popular belief, God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person. Even if we are Born Again, if we harbor unconfessed sin in our heart, God will not stay in our presence (Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:29).

Otherwise, there is no sin too horrific or concern too trivial to bring to Him in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence to listen as He speaks to us.

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because they think that He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by our petty concerns.

They would never, ever pray in public, because they are afraid that people might judge their efforts and find them lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend. Jesus is our very best friend (Proverbs 18:24).

The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born. Yet, He is our Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11).

He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security (John 10:16-18, 15:13). He loves us without measure. He gave us His Word as our comfort and our guide.

Praying Bible verses gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. These verses were well written by people who felt just like we do. They inspire us to pray using our own words too.

We can journal in a notebook as we pray, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can record the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit.

The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (Psalm 46:10). He will lead us throughout our day in this same way.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning, because You already know the end from the beginning.

Listening to Your truth through Your Word and by You speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest opportunity we can ever experience on this earth. We find our true joy only in Your presence in our life.

Draw us ever closer to Your heart and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, in contrition for our sins, and in wonder, both for who You are and for all that You do for us each day.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Christ is Our All in All

Many people struggle to find confidence, assertiveness and fulfillment in this life, until we gain our identity and esteem through Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

Jesus Christ is sovereign over this earth and heaven too. He wants to be our Savior, Lord, King and best friend. He gave His life to pay the ransom for our life (Matthew 20:28).

Once we totally surrender our entire life to Jesus, we have fewer trials and we find in Him our only true source of power, love and peace of mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

We trust in His Truth and realize that God’s Spirit is transforming our flawed human nature into Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We belong to our beloved Savior and He belongs to us (Song of Solomon 6:3).

Jesus is our safe harbor and anchor in every type of trial or tribulation. He is our light in the darkness, rest for our weary soul and wisdom, which provides us with skill for living.

He is our Bread of Life to relieve our hunger (John 6:35). The Living Water to quench our thirst (John 4:14). The Tree of Life to pay for our sins (Revelation 22:2). The Alpha and Omega to provide for all of our needs (Revelation 22:13).

His grace is our sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9). His love warms our heart, His rest quiets our mind and His peace envelops us with a stress-free life.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Son existed before creation and He now holds all things together. He is our all in all (Colossians 1:17; Ephesians 4:6). We are content in His presence in our life.

You prepared Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins before You ever created the world (1 Peter 1:20), because You already know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). You are forming us into the image of Christ, incorporating us into His Body, and perfecting us into His flawless Bride (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 5:24).

Thought for the Day:
We are risen in Christ, who is our Savior, and who gives us complete salvation, complete forgiveness and complete victory, because we are complete in Him.

– Colossians 2:10; 3:1

How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.