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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God is Our Defense

There is little to no peace or security in our current world economy and civilization. We never know what catastrophe the news will publicize with the rising of the sun. The atrocities we humans perpetrate on one another are unthinkable; yet, they happen every day. Since sin entered the picture through Adam and Eve, wickedness abounds (Matthew 24:12).

The pride, selfishness and rebellion of the human heart allow sin to perpetuate throughout every generation (Romans 8:6). In some twisted way, people who are hurting will hurt other people to try to alleviate their own pain. Even if we distance our self from those who hurt us, we will only find true peace when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ and forgive our enemies (Philippians 4:4-8).

Trusting God, with gratitude in our heart and on our lips for all He already did for us, will allow us to transcend the daily grind of life and move us into the realm of viewing life from an eternal perspective. Then the peace of God, which cannot be found in the world or by thinking about carnal aspects of life, will flood our soul with serenity (John 14:27).

We will experience peace, even in the most horrific earthly trials, as we draw near to God and put our complete faith in His faithfulness (1 Peter 2:23). We gain our perspective by focusing on Jesus’ example through His betrayal, persecution, crucifixion and resurrection. He teaches us to suffer victoriously and He reminds us that Heaven awaits us in all of its glory (Hebrews 12:2).

God is our defense, no matter what we experience or how people treat us. If we trust in Him, live for Him and love Him with our whole being, He turns everything around for our ultimate good (Psalm 94:22; Romans 8:28). As we experience God’s will in the mundane circumstances of our day, we will also sense His presence during our trials. Christ in us will overcome obstacles for us and He will get all of the glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, Your family is not a select race of perfectly mature and spiritual people, but it includes the outcast, the weak, the broken-hearted and the infirmed. You do not exclude anyone who calls on Your name for salvation, regardless of our human heritage or accomplishments. We are no longer strangers, but are included in Your family (Ephesians 2:19-22). The weary and distressed find rest under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91: 1,4).

Thought for the Day:
God is our only defense and our rock of refuge. – Psalm 94:22

The Fruit of Holiness

Our current civilization accepts sin as normal. For instance, we live together in sin because it is accepted in our society, but it is not accepted in God’s society. We white wash our sinful behavior and are not fit for the presence of God in our life (Matthew 23:27). Only holiness and trust in God unite to make us effective ministers in God’s Kingdom.

Our spirit vitally needs holiness for fulfillment. We cannot walk in godliness without living in holiness (Matthew 5:6). Our spirit shrinks from carnal behavior, which our soul – our mind, will and emotions – often pursues. Through Sanctification, God’s Spirit conforms us – body, soul and spirit – to the purity of Christ Jesus, our Lord (Matthew 5:8).

There is no need for legalism, criticism or judgmentalism in holiness. This is a private walk, not relying on human self-effort, but simply the leading of God’s Spirit with each individual. God may deal with you to stop smoking as His first priority in your sanctification process; but in our sister, He will deal with it last, because there are other issues in her life, which He wants to deal with first.

God uses His Body as the hands, feet and heart of Jesus on the earth (Matthew 5:16). Through an attitude of purity, we minister in love to those whom God brings our way. The fruit, gifts and ministry of God’s Spirit flow through us to affect the world around us for Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:7-13). With a heart fully dedicated to Jesus, we are used by God to change our world.

Prayer:
Father God, Your family represents Your reputation on this earth. Too many people claim membership in Your family and live for the devil. This tarnishes Your name and Your effectiveness. Lead us to live in holiness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Your justice is righteous, and we embrace Your discipline, which causes us to hear Your loving kindness with each new morning (Psalm 143:8).

Thought for the Day:
Righteous living is possible to achieve in our life, because it is birthed by God’s Spirit in an ever increasing measure of holiness within us.