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’s Fullness – Abiding in God’s Presence

Any area of our life, which we do not surrender to God, holds us back from being fully filled with His presence. Negative emotions are the indicators of areas to which we are still clinging.

When we feel negative, we can inspect our soul to discover the root of the issues. We may need to repent of our attitude or actions, to forgive our self or someone else, or to change our focus about this issue until it no longer bothers us.

Total surrender opens the windows of heaven to fill our life with all of God’s fullness and blessings. Obeying God’s Word and walking in the Spirit are the steps for success in our journey through sanctification (Galatians 5:15-25).

As we yield to God’s will, we learn that He always works out everything – even the most painful human experience – for our ultimate good, if we will only relinquish our plans and embrace His will (Matthew 13: 44-46).

Satan will attempt to hinder us with his lies, fear of the unknown, grudges over past treatment, and carnal desires that thwart God’s purposes in our life.

However, Christ in us is greater than Satan and his demons (1 John 4:4). We are filled with God through Christ in us. He fills us with his holiness, peace and joy as He fills us with His Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

We realize that we are simply stewards of all the material blessings, which God gives us; and if we use then as He directs us, He will give us more, and often something better to use and share.

As we grasp the immensity of God’s love, we live and walk in His presence, giving preference to His will in our life, rather than pursuing our own goals, dreams and desires.

We have no greater desire than to be used by God to further His Kingdom in this earth and to take as many people to heaven with us who will humble their pride and surrender their life to Him too.

Prayer:
Father God, show us the reality of Your presence indwelling within us (Matthew 28:20). Thank You for walking through the trials of this life with us, giving us green pastures and still waters, and restoring our soul (Psalm 23:1-2).

Remind us not to have faith in what we want You to do for us, but to have faith to do what You want us to do for You. Help us to focus on Your will and to understand that the prayer that never fails is, “Lord, not my will, but Yours be done on earth, in my life and in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

Thought for the Day:
The intense focus of God’s heart is to live as one with us, just as He is one with Jesus. – John 17:22:23

Unreached People Groups

In this modern world, it seems impossible that there are still people who have never heard the gospel of Christ (Acts 4:12). They have had little to no opportunity for outreach and evangelism (Revelation 15:4).

An unreached people group is one that has less than 2% of Believers in their country and has no church planting capabilities or Bibles in a language, which they can understand.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and to preach the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20). Christians in every succeeding century have followed suit.

Of course, America and England sent out the most missionaries so far. However, in today’s spiritual climate, other countries are now sending missionaries to England and America, due to our lack of faithful, committed Believers. Churches are continually closing here.

We are afraid to speak to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about the difference that Christ makes in our life, and how God’s unconditional love provides us with so many benefits both now and in eternity (Romans 15:21; Psalm 67:1-3).

The Apostle Paul is a great example to us, since he took several missionary journeys covering large land areas and started over 50 churches to carry on the ministry of spreading God’s Word to the masses (Romans 1:5).

God calls all Believers, even today, to reach as many people in our area of influence and to plant as many churches as there is a need, in order to take as many people to Heaven with us as we possibly can (Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10; Mark 13:10; Acts 13:45-47).

Prayer:
Father God, as we go about our day, remind us to preach, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and then to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 10:8).

Help us to be strong and courageous, because wherever we go, You are there with us and in us (Joshua 1:9). Move by Your Holy Spirit in the lives of people we know and those unreached people groups all over the world, so that the soil of their lives will be ready to receive the seeds of the gospel, which we commit to spread as sowers of Your Word (Matthew 13:18-23).

Thought for the Day:
All the ends of the earth shall remember what Jesus did and turn to Him, and all the families of the nations of the world shall worship before Him. – Psalm 2:8, 22:27, 67:5-7, 98:2-3

A Perfect Union

All of humanity is made in the image of the Trinity (Genesis 1:26). We have a triune being with a body, soul and spirit. Prior to salvation, our spirit is dead in sin. We live in prideful rebellion. We enjoy controlling our own life and we have no need or desire to think about God. In fact, thoughts about God, which intrude on our conscious mind, disturb us and make us feel uncomfortable.

 

We run from God’s conviction and reject people who remind us of Him. We forget that the “Hound of Heaven” is constantly pursuing us, drawing us into His loving embrace. Once we finally yield to His sovereignty, we wonder why we took so long to submit to His call and to relinquish control of our life to Him. When we surrender everything to God, life is no longer a struggle (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 4:10).

 

Salvation is the first step in our walk with God. Our spirit is finally Born Again. Then we embark on a journey toward holiness. God’s Holy Spirit changes us from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). Each stage brings us closer to a perfect union with God (Ephesians 2:1-5). The closer our relationship with Him grows in the spirit (John 4:24), the more intimacy with Him we want in our life.

 

Some Believers are simply content with escaping hell, and they live a shallow, carnal life, without this intimate union with God. Yet others often feel like we are in a desert, thirsting for more and more of His Living Water (John 4:14). We hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6; Psalm 107:9). Our spirit longs to receive more nourishment from the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

Prayer:

Father God, even though we cannot sense You in our physical body, our spirit and soul – our mind, will and emotions – feel your presence every day of our life (Hebrews 13:5). We form this perfect union with You by spending time in Your presence as we go about our day. We consult with You and rely on You as we follow Your Spirit’s direction. When we pray, remind us to listen to Your Voice, as well as to commune with You from our heart.

 

Thought for the Day:

Do not despair if God seems silent; He is simply enjoying your companionable silence.