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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This Free Gift is Yours

At the age of 18, I was plagued with negative emotions from betrayal by my father, who was supposed to protect me. I tired of my string of boyfriends, because I could not find my soulmate.

I wrote morbid poems about the devastation, which I felt inside, and I even contemplated suicide. This drove me to question the empty spot within myself, which called out to me for fulfillment.

Thankfully, during an extra work-day to ready our college yearbook for press, I met a vivacious red-head who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me (John 3:16-18).

This resulted in God giving me feet like hind’s feet to traverse the heights of His love (Habakkuk 3:19; Psalm 18:33; 2 Samuel 22:34). Since then, I feel no shame in proclaiming to the world that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.

So often, we reject Christ, because we fear the rejection of our family and friends, as well as ostracism by those we respect and hold in high esteem. Yet, we are willing, by our unbelief, to alienate the King of kings for all eternity.

I share the free gift of the gospel of Christ with anyone who will listen. I view every stranger as a potential friend, and I realize that everyone I pass in a day’s time is a prospective member with me in the family of God.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but He gives it to us as a free gift (Romans 6:23). We do not deserve it, and we cannot earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We simply receive it.

There is no end to God’s love. I want everyone to enjoy God’s bountiful benefits. There is no valid reason to miss out on His free gift (Psalm 103:2).

Prayer:

Father God, Your love is boundless and Your generosity is limitless. You spoil us as Your children and You share with us the inheritance of Your Kingdom for all of eternity. We simply need to believe and to surrender our entire body, soul and spirit to Your Lordship.

You do not demand perfection before we come to You; you perfect us from glory to glory once we trust You with our life (2 Corinthians 3:18). Your only requirement to receive Your free gift of salvation is that we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Romans 6:23; Mark 12:30). This is so easy to do, because we simply respond to Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:

God gives us both the desire and the ability to walk in obedience to His ways. –  Philippians 2:13

Identity Crisis

If a child does not receive the fulfillment of his/her legitimate human needs, they will look for people in their adulthood to meet them. Belonging, significance, acceptance, identity and security are the major psychological and emotional necessities in every human soul.

Our emotionally wounded parents were unable to provide these for us. As adults, we search in vain for our perfect soulmate, who has the limitless resources to make up for the deprivation from our past. In search of our fulfillment, we get too involved in earthly pursuits and change partners too often.

Those we reject suffer deep emotional scars, which are almost impossible to heal. As individuals, we attempt to perfect our personality and performance in order to find our personal worth through our human qualities, talents, intelligence, and physical assets.

The problem is that no one is capable of perfection. The key to our fulfillment on this earth is to realize that our true personal worth comes from our relationship with our supreme God and Father (Philippians 4:19). Only He provides us with a secure sense of belonging. We can trust Him and have no fear of His rejecting us for any reason.

If we cling to our deficiencies, rather than surrendering it all to God, we erect an idol, which we continue to “worship”. We allow Satan and our flesh to deceive us, which continues to cripple us. However, when we completely surrender all of our needs to God, He will meet them in His way and timing.

Prayer:
Father God, our freedom comes only as we surrender every aspect of our life to You. As long as we focus on what we lack, we continue to worship idols. Once we take our mind off our needs, and put it on worshipping and serving you, we suddenly discover that we are living a very fulfilling life. Remind us to commit our life to You, because then Jesus heals us and we are totally set free from emotional and psychological hindrances (John 8:32; Psalm 37:5). We enjoy mental, emotional and spiritual freedom, which only comes by learning to find our contentment in You (Philippians 4:11-13).

Thought for the Day:
In truth, complete fulfillment only comes when Christ is our whole life. – Colossians 3:4

Healing for Our Wounded Soul

Divorce is so easy and common in this day and time. There is no need to prove grounds for divorce; we just dump our mate as if they are a sack of garbage. We do not see life through their eyes, but only our own. There are personality issues and woundedness in every person’s soul, which may hinder us, or our partner, from changing.

Rather than divorce, we can change our focus about our mate’s issues and accept them with love for who they are at this very moment. Satan plants lies in our soul throughout the experiences of our life. These misconceptions cause us to over-react irrationally and with intense emotion in our current life situations.

Once the lie is discovered, we can hear God’s truth about the issue. These problems are resolved through seeking their root and origin, uncovering Satan’s lie and then hearing God speak His truth to our soul ( http://www.theophostic.com ). God’s healing changes our behavior for the better and we find freedom in Christ and His Word.

However, before a person finds this freedom, they are often divorced by their mate, which adds to their trauma. Interestingly, the mate who does the divorcing tends to connect with another injured soul with many of the same issues as their former mate. They also take their own unresolved issues from their former marriage into their next relationship.

This is often tragic and ruins their bond with the next person too. Give yourself time to recover from the trauma of your break-up. The more you date, the more sure you will be of finding God’s choice for you. Then, when you find someone with whom you can connect mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically, make sure it is God’s will by allowing Him to continue to heal your wounded soul.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our soul longs more for a relationship with You than with a person. We often go from one person to another in this life, trying to find our soul mate, or someone to complete us. Yet, the only way we can feel fulfilled is through deepening our commitment and our relationship with You. This is true even for married people. The more we find acceptance and develop satisfaction in our relationship with You, the more we can serve our mate out of our love for You (Ephesians 5:22, 6:7; Colossians 3:18, 23-24).

Thought for the Day:
Our support and understanding of our partner’s shortcomings will do much to improve our attitude, as well as our mate’s feelings of love and acceptance.

A Place of Repentance

Once we hear the gospel of Christ, a deliberate rejection of God’s path of righteousness will lead to our earthly sorrow and eternal ruin. God is sovereign and He will not be mocked (Acts 4:24). We see no value in the spiritual side of life, but live only for physical and emotional pleasures.

 

We focus on gratifying the body and we seek to find a soul mate with which to spend our life. We end up switching partners endlessly because no one meets our expectations.

 

We show contempt for the abundance of God’s kindness, patience and tolerance of us, when we do not realize that God’s kindness is intended to bring us to this place of repentance (Romans 2:4).

 

However, if we come to realize that we are wrong and we cannot save our self. We enter God’s throne room and we repair our relationship with God through godly sorrow and contrition; we reap eternal life and earthly joys, which know no bounds. God provides all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

 

He is our soul mate and He sticks closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 17:17, 18:24). He does not consider us his servants, but His friends (John 15:15). He fills our hearts with His love to overflowing and we share His love with everyone He brings our way. The fruit of His Spirit replaces the negative attributes in our soul, and we live in peace and freedom.

 

God blesses us abundantly, so that we have whatever we need at all times (2 Corinthians 9:8). This allows us to be faithful in the work of His Kingdom. The peace of God, which defies explanation, protects us emotionally and mentally, because Christ lives within us (Philippians 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, with Your love within us and surrounding us we can come to a place of repentance and enjoy the bounty of Your blessings. Even when negative aspects of life try to overwhelm us, You are there to pull us up. You may not deliver us from the trial, but You give us the Rock of Christ to stand upon to weather every storm. There is nothing this earth can do to separate us from Your love.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we rely on the direction of God’s Spirit, we live a peaceful and abundant life.