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 Calls Us All

God calls the foolish, weak, dishonorable and despised person in order to shame the wise, strong and important, so that we will not boast in our abilities and take credit for what God accomplishes in and through us (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

Satan will attempt to influence us to take the credit, but it belongs to God (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we hear Satan’s whisper in our mind, we realize the lie that it is and humbly thank God for using us.

Gideon was an illegitimate son in an insignificant clan of the tribe of Manasseh, and he even called himself the least in the family. Yet, God called Him to deliver Israel from the Midianite bondage.

David was a little shepherd boy when he killed Goliath. Moses was a murderer and could not speak well. Paul was very educated and had many accomplishments to his credit.

Yet, they all realized they were nothing without our Almighty God (Philippians 3:7-8). God even uses children and babies to prove His existence and to silence the God-haters (Psalm 8:2).

God foils the plans of the wise, exposes the supposed miracles of false prophets and plainly reveals the nonsense of pseudo-intellectuals (Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 8:9).

God shows us the foolishness of the wisdom of the world, and saves us through what the world considers the foolishness of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:20-21, 2:12).

God chooses the poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the riches in His Kingdom, which He promises to those who love Him and keep His commandments (James 2:5; John 14:15).

Prayer:
Father God, You expose the lofty who take credit for what You do for us and You continually do marvelous works on our behalf (Isaiah 26:5-6; 29:14, 19). The poor are always with us, to remind us that we are just a breath away from destitution, unless we trust in You (Matthew 26:11; Zephaniah 3:12).

You give us wisdom when we ask for it and hide Your treasure within us, in order to prove Your authority and Kingship over our life (James 1:5-6; Luke 19:39-40; 2 Corinthians 4:7). Then you give us weapons that are not for carnal warfare, but spiritual; so that we can triumph over all of our enemies (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5, 10).

Thought for the Day:
In the Kingdom of God, there are no big “I’s” and little “U’s”, but we are all equal with the same Holy Spirit residing within us and leading us throughout every moment of our day.

Filled with God’s Spirit

I write the posts for my blog between the latest hours of the night and the earliest hours of the morning. I am usually “three sheets in the wind”, as they say.

On a sailboat, if the sheets – the ropes used to secure the sail – are loose, the sail will shake around in the wind, causing the ship to sway, much like a drunk person.

However, I am not drunk with alcohol. I am filled with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). There are no distractions, no demands on my time, no interruptions with phones or chores. I am al-one with God.

There is nothing mysterious about God’s Spirit. Our body is His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and He does the work of God in our life through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:21).

The function of the sail on a boat is to catch the wind, so the craft can move in a stately and confident manner. When our “sheets” are tight, we can catch just the right amount of God’s Spirit in order to move confidently in God’s will.

The Holy Spirit is described as a rushing, mighty wind on Pentecost, and He moves wherever He pleases (Acts 2:2; John 3:8). We cannot see God’s Spirit, but we can see His effects in us.

The number of sails used on a boat at one time depends on the strength of the wind. The determining factor is to remain balanced and steady as the wind propels the ship through the water.

The stronger the wind of the Holy Spirit moves in our life, the fewer sails we need in order to be guided in the correct direction. We quickly respond to His prompting, because we are in tune with His ways.

We operate in the power of God’s Spirit as we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We share His Truth with everyone we meet in every city, state and country, in which we travel or live (Acts 1:4-9).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to trade in our treasure by buying into the lies of the devil. Satan will imitate You and draw us away from following hard after You (Psalm 63:8). Give us discernment to tell the difference between Your Spirit and his.

We thank You for the power of Your Holy Spirit within us, giving us both the desire and power to serve You with our whole heart, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Remind us to cling to Christ, who is the head of His Body, and to be complete in Him (Colossians 2:10, 18).

Thought for the Day:
Through the power of God’s Spirit within us we spend our life glorifying God.

Jesus is All We Need

God orchestrates the losses, broken heart, difficult trials, and painful tribulation in our life to bring us to the place of total surrender to His love and our perfect submission to His will.

The quicker we come to the place of complete compliance to His will, the fewer negative aspects enter our life.

The less we trust in and cherish the temporal aspects of this life, the fewer losses we experience.

The more intimate we grow in our union with Christ, the less we experience the negative effects of trauma.

We are not devastated by our losses, because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We will not lose Christ, and He is all we really need.

We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We have all wisdom, right standing with God, holiness and redemption in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

His grace is sufficient to uphold us in any tragedy or insufficiency, which we face in this world (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing, which heaven has to offer us (Ephesians 1:3).

God perfects us and sanctifies us in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus is not an option to add to our life; He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

He is our peace, and He breaks down every wall, which stands in our way (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus is our treasure hidden within us; our pearl of great price; our coin, which was lost, but now is found (Matthew 13:45-46; Luke 15:8-10; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Jesus is our all in all (Ephesians 4:6). He contains all the fullness of the Trinity (Colossians 2:9), and He triumphed over our enemies through His death (Colossians 2:15).

He gives us victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus is all we need (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that through Christ we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness for our sins. He is Your actual image and through Him everything was created and is under His authority. He is our all sufficiency (Colossians 1:13-16).

Remind us that the philosophy of man and the cares of this world are nothing when compared to the majesty of Christ on high. We give Him all of our praise and the glory for everything we ever accomplish through Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:

Through Christ we find our right standing with God and enter a spiritual life, which never ends.

Jars of Clay

God created us as fragile, clay jars to contain the greatest treasure this world has ever known. We have the light of Christ shining in our hearts, and His power is constantly available to us in every situation (2 Corinthians 4:7). Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross cleansed us, consecrated us and set us apart to God (1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:10-12).

 

Jesus chose us to be a royal, holy people who exclusively belong to God’s family (1 Peter 2:9). He bought us with the price of His life, so that we would glorify God in our thoughts, words and deeds (1 Corinthians 6:20). God’s Holy Spirit exchanges, in our soul, the fleshly carnality of our old nature for the holiness and spirituality of God’s Son (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:13).

 

Christ manifests His life in and through us. The individual members of Christ’s Body die with Him, are set free from the powers of this world and are raised to walk in new life in Him (Colossians 2:12,20). When we realize our human powerlessness, dependence and worthlessness apart from Him, we enter into a place of His spiritual power and authority, and our identity is centered in Jesus (Luke 10:19).

 

We faithfully walk before Him in humility and total reliance on Him for every need in our life (Genesis 17:1). People see Christ in us and realize that we are set apart for Him. An example of this phenomenon is Joseph in Potipher’s and Pharoah’s service, as well as his time in prison. They recognized the power of God in Joseph, and respected him and elevated him in power and authority.

 

Joseph accepted God’s plan in spite of his brothers’ duplicity and abandonment, as well as false accusations against his character. He knew that God would work out everything, even prison, for his good. Joseph gives us an example of someone entirely sold out to God. God will bless our life as He did Joseph’s, if we will put our complete faith in His faithfulness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are more to us than a help in times of trouble, the pardon for our sins and our fire insurance policy against hell. You are also our King. We do not live according to our plans and purpose and ask You to bless us. We live in constant, total surrender to Your plans for our life, and we reap the blessings of a child of the King. Thank You for sending Jesus to redeem us and to reconcile us to Yourself. Remind us to live each moment of our life in Your service and not in selfish ambition and self-serving goals.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we obey God fully and keep His commandments, we are His treasured possession from among all the people in the whole world. – Exodus 19:5

Our Eternal Rest

As human beings, we get the values of life and death backwards. We will sacrifice the quality of our life for the quantity of life. We often live years past our optimal health and spend more money than we have to suffer endless procedures and live off dozens of expensive medications. Yet, what is the Biblical view of life and death?

Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” In other words, He was happy to serve the Lord on this earth for as long as it pleased the Lord for him to do so; but once his usefulness was over, he was ready, willing and able to go home to be with the Lord. That was where his hope and rest lay. That is where we all gain the eternal rest from our labors.

The wise Solomon recognized that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1); yet we humans rejoice at a new birth and cry at a funeral. Of course, the tears at the funeral are more for our self than the deceased, because of our separation from our loved one; but if we realize that, in Christ, we will live in eternity with that same loved one, then we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:12-18).

We toil all of our life to gain the things of this world, and then turn around and leave them all behind to people who do not value them as we did. They usually donate everything we worked so hard to attain to some charity resale shop to be sold at a fraction of what we paid for them. What is the sense in that? Why do we put so much stock in this world’s goods?

A home, transportation, food and necessary apparel with a hobby or two thrown in are enough for anyone. Yet, so many slave to have the best that money can buy. The entire focus of their life is to get that one more thing. Yet, nothing ever really satisfies their soul. Only a life dedicated to the service of God for His glory pays the real dividends that we are looking for in this life and in the next.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to store up our treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can destroy them (Matthew 6:19-24). Help us to use the wealth You give to us on this earth to help to lighten the load of those less fortunate than we are and also to help to further Your gospel to the far reaches of the earth.

Thought for the Day:
It is the simple pleasures of life that really mean so much and cost so little.