The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

January 24, 2013

The Look

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 11:59 am
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eyesI could never escape “The Look”. Wordless, timeless; a defining moment filled with meaning, conviction, purpose, hope, and love. The Look has all this and more.  I can get away with a lot of things but The Look transfixes me, anchors me, and grounds me.

The Look forces me to see the truth of things like no other.

We all come across a similar Look in the faces of those we love, those we respect, or people in position of authority like teachers or policemen.  I remember as a teenager in church one Sunday the guest speaker was anything but interesting or lively.  I decided to take matters into my own hand.  So, I began to write notes or use my index finger and middle finger pretending to be a person running a mad race over books, knees, and anything else.  We began giggling and soon my dad was standing next to the pew giving me the Look.  Red faced, I wanted to disappear.

Wives are famous in their art of simulating The Look.  Husbands are caught flat-footed many times and are frozen in mid-sentence with that magical Look from their lovely wives.  Parents have this art as well.  Just argue with your parents kids and the Look will quickly surface with amazing results.

However, all such Looks pale by comparison to The Look that stirs the heart of our soul. Who has The Look that causes such drama?  Jesus Christ!

Consider Peter whom Jesus specifically picked out to be an apostle.  Peter was excitable, strong willed, emotional, brazen, bold, and courageous.  But Jesus knew that Satan wanted to sift Peter like wheat.  The Devil had inside knowledge (as he does with all of us) that the outwardly strong Peter had a weakness of the heart.  Jesus prayed for the battle ahead, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.” Lk.22:32.

Based on Peter’s own rash statement Jesus predicted he would fall away.  Peter subsequently became filled with pride, cussing, lying, and denying Jesus Christ. Sound like anyone you know?

Then the most important moment in Peter’s life occurred.  “…Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Lk.22:60-62.

The Look from Jesus was a monumental shift for Peter.  Peter, who had wept so bitterly, would later write in 2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  He was once a rebel but now a servant.  What was once lost was now found in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

The message of the cross cuts through the riff-raff and looks right into the heart of your soul. Jesus died to address your heart problem. God has always been interested in your heart.  1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Breathtaking and pivotal is The Look from Jesus Christ.

He is Looking at you through the Gospel message of Saving Grace. His love probes and stirs your heart.  Just as Noah found “favor in the eyes of God” so can you. You may feel far from help but salvation is only a Look away.  Will today be the life-changing moment for you?

Bruce

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January 12, 2013

The Putt of Thankfulness

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 6:31 am

image001Golf is a great sport.

This is especially true with real golf characters like my Uncle Allen and Clarence, and my dad (Erwin).  They loved the game and played golf with a special flare but at the same time didn’t take the game too seriously.  They found something special in golf like Arnold Palmer who said, “What other people may find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive.” My dad had some training but like all great duffers you relearn the trade. There’s no cynicism or excuses in golf.  You’ll find more champions and specialists in golf than in any sport known to all humanity.

Just ask your friendly golf companion.

Clarence and Allen had unorthodox swings.  Allen had this weird crouch; on his back-swing would rise to his toes and on the down-swing would hunker down to his knees.  Clarence would stand addressing his ball (maddeningly too long) and tilt his head just before teeing off. My dad was more suave, swinging so easily and fluidly that you had visions of a dashing Brit who would say afterwards, “fabulous my dear chaps don’t you think?”  All of which made for great entertainment and wonderful moments.  One particular moment stands out.

The drama unfolded around a par 5 dog-leg to the right.  The green was large undulating lazily towards a small pond positioned to the left on your approach.  The day was gorgeous- blue sky, sunny, a touch of breeze coming from Hilton Head Island.  No mosquitoes or big Savannah gnats to fend off.  This was one of those picture perfect days all golfers dream about.  So, here we were standing on the green patiently waiting for Clarence to putt in his birdie.

We all had putted so he could have his moment in the sun.  A birdie for a seasoned duffer was monumental and would provide future swash-buckling tales.

The ball was just 3 inches away from the cup.  Clarence approached and addressed the ball.  Crickets chirped, birds sung, a sprinkler chattered in the background, a slight breeze caused leaves to ramble across the green; a prop engine airplane hummed faintly over-head, somewhere an old Grandfather clock stroked, and we all breathlessly waited.

Finally, he putts.

The ball rings the lip of the cup.  He missed!  Reacting to this egregious crime Clarence leaped in the air and shouted “shhhh…oot!”  He did this with such force that his upper false teeth sailed out of his mouth, tumbling in slow-motion through the air and miraculously landing right beside the cup and golf ball.  In the background dad stated dramatically, “Clarence, don’t let this game eat you up.”

Thanksgiving brings together family, friends, and church-family.  Use this time to be even more thankful for family, the making of new memories, reflecting on those who have passed on and who have left such a mark on your life.  Clarence and my dad are no longer living. I thank God for those special Saturday’s playing golf, walking down the fairway, laughing, enjoying the day with my family- a cast (that is still growing) of very unusual yet much beloved characters.

Be thankful and remember what truly matters.

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chron.29:14.

Curtis Bruce Kessler

We Can Make It!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 6:26 am

light under waterWe were on a journey of discovery and adventure.

The woods behind my Uncle William’s house provided the opportunity for my cousin Joan and me. We were preteen so who wanted to play in the confines of a yard when you could escape into the universe of a forest? The possibilities were endless.  So, we dashed here and there, waded through South Georgia’s dark tea colored streams, excitedly looking under rocks to see what creatures existed below, laughing, and scouting for the next wonder waiting around the bend.

Suddenly, we stood looking over a ravine.

The water dropped right before us. We eased to the edge and peered down marveling at the sight below. The waterfall was spectacular. How was this possible we wondered? Yet, although deep the ravine was not too wide. We could imagine that with real effort someone could take a running jump and safely land on the other side. I wondered nervously if this was an optical illusion.

Then, without warning, Joan grabbed my hand and said with a knowing confident smile “We can make it!” I had my doubts but amazingly what came out of my mouth was “Ok, if you say so.”

Holding hands and with zealous determination we took off running and jumped.

We missed-judged the distance and fell. Falling but somehow still holding hands I turned to Joan, “I thought you said we can make it?” No comment, just her knowing confident smile. Down we went. Seconds later we hit the water. I remember plunging deep then darkness eagerly surrounded me. I could barely see the light above but that refracted ray was enough to give me direction and purpose. Air bubbles floated all around me as I swam valiantly towards the light.

I dared not look back into the dark abyss. The light was getting brighter and brighter. I was almost there. I intuited that my cousin was about to do the same. Seconds later I broke through to the surface. Then I woke up. After all these years this dream is one that I remember most and one which has come to mean something very special. Here is the reason.

Our life-journey in Jesus Christ is one of discovery and true adventure. We experience surprises, mysteries, treasures, as well as difficulties and trouble. Like my dream we often come to a crossroad or ravine in life that throws us in a difficult situation. We experience a thrill of leaping over the problem or being literally thrown into deep water. At this point we cry out like David, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.”

Like my dream darkness seeks to confuse and overwhelm us. The abyss pulls us in a direction that will lead to greater depths of hopelessness. In these moments of real pressure and despair we thankfully have the light of Jesus as a beacon to hone in on to rise to safety. We dare not look back into the abyss. So we look up to the cross and rise in faith. “The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?”

You see, after all is said and done; we can make it through anything in life. Why? Jesus gives us the power and victory. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37.

Although a dream, I will be forever grateful for my dear cousin Joan as she with a courageous knowing confident smile held my hand to say “We can make it!” By the grace of God we all can and will.

Curtis Bruce Kessler

The Meaning of Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 6:07 am

DSCF2066Would you consider the death of a human being a gift?  Our hearts are quickened when we hear of a father defending his child and paying the ultimate price, death.  We are sometimes confronted with tragedy as in Newtown, Connecticut where administrators and teachers died heroically to save their precious little children from a madman. We are moved beyond words.

Death has a way of getting our attention and striking the chords of our heart.

Amazingly, Christmas is about life, about the birth of a child, all the goodness of humanity, but this day is also about a Savior, Christ the Lord, about sacrificial love, about redeeming us from our sins, and grace.  The very core of humanity is impacted.

The loss of a loved drives this point home as no other.

Christmas Eve night a few years back as I watched my dad pass away I had noticed along the hallways of the Hospice Center the glow of the Christmas tree, lights dancing off the silver glitter, gifts beautifully wrapped, yet, what mattered was love.  Divine love soothes us when nothing else will, inspires us to care and sacrifice for others, offers hope beyond loss and tragedy- life and family, life and sacrifice, life and love, life and grace, life and death.

Christmas is a celebration; life and family, life and love, life and sacrifice, life and death, life and the gift of grace.

The birth and death of Christ gets our attention. We are loved. Our hearts are struck. We are changed forever. We are filled with a joy that passes all understanding.

What a gift.

Curtis Bruce Kessler

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