The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

April 24, 2013

I Love You with All My Son

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 3:46 am
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son

The mother tucked her son in for the night.  Their nighttime routine was as regular as clock work or so the mom thought.  Together they would say their bedtime prayer.  Mom would be first then her son would follow.  She was always eager to hear his prayer.  His prayer was always new and refreshing.  She would teasingly pinch his toe and then his nose.  His smile would brighten her heart and instantly life would be as right as rain. She would always say, “Son, I love you with all my heart.”  With that pronouncement their nightly routine would end with a huge hug, you know, one of those hugs we all need and treasure.

Then one night this routine was shattered in a most spectacular way.

The night began routinely enough.  The mother tucked in her son; they prayed, she pinched his toes and nose and then he gave her his world winning smile. Yet when she was about to say, “Son, I love you with all my heart” he reached up with his hand to silence her.  Time stopped.  Routine was shattered.  His smile was broader than ever before and his eyes, oh his eyes, radiated a light so full of innocence that she felt as if she were caught up in a massive black-hole pulling her into a world of pure love. She was enraptured. Then gesturing to his entire possession of toys said, “Mom, I love YOU with all my toys.”

The chords of her heart were stroked and in that single moment of clarity she knew what genuine love must be like in Heaven.

The story that I have revealed is true. A wonderful moment of love shared between mother and son.  Love shakes us, molds us, connects us, shapes us, motivates us, challenges us, moves us, strengthens us, confounds us, and dares us.  These precious love moments are but a reflection of a bigger purpose and spiritual force.  They serve as windows begging our attention to perceive the true source of genuine love. From that pure source love springs and never runs dry, is limitless in mercy, looks beyond faults, strikes the chords of our heart, and is always true.

God is love.

The mother’s son conveyed a type of love we yearn for every day; to love one another with the entirety of who we are and all that we have. Sadly, we miss the mark here. But, this is exactly the love God demonstrated so perfectly in the life and death of His Son Jesus ChristRomans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 4:9 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

You may have failed in so many ways.  You may have lost countless opportunities to love.  Perhaps all you’ve done lately is be a negative, critical, unforgiving, and hateful person.

Today, God says to you and to a needy world, “I Love You with All My Son!”

The love of Christ is as powerful as any black-hole.  His love is an event that is life-changing. This dynamic love is tugging on your heart every day. The question is will you allow your heart to be pulled in and be embraced by His Amazing Grace?  Only then will you be able to experience and share a love “that passes all understanding.”

Bruce

Hidden in the Shadows

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 2:59 am
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shadows

Late at night as the wind howls outside my window and the moon casts bizarre images on the bedroom walls, I detect furtive movement out of the corner of my eye.  Each time I try to focus on the movement the image mockingly disappears into the shadows.  I was a young boy at the time and I imagined something terrible was hidden in those shadows. Night terrors were what my dad called them but I thought differently.

One night my dad rented a room at a spooky looking hotel.  We had traveled a long way from Houston, TX headed home to Rincon, GA so dad was exhausted and needed rest.  All I wanted was to get to that wonderful place called home and more to the point I sensed or rather imagined that there was something creepy about the motel. I couldn’t come up with any legitimate reason why we shouldn’t spend the night.  How could a young boy explain to his dad a fear that sounded crazy and far-fetched? I hid under the covers praying that my fears were unwarranted. However, the light emanating from the bathroom suggested otherwise.  The light appeared strange; rather than being warm and natural, the tone had an unnatural quality purposely concealing a clandestine operation.

Sleep eluded me.

Soon after dad was fast asleep I sensed a presence next to my side of the bed.  I dared not take a look. I waited. My heart pounded in my chest.  For what seemed like an eternity nothing happened then I felt ice-cold boney hands ease under my body.  The clandestine operation revealed!  I knew without a doubt that my life depended on crying out.  With all my strength “Dad!” then within seconds his loving arms were embracing me, protecting me, and pulling me to safety.

The shadows retreated.

There are powerful events that we experience in childhood that affect us both mentally and spiritually. Divorce is one of those jarring events.  I don’t believe parents are neither fully aware of the drama of divorce nor fully conscious of the war that rages within the minds of innocent children.  Children are left with unanswered questions.  What was once a home (even a fractured one) is instantly gone.  We feel abandoned.  We have difficulty expressing our bewilderment and pain.

You can be sure that whatever the cause for divorce, children are at risk!

Satan lurks to use these events as opportunities to create as much chaos as possible.  This is one reason why Jesus warned, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10.  Satan wants to debase all that is good and innocent. There are many children of divorce parents who are hurting; a deep ache exists, a forever scar.  Be mindful of the reality of this even in cases where the divorce was legitimate. Many are now adults who are still haunted by memories hidden in the shadows of the past.

One night long ago my dad embraced me and pulled me to safety.  He was there for me. He was my hero. Yet, my dad did something even better. He taught me that God was the only one able to heal my broken heart, to give me peace over troubled waters, to give me power over fear, and to empower me to live a life of meaning and purpose.  Are you hurting?  God will heal you.  What is hidden in the shadows that have you in the grips of fear and anxiety? God is here for you. His Grace will enable you to experience a victorious life!

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.

Bruce

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

May 1, 2012

Pot Pie

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:40 pm
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I was about ten years old when my dad taught me how to cook and fend for myself during the summer days I was out of school. He had been raising me on his own for several years by that time. I learned how to cook spaghetti and ravioli real well.

Special thanks to Chef Boyardee.

I also learned how to fry eggs and bacon. Sometimes I liked to fry some ham and make a ham sandwich with mustard on toast. Dad was superb at cooking a roast but that was way too complicated for me at the time. For some reason dad went hog wild over those pre-fabricated pot pies. Two to three times a week he threw them in the oven. I despised those things. They were weird tasting plus I believed something lived in them that was nasty and mean. A pot pie night was the worse. The vision I had during those nights was chunking the pot pie in the air and blasting it to bits with dad’s shotgun.

Boom!

The annihilation of all pot pies had begun. I could even visualize the robot from Lost in Space wiggling his tiny mechanical arms in panic shouting, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!” To this day I simply cannot bring myself to eat a pot pie. Something comes over me.

A pot pie in and of itself is an innocent creation. There was no hidden agenda behind the designers. This wasn’t a cruel joke perpetrated by goblins. This wasn’t cooked up by a secret Government organization deep in the mountains of Colorado to turn people into zombies. This wasn’t the recipe of a legion of grinning demons. The real fact is a pot pie was brought together with the best intentions and nobility of human ingenuity. Yet, for me, even the best intentions are sometimes ill advised and untimely.

The scriptures say that everything God created was good. This is true until man decides to tinker with it. There are a few of God’s marvelous creation in the world of cooking that mankind has simply fouled up. Take liver for instance. Who was the first deranged person to decide to thrust that foul meat on a grill or on a frying pan? My poor dear stepmom was determined to teach me to eat that fiendish organ. She failed miserably. Who was the mad genius to decide that chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts and cappuccino would be a delightful desert? It tastes like turpentine for goodness sake!

Here’s the thing. No matter how much I distaste these foods I should always be thankful. Someone out there loves the very foods I despise.

We live in this fantastic world where God had granted us the privilege to develop and eat foods in a variety of ways. We all may have different tastes but all of us are blessed. Listen, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17)

Amen!

Are you thankful? Do you praise God only when your belly is filled? Does food control you? “For God’s kingdom does not consist of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit.” (Ro.14:17). Only when you taste the Bread of Life (Jesus Christ) from above will you ever be truly satisfied and have the endurance to run the race to the end. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:27).

Yours, Bruce

April 5, 2012

Every Second Counts

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 5:46 pm
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The elderly women are excited about the planned lunch party.  All their church friends will be there.  Good food, good companions, along with some great conversations; what more could a person ask for?

Eagerly they pile in their car and head strait way to the restaurant.  On the trip over they are all just having the best time in the world- laughing, singing, and teasing.  All are celebrating and enjoying the golden years of their life.  Life couldn’t be better.

The restaurant is now just around the corner.  You could smell the wonderful food from this point.  Pulling into the left turning lane they wait with anticipation as two tractor trailers pass by.  Delighted they turn to cross the highway.

Their true story ends in tragedy. They pull right in the path of an on-coming vehicle.  Within seconds two of the women died. One was ejected from the vehicle and the other received massive head injuries.  The other passengers suffered devastating injuries. Even more heart-breaking was the fact that no one had their seat-belts on.What would have taken just a few seconds to click was disregarded or through the excitement was put off.

I want you to imagine with me for a moment.  Instead of the ‘elderly women’ I want you to pretend that this is your family getting ready for a fast trip to the restaurant.  Yes, a fun filled glorious day out with the family.  This occasion is even more special because time is short, life is busy, and these are the quality times we live for.  We are all in the car now; everyone is giggling, laughing, and singing all the lame songs we always love to sing.  Excited and filled with anticipation we make the turn to cross the highway to enter the parking lot of our favorite restaurant.

BANG!

Unbelievably, as time moves in slow-motion, we remember too late that our seatbelts are not on and that the children are not properly fastened. Oh, how we wish we could have those precious seconds back! Disaster, tragedy ensues. We failed to fully protect our family.

True, having your seatbelt on carries no guarantee that you will survive every wreck.  You won’t find that kind of assurance anywhere.  What we do have however are hard facts, real evidence, and common sense.  Seatbelts do save.  What will you do for your family, for your friends, or for yourself?  Every second reveals the intent of your heart. 

Let’s apply this spiritually.

These Biblical facts cry out for our attention:

a. We will all die and then face the judgment. Hebrew 9:27

b. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:24

c. Christ is the only name by which we can be saved. Acts 4:12

d. We must take care of every living moment and live wisely.  Ephesians 5:15-16

e. We must obey the laws of the Government. Romans 13:1-2

f. Christ is the only one that offers complete assurance. 1 John 5:13

g. Through baptism we put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

Putting on Christ is like the seatbelt- every second reveals the intentions of your heart. Christ is our seatbelt of security and full assurance.  In our spiritual journey we will be facing demonic assaults and dangers from every angle.  Are you fastened securely in His Grace or are you driving down that highway of life without protection?  What will you do for your family, for your friends, or for yourself?  Have you put on Christ? Every second counts.

Humbly, Bruce

July 24, 2010

Love Moments

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 7:41 pm
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When our daughter had been just under two years old she and I were coming home from a revival. It was late. She was completely worn out and her head bobbed up and down as she fought to stay awake. Up and down went her head. As sleep would almost overtake her she would bob her head up quickly to fight it. Up and down. It was a battle and I began to be concerned that her precious head and neck would be seriously injured. Finally out of near panic I reached out to hold her steady and almost instantly she fell fast asleep with her head resting in the palm of my hand. I really don’t know how long I held her in that position. To be honest I really didn’t care. I knew that this was a moment never to be forgotten. I knew God’s love was speaking to my heart.

Love moments. You know what I mean, right? I’m talking about those golden moments when pure love shines through the fog of life. When love paints such a beautiful picture so breathtaking that we are moved beyond words and inexpressible joy overwhelms us. I’m talking about that moment when the pure essence of divine love is revealed so perfectly that we are changed forever. When was the last time you lived such a love moment?

Now think. Jesus impacted the world. True, yes? How? Love! In fact, the very reason for His sacrifice on the cross is so you and I can experience the greatest love moment of all time.

Gal 2:20 “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins.”

Every believer and really every one of us has the potential to demonstrate His amazing love as others come in contact with our lives. But here is the kicker. Through that love moment we can help them experience something truly remarkable. Every breath and every minute is an opportunity for a love moment.

Eph. 5:2 “Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God.”

Finally, you and I need to know that God’s desire is for every person to experience His love. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

When was the last time you experienced a love moment either with your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, or your church family? What about with God or with Jesus? Was that love moment life changing? Are you living or just going through the motions day by day?

In Love,
Bruce Kessler, elder

January 27, 2010

JAWS “Study 1”

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 10:41 pm
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JAWS
Judgment, Authority, Wholeness, and Salvation
(Words to Build a Life On)
Matthew 7-8:34

Crocodiles can have between 3000-5000 lbs of biting force. In Matthew 7-8 we find Jesus concluding the Sermon on the Mount delivering Words that are powerful, weighty, and forceful. The bite here will either be inspirational or intolerable.

Jesus touches on a variety of important issues that pertain to judgment, authority, wholeness, and Salvation. You will find these important truths throughout the study of Matthew 7-8, so, please carefully read the passage under consideration then consider my notes and add your comments if you would like.

Study 1

1. Verses 1-5 Self-Judgment (self-examination) is a Daily Decision:

a. Jesus doesn’t say NOT to judge for we all must. Notice he says,”…with what judgment you judge…”
b. Jesus reveals a problem and sets a standard.
c. We must first judge our own hearts:

i. John C. Maxwell in his outstanding book “Winning with People” would call this the “Mirror Principle”.
ii. He states the principle this way, “The first person we must examine is ourselves.”
iii. Maxwell further states, “The question I must ask myself: Have I examined myself and taken responsibility for who I am?” pg10.

1. He continues by adding this, “People unaware of who they are and what they do often damage their relationships with others. The way to change that is to look in the mirror. It’s the same thing all of us must do.”pg.13.
2. I believe John C. Maxwell understands well the fundamental message Jesus teaches here.

d. The purpose behind self-judgment?

i. So we can better serve, help others, and build relationships.

1. We must use this form of daily introspection to serve & help others effectively.
2. Plank (beam) in your eye= 2 x 4
3. Speck of dust in the eye of another.

i. Some people think Jesus never used humor.
ii. Think of how completely idiotic it would be to walk around with a two-by-four protruding out of your eye while attempting to help others. I can just imagine one of the Three Stooges bumbling and stumbling poking people while causing great havoc. It would be comic as well as ridiculous for sure but the thing is Jesus says we’ve all tried it! It would all be funny if not for the implications.

e. This behavior shows an unwillingness to confess and deal with our own sin problems thus we become blinded and so become unable to see clearly how to help others. In this state we are ineffective or at best weakened.
f. Truth is we use different standards of judgment on others but one standard for us.
g. We are more tolerant of our sins than the sins of others. Our sins are sometimes more clear to others than ourselves. Remember 2 Sam.2 David’s reaction to Nathan?
h. This is also about being judgmental. We tend to try to judge intent and not the behavior or fruit of the person as Jesus will later show.

3. Be careful the kind of judgment you administer.

a.. Rabbis- two measures. One was justice and the other mercy. Which one would you want?

4. Judgment begins within. Look carefully into the mirror every day and answer this question,

“Have I examined myself and taken responsibility for who I am?”

a. Be honest. Jesus is helping us remove any obstacles that will hinder our ability to judge fairly, clearly, and properly.

4. Too much is at stake so why continue to judge in any other way other than what Jesus instructs here?

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