The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

August 22, 2017

Freedom and Liberty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 3:03 am
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In 1730 my relatives lived under the shadow of the majestic mountains surrounding Salzburg, Austria.  Under great persecution at that time by the Catholic church for their religious beliefs they heard of a new world, a place to worship freely, a place to be free of the burden of brutality and  oppression.

So they acted.

Leaving behind their homeland, leaving the splendid hills decorated with yellow and blue wild flowers, imposing yet beautiful mountains, streams of pure water, tall majestic pines, and villages.

They would leave all this behind.

My wife and I were privileged to travel to Salzburg recently.  Walked down the same roads my early descendants traveled. I viewed the same amazing hills and mountains they woke up to every morning and that has captured the hearts of many in the movie/musical The Sound of Music. 

I had to ask myself what is the price of freedom?  What is life worth when you are given an opportunity to live?  I wondered to myself, how daunting the task must have been to leave behind familiar things!  How daunting and oh my the cost of giving up everything in order to gain freedom based on a message that promised genuine liberty!

Yet, based on that glorious message they acted.

I was deeply moved to reflect on the liberty and the religious freedom I enjoy today.  I had to ask myself what cost have I had to endure for this privilege?   What price have I paid to gain this freedom?  What would I be willing to give up? Everything that is familiar to me?  Would I be willing to leave behind the comforts of home? How valuable is freedom to me?  How valuable is truth to me?

Yet, above all, this is precisely the struggle and cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The glorious message of the cross is that “…God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” Romans 5:8-9.  Just as importantly Jesus says “If anyone desires to come to me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24,26.

Freedom and life is the Gospel message.  But.

How far are you willing to go to accept this gift? Your life? Your home? Your comfort zone?

Am i really prepared to act and take up His cross and follow Him? Through oceans, meadows, mountains, countries, villages, states, counties, leaving behind one life to gain Christ?

Are you?


July 29, 2015

In the Blink of an Eye

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 3:00 am
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“The morning was turning out to be a real special day for hunting. The previous day the veteran (Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class) had canvased the area and found good evidence of deer.   He stood taking in the sight before him. The gentle wave of tall Savannah pines caressed by the coastal breeze, the morning sun causing the Georgia morning dew to sparkle like diamonds, and splendid oaks decorated by moss dangling like ornaments on a Christmas tree.   Indeed, a day of days.

He glanced over at the teenager. Why he had established a unique relationship with this skinny troubled youngster was beyond him. Yet, he had felt something. Intuitively he understood that the teen needed help and well, that was that. After an internal debate the veteran had given the teenager his granddad’s double-barrel shotgun to use for this hunt. For self-preservation and for general training he went through all the safety features he could recall.

One thing- the shotgun had a tricky trigger and no safety.

He had impressed upon the boy the proper position of the trigger finger as well as pointing the gun towards the ground at all times. They closed in on the area where he had scouted the day before. The teenager followed close behind. He turned to motion to the teen.


The young teen stood dazed and confused. Horror and shock took over. Smoke billowed from both barrels of the shotgun. The shot echoed majestically through the still forest. He dared not look up. The one person whom he looked up to more than anyone had surely taken the full brunt of the blast.

In the blink of an eye everything changed.

What was a great day was now a real tragedy. He had to look. But he didn’t see the twisted bloodied body of his friend. There standing before him was the veteran alive and well, with hands on hips, with eyes that were both furious and merciful. No words were spoken. The stare was more than enough. Without a word they walked out of the forest and went to eat breakfast.”

I recall this day many times. I was the teenager and my cousin Noel was the veteran (active duty rank was Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class and his Army Reserve rank was Buck Sergeant).   More times than not tragedy is the outcome of such hunting accidents. In the blink of an eye life can turn. That day God’s providence offered the gift of life. Such a gift makes you appreciate every ounce of every day.

Here is something to consider. One day, in the blink of an eye all life will take a turn. Notice in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

In less time it takes you to blink is how quickly your life will change.

In that climatic instant you will be resurrected. Thus the writer describes this fantastic moment in verse 54, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” The statement in verse 57 is critical and cannot be overlooked. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This moment of being raised imperishable will only come through Jesus Christ.

One day, in the blink of an eye your life will turn, you will be changed. That day will be final. There will be no second chance. You will be raised imperishable or perishable. Are you prepared?


April 24, 2013

I Love You with All My Son

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


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.


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

February 24, 2012

It Might Save Your Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 6:20 pm
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I have been reading with great sadness the news reports these past few weeks of people being ejected from their vehicle after a crash.  One driver has died recently and another driver is clinging to life. The police press report shared by Joel Pruett in the Norman Transcript 2/24/2012 noted that this was the second major accident in which a driver was ejected for not wearing a seat belt. The quote that caught my eye stated “Take a few seconds; put on your seatbelt. It just might save your life.”  Oh how this statement hits home!  I wonder, what is the value I place on life with the precious seconds I’ve been granted?

Many times we just do things off the cuff.  Without any real reason or thought we just act and never contemplate the likelihood of disaster that is waiting around the corner.  Life is that precarious and indeed life is that precious.  How easy it is to forget that the little details in our lives has as much to do with cause and effect as the major decisions we place so much attention to.  It’s the little things that count someone once said.  But, truly, those little details (those little things) are absolutely critical.

“It might save your life” is a truism. But, this is a true cautionary statement about life. Yes, putting on your seatbelt may indeed save your life but there is no such thing as a guarantee. No one can say that by putting on your seatbelt your life and survival is a certainty.  This is why every second counts. The seconds you take in putting on your seatbelt, the seconds you take in telling someone you love them, the seconds you take to hug your dad or mom, the seconds you take to praise your children, the seconds you take to hold someone’s hand in prayer, or the seconds it takes to simply say please forgive me are seconds that life is made of.

You see, this is not about the seatbelt per se but is and always will be about those precious seconds, those seconds that many of us wish we could have back.

Man in serious condition after crash


October 7, 2011

“The Strange Case of the Beetle” An Unaccountable Happening

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:53 pm
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“It was chance meeting you here.”  We’ve all experienced the feeling.  You know- fate verses coincidence, destiny verses fortune, or providence verses happen-chance. Merriam Webster has a darling definition of chance: “The assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings.”  Old Webster took the words right out of my mouth.  I dig the “unaccountable happenings” because, as you know, I’ve experienced many unusual and bizarre moments.  But “assumed impersonal purposeless determiner” called chance?  I just can’t see it.  Here is a real story of ‘unaccountable happenings’ called The Strange Case of the Beetle.   You decide whether it was chance, providence or perhaps both?

“I was 18 and boy was I pumped.  My first car!  Cool as grits baby.  Life couldn’t get any better than this.  Dad had decided to help me get into a new, well, actually, used vehicle.  I had graduated from High School (much to his amazement I’m sure) and found a decent job, so, here we were.  The day had been spent searching all over Savannah, GA stopping by every conceivable car lot.  I was about ready to give up when we came upon a lot that had this really groovy 1969 VW Beetle.  It was nifty yellow with a sweet custom designed shift knob and an even sweeter stereo radio with super-sweet speakers!  She was, shall I say, sweet.  Nothing else was as interesting to me at the time as a great sound system and being able to peel out in first gear, out-of-site and sound of course from dad.  She purred so sweet- for about three months, then, little things started to unravel and go wrong.  The peel was coming off the lemon, quick.

The first thing that needed repair was the exhaust system.  If you’ve ever tried to work on a foreign vehicle especially a VW then you will remember that the engine sits in the back and getting to the exhaust system was extra difficult.  Before long, I was ready to blow a gasket, literally.  One cold rainy aggravating afternoon I was so tired and overwhelmed that dad came out and gave me a huge hug.  Said, I needed it.  I did!  Finally, I accomplished that irritating task.  At the same time this was going on there was a new rage called CB Radio.  I wanted to join my buddies and decided to put one in my car. So, one sunny afternoon, I decided where I was going to position the radio inside my car and drilled two very nice holes. No problem, right? Wrong! I drilled right into the gas tank.  I forgot that the gas tank was positioned in the front! Gas spewed every where!  I’m surprised I didn’t go up in flames.  I finally repaired that monumental mess but could never get the gas smell out of the car. Instead of smelling sweet she smelt like gassy rags placed behind the seat.  Well, at least it was tolerable. Until…

Until the steering stabilizer arm went out.  Doesn’t sound all that bad?  Imagine driving your car and at some point the road starts to curve to the right. You slowly turn the steering wheel to the right and when the turn is complete you straighten out the car and move on.  But, in a VW with a bad stabilizing arm, as you turn and bank to the right your entire front section begins to shimmy and shake violently!  Trust me on this.  I repaired that arm twice but nothing seemed to work. Every time I banked to the right she shook and shimmied.  It hurt my pride terribly.  In fact, at that time in my life, I enjoyed Disco and periodically went dancing.  Yes, I had my own platform shoes among other things.  But, here’s the deal. There was this absolutely gorgeous girl I wanted to really impress.  So, I schemed and devised a route plan that would avoid making sweeping turns to the right.  Yes, I was a genius! I was the Albert Einstein of Disco. With my mathematical plans in place I set out happily on the date.  From the beginning we hit it off. Man, the music was groovin, conversation alluring, windows down, hair flying in the wind, and laughter filled the car.  Yes, we were living the dream until the car banked to the right.  I had been so excited about my date that I forgot the plan!  We were in a major right curve heading onto the Interstate. The whole car began to shake violently.  No wonder Einstein’s hair was so frizzled. My date became alarmed and cried out “What’s wrong with your car!  Are we going to die?” I did.  I died of total embrassement.  The next day I sold the VW Beetle.

A few months later I began to regain my pride back and forgot all about that horrible lemony evil Beetle.  I began to date another girl from Savannah and life was enjoyable once again.  Several weeks into our relationship she calls me one night very excited announcing,

“Hey, I just purchased a car!” 

“Great, what kind of car?”

“A VW!  It’s yellow.”

Something stirred in my belly. “Uh, a yellow VW?”

“It’s a Beetle!”

I thought of Einstein.

“So, a VW Beetle.  Are you sure?”

“What do you mean? Sure I’m sure.  I can see that it is yellow, a VW, a Beetle, I’m not an idiot.”

Hmmm, I decided silence was golden at this point.

“I’m coming over so you can see it.”

Before I could answer she hung up.  I had that déjà vu nightmarish feeling but put it aside and waited for her to arrive.  Not long she pulled in. I went out to see her “new car” and, well, there was that yellow lemon gas smelling VW Beetle parked in my driveway.  Here was the Beetle alive and kicking.  I could sense the thing grinning with malice intent. I wanted it dead. The image running through my mind was watching it sail off a cliff.  Guess I should have dated a different girl.

Ok friends; was this a case of chance, providence or both? I believe God was working mightily hard to get my attention. What say you? 

Solomon said this in Eccl.9:11, “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”  Amazingly we have an additional element to life as conveyed by Paul in Ro.8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Both of these passages reveal an important truth about life, providence, and chance.  You see everyone is on a journey called life.  In this life everyone is affected by time and chance.  The really good news is that God uses both time and chance to work providentially.  Sometimes we feel absolutely certain that God’s hand was involved other times we are less than certain.  That is just fine because we can always be assured that God is never uncertain nor is He unaware of coincidences or unaccountable happenings.  Any moment, time, or chance is used or not used by God.  He alone knows when to get our attention and what is essential. Such is our wonderful life.

Bruce Kessler, pastor South Canadian Valley Church of Christ, Norman, OK

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