"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." ~Galatians 3:13 - 14 (NIV)
What do you think of when you hear the word "curse?" For me, as an athlete, I can't help but think of the Curse of the Bambino, the 86-year drought of the Red Sox not winning a World Series. I remember the 2004 American League Championship series between the Red Sox and the Yankees and the famous bloody sock of Curt Schilling. The man giving it his all, sacrificing his body for his team to lead them to an eventual World Series title! It's all everyone in Red Sox nation could talk about. The curse had been lifted, what a relief!
At different moments in our lives we all feel as though we have our own personal curses. We didn't get that lucky break. We didn't get that promotion we had been working so hard for. We didn't get that good news we've been waiting to hear for some time. Whatever it is for you personally, I think we can all think of a time when we felt as though we were cursed. However, we don't have to worry because Christ saved us from truly being cursed when He took the curse of the world on Himself. No matter how we feel at certain times in this life, we aren't actually cursed because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for us upon The Cross so that we may have eternal life in heaven with Him!
We read in Galatians 3:13 - 14 that Christ redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us and that by faith we may receive the promise of the Spirit. I remember this realization hitting me like a ton of bricks for the first time while sitting in Pastor Bob's office in July of 2013. This is when I decided to put all of my faith in Jesus and accept Him as my Savior. All of my sins had been forgiven, all of my transgressions, all of the things that I had come to believe about myself, all of the abuse. Lifted! I was no longer cursed! All because of Jesus and the sacrifice He paid for me, putting Himself upon The Cross for all of us! Just thinking about it I still feel the weight lifting off of my shoulders almost 7 years later! ~written by Kevin Shepley
One of my cornerstone life verses is Habakkuk 3:17 - 19 (NIV):
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen or cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on to the heights."
Whenever I have been faced with fears from financial folly or confused by constant concerns or troubled through turmoil; these verses from the book of Habakkuk have provided a soothing balm to my desperate and depleted soul. It reminds me to take my focus off the plights at hand and encourages me to redirect my vision toward His mighty hands.
I want to challenge each of you to take these verses today or at some point this week and make it your own. Personalize them to make it relevant to what you're experiencing right now. I am going to share mine with you, not to draw any type of attention to my situation (that is absolutely not my intent), but just to share the commonality that each and every one of us may currently be plagued by a plethora of problems that weigh heavy on our hearts. Here is mine: Though my husband has a terrible infected rash on his hands and I just got furloughed from my job, though my rattling car is on its last leg and I cannot afford a car payment, though my dryer died this week and the fridge is on the fritz, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on to the heights.
I find this exercise in personalizing these verses so cathartic as I pour out what is heavy on my heart and cast it at the Savior's feet while boldly claiming the "Yet I" statements.
This past Christmas was the first time my family on my Mom's side was not able to celebrate Christmas together. My Aunt and Uncle's home was in the middle of a major renovation and they simply could not host the whole family together, so we met up just to exchange one family's gifts for the others. My Aunt, who thrives on shopping, had one simple theme this year and though it was simpler than her usual escapades for the holidays, it was by far the most successful. To hear the simple shrills as each one in my family opened their small boxed gift revealing a colorful hot/cold drinking thermos would seem quite bizarre to most but inside this box wasn't just a water jug...it was a YETI! The cream of the crop of drinking tumblers and probably the most favorite gift of the season (except for the CD my son composed from old 8 mm film of my Mom and Dad's; that does take the cake!) But everyone and I mean EVERYONE was beyond thrilled with their personal, colorful YETI.
And you are wondering why I am randomly telling you this in the midst of this little devotional...Well, as I was on a walk the other night, thinking about writing this devotional and pondering how these verses from Habakkuk so easily apply to each of us through this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, I also was reflecting on the powerful "Yet I" statement in the middle of these verses. It is the pivotal part of the verse; the claim that makes the difference. As I walked along through town, I kept repeating the phrase; Yet I, Yet I and realized that it reminded me of my YETI! And I laughed out loud, remembering what joy each member of my family got from their simple gift of the YETI; how nice and cold and refreshing it keeps ice water or how very hot it keeps a cup of coffee or tea, and it dawned on me the word...YETI is like "Yet I." Just as the YETI was the favorite gift of our Christmas celebration and brought each of us such simple joy, the "Yet I" is my favorite part of this verse and also brings such simple joy as I declare it. Because I have a choice; to wallow in the miry clay of life and its present circumstances or to lift up my eyes to the hills, remembering where my help comes from (read Psalm 121) and rise up as a follower of Jesus declaring, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! Yet I will be joyful in God my Savior, Yet I will draw my strength from the Sovereign Lord, Yet I will have feet like the deer, Yet I will go on to the heights!
So as I drink ice cold refreshing water from my YETI, I am going to now continually be reminded that my soul is refreshed from the Living Water that Jesus supplies as I claim the "Yet I" declarations from Habakkuk 3 and I pray that your soul is refreshed claiming the "Yet I" declarations in your life also.
Romans 15:13, "May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
Blessings and prayers for you, my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ! ~written by Chelle Hart
"I like Easton Baptist Church because Pastor Bob and
his sermons are down to earth. He doesn't use big
words to sound superior toward others, and he is
always willing to lend an ear. Everyone is
welcoming, kind, and understanding at EBC."
"EBC gives me the feel of a family atmosphere.
Whether it's sticking around after service for
conversations with others, or having deep
discussions during Sunday School classes,
you really get the sense of care and respect
from the church family. In addition,
Pastor Bob has great messages and is
always around to talk and support."
~Bobby (young adult)
"I love everything about EBC! Playing and having
fun with other kids, especially Vacation Bible
School and the Easter Egg Hunt."