Col 1:3-5  “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;”

We often talk about praying for each other and praying for our churches, but when was the last time we really stopped to give thanks for the faithful in Christ? When was the last time we stopped to give thanks to our Lord Jesus for revealing himself in and sanctifying those called to His service? When we pray for our brothers and sisters, whether as individuals or as a collective body, we need to take the time to be truly thankful to God for them, for their encouragement to us, and most especially for their devotion to Him.

It is easy to pray and give thanks for those we know, love, and worship with. How often do we remember those whose faith in Christ and love for the saints we have only heard about? While we may occasionally remember to pray for God’s people in other areas, is it a regular part of our prayer life? Being able to write and share the love of God with people on our church website has been a great blessing to me: it has also given me a new appreciation for the truth that God has people everywhere.

Since beginning the web page, children of the living God from approximately 40 different countries have visited; some only sporadically and others almost daily. Of those, a few have reached out and blessed me with their fellowship on a regular basis. I share this experience only to say that it has made me much more aware and thankful for the church of Jesus Christ that He has established all over the world. I find in my heart a true and deep love for these whose faith and love I have literally only heard of, but the Holy Spirit has made me a partaker with them in my heart.

Those that believe in the resurrection of Jesus have a blessed hope (defined by Strong’s as “to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation {abstract or concrete} or confidence”) of an Eternal Home where we will be in the presence of God and see His full glory. However, hope is not something that is laid up (reserved, appointed) for us in that Eternal Home. When we reach that Heaven, we will have no need for hope for we will possess perfect knowledge: we have no need to hope for that which we are in possession of (Rom 8:24).

The heaven where hope is laid up for us is here in the gospel kingdom of our Lord and Savior. We are saved (delivered) by the hope (confidence, expectation) that God is watching over us each day. Our hope is in His promise to never leave or forsake us. The revealed truth of the gospel gives us hope of both that which is eternal and that which is temporal, but that blessed hope is laid up for us here, now, in this present world. We have hope because of the evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives now!

What a blessed assurance is ours in these words, that we have heaven here. We are raised up together with Christ and made to sit with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:4-6) now. Our hope is glorious because it is not in the arm of flesh but in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We do not possess a wishful thought (how some think of hope) but rather a confident belief (true hope) that we have a Redeemer and we are (not will be) redeemed. This is a blessed truth that we should gladly declare with every fiber of our being (Psa 107:2).

May we rejoice in the wonderful truth of the gospel which assures us of our appointed hope, and in that hope may we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all His saints everywhere!

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