Monday, February 22, 2016

“Interceding For Hope"

  "Interceding For Hope"

    "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" (Colossians 1:3-5).

   In Christ, God grants to trusting hearts the most amazing privilege and responsibility of praying for each other.  He also provides in Scripture examples of prayer, as exemplified by the Apostle Paul's intercessions for those to whom he wrote his epistles.  Paul's prayer for the Colossians provides such illumination as he asks the Lord to administer and apply "the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven."

    Such request serves to counter the ongoing attempt of our spiritual enemies to discourage born again believers in the Lord Jesus.  They cannot steal from us the fact of our relationship with our Heavenly Father granted freely through the Lord Jesus.  Thus, they seek to cloud our vision of His face, as it were.  Devils, the world, and the flesh seek to divert our gaze from "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" unto ourselves, other people, circumstances, conditions, and situations (Hebrews 12:2).  If successful, our foes can damage the prevailing hope that infuses our confidence, peace, joy, and determination to walk in close communion with God.  Thus, we pray for each other, we intercede for the hope of Christ to fill each other's hearts and minds.  

   Biblical hope can be defined as the confident expectation of God's presence and involvement on behalf of His glory and our benefit.  As we often suggest, our Lord would assure us that wherever we are going, He will be with us as we go, and He will be there when we arrive.  Indeed, our hope is first and foremost in Him rather than His actions on our behalf.  Believers can know the peace and joy of Christ in a prison no less than a palace as we remember and affirm the Biblical truth that God Himself serves as the Life of our lives and the fulfillment of our hearts.  "Thou art my hope, o Lord God… In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 71:5; 16:11).  No other request surpasses the importance of our intercession of hope for each other, even as David prayed for his people, "Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever" (Psalm 131:3).

    Again, the gift of praying for each other constitutes a most amazing bestowal of grace.  Believers possess the capacity to affect each others' hearts and lives, or more literally, to ask our Father to act on behalf of our brothers and sisters.  We can pray for each other's hearts to be filled with hope, as the Apostle prayed for the Colossians.  In so doing, we will find our own hearts more expectant as our gaze upon the Lord for the benefit of others strengthens our own hope.  Thereby, the Spirit of God overcomes devilish, worldly, and fleshly attempts to discourage us, and we increasingly discover the blessedness proclaimed by Paul…

"And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
(Romans 5:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(I Corinthians 15:58)

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