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But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1.22-23 (NIV)
I was in Cuba in the spring of 1999, traveling with a mission team delivering medical supplies and a whole lot of hope! I made a good friend in HildeLis’ one of the pastors of the home church we went to bless. The faith and faithfulness of the people there was heartwarming and encouraging – they had nothing in the material realm and everything in the spiritual. My new friend and I were talking on the bus as we left a wildlife tourist attraction (yes, even in Cuba) and I said, “Hilde, you are blessed to be unencumbered in your faith.” Her reply? “But, Susa, you are FREE!”
Is there true freedom without a true and living Hope in Jesus Christ? I think not. Let’s take a look at our brother Paul. He spent a lot of time in prisons and I dare think prisons back then were a far cry from the hotel-like conditions of today. Paul sat there with the stench of urine and feces, watching rats scurry about and he had the fortitude and fervor of a joy-filled boy. Just read the first chapter of Philippians! “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Sounds pretty HOPEful and FREE, amen?
“Father God, in Jesus’ mighty Name, I pray the same kind of unabandoned HOPE over Your church today as Paul declared in his letters to the church at Philippi. To enjoy the freedom Your HOPE provides every moment of every day. To be FREE indeed in the HOPE of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Amen