The apostle Paul wrote to people who believed in Jesus Christ at Colosse around the year 60 A.D.
Colossians 1:11b-14 – …and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)
My experience brings me to agree with what Paul said almost 2000 years ago. Decades ago, I found myself in a spiritually dark place. I recall entertaining thoughts of suicide. In retrospect, I now realize that I had just existed for years without talking with God or giving Him any thought. But thanks be to God, I began to tune in to a daily Christian television program. One day, I sensed that I needed forgiveness. I asked God for it, and knew instantly that it was done. I had a new start!
After I contacted the ministry to tell them of the prayer I had prayed as a result of their program, a little Bible study book arrived in the mail. In that little book, I first encountered Psalm 103. As I ceased to focus on my own dark place, and instead focussed on what God is like and His benefits, as described in that psalm, God rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into His kingdom of light.
Since then, through Bible study, my quiet times, and association with other people who demonstrate patient kindness because they believe in Jesus, I have better followed God's instruction in Psalm 103:2 – "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (NIV) The psalm goes on to list so many of God's benefits that I named the psalm "God's Job Description":
- He forgives all your sins
- heals all your diseases
- redeems your life from the pit
- crowns you with love and compassion
- satisfies your desires with good things
- works righteousness and justice for the oppressed
- makes His ways known
- is compassionate and gracious
- is slow to anger, abounding in love
- does not treat us as our sins deserve
- does not repay us according to our iniquities
What most amazes me about God's benefits is that they are available to every human being. When we focus on God rather than on our circumstances, He will bring us through. He wants us to turn from darkness and keep on asking, seeking, and knocking until we find His light, His love, and His way.
Prayer: Father, we pray in the powerful name of Christ Jesus: may we learn of You, then live out Your benefits. Empowered by Your Holy Spirit, may we bless all of creation with Your kind of love. May we daily, joyfully, give You thanks for life. Amen.
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