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This Thanksgiving ... Can You Count to Five?

By Dennis Rainey

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name! Psalm 103:1

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Psalm 79:13

Do you remember learning how to count? You know … 1, 2, 3 … Nope, I don’t recall, either. Well, this Thanksgiving I have an assignment for you and your family. You and your family need to count to five in a unique way …

I’ll explain in a bit, but first I want to share with you about a real-life encounter with God and an experience of Him I will never forget. In a bittersweet moment, God personally taught me a very important way to count.

Almost two years ago Barbara and I missed the “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise hosted by FamilyLife. For eight straight years we had helped host this Valentine’s week “Love Boat” and enjoyed a time of great ministry with 3,500 of our closest friends. But not that year …

Instead our assignment was overseeing (babysitting doesn’t seem to capture the concept) six grandsons, ages 4 to 18 … for eight days! Selah. (A Hebrew term for “pause and think on these things.”) All that so our daughter Ashley and husband Michael could get away for their ninth “Love Like You Mean It” cruise in a row.

It was a memorable week for Mimi and Papa, but those stories have to wait for another time.

As we drove the 90 miles back home after quite a week with the guys, I began thinking about what lay ahead … after 27+ years we were recording our final two weeks of the FamilyLife Today radio program. As I reflected on the mountains of memories that had piled up in the studio, I began to feel a bit melancholy and sad … hosting a daily radio program was about to be in the rearview mirror.

The rest of the ride was quiet.

As we headed home I decided to stop at the FamilyLife offices to get our mail.

Another spiritual milestone

I was totally unprepared for a profound encounter. I walked inside and down a hall lined with spiritual milestones that marked over four decades of God’s provisions and work through FamilyLife. I was not expecting God to show up and provide another spiritual milestone in my path as I made my way to the mailroom.

It was Sunday afternoon. The hallway’s silence was about to be pierced with a message.

I can only explain what happened by saying the Holy Spirit reminded me of a song.

All of a sudden … I started singing the chorus of a song I had not sung in over 50 years, “Count Your Blessings”:

Count your blessings, name them one by one:

Count your blessings, see what God hath done;

Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your many blessings, see what God has done.