Monday, October 8, 2012

IN, Not FOR ... Day 7

This Sunday I had the joy of playing the piano at Big Valley Church

Pastor Dale started off by saying "God is good ..." 

"...all the time," we responded. 

Then he quoted the well-known verse from the first letter to the Thessalonian church, chapter 5, verse 18: "In every thing give thanks ..." - "even when you don't feel like it," he added.

"How can you be thankful all the time?" he asked. He went on to talk about this discussion - what a challenge to us on this Thanksgiving Sunday!

"Think about the man Job," Pastor Dale went on. His kids were killed; he experienced financial ruin; he was stricken with a horrible illness. And right in the middle of all this pain, God's voice came to him: "Stop and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14); in other words, count your blessings!

We are often thankful for something, Dale observed. But what if all our stuff stopped - vanished - like Job's? What if we lose our house, our job, our relationship? Would there be no reason any more in our lives for thanksgiving?

"We need to be thankful in something."

Dale then directed us to visit the Apostle Paul as he sits in jail, up for a charge which could result in the death sentence if convicted. Paul had been shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned. Some of his fellow Christians were turning against him. Yet after all these circumstances, and now on death row, Paul says in the letter to the Ephesian church, chapter 1 verse 3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing ..."

For whom do we need to be thankful today? He suggested the following, for starters:

Of course God, for His blessing and care in our lives.

And what about our mothers? Even if the relationship is difficult, we should each be grateful to our mother for giving us life.

How about a teacher who's invested in you? Or a neighbour, a colleague, a friend? "Just stop and say 'thank you for the positive influence you've had in my life.' "

He recounted something that had occurred the previous weekend. Pastor Dale is also a chaplain at the Red Deer Hospital, and as he was looking through the list of people in the hospital he happened to see the name of an elderly woman who had been influential in his and his wife's lives when they were pastoring a church earlier. She was in the ER. This lady - "one of the saints" he described her - and her husband would have Dale and his wife over to their home to play  a board game they enjoyed tremendously (I think he said it was Phase 10 ...). More than just playing the game, though, this couple encouraged their young pastor and his wife. Dale decided to take a moment to go visit her, and while he was there he thanked her for being a blessing to him.

He had thought she was in there for a short time and that she would be heading home in the next day or so. But on the following Monday, he got word that she had passed away on Saturday, the day after he had stopped in to say thank you.

In closing, Pastor Dale challenged us in this season of thanksgiving to thank someone for what they mean to us - and to do it within the next 48 hours.

Can each of us do that? Think of the difference it could make to the person you thank ... and think of the blessing it will be to you.

(All pictures taken on Sunday at Big Valley Church)


  1. What a lovely church - thanks for the photos - and what a great message. The Job quote especially. ... Not "what" we're thankful for but "who" - and in Whom we trust. There are many people to thank, so I'll start with YOU because you were love to me at the start, and always have been!

    1. Thank YOU for your unfailing encouragement. I love you!


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