Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day twenty-two with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for music, and with music.
Thankful For Music
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for music — not just for the existence of music, but for all those throughout time who have written “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” that continue to speak praise and truth even today. I am thankful that most days I start work in an empty building where I can “sing and make music in [my] heart to the Lord” and not worry about frightening people if some of that music leaks out. I am thankful to be part of a church congregation that seeks to embrace variety in the musical generations and styles that we worship God with.
Because I enjoy music from such a variety of styles and ages, it is difficult for me to come up with what I would call a favorite song. I suppose I could consider as favorites the ones I find myself singing most often during my early morning work, but I’m not sure if they are really favorites or simply the ones that have been most deeply ingrained in my mind. When I sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”, it is a wonderful reminder of how walking in the presence of Jesus each day ought to change how I see things. It is also the hymn that was being sung when I first walked down the aisle of a church, way back in fourth grade, to tell God I wanted Jesus to be who my life was about. And then there are the songs, “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art”. These two hymns brought me great peace as an early teenager doing farm chores in the early morning darkness before school. I would sing them at the top of my lungs as I entered the dark barn to feed livestock, confident that my form of singing would frighten anything that could have possible harmed me. And then there is my constant go-to — “It Is Well With My Soul”. Whether having “peace like a river attending my way” or “sorrow like sea billows roll”, it has always been a great comfort to know it can be well with my soul. But more importantly, it is such a joy to be able to sing the last verse of that hymn and be reminded within my spirit that when “the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul!”
As you pray, ask God to fill your heart and mind with a song that will honor Him and encourage you.
I pray that you and I would learn to “sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord.” I pray that as we do that, it would spill out of our hearts and into the way we speak with one another. I pray that the music you allow to settle into your spirit would be of a nature that encourages and uplifts you. I pray that each of us can be thankful for all who worship God in spirit and in truth.