Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
For many, their favorite Thanksgiving hymns usher them back to that Sunday morning when they sat on a cool wooden pew, sandwiched between their cousins, perhaps for the first and last time all year. The songs remind them of their grandmother’s vibrato voice and floral perfume, and perhaps our grandfather’s snore. The lyrics trigger feelings of comfort and nostalgia, reminding us of when life felt simpler, and that extra slice of mother’s pumpkin pie was practically guaranteed.
But these long-loved Thanksgiving hymns, sung from one generation to the next, do much more than remind us of simpler time. They help us reflect on all the reasons, in Christ, we have to give thanks. Whether this holiday season truly feels celebratory or evokes feelings of sorrow and grief, the truths we sing can bolster our hearts with treasured memories and God’s promise of the good that’s yet to come.
Here are 10 of the most beloved Thanksgiving hymns numerous families will enjoy this season:
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Idolatry. This ancient yet modern sin fuels countless heartaches and frustrations. It destroys jobs and relationships and distances us from God, the only One worthy of worship. The only One able to fulfill our deepest needs and grant us the joy and peace we seek.
When life feels uncertain or our longings go unmet, it’s easy and comforting, momentarily, to grasp on to temporary fillers. If only we had more money, more friends, more experiences, or achievements, then we’d be happy and content. But this type of mentality leads to idolatry by shifting our focus off of Jesus and placing it instead on the temporary and insufficient pleasures of today.
Whatever we treasure more than God, whatever drives our thoughts and actions, becomes an idol, and these idols dull our spiritual hearing and harden our hearts to things of God.Photo Credit: Unsplash©
Jesus came so that, though we were guilty and tarnished by sin, we could receive forgiveness and pardon for all we’d done or will do. Because of Jesus, we can have peace with God the Father, be adopted as His child, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live, fully, in His freedom. Christ’s life and death were prophesied and the gift of salvation promised, from the beginning of time.
Death. The very word can trigger images of darkness, men and women in black, of grief, and for some, fear. But God doesn’t want us to live in fear nor defeat. He wants us to live, and die, with the confidence that comes from knowing we belong to the victorious, risen King who defeated death when He died on the cross and rose from the grave.
The human heart, known to stray and decay, is in constant need of revival—a returning to God and His ways and outpouring of His power and grace. Scripture documents this. It records periods of revival followed by sin and its devastation that ultimately led to another revival, as explained in this video from The Bible Project.
Patrick Morley writes that our nation has followed a similar cycle, with each wave of renewed faith seeming just as short-lived as the one before, leaving many to cry out, “Do it again, Lord! Ignite our hearts and Your church.”
Many today are saying this same prayer, hoping to see a wave of revival once again sweep through. But this will only occur when we shift our focus off our circumstances or even the state of our schools or nation and onto ourselves.
God rarely does something through us that He first hasn’t done to us.
When we understand that God, our Creator and Savior, is omnipotent, our chaotic and constantly changing world doesn’t seem quite so scary. No matter how vulnerable or ill-equipped we feel, no matter the challenges and problems we face, we can rest in this truth: God is matchless in power, unconquerable, and always victorious. This God, the omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving and faithful King, reigns over all and holds us securely in His hand. Understanding this helps us stand, unshakable, above all that threatens to defeat and destroy us.
It’s a story of power, corruption, and at times, unimaginable evil—of a rise to greatness and a fall to destruction, of man's depravity and God's longsuffering and grace.
1st Kings begins with Israel at its peak. The nation is united, powerful, and under the leadership of David, aligned with the heart and purposes of God. 2nd Kings ends with darkness, sorrow, and despair. Despite continual warnings, God’s chosen people repeatedly turn against Him and suffer the consequences. Their temple, where God and man communed, is destroyed, their beloved city desolated, and the lives of many uprooted.
But that’s not where the story ends. Though Israel’s dynasties point to man’s complete moral failure, they also point to Jesus, the servant-King who would lead God’s people in righteousness and bridge the gap between He and man.
Here are ten gospel-unfolding truths revealed in 1st and 2nd Kings:
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Every Christian goes through what many refer to as “desert” seasons—when it feels as if we’re living by force of will rather than faith. The danger comes when this period of spiritual lethargy becomes a way of life, choking our passion and our love for life. Here are some ways we can help, by God’s power at work in us, to spark life into hearts that have become deadened and indifferent.
Editor, Novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at hosting churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She has five novels out with New Hope Publishers and is the managing and acquisitions editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Alexey_R