That First Fire of the Season

I peeked at the thermostat and shivered. It was 48 degrees on Saturday morning at Possum Kingdom Lake. So, I turned on the coffee and reached for the fireplace remote. A few minutes later, I sat quietly with my warm mug, watching the flames and enjoying every moment of the morning.

October was a blur. Travel always seems to do that. Those days in Israel were amazing, but sitting in my favorite spot at the lake was a great reminder that my life is abundantly blessed. It’s November and I have a lot to think about. A warm fire and a hot cup of coffee create a perfect setting for those thoughts.

I’ve always been an early riser, but my parents were up even earlier. Almost every winter morning, I would come down the hall and see my mom and dad sitting by the fireplace, drinking their coffee. I remember thinking, “One day, when I get married, I’m going to sit in front of the fireplace and drink coffee with my husband too.” That didn’t work out very well. Jim gets up earlier than I do. He finishes his daily article, posts it to send, podcasts the content, and then takes off for his morning walk. AND, he doesn’t even drink coffee! (That’s probably a good thing . . . I’ve often remarked that no one would want to try to keep up with Jim—after caffeine.)

That said, God has provided me a lot of mornings to sit quietly, alone with my thoughts, a good cup of coffee and a fire on cold winter days. It is during these moments that God is most likely to place a person on my mind who needs prayer or a quick email of encouragement. God often uses these moments to direct my thoughts to what I should teach, write, or say that week. I read different devotionals and emails, and I almost always read Jim’s article and Craig’s First 15. I’ve found that if I can have my morning moments, the rest of the day just seems to work better.

I’m picturing all of you today, reading this email after listening to the morning news. I’m sure the news reports are filled with election results and opinions about those results. Some of you are waiting on your kids to get downstairs so you can run them to school. Many of you are grabbing your cup of coffee in a commuter cup so you can drink it on the way to work. I encourage all of you to carve out some moments of quiet in your busy day. God made us to be still.

Scripture doesn’t suggest “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Scripture flat out commands it. I’ve often said that if we don’t find time to be still, other things will become a god to us. If work or family needs are more urgent than spending time with God, then work and family have become gods. The television, the computer, social media, and cell phones can all become gods if we take time to be still with them instead of the Creator of all things. God doesn’t demand we spend time with him. Instead, he taught us a result of spending time with him. We will know that he is God.

I’m grateful that you read this blog each week, and I hope you will continue. But, I want you to close the computer and be still with God as a result. He has so much to say to you, from the pages of your Bible and from the quiet thoughts the Holy Spirit will author as you take the time to be still with your Creator. Quiet is a powerful spiritual discipline. No wonder our world seems to get a bit noisier and a lot busier with each passing year.

Each year I write an Advent devotional for our ministry. I hope it will help you include a word about Christ into each day of your busy holiday season. The title of the devotional this year is Joy to Your World. Joy is an ongoing theme in the Christmas story and throughout Scripture. This year I rewrote Joy to Your World so that kids could have the devotional for themselves. That edition is available as well, offered from our ministry.

If you would like to request a copy of either edition, we would love to send it to you. The children’s edition has a limited quantity, so don’t wait too long if you want that one. I hope these Advent devotionals will be a blessing to you and your families.

The quiet moments with God are the most important moments with God. I hope you will find some time to “be still” and embrace the joy of spending time with your heavenly Father. He adores you and wants nothing more than to fill those moments with his Presence.

I don’t sit by my fire with Jim in the mornings, but I don’t sit by my fire alone. Set your alarm, get the coffee ready to go, and crank up the fireplace if you have one. It just takes a little effort to be still, and God is waiting to make himself known to you in new and fresh ways. I wish you his great peace for today and the holiday months ahead.