Last weekend I attended our church’s annual Ladies Retreat at Camp Tejas in Giddings, Texas. The facilities are wonderful. The rooms are beautifully decorated, the conference center is lovely, the grounds are expansive, with lots of activities. The staff is incredible! Really – a dream location. Our church has retreated at Camp Tejas for over 15 years and our ladies love it there. Some of the very nice amenities in their main meeting rooms include the assortment of teas they provide and the nifty coffee machines that dispense a variety of hot beverages. Admittedly, though, I’m a coffee snob. And as nifty as the coffee machines are – it’s not the same as my home brew. I love to have coffee (that I like) with my quiet time, so – I bring along a little hotpot and some General Foods International Coffee – you know the kind, ~Celebrate the moments of your life.~ I don’t drink GFIC on a regular basis, but I enjoy it occasionally. And in a pinch, it works for me. 😉
Honestly though, for me drinking coffee is about comfort – not caffeine. I love the taste. I love the sense of peace and calm that comes from sitting in a quiet place with a steaming mug in my hands, inhaling its fragrant aroma, and tasting its deep, rich flavor. I like it black – no fancy, flavored creamers, no sweeteners.
At retreat I didn’t have that, just my coffee substitute. By about 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, I learned something. My GFIC coffee, as nice as it is, doesn’t have much caffeine – compared to what I drink at home. As I was dragging my feet all day, I realized that my substitute is kind of whimpy. I began to reflect on the qualities of coffee and its impact on my day.
- Real coffee is rich and strong.
- It provides a measurable amount of energy for the day.
- The warmth of the liquid is soothing and comforting.
- Without coffee, I feel like my quiet time is missing something uniquely special.
- Without coffee in the morning, I am grumpy.
Coffee adds a fresh dimension to my quiet time. But can I have a meaningful quiet time (or even a good day) without it? If God asked me to give it up, I could. But it would certainly take some time to adjust. (By the way, He has not asked me to do this – at least not yet!)
My quiet times would be stale, however, without the Holy Spirit. And what He brings to my quiet time is irreplaceable.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
This may sound a bit hokey. But when you take time on a regular basis to quiet yourself and read the Bible, you develop a taste for the Lord’s words of love to you. And they are good! He is ~richness worth a second cup.~
Indeed, He is strong! In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed that God would strengthen them “with power in the inner man through His Spirit.” And Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”
The Holy Spirit gives me the strength I need to live each day, regardless of what it holds, and to do the things He has called me to do.
He is my Comforter!
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. John 14:26-27
In these verses, the Greek word for “counselor” also means, “to comfort, encourage or exhort”. The Holy Spirit comforts me and gives me His peace.
He is my Teacher! The above verses also say that the Holy Spirit is my Teacher.
When the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth … John 16:13
The purpose of my daily quiet time is for me to connect with the Lord and learn from Him – to learn Truth from the Bible and to gain direction for my life. This is the real deal. And there is no substitute!
He gives Joy!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
On days when I wake up a little “latte” 😛 and charge directly into my “to do list”, I find that often, I am grumpy and easily frustrated. However, when I take time to be still and know that He is God, I start my day with Joy and carry it with me!
The bottom line? Coffee is definitely tasty and delightful, enhancing our special moments; and substitutes don’t provide quite the same thing. But no amount of my favorite strong, rich, hot coffee can replace the power, comfort, and joy that comes from being in the presence of the Lord.
~What is the best part of waking up? Filling [me] to the rim, with Him!~
… be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:18b-19