Our Blog

Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Lisa Alvino”
in Church

Daily Time with God

main image

The depth of my time with God and the Bible were consistently crammed into two to three services per year when I was growing up - Christmas, Easter, and sometimes Mother’s Day. I honestly didn’t know I could have more time than that, and I definitely didn’t know that I needed more time with God.

Even after I started following Jesus, I still found myself only cracking my Bible open on Sundays. And my prayers were anything but daily. But when my world was rocked about ten years ago, I became desperate to know and understand what had been written in the Bible, and even more than that, why it mattered and how I could apply those words from thousands of years ago to the way I was living my life today. I found myself praying and asking God to help me understand the words I was reading.

Over the years I have adjusted my daily time with God into something that works for me - and is meaningful for me. I find that when I wake up early and start my day with a cup of coffee, praying, reading my Bible, and journaling, I am better equipped for that day. I have learned more about who God is, who I am, and how loved I am - no matter what - by spending time with God almost every day. It took many years to make this a part of my morning routine. There were many starts and stops, followed by restarts and more stops. But, I try to remember that spending time with God is not about checking another box, or something to feel guilty about if I sleep a little longer one morning, but about growing in my relationship with God.

Here are some great places for you to get started:

Posted by Lisa Alvino with
in Church

Advent| Week Two | Peace

main image

CHRISTMAS AT THE MOVIES | How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Read | Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:5; Matthew 5:9; John 14:27; & Philippians 4:7-9

This time of year is my very favorite. I love the songs, the decorations, the excitement. But this season is also busy, chaotic, and it seems we either experience the very best in those we encounter - or the very worst. Amid the hustle and bustle all around me, my very favorite thing to do is turn off all of the lights in my house except for the Christmas Tree. Then I make myself a warm cup of something, track down my coziest blanket, and snuggle in, staring at the tree and the way the lights provide a warm glow in the darkness around me. And it seems no matter what has happened in the hours before, there is a sense of peace that surrounds me in that moment.

Over the years, the Grinch has worked his way into the hearts of many and has become almost synonymous with Christmas, possibly because many of us can relate to his grinchiness. The Grinch was full of hatred, assuming the Whos believed Christmas was all about the stuff. But why? What was missing in his life? Some would argue that he was missing peace.

Peace has been defined as “a state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from oppressive thoughts; a stress-free state” (Merriam-Webster). But it goes beyond that. It comprises notions of wholeness, completeness, and soundness. And I think it’s safe to say, the Grinch did not possess peace.

After years of listening to the joyful and triumphant celebration, he finally decides he cannot handle one more Whoville Christmas, and takes matters into his own hands. He will steal Christmas. At least that’s what he thought. But after the deed is done he hears the singing, and slowly he begins to realize that Christmas might be more than just stuff.

The Grinch was hurting because he lacked peace. And his resolve was to hurt those around him. When we lack peace, we are held captive by oppressive thoughts, and the natural outflow from our thoughts to our actions quite often will result in destruction. Peace is replaced by disorder and chaos. From broken people to broken homes to broken communities and countries - we are surrounded by hatred, anxiety, and sorrow. And as the saying goes, misery loves company. Hurt people hurt people.

But because peace was God’s plan, He promised to send One who would restore peace. The prophet Isaiah called Him the “Prince of Peace”. Jesus was sent to bring peace to the world, and left His peace with those who follow Him.

This Christmas, we can actually be Peace on Earth. We can defy the assumptions and expectations of this hurting and broken world by being Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). We can be hopeful in those moments that seem hopeless because we have hope in Jesus. We can be joyful when we are surrounded by sorrow because we can rejoice in the Savior. We can be loving in the midst of hatred because we are loved by the Prince of Peace. Peace on Earth looks like God’s people bringing hope, joy, and love to the hurting and the broken.

When the Grinch’s heart grew, he couldn’t help but be the bearer of peace, realizing Christmas was not about the material items, but about those members of the community who warmly embraced him and brought him tenderly into their family. Calvin Coolidge once said: “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

Stealing a few quiet moments with the soft glow from the tree allows me the time and the space to recenter my heart and mind, remembering who Jesus is and what He brings to my life. He is the Prince of Peace who has left His peace with me to be a Peacemaker in the chaos of the word.

Reflect | How can you create more space for peace in your daily life?