4 Ways the Grace of God Makes You a Superhero

What comes to mind when you think of the grace of God? Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” And while this is an entirely accurate definition of the Greek word charis (the word from which “grace” is translated in the New Testament), it may not be the full definition of God’s grace. You see, Jesus was described as being full of God’s grace (charis), and the words that flowed from His mouth were described using the same Greek term. (Luke 2:40 and 4:22) Jesus certainly deserved God’s favor. So while grace is freely bestowed upon us by God even though we don’t deserve it, its definition seems to be much greater than simply His unmerited favor. Continue Reading

10 Ways to Be Like Mary (not Martha) this Holiday Season | alyssajhoward.com

10 Ways to Be Like Mary (not Martha) this Holiday Season

For a holiday that speaks of “peace on earth,” Christmas has a way of being anything but peaceful. We shop ’til we drop, decorate and clean, prepare for guests, attend multiple holiday festivities, and bake until we can bake no more. As a wife and mom, I get it. We want to make Christmas special for our loved ones and give our children memories to last a lifetime. So we make to-do lists and shopping lists a mile long and brace ourselves for the craziness. We know this isn’t God’s best for us. He longs for us to focus on Him and not stress about the things of this world. So how do we be like Mary and choose to sit at our Savior’s feet when it comes to a holiday designed for a detail-oriented Martha?

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How to Put on the Garment of Praise When Your Spirit Is Weak | alyssajhoward.com

How to Put on the Garment of Praise When Your Spirit Is Weak

The Bible speaks often of God’s strength in our weaknesses. As Christians, we know that it’s crucial to lean on Him in times of heartache, unrest, and uncertainty. As we approach the holiday season, I have been pondering Isaiah 61:3. This verse reminds us that God gives us a garment of praise in exchange for our “faint spirit.”

But what does praise have to do with finding strength? Continue Reading

Lessons from War: How to Stand Firm in Faith and Victory | alyssajhoward.com

Lessons from War: How to Stand Firm in Faith and Victory

The victory is won. Sin and death have been defeated. Jesus has defeated the enemy. The New Testament speaks often of our victory in Christ. We are told stand firm in faith and victory because Jesus has already won the war! But what does all of this really mean for us as Believers? If the war is already won, why does Paul instruct us to wear spiritual armor in Ephesians 6? And why is it that life still feels like a constant battle sometimes? Continue Reading

How to Live Your Life as a Peacemaker | alyssajhoward.com

How to Live Your Life as a Peacemaker

What exactly is a “peacemaker”? When I was younger, I always envisioned someone who was able to restore peace… someone who was good at mediating difficult situations… or someone who understood the art of compromising. But is this what Jesus meant when He challenged us to be peacemakers? Now that we have come to the end our series, I’m beginning to see the term much differently… Continue Reading

Lessons from Psalm 23: How to Walk in the Peace of God | alyssajhoward.com

Lessons from Psalm 23: How to Walk in the Peace of God

If anyone knew unrest and difficult circumstances, it was David. Yet, he was a man after God’s own heart, and he knew how to walk in the peace of God. One of David’s most well-known psalms is none other than Psalm 23. When I first began writing this 31-day series on God’s peace beyond understanding, this particular psalm wasn’t the first to come to mind. Yet, reading it now, I can clearly see the genuine peace David had in his heart… a peace that only could have come from knowing God deeply and personally. Continue Reading

Don’t Worry, Be Happy: How to Abide in God’s Peace in Every Circumstance

Don’t worry. Be happy. As simple as it sounds, most of us know that it’s hard not to worry sometimes. And happiness isn’t always easy to come by either. But what if I said that there was some biblical truth to this well-known saying? According to Scripture, it is possible to experience peace in every circumstance of life. And Jesus instructed us not to worry, but to trust that God is a good Father who provides for His children. Continue Reading

The Gospel of Peace: God’s Plan to Save the World

If you were to ask someone what their greatest wish was for mankind, “world peace” would probably be near the top of their wish list. We crave peace in our lives, in our homes, and in our communities. Yet, for some reason, many of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that we may never see such peace in our lifetimes. This world is simply a chaotic, crazy place with evil people in it. Even nature itself seems to be in on the chaos… hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters threaten our peace continually. So when the Bible speaks of peace, we often push it forward in time. We tell ourselves that peace is for the future, not for the here and now. We will have peace someday… right? Continue Reading

Our Hope for Peace: God is Making All Things New | alyssajhoward.com

Our Hope for Peace: God is Making All Things New

In the book of Revelation, God proclaims, “Behold, I am making all things new.” When Jesus came into the world, He established His Kingdom. What began with a small group of disciples, is now growing and expanding to every tribe, tongue, and nation. It is estimated that nearly one-third of the world bows the knee to Jesus. And as chaotic as the world appears sometimes, we can trust that God’s plan is at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have an amazing hope for peace! God is indeed making all things new… Continue Reading

Entering God's Rest: How to Live in the Promises of God | alyssajhoward.com

Entering God’s Rest: How to Live in the Promises of God

When the Israelites were led into the Promised Land, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was downright difficult. They had the promises of God, but they failed time and time again to trust Him. This lack of trust led them to spend forty years wandering the desert. Those who failed to trust God also failed to ever see the Promised Land. It was instead given to their children. In Hebrews 3-4, we read about this very event… only the writer of Hebrews is now using this story as a comparison to what we have in Christ. We have access to God’s rest through Jesus. The question is, will we choose to place our faith in Him… or will we choose to wander? Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why Jesus is Called the Prince of Peace | alyssajhoward.com

3 Reasons Why Jesus is Called the Prince of Peace

Long before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah spoke of Him. Wonderful Counselor. Might God. Eternal Father. And Prince of Peace. In this series, we have been discovering what it truly means to abide in God’s peace beyond understanding. And I simply couldn’t ignore the fact that Jesus is referred to as our Prince of Peace. What does this title mean exactly? And why is it important for us today? Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is Important in the Life of Today's Believer | alyssajhoward.com

3 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is Important in the Life of Today’s Believer

When God created the world, He rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath day was established in the beginning… before sin and death would enter the world. Fast forward to the days of Moses. In the 10 Commandments, the people of Israel were commanded to never forget the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. Now fast forward once again to the New Testament where Jesus speaks often of the Sabbath and we are told that a Sabbath rest still remains for God’s people (Hebrews 4:9) To say that the Sabbath is important to God is an understatement. Why do you suppose that is? Does God really care about us religiously abstaining from work one day a week? Or is there more to it than that? Continue Reading

Royalty in Christ: Finding Rest in Who God Created You to Be | alyssajhoward.com

Royalty in Christ: Finding Rest in Who God Created You to Be

Nearly every little girl dreams of being a princess. We long to feel special, wear gorgeous gowns, walk with authority, and be treated as if we were the most important person in the room. I see this truth in my own two daughters. We have a dress-up trunk full of pretty dresses, tiaras, and tutus. And this desire wasn’t taught… they were born with it. From an early age, my girls loved feeling “pretty.” To be honest, I’m not entirely sure this longing ever truly goes away. Even as adults, we enjoy being pampered and feeling special from time to time. I have to wonder if this is a God-given desire. After all, the Bible does speak of our royalty in Christ… Continue Reading

Abiding in God's Peace When You’re at War with the Enemy | alyssajhoward.com

Abiding in God’s Peace When You’re at War with the Enemy

The Bible is clear. There is an enemy, and he has his mind set on destroying your ability to be who God created you to be. He whispers lies, distorts the truth, and attempts to steal your joy and peace any chance he can get. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we’re never NOT at war with the enemy. But truth be told, some battles are more difficult than others. I say this from personal experience… some battles are rough.

As children of God, we are called to abide in God’s peace no matter what the circumstance. But how do we abide in peace in the middle of a war? Continue Reading

How to Trade Your Stress for God's Peace | alyssajhoward.com

How to Trade Your Stress for God’s Peace

Pressure. Tension. Strain. We’ve all been there… when either the demands of others or the demands we place on ourselves cause stress in our lives. In previous posts from this series, we’ve dealt with finding God’s peace in the chaos of life and when you’re emotionally exhausted. But stress… stress is different. When I was in college, we were required to take a course on stress management. My main takeaway was that stress is inevitable. It’s a part of life. And in the end, it’s what we do with stress that matters most.  Continue Reading