The Bride of Christ: 4 Ways to Be Ready for the Wedding Feast

If you’re anything like me, you grew up hoping for your happily ever after. I probably watched a few too many Disney fairy tales, or maybe I’m simply a romantic at heart. Needless to say, I looked forward to the day I would meet my prince charming and become his beautiful bride. Perhaps this is one of the reasons God calls us the bride of Christ throughout Scripture. It’s a relationship most of us long for and can relate to. And unlike this life with all of its flaws and imperfections, it’s a happily ever after we can rely on to come true. Continue Reading

When Idols Fall: Worldly Loves vs a Holy God | alyssajhoward.com

When Idols Fall: Worldly Loves vs a Holy God

Today I am honored to feature guest writer Anna Koeppe! Be sure to check out more of her amazing posts at Without Hindrance.

 

Sometimes God is funny. Actually, He’s funny a lot of the time. He often proves both His power and His points in humorous ways. Today’s Bible story about idolatry is no exception.


First, some quick background on the issue. I’ve noticed idolatry becoming a more widespread topic in Christian articles and conversations lately. So, you probably know the kind of idolatry I’ll be discussing today doesn’t involve chanting to ancient golden statues or meditating before eerie fish gods. Continue Reading

What It Means to be a Kingdom of Royal Priests for God | alyssajhoward.com

What It Means to be a Kingdom of Royal Priests for God

In Christ, we are a holy nation of royal priests… Found in 1 Peter 2:9, this truth can be difficult to grasp. The verse tells us that we were chosen to be God’s own possession and that He created us to be “royal priests” for Him. But what does this mean exactly?

As a Christian, I know that my calling is to serve God with all of my heart, but priesthood goes beyond simply going to church, reading my Bible, and sharing the Gospel. It’s a position of status, one that should never be taken lightly. Continue Reading

When All is Lost: How to Surrender Our Ashes for a Crown

There’s something special about wearing a crown. My young daughters have already learned this truth and put it into practice. (They love playing dress-up!) Crowns signify royalty, importance, and authority. In some cases, they also portray a sense of restoration. Cinderella spent most of her life as a lowly servant; but when she finally discovered her true identity, she was given a crown. Continue Reading

Jews and Gentiles: How Jesus Created One New People on the Cross | alyssajhoward.com

Jews and Gentiles: How Jesus Created One New People on the Cross

The Gentiles were always a part of God’s plan. When making His covenant with Abraham, God told him that he would be the father of “many nations.” (Genesis 17:3-7) Old Testament prophecy also made it clear that God had a heart to see all people come to Him.

For God so loved the world… everyone.

But throughout the New Testament, we see a war going on between the Jews and Gentiles. After all, it was the Jews who had God’s Law. They were the ones who were set apart from the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And they were the ones who had been patiently waiting for their Messiah. So the idea that the Gentiles were now experiencing God’s salvation was too much for some of them to handle. Continue Reading

When You Don't Have a Church Home | alyssajhoward.com

When You Don’t Have a Church Home {Why Bother With Church}

I grew up in the church, and I never once questioned the benefits of attending. In my mind, it was simply something Christians were supposed to do. We worship together, give offerings, hear a sermon, and recharge for the week ahead. I always loved church. Perhaps it was my time spent on the worship team or the fact that I’ve always loved to study and learn. Regardless, I looked forward to Sunday mornings.

 

About four years ago, my husband experienced a major disappointment at our church home. He was a major part of the worship team, words were said, feelings were hurt, and it felt as if things were crumbling beneath us. The church itself crumbled as well. Nearly every person we knew left to attend elsewhere. It was a mess.

Deeply wounded, my husband asked if we could take a break. He was extremely burned out and wondered if and how he would ever feel “at home” again in a church. Continue Reading

How Jesus Made a Way for a New Covenant Based on Better Promises | alyssajhoward.com

How Jesus Made a Way for a New Covenant Based on Better Promises

Covenants were commonplace in the days of the Old Testament. Many kingdoms and kings would become allies and share resources, and covenants were a way to ensure both parties held up their end of the agreement. Needless to say, covenants were serious business. They were often (but not always) sealed with blood. Sacrifices were made, meals were shared… and they had dire consequences if broken. Continue Reading

Old Man vs New Man: How to Live Out Our New Life In Jesus

When we think of the cross, the first thought that often comes to mind is sin. Jesus died to take away our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But the truth is that the cross accomplished so much more than we can even comprehend. We had an old life, one that was lost in sin and doomed to death because of that sin. But now we have access to a new life, one that is hidden in Christ Jesus our Savior. And when we are born into new life… everything changes. Continue Reading

No Longer Slaves: How Jesus Set Us Free from Our Struggle with Sin

We hear a lot about the “power of sin.”  Sin has the power to enslave us and to ruin our lives. It is self-gratifying, self-exalting, and can often carry devastating consequences to those around us. For most of my life, I viewed sin as something to run from; but I also viewed it as something I would always struggle with. I believed with all my heart that I was saved, but I embraced my struggle with sin as something I would live with until the day I went home to be with Jesus.

But one day I was reading God’s Word and it hit me… Jesus set me free from the power of sin. And if I’m really set free, why am I still struggling with it? Continue Reading

The Atonement: How Jesus Made a Way to Save the World

The entire foundation of Christianity is Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus atoned for man’s sin on the cross making it possible for us to be made righteous and inherit eternal life. In all honesty, atonement is simply a fancy word for reconciliation between two parties. To atone for ones mistakes means that we make things right again. All is well, and we are united once again. And this is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. Continue Reading

Proof of the Messiah: 4 Ways That Jesus Fulfilled the Old Testament | alyssajhoward.com

Proof of the Messiah: 4 Ways That Jesus Fulfilled the Old Testament

My children are growing up in a culture when information is readily available to them at their fingertips. But this wasn’t always the case. I remember doing a research paper for my sixth grade class on the space program. And do you want to know where most of my information came from? Books. Yes, you read that right. Books. I had to go to the library and rely on old newspapers, magazines, and encyclopedias.

But everything is different now. Continue Reading

Why Did God Create Man? (and how Jesus was the plan all along) | alyssajhoward.com

Why Did God Create Man? (and how Jesus was the plan all along)

In the beginning God created… The Bible gives us a small glimpse into creation, but not a lot of details. We know that God created the earth and everything in it, including us. But why? For what purpose did God create Adam and Eve, put them in a beautiful and perfect garden, only to have them disobey His only command bringing sin and death into the world? While we don’t find a lot of answers in the book of Genesis regarding why God created man in the first place, the Scriptures in their entirety share God’s amazing plan for us… a plan He put into motion before time itself began. Continue Reading

How to Combat Resentment Before It Takes Root

We all know that forgiveness is a good thing. And not just for Christians. Even non-believers recognize the need to forgive and move forward with one’s life. But what about resentment?

While forgiveness isn’t easy, it’s usually easy to identify a problem. Resentment, however, has a way of sneaking up on you. It’s not so easily recognized. But if left to take root, resentment can grow into something that destroys you from the inside out. Continue Reading

How to Discern the Voice of the Holy Spirit: 5 Truths from God’s Word

Today I am honored to feature guest writer Bethany McIlrath! Be sure to check out more of her amazing posts at Firstandsecondblog.wordpress.com.

 

For a longer time than I’d like to admit, I avoided talking about the Holy Spirit because somehow the Spirit seemed weirder, wackier, and harder to explain than God the Father or Jesus Christ. One of the difficulties I’ve had is in accurately expressing how the Holy Spirit works. Continue Reading

10 Bible Verses for When You're Praying for Healing | alyssajhoward.com

10 Bible Verses for When You’re Praying for Healing

These past couple of weeks, my entire family has been ill. Colds. Flu’s. You name it. We had it. Every night, my daughters and I would pray for healing. And sure enough, the day came when we all felt “normal” again. My oldest came running out of her room in the morning shouting, “Mommy! God healed my cold!” Continue Reading