4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God | alyssajhoward.com

4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God

I have been a ballet dancer for nearly 21 years and an instructor for 15 of those years. Throughout my time in the dance world, I learned a lot about what it means to be “graceful.” I can tell you from experience that grace is far more than beauty and refinement. To be a graceful dancer means to be driven by both elegance and self-control. Ballet dancers long to be magnificent and polished in their abilities. Their movements are defined by strength; yet to those watching, it appears to be effortless. Continue Reading

How to Stand Firm in the Victory Jesus Already Won | alyssajhoward.com

How to Stand Firm in the Victory Jesus Already Won

Christians often speak about “battling the enemy.” The idea is that the enemy is on the prowl and he can and will devour us if we let him. But the truth is that we often give the enemy more power than he actually has. God’s Word doesn’t call us to struggle against the enemy; rather we are called to stand firm. Let me explain… Continue Reading

Treasure of God: Ridding Ourselves of Low Self-Worth | alyssajhoward.com

Treasure of God: Ridding Ourselves of Low Self-Worth

I recently read a Christian article that emphasized our need to minimize our self-worth. We are called to die to ourselves and live for Christ. While this may be true, (God hates pride) something struck me as I was reading his words. In our attempt to be humble and “die to ourselves,” we have become a people who pride themselves on low self-esteem and worth. We equate humility with thinking lowly of ourselves. But the truth is that we are God’s treasure. Low self-worth was never His intention for His people.  Continue Reading

Laziness in the Kingdom of God: Have We Lost the Plot? | alyssajhoward.com

Laziness in the Kingdom of God: Have We Lost the Plot?

Lethargy. Procrastination. Whatever you want to call it – it’s never a good thing. No one ever looks back and wishes they had put things off a bit longer. And no one wishes they had chosen to do nothing with their time. In fact, most of our regrets stem from laziness and procrastination. We wish we had taken a stand instead of backing down. We wish we would have made more of an effort or spent more time on the things we truly cared about. And we long to go back in time so we can get our act together sooner.

So my question is this: if we know that laziness is never a good thing, why don’t we do something about it? Continue Reading

Putting on My New Nature: My New Year’s Resolution | alyssajhoward.com

Putting on My New Nature: My New Year’s Resolution

Looking back at the past year, I have much to be thankful for. I am truly blessed. But it’s a new year. It’s a chance to start fresh, have a new beginning, and to create new goals for the upcoming year. As much as I love setting goals (and checking them off… that part is my favorite!), God has placed something on my heart for the upcoming year that has nothing to do with tangible goals or resolutions. In fact, this newness He has placed in my heart is something that can’t be measured.

God longs to make all things new in my heart and in my life… and He longs to do the same in your heart as well. Continue Reading

8 Lessons I Learned in Seminary About the Christian Faith | alyssajhoward.com

8 Lessons I Learned in Seminary About the Christian Faith

For those of you who don’t know this about me, in 2008 I began (and completed) two years of seminary at Liberty Baptist Theological seminary earning a Master of Arts degree in theological studies. During this time, my Christian faith was tested in ways I could have never imagined, and I had a few surprising revelations.

 

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The Night King Jesus Was Born | alyssajhoward.com

The Night King Jesus Was Born

This Christmas, I have had the privilege of explaining the birth of King Jesus to my daughters in a way I’ve never been able to before. They are finally old enough to understand that Christmas is the day we choose to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It has been special for me to say the least.

My favorite part, however, has been teaching them some of my favorite Christmas carols. I still sing to each of my girls before bed, and over the last few weeks we’ve added “Away in the Manger,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World” to our nightly rotation. As an adult, I’ve been singing these songs for nearly three decades; but they have been given new life in my heart as I teach them to my girls for the first time. Continue Reading

You Are Valuable to God: How to Walk in Your New Identity

Before Christ, I was a slave to sin and to this world. My life lacked purpose and meaning, and I was on the road to death rather than life. I desperately needed a Savior – Jesus Christ – to rescue me.

It’s such a simple concept, yet I feel that over the years the enemy has distorted this message. Many of us are walking around holding on to the labels of who we used to be (sinners, slaves, etc.) instead of stepping into who God intends for us to be.

Yes, before Christ I was incapable of anything resembling righteousness… but the key word here is “was.” I was incapable. I was living for my own pleasure instead of living for God. And I was doomed to death as the result of my sin. But in Christ, these things are no longer true.

 

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Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress? 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas | alyssajhoward.com

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress: 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and life is getting busier… and much more stressful. As the mom of two little ones, I fully understand how crazy life can be around the holidays. There is so much to remember! I have a mental checklist of things to do that seems to be growing every day rather than shrinking. Needless to say, my holiday joy has turned into holiday stress. It’s exhausting, to say the least! Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why Holidays and Celebrations Are Important

The holiday season has officially arrived! Christmas music is everywhere, decorations are being hung, celebrations are being planned, and the weather is as unpredictable as ever (and very cold!)

This particular holiday season gives me great joy. My girls are finally old enough to really understand what’s happening – especially my oldest. She is so excited to be a part of everything from decorating the Christmas tree to watching Christmas movies. And both of my girls shout for joy when they see Christmas lights on the neighbors’ houses! Yes indeed, this year will be the best Christmas yet for the young Howard family. Continue Reading

When the Storms of Life Come: How Secure Are My Roots? | alyssajhoward.com

When the Storms of Life Come: How Secure Are My Roots?

We recently had a windstorm sweep through our area. And this was no ordinary windstorm. With gusts as high as 70mph, this storm (which lasted several hours) brought great devastation to our area. Tens of thousands were without power, homes were destroyed, and there were even a few reported deaths.

 

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have trees… lots and lots of large pine trees… everywhere. Throughout the storm, my family watched outside our front window as these enormous trees swayed in the mighty wind. We witnessed one of our neighbor’s trees bend and sway until it finally broke in half taking power lines down with it.

The aftermath of the storm was even worse. Without power the next morning, we woke up in a freezing cold house and decided to take a drive to escape the cold. Trees were everywhere. These enormous trees were completely uprooted during the storm and they destroyed everything in their path.

 

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Be Thankful in All Things: 8 Verses About What It Means to be Thankful

On this very special week of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on my life. (I think it’s something we all tend to do this time of year.) Throughout the year, it’s easy to get caught up in busyness. It’s too easy to focus on life’s struggles and forget life’s blessings. But this is why I LOVE Thanksgiving. It reminds us to have a thankful heart.

 

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Daniel: A Lesson in Courage, Humility, and Respect | alyssajhoward.com

Daniel: A Lesson in Courage, Humility, and Respect

What comes to mind when you think of Daniel? I remember learning about Daniel as a child. He was a godly man who refused to compromise his standards. Even when faced with death in the lions’ den, he refused to stop praying. He stood up for his faith in a pagan land, and that took a great amount of courage.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered a side of Daniel that made me question what it means to stand up for my faith.

 

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Brothers and Sisters in Christ: How to Keep Peace in the Family of God

When my youngest was born, her older sister wasn’t too happy. She certainly had moments when she was intrigued by this new little person, but a new sister meant that life would never be the same. She now had to share everything… mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, time, attention, toys, etc. This new sibling brought a lot of big changes to her world.

For the first couple of years, my oldest struggled to adjust. Her younger sibling cried a lot and needed a lot of my attention. I knew that one day she would see the benefit of having a younger sister. They would grow up together, be each other’s best friend, laugh with one another, and lean on each other through tough times.

As a mother, I would think about the day when they would be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings or when they would call each other as adults for advice. Isn’t this what we all want for our kids?

 

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Living for the Future Rather Than the Here and Now: 5 Reasons to Have an Eternal Perspective | alyssajhoward.com

Living for the Future Rather Than the Here and Now: 5 Reasons to Have an Eternal Perspective

Ever since I was a little girl, life has been all about the future. When I was younger, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a high school student, I planned for college. Once in college, I prepared for my future career. Then I got married and had children of my own. At this stage of life, I’m not only thinking about my own future, but I am now preparing my daughters for their future.

 

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