True Identity: Discovering the Real You | alyssajhoward.com

True Identity: Discovering the Real You

AFollow your heart. Be who you are. Do what makes you happy. Discover your true identity. We are bombarded by these messages on a daily basis. Our children are being raised in a culture that preaches these messages in nearly every outlet they are exposed to.

On the surface, these messages are good and wholesome. I want my daughters to be the best they can be. I desire their happiness and success. And I would love to see them discover something they love and excel at it. There is just one problem…

When it comes to our true identity, there is a big difference between being who you are and being who you were created to be.

 

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How to Prevent Your To-Do List from Becoming an Idol

I love making lists. I’m one of those people who will put something on my to-list that I’ve already done, just so I can check it off and feel accomplished. As I am beginning a new school year (and my first year officially homeschooling), my to-do lists have taken over my life. Every day, they get longer and longer as a few unchecked items get shoved to the following day’s list.

Instead of de-stressing my life, my lists have found a way to ADD stress to my life. Now I get to feel guilty and unproductive when one or two items don’t earn a check mark for the day.

 

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Armor of God: Fighting in Prayer | alyssajhoward.com

Armor of God: Fighting in Prayer

In Ephesians 6, Paul gives us a list of armor that all believers are called to wear when preparing for spiritual battle. He uses traditional pieces of armor as a way to illustrate how we are to arm ourselves as Christians against the enemy. This list includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

He concludes his list with the following verse:

 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

 

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The Ability to Make Plans is a Gift from God | alyssajhoward.com

The Ability to Make Plans is a Gift from God

I am a classic planner at heart. I literally have to-do lists for my to-do lists. It’s not that I have to plan things out; it’s that I enjoy planning things. Growing up, I literally planned out every family vacation we took. I loved it. I think I enjoyed planning the vacation more than actually taking it.

That being said, I have a difficult time allowing others to take the reins. (I am fortunate that my husband isn’t a planner by nature too, or we would have some serious conflict!) As I plan out my days, weeks, and even years, I often wonder if I do too much planning. Am I allowing God to work out His plan in the lives of my family?

 

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Discovering the Cure for the Lonely Heart

Loneliness has plagued us all at some point in our lives. It’s that feeling you get when all you desire is a friend, yet you feel all alone. No one could possibly understand what you’re going through or dealing with. You feel isolated. The world is moving on without you.

 

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Impossible Battles: Even the Winds and Waves Obey Him | alyssajhoward.com

Impossible Battles: Even the Winds and Waves Obey Him

We all have them. Obstacles and impossible battles that we have no idea how to overcome. We are taught from an early age to face them head on. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. For some of the battles, this is true. We can face them head on and win.

Then there are the impossible battles. The ones where it seems that no amount of fighting will keep us from defeat. The ones where our demise seems inevitable. What about these battles? How can we possibly face these head on when we feel hopeless about the outcome?

 

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God's Design for Marriage: Blueprint of a Beautiful Relationship | alyssajhoward.com

God’s Design for Marriage: Blueprint of a Beautiful Relationship

When God made Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, He knew that Adam would need a helper. Not a servant, but a helper. His original design for marriage was that Adam and Eve would work together. Their strengths would complement one another. They would build each other up and bring out God’s best in one another. They would be equals.

But when sin came into the world, everything changed. The battle of the sexes had begun.

 

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Teaching Our Children to Love God for Who He Is

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing my absolute best as a mother. I want my girls to grow up knowing right from wrong – to be smart and to dream big. I want God’s best for them, and I desire that they succeed in all that they set out to do.

As parents, we have an amazing responsibility to our young ones. We do all that we can to raise them well. We teach them to share, to be loving and kind, and to stand up for what they believe in. But is this enough? Is it enough to be educated and successful? Is it enough to be a good person with integrity? In all of our efforts to raise well-rounded children, are we really teaching our children anything that matters in the end?

 

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The Power of a Good Story: Spreading the Message of Hope to the World

We all enjoy a good story. Books, television, and movies all prove this point. Whether it be romance, science fiction, drama, etc. – as long as the story is good, we generally enjoy getting to know the characters and the plot. Perhaps we love stories because we can identify with them. Or maybe we simply enjoy being entertained by them. Either way, a good story will draw us in.

 

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Are We Desensitized to the Things of God? | alyssajhoward.com

Are We Desensitized to the Things of God?

When the early Christian church was expanding after Jesus ascended into heaven, amazing things were taking place. Thousands were coming to know Christ as their Savior and the message of the gospel was being preached throughout the known world. These new believers were passionate about their new faith as well as the expansion of the Good News.

At the time, however, they were also being intensely persecuted. I find it interesting to think that while Christians everywhere were dying for their faith, somehow the church was still expanding. The message was getting out there, and people were responding by surrendering their lives to something that could potentially get them killed.

 

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Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit

Every warrior knows that in order to succeed in battle, one must be prepared both offensively and defensively. Without one or the other, we are doomed to failure. At first glance, the armor of God is all about defense. We do, however, have one offensive weapon – the sword of the Spirit.

The Word of God is our sword – our only offensive weapon against the enemy.

 

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Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presented a metaphor that would shape the way Christians view spiritual battle – the act of putting on spiritual armor. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet is often the final piece of armor a soldier puts on before marching out into battle. Yet without it, the rest of the armor seems somewhat pointless. If your head is unprotected, it will only be a matter of time before the enemy takes you down.

 

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Armor of God: The Shield of Faith | alyssajhoward.com

Armor of God: The Shield of Faith

When it comes to armor, the shield is an extremely vital piece – something I definitely wouldn’t want to go into battle without. Sure, I may be wearing body armor, but it’s my shield that allows me to protect the most vulnerable parts of me. I can maneuver it to guard me from all angles. And while my body armor can prevent me from being injured in an attack, my shield can keep me from getting hit in the first place.

 

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