It’s Okay to Grieve: A Biblical Look at Losing a Loved One | alyssajhoward.com

It’s Okay to Grieve: A Biblical Look at Losing a Loved One

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a concert with friends when I received the call that my grandpa had died. It wasn’t a total surprise. My parents were actually there visiting him in the hospital because we knew his time was short. But none of that mattered. It was still just as hard. It was difficult finding out in front of my friends. I didn’t feel like I could grieve his loss. It wasn’t until later that I was able to let my guard down and cry. Continue Reading

Jesus, What Should I Do? 5 Ways to Know You’re in the Will of God

Have you ever come face to face with a dilemma and you had no idea how to proceed? There are certain areas of life where understanding the will of God is easy. We know it’s His will that we share the Gospel with the world, and we know that it’s His will for us to walk in obedience. But what about the “grey” areas? What about the choices we make on a daily basis that aren’t outlined in Scripture? What then? Continue Reading

When You Face the Impossible: Faith is Worth the Risk | alyssajhoward.com

When You Face the Impossible: Faith is Worth the Risk

No one likes bad news. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy hearing about something negative on the horizon. But the truth is that we all face the impossible at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s a job situation or a financial struggle. Or perhaps you’re facing an illness of some kind. Regardless of the situation, we’ve all felt like David facing Goliath… a seemingly hopeless battle. Continue Reading

Are You Walking in the Victory Jesus Gained on the Cross? | alyssajhoward.com

Are You Walking in the Victory Jesus Gained on the Cross?

There have been many times in my life when I have felt defeated. Beat up. Broken down. Overcome with pain or grief. These feelings come with the territory when it comes to being human. We all know what it’s like to feel like you’ve lost. But there’s a difference between feeling defeated and actually being defeated. Looking back at my own life, I’ve certainly experienced feelings that weren’t an accurate depiction of the truth.  On the surface, Jesus may have seemed defeated on the cross. But what appeared to the world to be Jesus’ ultimate defeat was truthfully His greatest victory. Continue Reading

The Search for True Happiness: 4 Truths About the Joy of the Lord | alyssajhoward.com

The Search for True Happiness: 4 Truths About the Joy of the Lord

Follow your heart. Do what makes you happy. Make your dreams come true. For many of us, the search for true happiness begins at an early age. My preschool daughters are already bombarded with these cultural messages on a daily basis. But what does true happiness look like? Is it prince charming? The happily ever after? The perfect career or ideal family? These things can certainly make you feel happy for a moment, but what happens when the “feeling” fades? Does happiness go away when imperfection comes? Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why the Holy Spirit is More Than a Still Small Voice | alyssajhoward.com

5 Reasons Why the Holy Spirit is More Than a Still Small Voice

The many roles of the Holy Spirit have long caused confusion and disagreements in the church. It’s for this reason that He is often an avoided topic. We have no problem acknowledging that He guides us and helps us to discern the truth, but anything more than that becomes controversial. Unfortunately, this controversy has led to many believing that He is nothing more than a still small voice who gently speaks to us from time to time. But the truth is that He is so much more than that! Continue Reading

Born of the Spirit: What It Means to Be Adopted by God | alyssajhoward.com

Born of the Spirit: What It Means to Be Adopted by God

Adoption is a beautiful thing. As a parent, you are able to experience the joy of bringing a new family member home for the first time. As a child, you are adopted into a forever family. No longer on your own, you have a family you can rely on who loves you. Some children come from difficult circumstances; and for these kids in particular, adoption means new life. It’s a chance to start fresh and never again face abuse or neglect. Continue Reading

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