Unseen Enemy: The Truth About the Father of Lies | alyssajhoward.com

Unseen Enemy: The Truth About the Father of Lies

Satan. Lucifer. Devil. He has many names, but one identity. We know him as an enemy of God. He tempts the world into sin. He’s deceptive. He’s a liar. And he’s out to destroy God’s plans and His people. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that he “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” But the Bible doesn’t limit the enemy to one spirit or being. There are “evil rulers and authorities.” The Bible actually defines Satan as having an unseen kingdom. Continue Reading

Trust the Unseen: How to Live in Spirit and Truth

For many, this physical world is all there is. Angels and demons are nothing but a myth. Some would even call them “ghost stories.” But there is certainly a preoccupation with the unseen world that can’t be denied. There are numerous television shows, movies, and books that describe worlds beyond what we can physically see with our eyes. Why are we so fascinated by the unseen and the supernatural? Continue Reading

Identity Crisis: The Labels We Accept and Reject

How important are labels? If we’re honest, we know that they can literally make or break you. How you view your identity shapes every decision and action you make – both consciously and subconsciously.

If someone were to ask you today who you are, what would you say? Continue Reading

How to Leave Your Sinful Nature Behind and Dance in Freedom

Many of us still struggle with our sinful nature. At least I know I still do. I know what I ought to do, but I can’t seem to be consistent. I lash out at my family and raise my voice when the kids misbehave. Fear and anxiety plague my mind even though God’s Word tells me trust Him in all things. Why can’t I seem to get it together? Continue Reading

Not Guilty: There is No Condemnation in Jesus | alyssajhoward.com

Not Guilty: There is No Condemnation in Jesus

There is no condemnation in Jesus. Many of us have heard this truth as believers, but what does it mean to walk in it? I can know that I’m forgiven by God, but how do I reconcile that with the fact that I sometimes struggle and I still mess up from time to time?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll beat yourself up for every little stumble. Continue Reading

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

4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God

I was a ballet dancer and instructor for over 15 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

Treasure of God: Ridding Ourselves of Low Self-Worth

I recently read an 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 prides themselves on low self-esteem and worth. We equate humility with thinking lowly of ourselves. But 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. 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?

 

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

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 on my heart is something that can’t be measured.

God longs to make all things new in my heart and in my life.

 

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

 

You Are Valuable to God: How to Walk in Your New Identity | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

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.

 

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

Am I a Disappointment to God? | alyssajhoward.com

Am I a Disappointment to God?

God is faithful. He never disappoints. He keeps His promises, even when we don’t keep ours. We can rely on Him in every circumstance. But people… we have the tendency to let each other down.

As a mom, I desire to never disappoint my girls. I never want their hopes to be shattered. I want to be faithful and to keep my word. Unfortunately, I will let them down. I will lose my temper. I will say one thing and do another. And I will disappoint them. It’s a fact of life.

So what happens when we disappoint God? Is He angry with us? Does He want to give up on us?

 

Am I a Disappointment to God? | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

Now We Live with Great Expectation: Relying on a Hope That Will Never Disappoint

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen : a feeling that something good will happen or be true.”

When it comes to our children, our health, and our safety, we hope for the best because we know that the best doesn’t always happen. We hope because we know that this life is uncertain and can change at a moment’s notice. We hope…

 

Now We Live with Great Expectation: Relying on a Hope That Will Never Disappoint | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

Why Reputation Matters When It Comes to Christian Ministry | alyssajhoward.com

Why Reputation Matters When It Comes to Christian Ministry

I’ve heard it said that we should guard our reputation because in the end, it’s all we have. One wrong move and our reputation could be destroyed. But in some ways, Christians are taught to disregard reputation. We are told that we will be hated and persecuted, and that we should stand up for truth and not be ashamed of it.

 

Why Reputation Matters When It Comes to Christian Ministry | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

4 Ways the World Copes with Shame (and how Jesus made a way to get rid of it for good)

Shame is such an ugly word. By definition it is “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.” It’s something that we all have experienced at some point in our lives. Maybe we made a terrible mistake or hurt someone we loved. Or perhaps we felt the shame of others pointing out our flaws and weaknesses. Regardless, none of us enjoy shame. Therefore, we all make an effort to avoid it if possible.

 

4 Ways the World Copes with Shame (and how Jesus made a way to get rid of it for good) | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading