What's in a Name? {How Our Names Shape Our Identity} | alyssajhoward.com

What’s in a Name? {How Our Names Shape Our Identity}

The moment I found out that I was pregnant, it began – the name game. It took a while for me and my husband to agree on names (for both our girls); but once we gave them their names, that was it. They became their names. We talked about them and to them by name before they were born. Even during labor, my midwife would call my daughters by their names.

Names are important. If they weren’t, parents wouldn’t spend so much time agonizing over the perfect names for their children. They will be called by that name for their entire existence. Continue Reading

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

Storms in Paradise: A Lesson in Perspective

My husband and I just recently returned from a second honeymoon of sorts. We cruised to the Bahamas (just the two of us… no kids) and had an amazing time! We sailed away to a private island (owned by our cruise line) and were in awe of the beauty. The beaches were incredible to say the least.

And then it happened… a storm cloud. Continue Reading

7 Reasons to Rejoice in Suffering | alyssajhoward.com

7 Reasons to Rejoice in Suffering

The book of James tells us to rejoice in suffering. I don’t know about you, but my first instinct when I’m face to face with struggle has nothing to do with joy. I’m angry, sad, frustrated, confused… but never happy it. Continue Reading

4 Truths About Suffering (and how we can rejoice in the midst of it) | alyssajhoward.com

4 Truths About Suffering (and how we can rejoice in the midst of it)

Suffering isn’t generally a topic we like to talk about (or read about), but it’s something that is common to all of us. We all endure suffering at some point in our lives. We all have endured pain and heart-break. For that reason, I think it’s important to understand why we suffer. And more importantly, how we can endure life’s trials and find God’s peace through it all. 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

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

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