Do You Desire to Have Peace Beyond Understanding?

Do you long to experience God’s peace? I think it’s safe to say that we all desire peace in our lives… but peace beyond understanding is something entirely different. God’s peace is beyond understanding because the world can’t understand how we can be at peace in the middle of a storm. And let’s face it. Storms happen. There’s no such thing as a life without hardships and struggles. So when God promises us peace in the midst of these trials, it’s a promise that seems almost too good to be true. Continue Reading

Peace on Earth: 3 Ways to Choose Peace This Holiday Season | alyssajhoward.com

Peace on Earth: 3 Ways to Choose Peace This Holiday Season

I absolutely love the holiday season. We get to celebrate, drink hot chocolate, decorate, shop ’til we drop, and spend time with family and friends. And did I mention Christmas carols? With so much to enjoy, it’s easy to take it all for granted. This season can be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most stressful. Peace on earth, good will to men. I was thinking about this common phrase we sing around Christmas time, and I couldn’t shake it from my mind. Continue Reading

Positive Thinking Was God's Design | alyssajhoward.com

Positive Thinking Was God’s Design

The world knows that positive thinking is good for us. Nearly every self-help book on the market will tell you that your mind plays a crucial role in shaping not only your life, but also your health.

I used to believe that positive thinking belonged to the world. I would see “positive” encouragements online (with the absence of God of course) and think to myself how wrong the whole positive thinking movement is. The problem with that, however, is that positive thinking was God’s idea first. The world simply took a spiritual truth, removed God, and packaged it up for everyone who needed it.

It caught on, because it works. And it works, because it’s a God-given spiritual truth.

 

Paul describes the mind of the believer in his letter to the Philippians:

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:4-8 (HCSB)

 

We are called to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable – and not just think about them but dwell on them. Speaking from experience, it’s not easy to keep my mind positive all day, every day. In fact, it’s downright hard sometimes – especially during difficult circumstances. But I truly believe that God’s desire for our minds is that we learn to replace our negative thoughts with positive thoughts – that we fill our mind with His truth, His love, and His peace. Continue Reading

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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Walking Hand in Hand with Our Father We Find Everything We Need

I love holding hands with my toddlers. Their hands feel so small in my hand. When they hold my hand, I feel needed and loved. I get to protect them and keep them close. I get to lead them where I need them to go and keep them from wandering off. And I know that they sense this protection as well. They desire to be close to me when faced with new situations. They want to feel safe, and they feel safest when they are at my side.

 

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Armor of God: Shoes of Peace

What do shoes and peace have in common? Not much on the surface. Yet Paul tells Christians in Ephesians 6 to wear “shoes of peace” as part of our spiritual armor. (Ephesian 6:15)

When it comes to armor in general, the term “peace” doesn’t usually spring to mind. After all, armor is generally worn during times of war – not times of peace. So why would Paul tell us to wear peace when facing the enemy in warfare?

 

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