4 Powerful Lessons to be Learned from the Life of Joseph | alyssajhoward.com

4 Powerful Lessons to be Learned from the Life of Joseph

If I had to pick a favorite Old Testament Bible story, it would undoubtedly be the life of Joseph. From beginning to end, his life is both compelling and inspiring. One of twelve sons, Joseph was the favorite of his father Jacob. And because of that, his brothers were more than jealous of him. In their bitterness and rage, Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt. And God used this seemingly hopeless situation to change the course of history. Continue Reading

Jacob and Esau: Deception, Bitterness, and the Sovereignty of God | alyssajhoward.com

Jacob and Esau: Deception, Bitterness, and the Sovereignty of God

Jacob and Esau were the first twins mentioned in the Bible. Sons of Isaac and Rebekah, these two came into the world after Isaac prayed asking God to give his barren wife a child. If you remember, Isaac’s mother was barren too. She was 90 years old when she finally conceived Isaac. So this was a story all too familiar for Isaac. But God gave him two sons. In fact, Genesis 25:23 describes them as “two nations.” Esau would be born first, but it would be Jacob who would be chosen by God to carry on the bloodline of Jesus. The older shall serve the younger… Continue Reading

3 Life Lessons About God and His Love from Isaac and Rebekah

One of my favorite Old Testament Bible stories is one of true love. Isaac and Rebekah were destined to be together, and their story was anything but ordinary. Perhaps I love this story because I’m a romantic at heart. I envision what it must have been like for Rebekah and leave her family home to journey towards a husband she had never met. Her courage, bravery, and faith in God’s promise are truly inspiring. But what is even more inspiring is how God moved in His love through it all. Continue Reading

10 Bible Verses That Define Friendship in the Body of Christ

Relationships matter to God. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded by telling them to love God and to love one another. In fact, six of the Ten Commandments are actually relational in nature and they concern how we treat one another (stealing, lying, committing adultery, etc.). We serve a relational God, and He designed us to be relational as well. We need each other in this life. And for this reason, friendship matters to God… especially when it comes to our relationships with each other as His children. Continue Reading

3 Powerful Reasons Why the Test of Abraham Is Significant | alyssajhowardcom

3 Powerful Reasons Why the Test of Abraham Is Significant

Most of us have heard the story. In his old age, Abraham is given a son named Isaac. But God asks Abraham to do the unthinkable… to sacrifice this son on an altar. Some would say this test of Abraham was mean and cruel. Others would suggest that God had a divine purpose in asking Abraham to do such a thing. But what we must remember as Christians today is that every story found in Scripture is significant.

After all, it was Jesus who said that all Scripture indeed pointed to Him. (John 5:39) Continue Reading

4 Reasons Why Theology is Important in Shaping Your Worldview | alyssajhoward.com

4 Reasons Why Theology is Important in Shaping Your Worldview

Before seminary, I gave very little thought to theology. After all, I was an everyday, ordinary Christian… not a theologian. While I enjoyed studying and reading the Bible, I never once saw myself as a scholarly theologian. In my mind, that job was reserved for teachers and commentators. But if there is one thing I learned from attending seminary, it’s that theology is important. In fact, it has the power to shape your entire worldview. I also learned that based on our studying and even our personal experiences, our theology has a way of shifting and adapting throughout our lives. Some of the greatest theologians in history changed their points of view throughout their lives and ministries.

Truth be told, we are all theologians… even if we don’t know it yet. Continue Reading

4 Ways That the Suffering of Job Points Us to Jesus | alyssajhoward.com

4 Ways That the Suffering of Job Points Us to Jesus

The book of Job tells the story of a man who lost everything. And in the midst of his suffering, he never gave up his faith in God. It’s a story that most of us have at least heard bits and pieces of… even outside of the church. At first glance, it can seem like a dark and intense book of poetry. But the suffering of Job has a lot to say to us as Believers today. In fact, it points to Christ in some very interesting ways. Continue Reading

How God Brought Us from the Tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost | alyssajhoward.com

How God Brought Us from the Tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost

As a child, I remember hearing the Old Testament story about the Tower of Babel. But to be honest, it often baffled me. On the surface, it seemed like a simple story of how God scattered people across the whole earth and gave them different languages. But when I actually took the time to think about it, I simply couldn’t relate. Did these men really think they could build a tower to God?

Fast forward to the Day of Pentecost. In Acts 2, we are told that the gift of the Holy Spirit had arrived causing the people to speak each other’s languages. And while these stories may seem unrelated, the issue of language strangely connects them. In one story, language separates the people. And in the other… it connects them. Continue Reading

Defining What It Means to be Obedient to God | alyssajhoward.com

Defining What It Means to be Obedient to God

What does it mean to be obedient to God? To some, this may seem like a simple question with an even simpler answer. We are obedient to God when we obey Him and His Word. But if someone were to ask you to explain this in further detail or to make it more practical, what would you say?

Perhaps you would tell them to obey the Bible. But what about the Old Testament laws? Where do they fit in with all of this? And if we’re not required to obey all of the Old Testament laws, which rules of the Bible are we supposed to obey and what makes them different from the rest? Truth be told, depending on your denominational views as well as personal beliefs and experiences, your view of what obedience to God looks like may be different from your fellow Christian neighbor.

So what does it really mean to be obedient to God? Continue Reading

10 Bible Verses That Define the Grace of God | alyssajhoward.com

10 Bible Verses That Define the Grace of God

How do you define the grace of God? Is it His mercy? His blessing or favor in your life? His gift of salvation? As Christians, we hear about God’s grace on a regular basis. But do we fully understand its meaning and purpose? Is it possible that there’s more to it than we realize? Continue Reading

How to Embrace the Power of No in Your Life | alyssajhoward.com

How to Embrace the Power of No in Your Life

“No” is such a simple word. So simple, in fact, that it often becomes one of a child’s firsts words. I speak from experience when I say that most toddlers love saying the word… almost as much as they hate hearing it! But all joking aside, the power of no is something we learn at a very young age. And while the concept is simple as a child, “no” has a way of becoming a complicated word as we mature into adults. But what would happen if we chose to embrace the power of no as adults the same way we did as a child? Continue Reading

10 Bible Verses for When You Need the Peace of God | alyssajhoward.com

10 Bible Verses for When You Need the Peace of God

We all crave peace in our lives. No one enjoys chaos and unrest. So we attempt to find it any way we can. We try to make some alone time for ourselves, take warm bubble baths, minimize our schedules, take vacations, etc. But in the end, do we really feel any more at peace? And what happens when life throws us a curve ball? Everything we do to try to find peace in our lives only lasts for so long. Sooner or later, that “peace” runs out and we are off trying to find peace some other way. The truth is that we need the peace of God in our lives. Only His peace surpasses all understanding. And only in Him can we be at peace even in the midst of trying times.

Continue Reading

4 Reasons Why Studying the Old Testament is Crucial to Our Faith

I love the stories found in the Old Testament. Growing up, I remember learning all about Noah and the flood, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, and Daniel in the lions’ den. But while the pages of the Old Testament are filled with courageous stories that inspire us to trust God in all things, there are also some difficult aspects to consider. The Old Testament contains the Law of Moses, biblical prophecy, and many difficult (and often controversial) passages. So as a child, my Bible studies skipped over a lot of these elements. I studied the individual stories, but the controversial pieces were kept to a minimum.

The problem with studying the Old Testament the way I did as a child is that it feels very disconnected. How do these men and women relate to one another? How do they relate to God’s Law and covenants? And most importantly, how do they relate to Jesus and our salvation? Continue Reading

Let There Be Light: The Day Darkness Lost the War | alyssajhoward.com

Let There Be Light: The Day Darkness Lost the War

Let there be light… When creating the world, God spoke light into this world. But in one moment, everything changed. Man ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result, death and darkness would reign. But God had a plan… one that He put into motion in the Garden of Eden. He would restore the light through His promised Messiah. And everything that happened as result of sin, would be overturned. Continue Reading