Love Came First: Loving the Way Jesus Loved | alyssajhoward.com

Love Came First: Loving the Way Jesus Loved

In recent years, the secular world has been painting a picture of Jesus as a man who embraced all people with no questions asked. He dined with the sinners of His day and did not judge based on sin. They proclaim that Jesus was a minister of love who was all about accepting people for who they are.

The truth is that Jesus did expect repentance. He spoke often of the cost to follow Him. But throughout His ministry, His love came first. Jesus knew that once a person experienced the true love of God, they would never be the same. 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 beat yourself up for every little stumble. But is this how God meant for us to live? Continue Reading

The Night King Jesus Was Born | alyssajhoward.com

The Night King Jesus Was Born

This Christmas, I have had the privilege of explaining the birth of King Jesus to my daughters in a way I’ve never been able to before. They are finally old enough to understand that Christmas is the day we choose to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It has been special for me to say the least.

My favorite part, however, has been teaching them some of my favorite Christmas carols. I still sing to each of my girls before bed, and over the last few weeks we’ve added “Away in the Manger,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World” to our nightly rotation. As an adult, I’ve been singing these songs for nearly three decades; but they have been given new life in my heart as I teach them to my girls for the first time. 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…

 

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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.

 

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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

Impossible Battles: Even the Winds and Waves Obey Him | alyssajhoward.com

Impossible Battles: Even the Winds and Waves Obey Him

We all have them. Obstacles and impossible battles that we have no idea how to overcome. We are taught from an early age to face them head on. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. For some of the battles, this is true. We can face them head on and win.

Then there are the impossible battles. The ones where it seems that no amount of fighting will keep us from defeat. The ones where our demise seems inevitable. What about these battles? How can we possibly face these head on when we feel hopeless about the outcome?

 

Impossible Battles: Even the Winds and Waves Obey Him | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

Are We Desensitized to the Things of God? | alyssajhoward.com

Are We Desensitized to the Things of God?

When the early Christian church was expanding after Jesus ascended into heaven, amazing things were taking place. Thousands were coming to know Christ as their Savior and the message of the gospel was being preached throughout the known world. These new believers were passionate about their new faith as well as the expansion of the Good News.

At the time, however, they were also being intensely persecuted. I find it interesting to think that while Christians everywhere were dying for their faith, somehow the church was still expanding. The message was getting out there, and people were responding by surrendering their lives to something that could potentially get them killed.

 

Are We Desensitized to the Things of God? | alyssajhoward.com Continue Reading

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? | alyssajhoward.com

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the pumpkins, the falling leaves, and of course drinking hot chocolate on a cool autumn day. There is, however, one thing I’m somewhat torn over… Halloween. Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than to dress my adorable toddlers up in cute costumes and then show them off as we go door to door. There’s just one problem. As a Christian, how do I justify my Christian beliefs with Halloween? Can I still live out my faith and participate in this holiday event? Continue Reading

To Be Glued: Clinging to God in All of Life's Circumstances | alyssajhoward.com

To Be Glued: Clinging to God in All of Life’s Circumstances

It has been a particularly long and difficult week. Not only was it my daughter’s birthday, so party plans officially took over my life, but I also managed to injure my right arm on the morning of the party. Taking care of two toddlers with only one strong arm has been a challenge, to say the least! I’ve been fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who stepped in to help with some of the housework I could no longer do; but even with the help, my week has been quite chaotic. Continue Reading

Overworked and Exhausted: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout | alyssajhoward.com

Overworked and Exhausted: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout

My alarm went off at 4:40 this morning. The last thing I wanted to do was get up and go for a run. Don’t get me wrong. I love to run, and I am actually enjoying training for my first half marathon. But if I’m being honest, the transition from sleeping in my bed to putting on my running shoes was brutal. …And my day was just beginning.  I’m fairly certain that neither one of my toddlers slept well last night. There were more tears this morning than we’ve had in a long time (my own included.) As I was changing probably the worst diaper in history, the exhaustion set in. I was totally burned out. Continue Reading