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Alyssa J Howard
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Living by the Light of the King
Living by the Light of the King

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Christians are called to love. There is no arguing that. While we were still sinners, Jesus loved us to the point of laying down His life for us, and we are commanded to love others with the same unconditional love. Sometimes, loving others is easy. When it comes to my family and friends, love comes naturally. For example, nothing my kids say or do will ever change my love for them or limit my capacity to forgive them. But what do we do when it’s hard to love? Are we really called to love the unlovable?

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Growth is hard. It can even be painful at times. We go through difficulties, persevere through trials, and learn what to do (and often what not to do) in varying circumstances. As hard as it can be to grow, can you imagine what life would be like if we didn’t?

We need growth. God designed us for growth. While one of the most common ways to grow spiritually is through trials (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4), there are definitely other things we can do to initiate growth in our walk with Christ.

Are you ready to take some practical steps to grow spiritually in the coming year?
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All of humanity was enslaved by sin, yet Jesus made a way for us to be free. But He didn’t stop there. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and Teacher… to guide us into all truth and teach us how to live righteously. God’s Spirit lives within all of His children and is with us everywhere we go. This is why the Bible teaches us to live by the Spirit and to humble ourselves to His lead.

But what does walking by the Spirit look like in action? How do we know if our lives truly reflect what God intended for us?
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For those of you who have been following this 31-day series on our identity in Christ, you know that it has been quite a journey! We took a look at life before salvation in Jesus and the consequences of our slavery to sin and death. In contrast, we learned about who we are now in Christ according to His Word. We are alive and free! But the truth is that none of this matters unless we act upon our new identity. We have to walk in it in order for it to affect our lives as well as the Kingdom. God is making all things new, and He longs to use us in His ultimate plan for mankind’s redemption.
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With His Word, God brought the world into existence. His Word became flesh (Jesus) and defeated the enemy, breaking the power of sin and darkness. When God puts something into motion using His Word, it will be completed.

God declared our victory in Jesus. We have His Word that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Kingdom. So as we continue to fight our spiritual battles against sin and darkness, we can trust that victory is ours in Jesus’ name.
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When you look around at the world today, do you ever wonder what God is doing? It's easy to feel hopeless when we watch the news or when life becomes personally difficult. But the truth is that we have a glorious hope and an amazing future in Christ. And even though we don't always understand how God is working, we can trust that He is always at work carrying out His plan for mankind.

From glory to glory... This is the way the Bible describes our growth and transformation as children of God.
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Has there ever been a time in your life when you didn’t “feel” like a Christian? Perhaps you didn’t feel God nearby. Or maybe you struggled with doubt and fears that you were really saved or that God was even listening to your prayers.

When it comes to our identity in Christ, it is one thing to know who you are, but it’s another thing entirely to feel like a child of God. And trust me when I say that there will be times in our lives when we don’t feel like ourselves… when our feelings don’t match what we know to be true. So what do we do in these moments? How do we cope and change the way we feel?
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When we think of heaven, we typically imagine a wonderful, far-off place where God dwells and where we will one day (in the distant future) be with Him. But this isn’t exactly how the Bible defines things. We are told in God’s Word that we have a spiritual identity and are currently seated in “heavenly places” with Christ. So how do we reconcile this spiritual truth about ourselves with our physical reality on earth?

Is it possible to live by your spiritual identity in a physical world? And if so… how?
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If there's one thing our culture understands, it the concept of light and darkness. We know that most of the time, light is a good thing. We want light in our lives. But darkness is usually a bad thing. Even in our movies and television shows, we see people fighting for light and goodness. And those that are filled with darkness are generally evil or have villain-like tendencies.

The Bible describes light and darkness as well, and it does so in a similar fashion. The enemy's kingdom is known as the "dominion of darkness," while Jesus is known as being the "Light of the world." But did you know that Jesus calls you the light of the world as well?
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"It’s a matter of life and death." We often use this phrase to discuss something of extreme urgency and importance. So when someone begins a dialogue with these words, we tend to pay attention.

With that being said, what I am about to tell you in today's blog post is a matter of life and death. Why? Because without Christ, you will die. But in Him, you will experience life everlasting.
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