Glad you found us! This site has one objective: to help you win the spiritual battle for purity, in every sense of the word. Society encourages us to throw away our virtue; the message sent out by the media is: "everyone's doing it!" We are here to prove that statement wrong! Come in, read some encouraging testimonies, chat with others who strive to remain pure, and reaffirm your belief that purity, sexual and otherwise, is not only possible, but totally worth it!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Think on These Things: Jesus Christ is Born!

Credit: Free images from acobox.com

Isaiah 9:6     For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (KJV).
















Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Remember that God's gift of His only Son is what the celebration is truly about.  I hope you enjoy spending quality time with your loved ones, as I will with mine. 

God Bless, and I'll see you next year!

April

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fighting the Urge to Merge: Embracing the "Single Life" part 4

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In our last session, we encouraged you to indulge in one of the great advantages of being single: Wholeheartedly pursuing your personal interests, determining your God-given abilities and developing those skills for future use. This week, we’ll explore the last stage of embracing the single life: Getting involved!

Often, we feel so left out if we’re not romantically involved, that we place ourselves on the “sideline” of life. Just because society promotes dating as the epitome of happiness, doesn’t make it so. There are a world of people to meet, experiences to be had and work to do for God’s glory.  So, get off the bench, get in there, and get busy!

First, get to know your family. There might be many areas in which you don’t see eye-to-eye with your parents, but deep down, you know they love you and seek your best interests. Make time to discover who they are as people and not just as parents. Doing so will likely help you learn more about yourself. One of these days, your relationship with them will become more like a friendship, and the memories made in your youth will be the glue that binds you together.

While you’re at it, spend some time talking with your older relatives, grandparents and even great-grandparents if you have them. Learn your family history, not just the family tree, but who your relatives really were. Your older family members have a wealth of information and wisdom. Once they pass away, that wealth goes with them, so take advantage of it while you can.

Next, you need true, Godly friends. Make a point to develop relationships with friends you know you can trust. If you’re short in the true friend category, ask God and He will provide. Friends can help keep you spiritually “on track,” stick up for you in trouble, and be a great source of comfort and strength. The truest friends I made growing up, even though we don’t see each other as often, are still my truest friends. They stuck by me then and they stick by me today.

Finally, seek out God’s work for you.  According to His Word, you have work to do on God’s behalf right now- in your school, at your place of work, even in your own home. Pray, and ask God to direct you in this work. He may begin to burden your heart to pray for unsaved friends. He could lead you to start a Bible Study group at your school, or organize a praise band at church. Who knows? The possibilities are endless! The main point, though, is that His work for you is uniquely tailored to your gifts and abilities. There are people out there who will respond to God’s voice as he speaks through you!

God’s work is highly addictive, but addictive in the best sense. Side effects include: joy, a strong sense of purpose and the desire to go deeper and do even more work for Him! Can you imagine leading a friend to Christ? It’s the greatest feeling imaginable! This is God’s plan for you, and it’s not in the distant future, but right here and now. Don’t let the world tell you that you’re missing something. Allow God to take you down the straight and narrow path to an abundant present and a hopeful future.

My dear friends, in wrapping up this series, I’d like to point out a few “main ideas.” This very stage of your life is unique, special, and going away before you know it. Now is the time to focus on you. Now is the time to make memories with those you love and live life to the fullest. You were born for a specific purpose- not to live in someone else’s shadow. Strive to become all God wants you to be as an individual, and trust that, if God wills, Mr. Right will come along in God’s perfect timing.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Jesus Waited, Too...


Credit: Free images from acobox.com























Luke 2:51-52 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them…and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (KJV).

Why can the season of waiting be so difficult? Because it’s frustrating at times You know what you want, and usually it’s more than just obtaining a “prize,” ultimately, it’s a desire for purpose in life. Sometimes, before the season of waiting, God Himself lays a desire on your heart or gives you a vision. You reach the point of accepting that vision and, then what? You must stop! The end result seems so close that you can almost touch it, and yet, you’re halted in your tracks.

This week, God opened my eyes to a truth that will, hopefully, bring you comfort. If you, like many of us, are in that season of waiting, you are in great company. Jesus also experienced such a season in His life, and we can learn much by following His example.

This verse sums up the story of Jesus, as a twelve year-old boy, remaining in Jerusalem after the Passover celebration. If anyone had a vision and a calling on His life, it was Jesus, but at this time He was not yet ready to step into the role of Teacher, Healer and ultimately Savior. He had preparing and growing to do. So, what did Jesus do while waiting? Let’s look:

According to verse 46, He was in the temple, sitting with teachers. He listened to them and He asked questions. In other words, He was learning and developing His skills in preparation for God’s work.  He was also developing a reputation among those He met as someone who was set apart for a special purpose. Verse 47 says that all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. It’s obvious that Jesus, even at twelve, knew He was called, because His response to His mother was I must be about My Father’s business.

What comes next seems like simply the closing of the story, but it reveals some profound truths. He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them. The King of Kings, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, even the sin of His own parents, lived in obedience and submission to His parents. Until it was time to assume His God-appointed leadership role, Jesus lived obediently under the authority given to Him. Does that amaze you like it does me?

Finally, Jesus increased…in favor with God and men. He developed worthwhile relationships. He grew in His relationship with God. He grew closer to His family. He deepened His relationships with all he knew until God told Him to step into the work He was destined to perform for us.

Now, let’s make this personal: what can we do besides long for the next big “thing” in life? We can get prepared! Learn from God and your appointed instructors. Take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, but don’t try to force the opportunity. (Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but He didn’t take the journey on His own. It was a yearly tradition of His family.) Develop a Godly reputation among all you know through your words and deeds. Live a life of radical obedience! Be skeptical of what the world tells you, but embrace the correction and instruction of those God has placed in authority over you. Finally, develop worthwhile relationships. Get to know your family better and make memories with them. Develop Godly friendships. Don’t worry about the romance part, just create a healthy, dependable circle of people you can trust. God will use this resource as your support system later in life.

If you’re waiting, for anything, be encouraged! Jesus has been in your shoes and He’s outlined the way to make it through.


God Bless!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Think On These Things: New Christmas Albums for 2010!

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the music! There are several new albums released this year, but I found the following three particularly unique and interesting.




Have you heard of 33 Miles? Their new Christmas album, Believe, contains 10 tracks: 7 classics and three original songs. What I found most enjoyable was their unique takes on classic Christmas songs. I, who am not a fan of country music, found myself wanting to hear more. Joy to the World was one of my favorites! You can hear a sample of Joy to the World by clicking here:




If you're into alternative rock, there's Future of Forestry.  Their album Advent Christmas EP volume 2 contains an original song entitled:  The Earth Stood Still.  It's great!  I highly recommend it! 



Finally, the Newsboys have released a Christmas album entitled:  Christmas, a Newsboys Holiday.  The songs are mostly traditional favorites, but with a Newsboys rock infusion!



Merry Christmas!

April



What other "things" would you like to see highlighted on our weekend posts? Drop us a line or leave a comment, and we'll look into the things that interest you. Thanks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Think on These Things: Dawn Treader Opens Today!

Last weekend, we highlighted the movie The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Well, it's opening in theaters today!  I just returned from watching the movie and, in my opinion, it was excellent!  I highly recommend that you go and see it! The Dawn Treader is action-packed, but has light-hearted moments as well.  It generally stays true to the book, not that there aren't moments where it strays, but C.S. Lewis' overall intent was well preserved.  What makes the movie so engaging is that, although the characters are on a difficult quest and must overcome enemies from the outside, the greatest danger comes from within their own hearts.  It's a great parallel to the ups and downs of the daily Christian life.

What I found especially appropriate, considering our current series on A&V, was that Lucy, Edmund, Caspian and even Eustace face internal feeling of inadequacy.  The temptation to sin arises from these insecurities.  Lucy especially struggles with wanting to look prettier, and be attractive to guys.  She has a wonderful discourse with Aslan in which he tells her not to "think less of yourself than you are." (I'm paraphrasing, can't remember the exact quote.)  Later, when a young girl admires Lucy and says, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you."  Lucy turns to the girl and says, "When you grow up, you should be just like you!"  (I loved that little scene!)

The scene in which they fight the sea serpent really keeps you on your toes.  Again, it was the combination of fighting both external and the internal forces, simultaneously at this point, that kept you glued to the screen.  Overall, this movie not only met, but exceeded my expectations!  I was convinced that I'd find some minor scene objectionable, but I did not.  It was well made, engaging, and I found the Christian imagery very inspiring! 

If you get the chance, I highly recommend you go watch this movie!  It was everything I expected it would be, and my hope is that enough support will be gained through this movie to allow Walden Media to continue filming the series.  The Silver Chair will make an amazing sequel!

Here are a few more tidbits of info. I found in regards to The Dawn Treader, that I'm posting for your reading and listening enjoyment:


Narniafans.com posted a review of the Dawn Treader by Valerie Bell, of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  She makes an excellent case for watching the movie on opening weekend.  You can read her review here: http://www.narniafans.com/archives/10850#more-10850

The same website also posted an endorsement of the movie by Tim Gresham, the step-grandson of C.S. Lewis.  You can read it, along with lots of fans comments here:  http://www.narniafans.com/archives/10846#comments

Focus on the Family's review of the movie, from Plugged In Online, can be read here:  http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/chroniclesofnarniathevoyageofthedawntreader.aspx

Finally, you can listen to Carrie Underwood's song There's A Place For Us, which is part of The Dawn Treader soundtrack, by clicking here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPdSw2kGnOQ



I encourage you to grab some friends and head to the movies this weekend. If you do, let us know how you liked it!







What other "things" would you like to see highlighted on our weekend posts?  Drop us a line or leave a comment, and we'll look into the things that interest you.  Thanks!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Think on These Things: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (NKJV).


Welcome to our weekend post! In an effort to make purity more practical in daily life, the weekend posts will highlight "things," such as books, CD's, movies, clothing, or other useful items that we believe a Christian can enjoy without compromising their faith. These posts will be made with no bias toward or against the products we discuss, no money is being made by our opinions and we are not trying to "sell" you anything.  This is only intended to make the daily battle for purity a little easier.

I don't know about you, but I'm a lover of movies...wholesome ones, anyway. That's why I'm thrilled about the latest movie in The Chronicles of Narnia series: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!  Based on the books by C.S. Lewis, the Dawn Treader continues the adventures of the youngest two Pevensie children, Edmund and Lucy, along with their annoying cousin, Eustace, in Narnia.  They meet Prince Caspian once again, climb aboard his ship, The Dawn Treader, and face perils from external as well as internal forces.  An article from latimes.com describes the plot as follows: "The trio are transported back to the mythical land of Narnia, where they join Caspian on a voyage to mysterious islands. Along their journey, the three children must resist temptation, including pride, envy and greed, as they confront a variety of creatures, culminating in an epic battle against a massive sea serpent."

As in the previous movies of the series, this is a pure fantasy, but it promises to be much more lighthearted than Prince Caspian, its closest prequel.  The movie is produced by Walden Media, a company that is "committed to producing traditional family entertainment."  Executives from Walden Media describe it as: "...a story of temptation, transformation, redemption and grace in a way that you are immersed in a world of magic and wonder. It's an all-audience movie and a return to the first one."(latimes.com)  As a fan of the books, I anticipate this to be not only an entertaining movie, but an uplifting experience. 
 
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will open in theaters on December 10.  Therefore, I am speaking from a standpoint of not having previewed the movie.  I anticipate it to be a positive and entertaining experience, but I cannot say this with absolute certainty.  From all accounts, it is being marketed to the family-friendly, traditional values market.  In fact, David Weil, chief executive of Walden parent Anschutz Film Group, is quoted as saying:  "We're reaching out to faith contingencies around the world where C.S. Lewis' works are well known and resonate strongly."(latimes.com) When movie reviews become available, we will share them with you, as well as give our personal review upon watching. 

With all the movies out there that are filled with negative, anti-Christian content, it's so refreshing to see companies investing in wholesome and well-made movies.  We, the traditional values crowd, should applaud their efforts and support such entertainment.
 
Below is the trailer to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We hope you enjoy!


 
 
 
What other "things" would you like to see highlighted on our weekend posts?  Drop us a line or leave a comment, and we'll look into the things that interest you.  Thanks! 
 
 
 
 
sources:  narniafans.com, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-ct-narnia-20101203,0,1708261.story?track=rss

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Very Best "Stuff"

I Timothy 6:6     Now Godliness with contentment is great gain (NKJV).

PhotobucketI am pleased to announce that I roasted my first Thanksgiving turkey last week!  Here it is, straight out of the oven.  My hubby and I were up at 4:00a.m. to begin the process, because we had to travel with our bird, and we didn't want to cook it the night before, reheat in the morning, and risk drying it out.  (I don't know about you, but I hate overly dry turkey!)  According to our family, it was perfect, so I'm very pleased!  It feels like I've achieved another milestone in my life.  I mean, not just anyone gets entrusted with preparing the highlight of the Thanksgiving feast, right?

So, now it's on to Christmas.  In my family, we have a child with a December birthday, so from Thanksgiving onward, we seem to experience a flood of presents, parties and "stuff."  I want my children's birthdays to be special, but I don't want them becoming materialistic.  I enjoy giving them gifts, especially things I know they will enjoy, but with all the commercials, sales papers and posters in every store window, it's hard to teach them that the purpose of Christmas is remembering God's gift, not receiving all the "things" we want. 

As I was praying about what to share with you, I felt God lay this verse on my heart.  In the prior verses of this chapter, Paul discusses false spiritual teachers.  He describes them as proud, knowing nothing, and eventually says that they  ...suppose that godliness is a means of gain.  In other words, they use their faith as a means of getting "stuff":  money, favors, or other things.  Heaven forbid, in this season of remembering Christ's birth, that we focus on getting the "stuff" we want, or in my case, focus on giving the "stuff" my loved ones want.  His purpose for our lives is so much higher than this!

However, Godliness with contentment is great gain.  Pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ, while remaining thankful for your situation in life is a treasure in itself.  My mother describes it as having a "fortunate personality."  People who are satisfied with what they have tend to be happier than those who always focus on what they don't.  They live with joy in their hearts, regardless of circumstances, and experience the peace God intends for us.  I'm sure there are many things that are less than ideal in your life.  It might be material or financial things, it might be family dynamics, your social status, or trouble with your friends.  Whatever the situation, God placed you there for His divine purpose.  Rather than focus on what you perceive to be missing, focus on the wealth of blessings God has given you and be thankful.  Allow Him to work through you as you are, where you are, and discover how fulfilling His gift of contentment can be!

Can you name some areas of contentment in your life?  We'd love to hear about the ways God has blessed you, so leave us a comment, or send us an email and share!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Toy Story 3...And a Lesson For Me!

I Corinthians 2:9     ..."No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (NIV)."
                                         
PhotobucketThis week,  God taught me something through Toy Story 3.  Sound odd?  It was!  I thought, since it was a great lesson, and rather funny as well, that I'd share it with you.

Here's a bit of background information:  God has lately blessed me by allowing me to take part in His work.  As many of you know, I've been writing a book, a "battle plan" for maintaining or re-gaining sexual purity.  God laid this burden on my heart, guided me through the writing process, and placed the right people and opportunities in my path to bring this project before publishing companies.  Exciting, right?  You bet!

It's been a long process, though.  I'd like to tell you that my faith has been rock solid, and my emotions have been unshaken, but this is not true.  Even though I've seen God move through the project several times, I reached a point recently where I had a downright bad attitude.  I began to doubt what I was doing, and even wonder if I'd heard God correctly. 

Here's where the movie comes in:  For Christmas, I've purchased Toy Story 3 for my son.  I bought it weeks ago, jumped through some hoops to get a good  "deal" on it, and now it is sitting at the top of my closet, waiting to be wrapped and then un-wrapped on Christmas day.  (I've included a picture as proof!)  Recently, my son began asking if we could buy Toy Story 3.  I smiled, and told him that Christmas was coming, so he needed to be patient.  I said:  "Who knows?  You might get it as a Christmas present." 

But he wouldn't let it go!  Every few days, he'd ask again about the movie, and again I'd remind him that Christmas is just around the corner.  Finally, last Friday, on the way home from school he said, "Mommy, I don't think they're selling Toy Story 3 anymore."  I assured him that it was still for sale.  He continued:  "But, all the stores have taken the posters out of their windows!"  (Eyes lowered, brimming with tears.)  Getting a little put out, I said:  "Son, you just have to trust me on this!" 

No sooner had the words come out of my mouth, than God spoke to me:  "April, you just have to trust Me on this!" (the book).  I sat stunned for a few moments, then I smiled.  I whispered a quick "Got it!"  back to the Lord, and gave my son a reassuring pat.  Just as my boy is worrying about something needlessly, because I've already met the desire, so my worry was also needless.

Does this mean that I'm guaranteed to get the book published?  No, but God's plans for this project have never changed.  He's still got everything under control.  I don't know the outcome, but I don't have to know the outcome.  I know the One who began this process, and He will bring things to pass in His perfect time, for His purposes, to bring glory to His name and draw others to Himself.  I just need to trust Him. 

So, how does this relate to you?  Do you have areas of your life that you struggle surrendering to God?  Are there big dreams in your heart which seem out of reach?  Realize that God's plans are so much greater than ours!  Our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear and our minds cannot begin to grasp what God has planned for us.  If we love Him, then we need to leave our cares at His feet and trust that, just as I'm not going to allow my son to miss out on Toy Story 3, God is not going to allow us to miss out on His good gifts for us.  I hope this brings a little joy and encouragement to you this week!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How May I Help You?

Proverbs 27:17     As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (NKJV).

True friends are priceless.  Not only do they make great companions and come to our aid when we're in need, they can also help us become better people.  Particularly in our walk with Christ, Godly friends can hold us accountable to our commitments and help us stand strong in moments of weakness.  Just as iron can be used against iron to sharpen itself, a true friend brings out the best in us.

This week, we encourage you to examine your friends.  Are they they true friends who will "sharpen your countenance," or are they primarily interested in themselves?  Invest your energies in people who truly care about you, and strive to be a true, Godly friend in return.

The ministry of Armed and Virtuous is in need of a little "sharpening," which your opinions, comments, and suggestions could provide.  We are looking to change up our format a bit.  Instead of posting only a weekly devotional, we'd like to post more often, on a variety of topics.  Our aim is to make this website a more practical and useful resource.  So, as a pre-teen, teenager, collegiate or parent, what topics in relation to purity are important to you?  Would you be interested in posts about modesty?  Goal-setting?  Withstanding peer pressure?  Falling in love with Christ?

We are also considering highlighting events, books, CD's, movies and other such things that are God-honoring.  Our ultimate goal is to create a site that makes life as a Christian young person easier.  Would such information be helpful as young women or parents of young women?  Your feedback would be greatly appreciated, as it will help "sharpen" this ministry into a more effective tool for God's kingdom.  Thank you for your support and God Bless!

Monday, November 8, 2010

This is War!

Ephesians 6:10-13    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (NKJV).


Adolescence can be a war zone!  I know because I lived through it, and then I observed it as a junior high and high school teacher.  There are pitfalls all around you:  drug abuse, sex, backstabbing, gossip, peer pressure, and the list goes on and on.  The good news is, God knows your struggles.  He is fully aware of what's going on in your world, and He's holds the key to victory.  According to Ephesians 6, here's how to overcome this truly spiritual battle:

Firstly, you need to put on the "armor" of God.  This armor is mastered daily in your quiet time with God.  You don't have the strength to fight this battle alone, so make sure you get suited up every day before stepping out the door.  Reading God's Word not only helps you put on the armor, but it instructs you in wielding "the sword of the spirit (v.17)"  You will need this weapon as you go throughout the day, because spiritual battles can arise unexpectedly.

Next, you need to determine your true enemy.  Is it the guy who pressures you to lower your standards?  The girls in homeroom who always talk about you?  Is it your teachers or parents, who don't seem to understand what's going on?  No.  It's the devil himself.  Although your battles might involve circumstances with these people, satan is the master troublemaker.  We don't truly wrestle with flesh and blood, but with "spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."  Don't fight the people, fight the spirit that influences those people.  How?  By using your spiritual armor to block the shots he fires at you.

Fight the sinful images that seek to fill your mind and heart with the helmet of salvation.  Allow the breastplate of righteousness to block any false accusations that come your way.  Use the belt of truth to keep you from swallowing the lies that circulate among your peers.  Use the shoes of the gospel of peace to direct the way you respond in a pressure situation.  When your peers try to poke holes in the dreams God has given you, block those with the shield of faith, and finally, use the sword of the spirit to attack the devil as God leads you.  After doing all this, just keep standing.  Even if you don't have the strength to push forward, just stand in God's strength.  He will supply your every need if you put your trust in Him.  My prayers are with you as you go to battle this week!

If you are struggling in your personal battle and need to discuss your troubles, feel free to leave a message on our "Girl Talk" page.  Keep everything anonymous and appropriate, but we'd love to hear from you.  If you'd like us to pray for you, please send us an email (Contact Us page) and our team of prayer partners will lift up your needs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Hopeful Future!

Jeremiah 29:8-9,11    For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD...For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (NKJV).

All of us, especially when we're young, wonder what the future holds.  We may have dreams for an amazing career, a storybook marriage or an accomplishment we hope to achieve.  It might be such a fervent desire that we feel the need to "help" it along; to make it happen in our own strength.  What this verse brings to light is separating the world's opinion, and our selfish desires from God's perfect plans.  As much as we may wish for something, our greatest efforts will fall short without God's blessing.

The world often places people in our midst to deceive us and get us off track.  It could be a guy who appears interested in you, but who doesn't love the Lord, the popular crowd who seems willing to include you for a price, or just the overall pressure to conform that surrounds teenage and early adult years.  If you listen to these "prophets and diviners," they will speak the words you want to hear.  They will offer the acceptance, at least temporarily, that you long for, but at what price?  Most of the time, their demands have long-term consequences which could ultimately prevent your dreams from coming true. 

Even our own heart can become an enemy.  At times, we long for something that God knows is not ultimately good for us, we "listen to our dreams, which we cause to be dreamed."  Other times these dreams are planted in our heart by God, but we don't have the patience to wait for His way and timing.  Instead, we interfere with God's work.  We try to force our dreams to happen according to our plans.  When we take matters into our own hands, God's removes His blessing, and we miss out on His best for us.

So, how then do we succeed?  By committing our dreams to God!  He's had a perfect future mapped out just for you from the beginning of time.  His plans are great plans!  Plans for your benefit, not your harm.  Plans to give you a hopeful future, not one scarred with regret.  Surrender your dreams, in every area of your life, to Him.  Allow God to mold them as He sees best, and don't lose heart.  God will amaze you as you remain faithful to Him with the perfect plan for your life. 

I'm so excited about our latest testimony!  It's a story of how God unveiled such a perfect plan in the life of a young lady just like you.  I hope that it blesses you and encourages you to stay strong in the battle over your sexual purity.  Check it out on the "Testimonies" page!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hang in There!

Hebrews 11:1,6      Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  (v.6)  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (NIV).

I don't know about you, but I've always been a dreamer.  When I was in junior high and high school, I longed to discover the unique destiny God had for my life.  I would often pray:   "I want to be on the front lines of the spiritual battle, Lord.  I want to be in the thick of the fight, doing Your work, and I don't want to miss anything You have planned for me!" 

Then I would go to school.  I was surrounded by a mass of other kids who wanted nothing more than to "fit in" with the crowd.  Just like many of you, there were times that I was targeted and humiliated for one ridiculous reason or another, and let me tell you, being an outspoken Christian made for an easy target.  During those times, my dreams would seem impossible, and hopelessly far in the future. 

However, even when I didn't feel like it, God burdened my heart to continue praying over these dreams.  Throughout the years, God gave me details about my future work and even spiritual traits of the man I would marry.  Each time He gave me a new glimpse into His plans, my hope was renewed.  I was able to be certain that my future was secure in God.  I couldn't see success with my earthly eyes, but the more I came to know God and the more I surrendered my future to Him, the safer I felt about the dreams God planted in my heart. 

When my husband and I met and fell in love, God showed me, detail by detail, that he was exactly the man I had been praying for all those years!  It was terribly exciting to see such a long awaited dream come to pass!  In the years since, many of my dreams have come true; most of them did not look exactly as I imagined, but they have proven to be exactly God's plan, and exactly what I needed and ultimately wanted. 

Even now, I still have unfulfilled dreams.  At times I tend to lose heart and think they might not come true, but just when I'm at my lowest, God reminds me, through this verse and others, that He is still in complete control and that He makes all things perfect in His time. 

Am I promising you that God will give you whatever you want if you pray hard enough?  No, but I am saying that if you give your heart and life completely to God, and allow Him to make His desires yours, your life will be an amazing spiritual adventure!  Living by faith brings God great delight!  It's the only thing we can do that is pleasing to Him.  So, take your eyes off the here and now and focus on your Heavenly Father.  Understand that He has amazing plans for you, and believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Sisters, This Should Not Be...

James 3:8-10  ...no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be (NIV).

My high school girls' Sunday school class had an excellent discussion yesterday, and it's been on my heart ever since.  We were studying the power of our words.  Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue.  I felt led to share our discoveries with you.

School can be a battle ground, I know.  Everyone is looking to build themselves up and gain approval from their peers.   Some girls do this by tearing down others who appear "weaker" than them.  They pick on anyone who sticks out from the unspoken "acceptable standard".  If you've ever been the victim of this verbal assault, you understand how painful it is.  Other times, without even thinking, we wound someone with our tongue.  It could happen with just a careless comment, or even the tone of our voice.  You will never know how deeply your words can impact another person.  People's outward reaction rarely is equal to the pain they feel within.  Words of disapproval can stick with a person for years, impacting their self-worth, self-esteem, and even affecting the way they view God.

There is a flip side to this; have you ever received an uplifting word from someone you admired?  I'm sure that  compliment breathed life into your soul!  I know that when I receive praise, it makes me feel like I could run a marathon!  I feel strong and ready to conquer the world.  It tends to make me admire that person all the more.  Choose to be such a person; a modern-day, virtuous woman, who has "on her tongue the law of kindness"(Proverbs 31:26).

Can we do this in our own strength?  According to James 3:8, the answer is no.  Thankfully, we are not on our own.  God can help us control our tongue.  He can give us the wisdom to know when to stay silent and when to speak words of healing.  Give God control of your tongue this week.  Allow Him to use this "restless evil" for His good, and watch what unfolds.  God Bless!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How Do You Dress to Impress?

I Peter 3:3-4     Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (NKJV).

You don't have to tell me that you take your time getting ready in the morning, I've been there!  As a teenager, I made sure my hair, makeup and clothing looked as perfect as possible before walking out the door.  Why?  Because school was brutal!  The critics were tough!  On several occasions, my day's beginning was directly tied to how well my hair was behaving.

I believe that we honor God by dressing nicely and taking care to be properly groomed, but be careful not to let this area rule your life.  If your self worth is completely tied to your looks and other people's reactions to your looks, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Take a step back and think:  whose opinion really matters?  The supposedly "popular" crowd, the guy you wish would notice you, or your Lord and Savior?  God is not nearly as concerned with outward appearances.  What matters to Him is the condition of your heart.  In all your preparations for the coming day, make sure you take time to work on the "hidden person of the heart".  Spend some time in God's presence, allow the mirror of His word to reveal and heal your flaws, and face the world with a beautiful inside as well as a beautiful outside!     

Monday, October 4, 2010

Come with Confidence!

Hebrews 4:14-16  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,  Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need  (NIV).


My grandfather is a businessman, who often holds important meetings.  Throughout my growing up, for one reason or another, there were times I needed to call him at work.  His secretary would answer the phone and I'd ask to speak to him.  If he were busy, she'd say "I'm sorry, he's with a client right now, can I take a message?"  As soon as I'd say my name, she would immediately put me through to my grandfather!  Sometimes I'd try to tell her that I could call back, but she always put me through.  My grandfather, no matter the circumstances, was always glad to hear from me and give me whatever help I needed.  It made me feel so important and loved! 

Have you ever felt like God was distant?  That He was unapproachable?  It's easy to feel this way because we are sinful people.  We tend to imagine God as sitting on His throne in heaven, waiting to pronounce judgement when we fail.  In the strictest sense, this would be a completely just response.  We deserve judgement for our sin; we made the mistake and we have earned the consequences. 

Thankfully, this is only half of the story!  We no longer live in a time where sacrifices must be made for sin.  No longer do we depend on an earthly priest who must enter God's presence and make atonement for our sin.  Instead we have Jesus Christ, the Ultimate High Priest.  He went beyond entering an earthly tabernacle, but entered heaven itself!  He was the sacrifice, His blood was spilled in our place, and not only does His blood cover our sin, but it washes us completely clean and makes us whole!

And the story keeps getting better.  Jesus lived a life just like ours while on this earth.  He is not a God who cannot understand and sympathize with us.  When He lived as a man, he was tempted in every area of life, just like us.  He knows how difficult it can be to stand against the crowd.  He knows that life can be unfair.  He understands that even your closest friends can hurt you, at your lowest moments.  He understands that sin can seem appealing and difficult to overcome.  Yet through all the temptation and trials, He lived a life without sin, just so He could save us!

Here's the best part:  God's wants us to enter His presence with confidence!  We don't have to fear His punishment, or feel like we're wasting His time with our concerns.  He wants to spend time with us, and He wants to meet our needs.  Should we enter His presence thankfully and reverently?  Of course, but we don't need to enter with fear.  Feel free to tell Him about the English project coming up that worries you.  Ask Him for the wisdom to rightly deal with the people at school who are giving you a hard time.  Ask Him to help you overcome the temptation to dress inappropriately, gossip, or hang out with people who will drag you down.  Come to your Heavenly Father as a beloved daughter who has access to His throne at any time.  It's your spiritual birthright!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are You a Slave or a Son?

John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (NKJV).




This verse was heavy upon my heart this week because I experienced firsthand women of all ages struggling with guilt over past sin. I hope this verse gives you a glimpse into the heart of our God. He is not standing by waiting to punish you for making mistakes. Instead, He is waiting to help you get free of your sin, restore a right relationship with you, and help you fulfill the destiny for which you were created.

Sin is such a problem because it’s a trap. Once you give in, it’s not only easier to repeat the sin over and over, but the guilt that follows holds you hostage. A condemning voice speaks to your heart, saying “if people knew who you really were, they’d never accept you,” or “God might be able to forgive some mistakes, but not this.” Even as Christians, we sometimes fall for the idea that we were forgiven once, but we can’t expect God to continue forgiving our sin once we’ve been saved. This is a complete lie, yet so many of us live in bondage to that lie when freedom is waiting in the arms of Christ.

A son abides in the house forever. If you have asked Jesus into your heart, you are a son (or in our case a daughter) of God. Don’t believe the lies that the devil whispers to your heart. If you have sinned, come just as you are to your heavenly Father and repent. You don’t have to get “cleaned up” first, just be honest about your sin and resolve to change. Once you have asked forgiveness of sin, realize that forgiveness is granted! You don’t have to pay a penalty, because the penalty has been paid for you. Walk in the amazing grace of your Lord and share that same forgiving spirit when someone wrongs you. If the Son of God, through His shed blood, death and resurrection, has made you free of sin, then you are free indeed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Results, Not Excuses

I Timothy 4:12  Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (NKJV).

How many of you have heard adults say:  "they're teenagers, they're going to do it anyway" referring to sex, drugs or many other harmful activities?  How many of your friends use this as an excuse to get involved in reckless behavior?  Be the exception!  God isn't lowering His standards because you are young.  On the contrary, He wants you to lead; to set an example by your behavior that challenges even the adults in your world. 

Let your words be uplifting and kind.  Let your conduct be upright and God-honoring.  Let your love be sincere.  Let your spirit be filled to overflowing with God's love.  Let your faith, though small, move mountains.  Lastly, be a young woman who is pure in heart, so that you can "see God" (Matthew 5:8). 

God has a job for you, even now, in your church, school, and community.  Don't let people look down on you because you are young, instead, allow God to chart your course and silence your critics!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Proper Passion

Song of Solomon 2:7  I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases (NKJV).

Song of Solomon is a book of the Bible which describes passionate married love.  This book stands as proof that God completely approves of human sexuality.  He created it, and He desires us to enjoy physical intimacy with our husband.  In this particular verse, the bride is addressing her virgin attendants.  She actually states this charge three times throughout the book (2:7, 3:5, 8:4).  Although she has been expressing to them her passion for her husband, she also gives them some important advice:  Maintain your sexual purity until marriage.  Awakening love (or sexual passion in this case) before "it pleases", or before you are in a proper position to handle the responsibility, leads to heartache and regret.  The bride is able to freely enjoy intimacy with her husband because she waited to express her passion until they were committed for life. 

I urge you to be careful when it comes to physical intimacy.  I pray that you will draw some modest boundary lines so that you do not awaken passion for a guy who won't commit himself to you.  Remember that your boyfriend is someone's future husband; treat him as you would like another young lady to treat the man God has for you.  While you're waiting, develop a passion for Christ.  Let His perfect love strengthen you, and find fulfillment in discovering your future with Him.  Stay strong, and God Bless! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dried Up or Fruitful?

Psalm 1:1-3  Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.  The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish  (NKJV).

Let's dig into this a little bit.  According to this scripture,  a righteous young lady keeps herself from three things:  She does not walk in, or follow, the advice of ungodly people.  She doesn't stand with, or count herself a part of sinners.  In other words, she doesn't "hang out" with people who do sinful things.  Finally, she doesn't sit in the seat of the scornful; she does not gossip about, or ridicule other people.  If you'll notice, these activities grow in degree of involvment, from listening to sinners, then hanging out with sinners, to participating in sin.  The virtuous woman of God avoids this slippery slope altogether.

Instead she finds delight in God's word, and she thinks about that word day and night, whether through reading, praying to God, or thinking on it throughout the day.  Here's the blessing that follows:  She will be firmly planted in God's special location, where her needs will be readily met.  She'll have all the "water" she needs.  Her "fruit", or the work God has for her will be accomplished in His perfect timing.  Her leaf will not wither, she won't run out of energy, because she's plugged into the Source (Christ).  Finally, whatever she does will prosper, because she's committing her future to God.  What a promise!

The ungodly are like dried up chaff, basically the useless husk of grain that is separated during harvesting.  They have no worth, no value.  The wind will blow them away.  When we get to heaven and are judged by God, the ungodly won't be counted as part of the righteous.  Because God knows what we're "made of", and He desires substance, not fluff. 

I hope this verse brings you encouragement and inspiration this week.  Avoid the temptation to listen to opinions or advice from ungodly people, even if they're popular.  Don't sacrifice what you believe to be accepted by them, and don't participate with them in activities you know to be wrong.  Instead allow Jesus, the Lover of your soul, to delight you, and be patient when it comes to "bearing fruit".  The dreams God has planted within your heart, whether for a career, a husband, a family or any other goal, will come to pass "in it's season".  Stay plugged into Him and "whatever you do will prosper!"  God Bless!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beauty for Ashes

Isaiah 61:1-3  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor...To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness  (NKJV). 

Would you like to know the desire of your Heavenly Father's heart?  He longs to remove the barriers that keep you from Him and free you to love Him in return!  This verse foretells of the Messiah and his purpose on earth.  The love between God Almighty and his children is the greatest love story in existence!  There is no sin too great for His forgiveness, not even sexual sin.

So many girls believe that once they've had sex, they're lost forever.  They believe that they have no hope of a "happily ever after," so they continue in sexual sin.  This is a lie, and completely contrary to God's heart.  God can take the ashes of your sin and turn them into beauty.  He can replace your mourning with joy and remove the heaviness from your heart, filling it instead with praise! 

If you've made mistakes, please take comfort in knowing that your Heavenly Father is waiting to forgive and restore you.  Know also that your Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, can wash you whiter than snow, draw you into the greatest eternal romance imaginable, and can even in this life still give you a "happily ever after". 

We have a beautiful new testimony posted on our Testimonies page and I encourage you to check it out!  It is a story of mistakes and regret, but ends with the miraculous restoration that only Christ can bring.  I pray that it encourages you and strengthens your resolve to walk in sexual purity.  God Bless you!   

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Delight of Sin...(while it lasts)

Proverbs 20:17  Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel (NKJV).

There is a reason that sin seems so attractive.  For a short while it is enjoyable.  During the season in which we're having fun we often use that enjoyment to justify our sin.  However, the fun does not last.  Sin will always lead to regret, and often, the regret lasts much longer than the pleasure.

 Especially in the area of sexual purity, realize that the consequences of eating "bread gained by deceit" can last for a lifetime.  As we start a new school year, I pray that you will stop and think before you act.  God will give you the strength to withstand and your future marriage and family will be blessed by your obedience.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Way/God's Way

Proverbs 16:9  A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (NKJV).

I had plans today, plans to be highly productive.  The house needed reclaiming after my family came to visit, there was Armed and Virtuous work to be done, and I planned to spend quality time with my kids during the last few days of summer.  God, however, had other plans. 

I had to take my son to the doctor, which took up most of the morning and afternoon.  The evening has been spent treating his illness.  Looking back on a day that was anything but what I expected, I was reminded of something.  God knew what was most important:  being there when my son needed me.  The other things I had planned might have been good, worthy goals, but they were not God's plans. 

If we desire God's blessing upon our work and our dreams we must submit even daily plans to Him.  The challenge this week is to myself as well as you:  Be willing to change your plans if that's what God asks of you.  Ask Him to make His perfect will your heart's desire. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

True Love, God's definition 1 John 4:10-11 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (NIV).

1 John 4:10-11  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (NIV).

We were loved when we didn't deserve it.  We were loved when we didn't love God.  He chose to love us, even in the midst of our sin and died in our place, even as we rejected Him.  How amazing!  If God can love me this way, surely I can love those around me.  Here's this week's challenge:  take your eyes off yourself and choose to demonstrate Godly love to someone who doesn't deserve it.  If they've wronged you, overlook it, if they are purposefully trying to hurt you, pray for them.  Render them speechless by returning a blessing and watch as God does a mighty work through your act of kindness.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hide God's Word (in your heart!)

Psalm 119:9-11  How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (NIV).    

How can you stay away from sin and regret?  By living your life according to God's word.  It's more than just going to church, reading the Bible and saying "no" to sin, but actually falling in love with Jesus!  This requires commitment at the beginning.  You must dedicate yourself to the process first, but as you faithfully continue to spend time with Him, your relationship becomes exciting and personal. 

God's word is an important weapon in the battle for overcoming temptation and sin.  Once it's in our heart, we can pull it out and use it any time we feel tempted to disobey.  Do some "preventative maintenance" this week.  Begin memorizing some scripture.  Who knows?  God may be preparing you for the next spiritual battle in your future. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Don't Worry

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus  (NIV). 

This is a lesson I am still working to learn.  Maybe you're like me, I worry much more than I should!  Aren't you glad our God wants us to ask things of Him?  That's what this verse says:  Don't worry about anything, but through praying and being thankful, ask God for the things you need.  Then, as if that wasn't enough, He adds a promise:  His peace, which goes beyond what we can even comprehend will guard our hearts and minds.  He will give us his perfect peace!  So, even when you're in a situation that's beyond your control, even when, according to the world, you have every reason to despair, you can ask God for the things you need and rest safely, knowing that He's got your life under control. 

Your Heavenly Father loves you and desires great things for your life.  When you feel tempted to worry about anything, big or small, give that care to God, and allow Him to replace your fear with perfect peace. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Led by God

Psalm 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye (NKJV). 

My father passed away when I was nineteen, just beginning college, and this verse brought me great comfort.  How many times do we worry about "missing out" on God's plan for our lives?  We don't need to fret over this, because He promises to show us the way.  As long as we're seeking His will, and as long as we're willing to surrender our will to His, the right choice will become perfectly clear in His time.  Take comfort in the love of your Heavenly Father this week and allow Him to instruct you and guide you. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Great news!

I read this verse with my hubby the other day, and felt like I must share it with you:

Proverbs 28:13  He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes [them] will have mercy  (NKJV). 

How many of your friends continue in sin, sexual sin or otherwise, because they think they're "stuck"?  It's simply not true.  The enemy of our soul tries to make us feel trapped once we commit a sin, but getting out and back on track is actually quite simple.  If we try to deny, or cover up our sin, we will stay trapped, but if we acknowledge the sin, confess it before God and turn away from it, we will be forgiven and granted mercy!  Yes, it takes courage to admit you've done wrong; but God loves you and wants to forgive you.   

Monday, June 28, 2010

Awesome Plans

This verse is the favorite of a friend of mine :)

Jeremiah 2:11  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV). 

Be encouraged this week in your walk with God and your quest to stay sexually (and in every other way) pure.  God does not set limits because He wants to keep you from having fun.  His limits are designed to bring you into the best possible future!  You are his beloved child and, just like any loving Daddy, he wants to give you good gifts.  At the same time, just like any loving Daddy, he doesn't want you to wander into areas of danger and get hurt.  So, trust His judgement, stay strong and God Bless!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not your own

I Corinthians 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (NKJV)

(Sorry for posting so late this week, my family has been on vacation.)

There's a popular saying among women today:  "It's my body, I'll do what I want with it."  I've got news for you, that statement is incorrect.  If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you belong to Him.  He paid the price for your salvation.  Your body has become His dwelling place, and therefore you should seek His will in regard to what you do with your body. 

Why am I saying this?  Because it's so easy to give in to sexual pressure if the only person to consider is yourself.  If my body is only my property, no other opinion matters but mine.  If, however, it belongs to another, and I'm just the "manager" of that body, I need to ask Him before giving any part of it away.  If you're feeling tempted to to dress inappropriately, or to get more physical with a guy, I ask you to consider that it's not just your choice.  Ask yourself:  "Am I being a good manager of God's Temple?"  God will bless you as you consider Him in this area.   

Monday, June 14, 2010

Changin' it up...

Okay folks, we're going to try something new here.  From now on the "Verse of the Week" will appear on this page.  Not a big change, but let me know what you think.  This way, it will be a little more obvious that an update has been made. 

Week of June 14th

Exodus 20:2-3 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me." (NKJV)

I know this verse sounds a little intense, but stay with me here.  Throughout your teenage years, the pressure to have a boyfriend can be so intense!  It can take over your thoughts, affect your self-esteem and come before your relationship with God, if you aren't careful.  So, take this verse as a challenge!  Look at your life and see where your boyfriend, (or the wishing you had a boyfriend) lies on your list of priorities.  Give this area of your life to God and ask Him to help you keep your priorities in the right order.  Remember that the throne of your heart belongs to your true Bridegroom (Christ) and that worshipping any other "god" only leads to pain and regret. 



Just a little update about what's going on with "Armed and Virtuous":

The Central Baptist girls are having great discussions every Sunday!  We never know what topic or subtopic of the "battle plan" is going to inspire a great discussion or personal revelation.  What began as a six-week series has become so much more, as the girls want to dig deeper.  Two weeks ago, we began the "how to date" section, and the response has been tremendous! 

We're beginning to branch out and take the message beyond home.  Several speaking engagements are in the works and as details become solidified, we will post them for your benefit.  We ask for your prayers, as we attempt to share the "battle plan" of how to remain sexually pure.  We need God's wisdom and desire His blessing on every aspect of this ministry. 

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Experiment

I'm trying a new layout.  What do you think?