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!

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!