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!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The College 411- Shelby's experience part 2

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Well, here you have it, the last installment of the final interview in the College 411 series!  I hope it has been helpful for all you soon-to-be college freshmen, and those of you making college plans in the next few years.  If you get nothing else from our discussions, understand that college is a wonderful experience, just don't forget who you are and to Whom you belong.  Here's the rest of Shelby's interview, may it bless and encourage you all.  Good luck with all your college plans and activities, and God Bless!




April:  Is it challenging to stand strong in your faith as a college student?

Shelby: For me, it’s quite a challenge.  I do better staying in the Word when I have nothing else to do.  The summers are the best for me, because I can chill, open the Word and see what God has in store for me.  When I get busy, l barely have time to do anything I want to do, because of studying and classes, and I guess I tend to categorize spending time with God as something I want to do.  It’s easy for me to think I have to study so I can make a good grade on this test.  I have to sleep so I can be prepared to take this test.  Then I’ll realize that a week has gone by and I haven’t spent time in God’s Word.  It’s a mindset thing, you really have to stop and make the time to read the Word and listen to God’s voice.

April:  Do you feel further or closer to God than when you were in high school?

Shelby: I came into college from the mountaintop experience of church camp, so I definitely think that initially, God and I grew further apart.  Like I said, I got “busy” which contributed to that situation.  But then, I had to learn to trust Him day by day.  I had to lean on Him to show me how to make it through each day, and that has brought us closer.  He’s revealed to me a lot about who I am, some of the character traits I possess.  Some of them are good, and He encourages me to keep developing them, and with others He tells me Those have got to change!

April:  Do you feel like your faith has matured, that maybe you’re beginning to own your faith now? 

Shelby: Definitely!  I’ve actually started something I call Operation 119:11.  Psalm 119:11 says I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  I’ve written down scriptures that prove why I believe what I believe.  In the past, I knew that the Bible “said” a certain thing, but I didn’t know where.  To an unbeliever, that doesn’t mean much. So, in order to be a stronger witness, I decided that I really need to study the Bible and memorize those scriptures.  The more I look into a verse, and the more I study individual words in that verse, the deeper I understand the meaning behind it.  I think this has to do with my stage of life.  In high school, I never really studied anything!  Now that I’m in college, I’ve learned how to study, and I think that I’m translating that skill to my Bible study. 

April:  Do you think that a Christian can remain strong in their faith while going to a large, public university like you do?

Shelby: Yes, I will say that my university is very conservative, and I believe that helps.  It might be harder if I attended a university that was really “out there,” but I do know this:  Everywhere you go, there will be a church.  You need to be involved in the church community.  I’m not just talking about attending Sunday morning services; you have to get “plugged in.”  Those people will support and help you through times of weakness.  Yes, there are lots of people at this university who don’t believe as I do, but I’ve found my core support group and they help keep me strong, that’s the key. 

April:  Do you have any last words of advice?

Shelby:  Be prepared for God to show you what He wants.  You’re about to dive head first into the rest of your life, and you really don’t want to do that without Him!  You’re going to come into contact with a lot of people who claim to be Christians, but you need to investigate and discover who they really are.  You also need to dig deep and discover who you really are.  Expect your faith to be tested, that’s why I believe God created college:  to test your faith, test who you are, and give you an opportunity to grow.  Your parents have done all they could to give you a great foundation, now you’re about to flourish; just make sure that you stay dependent on God. 



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Think on These Things- Pray for Callie!


Philippians 4:8     Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (NIV).


Would you like to do something to make your summer really count?  I've got a tremendous mission opportunity for you!  It can be accomplished in your own home, on your own time and costs absolutely nothing but your time and compassion, yet the results will bless a hurting family forever.

The beautiful little girl you see pictured above is Callie Cochran.  She is two years old, and was recently diagnosed with a peach size tumor that was consuming most of the back portion of her brain.  She went through surgery to remove the tumor, and Praise God, the doctors were able to remove it all.  After receiving the pathology reports, it was determined that Callie has Stage 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma brain cancer.  This is a very aggressive type of cancer, and the road to recovery is difficult and uncertain.

Miss Callie has been recovering from her brain surgery and there have been many ups and downs along the way.  She needs prayer for healing and the regaining of normal activities.  Also, she will be undergoing strenuous radiation treatments to fight off this cancer.  Please pray for this precious little girl to regain her ability to swallow, keep down food, keep her airways clear, and have the strength she needs to undergo her radiation therapy.

Callie has an older brother, Carson, who has his own struggles at this time:  concern for his sister, homesickness, and all the emotions you can imagine a little boy would feel in his position.  Callie's mom and dad, Phil and Courtney are obviously in need of your prayer.  As a mother, my heart goes out to them. 


Please take a little time to lift up this sweet family.  Their lives have been turned upside down, and their needs are great.  We have the opportunity to be to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this situation.  They need wisdom, so pray for wisdom.  They need peace, so pray for peace.  They need rest, they need money, they need lots of things, so let's stand in the gap for them.  Let's help ease their emotional burden, and knock on the doors of Heaven on their behalf.  Prayer is simple, but prayer is the most powerful and effective tool we possess.  James 5:16 says . . . The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (NKJV). 

The Cochran family has a website that they frequently update with the latest prayer needs and praises regarding Callie's situation.  There is a guest book you can sign to show support, and even an opportunity to give financially if you feel led.  Their needs are great, but our God is greater!

Thank you so much, my fellow soldiers. 



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The College 411- Shelby's experience part 1

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It's been a while, but we're back on the subject of college!  This week you'll be hearing from Shelby.  She gave a great interview, but we had some technical difficulties with her video.  I couldn't bear for you to miss out on her wonderful opinions and advice, so I typed out the interview.  Thank you, Shelby, for being so open and honest.   I hope her words bless you as much as they did me.  Enjoy!
 
April:  What was it like transitioning from high school to college?


Shelby: The transition, for me, was really not that terrible.  Probably one of the greatest things was the surprise!  Everyone talked about how professors don’t care about you, that the work is so hard, and that professors are going to try and fail you.  My professors have been nothing but helpful.  All they want is for you to pass.  For the most part, they love whatever they’re teaching.  It’s great to know that they actually care.  Just take the time to introduce yourself, and they’ll remember.  They really do care. 


Also, the freedom is a great thing.  You have the freedom to choose what you study, where you study, where you eat, what you eat, when you eat.  What’s really nice is, you get to pick whatever you want to wear!  If it’s hot outside, you can wear shorts!  And, by the way, no one dresses up for class.  T-shirts and shorts are the way to go!  You don’t have to worry about impressing people, because nobody cares. 


April:  What was difficult about the transition?


Shelby: It was difficult not having a set stereotype of who I was.  In high school, everyone had a certain impression of me, expected certain things of me, and I followed those expectations because that was “my box,” my comfort zone.  When I went to college, I discovered that I could become whatever I wished.  I expected to be the same person, but my circumstances changed, and I began to worry and think, I might be a nerd!  I’m studying all the time! (By the way, you’re not a nerd for studying a lot, that’s the point of college:  to study and get a good job.  Don’t forget that!)  You begin thinking:  Who am I, what is my spot in the world?  And, it’s not like you can turn to your buddy and ask “Who should I be?” because they’re going through this discovery as well.  That caused me some stress.


April:  Was the transition a big shock?


Shelby: For me, no, because my parents prepared me well.  I’m the youngest of my family, so I witnessed my other siblings go off to college and had an idea of what to expect.  There were all sorts of little things, though.  For example:  no one announces things.  There are no “school announcements” every day, so to know what’s going on, you need to find the source of the information, and pay attention.  Read the school paper, look online, or find out where the info. is coming from.  Otherwise, you’ll miss out.     


April:  Did you feel lonely?  If so, how did you deal with it?


Shelby: I still sometimes feel lonely.  You have lots of friends, but they haven’t known you a long time.  You will share the same interests, but you don’t share the same growing up experiences.  Their backgrounds are different than yours.  You can’t share old stories, and that makes me feel a little lonely, but then you start building experiences and memories with these new friends.  That makes the loneliness ease up a bit.  So, stay close to your high school friends and cherish your high school memories, but enjoy the college stage of life with your college friends.  If you dwell on the past you will be lonely, so embrace where you are now, because college does fly by like they say!


April:  How is peer pressure different in college?


Shelby  I’ve always heard that peer pressure is tough in college because you don’t have anyone telling you not to do something, but in my life, peer pressure is almost non-existent.  If you don’t want to do something, you just don’t hang out with those people, and if you do want to do something, those are the people you hang out with.  Peer pressure doesn’t really happen here, because there are so many different types of people that you can easily find the people who do what you do. 


April:  How do you find the right people?  Did it take a while to find them?


Shelby: It doesn’t take long, because no one is trying to hide who they are.  It’s fairly easy to find Christian friends because, hopefully, you’ll be finding a church somewhere and that’s where you’ll find people to hang out with.  Even at church there will be people who are more and less like you, but the college department of a church will always have activities for you to do and people to meet.  The more you get involved, the sooner you’ll discover that you have Christian friends and you didn’t even really try, it just happens. 


April:  Is it tempting to go to drinking parties in college?


Shelby: It depends on what you’re looking for.  If you come to college looking to make as many friends as possible, then partying will be a temptation.  If you want a few, solid friends, then parties won’t be a temptation.  You will develop deep, long-lasting relationships with true friends, but you don’t get close to people you meet at a party.  You might know their name and a stupid story about them because they were drunk when you met, but that’s about it.  Those parties aren’t a temptation to me because of how I went about making friends, and because there’s so much going on at my university, it’s not like a party is the only thing going on over the weekend.  I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything!


April:  In your opinion, what’s the difference between a good party and a bad party?


Shelby: If there’s alcohol present, there’s probably nothing good going on, so unless you’re going to pick up a friend from the party, don’t go.  I’m a little up in the air about where to draw the line in relation to alcohol.  I know that people drank wine in Biblical times, but that it specifically says not to get drunk and not to be a stumbling block.  The Bible says everything is permissible, but everything is not beneficial.  So, if it’s not beneficial to be there, just don’t go.  There are plenty of parties without alcohol, but even then, if people there are known to be shady, it’s probably best not to be there.


Are you about to begin your college experience?  Need support?  Leave a comment or email us at requests@armedandvirtuous.org and we'll be glad to encourage you and pray! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

The "Lavish" Lifestyle!

Treasure Chest Pictures, Images and Photos


I John 3:1     How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him (NIV).

Last week we challenged you to change your focus, and think about the things that truly matter.  This week, I hope you'll spend some time pondering how truly rich you are, and yes. . . I mean you!

What is the lavish lifestyle?  It is a life overflowing with an abundance of something.  We usually think of wealth, power or fame.  We might consider movie stars to have a lavish lifestyle, leading political figures, or even the most popular people at school.  They likely are the most financially well off, have the most "friends" and have a string of guys hoping to ask them out, right?

So, how on earth are you rich, then?  I'll tell you:  If you are a child of God, then you possess riches that the world not only doesn't possess, but can't even comprehend.  You are lavished with love, God's unfailing love!

God has poured out His love and favor upon you.  He has called you His child, made you an heir to all the wealth of heaven, sent His only Son to die for your sin, and provided the way for you to live eternally with Him in paradise!  In addition to all this, He moment-by-moment supplies all that you need on this earth, and many of the things you want as well.  It might not always seem to be so.  We often get focused on all the things we don't have, instead of thanking Him for the countless blessings.  Its easy to count the "many ways" we don't measure up, fit in, or seem good enough according to the world, but that's just further proof of the wealth we hold!

By being rich in God's love, we have love to spare.  We have love to share.  We have love to give to the most needy and even the most undeserving of people.  Our world is impoverished when it comes to love.  They can't give love, because they don't have love, they don't even truly understand love.  I John 4:7-8 says . . . for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love, does not know God, for God IS love.

So, you're rich!  You're a cherished, precious daughter of the King of Kings!  Because He has lavished His love upon you when you didn't deserve it, couldn't earn it, or even understand it, you can in turn lavish this world with that same love.  So, open the floodgates, and let God's love flow from you onto the dying world around you!

What does this look like?  It could mean sharing money or resources with the needy, but it could also mean spending time listening to a lonely individual.  It could mean using your physical strength to help someone who is frail or sickly.  It could be lifting up someone in prayer, even praying over and over, with tears, helping them fight their spiritual battle. 

It could also be shown through offering forgiveness to someone who is "undeserving."  Have you ever been hurt, cheated, or lied to?  What if that person not only doesn't apologize, but continues the same behavior?  Do they deserve forgiveness?  No, but neither did we, and yet God forgave.  Forgiveness has nothing to do with the worthiness of the offender, nor the feelings of the one offended.  It has everything to do with the abundance of God's love.  If God can lavish His love on me when I didn't deserve it, I can forgive an offense, even if no apology is given.  I can love that person (while rejecting their sinful behavior) because God first loved me. 

So, act like you live in the lap of luxury.  Freely you have received, freely give.  Ask God how to help you "share the wealth" and spread His love around.  There is nothing more powerful in this world than love!



Are you feeling unloved?  Are you feeling undeserving of love?  Drop us a line at requests@armedandvirtuous.org or leave a comment.  We'll be happy to pray for and encourage you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Think On These Things: Prayer Works!

Philippians 4:8     Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (NIV).

I'm really excited about this week's opportunity to make your summer count!  Everyone can get involved, no money needed, no materials to gather, all you need is yourself. . . and a heart to bear one another's burdens.

89.3 KSBJ, a Houston-based Christian radio station, has an online prayer community called Prayer Works!  On this site, people throughout the area posts prayer needs and praise reports.  You'll find a wide variety of needs from people of all walks of life.  As you pray, there is a place to click, indicating that you've lifted up a specific need, and even an opportunity to leave a note of encouragement.  What a blessing to see your burdens being brought before God, and read the support from those who are fighting on your behalf!  There are no age restrictions to minister in this area, so anyone can get involved.  Check it out, find a need that particularly strikes your heart, and get on your knees.  Remember:  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV). If you have any concerns of your own, feel free to submit a prayer request.  This is what the body of Christ is all about!

They also have a Salvation Wall.  They call it their "Most Wanted List."  On the Salvation Wall, people have placed the names of those that need to come to Christ.  You can review the names, say a prayer for their salvation and then click the name.  KSBJ will email the submitter, to let them know that their friend or family member received prayer.  How encouraging, and how easy to get involved! 

If you are 18 or older, there are still more opportunities.  You can sign up to be a Prayer Line Volunteer.    As a prayer line volunteer, you would be praying for listeners that call in or email in their prayer requests.  They have numerous time slots throughout the day to fit your schedule.  Click on the link for more information. 


Then there are more "hands-on" ways to share for the glory of God!  KSBJ is constantly putting on special events.  This month, they are hosting Boomin By the Bay every Tuesday on the Kemah Boardwalk.  At these events they need survey volunteers and greeting volunteers.  They need two volunteers for Tuesday, the 12th, and six volunteers for their last show on Tuesday, the 26th.

KSBJ puts on various events throughout the year, in several locations, and is always in need of helping hands (especially in the Beaumont area!)  The best way to know what's coming up is to register as a volunteer.  You will begin receiving emails about upcoming events and find out where help is needed.  Even if you can't help out, you can always join the fun!  You must be at least 18 to register as a volunteer individually, but if you are a parent, you can request to bring your teen along. 

So, volunteer some prayer time this week!  Lift up your brothers and sisters in Christ.  As much as we can do with our hands, nothing is as powerful as prayer.  It seems simple, but it's warfare on our knees! 



What other "things" would you like to see highlighted on our weekend posts?  Drop us a line at suggestions@armedandvirtuous.org  or leave a comment and we'll discuss the things that interest you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Think on These Things: Manicures for the Master!

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Philippians 4:8     Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (NIV).

Welcome back!  We're talking about things you can do this summer, things that might seem insignificant, but make a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God.  This particular "mission trip" idea requires nothing more than your smiling face . . . and a bottle of nail polish.  Intrigued? 

A couple of friends and I went to our local nursing home to do manicures This is a regular activity at our particular nursing home, but they don't normally get to interact with younger people while doing it, so we all had a great time!

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We did a few men's nails as well.  No, we didn't use nail polish, we just clipped and filed their nails, but they seemed to enjoy the conversation!  I talked to a man who had been a car salesman in his younger years.  I couldn't help but think that it must be frustrating to be unable to clip your own nails.  I also met a lady named Hazel who used to run a beauty shop in our town.  Throughout our visit, we met several other ladies of various backgrounds: 

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This particular lady knew exactly what color she wanted, and how she wanted her nails done!  I'm very glad my friend, Myranda, was such an accurate manicurist. I might not have passed this lady's meticulous inspection!  Before we left, she pointed out a picture of herself on the wall . . . with a gentleman!  She said "People say he's my boyfriend, but he's not a boy.  He's my MAN friend!

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I'll remember this lady forever because she wanted blue nail polish!  She told me later that she'd prefer black, but they didn't have any!  She was quite a character, singing along with the radio and talking about her favorite musicians.  Her nails were quite long, but nope!  She didn't want them cut.  Just the blue polish, thank you! 

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Then I met another rather shy lady.  She seemed to want to join in our conversation, but either couldn't hear very well, or didn't know exactly what to say.  My heart went out to her.  I found myself doing most of the talking, because she seemed more comfortable that way.  We had a great time, doing nails, chit-chatting, and learning about the varied and accomplished lives of the people we served.

Before we knew it, the lunch announcement was made, and it was time to go.  I found myself thinking I wonder how many of these people have regular visitors?  Do their family members even come to see them? Then I thought to myself:  I wonder what will happen to me when I get older?  Will my loved ones visit me, or leave me all alone?  The folks we met had all once been young like me, young like you.  In their hearts, they still feel just like they did in their youth.  They still have hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and most importantly, they're still loved by God.

You may not have money, you may not have special qualifications, but you do have yourself to share.  Most of those people didn't care what I did with their nails, they just wanted someone to talk to.  As a young person, your time and attention are very valuable to the older generation.  It takes effort to slow down and think of others, but it's worth it. 

Who knows?  You might just learn something from them while you're there!





What other "things" would you like to see highlighted on our weekend posts?  Drop us a line at requests@armedandvirtuous.org or leave a comment and we'll discuss the things that interest you!