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, October 24, 2011

The Wisdom of Submission

THE BEAUTIFUL JEWISH-PERSIAN QUEEN, ESTHER Pictures, Images and Photos

Welcome back!  We're changing things up a little this week.  God has been revealing some amazing truths to me about Esther, the Jewish orphan girl who became Queen of Persia.  I wanted to share them with you, so we'll be touching on several verses throughout the book of Esther today. 

Most of us know that Esther rose from obscurity to the highest position a woman could achieve during her day.  We also know that God used her to save the Jews from annihilation.  Obviously, she possesses many admirable qualities that we should wish to reflect in our own lives, but one in particular caught my attention as I read.

Throughout her story, Esther follows the directions of those whom God places over her.  In other words, she submits to her God-appointed authority.  With each instance of her obedience, God grants her favor, and she rises to prominence.  Not for her glory, but for God's.

In the first instance, after the King issued a decree that beautiful virgins of the land were to be brought to the palace so that he might choose a new queen,  . . . Esther also was taken to the king's palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem (Esther 2:8).  She submitted to the laws of the land.  Scripture does not say whether or not she wanted to go, but the fact is, she went, and there begins our story.  The result of her obedience?  The girl pleased him and won his favor.  Esther received extra beauty treatments, special food, was given several attendants and moved to the best location in the harem. 

Next, Esther continued to submit to the authority of Mordecai, her guardian.  Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so (2:10).  Esther's Jewish name was Hadassah, but Mordecai asked her to go by her Persian name, to hide her background.  He also told her not to reveal her nationality, most likely because they lived among their enemies.  Esther followed Mordecai's advice, which later is pivotal in saving the Jews. 

After a year of beauty treatments, special food, and training, each girl was to go before the king.  She came to the palace in the evening, and the next morning, she was sent to the house of the concubines, to live like a widow, unless the king called for her by name.  It was a pampered, but a tragic existence.  Each girl was allowed to take whatever she wanted from the harem to the king's palace when it was her time to appear before the king.

When the turn came for Esther . . . to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch. . . suggested.  And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her (2:15).  Again, Esther follows the advice of the people God has placed in charge of her.  Even in the harem, she takes the good advice given to her.  This is what happens as a result:  Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.  So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen . . .(2:17). 

Even as queen, Esther continues to follow Mordecai's advice.  He uncovers a plot to  assassinate the king and tells Esther, who brings the news to King Ahasuerus.  When Haman, the king's right-hand man convinces the king to make a decree which will destroy the Jews, Esther again heeds the voice of her adopted father.   He asks her to go before the king, reveal her family background, and beg for mercy for her people. 

Esther is faced with a tremendous dilemma.  Although she was blessed with such favor from everyone, including the king, she has not been called by him for thirty days.  Who knew if the king still felt favorably toward her?  Also, . . . any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law:  that he be put to death.  The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life (4:11).  To appear before the king uninvited was a death sentence unless the king saw fit to spare  that person's life. 

Mordecai reminds her that hiding in the palace will not save her life.  He encourages her by adding . . . who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (4:14)  Esther's response to this difficult task?  Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me . . . When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.  And if I perish, I perish (4:16)!

The complete story has many more interesting twists and turns, but in summary, Esther appears in the king's inner court, her life is spared, and she invites the king and Haman to a banquet.  She reveals her heritage, pleads for her life and the life of her people.  Haman is hanged for his crime, Mordecai is given Haman's position, and the Jewish people are allowed to not only defend themselves, but . . .  many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them (8:17). 

Now, you're probably thinking:  Great story, but how does this apply to me?  I'll tell you.  There is great wisdom in acknowledging that you don't know everything.  Choosing to follow the instructions of those God has placed over you is a tremendous sign of maturity.  Our world would tell you that you are the master of your own destiny.  You call the shots.  If it feels good, do it.  This is contrary to God's plan and ultimately, contrary to your happiness. 

If you, as a teenager or young adult can make the choice to honor your parents, obey the people in authority, and follow the loving advice of those who are older than you, great blessings will come as a result.  It's easy to rebel, it's much more difficult to listen, trust and obey, especially when you can't see the benefit from your perspective. 

 Obviously, we follow the direction of God above anyone else. If a law or a directive given by a person is contrary to God's word, then we are to ignore the law of man in order to follow God. Esther, herself did this, but only as God directed.  It was her submission, not her defiance, that raised her to greatness, and it was her reputation for loyalty that caused the king to look on her with favor, even as she disobeyed his command. 

I challenge you to take on this trademark characteristic of Esther.  We live in a world full of enemies.  Many people who would give us "advice" are not looking out for our benefit.  If God has placed loving people in authority over you, respect their position, follow their direction, and develop a reputation of honor that will follow you wherever you go! 


Do you struggle with following authority?  Are you finding it difficult to submit?  Leave a comment or email us at requests@armedandvirtuous.org and we'll be happy to pray for and encourage you! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Think on These Things: Courageous!


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).

Most likely, this isn't news to anyone, but just in case you haven't seen this movie yet, I thought we'd spread the word.  It is the weekend, after all, and what better way to spend your entertainment money than on a movie that will leave you uplifted, and will support God's work?

Unfortunately, I have not yet seen this movie, so I can't speak from first-hand experience.  My hubby and I made plans the other weekend, but then we had some unexpected things come up (speaking to mountains, remember?)  Nonetheless, we plan to see it as soon as possible.  This is the synopsis of the movie as found on their website:

Honor Begins At Home

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.  While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.  When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?  Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.   Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

Here is the trailer:




(There are several other previews available on the website.)

You can check the website for theaters in your area, and purchase tickets by clicking here.  I called the Cinemark theaters in Beaumont and Lake Charles and found out that Courageous is still showing, and although they cannot say with certainty how long it will be running, they expect it to run for at least another week.  (I don't know if that includes the following weekend, though, so take advantage of this opportunity while you can!)

If there are no theaters in your area playing Courageous, you're not out of luck.  You can head up an action squad to bring this movie to where you live. 

I am a huge fan of the movies made by Sherwood Pictures.  They keep getting better and better.  The messages are always uplifting and God-honoring.  Like I've said before, if we as Christians would like more wholesome entertainment options, it's important to support the people who create such products.

If you have already seen Courageous, leave us a comment and tell us how you liked it!  I've heard from several people that it's a great movie, and an enjoyable experience. 

Have a great weekend, and if you're looking for something fun to enjoy, check out Courageous! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Speak to Your Mountains!

moving mountains Pictures, Images and Photos

Matthew 21:21     So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, . . . if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done (NKJV).


Welcome back, folks!  My apologies for the delay in posting.  I've been facing several mountains lately.  However, my grandfather gave me some tremendous advice about how to deal with them, and I thought I'd pass it along. 

If you're like me, you've read this verse all your life.  I've always found it comforting; inspirational even, but I've generally  enjoyed the "warm-fuzzy" feelings and then went about my day.  What I didn't realize was, I missed the point entirely.  This is not simply a verse of encouragement, it's a "how-to" verse; a tool for dealing with the problems that seek to overwhelm us.

Like you, I take my concerns to God.  I lift them up to Him in prayer, asking Him to help me through the situation, or solve the problem.  That is where I usually stop, though, and therein lay my problem.  According to this verse, who are we supposed to speak to?  The mountain!  Don't get me wrong, of course we are to cast our cares on Christ because He cares for us.  We shouldn't stop there, though.  We should, in faith, speak to the problems that loom before us and declare in Jesus' name that they cannot and will not overcome us. 

Am I promoting a "name it and claim it" attitude?  No.  God is our Master, not the other way around.  He gives, He takes away, and we are to praise Him during both seasons.  Nonetheless, Jesus tells us to speak to our mountains and command them to move out of the way!  In my life, I spoke to the problems that were taking over and declared that they would not overcome me or my family.  I declared that, in Jesus' name, they would move out of the way, and that God would provide whatever was needed to move forward with His plan.  In one situation, within hours of my little "discussion," the mountain was moved, at no cost to my family! 

Yes, it's a little weird to speak to your problems, but it's faith in action.  I'm not suggesting that you draw a crowd and stand on your spiritual soapbox to do this, but I do suggest that you find some time, look your mountains in the eye, and declare with your mouth that in Jesus' name, they cannot overcome you.  Your God has no limits of power, connections, money or whatever resources are necessary.  You are not a beggar's child, you are the child of the King of Kings.  He has promised that if you acknowledge Him in all your ways, that He will make your path straight (Proverbs 3:6). 

What kind of life could we live for Christ if we truly embraced this concept?  Let's find out together! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Think on These Things: Worth the Wait Conference on October 8th!

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, all!  Guess what?  The conference we told you about several weeks ago is almost upon us.  I'm talking about the Worth the Wait conference in Buna, TX.  It's taking place this Saturday, October 8th from 8:30-3:00.  The cost is free, lunch is provided (hamburgers, yum!), and there's going to be something available for everyone, so don't miss out!

The theme of this year's conference is "Know."  The overall focus will be on three areas that are important to know in order to remain sexually pure:

1.  Know God – We must know God’s love and find our worth in Him to be
able to remain sexually pure.

2.  Know Yourself – Guys and girls are created differently. Girls are more
emotional. Guys are more visually stimulated.

3.  Know the Situation – The best way to remain sexually pure is to know
what situations to avoid.

This event is going to be both intense and light-hearted at the same time.  We'll be facing all sides of the purity issue head-on, but at the same time, taking breaks for giveaways, "minute to win-it" competitions, and other fun events.

Here's the schedule:

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.     Registration / Games
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.   Welcome/Message 1 – “Know God”
10:20 – 11:10 a.m.  Session 1    
     Girls: April Anderson teaching
     Boys: Cody Hogden teaching
11:15 – 12:00 p.m.  Boy’s Lunch/ Girl’s Message: Sanctuary “Know Yourself”
12:05 – 12:50 p.m.  Girl’s Lunch/ Boy’s Message: Sanctuary “Know Yourself”
12:55 – 1:45 p.m.    Session 2              
     Girls: Jennifer Sigler teaching
     Boys: Jared Hollier teaching
1:50 – 3:00 p.m.          Ending Worship – “Know the Situation”


Just to give you an idea of what to expect, here's a little peek at the team of speakers/worship leaders at this Worth the Wait conference:







Lead Speaker
Tim Ramsey – Associate Pastor and Student Minister of Fellowship of Huntsville Church in Huntsville, Texas. Tim has been with FOHC since September 1992.  Tim has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from the College of Biblical Studies - Houston. He has a passion for teaching students God’s Word in a relevant way that applies to their lives. 







Worship Leaders
Micah Tyler Band – Micah Begnaud was a Student Minister for more than 10
years in Buna, Texas until he and the four other members of the band felt God’s call
to follow Him in to leading worship full time. All together they have spent 6 years
playing at camps, retreats, revivals, conferences, and more. Daniel Begnaud,
Will Gallagher, Caleb Johnson, and Haley Warren make up the team. Their goal is
to form hearts that want to see God’s people draw near to him through the praise of
His people.






Girls' Speaker-Session 1
April Anderson – April lives in Kirbyville with her husband and children. Formerly a
band director at Kirbyville CISD, she now is a full-time mother and writer along with
being fully devoted to a ministry she started called “Armed and Virtuous”. This is a
ministry for girls dedicated to promoting abstinence until marriage.

(No picture available)
Girls' Speaker-Session 2
Jennifer Sigler - Jennifer is a nurse practitioner at Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates
in Beaumont, Texas. She has a passion for sharing her faith in and out of the workplace.
She believes in the remaining sexually pure before marriage and teaches about the
possible physical consequences of having sex.

(No picture available)
Boys' Speaker- Session 1
Cody Hogden – Cody was a student minister for 4 years at Winfree Baptist Church in
Orange, Texas. His family resides in Bridge City, Texas. Cody felt God’s call to step
out of the traditional ministry and open an area wide ministry to high school and
college students called “The Refuge” located in Bridge City, Texas. He teaches Bible
studies on Mondays and Thursdays while keeping it open other days for students to
come and hang out.

(No picture available)
Boys' Speaker- Session 2
Jared Hollier – Jared is the Senior Pastor at Peachtree Baptist Church in Jasper, Texas.
He graduated from East Texas Baptist University where he studied Religion. Jared has
spoken at children’s camps, Disciple NOW’s, and many other events along with
preaching and teaching at his church each week. His humor and charisma is sure to
bring enjoyment to his listeners as they study God’s Word.

We're expecting God to do some great things at this year's conference.  There are about 20 different churches registered, with approximately 300 students expected to attend!  So, if you've got a free weekend, come and get encouraged in your commitment to purity.  The worship's going to be awesome, the fellowship with God's people sweet, and Central Baptist Church, Buna is working and praying hard to make this conference a blessing to the people of Southeast Texas.

Hope to see you there!