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 15, 2012

In My Life Lord, Be Glorified!

Jesus praying


John 12:27-28     "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  'Father, save Me from this hour?'  But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name."... (NKJV) 


At looooong last, we're back!  Thank you for reading, and our apologies if we've kept you waiting.  I'm sure your life has been just as busy and full as mine in recent months, with school starting up again.

So, while reading the book of John, I came upon something I've never stopped to consider before.  I've always known that Jesus felt the stress of his impending death on the cross, and that we could tell this specifically when He prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane.  However, according to the verse above, He was feeling the pressure even earlier. 

This didn't really surprise me, but after pondering it for a while, I realized that Jesus was teaching us a lesson.  Even as He was feeling "troubled," He demonstrated the proper attitude to adopt when facing our fears.

Jesus certainly did not look forward to dying an agonizing death on the cross.  But, instead of asking God to remove it from Him (as I so often find myself doing), He asked God to be glorified in His situation!  He recognized that His purpose on earth was to face this dreadful task, and He embraced it, for the glory of God, and for the restoring of our relationship with Him.

How many times do we face a trial and become self-absorbed?  How often to we become selfish, even in our prayers? 

"God, please make this problem go away!

Do we ever take a step back and consider that God might have a greater purpose on the other side?  Could it be that our attitude in the storm is actually preventing us from achieving all God intends for us? 

I was challenged to change the way I pray about every uncertainty.  Rather than praying for God to change the situation, I'm starting to say, "God, please help me to glorify Your name in this circumstance."  Such a prayer will always be found acceptable to Him! 

After Jesus spoke this prayer, what happened?  Then a voice came from heaven, saying "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."  Jesus recognized that the cross was not about Him; it was about God, who is both completely holy and completely loving.  Jesus fulfilled His earthly calling by seeking to reflect God's glory.  If I can strive to do that in  my life, how much more can God do through me?

May this help your prayer life as well, my friends.  God knows our weaknesses, and He is full of mercy.  At the same time, He is challenging us to "grow up" in our walk with Him; to stare our giants down, and do mighty things through His power and for His glory!

God Bless!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Think on These Things: When Life Gives You Lemons . . .



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).

Last year, about this time we brought a little two-year old girl to your attention named Callie.  She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma when a peach sized tumor was found in her brain. We asked for your prayers for her healing and recovery.

Well, I have tremendous news to share with you!  After a successful surgery, and an emotional year of treatments and recovery, Callie's most recent scans came back completely clear!  She has been enjoying a summer free from any constraints of cancer, and now the family wants to give back. 

Phil and Courtney, Callie's parents, are proud to announce the 1st annual "Callie's Lemonade for the Cure!"  Saturday, August 11th from 9am-12pm at the parking lot by Olive Garden in Abilene, TX. 

This year, all of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House. In the following years, the proceeds will go to brain cancer research. Phil and Courtney are praying, that with everyone's help, break-through research will be done on childhood brain tumors, especially the kind Callie had since it is so rare.

So come visit the lemonade stand and share a cup with this "pint-sized hero!" If you live out of town, (like me,)  and would like to donate, just make checks payable to Phil and Courtney Cochran and write "lemonade stand" in the memo line. Then mail your checks to:

Armed and Virtuous
P.O. Box 7152
Beaumont, TX 77726

(As a disclaimer, the Armed and Virtuous Ministry is not currently a 501c3, so your gifts will not be considered tax-deductable.  This is purely a blessing to a good cause, in praise for what God has done in Callie's life.) 


We'll let you know how much we help Callie raise when all is said and done. 


(A recent picture of Callie and her big brother Carson)

God really does make all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord! 


Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Wait? For the Very Best of Reasons!

waiting Pictures, Images and Photos

Psalm 33:20-21     We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name (NIV).


So, let's talk about waiting.  Throughout life, we find ourselves waiting a lot, don't we?  We wait in line, we wait for our turn. Sometimes we have to wait until we're old enough, or tall enough to do something.  Other times we have to wait for the right opportunity.  And still other times we are asked by God to wait.  These times can be frustrating, especially when we see those around us "doing."  Ever felt that way?

Now let's get specific.  As Christian young people, God has asked you to wait on sex until marriage.  He has also asked you to place strict limits on physical intimacy until marriage.  But why?  Every time you turn on the TV, you see people getting intimate with each other, implying directly or indirectly that they're having sex.  Sexual jokes are now a staple of every sitcom and almost every commercial.  You're faced with this topic at every turn, and almost overwhelmingly, the message that's shared is, "Sex is fun!  You should try it!

I'm sure you know of people your age who aren't waiting.  They're probably dating, maybe even dating steadily while you're not.  If they talk about it, they might tell you things like, "If you want to have a boyfriend, you have to give in to sex."  Others might say, "No one waits anymore, it's just a myth." Or, "It's okay to wait in junior high, but you'll change your mind in high school."

It looks like so much fun, it seems like the key to success.  Why would God ask us not to do something that can be so helpful to our popularity?  Is He just trying to keep us from having fun?  Absolutely not!  The key to successfully waiting is to understand how to wait. 

According to this verse, we wait in hope!  We wait in expectation God has something tremendous in store, and at the proper time, He will bring it before us.  It's like when you waited for Christmas morning as a child.  You knew that there were special surprises, carefully chosen and wrapped specifically for you under that tree.  As soon as the light of day came into the windows, it would be time to dive in!

But, what if it never comes?  What if I do all this waiting for nothing?  The world keeps telling me that happily ever after doesn't exist!  There's a big difference between blind faith, and personal faith.  As verse 20 continues, We wait in hope for the Lord!  My hope in the Lord is secure because I personally know Him.  I speak to Him, He speaks to me.  He has made me promises and they have come true.  I'm not believing just anyone, and I'm not believing in some untouchable, unseen authority.  I have experience with my God, and therefore, if He asks me to wait, I trust that He is looking out for my best interest.

. . . He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name (v.20b-21).  God protects and helps us.  By waiting, we save ourselves tremendous heartache, prevent unplanned pregnancies, avoid all sorts of awful diseases, and remain free to pursue our dreams unscarred.  Instead of sitting home, feeling sorry for yourself, dive into God's word and develop your relationship with Him!  In doing so, you'll reach a point where your heart can rejoice in Him.  This will make the waiting easier, and the reward all the better when it comes.

God didn't ask us to "sit and wait," so get out there, and get busy doing His work!  As you keep busy exploring the gifts and talents God has given you, and pursuing the dreams He has laid upon your heart, the waiting will end, and God's perfect plan will be revealed.  Whether or not His plan includes marriage, you can trust that it will be worth all the waiting and exceed your wildest dreams!  There's no need to worry.  The God who has numbered the hairs on your head knows what you desire, and His wish is to bless you. 

So, my dear sisters, wait in hope! 







Friday, July 27, 2012

Think on These Things: God Bless Chick-fil-A!

Chick-Fil-A Pictures, Images and Photos


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). 



Well, if you've heard any news lately, you'll know that a lot of controversy has surrounded the Chick-fil-A fast food chain since its President, Dan Cathy, stated that he supports the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

Not to get too bogged down in the politics of this issue, but after thinking over the situation, I came to realize that a lesson is to be learned.  It's never easy to stand up for your faith, no matter who you are, no matter how old, no matter how successful.  There are consequences.  It's the hard thing to do, but it's the right thing to do!

As to be expected, the Chick-fil-A company has suffered some bad publicity from this, and will continue to deal with negativity from those who support anti-Christian lifestyles and who want to silence Christian values. 

But this is nothing new.  Jesus spoke specifically to this situation in Matthew 5:11-12:

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (NKJV)."

I believe Dan Cathy is to be commended for his unwavering faith, and courage to stand up for his beliefs regardless of the backlash.  It should encourage us to stand for Christ where we live, regardless of the pressure of friends, or the disapproval of the "popular crowd."


In case you don't know, Wednesday, August 1st has been designated as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  Everyone is encouraged to go eat at their local Chick-fil-A.  If you cannot do so, you are encouraged to tweet support to the company or leave supportive messages on their facebook page.

To end on a lighter note, here is a video by Christian comedian Tim Hawkins entitled "God Bless You Chick-fil-A."  I hope you get as big a laugh out of it as I did!




Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, my sisters!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wisdom Hollers!



Proverbs 8:1     Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice (NKJV)?

Ever wanted to do the right thing, but you didn't what the "right thing" was?  I've been there.  In fact, when I was a youth I had a choice between two things and I kept saying, both to myself and out loud, "I need wisdom!"  I'd ask my friends to pray for God to give me wisdom.  Finally, during my quiet time, I prayed out loud, saying:  "God, please give me wisdom!  I want to do the right thing!

Then I opened my Bible to Proverbs 8.  Right before me was the answer to my question:  Does not wisdom cry out and understanding lift up her voice?  God spoke to my heart and said, "April, you know what the right choice is.  I've been speaking it to your heart all this time; you just don't want to do it."    Humbled, I asked God to forgive me, and after praying for courage, I made the right choice; the choice I knew to make the entire time.

Maybe you've used the excuse of "needing wisdom" to avoid making a difficult, but God-honoring choice.  While seeking, check your heart and motives.  God forbid, in the quest to do what is pleasing to the Lord, we resort to putting our fingers in our spiritual ears.  The right thing is more often than not, the more difficult choice to make.  Day by day, moment by moment, we are asked to choose between ourselves and God.  These choices, however little, reveal who sits on the throne of our heart.

 Maybe, on the other hand, you truly are seeking to do what is right and you don't know which way to go.  If so, then this verse should bring you comfort.  Wisdom does not hide from us.  If we are seeking to do the right thing, God will reveal the best choice to us.  We don't have to fear missing out.  Just like your parents always made sure you found all the eggs at the Easter Egg Hunt, especially if one had a special surprise inside, so your Heavenly Father is not going to allow you to miss out on the blessings He has in store for you. 

So, seek Him, talk to Him, ask for the answers, and then wait with expectation.  God will never hide the truth from you.  In the meantime, don't take any action until He's told you which choice to make.  Wisdom cries out to all who are willing to hear her. 

By the way, this entire chapter is awesome!  I highly recommend reading the whole thing.  Here's God's promise to those who pursue wisdom:  Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors.  For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord (8:34-35).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Think on These Things: Awesome Apparel from SonGear!



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!  It's Friday, we're back to finding "things" worth thinking about, and this week it's clothing, (Yay!

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this company, and after looking over their products, I had to share them with you!  The company is called SonGear.  They are a Christian lifestyle company that offers products which enable Christians to more easily share their faith.  Founded by Bob Van Zandt, their products are designed to convey simple, yet powerful messages that encourage people to ask you about your faith.  How cool is that?

SonGear has clothing lines for men, women, youth, and even toddlers!  Here are a few of my favorites:

For Women:  These T-shirts are made of 5.4 oz. 100% pre-shrunk cotton.  They are shorter cut through the body and sleeves for a more feminine fit.  Most shirts come in a variety of color options, and each has a size chart to help determine your best size. 



Of course, these two are among my very favorites.  I can't help but applaud products that support purity!
 



 There are also V-neck shirts available in all different styles and colors:


and polos:


As well as hoodies:  Hoodies are made of  80% ringspun cotton, 20% polyester.  They are preshrunk, with a pouch pocket, 1x1 ribbing on side panels, distressed raw edges on front-slit neckline, and rack-stitching on all seams, shoulders, cuffs and waistband.  These too, are available with various colors and logos.


For Men:  They've also got a great assortment of T-shirts, polos, and hoodies for the guys!  I'm posting a few pictures here, but there are many more on the website.



My son and husband love this shirt!






They also have products available for children and toddlers. 

What I find refreshing about this company is that ministry is obviously the first consideration in every facet of the business.  Bob has partnered with several ministries, and even has the plan of salvation on his website.  If you'd like to learn more, Bob has a blog and a facebook page (sorry, had trouble creating the link.) 



So, if you're looking for a great gift, or for a creative way to express your faith,  I highly recommend the products from SonGear! 





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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our Flag...The Rest of the Story

star spangled banner 1814 Pictures, Images and Photos


Proverbs 14:34     Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (NKJV).

My son and I studied American History this past school year.  We had a tremendous time learning together about what makes our country unique and great.  As we approached the War of 1812, we studied the British attack on Fort McHenry, and learned about how Francis Scott Key wrote our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  Then we listened to a recording of the song. . . and I was speechless!

Anyone who knows me realizes how many times in my life I've either played or sung The Star Spangled Banner.  I've been a band director for years, and a band student for many more.  I know how to play it, sing it, conduct it, and I can tell you exactly how many cymbal crashes there should be and where they belong!  So, why all of a sudden did it affect me so deeply?  It's because I had never heard the piece in its entirety.

All this time we've proudly sung the first stanza before football games, baseball games, or as one of our Olympic athletes won the gold medal.  We stood to our feet, allowed the ever-familiar words to roll off our tongue and concluded with, Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Do you realize the problem?  We're ending with a question!  Does it still wave?  Are we still the land of freedom and opportunity?  We take it for granted that it still is, and that we still are, but when this poem was originally penned, that was most certainly not the case.

On September 12, 1814, 5,000 British soldiers and 19 war ships attacked Baltimore.  Francis Scott Key was being held on a British ship during the bombardment, which lasted 25 hours, and was forced to watch the battle from a distance.  To him, this battle represented a desperate fight for a dream.  The British had already set fire to the White House and Capitol building.  If they succeeded in taking this major seaport, the dream of American freedom was over. 

As he struggled emotionally through the battle, and finally the barrage of gunfire ceased, Key had only one question on his mind, Which flag is flying?  If the British flag now flew over the fort, all was lost, but if only our flag was still there...

I could keep telling you the story, but you need to read his complete expression in his own words.  Originally titled Defiance of Fort McHenry (or Defense of Fort McHenry), here is the complete version of our National Anthem:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blessed with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the God that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


I learned a lesson from this song, and I hope to pass it along to you:  Faith in God is the foundation upon which our country was built.  As long as we as a people have acknowledged God, He has blessed and protected us, regardless of the size of the opposition.  If we edit and cut down our history, like we've edited and cut down our national anthem, we forget what sets us apart from all the other nations in the world.  Our government doesn't give us freedom; God does!  Our source of hope is not in our human leaders, but in the One who gave them authority in the first place.  May we be reminded how dearly we have paid for our freedom in the past, so that we do not lose it in the future! 

God Bless you this 4th of July, and God Bless America!

For more information on the Star Spangled Banner, visit this online exhibit by the Smithsonian. 

By the way, did you notice that this flag has 15 stars and 15 stripes?  That's because at this point in history, we added both a star and a stripe for every new state.  (Just FYI!)

Sources:  Red, White, and Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman, National Museum of American History, and wikipedia. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Think on These Things: Purity Conference Ideas



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).

Well, it's been a while since we've contributed to the website, but that's because the A&V Ministry has been busy!  We've expanded our reach, both in location and in curriculum, and we wanted to share with you the fruits of our labors.

Recently we shared at Crestwood Baptist Church  in Lumberton, Tx, and for the first time my wonderful hubby, Jason, joined the party!  For six weeks we shared the plan for purity; Jason shared with the guys and I shared with the girls.  We had a tremendous time discussing identity, peer pressure, and developing a proactive plan for remaining pure in the relaxing setting of host homes.  Here is a picture of me with the girls (unfortunately, we failed to capture the guys in action.)



At the end of the series, we had a combined girls and guys session.  It was a lighthearted, fun experience with juggling, story telling, and refreshments.  I was thrilled to see the cake!  They decorated it with our theme verse:  Psalm 37:4-5.



Then we received an opportunity to share the A&V message in Asheville, North Carolina!  We were invited to Crossroads Assembly, where Jason and I shared together on a Wednesday evening with the youth: 



Jason not only juggled for them, he "taught" them how to juggle themselves!  Here are some of the Crossroads Youth in action:




In this one night session, we gave a brief message called:  Get Armed:  Weapons for the Purity Battle




Then, for the first time, we shared a message of purity with adults!  Be an Armed and Vigilant Parent was the title of the message.  The emphasis was on empowering adults to effectively support their children so they can win the purity battle.  It was a tremendous success!  After the session, I was delighted to answer questions from parents.  It was so exciting to see how much they truly wanted to help.  Pastor J. Michael Brown, Senior Pastor at Crossroads, left me a tremendous response on our facebook page.  Here's what he said:

April, thank you for sharing with Crossroads Assembly "Armed and Virtuous." April, your biblically balanced message on sexual purity and purification is relevant for church-it is a much needed prophetic word. Parents and their children are/were well-informed and instructed effectively in the ways of righteousness. You helped my congregation to understand God-ordained boundaries for human sexual behavior. Your presentation was well done! I hope other Pastors, and youth pastors will consider having a seminar. They and their congregations will be enriched. Thank you.  



So . . . do you need ideas for a purity study?  Whether you are looking for a one night session or a weekend-long event, consider bringing Armed and Virtuous to your area!  Our message can be tailored to suit your needs and your audience.  We are thrilled to have grown to this point, and we're itching to share our message of preparedness and hope with as many as God allows!   

Friday, June 1, 2012

Think on These Things: Girls4Sport Swimwear!



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). 

It's summer time, summer time, sum-sum-summer time!  Yay!  Time to pack away the books and head for the beach, the pool, or the lake!  This time of year can be a modesty nightmare, both for the girls who wish to honor God with their bodies, and the young men who wish to honor God with their minds.  That being said, I wanted to remind everyone about the vast array of modest swimwear available, with a little trip down memory lane. . .


Girls4Sport makes modest swimwear designed to accommodate all types of water sports.  They come in super cute styles and prints, with a wide array of modesty options.   We did a detailed review of their products last year.  They offer products for adults and children.  I can personally attest to the quality, because I own one myself. 

Once again, Girls4Sport is offering Armed and Virtuous readers a discount!  If you use the code:  AAV-15 at checkout, you will save 15% on your purchase! 

Happy shopping, and happy swimming!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pursue the Good Stuff!

beautiful meena Pictures, Images and Photos

Psalm 119:36-37     Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word (NIV).

Last week we discussed how to ask God for the things we need.  It's true:  we shouldn't be afraid to come to God in prayer.  We should not be afraid to ask Him for our needs.  However, it's important to constantly monitor our motives and make sure our priorities are straight when doing the asking.

It's so easy to come to God from a selfish perspective.  It's natural for our need to drive us to prayer, but sometimes we confuse needs with wants, and even allow our wants to consume us; turning our prayer time into a speech to God, rather than a dialogue with Him.

In my time of asking lately, I've struggled with how to pray.  Finally, I found myself saying, "God, I don't want any part of something that is not your will for me. I want to be found pleasing in Your sight, so please remove from me what is not in your plan, and remove the desire from my heart." 

As soon as the words left my heart, I felt like God's response was, "Yes!  Way to go!  That's what I wanted to hear from you!"

Ironically, I felt free to proceed with the asking. My heart was free of selfish motives, so I could make my petitions known in peace.

I'm sharing this with you so that you, too can do a little soul searching.  What is it you truly desire?  Is it a thing?  A relationship?  An opportunity?  A career?  Here's the next question to keep in mind:  Why do you desire it?  Do you want to advance yourself, or the God you serve?  Who will receive the glory, you or Him?

If you can pray these few verses before beginning your request to God, I believe you will be safely asking according to His word.  Why struggle with the desire for what is worthless?  Anything less than His desires for you mean nothing, so ask God to remove the desire for things that have no value and turn your heart toward those that do.

God Bless you, my sisters!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Don't Worry...Ask!

prayer Pictures, Images and Photos

Philippians 4:6-7     Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (NKJV).

Do you have any needs?  Any wants?  Any concerns?  I'm sure you do.  Lately, I've found myself with a long list of prayer requests, from all areas of my life, with all levels of importance.  Some are emergencies that send me weeping to my knees, others are not-so-desperate, but concerns nonetheless.  Still others are wishes; things I long to come to pass, both for myself and my family. 

I was struggling with how to pray.  I didn't want to sound greedy, or ungrateful for my current situation.  Then God led me to these verses.  His response to me was,

"April, you have needs, so ASK."

It seems so simple, why was I struggling?  My children aren't afraid to ask me for anything.  If they're hungry or thirsty they ask.  If they have a problem, they ask for help.  They even ask for things they want; a toy, a chance to watch TV, a snack.  What is my response?  It depends on the situation.  I want to give them what they need, and most of what they want.  Obviously I know better than they what they truly need, so occasionally, I have to say "no" to their requests. 

That's how God feels toward us.  He loves us and wants to meet our needs.  He even desires to give us what we want, in fact, sometimes He causes us to desire something, because it's His will to give it to us!  So, according to this verse, here's the attitude that we should adopt when asking something of God:

(Be anxious for nothing)  Don't worry:  That's the biggie for me.  Instead of stressing out about where the solution will come from, go straight to the Provider.  Take the concern to Him and avoid useless stress. 

but in everything:  No problem is too big for God to handle, and no problem is too small for Him to care about.  He loves you, and because He loves you what matters to you matters to Him.

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God:  Here's the "ask" part, and it has a very important qualifier.  Ask with respect and with a thankful heart.  When my children make demands of me, I don't respond very well.  When they ask respectfully, I'll be more inclined to consider their request.  Does this mean that if we ask with the correct attitude, the answer will always be "yes?", not necessarily.  God knows what is in our best interest, and if we truly believe this, we must accept His decisions as such.  That's where the thanksgiving part comes in.  Be thankful regardless of His response.  He could say "yes", "no", or "wait".

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding:  The result of your prayer will be peace.  The problem may not go away immediately.  In fact, it might seem to get bigger, but in the midst of the storm, you will have peace.  Those around you may not understand why you're not stressing.  Ironically, this is the example of Christ at work in our lives.  We don't have to know what the solution is, we don't have to know when it's coming, we only need to know that we're not alone in our fight, and that our God is bigger than the problem. 

will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus:  Jesus will guide your heart to the correct attitude and your mind to the solution in each and every situation, little or big. 

If you have burdens, no matter what they are, bring them to God.  He loves you dearly.  You are his precious child and He wants to help you.  Beyond that, He wants to bless you with the best of gifts.  So get over the worry, get on your knees, and ask!

Be blessed this week!  :)

 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Think on These Things: Wow!

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 was introduced to this video the other day and felt led to share it with you.  This is such an inspiring, real-life story!  It gives us another glimpse at just how precious all life is to God.  What moves me most, is how this young lady's face conveys the emotion of her heart, even without a single word being spoken.  May God bless this young mother as she courageously raises her son, and may we all count our blessings, realizing that life is truly valuable to God.  God must have mighty plans for this child!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Real Stories from the Purity Battle Ground part 9













 Credit: Free photos from acobox.com


We're back, and today we have a beautiful testimony to share with you!  I'm so excited about this one, because this is a real life example of what God designed marriage to be.  I could go on, but I don't want to take away from the story, it speaks for itself:


Dear April,

Yes there is a "happily ever after", and my husband and I are proof of it.  I read a sign the other day that said, "True romance is not a young couple dying together like Romeo and Juliet, but an old couple who have lived happily together for many years", and that is the story of my husband and me. We met when we were both in our teens, have been happily married for 57 years, and are still in love! 

We were both Christians and have always felt strongly that God picked us out us for one another.  You young people may think it was easier to remain a virgin in the 1950's, but human nature has always been the same, and we were certainly  tempted, but with God's grace, we waited, and have always been glad. We've had a wonderful life together, and consider ourselves a truly blessed couple.  We have had some sorrows, as everyone does in this life, but God has been our strength, and never failed us.

When we married, I was just out of high school, and my husband was in college.  He got a job as an accountant, worked hard and finally became a Certified Public Accountant with his own business. We have three wonderful daughters, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  Most are living for Jesus. When I was 40 years old, and my youngest child was 16, I enrolled in a university, earned a teaching degree, and taught school for 20 years. Now we are retired, and living in a beautiful part of the country. Our family is somewhat scattered, but we all love one another and get together as often as we can.

My husband and I love one another more than ever and truly enjoy being together. It's really special to know that we waited for one another, and have been true throughout the years.  He tells me daily that he loves me, that I am beautiful (Which is nice to hear when you're 76), and that he doesn't know what he would do without me, and I feel the same about him. He is truly my soulmate, and the husband of my dreams.

We know we may have to be separated for a time if one of us goes to Heaven first, but we will eventually spend eternity together with God, and a multitude of friends and family.

Your ministry is so valuable, April, encouraging young people to stay pure and to wait and live the wonderful life God has planned for each of them. It certainly worked for us, and is far better than a life of regrets.

Love,

Olivia



May this precious love story encourage you in your commitment to purity and to God.  Don't despair when your friends are absorbed in their "dating relationships."  Focus on Jesus, your first love, and allow Him to write your love story, in His perfect timing. 

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Joseph: A Life Marked by God's Favor Part 3



At long last, we're going to wind up this series of devotions on Joseph.  If you'll recall, we've discussed just how much Joseph is like you and me; living in a flawed family with flaws of his own.  We talked about his God-given dreams of greatness, but then the tragedy and hardship he had to suffer.  In fact, when we left off, Joseph was falsely accused and locked up in prison.  So, today we're going to see how all these events, both good and bad, were used by God to save Joseph's family, save other nations in the area, and bring Joseph's dreams to pass. 

Joseph is put in prison under false charges:  Yes, Joseph is in prison, but he's placed where Pharaoh's prisoners are confined.  Even while in prison, God blessed Joseph with favor.  But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.  And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing.  The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority; because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did the Lord made it to prosper (Gen. 39:21-23 NKJV). 

Can you imagine a prisoner being given command over other prisoners?  Not only did the prison guard allow Joseph to take control, but he didn't bother checking up on him, because he saw God's favor upon everything Joseph did.  After a while, two high-profile prisoners were added to the mix; Pharaoh's butler and baker.  Joseph served them while they were in custody.  One night, both prisoners had dreams.  Joseph asked them to tell their dreams, and God used him to interpret each one.  Both interpretations came to pass:  the butler was restored to his position, and the baker was put to death.  Joseph asked the butler to remember me when it is well with you. . . and get me out of this house for. . . I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon (Gen. 40:14-15). 

At last an opportunity to escape!  But, what happens?  . . . the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him (Gen.40:23).  For two more years Joseph languishes in prison, simply because the butler forgets Joseph's kindness.

But God was with Joseph:  But, did God leave him there?  No!  When God has a plan, not even a forgetful butler can stop him.  Two years later, Pharaoh, himself, has dreams which no one could interpret.  The butler then remembers Joseph, and tells Pharaoh.  Joseph is brought from prison to appear before Pharaoh.  God gives Joseph the interpretation:  the land will experience seven years of plenty, and then seven years of famine.  Joseph recommends that Pharaoh appoint a wise man to collect 1/5 of the crops during the seven good years to withstand the seven bad years. 

Pharaoh's response?  "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God? (Gen. 41:38)"  So Joseph is appointed second in command over Egypt, only Pharaoh is above him in authority.  he saves Egypt from famine, and greatly enriches Egypt's treasuries as they sell grain to surrounding countries. 

Speaking of other countries, Joseph's brothers are running out of food.  They come to Egypt to buy grain, and in the process, bow down to their long-lost brother!  After much testing of his brothers, Joseph discovers that they have changed, and regret what they did to him.  He reveals himself, calls for the entire family to come live in Egypt and saves them from starvation.  The family is reunited, and God helps Joseph overcome his own personal bitterness and grief.

Long story, I know, but I hope you can find some meaning in it.  Be a dreamer!  Dream big, audacious dreams as God leads you.  Then, don't get discouraged if the path God takes you down appears to be going the opposite way.  He knows the end from the beginning.  Our minds cannot comprehend what He has in store, so just keep following the Lord, no matter where He leads.  He will never leave you, never forget about you, and through all your circumstances He will develop you into the woman of God He needs to complete the special task He's assigned to you. 


If you need encouragement, feel free to email us at requests@armedandvirtuous.org and we'll be happy to lift you up in prayer. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

We're on TV Tonight!



Well, it's tonight, folks!  We're so excited about this incredible opportunity to share our ministry with the world.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.  We know that God has a plan and that His purposes will be accomplished.  May it all be to His glory and for the benefit of His kingdom.

Just in case we haven't talked enough about the details, here they are again:

The show is called I'm Just Sayin' and it airs at 10:30 p.m. CST on DirecTV channel 377. 
It will also be available online starting tomorrow.  Go to tct.tv/demand.php and click on the icon that looks like this: 








It will take you to the show's online episodes.  Scroll across the various episodes until you see one that says "April Anderson."  It should be up for several days so feel free to watch, and watch again!  (clicking on our episode benefits both their ministry and ours!)

If you feel led, please consider sending some positive feedback to the network.  You can email them at:  imjustsayin@tct.tv, call the network at 618-997-4700 or write a note to:

TCT
PO Box 1010
Marion, IL 62959

We can't wait to see what God brings as a result of this opportunity.  Thank you all for your support, and God Bless!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Think on These Things: Destruction...For a Good Cause!



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).



If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, we've got the perfect event!  There are activities for every age, and all proceeds go toward the best of causes. 

I'm talking about the Car Smash Fundraising Event at Friendship Baptist Church, Beaumont TX.  It's taking place tomorrow, April 14th from 11:00-3:00.  There will be concessions, local vendors, live entertainment,  a car show, car smash, "jumpy thingies" for kiddos (and I quote) :) , jousting, a dodgeball tournament and much, much more!

This event is to help fund the adoption of two little orphan boys from China:

Elijah Luke


and Ian Wayne


Their adoptive family, the Fowlers, have been hard at work trying to bring their babies home.  These boys, although unrelated, are 30 days apart in age, so they will be like twins to their new family.  Both of them have medical issues, and the Fowlers will begin their lives together with major medical bills once they arrive. 




If you'd like to learn more about the Fowler adoption process, feel free to visit their blog.  The entire family has been hard at work raising funds to bring these children home, it's pretty inspiring! 

Even if you can't make the Car Smash, please keep the Fowlers in your prayers, and if you feel led, please consider contributing to their adoption fund.  They must raise the astounding sum of $35,000.00 to complete the process. 

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Announcing A&V Ministries' Television Debut!




Well, the good news is in!  We just received notice that our episode of I'm Just Sayin' will air on Monday, April 16th!  This Emmy-nominated Christian Talk Show can be seen on DirecTV channel 377, Sky Angel, and on demand.  Just scroll down to the sixth icon in the middle and click on I'm Just Sayin'.  From there you can scroll over the episodes until you see the name April Anderson.  (It likely won't be up until the air date, though.)

We are so tremendously excited about this great opportunity to share the message of purity God has laid upon our hearts!  The TCT television network broadcasts to 170 countries around the world!  

Please share the good news with all those who support the cause of purity.  The more views they receive, the better for their ministry and ours.  Once the show has aired, your positive feedback would be greatly appreciated.   

God Bless all of you for your support, and we'll remind you to watch again on Monday!

  







Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joseph: A Life Marked by God's Favor part 2

JOSEPH THE GOVERNOR OF EGYPT Pictures, Images and Photos


Last time, we highlighted how similar Joseph is to you and me.  He had his problems, both of personality, family, and otherwise, but God had plans for him.  So, without further ado, let's get back to the story:

Joseph had mighty dreams; dreams placed in his heart by God, but Joseph had no idea what he would go through before seeing those dreams come to pass.  Yet, through it all, God was with him, protecting him from harm and blessing his efforts.

Problem #1:  Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers.  Joseph's brothers become so jealous of him, and resent his dreams of greatness so much that when they see him coming their direction, they conspire to kill him.  His oldest brother, Reuben, convinces them only to put him in a deep pit.  After doing this to Joseph, the brothers sit down to eat, (ironic, don't you think?) and they see tradesmen passing by, so they sell Joseph to the traders.

But, God was with Joseph.  Joseph's brothers first intended to kill him, and God caused them to change their mind.  He allowed the tradesmen to pass that way and spare his life.  Because most slaves were sold into hard labor, the brothers assumed that Joseph would be worked to death.  Instead, God was with Joseph, and allowed him to be sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard.  Not only did he receive a privileged slavery, he became a house slave of Potiphar, so his work load was not overbearing.  During this time, God showered His favor upon Joseph.  So much so, that Potiphar, himself, took notice:  The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man...his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand (Gen. 39:2-3).  Potiphar not only realized that Joseph was exceptional, he realized that God was blessing him.  Therefore, he gave Joseph charge over all he had.  Everything in Potiphar's house and fields was blessed because of Joseph.  In fact, Genesis 39:6 says thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. 

Problem #2:  Potiphar's wife lusts after Joseph.  Just when things start looking up, Potiphar's wife begins to take notice of Joseph, that he was ...handsome in form and appearance (Gen. 39:7).  She asks him to "lie with her."  Joseph of course refuses.  Day after day she approaches Joseph and he refuses her.  Finally, she catches Joseph in a trap, and tries to force herself upon him.  Joseph runs away, and Potiphar's wife declares that Joseph tried to harm her.  Potiphar throws Joseph into prison. 

But, God was with Joseph.  A powerful man like Potiphar could have done whatever he wished with his slaves, especially a slave that had caused him harm.  It's rather surprising that he did not kill Joseph.  Perhaps he did not fully believe his wife's story?  We don't know.  Instead, he threw him in prison; and not just any prison, but the prison where Pharaoh's prisoners were confined.  Even in prison the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen. 39:21). 

We will finish up Joseph's story next week, but for now let's keep this in mind:  Joseph suffered two major injustices, and yet, he continued doing what was right.  Both times these wrongs caused him great harm, greatly altered his life, and took him from what was his and where he belonged.  Yet in the middle of his trials, God was there.  God spared his life, and blessed him so greatly that even people who didn't know Joseph's God recognized the favor He poured out upon his servant.

We all suffer setbacks from our dreams.  The question is, will we give up, or will we continue to trust the Hand that placed those dreams upon our heart?  Do we truly believe that God is in control and that He's looking out for us?  If so, then let's live as if we believe.  Hang in there, sisters!  God hasn't left you.  He knows the end of the story, and He's working in you even through the trials to bring His purposes to pass. 

If you need encouragement or prayer, feel free to comment or email us at requests@armedandvirtuous.org and we'll be happy to lift you up. 




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Amazing Opportunity for A&V Ministries!



Recently, I promised to tell you why we needed a promotional video for Armed and Virtuous Ministries. Well, here at last is the reason:
 We're going to be on television!

Last Friday, I had the privilege of being a guest on the Emmy-nominated late night Christian talk show I'm Just Sayin' with Dan Willis on the Total Christian Television Network.  Jason and I flew up on Thursday, taped the show on Friday, and then spent a little time enjoying ourselves on Saturday before returning to "real life." 


At the airport, before flying out  (Got the A&V shirt on!)

Pastor Dan Willis, the host of the show, is also pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Chicago.  He founded this church at the age of sixteen and it has grown to 2,000 members!  Today it is one of the nation's leading multicultural ministries with nearly 60 nationalities represented in its congregation.  Pastor Dan is also an author and an incredible musician.

His co-host is DJ Pookie (yes, you read that correctly.)  He and Pastor Dan joke and spar back and forth throughout the course of the show, making for a very lighthearted atmosphere.  This definitely helped calm my nerves and keep me at ease. Everyone from the production crew to the host and co-host were kind, uplifting, had a very genuine love for the Lord, and a desire to be a blessing to us. 

In the Green Room, just moments before taping the show


We talked about Armed and Virtuous, what inspired this ministry, the message we convey, and what our vision is for the future.  At the end of the show, I shared the song God gave me for Jason's and my wedding entitled The Keeper of My Heart.  It was an amazing experience! Although we don't have an exact date yet, our episode is slated to air in April.  When we get more detailed information, we'll be sure to pass it along.  TCT is available on DirecTV, Sky Angel, or you can follow this link to find a carrier in your area.

Back in Houston.  Why a cow in a space suit?  I don't really know.


This is such a tremendous opportunity for our ministry!  The TCT network reaches 170 nations all over the world!  We are so very thankful to God for blessing us with this opportunity, and for all of you that have supported us over the last two years with your prayers, your likes and comments, both on our website and our facebook page, and through your donations. 

Please continue to pray for us.  We will be sharing at Crestwood Baptist beginning next Sunday and for the first time we will be introducing a boys-only curriculum:  Armed and Valiant My wonderful hubby will be leading the guys in their sessions. 


The love of my life and the Keeper of my heart

Thanks again, God Bless, and we'll keep you posted! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Joseph: A Life Marked by God's Favor part 1

JOSEPH THE GOVERNOR OF EGYPT Pictures, Images and Photos

We're back!  Thanks for joining us.  Over the past few days, God has been teaching me through the life of Joseph, and I feel compelled to share some of what I've learned with you.  Although I've heard it all my life, lately God has been pointing out some aspects of Joseph's story that I'd never noticed before.

It's easy to chalk Joseph up to being someone exceptional, someone with the proper blood line, born at the proper time, and specially gifted, destined for greatness.  What amazed me was just how normal Joseph really is.  Upon closer examination, Joseph is pretty much exactly like you and me.  "How?" you ask?  I'll show you:

Joseph was one in a crowd of many:  Joseph was not an only son, and he was not the oldest son.  Back in his day, the oldest son was traditionally the recipient of the birthright and the blessing, as well as a double portion of his father's estate.  Joseph was one of the youngest of Jacob's sons, and therefore not very high up within the structure of authority, at least according to his society.  (Gen. 29:31-30:24)

Joseph came from a troubled family:  Ever feel like you can't do anything important for God because of where you're from?  Guess what, you're no different than Joseph.  Jacob, Joseph's father, was married to two women, who happened to be sisters (sounds like trouble already!)  They quarrelled among each other and fought for their husband's favor and the ability to conceive children.  At one point, they both gave their maids to Jacob to father children on their behalf, bringing the total of "wives" to 4!  As children were born of these various women, obviously struggles ensued over who was most important, who was most loved, and who would receive the greatest inheritance.  Because Joseph was the first son of Jacob's favorite wife, he did receive an extra measure of his father's attention and favor.  However, this obviously hurt his relationship with the other brothers.  (Gen. 29:31-30:24, 35:16-21, 37:3-5)

Joseph had his strengths and weaknesses:  Joseph was a dreamer.  According to Genesis 37:5-11, God gave him two distinct dreams that foretold of his rise to power over his brothers.  The dreaming part was good, but how he dealt with the dreams left much to be desired.  Many people assume that he bragged about his dream to his brothers.  Although that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it does say that he shared his dreams with them.  This was, in the least, a lack of discretion.  He could have no doubt that his brothers would react negatively to his dream.  He should have kept it to himself, or shared it in secret with his father.  Genesis 27:8 says that his brothers . . . hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.  Finally, throughout his story, Joseph is described as being truthful, trustworthy, loyal, and a good leader and organizer.  He possessed some admirable qualities, but he had his faults as well.

All this leads up to a tremendous turn of events that takes Joseph from the lowest to the highest of positions, all for God's plans and purposes.  We'll continue Joseph's story next week, but the gist of today's "lesson" is that Joseph was not exceptional, he was just like us.  He had his baggage, his list of excuses not to excel, but instead he accepted the dreams God placed upon his heart. 

If you have dreams of doing mighty things for God's glory, don't allow your circumstances to weigh you down.  The first step is to embrace the dream, trusting that the One who called you will equip you with all you need to succeed. God is famous for calling those who seem least worthy to do the most amazing things on His behalf!



Do you feel discouraged about your dreams?  Leave a comment or email us at requests@armedandvirtuous.org and we'll be happy to encourage you.