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Tag Archives: Church of Christ

Turning Away from the Former Days

Today, I want to bring you a glimpse into the blog, Happy, Healthy, Holy Home. A blog written by our dear sister in the Lord, and young mother. I want to give you an idea of how she tackles our preconceptions to the ground and reminds us that God’s word is right, good and just.

Why the Former Days are Not Where we need to Focus our Sights

Turning away from former days | R16Sixteen.wordpress.com #R1616

In this article she is bringing to light our tendency to rely on “the good old days” as if they serve as a banner for what was right and good. But, we must be careful when doing such, because the former days may not be what we hype them up to be. When we, in the church, seek to rely on the old things, we miss that we live in the here and now. We may be missing that we are the church, not that we were the church. Jesus IS, today! We must work for today, because tomorrow isn’t promised, but yesterday is gone.

When we seek to rely on what the church was, how things were in the “good old days” we may tend to belittle, exclude, or push aside those who are young. If we do this, we may be pushing them aside, quenching their desire to work for the Lord. We should rather, seek to encourage, uplift, and work alongside them both as teachers and servants, turning aside from the former days and turning to the here and now, embracing the church of today, bringing praise to God today.

Turning away from former days | R16Sixteen.wordpress.com #R1616

They Weren’t the Good Old Days [Lessons from Haggai]

Below is a preview of Chantelle’s article posted at Happy, Healthy, Holy Home. To read the post in its entirety please click over to read all that this beautiful sister in the Lord is bringing to light on His behalf.

Ah, the “good ol‘ days,” when tea was cheaper, people were nicer, and nothing bad ever happened. I think every young person has had to sit and listen while those older than them tell them how terrible things are now, how wonderful things were in the past, and how they will never be that good ever again. Everything was better then.

There is no point in arguing. Those days were the best, and they will never be that way ever, ever again… or so we are told.

In my youthful naivety, I used to believe what they said. I believed that the youth today just didn’t care as much anymore. I believed that the church was dying. I believed in the depravity of the present. I believed that the past growth was unable to be replicated.

But I don’t believe that anymore. In fact, I have come to believe that this attitude of pining for the past and putting down the future is one of the very problems we have with moving forward and experiencing church growth today, and I believe I have the Bible’s backing for my beliefs.

There is a verse that every person needs to hear, young and old:

“Say not, “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” for you do not ask wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Solomon was an old man full of regret. If he were to look back, he could definitely say that the past was better for him, yet he said that this was an unwise thing to do. To paraphrase, he says, “It’s foolishness to talk about the “good old days.”

But why is it so unwise to dwell upon the “good old days? Well, when you look back and wish for the good old days, you have a number of problems that you face (as outlined by my amazing husband):

It wasn’t as good as you remember. You remember one thing, but the reality is in fact that those days were far, far different from what you remember. It’s like when you live overseas and dream of the food back home, then when you get back and eagerly order your first dish, it just isn’t quite right. Hindsight is not completely 20/20. It’s seen through rose-coloured glasses.

Even if it was as good as you remember, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t change your present situation. It can never be that way again. If you look backwards instead of forwards, you will never be able to grow as God has asked you to.

It is very likely the failings of the past that have led to the problems of the present. Okay, so those days may have been good, but there must have been something lacking for the next generation to be “so bad.” As small but important things get neglected over time, things change for the worse.

Dwelling on “the good old days” gets you nowhere. When you look back, you miss the beauty and opportunities that are right in front of you. As long as you are looking backwards, you will never see the opportunities you have today to further the Lord’s cause.

by Chantelle Swayne Read the rest it only gets better.

Have you met, either online or in real life, our dear sister Chantelle Swayne? She is a young mom to a gorgeous new baby boy. She is from Australia, married to an American, and together they are serving as missionaries in Singapore. I ask if you’ve met her online because that’s where I’ve been privileged to meet her, although I’m hoping that this summer I will be meeting her at PTP.

She is bravely, boldly even, serving the Lord both in Singapore and online. She writes on her blog Happy, Healthy, Holy Home, tackling the roles of womanhood, motherhood, wife-hood, and most especially Christianity. She is sharing the truth from God’s word in every aspect of her life. She inspires me, and spurs me on with her joy, and dedication to her work.

That’s why I wanted to be sure you knew about her. If you are a sister in the Lord, I urge you to pop over and be encouraged by her yourself. You might find yourself challenged. You might find yourself looking within and asking yourself some hard questions. But, you will soon discover that it’s right and good to reflect on your heart and learn, grow and draw closer to the Lord as Chantelle encourages you to do so.

Follow Chantelle on Facebook: Happy, Healthy, Holy HomeHappy Healthy Holy Home

Team Member – Renée

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Submission is a Command

Are You Choosing to Obey?

We live in an age where we are bombarded by media telling us that women are equal to men. Many denominations are attempting to follow suit and make it so. Many wives are choosing to take leadership roles in the family, leaving men home to care for children while they go out and earn a living. And, our society backs it up, lauds it as modern roles and wraps it up in a nice bow so it looks like its the right thing.

 

Submission in Marriage

 

Let’s examine this reality:

Ephesians 5:22,23

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”

Colossians 3:18

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

Titus 2:3-5

“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

These statements are made with command by Paul who was given authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ to teach for the purposes of edification.

1 Corinthians 1:1a

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God…”

2 Corinthians 11:5,6

“For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things”

2 Corinthians 13:11

“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.”

While it is true that these words were written nearly 2000 years ago and the society we live in today is vastly different than the ones that Paul was writing to, the truth of God’s word remains the same.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

1 Peter 1:25

“But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

While our society may look different today, that in no way gives us permission to negate the commands which we find in scripture if we are truly believers of the word of God. The reality is, Satan is a liar and deceiver, he roams about seeking whom he may devour. By subjugating and entire society his goals are made easy and the society becomes slaves to sin without even being aware of it.

 

I am not saying that a woman can’t work outside the home. But I am saying it is not her place to take the leadership role, the authoritative role within the family. Her role is to submit to her husband.

 

~This article written by team member Renee Brown.

 

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Make Me A Servant

A Servant I Will Be!

Servant Christian

Happy New Year! With the coming of the new year comes a time for reflection and a time for making changes. We sometimes make resolutions, or change our priorities just a bit with the hope of re-focusing on what is important. As we enter this new month, this new year, we want to encourage you to think like Christ and reflect His spirit to those around you. Our theme for the month is “A Servant I Will Be.”

Do we, too often, stand in the assembly singing songs about service but fail to truly turn our hearts to that purpose? Songs such as “I Want to Be a Worker for the Lord,” and “Make Me Like You.”

Do we teach our children to turn their hearts to serve God but fail to set the example for them in our lives? Are we living the servants life as Christ did when He lived upon this earth? Do we fall to our knees to wash the feet of the world or do we have lofty thoughts that our service is more of a spiritual nature than a physical one. Christ served both, while he was here, the physical and the spiritual.

Christ’s Service

Physical Service

  • Fed the multitudes with just a few loaves and fish.
  • Filled Peters boat to overflowing with fish.
  • Calmed the sea.
  • Washed the feet of the apostles.
  • Raised to live the dead son of the Widow of Nain.
  • Healed the sick, lame, blind, deaf and demon possessed.
  • Turned water into wine.

Spiritual Service

  • Spoke the truth.
  • Loved purely.
  • Taught repentance.
  • Taught about the living water which leads us to never thirst again.
  • Sent forth the 12.
  • Sent forth the 70.
  • Taught his disciples to pray.
  • Read scripture in the synagogue.
  • Drove out the money changers from the temple.
  • Partook of the Passover.
  • Sang hymns.
  • Was himself baptized to fulfill all righteousness.
  • Instituted the supper of remembrance which has also been called the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
  • Suffered death upon the cross so that we might have forgiveness, eternal.
  • Rose to life again, ascended to heaven to sit at God’s right hand.
  • Instituted baptism for remission of sins.

Throughout the month of January we will examine being a servant for the Lord, we will make suggestions, offer examples and encourage you. We pray that you will find this month to be inspiring and that you will say “A Servant I Will Be” with boldness of spirit and courage of heart.

May you be blessed in serving our God in this new year.

~ Written by team member

 

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Blog Hop Party #10

R16:16 Directory Members are invited to join in the hop.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

blog hop

Hop Rules:

  1. You must be a directory member.
  2. Enter Your Link Below.
  3. Link Any Post that is based in scripture.
  4. Visit as many links as you like but You Must Visit, comment and encourage the site listed directly before yours . If you are the first, please check back and visit the last, (Sunday)
  5. Be sure to share that you are visiting from the R16:16 Blog Hop.
  6. Feel free to link-back to this R16:16 site, grab a button or copy and paste the above hop link. It isn’t a requirement, just a suggestion.
  • Devotionals, Bible Studies, Encouragement, Sermons or Children’s Bible Lessons are all encouraged to join in.
  • All Links are monitored and non-members will be removed.
  • If you would like to include the hop on your page so that your own readers will be encouraged, please email the team at rsixteen.sixteen@gmail.com and we will send you the link code. 

To add to the collection or to see the entire list of links. Click the InLikz Image below.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Blog Hop, Encouragement

 

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Becoming a Mom Again

Guest Post by Susan Elliott, blogger @ Becoming Women of Virtue.   

Image courtesy of photostock / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For nearly a year I battled the daily workforce. Everyday varied greatly. Some days I worked early in the morning, others I worked late into the night.  Sometimes those shifts even followed each other. There were even weeks around the Christmas holidays that I worked more than 50 hours in a week between two jobs. Sometimes I’d come home so physically and mentally exhausted that I’d crash into bed, or fall asleep where I was sitting on the couch.

I was a good employee; in fact, I was promoted after working only three months to Assistant Manager. The main job I worked was  in fashion, and I loved getting new merchandise in every Tuesday. I’d fold, hang and prep clothes so that they looked their best in the store, all the while thinking about the ever growing pile of laundry in my laundry room floor.

Financial hardship from a move (to do stateside mission work) was what threw me into the work force to start with. Late August 2012 we sold most of our possessions, filled a U-Haul truck (which was unloaded directly into storage), and moved our three teenagers 20-plus hours from our home in South Texas to a small travel trailer in Southwestern Virginia.  We were thankful for the accommodations, even though the electricity was spotty, there was no running water, and the toilet was a bucket. We lived there for about six weeks.

Everything was so much more expensive in Virginia than it had been in Texas. Housing was outrageous, and really hard to get. I now know why so many people are homeless. Who has an extra $3,000 lying around to rent a house? So, with a new adventure before us, no real place to live and a great need for extra income, I had to find a job.

I didn’t think twice about stepping up to help. I’ve always wanted to be like the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31:10-31, that woman was a hard worker, so I put her example before my eyes and plodded along my course. If only life where that easy, and I had the Virtuous Woman’s servants.

I loved my job. I loved making people feel good about themselves, helping them to leave the store with a smile and a new outlook on life. I can’t even tell you how many women I taught that beauty comes from the inside, and their clothing choices were only an outward manifestation of that beauty. Not the cause. But, no matter how much I loved my job, it never fulfilled my needs.  And there were times it even got in my way.

I’d always wanted to speak on a Ladies Day. I’ve lead singing at one before. I’ve taught many Bible classes, but speaking on a lectureship or ladies seminar has always been a dream of mine. And, last year, while I was working, I was invited to speak on two. The problem was, it didn’t matter how much I intended to get a cd out to the congregations that had invited me, I never had the time. Soon, they quit inviting.

While I was working everything weighed on my mind. I felt like I’d been stretched until nothing was left. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was happy to help out. But, between home schooling, teaching classes at co-op, soccer games, Girl Scouts, blogging, teaching Bible classes, and attending church events my time slipped away from me.  I won’t even mention how many of these things I had to miss because of work. After months of juggling, I realized I couldn’t keep up the pace. Something had to change.

I still remember the day my husband and I sat down and studied our finances. They were bleak. I was bringing in about an extra thousand dollars a month and we were still struggling. Of course while I was working, my family of five ate out nearly every night of the week, sometimes twice a day. Please don’t think me lazy. I developed plantar fasciitis in both of my feet, and was having horrible hip and back pain. I could barely make it up the stairs and into the house by the end of the work day. Although, all day long I had a huge smile on my face—couldn’t let the customer see.

The truth was, I didn’t feel like cooking, and my husband was already working at a minimum of 45 hours a week with his day job, and countless other hours in his preaching job.  Neither of us wanted to mess with cooking, so eating out seemed the best option. During those months our refrigerator was pretty empty. There’s no need for groceries if you eat out all the time. From studying our finances we also discovered that there were other expenses that were hiking up our monthly bills, too. And the funny thing was they almost all pertained to my working.

Eating Out

So, we prayed. We prayed a lot. Nearly $500 a month of my check was being spent on things that pertained to my work life, but that still left about $500 we were using on bills. We had some tough decisions to make, but we worked through them, and I am happy to say that I am at home again, trying to be a mom. Don’t get me wrong. Things are super tight. Sometimes we just have to use the Dave Ramsey approach, and just admit there are things that are below the line this pay check. My teens become very disgruntled when there is cell service disruption—but, we all learn to deal.

Unfortunately, being a full-time mom again is a lot tougher than I remember. I never really stopped being a mom during the time I worked, but I can see how my priorities had shifted.  For months I was too tired, or in too much pain to pay attention to much of anything. Now, I am trying to rebuild my relationships with my children and my husband.  I know that they understood why I had to work and why I didn’t have time to do the things that I used to do, but it still is a point of pain, at least for me, in retrospect.

I also know that I can’t be the only mom who has to face these things. Many people have to deal with so much, and are way too embarrassed to admit it, so they go on crying themselves to sleep, or watching their families fall apart. I didn’t want that to be me, so I determined to figure out a way to become a mom again, not just to help me, but other women in my situation or ones similar to it. I know I don’t have all the answers, but at least this is a start.

How to Become a Mom Again

Pray. ..I Thessalonians 5:17. We must pray without ceasing. God hears our prayers, and answers them.  Give it over to God in prayer. Sometimes we need to remember we just have to lay it all out there. If we acknowledge our problems, we can face them, and overcome them. (I John 5:14, 15, I Corinthians 10:13).

Study…II Timothy 2:15. Knowledge is power, and the only way to know God’s word and how to apply it to our lives is through study.

Listen…James 1:19. We must be quick to hear. Others need us. We should always take time to listen to those around us, every day.  A good mother is a good listener.

Engage…James 4:14. Don’t let your child’s life pass you by. Be a part of it. Life is but a vapor and only a little while. Play, sing, create with your children so they grow the memories that will sustain them a lifetime. (This is my son’s Senior year, and I don’t want to miss a thing.)

Teach…Deuteronomy 4:9. If we neglect teaching our children God’s word, what kind of life are we giving them? We should also instruct them in things they are good at so we can help them grow into adult hood (Proverbs 22:6). There are many children who become adults never having dreamed about what they would become or what they would do with their lives. Let them dream, and encourage them.

Give…Psalm 127:3-5. Children are a blessing. They are a true gift from God. We must give of our time so that they truly know how important they are to us and to God. There is no greater influence on a child than the person who spends the most time with him. Hopefully, we can say that person is us.

Work…Proverbs 31:10-31. We must do the work of a mom. We are responsible for our homes (Titus 2:5). We must do our work and not shirk our responsibilities. Everyone has a job to do, and doing ours cheerfully will help children to want to fulfill their roles in the family and even the church as they grow older.

Love…I John 4:7-8. We must love each other as God loves us. Showing our children our love goes a long way in their lives. We can tell them we love them, and we should, but showing them our love is the most important thing a mom can do.

Final Thoughts

We can all be great moms whether we only work inside the home, or if we work outside the home as well.  It’s my hope that no matter what kind of job you have as a mom that you are being the best mom you can be. Let’s not judge the women who stay at home to raise children, or cast stones at those who have to go to work. Let’s just reach out with a helping hand and unite so that we can be the best moms possible, and raise the best godliest children we can. I’ll be praying for you, and would love for you to pray for me, too.

Today’s Guest Writer is Susan Elliott from Becoming Women of Virtue.

Susan

Susan

Susan Elliott thinks that blogging is a great way to reach out to people she wouldn’t otherwise have contact with. She says, ” I feel that sharing God’s word through my blog is a way for me to actively participate in world-wide evangelism, share what I’ve learned with others, and let other women know that they are not alone. We all struggle, and we can all overcome.” You can find more of Susan’s writing on her blog Becoming Women of Virtue.

She is a 1996 graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching Student Wives Program, and has an Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Northwest Arkansas Community College. Susan has worked as a freelance writer for 16 years, and loves writing and studying her Bible. Her articles have appeared in Christian Woman Magazine, and Virtuous. Susan has three children and is married to her best friend, Larry. She enjoys teaching ladies’ Bible classes, classes for teen girls, and public speaking.  She is currently working on a devotional study guide covering II Timothy.

 

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In Pursuit of Titus 2

Tiitus 2

Have you heard about the new movement in the churches of Christ called Gender Justice?  Its purpose is to give women in the church the same roles as men.  According to the Gender Justice website: “Gender Justice in the Church of Christ includes opening traditionally masculine leadership roles and activities (deacon, elder, minister, worship leader, preacher, etc.) to women.”  There was even a congregation that was praised on the website because they have hired a woman minister.

But what does the Bible teach regarding women and leadership?

1 Timothy 2:12

 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

1 Timothy 2:11-14

 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

The world’s ideas are creeping into our churches at an alarming rate. We need to start early and teach girls the proper role of women in the church. We need to have the women in the church that fit the qualifications of “Titus 2 women” to teach the younger women. The Bible requires the older women to mentor the younger women regarding the things of God.

Titus 2:3-5

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

My friend and I have started a girl’s class at the Hope church of Christ. Our goal is to help girls learn all the things women in the church are permitted to do instead of only being told what they are forbidden to do.  We want them to use all the wonderful gifts that God has given them, but to use them appropriately.  We want them to know that God has blessed them with a wonderful role as women.

We want them to understand that a woman’s role is just as important as a man’s role in the church. It is just different because God made men and women different. We want the girls to see that their talents can be used for God in the proper way without them exercising authority over a man.

We are also trying to encourage the older women to help us. We want them to know how much they are needed. Too many women in the church have said that they are too old and are no longer needed.  Too many older women believe that they have nothing to offer this younger generation. This is not the case.  You have something to offer and we need you!  Ladies, if you meet the qualifications as a “Titus 2 woman” please find a young lady or ladies to mentor.

If your congregation currently has something in place regarding Titus 2 mentoring, please send me a message.  I would love to read your ideas.  Please pray for our endeavors as we teach this class at our congregation and as we try to involve as many women as possible. Let’s try to stop things like Gender Justice from getting into the church by teaching girls and women how to use their gifts the way God wants instead of the way the world wants.

R16:16 Team Administrator

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Sharla Orren has a BA in Sociology from Henderson State University. She loves homeschooling her two boys: Cash, who is 9, and Keyton, who is 5. She is the wife of Robert Orren, the Youth and Family Minister and a deacon for the Hope church of Christ in Hope, AR. She enjoys teaching Bible classes and a class for girls that she recently started with her friend. She currently has her own blog, Look At What You Are Seeing in which she writes about homeschooling, natural living, homemaking and time management. She was appointed by Governor Mike Huckabee to serve on The United States Selective Service Board. She serves on The Hempstead County Library Board. She also serves as a storm spotter and data collector for The National Weather Service.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Encouragement, Women Serving Christ

 

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Seeking Virtuous Beauty

A Magazine Encouraging Women of Virtue

Brittany OwensWhen Brittany Owens-Davis was a teenager she was a preacher’s daughter who had a dream of one day creating her own magazine. You see as a 16 year old girl she was in love with magazines, mostly fashion and beauty magazines. While in college at Georgia State University, she began researching and learning the ins and outs of the magazine publishing industry. She did a job shadow with the Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta Magazine and interned there while in school. She majored in journalism and took a desktop publishing class as well. But it wasn’t until after she graduated and got married that she really began to focus on publishing her own magazine.

Brittany and her husband Willie have been married for 4 years. When they were a month into their marriage he had to have surgery for cancer. It was during his recovery that she began to focus her nervous energy into creating a new magazine. Thus, Virtuous Magazine was born. 

Brittany chose to merge her love of fashion magazines with her love for the Lord. Her desire is that through this magazine she can help Christian women to be encouraged to live faithful in every part of thier lives and turn their focus from worldly fashion to modest fashion. Brittany says, “Virtuous Magazine teaches women to apply Bible truths to every part of their lives. We want lives that are abundant with good deeds and sharing God’s love.”

Used With Permission

Virtuous Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine and is available both in print and in digital form. The digital magazine is free and the current edition can be viewed anytime on the Virtuous Magazine’s website. The print version can be purchased individually, no subscriptions, simply by clicking the magcloud.com link located beneath the magazine cover on the home page, and then following the magcloud.com prompts, you can receive the magazine at home.

Additionally, if you want to continued to be encourage, you can join the League of Virtuous Women. This membership comes with some great perks. Such as, a monthly personal growth guide, unlimited access to the League’s devotionals, audios, videos, modest fashion look book, unreleased e-books and print, pass and pray resources, access to past archives of Virtuous Magazine, access to the quarterly teen magazine “Called Out” and much more.

Brittany has also authored a book, “Style Your Soul: Get Dressed From The Inside Out” which takes a look at immodesty in our culture and how this epidemic is plaguing not only our country and the world but has invaded our homes and the church. She says of the book, “Style Your Soul is your guide book for walking worthy and for presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord.”

As you can see this woman is serving Christ through this wonderful publishing outreach. She is looking to encourage and uplift women of all ages in a way that is relevant to the world in which we live in. The thing that is appealing about this magazine is that the fashion you see, while modest, is up to date and modern. The topics you read encourage the Christian in their daily walk while being relevant to the society and culture we are a part of.

Brittany’s roots as a preacher’s daughter are evident in the work she is doing. She says, “I am so passionate about sharing the love of God with others through Virtuous and showing how fulfilling your life can be when it’s dedicated to Him. I get so excited meeting sisters online and in person and hearing that they are sharing the articles with others and that something I said, wrote, posted or filmed had a positive impact in their lives. I feel so honored to give and use my talents and abilities for the Lord and I hope to leave a legacy of service and that I will leave the world better than I found it.”

You can see Virtuous Magazine on the website or visit the Virtuous Magazine facebook fan page, or twitter page.  

~~Written by Team Member Renée Brown

 

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