We are Virtuous Women.
Our Core Values
It’s all about Jesus: We seek to give Christ preeminence in all things. We exist for His glory, and not to exalt ourselves or this ministry.
The Bible is our Authority: We believe the Bible is the infallible and inspired Word of God, the only foundation for life and our ultimate authority. We want to be women who meditate daily on the Word and apply it to our personal lives.
Unity of the Church: The greatest witness to the world that Jesus is the Son of God is the unity of His church. We are determined to foster and maintain unity among believers and churches. Virtuous Women will empower women to strengthen their local churches.
Discipleship is the Goal: We are called to make disciples, not just converts. We are driven by a desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled.
Empowered by Prayer: We submit our plans and decisions to God in prayer and intentionally encourage women to make time with God a priority in their lives.
I’ve noticed lately more than ever that the default state of humanity, even within the church, seems to be anxiety, pessimism, anger, and suspicion. And I am not immune to the tendency. What a far cry it is from the life of peace, joy, love, and trust that Christianity offers! My exhausted mind and heart are asking, is there a path from here to there, and can I take the first step today?
I memorized the words long ago, that I should cast all my anxieties on God, because He cares for me. To do that, I must truly believe that He cares for me. Little did I know, as a child singing “Jesus loves me,” how hard that act of belief would become once life had given me a few deep scars. “Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ,” (Romans 10:17, BSB). If I’m going to overcome the lies the enemy speaks over my past, present, and future, I need to rehearse the promises of God’s Word more often than my worries. In a 2019 study, 91% of the participants’ worries never came true. But we know that “no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 1:20a, NIV). To give worry the boot, I must start with letting the voice of truth be louder than the lies of fear in my life.
Choosing to let the Word of Christ drown out the clamor of negative thoughts takes another hard-to-come-by ingredient: humility. That encouragement I memorized as a child? Here it is in context: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV). To let go of my anxieties, I will have to own that I am fearful, that I can’t solve all my own problems, and that my Father knows better than I do what I need. One practical way of humbling myself may look like setting aside a “must-do” item in the morning, and a favorite form of relaxation in the evening, in order to turn to Scripture and worship, and let the voice of Love have the first and the last word in my day.
I will not be able to block out all the bad news and all the reasons to worry – especially not in a year like 2020. And I don’t need to. I can fully acknowledge when the messages coming in make me anxious, and then cast (literally “throw forcefully”) that anxiety on my fearless Savior. I can be moved by the sorrows of the world, and bring that to Him as well, to be cradled in His strong arms.
I pray that today, when anxiety or negativity grips you as well, you will look for ways to let Jesus speak over the situation. And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, until your habit of worry is transformed into a habit of reciting and believing promises.
DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER
“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” – J. Sidlow Baxter
There are times when we should speak up, in our families, our communities, or in the political process. But we must never forget that our most powerful voice in any situation is the one we lift to God in prayer. When we pray, the Father inclines His ear to hear, and summons angels on our behalf (Psalm 10:17, Daniel 9:20-23). The time spent in His presence corrects our narrow perspectives and strengthens us to do His will (Psalm 73, Romans 8:26, Mark 14:38).
Whom should we pray for? Although “everyone” is a great answer, Scripture points us to specific groups too. We should pray for people in authority, whose decisions affect our daily lives. “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth,” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NLT).
We should pray for fellow believers. And even if you personally are not called to preaching, public evangelism, or foreign missions, you can advance the Gospel by praying for those who are. “Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will boldly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it fearlessly, as I should,” (Ephesians 6:18-20, BSB).
Now for the hardest one: we should pray for people who oppose us and are cruel to us. “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you,” (Luke 6:28, ESV). That word “abuse” here, and “mistreat, hurt, or spitefully use” in other translations, refers to “custom-crafted reviling,” meaning a cruel personal insult or false accusation. This verse is not about generalized persecution, but those moments when it feels personal. The Lord will work out forgiveness in our hearts, and His perfect will in the lives of those who need our forgiveness, when we choose to pray blessings over them.
When we take the time to first bring every concern to the Lord who fights for us, our own words and actions can be full of peace, truth, and love (Colossians 4:2-6).
DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do, when spring comes after a very long winter, is to let yourself soften into joy and not hold back. What if it is snatched away again? Isn’t it foolish to be this happy? Are we really out of the woods yet?
“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience,” Brene Brown has said. “And if you cannot tolerate joy… you start dress rehearsing tragedy.” That is, you imagine something bad is going to happen simply because things are going so well – and that scenario in your head drains the joy right out of that moment. Her research has shown that not participating fully in the joys of your life won’t make the pain of the losses any less. In fact, diving deep into happiness when it comes, will build your resilience for the next difficult chapter. But how can you do that when you’re met with fear and foreboding? She has found that whole hearts start giving thanks. You enter joy with gratitude.
What does the Bible tell us about experiencing the highs and lows? It contains many calls to mourn, and many calls to rejoice, but no commands to stifle our feelings. Only one example comes to my mind, of God telling someone to suppress feelings. He told the prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears,” (Ezekiel 24:16, NIV). The next day the prophet’s wife died, and he did not mourn publicly, as a metaphor of how the Israelites would lose their Temple and their homes, and be forced to start a new life before they could properly or outwardly mourn their losses.
The ruler of this world tells us not to let ourselves mourn or rejoice. Because mourning looks like weakness, and rejoicing looks like folly, if you are destined for captivity, slave labor, and destruction. But we are not exiles in Babylon, and we need not obey him. We are citizens of the kingdom of light, invited to come out of the shadows and experience every moment, knowing that our Father is working it all together for our good (Colossians 1:12-14, Philippians 3:20, Romans 8:28).
And was the research right in saying that we enter joy with thanksgiving? The Greek word translated “joy” in the New Testament means literally “grace recognized,” and in Psalm 100 for example, joy is inseparable from giving thanks to God. So we look for His grace, we offer thanks, and we receive joy, even when it is mixed with sadness. In Ann Voskamp’s words, “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.” We know that trouble will come, but we are still invited to experience the goodness of God and His gifts to us today, entrusting the future to His care (John 16:33, Psalm 34, 1 Peter 1:3-6).
So if life has offered you a new beginning, or a dream is finally coming true, give loud thanks to your Father for His good gift (James 1:17). Let out the sails of your heart and laugh, sing, dance, and shout for joy!