Items needed: Popsicle sticks, markers, a wall, stickies. Optional: Cell Phone

How's your prayer life?
Mine could use a little bit of work.
Do you feel the same?
Yeah, I think there's always room to improve. :)

I decided to make a short (but sweet) little post about some prayer techniques that might help you in your own prayer life too! :)

1. Prayer Popsicle Sticks 
Nearly a year ago, when I visiting over at my nieces, she had a can full of popsicle sticks, with different names written on them, which she used to play a game. Suddenly, the idea hit me, what if I wrote down my prayer requests on popsicle sticks? It's a pretty cheap and simple idea - while still fun and easy to do. :)
All you need is some popsicle sticks, perhaps a couple markers, and a pencil/pen holder of some sort to contain them! Usually, I would pick out a few each day at random, pray for those specific requests (while keeping those sticks out), until I got through all of the sticks, then I would just start over again!

2. A Prayer Wall
Recently I decided to create a prayer wall in my bedroom, which I'm still working on currently. It's a simple and fun idea to keep track of your prayer requests!  All you need is a wall (yes, really), and the rest is up to you! You can design it in any way that fits you best. I'm still working on how I want mine done, but so far I just have what's up in the picture above - with my prayer requests on stickies. :)

3. Cell Phone Prayers
A few weeks ago during small group when we were discussing prayer requests, the subject came up of how sometimes we tell a person we'll pray for them, and then completely forget! Ever done that? Yeah, me too. (Insert guilty feeling here). Someone mentioned how sometimes, it can be really beneficial to send text messages prayers. At first, I thought it was kind of well... IMPERSONAL! I didn't like the idea too much. However, within the next week, I found myself with several opportunities to write out some cell phone prayers to my friends... which apparently were really encouraging and helpful! :) 
Now, I'm not recommending making text messages your ultimate way of prayer, but it can come in handy! Try it out sometime. :) (Sorry this doesn't apply to those of you without cell phones - Maybe it will in the future!)

4. Don't Wait to Pray
On the subject of forgetting prayers, why not just pray with the person when they mention it? That way, it's real, there's proof of you actually praying for it, the person is there to experience it there with you, they can see that you really care and have concern for their prayer AND, on top of it, you don't have to worry about forgetting. :)

Hopefully you can take, at the very least, one of these ideas, maybe even change it a little and apply it to your life! 

"Pray without ceasing."
1 Thessalonians 5:17

A delicious blog post! :)

So tonight, my best bud and I decided to bake a cherry pie from scratch! It was quite the adventure, but it turned out absolutely delicious. :)
Enjoy the pics!

Our ingredients!
"What's bigger, this or my brain?"
You'd never think we're 16 and 17... :P

Hehehe :)

Hahaha :) Let the good times roll! (Notice the pun?)

:) Haha, it's love!
Yep, I got her good!

The bottom, done by me... :)

The yummeh cherries, and the top :)
Hahaha! A picture is worth a thousand words.. "I wonder what those words are..."



We were very proud of our pie making skills. :)


Do you hate sin like you hate pimples? Part 2

Note: To all guy readers, do not be turned away due to the use of words like "pimple" and "clear skin", etc. This post is in no way girly at all! It's just metaphorical, so please read and enjoy! ;)

On Monday I wrote a blog post describing the metaphorical relationship between pimples and sin. If you haven't read it, you can by clicking here!

Let's continue on! Keep in mind that this post will be done through the using of the metaphor, so hopefully you won't get too confused. :)

What if I'm constantly breaking out?
If sin is constantly having control over your life and perhaps you're even letting it - then maybe you were never freed from sin to begin with. When you become saved through Jesus Christ, you're then automatically freed from the bondage of sin. Check it out:

Romans 6:6-11
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. that we should no longer be slaves to sinNow if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

Romans 6:18
"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

This is not to say that you will never sin or struggle with sin again, rather it means that because of your being born again, you are now at an advantage with Christ to overcome and defeat sin - just as Jesus did. If you find yourself constantly giving into sin in various aspects of your life, rather than giving it up for Jesus' name and because you love Him - maybe you should reevaluate your heart and find where it's truly at. 
If you do know Jesus yet continue to sin against Him, He will certainly discipline you(Hebrews 12:4-13). He does this out of love, like a parent to child. I have seen Him do this in my life and in the end, all I can speak of is thanks to His name.

What if I have a reoccurring pimple?
For some of us, if not all, there is a specific sin that always seems to be knocking at our door. One day we may think we have fully overcome it in every way, just for it find us where we are the next day. The struggle can go deep - it can relate back to past events in our lives or things that have caused us to think or act a certain way which relate to this sin. If there is a reoccurring sin in your life that seems to continually have its grip on you, I encourage you to seek out the power and strength of Jesus.

Romans 6:22
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life."

1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Remember, through the death of your old self, and the new life given through Jesus, you are set free from sin. It is no longer your master, but rather Jesus is. Though you may be tempted, you may also overcome that temptation as well! In tempting moments, Jesus can and will provide the strength you need to say no to whatever it is - but you must seek Him out in those moments. Say a prayer, read your Bible, call a close friend, etc. All these things are helpful and necessary when struggling. I will say that you may never be completely free from the temptations of certain sins, but you ALWAYS have a choice to obey or disobey Jesus. You will always have the opportunity to turn to Jesus in those moments - and I encourage you to! There is is nothing quite like the feeling of overcoming and defeating temptation and sin. :)
Why doesn't my skin ever completely clear up?
As previously mentioned, though we are now at an advantage towards sin, we are still sinful. We are still bound by the curse of sin until we die. The fight is tough and some times can be very discouraging. There can be very low and dark points, but we also can remember and trust in the promise of Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 12:1-3
" 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

1 Timothy 6:12
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

No matter how difficult the struggle or how powerful the temptation of sin may be, there is nothing that can compare to the victory and joy in Jesus! Hold fast unto Him and you will see this victory! :)

Here are some things to keep in mind while dealing with sin:

1. Don't do things that lead to breaking out.
I know this doesn't necessarily apply to guys, but I think you'll still understand. When a girl tries on a make-up, lotion, etc. and it causes her to break out, she DOES NOT buy that product again. Makes sense right? 
The same thing applies to sin. If you know doing a specific thing, thinking a specific thing, being with a specific person, etc. will cause you to be tempted to sin, THEN DON'T DO IT. It is a very foolish thing to know what causes your temptations and then to continually put yourself in those spots. It may take sacrifice, but if you truly love Jesus, no sacrifice could be of too great worth, not to mention the sacrifice He made for you! 

2. It isn't YOU alone that gets rid of your pimples.
Think of it this way: You use facial cleansers or medicine to help get rid of the pimples you deal with. If it weren't for these cleansers or medicine, then your pimples may be more rampant and out of control. You yourself cannot really or truly get rid of your acne problems. The same goes with sin and Jesus. If you're not depending on Jesus (aka the "cleanser") in parts of your life where sin (ance) is prevalent, then you cannot expect for it to go away or for you to overcome it. The truth is, as sinful human beings, we are weak. It would be an unwise thing to depend merely on your own will power to defeat certain sinful struggles in your life. (John 15:5 - Apart from Christ you can do nothing) So stop depending on yourself if you are and depend on the power of Jesus!   

Titus 2:11-12
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,"

Once again, there is hope and victory in the name of Jesus! If you trust and depend on Him to bring you to this victory then I guarantee you that you WILL see it!

3. It's a process
Just like pimples, they don't just quickly vanish or go away. It takes time, typically several days for it to come and go. The same applies to sin in our lives. If you are quick to spot the pimple AKA sin coming on in your life, and apply some form of cleanser AKA Jesus (reading God's word, praying, seeking council, etc.) then the quicker it should go away. Still however, some pimples can really take their good 'ol time on leaving. Don't be discouraged if sin is not so easy for you to be rid of in your life. Through this constant process of having to trust in Jesus for Him to enable to you to overcome it, your relationship with Him can grow tremendously! 

My Challenge to you: Keep running the good race and trusting in Jesus! Think about the principles and concepts I mentioned and see where they can apply to your life. As followers of Christ, we are already on the winning side, so don't forget that and keep serving your Jesus! :)


Do you hate sin like you hate pimples? Part 1

You know what bugs me? When finally, that nasty pimple is gone from my face, just to wake up the next morning with a brand spankin' new and nasty one! Aren't pimples just so gross and annoying to have to deal with?

I was thinking about it recently and I discovered that pimples and our sin have a lot in common.
Though you may not physically SEE your sin like a pimple, sin's description at the core, is quite similar. Think about it. What are pimples? They are spots that are unclean, clogged (doesn't that just make your gag-reflex go off?). What is sin? Spots in our lives that are unclean and where we are perhaps spiritually "clogged" . 

Does your sin bug you as much as pimples do? Enjoying and lathering up in your sin is like saying you enjoy pimples! Ew!
According to God's word, we are called to hate evil things, or sin. Check it out!:

"Let those who love the LORD hate evil,"
Psalm 97:10a

"Hate evil, love good;"
Amos 5:15ab

"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;"
Proverbs 8:13a

Are there some "unclean" and "clogged" parts in your life that you've been forgetting to "scrub" with spiritual "cleansers" such as reading God's word, praying, or fellow shipping with others?

My challenge to you: Take a good and long hard look at your heart, where are there parts that are in need of a cleansing? Spend some time with God and ask Him to reveal where these spots are.

This post isn't over yet! Check back in a couple days for Part 2! 

Click here for Part 2! 



Quito, Ecuador
 This post is SO long overdue! Two weeks ago I created a post about my opportunity to go to Ecuador, which you can read about here. 

A little over a week ago, Wednesday the 9th, I received an e-mail of my acceptance to go on the trip!

(This is the part where I get up and begin to jump up and down and squeal at high decibels and smile until my cheeks begin to hurt really bad).

In other words, I am SO excited! God has been so good and I know full well that He wants me to go to Ecuador! I can't even describe how excited and blessed I feel, that God would allow me to do this and how He is saying YES, YES, YES! It's extremely incredible and I know God is going to teach me amazing things through this mission trip!

Now begins the long checklist of making sure I have everything: a passport, plane tickets, not to mention the cost of the trip completely! I do have faith though that God will get me to Ecuador and nothing, not even money can stand in His way. :)

Please, PLEASE, pray for me and for Ecuador! If you're reading this, take just a few seconds if you can to pray for my trip, that God will provide the means necessary for me to go, the experience, the people there, etc! Thank you! :)

Soli Deo Gloria!


It's Time to Rebel!

It is a difficult and sometimes seemingly rare thing to find a teenager who is sold out for Christ. Why? 

I've been thinking about it more lately. Have you ever realized how society deems teenagers as foolish, immature and irresponsible? Isn't it true that adults are more likely to believe another adult rather than a teenager, due to the stereotypical belief that teenagers are naive and that their knowledge only extends as far as texting, video games and their plans for Friday night? 

It bugs me, quite frankly, because not every teenager is like this. I myself, prefer to think that I am not like that as well.

Nevertheless, I think some like to use it as an excuse.
I think some teenagers actually don't mind that stereotypical view and take advantage of it by being all the more irresponsible and immature. 
And THAT bugs me even more.

I don't want to be viewed that way. In fact, as teenagers sold out for Christ, we are called to rise above that.
So, why do we seemingly always want to take the easier route? Why do so many want to put off Christ in our youth, and instead, run after unsatisfying and worthless "treasures"?

2 Timothy 2:22 commands a powerful plea:

"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."

Let me ask you, what is it that the world, that sin, that materialistic objects, can offer you that Jesus can't? 
Are you settling for what the world offers by taking the easier route? 
Trust me, it's not worth settling for.

Read through these verses and think about these truths from God's word:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
Matthew 6:19-20 

I know, I know.
I know!

But it is so, SO, worth it.
Nothing can compare to the treasure that Jesus is, and the treasure that He offers.
This world has NOTHING on Jesus.

My Challenge to you: Please, please, don't settle for this world, and for the world's expectation of you. Please, look to Jesus, even if the majority of those your age are not. It sure as heck is difficult, and Jesus sees and knows this, but He also will provide the strength and courage you need to live for Him! Don't wait. Don't tell yourself that when you're older, then you'll commit. If you can't now, what makes you think that you will later? I only say this from a heart that loves and wants you to share in the joy that comes with serving Jesus!

1 Timothy 4:12
And don't be afraid to share about and live for Jesus, even in your youth. Take this encouragement from 1 Timothy 4:12,

"Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe."

It's so worth it, I promise. :)

So c'mon, let's get this rebellion thing started!

Note: If you're interested in the rebellion, and are curious to read more then check out this website: http://www.therebelution.com/


For All the Single Ladies :)

Hey Beautiful Single Ladies!

Yep. I know, it's Valentine's Day. And you're dateless.
Or are you?
I'm single, but I'm certainly not dateless. And neither are you!

So maybe I don't have this day to celebrate with an earthly guy, but I sure do have it to celebrate with a guy even better - a Heavenly, perfect guy. :) His name is Jesus!
He is my Valentine not only today, but everyday, since before I was born even until after I breathe my last. No, he didn't bring me flowers or chocolates. He gave me something greater!

He gives me His everlasting love and joy. He does something that no earthly guy can do - satisfies me to the core! Through His love and my relationship with Him, I am content and satisfied! No earthly guy can do that! Though maybe an earthly guy can fill me with temporary "contentment" or happiness, eventually even that will fade and the void within my heart will seem just as big as it ever was.

Are you feeling that void today? Are you feeling that spot in your heart that is yearning and seeking for love and joy to fill it up? I ask you to seek out this Valentine of mine - Jesus! You will soon come to the realization that He's been pursuing you all along. :) He's got your heart in His hands and no other love can compare to His! For crying out loud, God IS love!

"....because God is love."
1 John 4:8b

Don't believe me yet? Check out these verses - straight from God himself to You. :)

"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 4:9-10
God loved you and me, so much that He would give up His very own son for us! Isn't that amazing?

And one of my favorites...

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
           “For your sake we face death all day long;
            we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-39

Isn't that beautiful? NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ, nothing! :)

My Challenge to You: Please, PLEASE, do not miss out on the ever-present love of Christ simply because you spend all of today dwelling on the love you think you're missing out on! Whether you're single or not, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be viewed as a depressing and lonely day! Certainly not when you realize the love Christ has for you. :) God is SO good and though you may be single today, that may not be true tomorrow (figuratively speaking). Trust in God, for right now He may be preparing someone just for you. :) Think of that special gentlemen that God is preparing for you to meet someday. Are the few Valentine Day's spent single really worth all that much in comparison to all the Valentine Day's that you may spend with the person God prepared for you? I think not. :) Even if God does not provide that special someone for you - or for me - we can remain joyful and content knowing that we rest in His loving arms. :)

SO, what are you waiting for? Put on a big grin and be thankful for the love you have in Christ, always and forever. :)

P.S. For more on the earthly prince side of things and what you should do while you wait for God to bring him into your life, check out an earlier blog post I created by clicking here!


A New Found music love!

For my 17th birthday, an old dear friend of mine, bought me several CDs. One of them being tobyMac, whose music I LOVE! With such excitement over that specific CD, I seemed to forget about the other two I received. Recently I picked up one of the other CDs, realizing I had a growing love for that artist. Who is this artist? BRITT NICOLE!

Her music is really growing on me! Generally speaking I am more interested in male singers as opposed to female singers, not quite sure why, but I am. After giving her CD a chance, I realized how much I love her music and more importantly her lyrics! I've seen several videos and interviews of her and realized what a profound and continually deepening love she has for Jesus Christ! Her love is inspiring and encouraging to me! I wish I had listened to it sooner. :)

I encourage you to check out her music and find out for yourself what an incredible artist and witness for Christ she is!

"How We Roll" if you're in a more groovy mood. ;)

"Feel the Light" if you're in a calmer and softer mood. :)


Waiting on my Jesus!

I'm waiting on my Jesus. :)

It all began a few months back. I knew our church, specifically my youth group was planning for an international mission trip. I was excited! I emailed one of my female leaders about any information she knew/could give about it. She responded with little and said that more would be coming out soon. What do you know, the next day my youth pastor sends out an email for the mission trip. It was going to be to Haiti! I was ecstatic! Within a few weeks, things changed and the mission trip was moved from being just youth to it being a church held trip, for several different reasons. While I was a little saddened by it not being my entire youth group, I was still seeking to go.

At the beginning of January, I found out about ANOTHER mission trip, completely apart and outside of my church. It's called "Never the Same Missions" held by Susie Shellenberger (creator of Brio magazines, "Ask Susie"). Dannah Gresh (one of my favorite Christian authors!) was promoting it on her website, since she and her daughter are going to attend. It was a mission trip to Ecuador for 13-19 year old teens!

Then began the conflict of two really attractive and appealing ideas! Which one to pick?

I was still waiting on more information about the Haiti trip, so I couldn't just make a decision. Then I noticed a early bird deadline for the Ecuador trip. If you applied by January 31st, you'd avoid an extra $100 fee. It gave me a few weeks to pray, and ask others to pray.

January 24th rolls around,
"God, can you PLEASE let me know soon about which mission trip to attend?" was a journal entry I wrote, seeking God's answer. Two days later, I attend a leadership meeting for youth group and find out that the Haiti mission trip was canceled due to political conflicts occurring there.

I couldn't believe it! I was excited and nervous at the same time.
After filling out a 12 page application, including two notarization's and a pastor recommendation, I mailed my application on January 31st. Receiving JUST enough grace from God to turn it in without having to pay the extra $100. Praise God!

Now the question is... Will I get accepted?

I'm waiting on my Jesus. :)

Note: Are you interested too? Check out the Never the Same Mission Trip to Ecuador here!