As I Get Older

I realize as I get older that I'm not as smart as I think. When I was 16 what I knew to be true, I now know to be false, and what I now know to be fact may soon prove to also be... wrong. 

I just returned home from a visit to Louisiana and as usual I was moved to thought/prayer by many conversations including one with my old roomie. She said she was speaking to a group of young people and told them.... "I'm not trying to be mean, but yal are stupid, ummm let me think of a better way to say this... you're stupid." You have to understand that my roommate is hilarious and she had the students rolling laughing as she went on to explain that even when we think we know it all it all, we soon realize, we don't know much. 

I just went and looked up an old old note on facebook from 2009. I'll post it at the bottom just for fun for those of you who went to college with me (the first part is funny, second part more serious). This blog made me reflect on things I have learned over the years. It made me think about things I thought to be true and soon found they weren't. Things I learned, but soon forgot to practice. Things God showed me and because I took them and applied them, they have completely changed my life. 

There is wisdom to be acquired in learning to refresh yourself on lessons God has taught you. Take time to go back and see what He has told you to implement into your life. Take time to remind yourself of truths that He has shown you. 

Here are just 5 I've been reflecting on today: 

1. He loves me. God really truly loves me. Not love like the world has made it, this is real, unconditional, cherish me, prize me, support me, encourage me, discipline me, unchanging, real, deep, love.  Not only does He love me, but He enjoys me. I am His Beloved. He is my Best Friend. There is no one I'd rather talk to, no one I'd rather be with, and no one who will ever love me like He does. He always wants what is best for me. He knows me better than I know myself. He won't leave me, shut me out, reject me, He will never want anything other than the best for me, He will never give up on me. He is the lover of my soul. 

2. I don't know very much. The Bible says not to lean on our own understanding because our own understanding is more often than not, wrong. God's ways are just so contrary to the flesh, they're so contrary to our society, they're so contrary to what our brain would ever rationalize. The best way to understand ANYTHING is to get right in line fully submitted to the Spirit, and fact is, we're not there as much as we think. The Spirit can reveal truth to us, your brain is not as good at that as you'd think. Along with not knowing very much, I'm reminded to trust Him that much more. It's okay that I don't know, it's okay to admit that other people know more than me, it's okay to admit that I don't have an answer and I don't know what the right choice is. It's really really really okay to admit that to my King. Just admit it, then He'll tell you what to do. 

3. Get Lower Still. Life just isn't about me... at all. If I want to be like my Best Friend then I have to learn to be a servant to all. I have to learn to only do the will of my Father. I have to learn to be fully yielded to the Spirit. All three of those things made Jesus be who He was on earth. I need to seek not my own rights, seek not what is best for me, think not myself higher than others, but rather as much as I know that God loves me I need to remember that He loves every human with the same intense love. I must decrease and He must increase. You must be more important than me. 

4. The world needs what I have. If I truly believe all that I have studied about the Holy Spirit then I must know that every single person on the planet needs what is inside of me. We are all desperately in need of the power of the Holy Spirit. The power on the inside of me is the same power that worked through Jesus. It is the power that casts out demons, heals sick, destroys addiction, mends broken hearts, saves the lost, prophesies to the confused, exhorts the down trodden, blesses the cursed, declares Truth to the deceived, rescues the mistreated, loves the "unloveable", feeds the hungry, cleanses the dirty... The very person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me, and every single one of us needs Him. 

5. God cannot use what He does not have. God wants all of me, so that He can use all of me. To get His plan we must give Him our plans. To get His salvation we must give Him our life. To get free from sin I must give Him my sin. To get the burden off I must cast the burden on Him. God will not take my pride, I must give it to Him. If I want God to give me Zoe life (the God kind of life) then I must give Him, my man kind of life. That's why I must present myself as a living sacrifice... to have His will in my life, I must give Him mine. To have His thoughts I must give Him my thoughts... I must be empty of myself to be full of Him. Oh... and it's worth it. 

Just a few thoughts from today... Old note at the bottom. 
Be Blessed, 
J. Tate


"So I'm giving my senior say tomorrow at the wesley. It's where a senior goes and talks to the students at Underground (a bible study/ worship time on thursday nights made up of anywhere from 150 -200 college students) and tells them how Wesley had played a role in their lives and some final thoughts before they graduate. I was just putting a little thought into it (aka avoiding homework) what i would say by browsing through old pictures/ journal/ blog etc. 
I'm not going to talk about these, but
Here are a few things i've learned over my last 3 1/2 years... some practical/funny things, mixed in w/ some life lessons to carry along...

1) Caffeine pills, coffee, and then chilli @ 3 a.m. while studying for a psych final ... not a good mixture. Actually start studying for the test early and get a good night's rest, it's much more effective. 

2) If you live in a house where people hang out til random hours in the morning learn how to sleep through noise. (i mastered this)

3) When you park always check to see if there is a 3 foot drop in front of your car before pulling forward, especially if this is the first time you've visited the church, having to get people you don't know to haul your car off the ground is rather embarrassing.

4) If you light a fire, make sure the flew is open before you go to bed. Otherwise you'll wake up in the middle of the night crawling on the ground, gasping for air, thinking the house is on fire. 

5) If you're eating in the market and your friends are acting like idiots throwing balloons and making loud noises, don't get embarrassed, join in and take pictures, these will be some of the memories you never forget. 

6) Don't stop exercising because it will catch up to you :( and it's twice as hard to get back into shape than it is to maintain it. And despite what your friends say they'll be the first ones begging you to go get ice cream. 

7) Cops and Robbers is a great game to play but be careful for men w/ baseball bats and don't tell them you're running from the cops when they ask why you're hiding under their car.

8) You won't regret one night that you stayed up until the early morning hours with friends. Playing mafia at 2 a.m. is one of the funniest things ever. 

9) Don't sleep through a final you can't guarantee that your professor will fall for the flirty stupid girl act. (However it worked for me, TWICE)

10) Anything goes in apples to apples don't hesitate to be yourself, degrading American icons is funny, anyone who says it's not has no sense of humor. 

11) Never use a fake prayer requests in an attempt to play a practical joke, that will make someone who cares about you, really upset. 

12) Throw as many surprise parties as you can, even if you have to do it a month early to surprise them. 

13) Don't buy dvd seasons of anything to watch with your roommates otherwise you won't stop watching them, not to sleep, to eat, to work, to go to school. 

14) It doesn't matter what time of day if you find a dead mouse in the house, go ahead and call a guy friend and make them get it :)

15) Left is off and right is on, in case in the middle of bible study for 40 people the water burst under the sink and you have to turn off the water valve outside. On other thoughts always keep a guy around, for 14 or 15. 

16) Don't be afraid of costumes. Dress crazy for anything at any time. The pictures are worth it. 

17) nap time is no longer for children. Take naps at any time. in the morning, afternoon, or even at 2 a.m. if you just need an hour of sleep to keep you going! 

18) Prayer walk your house, use the anointing oil, even if you get made fun of, but then believe your prayer is effective when your roommate is not in her bed at 3 a.m. don't immediately suspect that someone broke in the house and stole her, because when you burst into the room of the other roommate to let her know what happened, she may just be sleeping in there, and possibly be aggravated for being woken up at 3 a.m. 

19) Make videos with your friends. Post them on YOUTUBE. But if you post them check the name for any hidden meanings. For instance if you have girls night at a house that's address is 420 don't name the video 4/20 girls night because some secular viewers may be pretty angry that it was just you and your friends w/o pot, fully clothed, and just doing a skit. I dont think we would have had 21,000 views if we would have put a different name. 

20) people will run around naked. They may even sing you happy birthday in their birthday suit. or moon you on the drive to retreat. or moon you for fun. You dont have to like it, but getting used to it makes it easier. 

There are so many more, but geesh isn't 20 enough: 
On a more serious note: 

1) There is not a single person that is too insignificant. Take every opportunity to plan one on one meetings w/ people, whether it be people you don't know or your best friends. Conversations over coffee with a bible out never gets old and always leaves you feeling encouraged. 

2) No prayer goes wasted, no verse read will be void, every moment spent with the Lord will leave you hungering for more, there is no better place to be than thirsting for more of your Creator. 

3) If you get homesick call your parents and tell them, if you have a decision to make call them and ask their opinion, call just to chat occasionally it means a lot to them even if you've spent your whole life thinking it didn't. 

4) Yes, classes get in the way of college, but not going to classes get in the way of earning a degree. Go to class, seriously, just go. 

5) Eat in the sub or common eating area every day you can, one day you will miss getting to see all of your friends in the same place. 

6) When you wake up in the middle of the night, listen for the Lord's voice, I've found these times to be the most revelatory and intimate times with Him. 

7) Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap (right annette?), you can't help anyone else, if you're not taking care of yourself. Take time to sleep, eat, be healthy, get in your word, spend time with the Lord on your own, prepare yourself for Kingdom business.

8) The Great Commission applies to you, yes even in college. Look around you, there are lost people on your job, in your class, at the restaurant, your neighbor, the man walking down the road. Don't become so self involved or even so involved in "organized ministry" that you forget, those people, they need Jesus too. And what He did for you, He'll do for them. 

9) Ministry doesn't get put on hold for college. Get involved, jump in, make a difference. 

10) Don't take the people you live with or your close friends for granted. It's worth it to wake up early and talk with them about their lives, about the Lord, about the word. Go to coffee shops and study with them, make plans to meet w/ them and spend time with them. Don't ever let them think every thing and every one else is more important than them. 

11) Find out what living above reproach means for you and apply it to your life. Just trust me. 

12) Being real is a blessing. It may be difficult at first, but in being real you're able to see the true heart of your Father. When you're real, community really begins to matter. You find that you're not alone and you're able to call out the lies of the enemy. Being real w/ God, w/ others, and w/ yourself will radically change your life and the lives of others. Oh that we would learn to be real. 

13) Get a mentor, or several. It's always important to have people older and more mature than you speaking into your life. Ask them questions, let them hold you accountable, let them encourage you in your walk and in your ministry and let it remind you, there is lots of growing still to do. Also, don't forget the mentors of your past, allow them to continue to walk through life with you, let them know you appreciate them. 

14) Write encouraging notes. Words of affirmation is most people's love language. You can brighten someone's day by a simple note or email. 

15) Girls don't be on the prowl. Let God bring that special someone into your life. You may date your best friend and you may date someone you just met. Let the guy pursue you. Let him show you pieces of the heart of the Father. When you're in a Godly dating relationship you'll see God's love for you, through him. Don't settle for less than that EVER. Look for a man who is passionately head over heels in love with the Lord because then he'll know how you deserve to be treated and respected. I was told this once by a guy who I dated and I want every guy and girl to hear it "When I stand before the Lord I'll be held accounted for how I treated you, His daughter, I'll be held accountable for the purity in our relationship, how i tempted you and how i respected you" and this is so true and girls you'll be held accountable too. 

15) Finally, Listen. Listen. There is the voice of God and there is the voice of the enemy. There is the voice of other sheep and there is the voice of the wolves. There is the voice of liars and there is the voice of truth speakers. There are friends and there are enemies. The Bible says the sheep know God's voice, not they might, but that they do. Listen for it. Discern it. Learn to know His voice like you know your best friend's. Take time to sit and to just listen to what He has to say to you each day. He always knows the right thing to say. 

I realize how blessed i am as i write these. I have had many great memories and learned very valuable lessons. These last 3 1/2 years have been an amazing journey. I've met people who have changed my life, become friends for life, called me out, laughed w/ me, cried w/ me, and yea even been angry w/ me. I've made real friendships. I've learned more about God and more about myself. It's been worth every minute. Thank you. 
Be Blessed, 
J. Tate"