Giving and Receiving. Gifts and Letters. Family and Friends. Movies and Games. Baking and Eating. Reading and Writing. Lots of fun and lots of rest. I, like most, just love the holidays. As the end of 2013 wraps up I know we're about to start the (I can't think of an appropriate adjective) New Year's Resolutions. The end of a year encourages people across the globe to do serious self reflection and try to muster up a new level of determination to make the next year better than the one before. (I ditched New Years Resolutions years ago, read this old blog  or this one to find out why)

In case you chose not to read the links, I'll fill you in real quick, reflection is good, do it throughout the year, not just the end of the year, resolutions are great, but make choices to change as the Holy Spirit leads you everyday, not just January 1st.

As the end of the year approaches I often choose to go back and read old journals and old blogs to see if I am still walking in the lessons God taught me over the year, if I'm still choosing to be grateful for all the miracles He's done over the year, to see the things I've learned and grown in. It amazes me year after year to see how God is so patient with me.

I was humbled and moved to tears as I went back and read a few blogs from my trip to S. Sudan a year and a half ago. (Beautiful Love, Falling in love with Jesus, Home Isn't a Place)

"I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live" (Ps. 116:1-2) 

My time in S. Sudan created a desperation for God that I had never experienced before. The Bible over and over and OVER again tells us that God is close to the needy. There in S. Sudan with the smell of war in the air, with gut wrenching stories of the horrors of war, with looking into eyes of children that had seen more atrocity than any human ever should, with daily spiritual attack, and without the comforts of modernized society, without friends to go to for comfort, there I became desperate for the God of the Universe to meet with me in a more tangible way than I had known.

In America, we're rarely, needy. I'm not belittling your problems, trials, tests, or struggles because we all have our fair share and the truth is big or small God cares about them all. The thing I've seen in myself and others is that the greater the effect of the problem seems to gauge our reliance on Him for answers. For example we rarely see prayer/intercession meetings for those who have the flu, but for someone who was given one month to live dying of cancer, that would be pretty common. I challenge you to think about the last time you had to stop, cry out on the Lord, and with everything in you tell Him, "without Your help here, I'M GOING TO DIE."

The reoccurring challenge for me on the mission field is to take these life changing lessons in a third world country and make them apart of my first world life. 

Post South Sudan I came to the obvious realization I should have known all along, without Him, really, I will die. I don't just need Him when someone has the flu or cancer, I don't just need HIm when large issues arise, I don't just need Him when small issues arise, I need Him every second of every minute of everyday. However, I choose how desperate I am for His presence and His intervention when things are going wonderful and when it feels like the world is crashing down around me. While sitting in a tent crying out from the depth of my being, He showed up and He always will.

How desperate are you for Him? Do you long for His presence no matter which way your circumstances are going. Being desperate comes easily for the poor, forsaken, needy, war torn, under developed people of the world, but for some of us here in America and other industrialized nations we have to learn to be just as desperate for Him with the blessings we have. 

As we approach this new year reflect and remember some of the lessons God has taught you over the year. Rejoice as you see that Holy Spirit is helping you to grow and learn. More than anything fall in love with Jesus more today than you were yesterday, more in 2014 then you were in 2013. He is so faithful and so good.

"I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live" (Ps. 116:1-2) 

Be Blessed, J. Tate

The fundraising page is ACTIVE for my trip to DRC! WOO HOO. You can check it out at