Archive | November 2015

God. Is. Good. 

“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”~ 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV)

God is good. Period.  This is a truth that will change your life IF you truly, fully, forever embrace it.  

He cares about your life, about your future. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

He wants you healthy and whole. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 2 (NIV) 

He wants you to excel in the workplace. God’s girls should be the most diligent, hardworking employees. (I don’t mean we should be unbalanced. We should strive for excellence, however.) “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24  “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:11-12

He wants you to have great relationships. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'” Genesis 2:18  “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”   1 Corinthians 15:33

He wants to spend eternity with you. Cmon! He allowed his son to take the punishment for our sins. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God is good. He is so much better than we can comprehend. Picture the best father. Imagine how kind, generous, wise, fun, and loving he would be. Imagine how he would teach, encourage, and mold you. Imagine how he would watch over you. Imagine how you would be a different person with a father like the one I’ve described.  Well, our Father is so much better than that. Meditate on that for a moment. God is good. He is for you. He loves you, and nothing-not one thing-will ever change His love for you. Let that wash over you today. Let that change you. 

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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Give Thanks 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

 

I remember when Oprah introduced me to the idea of a gratitude journal years ago. Honestly, it felt …weird. It was unnatural, forced, almost fake. And then something wonderful happened. It became easier. It didn’t feel phony. Fast forward a few years…I don’t currently keep a gratitude journal, because I’ve trained myself to notice the blessings. Even better, I’ve trained myself to seek them out. You know what? They’re everywhere! Even on bad days, blessings abound! 

Blessings abound. Clouds, laughter, hugs, compliments, private jokes, children, loved ones, sunshine, short lines, lazy mornings, favorite songs, stargazing, picnics, long walks–blessings abound. 

After years of practicing gratitude I can say I’m a changed woman. Try it. It’s free. It’s life changing. And, y’all, it’s obedience. 

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:23 (KJV) 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1 (ESV) 

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

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Love 

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 (NKJV)


One of the benefits of aging is I  just “get it” now. For decades I’ve been drawn to certain books, articles, and sermons. It’s only now that I’m getting it. It’s only now that I’m fully understanding what it is to love the unlovely, to turn the other cheek, to love without demanding anything in return, to love knowing that I will be rejected and misunderstood. 

Truly, love is what it’s all about. God sent His son to live, die, and come back to life because He loves us. He wants us to reach out to the sick, the hurting, and the lost because He loves. I love Him BECAUSE He first loved me. Love…could it be that simple?  I think so.  I think loving our God, ourselves, and others may be our ultimate calling. Simple, but not always easy. 

Luke 6:32-36 (ESV) says,  “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if  you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

It’s usually easy to love those who love us, are good to us. Think about those who ignore or reject you, those who exclude you, those who hurt you…can you love them? Yes, you can. Recently, I wrote about a woman who has repeatedly and intentionally made my life unpleasant. You can read about it here

It was a long and often painful process. I finally learned I couldn’t change her mind about me, but I could love her. Love is not a mere emotion …. Love is a choice.  It’s a verb. It’s something you choose to do again and again and again. Now, please understand I do not hang out with her. I do not seek her out. I do not even especially like her. (God’s girls can love those they don’t like!) But I pray for her and her family. I wish her well. I am kind to her. Why? How?  Friends, it took time, but the answer to both is Jesus. I want to be like Him. He loves her, despite her sins against me. He loves me, despite my many, many, MANY failings. In His Word,  He tells me to love and to forgive, so how could I not? 

Lots to ponder today….As always, I wish you MUCH joy! Please share your struggles with loving.  Please also consider subscribing to my blog and inviting your friends to do the same. 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

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The First Day of School (and the Next Nine Months)

muchjoytoyou

Hello! Can you believe our summer flew by so quickly? I’m so excited to meet your child and partner with you this year. I have so many hopes and dreams for our year. And, dear parents, I NEED you to know some things.

  • I’m already in love with your child. Truly! The moment a name is on my list I fall in love. The decision is first. The emotion comes soon after.
  • I will probably spend more time with your child than you will this year.
  • I will push, nudge, encourage, and drag your child this year. I will do whatever it takes to help them progress and learn and grow. It matters!
  • I will never forget your child. I will never not want to hear how he is. I will never stop loving them. Just ask any of my former students or parents.
  • I want and need your…

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He Wants Our Hearts

muchjoytoyou

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:35-37

A few months back, I was mulling over ALL of the disturbing news one morning and feeling completely overwhelmed. Our world is in such chaos. The horror of it makes me want to withdraw, to hide, to pretend none of it is happening.

But that’s not the way of God’s girls, is it?

Finally, I turned to His Word. This was after TV, Facebook, Instagram, email, pinterest, texts…. Yeah, this God’s girl has her priorities a…

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I Can’t

muchjoytoyou


“I can’t do this anymore.”

” I hate my life.”

“I just want to quit!”

“Life shouldn’t be this way.”

I’m hearing this from so many (too many!) sweet souls. You wouldn’t believe the numbers of prayer requests I’ve received lately. They’re coming from sweet women seeking God. These women are exhausted and empty. They need help. I get it. Boy, do I get it.

I have felt hopeless and empty. The world makes too many demands. I’ve had days where every step, every word was an effort. And I’ve had days where I spent every moment in bed.

I can’t.

I can’t handle my life. I cannot meet the myriad needs of my husband, family, friends, students, students’ families, coworkers, and bosses. I can’t. I can’t be a great wife. I can’t love my students and teach them, leading them to amazing levels. I can’t keep up with grading…

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He Wants Our Hearts

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:35-37

A few months back, I was mulling over ALL of the disturbing news one morning and feeling completely overwhelmed. Our world is in such chaos. The horror of it makes me want to withdraw, to hide, to pretend none of it is happening. 

But that’s not the way of God’s girls, is it? 

Finally, I turned to His Word. This was after TV, Facebook, Instagram, email, pinterest, texts…. Yeah, this God’s girl has her priorities a little messed up. Sigh. 

I felt pulled to Luke 6.  You need to know that most of the time when I feel like He’s nudging me to read a certain passage I’m completely wrong. Not today, though. I read it aloud. I don’t usually do that, but it was helpful today. I read and reread. The passage wasn’t new, of course, but it was needed. 

Luke 6 says a lot. A LOT. I pondered the many, many teaching points and I heard a soft voice deep inside of me, “I want your heart.” 

Huh?!? I thought He had my heart. 

So, I sat in silence, wrestling with this and slowly I understood I’d hardened my heart against people who hurt me again and again. I held back. Rightly so, I thought! Why would I open myself to that again?! I’d hardened my heart against the cruelty in the world. And I’d allowed my world to become smaller. Why keep loving and giving and hoping and praying when evil prevails? Sex trafficking, wars, terrorism, hate crimes….The world gets colder and meaner….

“I want your heart.”

I’m not sure how long I sat there, pondering, struggling, and ultimately surrendering. 

What’s important is I gave my heart back to God. I allowed Him to remove the crud that hardened it. Unforgiveness,  fear, and  bitterness were scraped away. 

People fail us daily. Crummy things happen to people we love. The world sinks deeper and deeper into depravity. The world IS a terrible place…it’s a lonely, bitter, scary, dark place for so many, BUT it shouldn’t be for God’s girls. We should  leave people and places better than we found them.  If we are courageous enough to follow God, life can be quite wonderful.  It won’t be easy or perfect, but it will be wonderful. 

God’s girls are called to be like Him. We need to shine His light. We need to BE that light. Deep breath.  We can do this. We will love the unlovely. We will forgive and turn the other cheek. We will ignore the slights and choose to love. We will daily seek the face of our God and go out and pray, serve, love, and forgive. We will offer encouragment and hope. We will reject the lies of the enemy. We will get back up after being knocked down.  We will make our corner of the world safer, stronger, kinder, more loving. We simply must. We will! 

We were put here for a reason. Someone needs to act like Jesus! Why not us? Someone needs to offer hope.  Why not us? Someone needs speak life, love, and truth when faced with death, hate,  and lies. Why not us? God’s calling His army to rise up. Let’s go. 

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glorify to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.Brethren I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:3-11

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

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