Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fullness of Joy

So, I've been thinking lately about what it means to have joy. I mean to really have joy, no matter what external circumstances may arise. The dictionary defines joy as:
The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
Growing up in the church, I'd often hear an exuberant church mother proclaim, "This joy that I have; the world didn't give it to me, and the world can't take it away!" She was testifying to this "joy" bestowed upon her by her savior.
I have often felt that joy.
Psalm 16:11 states, "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Wow...fullness of joy.
This type of joy cannot be manipulated by external things, people, or circumstances. A person cannot give this to you. They might have the ability to make you happy for a while, but this overwhelming joy can only be found in Christ. Ask me how I know? Go ahead...I'll wait.
- Ernee, how do you know?
- I'm so glad you asked ;-)
I know this to be true because currently in my life, I am dealing with a rather difficult emotional situation. It's not fun. However, I am keenly aware of the indescribable joy that I have when I am in the presence of the Lord. It's amazing. In John chapter 15, Jesus speaks with his disciples regarding the importance of abiding in him and in verse 11 he states, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
Wow...complete joy.
It is so important to remember that our joy and our strength come form the Lord. In life we are going to face difficult times and will even be discouraged. However, it is comforting to know that we can find joy in the Lord. And I don't know about you, but I find that I have strength for the journey when I am focused on him. 
Wherever you are, if you find yourself reading these words, please know that it is not by mistake. The Lord wants me to let you know that you can find joy in him. The joy he gives is not fleeting, but it is lasting and will fill your life completely.  
Till next time,
Stay connected :-)

Friday, July 15, 2016

"How Are You?"

"How are you?" This question is asked by million's of people throughout any given day. It is such a loaded question and is often asked by many people who perhaps do not realize the gravity of their inquisition. Truth be told, most people who ask that question are not looking for a sincere answer. To the contrary, when someone asks, you "how are you?" they have probably anticipated your answer before the question leaves their mouth. Common responses to such a question might be, "I'm fine" "I'm good, you?" or even, "I can't complain." I have realized that most of the people who answer the question have gotten used to offering a generic response, even when they are not "fine." 
Today as I arrived at work someone asked me, "how are you?" and my response was, "I'm good." But in all actuality,....I'm not. Two days ago I receive some very troubling news and my emotions have been all over the place. I have prayed and sought the Lord, but sometimes I don't even know what to say.
Amazingly enough though, the morning before I received  this news, I had such a great time basking in the presence of the Lord. It was almost as though he was preparing me for what was to come later that afternoon. So, that is what I have held on to. It gives me peace to know that my heavenly father cares enough about me to build me up and equip me to handle situations that I don't know even exists.
Even in the midst of trouble, I am reminded  of my DAILY need for him. I know the road ahead may be a tough one, but I am confident that if I stay connected to him, he will pull me through. I encourage you to fully rely upon our life sustaining savior.  Even when a question as simple as, 'how are you?" makes you want to ball up and cry, please know that God sees you and he can give you peace and hope in the most troublesome times.
Till next time,
~Stay Connected
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome
 the world.” ~John 16:33

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vine Living

Welcome to Vine Living Ministries! We are happy you are here! This site is dedicated to providing a space where you can find hope and encouragement for staying connected to the vine, Jesus Christ!

Jesus encourages us to remain in him, to abide in him and to stay connected to him. Separation from Christ yields nothing. It is vitally important that we remain connected to the true vine. He is our source and life sustainer. Everything we need is found in him. We don't know about you, but we find that when we are realistic about our need for him, and intentionally follow hard after him; we experience life differently. A rich relationship with Jesus makes all the difference in the world! I encourage you to get connected....and stay connected.

It is our prayer that if you happen to land here, God will use us to encourage you!

Till Next Time,
 ~Stay Connected

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
-John 15:5