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Full Joy – Paula Hill

Paula Hill “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). One morning, I was tired and worn out—exhausted from a kitchen remodel, other repairs not yet done, and a closet reorganization. I was tired of talking on the phone to people about such stuff, tired of having workers in and out of the house, and tired of things messing up my routine. Well, let me rephrase that, because I’ve always bragged I don’t have a routine. So let me just say, messing up my nonstructured routine—like not getting showered and dressed for the day before I’ve had my devotional time with the Lord and done my chores for the day. I know, I know. How could anyone complain about such good things being done? The process is nerve-racking, but the outcome is great! When all is said and done, it really is worth it. So why did I have this feeling? Why was I so unsettled inside? Well, I reluctantly made myself sit down and get ready to read my Bible. I opened it and began to read John 15. Wow! Conviction with a capital C. Jesus is speaking to His disciples in this familiar chapter. He tells us He is the vine, and we are the branches. Therefore, we can’t decide to separate from the branch and still grow fruit. It’s impossible. I’ve seen plenty of grapevines or fruit trees with branches that have fallen off, and do you know what kind of state they’re in? They’re dried up and dead. No nourishment comes forth from the main source to give life and therefore it withers away. GRACE NOTES 45 I decided I was just “withered” from lack of nourishment amid all my busyness doing good things and neglecting the “Vine” who is my source of strength. So I came to this particular verse where Jesus says to His disciples that He wants His joy to remain in them—in me, and in you. But not just joy—full joy. There’s a difference in having something and being full of something. So as a result of staying connected to Jesus the vine, I cannot just settle for joy. I want full joy—a lot of joy. Thank the Lord, that morning I stayed out of the closet long enough to pick up God’s Word and be reminded that my joy comes from my connection with Him. It must be daily, not just every once in a while. Jesus is complete joy in the midst of any and all kinds of circumstances no matter how stressful or how peaceful they may be. Jesus’ joy is the best kind of joy anyone can ever have. It can’t be bought or bartered. It’s truly free, if we just stay connected to the Vine—the life source.

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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