Yet, I Will Rejoice 0

As we gather this Thursday for Thanksgiving there will be the normal celebration with parades, football games, food, family, and friends. However, this year we are surrounded by great tragedies around the world with war, terrorism, and natural disaster.  After a Presidential election that have many upset and afraid, there might be the temptation to be overcome by fear. My friends, it is the enemy’s desire that the body of Christ be crippled by great fear. Yet, I will rejoice and here is the reason why. Jehovah is still Jehovah and Jesus is still Lord and my hope and trust are in Him! So, this Thanksgiving instead of being afraid, let us take the time to remember all that the Lord has done for us.

I am so very thankful that God loves me, thank you Father for your divine hand that rest upon my life and my family’s lives. I am thankful that you loved me enough to send Jesus Christ all those years ago to pay the penalty for my sins. Thank you Jesus for saving my soul and being Lord over all I do. I am so thankful that you saw the need to leave the earth and return to your place in heaven, but You knew that I would need a helper; and you sent the Holy Spirit to reside in me to enable me to be an over comer in this world. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for walking with me and showing me the way; for being my counselor, helper, partner, companion, and divine friend; Life without You would be hopeless! I am eternity grateful for The One True God, the Trinity that loves me enough to care and help me in all situations.

I am so very grateful for Han; she is so precious to me. For 41 years, she has been my best friend and my companion through this walk we call life. I loved her the very first time that I saw her and my love for her has grown steady through the years; in fact, I think I love her now more than ever before. Thank you sweetie for going with me through the years and I look forward to many more together!

I am thankful for our daughters Luci Stafford and Tammy Hoover, I am thankful for the women they have turned out to be. I am proud of you both and your many accomplishments and successes. I am thankful for two strong men who I call sons-in-laws; Tom Stafford and Brady Hoover, I love you most guys because I see your love for my daughters and my grandchildren; thank you. I am most thankful for my four wonderful grandchildren, James, Alex, Sidney and Ketscher. It is hard to explain how my heart swells every time I am with them. They each have their own personalities and I would not change that for anything. Papa loves you guys very much and I am thankful that you are in my life

I am thankful for extended family and friends across this nation and around the world. I am hoping that this Thanksgiving finds you all well and full of hope. Remember to give thanks for what God has done for you and your families.

I am grateful for my church family, those whom I share a connection because Jesus is our hope and support. I am thankful for your prayers and your care. Many of you I miss because of distance or business, but I pray and think of you often. May God’s hand always rest upon you and keep you. I am thankful for my mentors and spiritual fathers, thank you so much for taking the time to impart to me those things that have made me a good pastor and shepherd.

Finally, to my immediate church family, Angle Lake Neighborhood Church, Han and I wish to thank you all for loving us and making us feel like we are the best pastor in the world. I would like to thank my staff for all you do. Guys I could not do this without you, you are very important to me, please thank your staffs on my behalf for all the hard work they do. I am thankful for a great group of guys the Board Members of Angle Lake Neighborhood Church, thank you guys for your sacrifice and care. I am thankful for every person who calls ALNC home and please know that Han and I love you all very much. May God’s hand rest upon you, may His countenance shine upon you, may His peace be with you, may His grace give you strength, may His power flow through you, may His providence keep you and may His presence always be with you.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
Pastor John & Han

 

We Must Vote 0

November 8, 2016 is election day and I believe it is every Christian’s responsibility to vote. Even this cycle, where there appears to be no moral choice. I am not going to endorse a candidate nor a political party. However, you can rest assured that any political candidate for any political office who supports abortion on demand or supports same-sex marriage will not receive a vote from me.

I know that in the culture of America today people who claim Christianity as a lifestyle are seen as hypocritical, bigoted, uncaring, unloving, homophobic, out-of touch, and closed minded. I understand that this is the perception, but very far from the truth. Most of the people that I know who claim to be Christians are very concerned about people and their lives, they are very loving with everyone they come in contact with, they do desire to stay up with the times and they enjoy debates that are uplifting and productive. However, they still believe that there is a standard to live by and that standard is the Word of God; illuminating their hearts and showing them the way.

My encouragement is to educate yourself on all the facts. Pray for godly wisdom and discernment. Then on November 8, 2016, vote for the candidate that best represents your values and principles.

Blessings

Pastor John

Snakes or Gold 0

A number of years ago the Lord gave me a dream.

In my dream I saw myself standing in front of many garbage cans.  The cans were full of snakes——-stuffed to the brim with snakes!

Some of the snakes were cut in half and should have been dead but somehow kept coming back to life again.  I was working very hard to push them back in the garbage cans and get the lids on, but somehow they kept getting out, and there was no END to all these snakes……..no matter how many I crammed in the cans, there were still more and more of them.  Consequently, I was very frustrated and becoming tired of this disgusting activity.  It was a seemingly hopeless endeavor…….I could never get rid of them or contain them!  Then my attention was diverted in another direction.

I looked off into the distance and saw some people down at a beautiful river, which was glowing in the sunlight.  They were  standing in the pure, lovely water panning for gold and having a truly enjoyable time.  They held up pieces of gold and called to me:  “Hey, come down and join us;  we’re panning for gold!”  I thought to myself, “Oh, that sounds wonderful——much better than dealing with all these snakes!!”  Soon I left the garbage cans behind and went down to the river, stepped into the water and started panning for gold with the others and found it to be a joyful, life-giving experience.

Lately the Lord has been bringing this dream to my attention at various times and I know He is saying to me again, “Forget the SNAKES! COME AND GET INTO MY RIVER!!!  This is where I want you to be!”

It is so easy to see all the evils in the world, the problems, the inequities, the injustices and get riled up and frustrated and worried and angry about them.  For instance, just lately my daughter-in-law told about their car getting broken into, and I was upset and angry that they had been robbed.  My husband told about problems at work and I was frustrated with the unfairness and greediness there.  The news media (as usual) tore down people’s reputations and ignored the wrongdoing of people they are trying to promote.  “Unfair!” my thoughts scream in my head. 

All of a sudden I see I have once again been tricked by the enemy to focus on the SNAKES (his evil deeds)!!  Evil and sin and all the works of the devil will continue until  Jesus comes and rules on this earth.  I can become bogged down and heavy-hearted from now until eternity.  This is exactly what the devil wants for my life and yours!

BUT GOD IS CALLING TO US:    “Come and get in the river!!  Come to the Waters of Life!!!  You will find gold, rare jewels and treasures in abundance!”

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God”.  (Psalms 46:4)    “And HE  showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal coming from the throne of God.”   (Rev. 22:1) “And it will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes will live.”  (Ez. 47:9)  “I will make them walk by streams of water, on a straight path in which they whall not stumble.”  (Jer. 31:9)  “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!”   (Isa. 55:1)   “Whoso drinks of the waters that I shall give him shall never thirst.”  (John 4:14)

God wants His people (you and I) to LIVE in the waters of life that are ever flowing out of His throne.  Let’s seek to be there, to LIVE in those waters, beginning today!  Tell the Lord, “Jesus, I desire to live in YOUR  RIVER and I will seek YOU with all of my heart so I can fully experience that abundant life you have for me.  Lead me to the river, and as I am in Your river, I will discover the eternal gold, the jewels and  treasures and the beauty of YOU  LORD!!     Amen!!

 Ruth Strokel