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Faith in Tribulation

Tribulations shall come; and we are told to glory in them (Romans 5:1-5 NKJV). 

1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4and perseverance, character, and character, hope. 5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t say that I glory in times of testing.  At times I have been so gripped by fear that I was virtually stuck – powerlessly overwhelmed by worry, doubt, and loss.  My nights were sleepless and when I called out to God in prayer for peace of mind, it did not come.

What is wrong with me?

I was not earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 1:3).  I lacked boldness and confidence in my Lord that He not only provides for all my needs, but He is more powerful than any circumstance.  I was not living by faith in Jesus, but faith in myself. 

I can’t fix anything!  Once I turned everything over to Him, my burdens were lifted as He carried me through one difficulty after another.  The more I trusted Jesus to take control of my life, my prayers were heard and answered according to His will.  I can now see how giving God the glory fits with tribulation, as his solutions to problems are perfect compared to mine. Where was the evidence of my faith? Sadly – gone. But praise God, once I repented and began to live according to His Spirit guiding me, I learned:

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”  ~ Romans 1:16-17 NKJV

3Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass… 7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;

8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret – it only causes harm.  ~ Psalm 37:3-5,7a, 8 NKJV

Jesus keep me from stumbling!  Keep me from taking back any burdens You have freed me from so I can rest in You always.  Thank You LORD!

28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, as I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  ~ Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

And also:

20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  ~ Jude 1:20-21 NKJV

Today’s Nugget | Speak God’s Word

Hi everybody! Happy Friday already … again … it sure comes around fast, doesn’t it? Has this week slipped by with you wondering where your blessing went?

You may hear this blogpost as a podcast by clicking here – https://anchor.fm/importantstuff/episodes/Todays-Nugget–Speak-Gods-Word-e13di9d

Gee, I know how you feel! But what would happen if we speak God’s Word aloud all week?

Take Isaiah 41:10, for example:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Okay, so what happens if we declare what God just said to us and accept it as truth? Let’s try speaking it back to Him!

“I am not afraid, for You are with me. I am not discouraged, for You are my God. You strengthen me and help me. You hold me up with Your victorious right hand. Selah!”

See how we can clothe ourselves in glory by speaking God’s Word for us back to Him? It’s affirmation. It’s receiving through speaking scriptures into the atmosphere that changes our circumstances. It builds us up, just as God intended. It shifts things that are against us into things working for our good.

Many times we hear that prayer changes things – and it does. I would add that boldly speaking God’s Word in our prayers delights God. Making confident declarations of God’s wisdom through His Word makes a lot of sense to me. How about you?

Try with me Matthew 5:44-45a (declared):

“I declare, that I love my enemies, and bless those who curse me, just as You commanded, LORD. I do my best to do good to those who hate me, and pray for those who mistreat me and persecute me. This way, I behave as a true child of my Father in Heaven.”

Let’s open ourselves up to the possibilities of God’s greatness toward us. Speak God’s Word!

“but we who hope in the LORD will renew our strength. We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31 (declared)

“The LORD keeps me from all harm – He watches over my life; the LORD watches over my coming and going both now and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 121:7-8 (declared)

Are we getting the hang of it now? Look at how effective prayer is when we speak the Word of God:

“Jesus, You said that I’m to keep on asking, and I will receive what I ask for; to keep on seeking, and I will find. to keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to me. That is what I’m doing, LORD, for everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8 (declared)

While we’re at it, let’s thank God for His great GREAT love for us with one of my favorite worship songs. Let me know in the comments if you have tried this “declare and receive” prayer method and whether it has helped achieve breakthroughs for you or not. As always, I sincerely thank you for following Importantstuff.Live and should we stray may the LORD leave the ninety-nine and keep comin’ after me and you!

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Habakkuk’s Complaint | God’s Second Answer

Will you let them get away with this forever?

Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?  ~ Habakkuk 1:17 NLT

Habakkuk now has God’s attention.  He has just accused God of being unfair!

Really? God’s own prophet?  Yes, and The LORD just confirmed His plan to send Babylonian “heathens” to invade “the more righteous” nation of Judah!  After more complaining,  Habakkuk retires to the nearest watch tower and simply waits for the LORD’S reply.

It isn’t long in coming.  The LORD methodically reminds Habakkuk that the future invasion is not a random act, but His judgement plan for the unrepentant sinful nation of Judah. Continue reading

Voyage to Rome | Malta

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White Cliffs of Malta

Just as God promised, all two hundred seventy-six persons aboard the doomed ship are saved!  The natives are friendly, and help the soggy sailors build a fire on the beach, as it is cold and rainy.  They let Paul’s party know that the island is called Malta!

Luke records that the natives are UNUSUALLY friendly.  I wonder why?  Perhaps some of the foodstuffs and boat gear has been washing up on the beach during Euroclydon and they are in a happy mood.  They may think their gods are favoring them with more surprises from the sea for their entertainment … or exploitation.

No sooner does Paul gather wood for the fire than he is bitten by a viper, which scares the locals.  Paul just shakes the snake into the fire, and the Maltese immediately expect Paul to succumb to the venomous attack.  They suspect the prisoner Paul of being a murderer or something.  He must be deserving of such horrid judgement.  But Paul is not harmed.

So now he must be a god!

This is so true of humans even today.  Idol worship still makes no common sense.

Anyway, the mayor of the area, a man named Plubius, courteously invites the shipwrecked crew into his home for three days.  Plubius’s father is sick with fever and dysentery, so Paul prays and lays hands on the man.  The man is healed, and the good news spreads across Malta.  If there are any lingering suspicions of the foreigners in their midst, all doubt is now erased.  Is this further proof that Paul is indeed a visiting god?  Here come the island’s sick and diseased.  Their sicknesses are healed, too.

Of course, Paul does not allow the Maltese to worship him as a god.  He ministers to the entire island about Jesus and many become believers.

Why do I believe that there were many saved at Malta because of the witness of Paul?

Because that is what Apostles are instructed to do by the Master, Jesus (Yeshua).   And throughout the Book of Acts Prayer for the sick and Laying on of Hands leads to Healing and that leads to Belief in Jesus and Salvation in Him – it’s a heavenly formula!

12And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people … 13Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. ~ (Peter) in Acts 5:12-15 NKJV

God even uses resurrection of the dead to reach people for salvation in Jesus.  Take the instance of Jesus raising Lazarus; or the Apostle Peter at Joppa:

Tabitha (Dorcas), who was a Christian disciple,  took sick and died.  Other disciples knew that Peter was staying at Lydda, which was not far from Joppa.  Two men went to Peter and asked him to help.

39Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. ~ Acts 9:39-42 NKJV

There are  many other scriptural examples of what I think happened on Malta.  Enjoy your Bible study and research!  God makes sure that His Gospel is going out to every people, nation and tribe.  Paul is an obedient servant of Our Lord.  He knows that his destiny is Rome and time is short …

I want to talk about today.  The Gospel message is still going out and it is as strongly received by lost people as it was in the day of the apostles.  People all over the world are still lost in sin.  They still worship idols, are sick and tormented by devils.  They still need hope and salvation.  The same formula still works: Pray for the sick, Lay on hands, let people experience the raw Power of the Holy Spirit Heal folks, Cast out demons, or Raise the dead.  The darkness of Africa is being lifted in this same way and Belief in Christ is working over the whole continent. HALLELUHAH!!!

“Praise and thank you Jesus, for lighting that fire in Africa and across the world! Amen! Amen!!”

In the meantime, Julius finds another Alexandrian ship that has wintered over on Malta, whose figurehead is the twins, Castor and Pollux.  In three months it will bear them to Rome.  Until then they must suffer the honor and island entertainment of Malta.  What a nice break after all they had just survived!

Stay tuned if you are feeling the spark of the Holy Spirit and where it is taking us on this Voyage to Rome.  There are plenty of twists and turns to this story left to be told.  God bless and thank you for following

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God Hears

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“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called out to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” ~ Jonah 2:2 NLT

When people are at their lowest, God hears their cries to Him and saves them.  This message of a benevolent God of love and mercy seems to resonate with most people.  But His holiness also calls for judgement when necessary.  So why do we linger in sinful misery before crying out to Him?

Let’s look at the prophet Jonah in the Bible.  He refused to preach God’s message of salvation to the Assyrian people of Nineveh – a particularly evil, idolatrous, and violent capital of Mesopotamia (located in modern-day Turkey and Iraq).

“Nineveh was so large that it took three days to see it all”.  ~Jonah 3:3 NLT

Imagine!  It may have been the equivalent of Las Vegas – known today as Sin City; full of glittering neon lights and sinful attractions along with idolatry.  Anyway, God had decided to judge the people of Nineveh for their sins.  Our merciful Father in Heaven had, however, allowed them a way to escape judgement.  They could repent within 40 days or be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Jonah was having none of it.  He evidently hated the Assyrians.  As a consequence, it cost Jonah his life and almost cost the lives of his shipmates and an entire city of people.  Oh, I shrink from the horrifying thought of what my actions cost others when I behave like Jonah!

And yet, the lesson continues …

Jonah eventually repented and God gave him a second chance.

“Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” ~ Jonah 2:10 NLT

Jonah finally obeyed God.  He went to Nineveh, and preached God’s Word.

5The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 10When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, He changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened.” ~ Jonah 3:5,10 NLT

Happy ending, right?  Jonah is resurrected from a watery grave; the ship and all it’s crew are saved from the storm and worship the one true God; and a whole city is also saved.

Wrong!  Well, no doubt it was a joyful event for the people and animals of Nineveh.  But Jonah was so angry he complained to God about (of all things) God’s mercy and compassion to sinners.  See, Jonah was certain all along that if he preached to them, the people of Nineveh would repent.  God would forgive them because of His benevolent nature, and forego their destruction … RATS!  His worst fears were realized.

“Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” ~ Jonah 4:3 NLT

Then God gently rebuked Jonah:

4Is it right for you to be angry about this? 11But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” ~ Jonah 4:4,11 NLT

That is the last Word given to us in the Book of Jonah.  I rest upon God’s wisdom.

“Father, although we are worthy of judgement and destruction, today I glorify You for showing Your power to mankind in love, mercy and salvation instead of what we deserve. Thank you for the hope we have in Your gift of a new year 2019; to recognize Your willingness to give each of us another chance to be obedient to Your Word … Especially that we would realize that all men are equal in Your sight and deserve our love and respect. In the name of JESUS; ALPHA AND OMEGA; THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD, Amen!”

Thank you for following

Psalm 143-144
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The Once-Agains

Jesus claimed to be The Son of God to crowds of people who constantly weighed and tested His Word.  Today humans still ask for credible proof that Jesus is The Son of God.  Once again, His true followers can only point to Bible scripture for Truth and to one word – “Listen”.

Kenai Baseball Field

Suggested Bible reading: John chapter 10

This scripture is all about God’s Promises to three different groups of people.  Picking up the story in John 10:22, the season is winter around the time of Hanukkah, or the Festival of Dedication.  Jesus is walking through Solomon’s Colonnade in the Temple, surrounded by people.  The throng is three camps combined:

  1. One camp contains true believers
  2. The second camp is sprinkled with noncommitted followers and some seekers.  They are leaves blown by the Jesus-is-in-Town-Wind.  They are not entirely innocent.  They desire to be witnesses of Jesus’s demise (should He blunder).   It is the “Where’s the popcorn?” movie crowd.
  3. The third camp is made up of doubters, deceived Pharisees, and Satan’s own: those following primarily to challenge Jesus.  I call these “THE ONCE-AGAINS”:

24bHow long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

Here is a magnificent example of how perfectly Godlike Jesus is.  He testifies to all three groups at the same time with the same words- and Jesus says what He means and means what He says:

26But you don’t believe Me because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to My Voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

So, Jesus answered the questions on the hearts of all three groups in two simple statements.

Watch now: Jesus goes on to powerfully state the most reassuring scripture in history for true believers and for seekers alike.  It is the oft-quoted “eternal security” scripture straight from the mouth of Jesus.  Notice that He ends His testimony with an even more powerful statement directed to THE ONCE-AGAINS in verse 30:

28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, 29for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are One.

31ONCE AGAIN the people picked up stones to kill Him. 32Jesus said, At My Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone Me?” (emphasis added)

33They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Well, isn’t that exactly the same silliness going on in the earth today? Instead of reverancing their Powerful and Majestic Creator, people are not listening to the true message of Jesus.  THE ONCE-AGAINS (the lost) continue in their blind  rejection of Jesus as the Promised Savior.

Jesus patiently responds to the crowd in verses 34 – 38, and

39ONCE AGAIN they tried to arrest Him, but He got away and left them. 40He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. (emphasis added)

Isn’t that just like Jesus?  He leaves the city, leading a few chosen out into the country for some peace and quiet.   For reflection at the river.  The River of Life.

Yes! And the Bible states that many people follow Jesus there, and believe that He is their Messiah.

Why?  Because John the Baptist did not perform signs and wonders.  That was reserved for Jesus’s ministry.  But some of them get to thinking about the testimony of John once they are away from that mind-numbing distraction of THE ONCE-AGAINS:

41beverything he (John the Baptist) said about this Man has come true. (Italics added)

THE ONCE-AGAINS (those who refuse to believe that Jesus is God) are like  wolves in the sheepfold that scatter and devour the flock (John 10:12). They mimic their true father of lies (Satan).  They mock, scorn, and deny all that is Truth.  They still plot to persecute believers worldwide with murder, imprisonment, and unspeakable torture.

Our Almighty Father Above All, I thank You today that Jesus, Your Son, is sitting at Your right hand at Your throne in Heaven.  And that while He walked this earth He gave testimony to all who would listen the Words that You told Him to speak.  Thank You for Your promise to never lose a single sheep who sincerely follows Jesus. Thank You for defeating the agenda of Satan  at the cross of Calvary.   Holy Spirit, help me to be gentle in my dealings with the lost for Jesus’s sake, and for theirs. May everyone who hears Your Word listen and respond with repentance and take into their hearts the love of Jesus that abides within us for eternity. Help us to understand Your Holy Message as we study Your Word each day – In the Powerful Name of our Blessed Lord Jesus, Amen.

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” ~ John 11:40

Another powerful “eternal security” Bible scripture is found in Romans 8:38-39.

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Christmas Past

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Dad brought home a Christmas Tree – circa 1965

Many people experience sadness or actual depression during the Christmas season. When this happens to me, I search my memory bank for past Christmases that were joyful – hoping to lift my spirits. The Christmas Past that I chose this year is the Christmas of 1965. Nothing sets it apart from other Christmases except for the changing times.  It has become remarkable to me only because 51 years of Christmases have come and gone since then; so I have a lot to compare it with.

Life was so simple in 1965. Our family lived close to the land in a very humble home that my parents built mostly by themselves.  We lived far from the nearest town and the winters felt even more isolating as darkness spread over the northern landscape.  We seldom had visitors but our parents made sure they took us to town for church and school activities.  We would join up with carolers and walk around the community singing all of the classic Christmas songs.  People would come to their front doors to hear us sing and then invite us in for hot cocoa to warm up.  Christ was always the center of Christmas, thanks to my parents, and I wish it was more like that in our nation today.

My brother and I were in our early teens in 1965 and certainly did not appreciate how special that Christmas was.  Looking back now, I could not appreciate it more.

Undaunted by our adolescent apathy, my parents did everything in their power to bring cheerfulness into our home at Christmas.  We trimmed the tree with ornaments that we made at school in our elementary days and smothered the tree in lights and silver icicles popular for the times.  It may have looked gaudy, but we loved to plug in those lights and sit for hours in the evenings eating popcorn while we played checkers or old maid.  I don’t remember if we had a television then, but if so, it only had one military channel with very limited programming.  Dad made sure it was off most of the time.  He was against TV.  He wanted reality and his focus was always on the people in his life.

I remember our parents gifted us with snow skis that Christmas; including all the gear we needed to begin learning how to ski.  This must have been a big financial sacrifice for them at the time.  Of course, we were excited to be able to join our peers on the local ski hill, and within days we abandoned Mom & Dad for the slopes.

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I never became a good skier, but it was fun.  We spent some of our Christmas school vacation ice skating on the frozen ponds near our house, too.

This trip down memory lane may not seem relevant to your Christmas, but I guess the Lord put it on my heart to show that even though over half a century has passed since this Christmas Past, the true Christmas story as recorded in the Gospels never changes.  Nowadays it seems that Christmas is celebrated far differently than in 1965.  Jesus is not the center of the season and even the word “Christmas” has disappeared from most greeting cards.  No wonder some people feed sad at this time of year!  Rejoice in the belief that Jesus is our divine Messiah who became flesh in order to redeem mankind from a sin debt we could never pay.  That is the true joyful message of Christmas.

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I hope that your Christmas 2016 is one to be remembered as a happy time spent with family and friends; that is spirit-filled, and full of peace and hope that only the Holy Spirit imparts.  Regardless of your circumstances, may your hearts be lifted up this Christmas with the knowledge that our divine Savior came down to earth as a tiny baby who chose to be born in squalor in order to bring us hope, love, and peace.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ~ Luke 2:10-14 KJV

MERRY CHRISTMAS PRESENT and may God bless you all.

Growing Up

I recently read a post that stated simply, “The first 50 years are the hardest part of growing up.”

Can I get an amen?

After living over half a century my response is, “Still working on it!”

I used to think that growing up was so complicated.  I took life’s challenges seriously and wore myself out trying to live up to public opinion instead of what God’s Word has to say about it.  My moral compass was skewed by the changing times.  I was more intent on meeting expectations of the world system than I was on finding out what God’s plan was for my life.  Decades passed and after my nest emptied I began to realize that getting an education, raising a family, and making a living was just getting me older.  I did not feel as grown up as my image reflected in the mirror each morning.

Thank God for not giving up on me!

He has not given up our nation, either.  Nations also struggle with growing up.  Our United States is groaning under the stress of moral decline.  It’s time to grow up!  We as believers are part of the problem, but we can be part of God’s solution, too.  I want to be part of God’s plan for my own life and for that of my nation.  I want my nation to turn away from foolishness, repent, and place our government once again under God.  Our loving, faithful Father has delivered us and shown us the way:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  ~John 16:33

It starts with me.  It’s time to grow up spiritually.  It’s time for me to be His Voice and spread good cheer in a time of national tribulation.  His promise is that in Me you may have peace.  Praise and thank you, Lord!god-is-good

Video

Dan Dyer – Blessed Be

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ~ I Peter 1:3 KJV

Read I Peter 1:1-9.

The more we praise Abba, our Father, the more we embrace the “lively hope” of our inheritance in heaven, through the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our praise opens the pathway for love to invade our spirits, and renews our faith.

It is only by the power of God that we are kept strong in faith until the great revealing and salvation of our souls at the second coming of Yeshua Messiah.

Prayer: Mighty are your wondrous works on our behalf, Father, and Your Name is greatly to be praised. You are YHVH, my Elohim. Not just someone else’s god; but I declare to heaven and earth forever that You are MY GOD! Thank you for Your mercy and love for all; for sending your Son Jesus to die in our place and that our sin debt is paid in full. In the matchless name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus; PRAISE! PRAISE!! PRAISE!!! Amen.

If you have not yet received God’s gift of redemption and promise of eternal life through believing in Jesus, the important stuff you need to know is found in God’s Word. He wrote you a love letter to explain what you need to do to escape eternal judgement and it is found in The Bible.  Another helpful salvation guide with more links is found at our home page..

Thank you for following ImportantStuff.live and God Bless.

Special thanks to Dan Dyer, a believing obedient servant of God, for MTM – his Message through Music ministry.  You can help support the ministry by partnering.