Christmas Verse 12/09/2022

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CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS! HE IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!
He was sent and He came to fulfill a mission; ALL-Man, ALL-God, carrying the treasure of His precious blood from the humble manger to the Cross of Calvary just so it could be spilled for all mankind. God’s sacrificial lamb, payment for OUR penalty of sin in the world. His gift is free to ALL who are willing to receive it.

May the Spirit of Christmas and the Spirit of Redemption be in your hearts continually from this day forward and may all the precious Joy and gracious Peace from our Heavenly Father be yours in this Season of Christ Jesus!

Taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation for ease of reading:

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God Is With Us! – 5

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Scripture Text – Isaiah 7-12

“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.” – Isaiah 8:18.

This statement by the Prophet Isaiah is a key to understanding the meaning of the events and prophecies we are going to cover in this lesson. Four symbolic names are involved in Isaiah’s messages, each of them with a very special meaning: Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Isaiah. We’ve discussed Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, and Shear-jashub, we will conclude with the lesson.

Shear-jashub: A Promise of Mercy – Continued

Please read Isaiah 9:1-11:16 for the background to this section.

The Lord will restore His people (Isaiah 11:1–16) – continued. From our last lesson; His kingdom will involve righteous rule because the Son of God and the Spirit of God will administer its affairs justly. When the Messiah-King speaks the word, it is with power. His kingdom will also mean a restored creation because nature will once again enjoy the harmony it enjoyed before sin entered in. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9.

The nucleus of the kingdom will be a regathered and reunited Jewish nation. The “Root” will become a “banner” for the rallying of the people as the Lord reaches out and gathers His people from the nations where they have been exiled (Isaiah 43:5–6). It will be like a “second exodus” as God opens the way for His people to return to their land. In a limited sense, this promise was fulfilled after the Assyrian conquest and when the Jews left Babylonian Captivity; but the ultimate fulfillment will be at the end of the age when Messiah regathers His people (Isaiah 27:12–13; 49:22–23; 56:7–8; Matthew 24:31; Romans 11:25–29). The centuries-long division between Israel and Judah will come to an end, and even the Gentiles will walk on “the highway” that leads to Jerusalem.

The “highway” is one of Isaiah’s favorite images. Those who obey the Lord have a level and smooth road to walk (Isaiah 26:7–8). When God calls His people back to their land, He will prepare the way for them (Isaiah 40:3–4) and lead them safely (Isaiah 42:16). He will remove obstacles so the people can travel easily (Isaiah 49:11; 57:14; 62:10). God’s highway will be called “the Highway of Holiness.” – Isaiah 35:8.

et highway of holiness

When Isaiah looked at his people, he saw a sinful nation that would one day walk the “highway of holiness” and enter into a righteous kingdom. He saw a suffering people who would one day enjoy a beautiful and peaceful kingdom. He saw a scattered people who would be regathered and reunited under the kingship of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” – Matthew 6:10; for only when His kingdom comes can there be peace on earth.

Isaiah: A Song of Salvation

Please read Isaiah 12:1-6 for the background to this section.

Isaiah’s name means “Jehovah is salvation,” and salvation is a key theme in the song related to these verses. “In that day” refers to the day of Israel’s regathering and reunion and the righteous reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jewish remnant will have come through the time of tribulation on earth (“the time of Jacob’s trouble,” Jeremiah 30:7), seen their Messiah, repented, and received Him by faith (Zechariah 12:10–13:1; 14:4–11). Cleansed and established in their promised kingdom, the nation will praise the Lord and extol Him among the Gentiles.

The refrain in Isaiah 12:2, “For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation,” was sung at the Exodus (Exodus 15:2) and at the rededication of the temple in Ezra’s day (Psalm 118:14). It was sung by the Red Sea after the Jews had been delivered from Egypt by Moses, the prophet. It was sung in Jerusalem when the second temple was dedicated under the leadership of Ezra, the priest. It will be sung again when the Jewish nation accepts Jesus Christ as its King. They will recognize Him as “the Holy One of Israel” and willingly obey His holy law.

This joyful song closes this portion of Isaiah in which the prophet has used four significant names to tell the people what God had planned for them. Because of Immanuel, there is a message of hope. Maher-shalal-hash-baz gives a warning of judgment, but his brother Shear-jashub speaks of a promise of mercy. The father’s name, Isaiah, brings a song of rejoicing as the people discover that Jehovah is indeed their salvation.

The Lord will never forsake His people. No matter how difficult the days may be, or how long the nights, for the people of God, His chosen children and His anointed ones, the best is yet to come.

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Patriotic Quote 12/09/2022

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025 patriotic quotes

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Not Notifying The Cook

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In 1939, in Hitler’s Germany, Alexander Kirk was in charge of the American embassy in Berlin, and George Kennan was his counselor. Although food shortages made it difficult, Kirk gave an enormous buffet lunch every Sunday. There were perhaps a hundred guests who had standing invitations and another hundred who were invited occasionally.

One Saturday, Kirk called Kennan into his office and told him he’d been ordered to Paris for consultation and wouldn’t be able to give the usual Sunday lunch. “Please take the necessary steps to call it off,” he said to Kennan.

A few days later Kirk returned from Paris and called Kennan into his office. “You did a pretty good job canceling the Sunday lunch,” he told Kennan. “There were only two people you forgot to tell.”

“Who were they?” George asked.

“The chief and the Japanese ambassador,” Kirk replied.

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C.S. Lewis Quote 12/09/2022

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224 c.s. lewis

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Matthew 24:44

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Friday December 9, 2022

Matthew 24:44
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Jesus looks forward with joy to the day of His returning.

But a shadow falls across His rejoicing. He fears that His friends will not be ready when He comes.

And, indeed, He has reason to fear.

Many of His friends are weighed down, by the cares of this life or by the deceitfulness of riches, and as a result the day will come upon them as a snare.

Here and there some awaken from their spiritual sleep and ask in bewilderment: “What should I do in order to be ready to meet Jesus?”

Listen now: what do you think you would do if you were informed that Jesus would be coming before the evening of this day?

You would no doubt find much to do. You would have to be reconciled to God, perhaps also to some people with whom you are living on unfriendly terms.

If so, I would advise you: do it immediately. For Jesus says that we should be ready at all times and seasons, for we know not when He will come.

Be thus reconciled; then you will be ready to meet the Son of Man. For it is only the precious blood of Jesus that can give you boldness to meet the Lord. Whether you live a hundred years or you meet Jesus today, it is only the blood of Christ that can cover your sin and save you in the judgment.

Many believers pass their time in fear lest they should not be ready when Jesus comes.

This fear is an unfruitful one, and is contrary to His will.

I am not to think of whether I shall be ready to meet Jesus tomorrow. I must make ready to meet Him today.

That is the secret, Jesus says, of being ready when he comes.

Amen, yea, come Lord Jesus!

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O. Hallesby, God’s Word for Today: A Daily Devotional for the Whole Year, translator Clarence J. Carlsen (Augsburg, 1994)
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Reflecting With God 12/09/2022

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Thinking, praying, reading, studying the Bible – when we do these things, we are reflecting on the Word of God. To reflect is to contemplate and/or consider, and God wants us to deeply reflect on His Word so that we can better understand Him.

Friday Reflecting

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. – Psalm 25:1.

In waiting upon God we must often speak to Him, must take all occasions to speak to Him; and when we have not opportunity for a solemn address to Him, He will accept of a sudden address if it comes from an honest heart. David waited on God all day: “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul”; to Thee do I dart it, and all its gracious breathings are after Thee. We should, in a holy ejaculation, ask pardon for this sin, strength against this corruption, victory over this temptation, and it shall not be in vain. This is to pray always, and without ceasing.
~ MATTHEW HENRY

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Sowing Seeds 12/09/2022

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*Pastor’s Note: The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, so we will keep sowing seed for the Glory of  the Lord!

Sowing Seeds of Hope

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Daily Prayer & Praise 12/09/2022

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Prayer for Friday

Lord our God, we seek Your face and long to find You. May we find You as Your people found You in times past when You drew near with many signs and miracles. May our hearts come before You in wonder, awe and trust and draw their strength from You. May many in our time seek You and receive Your comfort and help, for You provide strength and courage for the poor and destitute, for the suffering and the dying. Do not let our age pass by in vain, O great and almighty God. A new time must surely come, a new day must be born from this present age. This is Your will, and in Your will we trust. Through the power of Jesus’ Holy and wonderful name, we pray.

Amen.

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Adapted from the Daily Written Prayers of Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, 1842–1919. Public Domain
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Coffee and a Side of 1 Peter 1:19

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INTRODUCTION TO 1 PETER:
First Peter is about maintaining hope in the midst of suffering. Because Jesus Himself suffered, and because God can be trusted to put all things right, Peter counsels believers to maintain their faith in Jesus. Believers should do so even when they are being persecuted, mocked, and misunderstood; they should also imitate Jesus by enduring unjust suffering with grace. Hardships are bound to come in this life, but they do not have the last word.

Taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation for ease of reading:

1 peter 1_19

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Christmas Verse 12/08/2022

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CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS! HE IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!
He was sent and He came to fulfill a mission; ALL-Man, ALL-God, carrying the treasure of His precious blood from the humble manger to the Cross of Calvary just so it could be spilled for all mankind. God’s sacrificial lamb, payment for OUR penalty of sin in the world. His gift is free to ALL who are willing to receive it.

May the Spirit of Christmas and the Spirit of Redemption be in your hearts continually from this day forward and may all the precious Joy and gracious Peace from our Heavenly Father be yours in this Season of Christ Jesus!

Taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation for ease of reading:

007 christmas verse

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God Is With Us! – 4

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Scripture Text – Isaiah 7-12

“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.” – Isaiah 8:18.

This statement by the Prophet Isaiah is a key to understanding the meaning of the events and prophecies we are going to cover in this lesson. Four symbolic names are involved in Isaiah’s messages, each of them with a very special meaning: Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Isaiah. We’ve discussed Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, we will continue where we left off last.

Shear-jashub: A Promise of Mercy – Continued

Please read Isaiah 9:1-11:16 for the background to this section.

The Lord judged Israel for their sins (Isaiah 9:8-10:4) – continued. From our last lesson; Ephraim’s own wickedness was destroying the nation, the way a fire destroys a forest or a field. But the sinners would become fuel for the fire God could kindle! In their greed, the people of the Northern Kingdom were devouring one another and battling one another; but they would soon be devoured and defeated by Assyria.

In 10:1–4, Isaiah denounced Ephraim for its injustice, especially toward the poor, the widows, and the orphans. Unjust laws and oppressive decrees robbed these people both of their meager possessions and their God-given rights (Deuteronomy 15:7–8; 24:17–18). The prophet’s three questions in Isaiah 10:3 ought to be pondered by every person who wants to be ready when the Lord comes.

If God cannot bring us to repentance through His Word, then He must lift His hand and chasten us. If we do not submit to His chastening, and we harden our hearts, then He must stretch out His hand and judge us. God is long-suffering, but we dare not tempt Him by our careless or calloused attitude. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:31.

The Lord will judge the enemy (Isaiah 10:5–34). “Woe to Assyria!” is the way this section begins. Though God used Assyria to chasten Judah, He would not permit His “tool” to exalt itself in pride. Assyria was His staff, rod, axe, and saw; but they treated His children like mud in the streets and plundered the land like a farmer gathering eggs. God’s purpose was to discipline, but the Assyrians were out to destroy. They boasted of their conquests (see Isaiah 37:10–13) but did not give glory to God.

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Because of their arrogant attitude, God would judge Assyria, for the worker certainly has mastery over His tools! Like a wasting disease and a blazing forest fire, God’s wrath would come to this proud nation and its army. He would cut them down like trees in the forest, lopping off the tops first. In the days of Hezekiah, God wiped out 185,000 of the Assyrian soldiers (Isaiah 37:36–37); and the great Assyrian Empire ultimately fell to Babylon in 609 B.C.

In spite of Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom and its intention to destroy Judah, God would save a remnant so that “the twelve tribes” would not be annihilated (Acts 26:7; James 1:1; Revelation 21:12). As stated in the previous lessons, “The remnant shall return” is the translation of the name of Isaiah’s older son, Shear-jashub.

In verses 28–32, Isaiah traces the advance of the Assyrian army as it invaded Judah and marched toward Jerusalem. But God’s word to the people was, “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian!” (verse 24). Isaiah gave the same message to King Hezekiah when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem in 701 B.C. (Isaiah 37:1–7). God used Assyria to discipline His people, but He would not permit this godless nation to go beyond His purposes. God may use unbelievers to accomplish His will in the lives of His people, but He is always in control. We need never fear the disciplining hand of God, for He always disciplines in love (Hebrews 12:1–11).

The Lord will restore His people (Isaiah 11:1–16). In contrast to the proud trees that God cuts down is a tender shoot from a seemingly dead stump. Isaiah looks beyond his people’s trials to the glorious kingdom that will be established when Messiah comes to reign. David’s dynasty was ready to end, but out of his family the promised Messiah would come (Romans 1:3; Revelation 5:5). A godly remnant of Jews kept the nation alive so that the Messiah could be born.

His kingdom will involve righteous rule because the Son of God and the Spirit of God will administer its affairs justly. When the Messiah-King speaks the word, it is with power (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15). His kingdom will also mean a restored creation because nature will once again enjoy the harmony it enjoyed before sin entered in (verses 6-9, see also Romans 8:18–25). “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9. (see also Habakkuk 2:14).

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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This Man Jesus (JB)

*Pastor’s Note: Here is another beautiful poem from my long-time Sister-In-Christ, Joan Adams Burchell. As a reminder, she has a website, Along Poetry Road that is still up and running with a lot of great poetry. When you have a chance, stop by and check her selections out. You will be blessed!

As always, Glory to God for all of the creative gifts He gives so bountifully and for those who use those gifts. God Bless!


Thursday 12-8-2022
Joan Adams Burchell

jb this man Jesus

The man who died upon the cross
Walks with me each day.

His Wisdom, Light, Love and Peace
Is always guiding my way.

I gave Him my heart many years ago
And through each day we talk.

He holds me up when I am weak –
Gives me the strength to walk.

PEACE above all understanding
Is His gift to me.

LIGHT surrounds me, from this man Jesus,
So that I may see.

He colours my days and nights with LOVE –
See His canvas all around?

He guides the brush of mother nature –
Artwork sure to astound.

He gave me life when all hope was gone;
I praise Him every day.

LOVE to heal – heal with LOVE;
Jesus showed us the way.

© 2004 Joan Adams Burchell – Along Poetry Road – Used with permission.

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Patriotic Quotes 12/08/2022

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024 patriotic quotes

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Showing Friendship Now In Funeral

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A man of 69 in a small town in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan invited about 20 business friends to his home and held his “funeral.” Ritually, it was a full-dress funeral, complete with funeral sutra chanting by two Buddhist priests. He even held the customary rites for the seventh day after his “death.”

What was his idea? The director of the local soft drink dealers’ association, explained: “If my friends have enough friendship for me to attend my funeral when I die, I should rather they showed their friendship now.” After the obsequies, there was an evening of revelry with gay entertainment. The “mourners” ate, drank, and made merry. Said the “deceased” in satisfaction: “From now on I’ll forget myself and work for the trade and for the world.”

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C.H. Spurgeon Quote 12/08/2022

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223 c.h. spurgeon

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The Impartial Power of God

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Thursday December 8, 2022

Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

We trample the blood of the Son of God under foot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only explanation of the forgiveness of God and of the unfathomable depth of His forgetting, is the Death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the outcome of our personal realization of the Atonement which He has worked out for us. “Christ Jesus . . . is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” When we realize that Christ is made all this to us, the boundless joy of God begins; wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is at work.

It does not matter who or what we are, there is absolute reinstatement into God by the death of Jesus Christ and by no other way, not because Jesus Christ pleads, but because He died. It is not earned, but accepted. All the pleading which deliberately refuses to recognize the Cross is of no avail; it is battering at another door than the one which Jesus has opened. ‘I don’t want to come that way, it is too humiliating to be received as a sinner.’ “There is none other Name . . .” The apparent heartlessness of God is the expression of His real heart, there is boundless entrance in His way. “We have forgiveness through His blood.” Identification with the death of Jesus Christ means identification with Him to the death of everything that never was in Him.

God is justified in saving bad men only as He makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy.

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Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986)
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Reflecting With God 12/08/2022

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Thinking, praying, reading, studying the Bible – when we do these things, we are reflecting on the Word of God. To reflect is to contemplate and/or consider, and God wants us to deeply reflect on His Word so that we can better understand Him.

Thursday Reflecting

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life. – Psalm 23:6.

They say in England if a man walks he must be poor, if he sometimes calls a cab he is better off, if one footman rides behind him he is rich, but if two are on the back of his carriage he must have a great inheritance. God has no poor children; they all have a great inheritance; two footmen are always behind, “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Or, goodness and mercy may be called God’s watchdogs, following in the rear.
~ MOODY

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Sowing Seeds 12/08/2022

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*Pastor’s Note: The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, so we will keep sowing seed for the Glory of  the Lord!

Sowing Seeds of Righteousness

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Daily Prayer & Praise 12/08/2022

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Prayer for Thursday

Father in Heaven, we surrender ourselves to Your love, the love in which Christ comes to us. Like children we say every day to the Lord Jesus himself, “Lord Jesus, come, come! Even if we cannot see You today because times have changed, come into the world, come more and more into world history. Send more and more of Your nature, Your goodness, into all hearts. Come at last, come quickly to bring an end to the adversary, an end to world power with its sinister, hostile character. May bright day, clear light from the Father in Heaven, dawn through You, Lord Jesus. Yes, come, Lord Jesus!”

Amen.

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Adapted from the Daily Written Prayers of Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, 1842–1919. Public Domain
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