Monday, August 22, 2016

Night Light for Couples - Words You Can Count On

“I have put my hope in your laws.” Psalm 119:43

Just as you must trust the Lord in all you do, so also should you trust His Word.

Years ago, shortly after I (jcd) left my positions at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California School of Medicine, I discovered that my frequent travel and speaking engagements on behalf of families were taking a toll on my own family. As I wrestled with this problem, I came across a Scripture passage that showed me the solution. Moses was exhausted from solving all his people’s disputes. Jethro, his father‐in‐law, recognized this and advised Moses to appoint others to help, saying “If you do this, and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” (Exodus 18:23). The next day I canceled all but two of my speaking appointments for the following year and determined to stay home. That decision led to the start of Focus on the Family and a film series seen by 80 million people!

The wisdom contained in the world’s leading bestseller—the Bible— has sustained husbands and wives for thousands of years. Wouldn’t it be foolish to trust God, yet ignore His Word?

Just between us…
  • What Scripture verse has made the biggest difference in your life?
  • Do you feel that we spend enough time reading the Bible as a couple?How can we allocate more time for reading the Word?
  • Which book of the Bible would you like to study next?
  • How can we get even more out of our Scripture reading?
Dear God, thank You so much for giving us a trustworthy, written guide to show us how we should live. Help us to increasingly rely on the Bible for Your wisdom for our lives. Amen. 

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
  • Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Daily Readings for August 22, 2016

Job 4:1-1, 5:1-27
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered: "Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple. I have seen fools taking root, but suddenly I cursed their dwelling. Their children are far from safety, they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them. The hungry eat their harvest, and they take it even out of the thorns; and the thirsty pant after their wealth. For misery does not come from the earth, nor does trouble sprout from the ground; but human beings are born to trouble just as sparks fly upward. "As for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause. He does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He takes the wise in their own craftiness; and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noonday as in the night. But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth, from the hand of the mighty. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. "How happy is the one whom God reproves; therefore do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he strikes, but his hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no harm shall touch you. In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the wild animals of the earth. For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the wild animals shall be at peace with you. You shall know that your tent is safe, you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing. You shall know that your descendants will be many, and your offspring like the grass of the earth. You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, as a shock of grain comes up to the threshing floor in its season. See, we have searched this out; it is true. Hear, and know it for yourself."

Acts 9:19-31
and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." All who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

John 6:52-59
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 1 Beatus vir qui non abiit
1   Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2   Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night.
3   They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.
4   It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5   Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6   For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes?
1   Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2   Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3   Let us break their yoke, they say; let us cast off their bonds from us.
4   He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord has them in derision.
5   Then he speaks to them in his wrath, and his rage fills them with terror.
6   I myself have set my king . upon my holy hill of Zion.
7   Let me announce the decree of the LORD: he said to me, "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
8   Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9   You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10   And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11   Submit to the LORD with fear, and with trembling bow before him;
12   Lest he be angry and you perish; for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13   Happy are they all who take refuge in him!

Psalm 3 Domine, quid multiplicati
1   LORD, how many adversaries I have! how many there are who rise up against me!
2   How many there are who say of me, "There is no help for him in his God."
3   But you, O LORD, are a shield about me; you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
4   I call aloud upon the LORD, and he answers me from his holy hill;
5   I lie down and go to sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6   I do not fear the multitudes of people who set themselves against me all around.
7   Rise up, O LORD; set me free, O my God; surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face, you will break the teeth of the wicked.
8   Deliverance belongs to the LORD. Your blessing be upon your people!

Evening Psalms

Psalm 4 Cum invocarem
1   Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I am hard-pressed; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2   You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?
3   Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.
4   Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
5   Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the LORD.
6   Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!" Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
7   You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
8   I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 7 Domine, Deus meus
1   O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me;
2   Lest like a lion they tear me in pieces and snatch me away with none to deliver me.
3   O LORD my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands,
4   If I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered him who without cause is my enemy;
5   Then let my enemy pursue and overtake me, trample my life into the ground, and lay my honor in the dust.
6   Stand up, O LORD, in your wrath; rise up against the fury of my enemies.
7   Awake, O my God, decree justice; let the assembly of the peoples gather round you.
8   Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High; O LORD, judge the nations.
9   Give judgment for me according to my righteousness, O LORD, and according to my innocence, O Most High.
10   Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.
11   God is my shield and defense; he is the savior of the true in heart.
12   God is a righteous judge; God sits in judgment every day.
13   If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he will bend his bow and make it ready.
14   He has prepared his weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.
15   Look at those who are in labor with wickedness, who conceive evil, and give birth to a lie.
16   They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made.
17   Their malice turns back upon their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.
18   I will bear witness that the LORD is righteous; I will praise the Name of the LORD Most High.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for August 22, 2016

From Forward Day By Day

Job 5:2 (NRSV) Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.

Our men’s Bible study meets at 6:30 a.m. every Wednesday in our parish hall. As I write this, we are studying the book of Job—a tough read. One feels for Job, who has lost just about everything and is getting a lot of advice from his friends. Peter Drucker, renowned management guru, wrote in his book, The Effective Executive, “Help is defined by the recipient.”

In other words, we aren’t necessarily helping others if it is only by our definition of what help means—if we alone determine what is helpful without considering how helpful it might actually be to the other person.

Still, I like Eliphaz the Temanite’s advice to Job—even if it was not particularly appropriate at the time. Worry and resentment are two mostly useless thoughts or feelings. They accomplish little and have no effect on the problem at hand—they just wear you down and make you feel bad. I gave the worry and resentment up for Lent many years ago and thank God that more constructive thoughts and feelings abound. You don’t have to wait until Lent to follow Eliphaz’s advice.

Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

NIV Devotions for Women - No Age Barrier

Luke 2:36–38

By anyone’s definition, Anna was old. Married for only 7 years, a widow until age 84, Anna had witnessed the passing of decade after decade. Her world was not a large one, as she was consigned to living in the temple and devoted herself to fasting and prayer; she mostly worshiped and waited. The years of waiting were finally over when she spotted him: the precious infant lying in the young mother’s arms. Angels had announced this child’s birth. Now an aged woman became another in the line of those who sang the chorus of annunciation: The Messiah had come! What a beautiful message from a beautiful woman who had waited years to proclaim her prophetic message.

Nineteenth-century author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe once wrote, “So much had been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?”

We live in a youth-oriented culture. American women spend millions of dollars each year on products designed to keep us young—or at least to help us appear that way. Older women can easily feel marginalized—as if their days of usefulness are past. Yet Scripture reminds us that God reserves some of his most significant assignments to women who have attained the maturity to handle them—like Anna the prophetess.

As the years pass, do you sometimes wonder whether the best ones are now behind you? Do your options seem limited and your value diminished? When you set your heart to serve God, you can continue to do so whatever your health, age or personal circumstances.

Angels and an elderly woman announced the birth of the Savior of the world. Approximately 33 years later, angels and a select group of women proclaimed the astounding news of his resurrection from the dead. Age and gender present no barrier when God entrusts us with a divine message or mission.

  1. What encourages you about the story of Anna in the temple?
  2. Physical limitations sometimes come with age, but what do you see as the positive aspects of advancing years?
  3. How might your opportunities to serve God be broader now than they were when you were younger?
Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Related Readings 

Genesis 24:34–36; Exodus 15:19–21; 1 Samuel 2:1–10; Acts 2:14–21

Women of the Bible - Gomer

Her name means: "Completion" 

Her character: Though a married woman, she carried on numerous love affairs, crediting her lovers for the gifts her husband had given her.
Her sorrow: To have become the symbol of spiritual adultery—a picture of Israel's unfaithfulness to God.
Her joy: That her husband continued to love her despite her unfaithfulness.
Key Scriptures: Hosea 1-3

Her Story

The man stood at the door, craning his neck and peering through the half-light. His limbs felt stiff and cold, despite the desert heat that still warmed the narrow street. Other than a stray dog curled in a knot against the wall of a neighboring house, he saw nothing. It was too late for a woman to be walking the streets alone. But, then, she wouldn't be alone, would she?

He didn't want to go inside yet, to listen to the absence of her chatter, to lie down on the empty bed. By noon tomorrow, the news of her betrayal would fill every gossip-hungry soul in town like swill in a pig's belly. Hosea, the man who would steer the nation with his prophecies, couldn't even control his own wife.

He felt grief and fury like a storm breaking inside him. He had meant to guard his heart; he had never intended to give himself so completely. His pain was the worse for loving her so well. For Gomer had squandered his gifts, mocked his tenderness, and allowed herself to be seduced by other lovers.

Hadn't God warned him and instructed him to "go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord"? He had named his children "Jezreel" (God Scatters), "Lo-Ruhamah" (Not Loved), and "Lo-Ammi" (Not My People). Each successive child measured the growing rift between husband and wife. Hosea wondered whether he had even fathered the last two.

The word of the Lord that had filled Hosea's mouth now troubled his soul, rushing back with appalling force. So this was how God felt about his own people—bitterly betrayed, cut to the heart, disgusted, outraged. His tender love, his every gift meant nothing to a people enamored with Canaanite gods. Israel's leading men were the worst whores of all—virtuosos when it came to playing the harlot, cheating the poor and imploring idols to bless them with peace and riches.

But peace was elusive. Six kings had ruled the northern kingdom during a period of just twenty-five years. Four were murdered by their successors and one was captured in battle. All the while, Assyria perched like a vulture at its borders.

If only Israel would learn its lesson and turn back to the Lord before it was too late—if only Gomer would turn back. Hosea wanted to shout in her face, shake her awake to her sin. Enough of patience. Enough of tenderness. She had ignored his threats, shrugging them off as so many flies on a donkey. What choice had he now? He would strip and shame her, punishing her unfaithfulness.

In the midst of his bitter grief, he heard the voice of God, strong and clear: "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods."

So Hosea took back the wife he couldn't stop loving. And the word of the Lord transformed Lo-Ruhamah into Ruhamah (Loved) and Lo-Ammi into Ammi (My People).

The story of Gomer and Hosea portrays God's jealousy for his people. For the first time, a prophet dared to speak of God as husband and Israel as his bride. But this is a tangled love story, one in which God's heart is repeatedly broken. Despite his pleas, regardless of his threats, Israel would not turn back to him until after the northern kingdom was destroyed by Assyria a few years later.

Still, the knit-together lives of Hosea and Gomer were a living reminder to the Israelites of both God's judgment and his love. Hosea's beautiful words still move us as we think about the church today, about our own unfaithfulness and God's forgiveness: "I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

No longer Lo-Ruhamah, we are Ruhamah (Loved), and no longer Lo-Ammi but Ammi (My People). For our Maker has become our Husband, the one who hates our sin but loves us still.

Her Promise

A tempestuous marriage. A wife who will not remain faithful to the husband who loves her. A husband who not only remains faithful, but loving. Children whose paternity is in doubt. All these are the elements not of a soap opera but of a wonderful picture of God's love and faithfulness to his often unloving and unfaithful people. The promises portrayed in the life of Gomer apply not only to the people of Israel but to the people of today. God loves us and remains faithful to us. Even when we abandon him and turn away, he waits with arms open. He only asks our repentance and his blessings will again overflow.

Girlfriends in God - When you Feel Like This World Has Gone Crazy

Today’s Truth

He (God) has planted eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT).

Friend to Friend

 Do you ever feel like you are not at home here on earth? That something is missing? The reason is because you’re not at home, and something is missing. C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in the world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

Solomon reminds us, “He (God) has planted eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT). You were made for eternity—for glory, and as long as your feet are here on this earth, you will experience a glory ache that only Heaven can fully satisfy. You will feel a certain something missing that may be hard to define.

One spring, our family hosted a ten-year-old Russian foreign exchange student named Alex. He went to school with my son, and got a taste of what the American Christian family is all about. Alex’s English was very limited and we depended on hand signals and facial expressions to get by.

On one occasion, I was trying to get him to write a letter to his parents. I pulled out the stationary, handed him a pen, and pointed to a picture of his mother and father. “Why don’t you write a letter to your parents?” I suggested. He had no idea what I was talking about.

For twenty minutes I drew pictures and tried to get him to understand what I wanted him to do. Finally, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and said, “What do?”

I just hugged him and put the pen and paper away.

Quite often, I feel like our little foreign exchange student. I see beauty intermingled with pain and suffering and wonder…what do? I read about ISIS and the beheading of Christians and pray…what do? I feel close to God, but not close enough and cry…what do? I see glimpses of God’s presence, but the ache never quite goes away and I look up toward Heaven and ask…what do?

Then God reminds me that I am not home yet. I am an alien and stranger in this world in which I temporarily live (1 Peter 2:11). My citizenship, your citizenship, is in Heaven and we are just passing through this wonderful, very fleeting point in time and space we call life. There will always be a tension between the physical world and our new alive born-again spirit that is made for eternity.

Another translation of Ecclesiastes 3:11 reads, “He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy],” (AMP). Not until we see Jesus face-to-face will the lingering glory ache completely subside. I can almost hear the collective “ahhhh” that is sure to come when we believers exhale our last earthly breath and inhale eternity for the first time.

For years I read 1 Corinthians 2:9 and wondered just what God had planned for me here on earth. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

My nearsightedness kept these words earthbound. Not once did I consider that God could have been speaking of all that He has planned for me in eternity. But through my study and writing of the book, A Sudden Glory, and discovering God’s balm of glimpses of His presence that brim from living in sacred union, I have come to realize that total healing will come when I go finally make it home. The door upon which I have been knocking all my life will finally swing open when I step into eternity.

So I stand in the cleft of the rock with Moses as God holds His hand over my face, and allows me to look at His back as His glory passes by. How I thank Him for moments of sudden glory that tide me over until I’m finally home.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, how I long for home. Help me to remember that earth is not my home, but I am just passing through. When the world around me seems crazy and out of control, help me to remember that it is temporary. In the meantime, open my eyes to see glimpses of your glory in my everyday life. Don’t let me miss them!
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Revelation chapters 21 and 22 and record what you learn about your final home in glory.

All through the book of Revelation, John used the word like. What does this tell you about our human ability or inability to describe God’s glory and heaven’s beauty?

How does Revelation 21:3 point us to the hope that is yet to come?

According to Colossians 3:4, what is the basis for that hope?

More from the Girlfriends

Do you long for something more in your relationship with God? Do you have a “glory ache”—a hunger to experience God’s presence on a daily basis? The good new is that God wants that even more than you do. Right smack dab in the spin of the laundry and the sizzle of the bacon—as you live and more and have your being in Him. This summer, take some time to “be still and know”—to hear His still small voice—to dust for His fingerprints on the pages of your everyday life. My book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something Morewill show you how. It also includes a study guide and free online Bible study videos.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

His Princess Every Day - His Glory

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

My Dearly Loved Daughter,

One of my greatest pleasures is giving you the desires of your heart; however, you must learn to trust that I know what you need better than you do. If you open your heart and your mind and allow Me to direct your life, you will find that what I want for you will not only fulfill you in every way, but it will also bring glory to who I am. It is only when you seek first the Kingdom of God that you will find My perfect direction. There are so many things I can and will do through you if you will empty yourself and let Me, your loving heavenly Father, fill you with every perfect and good gift. I will not force My way in, and I will love you even if you continue to live for yourself; however, I want to warn you that this world is not your final destination. What you do here and now will count for all eternity.

Your heavenly Father, who knows best

Jesus answered, "If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me.” - John 8:54

Treasure of Truth

It isn’t getting what You Want that satisfies; it’s giving what you have for His glory.

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Un Dia a la Vez - El enojo

No te apresures en tu espíritu a enojarte; porque el enojo reposa en el seno de los necios. Eclesiastés 7:9, RV-60

¿Qué nos pasa, Dios mío? Soy la primera es humillarme delante de ti, pues hay cosas en nuestra vida que aborrecemos y que no queremos soportar más. Te hacemos promesas y te volvemos a fallar de nuevo.

Cuando quiero hacer el bien, hago lo contrario.

¡Qué condición tan triste para los que te amamos!

En nuestro andar contigo hemos hecho grandes cambios. Sin embargo, aún quedan cosas que de seguro entristecen tu corazón y el enojo es una de ellas.

No permitas que el enojo haga nido en nuestros corazones.

Perdónanos, Señor, y fortalécete en nuestras debilidades. Por eso, danos el valor para ser hombres y mujeres nuevos en Cristo Jesús.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - SINGING IN THE STORM

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6

The Psalmist expresses his praise in the context of asking God for deliverance from his enemies. His trust results in rejoicing which then results in singing God’s praises.

A simple peasant girl from the countryside in China has used her musical creativity to encourage the house church movement all across China and touch the lives of millions of believers.

Xiao Min was born in a village in Henan Province in central China and has experienced much persecution. Though only receiving a junior high level education, she has been able to compose over 1,270 different hymns—both music and lyrics—that are sung by the Chinese churches in China and now throughout the world. They are known as the Canaan Hymns. Amazing creativity for a young lady with no musical training!

Xiao Min shares that twenty years ago many believers were arrested by the Chinese government. At that time, she prayed to the Lord asking if she could also be arrested and suffer together with these fellow believers. Soon after, she was indeed arrested and sent to prison. She says that she wasn’t scared at all.

One summer day in prison when it was extremely hot she requested the guard to let everyone wash their hair. But she received a rude response telling her to ask the Lord Jesus to wash their hair for them. She used this discouraging response as an inspiration to write hymn number 56, “Lord, We Know Deeply” in the Canaan Hymns series.

In this hymn, Xiao Min sings:

Lord we know deeply that in every moment Your love never, never diminishes.

Lord we know deeply that in every moment, our only friend is You.

Our hearts long for You, our hearts long for You,

Because You’re the first in millions, no one can be compared with You,

No one can be compared with you.”

Not only was Xiao Min arrested because of her faith, she was also persecuted by her family members. But she still testified to them that God healed her sinusitis and that He is her Savior. She concludes, “Even though we experience suffering, the Lord Jesus gives us strength.” Her strength enables her to sing to the Lord in the face of all difficulties.

RESPONSE: Today I will sing praises to the Lord no matter how difficult the journey.

PRAYER: I ask, Lord, for the grace to be able to vocalize my trust and joy and praise of You!

Daily Devotional by John Piper - Pleased to Praise

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (Psalm 67:3, 5)
Why does God demand we must praise God?

C.S. Lewis:
Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”
The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
There is the solution! We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy could not be full.

So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, he must not only give us himself; he must also win from us the praise of our hearts — not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising him, the most magnificent of all beings.

If he is truly for us, he must be for himself! God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things “for the praise of his glory,” he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world that can satisfy our longings. 

God is for us! And the foundation of this love is that God has been, is now, and always will be for himself.

This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper's ministry, writing, and books, visit

Verse of the Day - August 22, 2016

Romans 8:32 (NIV) He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Read all of Romans 8