Posted in Devotions

Praise the Lord Always

Give praise to God for He is good. He will rescue us from plague. He will deliver us from disease. He will remove us from the presence of illness. Praise the Lord with a joyful shout. Praise His name in all the world.

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

(Psalms 146:1-4)

Our happiness is in the Lord. He has saved us from the penalty of sin. He has freely given us life through His son Jesus’ death on the cross. Our life is His and we are His. All glory belongs to God for His love for us lasts forever.

Let us raise our voices in a joyful shout. Praise God for His protection on our lives. Worship Him from border to border. Give ear to His Word, for it is good and glorifies Him in all things. He gives mercy to the merciful and gives life to the believer.

Lift your hands to the Lord our God, for He is good. He is faithful to His promises and will give peace to us in our time of need. He will always draw near to us. He will never forsake us. His love for us will never fail. Praise the Lord always!

Posted in Devotions, Guest Contributor

Remember Who You Are

[Laura Lindblom attends Shiloh Free Lutheran Church in Summerset, South Dakota and is this week’s guest contributor.]

As Christians living in a fallen world, we are used to living with the tension of the already-but-not-yet state of the Kingdom of God. We face the daily, painful reality of the already-but-not-yet state of our own hearts, as redeemed yet imperfect, justified yet in the process of being sanctified. What do we do with our sorrow over our sin? What do we do when we desire to change, but find our flesh warring against us? What do we do when we are burdened by all that we know is wrong in our lives? What do we do when we try and then fail, try again and fail again? What do we do when we are staring into the darkness of our own hearts?

Look higher, friends. Look higher. And remember who you are.

How quickly discouragement can set in when we take our eyes off Christ and fix our eyes on ourselves with all our struggles and failings. How easy it is to become distracted from Christ by the sin in our lives, when the very cure for that sin is Christ within us. How easy it is to be burdened under the weight of what we feel we need to accomplish, when He Himself told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We take our gaze off our Savior and, like Peter, begin to sink under the waves of the sins we need to conquer, the ways we know we need to “improve ourselves.”

At the point of Salvation, we are made new. We are given new life. God has completed the heart of stone and heart of flesh transaction of Ezekiel 36. He has sprinkled us with clean water, and He is causing us to walk in His ways. We are not who we used to be. Furthermore, we are no longer enslaved to sin, and “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3a). God has given us everything we need in Christ. All things—all things needed to grow and flourish and conquer sin, awaiting the day when we are at last made perfect.

But what about now? What about times of discouragement or overwhelm? Those times when our sin and failings seem so bleak? That is when we need to remember who we are. Not who we could be if we just tried a little harder. If we just read our Bibles enough. If we just prayed a little more fervently. If we just conquered this one sin. If the Holy Spirit just got a hold of us a little more. No. We need to remember who we already are in Christ, who God has already made us to be.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

(Ephesians 2:10)

Remember who you are. His workmanship, with good work to do. Go, do it.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Remember who you are. Chosen, set apart for God, to proclaim His goodness. Go, proclaim it!

I find so much encouragement in the present tense of these verses. When I am struggling, I can’t look to myself, but I need to look to Christ. I need to remember who I am. If I look to myself, I will find what my condemning heart will tell me: that I’m a failure, a fraud, a sinner, a fake, worthless… But who am I in Christ? How does He see me? In Him, I am a new creation. His workmanship. Chosen. Holy. Light in the Lord. Loved. Redeemed. God’s own possession.

So if your heart is burdening you, if your sin is grieving you, if you are weary, look higher than yourself. Look to Christ and remember who you are.

Posted in Devotions

Trust in the Lord Forever

Let us pray to the Lord our God for help. He is readily listening for our words. He wants to know us, and He wants us to trust in Him. Through Him, we are safe. Through Him, we will not perish.

Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.

(Isaiah 26:4-6)

From the first breath we took, God was there. He watches over us, making sure we will not stumble and fall. His angels surround us, protecting us in all that we do. We should not fear to have God the Father rescue us. He gave His son Jesus so that we might live.

Let us praise God for He is good. He loves us, guides us and takes care of us in our time of need. Let us praise Him for all His generous gifts. He blesses us with peace, gives us security and leads us through trial when we need Him the most.

Let us give of our worship to the great and only God. For whatever we are suffering, He will give us rest. His love for us will never grow cold, for His love never fails. He will always look after us, and He will always be there for us.

Trust in the Lord forever.

Posted in Devotions

Do Not Fear

You will hear, “Be afraid, for the end is near. We will suffer and no one will be there to rescue us.” Do not believe it, for if there were no God the evil one would destroy the very elect; but we have salvation through Jesus. He is our shield. He is our strength.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”

(Luke 12:4-5)

Illness may threaten us and cast doubt on our lives. Our hope, though, is in Jesus. He will provide us the encouragement to look toward a future filled with joy and happiness. If we believe He is the Son of God, we will live and will not fear of what will happen to us.

All joy is in God the Father and Christ the Son. Floodwaters may surround us, winds may toss us to and fro, but the love of our Lord and Savior will remain firm. He will never surrender us to evil. He will always protect us in the face of adversity.

Disease, be gone, for our Lord is greater. Illness, turn away, for our God is stronger. No power on earth can overcome us. No evil in this world can overtake us. We are Christ’s. We are His.

Brothers and sisters, do not fear.

Posted in Devotions

Water That Wells Up to Eternal Life

Christ Jesus has risen. The Spirit has fallen onto God’s people. We are God’s people, and we have life through the Spirit. Rivers of living water flow through us as the Holy Spirit lives in us, giving us hope in the resurrection.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'”

(John 4:13-14)

The good news of the gospel is that we have salvation through Christ’s sacrifice. His life made atonement for our sins. We no longer live with a penalty over our heads for the sins we have committed, for God has poured into us His Spirit, and we are now free.

God lives in us through the Holy Spirit, guiding us throughout our walk with Christ. He provides us the courage to give when we do not have, to bless when we are not well, and to show love toward those who hate us. As His Spirit flows through us, we are His.

How wonderful God is to have given His Helper to us, the Holy Spirit, as a way to change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. How great is our God to have sacrificed His life so that we might live. How generous is He to have poured into us water that wells up to eternal life.

Posted in Devotions, Guest Contributor

The Author of Change

[Note from Jack Flacco: Laura Lindblom attends Shiloh Free Lutheran Church in Summerset, South Dakota and is this week’s guest contributor for Looking to God.]

At the start of a new year, nothing is more evident than the almost universal hunger for change. Out goes the old year and in comes the new, and the clean slate ahead acts as a sort of catalyst for making adjustments and setting fresh, exciting goals and kicking old habits and establishing new ones. And then that first week goes by, maybe three or four, and we slip back into all our old ways. Our new habits prove not to be habits after all, and we settle back into the comfort of normalcy.

The desire for change is a good thing. But what is behind it? Are we motivated by a desire to please God to a greater degree or to please self to a greater degree? Are we motivated by a desire to think more Biblically about ourselves or to feel better about ourselves? Are we hungering to praise God with our lives or to have others praise us instead?

As we embark on this clean slate of a New Year, let us ponder these words from Colossians:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

(Colossians 3:17)

How radically our lives would be transformed if we would truly grasp those words! As if whatever you do was not all encompassing enough, Paul specifies that he is referring to both word or deed, and then, as if that was not clear enough, he says do everything. Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.


Every word that comes out of our mouth should be in submission to and in the name of our loving Savior, and every deed that we do, likewise is to be in submission to Christ. The way we speak, the words and tone of voice, our body language, our attitudes, our money choices, how we recreate, what we fill our mind with in our free time, the books we read, our work ethic, all are to be in the name of our Savior. Everything we do bears witness, however well, however poorly, to our profession of faith.

And then finally, Paul admonishes his readers to do these things, giving thanks to God. Our heart should be one of thankfulness towards God, and that thankfulness towards God and our love for Him should be the catalyst for our Christ-honoring words and deeds.

So, as we make our New Year’s resolutions, let us check them against this beautiful verse. We are to continually seek Christ, seek a greater and deeper relationship with Him, seek to do everything in the name of Christ our Lord, and much will follow. Be encouraged, knowing that we are not alone in this, for we as Christians know the Author of true change. “[F]or it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Posted in Devotions

O LORD, You Are My God

There is no darkness in you, O Lord. There is no fear. For you uphold the righteous; you give honor to the humble and you love those who seek your ways. How blessed is the one who looks to you for guidance and strength.

“O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”

(Isaiah 25:1)

Lord God, you give me rest. Whatever ails me, you comfort me. Whatever threatens me, you protect me. You are my shield. You are my sail. I do not worry when you are by my side. I do not fear. You are a fortress to my life and a bulwark to my heart. There is no one like you, O God.

I rejoice knowing Jesus gave His life for me. He suffered in my stead. He bore my sins and died for me on a cross meant for me. He is my savior, my king and I will always remember what He did for me. I can never forget how He loved me.

You give me peace in a time of turmoil. You provide me strength in a moment of weakness. You are kind, you are gentle and you are loving toward me.

O LORD, you are my God.