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.

Everything.

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.

Posted in Devotions

Christ Is Our Salvation

Living through these difficult days, we have assurance of one thing: we have salvation through Christ. For as disease might threaten us and calamity might surround us, God will hold true to His promise that all those who believe Jesus is the Christ will be saved.

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

(2 Timothy 2:8-10)

God so loved us while we were yet sinners that He surrendered eternity to live among us and die among us for our stead. Even more so, for as all who are in Adam shall die, so all who are in Christ shall live, since He died on our cross and through no other shall we live.

Knowing Jesus gave Himself for us, we are now to rejoice, to give thanks and to praise God for His gracious gift. For He has blessed us with hope, joy and peace, redeeming us to Him, through Christ, which no one can set aside.

Our hope is in God’s grace, and through God’s grace, Christ is our salvation.

Amen.

Posted in Devotions

The Lord Will Restore Us

God will not allow us to perish in vain. His purpose is to sustain us through trial, weariness and disease. He will bless those who look after the poor, take care of the weak and protect the faint of heart. He will restore us from calamity.

“Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the LORD,
because they have called you an outcast:
‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'”

(Jeremiah 30:16-17)

Through the death of His Son, the risen Christ Jesus, God saved us. We no longer are prisoners to sin, but free to live a life filled with joy, brimful and running over. God will deliver us from illness. His promises are sure, firm and right. He will not abandon us.

There will be times we may feel alone, cut off and forgotten. Be not anxious, for our God, our Great God will prevail. When the darkest night sets, that is when the stream of light will appear to provide us with the hope for which we so long.

Give God praise. Bless Him in all things. He will surely deliver us from evil. He will look after us in our time of need. No disease is too great for Him to conquer. Set out to worship Him, for the Lord will restore us.

Posted in Devotions

Seek After God

All glory belongs to God for He is good. No disease shall overcome us; no pestilence shall overtake us, for the Lord is our shield and our strength. He will protect us in all things. Let us take refuge in Him.

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

(Deuteronomy 4:29)

Let us raise our hands to God and rejoice. He saves us from the perils of this world. He gives us comfort and hope in our hour of need. He pours His love into our hearts and shelters us from harm. His mercy never fails. He guards our way every moment, every day.

Pray and give thanks to the Lord our God, for He provides for our every need. He will not allow us to go hungry. He will restore us in all things. His power is stronger than the most fearsome hurricane. His kindness is as infinite as the deepest ocean. And His love is wider than the great expanse of the universe.

Bless the Lord in our time of trial. Bless His holy name. Give Him praise for all His works. He will not abandon us. He will not forsake us. He will continually strengthen us when we are weak. He will deliver us from evil. Seek after God.