107 episodes

Short, Biblical, Christ-centred devotions for the Christian on the go

4-minute Devotions - the Podcast Pastor Terry Nightingale

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Short, Biblical, Christ-centred devotions for the Christian on the go

    It is the Lord!

    It is the Lord!

    Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
    Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
    He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
     He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
    Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (John 21: 1 – 7).
    One of the things I love about Jesus, is that no word or action is ever wasted. We know from other post-resurrection accounts that Jesus was not always recognised straight away. His appearance had changed in some way. Mary Magdalene didn’t know it was Jesus she saw outside the empty tomb and the two travelers walking to Emmaus spoke to him for the better part of a day before they figured out who He was.
    Is it possible that that same thing is happening here? I think it is. Jesus does something that will make His disciples realise who He is. Particularly for Simon Peter and John. He repeated the very first miracle they ever saw Him do.
    Recorded in Luke’s Gospel, we remember the account of Jesus calling His first disciples. Simon Peter seemed happy for Jesus to teach from His boat with the crowds gathered at the water’s edge and while he and his mates cleaned the nets. At the end of His teaching, Jesus told Simon to put the boat out again and throw the nets over. Even though the fishermen had worked hard all night with no catch (and had only just washed the nets), Simon did what he was asked.
    Just like today’s story there was a huge catch of fish, way beyond normal expectations. No wonder the same disciples three years later exclaimed with a gasp, “it is the Lord!”. It’s Him! We have seen this before. Only He can do that.
    God granted us a powerful gift when He gave us the ability to look back and re-live a moment. Although some life events can be painful to recall, the Bible is full of encouragements to remember the good. And good memories of the Lord at work may help us understand the present.
    For example, a “blast from the past” recollection of a person may be a prompt to pray for them. An intentional look back to God’s grace on your life can only increase thankfulness and trust for the future. And perhaps when we are mindful of the Lord’s dealings in our lives, not forgetting what He has spoken and what He has done, we might more easily recognise His presence and His voice today. To be able to say again of His leading, “it is the Lord! This is what He wants me to do today”. 

    • 4 min
    I will teach you what to say

    I will teach you what to say

    Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
    The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Ex 4: 10 – 12).
    I sometimes wish that my mind could be quicker than it is. To be able to give a witty response to every situation and make the world laugh around me. To say just the right thing in the moment.
    But Moses isn’t complaining about a shortage of comedic skills, or even a lack of wise rhetoric. His problem may have been more basic.
    Some have suggested he had a speech impediment, making it difficult for him to express himself with confidence. Perhaps he didn’t feel he knew the language of the Egyptian royal court well enough to be understood. Or he might have been prone to panic attacks with the thought of standing up in front of others and making a speech.
    Whatever the reason, Moses considered himself “slow of speech and tongue” therefore believed God had made a huge mistake in choosing him to be His spokesperson.
    Towards the end of Jesus’ life, there is a hint that He guessed some of His disciples might struggle with public speaking, or even just articulating their faith to others when they needed to. “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12: 11 – 12).
    In both of our passages today, the Lord promises to teach the person what they need to say.
    I have found in my own life that speaking well does not come naturally to me. In my early years as a high school teacher, I did not have the natural confidence to address uninterested teenagers. And years later, serving in pastoral ministry, I will still agonise over the right words to share with a brother or a sister in a sensitive conversation.
    But one thing I can say is that the Lord does help. He does give wisdom when you ask for it, even if you have to pray about it for a while, chew it over or seek advice. Over time, he has graciously allowed me to learn boldness, particularly when I know He has given me something to say.
    And he can do the same for you.
    One of the best preachers I have ever known, would often struggle with a stutter when he spoke. I think God helped him more than anyone knew, but He kept my friend reliant on Him at the same time.
    The Lord will help us and teach us what to say, but never to the point where we become proud of our wisdom or oratory skills. If we can get that balance right, what an amazing thought it is that we might be a spokesperson for God himself. 

    • 4 min
    What god can be as great as our God?

    What god can be as great as our God?

    “Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
    You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
    With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph” (Ps 77: 13 – 15).
    This is a really good question to ask: What god is as great as our God?
    Gods (with a small ‘g’) in the Bible were, of course, not gods at all. They were man-conceived and man-made. The writings of the Old Testament often refer to them as idols, statues of earthly creatures or representations of how ancient peoples imagined their deities would appear if they could see them. Made of wood, stone, or metal, some were small and portable, kept in tents or family dwellings; others were large, towering over worshippers in their temples.
    Isaiah 40 describes the stupidity of creating idols, when they are compared to the living God.
    “With whom, then, will you compare God?
    To what image will you liken him?
    As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and fashions silver chains for it.
    A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood that will not rot;
    they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol that will not topple.
    Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
    He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth (Is 40: 18 – 22)
    Idols can topple over. Our God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.
    Why pray to something that humans have created, something that needs help standing up, when the One ruling the heavens and seated on the throne invites us to pray to Him? The One who performs miracles; the One who displays infinite power; the One who redeems us with His mighty arm. He invites us to worship and pray to Him.
    Our modern-day idols are just as worthless. We might not bow the knee to a wooden statuette, but how important to us is our social media status? Or the praise of those around me. Do you care about those things more than you care about who you are in God? If you are not sure, compare your average daily screen time with the time you spent reading the Bible this morning, Who do you draw your value from? You contemporaries or your heavenly Father? Do you worship the desire to be liked by others, or do you worship the One who created you, formed you and loves you?
    Just like the ancient statues of stone or gold, our present-day idols only hold power if we give it to them. If we lean on them for favour, love, or fortune, we will surely only discover empty and lifeless promises.
    But worship the Living God and bow the knee to Him and a whole universe of possibilities open up. Because… what god can possibly be as great as our God?

    • 4 min
    3 tips for trusting God (part 3)

    3 tips for trusting God (part 3)

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).
    Sometimes when I am finding it hard to find a place of peace and trust, it is because I have started to imagine all sorts of possible scenarios that might play out. I see in my minds eye all the worst things that can happen. All the unpleasant conversations that might take place.
    In this 3-part devotion series, we have examined what it might mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart. We have suggested that a conscious focus on the attributes of God that particularly speak to the human heart can help us as we navigate life’s challenges. For example, if we remind ourselves that God is kind and God is faithful, we might more easily find the peace that we need because we know He will be faithful and kind towards us.
    And if we avoid the temptation to link our faith with what we think we know about a person or what we might believe about a situation, we can instead rest in the truth that God sees and understands all things, and so we can trust Him.
    The third line of this proverb simply tells us to submit to Him. In all our ways. This sounds to me like a reminder to declare that He is Lord. The Scriptures constantly tell us that the Lord is on His throne and that Jesus reigns at the right hand of the Father. He is sovereign, no-one is higher than Him. But sometimes we need to consciously submit all of our decisions, all of our problems, all of our comings and goings to His Lordship.
    Regardless of how we may want a situation to play out, we must come to a place where we can say, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Lord, you are a kind and good God and your have your perfect will. You have greater knowledge than me. While I sometimes base decisions on my assumptions, you see the actual truth. So, I submit my ways to you.
    With these instructions in place that Lord promises He will make our paths straight. What does this mean? As we said in the first devotion in this series, a straight path implies that we won’t be zigzagging all over the shop trying to find peace or struggling to make sense of a situation.
    A straight path will have no turns trying to distract us from our destination – a life of fruitfulness and purpose under the guiding hand of God.
    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).

    • 4 min
    3 tips for trusting God (part 2)

    3 tips for trusting God (part 2)

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).
    In the first 4-minute devotion in this series, we said that our trust in the Lord during difficult situations, sometimes needs to move from our heads to our hearts. It is one thing to declare our faith in God and meditate on His promises, which are both good things to do during life’s pressures, but it is another to find a heart at peace throughout the ordeal.
    We suggested one thing that might help: to think on those of God’s attributes that particularly speak to the human heart. For example, God is kind, and His everlasting kindness is always directed towards us. And God is faithful. God keeps His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. As spiritual descendants of God’s chosen people through faith in the risen Christ, His faithfulness will always reach to us.
    The second instruction in this short proverb is to “lean not on your own understanding”. In other words, look beyond the limits of your thinking and imagination. I have found that simple trust in God during challenging circumstances can be easily killed when I allow my mind to wander. When I think I understand every part of the situation; when I cannot see a way through, when I make assumptions about other people. When I put too much confidence in my own understanding of what is going on.
    A friend of mine tells the story of working with a person whose attitude towards him seemed uncaring, rude, and even, at times, hostile. He wondered what he had done to offend him and even became afraid of “saying the wrong thing”. He felt he had to “walk on eggshells” around him. He struggled to come to terms with the thought that a Christian brother would behave like this workmate.
    Until, one day, he realised that his partner was displaying some symptoms of a mental health condition. A well-known neurological disorder. The man wasn’t meaning to be rude; his brain was just wired differently. With a little more understanding of the situation, my friend was able to pray for a new perspective and trust God for a way forward.
    When we focus only on what we think we know, when we forget to question our assumptions, when we believe we have all the facts (when we don’t), it is easy to lean on our own understanding, instead of trusting God to solve the puzzle from the view He has of the bigger picture.
    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight”.
    Seeking the Lord for His understanding is so much better than making judgments with only a handful of the facts.

    • 4 min
    3 tips for trusting God (part 1)

    3 tips for trusting God (part 1)

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).
    Christians can, on occasion, find it hard to trust God in the situations that they face. It is not that God is not trustworthy, more that we can sometimes struggle to look away from the things that make us anxious, to a place where we rest in the peace that God wants to give us.
    Today’s two verses from the Book of Proverbs give us three instructions that I believe help us to obey Jesus’ teaching in Matt 6 when he said, “do not worry about your life” (Matt 6: 25).
    First, “trust in the Lord with all of your heart”. If you have been a follower of Jesus for any amount of time you will have read many verses that tell us, or encourage us, to put our trust in God. We can speak out our faith in God in difficult circumstances and we can read stories of others who have remained steadfast, hanging on to the promises of the Lord through life’s challenges.
    But sometimes the concept of trust stays in our heads (that is, “I know I need to put my faith in God in this situation, so I’ll just keep saying the verses”) but it doesn’t reach our hearts. God wants us – you, to trust Him from the depths of your heart. How do we do that?
    I am still learning this, but I find it helpful to think about those attributes of God’s character that particularly speak to the human heart. Here are a couple that speak to me:
    First, God is kind. Following the Lords severe judgment of the nation of Israel by way of their Babylonian captivity, He made this promise to His children through the prophet Isaiah,
    “In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
    but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the LORD your Redeemer (Isaiah 54: 8).
    God is a God of compassion, and His everlasting kindness is always directed towards His people – towards us. Therefore, He will treat you kindly in your situation.
    Second, God is faithful. What does it mean that God is faithful? Deuteronomy 7: 9 reminds us that “…he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
    A thousand generations is a very long time. If five generations is about a hundred years, then a thousand must be at least two hundred times that. As Christians, our spiritual roots come from God’s chosen people in the scriptures, way back in history. And Christ himself. Jesus perfectly loved His Father and kept His commandments. Therefore, God faithfully keeps His covenant of love to Him and therefore, also to us.
    In other words, God is faithful to us because He is faithful to His Son and to His people. And so, God will be faithful to you, in your situation. He will not let you down. He sees it all and knows how to work it out.
    Therefore, you can trust Him with all of your heart. And the promise is: He will make your paths straight. We don’t need to be zigzagging all over the shop trying to find peace or struggling to make a decision. We can trust Him with all of our heart. 

    • 4 min

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