Exciting News & A Reintroduction

Hi Friends,

This is not going to be a typical post today. In fact, I don’t expect that it will be a devotional in any way. This is just a little bit of my heart and where I am and a reintroduction of sorts.

I have ‘accidentally’ stopped writing to you for two months now, and I will give you all my excuses below. But the bottom line is that this is what happens to my life without hard deadlines. And these results are why I don’t dare take a break. It is so hard for me to know where to begin again. It’s like starting all over. So I procrastinate and let the weeks continue to go by.

But here are a few reasons I have not been here with you:

-It’s football season.

For those of you who do not know (because you do not know me personally, and I have still not written my about page), I am the wife of a brilliant college head football coach, who was Division II Coach of the Year last year. (Yes, I am a bit proud of him.) He started the football program here at the University of West Florida (his second start-up program), and we made it all the way to the Division II National Championship Game last year in our second season as a program- unheard of, and only explained by the favor of God, a lot of prayer, and a lot hard work by all our coaches and players. The Bible says that we have not because we ask not, so just as we prayed last year, we pray for another chance to go and win this time (I’ll keep you updated on that). All of that to say that this is a little busier time of year with games and family and visitors and traveling. So it’s easy not to write.

-But also if you are on my email list and have been following along this summer, our family had a great loss as my beautiful sister-in-law had complications with her pregnancy and they lost sweet Lysander after 11 days of miraculous living. Please continue to pray for Becky and Chris and their 3 other kids as they continue the long healing process. Here is the link to 2 amazing messages: ‘The Road to “Well Done”’ and ‘Hope in The Dark’ https://westflorida.manna.church/sermons. The first is by our former pastor, Michael Fletcher, as he filled in for Chris, and it will challenge you in whatever you are walking through. And the second is my brother-in-law telling of their whole journey and teaching through the hope in Psalm 42 and 43. They are SO, SO good and powerful!

So I just stopped posting here somewhere in the midst of all of that plus:

-my spectacular mother-in-law (pictured with us above) coming to help Chris and Becky and then staying with us quite a bit to give their family time to be alone as well,
-and my grandma passing away at 100 years of age,
-and then two other writing assignment that I was busy with,
-and the start of small groups,
-and my son-in-law getting his wings (he is a Naval Aviator) with top awards: (Golden Stick for top grades in his class, Top Gun, and Top Hook),

(Us with all of our kids.)

-and finding out that they will be stationed in Virginia Beach to fly the F-18 Super Hornet. They are in the process of moving there now.

 

-AND finding out that they are pregnantDue in April.

with TWINS!!!!

Wow!

We are so excited!

…. and in the midst of all of that, you stopped hearing from me.

 

Are those enough excuses for not posting in two months? I’m sure I could tag on a few more…. And I imagine that I will share a little more of my heart about this little hiatus next time.

But I just needed to reconnect with you before I try to/before I get back at it with some deadlines for myself.

Thank you all for being here and for giving me this outlet to share.

And just because it feels weird to connect with you and not leave you any devotional thought:

 

As I shared the testimony of my husband’s success (and my son-in-law’s), let me share with you one of my favorite verses to pray for my husband. You may want to use it for those you love as well.

 

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17 NASB

A great prayer for all that we put our hands to.

Blessing to you all. May He confirm the work of your hands today and may His favor be upon you.

 

With love,

Traci Shinnick

What We Need to Know in Times of Pain

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.”
Isaiah 26:3 ESV

 

When people are hurting,

O Lord, You are the balm (Jeremiah 8:22).

When we are wounded,

You are the Healer, the Mender of our very souls,

Right down to our emotional being, to joint and marrow depths You go (Hebrews 4:12).

 

So Lord, we come along.
On this journey with You, we say “yes” to the process and trust You with it.

Yes.

Come what may. We look to You, knowing that You can be trusted ALWAYS and forever.

Always.

And FOREVER.

 

You DO keep in perfect peace the steadfast of mind because he trusts in You. So we take that stance TODAY moment by moment. We trust You with our very lives, with our whole hearts, with our moments, our possessions, and with those we love and care for. We trust You, as You love and care for us best.

 

Your sovereignty certainly does rule over all (Psalm 103:19). You are good, and we thank you that Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23),

day by day by day and step by step.

 

Be our vision, our song, our strength this day, our resolve, our Strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10), our Rock (Psalm 18:1).

You are.

 

“Yes, I Am.”

 

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty (kingdom) rules over all (the universe).” Psalm 103:19

 

“This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:21-26

 

 

Any scripture included in this post can be seen in its entirety as you hover over the reference.

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Excel Still More

 

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NASB

In other words, “Hey, you’re actually doing it. Good job. But don’t be satisfied to stay where you are.”

 

These are words to encourage us on, no matter where we are, whether we are walking in victory, successful in the world’s eyes, or in a not so successful season of days.

I include the distinction “in the world’s eyes” because things may look so different from God’s perspective. What we see and enjoy as success, He may KNOW is a detour from His perfect plan. And likewise, what we are considering a complete waste and failure, He sees as the perfect tool and path to make us exactly who He wants us to become: conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28, 29).

There is always room to “excel still more” and more every day.

 

Don’t ever settle.

 

May we always have this attitude, looking to Jesus for our direction,

 

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

 

and “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,”

 

let us press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make our own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of us and made us His own,

 

and press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:12, 13, 14)

 

and excel still more.

 

Keep growing, keep grasping, keep seeking His face, and keep being transformed by the power of the Word, by the renewing of your mind.

 

 

-Is there any area of your life that your growth has ‘plateaued’ and you have decided to ‘settle’ there? Ask God to show you.

-Talk to the Lord today about where He longs for you to be in that area of your life (and others). Put pen to paper and ask Him to speak His vision of growth and maturity over your life.

And choose/make a decision to “walk in a manner worthy.” Colossians 1: 10, 11, 12

-What is TODAY’S first next step toward growth?

 

If you are not currently in His Word every day and meditating on His Word, that is your starting point. Need a good reading plan? Check out my favorite here. Need some encouragement, click here.

And remember you can hover over the scripture references on this site and see the verses in a pop-up window.

 

Want to receive devotional encouragement in your inbox each week, simply subscribe here. I will also send you a copy of my 6 Week Prayer Strategy with a week of devotionals.  Click here. Yes!

How Do We Tap into Faith?

In a moment of fear and unbelief, I heard God speak these words to my heart:

 

“I have enough faith for the both of us. Borrow Mine.”

(You can read about it here if you missed it.)

 

Suddenly the raging seas of fear and doubt were calmed, with a word.

 

Like “Peace! Be still!… and there was a great calm.”Mark 4:39.

 

This is what He can do with just a word if we will listen and allow Him.

Fear and doubt are often simply a result of placing our faith in the wrong place,

so let’s place our faith in the One with Whom all things are possible (Mark 14:36).

 

When you can’t find the faith to act, tap into His.

 

How is this done practically? How do we borrow His faith?

-Be in the Word of God.

When we are constantly bathing our minds in the truth of His Word and in His power and ability and all the impossibilities that He has accomplished and promises us, then our faith is built up and made strong in Him.

In the Word, you will come across some outlandish solutions to impossible difficulties and be reminded and encouraged that He truly does work beyond any way that we can imagine. Therefore, when you are up against a predicament that you can’t see a way out of, you have faith that it is not too complicated for Him. He makes a way where there is no way.

 

-Be in prayer.

Talk to Him about it all and listen to what He quietly speaks to your heart. (Write it down so you don’t forget. You’ll need it again.)

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7 Amplified Bible

 

-Write out your fears (or excuses).

See them (your ‘truth’ that feels very true) in black and white.

This usually will quickly show them as the ‘liars’ that they are and His corresponding truth, but if not, pray and ask God to show you the truth about those fears.

Allow Him to reveal His truths that oppose the fears.

 

-Fix your eyes upon Him.

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

It’s almost impossible to gaze upon Him (focus on His loving greatness) and drown in fear and doubt at the same time.

“… let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Hebrews 12:1, 2 Amplified Bible

 

Use His faith and run your race.

 

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3, 4 ESV

 

 

Hi friends,

Borrow His faith for whatever ‘mountain’ seems to be standing in your way this week. He is so faithful and longs for us to walk in His victory even more than we long to.

What is keeping you from tapping into His faith and moving forward? If you aren’t sure, ask Him and allow Him to show you.

And then lay that down and surrender it to Him.

Is it how you spend your time or the fears that you rehearse in your mind?

Is it the lies that you are currently believing or what people may think? “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” Proverbs 29:25

Refuse all the snares and all that would hold you back from His best, and keep moving forward, step by faithful step, in His power and strength.  Abide in Him continually and habitually.  And go “fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

Blessings to you,

Traci

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Need Faith for Something Big?

From fear to faith.

 

I cannot even remember what the issue was, what the unbelief was about, or what evoked the fear, but I remember how Jesus, My Savior, made it all disappear in a moment’s time. There was a swing of emotions, from fear and unbelief to trust and faith.

 

He is a big God Who asks BIG, impossible things of us. So of course we will not feel able (because we aren’t), but be careful of responding to His clear instruction with the lie, “I can’t.”

“I can’t” is always a lie for the believer in Christ.

Yes, it may be a half-truth that feels fiercely true but half-truths, no matter how true they feel, are always lies.

 

See, the truth is that He enables us to do all that He asks of us.

 

Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5),
but with Him all things are possible (Mark 9:23).

He works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13),

in our weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10),

He has given us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3),

and we have the power of the Holy Spirit, Who is our Helper (John 14:26, 16:7).

 

So yes, while it is certainly true that with my human limitations “I can’t” in my own strength, the real truth is: “What can you and I not do at His bidding?” (Luke 5:1-11 is a great example of the difference).

I can do nothing, but “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (This is a good verse to read in its context.)

 

So on this particular day, He met my “I can’t. I don’t have the faith for it” with these words:

 

“I have enough faith for the both of us. Borrow Mine.”

 

(continued here: How Do We Tap into His Fatih?)

 

What is God currently calling you to that the lie of your ‘can’t-ness’ is intimidating you about?

 

Borrow His ‘mountain moving faith’ and allow Him to turn that, “Who am I? I can’t.” into
 
“Here am I. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
 
 
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:21

 

 

Hi Friends,

I would love to hear from you. Has this been encouraging in a certain issue you are dealing with right now? I’d love to know and pray for you. You can comment here or email me at traci@tracishinnick.com.

What is He currently calling you to? I encourage you to step out in faith in His BIGNESS and His powerful ability. You don’t have to have a bit of confidence in yourself and in your abilities. If He asks you to step into it, He will certainly meet you there. Do it, even if you have to do it scared. And watch God work! Next week I will share the second part of this post with some practical ideas of how we can “Borrow His Faith.”

 

Would you like to receive these devotionals in your inbox? Simply subscribe here. I will also send you a copy of my 6 Week Prayer Strategy with a week of devotionals.  Click here. Yes!

The Enemy’s Scheme of Two Extremes

 

“The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160

 

 

The whole counsel of the word of God gives us balance, the stability we need so that we are not “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14).

 

Church, we are currently being bombarded by some strong ‘waves,’ and too many are unfortunately losing their footing.

 

The enemy’s tactic is to swing the pendulum to an extreme either way. He doesn’t care, as long as he distorts the truth of the gospel.

 

So, we can swing to legalism (which the books of Galatians and Colossians, for example, speak to the issue of freedom from) or licentiousness* (“turning the grace of God into” a license to sin-Jude 1:4, which the book of 1 John is a good rebuttal of).

 

 

Depending upon which ‘group’ you’ve been exposed to most of your life, you undoubtedly have been influenced by one of these extremes, and even now as you are growing in the truth of His Word and His love you may still be experiencing the hold of some faulty thinking. This is why having our minds washed with the purity of His Word is so important.

 

Continually exposing ourselves to the Scriptures as a whole and being led by the Spirit and seeking Him above all else, keeps us walking in freedom, in the sweet spot between the two extremes.

 

“Teach me your way, O Lord that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11 ESV

 

What if the act of obedience that we are brushing off as legalism and refusing to do is that which God is actually calling us to? Or on the other hand, what if ‘our freedom’ is actually turning our backs on His call to deeper relationship and godliness and sanctification and holiness and POWER?  Both extremes cut us off from His POWER.

 

So how do we protect ourselves from these deceiving extremes?

 

The answer to keeping the balance is to immerse ourselves in His Word, the whole counsel of God, being diligent to present ourselves as workmen who need not be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), that we are protected from being misled by persuasive arguments (Colossians 2:4-8).

 

 

“Sanctify** them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17

 

– Ask the Lord to search your heart today (Psalm 139:23) and show you areas in your life that you have allowed the grace of God to become an excuse for sin or where you have gotten sidetracked from the purity of intimate relationship with Him by a commitment to just following rules. Repent and follow Him fully.

 

-Resolve to know His word and His truth and act upon it wholeheartedly. He works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Allow Him. Follow close.

 

-Immerse yourself in His Word and obey in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

“..so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11

 

 

 

 

*licentiousness (Strong’s #766): “Lasciviousness, license, debauchery, sexual excess, absence of restraint, insatiable desire for pleasure.. perversion in general, 1 Peter 4:3, 2 Peter 2:7.”

**Sanctify (37) hagiazo= To make holy, sanctify. To consecrate, devote, set apart from a common to a sacred use…. Spoken of persons, to consecrate as being set apart of God and sent by Him for the performance of His will.

Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament.

Give the Answer

“…the [uncompromisingly] righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 Amplified Bible

 

Take the bold confidence

in who He is,
in who He has made you to be,
how He has gifted you,
and who and what He calls you to be and do.

And move forward.

 

Depend completely upon Him

and take risks.

 

Think of others more highly than yourself (Philippians 2:3-8) so that you reach out in LOVE rather than shrink back in fear to protect yourself (Acts 20:26, 27).

Continually ask Jesus, “What are you doing here, in this place, with this person?” and do what He is doing. Join Him on mission.

 

You have so much to GIVE.

Partake, rise up, and give it out.

 

People are spiritually famished and starving, and you have THE Hope and the Bread of Life, Jesus (John 6:35).

 

You have the Answer.

 

“Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

 

Depend upon and abide in Him (John 15), walking in the same way in which He walked (1 John 2:6), and draw men unto Him. Shine for His glory.  In Christ, you have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and have been entrusted with that message and ministry of reconciliation for others (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

 

As His child and at His leading, you have His permission, His anointing, and His commissioning.

 

Hear Him say, “Go.”

Go harvest.

(Matthew 9:37, 38- be the answer to that prayer).

 

Deny yourself (Luke 9:23).

With a deep dependence (which He loves to meet head on), follow where He leads.

Deny yourself the ‘luxury’ of giving into your fears or hang ups,

and FOLLOW HIM!

 

 

Do what He says.

The recipe for an abundant life can be summed up in that one statement.

 

May we go do so. Today.

 

“I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly,” said Jesus, our Good Shepherd (John 10:10).

May we trust His leading. It is truly where we will find rest.

 

 

-Do you truly know this freedom for yourself: that you are a new creature, that the old is gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17) and now consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11,13)?  If so, you are called, beloved, and kept (Jude 1:1) and have a specific calling upon your life. Spend some time with Him today dreaming and asking Him about all that your calling entails. What are steps towards fulfilling your purpose that He is calling you today? What steps can you take in that direction?

 

-Ask Him to open your eyes to see who is in your path today that you can reach out to in the love of Jesus and share the truth of Jesus Christ (or someone you may need to even write, text, or send an email).

 

-Who did you hear? and resolve now to take action. Ask Him exactly what that person needs from Him.  And be bold to follow through.

 

 

May we be able to say, like Paul, “..I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26, 27

 

 

 

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Bold Confidence for God-Sized Tasks

 

“On the day I called, you made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

 

May you be encouraged today in BOLD confidence to run past any FEAR and go do God-sized tasks.

 

Today.

 

Don’t wait for the day when you feel fully equipped.

 

You will forever have that excuse, that fear, that hesitation, and all the feelings of inadequacy, until you step out in faith and find Him faithful to do in and through you all that He has promised.

 

“When God does a miracle, you believe Him for bigger and better miracles the next time. That’s how you steward miracles—you up the ante. You keep leapfrogging by faith until one day you look back and can hardly believe how far you’ve come with God’s help.” Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion, p. 97

 

Believe the truth of God’s word that tells us clearly that it is in our weakness that He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10) and that we have been granted everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

 

 

Our weakness is never to be used as an excuse, no matter how real it feels or how LOUD it roars and complains against the assignment of God. It is rather to be boasted in, that the glory of God may shine through our lives.

 

Step out in faith on the waters of obedience.

 

 

Step out and walk in bold confidence in Him Who is able to do exceedingly beyond all that you can ask or imagine, through you! (Ephesians 3:20)

 

“By definition a God-sized dream is bigger than you are. You don’t have the time, talent, or treasure to pull it off. Without divine intervention it’s destined to fail.” ….p. 95

 

 

What God-sized task is before you today? Take a step of faith today.

 

-What God-sized dream do you currently have on your heart? Write about it and ask God for more vision.

 

–Be in the Word today and do what He says. What truth did He highlight and call you to? It is those who hear and act upon the word that build their house upon the rock and can withstand the storm (Luke 6:46-49).

 

 

Step out in faith in Him.  Trust Him.

 

 

“.. for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).” 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 Amplified Bible

 

 

Would you like to receive these devotionals in your inbox? Simply subscribe here. I will also send you a copy of my 6 Week Prayer Strategy with a week of devotionals.  Click here. Yes!