Do You Need a Fresh Start?

Looking back and looking forward.

As we approach the end of another year, it’s often easier to contemplate the losses, the disappointments, where we have failed in our plans for this past year, where we wish we had done better, and the resolutions we wish we’d kept, knowing that we would be in a different place and have different results if only we had followed through. But let’s choose to reflect on the wins instead.

You and I have had extraordinary WINS this year!

Let’s choose to remember His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-26), to thank Him for all that He has done and is presently doing, and rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord, always, I say again, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4), a present tense, imperative verb, which means it’s a command to continually and habitually rejoice. This is another remedy for our worry and anxiety.

What has He taught you?
Where has He grown you and your faith?
What have you learned even from suffering, hardship, or failure?
Where have you trusted Him and found Him faithful?
Where have you seen positive life change?

This is a great time to review your journal to be reminded.
And worship Him. With a grateful heart, rejoice in the wins of the year and be spurred on
to trust Him more,
to believe that He is able,
to choose to obey Him,
and to make a fresh start today.

Move forward.

Listening section:
-Lord, remind me of the wins this year. Where do You know that I have grown and maybe I have failed to recognize it? Where have You and I gone deeper? And remind me of how I have seen you at work this year.

-Spend some time praising Him for each and every win. And thank Him in advance for all the many wins to come.

-Dream with Him and allow Him to drop future wins into your heart. What is on His heart for this next year? And how can you make plans to cooperate, to believe, to show up, to be prepared, and be used?

To Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20) and is able to keep us from stumbling and to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 1:24,25).

I pray that you are enjoying this Christmas season and taking the time to reflect and to look ahead, with thanksgiving, and are turning every fear and worry into a prayer, “everything by prayer” (Philippians 4:6, 7).

With love,

Traci Shinnick

Press into these questions with the Lord. You don’t have answers? Good. Hear His. Just put pen to paper and starting with the truth that you have no idea how to answer, write the questions in ways that make sense to you. And just ask Him. Listen to how He answers. I’d love to hear some of your insights. Click on the title and leave a comment or email me at traci@tracishinnick.com. I can also make sure these devotionals go right to your inbox when I post if you’ll email me and let me know that you’d like that or you can subscribe right here: Sign me up! 

To download and print a Chronological Bible Reading Plan for 2019, clink on this link: My Favorite Reading Plan   This is the one that I have personally used for almost 20 years. It can be folded and used as a bookmark to mark off as you go. The Psalms show up every 7th day and make for an easy catch up day if you find yourself behind, and you can also check off as you read ahead.

How To Deal with Anxiety and Worry

You and I need not be anxious about anything. 

Will we choose this path of peace? Are we truly able to make this choice?

As we head into a new year and set our hearts afresh to read His Word and to know His truth, may we determine to read with the purpose of TRULY believing and obeying, so that we may stand strong when the storms come. It’s those who hear and act upon the word, who will stand and not be shaken (Luke 6:46,47).

And the Word gives this clear instruction to obey: “..do not be anxious about anything,..”

How is that possible? BY PRAYER.

Making our requests known to God with thanksgiving (rather than being anxious about all the many details of life) will guard our heart and our mind in Christ Jesus with the peace of God (Philippians 4:6, 7).

The Greek word for “guard” in this scripture is actually “a military term picturing soldiers standing on guard duty and refers to the guarding of the city gate from within as a control on all who went out… The heart is the center of each person, from which thoughts and affection flow.1

We may think of this peace of God as guarding what enters our heart and mind or what goes on there, but the idea here is actually a guard on what goes out, what erupts from our heart and mind. Ponder that. Can’t we all readily recognize how we have been influenced (and have possibly influenced those around us) by eruptions of unbelief that, because of our lack of prayer, we’ve not controlled?

The solution to our anxiety is “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” This is in stark contrast to the default of everything by worry, which is so easy to fall into.  Worry strangely gives us a false sense of control, making us feel like we are DOING something about the situation. But living in a habitual constant state of worry and being anxious is not only being disobedient to the Word, but is also forfeiting the peace that we are promised.

How often do we indulge ourselves in anxiety and worry and the what if’s, when the Word instructs us to not be anxious and to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)May we choose to obey the Word, to be “an effectual doer” and not “a forgetful hearer” (James 1:25).

Let’s resolve (decide firmly on a course of action):
I will not be anxious, I will trust, I will believe, and I will obey:
I will PRAY about everything, and give thanks, “…that which ought never to be absent from any of our devotions- namely, the grateful acknowledgment of past mercies, as distinguished from the earnest seeking of future.”1

One closing thought from Oswald Chambers:
“We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not “out” to realize His own ideas; He was “out” to realize God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God. Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all “supposing” on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.” My Utmost for His Highest, 1935, Devotion for July 4.

Spend some time with the Lord, ask, hear His answers, allow Him to speak to your heart, and write it down:
-Lord, where I have given into the default of anxiety and worry? Remind me to pray in my moments of anxiety. I confess that I too often fall into this sin, and I name it for what it is, as it stands in opposition to the instruction of Your Word. And I repent.

-Remind me, even in this moment, of all that I need to practice thankfulness for. You are such a good Father working miracles all around me all the time. Open my eyes to see.

-I resolve that when I begin to feel worried or anxious, I WILL PRAY. I will talk to You about it, the One Who has solutions, and I will do so with thanksgiving, reminding myself of all Your faithfulness and Your great ability to do anything and everything.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

“…but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7).

 

Lord, raise up an army of praying BELIEVERS!

1Rogers, Cleon L. The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament. 1998 Zodervan

Friends,

Just imagine with me how this world would be affected if we continually, habitually, immediately prayed about all the rising concerns. We would ALL pray more! And MORE would be accomplished in the Name of Jesus as a result!

Let’s rise up and start a prayer movement, how bout it!

Blessings to you all,

Traci Shinnick

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

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!

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.