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.

 

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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.”

 

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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

 

 

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Obedience Frames an Abundant Life

“He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3

 

 From God’s Heart:

“My mission of love is to find willing hearts to be My hands and feet and passion, for My Name’s sake.
Obedience will frame an abundant life.”

 

 

Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesian 3:20), but it is within the confines of a life of obedience that our beautiful life masterpiece is painted.

 

So many people want the abundant life and yet resist a life of pure obedience. We fool ourselves if we think we will find it any other way.

 

“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing,..” 1 Timothy 6:3, 4a

Will He find us faithful and willing? Or in seeking the comfortable life where everyone agrees with us, will we give way to fear, be neutral, and therefore unfaithful? Setting our sights on everyone completely agreeing with us will keep us ineffective, but too often we fall into that ‘silencing’ trap.

Charles Spurgeon wrote more than a century ago, “The present age is so flippant that if a man loves the savior he is a fanatic and if he hates the powers of evil he is a bigot.”*
Let’s make a fresh, new start. Today, for new LIFE.

 

Here is your personal invitation. CHOOSE not to wait any longer; surrender all and obey. Give Him your yes. It begins here in the secret place** and is lived out in the holy mundaneness of days.

 

Ask Him to give you a heart that loves Him, His Word, and yearns for His Presence more and more each day. It is a prayer He will gladly honor and is truly what is needed above all else.
Know (experientially) Jesus, a Risen Savior.

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37).

 

May we all walk in a manner worthy of Him (Eph. 4:1, Col. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:12) and allow Him to guide us in paths of righteousness.

 

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:2, 3

 

 

*quoted from Adamant: Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions by Lisa Bevere. Great new book!
**see this idea repeated here in Will You Answer the Call? 

 

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Is it Wrong to Pray for Our Wants?

 

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will lead you to desire what He desires.

 

Recently I was longing for some confirmation, and as soon as the thought, “I wonder if I could just ask for it?” crossed my mind, it was immediately followed by the mocking taunt, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” as if it was shameful to always be wanting and asking for more for myself.

 

 

In keeping with the childlike faith theme this past week, I was struck with this thought to ponder :

 

Isn’t that the attitude the Lord wants us to have with Him as His children?

 

Is it wrong to be in a constant, dependent childlike “gimme, gimme” attitude when He alone HAS all that we need and says, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?

 

Shouldn’t this be our posture, rather than a childish self-sufficient, independent attitude of “I can do it myself”?

 

I think that it delights Him as we come to Him in childlike faith, asking for our needs and desires and for more of what we are so dependent upon Him to give.

 

We are instructed to ask.

 

Ask, seek, knock (Matthew 7:7).

 

You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2). (But ask for the right reasons: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” v. 3)

 

Ask whatever you wish and it will be given (John 15:7, 1 John 3:22, 5:14, 15).

 

Ask anything in My name and I will do it (John 14:12, 13, 14).

Ask.

 

And because He does His work through us and longs for us to have all that we need for that work, it is not only okay to ask for a lot for ourselves, it is necessary.

God has called us all to God-sized tasks. May we never try to accomplish them in our own strength or with our own finite power, energy, or resources when we are in relationship with One Who is infinite and promises to provide.

 

Seeking for ourselves becomes an overflow of His goodness to others and produces change.

 

As the Lord puts His desires upon our hearts, may we not allow the enemy to shame us for asking for what we need and want and long for. Resist the enemy’s lie that it is selfish. All that we ask for and what God provides us will be poured out to grow others’ faith. Have it to give.

 

Be free to be a “gimme, gimme” dependent child of God.

 

Never be satisfied. Want more.

 

What do you want?

And what does God want you to want?

Ask.

 

Come to Him AS a child.

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.   I would love to hear from you and to hear your thoughts! Click on the title of this post and leave a comment in the comment section or email me at traci@tracishinnick.com.

If you would like to be notified about new posts as a reminder, simply subscribe here. And I will also send you a copy of my 6 Week Prayer Strategy with a week of devotionals.  Click here. Yes!