Author Archives: Scott

All Things Are Possible…

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”. Mark 11:24 (NKJV)  

This is a tough subject and when I felt God asking me to dig into it, I didn’t realize what He was leading me into.  

When you read a verse like Mark 11:24, Matthew 7:7 (NKJV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”, or any other number of verses this study has led me to, how can there be so much strife, difficulty and tragedy in our lives?  If God doesn’t answer our fervent prayers, does that mean He’s not listening, listening and doesn’t care?  Does it mean that we are insufficient in faith if He doesn’t answer?

He’s listening.  The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 4:30-31 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.  In Psalms 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles, the bible reassures us that God hears us loud and clear.

He cares.  Luke 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  Oh He cares!  Romans 8:32,34 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all… It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 

So, my faith must not be strong enough, then?  Perhaps, but not likely.  If the strength of our faith were a prerequisite, no prayer would get answered.  Aside from Jesus, no man has or ever will be fully faithful.  It’s not the measure of faith, but its presence.  Luke 17:5,6 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.  6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.   

So, the question remains, why would He not answer all faithful prayers?  Paul gives us some insight in II Corinthians 12:7-9 …a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  We can not presume to always know God’s will, why He allows certain things to befall us.  He has never promised ease and comfort in this life.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”  Unfortunately, often times to reach us, to get us to realize we need Him, we have to experience struggle, strife, even tragedy.  For many, they would never choose Him outside of urgent need.  Even for the most faithful, their faith is strengthened when He reveals Himself through our desperation.  That revelation may be for us personally or used to reach others through our trials.  The pain that Mary, Martha and the others felt over the loss of Lazarus, was necessary for Jesus to fulfill one of the Messianic prophesies.  If it wasn’t Lazarus, it would have been another family’s loved one.  Jesus Himself wasn’t exempt from it.  In fact, He suffered this world greater than any other, but was willing to submit to what God had laid before Him.  Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 

He loves us, this I know.  He sacrificed His Son, to save us from death, because He so loves us.  I wish I could say that life should and can be easy, but I can’t.  I wish I could tell you, if you pray hard enough, have faith, believe, it will be granted, but I can’t.  However, I can say with confidence, the bible says all is possible to those who believe.  I can say with confidence, the bible says that one day, at our appointed time, it will all be over and we will live a glorious eternity in our Father’s house.  God Bless you all and take care of each other.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

 

“Give Me Liberty…”

He already did.  From the first breath He breathed into Adam, created in His image, with a mind, will and capacity to make his own choices, with liberty we were created.  We chose death.  That’s right, liberty, free will, Adam chose sin and death entered the world.  

I believe in American exceptionalism.  I do, but not because Americans are exceptional.  I believe America is exceptional because God is.  Because the men of colonial America knew this and were willing to act on this knowledge, God blessed their undertaking.  Our founding fathers had a solid grasp of the divine source of liberty and the importance of its preservation.  On July 4, 1776, at the Second Continental Congress, our founders adopted The Declaration of Independence.  The second sentence has resonated through this country and the world ever since.  It states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness.” Endowed by their Creator…    

War with England had begun over a year prior to the ratification of the Declaration of Independence.  On March 23, 1775, in a speech to the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!”  It’s a great quote, as inspiring today as it was then.  Those men believed in God’s sovereignty, His justice and that liberty was a divine gift.  In liberty, they chose sacrifice of self for others, for a greater purpose, a Godly mission, for… love.  God’s reply, liberty.  Over the past few days I’ve been contemplating this idea of liberty or death from a Christian perspective.  God granted liberty to us, but we chose and continue to choose, death.

From the very beginning, God chose to create us in His image, breathed life into us and allow us liberty and a mind of our own.  He allowed us freedom to think and do as we please.  Why?  The only rationalization I can come up with is love.  He is love, the ultimate embodiment of it.  He wanted someone to love and someone to love Him in return.  The only way that love can be true and powerful is if it is chosen.  It has to be freely given.  He knew the pain this liberty would produce, but it was a price worth paying for that greatest reward, love.

So, God grants us liberty, which I gladly accept.  Next thing I choose is life, Jesus Christ.  I choose to accept His great gifts of grace and love.  I choose to receive His salvation.  I choose life.  Finally, casting a broad blanket, I will exercise the liberty He provides and choose to show God and the world the love He so wants and deserves.  I choose to serve something greater than myself.  With liberty, I choose love.    

Galations 5:13 (NKJV) For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  

 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Who Are You Working For?

As you go through your day to day, be it at the office or chores around the house, how do you go about it?  Who are you working for?  What is your attitude?  I’m blessed to have two jobs that I enjoy doing, am good at and my efforts are recognized and appreciated.  I have days, like most I imagine, but find little room for complaint.  

Part of my attitude toward my jobs, is the result of a perspective shift.  I know that not everyone is working in a field or a position that is satisfying to them.  Many don’t work for a boss that appreciates them or is easy to get along with.  For many their job is just merely a means to a living.  In my opinion this is not much of a living.

Now, before you do something rash like put in your notice or tell your boss to take a short walk, ask yourself, “is part of the problem me?  How’s my attitude or perspective affecting the situation?”  Ask yourself, “who do I work for?”

In Colossians 3:23-25 the bible says; 

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. (NKJV)  
 
The first time this passage came to my attention was a total AHAH! moment for me.  It was a perspective changer.  I don’t work for any man.  No, I work for the Lord and it’s high time I start acting like it.  
 
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.  Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)
 
After creating Adam, the first thing God does is create for him a garden and commands him to work it.  From the beginning of man’s history, God expected him to work and to do it for Him.  After all, does God need us to tend His garden?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  This, men, is a pivotal revelation.  Our work, whatever it may be is God’s.  He provides and directs it?  
Oh, Scott, but you don’t know what kind of job, what kind of boss I have.  You’re right, I don’t, but God does.  You don’t think He put you there, put your boss there, put your coworkers there for a reason?  Could it be that possibly, maybe, just maybe, He’s got a plan, He’s shaping, He’s molding and He’s using you for a specific purpose?  When you start working, doing your job with the mindset that God is your boss, that He is in charge and you better be doing the best you can, striving for His approval, I guarantee things will change.  That change, will most assuredly be for the better.  
The change will likely manifest first in you.  It will positively affect everything you do, how you do it and how you see it.  Next, the change will reflect itself onto others and how they respond.  If it doesn’t have the affect you’d like on others, hey that’s ok.  You’re not working for them.  You are working for the Lord.  If He’s pleased He’ll respond.  You’ll see it, feel it.  I know this because the bible promises it in verse 24.  
There is no work greater or lesser before God.  All work has value, if, big if, you…do it heartily, as to the Lord…
 
So, I ask again, who are you working for?  May God bless you and the work you do for Him.
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace 
   

Saints?

The title of March 4th’s devotion was “Who am I?”  In it, I described, as the bible does, those in Christ as saints.  I wanted to touch on that word a little deeper.

For many who read that, and even I who wrote that, think, “wait a minute, saint?  I’m no saint!”  The fact of the matter, fact because the bible says so, is if you are in Christ, have surrendered yourself to Him, believe God raised Him from the dead, choose to follow Him, you are indeed a saint.  

Now, having said that, this is a cautionary tale.  Before you get a little puffed up, proud and think too much of yourself, read this…

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10  (NKJV) 
 
Even, though the bible says that we are saints, it’s not because of anything we have done.  It’s all His doing, His gift, His work, His love, His purpose.  Even the work we do for Him was prepared and laid out by Him.  His!  
 
Consequently, we are no better than anyone else, including those not in Christ, just exceedingly fortunate.
 
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:11-13  (NKJV)  
 
It is imperative that we saints recognize and remember that we too were once lost, dead to sin the same as any other. I find myself easily prone to slipping into the notion that I’m doing pretty darn good.  “I’m going to church, reading the word, praying, tithing, watching my language, lending a helping hand, spreading the gospel.  I’m trying really hard to do what God would want.  Oh I slip up, sure, but at least I’m not doing what that guy’s doing!”  We can’t do that, can’t think that way.  We are no better, no worse.  Anything we accomplish is His doing, His work, His glory.  With humility I must say, “thank You Lord Jesus, praise God, You are great!  To think that You just accomplished that using a man such as me!”  After all, saved or not, we are all created in His image.  The only thing that separates us is our receipt of His glorious gift of grace.  
 
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:14-18  (NKJV)
 
For those of us in Christ, we are saints, because the bible says so, because God made it so, not because we are better than the next person or did anything special.  For any not in Christ reading this, let Jesus break down that wall of separation, accept that glorious gift of grace He has for you.  None are more or less worthy than the next.  He made a way for all to be saints, all we have to do is recognize it and say “YES Lord, I accept.  Thank You God!”  If God can use a man such as me, there’s hope for all!  Take care and God Bless you all!
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace  
 
  
 

From Tragedy, Glory

During Wednesday night’s men’s group, our discussion revolved around tragedy.  This  discussion was intense and very enlightening.  Obviously we live in a tragic world, no surprise.  It has been tragic since sin entered it through Adam and Eve’s disobedience.  There is illness, injury, death, ruination, depredation, starvation, corruption, murder, assault and evil.  People are attacked by hardship.  For some it happens more often than others and more severely than others.  These hardships and trials are never enjoyable, seldom fair and most likely leave us asking, “why me, Lord?!”  

II Corinthians 12:7-10  (NKJV)  7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 
As we discussed the topic of ‘why tragedy’, things began to take on a new complexion.  I, myself have been relatively untouched by significant tragedy.  I’ve suffered some health issues, the loss of love ones, financial struggles and the like, but little in comparison to others I know.  However, I am the product of a family racked with tragedy.  Had it not been for the tragic events of the generation before me, I, Scott Pace would not exist.  My mother’s life would not have followed the course it did and I would not be here today.  That is a sobering realization… because people suffered, their lives followed a course that would have been so very different than it could have been and consequently everything that followed would be completely different.  Think about that for a moment.  
 
If you believe, as I believe,that God has a design and course for your life and the lives of those you touch, then that changes the complexion, doesn’t it?  Difficulty, hardship and tragedy shape who we are, how we think, alter our perspectives, lead us down unexpected paths and alternate choices.  How many people have come to the salvation of Jesus Christ through tragedy?
 
My mother and her siblings experienced an immeasurably horrific, tragic youth.  One of the many affects resulting from this suffering was my uncle being sent to prison when he was very young.  He found Christ in prison.  After his release, he earned his GED and then went to seminary.  He became a missionary, doing God’s work, saving lives.  I don’t doubt that God used my uncle and his tragedy to save hundreds if not thousands.  My uncle suffered, others suffered, it was tragic.  However, without that tragedy, he wouldn’t have become the man God used to reach so many.  Had he not gone to prison, he may not have come to Christ.  Tragedy is awful, but sometimes we don’t realize the good, even the great God may pull from it.  
 
I am not trying to diminish people’s suffering.  I long for the day when suffering is a thing of the past.  I am not trying to marginalize evil deeds or excuse those who do them.  I am simply trying to illustrate the fact that not one of us can see the whole picture, know the grand design.  God is at work in ways we cannot not even remotely comprehend, for reasons we can scarcely imagine.  There is a ripple effect from the lives of each and every man, woman and child that carries for eternity.  The overwhelming majority of which we will never actually be aware of.  We must have faith, especially in times of trial, despair and tragedy that it is in God’s hands.  We don’t necessarily have to know why, simply trust, whether we are witness to it or not, that He can and will draw from tragedy, Glory.  Thank you and God Bless You
 
John 16:33 (NKJV)  33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace
  
 
 
 

 

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