Author Archives: Scott

I Don’t Idol Worship! Do I?

Psalms 115:4-8 (NKJV) 

Their idols are silver and gold,

The work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they do not speak;

Eyes they have, but they do not see;

They have ears, but they do not hear;

Noses they have, but they do not smell;

They have hands, but they do not handle;

Feet they have, but they do not walk;

Nor do they mutter through their throat.

Those who make them are like them;

So is everyone who trusts in them.

I owe you all an apology.  Last Friday’s devotional completely slipped from my mind and I failed to get something drafted and posted.  However, it actually worked to give wings to what I had intended to write.  God’s timing and intentions are perfect and I believe He worked last week to this week’s benefit.

I received a phone call from a good friend last week.  He was driving and listening to an audio recitation of Psalms chapters 113-117.  He told me that as he was listening to it, I came to mind and he felt compelled to call.  After our conversation, I couldn’t help but to explore the chapters he mentioned.  Chapter 115 really came to life for me.  The psalmist is speaking about idolatry in this chapter.  He speaks about how shallow, empty, pointless and ultimately dangerous it is.  As I thought about what was being said and God was conveying to me, I couldn’t help but examine the idolatry in my life.  Ironically, idolatry is precisely what led to my forgetting to write for last week.  You see, I was tied up, working in the archery shop until late.  I had a number of customers, a couple that were there late.  By the time they had left, I had forgotten all about writing.  My thoughts were squarely on my work.  My work in the archery shop is not a bad thing.  It is something I enjoy and am passionate about.  I am good at it and in many instances God has used it as a platform for me to glorify Him and witness to another.  It becomes an idol, however, when it serves as a wedge between Him and I.  It becomes an idol when its position on the list of priorities shifts ahead of God, my relationship with Him and the purpose He expects me to be serving.

As I evaluated this, I began to see just how many and how often idols distract me from God and our relationship.  Idols can take many forms and in and of themselves often are not necessarily bad things.  The way they become bad is measured by our motives of heart and the hierarchy we give them.  Idols can be our work, relationships, our spouses, children, hobbies, materialistic pursuit, and a great host of many others.  It is an idol when we lose our grip on what is most important, giving to it more than we are giving to God.  

Those people and things have a place in our lives and there is room for them, just make sure they are in their proper place.  Where are you ranking God in your day to day?  Is He paramount or does He get the remnants?  Pursue those people and things God blesses you with, but make sure it is to His purpose and glory first and foremost.  My wife and I are preparing to head west on Saturday for our annual hunting excursion.  As we do so, I will be mindful that it is held in its proper place, giving thanks and praising God for His glory and generosity, being vigilantly obedient to how He’d use this to His purpose.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Trust His Light

Matthew 6:22,23 (NKJV) “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

I was riding home on the bike the other evening, right at dusk.  As I rode along, I marveled at how difficult it was to see.  This is not a new observation, but the ponderance it led to is.  

In my opinion, this time of day is the most dangerous to be riding your bike.  For one, the deer are moving.  They are transitioning from their bedding to feeding areas.  There is just enough ambient light to drawn out your headlight and render it virtually useless.  However, there is not enough to enable you to see.  The colors blur together, contrast is lost and it is very hard to quickly discern things.  It’s this little bit of light that intrigued me, though.  You see for most, it’s just enough to lure them out, lead them into a false sense of security, make them believe they can see when they really cannot.  Therefore, off they go to “beat the dark.”

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard, “sun’s setting, we better get going before it gets dark.” These people are fooled into believing that weak glow that melts everything together, makes it so incredibly difficult to discern, is safer than a dark path illuminated by the headlight.  Guess what… it’s not.

So it is in our faith walk.  I believe so many are tempted to travel down the sunset lit path of life, lured by the illusion of blurred, dimly lit sight. When, they should have waited until darkness set in, and allow God to turn on the headlights at a time that we can realize how much better our sight can be.  So many get lured into easy believe-ism, or the notion, “well I’m not that bad… it’s only… I can always…”  So, they set off down the highway at dusk, full of false securities, hazarding their way to possible catastrophe.  

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

To know your path fully and confidently, you need clear vision, a good light.  The light of dusk is a trap, an illusion.  Sometimes one must faithfully wait for the darkest hours and trust in His light to pierce through to spectacular clarity.  Have a blessed weekend 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

“He Knows Everything”

Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  7 Be not wise in your own eyes;fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Freedom Fellowship Church, in Indianola, has been hosting a weekly archery shoot, onced a week for the last coupe of years.  They start up in late fall and continue into early fall.  They do this to offer folks an opportunity to hone their skills prior to the season, offer fellowship and to give them a dose of Jesus in the process.  

Pastor Rabe is an archery customer of mine, who over the past few years has become a friend and in many ways a mentor.  He approached me a couple months ago and asked if I’d be willing to lend some expert assistance, as well as lead the opening devotion time.  I accepted and this past Monday was our third week.

This past Monday, as I walked the line, analyzing the shooters, I heard my name mentioned in a comment.  The comment was, “if it’s about archery, ask Scott, he knows everything.”  My reply was something to the effect of, “not everything, it may be a lot, that I’m confident of, but not everything.  I’m constantly seeking information, trying to learn, improve and grow.  There are still a great many that have something to teach me.”

I appreciated the compliment and vote of confidence, but believe my response was the appropriate and, more importantly, the honest one.  As I thought about it over the week, I began to see the importance of this understanding.  As an archer and bowhunter, the moment I think I know it all, have done it all and there’s nothing more for me to learn, why bother?  I will never attain that level, no one will.  The truth is , there will always be someone better, someone whom we can learn from, new techniques, old ones revistited and changing technologies to keep up with.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying I don’t know, and seeking the answer.  Better yet, it’s the only right course when that is the case.

I repeatedly tell the guys who come into the shop, “there is not a single person, myself included, who has or ever will, walk through that door, who would not benefit from instruction.”  As, soon as you think you can, you’re done, stuck in the mire and any possibility for growth is halted until reality can check your ego.

Such is the case in our spiritual life, walk and growth.  Knowledge is a slippery slope.  It is necessary for growth and maturation, but many will accumulate enough head knowledge as to begin to believe that they have it all figured out. They’ll believe that they’ve arrived, situate themselves in the perceived superior position and fall into the self righteous, phariseeical mindset.  What a dangerous snare to stumble into.  This line of thought shuts down forward progress, stymies personal growth, as well as halts the work you should be doing for the Kingdom and opens you up to an onslaught from the enemy.  

Humility is the order of the day.  An understanding that you don’t and never will have it figured out is the only course.  To believe otherwise is to walk in a belief that you are fit to go it alone, spurn others as unworthy of your time and effort and in essence proclaim you have no further need of God!  Neither you nor I will get there in any endeavor, but certainly not in our christian development, relationship with Christ and the remodeling He has desired to do.  KNowing this, relish the understanding that until your last breath is breathed, you have something to learn, development to strive for and purposed pursuit to drive on toward.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

 

Find Neutral

II Peter 1:5-9 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

As an archer, one of my biggest accuracy killers is emotion, or rather the over abundance of it.  When I’m shooting, one of the main things I need to stay focused on is remaining neutral.  When I’m shooting poorly, things are not clicking like I believe they should and know myself capable, one of the hardest things to do is to remain neutral.  I begin to get frustrated, anxious, tense and ultimately angry.  This emotion clouds my focus, I can not see clearly nor can I feel what is breaking down.  This negative emotion rules and translates to my equipment and things continue to deteriorate.  

When in the field, the exact same applies, though the situation is different.  I will likely get only one opportunity to put it all together.  Each move of my stalk, if on the ground, must be perfect.  My timing is critical.  My mechanics must be flawless.  Adrenaline is flowing like the Colorado River, but I must control it.  There’s no room or time to allow emotion to rule.  I have to remain neutral and execute.  This is especially crucial when things go south.  I made a mistake and the quarry is alerted, or the animal doesn’t move through or stop as I had hoped.  If I allow emotion to flare up, you can just about guarantee I’m going to do something stupid, make a mistake, tense up, force a bad shot, etc.  The end result…GAME OVER!    

I see this every single day in myself and others.  So often we go through life, allowing emotions to dictate our course of action and reaction.  We allow those emotions to sabotage our day, our work, our relationships, our lives.  Just as in my above illustration, when we allow every thing that doesn’t go our way to get under our skin, frustrate, create anxiety, upset or anger us, we are allowing emotion to cloud our focus and steal our joy.  Things aren’t always going to be smooth and perfect.  Allowing emotion to determine our response will more than likely serve to deteriorate things even more.  It doesn’t matter if it is a serious life and death world altering event or something as simple as stubbing your toe on the couch corner, how we manage our emotion will greatly impact and possibly determine what comes next and our perception of the world around us.  

I’m currently reading “Wild Blue” by Stephen Ambrose.  It is about the B24 crews who ruled the skies over Europe during WWII.  What those men faced, endured and accomplished is staggering.  Something that struck me was the crew’s references to Lieutenant McGovern.  They had complete confidence in their pilot to get them to target and back.  Though an exceedingly capable and talented pilot, it wasn’t his skill that gave them unwavering confidence.  It was his even keeled nature, his ability to find neutral.  They said, no matter what was happening, what they were being hit with, when his voice came across the intercom it was even, neutral, without emotion, no different than if they were standing next to him back at headquarters.  Now it wasn’t that McGovern was unfeeling, unstressed, unafraid.  He wasn’t a robot.  He just choose to master his emotions rather than allow his emotions to master him.  Their lives depended on his focus and clarity of thought that emotion would distort.  

Colossians 3:15 (NKJV) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

I know some angry people.  People, who no matter what the day or time, just seem to be angered easily over just about anything.  They have settled themselves into an emotional mindset that things are rotten, that’s how they are and so they react accordingly.  I feel so incredibly sorry for those folks.  They have allowed satan’s manipulation of their emotion to direct their course in life, to steal their joy.  Our temporal life is never going to be perfect, but the way we respond, find neutral, count it all joy, will determine what we put into and get out of it.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Let Grace Abound

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to ask for, and often even more difficult to extend.

Just recently, a high school classmate contacted me.  Let me preface this conversation with, I was everything but nice to her.  Over the years, with pure shame and disgust, I have looked back at that time in my life with full realization of the cruelty I wreaked upon her.  Fearfully, but resolutely, I had hoped she would be at our 10 year class reunion, so that I could apologize to her face to face and ask for her forgiveness.  She didn’t come, and I took no further action. God has prompted me on many occasions to reach out to her, apologize and ask for her forgiveness, but shamefully I never have.  

I must suppose that God, with extreme disappointment, grew tired of waiting for me to resolve this matter, to offer to make amends and at least try to repair the damage that I had caused.  So, He took a different approach.  Without the slightest doubt, I believe He prompted her to contact me in order to begin the process of healing and closure for us both.  

She was perfectly candid in expressing the hurt that I caused. I never fully comprehended the depth of my action’s impact, I do now.  She expressed to me a degree of confusion that I don’t think either of us could ever fully decipher.  My behavior toward her took an emotional toll on her to the point it was affecting her physically, as well.  I ruined her high school years.  I can never take that back, and she will never have what she should’ve had.  

Over the years, I have carried with me a tremendous amount of shame and guilt over my treatment of her.  When I think on it, I can hardly recognize the young man capable of the careless disregard I showed her.  Nonetheless, it was I, and I alone.  

Through one courageous act of grace, with dignity, she extended the greatest gift one can bestow on another, pure unwavering forgiveness.  She concluded her message with, “now I would like to think that you did not understand what your actions were doing.  I forgive that child for those actions and hope you have a wonderful life.”

Psalms 103:10-13 (ESV) 

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

The power in sincere forgiveness is immeasurable.  Whether it is granted or received, asked for or shunned, its effect is boundless.  The peace and liberty available with that simple act is felt by both.  Healing can never fully be accomplished without it.  I certainly didn’t deserve her gift, and would have never held anything against her had she refused to extend it. Just as Jesus freely and lovingly extends His boundless gift of grace, so has she.  Her courage to do so humbles me, but I am grateful.  I cannot undue the things that were done, but because of her strength of heart, perhaps we both can be free from now on.  Have a blessed weekend

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

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