Author Archives: Scott

Resolute?

I Peter 5:8:11 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

In Peter’s first epistle, he’s addressing the christians throughout Asia Minor.  It is generally accepted that he was writing this at the beginning of Nero’s persecutions of christians.  His primary goal is one of comfort, hope and encouragement.  He’s asking that they hold fast in the faith, despite the imminent persecution.  At this point, we see a mature Peter who has incorporated the persecution, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus into his own personal understanding of suffering.  In doing so, he expects and perhaps looks forward to the opportunity to suffer for the glory of Christ and His Kingdom.  He knows, fully assured of Christ’s promise, that eternal glory awaits once the suffering is concluded.

There are many brothers and sisters around the world, this very moment, suffering physical, mental and emotional torment because of their unrelenting devotion to Jesus’ gospel promise.  They are suffering, just as Peter knew he and those he addressed would.  Yet, they count it joy, because they are assured of the glory that awaits.

This is overwhelmingly convicting to me.  Here in America, we don’t suffer like that, at least not yet.  There are some egregious instances, where persons’ religious liberties have been trampled and had serious impact on their lives.  I do not intend to minimize their struggle, just contrast them with the life and death struggles of others abroad.  Their expression of faith, if discovered, can and is resulting in torture and death.  Yet, they choose to stand resolute and firmly adhere to the very thing that Peter is imparting.  

Here in America, I see and am guilty of a half hearted expression of faith.  I, and see others, pick our moments, moments that conveniently fit into our day, to express our faith and love for Jesus.  We have an opportunity to do so at will, yet we don’t.  We can pray when and where we choose, yet how often do we?  We can freely read and share God’s word, yet we hold back.  The American church, far too often, shrugs its shoulders when it should be flexing its muscle.  How can we, who enjoy such incredible freedom, be bored and apathetic, when the times we live in demand action?  Christ guarantees us that the end times will see an insipid attitude toward life.  The persecution is coming, My Friends.  If we’re not fully living out an expression of faith now, when we are free to do so, how will we possibly stand during the type of persecution Peter refers to and Jesus assures us of?  

There are so many battles to be fought, big, small, day in and day out.  There are loads we must all embrace and desire to lift.  There is a world of billions in need of shepherding, slaves to be freed.  Are you resolute?  Does what others see and hear from you suggest to them that you are?  The answer must be yes, and… if it’s not, what are you waiting for?  Have a blessed weekend! 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

His Will Be Done

John 15:7 (NKJV)  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

I’ve heard it said many times, and have mistakenly said it myself, “why are my prayers unanswered?!”  The truth is, God hears all prayers, and… answers all prayers.  Our problem is we expect our prayers be answered as we desire, that we get what we ask for.  If we do not receive what we ask, if our will is not done, we chalk it up to “unanswered prayer.”  

All prayers are heard and all prayers are answered.  The answer is at times simply, “no, not yet or I have something better for you.”  That’s not what we want to hear, so… we choose not to.  God works all things to His purpose, because His purpose is right, true and always perfect.  Despite what we think, His answer is ALWAYS according to His will.  A faithful, mature disciple, abiding in Jesus, knows this and faithfully accepts it.  

 I John 5:14,15 (NKJV) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

So, often our prayers amount to wants, desires, perhaps at times perceived needs.  There are cries of anguish, desire for reprieve from torment, etc.  If you’ve allowed God to steer your walk to diligent pursuit of Him, you devote time to study and internalize His word.  If you remain devoted to continual prayer and communication with Him, your ability to discern His voice, understand His direction, will sharpen and you will be more in tune to what your prayers, your requests of Him should look like.  You’ll more readily receive and accept His ever present and immediate answer.  You will have peace like you’ve never known, due to the understanding and utter confidence that it is His will to be done, to His glory and His will is ALWAYS right, perfect and precisely what you need.  

Psalm 66:19 (NKJV) But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Realize, as the psalmist above does, it is not necessary to hear or see the answer, rather, our assurance is cemented in God’s word!  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

 

Live and Die a Better Man

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Paul states, very vividly, in Hebrews 4:12 the essence of God’s word.  It’s not merely words on a page, scribbled out for our entertainment.  It’s not something to peruse when the mood strikes us.  God’s word is ALIVE, POWERFUL, piercing straight through to our hearts.  It’s God’s revelation to us, a glimpse of His heart.  To know God, is to know His word, to desire to devour it.  It is power for us, from Him.

In a letter to a friend, Abraham Lincoln said, “I am profitably engaged in reading the bible.  Take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith.  You will live and die a better man.”

God’s word is certainly profitable for a man or woman seeking a better way of living.  However, it requires more.  It is not enough to simply read scripture.  It’s not enough to reference it as a “how to book”.  It requires a total immersion.  It requires a complete surrender to it and ultimately its author, God.  

Reading scripture, and understanding what you are reading, its meaning and application to your life can be daunting.  In my earliest attempts at reading scripture I struggled, most was lost on me, much still is.  However, once I surrendered my heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, things gradually began to make more sense.  You see, without surrender, rebirth in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit taking up residence in my heart, there can be no revelation.  So much of scripture is lost on us.  It requires the guiding and translation provided by God Himself through His Spirit.

Having surrendered my heart to the governance of Jesus Christ, I must read His word to grow in the fullness of life He promises.  The more I read, the more I want to.  The closer I draw to Him, the more I desire to draw nearer still. Through His gift of grace, my rebirth and salvation are assured.  Of that I am certain, because through His WORD He assures me of that.  

Not for His love (that He gives freely for we could never accomplish anything remotely close to its deservance), rather because of His love, I desire to know Him, pursue Him, express my love for Him in return.  One of the ways I must show this is through the study and internalizing of His word.  I desire to live and die a better man, to honor the loving sacrifice He laid down so that I could.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace   

Endowed By Their Creator

Psalms 33:12 (NKJV) Blessed is the nation whose God is the LordThe people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

As we approach the celebration of our nation’s independence from the tyrannical rule of Great Britain, I feel compelled to speak on what it meant, and what it means now from a spiritual perspective.  

For any who don’t know, I’m a bit of a history nerd.  I never seem to get enough.  In addition to being fairly well read on matters of American history, my undergrad studies were in criminal justice, thus requiring a rather in depth look at constitutional law and the governing structure of the United States.  Consequently, I feel I have a better than rudimentary grasp on where, as a nation, we’ve been, where we’re going and why.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted to ratify and issue a proclamation, severing all ties with Great Britain, King George III and Parliament.  This was a complete succession, politically, economically and socially.  The United States of America, declared to the king and the rest of the world its independence and pursuit of self governance.  This was no small matter.  Our founding fathers stood resolute and openly defied the greatest empire and military the world had known.  The men who voted for and signed their name to this proclamation knew the potential cost of such action.  Most of these men were men of means, business men, plantation owners, tradesmen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, clergy.  They had family, property and reputation.  They staked it all on this grand vision, an experiment never before seen in the annals of human history and never since duplicated.  Why?… because they believed.  They believed in something greater than themselves, their children, their wealth and possessions.  They believed, “that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That belief is the bedrock Truth that our nation was founded upon.  The majority of the men, pivotal in its inception and execution, stood resolutely grounded in faith, guided by God Himself, accepting that which He called them to. Having studied, in depth, the events that transpired throughout the revolutionary years, I am firmly convinced that this nation came into existence solely because of the faith displayed by those men and women of God’s plan and purpose, obedience to that call and trust in His ever present hand of protection.  

In the past several years, but coming to a climax over the past few, I have witnessed, in these United States of America, a division and venom that serves to utterly erode and destroy the bedrock Truth that held this nation since infancy.  How did this happen?  It happens when God’s people turn away from Him and turn inward instead.  It happens when God’s people stop glorifying Him, praising and giving thanks to Him who endowed them in the first place.  It happens when God’s people start thinking more highly of themselves and the mighty towers they have built than they do of the One who created all that ever was, is and ever will be.  

I hear, quite often, “we need to do something!  We need to push back, dig in and take it back!”  You want to actually do something of consequence?  Put God back in His proper place in the American vision.  That doesn’t start in Washington D.C.  Read about the process that was required to get to a Declaration of Independence.  It didn’t start at the top.  It started in the hearts and minds of the individuals.  

You want to see spiritual revival and the regeneration of the bedrock ideals this nation was constructed upon, you start at home.  What kind of leader are you?  What type of christian shadow do you cast?  Are you establishing a Godly presence in your home, for your wife and children?  Are you striving to be provider, protector and priest of your home?  If you’re not, how can you expect to persuade your neighbor to strive for such lofty ideals, your local, state and federal governments?  You can’t!  Revival doesn’t begin in the polls, the statehouses and federal building.  Revival starts in the individual heart!  It spreads, then to the family that you’ve been purposed to guide and protect!  It permeates, then, into the neighborhood, the community, county, state and finally the nation!  

Without God as the paramount focus of our lives, this nation can not get back on course.  The faith, courage and foresight we celebrate on July 4th, will be for naught as America becomes another footnote in the history of man. Liberty comes with a price tag, our liberty bought by the blood of Christ, as well as our liberty as a nation.  Our forefathers wrote checks for both, are you willing?  Have a blessed weekend and a safe and joyous Independence Day! 

Psalms 33:14-22 (NKJV)  

From the place of His dwelling He looks

On all the inhabitants of the earth;

15 He fashions their hearts individually;

He considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;

A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;

Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,

On those who hope in His mercy,

19 To deliver their soul from death,

And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;

He is our help and our shield.

21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,

Because we have trusted in His holy name.

22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,

Just as we hope in You.

 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace  

 

 

Stand Guard

Proverbs 1:24-33 (NKJV)

Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
 
I was enjoying a few abundantly spirit filled weeks.  I felt that I was hearing from God, His desires for me, His closeness, His direction and I was following.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Proud, purposed, untouchable.
 
This week, I feel further from Him than I have for quite sometime.  I have allowed myself to give in to selfishness, wrath, bitterness, self service, rudeness, envy, spite, blind ignorance, pride and a host of other un-Christlike behaviors.  As a result, I have hurt my wife, the woman I professed to love and promised to cherish, the woman Paul tells me in Ephesians that I am to love as myself.  My behavior demonstrated anything but.  Consequently, I drew a curtain between Jesus’ heart and mine. I couldn’t hear Him.  I couldn’t feel Him, at least not how I should.  I know He was there, pulling, pleading, rebuking, but my hardened heart and stiff neck put up the hand and said, “nope, not going to hear it!  I’m rightly justified in my feelings on this matter!”  
 
How does one go from feeling like God’s hand is on them, His light guiding him, and he is being profitably used for His kingdom, to being that jerk?! Simple… satan.  
 
Satan is constantly on the prowl and when we feel at our best, our strongest, our pride and vanity erodes our guard and, with precision, he aims and fires.  
 
When we get to thinking too highly of ourselves, our view of the Lord begins to blur.  We think, “I got this!”  It becomes about me, my and I, instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  My friend and men’s group confidant, Mike Wilson, frequently says, “it’s not about you!”  That, my friends, is pure TRUTH!  It is not about me.  I have done nothing and nor could I do anything.  When my focus wanders from Jesus, even for a moment, when I give too high regard to myself, my “accomplishments” and my feelings, I have pulled the sentries from the watch tower and opened the door for the enemy to waltz right in.  The enemy is a roaring lion, stalking about, cunning far beyond our imagination, coming to kill, steal and destroy.  Alone, under our own imagined greatness, we don’t equate to a fleck of dander flicked from his shoulder.  
 
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul instructs us in the need for vigilance, to put on the whole armor of God.  That is our only defense.  When our guard is allowed to drop, we hurt those around us.  I have hurt, deeply, my wife, for no other reason but to satisfy my own self-righteous arrogance.  We damage our witness to those near us and see us as representatives of Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, we fracture our relationship with Jesus.  It is a terrible thing, to be in Christ and then find yourself utterly cut off from His presence.  
 
  Isaiah 21:6-8  Fortunately, though we certainly aren’t worthy of it, He is right there, with love unimaginable, His grace never ending, with His full on never waning desire to pull us back into His fold.  The truth of this then compels us to be the same.  We must be right there, pouring out the love that He sent through His Holy Spirit, with an unwavering desire to pull those we’ve hurt or have hurt us back in.  We must plead with Him for wisdom, understanding, grace and compassion, restore the sentries to their post so that He can drive the enemy from us.   Only then can we hope to be restored to the peace, love and hope that only He can provide. Have a blessed weekend.
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

 

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