Author Archives: Scott

Diligence!!!

Proverb 12:27 (NASB) A lazy man does not roast his prey, But the precious possession of a man is diligence.

I wrote a few weeks back about selling my personal bow, and shooting a game of darts without a sight.  My eldest daughter wanted to shoot the 300 spot tournament at the Iowa Deer Classic this past weekend.  So, who am I to not oblige?! 

 

Well, the past few weeks slipped away rather quickly.  As of this past Friday, I still had not selected a new bow, didn’t have one set up and, consequently hadn’t been shooting during that time, either.  

After finishing up with a customer Friday night, I selected my newest piece of equipment and proceeded setting it up and tuning it.  By 2 am I had it shooting pretty well, but not sighted in.  Saturday came and went at the Harley shop, followed by some late night customers in the archery shop.  Upon their departure, I had some tweaking to do on my daughter’s bow so that she would be prepared for toeing the line on Sunday.  Sunday morning came and I had to do some last minute sighting in, but was “ready”.

At the shoot, I didn’t do poorly, but I was far from shooting at the level I would like and know I’m capable.  I ended the round with a not so terrible score considering I didn’t send 3 arrows. 

This experience taught me a very humbling lesson, though.  I was far from being able to perform at the level I’m accustomed to.  I was shooting unfamiliar equipment, in competition, under pressure, out of shape and it showed.  The combination of variables along with a mere three week absence showed me the absolute need for diligence.  It was only 3 weeks, and I’ve shot consistently week after week for years, how could a mere 3 weeks erode my form, strength and endurance so much? 

Well, it did.  It always does.  It is especially true of our performance as followers of Jesus Christ.  I know I have written on this topic a number of times, in a number of ways.  I keep going back to it, because God keeps reminding me of it.  Why?… because it is of utmost performance and we all fall victim to it.  If you are to be good, really good, great even, at anything, you must first care about it, then diligently pursue it.  You must have a process, a plan and diligently execute on that plan.  Process, diligent repetition, develops muscle memory and decreases the possibility of break down.  In our walk with, relationship with our Lord and Savior, we must perform diligently.  We must have a process in place that creates in us a muscle memory for connecting with and knowing Jesus Christ.  We must diligently pursue consistent time in prayer and conversation with Jesus.  We must diligently seek all that He offers through His word.  We must diligently seek to hone our skills of observation and listening for and to Him.    

When things are breaking down around and in you, do you first and foremost look at how you are performing in your relationship with Jesus?  Do you look inward?  Can you honestly say you are diligently and consistently pushing and pursuing your relationship with the Lord?  More often than not, I have to answer no.  In that answer I also know that it is the primary reason for most of the breakdowns.

In Proverbs 12:27 it says a lazy man will not be successful.  Success requires diligence.  As this proverb alludes to, the times I experience the greatest successes in the field are when I have been the most diligent in my preparation and execution. 

You could substitute distracted, busy, overwhelmed, mismanaged, misguided, and any number of words for lazy in this proverb and the result would be the same.  Anything that competes with our diligence in pursuit of Jesus Christ will result in sub par performance.    So, this weekend, think about how much you care to know Jesus.  Then, ask yourself, does my level of diligence reflect that?  Have a blessed weekend.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NASB) Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Who Are You Talking To?

Psalms 1:1,2 (NKJV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LordAnd in His law he meditates day and night.

One of the foundational passages for our Iron Men groups, the first we’re asked to commit to memory, is Psalms 1:1-6.  Nate chose to revisit the first three verses on Wednesday night.  As I spent the the last few days pondering over this passage and applying it to things that are happening in my life at present, it led to today’s commentary.

This passage sets the tone for the Psalms, contrasting the way of life for the righteous and wicked man.  It sets the stage, directs our focus, Who and What we should focus on and who and what we should not.

The first verse is particularly pertinent to my life at this moment.  The counsel we seek, those we choose to seek and take advice from is of a paramount importance.  Most people I know, would choose to seek advice, counsel or support from those who would most likely agree with their actions, view points, wants and desires.  Most seek out reassurance that what they are feeling, thinking and doing is right and justified.  Therefore, we are reluctant to seek out those we think might tell us something we don’t want to hear or accept.  That’s only natural, right? 

Paul tells us that there’s a problem in doing that, because we are not to be natural men any longer.  We are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus, called to a righteous way of life, thought and action.  That sometimes requires us to do that which we don’t want to do, hear what we don’t want to hear.

That includes seeking counsel from a wise, mature, trusted, righteous source.  Verse 1 above instructs us to not seek counsel from anyone else.  When you are up against it, need help, advice or merely an ear to sound off to, who do you go to?  Do you go to someone you can trust to give you a mature, biblical, spirit filled response?  Do you take it to someone that you know may have something to say that you might not be willing to hear?  Or, do you seek out those you know will never challenge you, how you think, how you feel?  Folks like that are generally easy to find, because most are willing to be that person.  Most choose to placate and not rock the boat.  We are are all, to some degree, broken, injured people and consequently find it easy to slide into that role.  It’s easiest to seek those people out and it’s easiest to be that person for others.  However, to follow that path, on eaither side, merely serves to pull us further from the Lord and hampers our chance to reconcile whatever it is we are struggling with.

My challenge to you is this, think about the last time you took an issue to another, who was it?  What was your motivation for choosing that individual?  What was their response?  Was it edifying or did it serve to deepen the issue?  Did that encounter offer a difficult, but positive evaluation or did it merely serve to justify you, your thoughts and actions? 

We must choose whom we associate with carefully, but never more so when we need guidance.  Sometimes that’s not easy, requiring humility and discernment.  Those qualities require a close relationship with the Lord, a strength of Spirit and a familiarity with His word.  Have a blessed weekend.

Proverbs 15:31,32 The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise. 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace   

 

 

Let It “Break”

Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)  The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

I’m continuing on a theme established with last Friday’s commentary and bolstered by Mike Wilson at Wednesday’s Iron Men’s meeting.  Mike’s verse for the week was Proverbs 16:9.  This is a very good verse to commit to memory as it is applicable to all, virtually every day.  It’s short, simple and yet so incredibly powerful.

Last Friday I spoke about how important it is to keep God’s sight in front of our eye, so that we can stay on target and hit our mark.  I’m going to rely on Proverbs 16:9 to expound on the archery analogy.  Any archer knows that you experience off days, as well as on days.  There are a multitude of reasons that can attribute to one being off their game when shooting, but I’m going to focus on one.  It’s the one I believe to be the greatest and most common reason our accuracy suffers, our head.  Our brain gets in the way.  When a person gets to thinking too much, directing too much, correcting too much… planning too much, things are forced, unnatural and have a tendency to break down. 

When we get wrapped up in “making” the arrow hit the X, the vitals, “oh, oh, oh come on pin stop shaking, stay on the target, now… no… now?!..no…NOW!!!” it goes askew.  Everything in our being is commanding the shot to do what we ask, what we plan, but to no avail.  Why?  It’s not natural.  

However, when we focus, but relax, allow our training, our muscle memory to take over and control our movements, focus on our target, allow the pin to hover and float naturally and allow the shot to “break” when it wants to, when the moment and natural mechanics dictate, rather than “send” it when we deem appropriate, the outcome will more likely be to our liking.  

Such is life, isn’t it?  For the born again believer in Jesus Christ, that’s something we ought to know, right?  When we are forcing something, directing, correcting, dictating and planning, without, first, giving it over to God, we’re likely going to have an off day, week, month, year, relationship, home, work, etc.  For what we plan is often times not what God is directing.  In planning and pursuing what we want, we’re often times fighting Him, His training (muscle memory) and “sending” an arrow that wasn’t ready to “break” naturally or was never meant to “break” at all. 

When we are focused on God, when we have His sight before our eye, our body trained up, muscle memory firmly established, when we are going to Him first with everything, operating in the Spirit, the pin floats, the target is clear, the tension is gone… and then it “breaks”.  It sails cleaning and precisely to the X.  Why?  Because it happens under God’s direction.  Have a blessed weekend!

John 4:24 (NASB) God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

God’s “Sight”

Proverbs 4:25-27 (NASB) 

Let your eyes look directly ahead

And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

26 Watch the path of your feet

And all your ways will be established.

27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left;

Turn your foot from evil.

I had today’s topic all worked out.  That is until God mixed it up, so you’re getting this instead.  I had a couple friends in the archery shop this evening until rather late.  Towards the end of our time together, one of the guys suggested a game of darts.  It’s a archery target fashioned like a dart board and you shoot the games.  The problem for me, I sold my bow two days earlier.  “Alright, no problem, I’ll grab one off the wall.”  So, let the games begin.  

The bow I was shooting had a rest and a d loop, but no sight.  For the archers and bowhunters reading this, you’ll understand the difficulty in being competitive with this handicap.  All in fun, right?  I did alright, but it was really no contest.  I got a few lucky arrows in.  The first game of 600, I hung in there, but for every lucky one that found its mark, the next one would be inches out. 

Now, I would certainly never claim to be the best archer around, but would consider myself accomplished, refined.  Despite my proficiency, without the aid of a sight, the best I could do was get close and inconsistently score.  As I pondered on this, I went to the above passage.  Solomon is instructing his son to keep his eyes forward, focused on the Lord, to not wander from the path he’s set his “sights” upon. 

As I thought on this passage and the games we were playing, a parallel began to take root.  If I, as a proficient archer, am made mediocre by the removal of my sight apparatus, could not the same be said of a man who tries to go through life without God’s “sight” before his eye?  A “good” man, same as a “good” archer may get lucky and close on occasion without the aid of the fixed “sight”, but I estimate, more often than not, he will miss his mark.  In archery, regardless of how good I am foundationally, when you take a necessary piece of my equipment away, I can only do so much on my own.  The same can be said for my daily life.  When my focus is pulled from the Lord, or I remove a necessary tool (scripture) from my equipment, on my own I will seldom hit what I aim for. 

Solomon is teaching just that.  He’s teaching us to guard our hearts, protect are minds and what comes in by looking through God’s “sight”  so that we can be accurate, confident and consistent in hitting what we should be aiming for.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace     

Righteousness and Peace

Psalms 85:10-13 (NASB) Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. 13 Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.

I was listening to Adrian Rogers the other day, teaching about our High Priest.  He was illustrating and educating on the connection between Jesus and Melchizedek.  It was an utterly fascinating lesson, sparking a much deeper study for me to pursue, one I’m sure I’ll share at some point with you.  However, for today, I want to address the above passage from Psalms.  Pastor Rogers mentioned it briefly in his sermon, but I felt compelled to give it more than passing acknowledgement. 

What struck me about this passage was the affectionate connection righteousness and peace share.  In verse 10, the psalmist writes, “righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”  They are intimately intertwined.  I find that interesting.  To me, it implies that they are bound together, that they need one another for either to exist. 

Ever find yourself asking, “why can’t I have peace in my home?”  Could it be for lack of righteousness?  What about peace at work, in the community, nationally, around the globe?  I think it’s fair to say that most people prefer peace over angst, division or war.  So, if most prefer peace, why do most experience little if any at all?  My contention is that we desire peace, but often times, forsake righteousness.  When things are stressed and strained in my home, at work, within my personal relationships, I can guarantee those are times my focus is not on Jesus, walking as He’d see me walk.  The world around us, exemplifies it.  It’s been the case since the fall.  We seek ways to create “peace”, but cast aside the only way to attain it, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 

 I can confidently say that I am most at peace when I am closest to God.  Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, a seed of righteousness to dwell within us.  When I am tending to that seed, watering and nurturing it, I tend to be more observant of others, more gracious, more kind, more understanding, more righteous in my behavior.  As a result, peace settles in on me.  That’s not to say that troubles and struggles no longer exist, but that I can walk through them with a “peace that surpasses all understanding”.

In verse 11 the psalmist speaks of truth springing from the earth and righteousness shining down from heaven.  Walking in Truth (Jesus Christ) yields righteousness from heaven, fruits of the Holy Spirit.  In verses 12 and 13, God shows His faithfullness, fulfilling His promise of blessings and a continued layering of righteousness, a way to peace, His Way!  Just some thoughts to ponder.  Have a blessed weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy, 

Scott Pace  

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