Author Archives: Scott

Battle

I have been struggling for the past few weeks.  I’ve been struggling personally, professionally, financially, mentally and most of all, spiritually.  

I had lunch a few days ago with two close friends, Pastor Jeff and Pastor Ben.  These men are solid, go to counsel for me and they were concerned.  These men wanted to talk with me, listen to me, exhort me, and reassure me.  What was truly fascinating about this conversation was when they pointed out something that I know, but hadn’t considered.  This current state, the afflictions, they’re satan.  It’s a spiritual assault.  

Pastor Ben pointed out the victory in the Lord that the three of us shared just a few weeks ago.  The victory was the Lord working a sermon out for me just a couple hours before I had to deliver it.  It was amazing, and it had an impact.  Days later, the onslaught began.

Pastor Ben pointed to a passage in Luke 22, in which Jesus addresses Simon Peter and tells him of his impending denial of Jesus and their (the disciples) loss of heart and personal torment. 

Luke 22:28-30 (NASB) You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Before Jesus tells of the anguish, He proclaims this to them, (sic) “I’m giving you a kingdom.  We will live, eat, drink and judge along side one another.” What a spiritual high!  These men, with Jesus at the Last Supper, have just been told by the Son of God, you will be with me, side by side for eternity!  It doesn’t get much higher than that, does it? 

Luke 22:31,32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Then Jesus drops this on Simon Peter, (sic) “satan asked to shake you to your core, put the screws to you.  But don’t worry, I prayed that your faith may not fail you and that you’ll return full of fire, vigor and serve as my ambassadors to your brethren of this world!”  What?  He didn’t say, “no way! I’ll never let you mess with them!”  And… just as surely as the Lord lives, that very thing happened.  

You see, God knew the condition of their hearts, the depth of their faith.  He had a purpose that was best served by men who’s world had been rocked, their faith tested.  Why?  Because He knew through the midst of it, their endurance would be witnessed and God glorified.  He knew that when they came out the other side, they would be challenged, bolder, stronger, more effectual in the work He had prepared for them to do.  

Does God allow satan access to His children, yes… absolutely!  Scripture shows us here in Jesus’ own words.  He shows us the same in Job.  Paul speaks of it  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

He does so, however, knowing that He has prepared us, or He would not allow satan to war against us.  These spiritual battles so very often come on the heals of a spiritual high, a victory.  That makes them the even more crushing.  The stronger we grow in our faith, the more effectual the work that God is able to do through us, the greater satan’s desire to have at us.  As we mature in our faith and we learn to recognize these attacks for what they are, satan’s attempt to render us ineffectual, to question God and the reason’s for our Hope and faith, we can glory in them.  Glory?  Yes, absolutely revel and glory in them!  Shout from the rooftops, “thank you Lord for empowering me and trusting me to the point that you would allow satan the opportunity!”  As He matures us and develops in us the ability to discern these attacks from the outset and utilize the tools He has equipped us with, satan is rendered impotent.  

I want to thank God for sending Pastor Ben and Pastor Rabe to be the tools of my rescue from these attacks.  Be watchful and vigilant.  Remember, when you’re under attack by the “god of this world”, it merely means that God knows He’s prepared you to glorify Him in that battle!   Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

 

Righteous Rise

II Timothy 4:18 (NASB) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

It’s difficult to suffer under the hand of falsehood.  For most of us, this consists of simple misunderstandings or deliberate distortions meant to discredit us or do us some form of harm.  Others, like Paul, will suffer severely under a heavy hand of falsehood, deceit, corruption and contempt. 

I have known people who have suffered greatly at the hand of deceivers, people who have lost or nearly lost everything they had including their public reputation.  I know one such person currently suffering under just such a yoke.  What amazes me is the resilience God grants to those who stand on TRUTH.  It may not be easy, and one would certainly never desire to be on the receiving end of such treatment, but when sided with truth, righteousness will always rise to the surface. 

When I see those under extraordinary persecution, it is heart wrenching but inspiring at the same time.  In these examples, to see God hold them securely and lovingly in His right hand, to grant them the strength necessary to stand under such strain, shows me how little I have to fear in the rather minor occurrences of my life.  Their example offers assurance that no matter what it is, with that kind of faith, God will rescue us from evil big or small. 

So, to those reading this, who embody this virtue, I thank you and God Blesses you.  Hold fast, stand with truth and let the promise of God’s righteousness carry you through to glory!  Have a blessed weekend.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

My Portion

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NASB) The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

This was my memory passage for this week.  As I recited this over and over, really meditating on the power in this passage, I was hit with a revelation.  God was telling me that I rely on myself far more than I rely on Him.

That, my friends, is a frightening realization.  I, and I’m betting a great many of you, tend to count more on God’s gifts than God Himself.  An person gifted with high intellect will tend to lean on that.  A person of wealth, will count on His money, gifts, blessings from God.  When I struggle, I most often think and act on what I can do rather than first call on God.  Pridefully, I believe that I can handle this and work my way over, around, under or through the obstacle.  Why?  I’m gifted!  In these instances, our strengths, His gifts become extraordinary weaknesses.  Our pride and illusioned self determination and self reliance becomes an immense stumbling block to our discipleship and oneness with Christ.

Often times struggles fall upon us after a time of peace, plenty and closeness with Christ.  When we ask something of God, and He doesn’t provide in the manner we believe He should, subconsciously, if not consciously, we abandon Him.  We push ahead under our “own” power, determining that it is up to us.  Instead, we should be thanking and praising Him in these times.

Faith is not a bargain that we’ve made with God… “give me this, do that for me and I’ll trust You, I’ll follow You.  If you don’t, well I think I’ll do it my way.” 

Our faith MUST be firmly rooted in Him, not His gifts.  Who do you go to first, Him or you?  What to you lean on, the gifts or the Giver?  Have a blessed weekend.

Proverbs 16:19-20 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud. 20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Be Still

Psalms 5:3 (NASB) In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

There are few activities more settling to me than sitting in a tree stand on a frosty November morning, awaiting the sunrise to break and illuminate the world about me.  I am still, but alert.  I attempt to come into tune with my surroundings and the wildlife inhabiting it.  The distractions and cares of my day to day worries are rendered from my heart.  I am there for a purpose, a purpose rooted in peace and calm, stillness.  In this stillness, I know my purpose and because of the stillness I can be expectant.  I “eagerly watch”, listen and let it all unfold.

God wants us to be happy.  He wants us to have joy, peace and goodness in our lives.  But God generally enters into our awareness softly, as a whisper.  To hear Him, we must be still.  This stillness must be in body, mind and heart.  

If I were to climb into my stand and turn constant circles, flail my arms about while whistling the Star Spangled Banner, I couldn’t very well expect to see much in the form of deer movement.  The same, I believe, can be said quite often in regards to hearing from the Lord, experiencing His presence.  

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” ― Ram Dass   So simply put… simply true.

Being still requires discipline and patience, perseverance, and above all faith that He is working and you will know when His timing dictates. 

“When Christ delays to help His saints now, you think this is a great mystery, you cannot explain it; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. Be still, and know that Christ is God.”  – Robert Murray McCheyne

We get caught up in the rush of the chaotic world that envelopes our life.  We grasp and clutch for control that never comes, because it can’t. It’s an illusion.  The chaos serves to only pull our focus from that which really matters.

Luke 10:41,42 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” 

So many of us allow our hearts and minds to be swept up in the noise and demands of life, when often times what we need to do is be still.  How often to you make room for specific moments spent in stillness, eagerly watching?  Throughout the day, how often do you pause when the weight of life begins to pull you down, and patiently, quietly wait on the Lord?  How much of of that which distracts, burdens and worries you have you surrendered to the Lord?On all accounts, not enough, is my answer.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Look Up, Say Hi…

Matthew 5:44-48 (NKJV) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The other day I stopped at the station and filled up.  I ran inside to use the restroom, however it was occupied.  As I waited, I started up a simple little chat with a lady browsing the candy.  From our conversation I found out, she was diabetic and shouldn’t even be looking at the candy.  She justified it though, by telling me she was 71 years old and had overstayed her welcome anyway.  To this I replied, “You won’t be here a minute longer than you are supposed to be.”  She proceeded to tell me that she lost her daughter to cancer at 19, her son to it at 44.  There was weight, sorrow, distance in her eyes as she spoke.  I was feeling the urging of the Holy Spirit since before I spoke my first word, and it was rising to a crescendo now.  I stifled it.  I listened intently, carefully, empathetically.  I reassured her that she had worth and purpose, that everyday is a gift to make the most of.  I told her God Bless you.  Her eyes lit up and she returned the blessing.  She proceeded to the counter, I to the restroom.  When I exited the station, her husband and her were standing by their car, they both thanked me and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, then drove away.

As I got into my truck, and as I write this to you today, my emotions are mixed.  It felt good to be a small blessing, but I also felt shame for quelching the full compulsion of the Holy Spirit.  It obviously did her a service, but I know that God was wanting more.

As I read this passage from Matthew, it brought this encounter to mind.  She certainly wasn’t an enemy and meant me no harm.  She was, however,  a stranger and it would have been easy, routine to pass her by.  I’m glad I responded to God’s urge and could be of service to her.  I regret not being of service to the full extent that I believe Jesus was prompting. 

It’s easy to miss the opportunities God puts in our path, to dismiss His nudges.  It’s natural to us to be warm an engaging with those we know.  On the other hand, in our fast paced lives, it’s easy to be casually aloof as we pass those we don’t know on the street, at the shopping center, the gas station.   I pray that this encounter and introspection makes me more acutely aware of these instances and more sensitive and obedient to God’s urging.  Perhaps this illustration will aid in accomplishing the same in you.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

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