Author Archives: Scott

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

 

Stretched

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

A few weeks ago,  Pastor Jeff Rabe, asked me for a favor.  He would be going on sabbatical for the month of June, and asked if I could fill in for him on the 11th.  I laughed and replied, “I’m not a preacher.”  He said, ” I knew you’d say that, but I disagree.  I just think you haven’t done it yet.”  I agreed to give it a few days of prayer and to seek counsel.  Based on the counsel I was getting, it became immediately apparent that I was not likely to get away from this.  Pastor Ben Segebart, said something that resonated, got the wheels turning and they haven’t stopped.  He said, “Do it!  You have to.  God stretches us to make us better.  He’s stretching you.  Do it!”  

Pastor Ben was right.  God stretches us.  One year and eight months ago, Mike Sereg called and asked me to join the team and write the Friday devotion.  Just like this time, I tried to brush it aside and get out of it.  However, just like with this challenge, it too was an opportunity to allow God to stretch me, to make me better, advance my growth and quicken my maturation process.  In both of these instances, by faith, I accepted the call and am better for it.  Along the way, I hope that the purpose, for which God intended it, has been, to some measure, satisfied.

That brings me to Chapter 11 of Hebrews.  For the sake of space and the limitations of this format, I will not go through it chapter and verse.  I would, however, strongly encourage you to take a thoughtfully measured read through it.  This passage is oftentimes referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame”.  Paul lays out a impressively comprehensive list of men and women, how, by faith in God, allowed themselves to be stretched beyond the bounds of human imagination to achieve God’s purpose in their life and for His Kingdom.  

Our tendency is to allow ourselves to get comfortable and stretching is most certainly UNcomfortable.  Now, ask yourself, are you comfortable?  Has God been trying to stretch you and your faith?  What areas in your life do you sense that to be the case?  Are you allowing it?  We should embrace it.  If we want to experience any measure of fullness of life in Christ in this temporal life, how can we realize that without growth and maturation?  We can’t!  

Think about things, areas in your life that you feel accomplishment.  If you could do gkit (whatever it is) from the get go, then there would be no sense of accomplishment.  Likely, your achievement, in any given arena, is the result of pushing beyond your personal boundaries, past your limitations, practice, persistence, stttrrreeetttccchhhiiinnnggg yourself to growth, maturity and success.  Yes?  Likewise, so it is with our faith, relationship with Jesus Christ and the work He’d have us do for His Kingdom.  

So… allow Him to stretch you beyond what is comfortable and you feel capable of.  Draw near to Him, learn from Him, love Him and trust Him.  I promise, you will see your faith multiplied!  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Mark

1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

There are no coincidences.  God places us where and when He’d have us for His purpose.  

I was on my way home tonight, on the bike, and needed gas.  The station I normally fill up at was closed when I arrived.  I found that odd, but turned around and headed to another.  As I pulled up, I noticed a man fixing to cross the street, headed for the gas station parking lot.  I didn’t like the looks of him so, as I stepped off the bike, I positioned myself so as to be able to keep an eye on him.  As he passed me by, he bid me a good evening and I did the same.  He responded with, “Jesus is coming again!”  I replied, “indeed He is!”  The man stopped and asked, “do you mind if I pray with you?”  What?!  When does this happen?!  When have I ever offered to do that with a stranger?  Shamefully, I don’t believe I ever have.  Who does that?!  Answer… this man!  I accepted.  

To paint the picture a bit more vividly, the man approached and if I were to picture John the Baptist in jeans and a t-shirt, he stood before me.  Very unkempt, beard to his chest, matted hair, sun blistered nose and dirty clothes, he introduced himself as Mark, and I introduced myself.  So here, in the parking lot of a gas station, stood a modern day John the Baptist and a scruffy Harley dude with their hands upon each other’s shoulder.  Mark proceeded with one of the most beautiful, heart felt prayers I’ve ever heard.  He praised Jesus, prayed that God would produce a hedge of protection for my family and I.  He gave thanks for this opportunity, the endless love of Jesus and thanked him for the love he had for me, his brother, and the love I had for him.  He thanked God for His provision.  He prayed for guidance, obedience and endurance.  I felt this man’s love for the Lord and for me.  It was beautiful, joyous, and humbling all at once.

Mark and I spent the next hour engaged in conversation.  He told me a great deal about himself, the life Jesus pulled him from and the road He has him on now.  He’s a wanderer, going where he feels the Lord directing Him, preaching the Gospel of Jesus without caution, shame or hesitancy.  I listened intently, spoke very little.  Mark shared with me his take on the spiritual state of the world, reluctant to say anything that he couldn’t immediately back up with scripture.  Here was a man with, by all appearances, little in the way of material possession.   Yet, he was kind, had a joy I see in very few who possess a great deal more, an obvious fear of the lord, a meekness and a humility that is rare in this world.  He possessed a wealth in measure that I do not and venture to say I have not seen in another. 

As I listened to him, I was awed.  His knowledge of scripture was far superior to mine, as though I had but a childlike understanding.  In fact, it would rival most anyone’s I know.  I was humbled.  I gave him my number, shook his hand, thanked him, and said, “God bless you Brother.”  He returned the blessing and added, “love Jesus first, I love you Brother,” and walked off into the dark.  

I stood there for a moment, still processing what had happened.  God sent him to me and I to him.  “Thank you Lord, I needed that, and so did he.”  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

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