Heart of Courage
But if [God doesn’t rescue us], let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. Daniel 3:18
In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s friend the Tin Man desires a heart, and the Cowardly Lion wants courage. So, the Wizard of Oz gives the Tin Man a heart-shaped watch and the Lion a medal proving he has courage. But if the Lion really wanted courage he should have received the Tin Man’s heart—since “courage” comes from the Latin cor, the word for “heart.” Courage is a matter of heart.
In ancient times (and the Bible), “heart” referred to the seat of the emotions, the intellect, or the will. In short, when a person has “heart,” he or she has character, commitment, intelligence, and volition. Combine all those and you will find a person with courage. That’s what we find in the three young Hebrew men in Babylon (Daniel 3:18) and in Joshua as he led the Israelites into Canaan (Joshua 24:14-15).
How do we gain strength of mind, heart, and soul? How do we become a person of courage? By feeding on, and standing on, God’s Word in every circumstance.
I will not flee, much less recant, so may the Lord Jesus strengthen me. Martin Luther
Sermon – Daniel 3:1-18 – Bob Wade
Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it. 2 Timothy 3:14
Her name was long but her years were even longer. Madeline Harriet Orr Jackson Williams lived to be 101 years old, outliving two husbands. Both were preachers. Madeline was my grandmother, and we knew her as Momma. My siblings and I got to know her well; we lived in her home until her second husband whisked her away. Even then she was less than fifty miles away from us. Our grandmother was a hymn-singing, catechism-reciting, piano-playing, God-fearing woman, and my siblings and I have been marked by her faith.
According to 2 Timothy 1:3–7, Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had a huge impact on his life. Their living and teaching were rooted in the soil of Scripture (v. 5; 2 Timothy 3:14–16) and eventually their faith blossomed in Timothy’s heart. His biblically based upbringing was not only foundational for his relationship with God, but it was also vital to his usefulness in the Lord’s service (1:6–7).
Today, as well as in Timothy’s time, God uses faithful women and men to mark future generations. Our prayers, words, actions, and service can be powerfully used by the Lord while we live and after we’re gone. That’s why my siblings and I still rehearse things that were passed on to us from Momma. My prayer is that Momma’s legacy will not stop with us.
How are you using your prayer, words, actions, and service to grow others in Jesus? What would you like your legacy to be?
The most powerful thing a Christian can do is pray. Yet how often are we guilty of making prayer our last resort or giving up on it if the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming? Perhaps it’s this human tendency that prompted Jesus to remind us to persevere in speaking with our Father.
The verb tenses of today’s passage in the original Greek could be translated as “keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.” To persevere means to continue firmly on a particular course despite the obstacles or difficulties. It’s not a passive approach of asking once and sitting back to wait for the Lord’s intervention. The words seek and knock imply action and effort in discerning God’s will and moving in that direction.
In fact, discovering God’s will is the very purpose of perseverance—not to override it or get Him to change His mind and do things our way. Through steadfastness in prayer, we learn to focus on the Lord’s faithfulness instead of our circumstances, which may show no signs of changing. Praying tenaciously builds our trust and at the same time teaches us to depend on God instead of rushing ahead to get what we want.
God promises that in time we will be given an answer, find what we seek, and walk through an open door. That’s when we discover our heavenly Father always gives us what is good, even if it doesn’t look exactly the way we expect or fit our timetable. Through His answers, we gain greater faith in Him and insight into what He deems good. Then we’ll know how to pray more wisely according to His will the next time we have a need.
“Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?” (Exodus 2:7)
In Exodus, Pharaoh ordered the execution of all newborn male Israelites. Moses was spared as his sister intervened, and she later became his helper as he led their people to freedom. Throughout the Bible, godly women played important roles. In “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship,” such women are enjoined to pray for sinners and testify of His power to save.
Sisters will you join and help us?
Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners
Who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior,
Tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
In the beginning, “God created man in his own image . . . male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). Evidently it takes the characteristics of both male and female to adequately reflect His image. Godly women are often the most effective in many situations in ministering to individual needs. In our hauntingly beautiful study hymn, such women are called to help trembling sinners convicted of and struggling with sin.
Women often are the most powerful in prayer. Lasting fruit is borne in ladies’ Bible studies and in children’s Bible lessons taught by godly women. Many rescue missions, mission fields, and counseling rooms are primarily staffed by ladies unashamed of the gospel. Thankfully, God has chosen to shower “manna all around” through the ministry of godly Christian women. JDM
O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
But it is within our hearts and our beings that God searches and looks. It is our spiritual heart life that is to be simple. It is in our hearts that we are to meditate and be silent. It is deep within our beings that we must be courageous and open to God’s leadings.
If there ever was an hour in which the church needed courageous men of prophetic vision, it is now. Preachers and pastors? They can be turned out in our schools like automobiles off the assembly line.
But prophets? Where are they?
The simple, humble and courageous men who are willing to serve and wait on God in the long silences, who wait to hear what God says before they go to tell the world—these do not come along too often. When they do, they seek only to glorify their God and His Christ! CES134-135
Oh Lord, I long to be one of those “courageous men of prophetic vision.” I quiet my heart today: I will “wait on God in the long silences;” and then I’ll go with only the word that I receive from You—only for Your glory. Amen.
From thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and The Three Taverns, whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.—Acts 28:15.
Through the night of doubt and sorrow
Onward goes the pilgrim band,
Singing songs of expectation,
Marching to the Promised Land.
Clear before us through the darkness
Gleams and burns the guiding light;
Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Stepping fearless through the night.
Bernhard S. Ingemann.
We fight not for ourselves alone. These are they—our brethren—the cloud wherewith we walk encompassed; it is for them that we wrestle through the long night; they count on the strength that we might bring them, if we so wrestle that we prevail. The morning that follows the night of our lonely trial would, if we be faithful, find us new men, with a new name of help, and of promise, and of comfort, in the memory of which others would endure bravely, and fight as we had fought. Oh! Turn to God in fear, lest through hidden disloyalty we have not a cup of cold water to give those who turn to us for succor in their sore need!
Henry Scott Holland.
“The Lord will give grace and glory.” Ps. 84:11
Grace is what we need just now, and it is to be had freely. What can be freer than a gift? Today we shall receive sustaining, strengthening, sanctifying, satisfying grace. He has given daily grace until now, and as for the future, that grace is still sufficient. If we have but little grace the fault must lie in ourselves; for the Lord is not straitened, neither is He slow to bestow it in abundance. We may ask for as much as we will and never fear a refusal. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not.
The Lord may not give gold, but He will give grace: He may not give gain, but He will give grace. He will certainly send us trial, but He will give grace in proportion thereto. We may be called to labor, and to suffer, but with the call there will come all the grace required.
What an AND is that in the text — “and glory!” We do not need glory yet, and we are not yet fit for it; but we shall have it in due order. After we have eaten the bread of grace, we shall drink the wine of glory. We must go through the holy -which is grace, to the holiest of all — which is glory. These words “and glory” are enough to make a man dance for joy. A little while — a little while, and then glory forever!