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Geoff Daniels

In his charge to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord" (2 Timothy 1:7-8). Note: "a spirit of power" and "do not be ashamed." Paul's charge to Timothy is applicable to us now in this church age. We have the reliable God-given power and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Many times it is not so muich what we are doing, but rather what we are not doing that really matters. Consider those who have risked their lives for the sake of the gospel of God's grace, especially in countries that are hostile to the God of the Bible. In some places christians are relentlessly persecuted for their faith. Some have gone "underground" for fear of not being allowed to practice their faith in the open. Yet, these christians defy the odds and continue to worship the God of heaven. In the christian life and service, we should be wholly dedicated for the purposes and glory of God. Paul wrote, "I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).

Courage also means defying the odds; pressing toward the goal and taking a stand for "those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). A noteworthy example of great courage is recorded in the Bible and it is about Daniel's "purpose of heart." We read, "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's food. Nor with the wine which he drank." (Daniel 1:8). This was Daniel's resolve and notice where it all began, he "purposed in his heart." This is true courage. The "heart" here refers to our "innermost being" — the seat of our understanding — the real you and me. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7).

Some of us seem to "purpose in our heads" where pending action remains and somehow never take the long circuitous journey to our hearts. The Bible says, "for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Further reading of Daniel's prophecy indicates that his courage paid off in the end because he did not compromise his conscience. The same will be true of us today if Daniel's courage is our motivation!