August 3: Derring-Do

“Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“Do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle.”—Phillips Brooks

We must remember that it is not in any easy or self-indulgent life that Christ will lead us to greatness. The easy life leads not upward, but downward. Heaven always is above us, and we must ever be looking up toward it. These are some people who always avoid things that are costly, that require self-denial, or self-restraint and sacrifice, but toil and hardship show us the only way to nobleness. Greatness comes not by having a mossy path made for you through the meadow, but by being sent to hew out a roadway by your own hands. Are you going to reach the mountain splendors? (Streams in the Desert)

Something about dreams both define and deny us. They define in that they uncover ourselves at the most honest level—what we want most, the raw and uncut version. But they deny us in that a dream never acted upon calls into question a large measure of that which I think makes me “me.” Left long enough in the Land of Oz with no mooring to Kansas, I regress to a wispy shadow of intention. Great courage is always required to move from here to there. The greater the distance betwixt the two, the higher is the demand for an intrepid spirit. God grant each of us the lion’s courage, the tin man’s heart, the scarecrow’s brain, but most of all, the derring-do of Jesus of Nazareth that catapults beyond the plains of dreams and onto the summit of fearless abandon.

“We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us, our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.’” (O. Chambers)

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