If you are able, go ahead and stand up as you prepare to read today’s scripture passage found on the “Listen” page. If you would like, take your shoes off so you can feel the ground beneath you. Go ahead, really… stand up.

Take a moment to feel the ground underneath your feet. Press down all ten of your toes. Become aware of what the ground feels like. Is it rough? Is it soft and welcoming? Turn your awareness to the earth supporting you as you stand, feeling the strength in your feet.

Now before you go on, take three deep, strong breaths as you stand tall, ready to experience God’s Word today.

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At that moment some Chaldeans came forward, seizing a chance to attack the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar:

“Long live the king! Your Majesty, you gave a command that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument should bow down and worship the gold statue. Anyone who wouldn’t bow and worship would be thrown into a furnace of flaming fire. Now there are some Jews, ones you appointed to administer the province of Babylon — specifically, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — who have ignored your command. They don’t serve your gods, and they don’t worship the gold statue you’ve set up.”

Daniel 3:8-12

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Have you ever watched preschoolers play on the playground? Even among the tiniest on the playground, a leader emerges and the others follow suit. This little leader can work for good, helping the others play safely and follow the rules. Or… you can watch as the leader decides to run up the slide and swing upside down, and in seconds the whole class is in complete chaos! To be a leader, whether you wanted to be or not, is to have power.

Our friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were leaders. Our text actually tells us that the King appointed them to lead in the area of Babylon. So when King Nebuchadnezzar got wind of his chosen leaders not setting the example that he had in mind, you can imagine the rage. He knows the power that comes in leading, and he knew that others would likely follow.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew this also, so they chose to lead the people in holy resistance, pointing the people back to the only God deserving their worship.

Sara Hunt-Felke

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Holy God, thank you for empowering me to step up and lead. Would you give me guidance as I seek to lead others in a way that reflects your goodness, mercy, and justice? Help me lead others to you. Amen.

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Today, may you stand firm.

Stand firmly aware that the God who walked in the flames with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the same God who walks this road with you.

May you stand firm on the foundation built for you by the God who loves you fiercely.

Sara Hunt

Sara Hunt-Felke lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband TJ, their daughter Adelina and their dog “Monk.” Sara is a Hospital Chaplain and in her free time enjoys a good cup of coffee, baking, and spending time outside in God’s creation

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

Jon Chacko

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