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     Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.  Dan. 3:16-18

Heavenly Father, the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is encouraging, convicting, and liberating. These three friends didn’t worship you because of the gifts you gave them, but because of the God you were to them.

They were convinced that you could rescue them from the fiery furnace; but even if you didn’t, it wouldn’t impact their love for you one bit. They’d rather be delivered into your presence through the fire, than worship some other false god just to escape the fire.

Father, forgive me when my worship of you vacillates, based on my circumstances. As cynical as I am about the “name it and claim it” and prosperity theologies, I’m quite capable of doubting your love when life gets complicated and painful. I want to worship you before there’s a fire or when I’m in the fire, if I’m delivered from the fire or if you choose to take me home through the fire.

Because of Jesus, such a longing isn’t wishful thinking, but a promised reality. Jesus wasn’t just the fourth man King Nebuchadnezzar saw walking around in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:25); he is our faithful Savior who endured the fiery trial of the cross for us. No matter the temptation, trial, or trauma—Jesus is with us and for us. Life, this side of the new heaven and new earth, won’t be pain free for us, but it’ll never be Christ absent. Hallelujah!

Because of Jesus’ finished work, we don’t have to be afraid to die, or live. May your beauty, grace, and peace keep us centered, in every season of life—including this season. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ peerless and powerful name.

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