Wednesday, August 19

Praise: In School

One of the benefits of an increasingly secular culture is the clear line it creates. To stand for the Lord at school (or work) is difficult but is a way that brings God praise and glory.

While I was a youth pastor in CA a group started the See You at the Pole campaign. This simple yet powerful statement is a great way to praise God at school. I remember the first one I went to. It was awesome and a little uncomfortable at the same time. We had over 50 kids stand up to be counted for Christ on their HS campus.

I would encourage all parents of school age children to visit the site and plan to be a part of this event.

Read: Daniel 3:13-29
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."

25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."

Shadrach, Meshach and Adednego were Jewish teens raised to worship YHWH and Him only. They had, no doubt, memorized the first five books of the Old Testament (think of memorizing Leviticus!). They were resolved by their knowledge of the Scriptures, by their mentoring and by their experiences with the Holy One to not turn away from the Lord.

It would be daunting to have your faith challenged by a teacher in front of your peers. Yet these teens are confronted by the king! Few have ever be challenged by the highest office in the land for their faith and fewer still will receive the death penalty for their faith. Yet these boys stand resolute in their praise of the one true God.

I like the answer of these boys: God will save us and even if He doesn't .... He's still God! (v. 18). That's a strong answer. There is only one way to deal with Christians of this caliber ... you have to kill them! That has been the prescription of the last 2000 years of Church history.

There is a special treat for those that stand up like this ... Jesus stands with you (v. 25). He protected these teens, unbound them and restored them before the king. The life choice of these young men called for a visit from heaven. Someone brighter than the furnace showed up! What an awesome God!

In the end God is praised. He is praised by the testimony of the 3 teens. He is praised by the sacrifice of their lives. He is praised by the work of His Son in the furnace. He is praised by the miracle of saving these young men. He is praised by the king. He is praised by the declaration to Babylon (v. 29).

All because 3 teens stood up for the Lord.

Think about where you work or go to school. Is it obvious to those around you that you are a follower of the one true God? Are you graciously bold with those around you?

Will you participate in See you at the Pole this year? Please visit the site and plan to be a part on 9.23.09.

For those of that appreciate Veggie Tales here is the furnace clip from Rack Shack and Benny. Worth watching!

Mr Lunt says, "Hey boss, how many guys did we throw into de furnace? ... One of them's real shiny!"

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.

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