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The city of Jerusalem had been destroyed years earlier. The Jewish people were living as exiles in the land of Persia. Nehemiah, a cupbearer in the court of King Cyprus, dreamt of returning to the land and rebuilding the city wall of Jerusalem. Well, God made a way for it to happen. But rebuilding the wall proved to be no simple task. It was a massive wall that required a lot of time, resources, and laborers. To make matters worse, Nehemiah was constantly dealing with people who opposed his mission. He could not possibly have done it alone. He needed help.

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Haman had it in for the Jews. He’d been looking for a way to destroy them ever since one Jewish man named Mordecai refused to bow down before him. Haman was a high official in the court of the Persian king Xerxes. What Haman didn’t know was that Xerxes’ queen – Esther – was of Jewish descent!

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This week, we are learning about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Darius – the king of Babylon – decreed that everyone in the kingdom should bow down only to him. Daniel, though, refused to bow before anyone but God. When he heard the decree, he went instead to his room and prayed. Daniel’s enemies were outside listening – hoping to catch him disobeying the king’s orders. When they heard him praying, they reported him to Darius, who had him thrown into a den of lions.

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Being grateful, even for the little things, doesn’t always come easy. We sometimes take for granted the good things we have; we just expect that they’ll always be there. And it’s not that we’re ungrateful (most the time), we just don’t stop to think about what life would be like without them.

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face a lot of challenges to their faith in the land of Babylon. They were employed by a pagan king named Nebuchadnezzar who didn’t care one bit about their devotion to God. He demanded that everyone in the kingdom bow down before a statue of him on threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace if they refused. It would have been easy for the three Jews to compromise their faithfulness to God – but they did not.

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Daniel and his friends were captive in Babylon and serving as royal advisers to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had a terrible dream one night and he wanted his advisers to tell him what it meant. There was only one problem – he couldn’t remember the dream! His advisers were stumped, but God gave Daniel insight.

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