April 27

Joshua 10:12-13 (NIV) 12On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." 13So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

Kings of the land gathered to attack the Hivites who had made peace with Israel. Joshua was a man of integrity. He honored the treaty with the Hivites even though it had been made through deceit. The LORD encouraged Joshua to attack the kings and not be afraid. God even caused hailstones to take out the fleeing armies of the kings.

There were so many soldiers in confusion that Joshua asked God to give him more time. God answered that prayer by almost doubling the hours in that day. This was not a natural phenomenon, and it just cannot be explained. It was miraculous. It was God doing what He had promised to do.

It was not as though the Israelites had been perfect. This whole battle was due to not consulting the LORD. But their heart was right with God. They recognized their mistake and were obedient. This time God's instruction was to go and defeat the enemy. God took a bad situation and used it to give them a one-day victory over five kings, expediting their victory over the land.

Because you made a mistake in the past that has consequences today does not mean the LORD can't use it for your good. Listen to Him today. Obey Him today and watch what looks like a problem turn to a blessing when God fights for you.

Consider: If your heart is right with God, He can even turn mistakes into victories.

April 27

Luke 2:8-10 (NIV) 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

The shepherds must have relayed this amazing story to Mary, who in turn relayed it to Luke. This is one of the many authentications of the truth of the Gospel events. If the Gospel writers were making this up, they would never have had the initial announcement go to shepherds and magi.

Shepherds were considered second-class citizens of the day. Their testimony was considered unreliable. They were often the first to be held in suspicion when thefts occurred. Shepherding had fallen as far as it could fall in the thousand years between King David and Jesus. No, if Luke were making up this story, he never would have chosen the shepherds to be the recipients of angelic announcement, yet this fits perfectly with God's style.

Remember in yesterday evening's devotion that Mary's prophetic words declared that God lifts up the humble? He fills the hungry with good things, but He sends the rich away empty. The first to visit the humble manger were humble shepherds. The Gospel is not for those who are full. It is for those who are "hungry". The despised and lowly find angels revealing good news.

The angels' announcement said this is good news for all people. It is not just for the Jew or just for the poor. It is for all those that are hungry, for all those who are seeking, and for all who are willing to receive it. Could there be any greater joy than knowing that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to make a way for us to come to God? It is still good news of great joy for all the people. Have you found it to be the great joy of your life? If not, it may be that you have not realized all that this birth means to you.

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you why this should be your great joy.