Share With Your Brothers

He said, “Return to your homes with great wealth, a huge number of cattle, and silver, gold, bronze, iron, and a large quantity of clothing. Share the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” Joshua 22:8 HCSB

The nightly news had a story of a lady who owns the Red Barn restaurant in Augusta, Maine. She uses her restaurant to raise money to help other people in need. Once struggling with even paying her bills, she began to sponsor events where the restaurant gave away the food as a way to raise funds for different causes. Since starting to give and help others, her business is booming.

Joshua instructed the warriors to share the spoils of war with their brothers. They had gained great wealth and the tendency would be to hold onto it and keep it for themselves, but Joshua taught them the principle that it is more blessed to give than to receive. In sharing they were following the example God gave to Moses in Numbers 31. The sharing demonstrated their unity and love for their brothers.

Challenge: As Christians we should realize that everything we have belongs to God. We are only stewards of what He has provided. Even our salvation is a result of God giving His Son to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins. Sharing what we have demonstrates our love for God and that we trust Him to provide for our needs. Consider giving to Baptist Global Response, WorldVision, or Samaritan's Purse. Explore what you and your family could do to give back to people in your community. Listen to the story about the Red Barn restaurant at

Where Are You Walking?

Only carefully obey the command and instruction that Moses the Lord's servant gave you: to love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commands, remain faithful to Him, and serve Him with all you heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:5 HCSB

I have heard it said, “If you want your children to follow in your footsteps, be careful where you put your feet.” Most parents are proud when their children want to follow in their footsteps and devote themselves to the same profession. Some parents, however, have not been very careful where they have walked and have not set a godly example. God's desire is for parents to teach their children how to live and love Him.

In this verse Joshua is restating the basic message from Moses: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5 and restated by Jesus in Matthew 22:37). He is reminding the Israelites of the importance to love and obey God. Joshua even says “carefully” obey – make sure you do exactly what God has commanded.

Challenge: We are to walk in His ways. Do not get sidetracked and stray onto the path that leads to the darkness of evil. Satan will strive to make you think that bad is good, darkness is light, and that popularity is more important than truth and integrity. Be careful where you walk. Others are watching you. You can destroy your witness with just one foolish decision to follow in the ways of Satan instead of walking in His ways. Do not be deceived. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Ask God to help you stay on the path that leads to life – the abundant life! (John 10:10)

God Is Not A Deserter!

You have not deserted your brothers even once this whole time but have carried out the requirement of the command of the Lord your God. Now that He has given your brothers rest, just as He promised them, return to your homes in your own land that Moses the Lord's servant gave you across the Jordan. Joshua 22:3-4 HCSB

Twice in my 40 plus years of ministry I have become so discouraged that I have seriously considered getting out of ministry. Both times I felt as though people had taken advantage of me, misjudged me, and even mistreated me. I even had thoughts like, “Where is God in all of this?” or “Why is God allowing this to happen to me?” We all have times of discouragement and even depression. We may think that God has forgotten us, but the reality is that God never deserts us. He is always available to us. He is faithful and can be trusted.

These Scriptures describe the faithfulness of the men of Israel fighting for their brothers and helping them to secure their homelands. God is always faithful to do what He says. We can count on His promises. God's timing is not always our timing and we may feel that God has abandoned us, but He remains with us through the ups and downs of life. He cares about what is happening in our lives. God has a plan for each of our lives and is working all things together for His good (see Romans 8:28).

Challenge: If you are going through a difficult time, know that God loves you and cares about what you are going through. He will never desert you or abandon you. God wants only the best for you. His only desire is for you to walk in His ways and trust Him to take care of your needs. He has not promised an easy life, but He has promised never to leave you through the end of time. Thank God for never deserting you and always being available to you.

Are You a Deserter?

You have not deserted your brothers even once this whole time but have carried out the requirement of the command of the Lord your God. Now that He has given your brothers rest, just as He promised them, return to your homes in your own land that Moses the Lord's servant gave you across the Jordan. Joshua 22:3-4 HCSB

Recently there was a story in the news of a man who had been captured by the enemy troops in Afghanistan. Then came stories that he had been released as a result of a deal that President Obama had struck with the captors. Five men were released from a United Statesprison in exchange for this soldier's release. At first the soldier was praised as a hero but then came reports that the United States Army was going to charge the soldier with desertion of his fellow troops and helping the enemy.

In this Scripture passage, Joshua praised the soldiers for being faithful to their word and commitment. They had not deserted their brothers and had done exactly what the Lord God had commanded them to do. It would have been easy for these men to say, “We are safe in our homes and we should not be required to fight a battle that does not benefit us personally orour families.” Instead, they willingly went and fought with their fellow countrymen to help secure land for their brothers and their families.

Challenge: As Christians we have been given the command to “Go and make disciples” but many of us have deserted and not followed our Lord's command. We often seem to only be concerned with ourselves and what is going to be best for our families. We have little concern for our friends, relatives, work associates and neighbors who desperately need to know Jesus as Lord. Pray and ask God for forgiveness for deserting your responsibility. Ask Him to help you to remain faithful to do what He has commanded.

Have You Done Everything?

Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh and told them, “You have done everything Moses the Lord's servant commanded you and have obeyed me in everything I commanded you. Joshua 22:1-2 HCSB

I took a class in college in which the professor allowed his students to contract for a grade. He laid out the requirements for each grade. Of course the requirements for earning an “A” in the class were a lot greater than those required for earning a “C”. Why would some people settle for just making a “C” when they knew what they needed to do to earn an “A”? It is just like people who do the bare minimum to get by in a job versus those who go above and beyond what is expected. I am sure that those who contracted for a “C” in the class were also the type of people who did the bare minimum at their jobs while those who contracted for an “A” were constantly looking for ways they could improve and do a better job.

These tribes had done “everything” that was required of them. They were like those who worked to make an “A” instead of a “C” in the class. They had not done the bare minimum; rather they had done “everything” and obeyed in “everything” that had been commanded. These were the tribes that Moses had promised land on the East side of the Jordan River, but they were required to cross over the Jordan River and fight with the other tribes to settle the land. They had sent their fighting men to fight with the other tribes (see Joshua 1:12-18).

Challenge: Have you done everything that God has commanded? Jesus commanded us to “Go and make disciples . . . teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (see Matthew 28:19-20). Are you spending time getting to know exactly what Jesus Christ commanded? Have you committed “everything” to God or are you holding back something? God desires for us to obey Him in “everything”.

Willingly Obey

“I am the Lord's slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 HCSB

While in college I struggled to determine what God wanted me to do with my life. Every year I changed my major looking for something that I could be passionate about. My father was a pastor and I did not have any desire to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to blaze my own trail and do something different. During the summer between my junior and senior year I attended a family enrichment conference with my parents and my grandmother. I really did not want to go, but it was through that conference that I felt God calling me into ministry. Ichanged my major one last time and then went to Southern seminary to prepare for ministry. I have been in full-time ministry for forty years. Even though there have been many challenging times, God has been good and has richly blessed me in many ways.

God called Mary to serve Him in a very unique role. She faced a lot of uncertainty. Would Joseph reject her? Would her parents reject her? Would anyone really believe her when she said she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit? Would people think she was crazy? Even though there was a big risk involved in following God's call, Mary willing obeyed and said, “May everything you have said come true.” The future was uncertain but she knew that she could trust God with her life.

Challenge: What has God called you to do? He may not call you to be a minister or to bear a child like Mary but He does have a plan for your life. It is a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, but you must willingly obey and follow His will for your life. Make a renewed commitment to serving God. Write down ways you can serve God in the coming year. Pray and offer yourself to God even if it means you will face some challenging days ahead.

With God All Things Are Possible

Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?” The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:34-35 HCSB

Some find it hard to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. Luke was a medical doctor and would have been the first to question if a child could be born of a virgin. We know that Luke researched and took great pride in making sure that what he wrote was accurate. He often interviewed eyewitnesses to confirm the facts. Many believe that he actually interviewed Mary and this is the story as told by Mary, therefore, it is not some fictional story that someone made up.

God is able to do what we might consider to be impossible; such as the parting of the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho falling down, and providing food and water for the Israelites in the dessert. The Bible has many examples that tell us that God is a powerful God that can speak words and create the universe. He is more than capable of causing a virgin to conceive and give birth. It is hard for us to understand how this could happen, but we must accept it on faith. Jesus was fully God and fully man. Jesus had to be fully man and experience all that man experiences including temptation without sinning. He also was fully God and capable of doing the impossible such as feeding thousands with only two fish and five loaves of bread, walking on water, and healing the sick. This is a mystery but we must accept that Jesus was the Son of God.

Challenge: Has God ever askyou to do something that you thought was impossible? Has God provided a way for you when there seemed to be no way out? Thank God for providing a perfect and holy Savior for you through His Son Jesus Christ.

Following God’s Plan

Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. Luke 1:30-31 HCSB

Put yourself in the shoes of Mary. Just imagine the emotions and feelings that she must have felt. The angel tells her she will conceive and give birth to a son. Mary had never been intimate with a man and she was engaged to be married to Joseph. Surely, she must of thought, “How is this going to be finding favor with God?” This news was only going to bring ridicule and rejection from her peers, her fiance would probably divorce her at the least and he could have her stoned to death for being unfaithful to him. This certainly did not sound like good news and finding favor with God.

Then the angel tells Maryof how her son will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High (referring to God), and that God will give Him the throne of David. This must have sounded better but Mary did not know that her son would be rejected and murdered. Being the mother of Christ was certainly a blessing but it also brought a lot of pain and hurt as she watched her son die a painful death on a criminal's cross.

Challenge: Being selected by God to do His will may bring happiness, honor, and favor but it may also bring ridicule, rejection, and pain. Pray that God will use you to accomplish His will. Be willing to do whatever God has called you to do.

God Has Chosen You

And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:28-30 HCSB

We all remember picking teams when we were children. The two best players would usually be the captains and would alternate picking those they wanted on his team. Of course they would pick the best players first. OftenI was one of the last two kids to be picked. The last captain to pick would say, “Okay, I will take him.” as if he was doing me a big favor to even let me be on his team. He really did not want me on his team but I was the only one left to be picked.

Mary was not the last to be picked but was the first to be picked by God. She found favor with God and was selected to bear a Son – God's only Son. What a privilege and honor. Mary was not perfect but obviously she had caught God's eye even though she was a young, poor, and inexperienced teenager. God selected her for the important task of raising a little boy that someday would walk on water and die on the cross for the sins of the world.

Challenge: God has selected you for a specific task (see Jeremiah 29:11). Ask Him to show you the way and give you direction as you seek to know Him and make Him known to others. You may feel that you don't have any abilities, experience, or education to be of any service to God.If God can take a young, poor, and uneducated girl like Mary and use her for His glory, then God can certainly use you no matter what abilities or experiences you may or may not possess.



In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 HCSB

As a teenager I delivered the Gainesville Sun newspaper to people in my neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida. I would load up the big basket on the front of my bicycle and ride down the middle of the street throwing papers to the houses on both sides of the street. One year I won the Newspaper Boy of the Year award. In a sense, I was a messenger of the news. Unlike today when we have the internet to provide our news as soon as it breaks, in those days the newspaper was a major source of information.

Gabriel the angel was a messenger sent from God. He was delivering the message or news from God to Mary. “In the sixth month” is referring to the pregnancy of Elizabeth rather than the sixth month of the year. The name “angel” actually means messenger in Greek. Gabriel's main job seemed to be delivering important messages from God. More than 500 years earlier, Gabriel delivered a message to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:15-17, 9:21).

Challenge: As a Christian, God has sent you to be a messenger of the Good News of Jesus Christ. His final command to the disciples of Jesus was to “Go and make disciples.” That is still God's command. We are to go and share the message and teachings of Jesus Christ. How well are you serving as a messenger for God? He is depending on you and me to deliver the Good News to those we encounter each day.