Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. —2 Chronicles 24:2

Joash must have been confused and frightened when he was told about the evil deeds of his grandmother Athaliah. She had murdered his brothers to usurp the power of the throne in Judah. But baby Joash had been safely hidden away by his aunt and uncle for 6 years (2 Chron. 22:10-12). As he grew, he enjoyed the love and instruction of his caregivers. When Joash was only 7 years old, he was secretly crowned king and his grandmother was overthrown (23:12-15).

Young King Joash had a wise counselor by his side—his very own Uncle Jehoiada (chs. 22–25). Joash was one of the rare “good kings” of Judah, and while his uncle was alive he obeyed the Lord by doing right (24:2). But once his uncle was no longer there to teach and lead by example, Joash fell away and his life ended badly (24:15-25). It seems that the roots of his faith did not run very deep. He even began to worship idols. Perhaps Joash’s “faith” had been more his uncle’s than his own.

Others can teach us the principles of their faith, but each of us must come individually to a lasting and personal faith in Christ. For faith to be real, it must become our own. God will help us walk with Him and become rooted and established in the faith (Col. 2:6-7). By Cindy Hess Kasper

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee. —Crosby

The faith that continues to the end gives proof that it was genuine in the beginning.

The Impact of Prayer

John 17:20-26

God has total authority over all people and events. He knows the hearts of men, how each person will act, and what steps are needed to achieve His purposes. At the same time, He calls us to pray.

Colossians 4:2 says we are to devote ourselves to prayer. Communication with God is so vital, in fact, that we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Our lives should be characterized by continuous listening, talking, and relating to our heavenly Father. The Scriptures explain why this is so important:

Prayer changes us. As we seek God’s face and spend time in His Word, we will be transformed. Our desires will be replaced by His, and our thinking will align more closely with His thoughts. As our understanding of His character grows, we will have a better idea of how to pray in accordance with His will.

The Lord answers prayer (James 5:16). God has promised to listen and respond to the prayers of His children (Isa. 65:24). He assures us that He will act when our petitions are in Jesus’ name—which is to say, when they match His will and His timing (John 14:13).

Prayer invites God to act. Praying doesn’t alter God’s purposes or plans, nor does it cause Him to change His mind. What He has decided will occur, and His decisions will be exactly the right ones to accomplish what He wants to achieve. Our prayers are powerful when, without reservation, we invite God to do His work in our lives and the lives of others.

What impact, then, does prayer have? It allows people, who are inadequate, to connect with an all-sufficient God. Hallelujah!

Scripture and the Christian Life

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7-9)

Most Christians spend little time in the Word of the Lord, and this is a great tragedy. It is the necessary food for health and joy in our spiritual lives. “The sincere milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2) is for “newborn babes” and the “strong meat” is for those who are not “unskilful in the word of righteousness” (Hebrews 5:12-13). “Thy words” are also “honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103), and “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” is the very bread by which “doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Not only are the Scriptures basic in salvation (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 1:23) but also in sanctification and cleansing day by day: “That he might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

The Scriptures also provide daily guidance for those who will use their directions: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Every Christian must be a seed-sowing witness for Christ, and “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). In the Christian’s armor, the sole offensive weapon is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and this means a victorious life and testimony for the Christian who uses it.

The wonderful testimony of David in our text is the Old Testament equivalent of the great assertion by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” HMM

Great peace have they which love Thy law, and they have none occasion of stumbling

Great peace have they which love Thy law, and they have none occasion of stumbling.—Psalm 119:165 (R. V.).

IN Thy might all things I bear,
In Thy love find bitter sweet,
And with all my grief and care,
Sit in patience at Thy feet.

WHAT you need to do, is to put your will over completely into the hands of your Lord, surrendering to Him the entire control of it, Say, “Yes, Lord, Yes” to everything, and trust Him so to work in you to will, as to bring your whole wishes and affections into conformity with His own sweet, and lovable, and most lovely will. It is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him. He turns hard things into easy, and bitter things into sweet. It is not that He puts easy things in the place of the hard, but He actually changes the hard thing into an easy one. HANNAH WHITALL SMITH.

It has been well remarked, It is not said that after keeping God’s commandments, but in keeping them there is great reward. God has linked these two things together, and no man can separate them—obedience and peace. F.W. ROBERTSON.

Poor, yet making many rich

Poor, yet making many rich. 2 Corinthians 6:10

Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. — Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. — My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. — God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? —Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 8:9. John 1:16. Philippians 4:19. 2 Corinthians 9:8. James 2:5. 1 Corinthians 1:26,27. 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Proverbs 3:13

Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might: … but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD. — The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. — In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. —Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

Christ Jesus, … is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

He that winneth souls is wise.

Proverbs 8:35. Jeremiah 9:23,24. Proverbs 9:10. Philippians 3:7,8. Colossians 2:3. Proverbs 8:14. 1 Corinthians 1:30. Proverbs 1:30.