II Chronicles 23-24

God always has a remnant.

For Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, to be queen of Judah was like Satan himself taking over God’s country. The temple was trampled, many of the holy things of the house were transferred for use by the priests of the Baals.( Baal was her God, just as he was her parents’). Hard times in Israel.

Yet God’s righteous man arose with a plan. Jehoiada, the priest, rallied some faithful leaders and they surrounded Joash, took him out of hiding, and crowned him king. Then they seized Athaliah and put her to death.

Joash was only seven years old when he was crowned king, but he had a wonderful mentor in Jehoiada. The priest led some people to destroy all of the altars and items of Baal, and they set out to restore the temple. Joash followed his lead and began raising money to restore the temple.

“Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.”(24:2)

It’s interesting to note here that as soon as a leader arose, there were many who followed. That’s something for us to consider today. When we look at our nation and see the immorality, the seeming apathy of believers, and the general trends of thought, we might think that there is no hope for us. But that’s not true.

There are many who want God’s purposes to be done, but they don’t have the drive or the gift to take charge. God is looking for some who will step up to the challenge.

When leaders step forth, there are those who will follow. You can see that in some of the grass-roots movements which are rising up in our nation today. There are many – looking for a leader to challenge them.

People with vision and determination to affect change will always be in high demand. By God and by men.

Leaders, however, can take people in either direction – up or down. So it’s important to take care just whom you are aligned with.

After Jehoiada’s death, Joash listened to others and forsook the true God, going after the Asherim and other idols. When Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son, tried to bring them back to the Lord, Joash had him killed.

The child king, who had  helped lead his people back to the Lord, forsook his God at the end of his life. (Reminds you of Solomon, doesn’t it)?

I never want to turn away from my God , or to get lukewarm. I want to bear fruit all the days of my life.

John 15

This chapter is the key to a true life in Christ. Jesus gives us the imagery of a vine with many branches. He’s the vine and we are the branches.

So how are we connected? We are connected by the life flow of the Holy Spirit. We don’t each have our own root systems; our roots are in Jesus. As the sap flows from the roots of the vine and gives life to the branches, so does God’s anointing – His Holy Spirit – flow from Jesus and give us life.

When a vine grows, every healthy branch will bear fruit. Every branch which has the flow of sap coming in fullness will produce the purpose. In the same way, if there is a steady flow of God’s anointing, the Holy Spirit through us from Jesus, we will be producing fruit. The only way we don’t produce the fruit is if we disconnect ourselves  from the vine.

Branches which don’t produce fruit are not connected – they are fake branches. Those branches will be cut off and thrown away. And if we, as a branch do produce fruit, we will be pruned so that we will be more fruitful. Through His Word and correction He will keep us vital.

I love this image. This shows how Christianity is so different from all other religions. Every other religion has a list of rules which people are to follow. These rules are to make one holy, with sometimes promises of a hereafter.

Christianity is totally different. It’s not a set of rules; it’s a life. It’s God’s life within us.

We have literally a new birth within our spirits so that we have God’s very life – the sap of the vine – leading us, guiding us, giving us wisdom, and even empowering us to live this new life.

For those who have never tasted of this life, it sounds like science fiction, but for those who have tasted of it, this is very real. As we read these passages we begin to understand why we feel so different and look at life so differently after we become born again. We are changed; we are different.

This reminds me of the story about Augustine, who wrote the City of God, and other works in the early centuries of Christianity. Augustine had been an atheist, living an extremely worldly lifestyle up until the time he met his Savior. During that time, he lived with a mistress for many years.

About ten years after his salvation, Augustine happened to meet his old lover on the street. She ran up to speak to him, but he walked by her, seeming not to notice her. She said, “Augustine, look at me. It is I!” He turned and looked at her and said, “But it is not I.”

Augustine was referring to the fact that he had been totally changed. He was not the old man, Augustine, but a new man, God’s man. A new creature in Christ.

Augustine was now living – not a life of the flesh, but a life of the spirit – with the source of his life being from his Savior.

This is so important. As children of God, we are no longer who we were before we got saved, but now we are His people. Our sins have been forgiven and we have the privilege of walking in the newness of life He has given us.

Oh, I hope we can get this!