On April 10, 1912 the Titanic, the largest and most luxurious ocean liner up to that time, left port for its maiden voyage. It was decorated with the latest and greatest of all things; it had the new wireless telegraph which provided passengers the unheard of ability to communicate with people thousands of miles away, ornately decorated staterooms in first class, and for safety, advanced watertight compartments.
One of the most luxurious if not THE most luxurious appointment on the ship was the ‘Grand Staircase’, reserved for use by first class passengers. Above was a large glass dome letting in natural light, and the staircase and surrounding woodwork were ornately carved.
The flooring around the Grand Staircase was also the most modern and luxurious of the time, using a newer process that was all the rage in which linseed oil was solidified and mixed with pine rosin and wood dust with coloring to form a tile flooring. Yes, the flooring around the base of that Grand Staircase, that most luxurious appointment on the most luxurious ocean liner ever built, was…linoleum.
In their day linoleum was the ‘in’ thing, the most luxurious flooring money could buy, but in our day it is among the least expensive and most common of flooring.
What is now the ‘in’ thing, will one day be the old thing. In the world people proclaim things like ‘this is what Paris is wearing’ or ‘all the stars are wearing these’, but next year the stars will be wearing something different and Paris models will be showing off new styles on the runways.
God doing a new thing?
In church circles whatever is the latest and greatest is often labeled ‘This is a new thing the Lord is doing’. But in the book of Acts, which covers over 30 years, and the rest of the New Testament which covers a total of about 70 years, we don’t see the authors saying that God is doing anything new other than the work of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in man. The New Testament IS the new thing.
Consider that – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James – authors of the New Testament, pillars of the faith, chosen by the Lord to live and die in that time in history, over the course of 70 years of their faith, never wrote anywhere the Lord is doing something new other than Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Of course someone new to the Lord will rightly exclaim it is a new life for them, but in terms of what heaven is doing their salvation and baptism with the Holy Spirit is what He has been doing the last 2,000 years. It is only new to us while He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Same old stuff for me to work on
I can’t speak for you, but for me, He is still working on things in me He started when I was first born again as a 16 year old. He has never stopped working on me, fine tuning, changing things in me that I can trace back over decades in my life. I don’t need a ‘new thing’ until and unless I first mature in the old things.
The family in Colorado Springs – love the world?
I was teaching a class in Colorado Springs and after the day’s session 4 of us went out to eat. As we walked to our booth I noticed a large family in the middle of the room who had pushed together several tables – there were about 10 or 14 people, with the kids at one end and adults at the other.
I also immediately saw angels standing behind some of the people, and there was one angel clearly in charge. It isn’t unusual for the Lord to open my eyes to see His realm while I also see the natural world but I did wonder why that was happening at a restaurant.
As the 4 of us ordered our meal I kept a running conversation going with my friends, while also turning to my left to talk to the angel standing a few feet away. In the natural it looked like I was just looking to my left for a glance at that large group, but in the Spirit I was talking with the angel. The first thing I asked was ‘Are these people believers?’ to which he replied they were.
Then he added; “But they love this world with the toys and distractions in it. They go to church, but only when it is convenient with their plans, and rarely read the Bible or even talk of the Lord at home.” I asked what it was like to guard them and he surprised me saying: “It’s more fun to guard people like you.” I told him I thought they’d be busier with carnal Christians, but he responded:
“No. Because of their love for this world and the things in it they have shut the Lord out of their lives in those many areas. If a person is walking with Him they are more sensitive to His direction, but when they are doing their own thing they have tuned Him out, making them insensitive to the things of the Spirit and preventing us from protecting them or even warning them of things to come.”
I took that as a hint, so I turned my attention to a boy about age 12 sitting at the far end, all alone, and an angel standing right behind him. The angel seemed rather subdued in his mood – quiet, somber, looking at the boy. There was a heaviness about the whole family, and I was still wondering why I was seeing them.
So I asked the angel about the boy, and then I learned why my eyes were opened to see them: “As it stands now, this boy will die in an ATV (all terrain vehicle) accident when he is about 15.” With that, suddenly a large scene like on a TV appeared in the air next to the angel above the boy as he was seated at the table. I saw this family in the woods and somehow I knew it was a Sunday and they should have been in church but chose to take their 4 wheelers into the mountains that day.
They had made a ramp of dirt and were jumping their vehicles over it, flying a good distance, and then I saw this boy, older now, jump his vehicle and somehow it tilted back like he was trying a backwards flip but didn’t make it. The scene froze as his vehicle with him on the seat was upside down with his head about to touch the ground and the whole thing falling on him – and then it disappeared.
At that point I interrupted the conversation my 3 friends were having, and told them what I just told you. I realized my eyes had been opened to see and talk to the angels so that we could intercede and stop that horrible accident from taking that boy’s life 3 years in the future, and that this family would return to their first love. We prayed right there, and when I looked back at the angels – the lead one smiled as did the one standing behind the boy, and they disappeared.
My host that night then observed, “This explains something that I’ve experienced from time to time through the years. I’ll be somewhere and see a person and feel grieved and sad in my spirit, almost to the point if I let myself go, I could stop and weep right there. It has happened in airports or just when out and about in a normal routine – I’ll see someone among the hundreds and feel this deep sorrow - and I felt that when we walked in and I saw that family, but I didn’t know why. Now I know I am sensing the Holy Spirit’s sadness over someone’s walk with the Lord, that they aren’t walking with Him as they should, maybe they love the world rather than putting all their love on Him.”
We cannot live in the present in Him if we have also given our heart to the world and the things therein. His presence requires being in the present – leaving all love of the world, all people, all the past and future at the door – to be wholly and completely devoted to Him. Amazingly, He isn’t ignorant of our needs or desires, and as Solomon asked for wisdom rather than riches or victory over enemies*, because (at that point in his life) he was completely in the present when he asked for wisdom, the Lord gave him the things he didn’t ask for. *I Kings 3:5-14
May we live come before His presence with thanksgiving and praise, focused on the present, focused on Who we are worshipping, Who we are exalting, wholly and completely focused on Him. If we do so, the rest will be provided and fall into place in our lives.
New subject next week, blessings,