My father died in January 2012. At his funeral service my brother, John told a story I had never heard. Simply that our Great Grand Father and his wife, his pregnant wife, had made plans to immigrate to Canada, and had bought tickets aboard an ocean liner. The day of their trip was approaching, and his wife’s morning sickness was too much for her, and they had to give up their tickets, in order to let the sickness pass. They could sail to the New World on a later date. No big deal, right? Well, Great Grandpa Alexander was maybe a bit disappointed that he wouldn’t be along on the maiden voyage of the new, state of the Art Ocean Liner. At least part of his excitement of their journey had to be effected by that fact. I’m sure he wondered, “Why God?!?”
I won’t have to explain much about that to any of you. Because that Ship was the Titanic.
My father never once breathed a word of this story to me. Our family line would have been wiped out, I would never have come into being. But this fact helped me understand something else.
My Great Grand Alexander Brand’s bible, a leather bound King James Version, was given to me by his sister, my Great Aunt once upon a long time ago, and as I read through it I noticed certain scriptures underlined. I figured I knew why he’d underlined one verse in particular, but as I suddenly realized not too long ago something far more special lay in the reason for underlining it.
Zechariah 3:2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a BRAND plucked out of the fire? KJV
Way back when I first leafed through his bible I thought he was just being cute or something having found his own name in the bible. But not just his name, the name of his family line. As I look a little into the context of that verse I see this:
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
Grace! Mercy! And a commission to walk in God’s ways. Not just for himself alone, but for the generation God was sending him to. And from that I say, that our salvation is not for us alone. It is not for us to hold close to our hearts as we lay in a bunker, buried deep beneath the earth as it implodes and decays on the exposed ground above. Saved to be a soldier armed against the enemy to set the captives free.
Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
We cannot bring down the enemies strongholds in the lives of the people all around us in any other way but by HIS SPIRIT. It is useless to pray, and preach, and do good works, unless we ourselves are like Joshua . . . stripped naked – humbled, and all that he is stripped from him, naked before God ready for a new beginning.
Clothed in the garments God has provided.
Oh blessed God speak to me, and to each of these who read this.
I see Adam and Eve in the garden finger pointing at each other, and Adam even points the finger at God, “…this woman you gave me, gave me the fruit to eat” And God not only deals with their sin, but strips them of their feeble garments, and clothes them himself. I see the connection there to broken cisterns that hold no water . . .
Fig leaves – cisterns
Fountain of living water – clothed in Jesus Righteousness
Are you burdened about this world, the lost, or maybe the one’s persecuted for their faith? First go before God, listen as he exposes your filthy rags, and strips you naked. Keep praying as he clothes you ! We cannot reach this world. There is no good news in us . . . our flesh, the good news is Jesus Christ who died to save us, and rose again, ever living to intercede for us. We are not alone, nor are we saved to keep it to ourselves. I am thankful for many things this morning, and one of them is for the faithfulness of Angela and her husband Art who have set their minds on Christ, on getting back to basics. They are crying out to be led out of Egypt, and getting ready for the HIKE OUT . . . Thank You Lord for your faithfulness and love, Amen
My brother John tells me also that this story told to him by our great aunt Janet, one of Alexander’s daughters. Actually, she was the daughter great grandmother was pregnant with when they were to board the Titanic. She was born in October, 1912 in Canada a few months after the Titanic went down.
She told him that Alexander was working with his brother, if memory serves, in a shop on Cumberland Avenue in Winnipeg. They had looked out the window at a banner stretched out across the street advertising revival meetings at what was to become Calvary Temple, Winnipeg. Great grandfather had exclaimed: ‘this is it.’ He became one of the founding members of Calvary Temple, a flagship of the PAOC.
John reminds himself of this story in conjunction with the legacy he has left behind him. He helped to launch that great flagship. That was where he chose to work out his burden.
In other words, the vision he had been given did not fail. It was fruitful and helped many to come to a place where they could hear the word.
John wrote me:
How powerful that word from Zechariah 3 must have been to our great-grandfather! He was truly a ‘brand plucked out of the fire.’ And we are the legacy. Thanks, for sharing that!
Every believer has a call to be his witness. For us brothers, it has been a particular burden, like a survivor’s guilt syndrome, I have often thought. Even though we didn’t know where the feeling of being special had originated from, we have each wrestled with it. It is something to be managed by keeping it in context. And the burden must be borne with patience.
Hopefully, we will be able to say ‘I have fought the good fight’ that we have run with patience the race that was set before us and that we might be given a crown of righteousness for a job well done.
I wrote back to John:
Amen, John, I am so humbled by all of this. I can do nothing to save the world around me, absolutely nothing. But clothed in the Righteousness that comes from
Luke 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
This verse is significant here . . . these verses come to me, I don’t strain my brain trying to come up with a verse to illustrate a point I’m trying to make, but rather, as I start to speak – or type – a verse pops into my mind . . . I stop to ponder what God is saying, and look at verse 27
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”
It’d be like us stopping there saying, “Oh! To be there with Great Grandpa Alexander! What a loss that I never knew him, and thus be touched by his faith” That was the work that WAS we are the work that IS.
Mary’s “greatness” was not in allowing God to use her womb for Jesus to be born, nor in her nursing him, and raising him . . . it was in her obedience. Remember that the angel appeared to her and said, “this is what will happen…” and she accepted. She didn’t just find herself pregnant by God one morning . . . God gave her the heads up, and she had an opportunity to say, NO WAY, but instead she said,
Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
We are blessed, and we are only one story, only one branch plucked from the fire, there are many, many soldiers raised up, we are part of the body of Christ, God’s building,
Ephesians 2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.