A friend of mine, Georgia R. Wilson, recently published a speculative fiction book, "Lost Legend of Vahilele." I had the privilege of writing a blurb on the back cover. As many writers do, Georgia changed it from its working title, "Rampart of the Phoenix." I was partial to the original, but it is her book, so I tried to be supportive of her final choice. It's what writing buddies do.
This week, in one of my daily devotions by Catherine Marshall, the word rampart came up again, in a different context. Her subject was spiritual warfare, and she referred to the story in Genesis 2 of Abraham and Isaac as they climbed Mt. Moriah. Marshall speculated that Abraham probably listened to the devil all the way up the mountain, tempting him to doubt the God who had made a promise to him. God told Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations, and here God was asking him to kill his only covenant son. (Side note: Dennis wrote a great song about this story.)
Abraham may have been struggling with his thoughts as Marshall stated, but I tend to believe that the Father of Faith had no doubt that God had a plan. Abraham trusted Him and knew God would not break his promise. But either way, whether he battled doubt and fear from satan, or his faith was strong and steady in spite of the circumstances, something was happening on the other side of the mountain.
God's provision was climbing, too, toward the same altar. The ram had been provided and began his journey up the mountain at the same time Abraham and Isaac started theirs. The message? Our job is to obey and trust that God has a plan. God's job is the "ram-part."
That may be kind of funny, but it's worth thinking about. I looked up rampart in the dictionary and the definition in light of this story is interesting. Rampart: A solid protective barrier, a broad embankment, a strong fortified place surrounded with defenses. A safeguard or support.
Doesn't that sound like what God provides for us every day? Especially when we struggle to understand his instructions? When nothing makes sense to our minds? He protects, strengthens, fortifies, and defends. We run to Him and find support and safety. Next time the devil tells you lies, and everything he says is a lie, remember that God has provided a way of escape even if you can't see it yet. The answer is on the other side of the mountain making its way toward you. Let God take care of the ram-part. Our loving Heavenly Father will set you high above on His rampart of love.
Natural rampart photo: from headland on the west coast of Vatulele, setting of Georgia Wilson's book.
I have shared this before, but this month marks the 45th Anniversary of this team's KS State Basketball tourney 2nd Place finish. I'm partial to #12. I'm at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, but Dennis is home watching basketball. His favorite time of year.
When you've been married to a basketball coach for over 40 years, you know that March is all about the tournaments. Dennis is watching in our camper already. These are a few of my fav March Madness photos, past and present. Rock Chalk, TarHawk!
Pretty sure my Stacie has one of these in her Heavenly log mansion!
This is the day the LORD has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. And have some fun today!
In light of current events and tragedies, nothing I had thought about for my post today seemed appropriate. So, I will share this favorite photo of a compassionate Jesus and these Words from my devotions today, found in the Message Bible, Ephesians 5:1-2.
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
I will add that tomorrow is National Caregivers Day. Since I have been a full-time caregiver at different times to my husband, my mother, and my daughter, this act of love and compassion is dear to my heart. If you know someone who takes care of aging parents, family with health issues, or those with special needs, or is in a caregiving occupation, take time to say thank you tomorrow. And maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help take care of them. God's love and compassion is what the world needs now. Share it.
I was just going to post the first photo from my "Funny Book Stuff" scrapbook, but decided it was a little cynical for this season of love. So, I found a photo that was taken close to our first Valentine's Day together. And a more recent one. Notice the look alike coats and Raggedy Ann and Andy shirts from 1973. I still have my Raggedy collection, and apparently I've never outgrown ruffly hats! My sweet man has always put up with his funny Valentine! I am BLESSED!
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis since 1974, enjoys living in the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.