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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, March 27, 2017

Women of Honor


“But Ruth replied (to her mother-in-law), "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16  NIV

March is National Women’s History Month. I would like to honor parsonage women, spouses of pastors.

As the wife of a minister, I remember my first women’s meeting at a new church we began serving. A woman asked an innocent question. “What do you believe is the role of the pastor’s wife and their children?”

My answer was simple, “My children are on display for no one.” As to the roll of the pastor’s wife, I said, “God has given me some talents and training, one is vocal music. I would like to sing in the choir. Another is my degree in Education so I’d like to teach a Sunday school class if needed.” Then, I thought of the hundreds of women who have moved to join congregations and are completely misunderstood. I smiled and added, “Sorry, even with a minor in music, I do not play the piano; and, I have no particular talent in the kitchen. With my husband gone nearly every evening, I will be home with our children. I’ll not be at the church every time the lights are on.” Sounds harsh? No, it’s honest—no surprises, no disappointments, no failed expectations.

I honor all those wives and parsonage families who have to find a new physician every few years in a completely strange community. They must search out the most economic local grocery; which vet is best for their pets; organize play-dates for their lonely children; seek which merchants to trade with in order to not offend members of the church; . . . those who wait at home night after night for their minister husband to come home from meetings. I honor all those women who rear their children to walk in the footprints of Christ, who show up for recitals, track meets, and gather around the kitchen table every night to complete homework. I honor the love and loyalty they give to their husbands whom God called into ministry. The Lord God also called their spouse into the blessed unit called “family.” I honor parsonage women who create “family” for their children and respect their husband, even when absent. Let us pray”

“Father God, creator of all there is, you have called some into a walk with you that requires uprooting young plants from their bed of security. Holy is your name and blessed are those who walk in your paths. I ask that you bless all those women who honor you by keeping their children safe so that the world may not touch them, even though they are dug-up and replanted in new soil. May that newness be a blessing and fresh nourishment, not a curse on those who love and follow you. We give up all sense of “home-town” and claim Heaven as our home. In the name of Jesus Christ whom we follow, I pray. Amen”
Doris
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2017 Doris Gaines Rapp



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Unto Us

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

What did you get for Christmas? I received God's son: His love, His forgiveness, His grace, His peace and His song. Why have we not learned --- the one who gave the most, the biggest, the most precious ... was God?

The true meaning of Christmas is giving, not receiving. The real joy of Christmas is seeing the light in another's eyes when you give them a gift. The real "magic" of Christmas is in finding the miracle of love. The only gift of Christmas is Christ the child, the son of God. And, yes, the King of Kings was given for you, for me, and for all of us. Let us pray:

"Father God, Abba - Daddy, I crawl upon your lap as a tiny child, and breathe in the essence of your sweetness. You are pure Love. With your love you created all there is, and nothing that is was not yours first. I was yours before I was born. When you gave me life, you gave me the freedom to choose life or death. Your precious son, Jesus, taught me how to live in you and you in me. There is no gift more perfect than Jesus. For His love and life, I give you thanks. Forgive me for the times when I forget how to live my life in you. May this Christmas day, when we celebrate the birth of Love, be the day I live a life of your peace. In the name of Jesus, the babe of the manger I pray. Amen"
Doris
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp

Also, read www.dorisgainesrapp.blogspot.com

Friday, December 9, 2016

In Those Days

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.”... And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the City of David called Bethlehem, since he was from the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to him in marriage ad was expecting a child.”   Luke 2:1 and 3-5 (NIV)

The story of Christmas, the birthday celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ, starts with a statement of fact, a link to actual history—“In those days…” not, “Once upon a time.” The addition of a jolly elf whose purpose is to bring joy and happiness to all the children of the world, and his flying reindeer, a species of Rangifer tarandus, known in North America as Caribou, is a fun story that allows the shifting of generosity from the child’s parents to Santa Claus. One story is anchored in history and the other is a once upon a time story floating in fantasy. Always remember, there is only one reason for Santa Claus to have a motive for sharing joy—because joy, peace, love, and song came to earth in the form of a tiny baby over two thousand years ago.

This year, help your children to be “givers’ rather than “takers.” They can give gifts of service, helping family and neighbors by doing jobs within their age ability, and gifts of love, visiting aged grandparents and friends. They can let the Baby Jesus shine through them, bringing others to the manger of love. Love and joy are what the season is all about. Children of all ages can understand that.

The miracle of Christmas is not an elf. It’s the presence of angels who announced to the world that we no longer need to be afraid. Jesus has entered the world, and specifically has entered our own lives. He will always bring to our hearts the song heard on a silent hillside—Hallelujah, the son of God is born to you…and to even me. Rather than a list of I-wants, help your children write a list of I-gives. Every time they hear a bell ring, they can know that another angel has announced in song that the Christ child is in their heart, ringing out a song of peace and love. Let us pray:

“Holy Father, love divine, you shine your star-light above my home every Christmas and miraculously, on the homes of everyone who believe in you. Every time I hear a bell ring, may I remember that your son, Jesus, came into the world to bring joy and forgiveness, and to remind me to love and serve you. Forgive me when I have been an I-want child of Santa’s rather than an I-will child of the Child of Christmas. Let me be a part of bringing your joy and love to earth this Christmas. In the name of your son, Jesus, our savior, and the true reason for Christmas, I pray. Amen”
Doris
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Christmas List

For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever”  1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV)

 

No matter how important and busy we think we are, only those we love are of true value. I’ve thought a lot about how quickly time slips away and withers like grass. If your dad is eighty-five years old, you may have only two to five Christmases left with him. When did you call him last? When were you last there for the Christmas ham?

 

If your sister has health problems, you may have only two or three New Year’s Eve celebrations with her. If your brother is going back to the middle-east in mid-December, there may not be another Christmas to say, “I’m glad you’re here.”

 

If your son or daughter has a Christmas pageant on December 21, the last day of school before Christmas break, but you have a business meeting the same evening, there may not be another Christmas between you to say, “I’m here for you because I love you.”

 

Don’t let time wither like grass or fall to the ground like the browned peddles of dead flowers. Time is a gift. Once the present has been rejected, ignored or squandered, that moment will never be given back—no do-overs—no maybe-next-year. Today is the only real there is. It won’t wait for you, and you can never catch up. You can only write that letter to a dying friend while they are still here to read and enjoy it.

 

Who is on your Christmas list? Let this be the Christmas that joy and love return to your heart, when time with those you love, top what you want. How many Christmases remain in your relationship with someone? Let us pray:

 

“Holy Father, Abba of Christ, I bow before your holy name. May your kingdom come into the world during this blessed time so that all may find your peace at the side of the manger. For this Christmas, I want nothing for myself. I only ask that those who are sick are free from pain; those who are lonely may find a friend; those I have forgotten may be first in my thoughts. Forgive me for when I have been selfish; for when I have crossed your son’s name out of his own birthday and chose to celebrate things; and for when I have wasted the precious time you have given me. In the name of the Christ in Christmas I pray. Amen”

Doris

 

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp
Length of Days trilogy, by Doris Gaines Rapp: All three are available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, as well at Cokesbury.com
Length of Days – The Age of Silence   (© 2014)
Length of Days – Beyond the Valley of the Keepers  (© 2015)
Length of Days – Search for Freedom  (© 2016)
News at Eleven - A Novel
Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow
Smoke from Distant Fires
Escape from the Belfry
Escape from the Shadows – sequel will be out in late 2016 or early 2017

 


 

Monday, October 10, 2016

What Happened to Respect?

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 ESV

My friends, do we really want to contribute to the demise of the American male? Sit-coms consistently present the bright and capable wife and mother, and the dumb and bumbling husband and father. In politics, we have one candidate who has talked about helping women and children for her entire career. Where are the words of encouragement for the husbands and fathers who respect their wife and are loyal and hard-working for their family? The other candidate made inappropriate, swaggering comments about women ten years ago, insulting his wife and family. How can I help them to understand?
I won’t try to be politically correct since PC is a made-up phenomenon to silence those who are different than we are. I only lift up these ideas as food for thought. In the greater human race, there should be no race to superiority between males and females. We are in desperate times and desperately need the wisdom and strength of both men and women. It is NOT a male/female contest. It is a challenge of ideas and policies.
One example to ponder as bits and pieces of possible accuracy: Forbes reported in 2012 that the ratio of male-female college students has shifted toward a greater female college population since the 1970’s and has gradually increased since that time. Little boys are taught to respect girls. As teens, they are told that they must not “out-shine” women; they must not argue with women; they can’t even open the door for a woman but must just get out of their way. There is no way for young men to succeed in an academic setting when they are told not to succeed – that’s bragging; not to excel in sports of strength – that’s hostile; not to admire a beautiful girl because she will interpret his appreciation of her as demeaning. So … he does not enter the closed system of academia as it is a hostile environment for males.
Dear friends, if our nation, under God, is going to survive, we must enlist the strengths of both men and women, respect the differences in perspective and come to agreements about how to handle our serious problems, with prayer and devotion to God who inspired our nation. Let us pray:
“Dear Lord and Father of our great country, I bow my head in respect for your sovereignty. You are holy and long to spread your love and strength over our nation once again. Sometimes, we will not allow you in. For my part, if I have left you out of our national debate, I am sorry. For today, I give you my worry and my fears about our future and know you will make our nation yours again if we will just let go and let you. Fill my heart with wisdom to say what needs to be said when it’s time to say it, and the control to hold my tongue when I have nothing to add that will advance your plan for us. Forgive me if I have let others tell me to silence my belief in you. I will try to see neither male nor female in the faces all around me, only your beloved children. In the name of your precious son, Jesus, I pray. Amen”
Doris
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp


Monday, September 12, 2016

Wait Upon the Lord

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

“Do you have many readers for your blog?” a friend, Matthew, asked one day.
“Not really. In a week’s time, I have between fifty-five and eight-five readers who log-on,” I said.
“Wow,” another blogger-friend added. “Only my mother and sister read my blog.”
Matthew thought for a moment and said, “I’ve wondered if blogging is worth my time.”
Some believe that Isaiah 40:31 (above) refers to the physical coming of the Lord. Others believe this verse means to wait upon the Lord as a servant would wait, or take care of, their boss. In Isaiah’s time he would be talking about the coming of the messiah. In the New Testament, it would mean the second coming of the Christ. I like to think of Isaiah 40:31 as waiting on him as a good and faithful servant of the Lord God.
When we live life in the here-and-now, we do the immediate thing in front of us. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said to pray for our “daily bread,” not the whole loaf.
“I look at blogging as an act of obedience,” I continued with Matthew as I thought of the nine years I’ve been posting on this Prayer Therapy blog. “The Lord whispers words in my ear. I write them down and post them on my blog. The blog stats tell me that people in various countries around the world read the posts. I get feedback from readers who say that the few paragraphs I sent out where just what they needed to hear that week. So, it doesn’t matter to me how many people read it. If one person is blessed, then it has been a blessing to me.”
It has been hard to keep up with the weekly blog since my back surgery last year. But, once in a while, the Lord hands me a new topic. After spotting a quote from John Wesley, I posted—Be a Uniter, Not a Divider—on July 29. I usually check a few days later to see what countries have viewed the post. On that July 29th, after nine years of blogging, there were the following readers: twenty-one from Russia; six from France; five from  China; four from Japan; two from Germany; two from Romania; one from Latvia and …  from the United States there were 25,897. I don’t know who. I don’t know why. To my small thinking, I think God was letting me enjoy a few days as the numbers crept up. Now, what fun was that?! I was obedient and God let me enjoy the day. I said, “The day.” He didn’t open the door to a flamboyant writing career. He let me enjoy the day, and that was more than enough for me. Let us pray:
 “Father God, I wait on you, for the second coming of your son, Jesus, and I gladly wait on you as a servant takes care of their master. If I do nothing but wait all of my days, it will be the privilege of my life to serve you. For this day, show me someone to encourage, to bless with your love, to touch with your healing power, to listen to as they speak. Forgive me when I have dwelled on the hurts of the past and have failed to see you in the face of someone around me. Forgive me when I have pleaded for a future gift and have missed the blessed ministry of today. Let me see you all round me and serve you there. In the name of your son, my savior Jesus the Christ, I pray. Amen.”
Doris
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp

Length of Days trilogy, by Doris Gaines Rapp: All three are available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, as well at Cokesbury.com
Length of Days – The Age of Silence   (© 2014)
Length of Days – Beyond the Valley of the Keepers  (© 2015)
Length of Days – Search for Freedom  (© 2016)
Also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Cokesbury:
Escape from the Belfry
Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow
Smoke from Distant Fires
News at Eleven – A Novel – Serialized on www.dorisgainesrapp.blogspot.com
Escape from the Shadows – release date late 2016

The Garden of Aden – release date 2017

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Snake in the Garden

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

Today we hear, “Did the Lord God really say, ‘Thou shall not bear false witness?’” (Exodus 20:16) Surely, he didn’t mean ALL of the time. What about during political elections? The other political party slanders and lies, that’s what politicians do – right? In order to win, aren’t we required to take down the opponent at all costs? The crafty serpent still tries to get us to doubt what the Lord God has told us to do, and not to do.

The first novel in my Length of Days trilogy, The Age of Silence, warns us what can happen if we say nothing in order to maintain political correctness. You and I both know a lot of what we hear today about candidates is false, even deliberate lies in order to lead a voter away from the truth. Must we remain silent? Of course not—we would sink deeper into the Age of Silence.

If we are in mourning or are depressed, the best therapy is to help others. The way to fight false statements is to spread the truth. That doesn’t mean we’ll hear the truth from the news of the day. Lifted out of context by a newscaster or a political campaign, they often twist a word or a phrase from a speech or writing into something it never intended to mean. We need to do our own research and spread only truth. Work hard for your candidate. Speak only what you know to be true. Pray for the opponent, that all good things may come to them through truth. When we heal others with the salve of Truth, God will honor our efforts. Let us pray:

“Oh Lord God, author of truth and love, I bow before your holy name. May your kingdom come to earth this day and dwell within me and me in your kingdom. For this day, I pray for the ability to speak only truth to lies, that the serpent may not deceive me. Forgive me when I have foolishly passed on falsehoods for the sake of winning. When I trample truth with lies, no one wins. I cannot discern truth on my own; deliver me from the lies of the serpent. In the name of your son, Jesus my redeemer I pray. Amen”
Doris
Copyright 2016 Doris Gaines Rapp
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Length of Days trilogy, by Doris Gaines Rapp: All three are available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, as well at Cokesbury.com
Length of Days – The Age of Silence   (© 2014)
Length of Days – Beyond the Valley of the Keepers (© 2015)
Length of Days – Search for Freedom (© 2016)

Prayer Therapy of Jesus   (© 2014)