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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I think it’s very fitting that Thanksgiving comes just as the last of the beautiful Autumn leaves have fallen and the trees are merely cold, brown sticks stretching up to a gray sky. Anyone can be thankful for beauty, warm breezes, and color that emblazons the woods and enlivens our yards. But to sing praises when the freezing rain begins to pelt the ground, ah, that is truth thankfulness. We all know we are heading into even more financially difficult times than we already have. Perhaps, we will not experience “plenty” again until we are thankful for what we already have. And, just perhaps, the prosperity we once had, was not in our best interest in the first place. The “good times” may have actually taken us away from the face of God and robbed us of the goodness with which we were blessed - the holiness of God’s presence. The holiday books and movies we’ve loved the most haven’t been depictions of rich people spending money but of people rich in spirit who have spent themselves for others. Let us pray that God will use us this season, to be a blessing to someone else, that those we love, and even some we only tolerate, may receive blessings upon blessings until those blessings fill their shoes. My “secret prayer” each day is that God will use me, that he will allow me to say or do something to meet someone’s needs on His behalf, and that I may never know when it happens, with whom, or under what circumstances so that I may not boast. It becomes quite an adventure in prayer. Let us pray:

“Oh loving Father, how glorious is your name. We pray that your kingdom of heaven may begin in our lives even now, so that we may know you more dearly, follow you more clearly, and serve you more completely. We ask to be powerfully and miraculously used by you, oh Father, that today and throughout this Thanksgiving season, you will use us as your servants, speaking your words to those who are lost and comforting those who are in need. We pray that we never know who it is, under what circumstances, or when it happens so that you will receive all the praise, glory and honor that is due you, and so that we may not boast of anything we think we have done. Forgive us when we have not been open to your calling in the past. What a privilege! What an adventure! What a miracle, to actually live in you! We thank you for every gift of life, for it has all come from you. In the power of the name of your son, our savior, Jesus, we pray. Amen”

Copyright 2008 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Monday, November 17, 2008


As we watch the transition between the existing political administration and the in-coming one, we are reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy of “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” What does that have to do with the rest of us? This is definitely a “transition” time for everyone. Some have already been downsized out of their jobs, others have had their investments and retirement planes reshuffled, and most of us are trying to live on less and enjoying life more. For people all around us, keeping our friends close may mean enjoying family dinners over eating out or establishing a family game and/or movie night in place of expensive entertainment almost any place else. As a child, my parents, aunts and uncles got together about once a month to play games, enjoy a good argument, and thrive in one another’s company. My cousins were some of my best friends.
Now, keeping your enemies closer means several things to me. Perhaps your enemy is your credit card. Keeping it close means guarding it carefully not letting it escape from your wallet and into a checkout person’s hand and working down the unpaid balance as quickly as possibly. Doubt and fear may also be our enemy. Facing our fears, of personal finances, losing our job, or having to relocate physically or mentally for a career is the first step in overcoming that fear and beginning to work again. Unless we hold it close enough to deal with fear eye to eye, we are helpless to do anything about it. We blindly go about a fantasy of disbelief in the dreaded source of our fear. My husband is a minister and I have detested moving. I finally chose to see our moves as my gift to God, my sacrifice for Him. I willingly chose to do battle with moving no more. Another enemy may be our boss or hated job, an old “friend” whom we have held a grudge against, or even our ex-spouse. Keeping them close means cooperating with them when we can, walking along side them in their struggles, and praying that the very best of God’s blessings fall all around them until His blessings fill their shoes to overflowing. Only when we bless our enemies will we find abundant blessings for ourselves, and in that order, others first, ourselves last. Transition is the stuff of life. Only the flexible survive, whether that be a business or an individual. Only those who take transition as a new adventure, a true gift from and to God, will land safely on the other side. Let us pray:
“Our loving God, who walks through the valley of change with us, ever loving us through difficulties and tragedies, we praise your name, which is above all names. It is with your name that things happen for good. May your kingdom come to dwell in our lives as we make way for your son who said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” May your kingdom be at our hand as well. We pray today that you will walk with us through the valley, so clearly that we can see your footprints beside us. May your dear love bless our enemies and turn them into blessings for us each day. When negative things happen and a stumbling bolder blocks our path, let us see your plan in it all, for you have simply found a “better way” for us to walk. We know you are pruning us and preparing us for the journey that lies ahead. We pray that we can let go of our desires and grasp hold of yours. We pray that all illness of body, mind, and spirit may be healed, so that we may be of service to you and those around us. We pray that the words “transition,” “change,” and “enemy” may change to “new beginning,” “opportunity,” and “friend.” Forgive us when our stubborn selfishness, anger, fear, and beliefs of entitlement rob us of our ability to love, for we know that control and love are opposites. When we must control, anyone, everyone including you, we give up our capacity to love. For all of these blessings, we give all praise and honor to you oh God above all. In the precious and healing name of your son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.”

Copyright 2008 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Monday, November 10, 2008


. . . and then there was last Friday! The print cartridge in the type writer I use for billing was out of ink. The printer for the computer wouldn’t print. The old printer that was in the basement had no USB connection. The computer battery on my laptop died. (I’m typing on my daughter’s, computer. Thanks Mandi!) There were no computer batteries in Huntington or Fort Wayne. It would take one from Batteries Plus five to seven days to arrive. Two of my billings to Medicare came back as unpaid due to a mistyped letter on a patient’s name and the other one had a missing digit on the diagnosis line. I WAS FRUSTRATED BEYOND REASON!!
Yesterday, it came to me as a sharp edged gift and it stung. Could frustration be “anger with God?” Are we silently scolding God when we feel frustrated? Are we expressing words we’d never speak out loud or even admit to ourselves? Do we bury our hidden emotions under a more “polite” form of anger, frustration?” Are we asking in the silent places of our heart, “Why does God allow these things to happen?” Do we unconsciously demand, “These things just shouldn’t happen to me!?” We all seem to believe we are entitled to a stress free life. Anything that deviates from that utopian ideal frustrates us.
You may say, “Even non-believers get frustrated.” But, they are taught to be civil and polite too. Perhaps they are railing at that basic entitlement philosophy: “I don’t deserve this!” Or, “Why do these things happen to me? I’m a good person!” They don’t know that their anger may be with God in whom they don’t even believe. Perhaps to be released from frustration, we need to pray for forgiveness for our anger directed toward Almighty God. Let us pray:

“Oh dear Father in Heaven, your name is precious to us, for by your words we are healed and saved. We pray that your kingdom of love, mercy, grace, and peace may come to dwell in our hearts as it is in the Heavenly kingdom, not because we are worthy but because Jesus Christ was and is worthy. We most humbly and ashamedly bow before you with an awareness of our sin of anger directed toward you, the Holy One. We tricked ourselves into thinking we were just frustrated with life, but we now acknowledge that you alone are Life. Forgive us Father God and heal our souls from the bondage of anger, even the generalized anger we politely call “frustration.” Deliver us from this sin and cast the evil one into the pit, that he may never be able to capture us again. To you, our father, we give all praise and honor and glory and thanks for all you have done for us. In the precious name of your son, our redeemer, we pray. Amen”
Copyright 2008 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Day Post Election - A NEW DAY

Good morning Americans! Whether you are blue, red, or purple, we have elected a new president. Praise to the Lord God, because we live in a country where we can vote for our leader of the U.S. and the entire free world. We recognize the historic nature of this election and praise God’s holy name for healing the divisiveness in our land. While the healing is not complete, the treatment has begun. It is up to all of us how we accept the pains and itch of re-knitting our body. Now, our new president will need our prayers for the one true God’s presence, grace, and mercy in his life; Christ’s healing balm and insight; a vision for the entire citizenry that is in keeping with the will of God; and safety for the country and his family. We, as God’s citizens of Heaven and of earth, are called to be One of the Ten - willing and ready to live honorable, righteous lives as God’s children, that others may see His presence in our country and the world, speaking love with civil voices and integrity; Watchers on the Wall - ever vigilant to those who would attack our country, our Constitution, and our home-of-the-free; and Lower Lights - sending homing beams of light across the waves of circumstances to aid a sailor home.
Now, we come together as Americans, supporting our new president when we find his views in keeping with our understanding of the will of God, and actively participating in our government with our letters, emails and phone calls when we believe he is doing a good job, as well as when we believe his programs would harm our country. Glory to God on High, who gave us the precious gift of stewardship over this land of the free and home of the brave. Now, we must grow up and participate in this wonderful country he gave us. Stand up! Stand tall! Stand strong! Stand free! Stand with outstretched arms to all those who call this blessed, promised land their home!
Let us pray:

“Oh loving Father of us all, white, brown, black, blue, red, and purple, we praise your holy, omnipotent name. May your kingdom come to earth and our country, that all people may be truly, and self-evidently, equal and free. It is for this time we have come in our history, Father, proving that all you had given to our forefathers applies to all of your people, from the very least to the highest. Let us truly be aware that there are no “leasts” - only those on the way up, taking the first rung of the ladder. May we never block the path of anyone on their way up and may we hold out secure, outstretched arms to anyone who may fall, and set their feet firmly again. Let us move forward as citizens of the most free, most blessed country of all time, not a country designed by man but a country created by you. May we recognize our awesome task of preserving what has been placed in our hands, not a broken country, but a continually growing country, more capable of loving, freeing, and fighting for freedom than any other people since the dawn of time. God’s blessed people, so young, still adolescent in many ways, ever loving, ever smiling, ever hopeful of the fulfillment of the great promises you gave us. Forgive us when we have been lazy, not speaking up or reaching out to preserve our beautiful homeland. Continue to heal our land that we may be a healthy people, full of love and energy, trusting in the hope of the world, America on earth and Jesus Christ in our hearts and souls. Let us be a people with merged God-owned hearts and God-given home. In the name of your son, our redeemed Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen,”
Copyright 2008 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let The Lower Lights Be Burning

In previous prayers of the On-Line Prayer Group, we talked about being One of the Ten, so the Lord would spare our nation. Then, we talked about being a Watchman on the Wall, ever vigilant to evil that could corrupt our souls and threats that can take down or alter our nation of freedom. Today, let’s talk about being a Lower Light.

In a wonderful old hymn (1871 - in public domain), the words describe our roll as “lower lights” - not “lowly lights.” There is nothing “lowly” about our calling. It is a gift from God and therefore a privilege, supported by the Father of all. (Brackets and underline below are mine)
“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy, from His lighthouse evermore.
But to us, He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights [our light] be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman,
You may rescue; you may save.” Philip P, Bliss, 1871
We are called to be one of the ten (or tens of thousands), who will watch and wait with Christ, on the wall to our heart and our country, and there, be a beacon for others to see our light and guide them safely home to God. God is the source of “mercy,” but it is up to us to shed light on the truth of God’s love and grace, so that others may see the light and find their way home.

Why haven’t I designed a prayer about the election? My Dear Ones, I just did. Whoever are elected president and our other public servants, we are still called to make our lives a living sacrifice, by the grace of God, as one of the Ten, to be civil and loving in our thoughts and communications; to Watch on the Wall, that we may be ever vigilant to preserve the freedoms God gave this country, to lift up and support the programs and ideas of our elected officials, whatever their party, where truth and Constitutional law abide; and to be a Light of hope, lifting up the truths of our Constitution by being aware, through study and alertness, and then using our voices to keep our nation free, writing letters of support or dissent to congress, and fighting for our Constitution. Let us pray:

“Oh loving Father of all, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and free-spirits, we come before you the day before our election day. The very word, “election,” thrills the hearts of all your people, for you gave us a shining star of hope for the entire world. May your will be done tomorrow, that those we elect may have hearts for you. We cannot read their minds, but you, Father, know what stirs within them. We ask that you sort out the shaft from the wheat and whisper truth into the ears of your people on election day that those we elect may be blessed by you. Give us the insight to be one of the ten, giving us civil and loving tongues, that others will see you in us, not partisans. Give us the strength and focus to stand guard and stay awake while we watch on the wall. Trim our lamps, putting them in order for proper burning, that we may have strong lights that will bring your children safely ashore to you. As your children, that is our calling, not to convince others of our point of view, but to lift up your words of love and hope and grace, that we may love them into wholeness with you. We do this while on guard and speaking up to lawmakers about what we’ve studied, heard, and seen while standing watch. Forgive us when we have become lazy and slept while guarding the gates. Open our hearts, our eyes, our ears, and our mouths, that this wonderful gift of freedom, you have given us, may prevail against those who would strive to eradicate hope and freedom. To you we give all praise, honor and glory, for nothing we do has merit, save what we do for, and through you. In the name of your son, Jesus, and by the power of his name, we pray. Amen.”

Copyright 2008 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”