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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, January 25, 2010


On my way to speak at Forest Park United Methodist Church yesterday morning, I “zigged when I should have zagged,” as my father would have said. I had to turn around twice. Yet, God had a way of making my directionally challenged trip a blessing.

I saw a man on a riding lawn mower “walking his dog,” holding the dog leash, as the dog trotted along beside him. We are a lazy bunch of folks, aren’t we? That was my first impression. Then I realized, it is also possible the man was disabled in some way and his effort to take the dog out in the rain may have been more than I would have done with two good legs.

The people of Haiti are left with nothing, no safe place to live, no food or water, no living family members. If we can find unique ways to exercise the family dog, perhaps our offerings can make a positive impact on others as well. I know how difficult the economic situation is in our country at this time, but we still live like royalty as compared to some others around the world.

I am so proud of those who have taken from their tight budgets and have made Health Kits, donated items for the kits, and gave money to the Haiti Earthquake relief. Give with extravagant generosity at this time, in whatever way you can. Let us pray:

“Father God, you have blessed us with an abundance of love and prosperity, unlike anything the world has known before. Your name is Holy to us. Let us see the suffering of your children with your eyes and heart. Forgive us when we have maintained a lifestyle that prohibits generosity. We have heard your people cry. Give us insight into ways we can help you help them. We lift up the people of Haiti, all the relief workers and their families, and pray that you will bring Holy goodness out of their plight. Mend their broken bodies: heal their minds full of sorrow and despair, and shield their souls from turning from you, that they may rise from the rubble and live lives to your glory. In the name of Jesus, our savior and healer, we pray. Amen”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Doris Gaines Rapp, Haiti Earthquake Relief: Humanitarian Relief

Doris Gaines Rapp, The Haiti Earthquake - Traumatized Children

Monday, January 18, 2010


“Why did God let this happen?” How many times have you heard that question after a national or personal tragedy? God is not the author of chaos. God is the Creator. Does disaster happen in this world he created? Yes. God is Other, not a human being, and he protects the Other within us - our souls. We, as his hands and feet, are to meet the needs of those around us, whether near or far. Do I have all the answers? No and neither do you. Our example of the nature of God is and was Jesus Christ. Bad things happened to good people when he was alive too. He met the needs of those around him. We have many opportunities to help, even though we cannot go to Haiti. Gifts to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are greatly needed. UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) delivers 100% of contributions to the identified need, Haiti Emergency Relief. They are also collecting Health Kits and the supplies to fill them. Go to and click on Health Kits. Contact me if you need more specific information. I will take kits and supplies to a person who will deliver them to a center in Illinois. Or, make contributions to UMCOR at the website. UMCOR is one of the first disaster teams into areas around the world and the last to leave. Let us pray:

“Father God, lover of our souls, we come before you humbled by the devastation in Haiti. We acknowledge we have no control over these circumstances. Sometimes we are guilty of wanting recognition for our great humanitarian efforts. In this case especially, we are the boat under the sailor’s feet, the purse holder for the worker, and the words of love under the prayer. We are needed in these capacities and our work is as vital to the rescue effort as the one holding the hammer or mending a broken body. Let us serve you in quiet strength for we know you hold their hearts’ in your hands. In the name of Jesus, your son and our Savior, we pray. Amen”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Monday, January 11, 2010


I can stop complaining about the snow. According to, snow is “vital to the Winter survival of plants and trees as snow acts as an insulator and protects the plant from harsh, Winter conditions. Snow flakes have a unique structure; snow flakes have small intervening spaces within their structure which are filled with air. This means there is low heat conductivity; as a result, the daily temperature penetration into the snow is minimal and plants are protected from frost and freezing conditions. Once the snow melts, the moisture is also good for the plants.”

Alas and forlorn, an insight has hit me. I find myself complaining about a lot of blessings . . . like snow. I need a little extra money right now and out of the blue, I’m offered a part-time job I had never even thought about. Then, I complain about all the extra time and energy the job will take if I accept it. The reality of our walk with God is, with all the blessings God gives us, the responsibility of seeing them through comes with them. Let’s try to find a way to reframe our self-messages, making blessings out of the consequences, as well as enjoying the shinny stuff. With the snow comes the shovel. With the shovel can come complaints or more blessings: burned calories, a little time alone with God, a breath of fresh air, time to create that next great novel or invention, or an opportunity to form the words necessary to talk to someone you’ve needed to communicate with. Let us pray:

“Oh loving Father God, creator of the sparkling snow flake and the billowing wave, how precious is your name and all that you have created. I find that I want to accept your blessings but not the work that supports them. Forgive me when I have wanted to be a taker and not a giver. You are alive on the whisper of love and there when I am called to love others. May I accept the responsibilities that go along with the many, many blessings you have given me. May I never forget that I do not toil alone. You are always there with me as I shovel, type, make phone calls, and work the blessings you have given me. The blessings are just the labels. The greater blessing is in the work that goes with them, for that is where I will find you. In the name of Jesus Christ, your son and my savior I pray. Amen”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Monday, January 4, 2010


I don’t make new years resolutions. But, this year, I have felt the need to commit to a new resolve.

I so resolve to
love more,
share more,
save more,
and be more, more like Christ.
I further resolve to not allow others’ anger to penetrate my soul,
to love others in spite of themselves,
to love and accept myself as God does,
and to take up no cause that is not from God.
I resolve to value my time as a gift from God,
to value my gifts as jewels to be polished,
to value my health as a means to doing God’s work,
to value all my family as the only gifts I will take with me into Heaven,
and to value my walk with Jesus as the only trip worth taking.

Let us pray:

“Father God, you love me completely and too much to let me believe I am complete. Holy is your precious name. May your Holy Spirit come and make a home in my heart so that I may experience Heaven here on earth. May I be reminded each day of my Resolve and give me each evening another pearl to add to the string. Forgive me when I have weakened in my resolve to be your child, reflecting you to others I meet along your way. Let your Spirit fill me to overflowing that I may flood others’ hearts with your love. I give you all the praise and glory for anything I have been and what you may choose for me to be. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, your son and my savior I pray. Amen.”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”