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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sinning Doesn't Take Any Real Talent

The man shook his head and whispered, “They don’t like me because I sin differently than they do.” He was a member of an unpopular group, disapproved of by “good Christians.” My friend, a sin is a sin, and sinning doesn’t take any real talent. Anyone can do it . . . and we all do. Then why, pray tell, are we more critical of others’ sins than our own?

It seems to me that some TV preachers and a few heading local congregations, gain their popularity by having someone to oppose, their own unique enemy. They don’t rant against everyone who goes against what God lovingly has planned for us. They have their own Professor James Moriarty, who may be just as fictional, an inflated myth of their own making.

Rather than looking for the faults in others and shining a light on their sins, let us get on our knees and beg for God’s forgiveness for the sins that we do. The only hope we as sinner have, comes from the source of all hope, God. Stop criticizing other Christians. That defames the body of Christ. Seek the good in others. God will take care of their sin. Then, at the end of your days, you will have walked in beauty and will have been touched by grace, both yours and those you chose to love rather than criticize. Let us pray:

“My dear and precious Father, God, how purely loving you are. May you surround me like the fragrance of sweet-smelling perfume, that the essence of your being may stay with me wherever I go. Only you can eradicate the stench of sin. Only your grace can cleanse me again. This very day, oh God, wash away my imperfections with your balm of grace and re knit a right spirit within me. Use this flawed servant in any way that pleases you, for I no longer want to be captain of my own soul. The truth is, I never was, for in the kingdom of souls, you are the only master. May I serve you in ways not known to me, so I may not boast or seek any praise. Thank you for using me, dear Lord, and to you I will give all glory and honor and praise. In the name of Jesus, our dear Lord and 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.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!"

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” the town crier would call out the news and proclamations of the day. It was against the law to heckle or deter the crier in any way as they were representative of the crown that was currently on the throne. Who sits on your throne? And, do you even hear the warnings and messages of the crier who represents your king?

A life wasted is one that has been lived serving the wrong monarch. A life squandered is one spent listening to a false crier, an impostor, a perverter of the truth. He dresses in the same red and gold robe, white breeches, black boots and tricorne hat as the representative of the King. He looks so normal and speaks the words we want to hear. So, we choose to believe him. He represents a god we have created and his words are comfortable. But, it is still a lie.

And still he calls, “Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye the people of God.” But, they would not. Will you be part of the generation that turns from false gods, seeks the truth, and returns to the Lord your God? Let us pray:

“Holy Father, Truth divine, let me hear with this heart of mine. Flood my thoughts with your love and grace, and fill my life with your sweet embrace. Give me your words, both true and pure, to heal my wounds, my stain to cure. Forgive my bent for seeking ease, meet me there upon my knees. Give me a heart that hears your voice, and filters out the whole world’s noise. Love divine, oh greater still, the joy of life within your will. Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. Amen”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Sunday, September 12, 2010


One blessing we get from the cooler weather of Autumn is the longer shadows that stretch across the lawn and sneak up under low hanging branches. The leaves have barely begun to change color but the shadows tell - the season is changing.

Why do we refuse to see the signs that God places in our paths? The little devotional book calls them signposts. I think it may be because we no longer look at the little things. They are merely the blur of passing, insignificant details in our fast paced lives. And yet, they are the flutter of angel wings and the brush of His garment as He passes.

Most people are living way beyond their means. If it takes two jobs per parents to support the lifestyle they cannot or will not let go of, they are worshiping the wrong god. The glitter of things that shine, the hum and click of electronic gadgets, the television and computer that dominate their family room, have replaced the very family that lives there. And, God is not a part of that world of things. He lives in the world of love, presence, calm, simplicity, and the world of family. A first step toward an awakened soul that thirsts for God rather than the rich wine of life, is to notice the shadows and enjoy the contrast between the brilliance of His smile and the cool shadow of His peace. Don’t miss the beauty of the day and the sweetness of the shadows by running through life as if there were no end to our days on this beautiful Earth. Real life exists in this very moment but too often it is lived in the preparation and the memory. Let us pray:

“Father God, Holy One, who is and was and ever will be, we praise your holy name. Christ said the Kingdom of God is at hand. You have tried to whisper our name but our music is too loud. You have tried to touch our shoulder but we were running too fast to feel it. Forgive us Lord. Nothing of this world could be so important that we fail to see you waiting in the cool shade of the shadows because we would not slow down and let you in. Give us the courage and desire to slow down so that those around us won’t have to run to keep up and miss the beauty of their lives with you as well. In the name of Jesus our Savior and Lord we pray. Amen.”
Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We walked quietly along the sidewalk that borders the sixteen acres of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, New York. It is bounded by the West Side Highway, Vesey Street on the north, Liberty Street on the south, and Church Street on the east. I pushed my cell phone between a section of fence and snapped a picture. I hoped to get a glimpse of the progress there.

Across the little side street called Church, St. Paul’s Chapel has stood since its opening in 1766. The events across the street on 9/11 did not disturb a single stone on the chapel George Washington had strolled to on April 30, 1789 following his inauguration as the first president of the United States. Washington’s upholstered chair still stands on the left side of the sanctuary facing the chancel. There is a sense of awe, of standing on hallowed ground all around the site. I wondered about the Holiness at Ground Zero.

Zero is not “nothing” or an empty number. It equals the beginning of something or beginning again. “In the beginning God . . .” God is at the beginning of everything, that’s why it is Holy Ground. At every beginning there is an opportunity to choose, to choose the higher, more holy path.

Our country has been reset at Zero, the beginning. God resides with us there . . . in the beginning, which is why it is Holy. Let us all seize the opportunity to be Second Generation Founding Fathers of this great nation, rededicating ourselves to the principles that have made this the freest nation on earth. Every job counts, every beginning matters, for we are all standing on Holy Ground. Let us pray:

“Father God, we have been reset with a blessed new beginning. Out of the ashes and black dust has risen a people who now know when they are standing on Holy Ground. Lead us into the work of freedom you have called this generation to take up. We may not know what to do or how to do it, but Father, you do, because it is your work. You are at the beginning and we are committed to following your lead. Forgive us when we have been lazy, when we have taken freedom for granted. Give us discernment that we may take the right path that leads our nation back into a right relationship with you. We recommit ourselves to active citizenship and a willingness to participate in this glorious country you have given us. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, your son, 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.”

(For two articles I wrote Saturday about our trip to Ground Zero and a few pictures that document our experience, follow the links above.)