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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, June 27, 2011


Why do some Christians take on an “ownership” attitude where God is concerned? They believe they have all the correct answers. They even claim to have the only questions as well. All other beliefs in God are therefore incorrect, right down to a half dozen or so words that are acceptable. If those buzz words aren’t used, and used correctly in their mind, you cannot possibly be a Christian. They have taken on the God/Christ Brand. “If I look just right, and talk correctly, I can be successful in the Christian community.” That is not Christianity my friend. That is commercializing the name of the Holy One, trying to acquire His brand.

If our relationship with God doesn’t start with humbling ourselves to His will and following His lead, then we will have to find another name for it. I don’t know what to call it and even if I could guess, I would be defaming the body of Christ, the same as the people I first mentioned. The only window we can peer into to evaluate a person’s faith, is the mirror. The only ministry we have, is that of witness, bearing testimony to the work of God in our own lives.

If we must have a “brand” to define our lives, let it be “servant,” not “He/she who knows the mind of God.” Faith in God is a relationship, a sacred connection. It is not joining a social network to advance our climb to the top. Let us pray for a humble heart and a bold approach to fulfilling the work He has given us. Let us pray:

“Holy Father, shine your light from heaven and set your flame in my heart. Your name is holy to our ears. May your kingdom come in your time. We humbly ask to be your servant. We would rather sweep up the crumbs from under your table than to be left out of your banquet hall. To live within your love, in any capacity, is better than living a moment in darkness. Forgive us when we have tried to use your name for our own benefit. Your name is to be called on to help and heal others. We all know of someone who is alone and hurting; we call on your love to come and brush away their tears and heal their broken heart. May we be humbly bold to testify to your love. We pray that all glory be yours, oh Father. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen”
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2011 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Monday, June 20, 2011


“See that cloud there? I bet that one has rain in it,” I told my two granddaughters as we set out on a beautiful Sunday to watch the girls’ older brother play baseball. “Would you get Maggie’s blanket from the car?” I asked my husband. The sky overhead was gray and completely covered with clouds of rain. But, the rain never came. We could have missed the game and stayed home in fear that we would get wet, or we could have sat on the bleachers and grumbled and mumbled about a down pour that never happened. Or, we could have enjoyed the game and each other’s company. And, you know what? The sun was there all along. I came home with a sunburn.

Why do we only see God’s blessings when our prayers have been answered in the way we have placed our order? God is always there blessing us, shining on us and loving us. If we see a cloud, we say, “Oh no, where is God? Why isn’t he blessing me?” We are not in control of God and he is not our genie in the jug. We cannot rub his tummy and watch him perform for us. He gives us what we need, not what we want. God blesses and we receive, blessed be the name of the Lord. Let us pray:

“Father God, Holy One of Life, glory be your name. May your kingdom come to live within me—I in you and you in me. Father God, I ask to have eyes that see your blessings all around me and words that can bear witness to those blessings. We are the only ones who can testify to your love and your existence, for you do not defend yourself. You simply are. Forgive me when I have held my tongue and have not spoken up for you. Sometimes, I am more concerned with what others may think of me rather than your constant and abiding love. At every turn, the world tries to erase your name from the books of man. Let me be strong so that their efforts are not successful. Holy, holy, holy are you God our Father. I will sing of your glory every moment I can, with your presence that strengthens me. In the precious name of your son, our Lord and redeemer, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen”
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2011 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Monday, June 13, 2011


“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

What life lessons will we leave behind that will live in the memory of those who come after us? Cicero also said, “The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”

As Christians, we know that one day we will live with God in Eternity. Have we thought about the memories we leave behind, living forever in the memory of our children and our children’s children? We live eternally in Heaven and on earth. What life-lessons are we leaving behind?

I remember my English teacher in my Senior year of high school. She said, “I don’t’ care if you remember my name or what I have taught. Just remember I said, ‘Read. Read. Read!” Her lesson lived on in my memory.

What about forgiveness and patience, unconditional love and gentleness? Will those qualities live on in the memory of those who follow?

Live your life as though you were building eternal lessons of love and peace in the memories of all your descendants. You could be the first generation to set aside old grudges or hatred. The first one to stop abuse or the first to give up addictions in your memory-line. You have the power to reset memories in the hearts and minds of your linage. What images are you leaving in the memories of your children and their children? Those images are eternal. Let us pray:

“Our Father of new beginnings, we praise your Holy name. May your kingdom of Holiness come into our hearts this day. Forgive us for living our lives as if Eternity were our only goal. We acknowledge that we are building eternal memories in the minds of our children and their children as well. May we start this day anew, with love and kindness in our hearts. Let the chains that have bound us in the past, be broken in our lives, so that our children will have no memory of them. For this day, we pray individually that __(a personal chain)__ may release its grip on our lives, forever erasing it from the memory-line of our children. In the precious name of your son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen”
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2011 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Monday, June 6, 2011


“When life gives you scraps . . . make a quilt.” I’d seen that message on the bag a lady at our church carries many times before, but yesterday, a thought came to mine. How many of us focus on the quilt block and not the quilt?

If a day goes badly, I’ve heard people say, “My life is nothing but misery.” The next moment may bring joy, but the person allows the darker times to cloud their perception of their entire life.

Study a beautifully designed quilt. The black of sorrow brings the marvelous contrast of joy beside a block of white. The dreariness of brown makes the creamy milk of life sparkle. And, the red of injury is made beautiful by a neighboring block of green and the promise of Christmas is remembered.

A life lived joyously is one focused on the quilt not the individual blocks. A life lived with hope is one that knows that the dark squares are there to bring out the magnificent jeweled tones of the lighter ones. A life lived reverently, is one that displays your quilt as a whole, a work of art, stitched by the hand of God. Let us pray:

“Oh master needle artist, you stitch our lives beautifully. You give us blocks that are dark, so we can appreciate the bright ones. Unless we are willing to accept the dark squares as beautiful, we will never appreciate our entire Life Quilt. We ask that you allow us to see our disappointments and sorrows as opportunities to hold your hand more tightly, so we can walk through the valley of darkness to the brighter hills of joy. Forgive us when we blame you for our sorrows, rather than praise you for your guiding light through the shadows. Too often, we see life as something happening to us, rather than a willing journey on a path ever leading us home. We know the needle can hurt, Father. Give us the ability to see the quilt and not the block in front of us. Our participation, is in choosing which blocks are not acceptable, while choice is still possible. When we don’t have the ability to choose which blocks make up our Life Quilt, let us learn to select a bright one to place beside the pain. May our Life Quilt be a joy to your eyes, Father God. In the name of Jesus Christ, your son and our redeemer, we pray. Amen”
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2011 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.