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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, July 30, 2012


We sang this beautiful song in church yesterday. Naturally, I had to know more about the hymn. The words are attributed to a man from Assam, in northeast India, who was converted to Christianity about one-hundred-sixty years ago by a Welsh missionary. When the village chief heard of the conversion, and demanded that he renounce his new faith, the new Christian said, "I have decided to follow Jesus." The chief ordered that the man’s wife be beheaded if he would not renounce the Christ. The one Christian who would stand up and be entered into the book of life, said, "Though no one joins me, still I will follow." After his wife’s execution, the executioner turned to the man. He went to his death while singing, "The cross before me, the world behind me." This display of faith is said to have led to the conversion of the chief and other villagers. The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian. (wiki accessed 7/30/12)

How grounded in the faith are we? Would we be able to stand alone and say, "I have decided to follow Jesus?" Let this be the day we all make that decision. "As for me and my house, we choose to follow the way of the cross, the path of Jesus." Let us pray:

"Holy Father, my soul is buried in your own. Lift me above the world so that I may have the courage to follow you alone. Let today be the day when indecision is left behind. Today, I choose you—for I have decided to follow Jesus. In His precious name I pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

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Monday, July 23, 2012


"And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:49–52 (NIV © 1984)

I will not pretend to know the mind of God or to understand his "mystery." God has a plan for us that is more beautiful and abundant than anything we can possibly imagine. I do know that we will be changed in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.

Neither will I try to diagnoses a murderer whom I have never met. What empty, blackness was at the bottom of his soul will be never known. I thank God for that. God does not let us know or understand the depth of evil to which some people sink. I want to never "understand" that depravity.

What I want to focus on, in the aftermath of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, are the many testimonies of faith from the survivors. While they witnessed the death and injuries of those whose lives were changed in an instant of madness, their witness is their own response. They prayed to God; they helped others; and they were unafraid.

One man, who had attended the movie with his church group, said that he was not afraid because he believed in God and knew that God was with him. Several survivors spoke of their faith and how faith sustained them through the long minutes of death. In the twinkling of an eye, their lives were changed. Those who died where gone. Their loved ones will live the rest of their lives with an empty spot in the heart. Those who survived, will be part of a night of terror forever. Where there once was a safe world, bullets had blasted a hole in their sense of safety. My friends, the gaping wounds do not have to remain.

Nature will not permit a void to go unfilled. We either deliberately invite the love of God to enter us, or abdicate our right to decide the contents of our heart. The world will swoop in and insert earthly ideas and feelings, including the basic emotion of fear. In the twinkling of an eye, the contents of our hearts will be revealed to our Lord and our God. May we remember the joy we had before the massacre, and the love of those who were lost and those who were injured. At this very moment, make the choice to be filled with God and His love, and we will be forever changed, even before the last trumpet. Let us pray:

"Loving Father, you hold our hand through the valley of the shadow of death so that we may fear no evil. For this, we praise your holy name and the name of your son, our savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that your kingdom may come this moment, in the twinkling of an eye, that we may live with you as do the angels in heaven. Today, we choose love and not fear. Fill us to overflowing with all that is lovely and loving. For this great mystery and blessing, we give you all praise and honor. Forgive us when we have forgotten your promises. This day, we choose the spirit of remembering the love that created the whole world and worlds beyond. In the name of Jesus, our redeemer, we pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

Monday, July 16, 2012


"At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." 2 Corinthian’s 8: 14-15 (NIV © 1984)For those of you who have been able to follow the progress of our little church on Facebook or Pinterest, you are aware that a wind blew the roof off the church and it was replaced in one and a half weeks. We held services yesterday in the basement while the ceiling of the sanctuary continues to dry and as we wait for the carpet to be replaced. There wasn’t one member who would have been able to accomplish such progress by themselves. We belong to a family of believers, and together, we had enough.

The same is true if we are suffering from a physical illness or limitation. Later this morning, I will consult with a specialist about my sore foot. I certainly would not be able to diagnose the problem by myself and I could not "fix" it if I did. But, I am not alone. There are friends and family who are praying for my physician as well as the restoration of health to my foot. I am not alone. I have enough.

I know that many of you are ill, in emotional strife, or in physical pain. You may be feeling all alone and frightened. Trust me. You are not alone. You have those who pray for you and our prayer today will be for you as well. We never go through adversity alone. The Lord God is with us and His Holy Spirit surrounds us and fills us with His presence. Regardless of this world’s pain, we have enough to walk the path that leads us home. Let us pray:

"Holy Father, God of Love, we bow to you as we stand in your presence. Your precious name is sweet enough to heal our troubled soul and our aching and ailing body. In your Holy Kingdom, there is no illness or pain and our soul is free to rise above the world and its sorrow. With you by our side in this mortal life, you can set us free to be with you, even as we linger and finish the work you have given us. We stand amazed by the meandering path you lead us on. When we think we can rest for a while, you urge us on and remind us, ‘I will not leave you alone.’ We walk this path filled with others, all seeking your light, all walking home, and we know, we are not alone. We have enough—and for this we give you thanks. Heal us and use us in whatever state of wholeness that is your will. In the dear name of Jesus, your son and our redeemer, we pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

Monday, July 9, 2012


"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8 (NIV © 1984)

Why does the house still look like a mess hours after you started cleaning it? Because, you’re not done yet. That’s how it is with our lives. God knows that your life may still be in shambles even after you have given your life over to Him. To others, you may still look stained and broken. To God, you are an image of His glory and grace. Even after your life has been scrubbed clean by the Holy blood of Jesus Christ, family and "friends" may still hang onto the old-you they had known before Jesus entered your life. Why? Because they had learned where they fit into your unhealthy relationship with them.

Some people only want relationships in which they are the strong one, the one-up position. Your friendship with them may be altered beyond their ability to adjust, if they have to accept you as their equal.

There are those who actually seek relationships in which they are the needy one, the one-down position. If they have seen you as weak like them, your growing confidence may chase them away. Or, as you get stronger, they may be become weaker and cling to you even more. While you are growing in strength, it may not be possible for you to carry your own weight plus the deadweight of someone who will not hold up their own side of the relationship.

Others are willing to have an equal, healthy relationship with you. Others are not. As you let God’s love strengthen and heal you, there may be some who cannot or will not adjust their relationship with you to form a new, equal one. They may be insecure and need to be one-up on everyone in order to feel superior, since they actually feel inferior deep within. They may even attempt to sabotage your growth in order to "keep you in your place." However, your place is beside God and no one can give you permission to walk that path with the Lord. That is a bond between you and God. Your earthy relationships will only go forward with those who will allow themselves to grow as they witness your own healing.

If the cobwebs of your life are still showing, wear them as prayer-lace to the glory of God. For, He loves you just the way you are, and too much to let you stay that way. Let us pray:

"Father of us all, the one-uppers, the one-downers, and those you seek equal relationships with others, we praise your Holy name. Precious are you and your son Jesus. We come into your holy presence and ask that you seek us in the dark corners of our souls and clean out all the dirt that hides there. We want not to be one-up on anyone and, because of you, we are one-down to no one. We seek to shake the hand of all those along our path and see them as equals made possible by the crown of glory you place on all who believe. Forgive us when we try to hold others down in order to lift us up. When we do that, we only reveal our fear to a world that feeds on the fear of others like nectar from black flowers. We are both the one who is in the process of change and the one who can lift others out of soul-pain and into your light. Let us walk with you in our new life and recognize those who would cause us to stumble along our way. May we love them completely so that their lives may change as well. In the name of Jesus our Lord I pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine." 
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

Look us Transactional Analysis for other information on one-up, one-down and equal relationships.

Monday, July 2, 2012


“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”  Acts 2: 2 (English Standard Version 2001)

In this life, many things happen to us and our surroundings that are part of the world in which we live. My husband, Bill, was assigned as pastor of a new church, Washington Center, and yesterday was the first day. Friday evening, a raging storm took the roof off the church and blessings flowed from the throne of God, to the altar that had been crushed with debris.

People driving past the church on errands of their own, stopped and helped take pews, hymnals, a piano, electronics and as many other items as they could. Neighbors ran from their daily tasks to lend a hand and the pastor of a Church of Christ congregation to the north stopped and helped. Then, he called later and offered his church building for our Sunday services. The family of God is amazing! They reflect His love in all they do.

As the Earth howled and groaned and blew until it lifted the roof off its beamed rafters, the Love of God rode in on the wind and revealed Himself in the love of His people. What a might God we have! I do not believe that God causes devastation, but He is there in the tears and hopes of all who comfort the broken hearted. Let us pray:

“Father God, you set the world into motion, including your great wind that dries a flooded land and  sweeps in new dedication. You alone know the plans you have for your people. Glory be your name and the name of your Son of Love, Jesus. In the midst of the rubble, we rejoice that you are here with us. You comfort and guide us regardless of the world’s circumstances. You blow in and harness the pain and turn it into blessing upon blessing. Forgive us when we blame you for the bad things of our lives. Maybe we get angry with you because you are the only one who will carry our disappointment and sorrow, and love us even more. We ask for the insight to see every blessing you send us, so that we are aware that we are living in the Glory of your kingdom. In the name of Jesus, your precious son, we pray.  Amen”
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2012 Doris Gaines Rapp

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