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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, September 24, 2012


"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV ©1984)

Don’t you love this passage, written to Timothy by Paul? Paul said he fought the fight but he didn’t say that he won—he only said it was "good fight," fair and honest. He said that he finished the race—not first, not last, just finished as was his responsibility. The most amazing statement was that he "kept the faith." God believed in him and Paul believed in God and the task he gave him.

I have worked about eighteen-hours a day, nearly every day, for about two and a half months, to write my new and different book, Holding on to Sand - From the Interactive Journal of James Rapp. I hope to have it posted as an ebook at by the end of this week. This post, however is not about the book. It is about Paul’s message to Timothy.

Whatever job or mission God has laid on your heart, pick it up and put in an honest effort; complete the task regardless of the distractions around you; and keep the faith that GOD HAS IN YOU. You believe in Him and He believes in your faithfulness to see his good work through. He doesn’t ask you to win over others. He asks that you take up your blessed cause and complete it all, in faith. It is yours to do, not to plan the resulting outcome as well. The attitude of those around you is their blessed responsibility to God.

It has been my privilege to write about our son’s nearly two years in Afghanistan. I will do what I can to get the word out, but God will plan the outcome. Perhaps I have written a book that only one person, or one family, needs to hear. Then, I have been faithful to the cause God has given me. Perhaps there are millions who have wondered about the daily activities and threats in the life of a son, daughter, or friend stationed in the Mideast. God will draw the reader to the book in whatever numbers he calls. It is my mission to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith.

You too are called to a cause. Perhaps it is one student from a class you have taught, perhaps some other contact. I remember a story about an Evangelist who held a week-long revival. There were few there each night, but one young man was always present. As the Evangelist shook the hand of the last few, the young man said, "My name is Billy Graham."

We may only touch one or two, but they may touch millions. The task it isn’t about us. It’s all about God’s plan for his children. We are to keep the faith. Let us pray:

"Father of us all, we lift our hands to you, for only you are worthy of our praise. Holy, holy, holy is your name. We pray that we may see the mission you have given us and the energy and courage to see it through, displaying the faith we have in you and your keeping the faith you have placed in us. We are so sorry when we have been afraid to follow through on the work you have given us, for fear that others would mock or ridicule. We acknowledge that we were not called by them, but by you, Father. We give our will over to you that we may do a good work, that we may complete a good cause and that we may be faithful to you and your son ,Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen"

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

Monday, September 17, 2012


"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3 (NIV©1984)

Jesus told them, and us, that we must become as children to enter into God’s kingdom. To engage in a relationship as a child would be to bring unbridled love, complete belief and trust in the other, creativity, fun, play, and open arms that greet the Lord God with discarded self-interest and abandoned self-protection. That is where we begin; but too often, that is where we stop.

Paul the Apostle, and "Timothy our brother," encouraged believers in their continued walk with the Lord. "Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you." 2 Corinthians 10:15-16a (NIV©1984)

We are to come as children and then grow in faith. We are not to remain irresponsible children, although we carry our complete faith and belief into our relationship with Christ. We are also not to become the punitive, know-it-all-parent of other believers. That attitude of superiority and exclusivity turns others away from their Redeemer. If we are growing in faith and not religiosity, we will become adults in Christ. As adults we love and nurture, teach and support, bind up the wounds of the afflicted, hold their hand as they walk toward home and share their joys and sorrows within the healing love of Christ. Are we growing up or growing old? Let us pray:

"Father God, it is you whom we seek. We long to throw our arms open wide to you, crawl upon your lap and receive all you have for your children. Forgive us when we have overprotected ourselves to the point of shutting you out. Today, we choose to think less of ourselves and more of you. We choose to turn away from all that glitters and accept the precious gold of your true kingdom, just as the angels in heaven enjoy. Give us this day a clear and guiding beam that will lead us home. Forgive us for ignoring your light in the past when we chose to be undisciplined children. Others are seeking a loving spirit but we often reply, "Let the pastor go." But, to those who cry in darkness, we may be the only Christian they know. May we humbly accept our role as loving adults in Christ, to further the expansion of your Holy Church here on earth. In the name Jesus, your son and our Lord, we pray. Amen"

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

Monday, September 10, 2012


"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV ©1984)

Tomorrow is 9/11 and to people around the world, that date has a special meaning. It was not only the day that thousands died, the World Trade Center was assaulted and crumbled to the ground, the Pentagon as attacked and a field in Pennsylvania was soaked with the blood of the brave—it was the day that innocence was lost.

What do we teach our children on such a day as that? To fear people who look or dress differently than we? Do we instruct our children that the world is dangerous and we must fear the night?

We must teach them daily that God is in control of the soul of those who give their lives over to him. By our consistent daily schedule of time: meal time, play time, quiet time and bed time, we teach them again that their world is predictable. We introduce them to the fun of impromptu moments and mini field trips as we stop at the grain elevator when we see it is operating. That trains them that an interruption is not a threat to their routine, but a delightful respite from the ordinary

The most important thing to teach them is that God is the same today, tomorrow and tomorrow. God does not cause pain and injury. Suffering is part of life and the Lord walks with us through the deep valley. Where the Valley of Baca was described in the Bible as the Valley of Weeping and the Valley of Slaughter because it was so dangerous, we can change our fear to blessing and make our children feel safe again. In Psalm 84 it is said, "Passing through the Valley of Baca they make it a spring; the early rain also coverts it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion."

Dig springs of living water wherever you go, so that flowers and life-giving green may grow where we have walked. Love is the only thing that will go with us into Eternity. Turn your fear, your Valley of Baca, into springs of Living Water. While we may not always protect our children from the things of this world, we can fortify them with the water of peace and love that is consistent today, tomorrow and tomorrow. Let us pray:

"Father of Living Water, we bow before you and drink from your cup. The world in which we live has been corrupted by the hearts of evil men but in your valley we can find peace, safety, life and rest. Hold our children even closer to you, oh God, as they see images of falling buildings and those who ran in fear on 9/11. Whisper in their ear of your love and your total protection of their soul. You are the same today, tomorrow and tomorrow. It is the world that is not. And, we are the inhabitants of your Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, not the world of man. In your world there is peace, safety for our soul, light and life for us and those who wait on you. Forgive us when we forget whose we are as we search for meaning. Our strength and life come from you and for this we sing your praises all the day long. In the name of your Son, 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, September 3, 2012


"Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him." Mark 12:17 (ESV Copyright 2001)

In a Democracy, the majority rules. The government could say, "Those church people are always telling everyone else how they should live. Let’s make laws to ban churches."

The United States of America is not a democracy. It is a republic. In a democracy, the majority rules. They can pass laws without regard to the rights of minority. A republic is a form of government in which there are laws that limit the powers of government.

In a democracy, the majority could decide they don’t like a particular religion or the causes the believers of that church support and mock or outlaw it’s practice. In a republic, there are limits to the power of government over religion, among other things, which may be in the minority. In a republic, our right to "render unto God the things that are God’s" is protected.

Our republic is composed of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and others who have the right to believe as they do within our blessed republic—and an obligation to walk along side of their patriotic brothers and sisters to provide the limited services as defined in the Constitution—to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." With the stroke of a pen on a document designed by you, Lord, we did ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America. Our republic has been a blessing to our citizens and to those around the world. Does that mean we are better than others around the world? It means we are unique and will fight to maintain our difference. Be proud of your own country and sing to the Lord its praises for all he has done for you.

Last week we entered into the Political Convention season of our country. As citizen, we have an obligation to hear both sides of the debate, to do our own reading and research, and to vote as the Lord directs in order to preserve our right to be that blessing and to "render unto God the things that are God’s." Let us pray:

"Father God, author of our Blessed Republic, we bow before you. You are our only king, the true and holy sovereign of our hearts. We ask this very day that you will open our minds and grant us the wisdom and courage to hear the true voices of our elected officials and those who aspire to serve us that we might discern the truth. Forgive us when we have been childish and lazy, when we have let others think for us. We are an educated people who have the capacity to understand issues, but we turn our minds from the debate and focus on fun and folly. You have blessed us with a government, unlike any other in all of time. Let us be the generation who preserved it and passed it along, in all your glory, to those who follow. In the 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