Now Available

Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, December 31, 2012

No Magical Thinking in Heaven

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:2-3 (NLT © 2007)

There are so many things to focus on this last day of 2012. What do you think has been important this year? Perhaps our perceptions are all relevant to our needs and wants—unless we are God-centered.

Losses, like in Newtown, Connecticut and Benghazi, Libya, a well as names such as Chris Stevens and Andy Griffith come to mind. And, how can anyone forget the election that had no beginning and no end? It continues long after votes were cast. But, what may have impacted us the most in 2012, may have been very personal: the loss of our job, the foreclosure of our home, or the collapse of our marriage and destruction of our family.

The loses for the Stevens’ family and the loved ones of the other heros that day in Libya were real. The unimaginable tragedy in Newtown with the loss of all those beautiful babies and their beloved teachers is more vivid than anyone would ever want to experience. The passing of beloved television personalities or actors is like losing a friend who was invited into our home for a weekly visit. That all makes sense to me.

What never ceases to amaze me, is the magical thinking some engage in. 2012 was the year they did not win the Power Ball or they found out they were all wrong about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. They had relied on wishes to determine their happiness. And, they lost their claim to uniqueness when they woke up "the morning after the end."

Where does your mind focus—on the things of earth and all the magical thinking that abides here? Or, are you focused on Heaven and the blessings God has for you both here and there? True living, or living true, is found in the life of the servants of God and all he has in store for us. Let that be our New Year’s Resolution—to keep our mind focused on heaven, for our real life is hidden there with Christ in God. Let us pray:

"Father of life and calendar-maker for us all, we bow before your sovereign majesty. Only you know our length of days. Only you purely bless. Only your name, and the name of your son Jesus, are holy. May heaven be our focus and our reality. Forgive us when we have thought we could wish a better life into existence for ourselves and others. You are the bearer of blessings, the giver of true treasure. May this be the last day we focus on the earth and the magical thinking we believe is here. Let January 1, 2013 be the first day we dwell with you in the real space of time and let it begin even today. We love your Lord and we seek your face completely. In the name of Jesus, your son 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, December 24, 2012


"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11 (KJV)

"Unto you . . ." yes, you too . . . and me . . . and all of us, a Savior is born. Think of all the things we’ve said and done, as individuals and as humankind. There is nothing in us that has the power to make all the ills right or turn our deeds around. But, God sent his son into a world of pain and suffering, so that all those who believe in him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. Ever lasting! We will have his peace and joy that will fill us like the Christmas star, sending out beams of love to all we meet. The most wonderful part of the gift is . . . everlasting starts now.

Too often we reject his gift—glad tiding of great joy—because we believe those are blessings of heaven and we should not expect them here on earth. When we receive the Christ Child of Bethlehem, we step into the Joy of the Lord at that moment. Come, receive the babe in the manger, drink in the fragrance of the straw and warm yourself in starlight. For unto all of us is born a Savior, Christ the Lord. Let us pray:

"Dear Lord and father of us all, we bow before your holy name. You are more wonderful than wonder and more glorious than glory and yet we choose not to see you or receive the gift of peace you give us through your son, the Prince of Peace. For this day, in the hours that lead up to the wonder of wonders—the silent night, the holy night—prepare our hearts that we may be prepared to inhale the sweetness of your love today. May this Christmas be our first Christmas in your kingdom here on earth. May this be the year that Christmas comes to everyone. If we can be of use in any way, we yield to your leading and will follow the star into your service. Forgive us for the many times we have focused on Santa rather than saints, when we have wanted more and more when, through you, we have had everything. Let this Christmas be the time we finally have the courage to lift the Christ Child in our arms and claim him as our child, as we are his. In the name of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, we pray. Amen

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

Monday, December 17, 2012


"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child." Luke 2:4 (NIV © 1984)

Maybe you’re a marathon runner or a speed walker. I am not. Some days, it’s hard to think about walking out to the mailbox. Perhaps, I could motorize my LazyBoy. Mary and Joseph walked ninety-three miles. If they started today, they would just about make it from Nazareth to Bethlehem by December 25, given Mary’s pregnancy and her need for rest and nourishment. Could I have done that? Absolutely not. But, God can.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you turned it over to God as Mary did? What if you accepted the successful life he has planned for you?—success as defined by God. A life lived completely within his will. You don’t even have to be able to walk the path. God will find a way to make your trip complete. It isn’t the energy you put into the walking. It is the total willingness and commitment to travel along the Way.

Today is departure day—not just a day to begin a journey, although a journey it is, but a day to take a different path, a departure from the expected. Choose to walk with God. You will arrive on Christmas Day with starlight in your eyes, Angels’ songs in your ears, and a new life in God in your heart. Let us pray:

"Holy Father, light of the world, bright and shining star, I bow before your holy name. May your kingdom be established in my heart today. I turn my life over to you. May this day be my departure day, like that of Mary and Joseph, not knowing what to expect, but expecting you to know the way. Forgive me for the many times I have committed my life to you and then snatched it back from the light, to live in the shadows again. I love you Lord, and have decided to let you lead the way. In the holy, precious name of Jesus, your son, our Christmas Child, I pray. Amen"

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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

100 Years, 10 Days Until Gifting Day!

It's December 2112 during Gifting Time. The name of Jesus and the word Christmas have been removed from permitted speech. Now, someone has broken the silence and Christ will once more be present in people's hearts, thus increasing their Length of Days. go2

Our PC correctness could change our entire country. Music may be banned and the name of Jesus could be purged from our vocabulary. Will you be another to break the silence and increase our Length of Days? go2

Monday, December 10, 2012


"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child." (NIV ©1984)

It’s coming on Christmas and all the world is journeying toward Bethlehem, just as Mary and Joseph trudged along that dusty road over two-thousand years ago. Even those who are spending these precious days trying to erase the name of Jesus from our land are focused on the Son of God, the Christ Child. Those who want all references to Christmas removed from our December speech, use the name of Christ to describe the one they fear will "corrupt" their world. Fear? Yes. We must destroy that, or who, we believe may harm us. Are they afraid Christmas love and peace will enter their lives and push out their hate of all things of God?

For these last fifteen days of Christmas, we, as Christians, can use the name of the Lord as often as possible, so that the name of Christ Jesus may flood the world with Love. Last Saturday, a cashier at a mega-store stumbled over her required, "Have a Happy Holiday."

I responded, "And, a Merry Christmas to you too."

"Thank you, we have to say Happy Holidays," she said.

For these few and glorious days left before Christmas, let us not focus on what others do not say. Christmas cannot be silenced unless we do not speak. Let us remain true to Christ and send Christmas love and blessings to everyone we meet. Let us lead the way to Bethlehem, even if some don’t even know where they are going. Love conquers hate, not by the sward, but by the heart of God. We are just the one, faithful to Christ, who will speak his name to all those around us. Let us pray:

"Holy Father, God of all, we bow before your name and the name of your son, Jesus, the Christ of Christmas. May love rain down on all those here and flood the world with your light so that darkness and hate cannot remain. May our streets shine bright with the star of Christmas and our mouths proclaim his name and his redemptive love. Forgive us when we have remained silent and focused on those who have removed Christmas from the town-square, rather than being steadfast in our vocal proclamation of the Christ of Christmas. May this be the Christmas that the Holy Child of Bethlehem returns to the manger where we can greet him on our knees and humble our hearts to the love of Christ. Only then will we be able to carry the presence of the Holy Spirit to a weary and waiting world. In the name of, and by the power of Jesus, the Christ Child, we pray. Amen"

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

Monday, December 3, 2012


Are you as directionally challenged as I am? Thursday, I went to Mary’s house for a meeting of our writers’ group. Love them all! This time, I parked on the one-way street that runs along side her house. When I left, I drove to the next corner, turned left, then turned left again at the next intersection to get on a parallel path with the one-way street I came in on. After a lot of driving and checking road signs, I ended up miles away in another part of town. Then, the good Lord took pity on his child who can get lost on a North/South Interstate, and deposited me near a nursing home in which I had seen patients. I could find my way from there. Where was my G.P.S. system? At home in my brief case of course.

"Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.’" (Exodus 33: 1-3 NIV)

How many times have I gotten lost? Many times just coming home from Mary’s house and many more times from other locations, therefore the gift of a G.P.S. from my husband last Christmas was appropriate. Is it possible, I get lost easily because I am "stiff necked?"

When I think of all my blessings, I believe one is a correction of a large birth-flaw. I think I may have turned the wrong way when I took my first steps, an early example of my faulty internal compass. Yet, God has blessed me with his presence. When I relax and depend on him, I am far less likely to lose my way. But, like my G.P.S., I sometimes forget to depend on him. Just as the lights wound round your Christmas tree, lead from the star to the lowest branch, let the light of God lead you to your knees in front of the Christ Child.

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, the month of anticipation as we wait for Christmas. Will we finally depend on the Lord God to guide us through life and make our way to the foot of the manger? Or, will we depend on the secular world to identify our blessing in the name of commercialism? We may be a "stiff-necked" people who choose our own path, regardless of how often we get lost on the way. Let this advent season be the time in which we begin to rely on the Infant Lord to guide our steps, direct our turns, and lead us home. Let us pray:

"Father of the Christmas Child, you bring His peace every year, for you are always the same and always there. Your promises are real. Your name is Holy, as is the name of your son, Jesus, the Christ. May your presence of peace finally fill us so full there will be no way for us to empty you out. Today, this second day of advent, we pray that you light our path so clearly there is no way for us to get lost. Forgive us when we stubbornly try to walk alone. Only you know both the destination and the direction. Make still the noises of the world so that the sound of your voice is loud enough for even me to hear, and clear enough for me to understand your words of comfort and leading. In the name of your son, Jesus the Christ Child, I pray. Amen"

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