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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Shouts Fade

"A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’" Matthew 21: 8-9 (NIV © 2011)

On Palm Sunday, they shouted accolades before him and spread palm branches in his path. Their long awaited Messiah had come. He healed the blind and lame and taught of God’s forgiving love. Then, the shouts faded. They might have even asked, "What have you done for me today, Lord?"

Life continues after the shouts. The football hero breaks a leg; the prom queen’s beauty matures; the children grow up; and a beloved spouse dies. Some of us believe "all is lost" when the life we have planned for ourselves fades and dies. They refuse to let "new life begin."

As we read our devotions leading up to Good Friday and Easter, may we always remember, after the shouts, it is not the end—it is the beginning! Jesus could not have overcome death, to become the Christ, if he had not died. The promise of eternal life for all of us could not have been possible if Jesus had not first created the path and marked the trail.

We all have lost someone: a parent, a spouse, a child or a friend. We have also lost something: a coveted job, a shinny trophy, or a dream. But, there is life on the other side, a life more beautiful than we can ever imagine if we let Jesus Christ become our Savior. When we grow in the love and salvation of God, we see life spread out before us, even after the shouts fade. Will we be "children of God" or adults, and accept the work he has for us? Let us pray:

"Holy father, Jesus Christ, experienced death so that I might have life. May I be brave enough to take up my life after my dream fades. May I embrace the unknown, unplanned life you have always had for me. Then, the exciting life of a discipleship begins. I shouted, "Hosanna in the highest heaven!’" yesterday. Today I implore, "Lead me Lord! May I be of use to you in the tiny corner of the world in which I live. May I not know when it happens or under what circumstances, so that I may not boast. Only you are worthy of praise and glory, Father. Let life after the shouts, begin for me today. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, your son, I pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine." Copyright 2013 Doris Gaines Rapp

For children and teens, go to: And . . . (copy and paste to address line if needed)

Monday, March 18, 2013


"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV © 2011)

In this Holy Season of Lent, we ponder life just a little bit more. Why do things happen as they do? Why did Jesus have to suffer so horribly? Why did my spouse die just when we were ready to finally live? Why can’t I ever get that great job?

In Ecclesiastes we read that God will make all things beautiful in his time. In Diane Ball’s beautiful hymn we sing: "In His time, in His time. He makes all things beautiful, in His time. Lord, please show me every day, As You’re teaching me Your way, That You do just what You say, In Your time." (© Copyright 1978 Maranatha)

When life has taken a detour from our planned route, sometimes that’s hard to accept. But, God never promised that beauty would come in our tome. The name of Jesus has been made blessed in the hearts of people around the world—but it didn’t happen in a flash or in a wish. It happened in a promise. God turned that terrible time into the greatest blessing of Eternity. And, in Ecclesiastes 3:11 we find that God even puts Eternity in our hearts, whether we realize it is there or not. How does that happen?

Diana Ball’s second verse reveals that mystery. "In your time, in your time. You make all things beautiful in your time. Lord, my life to you I bring, may each song I have to sing, be to you a lovely thing, in your time. Be to you a lovely thing, in your time."

When we surrender our life to the Lord, and live within his time, life becomes beautiful. We may never know how the Lord God uses us, in our time. But, God is outside of time. It may only be in Paradise that we meet those we have touched in our time. When we give our will to God, we operate in his time - with eternity in our heart.

We have the power of forgiveness within us to get a glimpse of Eternity while still on Earth. If we forgive the spouse who divorced us, the parent who abused us, the friend who betrayed us, we actually get to peek behind the veil and see the Eternity that resides in us. Let this Easter Season be the time we give up blaming others or blaming God for Life. Seize Life by the wings and give it as a thank-offering to God Almighty. Let us live in his time. Let us pray:

"Father God, I don’t understand time and how you can be there in the past, the present, and in my future—but you are, because you are the one true, Holy God. I bow before the face I now see as the great I am - He who lives. You are who you are, inside and outside of time—in a time and in a time more. In this sacred season, as I remember your son, Jesus Christ and invite him to live within me, I accept the promise that you have already placed Eternity there. Forgive me when I do the dance of doubt—giving, then taking back, only to give you my heart again in another time. Today, I choose to take my hands off my life and give you my heart—it is done. Holy, holy, holy are you Father God. I will make my home in your time, in your kingdom, in your Eternity, from this day forth. In the precious name of your Son, Jesus the Christ, I pray. Amen"

Doris "God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2013 Doris Gaines Rapp

For children go to: And . . . (copy and paste to address line if needed)

Monday, March 11, 2013


"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." 1 Peter 1: 3 and 4a (NIV © 2011)

At this holy time of year, what often bombards our senses is the candy aisle at the grocery, not the cross of Calvary. Even Christ’s cross is all done up in fancy, scrolled chocolate. My friends, I love all things cocoa. I am talking about not confusing a love of candy with a love of Christ.

Some have tried to merge new life in the world, with the new life we experience at Easter. The merger is nearly complete. As fewer people see Easter as the day the Son of God rose from the dead, thereby making us inheritors of the promise of a new birth into a new life with God, those who fear and hate all things Christian—win.

This Easter, perhaps we can find new ways to use Easter candy as object lessons. Not contrived stories about the colors of jelly beans representing aspect of Jesus, although that is fine if you enjoy those stories. The whole point of Easter is New Life with God as true children in his family because of what Jesus did for us. Here are two ways of teaching children the meaning of Easter. You can add more by sending a return email or post on the blog below.

Easter eggs can represent the hope we have that new life will be born from the single seed of Jesse’s tree. "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." (Isaiah 11: 1) That fruit is Jesus. As brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, we have the hope of new life.

Peeps are good little marshmallow treats. We can teach our children that baby chicks and bunnies all remind us that the promise of hope has been fulfilled. The "seed" has been hatched or born, as we have been reborn into a new life when we fill our hearts and souls with God the father. The peep is an object lesson to help tell a story to a young child.

Let us make this Easter a religious holiday! What a novel idea for today’s children! Let us pray:

"God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise your holy name. Because your son suffered and died and rose again for us, we have the assurance that we can make our home with you. So great a sacrifice is beyond our mortal understanding. But, we know you are not mortal. You are eternal. We can know that the hope you have instilled in us, is a promise fulfilled at Easter. Forgive us when we have been tempted by the sweets of this world. That is childish thinking. For this Easter, may we grow in maturity, belief and hope. May we walk in the footsteps of the Master, rather than hoping to be carried by him. May we be brave enough to teach our children the truth of Easter. In the name of Jesus Christ, your son, we pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine." Copyright 2013 Doris Gaines Rapp

For children and teens, go to: And . . .

Monday, March 4, 2013


"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31: 8-9 (NIV©1984)

I thank the Lord our God. Our son came home from Afghanistan yesterday! His children and I picked him up at the airport with joy. We all chattered and tried to catch up on six months of being apart.

James has been an International Police Advisor for more than two years and gets home for a few weeks about every six months. On his Facebook page, the conversation often turns to the plight of the Afghan children. He describes how they rummage for anything they can eat in the filthiest of surroundings. His thoughts remain with the children when he is home.

We are witnesses to this generation on behalf of the Lord. We speak up in prayer for those who cannot speak. We bear witness to those who have impacted our lives, to those who have not seen and those who have not heard what we have seen and heard. We are the only people who have had our own, personal experience. It is our responsibility and privilege to serve God by telling others about those in need, and placing their names before the Lord in prayer.

Who, in your neighborhood, is the least among others? What child cannot afford the baseball cleats or the piano lessons? Work toward lifting their load. Perhaps you could partner with another to meet their needs. Raise up their name in prayer to God. That is our calling. Let us pray:

"Loving Father of us all, some do not know you as Abba. The only Father they know is the vengeful, uncaring description they have seen in the Daddy in their lives. Some are fatherless due to a death or other situations. We ask that we may present your love and your presence in a new way to those around us. To many in the world, Love did not come down at Christmas, redemption did not hang on a cross or was raised from the dead. Here at Easter time, put your own words in our mouth so that we may speak your truth in ways that will not offend or make others defend their beliefs. Forgive us when we have been silent. Give us the courage to speak up for those who have no voice. Let us love them into your presence, so you can love them into salvation. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, we pray. Amen"

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine." Copyright 2013 Doris Gaines Rapp

For children and teens, go to: And . . . (copy and paste to address line if needed)