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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, June 24, 2013


Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV©2011)

My Internship training director said that I had a "checkered past." He was referring to the variety of careers I have had due to retooling each time we moved. In one of these squares, I taught school - and in keeping with the checkered theme, a different grade each year. My sojourn into the second grade classroom was just as delightful as the rest.

One morning, as I was beginning instruction, a man came to the door, knocked, and one of my darling little blond boys looked up and went to the door with his head down. The man stuck out his hand and the child placed an object in it about the size of a deck of cards. The ex-navy grandfather snapped, "You’re on report, mister!" It turns out that the child had been staying with his grandparents and had found a super show-and-tell. It was the man’s garage door opener.

That image popped in my mind yesterday and made me smile. Then I thought of Psalms 37:4 and the conclusions we draw from it. We (I) have presumed the meaning to be, if I love and follow the Lord God, he will give me the desires of my heart (that are his desires first.) The question occurred to me: What are the desires in my heart? What if my desires were self-deceiving and self-serving, that place my goals ahead of God’s plan but I had convinced myself I was serving him? Will the Lord put me on report?

Many of us rehearse the phrase in Psalm 37:4 that falls after the coma. We feel entitled to our own desires and are convinced, if we call on God, he will grant us our wishes. God sounds more like a genie than the Lord God Almighty. First, we need to delight in the Lord: surrender to him, know him, learn of him, fellowship with him, let our lives be filled with him. Then . . . with a heart full of God, he will give us those desires that dwell in our spirit-filled heart. Let us pray:

"Lord and Father God, I come to worship and praise you. I take my joy and delight in you. Fill me with your holy spirit so that my desires are your desires and my heart is filled with you. Forgive me when I deceive myself into believing that you follow me, blessing me as I carry out the plans I have created, rather than the truth of discipleship: it is the servant who follows the master. May your desires be my desires and your joy my joy. In the name of Jesus Christ, your son and my redeemer, I pray. Amen"

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

Monday, June 17, 2013


"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29 (NIV©2011)

It is evening, rather than Monday morning. I attended a continuing education seminar for psychologist today and I wondered how many of us attend C.E. events for parents and grandparents. Oh, I know many of us have had classes on how to diaper a newborn and how not to drown them in their first bath.

Then it occurred to me that some of us may not refresh our Christian education beyond our introduction to Christ any more than our parenting skills. I can’t imagine parenting a child without a knowledge of how children grow in body, mind and spirit. And, I find it hard to see how a person can grow in the Lord when they aren’t fed. In Escape from the Belfry, Adam hid rather than reveal his lack of knowledge and understanding of Christ. Do we do the same?

I wonder if the well nourished in Christ, sit in their comfortable nest like a baby bird, with their mouth wide open. Or, do we mature in the Way of the Lord and forage for every kernel of faith-corn that we can find? God will feed us. So . . . we can be infants in the Lord and wait for food, or, we can be disciples in the Lord and receive ALL he has to offer, both in our nest and in our next. Next steps we take in God’s kingdom to glean as much food as our minds and souls can hold. Let us pray:

"Father God, we want whatever relationship with you that you desire. If I am only ready for baby bird feed, I thank you Blessed Lord for feeding me. If I am ready for the meat at your table, I gladly receive it and will work in your fields to bring food to others. Forgive me when I have been lazy and childish and have waited for you to serve me, rather than I who would wait on you. I want to take up your son’s yoke, walk beside Him, and learn all He has to teach me. May I lovingly walk beside others and show them the way to your house. In the name of Jesus, your son, I pray. Amen"


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

Saturday, June 15, 2013

3 G Dads

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7 (NIV©2011)

Dads are one of the two most important people in our lives and they come in as many types as there are fathers. Today, I posted on the kids and teens prayer therapy blog,, that dads come in Triple G: Great, Gone, and sometimes Groaners. Like Adam, in Escape from the Belfry, many cannot be near enough to their father to truly know him, but he is still Dad.

The dad who matters for eternity, is the Father Jesus spoke of in John 14. Many religions speak of God and their belief in him and reverence for him. Christians speak of him as Father, even ABBA=Daddy. Father-God not only created the all-and-all, he created a spot within us and fills our lives with his spirit as we walk with him. He is a loving, forgiving, grace-filled daddy who wishes to give us everything and an eternal life too. Is everything enough? We have a dad who is the all-mighty Lord. Wow! Let us pray:

"Father God, Daddy-Abba, I bow before you as your claimed-child. May I walk beside you every step of my earthly journey. The way, the path you have blessed me with, is more amazing than anything I could have created for myself. You spread miracles along my path like rose pedals from an abundant garden. Forgive me when I have chosen the stones I have valued and left the flowers and diamonds in the dust. May I also be a guide so someone else may find their way. In the name of Jesus, your son and our personal savior who opened the door to our father, I pray. Amen"


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

Monday, June 10, 2013


The Lord God blesses us with so much that it overflows our open hands and fills our shoes. Yet we ... I ... take the attitude, "But what have you done for me today, Lord?" Max Lucado has written in answer to that question, "Isn't it enough that he has given us eternal life?"

As I write this post, we are half way home from Houston, Texas where we celebrated and attended our grandson's H.S. graduation; we had many days with a daughter and son-in-law we haven't seen in a year; we saw our granddaughter and her fiancĂ© whom we haven't seen in twelve months; we visited with our other granddaughter and met her new boyfriend who got my vote because he treats her like a princess; got to spend quality time with another daughter and son-in-law who live about four streets over from our house at home but we are both too busy to spend as much time together as we did at Luke's graduation; had a book signing of Escape from the Belfry at Barnes and Noble in Houston; worshiped with our family in a wonderful Bible-preaching church; spent ten days with my fantastic husband Bill; got good news about our son's situation; missed an Indiana grandson's graduation while gone and the fellowship of family at his party, but Tanner is a young man with a good heart and said, "That's okay, Grandma." And, the Lord has given us traveling mercies and the last hotel room available when we stopped a half hour ago. We are blessed.

Did we win the lottery? No - we don't play. Did I sell five-thousand books at the books signing? No - but neither do best-selling authors. Did I lose five pounds while in Texas? No - I probably brought back five pounds of Texas with me. But these are not God-sightings. The blessings of the Lord God come in family packages all tied up with love - loose enough to let every member fly like the eagles they are and tight enough so all feel safe; and, a friendly bookstore Community Resource Manager like Nathaniel, who booked my signing and opened the door for other stores to follow.

If we are always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we will miss the amazing colors of God's painted promise across the sky. The bow is the miracle, not the pot. Let us pray:

"Heavenly Father God, my own Abba - Daddy, I come before you just six days before Father's Day, praising you and loving your loving. Holy is your name and the name of your son, Jesus. For this day, I choose to lift up praises and thanksgiving for all you have given me, every miracle that sparkles around me like a path of diamonds. Forgive me when I ignore the jewels and seek comfortable paving bricks. I pray that I may be a blessing to someone around me, another traveler on the road home. Give me the courage, energy and discernment to see those who need a word of hope and a message of your love. In the name of Jesus 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

Sunday, June 2, 2013


"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

Last Sunday, a call for prayer requests was responded with one word - Oklahoma. A great, five megabuster tornado had just blown through Moore, OK just days before. One word - Oklahoma - was all that was necessary to bring to heart some who had died, those who were injured and the homes that were destroyed. Now, just days ago, Oklahoma was hit again by a boiling black funnel that killed more and leveled much. "Oklahoma" is all we need to say for God to get the full picture of the needs there.

That Sunday, our daughter Amanda and her two little girls were in church with me and heard the call for prayers for that big word, Oklahoma. In order to participate in the service, our two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Shyloe, piped up with a request that included a big word like Oklahoma. She called out, "onomatopoeia," a word her mommy had taught her, which is the formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to. But, you will have to admit, it did sound a little like "Oklahoma" - even longer and just as mysterious to a two-and-a half year old. But, the ground work is being laid for participation in church, concern for others, the love of words, and acceptance by adults. The point is, expose children to life and they will grow up knowing that faith and culture are a natural part of their world, not something strange or out of their reach.

We were in Houston, Texas several years ago when my cousin’s sons, the Clayton Brothers, had a showing of their art at a local gallery. We took our three teenage grandchildren from that part of the country to see the exhibit. One, because it was close and a good opportunity to see the brothers’ work first hand and not just in small examples on the net, and two, because I wanted the kids to see, "This is who our family is and this is what they are capable of doing." Burying successful expectation in a child or teen’s heart is a way of opening the door to their own positive achievements. They have already stepped through. They can make the journey again any time they choose to do so.

All of this to say, expose children to your faith and your values in strong, accepting and personal ways and they will be more likely to seek those same truths when they are grown. "Train up a child . . ." They don’t have to be only your children. Whether they are in our own family, church children or neighbors, let the message they hear be a song of love for whom they are, and love and acceptance for whomever they will become. Let us pray:

"Father, holy is your name and precious are the spirits of the young ones around us. They are just a few steps away from sitting at your feet and playing in your heavenly meadows when we encounter them. We pray for insight into the needs of the young ones around us so that we may encourage them in the lives that stretch out before them. Forgive us when we have walked by and not acknowledged one of your children, or have found their needs trivial. There is nothing more important than for a community of believers to influence a child’s life. Only the arrogant find them unworthy of their attention. May I never say anything that would bruise the spirit of a child. May I only be a part of their positive spirit of faith. Let me always walk with you and hold the hand of another, whether large or small, as we walk on our way toward home. In the name of Jesus, my savior, 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)

If you are in the Houston, Texas area on Wednesday, June 5 at 7 pm, I will be signing, Escape from the Belfry - a young adult novel full of adventure, at Barnes and Noble at Westheimer Crossing. If you want a signed copy and cannot be there, call the store during the signing hour and order one - 713.783.1220
Check for book signings in your area.