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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, December 30, 2013

Just a Memory

"For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5: 14-17

The year 2013 is nearly a memory. Have you lived all of the year? Or, did you choose to die several deaths to precious moments that can never be reclaimed? No one can tell you how best to use your time, since that is between you and the Lord. Relaxation and refreshment of the body, mind and soul are vital to a healthy follower of Jesus. But, how and where you relax, and when and where you begin your work again is important. Killing off moments is foolish and indicates a lack of understanding about the Lord’s will.

I am not saying we should hurry through life, using up every moment frantically. I have only two speeds, slow and hysterical. Believe me, the latter speed is not a beauty to behold. We should fill our days with peace and joy and the love of the Lord.

Yes, 2013 is nearly past. We have a full year stretched out before us. May 2014 be the year we decide to live all of our life. Let us pray:

"Holy Father, God of all — in all and of all — we bow before your precious name. May this new year be the year that we experience you every day. May 2014 be the year when we choose not to kill off any golden moment you give us. Let this be the year when we open the door to your kingdom, so that Heaven can be experienced here on earth. Father, forgive us for the times we have chosen to turn away from you and have focused on the darkness rather than your light. May we fill 2014 with memories of you and your blessings. In the name of Jesus, the Christ-child of Christmas, we pray. Amen"

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

Escape from the Belfry is available at Cokesbury:,  as well as: bookstore, and www.b& and others.


Monday, December 23, 2013


"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

Let’s see, pick up a present for my husband and one for our daughter’s boyfriend. We could go to Fort Wayne to get the last one and take in a movie at the same time. I really want to see Saving Mr. Banks. Wow, plans that may really fall into place. Then the phone rang.

Would Bill please visit someone in the hospital? Sure - we could stop before going into the city. And, it will all fit on my list of "Things to be done." After all, it was Christmas and visitation just go together. However, we were the ones who were blessed.

The lovely lady we visited was in her nineties. She was bright, clear-eyed, smooth skinned and full of smiles. She thanked the church for the prayer shawl that had been blessed before it was given to her. An interest in life and creative expression was still evident in her life and she asked if the church could use any of the tubs of craft materials she still has. A stranger was immediately turned into a new friend because of the common bond of Christian love.

Christmas is the very time to remember how the world has changed because of Jesus Christ, because of Christmas. Love, grace and forgiveness came into the world over two-thousand years ago. What would our lives be like without them? Perhaps we would have been afraid to greet a stranger with love and trust, before the birth of the King. Maybe we would have missed the chance to meet a fine seasoned lady who still thought of others and wanted to share what she had.

Rather than shop for yet another present – visit a shut-in or widow, talk to a child, bring love to the lonely or loveless. You will be bringing true Christmas into someone’s life. When you are kind to a stranger, they may actually see an angel through you.

Like Bedford Falls would have been a dangerously bleak and dismal Pottersville if George Bailey had never been born – our world would be without all the blessings of Christmas if Jesus Christ had not been born. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, grow tired from waiting upon the Lord – not weary from buying more of what is not even needed in the first place. Let us pray:

"Holy Father, your son’s birthday is almost here. You brought Heaven to earth and our hearts to Heaven when he was born. All of Glory rejoices with song as we celebrate his birth. Sometimes we are too busy to hear the melodies or lyrics to your songs of love. Forgive us for our busyness which only serves to make us feel worthy. May this be the Christmas when we listen to you and speak of your love wherever we go. We love you Lord and we thank you for the most precious gift of Christmas. In the name of Jesus, your son, the baby that was announced by angels and the great light of heaven, we pray. Amen"


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

Escape from the Belfry is available at Cokesbury:, bookstore, and www.b& and others.


Monday, December 16, 2013


Yesterday was the Third Sunday in Advent. Within most traditional churches it is called Gaudete Sunday because the introit for the mass of that Sunday begins with the words, “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.” It is set apart from the Advent Candle Wreath by its color - pink. The theme emphasizes the great joy over the coming of the Lord and is taken from Philippians.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)

I know how busy you are. The Christmas season is one of the greatest stressors we have. While, it should be the greatest JOY we will ever experience.

If shopping is keeping you from the love of the Lord, then address that failing in whatever way is right for you and the Lord. If baking and cookie making frazzles your nerves, let the bakery on the corner deal with that. If family stresses you, embrace them rather than trying to change them. Let this be the Christmas that Joy comes into your life. While you go about your days between now and Christmas Day, I ask you to repeat these words:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice! The Lord is near.”  Let us pray:

“Holy Father, who brought Joy rather than sorrow, Life instead of death, Light over darkness,  Love above hate and Song rather than crying into the world, I lift up my hands to you in praise.
May this be the year that true Christmas comes to everyone, even to me, that your kingdom may truly be ushered into my life. Forgive me for every time you have drawn near and I have turned away, to focus on the tinsel around me. This season, Father God, I choose you and your son Jesus, the Christ of Christmas. May I have the privilege of bringing your Joy to those around me, because indeed, the Lord is near. 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

News!  Escape from the Belfry will be available at Cokesbury:  tomorrow.
Or, order at bookstore

Monday, December 9, 2013

Who is Seen in You?

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9 (NIV)

With each new Christmas season, the Lord Jesus is revealed in the hearts of mankind as the Savior - Emmanuel. As each heart beats with the carols of the season, the name and presence of Jesus, the Son of God, expands in the awareness of everyone. That is what we call the Christmas spirit.

Yesterday in church, we sang Bob McGee’s beautiful chorus, Emmanuel. It was this line that resonated on my heartstrings: "God with us, revealed in us. His name is called Emmanuel"

I thought, "Yes, God reveals Himself within our souls." Then, I also remembered something John Knecht, former President of United Theological Seminary, once said, "You are the best Christian someone knows." The Christ-child is also revealed through us.

Whom do we reveal as we walk through this world at the Holiest time of the year? The materialist one, bent on finding the best, most expensive, most unique presents for our family? Or, the follower of the Christ child, showing the face and heart of Him wherever we go?

Which would make the best Christmas present - the last Happy Slappy that remained on the store shelf . . . or . . . an introduction to the one who will bring the peace of God and the Way to Eternal Life? Who is revealed as we interact with the world? Let us pray:

"Holy Father of our Lord, I bow before your holy name. May this be the Christmas that the Christ-child comes alive to those I meet. Use me, in spite of myself, to reveal Emmanuel, His peace and His saving grace, to all those I meet. Forgive me for the times I could have been a reflection of your love to the world around me, but chose to let others see my anger or indifference. Emmanuel means God with us, and the name of the Love at the center of this season is Emmanuel. Let me bring the love, his presence and his peace to all those I meet. In the name of Jesus, the Christ-child, I pray. Amen"
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2013 Doris Gaines Rapp


To order Escape from the Belfry for Christmas, go to bookstore

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yet Are We Still Thankful?

"While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine — where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’" Luke 17: 11-19 (NIV)

Thanksgiving came and went - our belts are a little tighter, our families a little closer. We slept in or shopped like fools on Friday, and lit the first Advent candle on Sunday. Time moves on.

Oh, how very thankful we were just four days ago — for life, love, and sustenance. My friends, a life lived fully consists of days filled with Thanksgiving, joy, and an attitude of "enough." If you don’t have enough money to buy the largest gifts for Christmas, perhaps your praise and Thanksgiving for the Christ Child is not honored with your shopping and your giving.

My prayer for you this Advent season is that the spirit of fullness may come over you and fill every niche of your life, that satisfaction for the blessings God has given you is enough. Will each of us be the one who returns to Jesus with Thanksgiving on our lips and fullness in our hearts for the truth of Christmas? He is the one that leads us home. What more could we possibly want this Christmas? What more could we possibly give, than a word, a gesture, and a prayer that will lead another to the path that leads to Eternal Life. Christ Jesus really is He who was promised. We don’t have to fill our lives anymore with things that could replace Him. We have been given enough. Let us pray:

"Holy father, Lord God of all, father of love and life and creation, we bow before you, full of thankfulness for all you have given us. In your kingdom, there is neither male nor female, rich or poor, or those with "different" skin. There are only those you love and worship you. In your house, there is enough — full measure, pressed down and running over. May each day be an opportunity to be thankful for all you have done for us and given us. Forgive us when we whine about not having what we want. We thank you completely for sparing us the curse of always getting what we want. For only that which you give us has any real value and meaning. For all of these blessings, we give you thanks and glorify your name. In the name of, and by the power of, the name of your son, Jesus, the Christ Child of Christmas, we pray. Amen"


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