Saturday, May 26, 2012


This Morning Diane and I went into the woods and picked some blackberries.  We had intended to stay for about an hour and a half, but something happened which caused our expedition to last a little longer.   I kept discovering fat and juicy berries.  Has that ever happened to you?

As I pondered those fat and juicy berries and their call upon me, I realized that there are many fat and juicy things in life which distract us from our purpose and schedule.   I had my day planned, but those fat and juicy berries have put me far behind schedule, and some things simply will not get accomplished.

I’m convinced that God has a plan for us as we live out each day.  A plan designed to grow us into a more Christlike individual, to touch the lives of others in a positive way, and to move toward the ultimate fulfillment of His purpose for our lives.  The fat and juicy blackberries of life tend to distract us from His purpose, thereby causing us to play catchup in our doings.  Additionally, we suffer guilt for having not accomplished what He had for us.

Those fat and juicy blackberries of life can sometimes lead us into some very thorny situations.  I remarked to my wife that the best berries seemed to always be the most inaccessible requiring me to sustain scratches and pricks in order to reach them.

Too often those that appeared fat and juicy were much less so once I reached them.  That, too, is the way of life as we observe the highly desirable object from a distance, only to be disappointed once it has been acquired.

From "A Word For Living" by Mike Rasberry

©                        2012                 Mike Rasberry

Friday, May 18, 2012


According to all I’ve read, “Sympathy” is a feeling of care and understanding for what another is experiencing. “Empathy” is the ability to mutually share emotionally with what another is experiencing.   When one sympathizes with another, he stands outside and observes with concern.  When he empathizes, he gets inside the skin of another and feels from his perspective.

Too much of contemporary Christian witnessing is, I believe, sympathetically shared.  We see the person’s condition, and realizing it is difficult, wish for them the better way of life which Christ alone affords.  It is very easy to forget the doubt, fear, anger, frustration, and general malaise under which we labored before Christ energized us, and gave us a greater purpose in life.  Consequently, we are perplexed by the failure of those to whom we witness to recognize the truth of what we’re saying, and we become resigned to the hopelessness of ever reaching them for.

When we empathize with the unsaved, we recognize their doubts.  We remember the abject hopelessness of trying manipulate circumstances so as to accommodate our desires and personal dreams.  We understand the sense of having tried to live the Christian life, and failing, thereby wondering if is just a pipe dream, all the while, hoping that it is true, and there is hope of real purpose and meaning.

Such empathy leads us to persevere in our attempts to show Christ to them, while praying pointedly for the Holy Spirit’s intervention in their lives. It also leads us to share more effectively God’s Good News, that they need not remain trapped in their hopeless condition, but that Christ has come,  bringing with Him deliverance to those who are captive, and realize there must be more to life than what they’re experiencing.

Lord, help me this day to learn empathy, so that I might more effectively preach Your truth, and more efficiently share with those You lead across my path.

Taken from "A Word For Living" by Mike Rasberry

©               2012                     Mike Rasberry

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Rio Grande

A Word For Living
May 15, 2012

Crossing the Rio Grande between Del Rio, Tx. & Ciudad Acuna.
The Rio Grande River is one of the twenty-five longest rivers in the world, and the fifth longest in North America.  Its headwaters are 12,000 feet above sea level in the San Juan Mountains along the Continental Divide in Colorado.  It cuts through New Mexico and meanders to the Gulf of Mexico forming a natural boundary between Mexico and Texas.  Called Rio Bravo, in Mexico, it is kept alive in Western lore through movies, music, and literature.

The Rio Grande holds a special place in my own heart because it is across that boundary that I’ve traveled many times with groups seeking to share Jesus Christ in a personal way to people long enslaved by a false theology.   To see people who have labored without assurance, always hoping they could somehow placate God enough  to enter His presence, suddenly find peace with Holy God and freedom to live for Him is exhilarating.   I return from such trips exhausted, but somehow refreshed and renewed. 

But more and more I’m coming to realize that there at boundaries here, at home, which separate truth and false theology.  You see, everyone has a theological position.  The atheist, the agnostic, the hedonist, the satanist, and the materialist all act out their belief about God in the philosophy which drives their lives.  It is quite easy for me to look across the river and see the theological error which abounds, but now I must look at friends, associates, and loved ones with the same discernment and understand that they, too, are enslaved.  

Help me, Dear Lord, to exercise the gift of discernment as I go about the doings you have prepared for me.  Help me, to see the need of those You bring across my path, and give me the wisdom to share Your Good News in such a way as to cause them to realize their condition so that they might cry out to You for salvation.   This prayer, O Lord, I give on my behalf and behalf of all who read it, in the name Jesus Christ who purchased me with His blood.

©                       2012                Mike Rasberry

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Power of The Blood

Too many Believers are living beneath their privilege because they are condemning themselves for the sins they have committed.  Romans 8:1 tells us there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.  However, far too often self-condemnation is robbing individuals of freedom and their lives are ineffective witnesses of God’s grace.

One of the most devastating events in the Believer’s life is the realization that he is still prone to sin, and that his sin brings a tremendous sense of guilt.  Expressions like, “Why do I do this?” and “I just don’t understand,” are common.  Added to this is the fact that Satan, God’s enemy, takes the Believer’s sin as an opportunity to accuse him.  “You must not really be a Christian,” he says.

Satan’s attack is designed to cause the Believer to doubt the power of the blood to forgive and cleanse.  The argument presented is that if the blood is indeed sufficient, then why does one continue to sin, and have these oppressive times of guilt? 

Faith is the primary weapon the Believer has against the self-condemnation resulting from Satan’s attempt to cast doubt on God’s effective work of blood redemption.  One must accept that the blood works in three ways.

First the Believer must faithfully accept that the blood of Christ was completely sufficient to settle his debt toward God.  That is a central theme of Scripture.  Secondly, the Believer must understand that the blood of Christ both covers and cleanses one’s sin.  When the Believer accepts that his sin is covered, he no longer has consciousness of that sin.  It is no longer a weight of guilt about him, preventing him for living the effective life God intends.  Thirdly, since the blood of Christ justifies the Believer before God, God can now stand with the Believer against the common enemy, Satan. 

Don’t try to justify yourself to the Evil One.  It is an exasperating and demoralizing experience.  When you sin, claim the victory of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sin, He is faith and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  By faith believing that the blood of Jesus cleanses and makes you acceptable and usable in His service.

©         2012                        Mike Rasberry

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Word For Living: Attentiveness

One man defined "Attentiveness" as: "Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided concentration to his words."   Do you find yourself in conversation with folk from time to time, who it seems are hardly listening to what is being said, but rather they seem to be concentrating on what they will say next?  Those folk are difficult to enjoy being around because they're totally self-absorbed.

Give that individual a test and you'll find that he's barely cognizant of what you've been saying.  In training horses, it is important to gain the attention of the horse.  You can generally tell by his ears and his eyes if he is being attentive.  When working in the round pen, the trainer must be alert to a lessening of attention by the horse, and act in such a way as to once again have the animal focused upon him.  Should the horse turn his head away for more than a second or two, it is lost until his total attention has been reclaimed.

God is much like that toward us as we're in the round pen of life, and often lose our focus on our Trainer.  Our life round pens are not isolated, and the many disparate distractions to which we're subjected require intense concentration lest we turn our head away from the trainer.  Once the head is turned, our learning is ended until our attention is once again focused upon Him.

©                      2012             Mike Rasberry