Tuesday, February 24, 2015


“Folderal,” a useless accessory, nonsense.  

Much of what passes for Worship these days is nothing less than “Folderal.”  Jesus, speaking to the woman at the well of Samaria in John 4:23,24 said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

What is your view of worship? Is worship what happens in church on Sunday? Do you identify it with an emotional experience, spiritual thoughts, or maybe performing certain rituals?

The fact is, true worship is not defined by a place, a feeling, or a ritual. God set the standard for worship in His Word, and the standard is much higher and more rewarding than most of us ever imagine. 

God is not impressed by our performance, rather He is moved by the honest expression of response by us to His love.  He wants us to mean what we say and sing.  He wants each activity of the day to reflect such a response. 

There is a place for singing, preaching, listening, shouting, teaching, and even passing out bulletins.  It can all be true worship, but in all our doings, if we are not genuinely responding to God’s great love toward us, then we are not engaged in true worship, and it is nothing less than “Folderal.” 

You do not have to wait for Sunday to worship Him.  Jesus told that same woman in verse 21 that the hour is coming when your worship will not be confined to the central place of worship.  I think He was saying that true worship definitely can, and should, take place on Sunday in corporate worship with the body; but with the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell each Believer true worship occurs in everything we do throughout the week.  If we begin to understand that every interaction with others, every thing we do, and every word we speak should be done as a conscious reaction to His wonderful, redeeming love, we will find ourselves worshiping Him continually and there will be less and less “Folderal” in our lives.

©                    Mike Rasberry              2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Deliverance From The Dungeon of Despair

I believe there are untold numbers of Genuine Believers today who are struggling with despair.  They wonder why nothing is working out, and why life just seems so very difficult.  Now if everything is going well for you today, just hang on; if you live very long, you’ll face some daunting challenges.  But there are some who are really in a deep dark dungeon, and they see no way out.

Let me tell you there is light and hope for you. 

John The Baptist was a great man, yet he was in the dungeon of despair.  He had though Jesus was the one who would finally deliver the Jews, and he had testified that Jesus was the Son of God, yet John was in prison, facing an uncertain future.   He could not understand why, if Jesus was who He claimed to be, that John was going through all this trouble. 

Do you ever feel that way?  “Jesus, I believe in you, but here I am.  Why?  If You’re really God why don’t you deliver me?”

John asked that same question, and Jesus answered him in Matthew chapter 11 with these words, “...Go and show John again those things which you do hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” 

Jesus was saying to John, “I’m still in charge, don’t despair because things aren’t going according to your schedule, or according to your plan.  Trust me.  I have not been sidetracked from My plan which is set from eternity past.”  If you’re in despair, look to Jesus, the author and finisher of you faith.  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb 11:6

Jesus will not castigate you when you come to Him and honestly admit that you have fallen into despair because of the dungeon you find yourself in.  He will comfort and encourage you.  He will empower you to face each day, trusting Him that all is going according to His plan.  You can sing with the hymn writer,  “I know what ‘ere befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.”

©                  Mike Rasberry             2015

Friday, February 20, 2015


“Mastication” is a Greek word that means "to gnash the teeth" (and related to the Greek words for jaw and chew).  In everyday parlance it means chewing.  While looking at this word this morning I was reminded of an expression I grew up with: “I’ll chew on it awhile” meant that the person would ponder, or think, about it for a while.

When someone would want another to think about something, the common expression was, “I’ll let you chew on that for a spell.” 

I’ve been “chewing” on some things recently, that give me hope for the future, even in these days of growing official opposition to Biblical Christianity. 

Look for a moment at Isaiah 34:1-7.  1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, 
And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.  3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east,   And gather you from the west;  6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth– 7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."

If you would “chew” on this for a spell, it might give you hope also.  Here Holy God declares His sovereignty over all, and lets those who are His understand that each and everyone of His have been created for His glory.  Nothing this world offers can separate us from the One Who holds us in His strong hand. 

Glory!  Glory!  Glory!

©            Mike Rasberry        2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Truth And Godliness

Is knowing and accumulating truth enough? 

In today’s world of instant communications and the ability to google almost anything to find an answer, nearly everyone is suddenly a theologian.  In James chapter 2:18ff, the writer is telling the listener that there is more to Godliness than simply accumulating truth.  In fact, he compares those who do so with the demons.

So is James teaching that knowledge of truth is not important?  Certainly no!  He is simply explaining that truth which does not work itself out through one’s heart and thereby show itself in one’s doings is empty truth.

Now this doesn’t mean that one should not seek to expand his understanding of Biblical Truth.  Quite the contrary.  Trying to live “godly” without the basis of Biblical Truth leads to the shallow understanding permeating the contemporary church.  Without the solid basis of Biblical Truth, “I feelism” and “It seems to meism” has created mass confusion leading to a lack of Spiritual Power.

Those depending upon feelings are not intentionally trying to wreck and limit the work of Christ.  They are much like those described in the book of Judges who acted according to what was “right in their own eyes.”  They did not base their actions and lifestyles on the unchanging Word of God, but on their understanding of life.

If you and I desire true “Godliness,” we must look to The Bible, God’s Holy Word, and learn of Him, while submitting ourselves to Him as His instruments, thereby “working out” our faith in all our doings. 

©               2015              Mike Rasberry