Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

On Deelevating

In March of 1942 the HMS Trinidad launched a torpedo at a German destroyer.  With horror the men aboard the Trinidad watched their torpedo make a big circle and come back.  Thirty-two men died.  Eventually the British were forced to scuttle the Trinidad by having the HMS Matchless fire a torpedo into her.   She sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
This is so much like barbed comments we sometimes make about others. Unlike torpedoes that almost never came back, our demeaning comments about others usually come.  Our attempts to hurt others might be successful but they also hurt us.  We are days away from mid-term elections and our televisions are filled with demeaning comments about candidates for office.  Sometimes what is said is an outright lie but mostly it is half-truths.  I find myself disgusted with the one promoting the ad and not the one attacked.  So why do they do it?  We are told it helps win elections.  If so, shame on us.  And so they win.  But they are still diminished.
Sometimes we falsely believe we can elevate ourselves by deelevating others.  My word checker is telling me that deelevating is not a word.  But I’m sure you get the idea.  Rarely does deelevation accomplish its intention without deelevating the deelevator.
Have you ever wished you could back up the clock or suck back words?  In chapter 3 Jesus’ brother James said, “The tongue also is a fire. The tongue is the most evil part of the body. It pollutes the whole person. It sets a person’s whole way of life on fire.”  

With a sigh I wish I could say, “In all my life I have only said nice things about others.”  I wish.

"You'll Like the Way You Look"

Nine years and six months ago we had a new Harvey storm door put on our house.  About a year ago something strange happened to it.  It looked like an internal cancer ate its way out from the inside like some horrible growth.  One of my friends contacted Harvey Doors and Windows for us and would you believe they had a record on file for the door and it had six more months of warranty left. We are getting a new free door. I am amazed. Blessings come from strange places.
I love guarantees.  That must be why I am so extremely fond of Jesus.  He is the ultimate guarantee.  What is terrific about Him is there are no expiration dates.  If my friend had called the Harvey people seven months from now there would be no new door.  Jesus offers lifetime guarantees.  As long as we can breathe, as long as we can think, the replacement warranty is valid.  According to Paul we get new bodies with new minds.  “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”  I Corinthians 15.   Now that’s a guarantee we can count on.  He has our names and the date of our acceptance on file.  It’s ours.  I especially like the immortality part.  When Jesus raised Lazarus in John 11 Lazarus only lived a few more years and died again.  He is one of very few who will be able to speak of being raised more than once. 
The man who sells suits on television for Men’s Warehouse always says, “You’ll like the way you look.  I guarantee it.”  Jesus promises the very same thing. 

Our Gluttonous Red Squirrel

Our squirrel population seems to be down to one small red denizen.  A month or so ago we had a large group of grays but I am suspicious they became meals for the various predators who are also residents of Old Farm Road.  Yesterday I put out a five inch by five inch cake of suet for the incoming chickadees and tufted titmice that will be residing here for the winter.  Several times during the day I saw the little red squirrel tanking up on the suet.  Much to my amazement he ate all of it in one day. It was bigger than he.  I can only imagine his physical discomfort as his small body attempts to process all that fat and grease.  I wonder if he sat in a tree thinking, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.  Why oh why did I do that?”
Most likely all of us know the feeling of having eaten too much.  There is just one slice of pizza left.  I better eat it.  Then the regret comes.  I am amazed at how resilient our bodies are.  They can handle an amazing amount of abuse.  However, little by little the cost mounts up and one day when we are far too heavy and find ourselves panting after climbing one flight of stairs we wake up.
We get sick and wonder why God isn’t taking better care of us.   God must shake His head at our ignorance and self-imposed ills.   My little red squirrel doesn’t know anything about I Corinthians 6:19 where Paul clearly states that our bodies our not our own.  We are temples of the living God with obligations to care for it.  My squirrel can be excused but do we really think we can be excused.  Forgiven? Yes.  Excused? No.

The Lawn of My Character

While blowing the leaves out of my yard this afternoon I could not help but notice the leaves were falling from the trees behind me.  I was making progress but should I pause for a moment or so they would catch up to me making it look like I hadn’t done anything.  I wanted to impress my wife that I was still worth keeping but the fruit of my labor was most unimpressive.
Our sins are somewhat like my leaf blowing.  I ask for forgiveness and readily receive what Jesus is anxious to give, but the lawn of my character doesn’t stay clean but for a moment.  Often we err in thinking sins are merely acts of wrong but there is also a more important element that we are sinful beings.  It is centered in selfishness which might not show on the outside but I know it’s there.  Rarely do I hear of someone being shamed for breaking the 10th commandment.  “Thou shalt not covet.”  If we were to rank sins (and we don’t) I would say this was perhaps #1 on the list.  It is internal.  It is at the core of our being.  It is the seed that manifests itself in the other commandments. I wouldn’t steal something if I had not first coveted it.  I wouldn’t kill someone unless I first coveted something that motivated the murder.
Tomorrow is another day and I will once again have my sins forgiven just as I will blow the leaves again.  Someday I might be leafless.  But considering the reality of trees I somehow doubt that there will not but be a leaf or so tucked in a quiet corner.  Such is life.

What to Think About

This weekend I picked up a book and read, “This book appears at a time when not only Western civilization - European and American – but the civilizations and the cultures of Asia and Africa as well, are in a condition of violent crisis.  The whole world is affected by a malaise of the soul, a confusion of the mind, a conflict of social, philosophical, scientific, artistic and literary systems, theories and experiments.”  I would have assumed this was written in the latest edition of Time or The Economist. It describes 2014.   But I was holding a worn looking book, so I checked the copyright date.  It was written in 1933.   America was in depression and Europe was hurtling toward WWII.
Has there ever been a time when that paragraph isn’t on target?  Is this not a statement of flow and flux of humanity?  There are so many things wrong around the world and with 24/7 media coverage bombarding us with information regarding those wrongs we seem perched on the edge of oblivion.   It is so easy for someone to sound authoritative by proclaiming doom and gloom.  All one has to do is wait long enough and something bad will happen.  Then they can claim to be wise and prophetic.  But any fool knows all things come to an end and bad things will happen.  The challenge is to not be part of the problem but to be part of something that will make things better.  Our task is not to wring our hands and promote despair but to promote health of mind and spirit.
It is not being Pollyannaish to look for and speak of hope and of the good people, which make up the majority of humankind.  Paul was right when he said if things be of good report, think on them.

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