Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

To Each His Own

We spent the afternoon at an art museum.  How interesting that some of the galleries were wonderful and filled us with awe while others were filled with junk.  It is so true that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.  This is evident at yard sales.  It is so glaring at an art museum.  One room housed stuff I would be ashamed to put out at a yard sale.  It seemed sacrilegious to keep it in a room across the hall from Monets and Rembrandts.  I think I will approach them about paying me for filling a room with nothing and entitling it “Space for Meditation.”
Last evening I received a marketing phone call wanting to sell me a trip to Las Vegas.   When I said I couldn’t be less interested the caller wanted to know where I wanted to go.  I told her I wanted to sit on my patio with a good book and a cold drink on a warm summer evening in New England.  To each his own.
I’m glad we have individualized tastes.  The world would be boring if we all liked the same music, the same books, the same food, etc.  Sampling new things is quite fun.  However, it’s always nice to come home to the things we like.  I go to a church that has very tame music.  I have friends who prefer a bit more spirit.  (Actually quite a bit.)  When I preach at my home church and it gets very quiet I know I have them.  Other cultures prefer lots of amens, hallelujahs and praise the Lords.  The more noise the more animated the preacher.  I think Heaven will have different worship services to make everyone feel at home.  God has no favorites.  See Acts 10:34.

Goodness is Real

I recently heard someone say that darkness is the absence of light.  Light is something and darkness is nothingness.  He went on to say cold is the absence of heat.  Heat is something cold is nothingness.  He continued on and said, “Evil is the absence of goodness. If we add goodness to a life evil isn’t.”   Goodness is something and evil is nothingness.  I was uncomfortable with the premise.  Evil isn’t nothingness.   Evil is real.  Evil is palpable.  Evil isn’t just creepy it is a destructive, sadistic force based on selfishness and perversion.  Maybe we should say goodness is the absence of evil.  But that isn’t correct either.   Goodness also is palpable.  One can sense being in a good place just as one can sense being in an evil place. And when the wolf is in sheep’s clothes the evil is so much more evil.
The psalmist wrote, “Though I walk through the valley of death.”  Most likely all of us have been in such a place.  However, “I will fear no evil for thy rod and staff comfort me.”
There is a wonderful song with the words,

“There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.”
Remember the song, “Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go. Anywhere he leads me I am not afraid.”   Goodness is real and it’s a treasure.

Quantum Physics and Us - Part 2

In the strange esoteric world of quantum physics when two quantum objects become entangled the objects can spin in opposite directions at the same time.  Yes.  I know that is quite impossible in our three dimensional world.  Minds brighter than mine (not yours) call this “superposition.”  My mind wants a bit more understandable information.  However, I can grasp this dichotomy if I relate it to us. 
There has been a debate seemingly as long as there have been people about our nature.  Are we naturally good or are we naturally evil?   The answer seems to be “Yes.”  It all depends which moment of our lives we are looking at.  Even the most evil of people actually have good moments.  And the best of us have horrible moments and we do things we rue.  It is one of the reasons it is important to look at the totality of a life and put things into context.  It is amusing to see political advertisements on TV that take a five second excerpt from one of an opponent’s speeches and use it to make the person say just the opposite of what was said in the entire speech.  Satan can make a legitimate case against us by compiling selected events.  We call it cherry picking.  Actually we should call it prune picking
We are walking Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes.  In Romans 7 Paul speaks of his personal struggle.  “In my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
How thankful we are that Paul continues on, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”   Ah – the Good News.

Quantum Physics and Us

In the academic arena of physics a field is an area of influence. A field theory is an attempt to explain the behavior of electrons, photons, etc. when their fields (gravitational and magnetic) interact. The theory of quantum entanglement espouses the concept that once influenced always influenced no matter how distant the particles, etc. become from each other. A shared past will have affected the other’s properties.  This affect can be seen any time into the future.
This is amazingly duplicative of human interactions.  Each of us emanates a field of influence (like it or not).  Each of us is affected by contact with each other.  You will never be the same having read this far in this devotional. This truth is a solemn reality that whatever we read, whatever we watch, whatever conversations we have, whatever classes we attend, whatever anything alters our characters and personalities.  It is a two sided coin.  We are affected and others are affected by us.
Like quantum physics the alteration is permanent.  You and I are a product of the environment into which we were born and the environment we have chosen and continue to choose to create for ourselves.  This is why there has never been someone like us and there will never again be someone like us.  We are incredibly unique and yet incredibly the same as each other because of this interactive affectation.  If we are to rightfully call ourselves Christians (Christ-like) we need to be in contact with Him.  It is possible.  He promised, “Lo, I am with you always.”  It is no wonder He said, “By their fruits you will know them.”  We are what we touch, feel, see and hear.

Feed Us and Go Away

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon to sit on the patio in the shade with a cold drink and a good book.  I could pause from my reading and enjoy the tufted titmice, the blue jays, the cardinals, the wrens, the orioles, the gold finches, the woodpeckers, the catbirds and the grosbeaks that were fluttering all around me.  But that was the problem.  They were fluttering and screaming at me to go away.  For them I was the problem.  How dare I invade their restaurant?  I was intruding into their Eden.  “Go away,” they were yelling. “Only come back long enough to bring more food. Then quickly go away again.”
How like us and God.  We like to have Him around when our supplies are low.  But once we are well stocked He is a nuisance.  “Give us this day our daily bread and then get lost.” Often the only times people think about God is when troubles come and then often it is to blame Him.  Generally speaking we are a selfish lot, when all God wants is for us to recognize the source of the good things He has given to us.  In a way this makes God sound like a gratitude hog; however, there is no self in God.  He doesn’t want our praise and gratitude for His sake.  He knows that we need to keep in mind the origin of the good things in our lives lest we look to an empty and often dangerous source. 
The first commandment, “Thou shall have no other Gods before me” isn’t about God.  It is about us. To keep us from drinking from poisonous wells and eating from contaminated garbage pits.  Everything He does is for us.

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