Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

The Fruit of Ignorance

I’m sitting here looking at a full page magazine ad that states “96 elephants are killed every day in Africa.”  It stirred a memory of someone who said to me, “If only Satan would die, the world would get better.”  My reaction to that is absolutely not.  It isn’t Satan out there killing those elephants.  It’s ignorance.  I would like to say, “If only we could eliminate ignorance the world would be a better place.” 
 
There is no question that the most dangerous animals on earth are humans. Our bottomless pit appetites drive us to amazingly thoughtless acts of cruelty and destruction.  Our ignorance of the consequences of our acts or our blindness to see those results are destroying the very earth over which God made us stewards.  We deny well researched scientific data merely to satisfy those appetites with cheap whatever. 
 
We don’t need Satan to inspire our actions.  We are very capable of imagining and designing our own evil.  Sometimes we are tempted to say the world keeps getting more and more evil.  However, that is a lack of knowledge of world history.  Holocausts, pogroms, mass slaughters and serial killers have been with us since the dawn of written records.  The one thing that has changed is technology makes it easier and more efficient to do our dirty deeds.
 
Often we point our fingers at others with disgust and rarely understand or admit to ourselves that we under the same circumstances of those others might have done what they did.  The only real answer to this is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to transform us and finally according to I Corinthians 15 replace our corruption with incorruption.  It cannot come soon enough. 

On Storms and Sunny Days

We began a journey today in the rain.  As we rolled along with limited visibility from the rain and the spray of other vehicles I had my wife check the weather map on her iPad.  “We only have 50 more miles and we will drive out of it,” she said.  But after 50 miles we were still being pelted.  Again she checked the weather map only to discover the storm was moving with us and we were barely making headway.  For each 50 miles we went the storm followed at 30 miles per hour.  Eventually we won. 
 
How like life it was.  Life’s storms and troubles follow us.  We think we see sunny days ahead only to discover either our troubles have followed or we have driven into new ones.  Do we eventually win?  Perhaps.  It depends on our definition of winning.  If by winning we mean we have grown and understand more, then hopefully we have.  If by winning we mean sunny days come and last for the rest of our lives.  Then no we never win.  This life is one filled with disappointments and challenges. And truthfully we need them.  The old expression “no pain, no gain” is pregnant with meaning. 
 
The real challenge is what do we do with challenges.  They can ultimately be blessings if we become better people because of them.  Maybe using the word “blessings” is pushing it a bit.  Perhaps the word “opportunities” is a better word to use. 
 
Lest I sound like I am complaining, I am not.  I have had more than my share of sunny days and I am very thankful.  But I also know that as my wife and I age there are many unsunny days ahead.

Roundabouts

The first time you have to negotiate a roundabout it is intimidating and scary.  But once you get the hang of it they are a wonderful way to keep intersecting traffic flowing.  As long as everyone follows the rules they work quite well.  One of the features I like is if you miss your exit all you have to do is go around the circle and your exit will be there again. I have been known to go around three times because I missed my exit twice.  If I had missed again it would still be there for yet another try. Roundabouts are much like life.  If we mess-up and miss something we can usually try it again.  The old adage about opportunity only knocking once must have been thought up prior to the invention of roundabouts.  
 
I qualified the going around again with the word “usually.”  Sometimes we crash and there isn’t another attempt available.  And sometimes in life a few things do only come once.  However, most people are resilient.  The effects of a defeat slowly ebb and we get on with life.  To be a teacher in Massachusetts students have to take state exams.  They are not easy.  I had a student who tried twelve times before she finally passed.  She should get a reward for tenacity.
 
The sooner one accepts Jesus into their life, better is the life that follows.  The wisest thing is to let Him in as soon as possible.  But, should we fail to take the opportunity we can know tomorrow will give us yet another try.  God is that way.  He loves us too much to limit our opportunities.  Some might think, “Well, then I can wait.”  That’s foolish.  Why gamble with eternity and why live in a “shanty” when one can live in a “mansion”?

 

Not One of the Crowd

Imagine yourself driving in bumper to bumper traffic going 80 miles an hour.  Slowing down creates major hazards as people behind you try to merge into lanes on either side to get by.  It is safer to drive with the pack.  Suddenly as you round a corner there is a black and white car with blue lights sitting by the side of the road.  Your heart skips a beat, your knees weaken, and your hands break out in an instant sweat.  You know he’s got you.  Of course he has everyone else and he can only stop one or two or three if he is an over-achiever.  As you pass him you keep watching in the rear view mirror wondering if you are going to be the one he selects.  There is safety in numbers.  That’s why (we think) fish swim in schools. 
 
If we are the unlucky one pulled over we will most likely say, “But, officer, everyone was doing it.”  That is an interesting defense used by teens when caught doing something they shouldn’t.  “But, mom, everyone does it.”   I wonder if someone yelled up to Noah, “But, Noah, we were all doing it.”
 
The Marine Corp has an interesting recruiting slogan.  “We are looking for a few good men.”  That’s what God is doing.  While God is full of grace and will save as many of us as He can, He is also looking for some Enochs and Jobs.  He wants to be able to single out some individuals and say, “Have you considered my servant ….?   Put your name in that blank.   One might think that would be the cause for pride but quite to the contrary.  Such a woman or man would also be amazingly humble – not one of the crowd.

Messy

At first I thought I was on Candid Camera but alas I wasn’t.  I should have been.  It was a warm day and a small frappe from McDonalds sounded perfect.  As the teenage girl passed it out the drive-by window I failed to notice all the caramel sauce wasn’t inside the plastic container. There I sat with one hand smeared with sauce.  In a fraction of a moment I had it on my steering wheel, on my shirt, on the gear shift (I don’t know how I did that.) and on my face.  I definitely got a whole lot more than I paid for.  I was a mess.  I was like Eve.  She got so much more than she thought she was going to get.  It was true that she gained knowledge.  The serpent did not lie about that.  She gained knowledge about pain, heartbreak and death.  What a mess ensued.
 
Satan is always very liberal with his giving.  He tempts us with something.  We get it and a mess we hadn’t counted on comes with it.  Satan is happy to give us something that would normally be good if the consequences in that particular context are hellish.  He knows God has a plan for each of us and he is devoted to ruining God’s dream for us.  Time and again God has to abandon plan A and go to plan B and then to Plan C.  Each change diminishes God’s dream.  But the good news is God never gives up.  He has plan triple Z ready just in case we keep making bad choices.  The good news is plan triple Z still includes eternal life with lots of time to grow.  Thank you Jesus.

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