Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

Your are Somebody

Emily Dickenson wrote, “I'm Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? Then there's a pair of us! Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know.”  She must have thought of being somebody (at least for a few moments) because she also wrote, “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed.  To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need.”  Being somebody is the native fruit of success unless your goal was to be nobody.
 
In 1954 Marlon Brando immortalized the line, “I could have been somebody” in the film On the Waterfront.  I’m sure there are some people who have never wanted to be somebody but I’m not sure that I know any.  Being that I know a lot of preachers I can safely say they are the worst.  They would never admit it because that would mar their self images as God’s messengers.  Deep within they are attracted to the pulpit because of the attention they receive from fans and foes.  I know some will say, “Speak for yourself.” So I do and I hold to my belief from decades of associations.
 
Now to the important stuff.  You are somebody.  You are God’s son.  You are God’s daughter.  You are a prince of the Universe.  You are a princess of the Universe.  In Romans and Galatians Paul assures us that we have been adopted into God’s family and are co-heirs with Jesus.  It is an unfathomable thought, a non-comprehensible concept.  Sometimes Paul shocks us with his ideas of God’s lavish love and God’s plans for our futures. People who are not overwhelmed by many of Paul’s concepts are so merely because they have not yet read them.  Please pour over Ephesians 1 & 2.  The ideas within are astounding. 

The Sneeze

Last Friday while I was lecturing I was standing immediately in front of a desk on the front row, when suddenly the student at that desk exploded with a huge sneeze.  Yes, it is four days later and I have a full blown cold.  When it occurred my students were horrified and someone said, “You just killed him” while two others hurried forward with sanitizer for my hands and face.
 
It is interesting what an impact one small act can have on others.   The act of texting while driving might not seem like a big deal until one drifts across the white line into the path of school bus.  A misspoken word or a harsh look can crush a student affecting their academic future.   Little things do mean a lot.  Is there such a thing as a tiny sin or a white lie?  We all know according to our social convention when we ask “How are you” we don’t want a medical report. 
 
In Matthew 16:6 Jesus warned His disciples about the leaven of the religious leadership. In Matthew 13 Jesus spoke of the potential of the tiny mustard seed.  Some people are very fastidious about their cars.  The smallest ding or scuff mark on a tire upsets them until they can remove it and make their car whole again.  We should be so fastidious regarding our characters.  To the point of becoming anally retentive we should be aiding and abetting the Holy Spirit in the task of cleaning out our characters.  We should not excuse ourselves with such comments as “I’m only human.”   We know that.   The goal is to participate in the divine nature (see II Peter 1) and day by day become more like Jesus.

Camouflage

In 2011 the United States military spent 300 million dollars on camouflage uniforms.  It costs a lot to blend in so no one will notice you.  Adolescents tell their parents they want to be different; however, the irony is at the very same time they want the same jeans and the same shoes as their peers – so they can blend in.  The cost of blending in comes in other forms than cash.  Often one has to pretend to be someone they are not at the expense of knowing what is right and doing the wrong.  Perhaps I am being overly harsh on adolescents because adults are not innocent of such activity.  Often I have sat in committees that required a vote only to watch people hesitate to put up their hands until they see which way the majority is going.  Then they quickly join in, acting as if their vote was their true decision, thus the value of secret ballots.
 
It isn’t just teens who want to be liked by those around them.  Some people spend miserable lives wondering what others think of them.  They have more than one camouflage outfit.  They have one to wear to church and another to wear to work and yet another to wear to parties. Peter tried to play this game the night Jesus was crucified.  He even added curses to his denial of Jesus.  Surely that would be cover enough.  Unfortunately for him Jesus heard him. The rooster crowed and they looked at each other.  Peter was crushed to think that he had fallen so low.
 
If you really want to be camouflaged dress up in good works and unselfish care for others.  You will blend right in with Jesus.  People might not know the difference.

Peter's Wife

According to I Corinthians 9:5 Peter’s wife traveled with him on his missionary travels.  It raises lots of questions such as where was she when Herod put Peter in prison as mentioned in Acts 12.  Was she by chance at the home of John Mark’s mother Mary when the angel led Peter out of the prison and Peter went to Mary’s house?  The more we read these stories the more details we wish we had.  According to Eusebius, the Christian Roman historian, after Nero had arrested Peter and his wife, Nero had Peter’s wife crucified with Peter watching.  Eusebius supposedly got this from the church father Titus Flavius Clement.
 
There is a hymn with the words, “Feed me til I want no more.”   Is that possible?  I am a glutton to know more.  It is true there are moments when my brain seems full and I need a respite of inflow but just like physical food tomorrow I am ready for more.  The wonder of the human brain is its infinite capacity.  There is never a time when in order to remember something new we have to forget something old to make room for the new.  We can just keep on adding.  I do notice that retrieval seems to take longer.  Is that because the internal search engine has more to sort through to get the right data or is it merely the result of plaque buildup in the arteries?
 
Curiosity is one of our gifts.  We want to know or is it we have to know?  Either way Jesus has promised us an eternity of scholarship.  If you hated school don’t panic.  This will be the best school with the best teachers you could ever imagine. You will love school.

Journey for the Brave

One of the funeral homes in our little city has the following sign by the street where its driveway begins.  “Funeral Home.  Not a thruway.”  Right they are.  It’s not a thruway it’s a dead end.  The guest of honor never leaves alive.  But wait.  Is that always true?  Jesus spoke of death as a sleep.  See John 11.   In I Thessalonians Paul spoke of a great trumpet blast at a day of resurrection when the sleepers will awaken and all the promises Jesus made will come true.
 
I’m thinking I should have my wife put a sign on my cement sarcophagus with one of the following messages, “Just passing through” or maybe “Shhh, sleeping.”  “He loved naps.”  “If you thought he looked good today just wait until the next time you see him.”  “And now for the main event.”  I’m thinking I should video tape my own funeral sermon.  That way I can make sure the stories that are told about me are made up by me.
  
We are on a great journey.  The destination is unknown, even for those who trust Jesus.  Scripture says, “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard the wonders that await us.”  In Ephesians 2 Paul tells us God will spend eternity showering us with gifts of grace because it makes Him happy.  It is His pleasure.  This is not for the timid nor the cowardly.  It is for the brave who seek to learn, to explore, to grow, to contribute, to serve and to love.  When couples marry they embark on an unknown journey.  When we unite ourselves with Jesus the journey that follows is totally out of this world.  Death is but a thruway.

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