Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

Marbles Dirt and Love

Before I was old enough to go to school my father would come home from school (he was a teacher) and play marbles with me.  It wasn’t the traditional game where you had to knock marbles out of a circle.  We had three small holes in a row in the dirt by the side of the house.  I no longer remember the rules.  What I do remember is waiting for him to come home.  I’m sure he changed his trousers before he got down on his hands and knees in the dirt with me, but I don’t recall that.  What I do remember is seeing him with the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up and his necktie tucked inside between two buttons and the sheer joy of it all.  I was so small I actually thought I won.  I did.  But it wasn’t marbles.
 
One is loved when another gets down in the dirt for them.  I was loved then and loved again when my God got down in the dirt for me.  This time it wasn’t merely getting soil on one’s hands and knees.  This time it was about “eating with publicans and sinners.”  This time it was about touching filthy stinking lepers.  This time it was about lying face down in the dirt of Gethsemane while the filthiest of all creatures ever pressed on Him to believe it was for nothing.
 
One can never tire of the Gospel.  It is the most amazing love story of all time. No matter what the cost Jesus chose moment by moment to endure for us.  When He got down in the dirt it wasn’t a game.  It was life and death.  His and ours.

Elmo by the Road

It was so sad.  Lying by the side of the road, close enough to be run over, was Elmo.  There he was bright red, with his orange nose, mouth agape and two big eyes looking terrified as we bore down upon him.  Was he missing his owner and how did he get there?  Did he fall out of the window of a passing car and did a horrified child look out the back window watching him fade into the distance?  I wanted to get off at the next exit and circle back to rescue him.  But that would have been silly.  He wasn’t worth it.  If I wanted an Elmo I could order him on Amazon.com and have him delivered to my door the next day.  I could buy lots of Elmos.
 
When Adam and Eve fell was there ever a moment when God wondered if they were worth what their redemption was going to cost?  To get another couple He wouldn’t have to order them from Amazon.com and wait a day.  Not only could He create another couple right away He could create lots of Adams and lots of Eves.  God doesn’t need Fedex.
 
God’s ability to make more was never a consideration.  When we lose a loved child we are not pleased when someone says, “Thank God, you can have another.”  Another doesn’t work.  Another never replaces the one lost.  Each child is unique and once lost there will always be a room in our hearts with that child’s name on the door.  Therefore, the instant Adam and Eve fell the plan for their redemption was initiated.  There wasn’t a moment to lose.  Our salvation will come the very moment when all is ready.  Love hates to wait.

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.
 
Chorus
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.

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