Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

Better Than Burger King

A small ice cream cone at our local Dairy Queen costs $2.79.   The same size cone at Burger King and McDonalds cost $1.00.   And not only does it taste as good maybe it’s just a bit better or is that psychological because it is such a bargain?  Being happy about something definitely makes it sweeter and more beautiful.  A respectful kind child is always better looking than a rude selfish child even if the rude one has better cheek bones.
 
The Psalmist felt that way about God’s law.  In Psalm 119 he wrote, “Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.  I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.  I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.  I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.  I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”
 
God’s commandments are a guide for successful living.  Our obedience makes God happy not because we are doing what He said, but because He knows they will prevent all manner of heartache and pain.  Good parents are that way.  If one wants to be smart, then trust the One who has seen it all and shares with us the formula for happiness. Therefore, according to the Psalmist they taste better than honey.  The question is do they taste better than a cone from Burger King?  Of course they do.

Wonderful Dandelions

Yesterday I saw the most beautiful field of dandelions.  There must have been ten thousand yellow smiles spread beyond and around a New England stone wall.   Some, like us, had turned gray and some, like us, had been blown bald.   Dandelions are so under appreciated.  Considering them to be weeds we quickly extract them from our yards lest we nap and awaken to find they have taken over.
 
Dandelions remind us of Jesus’ comments in the Sermon on the Mount. “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”  Matthew 6.

So they are like us.  Or is it we that are like them?  We are not here long.  Hopefully we add beauty to the world while we are here.  Unlike them we have a chance of being again and that second time lasts a really long time.  It lasts forever.  I was going to say time shall be no more.  But how then would we meet each other?  Time is important for making appointments.  If I want to see you I have to know when as well as where.
 
Jesus’ point is the important focus.  We are loved and cared for.  We need not worry about tomorrow.  Our Father knows our needs and has a zillion ways to provide for us.  It’s great belonging to a rich family and we belong to the richest family of all.  Am I bragging?  You bet I am!

The Flesh is Weak

The Defense Chief of North Korea, Hyon Yong Chol, was executed last week with an anti-aircraft gun at a public gathering.  He is one of 70 officials to have been executed since 2011.  Hyon Yong Chol’s crime was falling asleep during a meeting when Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, was speaking.  Oh, dear.  I am so glad our God is much more gracious than Kim Jong Un.  I could not count the number of times I have fallen asleep in church.  I have often wished men’s suits came with very high, very stiff collars so my head would not flop around when I drift off.  If a fashion designer came up with such a style I’m sure it would be a big seller for I do not think I am the only one guilty.
 
According to Kim Jong Un’s behavior, Jesus would have had ample excuse for executing His disciples.  We read in Matthew 26, “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter.”
  
How reassuring it is to know that Jesus understands.  He said, “the flesh is weak.”  He knew.   He fell into the nets in His disciple’s fishing boat and slept so soundly He did not awaken in a raging storm until His frightened disciples woke Him.  I am so glad our Jesus experienced almost the entire human experience.  He was a baby, an adolescent, and a young man.  He did miss out on this old man thing, which I must say is very different from being thirty.  But if He was successful up to His mid-thirties, and He was, He could have handled the senior citizen thing. 

Love - It's the Best

This past Sunday noon found us sitting on a university quad in the sun in a sea of humanity watching 900 graduates one by one march across the stage and receive their college degrees.  For three hours we sat not knowing 899 of the graduates.  We sat, we waited and we cheered for the one we knew - our granddaughter.  It took all of 10 seconds and we were a half a football field away and all we saw was a black robe, wearing a black hat with long brown hair streaming over her shoulders.  For this we drove 800 miles.
 
One might ask, “Why?  Was it worth it?”  And the answer is absolutely yes.  Would we do it again?  Absolutely yes.  Love is that way.  Love is by far the most motivating power in the universe.  This is not to say that hate is not powerful.  Just read Melville’s Moby Dick and listen to Ahab spew forth his miserable venom for a prime example of that.  But love trumps hate every time.  It was love that gave birth to a baby in a filthy stable in a small Judean town.  It was love that nurtured that baby into a man who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”   It was love that poured out His life on that cross and it is love that will call you and me to live with Him forever.
 
It is love that will ultimately transform each of us into magnificent creatures with extraordinary minds that will comprehend infinity.  Love – it’s the best.

"All You Can Eat"

Denny’s has a value menu listing $2, $4, $6, and $8 items.  One of the $4 dollar items is called “All you can eat pancakes.”  It sounds really good except underneath the description are the words, “Limit Restrictions Apply.”  So it really is misnamed.  It should be called “All you may eat pancakes.”
 
God has an “All you can eat” offering.   We read about it in several places.  The 23rd Psalm says, “Thou preparest a table before me … my cup runs over.”  Malachi writes, “Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  When Jesus fed the 5000 and the 4000, on both occasions there were leftovers.  The people had all they could eat.  When He told the disciples to cast their nets they filled with so many fish they nearly tore.  It was all they could handle.
 
When our Heavenly Father makes us an offer there isn’t any fine print.  He is always out front with us letting us know what to expect.  His promises are amazing.   “Goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.”   The mercy part is the best offer.   Think of the worst thing you have ever done and know it is forgiven.  No wait, don’t think about it because that might bring us some bad memories.  Merely ask Him to freely forgive you and everything will be blotted out.  You don’t have to be afraid that you forgot to confess a specific sin. Our Heavenly Father has an all you need mercy plan with no fine print.

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