Roger Bothwell

Roger Bothwell
Roger Bothwell's Devotionals

The Glow of Happiness

They were both wearing wedding rings so I am going to believe they were married to each other.   What cast just a hint of suspicion was the way they acted.  They were sitting at a restaurant table talking to each other and laughing.  That’s not normal.  Normal married people at a restaurant don’t talk to each other.  Usually each is too busy texting someone else.  There was something else abnormal about this couple.  She was all dolled up with makeup and jewelry with freshly quaffed dyed hair.  Oh, there was one more thing.  I think they were both ninety. You could tell by the way he looked at her that he thought she was beautiful.  And you could tell by the expression on her face that she knew he thought she was beautiful.  You just have to love a woman who never gives up; no matter how old.  Maybe she keeps trying because she knows he loves her efforts.
The Song of Solomon is quite a book.  It has entertained a lot of boys sitting through dull sermons.  Some people have tried to justify its presence in Scripture as a metaphor of Christ and His bride, His church.  I really don’t think so but I could be very wrong.  I am wrong about much.  However, it is true that God does think we are beautiful.  Love is blind; even for God.  Most likely it is because He knows what we will be.  We are bundles of potentiality.  In Revelation we are portrayed as the bride for Christ and have you ever seen a bride that isn’t beautiful? Beauty isn’t about the shape of a nose or cheekbones.  It is the glow of happiness.  That’s what I saw in the elderly lady in the restaurant.  


Today I wrote a check for twelve months of car/home insurance.  Ouch.  As I did so I remembered one of my high school/academy teachers who didn’t believe in insurance because he returned his tithe to God, who promised to rebuke the devourer.  I wonder what he would have done if he lived in Massachusetts where auto insurance is required by law?  To my knowledge he never had an accident nor did his house ever burn down. Was it random chance or did God honor his faith?  It’s one of the questions I have to ask God someday. 
I thought about not paying for my house insurance for my former teacher’s reason.  Was my purchase of house insurance an act of disbelief in God’s promise? I don’t think so.  I had to pay because I believe God expects us to do as much as we can to protect ourselves and He will do the rest.  Actually it was He who made sure I had the funds to purchase the insurance. 
Was my professor being foolish?  I don’t think so.  I believe God treats each of us in a unique manner.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows our levels of faith and why and how we arrive at our conclusions.  Thus for me it would be foolish not to purchase insurance.  But, what about people who have watched in agony as their children die because the parents would not seek modern medical care and trusted in prayer?  God didn’t save their children because of their parent’s faith.  So the issue is murky in my mind.  There are so many issues about which I wish I knew more and someday I shall know.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the answers?

The Price of Ignorance

The well-known phrase “If you think education is expense try ignorance” is playing out around the world.  In Liberia ignorant people stormed an ebola clinic and carried away infected patients.  How can we begin to assess the price this is going to cost mankind?  In the Middle East extremists are beheading people, burying people alive, crucifying people and doing other horrors in the name of Allah.  Paul was one of those extremists and he said in I Timothy 1:13, “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.”
Paul was an extremely well-educated man, who could hardly be classified as ignorant.  Yet, he orchestrated the stoning of Stephen.  Paul knew Scripture but, he didn’t know God.  He never knew God until He met Jesus.  To the Ephesians he wrote regarding those who don’t know Jesus, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
He also wrote in Ephesians 4, “. . . we all reach unity in the faith in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  Ignorance is expensive because it retards our growth.  When we learn about Jesus we can grow into the whole measure of being like Him.  That knowledge equips us for an eternity of becoming.  Let’s shed the “I want to go to heaven for material things.”  Let’s want to go to heaven that we might understand the deepest secrets of the universe and that we might be everything God wanted us to be when He first said, “Let us make man in OUR image.”  

God's Law of Freedom

It’s been another quiet summer day in Leominster, Massachusetts.  The hummingbirds have been busy at the window feeder.  It’s hard to believe they will be gone soon on their winter trip to the Caribbean.  We think it’s possible that the orioles are gone already along with the catbirds.  It seems too early for them to leave.  Maybe the neighbors have better grape jelly. One wants to eat at the best restaurant in town.  That’s what the first commandment is all about.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to eat at the best place possible.  Why should we serve gods who are not alive and can give us nothing?  What He is saying is, “Don’t be stupid and eat and drink from polluted, poisoned wells. I’m here and I have the best for you.”
God’s law isn’t burdensome unless we decide to make it so.  It is a law of freedom.  It frees us from the tyranny and violence of others.  It gives us the guidance to be free from the retaliation of others, since they will have nothing to retaliate against because we haven’t harmed them.  Actually, that only works if they are intelligent people.  So often other’s selfishness wants to harm us when they see us living so well.  They don’t understand.  They think somehow we are cheating them.  However, “Thou preparest a table before me.  My cup runs over. Goodness and mercy follow me.”  They just don’t understand that they too could have the same daily banquet.  God isn’t playing favorites. Obedience bears good fruit.  When we understand we get it.  When we obey God we are obeying ourselves.  The fruit is what we really want.

Psalm 119 tells us that God’s law makes us wiser than our teachers. 

Ally Ally in Free


It’s been a quiet day in Leominster, Massachusetts.  The sun drifted across the sky warming the maples and birches to 75 breezy degrees.  It was a day to go into the backyard with a salt shaker and pick vine ripened tomatoes. We don’t have any tomato plants but we do have a generous neighbor who says, “Come and help me.  I have zillions of tomatoes.” 

One of the things I don’t like about the 21st century is the lack of children playing outside.  We loved summer evenings in the 40s and 50s when everyone’s yard was a playground for all the children to play hide and seek and to fill a mason jar with lightning bugs.  Fortunately the ice cream truck still creeps through the neighborhood playing Turkey in the Straw.  But I do miss hearing “Ally Ally in Free” echoing down the street.

After reading the Gospel of John in one sitting I have this gut feeling that our God is frustrated.  I think He has an urge to say something that just will not work.  Have you ever wanted to say something but just couldn’t get it out?  Is there someone you love but every time you start to tell them the words get caught in your throat?  In a new relationship who will be the first to say, “I love you”?  What if you say it and the other person doesn’t say it back?  Does it sort of just hang out there in no man’s land?

God has certainly been able to tell us He loves us.  He not only said it, He demonstrated it for thirty some years.   Jesus was a walking “I love you” card.  So what is it that He wants to say but can’t?  “Ally Ally in Free.”    

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