He’s the Real Thing

In 1971 Coca Cola adapted a song from a pop group called The New Seekers.  It was entitled I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony.

I’d like to teach the world to sing

In perfect harmony.

Is it naïve to think Paul’s counsel in Romans 12:20 is still relevant?  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Paul also wrote in chapter 15, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”

It is so easy to respond to adversity with our basic selfishness.  It just pops to the surface with little thought. To turn the other cheek is not natural.  The more we study the life of our Jesus the more we see how radical He was.  He was a revolutionary with a message so new and so different He divided history into two.

If He could bring us into His likeness and be our Prince of Peace by teaching us to stand hand in hand and sing in perfect harmony I truly believe He would be the REAL THING.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 31, 2017


Queen Anne’s Lace

In summer the roadsides of central Massachusetts are filled with flowers.  The old stonewalls are decorated with day lilies and Queen Anne’s lace.  The day lilies come in a vast array of colors while the Queen Anne’s lace is just white but not plain white.  If you stop to look closely you will see in the middle of each cluster a tiny purple blossom proclaiming its individuality.

The very last thought of chapter 5 in Galatians is “Let us not…envy each other.”  It is so easy to look about and see wonderful features and qualities in others.  The next step is to envy.  To want be the best looking person at the party.  To be the smartest kid in the school.  To be the fastest athlete with the best jump shot.  To have a car and house like the neighbors.  Whole lives can be spent wishing to be or to have something else while failing to appreciate our own gifts and beauty.

God loves each person.  In His love He has given each one something unique and wonderful.  When we discover what that is and to use it for the benefit of others, we discover yet another gift.  For as we utilize what we have, God gives more.  Each of us is an original.  There is not another like you.  We each have something special to offer.  Envy no one.  Enjoy your uniqueness.  Be the purple little blossom in the middle of a Queen Anne’s lace.

Written by Roger Bothwell



We have a metal bird feeder that is supposed to be squirrel proof.  (It’s not.)  The wooden perch that provides a place for the birds to stand while eating became well worn by all the bird’s toe nails and finally because of a squirrel’s teeth, it gave way.  Without a perch, without something to stand on the birds could not eat.*  They could fly right up to the seed, but without that perch they could not access the bounty that lay before them.

Such it is for us. Life has so many good things to offer but without something to stand on we cannot feed on life’s bounty.  I am no longer speaking of material things.  The wicked have access to those things.  I speak of the real treasures of life; peace, tranquility, serenity, real love, self-respect and absolute confidence in the future.  In Matthew 7, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a story about a wise man who built his house on a rock.  He said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Now, that is a place to stand because that rock is Jesus.

We can have sizeable bank accounts and beautiful homes, but if we don’t have Jesus all those things are temporary.  They are like grass that comes up in the morning and is gone by noon.  Seek the eternal things.  Seek for what we can take with us into eternity.  They are available if we chose to make Jesus the foundation rock of our lives.  Really intelligent people choose Jesus.  How smart are you?

*I made the birds a new perch.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 13, 2017


Quick Head to the Store

The wind is blowing the snow against the windows and making groaning sounds in the trees.   We knew it was coming.  For days the weather people were telling us almost to the minute when it would arrive.  So yesterday afternoon the supermarkets were packed with people stocking up on milk and bread.  One interviewed lady said she stood in the checkout lane for over 40 minutes.  I don’t understand.  First of all, the storm will be gone tomorrow and the roads will be plowed.  Are cupboards so bare people can’t live until tomorrow morning?  When they shop do they only get enough for one day?  Secondly, they have known about this for five days.

I’m reminded of Noah’s ark.  No one but Noah and his immediate family were saved.  But people had 120 years to show up.  Instead they pounded on the door when it started to rain.   In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks of a time of trouble climaxing in His second coming.  If the human pattern continues that means millions of people will try at the last moment to get ready.  When we consider how important this is, why do we wait?  Maybe we want to see more of the signs spoken of by Jesus.  But considering our hearts can stop at any second we might not be around to see the signs of the end.  We might not make it to the end of today.

This is a bit frightening and the last thing I want to do is to scare someone into accepting Jesus.   It is so much better to come to Him by responding to His wooing call of love.  But the truth is He loves us so much He will take us for any reason.  Scary or not He wants us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on March 15, 2017



Today’s devotion is number 7777 representing years of doing my best to share Jesus, and since 7 is often considered the perfect number, I thought today’s devotional should be perfect.  But realizing the truth that I could never write anything that was perfect, I thought the next best thing would be to concentrate on Jesus, the only one of us who was, is, and always will be perfect.

In Hebrews we are assured that He was.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Hebrews 5:7-9

Now comes the really good part.  “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 2.

There it is.  Jesus is perfect. We hide our lives in Him.  He is our life and we will appear with Him in glory because we also have been declared perfect.  If Paul were alive today and writing us letters, he would address the letters to the saints, because we are sanctified in Jesus.  This is the perfect message for a people longing to be perfect and being satisfied that in Christ we are!

Written by Roger Bothwell on March 3, 2017



Your Own Personal Jesus

I am fascinated by the bread aisle in supermarkets.  Someday I’m going to count how many different varieties are available.  There is Wonder Bread that keeps our bodies healthy in twelve ways.  There is raisin bread, rye bread, cinnamon bread, sourdough bread, whole wheat and on and on.  I am fascinated that just prior to a huge snow storm people rush to the store and buy up all the bread as if we are going to be buried for weeks.  (We never are!)  Jesus loved metaphors and “I am the bread of life” is one of His best.  John 6

In 2002 Johnny Cash recorded Depeche Mode’s Your Personal Jesus, which was ranked in 2004 by Rolling Stone Magazine as number 368 of the 500 Most Outstanding Songs of All Time.  Some of its lyrics are,

“Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who cares

Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who’s there

When I stare at all the kinds of bread in my supermarket I often think of the idea of how many kinds of Jesus the world needs.  Each of us needs our own personal Jesus.  Each of us has different needs because of our uniquenesses.  One of the wonders of Jesus is His love for variety.  (Check out how many kinds of birds He created.)  Becoming a Christian does not demand we all dress alike, act alike or think alike.  The love that grows in us is as special as the DNA that comprises us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 26, 2017


Default Settings

This has been a weekend of transitioning my email from Verizon to Gmail.  It seems that I have been sending the devotionals to too many people.  Gmail is more generous and allows a bigger email list.  One of the issues is setting defaults to make everything work as desired.  I like defaults.  Going automatically to a setting greatly streamlines one’s tasks and saves a lot of time and effort.

Default setting for our characters are very interesting.  It’s great when our default settings are Christ-like.  It’s not so great when they are quite the opposite.  Some people don’t seem to be able to help themselves.  Their default is not to turn the other cheek but to strike back and they do it quickly without thinking.  And of course when we strike back it usually is a bit harder than the insult we received.  When cut off in traffic some people instantly go into a road rage mode.  Others’ default setting is to back off and let the offender continue on their way.  Jesus counsel is to “turn the other bumper.”

For seven decades I have been working on my default settings.  I want so much to react to situations as did Jesus.  On that fateful Thursday night over and over He was assaulted and over and over He kept His silence without retaliating in kind.  Jesus said in Matthew 26:53, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

Paul worked on this and counsels us in Galatians 2, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  I think he is talking about default settings.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 16, 2017



Culture vs. Morality

I mentioned to a friend that all last week I had spaghetti for breakfast.  He thought I was daft.  People don’t eat spaghetti for breakfast.  When I asked him why not, the only real answer I could get from him was because that isn’t what we do.  How very easy it is for convention to dictate to us what we can and cannot do.  The power of culture, the routine of life, the hold of habit are so very strong; even to the point of sometimes mistakenly assigning moral implications of right and wrong to something with absolutely no Biblical basis or real ethical foundation.

Several years ago a Baptist pastor friend and I decided to unite our churches one evening for a joint communion service. It was a beautiful experience that changed our community.  Because we did some things a bit differently we did some their way and some our way. They did not have deacons pass the emblems to the people where they were seated but had the worshipers come to the front to receive the emblems from the pastors.  It was amusing to watch the expressions on the faces of our members when we asked them to the front.  You could almost see the smoke coming from their ears as their brains went into high gear trying to decide if this was morally right or wrong. Finally a few got it that the geography of where one ate the bread had nothing to do with its’ significance.  When they came the others followed.

Before we begin making a issue of something we should clearly understand beforehand if this is cultural tradition or God directed.  God loves nothing more than a clear thinking child.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 12, 2017



After days of stifling heat our evening in New England was lovely and pleasant.  Wanting to be outside and do something useful, I grabbed some pruning shears and trimmed the English Ivy that was taking over many of the windows of my house.  I love the ivy but it can do a real job on woodwork.  As I was trimming away it struck me that I was “devining” my house.  I smiled as I thought that sounded like I was doing something holy to my house.  I was.  The word “holy” comes from the same root as “whole” meaning to make right and complete.  I was making my house right.

Now some of you are saying the word that pertains to God is “divine” not “devine.”  However the huge English Oxford Dictionary says “divine” came from an earlier spelling of “devine.”

“Ah,” I thought, “to make my life more “divine” (Godlike) I have to “devine” it because little by little, day by day, life can get choked out by bad habits that creep up and in like vines.  In order to be “divine” I often need to “devine.”

Words are fun but the concept of needing trimming once in a while is not just for mental amusement.  Jesus said in John 15:2,  “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 5, 2002


Blame vs. Responsibility

It is imperative that I clarify yesterday’s devotional.  It would be very easy to read it and assume that Jesus was to blame for all the sins of mankind.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Lucifer has been trying to make God at fault for the sin issue from the beginning. God was not and never was to blame.  What Jesus did on the cross was to take the payment for our sins.  He paid the incurred price.  To say He was to blame would give Lucifer an excuse and a legal way to avoid culpability.

What Jesus did was to say you did it.  But I forgive you and I will take responsibility for payment incurred.  In the Old Testament Day of Atonement service there were two goats.  One paid the price by being sacrificed.  The other was taken to the wilderness and abandoned outside the camp because its function was to take the blame.  The first paid the price.  Blame was on the second making it not worthy to stay in the camp.

Our Jesus was our creator and when we messed up, justice demanded payment.  If we were to be redeemed someone perfect, someone with no sin of their own, had to pay.  If they were not perfect their death would be for their sins. Jesus fit the need.  Jesus stepped up and said, “I made them.  I will take responsibility.”  That was far different than blame.  They are very different things.  Jesus gave us Eden.  He gave us a perfect environment.  There was no viable reason for what happened.  The blame was completely on Adam and Eve.  At the cross the payment was completely cared for by the very One who made us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 11, 2017