I know a teacher who made the mistake of circling a word on a student’s essay and declaring that there was no such word. The student soon appeared with a dictionary showing the teacher the word. However, even if the word had not been in the dictionary the student had the right to coin it. Words come from people. There had to be a first time usage for every word we use. There was a time when the word “word” was not in a dictionary. Words are an expression of a thought. If we cannot find a word already existing that declares our idea we have every right in the world to make up a new one.

If I want to express my joy at having all my sins forgiven I can say, “I feel marveliforous.” It is my word to the world. If somebody likes it they can also use it. If enough people use it, it will one day appear in a dictionary.

There are many promises in the Bible that make me feel marveliforous. There is Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That is abunderous in meaning. In addition, I cannot forget Ephesians 2:6 and 7. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” That verse is laverisious.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 28, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Nail–to Pull or Not

I spotted the head of a nail in the tread of one of my tires. I am fearful to pull it out lest I also let out all the air. If it has penetrated the tire it has sealed around it. But might it work loose at a very inopportune time? I believe it was Nietzsche who said, “Be careful of the devil you cast out. It might be the best part of you.”

I have seen people, who upon conversion, became very dull people. I have to wonder what they were converted to? Before they “Came to Christ” they were very interesting people. But they gave up things they were told were “wrong” and put nothing interesting in the vacancy. It was as if a “good” life and a “bland” life are synonymous.

Sometimes we meet “converted” Christians who want to “bear testimony” of the past. They talk for an hour on how bad they had been and then spend two minutes telling us how wonderful it is that Jesus saved them from all that. It seems like the old life was more exciting than the new and there isn’t much new to tell. We pulled out the nail and all the air came out and left them flat.

Romans 5:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 27, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453


On my way to school this evening I suddenly realized I had not eaten yet today and knowing I had to teach for four hours I figured I best put something inside. Swinging into a fast food restaurant I sat down a table away from a man who appeared to be about fifty years old. He opened his sandwich and also opened several little packets of salt. Before eating his burger he literally blanketed it with salt until it was white. I know the body needs salt but this was amazing.

I mentioned it in class a few minutes later and one of my students suggested since salt is a preservative the man only looked fifty. He was probably ninety. I suggested that while that might be true his blood pressure had to be 220 over 180.

Jesus loved to use metaphors and salt was one of His favorites. He called us the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13) The implications are overwhelming. Does this mean our task is to preserve the earth? Just as the Lord promised to save Sodom if there were only ten righteous people there, could it be similar today regarding the entire world? Perhaps to think so is the result of an overblown sense of self-importance. Yet God has placed great value upon us. Consider what He paid to redeem us. The price was huge.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 25, 2006
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Never An Intrusion

In the midst of a very important project that required my undivided attention and concentration my dog plopped an old smelly stuffed Santa toy on my lap. She had decided it was time to play. It was not. The project had to be completed. I was on a deadline. As I dropped her toy to the floor she again picked it up and put it on my lap. How could I explain to her that I would get to her later? What does later mean to a dog? She seems to exist only in the present. I cannot speak to her of yesterday or tomorrow, only now.

Humans function on a time line that moves into the future. My comprehension of being is so different from my dog’s. Yet as I speak this I remember as a boy I had a dog that would upon a specific time each day come to the end of the driveway because it was time for me to come home from school. Perhaps I am not as superior as I think I am.

I wondered if I ever bother God with my needs when He is busy elsewhere? Does He need to concentrate on a project making my requests an intrusion? In 2 Peter 3:8 we are told a thousand years with us is as a day with Him. He is under no deadline. He hears all. He sees all. He can focus on you and me and a billion others simultaneously. Never think you are bothering Him. When you need Him He will be there.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 14, 2006
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453


I saw the strangest thing this evening. Three teenage boys were running back and forth across a busy highway in between rapidly moving cars. I am not sure what kind of male ritual this was. Were they trying to prove to each other how courageous they could be? I do know they were upsetting a lot of drivers.

Despite their foolishness rituals are very important. For as long as we have recorded history people have celebrated passages of life with rituals. Births, transition through adolescence, graduations, weddings, memberships in organizations and deaths – each have a culturally prescribed way of marking its importance in our lives. From them we learn the values and history of our heritage. Sorry is the nation that has become so scientifically oriented that it has forgotten the spiritual importance of ceremony.

Rituals are more than decorations or occasions for family to gather. Rituals are mental milestones enabling people to evolve to a new stage in life. Rituals instill values and respect generated from the experience of others. Thus it was that Jesus submitted Himself to be baptized by John the Baptist. He had no need for cleansing from sin. He did have a need to prepare Himself for His ministry to follow. So often we think of Jesus’ divine nature and forget He was also human and had needs just like each of us.

Matthew 21:18, “Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 23, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453.

A Still Small Voice

If you place two little girls in a room with only two moveable chairs the little girls will position the chairs so they can look face to face as they talk. If you place two little boys in a room with only two moveable chairs the little boys will sit side by side not looking at each other as they talk. The same pattern of behavior continues through adolescence and on into adulthood. If men have a choice they are more likely to sit as if they were in a car rather than over a small dining table.

The art of good communication is a skill that involves not only the ability to articulate one’s thoughts but also includes being a good listener. So often when someone is talking we are not listening to what they are saying but waiting for them to take a breath so we can interject our thoughts. Listening to ourselves seems for many to be more interesting than listening to others. What is discouraging about that is we seldom learn anything when we are talking. After all what we are saying is what we already know. Usually it is only via listening that we learn.

In I Kings 19 God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. It is His favorite form of communication. It is difficult to hear a still small voice when we are holding forth. No wonder in Psalm 46 God told us to be still and know Him.
Listening is an art.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 24, 2006.
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Sharpen Your Sword

On a previous trip to the forest I spotted a freshly fallen tree. It was perfect for firewood. I could not allow it to lie there and decay. Therefore, this afternoon I set off into the forest with my trusty chainsaw to cut it in lengths that I could carry. Alas when I got to the tree and got the saw running I laid the chain to the log and my chain was dull. It labored and groaned and smoked as it chewed its way through. I had to do it not once but six times to make the log carriable.

My wife’s father always told me that a dull knife or saw is a dangerous tool. The sharper the better for then it will do its job quickly and without undue pressure. What should have been six easy cuts turned into sweat producing labor. Finally it was done. Next time before going off to do battle with a tree I will make sure my chain is sharp.

In Ephesians 6:17 Paul says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” If we are to be effective warriors for Christ we need to be sharp when it comes to the Word. We need to know what our Bible says. We need to know what we teach and believe is not merely our opinion or the opinion of our pastor. The only way to be effective is to be sharp and the only way to be sharp is to study.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 21, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Divinely Designed

I received a very interesting compliment today from one of my grad students. We were listing all the things we have to accomplish each day and when it was my turn one of the ladies said, “Why you’re almost a woman!”

Psychologists have long noted women multi-task much better than men. Generally speaking men have better focus on one task while women seem to be tuned in to several things at the same time. An example of this would be a woman elementary teacher who is able to teach, give individualized attention to each student and monitor the total environment all at the same time, whereas men seem to focus exclusively on the sporting event on TV. Of course there are exceptions to this. I am only speaking in generalized terms.

A fellow by the name of King Lemuel had a mother who told him all about this. You can read it is Proverbs 31. Verses 15 and 16 are a sample of what she said, “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” As you read the entire chapter there seems to be little left for the man to do.

God carefully designed us with different skill sets. Men do their part and women do their part and society and family prosper. I was flattered when I was told I was “almost a woman.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 18, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Being Invisible

In less than three quarters of a mile this evening I had three cars pull out in front of me from side streets. All three times I had to slam on my brakes to keep from smashing them. I began to wonder if my truck and I had become invisible without me knowing it.

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you really could be invisible for a time? I imagine most everyone has wondered what it would be like. Whenever I think of it I don’t like myself because the things I would do are not very nice. Thinking about it becomes an indictment of my character. I have come to believe the measure of one’s character is what you would do if no one saw you.

I am thankful God always sees me. The very idea acts as a constraint. Yes, I know that is not a very highly developed sense of morality and I should be pious and say I would act no differently. However, that would not be honest. What I am truly counting on is the mercy of God poured out as a fruit of the death of our Jesus. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon reminds us that a God who sees all things will bring all things to judgment, but John promises us in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So there is nothing left to bring up in judgment. I like that.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 14, 2007
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453.


I stopped at an auto repair shop early this morning hoping someone might be around to help. As I walked to the door a voice said, “May I help you?” Turning around I saw no one. I was looking everywhere for the owner of the voice. Suddenly a head popped out from underneath a truck. From his vantage point he had seen my feet. From my vantage point I had seen nothing.

As I drove on to school I was thinking about perspectives on life. We see or don’t see something depending upon where we are and who we are. As a member of the majority population of our country often times I not sensitive to the viewpoints of minorities. Sometimes I unknowingly say things that offend. I don’t mean to. It is because my perspective on life did not reveal to me my words could be hurtful.

As a member of the majority I can go where I want, buy a home where I want, travel where I want and pretty much get a job anywhere I am qualified. I fail to be sensitive that someone else might fear to attempt those things lest they be rejected or hurt by bigotry.

Much of what we think is truth and “the way something is” is only our perspective. Before we pop off about “only telling it the way it is” we need to remember “It” can be totally different to a different person with a different perspective.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 11, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453.