Complete in Him

There are some verses of Scripture that are so outstanding they jump off the page yelling, “Look at me.  Memorize me.”  Colossians 2:9 & 10 are two of them.  Paul wrote, “For in him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And you are complete in him . . .”   Jesus is fully God.  Hebrews 1 tells us Jesus is the exact representation of God and all the worlds (plural) were created by Jesus.  Then Paul adds we are complete in Him.

There is no character defect that He cannot repair.  There is no deficiency of character that He cannot supply.  There is no sin He cannot forgive.  There is no lack of personality that He cannot add to us.  There is no skill needed that He cannot provide for us when we need it.  Every excellence can be developed in us by the indwelling of His Spirit.  We are COMPLETE in Him.  It really doesn’t get any better than this.

What is so exciting about this is we need never to be ashamed of what we are. We can come boldly before His throne and request what we need and then not worry about it.  When we need it, it will be there.  We don’t have to beg.  We don’t have to nag Him.  We don’t have to remind Him of our need.  He knows everything.  He knows we asked.  We don’t have to exhibit all the gifts all the time because we don’t need them all the time.  But they are there and He knows the precise moment when we need them.  This is trusting in Him.  This is knowing that with Him in us life is and will continue to be a growing experience.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 30, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


A Triple-Double

Being that the Boston Celtics are in the finals against their historic rival the Lakers I am semi-engaged in what is happening.  I say semi because I have never been enamored with ten very tall guys throwing a ball through a hoop.   I have a theory about basketball.  We should give each team 100 points and then play for five minutes.  This week while watching one of the games I heard a new term.  By telling you this I am revealing how ignorant I am, but oh well.  I heard the commentators talking about one of the players getting a triple-double.   I didn’t have a clue.  But I do know how to use Google.  A triple-double is when one player tallies double digits in three areas.  For example, 26 points, 12 assists and 16 rebounds.  Magic Johnson holds the record for 30 triple-doubles during a playoff series.

Obviously one has to be very good to achieve such status.  Hebrews 11 has always fascinated me.  Paul records a list of God’s greats.  These are the triple-double quality people.  It is exciting to note the list is not closed.  Hebrews 12:1 says, “Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, . . .”  When it’s foggy I think of God’s cloud of witnesses.

There are so many millions of droplets of water.  Heaven’s list is huge and you and I have the opportunity to be included.  Someone is probably saying, “Not me.”  Yes, you.  All you need is perfection and that is a gift from Jesus.

Written by Roger Bothwell on June 11, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574

Crusty People

I never thought I would ever meet an apple pie I did not like.  However, this weekend I did just that.  First of all, let me say my wife did not make it.  If she had I would have eaten it with relish and never ever speak of this.  I have learned a few things in 48 years of marriage.  So I am safe to say this was a BAD apple pie.  The apples were those sugary things that come out of a can.  The crust was (How can I put this?) cardboard that had been used as a shipping container for cheap goods from China.  One of the things I was thankful for this past Thursday was I did not have to eat it.  That’s one of the advantages of being a big person and not having to clean off your plate because children are starving in Africa. (I never did figure out why I had to overeat because children somewhere on earth were undereating.)

Will Rogers once said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”  I’d like to introduce him to someone I know.  I cannot imagine that Jesus liked everyone He met.  I do believe He loved everyone but liking and loving are two very different things.  It is safe to say He did not like the religious establishment in Jerusalem.  If He did He had a strange way of showing it. Please read Matthew 23.  I don’t think we have to like everyone along life’s way.  However, we should indeed care about their well being and help them when they are in need.

Some people are crusty on the outside.  But I am sure Jesus sees something wonderful on their inside.  That’s the way He is.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 29, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


Yanks Are Boring

I first saw him literally shuffling into our local market.  He was hard to miss; cashmere sport jacket, wool scarf, Stetson hat, white mustache, white hair flowing out from under the hat, bushy eyebrows, glasses on the tip of his nose and a twinkle in his blue eyes.  I asked him how he was and I never said another word for the next twenty-five minutes while my wife shopped and then came and pulled me away from him.  He was as British as one can be; eighty-eight years old, lonely, a widower for the past two years.  I heard all about WWII in London; bomb shelters, Yanks, airmen, uniforms and officers.

I have met others like him.  As he spoke of the war there was vibrancy in his eyes. Some men love war.  I think they are the ones who never hit the beaches. They are the ones whose lives were full of the adventure of new places, meeting new people, learning new skills and not having to go to a 9 to 5 job.   Theodore Roosevelt glamorized war and was continually enamored with it until his son died in combat.  Suddenly it wasn’t so wonderful anymore.  There is a dear price to pay for the handsome uniforms and the adrenaline rush.

As I left him he said, “You Yanks are really quite boring.”  I guess I was. I never said one interesting thing.  All I said was “How are you?” and “I have to go.”  Truthfully I would like to have listened to more of his stories.  People really are the most interesting animal on earth.  God must be interesting; after all we are made in His image.  He must have some great stories to tell.  He knows them all.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 27, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helen, CA 94574


“Get to Class”

I am very proud of my wife.  On Tuesday morning one of her students failed to show up for class.  It was not just an ordinary class but one in which students had to cooperatively present a project.  We are very close now to the end of the semester and every class counts.  So she gave the students that were present a reading assignment and she took off for the dormitory.  Finding out at the desk which room belonged to her errant student she promptly went down the hall and knocked on the door, hard.  Inside she heard a sleepy voice say, “Come in.”  Need I even talk about the shock of that student.  God could not have startled her more.  The student actually got to the classroom before my wife got back.

Jesus said, “If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray?”   It’s all about care.  It’s saying to that student and the others, “You paid for your education and I am not going to let you throw it away.”   With Jesus it’s quite a bit more important.  Jesus says, “I paid for your salvation and I am not going to let you throw it away.”

God chases us.  Jonah tried to hide and that didn’t work and neither can we hide.  God just keeps after us.  Sometimes we do need a wake-up call.   We allow life to stupefy us into almost not hearing Him wooing us.  But if we will pause and listen His voice is there.  He might even be saying to us, “Get to class!”

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 26, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


Coughing on Each Other

This afternoon I watched a clerk in a drugstore cough on her customers.  I wonder how many people will become ill because they went to the drugstore to purchase something to make themselves healthier.  She reminded me of me and all my colleagues who sometime stand behind a pulpit.  There we are advocating a Christ-like life without ourselves measuring up to the standard we promote.  To stand before others proclaiming the need to live by high standards requires one of three things.  A. Ignorance on one’s own faults.  B. Hypocrisy.  C. Confidence in the grace of God that covers our lack of personal righteousness.

I was informed yesterday that someone told someone (Don’t you just love the grapevine?) that I was a heretic.  I thought that interesting because we are all heretics in the eyes of those who don’t agree with us.  So that was nothing new.  There are thousands of opinions in the world and thus all of us are heretics in the eyes of thousands. It’s a good thing we no longer burn heretics at the stake because the air would constantly be full of smoke. But I was curious and asked, “How so?”

“He doesn’t believe in obedience. He believes we can be saved without obeying God’s law.”  Actually there is a bit of truth in that.  But it is not really accurate.  Here’s what I believe.  Obedience has little or nothing to do with our salvation.  Salvation is a gift from start to finish.  However those who are saved will obey for three reasons.  A. They are extremely grateful for their salvation.  B. Once saved Jesus’ lives in us and motivates and enables us to obey because God’s law is written on our hearts.  And C. it’s the smart thing to do.

I’m truly sorry for coughing on you.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 25, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA

Surprised by Love

We have had an African Grey parrot in our family for over ten years.  They live to be in their forties so we expect to have it for a long time.  It chatters away all day long and provides quite an interesting presence.  His name was Max.  I said was because last week we got the shock of our lives.  We came down in the morning and discovered an egg in her water dish.  Max is Maxine.  I am still trying to adjust to what I thought was this very manly fellow being a hen.  Since last week she has laid yet another egg.

Life is full of surprises. Some are not as pleasant as our parrot. There are times we are horribly surprised by the report of an accident or a diagnosis.  These are the kinds of surprises we can readily do without.  Satan received a horrible surprise at Calvary.  He never intended for Jesus to die on that cross. When he swooped in upon Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane he was certain if he made the next few hours atrocious enough Jesus would give up.  When I was young I wondered why Satan drove the national leadership to kill Jesus.  Surely Satan understood the meaning of the sacrificial system.  If he could get the leadership to ignore Jesus then Satan would win.  But there are two reasons why that would not work.  Jesus cannot be ignored and secondarily Satan’s personal hatred for Jesus drove his sadism.

Wonder of wonders when Jesus cried out, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.  It is finished.”  Jesus died.  It was more than Satan could comprehend.  Love won over hate.  Such love was the greatest surprise of all.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 24, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574

No Coupon

We got a coupon book in the mail today boasting on the cover that we were receiving over $2,505 in savings.  In order for me to garner the entire value of the book I would need to purchase four computer screens, four laptop computers, two pc computers, two printers, six cameras and a host of other products that all totaled would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000.  I did actually find a two dollar coupon for the toothpaste I use and I only needed to buy a year’s supply, so all was not in vain.  We live in a world of overvalued products and we are supposed to feel fortunate to find a coupon that discounts it down to its real value.

The ultimate value on earth is of course the gift of eternal life. Its cost was not overvalued.  It was something of such extraordinary worth it was impossible to discount.  The price required the death of someone who was totally sinless.  If there was but the tiniest of stains it was nullified.  The Father knew it.  Jesus knew it.  Satan knew it.  The pressure on all three was so intense we cannot begin to comprehend. This was not a game.  This was the continued existence of God’s government.  If Jesus failed all was lost. Satan’s claim that God’s dream of perfection with free choice wasn’t realistic would have prevailed.

What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and all the way to the cross terrified the universe. Would He, could He do what had to be done?  There could be no compromise.  There could be nothing less.  No coupon – – this was the real deal.  The bottom line was everything that God valued.  When God gave us Jesus He made Himself poor.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 23, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


Making Mistakes Is So Very Human

Yesterday my wife and I took some friends to the top of a small mountain that overlooks our little city.  The oak leaves are freshly fallen on the rocks and are quite slippery.  Wanting to make sure our guests would make it safely to the top and back to the car without slipping and falling we equipped each one with a walking stick or ski pole so they could plant the point and have the advantage of a third point of contact with the mountain.  As we neared the bottom of the mountain and were almost at the cars guess who slipped and fell.  If you guessed me you are absolutely correct.  Stepping not on an oak leaf but just plain mud I was down in an instant.  The last twenty-four hours have seen me babying my left hand that got crunched under me.  Ouch physicallyand ouch psychologically.   I was the one telling the others how to stay safe.

I am going to guess that most of you now know my Bible text for today.  “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”  I Corinthians 10:12.  The truth is we are all vulnerable in almost every aspect of life.  I have seen an English teacher misspell a word.  Much to my delight I might add.  I was with a very pious man when he hit himself with a hammer.  Oh dear.  I will NOT repeat what he said.  One of my flight instructors was killed in a horrible crash.  He really was an excellent pilot.  Making mistakes is just part of being human.

Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Everyone needs a Savior.  Only Jesus was perfect.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 22, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574



While filling up my car a driver on the other side of the pump was also filling his car.  When he turned and looked at me I literally gasped.  If I had not known Ted Kennedy is dead I would have been sure he was out touring central Massachusetts.   If Senator Kennedy had become president they really could have used this man as a double.  He even had that very pronounced Bostonian accent.  It always takes my breath away for a moment when I see a very close look-alike.

Many years ago I thought I saw my uncle at a Pennsylvania Turnpike rest stop.  When I mentioned it my Dad, his brother, my Dad asked, “Why didn’t you talk to him?”   Well, I explained, the woman with him wasn’t my aunt, so I knew it wasn’t him.   My Dad’s response was, “All the more reason to think it was him.”

I have always thought how incredibly marvelous it would be if I would be taken as a double for Jesus.  Since my Arian features would most likely not be close to Jesus’ Semitic features, it would have to be related to mannerisms and behaviors.   Acts 4:13 says, “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”  One cannot spend time with Jesus without being changed.  It’s a basic fact of life.  Paul referred to it as having the mind of Jesus in us.

What an amazing goal, to think His thoughts and to have His ideas.

Written by Roger Bothwell on June 21, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574