It was a bit strange to have a foot of heavy snow cover our trees before they lost their leaves for the year.  The trees bent low and branches started snapping so it was not strange that we lost our power for over a day.  We are so blessed because a million people are still powerless.  But at 5:30 this morning we were awakened to our house coming alive.  The refrigerator and the furnace came on and little red and yellow LED lights (phones, clocks, computer and wireless modem) decorated the room.  I was surprised by how much those tiny lights changed the room.  Without them it was pitch black and one had to cautiously feel one’s way from place to place.  But with those tiny lights radiating their warm glow it became fairly easy to move about.

Sometimes most of us feel pretty insignificant.  The more we understand about infinity and look at a photo of distant galaxies we don’t just feel insignificant, we are insignificant.  Our tiny little light is so small surely it can’t make a difference.  But, it didn’t take much light to transform my dark house.  A tiny light does make a huge difference. When your little light joins with my tiny light and other tiny lights we make it possible for others to walk out of darkness and find their way.

So regarding that insignificant feeling – I don’t think we are as insignificant as we first thought.  According to Galatians 4 we are sons and daughters of the Most High.  Hmmm?  That’s pretty significant. Surely everyone must know the song, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let It Shine.” God is counting on us to light up His kingdom.

Written by Roger Bothwell on October 31, 2011

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




Friends Moving Away

What do you do or say when some of your best friends are moving far away?  If you have millions in the bank and have no friends, you are a very poor person.  Friends make life rich.  If you are mentally ill you can talk to your bank account and if you are seriously mentally ill you will hear it talk back.  But if you are a balanced rational being all you can get from your bank account is silence.  It can’t laugh at your jokes nor tell you it loves you as you exit the bank.  Friends can.

John 15:14-15 is one of the most encouraging statements Jesus ever made to His disciples.  He called them His friends.  Peter tells us in the Book of Acts that Jesus doesn’t play favorites.  That means we also are included in that group of friends.  In verse 14 He tells us we need to do what He commanded.  And what did He command?   Just two verses before this in verse 12, Jesus commands us to love one another.  It is the sum and substance of His law.  The first four commands are about our relationship to God and the last six about our relationship with each other.  In Matthew 25 Jesus tells us if we have done it unto the least of them we have done it onto Him.  If logic prevails, which it does, then we are down to one commandment; love each other.

This isn’t complicated.  It is the simple heart of Christianity.  Jesus created us to share our lives with others.  He is one of the others.  He wants to be our very best friend.  That happens when we love each other as He loved and loves and will keep on loving us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 26, 2011

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



The Dead Rabbit

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my dog.  She is the sweetest, most caring, most devoted creature one could ever long to have.  But this afternoon she found a dead rabbit in our yard.  When I say dead I mean really dead, like seriously decomposed.  It was hundred degrees last Friday. Can someone tell me why dogs have to roll on those things?   Then she came and wanted in the house.  I don’t think so!  By the time I had her cleaned up I was in need of being cleaned.  I had to teach this evening and was fearful that my students could detect my encounter with what was once a rabbit.   One can well understand why Lazarus’ family objected to the opening of the tomb after he had been dead for three days.

I have already smelled the decomposition of flesh on a leper and I have to say, Jesus is amazing.  In Mark 1 there is a marvelous story of a leper who came to Jesus for help.  Jesus did the unthinkable.  In front of a crowd He touched the man.  Only after that did He heal him.  Jesus touched a leper.  The stench must have been horrific.  I am tempted to think it would be easier for Jesus to approach me.  After all I shower and shave every day.  I use Dial soap.  I brush my teeth and comb what little hair I have left.  I’m not like that leper.   There – don’t I sound like the Pharisee who said, “I’m not like that fellow.”  See Luke 18:11.

How sad to think that we often think ourselves better than others when the truth is the stench of death is on all of us; that is until we meet Jesus.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 27, 2011

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


It’s All About Family

My last several days have been filled with digitizing very old slides of visits to Disneyland, Sea World, Yellowstone and other memorable trips with two little boys.  I noticed something.  I couldn’t care less about the pictures of these places that do not contain one of my boys or my wife.  I have some really pretty pictures of things and I don’t want to keep them.  If I want to see pictures of those things I can find them on the web.  What I want to keep are images of my most precious ever people.  These are the pictures I want to Photoshop and turn into computer screen wallpaper.

My sons are grown men now with their own precious people.  They have no idea how I feel as I look at these old photos.  They will some day.  I have come to think that God has some great photo gallery filled with perfect pictures of us at every stage of our lives.   He has videos of our first steps and audio of our first words.  I think He must really love the audios of our first memory verses.

With God it is all about family.  That’s why Galatians 4 contains such meaningful verses.  “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  This is what it has been about from the beginning.  Adam and Eve were His children.  He wants us to be His children and thus heirs; not tenets but owners of those mansions.  Heaven is not a place to visit.  It is HOME.  There isn’t anything better than home.

Written by Roger Bothwell on October 28, 2011

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





In Massachusetts we have inspection stickers on the lower right hand side of our windshields.  Every year we have to pay someone twenty-nine dollars to tell us if our car is street-worthy.  I don’t understand why it is that even though I know all the lights and stuff are working properly, I still feel intimidated.  I feel like a little boy going to the principal’s office.  Will I get spanked because a windshield wiper looks a bit tired?  There is this moment of relief when the man starts to scrap off the old sticker so he can put on the new.

It reminds me of my favorite Old Testament story.  It’s not Samson or Elijah.  It’s found in Zachariah 3.  Joshua, the high priest, has appeared before the angel of the Lord wearing a filthy garment.  Satan is there to proclaim him unfit.  Then the most wonderful thing occurs.  The Lord exchanges Joshua’s garment with one that is spotless.  Awesome.  What is this story doing in the Old Testament?  One would think it belonged in the middle of Romans.  Joshua passes inspection with flying colors.  He is heaven-worthy.

If I am intimated when my car is inspected, I can only imagine my horror when I am to be inspected by God.   But wait, I read a promise somewhere in John.  Ah, yes, it is 5:24.  I have made Jesus my savior and according to Him I have already passed inspection.  I have crossed over from death to life and don’t even have to show up for judgment.

Now I ask you.  Does it get any better than this?  There is no standing in the spotlight waiting for the emcee to announce my fate.  There are no rolling drums to raise my anxiety level to a fever pitch.  We, You and I, We Win.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 28, 2011

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



Tom Sawyer

It was a scene out of Tom Sawyer and I loved it.  I had two thirty-something guys stop by my house today.  They knew about my log-splitter and of course I wanted to show it off and tell them how much fun it was.  They spotted a couple huge rounds left over from an elm that came down in an ice storm.  The rounds were way too big for me to muscle around and I had wondered what I would do with them, but they jumped at the chance.  So I sat down and watched them have fun.  It was great.  At one point I actually had to stop them from spending their day splitting all my wood.  I think I am going to start charging admission.  How grand!

One of life’s great secrets is how to get other people to do your work.  It is the secret of success.  It’s all about motivation.  God motivates us to do His work here on earth.  His motivation is love.  It’s the best kind.  The joy of working for God is because we want to share His love and the Good News. Considering how simple this seems I am somewhat puzzled when I hear preachers exhorting us to do good works. I’m not sure about you but that never works with me.  Instead of exhortation, inspire me.  Make me want to do it and you will not have to exhort.  As a matter of fact, too much exhortation gets the reverse reaction from me.  I won’t do it just because you said I had to.  I know that is really immature but it’s the way I react.  Are you different from me on this?

Written by Roger Bothwell on October 26, 2011

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



Not as Smart as a Sixth Grader

Today I heard about igneous rock.  I learned about granite, obsidian, amphibole and pyroxene. I also learned I am not as smart as a sixth-grader while I was observing a science teacher working to upgrade her credential.  The sixth graders were jumping up and down wanting to answer the teacher’s questions while I sat in the back of the room reading the glossary in their science text.  I learned about intrusive and extrusive rocks.  I also learned not to give much credibility to the next politician I hear harping on the quality of education in Massachusetts; especially since our students rank first in the United States and third in the world in science and math.

Having confessed my ignorance of sedimentary rock I do want to proclaim my knowledge of and confidence in the Rock of Ages.   Paul wrote, “For other foundation no one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus.” (I Corinthians 3:11)  And again Paul wrote, “. . . they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ. (I Corinthians 10:4)  Peter calls Jesus the Chief Corner Stone.  (I Peter 2:4)  Also over and over in the Psalms we find the metaphor of God being the Rock of our salvation.

So I might not be as smart as a sixth-grader and be like those whiz kids who are able to answer questions about magna, but I do know the importance of putting our trust in the One who loves us dearly and might respond to the nickname, “Rocky”;   then again probably not.  He is far too awesome for such commonality.   He is the Rock of the Universe.

Written by Roger Bothwell on October 25, 2011

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


Number 6500

This is devotional number 6500.   That’s a lot of evenings sitting here staring at the computer screen.  One would think about now I would run out of things to write about but life is so very interesting there usually is something.  Someone asked me if I have ever repeated myself.  I’m sure I have.  I just can’t remember what all 6500 of them are about.  Once in a while people ask me why I don’t write a book.  I have.  It has 6500 pages and adding.

I am excited that today’s devotional can be a celebration of something fun.  Last week my wife and I were in a farm store.  It is fun to look at all the things farmers use.  On the way out my wife noted they were having a drawing so she filled out the slip and put it in the box.  This afternoon they called.  We won the grand prize.  Now that is very awesome because this very week I was going to start splitting my pile of firewood for the winter.  Guess what we won.   A log-splitter.  I couldn’t believe the timing and the blessing.  This past week I put a new handle in my axe in preparation for a lot of swinging.  That axe is going to feel neglected as I just push the button and watch.  I hope we have a really cold winter because I am going to have a lot of wood to burn.

When I was very little I learned “my cup runneth over.”  It does and with something so much more special than a log-splitter.  I am surrounded by wonderful family and friends like you who once in a while read some of the 6500 devotionals.

Written by Roger Bothwell on October 24, 2011

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



These past few days thousands of workers for one of the communication giants have been on strike.  You most likely saw some of them with their red shirts and picket signs standing in front of one of their work places.   I certainly can understand the need for unity and solidarity when negotiating with a giant organization.  What I don’t understand is one of the strikers was wearing a button with the company logo above the word “Evil.”   “Evil” is a very harsh word and I wondered now that the strike is over, how can that person continue to work for an organization that is evil?  Would that not mean that he too is evil by using his talents to foster the health of that evil organization?   Should he not use his gifts to totally stamp out evil or does something cease to be evil once we get from it what WE want?  Then who is the evil one?

All of my life I have been educated to think that Satan is evil.  I certainly don’t want to be on his team.  Therefore, when I tell a lie, it really isn’t evil, it’s just a little white lie.  I haven’t really participated in his campaign to overthrow God’s Kingdom or have I?  When I feed my lower nature am I not at least a private in his army?  At least I’m not a captain or a general.  Those positions are for others I know but will not identify here.

It seems so easy to disparage others and excuse ourselves.  I usually come up with some very good excuses for my misdeeds but rarely want to give others the benefit of the doubt.  They are just plainly evil!  Alas, I need a heart transplant

Written by Roger Bothwell on August 23, 2011

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



The Lord made some people gardeners.  The Bothwells were not some of them.  We do not grow food.  We eat it.  For a short time when our boys were very little in Africa we had a small garden cut out in the midst of a patch of elephant grass.  At no time in our lives in America have we grown eatables.  We have gathered wild blueberries and asparagus where God planted them.  So this year when my wife decided to grow a tomato plant in a tub we were pretty much garden virgins.  You can imagine our dismay when a ground hog started munching on it.  But my wife fortified the plant with chicken wire and we now have tomatoes.  It was a rare day this afternoon when I walked by it, plucked a nice round red juicy fruit (or is it a vegetable?) and ate it right there on the spot.

They certainly do taste better than the ones from the supermarket.  It brings new meaning to Genesis 1:11- 12.  It was the third day of creation. “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

Now I am wondering if brussel sprouts and okra taste good if they come fresh from the garden.  But alas, I think it is too late for us to become gardeners.  We do live in New England and the growing season really isn’t very long.  Maybe in heaven God will put a garden area in my back yard with no weeds.  I hope I don’t disappoint Him if I fail to use it and instead buy my veggies from a neighbor with a squash patch.

Written by Roger Bothwell on August 24, 2011

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