“As Long as It Takes”

I had a roommate in college who was madly in love.  The object of his passion could not care less about him.  She was quite lovely and had no problem filling her social calendar.  Alas, he was not on it.  Each time he asked her out she was already busy.  He told me he prayed every night and every morning that God would change her mind and she would find him desirable. This went on for most of the semester.  Finally I asked him how long he was going to keep up his prayers for her affection.  “I will keep at it for as long as it takes,” he responded.  “It’s Biblical you know.  Do you remember the parable of the unjust judge?  God will eventually tire of my asking and give her to me.”

I don’t think that was Jesus’ meaning in Luke 18.  Instead of God being like the unjust judge, He is just the opposite.  Jesus finished the parable by saying of God, “I tell you that He will see to it that justice is done for them soon.” My poor heartsick roommate didn’t read the entire passage and had a very impaired view of God.  While the unjust judge delayed his help our Heavenly Father acts for us “soon.” I can tell you my roommate’s prayers were answered, but not the way he asked.  By the end of the second semester he found a different young lady who was delightful and eventually became his wife.  God knows best.  Ask and trust.  We don’t have to pester and beg.

Jesus said, “Though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 30, 2013

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



“Poor Me”

My dog is sitting here giving me the “poor me” look.  She knows there are treats in my desk and should she somehow convince me that she is pathetically neglected I might give her one or two or three.  Her head is down but she is staring out the top of her eyes.  This must be the way dogs pray.  Her real problem is I know how much she has already had today and anymore would be excessive.

That is my situation with God.  I ask for things.  I give Him the “poor me” attitude but my problem is He knows what I have already had today and anything more would be excessive.

For two hours this evening I talked to twenty grad students and could not get them to talk back.  They sat quietly and listened.  If I asked a very specific question I could get a short answer.  But no one was volunteering.  No one was contributing. That was a tough class.  “Poor me.”

Today my car would start but not keep running.  “Poor me.”  However, I do have a smart neighbor who came over and helped fix it.  So I better knock off with the “poor me.”  And I did have 20 attentive students.  And I did almost overeat.  (That happens every day if I am not careful.)  And I do have a wife who takes really good care of me. And I do have a Savior who forgives my sins and gives me an eternity of good things.  I can forgive my dog.  She doesn’t know any better.  But I certainly do; so, no more “poor me.”  Instead a prayer of thanksgiving is in order.  “My cup runneth over.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 26, 2013

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



Vows and Promises

I received a bill today from Popular Mechanics magazine.  Apparently when I subscribed last year I committed myself to a lifetime relationship.  They did not ask me to resubscribe. They automatically billed me for the coming year.  I must have been distracted when I vowed “til death do us part.”  I would be upset if it weren’t for the fact it is only $1.20 an issue mailed to my front door. That really is a bargain.

Vows are an interesting part of the human experience.  The first vow I ever made was a temperance vow.  When I was about ten someone made a presentation that ended with my vowing never to use alcohol or tobacco.  Does God hold me to that vow sixty years later knowing how young and impressionable I was?   So far so good.  John the Baptist took a lifetime Nazarite vow that included never cutting his hair.  So did Samson and look what happened when his hair was cut.

It’s all about promise keeping and how good we are at carrying through on our promises.  If we are going to raise a generation of youth with an understanding of the importance of promises, we as parents need to be sure we always keep our word. Whether we desire it or not we are being watched.  We are role models for future generations. When a small child says, “But Daddy, you promised.”  Dad better think long and hard before not following through on that commitment.

Sometimes we are caught unaware and before we realize the full consequences of dishonoring our word we break a promise.  Hopefully the humans around us are as gracious as God. How grand it is to have a forgiving God who understands our humanness.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 27, 2013

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



A Fifth of A Second

I am sitting here looking at an advertisement for a $7,000 watch whose makers brag that it is accurate to one fifth of a second.  Now, let me see.  Should I purchase this one or the one advertised on another page that is designed to intrigue?  It is intriguing why it should cost $5,000.  Do I or do I not need to know time to the fifth of a second?  I can’t think that fast.  As for intriguing, well, my wife tells me I already am.  I think I shall pass and continue to rely on my faithful $19 Timex.

Recently I heard a preacher quote Revelation 10:6 saying “time shall be no more.”  His point being that if we have all eternity to live then keeping track of time would be pointless.  I wanted to ask him about meeting someone somewhere.  If we are to see each other surely it will not be merely random encounters.  We must be able to know when and where.  Alas.  There is so much we do not know.  What time system would we use?  Surely not something tied to the rotation and orbit of Earth.  If we think so we are really conceited.

Sometimes we use the expression, “I am running out of time” indicating we are pressed to accomplish something necessary. I have students who are constantly running out of time.  However, it is truly exciting to think about eternity and the life Jesus promises.  Light years and relativity will surely take on a whole new meaning and I am anxious to understand.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 27, 2012

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



NFL Referees

If you don’t watch or enjoy football you probably have not noticed (nor care) that the 2012 season was marred by some of the worst-ever calls by the referees.  Because of contract negotiations with the regular referees, replacement referees have been on the field.  The year’s records need to require an asterisk indicating an abnormality.  Accurate, fair and unbiased judgment is essential not only in sports but in all manner of life activities.  Putting or not putting someone in jail, firing or retaining an employee, disciplining the offending child and not the sibling, purchasing for the right price the right car are just a few things requiring good judgment.

Unequivocally the most important judgment of all time for all of us pertains to eternity.  Will we or will we not live forever?  What is fascinating about this is historically people have usually thought of this in terms of earning God’s favor building a record of good deeds. If we can do enough good things, they can outweigh our misdeeds. For the honest of heart this can be a most discouraging concept. Those who speak the truth to themselves know it just can’t be done.

Now comes the good part.  The judgment call is ours.  That’s right.  We get to choose whether or not we live forever.  God woos. We choose.  God longs for us.  God desires us.  And so it is that He opened the door via Jesus.  Jesus even calls Himself “The Door.”  John 10:9.   We need never fret over God’s good judgment.  He will always do the right thing because He knows and sees everything.  Therefore, we are judged to be unworthy.  Then Jesus steps up and says, “I paid the price for (put your name here).”  And the Father says, “Wonderful. (Put your name here) is coming to our house.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 26, 2012

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




Recently we entertained house guests with small children by going to Chuck E. Cheese.  Not being able to resist I gravitated to the Wac-A-Mole game.  I have to brag I am very good at beating those little guys on the head with the mallet.  Suddenly I realized why I am good at it.  I have had seventy years experience.  I have been playing this game all my life. Just as soon as I have settled one issue two more pop up.  I can never remember a time when there wasn’t a least one sticking up.  I would like to propose that we rename Wac-A-Mole to “Life” and let the people with the “Life” game rename their game to something more benign.

I know that I am not speaking only of my experience.  It is the human experience.  Life is a series of challenges.  Whether we consider our life a success or something less depends not only on hitting the mole on the head but also on whether we allow ourselves to grow as a result of the combat.   It’s called experience.

What is reassuring is we are not alone in this.  Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you.”  We all know what that means.  A yoke works best with two side by side. In John 14 He promised to send us His spirit.  We never have to be alone.  If we can’t whack that mole, ask for help.  He will whack it for us.


Written by Roger Bothwell on September 25, 2012

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



Luke 7:47

Translating New Testament Greek into English on occasion leaves us with a text that is difficult to understand.  Such a verse is Luke 7:47 in the King James Version.  Jesus is being feted by Simon, the Pharisee, when a woman with a forgiven past bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears of love.  “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: . .” Because we sometimes use the word “for” for “because” the verse can leave us with the idea that her love gave her merit, thus qualifying her for forgiveness.  The error here is that nothing we can do can merit God’s grace.  If so then grace would no longer be grace but wages.  The wages we have earned is death but the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6.  It is a gift from the beginning to the end.  Ephesians 2.

The New English translation makes Luke 7:47 more understandable.  “. . . her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven.”  Her love was the fruit of her experience with Jesus not the cause.  He loves us before we love Him.  While we were yet sinners He died for us. Romans 5:8.  We are saints because He declares us so.

Not all adages are true.  Remember “birds of a feather flock together.”  Of course you do.  Jesus defies that supposed truth.  The religious elite wanted it to be true so they could fault Him.  He spent His time with anyone from the elite Nicodemus, to the dregs of society, the woman who wiped her tears from His feet with her hair.  If we so desire He will even spend time with us; not because we merit it, but because He wants to.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 24, 2012

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



Envious Lives

Summer is gone.  The direct rays of the sun have moved across the equator.  Birds are moving south. Trees are turning color. Coats and jackets are on display.  Motorcycles with For Sale signs are in front yards. Yellow school buses slow our commutes to work. Ice cream stores are closing. One could easily become a bit melancholy but just as good times are past good times are coming. “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24.

In Matthew 5 Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”  And in Proverbs 17:2 we read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  Most often our lives are what we create.  If we want to be happy we can choose happy objects for our attention.  Or it can be just the opposite.

There is a sickness in Christianity.  It is “Negativitis” or “Or isn’t bad news wonderful?”  The infected don’t want to hear anything good because they believe there will be a horrible time of trouble before Jesus comes. If we are bearers of Good News, then we must not want Jesus to return.  Surely this mode of thought must shorten life because of the continual down it produces.  Then again it can be useful for them because the sooner they die the sooner it will seem for them that Jesus has returned.  There is a plus to this.

Life will bring its share of disappointments and pain.  Instead of manufacturing them by dwelling on the bad news of Fox, CBS and the other networks let’s look for the good things and we can live lives that are the envy of all who meet us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 23, 2013

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



“Have a Good One”

A young lady at a sales counter said to me, “Have a nice one.”  Yesterday someone said to me, “Take care.”  Last weekend someone said to me, “God bless.”  Of course, I think I know what they meant but a horrible streak of cynicism wanted to ask, “Nice what?” or “Care of what?” or “Bless what?”

I hear people blaming our abbreviated speaking on our texting to our “BFF” and “LOL.”  However, I don’t think so. I believe it has something to do with intimacy.  It is easier to say “love you” than “I love you.”  By adding the “I” we have deepened the meaning.  By adding “you” to “God bless” we have personalized our feelings in a much more significant way.  You might think I am crazy and ask me to defend this position and I am not sure I can.  I just know that somehow on some level it is easier to leave off the “I”.  It feels different.

There is the issue of how do we respond when someone says, “I love you.”  Suddenly we feel obligated to return with “I love you too.”  But maybe we don’t.  Then what do we say?  “Thanks” or “Me too” or take the easy way and say, “Love you.”  Two words do not imply a commitment while three words do.  God has committed Himself to us.  John 3:16 doesn’t say, “God so loved.”  It says, “God so loved the world.”  That’s us.  Jesus didn’t say, “Father forgive.”  He said, “Father forgive them.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 20, 2013

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



Not a Big Bag of Blood

This morning I watched a nurse dig around in the back of my hand trying to get a needle into a vein.  If I had been five or six years old I would have been deeply puzzled.  How can this be?  Every time I fell off my tricycle blood would come out my knees or arms.  Wasn’t I a bag of blood held in by my skin?  How could she puncture me and not get any blood?

As wonderful as is modern medicine it still has a long way to go.  Just as we look back on George Washington’s death because his caring doctors bled him to death, we will look back at chemotherapy as crude and primitive.  How was it that we thought the best way to treat cancer was by filling one’s body with bags of poison?  Fortunately those days are soon to end.  Genetic engineering and stem cell research are making quantum leaps forward in understanding cells and how to alter them and make them right again.  We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139.  We are amazing creatures, complex and filled with a host of various systems, each symbiotically causing the whole to thrive.

“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image.'” has to be the most amazing sentence ever spoken.  He made birds and fish and other orders of life.  But to make a creature in His own image was the most unselfish act of all time.  He wanted to share all the wonder of His universe.  Creatures in His image would be free to learn, grow and experience everything good.  And now He invites us to fully participate.  Jesus said, “Come ye blessed of my Father and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the earth.”  Matt. 25:34.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 21, 2012

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