Making a House a Home

There is a house in our neighborhood that is no longer a home.  It has been sold, the previous owners are gone and no one has yet moved in to once again make it a home.  It looks sad.  There are no curtains or blinds and the grass needs mowed.  The dark empty windows stare at us when we drive by like some orphaned child begging to be adopted.  I feel like stopping and standing in the yard and singing, “The sun will come out tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun.”  The house needs an Annie and Sandy.

According to Revelation chapter 12, God lost one third of His angels in a moral conflict with Lucifer.  That left such a vacancy.  Chairs in the throne room and homes in heaven’s neighborhoods (if angels have chairs and homes) are empty just waiting for someone to once again fill them with life and laughter.  The windows are dark and stare out longingly for someone to come.

In John 14 Jesus told us there are many homes in His Father’s kingdom and He has gone to prepare them for us.  Name plates are being fixed to the doors. Redecorating is underway.  Rooms are being painted our favorite colors, gardens are being planted with our favorite flowers, kitchen shelves are being stocked with our favorite foods, shelves are being filled with our favorite books, beds are being made for our favorite pets.  Anything and everything needed to fulfill all our dreams are being made ready.   He knows us so well nothing will be missing.  He promised, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place, I will come again to receive you unto myself.”  How grand.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 30, 2014

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


Advertising Slogans

We have talked about catchy advertising and our Christian need to pay attention to something we could use to promote our Jesus.  We talked about Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places.”  I got an email from a friend that reminded me of Hellman’s Mayonnaise’s “Bring Out the Hellman’s and Bring Out the Best.”   That’s a great one.  If we bring out the Gospel we bring out the best.  There is not another religion in the world that comes close to offering what Jesus offers.  Christianity is the only faith that does not require some form of works.  It is the only religion where salvation is a gift of grace.  It’s the best.  If you are a member of a church that claims to be Christian and yet requires some work to be saved they are a sham.

May I add that Christianity rightly lived brings out the best in us.  We become a temple of the Holy Spirit.  “I in Christ and Christ in me” makes all the difference in the kind of person we are.  Little by little by growth we exchange the lusts of the flesh for the fruits of the Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Galatians 5.  We become quality people and not because we are so wonderful but because of the wonderful Being residing in us.

I am thinking of another product with the slogan “Breakfast of Champions.”  Now I wonder what product that could be.  When we watch people who do things really well we get a bit envious.  I’ve never met anyone who if having the chance would not choose to be a champion.  Jesus makes us so.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 30, 2015

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


Marbles, Dirt and Love

Before I was old enough to go to school my father would come home from school (he was a teacher) and play marbles with me.  It wasn’t the traditional game where you had to knock marbles out of a circle.  We had three small holes in a row in the dirt by the side of the house.  I no longer remember the rules.  What I do remember is waiting for him to come home.  I’m sure he changed his trousers before he got down on his hands and knees in the dirt with me, but I don’t recall that.  What I do remember is seeing him with the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up and his necktie tucked inside between two buttons and the sheer joy of it all.  I was so small I actually thought I won.  I did.  But it wasn’t marbles.

One is loved when another gets down in the dirt for them.  I was loved then and loved again when my God got down in the dirt for me.  This time it wasn’t merely getting soil on one’s hands and knees.  This time it was about “eating with publicans and sinners.”  This time it was about touching filthy stinking lepers.  This time it was about lying face down in the dirt of Gethsemane while the filthiest of all creatures ever pressed on Him to believe it was for nothing.

One can never tire of the Gospel.  It is the most amazing love stories of all time. No matter what the cost Jesus chose moment my moment to endure for us.  When He got down in the dirt it wasn’t a game.  It was life and death.  His and ours.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 29, 2014

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



Elmo by the Road

It was so sad.  Lying by the side of the road, close enough to be run over, was Elmo.  There he was bright red, with his orange nose, mouth agape and two big eyes looking terrified as we bore down upon him.  Was he missing his owner and how did he get there?  Did he fall out of the window of a passing car and did a horrified child look out the back window watching him fade into the distance?  I wanted to get off at the next exit and circle back to rescue him.  But that would have been silly.  He wasn’t worth it.  If I wanted an Elmo I could order him on and have him delivered to my door the next day.  I could buy lots of Elmos.

When Adam and Eve fell was there ever a moment when God wondered if they were worth what their redemption was going to cost?  To get another couple He wouldn’t have to order them from and wait a day.  Not only could He create another couple right away He could create lots of Adams and lots of Eves.  God doesn’t need Fedex.

God’s ability to make more was never a consideration.  When we lose a loved child we are not pleased when someone says, “Thank God, you can have another.”  Another doesn’t work.  Another never replaces the one lost.  Each child is unique and once lost there will always be a room in our hearts with that child’s name on the door.  Therefore, the instant Adam and Eve fell the plan for their redemption was initiated.  There wasn’t a moment to lose.  Our salvation will come the very moment when all is ready.  Love hates to wait.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 28, 2014

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


It’s Like that with Real Friends

This afternoon we visited with Patty, a friend we had not seen for 35 years.  When Patty graduated from the eighth grade her mother was ill and could not attend; my wife became a stand-in mom.  My wife wore Patty’s mother’s white dress and stood to receive the corsage the graduates pinned on their moms.  While Patty was pinning the corsage she kept saying, “I hope I get this right and it doesn’t fall off.”  My wife assured her it was not going to fall off because she knew something she didn’t tell Patty.  Patty had pinned it on my wife.  Yes.  The pin went in and out much deeper than just the dress. My wife’s concern was that the blood would flow out unto the pretty white dress.

I had almost forgotten this until this afternoon when we saw Patty, who grew up and went on to have a great career as an air traffic controller.   It was amazing that seeing her made time vanish.  It was almost like no years had passed.  Thirty-five years seemed like nothing.  After we parted I thought of living forever and seeing old friends after thirty-five hundred or thousand years.  Will we just pick up where we left off?  I think so.  With real friends it is like that.

Sometime today make a mental list of your best friends and try to remember when you last saw them.  If it has been a long time take the initiative to make contact.  You will not be sorry.  Then, of course, there is your best friend, Jesus.  If you haven’t contacted Him recently do so this very day.  I assure you He will be delighted and it will seem like no time has passed.  With real friends it is like that.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 27, 2015

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



I am so happy to report a restoration of my taste buds.  I don’t have much of an appetite but at least what I do eat tastes.   Restoration is a marvelous thing.   So often we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.  Adam and Eve must have stood long at the gate of Eden and wondered if they would ever get to go back.   They will because our God is a god of restoration.  As Jesus moved across the hills of Galilee and through the narrow streets of Jerusalem He blazed a trail of restoration.   Blind eyes opened, deaf ears heard, lepers with new fingers were just a few of the most astounding things He did. Right in Bethany, the suburbs of Jerusalem, He restored life itself to His friend Lazarus.

Restoration is the theme of the Gospels.  Rebuilding lives, molding characters, forgiving sins, transforming less than reputable people into model people fills heaven with joy.  Many of Jesus’ parables are about restoration.  The lost and found coin, the lost and found sheep, the lost and found son was His message to lost humanity. These timeless stories cover the full spectrum of us.   The coin was lost and didn’t know it.  It was found.   The sheep was lost and knew it but didn’t know its way home.  It was found.  The son was lost and he knew it.  He came home.

The ultimate restoration is coming.  Paul wrote, “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality,…” Now that’s the ultimate restoration.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 23, 2013

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


To Each His Own

We spent the afternoon at an art museum.  How interesting that some of the galleries were wonderful and filled us with awe while others were filled with junk.  It is so true that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.  This is evident at yard sales.  It is so glaring at an art museum.  One room housed stuff I would be ashamed to put out at a yard sale.  It seemed sacrilegious to keep it in a room across the hall from Monets and Rembrandts.  I think I will approach them about paying me for filling a room with nothing and entitling it “Space for Meditation.”

Last evening I received a marketing phone call wanting to sell me a trip to Las Vegas.   When I said I couldn’t be less interested the caller wanted to know where I wanted to go.  I told her I wanted to sit on my patio with a good book and a cold drink on a warm summer evening in New England.  To each his own.

I’m glad we have individualized tastes.  The world would be boring if we all liked the same music, the same books, the same food, etc.  Sampling new things is quite fun.  However, it’s always nice to come home to the things we like.  I go to a church that has very tame music.  I have friends who prefer a bit more spirit.  (Actually quite a bit.)  When I preach at my home church and it gets very quiet I know I have them.  Other cultures prefer lots of amens, hallelujahs and praise the Lords.  The more noise the more animated the preacher.  I think Heaven will have different worship services to make everyone feel at home.  God has no favorites.  See Acts 10:34.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 25, 2014

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


Goodness Is Real

I recently heard someone say that darkness is the absence of light.  Light is something and darkness is nothingness.  He went on to say cold is the absence of heat.  Heat is something cold is nothingness.  He continued on and said, “Evil is the absence of goodness. If we add goodness to a life evil isn’t.”   Goodness is something and evil is nothingness.  I was uncomfortable with the premise.  Evil isn’t nothingness.   Evil is real.  Evil is palpable.  Evil isn’t just creepy it is a destructive, sadistic force based on selfishness and perversion.  Maybe we should say goodness is the absence of evil.  But that isn’t correct either.   Goodness also is palpable.  One can sense being in a good place just as one can sense being in an evil place. And when the wolf is in sheep’s clothes the evil is so much more evil.

The psalmist wrote, “Though I walk through the valley of death.”  Most likely all of us have been in such a place.  However, “I will fear no evil for thy rod and staff comfort me.”

There is a wonderful song with the words,

“There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,

And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;

There are sweet expressions on each face,

And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.


Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,

Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.

And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;

Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,

When we shall leave this place.”

Remember the song, “Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go. Anywhere he leads me I am not afraid.”   Goodness is real and it’s a treasure.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 24, 2014

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



Quantum Physics and Us – Part 2

In the strange esoteric world of quantum physics when two quantum objects become entangled the objects can spin in opposite directions at the same time.  Yes.  I know that is quite impossible in our three dimensional world.  Minds brighter than mine (not yours) call this “superposition.”  My mind wants a bit more understandable information.  However, I can grasp this dichotomy if I relate it to us.

There has been a debate seemingly as long as there have been people about our nature.  Are we naturally good or are we naturally evil?   The answer seems to be “Yes.”  It all depends which moment of our lives we are looking at.  Even the most evil of people actually have good moments.  And the best of us have horrible moments and we do things we rue.  It is one of the reasons it is important to look at the totality of a life and put things into context.  It is amusing to see political advertisements on TV that take a five second excerpt from one of an opponent’s speeches and use it to make the person say just the opposite of what was said in the entire speech.  Satan can make a legitimate case against us by compiling selected events.  We call it cherry picking.  Actually we should call it prune picking

We are walking Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes.  In Romans 7 Paul speaks of his personal struggle.  “In my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”

How thankful we are that Paul continues on, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”   Ah – the Good News.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 23, 2014

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


Quantum Physics and Us

In the academic arena of physics a field is an area of influence. A field theory is an attempt to explain the behavior of electrons, photons, etc. when their fields (gravitational and magnetic) interact. The theory of quantum entanglement espouses the concept that once influenced always influenced no matter how distant the particles, etc. become from each other. A shared past will have affected the other’s properties.  This affect can be seen any time into the future.

This is amazingly duplicative of human interactions.  Each of us emanates a field of influence (like it or not).  Each of us is affected by contact with each other.  You will never be the same having read this far in this devotional. This truth is a solemn reality that whatever we read, whatever we watch, whatever conversations we have, whatever classes we attend, whatever anything alters our characters and personalities.  It is a two sided coin.  We are affected and others are affected by us.

Like quantum physics the alteration is permanent.  You and I are a product of the environment into which we were born and the environment we have chosen and continue to choose to create for ourselves.  This is why there has never been someone like us and there will never again be someone like us.  We are incredibly unique and yet incredibly the same as each other because of this interactive affectation.  If we are to rightfully call ourselves Christians (Christ-like) we need to be in contact with Him.  It is possible.  He promised, “Lo, I am with you always.”  It is no wonder He said, “By their fruits you will know them.”  We are what we touch, feel, see and hear.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 22, 2014

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