The Wonders of Glue

I have a very thin scar where they put in my new knee.  There are no little pin points on either side of the scar because the doctor did not stitch it shut.  He glued it.   I have a few crowns on my teeth that were glued in place.  Last week a Honda hit me while I was waiting at a traffic light.  It wasn’t hard, but it left a small tear in my bumper.  As soon as it gets warm enough outside I am going to glue it back.   Glue is wonderful stuff.

I have met some people who know how to solve problems.  They know how to hold families, churches and organizations together.  They are the glue of society.  They know exactly what to do after someone else has broken something important. They are fixers.

Death came to the home of Jesus’ friend Lazarus.  Jesus knew what to do.  He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth.”  Lazarus came forth.  It was wonderful for Mary and Martha.  It was a death knell for Lucifer.  Lucifer claimed the dead belonged to him.  He tore that family apart and determined to keep it that way because he hates us to be happy.  Jesus glued that family back together.  And so it will be for the entire world and universe.  The hater of all that is good rent the beautiful tapestry of God’s Kingdom.  He filled it with horror and sorrow.  But Jesus meant it when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Jesus will glue whole every broken family, every torn life and reputation, every broken heart will be new again with the glue of Jesus power and love.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 27, 2015

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


The Power Point Presentation

I sat through a Power Point presentation today that said absolutely nothing.  When it was over I had to conclude that the presenter had been told to give a report and to justify his salary he got very creative using nothing.   At first I wanted to say that is what God did on Creation Day.   He got very creative using nothing, except God ended up with a marvelous product unlike the Power Point presenter.  But upon second thought perhaps God did not make us out of nothing.  We can turn matter into energy.  Perhaps God does just the opposite and takes energy and turns it into matter.  Move over Albert E.  The Creator is in the house.

“By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”  Psalm 33:6 doesn’t mean it was magic.  It was science and we came from His omniscience.  He didn’t say “Abracadabra” and it happened.  He said, “Let us make man in our image.”   Our making required so much knowledge and design that our finest researchers are still just beginning to open the secrets of   knowledge required to breathe the breath of life into us.

Nothing comes from nothing.  One would have to wait forever for something to come from nothing and even then it would still be nothing.   Now isn’t that something.  Yes, we are something and it’s a very special something.  We are the sons and daughters of that Creator designed to live forever and do some creating of our own.  He has made us thinkers just like Himself.  Now if only that Power Point presenter could have been a thinker I would have had a better day.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 26, 2015

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

Winter Robins

On the campus was a small crab apple tree.  Through all the New England winter storms it had held onto its crop until one late February day.  On that day at least 25 robins appeared and feasted.  It was beautiful.  You should have heard the chatter.  It was a festive occasion.  They were dressed in their finest red aprons.  The sun was smiling as they fluttered and talked.  Some had stayed for the winter but others had just arrived from the south.  Oh, they had much to tell each other about their journeys!  It took all morning and early afternoon for them to clean up the table, the dishes and take out the trash.

In Matthew 6:26 Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

After several months of real New England weather, to watch these robins celebrate life was a delight.  God does feed the birds and so extravagantly.  And are you not much more valuable than they?

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 3, 2003

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

The Psychological Wisdom of Jesus

One of the most profound things Jesus taught us is found in the Lord’s Prayer.  “Forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (trespassers).”  As a child I thought of this in legalistic terms.  If I wanted God to forgive me I needed to forgive others.  If I did not then He would not.  Forgiving others was a “work” on my part to receive His grace.  As Paul says, “When I was a child I thought as a child.  Now that I am an adult I should cease my childish understanding.”

Jesus’ counsel is not about heaven’s record keeping.  It is about the quality of our lives here and now.  Forgiving means letting go of hurts.  Forgiving means I can stop licking my wounds. It means stop hating.  Hating is a terrible thing. Hating is getting up in the morning and taking a poison pill and thinking I am hurting someone else.

Jesus also tells us to pray for our enemies; a very difficult thing to do.  Well, that is if I am praying for them to be well and prosper.  It is easy to pray for them to have something horrible happen to them.  (God isn’t interested in answering those kinds of prayers.) The truth is we cannot hate without harming ourselves.  This is true be it a family member, a neighbor or a politician.  Christians who pass on political hate mail are only harming themselves by feeding on cyanide and trying to feed it to others.

Jesus made us.  Jesus invented and designed our minds.  We cannot ignore His counsel and expect to do well any more than we can expect our car to continue to run if it has a gasoline engine and we put in diesel.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 24, 2015

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


Running Out of Time

Our kitchen clock is running out of time.  It is still plugged into the wall but it is just not keeping up.  The hour hand has gone around 495,900 times since it was given to us as a wedding present.   The linens and towels were gone a long time ago so that clock has been a champ.  The silverware still looks good but it was destined to outlast us.  The silverware has spent most of the 52 years in a dark drawer but the kitchen clock has watched my wife cook for two boys and six grandchildren and one ageing husband.

I am so thankful I have outlasted the clock.  But my (our) time is limited.  The cover of last week’s Time magazine featured a baby with the subheading “This baby could live to be 142 years old.”   Even with the most advanced medical care that would be it because of something called “The Hayflick Limit.”  It appears that anatomists can only get human cells to divide 40 to 60 times.  Each mitosis slightly shortens the telomeres until division becomes impossible.

Therefore I Corinthians 15 makes so much sense.  Until this corruption puts on incorruption and this mortality puts on immortality artificial joints and organs will not be the solution for our desire to live forever.  That can only happen by the intervention of the One who not only made us but will also resurrect us.   Jesus, and Jesus alone, can make the promise of John 3:16 a reality.  Modern science is wonderful but alas will always be limited by inherent weaknesses of our flesh.  It is so exciting to know that our Creator God isn’t a magician but the ultimate scientist with all the necessary answers.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 24, 2015

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


Free Passes for All 4th Graders

In September 2015 the Federal Government gave every fourth-grader a free pass for their entire family for an entire year to all of our national parks.  This is exciting because there are so many extraordinary places to experience.  There are 58 national parks spread from Maine to Hawaii.  This is a great excuse to take that longed for trip to Alaska.  There are 8 parks up there.   Sorry Idaho.  As lovely as you are this isn’t going to bring any fourth-grader to experience your beauty since you don’t have any.  However, I could point out there are 19 parks in little old Massachusetts.  But I won’t.

The one national park I always tell people they should have on their bucket list is Yosemite.  It suddenly occurs to me that once Jesus fulfills His promises to us, ones like John 3:16, a bucket list becomes meaningless.  We will never run out of years, vitality, or opportunities to visit any place in the universe.  We will get a free pass that will not expire in one year and will not be limited to fourth-graders.

Instead of a bucket list we will have to have a recommendation list to pass on to our friends.  With an infinite number of places to go it will be impossible to see everything.  Thus we might miss something really special if our friends don’t tell us about it.

I really like the idea of not running out of vitality.  I love it when my grandchildren visit.  But I must admit after they visit I am bushed.  There is nothing like a good soft chair with a good “ahh” escaping from my lips.  With unlimited vitality I will keep up.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 23, 2015

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


Not A Bad Public

In the classic film A Man for All Seasons a young man asks Sir Thomas More for an honored position.  Sir Thomas tells him to “be a teacher.”  The young man objects.  If he becomes a teacher no one will ever think of him as a great man no matter how good he is in the classroom.  He asks who would know he was a great teacher.  Sir Thomas answered, “You will know. Your pupils, your friends.  God will know.  Not a bad public.”

Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I’m a nobody.  Are you nobody, too?”  For many people it is hard to be nobody.  The quiet life has a multitude of qualities but it does not satisfy the inner hunger to be important.  Each day we are bombarded with the names and faces of the famous.  We see supposed privileges that go with notoriety failing to think of the good things that are sacrificed when the light shines on someone.

For thirty year Jesus worked quietly in his woodworking shop.  Fame and publicity brought an end to His tranquility and filled not only His life with pain but also the lives of those who loved Him.  Ironically His fame came because He did become a teacher.

It is good to remind ourselves that doing a task well brings its own reward.  We will know and God will know and that is not a bad public.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 30, 2001

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


You Have Been Known Much Longer Than You Have Been

Jeremiah 1:5 is one of the Bible’s most intriguing verses.  It reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  This verse is a part of God’s calling Jeremiah to be His prophet.

200,000,000 sperm begin the race to the egg waiting in the fallopian tube.  Only 50 will make it.  Only one will penetrate the egg’s protective outer layer.  Instantly a chemical process occurs locking out all other sperm.  The miracle of life is in process.  We are a combination of 46 chromosomes, twenty-three from each parent.  That union decides what we will look like along with a host of other pre decided characteristics.

God told Jeremiah he was known before he was formed.  There were 200,000,000 chances Jeremiah would have been someone other than himself.  God knew which sperm would fertilize which egg, all of which were formed before Jeremiah’s mother was born.  Is this all a bit amazing?  But then again since God designed the whole marvelous life process this foreknowledge of Jeremiah’s personhood should not be outstanding.  It is all in a day’s work for our omnipotent, omniscient God.

 There is one more thing.  It was not only Jeremiah who God knew prior to his formation.  He knew you, too.

 Written by Roger Bothwell on Feb. 8, 2001

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


I Need a Navigator

Today I drove by a turn I was supposed to make if I was going to end up at my planned destination.  I was deep in thought (a nice way to say I was daydreaming) when my wife’s voice broke into my consciousness and asked, “Where are you going?”  It would have been okay but it is happening more and more.  What is sad about this is we are not talking about driving in unfamiliar territory.  We are talking about being within 25 miles of home and I have lived here for over 20 years.  I need a navigator.

I am so happy Jesus called Himself “The Way.”  Making our way to God’s Kingdom should be fairly simple.  If we know Jesus we know “The Way.”  However, today when I missed my turn it wasn’t because I didn’t know the way to where I was going.  I knew.  I just got occupied.  Could it be that we can miss out on eternal life because even though we know the way we get preoccupied with life and don’t make the correct turns?

The “works” part of me.  The “I can do it” part of me.  The sermons I have listened to for most of my life want to me to respond with “Yes – we can be lost by not making the correct turns.”   But that smacks of me being driver and navigator and I don’t think that’s “The Gospel.”  I’m not sure we are lost because we make a few wrong turns.  God loves us so much He sends the Holy Spirit to be our guide (navigator).   When we get busy and forget He says, “Where are you going?”  And we wake up and then follow Jesus.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 19, 2015

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


A Little Girl in a Candy Shop

She reminded me of a tiny Scarlet O’Hara descending a grand staircase in her all white two story colonial home of which the first floor is a large candy and ice cream store.

The elderly man at the cash register said, “She’s my granddaughter. She lives upstairs.”

He smiled when I said, “Can you imagine a little girl living in a candy shop. She must be in heaven.”

“She gets her share,” he said.

That must be like an astronomer living on a mountain top or a birdwatcher living in an aviary or a scholar living in a library or a vegetarian living in a tropical garden.

Our eccentric New England poet, Emily Dickinson, closes her famous poem “Some Keep the Sabbath by Going to Church” with the marvelous thought.  “So instead of getting to heaven at last – I’m going all along.”

Wouldn’t it be grand if that were so for all of us?  I’m sure it is God’s plan.  Heaven is not some pie in the sky idea for sometime in the future.  In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”   Please notice the tense.  It is a fiat accompli.  For those wise enough to accept His offer going to heaven will be a matter of changing address and getting a new picture on one’s driver’s license.

In John 10 Jesus promises us the abundant life.  Again this is not only in the future but now.  Once we grasp this marvelous concept we begin to live a life better than being a little girl living in a candy store.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 18, 2015

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