I Love Cheerios

For a weight loss commercial Oprah looks into the camera and says, “I love bread!”   Well Oprah, I love Cheerios.  Ever since I have been a really little guy, Cheerios have been my favorite.  Not only did they nourish me, they were fun to play with.  I could scoop some out of my cereal bowl and make all manner of patterns with them.  I even learned to spell my name using Cheerios to form the letters.  This morning I had a bowl of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.  I could have had Honey Nut Cheerios or Protein Cheerios.  Presently, there are sixteen different kinds from which we can choose.

I can easily image our Heavenly Father sitting on His throne saying, “I love people.”  “I love red ones, black ones, brown ones, white ones, yellow ones, little ones, really big ones, tattooed ones, bald ones and hairy ones.”  He loves us so much He actually wants to live in us.  Check out I Corinthians 6, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” Did you catch that last phrase?  “You are not your own.”  Neither are we on our own.   His abiding presence in our lives means we have a continued source of intellectual and spiritual power to help us make wise decisions.

We make thousands of small decisions each day.  Over the course of sixteen waking hours those decisions form patterns of speech and behavior.  With His help we design daily patterns creating a person He not only loves but one of which He is proud.  This very day God looks at you and says, “I love …..”  Insert YOUR name in the blank.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 30. 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


Pray Without Ceasing

Sometimes I wish Emily Post was still alive.  I have unanswered questions regarding being polite.  I was at the supermarket and while going down aisle one I met a man coming toward me.  We greeted.  A few moments later, because we were going through the aisles in opposite directions, we met again in aisle two and then in aisle three and again through twelve aisles.  How many times did I have to greet this man without being a cold snob?  Did the first greeting count for all the encounters that followed?

I had a church member once who tried to take Paul’s counsel in I Thessalonians 5:16 literally.  Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing.”  I had a difficult time explaining that Paul meant that we should live with God as a companion and not that we should be constantly forming and articulating actual sentences.  I’m sure, unless the person was extremely creative, there was a lot of repetition going on.  One would become a human prayer wheel.

When one lives with another person one does not, unless you want to drive the other insane, talk all the time.  Often times silence is wonderful.  We live in such a noisy world that having some quiet time is to be desired and is very beneficial.  There is something healing about being able to hear the blood circulating through one’s ears.  That’s as much quiet as we can achieve.   Praying without ceasing is living with God, who understands our preferences.  Some people are very quiet upon awakening.  Others are bright and verbal.  You don’t have to articulate anything for Him to know you love Him.

Now, if only someone could resolve my supermarket dilemma.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 29, 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574



The Absolute Truth

If you are going to lie you better know who you are lying to.  They might very easily catch you in your perfidy.  This weekend we stopped at a large nursery that was having a fall celebration with pumpkins, horses, cider doughnuts and other such items.  I found myself standing beside an elderly (anyone older than I, but not the same as I) lady who said to me, “And who are you.”   With the straightest face I could muster I said, “I’m the owner of this establishment.”  (Please don’t ask me why I did that.  My mouth was just running without any mental engagement.)  “Well,” she said, “you can’t be because I am.”  I was nailed.  Other people assured me she really was the owner.  A lovely conversation ensued and I was careful to truthfully answer all her questions.

So I ask you her question.  “Who are you?”   Hoards of people have no idea how to answer that question after they tell us their name.  My wife would tell me I’m her most special person in the world.  My sons call me Dad.  My grandchildren call me Papa.  One of them calls me Poppyseed.  I have absolutely no idea why.  Perhaps the most important answer is I am a son of the Most High God of the Universe.  That comes with all manner of rights and privileges.  I’m not the only person who can say that.   You also can answer with that exciting response.

A child of God, though still a sinner, is a forgiven sinner and a prince or princess of the universe. We have been lavished with mercy which is aggressive forgiveness and promised to be rewarded far beyond what we can possibly imagine.  And when I tell you this I absolutely am not lying.  See Ephesians 3:20.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 28, 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574



Cinnamon Rolls

She had just finished baking five of the most luscious hot steamy cinnamon rolls.  Leaving them on the kitchen counter she went upstairs for a moment but returning quickly her mouth all ready to experience a gastronomic delight.  However, they were gone.  The only trace of their existence was the scent and a trail of icing on the kitchen counter.  In the next room an incredibly contented Labrador retriever lay sleeping with a smile on her face.  Telltale white icing was on her chin and cinnamon was on her breath.  She was nailed!!

The question remained, “What to do with her?”  It would have been so easy to get angry.  But how could that profit?  It would only add insult to injury because every time we get angry we release all kinds of chemicals and stress producers into our systems.  Each time we grow angry we harm ourselves more than the person or dog with whom we are displeased.

Sometimes we say, “He makes me so angry!!”  But really no one can make us angry.  People—or dogs—can certainly irritate us but the response is up to us.  We can become furious.  We can retaliate.  Or we can “turn the other cheek.”

When Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek He is giving us practical counsel.  Not only does turning the other cheek defuse the situation, it also reduces our internal stress level thus enabling us to live a longer, happier life.  Everything Jesus asks us to do is for our benefit.  He is so very sensible.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 3, 2002

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


The Great Debate

The greatest debate in your life is not a nationalized television event.  It is a live universal event where you are the focal point.  Check out Zechariah 3.  “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”  Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”  Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

In this story you are Joshua.  Please notice there is no debate regarding Joshua (you).  He is dressed in filthy clothes.  He is (You are) filthily guilty.  You are there because you have been snatched from the fire.  The earth is going up in the flames of man’s making.  God rescues you as surely as He rescued Noah.  Only this time the rescue is permanent.  Satan says to God, “You can’t do this.  He (you) is not worthy.”  And God says, “He will be in a moment.”  And your garments are changed.  “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness.”  Isaiah 61:10.

On the cross Jesus earned the right to do this.  Nothing makes Him happier than to, in Satan’s presence, make us worthy.   Satan wanted us.  Jesus won us.  This is the greatest debate of all time.  It feels so good to win.  It feels so good to be clean.  It feels so good to be worthy.  Thank you Jesus.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 27, 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


The Transmission Tower

Yesterday afternoon I along with some friends were enjoying a vista that included a far away transmitter tower.  Wondering just where it was we set out to find it.  When we did find it we were amazed at how close it had been to our starting point.  We thought it was much farther away.  Next we discovered yet another even taller tower another four miles farther north.  When getting up this morning the first thing I saw was not only the first tower but the second tower.  I had never seen it before I knew it was there.

I was reminded of how often when I learn a new word suddenly I hear it all over the place and I am certain it was never before used in my hearing.   So how much is around us that we never see or hear until the eyes and ears of our minds are opened to its presence?  Until something is shown us, so often we would vow it did not exist.

I grew up singing a song, “Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou has for me.  Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth thou has for me.  Open my eyes illumine me – Spirit Divine.”    Ignorance is blindness.  Ignorance is deafness.  Often I have heard students ask, “How will this ever help me?  Do I need to know this for an exam?”   The answer is “Yes, you need this.  Not for a test but for life.”

The issue is we don’t know what we don’t know!  Yesterday I walked in a botanical garden with people who knew much about flora, while I knew almost nothing.  They enjoyed the afternoon so much more than I.  If we want to be really rich, we must first learn.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 26, 2016

PO Box 124 St. Helena, CA 94574


A Moment in the Supermarket

The little girl gazed with expectant eyes as her daddy put his coins in the machine.  Ever so carefully he maneuvered the stainless steel claw toward the coveted teddy bear in the big glass case.  There would be no second chance if he missed snatching it from the pile of goodies.  The teddy would wait for another day or worse yet for another little girl’s daddy to snatch it.

Her face lit up when the claw picked up the teddy.  But it dangled like it would fall.

“Oh, daddie-e-e-e-e,” she cried.

Ever so carefully he moved it towards the opening through which it would fall into her eager hands.  Suddenly it looked ready to slip from the grasp of the claw.   And then it happened.  It fell off the claw onto the side of the opening. Where was the center of gravity?  Would a tiny teddy arm catch and hold the treasure inside the machine?  It held for just a moment and then fell through the opening into her hands.

What squeals of delight!  Her curls bounced as she danced with joy.  But there was even a better sight to behold.  It was the look of triumph on her daddy’s face.

What do you suppose God looks like when we are saved?

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 27, 2000

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


“No Cell Phones – No Ear Buds”

This evening when I entered my classroom the teacher from the former class was still present.  I noticed on the white board the following message, “No cell phones –  No ear buds.”  I turned to the prof and said, “Let me guess.  Your  class was a freshman class.”  “Yep,” he replied, “you got it.”

I am not telling you this to make you think I am some kind guru – quite to the contrary.  I said it because I do know this.  I would never have to put up such a message in one of my grad courses.   It’s all about maturation.   Eighteen-year-olds and thirty-year-olds are soooo very different.

Since this is the case with something as simple as cell phone use, how much more complicated should be our expectations of teen’s spiritual lives.  The frontal lobes of our brains do not come into full use until our mid-twenties.  The frontal lobes are where we process values, principles and ethics.  Sometimes older generations are filled with despair because it seems that young people have no concrete sense of right and wrong and what is important.  We think this because, well, so often it’s the truth.  However, the good news is they continue to mature as the sun comes up and goes down.  Ever so slowly they turn into us.

Since the beginning of writing, adults have expressed despair that the up coming generation will never be able to successfully run their own lives let alone the world.   So, if you have children or grandchildren that don’t seem to grasp the importance of some of the things you value, be patient.  A day is coming when they will fret over their children and they will be the leaders in our churches.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 22, 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA




The Linus Syndrome

Psychologists call them transitional objects.  They provide safety and comfort for individuals going through a stressful situation.  They are those wonderful tattered, worn teddy bears and blankets that accompany small children through a host of stressful transitions as they learn all about the big world around them.

Sometimes parents become concerned that their children are not normal if they have the Linus Syndrome—named for that Peanuts character Linus and his wonderful blanket.  But it is very normal and parents should not worry.

Adults manifest the same syndrome but in different ways.  During times of stress they use such things as chewing gum, a hot drink, or a favorite food.  Whatever we use, it is for the same purpose.  It provides us an island of comfort in a storm of life.

Jesus provides the same thing and lots more.  If when things get difficult, we turn to Jesus for comfort or safety He is there.  He who knows all our needs will do what is best for us.  He is a friend that will never get tattered or worn.  He will always be there when you need something safe.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 29, 2000

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574


Science – The Enhancer of Faith

Recently I listened to a discourse that portrayed science as the enemy of faith. It was as if scientists were out to destroy any connection between one’s walk with God and the world that He created.  How very strange this seems.  It seems to me those of us who love the Lord, who maintain He is the Creator of all things physical, should be fascinated and excited each time something new is discovered.  Each new scientific idea, which if it is true science, is an unbiased attempt to understand our world and how it functions.  Each new discovery is another facet into the mind of Him that lives within us and enables us to be more like Him.

The problem seems to be that sometimes we need to make adaptations to our faith and that causes some to fear if they give up a little they are on a slippery road to giving up everything.  But, this need not be the case at all.  Instead, each adaptation brings us into a more realistic and deeper understanding of our Creator.  There is nothing sinister about saying, “I used to believe that way.  Now I believe this way.”   Remember the verse in Proverbs 3:8 that says, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  The more scientific facts we know, the deeper is our love for the incredible Mind that designed it.

Change is not necessarily bad.  When the geocentric concept of the universe was disproven by Galileo and other inquiring minds, mankind had an opportunity to see the wonder of God’s true design.   Hebrews 1 just gets more exciting when it speaks of Jesus being the maker of worlds.  What an awesome Jesus.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 21, 2016

PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574