Best Friends

Posted on Apr 24, 2018

There is an historical event so overwhelming with sorrow, weeping, confession, forgiveness, mercy and love we are not given any information regarding its details. It happened when Jesus met with Peter the first time after the resurrection. The last time they were together Peter renounced any relationship with Jesus. He did this within earshot of Jesus who looked down from the porch into the court and the cock crowed. Peter knew Jesus heard him. Talk about getting caught!

Peter and Jesus were best friends. They fished together. They traveled together. Peter was with Jesus on the Mountain of Transfiguration. He saw Moses and Elijah come from heaven to meet with Jesus. He declared his willingness to die for Jesus and indeed proved his loyalty that very night in the Garden of Gethsemane. He pulled out a sword and started to fight. He would have fought to the death had not Jesus called to him to stop. That was the problem. He did all he knew how to do and it was the wrong thing. Peter is so much like us.

When he saw the empty tomb on Sunday morning and knew Jesus was alive the conflict must have been horrendous. He wanted desperately to see Jesus but had to be afraid because of the three denials. What unfolded when Jesus came to him needed no background violins or soft piano music to build emotion. This was a scene of two men embraced in reconciliation.

If Jesus could do that for Peter just think of what he can do for you and me.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 1, 2003
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Who Is Your Author?

Posted on Apr 23, 2018

I know an author who tells me the most fun thing in life is the creation of a character. However, contrary to popular opinion once the character is created the author does not have the freedom to have him or her do anything the author desires. Once the personality is formed the character must remain consistent for the story to be believable. Once the characters are on paper they write the story and the author along with us is often surprised at the ending.

Sometimes we think because God is God He can make us do anything He wills. He could have made the universe that way but He didn’t. Instead He created these marvelous thinking, choosing creatures we call us. We have the power to become the kind of person we desire. We can be strong if we want. However, there is a downside to being strong. If so, then you have to be willing to be responsible. Some of us choose to be weak and let others lead. When things go wrong it is not our fault. There are so many things we can be. Each has its pluses and minuses.

Each of us is an author. Each of us will stand before God and show Him what we have written. However, there is one thing we do not have to write. Hebrews 12:2 reads, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . .” If we choose Jesus will author that for us. He will be responsible for us. We can choose to author our own faith but I don’t think we would like the ending.

Written by Roger Bothwell on June 30, 2003
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

An Invitation to You

Posted on Apr 22, 2018

While my wife had the car out of the garage I figured it was a good time to clean out the leaves. Revving up the blower I went to work. However, it was windy outside and as fast as I blew them out one side they blew back in the other side. It was a hopeless endeavor.

I laughed at the absurdity of my endeavor. What I was trying to do seemed so much like Solomon’s essay of despair. Repeatedly in Ecclesiastes he says, “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (NIV) In “The Message” it reads like this, “It’s nothing but smoke and spitting into the wind.”

Solomon had tried everything there was to try in life. He satiated himself with work and pleasure. His analysis was neither very satisfying. Both the hard worker and the lazy man ended up in the same place: the grave. But he did conclude in chapter 8 that “There’s nothing better than being wise, knowing how to interpret the meaning of life. Wisdom puts light in the eyes and give gentleness to words and manners.”

I guess I wasn’t so wise trying to blow out the leaves on a windy day. However, one very wise thing I have done and invite you to do with me. Make Jesus your savior. Let Him be all He has promised to be because He came to give us an abundant life. Had Solomon known Jesus I am sure the book of Ecclesiastes would be much different because Jesus makes all the difference. There is much meaning to life.

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 27, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Pilate Saith . . .

Posted on Apr 21, 2018

Storytelling is as old as man. As the ancients sat about the fire warming their hands they warmed their minds with stories of long passed heroes. In the courts of kings there would be many storytellers each in a designed location making it possible for people to move from storyteller to storyteller depending upon their interest. I thought of this the other evening when I tired of a television program and changed the channel to something I found more interesting.

Just as there were court jesters we have comedians. They had those who chronicled their heritage and we have the History Channel. The comparisons can continue on. They even had weather prophets. Not much has changed: just the medium. Perhaps one thing has changed. We have few heroes left. One by one scholars have unveiled the moral defects of past greats leaving us with halls of shame instead of fame.

Perhaps the fault is within us all. If the greats were not perfect maybe I can sooth myself concerning my faults. After all is it not easier to lower someone to my level instead my disciplining myself to rise to theirs? So the world is left with mediocrity and we are all the poorer for every generation needs heroes to inspire it’s youth to be more tomorrow than they are today.

Is it so difficult for us to bear perfect people? “Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 13, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Only God the Father Knows

Posted on Apr 20, 2018

I thought it strange when I learned Jesus was born in the year 4 B.C. How, I thought, could Jesus have been born four years before He was born? Obviously I soon learned the calendar makers erred and it was easier to leave it as it was and redate Jesus’ birth than to change so many historical and business records.

According to the Jewish calendar this is the year 5763. The Chinese have a legend that Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C. The oldest calendar I am aware of is the Egyptian calendar that dates back to 4241 B.C.

According to our Bibles God established a seven-day cycle of time during creation week recorded in Genesis one. However, that does not give us a yearly date. Two years ago folk were concerned something major was going to happen as we transitioned into a new millennium. Similar concerns occurred a thousand years before that when we left the 900’s behind.

I wonder if God smiles at our concerns with the date. When you are eternal a few thousand years here or there really makes not much difference. When you are a fruit fly 24 hours is a big deal. So much of life is relative. What is not relative is the fact that time is ticking away and the hour of God’s judgment grows near. Jesus’ disciples asked Him when it would be. His answer is fascinating. He said in Matthew 24:36, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 12, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Emptiness Is Possibilities

Posted on Apr 19, 2018

In order to gain more space I put some small empty boxes into a large empty box. I now have more room. However, I am confused for I put emptiness into emptiness to gain more emptiness. Now my emptiness is more organized and compact leaving me with emptiness to fill with I hope something other than more emptiness. Now all of this is what I feel like sometimes after a class. My lectures are sometimes empty of originality and I dump them into the empty minds of my students with no fear of cluttering their thought processes since all I did was organize some academic emptiness.

However, emptiness is not nothing. Emptiness is possibilities. Emptiness is an invitation to fill with something meaningful. God saw the emptiness of space and filled it with us. Isaiah 45:18, “For this is what the LORD says– he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

God saw the emptiness of men’s lives after sin had drained the purity and goodness. Genesis 6:5, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” He could have abandoned us to our emptiness but chose because of His great love to fill us with His Spirit and all the emptiness of the universe with His grace. (Ephesians 4:9-10) There is no emptiness when He is present.

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 11, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Keep on Trying

Posted on Apr 18, 2018

On a flight from Chicago to Manchester, New Hampshire this evening I passed the time by listening to the conversation between our pilot and the flight controllers. It is delightful when the pilot makes that available over the headsets at one’s seat. About 75 miles west of Manchester I heard them instruct our pilot to fly the vectors for landing on runway 24. Since we were flying from Chicago I knew we were roughly on a heading of 090. That meant we would have to fly past Manchester and then turn around so we could land facing west.

It was just like watching the lives of some of my students. I know from the direction they are going if they are going to graduate they are going to have to turn around. The analogy not only applies to students but also to most of us with bad habits. If we are going to live a long abundant life we sometimes have to make radical changes in our present course.

Sometimes airplanes miss their approach and have to come around and try again. Sometimes we have to try again and again to get it right. Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” If Jesus instructs us to do this so will He also do it for us. No matter how many times it takes, keep on trying.

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 8, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

God’s Kingdom – Here & Now?

Posted on Apr 17, 2018

My dog has an interesting quirky behavior. When I leave the house in the morning I give her a Milkbone. When I come home, sometimes twelve hours later, she is standing at the door with the Milkbone in her mouth. Only then will she eat it. I have no idea what this strange behavior is about but it does remind me of a statement Jesus made during the Last Supper with His disciples.

In Luke 22:15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Does this mean Jesus will not eat or drink certain items until after the second coming? Perhaps a more meaningful question would be when will God’s Kingdom come or is God’s Kingdom already here in the hearts of His children?

While I certainly do not have definitive answers to this I do know we do not have to wait until some future date to begin receiving many of the benefits of being a part of God’s family. We might call them rights of citizenship in God’s Kingdom or the fruits of the Spirit. It really does not matter what we call them. What matters is that we realize they are available now and that we begin to enjoy them now.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 26, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453.

Jesus, the Promise Keeper

Posted on Apr 16, 2018

Each night our black lab follows me up the stairs and goes directly into her warm blanketed nest. Often she does not stir again until the morning sun peeks in the window. However, last night she would not come upstairs. Last night she slept by the door to the garage. My wife was gone for the night. My wife tells me the dog does the same thing when I am gone. She will only tuck herself in for the night when the rest of us are tucked in. Otherwise she waits by the door.

In Mark 13 Jesus counseled us regarding His second coming. He said, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back–whether in the evening, or at midnight or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!'”

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus warned us. While that is a long time for us it is nothing in the great scheme of eternity. It is but a day for the one who is eager to retrieve us from this world and have His whole family tucked in not just for the night but forever. Jesus promised us He would return. Jesus always keeps His promises.

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 26, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453

Our Father, Not Our Grandfather

Posted on Apr 15, 2018

I had a great time this afternoon. While my wife went grocery shopping for our family I got to take my four-year-old granddaughter grocery shopping just for her. I carried the basket and she picked out the things we needed. The following is what was in our basket when she declared we were finished.

1. A bag of Doritos
2. A small helium filled balloon
3. Two Pez dispensers (one for her and one for her sister)
4. A box of animal crackers
5. A card filled with hair clips with happy faces
6. A card filled with heart stickers
7. A big sticker of a soccer ball
8. 5 super balls
9. A pair of star shaped sunglasses
10.A bag of popcorn
11.Silly shaped drinking straws

Now I understand why the Bible refers to God as our Father and not our Grandfather. God does not give us everything we pray for because like human fathers He knows better than to give a child carte blanche. Just as a human father fills the grocery basket with nutritious food God responds to our prayers by supplying real needs. A human father puts things in the basket a child would never dream of and our heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom puts marvelous things in our basket. He gives us things we need before we know we need them.

Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, . . .”

Written by Roger Bothwell on November 24, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453