True and Lasting Confidence

I have been taking my time browsing through John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion enjoying some of the words he uses to explain a Christian’s faith.

Book 1, Chapter 14, Paragraph 22

In the creation of the world, and all things in it, 

the true God distinguished by certain marks from fictitious gods (continued)

…while we observe how God has destined all things for our good and salvation, we at the same time feel his power and grace, both in ourselves and in the great blessings which he has bestowed upon us; thence stirring up ourselves to confidence in him, to invocation, praise, and love.

A Reflection

This confident writing of Calvin’s gives me confidence right now even as I worried about high heart rate numbers.  I need not give these things a worry when God has created all things for our good and salvation.  I notice Calvin doesn’t exclude certain things, but says rather sweepingly “God has destined all things for our good and salvation.”  Thank you John for the strength of your writing and the confidence it inspires in me.  You have taken me out of myself this afternoon and made me fully desirous to worship our dear wonderful Creator. 

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Where Did They Go?

I was recently thinking about all the days that have slipped from the future through the present and are now in “the past.” On my birthday this past June my day count was 26,280. Where did all those experiences and events go? I once heard that there is an economy in all of creation. When something dies it goes into the earth but comes back in another life form. If that is true, do past days come back in a new way, a way we never noticed. Is there really nothing new under the sun as King Solomon once wrote: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9 (ESV)

This got me wondering about other things, things I cannot understand. For example, musicians in a band or orchestra. How is it that some have such talent, they don’t even need music notes in front of them. They can just play by ear. And others seem to have a deep music memory which allows them to sing and play a guitar, piano or drum at the same time. Where does this talent come from and where does it go when they die? Does it come back in someone else, but in a different form (eg. jazz genre instead of classic)? I sometimes hear that a certain song reminds someone of something they heard when they were a youngster. Sometimes I find myself reliving an experience when I hear a certain song.

As I continue along my 7th decade on earth, it often feels that things and people are going away from me. There is a kind of grief that goes with such feelings. My Christian faith, however, tells me that they are not gone forever, there are words in the New Testament which says that what seems to be the final end, death, will actually lead to the resurrection of believers when all our questions and wonderings will be answered. I am sure of this because of what the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian Church: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 11 and 12 English Standard Version)

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A Full Feeling

Over this past weekend, my wife and I opened our house to a college buddy and his wife whom I have known for over fifty years. They flew into town for the celebration of another couple we know who were marking fifty years of marriage.

Reunions can be happy and a bit sad as well. It is a big feeling inside to witness two individuals who have stayed together, whose bodies have gotten older but their love has not. The looks they give each other show their respect, empathy, humility, acceptance and boundless love.  Despite the savagery of Diabetes and all its’ related issues, they have not given up on life or each other. Love is a powerful medicine for the body as well as the soul.

Before and after the celebration my wife and I spent time with our house guests.  We visited the local zoo, drove around old neighborhoods, recalled the way things used to be. In this special time, we dusted off the memories and felt connected again to our town and to each other. Even though we had different opinions on “important” things back then, none of that mattered anymore. The friendship now was what counted, even more than the aches and pains which of course we all have.

The biggest surprise was how I felt during this time. I might have felt a bit nervous having house guests (worrying about whether they were comfortable and what this does to my routine).  This time I did not feel any of that. Having them here, talking for hours at the dining room table, putting on shoes and jackets in the same dark entry space, trying to talk rationally at 4:30 in the morning as I drove them to their flight this morning, were pure delights. My joy is like a flooding river because this past weekend I was with with my friends of over half a century.

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Michelle, Ma Belle

I was browsing through some old Beatles music on the internet and came upon the song “Michelle.” As I listened, I was back in the 1960’s with “Beatlemania.” The term described the hysteria over John, Paul, George and Ringo, “the Fab Four.” They lived in a bubble floating high above the world and every fan watched them float over England, Germany, Europe and North America.  They seemed to be the answer, but who knew what the question was. They were a movement.  Within a very short period of time, they had knocked folk music off the pedestal and were themselves up there along with the rest of the “British Invasion.”

In that sweet, but crazy period of Beatlemania, the Song “Michelle” was released and it sounded like something from the streets of Paris, describing a young man’s struggle to communicate with the woman he loved.  It did not sound like rock and roll,  but then the Beatles were always exploring new venues and genres.  The words “Michelle, ma belle” translate as “Michelle, my beautiful.”  The young man had found the most poignant words to express his feelings.  It probably spoke to a number of young people who didn’t have the words to confess their true feelings. It spoke to me.

Hearing the song the other day carried me back to those first emotions I felt: emptiness  because the woman I thought I loved was not interested in me, reassurance that love can be a beautiful thing, desire to continue looking for the “right one” who had be out there.

What a powerful force music is: allowing us to go “back there” for at least a little while.  For a time we can connect at least emotionally with part of our past.

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A Glimpse Into (Eternal) Life

While doing the things of my life (routine and worthwhile tasks) I started thinking about Eternity in Heaven.  Eternity had no beginning and will have no end.  All of time is but a tiny nugget occurring within eternity.

What about my body? The Bible talks about resurrection of the body. What will mine be like?  What will it be like to never have to think about death anymore.  What will it be like to realize that a pleasant experience in Heaven’s Eternity will never end.  It just goes on and on and on…

I would like to talk to St. Paul and tell him how much his honesty in the letter he wrote to the Christians at Rome helped me see I could be a part of the Gospel blessing too.  He didn’t have his act together and neither did (or do) I. Also, it would be interesting to ask him how he was able to have so much passion for spreading the Gospel.  Then I would like to take some time, maybe a month (how would I know) to talk to St. Peter and tell him how helpful his letters were to my friends and me in the Tuesday night Bible study right now.

I won’t ever have to take a nap in the afternoon or sleep 8 hours after being up 16.

In a way I am starting to unplug from all the hoopla and hysteria of life right now.  I am Eternity Dreaming in Heaven.  This month I will be another year older, but so what.  The transfer to eternal life will come sooner.

And I will see God and…highway-of-life

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While I Pondered

A Simple Idea Multiplied in My Mind

By Waiting on the Lord I am:

  1. Surrendering-I give up my expectations and judgmentalism. I let go of the controls and turn the outcome over to the Lord.
  2. Trusting God-I admit that God is trustworthy. My trust brings me significantly closer
  3. Loving God-I express my complete and deep affection for God because I am traveling the channel of communication from my heart to God’s
  4. Disciplining myself-I curb my will which wants to do everything I can to please myself. I learn that I can get along without something, some person, or some experience. I am also learning patience.
  5. Feeling relaxed-A wonderful calm comes over me because the stress and worry is now gone.
  6. Finding strength-I acknowledge, pursue and discover strength far beyond my own.
  7. Finding freedom-I learn that any chains holding me to that person, place or thing is now severed.
  8. Finding grace-It comes in still, small voices, experiences, and outcomes. When I am quiet, I can see signs of God’s help.
  9. Finding peace-Connected to the feeling of relaxation, I let out a sigh of relief. All will be taken care of.
  10. Finding self-worth-I realize again I am loved by God.   This thought fills my mind and warms my heart.
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It’s a Test!

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author


Do you remember dreading tests in school?  I was never fond of the cramming method and was always looking for the best way to take a test.   One fellow I met suggested having a drink beforehand because it helped him relax.   I don’t remember trying that, but the idea of going into a test in a relaxed state made sense.  My goal was always to stay on top of the material so I didn’t have to cram or stress when test day arrived.  I don’t think that ever happened.  And then there was immense feeling (sometimes) of relief after the test was finished.  If I thought I had done well, I was relieved.  If I didn’t know the answers or had to bluff my way through, I felt a bit lost and a whole lot of regret.

According to the dictionary a test is “a short written or…

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Imagine This

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

It seems like I have always lived in this dark, smelly cell.

I cannot remember when this day began.  A memory of Passover with my men flickers for a few moments and puts itself out.

The door clangs open.  Two soldiers yank me off the floor and drag me to the Governor.  I see faces with open pits for mouths and hear a sound like the sea.  Distant and alone I stand before the crumbling pillars of justice.  A man’s voice says “I am innocent” but he is not speaking for me.  No one is, not even me.

I fall under the weight of the woody bulk.  For the first time, I see the busy “Skull.”   Whenever I stumble, I hear cheers slowly bouncing off the city walls.  A nightmare is invading these holy streets.

And now giant nails rip open my flesh and splatter my blood.  A throat burning…

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Holy/Maundy Thursday-New Covenant

A reminder for this day.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author


What is Happening:  We don’t know anything about what happens earlier in the day other than Jesus is focusing on the Passover Meal (start reading at Matthew 26:17).  At some point his disciples come to him and ask where he would like to eat the Passover Meal.  According to Wikipedia, the Passover Meal is:

“The Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר‎ [ˈsedeʁ], “order, arrangement”; Yiddish: Seyder) … a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient…

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A Second-Second Chance

Still true

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

second chanceA Gust of Grace: blew through my life when I was in the US Army.  I was in during the height of the Vietnam War (1967-1970).  I had finished basic training at Fort Knox and the class ahead of me and the class behind me all were sent to Vietnam.  Then ten months later everyone in my class except another fellow and me were ordered there.  I had an office job, but my heart was heavy with concern that someday soon I would have to kill people.  This became my entire focus and so in August of 1969 I left my post and headed to Canada.  There were a lot of other young men also leaving because they had serious reservations about that war.  For me, however, the bottom line was fear.  I was afraid and so I drove north.

I contacted a man who was in the business of…

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