The Institution of Marriage in Trouble

Rich Rockwood

READ : Genesis 3:1-24 Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. (v. 16) The biblical narrative recounts that the ideal for marriage was quickly set aside. Evil somehow found its way into the garden. God had placed a moral boundary around the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent suggested to the woman that eating from it would make her as wise as God. She did, and urged her husband to …

Not Good to Be Alone

Rich Rockwood

READ : Genesis 2:18-25 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (v. 24) “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named ‘not good,’” said the English poet John Milton. God created us to be in relationships with others. Contrast this with one of the cruelest forms of punishment: solitary confinement. C. S. Lewis says, “We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully …

Denial

Rich Rockwood

READ : Matthew 26:31-35 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (v. 34) Have you ever denied you are a follower of Jesus? In many countries a person's beliefs are their own business, but in some countries following Jesus openly will lead to persecution and could even mean losing one's life. It was this fear that kept the apostle Peter from admitting he was a disciple …

Religious Upbringing

Rich Rockwood

READ : Philippians 3:4-14 . . . circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee. (v. 5 NIV) When it came to belief in Jesus, Paul's religious background was an obstacle. He had a stellar résumé: he came from the right tribe, was circumcised the very day prescribed in the Law, had studied under the right teacher, was a Pharisee. When I …

Locked Up in Prison

Rich Rockwood

READ : Acts 12:1-17 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. (v. 5 NIV) Hoping for a higher popularity rating, King Herod ordered the arrest of some Christians. He had James, the apostle John's brother, executed. Then he arrested Peter, put him in the military barracks at Fortress Antonia, and had him guarded round the clock by four squads of four soldiers each. Meanwhile, the church prayed earnestly (pointedly and unceasingly) …

Doubt

Rich Rockwood

READ : John 20:24-29 Unless I put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it. (v. 25 NIV) Why did Thomas doubt Jesus' resurrection? He had seen Jesus raise the dead; why would he doubt Jesus' own return to life? His doubt suggests a certain pessimistic mindset. When Jesus said he was headed to Jerusalem—a place everyone knew to be dangerous for Jesus now—Thomas challenged the others: “Let us also …