The Persecuted – Mon – 21-10-18



This week we are focused on the Beatitude in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(NIV) The word persecuted comes from the word meaning “to chase or pursue.” It also could mean “to harass.” Throughout history, Christians have been persecuted. The first instances are recorded in the New Testament. The book of Acts tells of the execution of a Christian man named Stephen. It also tells of Saul, who pursued and arrested Christians. Saul later became a Christian. He was then persecuted for his faith in Jesus!

Persecution continues today. The news media usually doesn’t cover it. The media is concerned about Afghanistan today. They worry about the Taliban reasserting harsh limitations on women. Also at risk are Christians! Christians are often beaten, robbed — even killed in several countries. In August, three Christians in India were visiting a man who’d lost his wife, adult son and daughter-in-law to Covid. The man wanted the Christians there. They were praying and reading scripture when a group broke in and beat the Christians severely. Then the authorities came and arrested the Christians and imprisoned them.*

Jesus says that such people are blessed! If you ask me, being arrested and beaten doesn’t sound like a blessing! Well, it isn’t. The blessing is not the persecution. The blessing is being a part of the kingdom of heaven.


*Anugrah Kumar, “Pastors beaten, jailed after comforting grieving Hindu widower in India: report,” The Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastors-beaten-jailed-for-comforting-grieving-widower-in-india.html.

Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


The Persecuted – Sun – 21-10-17



Do you remember playing “freeze tag” as a child? After cries of “not it,” someone began chasing everyone else. If he or she touched you, you had to stand frozen in place. Such chasing about was a lot of fun!

But there was another type of chasing that was not fun at all. Did your playground have a bully? Bullies chase others too. But it is not about fun. It is about power. The bully picks a victim. He then chases the victim, or demands lunch money, or does something else unkind. A bully chasing a victim actually helps us understand the last Beatitude.

That’s right, Jesus said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(NIV) The word persecuted comes from the word meaning “to chase or pursue.” Picture a bully going after a victim.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Jack Phillips. He bakes specialty cakes. In 2012 a customer asked him to bake a cake to honor something against his religious beliefs. He refused. He received threatening phone calls. Then a governmental agency took him to court. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Jack’s favor. Less than a month later, the same agency sued Jack again.* Does it remind you of a bully going after a victim?

We see from this that the last Beatitude is relevant to life today! Blessed are those persecuted because of righteousness.


*”Jack Is Back in Court, Again. Enough Is Enough.” Alliance Defending Freedom, https://adflegal.org/enough-is-enough.

Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Sat – 21-10-16



This week we have looked at the Beatitude in Matthew 5:9, which reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”(NIV) We discovered that this verse is not about Nobel Peace Prize winners. No, it is about everyday people like you and I. It talks about those who work to restore peaceful relationships between others.  It is not something that can be forced upon other people. Rather we have to sow peace like the ancient farmer who scattered seed.

God is the ultimate example of a peacemaker. He took the initiative to send Jesus to the cross. He thus made it possible to establish peace with us through faith in Jesus. Peacemaking takes initiative! Do you have it?

How do we start to be a peacemaker? We begin by making sure we are not grumbling and arguing ourselves. Rather, we seek to build up others and make every effort to keep the peace, even when arguments may be over serious things.

The blessing for being a peacemaker mentioned in the Beatitude is being called children of God. But there is another blessing as well. Proverbs mentions it in chapter 12, verse 20, “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” (NIV)

May you promote peace among others even as our heavenly Father does! And may you have joy!


Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Fri – 21-10-15



You know, people sometimes argue over the dumbest things. Many years ago, someone wrote to an advice columnist to settle an argument on whether the toilet paper should be hung to roll off the top of the roll or from under it!

Lorenzo Jensen III, wrote an article that asked Reddit users about the dumbest argument they have had. One person witnessed others in “a seven hour argument over an avocado which resulted in various kitchen items being thrown across a room and some of the worse abuse I’ve even seen two people scream at each other.”* Wow! What a scene! Seven hours arguing over an avocado!

People also argue over serious things. Take politics. No, really, take politics away! Don’t you wish you could? All the arguing that goes on whether face-to-face or on social media.

People also argue over religious things. Even in the Bible, Christians were arguing. Paul wrote to the Romans about their disputes over eating certain foods. Some thought it sinful, others did not. Paul examined their arguments, and, in essence, told them to be peacemakers. Oh, he didn’t use that term. But he did write this in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” If you want to be a peacemaker, great! Remember, you may need to be one even around your Christian friends!


*Lorenzo Jensen III, “25 People Remember The Dumbest Argument They’ve Ever Had,” Thought Catalog,  July 15th 2014, https://thoughtcatalog.com/lorenzo-jensen-iii/2014/07/25-people-remember-the-dumbest-argument-theyve-ever-had/.

Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Thu – 21-10-14



Agriculture has come a long way since Jesus’ day! In his day, you planted crops by sowing. You’d carry a bag of seed over one shoulder. Then dip your opposite hand into it and grab a handful of seed. As you swung your arm back across and to your side, you’d let seed trickle out. Then you’d throw the rest forward as your arm swung back around to the seed sack. Sowing scattered seed in a constant motion. How unlike today when the GPS-enabled planters inject seeds in precise locations! We need to remember that sowing is a scattering of seed!

This is especially true to understand James 3:18. It says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” But what do peacemakers sow?  To understand, we need to realize the passage in James actually concludes a passage about living a wise and good life. James 3:14-16 tell us that envy and selfish ambition are the opposite of a good life. They lead to disorder and every evil practice. The contrast is heavenly wisdom. Listen to the description in James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (NIV).

Want to be a peacemaker? Then sow peace, be considerate and merciful, impartial and sincere!


Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Wed – 21-10-13



Have you ever wanted to remodel or build something? If so, then I bet you thought about where to begin. Whether building a deck, replacing a light fixture or building a house, we usually start with some kind of plan or instruction and an idea of where to begin.

I remember when my dad was building houses. He would start with a vacant lot. He’d get all the plans drawn and permits approved. Then he’d measure and mark the locations of various things. Dirt work followed to dig for the foundation or basement. Then the concrete crew would form and pour, followed by the framing crew that started building the lumber structure. Plumbers, electricians, dry-wall crews, finish carpenters, the tile man and the painter followed. Finally, the yard was seeded and everything was cleaned and polished. But all this started with a vacant lot.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV) I’m sure you want to be a peacemaker, right? But where do you begin? What is the first step?

Philippians 2:14-15 gives us an idea. It says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’” (NIV) If you want to be a peacemaker, you can’t be arguing yourself! You can’t be grumbling! It starts by treating other in a way no one can fault. Help make some peace today!


Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


How to Search Tags



Want to find something using tags? Most tags on the site are references to Scripture, although other tags are also used.

You can click a tag in the Tags list in the side bar to show only posts and episodes with that tag.

It is important to understand the tagging convention.

  • Scripture references on podcast episodes, pages and other posts follow a convention with tags for Bible book, chapter and verse — without any spaces. The book is a four-letter abbreviation.
  • For example, tags for something that uses John 3:16 will have this tag: John3:16. The tags for Matthew 10:6 will be: Matt10:6.
  • Note: when a passage with multiple verses is used, only the first verse is used as a tag. The tag for Matthew 28:18-20 would appear as Matt28:18.
  • Topics may also be used as tags.

Peacemakers – Tue – 21-10-12



In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV) That word, peacemaker, is only used once in the New Testament – here in this passage. However, the verb form of the word is also used. Again, it is used only once. It is found in Colossians 1:19-20, which reads, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (NIV)

When God made peace through the blood of Jesus, it was an active effort. First, he arranged the events of history to bring the nation of Israel into existence. That nation’s religious practice would provide the backdrop to understand the work of Jesus. After centuries of work with Israel, God arranged the birth of Jesus. Later he used those who hated Jesus to complete his plan for the crucifixion. Jesus then defeated sin and death by his resurrection. It was an active effort over a long time.

If we are to be peacemakers, we also must be active. It can take a lot of work and a lot of time to help people reconcile. But bringing peace to troubled relationships is one way we show we are God’s children. Today, is there someone you know who needs some peace?


Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Mon – 21-10-11



General George S. Patton was a leader of U.S. forces in Europe in World War II. He was nicknamed “Old Blood and Guts.” He was known to speak his mind, often in profanity-laced speeches. He believed a general should lead from the front and drove his troops to rapid advances. If you do an internet search for his picture, you’ll see he looked the part. He was often seen with a riding crop or wearing a pair of ivory-handled revolvers. The weapons looked to be straight out of a cowboy movie! The revolvers were the Peacemaker model made by Colt.

Is this what it means to be a peacemaker? To be someone who drives forward, defeating others and forcing peace? That was one use of the word in the ancient Greek language. But that is not the meaning of Jesus in Matthew 5:9 when he said, ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV) How do we know this? Because the children will be like the Father. And Romans 5:1 tells us that God made peace through Jesus. He didn’t force us into a peace. Rather he arranged a reconciliation through the sacrifice of his son. He did not wield a weapon, rather he wielded love.

 If we are to be peacemakers, it means helping to bring peace and reconciliation to others. Those who step in to mend relationships between others are peacemakers.


Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Peacemakers – Sun – 21-10-10



This year there are over 325 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.1 The prize has been awarded most years since 1901. Among the individuals who have won the prize are many who are worthy, such as Mother Theresa and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the groups to win was Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres in 1994 for their efforts toward peace in the Middle East. Of course, their efforts did not result in peace. A few times the Prize has been awarded to an organization such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

One interesting observation about the prize is this: at times it seems to be political. Of the US Presidents and Vice Presidents who have won, only Democrats have won since 1906. Ronald Reagan, who ended the Cold War, did not. Yet, Mikhail Gorbachev won the prize in 1990 for his role in changing East-West relations. One Republican did win in 1973, Henry Kissinger, along with Le Duc Tho, for negotiating the Vietnam cease-fire and US withdrawal.2 I guess President Nixon was too tainted by the Watergate scandal!

In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV) Was Jesus talking about Nobel Peace Prize winners? Was he talking about negotiating the end of wars? Not exactly. This week we’ll explore this Beatitude and what Jesus’ meant by “peacemakers.”


  1. “THERE ARE 329 CANDIDATES FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR 2021,” The Nobel Peace Prize, The Norwegian Nobel Institute, headline on September 7,2021, https://www.nobelpeaceprize.org/.
  2. “List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates,” Wikipedia, last updated September 2, 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_Peace_Prize_laureates.

Please provide feedback and suggestions at: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/feedback/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.