Monthly Archives: May 2021

Believe: Archaeology – Mon – 21-05-31



Have you watched an old western? You know, a film with cowboys and gun fights. Remember how you can always tell who the hero is because he wears a white hat. The villains wear black hats.

When we look at the stories in the Bible, we don’t have the color of hats to sort out the bad guys. But we look at their actions, and it becomes obvious. One of the villains was a man named Herod the Great. According to the Bible, he slaughtered all the male babies two years old or younger around Bethlehem following the birth of Jesus.

But is the Bible true? Did Herod live and was he king at the time of Jesus’ birth? Archaeology provides evidence that Herod is a historical figure. He was a great builder. He expanded the temple in Jerusalem and built a port and palace on the Mediterranean at Caesarea. One of his palaces, and his tomb has been discovered near Bethlehem. He also created a fortress called Masada in the desert on top of a mountain plateau. There an inscription has been found bearing the king’s name and his full title. It was found on the remains of a 20-gallon wine jug. It reads, “Herod, King of Judea.”*

Not every detail in the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology, but a vast number have been confirmed and discoveries are on-going. You can trust the Bible!


*Sebastian Kettley, “Archaeology news: 2,000-year-old inscription proves evil King Herod ‘was real’ – claim,” Daily Express, April 26, 2021, https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/archaeology-news-2000-year-old-inscription-proves-evil-king-herod-was-real-claim/ar-BB1g3gXx.

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

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


Believe: Morality – Sun – 21-05-30



Have you ever wondered what it is like to float weightless in space? Imagine the experience of astronauts who have journeyed to the moon or orbited in the space shuttle or International Space Station. It must be so different than life on earth!

Now, take it one step further. Imagine you are floating in a space suit far out in the reaches of the solar system. You are nowhere near Earth, another planet or a space craft. The sun is just another speck of light. You float alone. Now, answer this question: which way is up? Impossible to answer, correct? To us, up is the direction of the sky and down is toward the ground. If you are floating in space, you have no objective reference for up or down.

The same situation exists in determining what is right and wrong. Without an objective reference, we can’t define good or evil. Since we know good and evil exist, there must be a standard. And there is! God is the standard. Our moral nature is a proof for the existence of God. This is the point of a five-minute video by William Lane Craig.* He talks about outer space, up and down, and shows that God exists because good exists. A link can be found in the show notes. Take five minutes and watch.

If you are absolutely convinced that something is good or evil, then you should be convinced God exists.


*”Can You Be Good Without God?” Reasonable Faith With William Craig Lane, reasonablefaith.org, January 21, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/embed/OxiAikEk2vU.

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

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


Fruit of Peace – Sat – 21-05-29



Have you ever had a dispute with a neighbor? Sometimes such disputes are hard to settle. Neighbors can be real stinkers. That’s what happened to Wayne Lambarth, literally. Lambarth has a dispute with a neighboring farmer over the property line between their southeast Michigan farms. The neighbor decided to show his disagreement by creating a “fence” made of cow manure near the disputed property line. He piled manure in a 250 feet-long wall standing between two and three feet high. It is a real nuisance for Lambarth’s tenants who live a few yards away!* This does not sound like living in peace!

Disputes also arise among followers of Jesus. For some things, the Bible does not clearly state whether it is right or wrong. People can have different views. One side may condemn the other for some practice. The condemned side may view the opposing side with contempt. This type of dispute actually occurred among the early Christians in Rome. They disagreed on whether it was morally right to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

Paul wrote to them and provided several principals about how to treat each other in this type of situation. The key is in Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”(NIV)

Remember, when you disagree with other followers of Jesus on matters of opinion, don’t be a stinker. Keep the peace!


*Gavin Evans, “Man Builds Wall of Manure Over Property Line Dispute With Neighbor,” Yahoo! News, Thurday, April 29, 2021, https://news.yahoo.com/man-builds-wall-manure-over-175450976.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.


Fruit of Peace – Fri – 21-05-28



This week we are seeking to understand one of the fruits of the Spirit — peace. Sometimes, to understand something, we need to look at the opposite. If I asked you to name the opposite of peace, what would you say? Would you say “war”? I think most people would. However, 1 Corinthians 14:33 uses a different word as the contrast to peace. It is translated “confusion” or “disorder.” What does this look like?

Have you ever been to a meeting where people were all talking at once? Or where people constantly interrupt others? Perhaps you’ve seen television reports of a meeting disrupted by protestors. Disruptions in the orderly flow of a meeting make it hard to follow what’s going on! This can be especially distressing if emotions are running high and people are speaking in anger. The discord and confusion sets everyone on edge!

For followers of Jesus, maintaining peace within the church is very important. That is why 1 Corinthians 14 provides rules of order for the somewhat chaotic worship practices at the church in Corinth. In explaining the reason for the rules, Paul writes in verse 33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”(NIV)

You see, peace is positive, conflict-free relationships between people. God’s Spirit works to keep your heart at peace and to keep the peace among God’s people.


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

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


Fruit of Peace – Thu – 21-05-27



I remember learning to swim as a child. Mom would take us to the pool in the morning. We’d practice blowing bubbles and learning the stroke motions. Eventually I managed a desperate dog paddle! Funny, I don’t remember any of the swimming instructors. But I do remember my Dad. Once, we went to the pool during regular swim time. Dad stood out in the water, which was over my head, but reached just above his waist. I stood on the deck. Dad urged me to jump in and swim to him. Dad assured me that he’d help me if I started to have problems. I leaped in and swam into his arms! It was much easier knowing Dad was there! The anxiety melted away.

I think this is what Philippians 4:6-7 is about. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(NIV)

When you pray, do you think to yourself, “Ok, God’s got this”? Worry and fear can melt away when you realize your heavenly father is present as you thrash through the deep waters of life. In fact, God’s peace guards your heart and mind. This is the word used of soldiers standing watch to prevent attack. God will guard your peace of mind! So, pray and relax.


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

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


Fruit of Peace – Wed – 21-05-26



My grandfather was just old enough to be drafted into the Army in World War I. I remember him telling the story. He had completed basic training and was loaded onto a train with other soldiers. The train headed to the east coast. It was night. The train stopped in a town but he didn’t remember where. But news spread quickly through the train that the war was over! The men were so excited they left the train whooping and hollering! They ran about the town celebrating the peace! Eventually, he was mustered out of the Army, having never faced combat. Peace is such a joyous feeling!

The same is true in our relationship to God. What overwhelming relief to have peace with God! Paul describes this in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”(NIV) Paul explains this more in verses 9 and 10, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”(NIV)

If you are in Jesus, you can celebrate peace with God! The Holy Spirit works so you can feel this peace in your life!


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

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


More Reasons to Believe



I’ve just uploaded and scheduled the episodes for next week. I am taking a break from the fruit of the Spirit to do another week on reasons to believe in God and the Bible. I think this will be helpful to a lot of people. I also provide some links to short videos that can “spark” your faith.


Fruit of Peace – Tue – 21-05-25



What is your concept of God? It must have been interesting as Christianity spread across the Roman world. The Roman and Greek concepts of gods and goddesses was so different from what Scripture teaches. They had a god or goddess for just about everything. The Romans had a god of war, Mars, as well as a goddess of war. But I find it interesting they had no god of peace. The Greeks had a goddess named Eirene, which means “peace,” but that seemed to be an extra duty in addition to being the goddess of Spring.

In contrast to these false gods, the God of the Bible is never described as a god of war. He did direct the ancient Israelites to wage war. He is described as a judge executing judgement. But he is never portrayed as the god of war. In fact, he is the one who establishes peace with those subject to his judgement – if they choose that peace through Jesus.

So, when you think of God, think of him as the God of peace. Paul repeatedly refers to God in this way – usually near the end of his letters. One example is 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”(NIV)

So, if you are looking for peace in your life, then look to God.


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

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


Fruit of Peace – Mon – 21-05-24



Have you ever considered all the ways to greet someone? I just greeted you with “welcome.” But there are several greetings, including hi, hello, hey, good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Of course you can also lose the “good” and just say  morning, afternoon or evening. Do you want to be less formal? Then try: what’s up (or sup), yo, hiya, ahoy, or howdy. Tired of English? You can use foreign language greetings like: hola, bonjour or neehow.

All of this, and we have not used one of the most common greetings of the early Christians, “peace,” or “grace and peace.” Paul used these terms as the greeting at the beginning and end of many of his letters. The greeting of “peace” was probably carried over from the Jewish tradition. They often used the Hebrew word for peace, shalom.

So if I greeted you with “peace” instead of “hello,” would you think me an old hippie? I hope not.

When you greet someone with the word peace, you want them to experience well-being and the absence of conflict and war. It is also wishing for them peace with God. For followers of Jesus, it is the desire of his Spirit to produce these things in our lives.

The word can also be a way to say goodbye. And that’s what I hope for you — 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.


Fruit of Peace – Sun – 21-05-23



It’s been a while since I’ve seen a beauty pageant televised. Perhaps things like The Miss America Pageant are still broadcast somewhere, but they are not as prominent as the days of the big three networks. I wonder, if the pageants are still held, do some of the contestants still give strange answers in the question and answer session? I remember from watching years ago, that many of the answers seemed to be cliches. When asked how they would use their influence if they won, many of the contestants wanted to do something for world peace. An interesting question would have been to have the contestants define world peace, or just define peace.

How would you do with that question? Is peace simply the absence of war? Or is there more to it?

This week we will focus on peace, one of the items listed in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Not only will we look at what it is, but we will also see a couple of the positive effects peace has in our lives.

The word used in the original language was used in a similar way we use the word peace today. It could refer to the absence of war, or to a state of being – you know, having a peaceful feeling. It was also used by early Christians for the lack of conflict between people. I hope your day is full of 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.