More Tolerant Than God – Obstacles Facing The Church

Alright so I was thinking about what obstacles will face the local church in the upcoming years and being relevant to people and I got a great idea! I asked a few pastor friends to weigh in on the subject for you all.

Our first guest writer has been in ministry for many years and is currently the Director of Missions for the Lake county Baptist Association, Rev. Don Miller. He sees what the world calls “tolerance” as one of the major obstacles the church faces today in its growth and in becoming like Christ.I hope you enjoy his article as much as I did.

– Rev. Joe Kramer

More Tolerant Than God
By: Rev. Don Miller, Director of Missions
Lake County Baptist Association Tavares, FL


Distractions can be tough!  AND dangerous. Just ask any police officer about texting and driving; and suppose you went to the doctor for a pain in your knee and he decided to run some tests.  After the tests, he comes in and says, “We’re pretty sure you have cancer.  We’re not sure what to do about that.  But you have a bone spur in that knee.  We know what to do about that, so let’s fix that knee, and then we’ll look at that cancer.” I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure what I’d do.  I’d get a second opinion!  As soon as the doctor said the big “C” word, my knee probably would not hurt anymore! I know some of you have dealt with or are dealing with cancer, and I am sure ever since that diagnosis, it has become your highest health priority.  I am not an expert, but I do know there are many kinds of cancer, some less dangerous than others, but all dangerous.

I believe we are facing cancer in the church that is just as dangerous and deadly as anything we have ever faced.

Prov. 13:24 says in the Holman Christian Standard, “The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently.”   The KJV says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

But on the way to work Monday morning I heard a report on the news that said scientists had linked physical punishment with mental disorders as an adult.  They have already claimed that physical punishment makes a child more violent and it doesn’t work.  As I looked deeper into the study, I was reminded of a comment of my professor when I studied statistics.  He said you can prove anything by studies and statistics if that is what you want to prove. In other words, it’s pretty easy to prove something you have already decided is true.  You can always find “facts” that support your “truth”.

The lady that was leading the study is part of a group from the UN (United Nations) that has outlawed corporal punishment in over 30 countries and is working to make it illegal to spank your child in the US and Canada.   Mmmm…wonder if she was impartial when she started this study or not?? These kinds of studies are always reported with a qualifier, “MAY” lead to mental disorders etc.

What if the Bible said, “The one who does not use the rod (may) hate his son…”.  But it does not say that.  “The one who does not use the rod hates his son…” In today’s world if you stand for what the Bible has to say about almost anything, you will face ridicule, being called ignorant, being called intolerant, or possibly face being arrested.

Just recently the Community Church in Howey In The Hills split from the Presbyterian Church USA over the decision to ordain and elect openly homosexual leaders in the church.  Most of the church in Howey, able to read the Bible, knew what the Bible said about homosexuality and chose the Bible over the ruling of the Presbyterian Church. They asked to be allowed to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church, but instead were told that the property belongs to the Presbyterian Church.  The pastor is now leading most of the members as they meet in another place, and is no longer Presbyterian.  The building in Howey is being occupied by a few members and a leader sent by the Presbyterian Church.

The church (in general), even Baptist churches, are being attacked by a cancer called Tolerance.  We are supposed to tolerate anything the world says is “OK”.  We are supposed to accept the word of the world over the Word of God! The funny thing about this is we think of it as a new tactic of Satan, but we find the same thing in the Bible.

Not long ago, Pastor Mark Driscoll put a message online from his church called, “The Church at Thyatira, More Tolerant Than God”.  That caught my attention, and I listened to the message.  I’m not taking his message, but it got me thinking in this line.

Look at Rev. 2:18-29.  As most of you know, this is part of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation.  The part of Revelation most people are able to understand, but we still miss a lot if we’re not careful.

                Rev. 2:18-29. (HCSV)

18 “Write to the angel of the church in Thyatira:

“The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine bronze,says:

19 I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first.

20 But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.

22 Look! I will throw her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices.

23 I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

24 I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known the deep things of Satan—as they say—I do not put any other burden on you.

25 But hold on to what you have until I come.                 

26 The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—

27 and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter;
he will shatter them like pottery —

just as I have received this from My Father.

28 I will also give him the morning star.

29 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Verse 19 is words any church would love to hear from Jesus.  “I know your works- your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance.  Your last works are greater than the first.”  Wow!  What a commendation! Jesus point out their Love, faithfulness, service and endurance which is growing in every way.  That’s the church I want to be part of!!

Until… you get to verse 20.  “But…”  Then Jesus tells them the problem.  He gives her a name, Jezebel.  Now that name may have been a real name, or a nickname given to her because she had so many of the endearing characteristics of Jezebel in the OT. She had self designated her position as prophetess.  We have that danger today.  That is, people who believe earned or made up credentials make you a leader.

Now let me say right up front that I believe in education, even higher education.  But I heard an interesting comment the other day from someone who trained churches in finding leadership.  He was talking about pastors and leaders with a doctorate.  Some doctorates are earned with hard work from an accredited seminary or school.  Some doctorates are given because a person has given much to the school, money, time etc.  At one time you could order a religious doctorate from ads in a magazine. I know this and I have always told committees to look at the doctorate as one of many parts of the person’s qualifications.  But this person went a step further.  He said, “Sometimes people go back to school because it is easier to earn a passing grade than to successfully pastor a church.”

Jezebel gave herself a title and became a teacher in the church.  She deceived many in the church. Those who followed her ended up committing sexual immorality and as it says, “Eating meat sacrificed to idols.”  Let me deal with both of those separately.

Sexual immorality was closely tied to many of the false religions of this area.  You could visit the temple, pay your offering, visit the temple prostitutes, and go home with a venereal disease, all in one day! I am sure that Jezebel had taken the natural loving expression of a husband and wife, twisted it, and supported it with many scientific studies. She had followers who thought those who followed the Word of God as they had it were either stupid, uninformed, or prejudiced and intolerant. They knew better.  They had their own leader, and she knew better.  They were the superior people in their own eyes.

Did you hear another study found that people who bought “whole” foods, free range chicken, etc; had a superior attitude when they were asked about people who do not.  They looked down on those who did not embrace their “food style”. So I felt proud of my humble attitude when I lined up at McDonald’s, especially when I saw that skinny guy riding the bike in the hot sun!

You know sin does not raise its ugly head all at once. In our nation we have moved from strict limits on what could be said or shown in public to an almost anything goes attitude today.  Once bad language could get you removed from the TV or radio.  Today it seems to be almost a requirement.  Sex between a man and a woman has been so publicized and done so often, that now almost every TV show has to have a gay or lesbian actor; and homosexuality has moved from a secret to a protected part of society.  Being anti-homosexual has been defined as the “New Racism”. To top it off the other day the Supreme Court of the United States decided you have a constitutional right, as part of your free speech, to lie! God’s punishment is the sickbed and plague.  I am sure anyone with those diseases never thought their new sexual freedom would lead to that!

But we also read that they were eating meat sacrificed to idols.  We might think this is a strange charge to make, but you have to look a little deeper.

I Cor. 8 (HCSV)

“About food offered to idols. We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge inflates with pride,but love builds up.

2 If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it.

3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.

4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.”

5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”—

6 yet for us there is one God, the Father.
All things are from Him,
and we exist for Him.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.

All things are through Him,
and we exist through Him.

7 However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

8 Food will not make us acceptable to God. We are not inferior if we don’t eat, and we are not better if we do eat.

9 But be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak.

10 For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols?

11 Then the weak person, the brother for whom Christ died, is ruined by your knowledge.

12 Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.

13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.”

Did you catch Paul’s heart here?  He knew that the idols were nothing and there was nothing wrong with the food, but if it became a stumbling block to a new believer, he would refuse it.  Concern for the other person was more important than his rights.

When we lived overseas, I had a friend who had grown up Muslim and had converted to Christianity.  He had always been taught that eating pork was a sin.  When he became a Christian, he learned about Peter and calling what God made unclean.  But he still had problems with eating pork.  He said that it was alright for us, and he didn’t try to tell us it was wrong, but he still could not get over his life-long training. Do you think after him telling me that, I was going to say, “Oh that’s silly, have a BLT and that’ll change your mind!” No, I tried to be careful of his needs, and I never ate pork around him.

Those following Jezebel in Thyatira were so confident of their “right-ness” that they looked down on anyone who did not agree with them.

Let me wind this up.  The cancer attacking the church today is from a world shouting “Tolerance” and accusing us of being intolerant.  Yet these same people have become so committed to their belief, they will not tolerate anyone who disagrees!

Thyatira was obviously a great church and had some great Christians in it, but the world demanded that they become more tolerant than God.  That is the demand of the world today to any church that has the audacity to stand on the Word of God.  When the church becomes just like the world, evangelism dies because we have nothing to offer them.

The key is always the same.  Do you believe what God says, or what the world says?  Your source of authority makes all the difference in your response.  The words of Joshua still ring out today “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…”


Saying No to Facebook

The following article has come from Christian Research Institute. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything they write, I did like this article and thought I should share it. – Rev. Joe Kramer

Original Article @:

Saying No to Facebook

Article ID: JAFE333

By: Elliot Miller


This article first appeared in the From the Editor column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 33, number 03 (2010). For further information or to subscribe to theChristian Research Journal go to:

I caught your attention with my title, but the point of this editorial is not that we shouldalways say no to Facebook and other social media. If that were my point, then I would be a hypocrite. I’ve had a Facebook account since January 2008 and, while I’m not a daily user of Facebook, there are spurts where I make heavy use of it. For example, last night I used Facebook to make contact with someone whom I haven’t heard from in thirty-five years! This morning I also used Facebook to send condolences to second cousins of mine whose father died yesterday. I also scanned my Facebook “news feed” this morning to find out what is going on with my “friends” and what current events they think are worthy of discussion. Additionally, I hope to find the time soon to upload pictures from CRI’s Caribbean cruise for my Facebook friends to enjoy. Facebook has all these uses and more, including ministry and evangelistic ones, as Douglas Groothuis notes in this issue’s article, “Understanding Social Media” (p. 18). The point of this editorial is rather that we should learn when to say no to Facebook and other social media. On an Internet page devoted to Facebook addiction, the following desperate posts attest to the deteriorating affects Facebook overuse can have on study and work habits (not to mention writing and spelling ability!):1

Oh my goodness, i hope this works, i am seriosuly addicted, facebook is all i do these days. Sleep, eat and Facebook, which is terrible because i have so many exams that i need to be concentrating on.

I REALLY wannaa quit facebook, buti just can’t. I used to be a straight A student but now all i doo iss comee back from school, check facebook, sign on msn, sleep, then facebook again then dinner then bed time! Plus ivee got my IG exams this year and i think im failing. PLZ HELP MEE!

Im crazy addicted to facebook. it’s interfering with my job….i check it 6 times an hour i would say, and i think about checking it when i am in places where i cannot check it, and it feels so good to check it when I haven’t for a couple of hours….i check it first thing when i wake up….and i just realized how rediculous this is…i mean i really want to stop it. I don’t want to delete my account as i would lose touch with people, but i wish i could use it in a way that isn’t so obsessive. I have actually mentally stated that i will not check my facebook, and then without even realizing it….im typing into my browser, and going DOH!!!!! It’s such a nasty little habit/addiction. If anyone has gone through this and is now got it under control email me please.

I’ve heard less extreme confessions of Facebook addiction from people I personally know. While I have not experienced a compulsion to log onto Facebook frequently, I do understand its allurement. Like the rest of the World Wide Web, Facebook is open-ended. There is no limit to information you can read, pictures you can view, fan pages you can visit, and so forth. Additionally, on Facebook you can be the star, adding as much information and uploading as many photos and videos about yourself as you please. It all may be trivial, but that can be part of its appeal, offering an escape from the drudgery and difficulties that may otherwise fill your day. Now, I believe in the therapeutic value of occasional diversions-a time in the day or week where we can feel free to unwind and recharge with something fun or entertaining, such as fiction, music, or some outdoor activity. If someone uses Facebook or other social media wholesomely for that purpose, I see no problem with it. But when Facebook use starts spilling into time that should be reserved for more important ends, then there is a problem, and the first step to correcting a problem is recognizing it. Scripture exhorts us to make the most of our time, “because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). It also admonishes us, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Col. 3:23). If we habitually say yes to Facebook or other trivial Internet pursuits at times when we should be tending to such responsibilities as work, study, devotions, church, ministry, quality time with family, and household maintenance, then we will eventually have to give account to God for our poor stewardship of the time and resources He has given us (2 Cor. 5:10). If we are prone to addictive or obsessive-compulsive behavior, we could find ourselves in a vicious circle of seeking relief through Facebook from an increasingly depressing situation created by overuse of Facebook, perhaps crying out to strangers on the Internet, “PLZ help me!” Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It does not consist in isolating ourselves from all influences of the world, as the desert monks of the ancient church did, but rather in learning on a moment-by-moment basis when to say no to those influences. As the apostle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians, God has given us the things of this world to use and enjoy, but at the same time He has given us to Christ (3:22-23), and so we are not our own (6:19). Therefore, the glory of God must be the key criteria for all our behavior (6:20; 10:31). It’s a question of service: does our use of Facebook serve our best interests and those of the Kingdom and glory of God, or does it bring our minds and time under servitude to Facebook itself, at the expense of those higher interests? If you find the latter becoming the case, then I suggest going on a “Facebook fast” for as long as it takes to break its power over you. Only resume use for as long as you are able to retain your self-control. This is a guiding principle I have found effective in keeping my liberty to use the things of this world from deteriorating into a slavery to those things that compromises my true liberty in Christ. In this way we can stand in the good company of Paul, who declared: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12).

Elliot Miller

Today’s Positive Thought

Today’s Positive Thought
By: Rev. Joe Kramer



8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you
2 Corinthians 4:8–12 (NKJV).

I was wondering what to write today for Today’s Positive Thought and then I came across a book about Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer stood up against the Nazi regime as a pastor and teacher. The following quote jumped out at me and I thought it would be good. The book is called “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas (you can get it on Amazon). The quote is as follows.

That is, we are saved, not by anything we do, but by grace. Yet if we have truly understood and believed the gospel, it will change what we do and how we live.

Have you lived like this? Has the Gospel changed what you do and how you live? If not, then why not? Will you allow it to change you today?

What Did You Expect The Outcome of Living For God Would Be?

What Did You Expect The Outcome of Living For God Would Be?
Be-Attitudes Part 8
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

 (10) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-Matthew 5:10–12 (NKJV)

These three verses deal with persecution so I have added them together. Jesus devoted quite a bit here about persecution, which clues us in that it is important. It is not “if” it happens, but when it happens. If we live the beatitudes up to this point then the natural outcome is going to be persecution. Why? Because living this way is radically different from the way the world lives and it brings conviction onto those who are not living this way; it stirs the conscious within people. In order to soothe their conscience some people are willing to go to great measures to get rid of the source that is convicting them (i.e. the Christian).

In verse ten the Christian finds out that though they may have to endure persecution (Historically persecution to the point of death.) their reward, as it were, is the kingdom of heaven; which is all the blessings that come once a Christian leaves this life and moves on to the next one.

Verse eleven introduces something new to the concept. It states that the people of the world will revile you.  This word is sometimes lost in today’s society. Other translations translate the origin word as insult rather than revile. We will be insulted by people of this world for our beliefs and our lives. The key here, however, is at the end of verse eleven it says that they will do these things falsely. So if you do something that is not in keeping with being a Christians then you are not bringing glory to God and are not persecuted for righteousness sake; no you are being insulted and persecuted justly. How could God honor you when you do something wrong and are persecuted justly? I know people don’t want to hear that, they just want the “bless me” teaching, but it is the truth.

Now Jesus, in verse twelve, addresses our response to persecution. He states that we should have an attitude of rejoicing and gladness (Tell me that doesn’t fly in the face of the world and your natural self!). He says to remember that our reward for following the laws that God has written upon on our hearts is great in heaven. Jesus also reminds us that those who came before us have endured such persecution for living their life before a Holy God. We should draw strength from the prophets of Old and remember what happened in their lives so that we can “keep on, keeping on.”

How are you today? Are you being persecuted? If not, then maybe it is because you aren’t a Christian, or one that doesn’t really live out what God asks of you. Trust me if you aren’t being persecuted for your beliefs and your life then something isn’t quite right. You need to get down on your knees and ask God to reveal to you where you are and where you should be. Will you get on track with God? The choice is yours.

Which Bible Study Software Should I Choose?

Which Bible Study Software Should I Choose?
Be-Attitudes Part 8
Rev. Joe Kramer

I got asked a question as to what software is best to use for Bible Study. Well here are my top 6 software choices for Bible study. This will be broken down into 3 categories. Top 3 Paid, Top 3 Free and my Top 2 recommendations. I will then give you my overall recommendation.

Top Paid

Logos 4 Bible Software

Depending on what you are looking for it has 9 different packages which range from $150 for a Home edition to $4,290 dollars for the Portfolio edition (has every major work in Christendom throughout history!). I won’t tell you which one I got but it wasn’t the most expensive by any means!

This is the program that I bought while doing my Master’s Degree. Logos is my all-time favorite computer program. It is multi-platform. This works on Windows (XP and Higher), Mac OSX, iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets. The best feature is that if I am studying on PC when I open that resource on another computer or iPad/Android device it picks up where I was reading aut-magically.

This program has multiple layers on which to choose. It is great for the novice and the scholar alike! It may seem a little steep but they offer no interest payment arrangements that make it affordable for just about any student. [Click Here] For a comparison of the different base packages

LOGOS Research Systems just came out with an app called faithlife ( which has an amazing interface and extensive commentary. For those who have LOGOS you can get it for free right now. When it is fully released it will cost about $30.00. The Best thing is that the app integrates all of your LOGOS material into its interface. This has become the way I study on the go on my android phone and iPad.

The following review video explains in a lot more detail

WordSearch 10

The cost of this program is currently around $350 for the preacher’s library. The problem with this program is that their website doesn’t have specific bundles listed in an easy to find manner. A quick search on the internet will result in different bundle prices. You can get additional books and resources from their website. It is a windows and Mac software.

Next to LOGOS, WordSearch is one of my favorite programs. It has an amazing feature that allows you to type in a range of verses and it pulls all materials (lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, etc.) and produces them for you to go over and study. You don’t have to even do a search through the electronic resources. It does it for you. This is the one feature I miss having in LOGOS.

This has a lot of material for use within it and it is a good value at its price point.

The following is a good video that overviews the product


YouTube Video (Click Here if you can’t view, Having issues with embedding)

Bible Explorer 4.0 Limited Edition

This is a windows only program it is produced by the same company that does WordSearch, but this program only Costs $14.95. While it is by no means expensive it does offer you some great classic commentaries and study tools with a good mix of contemporary materials for devotions and spiritual growth.

It features 14 Bible Translations and 121 hand-picked reference works

Please see their website for more details.

Top Free


e-sword is by far the best program available for free. It is only available on windows, but it has an intuitive interface with a lot of out-of-copyright works. If you are going to go free, this is the best one by far. I love that this has the original Webster’s dictionary with the scripture references in it.

The following is what the maker of this program has to say

  • “e-Sword is feature rich and user friendly. This combination is what I pursued, and as such there were decisions I had to make when implementing various features. If a feature became too complicated for anyone other than a software engineer to use, then I abandoned the design in favor of keeping things simple. The $500.00 software packages might be able to do more “things”, but does the average user know how to take advantage of them? No!”



This program is available for both Linux and Windows. It integrates into the SWORD project. This is a project that seeks to take all of the out-of-copyright materials and makes them available for developers to integrate into their programs.

This program has a great way of getting content. You simply go into the download manager, select what resources you want and it downloads and integrates them into the program “auto-magically.”

The following is a snapshot of features from their website

  • Tabbed display
    • Show each version in a separate tab, or create tabs just to hold images, maps, or to read books. Tabs are remembered each time you re-open Xiphos, and you can even save a particular set of tabs and open them at a later time.
  • Built-in module manager
    • Install, remove, archive, and index modules with the module manager. You can install modules from a variety of sources, including the Crosswire and Xiphos repositories. Video Help Online Help.
  • Fast indexed search
    • Once you have created an index with the module manager, you can do extremely fast (almost instantaneous) searches over entire books. Search features include searching for Strong’s numbers, wildcard search, specified range search (eg, Old Testament), and many more.
  • Multi-book search
    • With Xiphos, you aren’t just limited to searching Bibles. Commentaries, dictionaries, and all other modules are searchable. In addition, you can search multiple books at the same time. You can set up sets of books that you can later use in your searches. Read more.
  • Map and Image support
    • Xiphos has great map and image support. Images are resized automatically to fit in the space allotted them. If you need to see an image full size, you can click on it to open it in an external viewer. Like many other things in Xiphos, the resizing is completely optional. If you don’t like it, simply go to Edit->Preferences and turn off the option.Editing Preferences
  • Pseudo-interlinear display
    • With the mozembed rendering engine, Xiphos arranges text with the Strongs Numbers and morphology directly below each word, rather than following the word as many programs do. This creates a clean, easy-to-read interface.
  • Read Aloud
    • With the Festival speech engine installed (we package it by default on Windows), Xiphos will read aloud the text to you. You can have it read every verse as you change verses, or you can select a region of text for it to read. This can be nice for those with hearing difficulties, or those who simply want to have the Bible or some other book read to them while they are doing something else.
  • Localized interface
    • We have translations of the interface in 11 different languages. We have particularly good support for Right to Left languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi. If your language is available, we’d be glad to have your assistance in translating the interface into your language. It is a small commitment of time, and will be beneficial to many other people around the world.
  • User-created modules (journals, prayer lists, commentaries)
    • Xiphos allows you to create your own modules in the form of prayer lists, journals, and commentaries. You can keep these for your personal use or share them with friends.


Eloquent (formerly MacSword)

For my Mac OSX folks out there in the world, I like Eloquent. This, in my experience, has been the best software for Mac OSX that is free. It is simple intuitive and free!

Here are the features they list.

  • “Eloquent (formerly MacSword) is a free and open-source application for research and study of God and His Word. Eloquent (formerly MacSword) is developed specifically for Mac OS X, and is localised in French, English, German and Swedish. Eloquent (formerly MacSword) allows you to read and browse many different bibles translations in different languages from Hebrew to Albanian. As well as reading devotionals, commentaries, dictionaries and lexicons, it also supports searching and advanced features such as services so that you can access the Bible in any program.”


My Recommendations

  1. By reading my quick notes on LOGOS you know that I recommend this program simply because they are constantly updating it, works on multiple devices, and is very polished no matter what your study level happens to be.
  2. This one would have to be e-sword. Though e-sword can be harder to get content to put into the program (simply because each book is its own installer that has to be downloaded and installed) it is very easy to use and polished. Xiphos lost this in my mind because it just isn’t polished enough in my opinion. It is almost like it can’t get out of its’ own way so that we can just do some study.


Overall Preferred Program

LOGOS Bible Study Software

For more free Bible study Software please go to

If you have one that you think should be added to this list, please place it in the comments section.

Did Jesus Really Know?

Did Jesus Really Know?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

This is one that has been answered before, but one that keeps coming up. I thought I would revisit this subject for those who may have missed it the first time



The following question came in a little bit ago and I just haven’t had the time to go over it. This is one of those questions that many people have suppositions about (Their own ideas that are based in fact, but can’t be dogmatic about it).


Did Christ foreknow the weight of the sin of the world on his shoulders at the time He prayed in Gethsemane just before He was crucified? By that I mean the sin of mankind from the creation of man and including all future mankind.


39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
-Luke 22:39–44 (NKJV)

Gethsemane literally means “oil press.” In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was pressed and overburdened due to the weight of what faced Him. We find that Jesus did what He often did; He withdrew to be by Himself and His Father. When he knelt down because of his foreknowledge of what was coming, in His flesh He wished and prayed to God asking for this to be taken away from Him, but said He would not do His will, but God’s. An angel came and strengthened Him for what was coming and Jesus was in agony over this and He prayed for quite some time to follow. His sweat even became blood.

So did Jesus truly foreknow what was ahead of Him? I think the answer to that is yes. I think He knew. You see we must remember the two natures of Christ. He is 100% God and 100% man. Being God and coming to earth as a man He chose not to have access to some of His knowledge for that short time. This is a hard concept for us to understand. Why? Because we aren’t God! Some people may disagree with me on this matter, others not. The Church is quite divided over this subject.

The reason I believe He knew is because of His sweat becoming as blood and the fact that an angel came to strengthen Him for what lied ahead of Him. The sacrifice Christ made is important because the flesh had to be crucified for our sin, but no mere man could do this job because man is inherently sinful! So Christ came from heaven to be that Sacrifice. When He speaks from the cross “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me,” he speaks as a man who has just received the entire sin of man on His shoulders! He speaks as one who has never been separate from God, now he is completely separated (in his flesh, because his nature is God and cannot be separated from being God). When it was all over His sacrifice was complete and his mission was fulfilled.

The question you have to ask yourself is can you believe the sacrifice that Christ had made? Many men and women have written on that subject and have all come short on explaining the power of what happened! So there is no way in one short post that we can explore all of this today. The purpose was to answer my thought on the question and to spur you on for further study.

The question is do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and savior? Can you believe that because of your sin, Christ came to earth to deal with it and take it upon Him and on the third day rose again to proclaim victory over death, Hell, and the grave? If not then I challenge you to do some research on the subject. If you would like some resources, feel free to contact me. If you can believe it, why not get on your hands and knees and ask God to come into your life? It is real easy; it is not the words you say, but the intent of your heart. You could simply scream HELP! JESUS COME INTO ME AND MY LIFE! Doing that would make it a done deal! The Choice is yours!

Be Weird! Make Peace Not War!: Be-Attitudes Part 7

Be Weird! Make Peace Not War!
Be-Attitudes Part 7
By: Rev. Joe Kramer


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
-Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
-Romans 8:14 (NIV)

For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
-1 Corinthians 3:3 (NKJV)

Here we talk about those who make peace. Far too often in our society (even churches) there are feuds. Humans seem to have the innate capacity for arguing with one another and holding grudges. Jesus addresses that here, but not in the way you may think.

A lot of people look at this verse and tend to think that Jesus is talking about making peace amongst nations in a formal way. But the original Greek language does not bear this out as the primary meaning. While stopping wars is not excluded in this verse, the primary focus of this verse is “reconciliation between persons and not primarily to cause wars to cease.”[i]

We should try to make peace with those we have been holding a grudge toward, those who maybe (at least in our minds) don’t deserve it. God commands us to make peace and commands us to forgive one another.  In this beatitude Jesus touches on this thought but drives it home a little later in this same chapter, Matthew 5:23–24 (NKJV) reads as follows.

  •  (23) Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Making peace with one another (speaking to Christians here) is a priority in the Christian life. Paul states this truth in Corinthians (just as one example) that if envy, strife, and division still exist in our lives we are not walking in the Spirit of God and are actually walking in the way of sinful man; but if we attempt to make peace with Christian brothers and sisters then we are walking as God desires and doing this, because it so hard to do without God, shows that we are being led by the Holy Spirit. The end result of this shows that we are becoming like Christ and our witness can go out as a person who is different from the world. Oh that people would grab a hold of this! Grabbing a hold of this individually would eventually lead to local churches (as a whole) grabbing on to this truth and practicing it! If that happens then the witness of the churches would go forth and I believe we would see many come to a personal and saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Then the church would truly be called the children of God amongst the unregenerate.

How about you today? Have you really grabbed a hold of making peace? If not then ask God to help you to grasp it not only intellectually but way down in your inner being. Having this beatitude active in your life will cause revolution to happen in you. Living this out will cause many people to ask you why you are so different from everyone else in the world! What an amazing opportunity that would be to share Jesus with them. Will you ask God to really reveal this to you deep down today? The choice is yours.




  • [i] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (502). New York: United Bible Societies.

Are you Spic and Span Clean?: Be-Attitudes Part 6

Are you Spic and Span Clean?
Be-Attitudes Part 6

Rev. Joe Kramer

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
-Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)

 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.,
-Psalm 24:3–6 (NIV)


This beatitude speaks to purity of heart. Here we find an interesting problem for mankind. Who can be pure? You see man is born into sin; this is inherent in mankind, so who can be pure? Remember that Jesus was talking to an audience that was familiar with what we call the Old Testament. As such this statement would have drawn upon their knowledge of the scriptures. They would have said the same thing! Only they had a problem with no true solution (Jesus had not yet been crucified and raised again for mankind yet.). Since they did not have an answer they most likely experienced guilt at this statement because they knew the law. Paul says in the book of Galatians (Gal. 3:24) that the law was our school master that shows us how truly imperfect and sinful we are, but God made a way that we can become right with Him and see His miraculous hand.

Keeping in mind Jesus’ audience we find that the second half of this verse, that those who are pure shall see God, is one of intrigue. These Jews knew about the temple. In the temple there is a place called the Holy of Holies. In this place it was said that God’s glory dwelt and only the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies on man’s behalf to offer sacrifice for our sins. This priest would have to go through a litany of ceremonies to be seen as clean and pure in heart in order to offer sacrifice to God without being killed in His Holy presence. These folks knew this and as such I would think they would have understood this statement and been intrigued by it.

So what does this mean to us today? One can become clean by letting go of sinfulness and pride and letting God cleanse them from the inside out. I am not only talking to those who don’t know God, but I am speaking to those of you that are Christians as well. Christians must stay in a place of humility in order to continue to walk in pureness of heart. The promise for this is that we will have fellowship with God. God is no longer behind a veil in the temple that can only be gone behind once a year for worship and sacrifice, but for the Christian God dwells in us and so long as we stay surrendered to Him we will see His mighty hand in our lives. God has decided to make His abode in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. This ought to make us think twice before we react in an impure manner in situations in our lives.

How about you today? Are you walking with a loving God? If not then ask God to change you from the inside out. Ask Him to come and make His abode in your life. If you are a Christian then ask God to show you where you are in life and in Him. When He does, if you are not in the right place, ask Him to help you through the trials and circumstances you are in. If you make your abode a place of prayer and humility then you will see God working this life and will see God face-to-face in the life to come. The Choice is yours.

Today’s Positive Thought

Today’s Positive Though
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
-2 Timothy 3:16

A lot of Christians here this everyday, but they don’t really know it deep in their inner being. Why? Because they don’t read the word and let it soak into them on a consistent basis. On this Sunday will you ask God to help you to set up a daily quiet time so that God’s Word can mold and shape your life?

If you have a quiet time you will find that your life won’t feel so oppressive and out of control, because you will have the inner peace that only comes from God. Will you start spending time with God’s Word? How about spending more time with His Word? The choice is yours.