Is Jesus Truly Your Master?

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Ephesians 1:2 (ESV)

crown-of-thornsPaul writes something that we often overlook. He says Grace and peace to the Ephesians. We see this as just an opening, like “Hey Brother.” But it is much more profound than that. How?

He is telling them that as Christians grace and peace have been conveyed to us. What does this mean? We will get to that, but first there are some things about grace that we need to clear up. Grace is not something that we can work up and it is not something that can slowly leak away. Grace is God’s unmerited favor to Christians. We are a bunch of sinners and can do no good in comparison to God’s Holiness (Jeremiah 17:9, John 8:34). Our good works are nothing but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). But through God’s unmerited favor toward us, grace, He has made a way.

Through Jesus we have been given the gift of salvation. This comes to us by Grace. It means He saves us not because of anything in us, but because it is His desire (Ephesians 2:8-9). But what are we saved from? That is where peace comes in. Peace in the Biblical sense is not just absence of conflict. It is being made right with God, Holy and blameless. Before salvation we are an enemy of God, being selfish and only doing what we desire. But through Jesus we are no longer enemies, we have been brought into a state of peace with God(Romans 5:10).

Notice Paul says that grace and peace come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The use of the term Lord here shows that He is equal in power and authority with the Father. The term Christ is not His last name. It is a title that means savior and redeemer, the one who brings salvation.

You could say this verse like this. Jesus the savior has given us unmerited favor before a Holy God and brought peace between us and Him.

How about you today? Can you truly say that Jesus is your Lord? Have you submitted all to Him? Can you say that there is now peace between you and God due to the work of Christ? If not, then today may be the day you talk to God, ask for forgiveness and receive the work of Christ in your inner being; allowing Him to transform you and regenerate you. It is a life changing event for a person. Are you ready for eternity?

Rev. Joseph R. Kramer

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A Free Gift From Joe!

Hebrews & You: A Reader’s Companion to The Book of Hebrews

I wrote a quick booklet some time ago on the Book of Hebrews.
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The hard copy is found 
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I have attached a Digital Copy for you to have. You may NOT freely distribute to whomever you like; please contact me for permission or send them to this post. This will be up for a LIMITED TIME ONLY. Enjoy!
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The following is a quoted description
“In this book you will find a summary of each chapter in the book of Hebrews. In each summation there will be answers to the most common questions found in Hebrews. Books and commentaries fall into different scales. Think of it as an onion. An onion has many layers. This book falls into the most outer layer of understanding when it relates to Hebrews. This is not an all-encompassing commentary on Hebrews. It is for the first-time reader of Hebrews. It should be a part of someone’s beginning journey to spiritual enlightenment through the book of Hebrews.”
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What this book is not:
• An extensive commentary on the book of Hebrews.
• An extreme in depth look at the theology and doctrine of the book of Hebrews.
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What this book is: 
• This book was designed to be a reader’s companion to the book of Hebrews. It’s designed for the individual who has never read the book of Hebrews to be able to pick it up and come to a cursory understanding of its pages.
• This book attempts to summarize and highlight difficult passages in order to broaden the reader’s perspective.
• This book tends to combine chapters for better understanding and flow of the content in Hebrews. When using this book Most people who have used this book find it helpful to open in prayer, read the sections on the chapters they will be covering in Hebrews, read the chapters in Hebrews and then re-read the section in this book. This will make the book of Hebrews come alive to the reader and broaden the reader’s understanding.”

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 @: http://www.equip.org/articles/saying-no-to-facebook/

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: http://www.equip.org


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 facebook.com 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

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
www.LOGOS.com

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 (http://faithlifebible.com) 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
https://www.wordsearchbible.com/ws10

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

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KYnwlHmlGc]

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

Bible Explorer 4.0 Limited Edition
https://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/24602

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
www.e-sword.net

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!”

 

Xiphos
www.xiphos.org

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)
www.macsword.com

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 http://www.crosswire.org/

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!