January 16, 2017

Right, But Not Ready by Dr. Rick Flanders

“And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.”
(Exodus 40:9)
The book of Exodus ends with the successful completion of Israel’s great wilderness project: the construction of the Tabernacle.  And they had done it all just right.  The thirty-ninth chapter (next to the last) ends with these words:

“And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.”
(Exodus 39:43)
Then the fortieth chapter begins will the account of the assembling of the Tabernacle worship center.  The tent was set up (vs. 1-2), the ark was put in and the veil hung (v. 3), the table of showbread was set up with the right things put on it (v.4), the candlestick was brought into the tabernacle and its lamps lit (v.5), the incense altar was placed before the ark and the door hung (v. 5), the brazen altar was put before the door (v. 6), the laver full of water was put between the altar and the door (v. 7), and finally the court was set up (v. 8).  In many ways, it was perfect.  Truly it can be said that the Tabernacle in the wilderness with its prescribed rituals was the most perfect object lesson depicting the Person and Work of Jesus Christ ever to be made.  It was just right, but we note as the book comes to a close that the Tabernacle and its ministers were not yet ready.  Something had to be done before ministry at the Tabernacle could begin.

The LORD told Moses that he must “take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein,” and by anointing it with the oil, all of it would be hallowed and holy and useful in the service of God (v. 9).  So he anointed the brazen altar with the oil, and then the rest, and also the priests in their special garments.  The Tabernacle and the priests were not ready until they were anointed.
Of course, anointing with oil was the ritual that symbolized the anointing with the Holy Spirit. In Old Testament days, men were anointed as they began their service for the Lord.  In the sixty-first chapter of the book of Isaiah the prophet we read
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel unto the meek…” (Verse 1)
“…to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness…”
(Verses 2 and 3)
The First Book of Samuel tells the story of David, and includes this record,

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.”
(Chapter 16, Verse 13)
Throughout the era of the Old Testament economy, anointing oil represented the Spirit of God.  And so Exodus 40 is teaching us that our witness for Christ can be right, perfectly right, while we are not yet ready for ministry.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit that makes even the Gospel effective.  The Word of God is a beneficial sword when it is the “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), but it is actually dangerous to preach the Word without the ministry of the Spirit, “for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (Second Corinthians 3:6—read Verses 5 through 18 to see the distinctive work of the Spirit in the New Testament ministry).  Often Bible-believing Christians concentrate on being right about every detail of doctrine, while missing the fact that we often are not ready to be used of God.

I want to be right about everything.  I’m not saying I have everything right, but I am saying that I want to have it all right.  Don’t you?  What Christian does not want to please God in every detail?  Our doctrines and practices should all be biblical.
Jesus taught us that every Bible truth is important, but that some teachings are more important than others.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matthew 5:17-19)

Clearly the “least commandments” of God are important.  None of them are unimportant.  But the fact that Jesus designated some of them as “least” (as opposed to great) indicates that some of His commandments are in some way more important than others.  He told the religious hypocrites that they had been wrong to be so certain to pay tithes, even of “mint, and anise and cummin,” and yet to “have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23).  Some biblical matters are “weightier” than others, but all are important, and none should be left undone, even if least.

Certainly the weightiest of Bible truths are the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel, the ones essential to the soul’s salvation.  Find them in First Corinthians 15:1-3, where the Gospel itself is defined.  The fundamentals of the Gospel are the authority of the scriptures, the deity of Christ, His blood atonement for our sins, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and salvation by faith in Him.  Without all of these doctrines, you don’t have the Gospel.  Without accepting the Gospel, you are not a Christians.  True Christians are sometimes confused about lesser doctrines, but if they deny any of these fundamentals, they are not true Christians.  I am a Christian, and affirm the fundamentals of the faith, and rest the security of my eternal soul upon them.

A Fundamentalist is a Christian who insists that these cardinal truths are fundamental to the Gospel.  Some “Evangelicals” (the term comes from the Greek word for “Gospel”) say they believe the Gospel (you are not an Evangelical unless you do) but can accept a Liberal as a Christian who denies some of them.  This kind would be an Evangelical, but not a Fundamentalist.  I am a Fundamentalist Christian because I hold the fundamentals to be fundamental to the faith, and will not acknowledge any other set of teachings as Christianity.  Yes, I am a Christian and also a Fundamentalist Christian.

A Baptist is a Christian who practices New Testament practices.  Questions of practice among groups of Christians have often been called matters that are “distinct” to that group.  Church history defines a person like me as a Baptist because I practice what are called “the Baptist distinctives.”  Among them are: believer’s baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, two ordinances of the church, two officers of the church, the church of Jesus Christ as local and visible with Jesus as the head of each congregation, the separation of church and state, and individual soul liberty.  So I am a Baptist, and it is important.  The Baptist distinctives are taught in the Bible.  But being a Baptist is not as important as being a Christian.  A person might get to heaven without being a Baptist, but he cannot get to heaven without being a Christian.

Even Baptists disagree about what the Bible is saying about lesser issues of doctrine or practice.  Personally, I have strong convictions about the preservation of the biblical text and how it relates to the choice of a Bible translation.  I also hold to views about what I understand the Bible to teach about dress, about the security of the believer, about election, about issues of personal “separation,” about principles that apply to church music, about revival, about prayer, and about victory through Christ over sin and the devil.  These are very important matters but they do not have the same biblical weight as do the fundamentals of the Gospel or the distinctives of New Testament practice.  I want to be right about these issues, all of them.  As I understand the light I have on these issues from scripture illuminated by the Holy Spirit, I identify myself to be a Fundamentalist Christian who is a Baptist by conviction.  I also think I am using the right Bible and the right music, and dressing the right way.  I want to be as right as I can be in my point of view, but being right has never been enough.

Notice that the priests were not ready to serve in the Tabernacle until the Tabernacle and its furniture had been anointed with oil (read again Exodus 40:1-11).  Then “Aaron [the high priest] and his sons” (Exodus 40:12-16) were to be washed, clothed, and anointed for service.  When He was baptized by John, the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Acts 3:36-38).  On the great Day of Pentecost, all believers in Jesus Christ were anointed with the Holy Spirit (see this in Luke 24:45-49, John 14:15-27, John 16:5-14, Acts 1:1-8, Acts 2:1-18, Second Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:12-14, Ephesians 4:30, Ephesians 5:17-18, and First John 2:26-27—it will be worthwhile for a servant of Christ to review these passages and study the anointing again).  We are His priests, but the enduement of power our Lord promised resulting from the anointing of the Spirit does not happen until those sealed with the Spirit when they believed are finally filled with the Spirit when they surrender.  And this happens after they are washed from their sins (John 13:4-10 and 15:1-5) and clothed with Jesus Himself (as in Romans 13:11-14).  Washed, clothed, and anointed, we are finally ready to be used of God to impact the dark world around us.
It really isn’t enough to be a practicing independent, fundamental, King-James, conservative-dressing, Baptist believer.  We must be filled with the Spirit.  “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).  As we have examined the weightier and lesser matters of the written Word of God, let us now examine ourselves, if we have been washed (by confessing our sins), clothed (by faith putting on Christ), and anointed (by surrender).  Let’s hear revival preaching, engage in self-examination, unite in prayer meetings, and claim the power of God to evangelize the world!  When we have taken such measures, we will be ready to preach our Lord Jesus Christ and to win many to Him.  The lost world is waiting for us to get ready!

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

January 3, 2017

Things Held in Common by Islam and Liberalism by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.

If you have not read the November, 2016, Shepherd’s Staff, What If You Are Wrong About Islam? please do that before trying to read the following.  If you need a copy of the November issue, ask for one by email.
The use of the term “Islam” in this article is meant to include the majority of those people in that movement who are obligated to obey the letter of the law in the Quran on the penalty of death. The use of the term “liberalism” is meant to include all those who hold a mindset that is based on lies and error.  That way of thinking pretends to be intellectual and factual, but in practice it invents answers and protects them with vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees.
One way to tell if a movement has no intellectual or spiritual power is to observe what they do with those who disagree with them.  In Islam, if you do not agree with them, you die.  In liberalism, if you disagree you are said to be anti-intellectual, ignorant, stupid, and lacking any credibility.  Liberalism allows dissenters no place in society, government, education, or discussion in the public arena.
These two movements share methods.  They operate and defend by use of hate, intimidation, threats, and violence.  They assign negative qualities to those who don’t agree with them by using the very things they are guilty of.  Islam identifies anyone who does not agree with them as infidels who are to be killed.  It complains that it is being persecuted when the facts demonstrate that this movement is responsible for the most brutal acts of persecution worldwide.  Liberalism does the same thing.  Those who disagree with them are subjected to vulgar language and are called racists, xenophobes, homophobic, Islamophobic, and facists. Liberalism turns truth into lies and lies into truth.
Both movements have a callous attitude toward human life.  The murder, mayhem, beheading, burning, drowning, torture, and genocide by Islam is without debate.  This destruction of human life is justified by simply changing the category of some humans to “infidels.”  Liberalism has done the same thing with the murder of unborn children.  The abortion holocaust stands as the worst destruction of humans in the history of mankind.  They did this by simply changing the category of the unborn, saying that they really are not humans.  This is extremely similar to the tragic page in American history when black people were made slaves by simply changing their category.  In Islam, there is no safety in age or place in society.  Babies, children, women, the elderly - all are irrelevant; kill them all with no mercy.  One can only wonder where the wicked mentality of liberalism will go.  Anyone who would cruelly dismember a baby will have no trouble destroying old folks and anyone who disagrees with them.
The duality of both movements is also found in the matter of morality.  From day to day, it is hard anymore to tell what is moral.  The rules are changed at will, normally to benefit the elite or, in Islam, the male gender.  Sexual slavery, rape, genital mutilation, multiple wives, and the animalization of women stand as unquestionable evidence.  Driven by a preoccupation of sex in this world and the next, morality is adjustable.  Liberalism capitalizes on the same thing, driven by what they call “freedom” when in fact it makes people slaves, not free.  The celebration of sodomy and the invention of same-sex marriage are only examples of the moral freefall.  The creation of things that do not exist and that are lies includes the transgender movement. Suddenly perversion has become popular in this “anything goes” society that benefits some elite, but enslaves many.  In both movements, any protest of this growing degradation is met with a violent response.
Liberalism cannot tolerate the true record of history.  It must be adjusted to fit their propensity to have all things their way, and this is why liberalism has worked to destroy the Constitution.  In its original form, it opposes everything liberalism stands for; therefore, it has been rewritten by them, deliberately and systematically.  A true and honest record of history has been changed in print and in the classroom because liberalism cannot abide the truth.  The same is true of Islam. World history and that of this movement has been changed to alter the respectability of a movement that is much more than a religion.
Every day there is a new report of how Islam is invading education with its precepts and goals. In true form, it is demanding new “rights” in every area, but at the same time is denying the same freedoms to others.  The issue of clothing is only one way to soften up the opposition.  The demand for Sharia law is much more egregious.  This new legal system stands in direct contradiction to the US Constitution.  To use it is actually treason.  Education, however, is the major victory for liberalism.  It deliberately moved from one-room schools to community schools to regional schools to state schools to federal schools.  With each step, liberalism moved to ownership and created its own factory to press the liberal mindset on the populous.  The lie of “public education” allowed them to drain the finances of the people, leaving them with no power to stop the moral and mental train wreck.  All one has to do is to watch the news every day to see the kind of degraded society it has produced.  Pseudo-science has produced a plethora of cruel lies - the Big Bang, evolution, global warming, etc., - and all the mind-numbed robots simply repeat what they have been told to believe.
One would think that people who call themselves Christians would know enough about God and the Word of God not to be caught up in these lies.  Liberalism, however, has badgered and controlled even Christian education so that it follows like a lap dog, letting the enemies of God set the false standard like the people of God did when they chose Saul as king because they wanted to be like the rest of the nations.
Almost everyone you know has been influenced by the liberal mindset so that they now think like liberals.  We are all victims of the liberal success in education.  I live in the world of theology.  Not one day goes by that I don’t read or hear of people who handle the Bible like liberals do.  Knowing my days are numbered, I press on to finish two books that deal with this problem.  From theological articles to Facebook, I see the same thing.  There is a mad rush to make the Bible say what people want it to say.  The theological error of the month simply proves that our crowd has been taught to think like liberals.  I know this is bold and pointed, but then these articles have one purpose - to make people think.

Shepherd's Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.

SHEPHERD'S STAFF – December, 2016
A communication service of Shepherd's Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd's Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.  Write for information using the e-mail address shepherdstaff2@juno.com or Shepherd's Staff.

December 28, 2016

And When Eight Days Were Accomplished...

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:21-40

December 26, 2016

John 3:16 for Christmas

Vocals - Adam Boone
Production & Arrangement - Steve Serkosky 
Musical & Engineering Assistant - Adam Boone
Engineer (Trod Nossel Studios) - Justin Watson
Music Video Design & Production - John Zeller
Producer - DJP I.F.

December 24, 2016

The Advent of Jesus Christ

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1-20

December 20, 2016

The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38

Mary Visits Elizabeth
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord….

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Luke 1:39-46, 56

December 16, 2016

The Promise of the Messiah

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this,” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” (Micah 5:2).

December 8, 2016

The Reprieve by Dr. Rick Flanders

“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
(Acts 9:31)

Dr. Rick Flanders
One important effect of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and his departure from Jerusalem to his home city of Tarsus, was the experience of “rest” (“peace” in the Greek) among the Christian churches he had been persecuting.  Persecution was and is an unavoidable part of the Christian life (according to Matthew 5:10, John 15:18-25, and also Second Timothy 3:12) but, for a time, the early churches experienced a reprieve from trouble for their faith through the removal of their chief persecutor.  It is obvious that the Lord gave them relief in order to facilitate the progress of the Gospel.  Sometimes in history, God will give His servants relief from persecution to open the door for them to spread the Gospel more rapidly.
Spreading the Gospel is what churches are meant to do!  The program the churches followed at the first was the one outlined and mandated by the Lord Jesus on the Mount of Olives just before He ascended into heaven.  He said,
“Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8)
They were to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then in the power of the Spirit to evangelize the city of Jerusalem and continue to evangelize the surrounding area, the next country, eventually getting the Gospel of Christ to “the uttermost part of the earth.”  Follow the progress of the following of this plan by the followers of Jesus in the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles.  Read the first chapters, and see what happened.
1.      The believers at Jerusalem were indeed filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and empowered to give effective testimony to the resurrection of Christ, and its saving message (chapters 1 and 2).

2.      That congregation grew by adding new believers and by multiplying disciples (chapters 2 through 7).

3.      The apostles, who led the Jerusalem church, were for some reason slow to move on to the “all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” sections of the Lord’s commission, but stayed in Jerusalem for years enjoying the fruit of their evangelism.  As a result, God, Who was and is serious about the Acts 1:8 program scattered the believers away from Jerusalem through the harsh persecution of a Jewish fanatic named Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8:1-4).

4.      The Christians persecuted by Saul were scattered all over that part of the Near East, spreading the Gospel.  They became active in establishing new Christian churches all over the region (see Acts 8:5-40 and 11:19-26).

5.      Important in the progress of this multiplication of churches was the reprieve God gave them through the conversion of Saul to Christ, and his being sent away to Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 9:1-31).
Although dedicated believers in Jesus will be persecuted for His sake, the reason God gave the churches relative “rest” for the period initiated in Acts 9:31 is clear, and it is the same reason He may sometimes provide a “reprieve” for His servants today.  He was opening the door for the rapid multiplication of churches.  Find in the record of the Acts how the Christians spread the Gospel of Christ through the rest of Judea, how God changed the minds of His people about evangelizing the Gentiles so that they would not hesitate to give the Good News to anyone, how churches began reproducing new churches, and how the churches started sending out missionaries!  All of this happened after God gave them rest.  See it in chapters 9 through 15, and onward!
Some believe that God’s people in our country and in the world have recently been given a “reprieve” from some difficulties through recent changes in the government.  Our national election on November 8 has certainly removed much of the threat of severe persecution that has been hanging over our heads.  Now don’t think that God is a Republican.  Don’t even think that He is an American.  But He is the Ruler over all, and has His way in the affairs of state (familiarize yourself with this fact by studying Psalm 75, Proverbs 21:1, Daniel 4,and Romans 13:1-7).  And the big Republican victory on Election Day has given Christians somewhat of a reprieve to carry on more vigorously and with less outside hindrance the evangelizing of the world.
Let’s not get into an argument, but let us face certain important facts about the results of this past election.  The election of the other side would have given us credible reasons to expect persecution by the federal government we Christians have never seen in this country since the Bill of Rights was passed.  Among those reasons are these.
1.      The Democratic nominee and her husband have made public statements overseas that they would seek to block further missionary work by American churches in certain countries.  Missionaries were warning us about this during the campaign.

2.      Significant cultural changes undoing the norms of Western civilization would occur in the next few years because of the appointment of radical activist judges to the United States Supreme Court.  The Democratic Party by various means of expression promised the appointment of such liberal justices who would not only preserve the extreme departures from traditional standards that have already come through recent Court decisions, but would also render many more destructive decisions, which would shape the brave new world in which our children would live and rear their families.  These decrees would also set Christians up to be persecuted.

3.      The government would seek to force Christians and their churches to abandon their Biblical convictions and conform to the new standards of progressivism.  When dealing with the question of what churches would do about new laws that require acceptance of homosexuality and the right of a woman to extinguish the life of a child in her womb, the Democratic nominee said that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”  For a politician to say that religious biases would have to be changed must mean that the government must force religious people to change their beliefs and practices.  Of course anything like this would require the state to ignore the protection of religious liberty.  This right is already being violated in other countries through the passage and enforcement of laws against “hate speech” and against religious people who “discriminate against” people who want to violate divine law.  Hate speech laws want to say that you can’t even publicly disapprove of certain sinful practices.  At this point, even “hate speech” (defined in a variety of ways” is still free speech, but the Democratic agenda put it and the free exercise of religion in real danger.  But now, for a while, it seems that we have a reprieve.

4.      The world will become increasingly more dangerous for Christians and Christian activity if those in power in the United States continue to make our country weaker and weaker in international affairs.  The bloody massacre of thousands of believers in Christ simply because of their unrelenting faith will no doubt grow under the kind of foreign policy our nation has followed for nearly a decade.  The restoration of American strength on the world stage would make Christians safer everywhere.

5.      A political philosophy that demands bigger government and higher taxes by definition restricts the freedom of Christians to do God’s work and to finance the spread of the Gospel.  The Bible tells us to pray that our rulers will allow us simply to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (First Timothy 2:1-2).  Christians want to be left alone so that we can be free to spread the Gospel and live lives that conform to the will of God.  We will not be looking for subsidies or federal programs to meet our needs.  Such an expansion of state activity limits our freedom to live the Bible way and do the work of the Gospel.  The Democrats were promoters of big government, but if the Republicans are telling us the truth, we have been given a reprieve from the threat of overbearing socialism, at least for a time.
Wednesday morning, November 9, did not give the people of God the dawn of the Millennium.  It did not bring us great joy over the character and faith of everyone that had been elected to office the day before.  But it may well have given us some kind of reprieve (“stay of execution, amnesty”) from the threat of imminent persecution and restriction of our freedom to evangelize.  God has granted us “rest” that we might preach and add believers to the churches and multiply the disciples of Jesus and, yes, multiply the true churches of Jesus Christ around the world.  Now is the time rise up and renew our lives to be lived for Christ.  It is not the time to sit back and count our investments, or just stop worrying so much.  It is not time to feel beholding to a political party or politicians.  It is time for revival.  The truth is that renewed believers in Christ ought to be going from street to street every day, spreading the Gospel.  Our churches should be filled to capacity and our prayer meetings attended like our other services are. We didn’t get new leadership in order to make our nation great. God has given us a reprieve to evangelize the world!

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

November 28, 2016

What if You are Wrong About Islam?

If you think all Muslims are terrorists, you are wrong.  There are some Muslims who would like to live in peace, who do not hate people, who are not part of Islam, and who would like some distance between themselves and the majority of Islam.  The problem is that the percentage of these peaceful people is very small compared to the whole.  We have been lied to, brain-washed, and fooled into believing that it is a religion of peace.  We are told that the percentage of violent Muslims is very small, but the truth is that their number is very large. 

Some of those who spread the lies about a peaceful Islam do it because of politics.  It isn’t popular in our culture to tell the truth.  Others are just ignorant and far too lazy to do their own research.  The violent Muslim crowd is thrilled with people who are so gullible.  The liberal crowd is happy to give them a pass because it is one more way for them to buy votes.  The saddest thing of all is that popular evangelicals and pseudo-intellectuals actually support the tragic idea that Islam is just another religion.  

The one goal of this article is to get every reader working to do his own study and to challenge the false ideas being passed around like ice cream at a church picnic. 


The first group is the active terrorists, including ISIS.  They are violent, inhumane, and eager to kill anyone who does not believe as they believe.  Compared to the whole, this category is not very large.  They represent the military aspect of Islam.  The second group would be those terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Brotherhood.  They are not as active as the others, but are hateful and violent.  They hide under the radar and pretend to be peaceful.  Their violence, however, is practiced in the midst of peaceful people.  This category is not very large either. 

The majority of Islam would fall in the next level.  These are active Muslims who believe and practice hate, violence, and inhumane acts against anyone who is not a Muslim.  They refer to them as infidels.  It makes no difference whether they are Jews, Christians, or secular; they are infidels.  Active Muslims are free to create mayhem against infidels, depending on how much power they have.  In countries where Islam is in control, violence is a daily practice.  It is the law.  No one can name one country where Islam is a majority and where there is freedom or peace for infidels.  Their brutality rises as they gain power and control.  This can be seen clearly in some European countries at this very moment. 

In our nation, this majority group continues to claim respectability, while at the same time there are indications of the role they will play in the future.  The early signs of violence and radicalism are here, and we can see their true motive.  Note their “demands” that their ideas must be followed, including Sharia Law.  Anything that offends them must be removed from public view. The cry for Sharia law becomes louder by the day.  Even now they demand privileges that are not extended to others in this country. 

This group, with their potential for violence as required by their belief, has entered the halls of Congress and even the White House!  This category is far more dangerous than ISIS.  Lying is a practice that is expected, particularly if it is to an infidel.  In this huge part of Islam, women are viewed as property and animals, less than human.  Little girls are brutalized and treated as toys. 
Let me remind you that we will be told by ignorant peoples, and by those who lie, that these cruel things are far and few between, even when the opposite is true.  It is a way of life.   Those Muslims who desire a peaceful life and who might want to be good neighbors, or even to be honest with us, are few and far between.


I have before me a copy of the Quran.  I am not an expert in this subject but have learned in an extensive study of hermeneutics to be able to recognize true meaning in all languages by the normal use of language rules. 

This book clearly says that any Muslim who is friendly with a Jew, Christian, or other infidel is to be killed.  They might pretend to be friendly, but those people are obligated to kill the infidels when the time comes, or else they themselves are to be killed.  The lie about a peaceful religion will not stand, even if you are referring to those who are peaceful at the moment.  The Quran clearly identifies Islam as a religion of terror.  Do your own study, read it for yourself.  (3:151; 8:12; 8:60; 33:26; 59:2; 59:13) [Editor's note: See comment #1 in thread below for citation of these verses.]

Read what happens to someone who converts to another religion or someone who will not convert to Islam.  Converts are won, and they are kept - by fear, hate, violence and intimidation. Read about cruelty and torture.  Read about the abuse of women, dismemberment, beheading, and horrible treatment of infidels.  This is the majority of Islam, because that is the law.  If you can read this and still think it is a religion of peace, you deserve what is coming to this country.


If I witness to you about your need for salvation in Christ and you refuse it, you go on your way to face God alone in judgment.  You need have no fear of me because of your rejection.  If, however, you are offered the choice of conversion to Islam and you refuse, no matter who you are, you are an infidel, and that person is commanded to kill you.  In Islam, the sons are sent out to commit suicide and kill as many people as they can.  In Biblical Christianity, God sent His Son to die on the cross so that many sons could live.

Those who claim peace for the majority of Islam must know very little about the history of this religion.  They must know very little about what Muslims are commanded to do.  They must not be reading about the brutal killing of Christians every day in this world by the Muslim majority.  I was told yesterday that hundreds of believers are killed every week by majority Muslims.  They must not know about the burning, beheading, drowning, beating, and death published in the news on a daily basis. 

To blaspheme, mock, or speak ill of the Quran will get you the death penalty.  On the other hand, Islam can reject and make fun of Christianity, and that is fine.  What if you are wrong about Islam?  I can tell you that you are wrong if you haven’t taken time to study why the majority of this religion is not peaceful.

Shepherds Staff if prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.

A communication service of Shepherds Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherds Basic care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries and churches. Write for information using the email address shepherdstaff2@juno.com or Shepherd'sStaff

November 1, 2016

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by Clay Nuttall

The book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ opens with a sobering description of our glorious Lord.  It is followed by messages to the pastors of each of the seven churches.  These were literal churches that existed in that day.  The meaning of each name reveals a good deal about what each church looked like.  In our day, there are churches that exhibit some of these characteristics.  While the text does not prophesy future historic periods, it takes only an elementary understanding of history to see that these names clearly identify each period from the early church to this very day.
The Laodicean church identifies with “the rights of the people.”  It is the “lukewarm” church.  It is also interesting that this is the church that is caught away from the earth.  That is evident from chapter four in that there is no mention of the church on earth during the following seven years.
This is the Laodicean age, the period of the lukewarm church when the church has fallen asleep at the wheel.  It possesses a lot of things and is very busy.  The essential things, however, appear to be missing.  There is snoring and plenty of noise, but it is snoozing spiritually.
The majority of professing Christians hardly ever pick up their Bibles, either electronic or printed.  For some, it's only once a week when they go to what is called “church.”  In most churches, the book is never even needed.  Personal Bible study is an unusual activity for most Christians, and serious Bible study in most churches has become a thing of the past.  For the minority that still have more than one meeting a week that might include any study, the time is short - just a God token.  If it is serious Bible study, perhaps a total of little more than one hour a week would be a stretch for most of today's churches.
Many of the current Laodicean churches provide only one service a week, and the amount of biblical truth provided in it could be put in a thimble.  If there are other meetings, they probably represent less than ten percent participation of the whole group.  This is exacerbated by the fact that, in most of these churches, more error is taught than truth.
This is the age of the goat church.  It would have been difficult to find any unsaved person in any of the early local churches.  On the other hand, in this lukewarm age it might be difficult to find any true believers in the entertainment church.  This is due in part to the fact that so few of these churches have leaders who actually know the Bible although they, of course, know about the Bible.  Note that when one of these leaders tells us that authoritative truth about God isn’t limited to the Bible, the crowds cheer.  Anything to make the Bible say what they want it to say.  You may not like them being described as goats, but if they look, smell, act, eat, and socialize like goats, what else might you call them?
The millennial age is the quintessential Laodicean church - forget a sovereign God and the authority of the Scriptures.  It despises the very message they need.  The “rights of the people” demand that we stop quoting God about sin.  They are asleep in the pseudo-love church.  God's love demands holiness, and that is the most hated doctrine of the current church of Laodicea.
Many of these groups will not use the word “church,” particularly as part of their name.  In most cases, that is good since they really aren’t churches anyway!
A biblical church is a “family” with a local resident headship.  How can you have a core family when its members are in the same home only once a week?  How can you be a family when most of the members never function to the benefit of the family unit?  They are brothers and sisters only if God is their Heavenly Father.  God intended that every true believer should be part of a local church.  There are a hundred reasons why this is necessary. The local church is definitely Christ’s clear plan for this church age.
A biblical local church is a flock for sheep, with a local resident shepherd to lead the flock with all the implications of the illustration.  The loose affiliation of the Laodicean church certainly does not represent this picture, and that is why the individuals in these gatherings are so easily gobbled up by wolves who teach error.  False teachers in this lukewarm age can draw great crowds and have massive organizations because the people of this age know so little of what the Bible teaches about a holy God.     
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.  (II Timothy 4:3)
The biblical local church is a body.  The present Laodicean church hardly represents a body, but is more like a pile of bones.  A healthy body would expect its members to function well and to do the things that are expected of each specific member.
Take an honest look around you.  There are many groups who call themselves a church, but where is the evidence?  There once were many churches that demonstrated the power of the gospel, but now many of them are gone.  Others have little spiritual power - not enough power to blow the nose of a flea!  What happened?  It is the age of lukewarm, and they are asleep.
Take heart, however.  There are a few churches that look and sound like Ephesus (desired).  Some churches I know are going through suffering (Smyrna), and there are actually some Philadelphia churches (brotherly love).  There are churches where biblical preaching is the center of the ministry.  The idea that true believers are not interested in preaching that represents true doctrine is absolutely false.  Goats hate it, but true believers love feasting on the green grass every Lord’s Day.  They even have spiritual stomach upset when the “food” is ill- prepared and (God forbid) boring.
There are fellowships that act like a family, where the members long to be together. They care for one another and bear each other’s burdens.  They share in the sorrow of the home-going of the elderly and join in the joy of new babes born to the young.  These churches love to worship “in spirit and in truth” where God, and not man, is honored.  They feel safe in a congregation where sin is not welcome, but where the repentant sinner is comforted.
Do you know churches like that?
Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.
A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.  Write for information using the e-mail address shepherdstaff2@juno.com or the Shepherd’s Staff.