February 13, 2017

The Place” Dr. Rick Flanders

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave wood tor the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.”
(Genesis 22:2-3)
Abraham was a principal figure in God’s plan to redeem mankind, and his story is central to the record in the book of Genesis.  One of the most striking and important events of his story is the offering of Isaac, described in chapter 22.  In an account that reminds us of the Gospel story, especially as it is given famously in John 3:16, Abraham is commanded to offer his “only son,” whom he loved, as a sacrifice at a place in the mountains of Moriah which would be designated by the Lord: “the place of which God had told him” (verses 2 and 3).  We know where “the land of Moriah” is, and after the incident of the great man’s interrupted offering of his dear son (read about it in verses 4 through 14), “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”  Here was a place in the mountains of Moriah that was called by Abraham “Jehovah-jireh” (The LORD sees) apparently because something important, related to the offering of Isaac, will be seen there.
As Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt centuries later, God promised them a special land to which He was taking them, and where they would live under His watch-care.  Within the Promised Land, there was to be a place where God would live among them.  In “The Song of the Redeemed,” Moses offers a prayer to the Lord, and mentions the place with these words:
“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”
(Exodus 15:17)
This special place is mentioned repeatedly in the later writings of Moses, especially in the book of Deuteronomy.
“Thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there…”
(Deuteronomy 14:23)
“All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.  Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose…”
(Deuteronomy 15:19-20)
“Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there…Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: but at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in…”
(Deuteronomy 16:2, 5-6)
As the Israelites entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, the new leader also spoke of “the place where he (God) should choose” (Joshua 9:27).  There was going to be a special place where God would be honored and worshipped.  It would be chosen by the Lord, and His people would be led to it.
Of course, Israel finally settled in what had been the Land of Canaan, and worshipped God at the Tabernacle they had made for Him in the wilderness.  The Tabernacle, which was the center of the formal worship of Jehovah, was actually a large tent that was moved from place to place.  You can follow the movements of the Tabernacle in the narrative of the Old Testament scriptures. 
When David was made king of Israel, the worship center was split up and unusable.  The Ark of the Covenant had been taken out of the Tabernacle and used like a good luck charm in the war against the Philistines (read the story in First Samuel 4 through 7).  When the battle was lost, the enemy took the sacred Ark away, and then, after the Lord punished the Philistines, it was brought back to the Israelites but remained separated from the Tabernacle for years.  It was one of David’s first goals as king to restore the Ark to the Tabernacle and restore the worship of the true God. 
But actually, he never accomplished this goal in his lifetime.  Yet toward the end of his reign, King David did something by which he unknowingly paved the way for Jehovah-worship to be revived in a magnificent Temple.  A time came when God had to judge Israel and David for their sin, and He sent a destroying angel to plague the land, and the city of Jerusalem.  In response to the contrite pleading of David, the prophet Gad was told by the Lord to direct the king set up an altar and offer sacrifices.
“Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.  And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD…Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.”
(First Chronicles 21:18-19, 22)
So “the place” of Ornan’s threshingfloor was bought by David, and an altar for sacrifice was built upon it.  When the sacrifices were offered, the plagues ended.
Later David got into his heart the desire to build the Lord a permanent Temple in Jerusalem.  Find the accounts of this in Second Samuel 7 and First Chronicles 17.  The Lord’s house would no longer be a tent, but a physical structure constructed as a house of sacrifice, worship, and prayer.  HoweverGod would not allow David to accomplish this project personally in his lifetime, but promised him that his son Solomon would build the Temple.  When it was built, it was built at the place David had bought, and that God had chosen.
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
(Second Chronicles 3:1)
The Temple was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon at the threshingfloor of Ornan, which was located on Mount Moriah.  The place was called “the place that David had prepared.”
The site of the Temple was indeed to be the place God had chosen to be identified with His own name and glory.  When King Solomon dedicated the Temple, he referred in his prayer to the significance of the place where it stood.
“Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: that thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.”
(First Kings 8:28-29; see also Second Chronicles 6:20 and 26)
In response to this request, God said, “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place” (Second Chronicles 7:15).  The Temple stood at a “place” where God would give special attention to prayers offered in or toward it!  It was the chosen place they had been looking for.
God’s people before the coming of Christ repeatedly gave respect to this special place.  The LORD had said to David, “Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there:…but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there” (Second Chronicles 6:5-6).  Nehemiah referred to the fact that God calls it “the place that I have chosen to set my name there” (Nehemiah 1:9).  David called it “the hill of the LORD” and “his holy place” in Psalm 24, and “the place where thine honour dwelleth” in Psalm 26.  The prophet Daniel “went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, prayed, and gave thanks before his God” with his face toward the place (Daniel 6:10).  He prayed, “Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate” (Daniel 9:17).  The Temple had been destroyed by the heathen because of Israel’s sins, but the place where it had stood still had its great significance.  In Palestine there was a place to which God attached His name and His honor, and in regard to which He heard and answered prayer.  The evidence indicates that this place was the very place in the mountains of Moriah where Abraham offered Isaac.
The ancient city of Jerusalem sits upon two elevations, called Mount Zion and Mount Moriah.  Between them is a ravine called the Tyropoeon Valley.  What we call Mount Moriah is really an eminence or ridge running diagonally from the north to the east of the walled city.  On the east end is what has for three thousand years been designated the “Temple Mount,” where the Temple stood.  On the north end, outside the wall, is the rocky ridge which in modern times has been called “Gordon’s Calvary.”  Appearances and archeological evidence lead us to believe that this is the place where Jesus died.
“And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.”
(Mark 15:22)
The place looked and looks like a skull.  It is the place where Jesus died as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
“And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him…”
(John 19:16-18)
It was at this place that our salvation happened.  The Son of God came to earth on a rescue mission, to save mankind from the consequences of the first man’s sins (read about it all over the New Testament, but especially in the fifth chapter of Romans).  It was at a point in time, a date in history, and at a certain place that Jesus accomplished our redemption, by offering Himself as a Sacrifice to pay for our sins.  The penalty for sin is death, and Jesus died for us.  On that day and in that place, He took the blame for our sins so that He could suffer the punishment.  When He did so, He bought our way out of Hell and into Heaven.
“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden: and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.”
(John 19:41)
It was in that tomb that the dead body of Jesus was laid after He gave up the ghost on the cross.  And it was in this sepulchre, located in the place called Golgotha, that Jesus won the victory for us over death and sin and Hell, by rising from the dead.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”
(First Corinthians 15:3-4)
What a wonderful place is this very special spot in the mountains of Moriah where God gave His Son as a sacrifice to save us from sin and death and Hell.  Every sinner who turns from the darkness to the Savior of the world will be saved forever, and will receive eternal life.
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
(Romans 10:9)
Friend, will you not recognize that Jesus Christ is your Best Friend, and make up your mind to receive Him as your Savior.  Just think of what He did for justly-condemned sinners like you and me at the place they call Golgotha and Calvary.  We have broken God’s Law, repeatedly and knowingly, and justice would condemn us.  But Jesus Christ volunteered to take the condemnation of the Law for us, and satisfy it by giving His life.  Thank Him for what He did, and turn to Him for your salvation today!

Dr. Rick Flanders

Revival Ministries

February 1, 2017

Who Gets to Define Sin?

The answer to this question has to do with who your God is.  For the true believer, this has to be the Sovereign Creator God.  He is the spiritual Father of all who truly believe.  If you are not a true believer, your God is man and your father is the devil, the father of lies.
The first problem here is that, in the circle of professing Christians, you are likely to end up with a variety of definitions.  That is because, on the right, “externalists” have put things into the Bible text that were not there originally.  On the left, the “libertines” simply reject what the Bible does clearly define.  The first question is “Who is right?”  The answer is that only God is right, and His definitions are in the Bible text.  They were placed there by divine inspiration and are true.  They are clearly understood only when the reader approaches the text with the one biblical hermeneutic.
In our nation, the definition of sin and wrong has been forcibly changed.  The most egregious of sin and wickedness is now celebrated by those who control education, government, economy, entertainment, sports and, sadly, the professing church.  How did this happen?
In his book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, the author, Erick Larson, records a terrible truth from the past.  It is a clear statement of where our own nation is today.
Captain Reginald Hall is described and quoted on page 350 of the book.  He visited Germany and Austria in 1934.  Ever the intelligence man, he reported his observations about the National Socialist movement to the government.  He also described his experience to a friend in America.  “All the young are in the net,” he wrote; “anyone who tried to keep out of being a Nazi is hazed till they change their mind; a form of mass cruelty which exists only in such a country.” He added, “It will sometime soon be the duty of HUMAN BEINGS to deal with a mad dog.  When that time comes, your people will have to take their share.”
By using federal education (falsely called public education), the minds of generations have blindly accepted “liberal, progressive socialism.”  It has created a nation of intellectual pagans who support everything they believe with lies.  They are expert at turning truth into lies and lies into truth.
To ensure that everyone follows their “lie pact,” anyone who disagrees has been, is, and will be “hazed.”  They are made persona non-grata, ridiculed, punished, and dismissed from the public sector.  The socialism described by Hall is the very same destructive, liberal, progressive socialism being forced on this nation.  If you want an example, all you have to do is turn on the liberal media for one day.
This process of making sin acceptable may begin with redefining words, but it continues with derogatory name calling.  If you have any sense of godliness, you are called homophobic, Islamophobic, etc.  Political correctness only adds to the hazing.  Change your speech, fall in line, be silent about what you believe - or else.  This plan ultimately includes legal and physical force until you submit to the wicked ideas of liberal, progressive socialism.
The church in America should be first in line to speak strongly to the definition of sin that God has given us in His Word.  The liberal church has long ago turned its back on the clear statements of God.  Sadly, this has given momentum to the paganizing of America.  With a low view of scripture, this group has become complicit in the removal of God’s moral standards.
Mainline evangelical church leaders have simply hid in the shadow of liberalism.  For whatever motive, they hold their silence; and their pronouncements find them guilty of teaching people to sin.  It seems that if a person is very good at communicating he gets a pass on what they are communicating.  Anyone who challenges one of these popular gurus is subject to “hazing.”
Without any shame, the Emergent, Emerging, and now Millennial churches are on a dead run to leave God’s standard for holiness in the dust.  It is no wonder that these churches ignore or offend basic doctrines.  The way one lives always rises from what he believes.  The more you degrade the Bible and its pure doctrine, the easier it is to throw off moral and righteous constraints.  If anyone dares challenge this moral runaway, they are “hazed” with words like “legalist.”  It is no wonder that cults have found a place to hide among these movements.
In the end, the biblical church must bear some fault for this.  Almost everyone you talk to, it seems, has their head in the sand.  They want no part of truth when it brings conflict and rejection.  Silence is the watchword when it comes to what is happening in our own world. Remember that “silence is not always golden; sometimes it is just plain yellow.”  Leaders tend to hide behind things like “political” and deny that we have responsibility to speak the truth on every subject, even outside the pulpit.  It is true that much of the problem is ignorance; leaders often simply don’t know.  A careful reading of Acts 20 will help with that problem.
Paul’s words in his two letters to pastor Timothy make all this very clear.  He was not afraid to speak the truth, no matter what the consequences.  Timothy was instructed not to cut corners, run and hide, or be silent about what God has said.  Paul made it clear that people would not listen and would reject the truth, but that did not mean this young pastor should be silent.
It appears that the silence of those who have the truth in this country has cost us deeply. Religious and theological games are very expensive.  If we had preached the gospel fearlessly, taught sound doctrine with passion, and clearly defined the holiness of God and His instruction in the Word, things might have been different.
You will have to wait for the February, 2017, Shepherd’s Staff for this, but we don’t expect much from those who aren’t really churches.  They really don’t disappoint us, but the real churches are those we look to for truth and sacrificial effort to do battle and define the wickedness of this hour.  These pastors will give an account in due time.  (Hebrews 13:17)
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 Shepherd's Staff.

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