The Sifford Sojournal

This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Surrogate Turkey Mommy Chicken Chick

We had a broody turkey mommy next to a hay manger in the barn goat stall. One day she had a hatchling showing itself with her. But, it looked funny for being a turkey, and that was because, it wasn’t a turkey! A chicken egg got in with her clutch, and she hatched out a little chicken chick!

But, turkey eggs need a week more of sitting than chicken eggs, and so we were worried she might stop sitting on her turkey eggs. Well, sadly, that sort of did happen, although 3 sort of hatched out. We actually tried taking them and all her eggs and putting them under a broody chicken, and 2 more tried to hatch out, but in the end, all 5 turklets didn’t make it. 🙁

However, this little one — I think now it’s a rooster — is still alive today and doing fine!

Here’s another picture of it with its “mommy” in the barn:

And then a video. I had to use a flashlight to try to get light on them:

Even though it didn’t go as we had planned, we are thankful to the Lord for granting this provision of the new chick, our first for 2022!

— David

Psalm Singing – April 2022

We just finished up recording the next set of Psalms from the psalter we use, Psalms 99A-103D, in the hopes they might help others learn them if anyone wants to!

And here they are:

(If the above player doesn’t work, or if you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can click the Download link below, or right click it and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 99A-103D

May we praise the Lord with our hearts, thoughts, voices and lives for ever!

Ps 89:1 – “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

— David

Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)
Psalms 4B & 13-18L
Psalms 19A-22E
Psalms 22F-24C
Psalms 25A-27F
Psalms 28A-31G
Psalms 32A-34D
Psalms 35A-37F
Psalms 38B-40F
Psalms 41A-44F
Psalms 45A-49C
Psalms 50A-53
Psalms 54A-59B
Psalms 60A-65B
Psalms 66A-68E
Psalms 69A-71D
Psalms 72A-76B
Psalms 77A-78H
Psalms 79A-84B
Psalms 85A-89H
Psalms 90A-93A
Psalms 94A-98B

Cattle Update – 2016-2021

The last time we did a cattle update was when a little heifer was born back in 2015! I’m not sure why I haven’t followed up more…I think once I got behind, it just kept being pushed off because of how long it might take to do.

But now, without further ado, I thought I’d try to get everyone up to through last year (note that not all the cattle shown were/are Sue and mine personally)…

2016

At this point, our very kind and generous neighbor was letting us run the cattle on his land…some 400 acres! And so for those years, we didn’t have to buy hay, which was really nice! And so, here they are…

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Ami & Calf

Here’s the herd sire who wasn’t ours personally, Manolete:

Longhorn Manolete

2017

We didn’t apparently take many pictures this year, as they are all of cattle headed off somewhere:

Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull

2018

This is Mateo who eventually became the herd sire after Manolete in 2019, which you can see as a little calf on this blog post:

Longhorn Mateo
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cow & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

While over on our neighbor’s property, we finally put up a somewhat decent corral to be able to…well…corral them for loading into trailers. 🙂

Cattle Corral

2019

Well, early in the year, our neighbor said he was turning his place into a wildlife reserve, so he graciously gave us about a month to get our land ready, which involved shoring up fences, etc.

And here they are back on the land. It was nice to have them back, actually:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

We moved the corral to our place, and here they are during “cube” time:

Longhorn Cattle Cube Time
Longhorn Cattle Cube Time

Ummmm….yeah….

Cattle Looking in the Car
Longhorn Cattle

One day, Amistosa, our best looking Longhorn as far as pure Spanish traits, came strolling up really skinny. I thought to give her some special feed, which I had given her before when she had gone down just before one of our worst cold spells here (which you can read about in this blog post), because it had worked before, and I did, but I guess I had given her too much, as she ended up extremely bloated.

We shoved a bunch of baking soda down her, which helped some, but over the next several weeks, including a vet visit, she never quite recovered.

One morning, when I was out of town, Sue found Ami fallen over in a little ditch that led to a small watering hole in our inner area, which is where we were taking care of Ami, and she was just struggling and rolling around, and just looked in a bad way, so Sue made the executive decision that she just wasn’t going to make it, so Sue solicited the help of a neighbor here, and he graciously helped to put her down.

Amistosa

When I got back home, we wanted to move her to a final resting spot under some trees in our north field, and so we hooked up a chain around her horns and towed her up there:

Amistosa

…and then said a final goodbye…goodbye Ami…you were one of our first group of cows for us. We thank the Lord for all the offspring He granted from her…

Amistosa

2020

Continuing on, it indeed was nice to see the cows around the house:

Longhorn Cattle

…and out our front porch:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

2021

And finally, onto last year…

Longhorn Rosa & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Natilla & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

Here’s herd sire Mateo again, a little older now. However, he started going through and jumping over (after fixing the “going through” the fence”) to our neighbor’s property, the gentleman who let us run our cattle on this land those years ago. He was nice about it, but I couldn’t control Mateo anymore, so I sadly had to dump him at the sale barn. Bye, big guy!

Longhorn Bull Mateo

But now lastly, to close this blog post off, here’s the compilation video across the years (I was wrong in the video with the 2 fighting bulls in the back of the trailer about how old they were…it was actually 1 1/2 and 2 years old):

We are always thankful to the Lord for His provisions of the cattle, the meat He’s granted from them, the sales to be able to pay for hay over the winter, and the provisions on the land He’s granted to feed them through the growing times!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Have Our Own Gourd?

Jonah 4:5-11:

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

As I read this recently, something struck me: This temporary thing made Jonah “exceeding glad.” Is there something in my life that I think is missing that would make me “exceeding glad”? Or rather what came to mind personally, is there something in my life that I wish wasn’t, and that being gone would make me “exceeding glad”?

Do I have my own form of “Jonah’s Gourd”?

Do we truly trust God in His providences in our lives, especially in the difficult times of trial and affliction? Do we do well to be angry at God for them, or the lack of something we think we should have?

Or better, do we thank the Lord for these things, or the lack of something we think we should have, in our lives, as the guiding hand of a loving Father?

1 Thess 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 12:8 – “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And then, what does the Bible say should make us “exceeding glad”?

First and foremost, the Lord Himself:

Psalm 21:6 – “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

But further, not only thankful for His afflicting hand but:

Matt 5:11-12 – “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Pet 4:12-13 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

And so, there we have it…it’s the trial and afflictions themselves that are to make us “exceeding glad”, not some temporal thing in our lives, or difficulties being removed. In fact, removing them might not only be evidence of losing the loving chastisement of a Father that makes us better followers of Him, but also the losing of the thing itself in which we are to be exceeding glad!

May the Lord Christ Himself be our greatest joy! And then, may His trials and afflictions, in the not having things we think we want, or the not removing of things we want removed, make us exceeding glad, and always thankful!

— David

David’s Digest: A Mark of a True Child of God

While reading through Matthew 5 recently, something stuck out to me more this time.

Verse 9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Only Christ can make peace between God and us, but, as Puritan commentator John Gill suggests, this is:

between men and men; and such are they, who are of peaceable dispositions themselves; live peaceably with all men, and with one another, as their relation obliges to, and their mutual comfort requires; and with the men of the world; and who are ready, willing, and very serviceable, in composing differences, and making peace between their fellow creatures and fellow Christians.

And if we are peacemakers, that doesn’t merit our being God’s children: the merit to be adopted into God’s family is only through Christ.

But is there more?

Continuing in Matthew 5, specifically verses 43 to 48, I’ll go through them here with some formatting to add a little emphasis:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

But, why?

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven!

Wow! Only God adopting us into His family actually makes us His children, but we evidence we are truly His children when we do these things. How is this so?

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So, we’re to do something similar, by loving, blessing, doing good and praying for those who hate us and despitefully use us. This is just as God brings the sun to shine and rain to fall on the ungodly.

And here’s more for the argument:

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Even the ungodly do good to their friends, so if that’s all we do, how are we any different from the ungodly?

And the final statement:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We cannot be “perfect” as God is in degree, but “perfect” here is in likeness, or “as close to God in this characteristic as possible”.

Children are reflections of their parents, and so to be that Christian reflection of God, and thus show we are a child of His, we must do these good things (praying for, doing good, etc.) to those who treat us very poorly!

I would suggest, too, that the vice-versa is implied: if we are not willing to do, or are indifferent about, these things, that it is quite possible that evidences we might not be God’s children, regardless of what we might say. I believe we must seriously consider this.

Now, all this is an impossible order under our own spiritual strength, but:

Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

And after all, shouldn’t we imitate our Lord Christ Jesus as well?

Romans 5:6-8 – “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and

Luke 23:34 – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Christ died for the ungodly, for sinners, and He prayed for those involved with killing Him, also showing, I would offer, an example of being a child of His Father.

Let us earnestly and slowly consider the marks and required actions of a true child of God one more time:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

May we ask God for, and may He grant us, the desires, and these graces themselves, to be like Him, to all of those around us, even those who might abuse or wrong us, going even farther than just not retaliating, in Christian love, motivated by love to Him!

— David

David’s Digest: What Does It Mean to Submit All Our Actions to God’s Will?

James 4:15 – “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

At what depth should our wills in the actions of our lives be submitted to our God if we claim Him to be so? What does it mean to truly submit our lives in what we do to Him?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his superb work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James” takes a deep and detailed look into what it means to submit the actions of our lives to God.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

 


or download it:
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The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 379 (in the print, page 360), or you can get it in other formats here

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 15. – For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Observation. All our undertakings must be referred to the will of God; not only sacred, but civil actions. Our journeys must not be undertaken without asking his leave; as Jacob, “O Lord God of Abraham thy servant, send me good speed this day” (Gen. xxviii. 20, and xxiv. 12). No wonder, if this be neglected, that you meet with so many cross accidents; they do not come from your hard luck, but your profane neglect.

But what is it to submit all our actions to the will of God? I answer,

1. To measure all our actions by his revealed will [the Bible], that is the rule of duty. We can look for no blessing but upon those ways that suit with it. There must be a submission to his secret will, but first a conformity to his revealed will. Lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] has its wills (Eph. ii. 2); but we are to serve the will of God till we fall asleep (Acts xiii 36).

2. We must the more comfortably undertake any action, when we see God in it. Acts xvi. 10, he gathered that God had called him to Macedonia: so, when we see God in the sweet means and course of his providence, or by inward instinct guiding and leading us, we may with more encouragement walk in the way that he hath opened to us.

3. When in our desires and requests we do not [try to] bind [constrain] the counsels of God; [we should say] “Not my will, but thine be done” (Matt. xxvi. 39). In temporal things we must submit to God’s will both for the mercy, the means, and time of attainment. Creatures that cannot ascribe to themselves, must not prescribe to God, and give laws to Providence, but must be content to want [lack], or have, as the Lord pleases. If any thing succeed not well, the Lord would not [wills it not to be]; that is enough to silence all discontents [discontentment].

4. We must constantly ask his leave in prayer, as before was urged.

5. We must still reserve the power of God’s providence. If the Lord will. If the Lord permit: God would not have us too carnally confident; it is good to inure the soul to changes. Two things we should often consider to this purpose, and they are both in the text:

(1st.) The sovereignty and dominion of Providence: the Lord can blast your enterprise, though managed with never so much wisdom and contrivance [of our own]; he can nip it in the bud, or check it in the very article of execution: and I have observed, that usually God is very tender of his honour in this point, and usually frustrates proud men that boast of what they will do, and conceive unlimited purposes, without any thought of the check they may receive in Providence.

It is a flower of the imperial crown of heaven, and the bridle that God hath upon the reasonable creature, to dispose of the success of human affairs; therefore herein God will be acknowledged: “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. xvi. 9). Man designs, but the execution depends wholly upon God’s will and providence.

In peremptory resolutions there is a contest between us and Heaven about will and power; therefore, in such cases, the answer of Providence is more express and decisive to the creature’s loss, that God may be acknowledged as Lord of success, and the first mover in all means and causes, without whom they have no force and efficacy.

(2nd.) Consider the frailty and uncertainty of your own lives. Our being is as uncertain as the events of Providence. If we live, and God will, are the exceptions of the text, and do imply that there must be a sensible impression of our own frailty, as well as of the sovereignty of Providence, that the heart may the better submit to God. It is said, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa. cxlvi. 4).

Frail men are full of thoughts and projects; this they will do, and that they will do; go to such a city, promote their interests by such an alliance, gain so much by such a purchase; and then they will raise up some stately fabric which shall continue their name and memory to succeeding generations, and all this because they do not mind the earth which they carry about them, and how soon the hand of Providence is able to crumble it into dust. Certainly man will never be wise, till he is able to number his days, and does sufficiently possess his soul of the uncertainty of his abode in the world (Psa. xc. 12).

Observation. We shall live, and do this or that. Mark! it is not enough that God suffer [allow] us to live, but he must also by the same will suffer [allow] us to do or act. The point is, that God’s will concurs not only to our lives, but actions. We may live, and yet not be able to do any thing for the promotion of our designs: for, if God suspend his concurrence, the creatures cannot act, at least not with any towardliness and success, which quite crosses the doctrine of the heathen philosophers. Seneca said, “That we live, it is by the benefit of the gods; that we live well, it is of ourselves.” So Tully: “This is the judgment of all men, that prosperity is to be sought of God, but wisdom to be gotten by ourselves.”

But in the Scriptures we are taught otherwise, not only to seek success of God, but direction; he gives abilities to perform, and a blessing when the action is finished.

  • Without the efficacious [effective], as well as permissive will of God, we can do nothing; he must give us life, and all things necessary to action.
  • We must not only look up to him as the author of the success, but the director of the actions.
  • It is by his conduct and blessing that all things come to pass.
  • Our very counsels and wills are subject to the Divine government, and he can turn them as it pleaseth him (Prov. xxi. 1);

and therefore we must not only commit our ways to his providence, but commend our hearts to the tuition of his Spirit. In short, all things are done by bis will, and must be ascribed to his praise.

May God grant that we indeed see our frailty, His greatness, His supremacy in all things, His worthiness to be submitted to, His lovingkindness in His dealings with us, and may He grant that we be full of thankfulness at all times, especially if by His graces and mercies we have the Lord Christ Jesus as our own!

— David

Susan’s Musin’s – It Is Even a Vapour

James 4:14 – “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Dave and I recently attended the funeral of a sweet sweet lady from our church who had died suddenly. She was only 69 but had been in ill health for many years and lived in a local nursing home for a good part of the last decade or so. She had faithfully attended the church we now go to but, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, she was only able to get back out to church in the past several months. But we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her before God called her home, and we all truly miss her.

A dear man from our church faithfully picked her up and drove her each Saturday morning for prayer meeting and Lord’s Day for morning services. She required oxygen, I am assuming 24/7, and was really tuckered out just from walking on her walker about 40 feet from the car door to the front door of the home church. She never complained about her health and didn’t seem that worried about it but was always sweet and mild. One morning, we were told, after breakfast the nursing home attendant rolled her back into her room and left for a few minutes. When she returned, Betty’s body was slumped over and her spirit was now with Jesus. God had said “it’s time” and she was gone in an instant.

Our pastor preached a wonderful sermon at her small funeral, but one thing that he mentioned really resonated with me. Paraphrasing, he said how just yesterday we were all 18 and how fast time has flown and we are now so much older. It’s so true. A younger person just cannot relate to that statement because they haven’t lived much of their life yet (assuming a normal life span, Lord willing). But those of us who are now in our 50’s, 60’s and beyond nod our heads, look at each other smiling and say “It’s so true!”

Betty had been in and out of the hospital with different ailments and every so often Pastor would request prayer for Betty because she was “in the hospital again”. But she had such a peace about it. You could see that her treasures weren’t in good health, or riches or anything but knowing Christ and trusting in Him. To speak frankly, her health had deteriorated to the point where her quality of life had shrunk to a very small sphere. But she put us all to shame determined to be worshipping God if she could possibly get to church and prayer meetings. Her sacrifice of worship was kind of a modern day widow’s mite, if that makes sense. She gave everything she had in her extreme fragility and weakness to get to church and worship God while so many these days use flimsy excuses in exchange for something they would rather do.

Here is Pastor’s sermon at Betty’s funeral, well worth the few minutes to listen to, IMO:

 

Dave and I started eating turkey bacon a couple years ago when I went on a leaky gut healing program (I highly recommend it, by the way. It changed my life). Anyway, many times when I am cooking the bacon, I look at the four pieces in order in the pan and it reminds me of how short life is:

Frying Bacon in a Pan

Each piece cooks differently and I pull the fully cooked pieces from the top, move all the pieces up, and replace with new pieces on the bottom. The top ones have been through the cooking process and are somewhat dark and bubbly, maybe a little burnt, charred and beat up if I kept them in too long, but they are the ones ready to be taken from the pan first. The piece next down is a little less cooked, and not burned yet, and so on. As we grow up, sometimes there are four, even five, generations alive at the same time, but great-grandma and grandpa die not long into the lives of the great-grandchildren. Then next up are the grandparents, then mom and dad, and then, all of a sudden, we are next in line to be taken from the frying pan of this earth. Where did the time go????!!!!

As we have all seen or experienced, sometimes God, in His sovereignty, takes a young one first, or a parent or sibling first. That’s His business and not ours to understand. But Pastor’s funeral sermon brought something forth to me that I needed to be reminded of. It’s not how long we live, but how we are spending our time here on earth. Am I wasting a lot of time I should be redeeming? (and here’s Part 2) Do I really believe to live is Christ and to die is gain? (Phil 1:21) Am I immersed in the means of grace I’ve been given (Bible, prayer, worshipping with God’s people, etc.), focused on learning more about Christ, or something that is fleeting or the flavor of the day in any given area of life? As Pastor said, our time here on earth determines our eternity. Our eternity! The glories of being in Heaven with Christ will never, ever, end, and the unthinkable torments of being in hell completely separated from God will never, ever end. May God grant each of us to pause and take some serious time to let that sink in.

I just wanted to pass along what has been pressing on my heart and am taking a new inventory of my priorities in life. God is shakin’ them up, and I’m thankful. May Christ draw each of us to Himself and give us a fresh desire for Him in light of eternity.

Susan

(For more on James 4:14, you can listen to what Puritan Thomas Manton has to say regarding it on our James Commentary audio book page, or you can listen below following:

 

 


or download it.)
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