The Sifford Sojournal

This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 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.

David’s Digest: The Pit (of Hell) and the Pendulum

I believe one of Satan’s clever tools is the pendulum swing. Suppose one believes a certain doctrine, and then they discover the true doctrine that shows their current doctrine to be false. Now, because he couldn’t stop them from learning about the truth, and at this point also not able to keep them from believing it, he says, “Oh, yeah, you’re right! That old doctrine sure was false! Now move on into this true doctrine…that’s it…and…….keep going”, whereby he helps them along past the true nature or meaning or degree of the true doctrine to a place the Bible never intended regarding it, and thus has got that person basically again, believing something false.

For example, someone learns biblical truths from someone or a group of people perhaps, and the later finds out that person or those people are incorrect about other things, and so Satan comes along and says,

“Look at the people who gave you this idea…wow, are they wrong about those other things, so this thing they led you to, it must be wrong too…you need to run far from this!

and so the person decides to reject everything they learned from these other people, even though the original belief was true, and you end up with the proverbial “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” scenario. This is why it’s important to study the Bible and let it be our guide in all matters of truth, not just what someone might say.

Another example might be the following: a person might come to believe in the doctrines of grace, whereby man has no ability to come to God of his own, unless the Father draw him. This would be against a free-will theology that declares man has an absolute free will to decide to choose God and spiritual things. So, they reject that idea, and adopt the doctrines of grace into their belief system.

So far so good. But then, the devil whispers,

“Hey, if God is sovereign over everything, then everything is set in stone, so, honestly, there sure seems no real good reason to pray or try to witness to anyone. I mean, either God’s going to save them or not, and there’s nothing you can really do, no?”

Or, “Well, now that you’re saved and can’t lose your salvation, why all the fuss about trying to live a holy life? You’re already going to heaven, right?”

Or, “Since all graces come from Christ, they aren’t really yours, so there’s no real need to ask for them to be continued, increased, or for help with them. I mean, there’s nothing you can really do anyway, because they’re not your graces, they’re His, and this would end up making your salvation works based, yes?”

which can lead to believe falsehoods and losing any kind of efforts toward actual holy Christian living, or working by using means (prayer, Bible study, etc.) to grow in grace (as commanded in 2 Peter 3:18).

Or he might tempt the other way,

“Now that you have the TRUTH, everyone needs to know this! You need to make sure and get out there, and make sure everyone knows the truth. It doesn’t matter what they say back, just don’t let them dance around it…make sure you stand up and fight against them with the TRUTH!”

Or, “Oh, these people are just so blind! Just so ignorant sheep! You don’t have time for such weak people! Tell them to get away from you, they’re not worth your time!”

which leads to a self-righteous, condemning, impatient, un-loving, horrible manner toward people — a terrible attitude that I believe besmirches Christ’s name and example, and can end up actually hindering someone from learning the truth. And I know, because this is a path I have sadly tread in the past, to a degree, although I have tried to apologize as I’ve been able.

Another example might be modest dress. A woman decides she should dress modestly as she believes the Bible would have, but in a very strict way, especially because of how immodest she sees the culture around her, including no patterns, one solid color, dresses down to the ankles, all of which in themselves is not unbiblical. And the woman believes that everyone around her should dress that strictly, and tells them that it’s not right for them to not do so.

But then Satan might say,

“Oh, look how extreme that is…you’re under such bondage! Throw off those chains!”

Or, “Oh, that’s all under the law — you’re under grace now, so, really, you’re free from obeying those things in the Bible now, as long as you’re not committing adultery or some such, wouldn’t you reason so?”

Or, “Is that much modesty really necessary? I mean, one solid color? Two colors isn’t ok? Dressed down to the middle of the calves isn’t ok? Aren’t you being a little overboard?”

and then she comes to agree with one or more of those, such as it was a little extreme, and that she should back off from the degree at least some but still being biblical, and that the degree of modesty could be a doubtful disputation Paul discusses in Romans 14:1-6.

But, in her journey away from one color and dresses to the ankles, the devil prompts again,

“Well look, all this modest dress only brought you such horrid bondage…anything close to that is just the same thing. Plus, look at everyone else around you. There’s no harm in changing a little more, right?

And then a year later, “Still too much bondage, and remember how extreme and condemning of others you were before. And, it’s only a little bit away from where you are now…and that skirt is just so cute, don’t you think? It’s just a little more anyway, no?

And then another year later, “Oh, it’s just a little step away from where you are now. After all, it’s only showing your arms, and men aren’t standing there staring at that part of the body, yes?

so that after even many years of this compromise, and even the temptations of vanity as well, the woman ends up in form-fitting jeans or shorts and tank tops, and is essentially dressing like she used to or worse, immodestly, and in concert with how the world defines (in their ungodliness) modesty. And while this is more of a slippery slope issue, it can start with the fact that the pendulum of an absolutism in the issue was perhaps initially swung too far, even in the right direction.

In these things, Satan’s just fine with it all, because he’s got the person off center, veered away from the actual path of truth that lies between the extremes. If he can keep someone there, it doesn’t matter to him, because in the end, he’s still got them off the narrow path of truth.

And as noted in the above scenario, this can occur over a very long period of time, where each step is almost not noticeable from the last step taken.

It’s difficult to not let this happen, especially if emotions or the like are involved in the initial discovery of being too far to one side. Our carnal self jumps in, and we can overreact, and throw out any doctrine or life-belief we might have once held, even strongly.

However, I believe we must be diligent and on the lookout for, what I believe is, a wile of the devil. It’s a difficult path, but graciously, the Lord has provided His Word to us, which we must continuously study, asking Him for direction and guidance in all things, and to keep us on the path of truth and obedience:

Psa 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Deut 5:32 – “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Prov 4:27 – “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

And I believe with God’s help as He directs us, we must maintain that journey on the narrow path, regardless of the devil’s lies and the world’s pull to godlessness:

Luke 9:62 – “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

May God grant us to study His Word diligently, the application of His Word to our heart and minds by His Spirit, and the courage and strength to live out His laws and statutes.

— David

Goodbye Gustav

In the last blog post about the abandoned puppies we found, I mentioned there had been some “casualties” of some of them getting out. Besides a turkey one time, when they got out another time, they got not only another turkey, but they got hold of Gustav, our gander, the one on the right in the picture above, the last, lone goose we had. He survived a couple of days after the attack, but finally succumbed.

It’s always so sad to have to say goodbye, especially when it comes from “friendly fire” (ie. not a wild predator). Gigi went similarly.

Here’s a video of when Gigi met Gustav:

Here’s Gustav escorting Gigi around in his designer-wear watermelon rind:

And here’s Gustav playing guardian to the turkeys:

He’s the last of our geese, that started when our neighbor gave us Gary, and then we got Gigi, then Augie, and finally Gustav; and so ends our time of having geese here on the homestead. They’ve always been good “watchdogs”, letting us know often when someone’s coming they don’t recognize.

We always try to remember all things are the Lord’s, and that we don’t actually lose anything, since things are never really ours — they’re His, and we’re just the stewards, and He can reclaim them to Himself at any time.

But, we thank Him for the time He granted them to be with us.

Below is Gustav’s burial site, with Gigi’s headstone on the right in front of the tree, Gary’s is the stone just to the left of that amongst the others, and Augie’s is the pointy one on the left in front of the two branches coming out of the ground (if you click the picture and then zoom in, you can make out the writing on the headstones).

Goodbye Gustav…

— David

A Switch in Mind Saves Nine

Back in September, with some recent truck transmission issues, I had put some “goop” in there to try to help with the shifting. And with that, I wanted to take the truck for a test drive to see if it was helping.

As I was heading to the front gate, I had pretty much decided to turn left and head that way. But, as I got to the gate, I thought, “No, actually I’ll just head to the right.” I had no reason to change my mind on that, but just did. Well…little did I know…….

As I proceeded down the road, I got down to the bridge that goes over a creek, and as I crossed over, lo and behold, off to the side just off the road were a whole pack of puppies, just sitting there. A bunch of them. 9 actually, in the end. Whaaaaatt? What was this? I thought, oh no, someone just dumped them, which happens out in the country a lot. (Opinion of those who do that: Jerks!)

Well, I kept going. And actually, shortly after that, the truck transmission started working nicely again, so I was thankful to the Lord for that.

But, when I got back home, I had that little surprise announcement for Sue as to what I found. ๐Ÿ™‚ Neither of us could just leave them, so while I had to be on a work call or something, she ran out to see if she could gather them up in the car.

When she got back, she said she had been unable to get a hold of them, and so we packed up some cages in the truck, took some soft food, and headed back out there.

They were still all there, and here are some of them at that place:

Abandoned puppies on the road
More of abandoned puppies on the road

The food had the draw we hoped it would (we figured they were going to be pretty hungry), and one by one, we gathered them into the cages.

Lastly though, there was one that went down to the creek bed and just laid there in some shade, and I thought he was just going to end up running away once I got down there. So I went with some food to him, and he just ended up laying there, and I petted him and then just picked him up and took him to the truck. Interestingly, he ended up just being a really mellow dog…we nicknamed him “Chill”. ๐Ÿ™‚

And, there was one more, a really scared one hiding in the woods. So, I took a plate of food and worked my way to him, and enticed him with the food close enough to where I could get him, and was able to, and then bring him to the truck as well.

So, at least we were able to get them all. But now, wow! We have 9 puppies to do something with. Thankfully we have a big dog kennel in the barn, so that was going to be their new home, while Brodey could hang out in the outdoor one, at least until the weather got colder (see the above pic too):

Abandoned puppies
More of abandoned puppies
Still more of abandoned puppies

We started trying online to find an owner, but when that wasn’t happening, it began the process of trying to find them all good homes. We tried online, and sitting with them in the back of the truck downtown, and even at the yearly street festival:

Puppies give-away

Amazingly, some times when we had them downtown in the back of the truck on a Saturday, people couldn’t take a dog with them, but offered finances to help in feed and taking care of the doggies. People were extraordinarily kind and gracious in those things, and we took it as help from God in paying for this unexpected added expense.

A few stories:

One of the girl puppies was popular, but twice God spun around her being taken by someone that was almost certainly going to take her, and actually we were thankful because those 2 households we thought probably just weren’t best. The first was at the festival above, with a lady and her husband, who were worried the dog was going to poop up their house, and if she did, we were going to take her back. Well, they were sitting next to the bandstand with the doggie, and when the drummer started kicking his base drum for sound check, it scared our little girl, and she pooped on the lady right then, and I asked the husband if he wanted me to take her back now, and said, yes, take her back now. ๐Ÿ™‚

The second was when we were downtown in the back of the truck. Two ladies said they wanted her, but were going to grocery shop and then come get her. It didn’t seem like a great fit in our minds, but we left it in God’s hands, and when they came back, almost certainly to pick her up, they indicated they were worried their neighbors would end up killing her, because apparently that’s how their neighbors are potentially. So, once again, 180 degrees the other way as to what was going to happen.

One thing we have done with every taker is offer to take the puppy back if it didn’t work out. “Chill” was taken by a lady, but the stress of taking care of a puppy was causing health issues, so after us thinking we had lessened the load for us, he ended up back with us. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, he has since found a new place.

And then, one we call “RC” right now (Red Collar, which was actually the one I had to dig out of the woods when we first found them), went to a home, and he apparently snapped at the husband a few times one day, and because they have smaller children, they got worried, so we took him back too. We had not nor since have we seen that kind of behavior from him, so we don’t really know what that was all about. When I come up to him, he just rolls on his back and lays there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, fast forward, over time, either with someone we knew, or from the back of the truck, we’ve been able to re-home 5 of them, and we still have 4 left. We let them run in one of our gardens. They do a great job with knocking down all the weeds, although they’ve also dug down deep enough to get to one of the goats we buried there, and have snacked on her bones. :/

Here they are, left to right Mollie (named after molasses for the color and being so sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚ she was the one kept from going to those two households above; she rolls on her back a lot too ๐Ÿ™‚ ), RC (in front), Oliver, and Yapper Dan (he was yappy early on; he rolls on his back a lot too ๐Ÿ™‚ ). We’re still trying to come up with better names for RC and Yapper Dan ๐Ÿ™‚ :

Last of the puppies

The only other issue has been them getting free. We were hoping they wouldn’t chase chickens or the like, but sadly we’ve had some casualties already, so we have to be diligent in controlling them.

Anyway, that’s been our adventure these last several months. We don’t know what God’s purpose is in any of this, and we really can’t keep 4 dogs for ourselves, we don’t believe, but with colder weather now and them getting bigger, we’re not sure what to do. So, we’ve been continuing to pray for guidance and have started to put their pictures up at some places downtown, although, we’re also growing more attached to them all the time, and they’re all very sweet doggies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully the Lord will grant them good homes at some point, and guide us if we are to keep any ourselves or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2022!

With November upon us, it was time to put our male and female goats together for this year’s breeding time! We have goats basically for the milk.

Since our nanny Annie died, we kept a young from from this year’s kid crop to take her place, one we named Annalita in memory of Annie, Annie’s grandkid.

And so, we put her and Lucy with Shakespeare, and moved over Elvis to be with Adeline, Nellie, Lily, and Hassie.

And here’s the video of that day:

We thank the Lord for the provision of the goats, pray they make it through the Winter according to His will, and pray God might grant the offspring in due season!

— David

Psalm Singing – November 2022

We just completed recording the next set of Psalms from the psalter we use, Psalms 104A-105E. We always hope doing this might help others learn them…we have found singing God’s word in the form of the Psalms a great blessing!

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 104A-105E

May God’s praises ring out for all eternity!

Psalm 104:33 – “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

— 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
Psalms 99A-103D

David’s Digest: Walk Worthy of Your Calling

Jude 1 - "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

God’s people are “called”:

Romans 1:6 - "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 4:1 - "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [calling] wherewith ye are called,"

2 Thessalonians 1:11 - "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:"

2 Timothy 1:9 - "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

2 Peter 1:10 - "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

But what does this calling look like? How do we evidence we are actually “called” ones, and thus actually one of God’s people?

Puritan Thomas Manton examines several ways, but below is one way that I believe is extra important in our day. It comes from his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude.

You can listen to all of verse 1 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 5 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 1. โ€” Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

5. It may be evidenced by the fruits and effects of a call; the call infers a change of the former estate, both in heart and life.

[2.] In the life there will be a change; men will walk worthy their calling, not disgracing it by scandals or unseemly practices: Eph. iv. 1, โ€˜I beseech you, brethren, walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called;โ€™ that is, suitable to the purity, suitable to the dignity of it. When David was a shepherd, he thought of nothing else but keeping his fatherโ€™s sheep; but when God called him to be a shepherd of the people, then he had other projects, and was of other manner of behaviour.

A new calling requires a new conversation [behavior of life]: so 1 Thes. ii. 12, โ€˜Walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and his glory.โ€™ The divine calling puts an honour upon you: it is not for princes to โ€˜embrace the dung,โ€™ nor for eagles to catch flies; to be vain [showy, empty, useless for God], voluptuous [given to the enjoyments of luxury and pleasure], carnal, and worldly, as others are: you are called to the fellowship of saints and angels; will it become one of your hopes to drive on such a low design as a worldly interest?

If you saw a man labouring in filthy ditches, and soiling himself as poor men do, would you believe that he were heir-apparent to a crown, called to inherit a kingdom? Who will believe your calling when you stick in the mud of pleasures, and are carried on with such a zealous respect after secular interests?

The apostle reproves the Corinthians for โ€˜walking as men,โ€™ 1 Cor. iii. 3. Some walk as beasts, others are of a more civil strain; but this is but as men: you should walk more sublimely [high in excellence], above the ordinary rate of flesh and blood. When Antigonus was going into the house of a harlot, one told him, Thou art a kingโ€™s son. Oh! remember your dignity, and walk worthy of your high calling; walk as having the world under your feet, with a holy scorn and contempt of sublunary [earthly, pertaining to this world] enjoyments.

And as you should walk worthy of the dignity of your calling, so of the purity of it: โ€˜He that hath called you is holy,โ€™ 1 Peter i. 15; and your condition is a โ€˜holy calling,โ€™ 2 Tim. i. 9; and the end of your calling is holiness: 1 Thes. iv. 7, โ€˜God hath called us unto holiness.โ€™ All which are so many engagements to urge us to the more care. A filthy, loose conversation [behavior of life] will never suit with this calling; you are a shame and a stain to him that calls you if you walk thus: as some in the prophet are said to pollute God, Ezek. xxxi. 9, namely, as their pollutions were retorted upon God.

Someone who takes the name of Christ upon themselves is required to live a different life than the rest of the world. Holiness not only means separate but pure, and it’s not any separation or purity, but God’s separation and purity, His holiness — our holiness should be godliness, and this should encompass every area of our life, at all times in our lives, in some fashion.

Are the things of the world around us, especially entertainments and the like, and how we spend our time, part of the holiness of God, which is perfect and absolute purity?

Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

And we have a God-given duty to work on these things, with the help and strength of the Holy Spirit:

Romans 8:13 - "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye [us, our work] through the Spirit [with His help and strength] do mortify [our duty to labor to perform] the deeds of the body [the carnal, sinful man], ye shall live [if you actually work to do this, with the Spirit's help and strength]."

Colossians 3:5 - "Mortify [a command of duty for us to perform] therefore your members which are upon the earth..."

May God give us a holy desire to be obedient to Him in all areas of our lives, and may He grant us a desire and help by His Spirit to think on the things of Him, and His blessed Son Christ Jesus, the most lovely of all, and to put away (mortify) the things of the world, especially those which might be most pleasing to our carnal man, and may we do all these things to not be a reproach on the Lord Jesus’ name, and out of love to Him who has betrothed us and whose name we have taken upon ourselves.

— David

Operation: Ruptured Turkey Air Sac

One of our young turkeys ended up having an eye problem, and so I brought it into the summer kitchen/brooder barn to try to help.

In the process however, one day I walked in, and it had on its head a big blister. I mean, its whole head was a huge blister.

Whaaat was that?? Looked like a big water blister.

Well, I went and looked it up online, and eventually found out that it wasn’t water, but air, and most likely because the turkey had a ruptured air sac. This site explained it. It also made a crackling sound too when squooshed around.

In investigating further, apparently the avian respiratory system is a lot different than other mammals. Here’s a video I watched on it. Basically if I understand it correctly, it has small lungs and no diaphragm like us, but quite a few sacs in the chest and abdomen which fill up with air as part of a 2-cycle process to flow air in and out and into the lungs and body. Apparently this helps there be the large amount of air, and thus oxygen, required for flight. It was actually quite interesting and amazing to me!

Anyway, if one of the air sac ruptures, the air gets into the body under the skin. Thankfully though, apparently, it can heal, but it was suggested that it was good to release the air using something sterile to poke or cut a hole in the skin to do so.

And so I thought I’d give it a go. Here’s a video of one of the first times, and a few days later. Since this video, I’ve had to perform this procedure multiple times, even under the wing around its abdomen, and have discovered that it helps to pull on the pin (sterilized with rubbing alcohol) to make a bigger hole to help release the air quicker:

Even though I’ve had to repeat it, it does sometimes hold for several days, and I’ve changed to working on its eye only twice a day, to try to give it rest all day and all night, hoping the sacs will indeed completely heal.

We thank the Lord it has worked it seems so far, and we pray God might grant it healing eventually! And what an amazing Creator with the inner workings of a bird’s respiratory system!

— David

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