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.

Cattle Update – Summer 2022

After our multi-year update from earlier in this year, I thought I’d catch everyone up with some video footage from this year.

It starts from back in February and finishes with an August update.

It’s been a rough year with one of the worst droughts ever here, and we’ve had to feed hay all Spring and Summer, but the Lord has provided, including the “novel” concept of raking up scattered hay back into piles everyday to conserve it. It seems to work great!…only 16 years to figure that one out. 🙂 But, we’re thankful to God for the idea.

Interesting turns of God’s providential workings in our lives: I mention in the video the several heifers that were supposed to go to a local person who wanted them. But, he was concerned the young ones might be a little small and susceptible to coyote attacks. And so, I thought it would be great to get him the older/larger ones first if possible, since we could only do 2-3 at a time, because we have to get them into our trailer and then do a back-back offload into his trailer.

The evening before we were supposed to try to round them up, I went out to check to see if any were in the corral to maybe trap them the night before. And what do you know but the black one, who is the oldest of the heifers, that doesn’t like range cubes, which is the only real way we have to control/lure the cows anywhere, was in the corral. I figured I was going to have to lure the whole herd through the corral to be able to trap her, but there she was. And so, I nonchalantly walked through the gate and to the open end of the corral, and closed it up! Wow! She was in! And then, it wasn’t much after that to get her into the chute to the back of the trailer, and she went in actually like she wanted to be in there. Excellent!

Later that day, the next oldest I also found in the corral, was able to trap her in there and get her loaded too! Wow again!

And so, the next day, the fellow came here, and we got the heifers to swap trailers, and they were off.

Well, a couple of days later he texts me asking if they had normally jumped fences, because they had his, and they were now both in 2 separate herds of his neighbors. Arg. I said they hadn’t, and that I would have at least told him about that if they had done anything like that with us. In trying to figure out what happened, I guess the black one was giving the second/red one a hassle, and red said, “Gotta go!”, and maybe since other herds were around, she/they were trying to find the herd. Or it was maybe just to be with the other herd. But, we’re still not sure what happened.

Continuing, he then said that he was just going to sell them because they wouldn’t be able to handle that situation. And so, sigh, I said he could bring them back if he wanted. And he did.

I found it a very odd providence of God for bringing the situation where the loading of those 2 heifers went so surprisingly smooth, only to have them back here on the land.

And well, that was that, I thought.

But, a week or more later, he texts back and asks about the other 3 heifers, and that he’d like to try with them. I believe he had done some fence work to try to keep them from going over anymore. Ha! More interesting hand of Providence workings.

And so, we were able to get the other 3 loaded and into the trailer the next day, and he came, and we swapped them into his trailer, and now they were off.

And that’s been a couple of weeks now or so, and things are holding apparently, so it looks like those are going to work for him. He also did mention he might like to come back and get one of the first 2 because he thought she was a pretty one, and given his extra fence work, and I suppose because the other 3 are there, and the black one is not, that it might be different this time. Anyway, we thank the Lord those 3 are working out.

I still don’t know what all the rigamarole was with the first 2 and then them coming back, etc., but may we always trust His dealings with us in our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

And now, onto the video:

As always, we are thankful to the Lord for His provisions!

— David

Young 2022 Turkeys – Update I

With the chicken mommies hatching out a 2nd group and 3rd group of turkey chicks, and them continuing on in the brooder barn, and them getting big enough it seemed to not only cause ruckus in the brooder barn, but also because it’s just better to get them outside as quickly as possible, it was time to graduate them to freedom, and life with the rest of the turkey flock and homestead!

This was going to be something of an experiment, because in the past we’ve always sent them out with their turkey mommy to lead the way, so we were hoping despite that that they would stay around the homestead and go into the barn at night.

Sadly, by this time, one of the young turkeys caught a disease or something, and eventually didn’t make it. 🙁 And so, from the original 13, there were now 12, which we show in the following video starting with the day of the release, and then their adjusting to the outside world:

Today, they are all pretty much doing well. I believe I injured one’s leg when trying to manually round them up one night because they weren’t going into the barn (which they had been doing just fine by themselves up to that point), and it’s still limping. And another has something wrong with one of its eyes…maybe a small infection? Not sure, so they spend a lot of time in the barn, often together, although the limping one just a little while ago today was looking pretty weak, so I pulled it and put it in its own cage back in the brooder barn so it has unencumbered access to water and turkey (wild game) feed, which maybe being as small as it is it still needs. We do ask God He might grant them recovery.

But generally, the other 10 or even the eye one too roam around like they own the place, 🙂 although we do still have to direct them a little into the barn at night sometimes.

But, we do thank the Lord for their continued general health and safety, and pray He might continue to grant that to them!

— David

David’s Digest: Of Being Christ’s Servant

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:"

Jude here calls himself a servant of Christ. And I think most who claim Christ’s name themselves would call themselves the same.

But what does being a servant of Christ look like?

Puritan Thomas Manton explores this briefly near the beginning of his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude, which we present to you below.

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. — 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:

Obs. 2. Observe, again, his relation to Christ is expressed by service; as he describes himself to be James’s brother, so Christ’s servant; by that means he was entitled to Christ; if we would be Christ’s we must do his will: our relation arises from service, John xii. 26. Therefore I shall here take occasion to show you what it is to be Christ’s servants.

(1.) Whoever is Christ’s servant must resign and give up himself wholly to the will of Christ; for he that is Christ’s servant, he is so by covenant and consecration. We are indeed Christ’s by all kind of rights and titles; ‘he made us, and not we ourselves;’ no creature is of itself, and therefore it is not its own, but another’s. It is God’s prerogative alone to love Himself and seek Himself, because He alone is without obligation and dependence; but we owe ourselves to Him, and therefore cannot without robbery call ourselves our own. Your tongues are not your own to speak what you please, Ps. xii. 4, nor your hearts your own to think what you please, nor your hands your own to do what you please; by virtue of your creation you are another’s, and are bound to live and act for another, according to His will, for his glory.

But this is not all; by redemption you are Christ’s: ‘Ye are bought with a price,’ 1 Cor. vi. 20, as the redeemed are bound to serve Him that ransomed them. If a man had bought another out of captivity, or he had sold himself, all his strength or service belonged to the buyer. Christ has bought us from the worst slavery, and with the greatest price; no thraldom so bad as bondage to sin and Satan, no prison so black as hell; and certainly Christ’s blood is better than a little money. So that to live as if we were at our own disposal is to defraud Christ of his purchase.

Thus we are Christ’s by creation and redemption; but now, if we would be his servants, we must be His by voluntary contract and spiritual resignation: ‘Yield up yourselves,’ etc., Rom. vi. 13. Christ loves to have his right and title established by our own consent. We take Christ for lord and master, and give up ourselves to Him, that we may be no longer at our own disposal, and therefore it is not only robbery, but treachery and breach of covenant to seek ourselves in anything. This resignation must be made out of a sense of Christ’s love to us in his death and sufferings: 2 Cor. v. 15, Christ died, ‘that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him that died for them.’ We enter upon other services out of hopes, but we enter upon Christ’s service out of thankfulness.

Again, this resignation must be universal, without reservation of any part. You must have no other master but God: Mat. vi. 24, ‘Ye cannot serve two masters, ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ Usually men divide themselves between God and the world; they would give their consciences to Christ, and their hearts to mammon. The devil pleads for a part, for by that means he knows that the whole [all of the person] will fall to his share; therefore all, the whole man, in vow, purpose, and resolution, must be given up to God.

(2.) Having given up yourselves to God’s service, you must walk as his servants; that is, not as you list [want/desire], but as the Master pleases. The angels are God’s ministers, ‘doing his pleasure,’ Ps. ciii. 21. A servant has no will of his own, but has given up his liberty to the directions and commands of another; therefore, if you be God’s servants, you must earnestly desire the knowledge of his will, and readily comply with it; you must not do things as they please self and flesh, but as they please God. David begs for knowledge as God’s servant: Ps. cxix. 125, ‘I am thy servant, grant me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.’ A faithful servant would not willingly offend his master, and therefore would fain [gladly] know what is His will. They plead with God, and search themselves, Rom. xii. 2, and all to know His pleasure; and not only to know it, but to do it, otherwise they are worthy of many stripes by Christ’s own sentence.

The master’s will should be motive enough, 1 Thes. iv. 3, v. 13; 1 Peter ii. 15. If God will have it so, if Jesus Christ will have it so, it is enough to a faithful servant. The very signification of God’s will carries with it reason enough to enforce the practice of it.

Yea, you must equally comply with every will of God, not only with the easy and pleasant ways of obedience, but such as cross lusts [generally any corrupt desires of the heart] and interests. When two men go together, a man cannot tell whom the servant follows till they part. When God and our lusts or our interests command contrary things, then you are put to the trial whether you are God’s servants.

May we seek God for, and may He grant us, this desire to know and do His will, in every area of our lives, recognizing that we are not our own at all, by creation and by the redemption found in His blessed Son Christ Jesus….and may we truly say, our Lord!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2022’s Goat Kids

Well, the results of last year’s goat breeding time are in! 🙂 God graciously granted 4 bucklings and 2 doelings, although there was another doeling, but she was still-born.

Here are some pictures when they were going to the kind gentleman who buys our goats:

Goat Kids 2022
Goat Kids 2022
Goat Kids 2022

Very sadly though, the Lord, as owner of the goats, decided to reclaim Annie, whose two bucklings are these last two pictures. Thankfully they were 7 weeks old when she died, so we didn’t have to bottle feed them.

Annie was also our little orphan from way back. Here’s a video of her and her brother Spot drinking off the bottles!

This is Hassie’s (Annie’s daughter) daughter (in front), which we’re keeping to replace Annie. We’re calling her Annalita, in honor of grandma. 🙂

Goat Kids 2022

Goodbye Annie…we’ll miss you…

Annie and Her Kids 2021

Lastly, here’s the video of 2022’s kids:

We always thank the Lord for His gracious provisions, and for the milk, and we pray the kids do well for the new owner!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 3rd Round of 2022 Turkey Chicks & Surrogate Chicken Mommy

With the surrogate chicken mommy with turkey chicks working so well, and with chicken hens again being much more easy to handle, and with another turkey/chicken mommies set sitting on turkey eggs in the barn, if they hatched, we’d thought we’d try to grab them and a chicken mommy and put them in the brooder barn to hopefully grow.

Here is the turkey mommy and the two chicken mommies in the barn on the eggs, and I believe even at least one hatched-out:

Mommies on Turkey Eggs in Barn

And thanks to God’s graces, they did hatch out several over a couple of days, and we moved one of the chicken hens and the youngins into the brooder barn, and along with the picture at the top, here they are, 5 in total!

3rd 2022 Turkey Hatching

And here’s their video:

As always, we thank the Lord for these continued provisions, and may He always glorify Himself in these things!

— David

David’s Digest: Of Christian Patience

James 5:7 - "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."

What does godly patience look like?

In Puritan Thomas Manton’s work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James”, he examines this closer in looking at the beginning of the above verse.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=405, and this section starts on PDF page 405 (in the print, page 3860), 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 7. — Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord: behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.

He now diverts from the rich oppressors, unto the poor faithful brethren that were oppressed. By the illative particle “therefore” we may see the former paragraph was for their sakes. The rich men shall be punished for their wickedness and oppression ; therefore, be you patient.

Be patient, therefore, brethren, [Greek word]. The word is put for long-suffering, and so usually translated, which is a further degree of patience; for patience is a sense of afflictions without murmuring, and of injuries without revenge. Now, long-suffering is patience extended, and lengthened out to that which our apostle calls its perfect work. Observe:

Obs. It is the duty of the children of God to be patient under their sufferings, though they be long and sharp. It is easier in a calm and sedate condition to discourse of patience, than to exercise it in time of trial. Philosophers have discoursed of it, and commended it ; but Christians themselves have staggered, when they have been exercised with a sharp sense of evils.

When God gives up his people to the lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] of adversaries, then it is sad, and we are apt to murmur; and yet the apostle says, we should suffer with a long patience. I shall spare motives, and a little show you what Christian patience is.

It differs from security and stoical insensibleness [just ignoring it, burying the emotions, etc.]; there can be no patience where there is no sense of evil [of our own sin, temptations to sin under difficulties, etc.]. Christianity does not abrogate affections, but regulate them. Carnal men put off [for later] that which they cannot put away, and are not patient but stupid [like being in a stupor] and careless. There are other remedies in Christianity than quenching our sorrows in the wine [literal and metaphorical] of pleasures.

Again, it differs from moral patience, which is nothing but a yielding to necessity [they go with it because they cannot do anything about it], and is usually accompanied with vain [useless] thoughts (Jer. iv. 14), and carnal workings of spirit. When God lays on crosses, men please themselves with suppositions of worldly profit, and how their present condition may conduce to secular advancement; as when God takes away wife or children, men do not think of submission to the hand of God, but the capacity of augmenting their worldly estate, &c.

In short. Christian patience supposes a sense of evil, and then in the formality of it, it is a submission of the whole soul to the will of God. Wherein observe,

(1.) The nature; it is a submission of the whole soul. The judgment subscribes, “Good is the word of the Lord,” &c. (Isa. xxxix. 9.) Though it were to him a terrible word, yet the submission of a sanctified judgment can call it good. Then the will accepts, “If they shall accept the punishment” (Lev. xxvi. 4) ; that is, take it kindly from God that it is no worse. Then the affections are restrained, and anger and sorrow brought under the commands of the word. Then the tongue is bridled, lest discontent plash [splash] over; Aaron held his peace, (Lev. x. 3).

(2.) Consider the grounds and proper considerations upon which all this is carried on. Usually there is such a progress as this in the spiritual discourse:

(1st.) The soul sees God in it : “I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it” (Psa. xxxix. 9).

(2nd.) It sees God acting with sovereignty : “None can say unto him; What dost thou?” (Job. ix. 12.) And elsewhere, “He giveth no account of his matters.”

(3rd.) Lest this should make the heart storm [with fury], it sees sovereignty modified and mitigated in the dispensation of it with several attributes:

  • With justice:

    (Deut. xxvii. 26), When every curse was pronounced, they were to say Amen that if it come to pass ; Amen is but a righteous dispensation.

  • With mercy:

    “Thou hast punished us less than we deserved” (Esra. ix. 13). They were afflicted, they might have been destroyed; they were in Babylon, they might have been in hell.

  • With faithfulness:

    They look upon afflictions as federal dispensations, as appendages of the covenant of grace; “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might keep thy statutes” (Psa. cxix. 71). When they are threshed, it is but to lose their stalks and husks ; God’s faithfulness would not suffer [allow] them to want [want] such a sweet help.

  • With wisdom:

    God is a God of judgment (Isa, xxx. 18) ; it is meant in his dispensations. Let God alone, he is too just to do us wrong, and too kind and wise to do us harm.

May God grant us a desire for this patience, may we seek Him daily for it, and may He graciously grant us it so we can live properly as unto Him!

— David

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