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.

Month: August 2011

David’s Digest: Love of Christ: The Motivator of True Obedience

I have read to Sue, as part of our family worship, the Puritan John Owen’s Complete Works, Vol 1, “The Glory of Christ”, which I highly recommend; our fellowship is going through it as well on each Lord’s Day.

Among the many wonderful revelations of Christ in it, one point really stuck out to me that Dr. Owen spends time declaring and defending in chapter 12 of the work “Christologia or a Declaration of the Glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ — God and Man”: the Bible declares that if we love God, we will obey His commandments; but this also means that those acts which are actually accepted of God vs. ones that are not, even though they might be the same acts, are differentiated primarily by the motivation behind them — that motivation being love for Him. Any person can perform an act that outwardly performs a command of God; but if it is not out of love for God, it is selfishly motivated — performed improperly inwardly — and thus cannot be acceptable by Him.

Here is a snippet from Dr. Owen’s chapter, which, along with the rest of the volume, I hope you will read in their entirety:

That which does enliven and animate the obedience whereof we have discoursed, is love. This himself makes the foundation of all that is acceptable unto him. “If,” saith he, “ye love me, keep my commandments,” John 14:15. As he distinguisheth between love and obedience, so he asserts the former as the foundation of the latter. He accepts of no obedience unto his commands that does not proceed from love unto his person. That is no love which is not fruitful in obedience; and that is no obedience which proceeds not from love. So he expresseth on both sides: “If a man love me, he will keep my words;” and, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings,” Verses 23, 24.

In the Old Testament the love of God was the life and substance of all obedience. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, thy mind and strength,” was the sum of the law. This includes in it all obedience, and, where it is genuine, will produce all the fruits of it; and where it was not, no multiplication of duties was accepted with him. But this in general we do not now treat of.

That the person of Christ is the especial object of this divine love, which is the fire that kindles the sacrifice of our obedience unto him — his is that alone which at present I design to demonstrate.

The apostle has recorded a very severe denunciation of divine wrath against all that love him not:

“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha,” 1 Corinthians 16:22.

And what was added unto the curse of the Law we may add unto this of the Gospel: “And all the people shall say, Amen,” Deut. 27:26. And, on the other hand, he prays for grace on all that “love him in sincerity,” Ephesians 6:24. Wherefore, none who desire to retain the name of Christian, can deny, in words at least, but that we ought, with all our hearts, to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

I do not so distinguish love from obedience as though it were not itself a part, yea, the chiefest part, of our obedience. So is faith also; yet is it constantly distinguished from obedience, properly so called. This alone is that which I shall demonstrate — namely, that there is, and ought to be, in all believers, a divine, gracious love unto the person of Christ, immediately fixed on him, whereby they are excited unto, and acted in, all their obedience unto his authority. Had it been only pleaded, that many who pretend love unto Christ do yet evidence that they love him not, it is that which the Scripture testifieth, and continual experience does proclaim. If an application of this charge had been made unto them whose sincerity in their profession of love unto him can be no way evidenced, it ought to be born with patience, amongst other reproaches of the same kind that are cast upon them. And some things are to be premised unto the confirmation of our assertion.

1. It is granted that there may be a false pretense of love unto Christ; and as this pretense is ruinous unto the souls of them in whom it is, so it ofttimes renders them prejudicial and troublesome unto others. There ever were, and probably ever will be, hypocrites in the church and a false pretense of love is of the essential form of hypocrisy. The first great act of hypocrisy, with respect unto Christ, was treachery, veiled with a double pretense of love. He cried, “Hail, Master! and kissed him,” who betrayed him. His words and actions proclaimed love, but deceit and treachery were in his heart. …

2. As there is a false pretense of love unto Christ, so there is, or may be, a false love unto him also. The persons in whom it is may in some measure be sincere, and yet their love unto Christ may not be pure, nor sincere — such as answers the principles and rules of the gospel; and as many deceive others, so some deceive themselves in this matter. They may think that they love Christ, but indeed do not so. …

There is much more, and I do hope you will read the whole chapter from the beginning, chapters 13 and 14 also, which continue on this topic, and even the whole volume.

Is your “obedience” truly motivated by love for God? A true love? Are you sure? If it is not, then your obedience is not obedience at all. Have you ever thought about it? If not, then your religious activities and worship might actually be sin. Ask the Searcher of hearts (Psa. 139:23-24 to examine yours and reveal the truth of your motivations toward obedience. Ask Him for love for Him and a true and deeper revelation of Christ, as He is the source of all things spiritual (John 3:6; John 3:27; John 15:5; Acts 17:28; Gal. 5:22-23).

May He grant us love for Him, and repentance for acts of selfish obedience.

— David

Summer Kitchen – Update II – Insulation & Final Cross Wall

Little by little, I’ve been slowly working away at the summer kitchen in between everything else going on. The next step was the insulation, and here is a little pictorial of the process…

First, I wanted to cut in roof vents into the cross pieces that were in between the rafters on top of the walls. I drilled 1″ holes and then used a reciprocating saw to cut from the top of one hole to the other, and then the same from bottom to bottom. Here is what it looked like from the inside:

Summer Kitchen Roof Vent Inside

And then on the outside I stapled and glued aluminum screening to keep the bugs out:

.Summer Kitchen Roof Vent Outside

Then, I began insulating, starting with the roof:

Summer Kitchen Beginning Ceiling Insulation

With the 2×8 rafters, I used R19, which is for 2×6 wood; this allowed for an air gap above the insulation to allow for the air to flow in the lower roof vent out the upper one. This gap is also recommended for proper effect of the solar board:

Summer Kitchen Ceiling Insulation Showing Air Space for Venting

Before installing the wall insulation, I put diatomaceous earth on the bottom of the frame to perhaps help with termites:

Summer Kitchen Diatomaceous Earth in Walls Before Insulating

And here is the main area completed:

Summer Kitchen Main Area Insulated

And the pantry:

Summer Kitchen Pantry Insulated

Due to my lack of construction knowledge when building the wall frames, I hadn’t done a header over the doorway between the main area and pantry; and it was beginning to sag. And so, I decided to insert one.

I began by cutting the door frame cripple studs:

Summer Kitchen Cutting Door Frame Cripple to Add Header

Here it is with all of the cuts made:

Summer Kitchen Cutting Door Frame Studs to Add Header

And then with the cutout removed:

Summer Kitchen Door Frame Studs and Cripples Cut and Removed to Add Header

Here, the header is in place. I simply used three 2x6s:

Summer Kitchen New Door Header in Place

And then shimmed them to fit up against the cripple studs above them:

Summer Kitchen Shimming Above New Door Header

After the header was in place, I was able to insulate the main cross wall. Here it is completed, viewing from the piano room:

Summer Kitchen Main cross wall Insulated--View from Piano Room

And here it is from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Main cross wall Insulated--View from Main Room

As I noted above, part of the plan for the summer kitchen building was to have about 1/4 of it partitioned off to be a piano room; and so, I added a cross wall from the south wall to the main cross wall using 2×4 wood. And here is a picture of it after it being insulated:

Summer Kitchen New cross wall Added and Insulated--View from Piano Room

And here is the wall as viewed from the pantry:

Summer Kitchen New cross wall Added and Insulated--View from Pantry

Finally, here are a couple of other views, one of the piano room from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Piano Room--View from Main Room

And the other of the pantry from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Pantry--View from Main Room

The Lord has been gracious and merciful in allowing resources to be able to continue this project, some from the sale of His providential provisions of animal offspring. We thank Him, and we pray for continued help, wisdom and guidance in further homestead development, according to His will.

— David

A House – Update IX – Exterior Walls

After the house’s porch posts, it was time to put up the exterior walls. After all of the other much slower-moving parts of the house, like the concrete piers, etc., it’s nice to be at a point where things move a little quicker.

Here is the first wall framed. The window headers, which sit on the cripple studs to which the sides of the windows are attached, we made by “sandwiching” 2 pieces of 1/2″ plywood between 3 2x6s; and the window sills sit on smaller cripples, forming the rest of the window frame. The doors, not a part of this wall, we did similarly. We will double the top plates, using the upper top plate to overlap and tie the corners together:

House Outer Wall Frame

And here is the wall with the fire blocks in place. The distance that the OSB siding would be lowered down the wall to attach to the floor joists header determined where these went:

House Outer Wall Frame with Fire Blocks

This is how we did the corner, to be able to attach another wall to it and to allow for internal siding to have something to which to be attached:

House Outer Wall Frame Corner

We set a chalk line 5 1/2″ inches back from the edge of the floor, lined up the wall frame to it, and tacked the bottom plate to the floor every 4-6 feet to keep the wall from sliding when lifted into place:

House Outer Wall Frame Base Plate Tacked to Floor

We attached the OSB siding while the frame was on the ground, because placing the 4×8 foot panels when the wall is vertical is much more difficult. I chose OSB because it was cheaper, and I figured would work just about as well, although there are discussions on the Internet that using plywood is better:

House Outer Wall Frame with OSB Siding

And then, we cut out the windows using a router, which made it VERY easy. In the end, even with the siding on, especially with the windows and doors cut out, it wasn’t really too heavy to lift into place:

House Outer Wall Frame with Windows Routed Out

Here’s the video of the raising of the walls. We thank the Lord for granting us the brethren to help and be a part of this as part of a community:

Raising of the House Walls

With the diagonal braces on the outside holding up the walls, we had to come back in later and add a few pieces of the OSB siding. Once placed, the windows had to be then cut out; and here is a video of me doing that. The router is REALLY nice for this process. Judging from the video, this is why we try to do as many of these while the wall is on the ground 🙂 :

Routing Out Some House Wall Window Frames

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for granting the provisions to be building the house, the strength to do so, we pray guidance and safety in doing so, and for the brethren to help in its construction; and we pray one day the house will be used as a place of worship and fellowship of God’s people.

— David