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: November 2011

David’s Digest: For What are You Known?

I’ve currently been reading to Sue John Owen’s Complete Works, Vol 6, “Sin and Temptation.” Needless to say, it puts a whole different and much more full light on the nature, power and efficacy and infection of indwelling sin in the believer. With in-depth studies of sin being woefully absent from most churches today, sin is not viewed by most who call themselves Christians with the vehement view of its evil and God’s abhorrence of it; it is viewed lightly, and so most professing Christians never examine themselves whether they be truly in the faith, nor whether or not they are living sinful lives, even if they think they aren’t. This will have drastic consequences in the future if not sorted out now, with God’s help and graces. The understanding of sin in a comprehensive way is most important in our living out our lives in obedience unto God. Why? Because if we love God, we will endeavor to keep His commandments, which in part means abstaining and fighting against sin and temptation, which is what we want to do if the Spirit indwells us, and evidences any interest in Christ we might have or not. And so, I would highly recommend Dr. Owen’s volume on this subject.

One of the common and overlying points Dr. Owen makes is that we must hate sin as sin. This means to hate it, and thus flee from it, because it is against God, whom we love. Please pay special attention to what he says about the following:

To fear sin is to fear the Lord; so the holy man tells us that they are the same: Job 28:28, “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil, that is understanding.”

Hating and resisting sin is a practical fruit and evidence of a true fear of the Lord! Which means the opposite is true: if you don’t have a detestation of sin that drives you from it, you are lacking Wisdom and Understanding (which are Christ in the Proverbs).

Here is more evidence:

Prov. 8:13 – “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

I’m afraid that not enough, if any, of either of those occurs in very many “Christians” of today.

Do you think you have a hatred of sin? If you died today, how would you be eulogized? “He was a good person,” or, “He really loved his family,” or, “He really loved the Lord.” Let me then ask, how would any of that be evidenced? Before you answer, here’s one way that WOULD evidence those things to be true: how do you compare to the following, noted by A.W. Pink in Chapter 7 of his book “The Life of Faith”:

The emperor Arcadius and his wife had a very bitter feeling towards Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople. One day, in a fit of anger, the emperor said to one of his courtiers. “I would I were avenged of this bishop!” Several then proposed how this should be done. “Banish him and exile him to the desert,” said one. “Put him in prison,” said another. “Confiscate his property,” said a third. “Let him die,” said a fourth. Another courtier, whose vices Chrysostom had reproved, said maliciously, “You all make a great mistake. You will never punish him by such proposals. If banished the kingdom, he will feel God as near to him in the desert as here. If you put him in prison and load him with chains, he will still pray for the poor and praise God in the prison. If you confiscate his property, you merely take away his goods from the poor, not from him. If you condemn him to death, you open heaven to him. Prince, do you wish to be revenged on him”? Force him to commit sin. I know him: this man fears nothing in the world but sin.” O that this were the only remark which our fellows could pass on you and me, fellow-believer (From the Fellowship magazine).

Ponder that for a while.

And so, when you’re standing before God in the end, for what will you be known?

— David

A House – Update X – Giddy-Up, Pony Walls

Originally in the house design, I had intended to put dormers in the roof below the interior ceiling. This would allow light and air circulation into the living space of the house through the roof. However, upon reconsideration, given the planned roof design, and after receiving advice, I decided to put up “pony” walls — short walls that in our case would contain windows. The porch roof would come up to the main walls below the pony wall windows, and the house roof would be above them; this would allow for even greater light and ventilation, and would be easier to implement.

And so, after the house exterior walls were complete, the man in the group who’s been helping me with the house started in on them.

Here are some of the initial framing pieces in place:

House Pony Walls Framing

And here’s a picture of a corner:

House Pony Walls Corner

The following are a few pictures of the pony walls with the window headers in place. I decided to use 2×10 headers with 1/2″ OSB in between to hopefully make sure the weight of the roof would never sag the windows (I had originally thought perhaps to use 2×8, but in our local store where I bought the wood, the 2x10s were not much more expensive plus added that extra 2 inches of strength):

House Pony Walls from Inside with Headers
House Pony Walls from Inside with Headers
House Pony Walls from Outside with Headers

And here they are completed…

House Pony Walls Complete

…and then with the OSB siding in place. These OSB pieces were nailed into the main wall as well, which tied the two walls together:

House Pony Walls Complete with OSB
House Pony Walls Complete with OSB

And finally, some tie straps were added to further secure the two walls to each other:

House Phony Walls Strap Ties

The man who has recently moved down with his family and is helping me has worked construction before, so we’re thankful to the Lord for his advice and assistance. And we thank God also for continued provisions and progress on the house. We pray one day it’ll be a welcoming place for meeting in fellowship with the brethren.

— David

Thrilla in the Cella’

It was a dark and, well, dry night because of the drought……..

It was a night like any other — I had to go down into the root cellar to grab a few things for the evening’s supper. I always wear my head lamp to see better in there and to keep my hands free…that’s what I do.

But something was different this time as I pulled open the large, heavy door…

Root Cellar Large Door Entrance

…descended the steps into the hard, cracked earth…

Root Cellar Steps

…and opened the non-creaky door into the pitch black room….

Root Cellar Small Door Entrance

The last time I had left the root cellar all of the jars and cans were neatly stacked and in order. It was nothing special — it’s just the way I left them.

But this time……..this time I warily stepped over the door threshold and gasped as my eyes met with jars toppled carelessly on top of each other:

Root Cellar Jars and Cans

And cans that had been ruthlessly knocked to the ground……

Root Cellar Cans on Ground

Now, having grown up in California, I would normally have said, “Oh, that must have been about a 5.2 on the Richter scale” and thought nothing of it. However, where we live in Texas has virtually no seismic activity, and even with the sonic booms we get around here that shake the ground beneath us, I skillfully deduced that some “one” — or some “thing”!! — must have caused this. Who or what could it be??????

AHA!!! A clue! It must be someone who left a long, skinny purse or boot behind! I was now hot on the trail to find the perpetrator and was impressed at my amazing talent for discerning clues:

Shed Snake Skin

Upon looking around for more clues, I noticed a strange-looking fellow on top of the cans of corn appearing very comfortable and using them as a bed. Maybe he had seen something along his travels through the root cellar and had the information to help me break this case wide open! I asked him if he knew what might be causing all of the ruckus upon which I had just stumbled. I couldn’t believe the bloke’s rudeness I encountered. He didn’t even turn his head to look at me, nor did he even acknowledge my existence!

Root Cellar Snake on Cans

I stepped closer and asked him again. Nothing! He just stuck his tongue out at me — how rude! His silence taunted me — perhaps he had the information I sought, and I was this close to finding out from him who the culprit was, but apparently I would receive no help from the likes of him. I looked carefully around the room for any other clues, however insignificant, that might help me solve this agrarian mystery, but to no avail:

Root Cellar Snake on Cans Close-up

With nothing else to go on, I left the root cellar that night, mystified as to what might have happened; and the questions remain to this day. I still wonder if the fellow I met down there knew something. Oh, well, I guess I will never know what caused the…….

thrilla in the cella’……!!!!