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: July 2018

A House – Update LI – Lower Siding, Update II

With the lower siding of the west side of the house installed, I started on the south side…

Here, the tar paper is up. Thanks again to Sue for the help!

House South Side Lower Siding Tar Paper

And then all of the siding on:

House South Side Lower Siding Complete

And from the other side:

Another View of House South Side Lower Siding

Since I was able to get a couple of extra panels with that month’s budget, I was able to start on the east — and final! — side:

Starting East Lower Siding of House

And here we are continuing with the east side:

More East Lower Siding of House

I forgot that I was not supposed to grab a moving circular saw blade…oops. I am very thankful it wasn’t worse:

Fingers After Grabbing Moving Circular Saw Blade

And here is the east side complete! Wow, all done with the lower siding! Thanks to the Lord for His provisions!

East Lower Siding of House Complete

East & North Sides of the House

Front of the House with Siding Complete

Once again, we are very thankful to God for granting the materials and physical strength to continue, and we again thank those who are making the house possible!

We always pray this house will be a place of worship to the Lord!

— David

David’s Digest: Living to Please God

A Christian is a ransomed soul:

Is 35:10 – “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

And therefore, a Christian is owned by Christ as His servant.

A good servant will do his master’s will, otherwise he is a rebellious servant. Also, a Christian will not only do God’s will, but do it out of love for Him (both the matter and the manner will be correct).

A servant’s life is not his own, and there is never a time where the servant isn’t a servant of his master.

A good servant will live to please his master. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about this. And living pleasing to God can take the form of doing things that are pleasing to Him and not doing things that are displeasing. A loving servant will not have to “give up” anything for his master, because the servant’s desire is truly toward his master and not those things he would “give up” (ie. those things have no meaning to the servant in light of love to his master — they will naturally fade because they are not of his master, so there’s nothing really to “give up”).

How is the time of our lives spent? Does the idea of pleasing God as His servants come across our minds during, or provide the motivation for, our daily activities?

Puritan Thomas Manton explains this excellently in his sermons on 1 John 3, which you can find here:

1 John 3:22 – “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Secondly, The next notion whereby the good conscience is expressed is this, ‘And do those things which are pleasing in his sight.’ This implieth many things.

1. That it be our design and scope to approve ourselves to God: 2 Cor. V. 9, ‘Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.’ This is the end that we propound to ourselves, what is your mind principally set upon? The end which you design and endeavour, the pleasing and glorifying of God, and the everlasting fruition of him, or the pleasing of your fleshly minds in the fruition of any inferior things? That is your end [purpose] which you love most, which pleases you best, and would do most for, and can least want [lack, not have]. The people of God are described to be those that ‘choose the things which please him, and take hold of his covenant,’ Isa. Ivi. 4. They do not live at random without an aim, nor do good by chance, but by choice. He that is false at first setting out can never hold out with God.

2. This is not only their choice, but the tenor and course of their lives. Enoch, that walked with God, is said to have this testimony, that he pleased God, Heb. xi. 5, with Gen. v. 24. The Septuagint read it, they are sincere and uniform in their obedience to him. Every day you must reckon with yourselves. Have you complied with your great end? What have I done, or what have I been doing? have I pleased or displeased God?

3. It is not in a few things, but in all: Col. i. 10, ‘Walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing;’ not in with one duty and out with another, for that is to please ourselves, not to please God; or to please men, not to obey our rule.

4. We must every day be more exact in our walking and care to please God, and that no offence or breach may arise between him and us: 1 Thes. iv. 1, ‘As you have received of us how to walk and to please God, so you would abound therein more and more.’ You never please God so much but you may please him better, and he expecteth more from you the more you are acquainted with him. One that is newly put to service is raw at first, but afterwards he groweth more handy and fit for his work; so you must first outgrow your weaknesses if you think to please God, and grow more exact in the spiritual life.

5. If there be anything more pleasing to God than another, your main care must be about those things; as, for instance, it is mighty pleasing to God that you should seek grace rather than greatness, and direction in your duty rather than worldly honour: 1 Kings iii. 10, the speech ‘pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.’ Surely it is more pleasing to God that we should pray from the spirit than from the flesh, not seeking great things for ourselves, but that we may have grace to discharge our duties to God.

So that in our duty we should mind the substantials of religion rather than rituals: Rom. xiv. 17, 18, ‘For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; for he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men.’

That in the substantials of religion we should not leave out the duties of the second table, as faithfulness in our relations. The scripture instanceth in the duties of parents and children; of children’s duty to parents: Col. iii. 20, ‘For this is well-pleasing unto God.’ Duties of liberality and mercy to all men : Heb. xiii. 16, ‘For to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’ Not only careful of justice, but also of mercy.

Now it is a shame that, when christians hear these things are so pleasing to God, they should not set about them. Esau took his bow to seek savoury meat for his father when he desired it.

May we consider these things daily in all of our actions and activities, and may the Lord grant us the desire and ability to serve Him with all our heart, soul, body, mind and strength!

— David

Book Review: The Doable Off-Grid Homestead

A family in our fellowship, the Stongers, has a new book coming out today, called The Doable Off-Grid Homestead.

We hear at times from people who really would like to get away from the rat-race and live in the country, homestead, raise animals, grow food, etc., but they lament just how daunting that whole idea is, especially if they are a little older. And that is sure understandable.

But it is doable! And the Stongers take you on their journey as they have worked on building a homestead, creatively, with reduced means, and in the unfriendly (sometimes hostile!) land and weather environments of central Texas.

Homesteading with few resources does take creativity, and God blessed the Stongers with that as He has guided them in the development of a homestead, with goats, a milk cow, chickens, gardens, orchard trees, solar power, catch-water systems, etc.

And now, their adventures, progressions, successes and missteps are documented in their new book. In it, they provide information about all sorts of off-grid homesteading topics, like rain harvesting, solar, land/soil, etc., and then provide practical and inexpensive ways to accomplish all of these various things, based on their own experiences, including materials lists and costs.

For example, they initially put up a fence around their main homestead environment made out of palettes, I think at least most of them being free, until such time they could put up something more permanent.

They are also planning on adding how-to video examples of these various homesteading subjects at their YouTube channel Doable Offgrid.

And even if you aren’t interested in homesteading, but, say, gardening, there is a wealth of information that could be beneficial to you too.

So, I would encourage everyone to consider getting a copy of The Doable Off-Grid Homestead and adding it to your collection!

— David