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.

Year: 2020 (Page 1 of 5)

David’s Digest: Of Sin’s Filthiness & Abundant Wickedness

James 1:21 – “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Whether we like it or not, or believe it or not, our hearts are full of uncleanness and wickedness:

Jer 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

This is a result of the fall, and the continued sin in man through all generations. It is as odious as odious can be to a perfectly holy and righteous God. But we don’t want to believe it, really, about ourselves; yet, the Bible says it’s there.

Puritan Thomas Manton in his most excellent work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James” paints a picture of sin’s filthiness and depth of wickedness.

You can listen to all of verse 21 here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 21. – Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Obs 5. From that word filthiness. Sin is filthiness. It sullies the glory and beauty of the soul, defaces the image of God. This expression is often used, “Filthiness of flesh and spirit” (2 Cor. vii. 1), where not only gross wickedness, such as proceeds from fleshly and brutish lusts, is called filthiness, but such as is more spiritual, unbelief, heresy, or misbelief, etc., nay, original corruption is called so, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (Job xiv. 4.) “How can man be clean?” (Job xv. 14.)

Nay, things glorious in the eyes of men: duties they are called dung, because of the iniquity that is found in them: “I will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts” (Mai. ii. 3).

So it was in God’s eyes. The Spirit of God everywhere uses comparisons taken from things that are most odious, that our hearts may be wrought into the greatest detestation of sin. Certainly they are much mistaken that think sin an ornament, when the Spirit of God calls it dung and excrement. But more especially I find three sins called filthiness in Scripture:

(1.) Covetousness, because it debases the spirit of man, and makes him stoop to such indecencies as are beneath humanity; so it is said, “filthy lucre” (1 Pet. V. 2).

(2.) Lust, which in Scripture dialect is called filthiness, or the sin of uncleanness (1 Thess. iv. 7), because it makes a man to subject or submit his desires to the beasts’ happiness, which is sensual pleasures.

(3.) In this place [here in James; see the verses leading into vs 21: vs 19-20] anger and malice are called filthiness. We please ourselves in it, but it is but filthiness. It is brutish to yield to our rage and the turbulent agitation of our spirits, and not to be able to withstand a provocation. It is worse than poison in toads or asps, or what may be conceived to be most filthy in the creatures. Poison in them does hurt others, it cannot hurt themselves: anger may not hurt others, it cannot choose but hurt us.

[The Solution:] Well then, all that hath been said is an engagement to us to resist sin, to detest it as a defilement. It will darken the glory of our natures. There are some spots that are not as “the spots of God’s children” (Deut. xxxii. 5). Oh! let us get rid of these “filthy garments”, (Zech. iii. 4, 5), and desire change of raiment, the righteousness of Christ. Ay, but there are some lesser sins that are spots too: “The garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 23); unseemly words are called “filthiness” (Ephes. v. 4), and duties “dung”.

Obs 6. From that superfluity of wickedness. That there is abundance of wickedness to be purged out of the heart of man. Such a fulness as runs over, a deluge of sin; “All the imaginations of the heart are evil, only evil, and that continually” (Gen. vi. 5). It runs out into every thought, into every desire, into every purpose. As there is saltness in every drop of the sea, and bitterness in every branch of wormwood; so sin in every thing that is framed within the soul. Whatever an unclean person touched, though it were holy flesh, it was unclean: so all our actions are poisoned with it.

We read of the “overspreading of abominations” (Dan. ix. 27); and David said, “They are all become vile, and gone out of the way” (Psa. xiv.); all, and all over.

In the understanding there are filthy thoughts and purposes, there sin begins; fish stink first at the head.

In the will filthy motions; the affections mingle with filthy objects.

The memory, that should be like the ark, the chest of the law, retains, like the grate of a sink, nothing but mud and filthiness.

The conscience is defiled and stained with the impurities of our lives.

The members [of our physical body] are but instruments of filthiness. A rolling eye provokes a wanton fancy, and stirs up unclean glances, “Having eyes full of adultery” (2 Pet. ii. 14): in the original, “full of the adulteress”.

The tongue bewrays the rottenness of the heart in filthy speaking.

[The Solution:] Oh! what cause have we to bless God that there is “a fountain opened for uncleanness”! (Zech. xiii. 1.) Certainly conversion is not an easy work, there is such a mass of corruption to be laid aside.

May we see the filthiness and pervasive wickedness in our sin, even the smaller ones. May God grant us His Son’s perfect righteousness, and cleansing from the blood of Christ. May He grant us a hatred of sin as it is an offense to a perfect and holy God, and a desire for holiness and purity in living. And may He grant that we do these out of love for Him!

— David

Movin’ The Hay Roll Old-School

Our tractor and truck recently both wouldn’t start, the tractor with a hay spike for moving hay rolls, and the truck as a backup using a chain to drag them out. And our cows were an hungering, so with some help from the neighbor boys, we did it old-school — rolling it out by hand!

And we take you along for the ride in this video:

We thank the Lord for able bodies to even do this and help from friends, and we thank Him for all His provisions, both temporal and spiritual!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2020 8th Chick Hatching

We are very thankful to the Lord for granting our 8th chick hatching of 2020!

We found this mommy in the barn on a bunch of eggs, and moved her into the brooder barn, and by God’s granting she did her job, and hatched out quite a few! I’m not sure exactly how many there are, although we did lose one a couple of days after it was hatched, but the rest are still going strong!

8th 2020 Chick Hatching
More of 8th 2020 Chick Hatching

And here’s their video. Watching the new life here reminds me of this verse:

John 11:25 – “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Once again, we thank God for His provisions of these new chicks, and we pray they’re used for His glory and the benefit of others!

— David

Psalm Singing – December 2020

Sue & I just finished recording the next set of Psalms, 85A-89H, from the psalter we use, as always so we would have something to hopefully help us learn them better, and maybe help others learn the Psalms as well.

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 85A-89H

Ps 150:6 – “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

— 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

Goat Breeding Time 2020!

It was that time of year again, to put our male goats and females together for mating season. We wait until now to try to get any offspring being born in April, when most of the cold weather is typically over.

This year, we had kept two of our female goat kids in order to increase the herd, but didn’t want to breed them this year as we feel they are just a little too small still.

And so, we moved them to their own field, and put the billies and nannies together, and here’s the video of all that fun and frolicking adventure!

We thank the Lord for His continued provisions, and pray He might grant the offspring next year, according to His will!

— David

Garden – Spring, Summer & Fall 2020

Just catching up on the garden this 2020, after our Spring-time update. The Lord has been very, very gracious in what He has granted this year…

The zucchinis were coming in fast and furious, and we needed a way to preserve them, so we decided to lacto-ferment as much as we could. That meant lots of shredding, so to help Sue out so she didn’t have to hand-grate everything, we got this nifty contraption that worked just great!

Handcrank Vegetable Shredder

And here are some results!

Grating Zucchini
Stored Grated Zucchini
More Zucchini
Still More Zucchini

We had some help from the neighbor children too!

Neighbor Children Helping Grate Zucchini

And Sue made some yummies from it all too!

Zucchini muffins:

Zucchini Bread Cupcakes

Breaded zucchini:

Breaded Zucchini

Zucchini cake:

Zucchini Cake

Here’s some okra. We did get a few beans, but those just didn’t work out:

Okra & Green Beans

For the okra, we’re storing them in cheap apple cider vinegar. This works great, even over a long period of time. Before we eat them, Sue soaks them in a bowl of water to remove some of the tartness, and that works well too.

Preserved Okra

Here was the garden back in early August:

Garden August 2020

And then October before our first potential freezes. We tried to get the zucchinis and okra through (a little spooky on the okra 🙂 ):

Garden October 2020
Zucchini Plants Covered for Freeze
Okra Plants Covered for Freeze

And here are the Goji berry plants, with a bunch of berries!

Goji Berry Plants October 2020

And this is the garden after the freeze. After we took off the blankets, we ended up getting hit with a freeze on a night that it wasn’t supposed to. It did hurt the zucchinis:

Garden After Freeze
More Garden After Freeze

But, with a freeze, it was time to go get any sweet potatoes out of the ground God might have granted, and here they are, including supervisor William making sure everything is copacetic!

Harvesting Sweet Potatoes
More Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

And the final haul inside for curing, and then eventually wrapping in newspaper for long-term storage:

Curing Sweet Potatoes

Finally, this is the garden as of today. Not much left:

Garden November 2020

But, some of the zucchini plants actually started to recover from the freeze, grow new leaves, and one put out it looks like one more zucchini for the road!

Last Zucchini Growing

As I said, the Lord was very gracious this year. Here are the final jars of preserved zucchini and okra. The jar on the left is the top-numbered pint jar, the counting of quart jars in the middle picked up after that number, and then the jar on the right is our final-count okra jar:

Final Preserved Zucchini & Okra Jars

We are humblingly thankful to God for His most gracious provisions. It’s such a blessing to see Him work His direct providence in the garden, watching Him apply the water and nutrients to plants to produce fruit. We pray He do the same in our hearts, producing the fruit of the Spirit, for His glory and maybe the benefit of others!

— David

David’s Digest: The Godliness of Music

I took piano lessons from age 5-15, and so music has been a good part of my life. But if you think about it, what is music actually? We all sort of know about it, understand it exists, participate in it when we sing or hear a song, but what’s going on “under the covers”, so to speak?

I would suggest that it is all God’s specific doing, and that it is inherent and literally built in to creation by the Creator. Let me try to explain…

Sound is based on waves of vibrations in the air, like a Sine wave, where the wave starts at a mid point, goes up to a point, and goes down below the midpoint an equal distance, and this repeats over and over. The characteristics of the wave give the distinctions of the sounds: the higher the wave apexes from the middle, the louder the sound is, which is called amplitude, where we get “amplify”, or make louder; the closer together each wave is to the next one in the cycle, the higher the sound, which is called frequency (ie. how many times a wave happens per unit of time). If we were to pipe sounds into an oscilloscope, you could see these represented, and watch the changes as the sound changed.

This in itself shows a constant in creation. But there’s more…

Most believe it was Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) that discovered an interesting “phenomenon”. Two different tones together could be categorized mathematically in 2:1 ratios (ie. the frequency of the upper tone being 2 times that of the lower tone) and 3:2 ratios (the frequency of the upper tone making 3 vibrations in the same amount of time that the lower tone makes 2). Then, if you crawl up tones using the 3:2 ratio, on the 12th iteration, you land basically, with some slight mathematical variance, on the 7th iteration if you had crawled up using the 2:1 ratio, thus ending the cycles of each before starting a new round (this is where we get the 7-note scales and the 12-note chromatic scale, for you musically-inclined folks).

(More details are in lots of places on the internet, but here’s a starting place if you would like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_tuning. And for anyone interested, the handling of the mathematical variance mentioned above in tuning instruments in more modern times is discussed in equal temperament or well temperament.)

Notice anything about the numbers in the above description? 12 and 7? In the Bible, 12 represents God’s power and authority, or governmental foundation, or the number of completion; and 7 is the number representing completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

Coincidence? These are mathematically built in to nature, and shows an extraordinary degree of order. If I had nothing else, for me personally, this would show some intelligence put nature together. This is absolutely amazing to me!

Further, the base structure when notes are played together is called a “chord”, and the base structure of that consists of 3 notes, and 3 in the Bible also represents completeness.

But now, looking beyond that, I believe there are many spiritual representations in music, and how it’s used.

First, God would have us sing to Him. Many, many verses, but here are a couple:

Ps 105:2 – “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Ps 135:3 – “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.

In fact, the Psalms are really songs. Sue and I sing them each night in family worship, using a Psalter (here’s the last set of Psalms we recorded to help people learn them: Psalm Singing – August 2020).

Usually in any song, there is the melody, or the tune we might all know, and the other parts sung with the melody that form chords which sound good together, which are called harmony parts, all working together to make the music, and to make it sound better. I think one can glean a couple things from this:

  • This is similar to the body of Christ, His people, working together in…wait for it…harmony (see this definition). 🙂

    1 Cor 12:12-14 – “12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

  • Not everyone in the Church has the same function, and yet they are all important for the complete picture:

    1 Cor 12:15-20 – “15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

Another thing that I think can be observed: when an orchestra with multiple kinds of instruments, and multiples of those, play together, there is usually a conductor. His job is:

  • To help lead and keep everyone together as they make their way in unity and not chaotically to the end, and the orchestra follows the conductor’s lead
  • To help with the interpretation of the original composer’s intent
  • To set the speed (or “tempo”) of how fast the music is played, with the idea it’s not about how quickly you get to the end, but how you get there

To me, this is similar to the Church, where:

  • Pastors and leaders help guide Christ’s flock through their earthly pilgrimage to the end, helping keep away from chaos and instead in unity, and the people follow their lead as it conforms to scripture:

    Heb 13:17 – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  • Pastors and leaders should rightly divide God’s word (the composition) as to how God would have it interpreted:

    2 Tim 2:15 – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Our Christian walk is not about how quickly we get to the end, but how our pilgrims’ progress in this life is to be travelled as the Lord would have for us, in the manner in which He would have us get there:

    1 Cor 9:24 – “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    Heb 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

All in all, I believe music is a gift architected into creation by the Lord, thus revealing Himself in nature, and is to be used for His glory and means by which we worship Him, and which is also graciously something we can enjoy as we praise and give thanksgiving to so great a God!

— David

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