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: May 2020

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Christ Is All

In the recent past as I read an excellent book from Puritan Thomas Brooks called “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, I saved snippets throughout to share on the blog, with the hopes others might benefit from them being highlighted, and we’ve been doing some of that over the past months. Why is this all important?

The Bible warns of one of our greatest adversaries of our souls:

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

But we are to resist…

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 – “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

…but only with God’s help:

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

The following below are a couple of points ([9] and [10], although I list 1-8 for some context) against a device Satan uses to keep souls in a sad, doubting and questioning condition by suggesting to them that their graces are not true, but counterfeit. Now, there indeed must be true graces in the heart, which will show evidently in someone’s life, with the fruit of the Spirit and other good works, but even those the devil can try to use against a person by swinging the pendulum the other way. Mr. Brooks puts it like this:

Says Satan, All is not gold that glitters, all is not free grace that you count grace, that you call grace. That which you call faith is but a fancy, and that which you call zeal, is but a natural heat and passion; and that light you have, it is but common, it is short, to what many have attained to that are now in hell, etc. Satan does not labor more mightily to persuade hypocrites that their graces are true when they are counterfeit, than he does to persuade precious souls that their graces are counterfeit, when indeed they are true, and such as will abide the touchstone of Christ, etc.

[Footnote: Yet it must be granted that many a fair flower may grow out of a stinking root, and many sweet dispositions and fair actions may be where there is only the corrupt root of nature.]

For the full device and remedies, you can listen to it here:

or download it:

The entire book is scanned in here:

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, wisely to consider, The differences between renewing grace and, restraining grace, between sanctifying grace and temporary grace; and this I will show you in these ten particulars.

[1.] True grace makes all glorious within and without.

[2.] The objects of true grace are supernatural.

[3.] True grace enables a Christian, when he is himself, to do spiritual actions with real pleasure and delight.

[4.] True grace makes a man most careful, and most fearful of his own heart.

[5.] Grace will work a man’s heart to love and cleave to the strictest and holiest ways and things of God, for their purity and sanctity, in the face of all dangers and hardships.

[6.] True grace will enable a man to step over the world’s crown, to take up Christ’s cross; to prefer the cross of Christ above the glory of this world.

[7.] Sanctifying grace, renewing grace, puts the soul upon spiritual duties, from spiritual and intrinsecal motives, as from the sense of divine love, that does constrain the soul to wait on God, and to act for God ; and the sense of the excellency and sweetness of communion with God, and the choice and precious discoveries that the soul hath formerly had of the beauty and glory to [sic] God, whilst it has been in the service of God.

[8.] Saving grace, renewing grace, will cause a man to follow the Lord fully in the desertion of all sin, and in the observation of all God’s precepts.

[9.] True grace leads the soul to rest in Christ, as in his summum bonum, chiefest good. It works the soul to center in Christ, as in his highest and ultimate end. ‘Whither should we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,’ John vi. 68. ‘My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand; I found him whom my soul loved, I held him and would not let him go,’ Cant. v. 10, iii. 4. That wisdom a believer has from Christ, it leads him to center in the wisdom of Christ, 1 Cor. i. 30; and that love the soul has from Christ, it leads the soul to center in the love of Christ; and that righteousness the soul has from Christ, it leads the soul to rest and center in the righteousness of Christ, Philip, iii. 9. 1

[Footnote: Grace is that star that leads to Christ; it is that cloud and pillar of fire that leads the soul to the heavenly Canaan, where Christ sits chief.]

True grace is a beam of Christ, and where it is, it will naturally lead the soul to rest in Christ. The stream does not more naturally lead to the fountain, nor the effect to the cause, than true grace leads the soul to Christ. But restraining grace, temporary grace, works the soul to center and rest in things below Christ. Sometimes it works the soul to center in the praises of the creature; sometimes to rest in the rewards of the creature: ‘Verily they have their reward,’ said Christ, Mat. vi. 1, 2: and so in an hundred other things. etc., Zech. vii. 5, 6.

[10.] True grace will enable a soul to sit down satisfied and contented with the naked enjoyments of Christ.

  • The enjoyment of Christ without honor will satisfy the soul;
  • the enjoyment of Christ without riches,
  • the enjoyment of Christ without pleasures, and without the smiles of creatures, will content and satisfy the soul.

‘It is enough; Joseph is alive,’ Gen. xlv. 28. So said a gracious soul, though honor is not, and riches are not, and health is not, and friends are not, etc., it is enough that Christ is, that he reigns, conquers, and triumphs. Christ is the pot of manna, the cruse of oil, a bottomless ocean of all comfort, content, and satisfaction. He that has him wants [lacks] nothing; he that wants [lacks] him enjoys nothing. ‘Having nothing,’ saith Paul, ‘and yet possessing all things,’ 2 Cor. vi. 10.

[Footnote: Said Seneca, a contented man cannot be a poor man.]

Oh! but a man that has but temporary grace, that has but restraining grace, cannot sit down satisfied and contented, under the want [lack] of outward comforts.

[Footnote: Charles the Great his motto was, ‘Christus regnat, vincit, triumphat. And so it is the saints.’ St Austin [Augustine] upon Ps. xii. brings in God rebuking a discontented Christian thus: What is your faith? have I promised you these things? What! were you made a Christian that you should flourish here in this world?]

[The man with temporary grace continues:] Christ is good with honors, says such a soul; and Christ is good with riches, and Christ is good with pleasures, and he is good with such and such outward contents. I must have Christ and the world, or else with the young man in the Gospel, in spite of my soul, I shall forsake Christ to follow the world. Ah! how many shining professors [of religion] be there in the world, that cannot sit down satisfied and contented, under the want [lack] of this or that outward comfort and content, but are like bedlams, fretting and vexing, raging and madding [going about as mad], as if there were no God, no heaven, no hell, nor no Christ to make up all such outward wants [lacks] to souls.

That a soul truly gracious can say, in having nothing I have all things, because I have Christ; having therefore all things in him, I seek no other reward, for he is the universal reward. Such a soul can say, Nothing is sweet to me without the enjoyment of Christ in it; honors, nor riches, nor the smiles of creatures, are not sweet to me no farther than I see Christ, and taste Christ in them.

[Footnote: Content is the deputy of outward felicity, and supplies the place where it is absent. As the Jews throw the book of Esther to the ground before they read it, because the name of God is not in it, as the Rabbins have observed; so do saints in those mercies wherein they do not read Christ’s name, and see Christ’s heart.]

The confluence of all outward good cannot make a heaven of glory in my soul, if Christ, who is the top of my glory, be absent; as Absalom said, ‘What is all this to me so long as I cannot see the king’s face?’ 2 Sam. xiv. 32. So says the soul, why do you tell me of this and that outward comfort, when I cannot see his face whom my soul loves? Why, my honor is not my Christ, nor riches is not Christ, nor the favor of the creature is not Christ; let me have him, and let the men of this world take the world, and divide it amongst themselves; I prize my Christ above all, I would enjoy my Christ above all other things in the world; his presence will make up the absence of all other comforts, and his absence will darken and embitter all my comforts; so that my comforts will neither taste like comforts, nor look like comforts, nor warm like comforts, when he that should comfort my soul stands afar off, etc., Lam. i. 16.

Christ is all and in all to souls truly gracious, Col. iii. 11. We have all things in Christ, and Christ is all things to a Christian.

  • If we be sick, he is a physician;
  • if we thirst, he is a fountain;
  • if our sins trouble us, he is righteousness;
  • if we stand in need of help, he is mighty to save;
  • if we fear death, he is life;
  • if we be in darkness, he is light;
  • if we be weak, he is strength;
  • if we be in poverty, he is plenty;
  • if we desire heaven, he is the way.

The soul cannot say, this I would have, and that I would have; but says Christ, it is in me, it is in me eminently, perfectly, eternally.

[Footnote: Luther said, he had rather be in hell with Christ, than in heaven without him. None but Christ, none but Christ, said Lambert, lifting up his hands and his fingers’ end flaming. (This is the Lambert to whom he is referring:]

May God grant that Christ indeed be our all! None but Christ, none but Christ!

— David

Cookbook Review: “Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family”

Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family Book

Our dear friend and neighbor, Shannon has released yet another really great cookbook: “Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family: Delicious, Nourishing Recipes for Less.”

A little background…I have known Shannon and her growing family for, wow, going on 10-plus years now. I have great respect for her as a Mom, wife, friend and sister in Christ. All of her cookbooks have been written as a result of looking to find ways to feed her family while meeting diet and financial restrictions, without skimping on quality or nutrition. She is MacGyver in the kitchen :))

Today’s western diet, as most everyone knows, is full of ingredients that, let’s face it, do not lend themselves to a strong, healthy body, especially growing children. Some cookbooks are very niche oriented, or “fru-fru” with ingredients. This cookbook is very mainstream, and anyone who buys it will truly benefit, in my opinion.

Shannon includes really great tried and tested information and tips all throughout, and the recipes are easy to understand and made with healthy, yet, very obtainable ingredients. On a side note, the pictures alone will make your mouth water, and I believe Shannon took all of the photos herself. The whole presentation is very classy.

The contents include a philosophical and real-life approach to “Making Traditional Foods Work on a Budget”, providing a sample weekly shopping budget and list, what to buy and why.

And the recipe sections include:

  • “Thrifty Mornings” (Soaked 100% Rolled Oat Pancakes, Greek Fauxgurt, Sweet Potato & Greens Breakfast Skillet, and much more!)
  • “Frugal Broth & Beans” (Soaked Grain-Free Garbanzo Bean Pizza Crust, Soaked Mexican Taco Pizza Bake, Real Food Copycat Tomato Soup, and much more!)
  • “Economical Pastured Proteins” (Tamale Pie, Crispy Oven-Baked Salmon Burgers, Spiced Thai Coconut Chicken, and much more!)
  • “Sensible Accompaniments” (Sheet Pan Hash Browns, Roasted Vegetables, Soaked Gluten-Free Artisan Bread, and much more!)
  • “Prudent Sweets & Treats” (Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie with a Grain-Free Crust, Soaked Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Raw or Dairy Free Mexican Sipping Chocolate, and much more!)
  • “Penny-Pinching DIY’s” (Broth-Based Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce, Better Sunflower Seed Butter, Easy and Traditional Homemade Corn Tortillas, and much more!)

Oh, my goodness, I wish my intermittent fast ended sooner than 2:00 pm today – this is making me hungry!!

Dave and I have been on the receiving end of some of Shannon’s recipe experiments in preparing for her cookbooks, and they have all been delicious. Shannon and her husband have six children, with another on the way!, and we are very blessed to know and love them.

I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone, especially if you are looking for ways to feed your spouse and family delicious, nutritious food on a budget, or just because the recipes are really cool on their own.