This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 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.

Author: David & Susan Sifford (Page 2 of 91)

David’s Digest: Never Take That First “Drink”

The Lord delivered me from alcohol abuse, for which I’m eternally thankful.

There was a saying in AA that said, “Never take that first drink.” It was a warning, because the first one makes it much easier to get to the second, and so on.

I very sadly found that out the hard way, and the Lord delivered me again. I talk about it all in a blog post here.

It is my belief that this can be applied to the world.

Man by nature has a “carnal” man, also called the “flesh” in the Bible. This carnal man can do no work that is spiritually good. In fact, it can only do evil:

Romans 8:7 – “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The “world” in the Bible is often painted in the same light:

John 15:18-19 – “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

You can see it in alcohol abuse, but I believe you can apply it similarly spiritually:

Since those two are of the same nature, I would suggest that our carnal man is addicted to the world. Since the world brings wicked pleasures, and the carnal man is wicked, it would seem to make sense. I would suggest:

The carnal man is going to be a world-aholic.

But then God says that a person who loves even the things in the world (which must be the things in the world’s kingdom vs. God’s kingdom and His creation) does not have the love of God in them:

1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If we are Christians, we have an internal, spiritual war going on inside us:

1 Peter 2:11 – “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

And then there’s the devil, who is the prince of the world — not in absolute terms, but we are either slaves to sin and his works or to God:

Ephesians 2:2 – “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Romans 6:17 – “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Satan is all too dutiful to work with the world and our carnal man to lure us to things sensual (simply, things delighting the senses), which automatically lure us from the things of God and His kingdom.

But, we are commanded to mortify (kill) the flesh:

Romans 8:13 – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Colossians 3:5 – “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Further, the Bible says the world is supposed to be crucified to us, and us to it:

Galatians 6:14 – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

This would seem to mean it should be dying to us — having less and less of an effect or attraction to us. And because crucifixion was slow, I would suggest it may happen over time, but God appears there to say it will happen.

And so, with the evil trinity of our flesh, the devil and the world, all working together to seek our eternal destruction, wouldn’t the cautious individual look at all of them as something to repel from?

Wouldn’t then the caution be this?

Don’t ever take that first “drink” of the world, its accoutrements, entertainments and dainties, its culture, its ways of doing things.

A few extra work chores or leisure activities on the Lord’s Day here, a little step away from stricter modesty there, just a little vanity somewhere. That first “drink”.

Some might decry the slippery slope concept, but it’s obvious that’s exactly what happens — in alcohol abuse, where it usually gets worse over time, and I would suggest, also with the world. A garden un-kept is slowly overgrown with weeds, not immediately.

I would suggest this happened to the western church coming out of the 1800s and through the 1900s. A little less Lord’s Day strictness, worldliness creeps in, then to the daily lives of Christians. And now, some churches purposely try to be like the world.

Now, while the true Christian will not fall away totally, I believe there potentially could be bad and unintended consequences:

  • Becoming more like the world make ones less more like a peculiar people, as God would have Christians. And so the witness can be tainted.

  • While one may not fully slide away to the world, the next generation might, or the one after that, because:
    • They’re closer to the world each generation.
    • They’ve been taught it’s ok to take a “drink” of the world.

  • The carnal man increases, and thus Christian graces decrease. Again, as in a garden, the more weeds, the fewer good plants, and vice-versa.

While some might not agree, I believe this is extraordinarily serious to consider. The war is real. The devil would have us destroyed, and he has a myriad of tools at his disposal, including ourselves — the body of death we carry around with us:

Romans 7:24 – “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

May God grant us a love for Him above everything. May He help us to mortify the flesh, resist the devil, and love not the world. May we seek Him diligently in these, and we pray He grant us His graces to be faithful to Him, and may He keep our feet from sliding.

May we thirst only for Him and look to Him alone to satisfy:

Psalm 42:2 – “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 63:1 – “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psalm 81:10 – “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

— David

David’s Digest: The Insipid Formality and Dead-Heartedness in the Church

Puritan Thomas Manton wrote a lamenting treatise called “England’s Spiritual Languishing; with the Causes and Cure“. The verse he starts with is the following:

Revelation 3:2 – “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

His title says it all. You can read the entire work here, but his first doctrinal point was the following:

That a special way to save a church and people from imminent and speedy ruin is the repairing of decayed godliness.

In a section, he starts by discussing how godliness is shown that it has decayed.

I wanted to note one section of that, which I believe is something we all should be very careful of.

From Mr. Manton:

2. By the insipid [lacking spirit, life or animation; flat, dull] formality and dead-heartedness that is found everywhere.

We are without life in the ways of God, little beauty of holiness, little circumspection and strictness in life and conversation [behavior]. Religion is like a river; it loses in strength what it gets in breadth.

Now many come in to profess, their walkings are not so awful and severe. When it is a shame not to have some form in religion, many have but a form, and so debase the holy profession by mingling it with their pride, lust [generally, any corrupt desires of the heart], and avarice [greediness or insatiable desire of gain], so that it is not so daunting, and has no such majesty with it as formerly it had.

A truly godly man is to be the world’s wonder, the world’s reproof, the world’s conviction.

The world’s wonder: 1 Peter iv. 4, ‘They think it strange,’ etc. You are to hold forth such mortification and self-denial that the world may wonder. You are to wean yourselves, and bind up your affections from such objects as do so pleasantly and powerfully insinuate with them, and ravish their affections.

He should be also the world’s reproof: Heb. xi. 7, by building an ark Noah condemned the world. You should be mirrors to kill basilisks [a fabled serpent called a cockatrice]; and in the innocency of your lives, show them their own filthiness; in short, your lives should be a real reproof and upbraiding to them.

And then the world’s conviction: 1 Cor. xiv. 25, you should walk so that they may see God in you of a truth. Your conversation [behavior] should be nothing else but a walking rule, and religion exemplified.

But, alas! how vain, carnal, sensual [simply, pleasing to the senses], are most men, discovering nothing of the power of grace, the beauty of holiness, and the efficacy of the new nature; we may see much of man, but nothing of God in them.

It is even our description: 2 Tim. iii. 5, ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

Denying the power; that is, refusing and resisting that inward virtue and force of godliness, by which the heart should be renewed or the conversation [behavior] rectified.

Possibly there may be more light, but less heat. What Seneca observed of his times is true of ours, Boni esse desierunt, sicubi docti evaserintthey were less good when they were more learned; for now we rather dispute away duties than practice them.

Oh! it is sad this, when knowledge shall devour good life, and notion spoil knowledge. That of Hugo is but too just a character of us, Amant lectionem, non religionem, immo amore lectionis in odium incidunt religionis, multos video studiosos, paucos religiosos, etc. [They love reading, not religion; indeed, from the love of reading they fall into a hatred of religion, I see many studious, few religious.]

Many desire to know, few to live; yea, knowledge seems to make men less strict and holy, for they dispute away religion the more they understand of it.

May God grant us a desire for and praying toward being molded in Christ’s image, to grow in holiness and love of His law and statutes, and to not have the light of knowledge without the heat of His graces in our lives as evidenced by obedience and fruit.

— David

Cattle Update – Late Winter 2024

It’s been a while again, but I thought we’d catch everyone up with a Longhorn update!

With two years of drought, we haven’t carried a herd sire in a while. But, try as I might to get the young ones off before being “viable”, we ended up with a few calves this year. Even though unplanned, we do thank the Lord for the provisions!

The only thing, is there were several potential sires, so we really don’t know which is the daddy of each. One of the potential was I think 1/4 Jersey or something like that too.

And then, the neighbor’s Dexter got in with the herd for about 18 hours last year, and two of the calves born were within two days of the normal gestation period from him being with them, so he could be the sire of a couple of them. And judging from the size and color of the light chocolate brown calf in the video, he might be, at least for that one.

So with all those unknowns, we certainly wouldn’t keep any of the calves, since we try to keep the purity of the Spanish Longhorns, and are part of the CTLR, a registry that attempts to do that.

One very sad note though: One of those two calves died on day six. We don’t know what the cause was. She was only the second calf that I’m aware of since we have had the Longhorns that has died early. Very sad, but we know these things are of the Lord, and we always look to see if He is saying something to us spiritually in them.

But now, here is the latest video, including the three other calves:

We are grateful to God for His gift of the cattle!

— David

Psalm Singing – February 2024

Sue and I have continued on working through our psalter to learn and record them, and we just finished the next group — Psalms 108A-112B. Our hope always is people will use these as help to learn them themselves.

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 108A-112B

May the name of the Lord always be magnified by us forever!

Psalm 7:17 – “I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.

— 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
Psalms 85A-89H
Psalms 90A-93A
Psalms 94A-98B
Psalms 99A-103D
Psalms 104A-105E
Psalms 106A-107E

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Surprise 1st 2024 Chicken Chicks

The other morning I walked out to start letting the chickens out of the barn and the like, and I looked, and there was a chicken hen sitting in the middle of the open area near our main chicken tractor.

I thought, what are you doing out mommy? (I often call hens “mommy”). And, I didn’t recognize her as one that I usually put away at night.

She wasn’t moving, and was just sitting there, even as I got closer. I thought maybe she was injured, or in shock after an animal attack that she survived.

Well, I thought I’d better pick her up and take her to somewhere inside, and as I reached down, she stood up quickly, and then quickly, 3 little chicks started moving about! Wow!

Oh boy…now, time to try to get a hold of her and her babies. I whistled for Sue since she was in the house still, and she came a runnin’, and we were able to fish-net the mommy and gather up the chicks and get them into the brooder barn (summer kitchen).

Later, I went looking for a nest, and found some eggs next to a tree in our orchard and thought perhaps that’s where she had been…an extra graciousness from God that she didn’t get eaten all those 21 days (at least) sitting there. During rains too!

Anyway, besides the picture above, here’s another, and they’re all still alive and doing well!

And here’s their video:

We thank the Lord for this gift of these first 2024 chicks, unexpected, but again, graciously given from Him, and in the extra special way He did!

— David

David’s Digest: Ungodliness When God Is Not Our Chiefest Good, Part 2

Jude 4 - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent commentary on Jude discusses from this verse “ungodly men”, and how men show their ungodliness.

You can review part 1 here.

In the section below, he continues with his premise that God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and then lists more ways we can be ungodly regarding this.

You can listen to this part of verse 4 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this part starts on PDF page 173…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so we are guilty of ungodliness:—

1. If we do not often think of him. [from Part 1]

2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not honour him as the chiefest good. [from Part 1]

3. If we do not fear to offend him.

God will be served with every affection. Love is of use in the spiritual life, and so is fear: 2 Cor. vii. 1, ‘Perfecting holiness in the fear of God,’ Love sweetens duties, and fear makes us watchful against sin: love is the doing grace, Gal. v. 6, and fear is the conserving grace, Jer. xxxii. 40.

We have cause to walk in God’s ways, because we are always under his eye. Love is necessary, that we may keep God always in our hearts; and fear, that we may keep him always in our eye: both of them are of great use; but fear we now speak of, which is the true internal root of all obedience and worship, Eccles. xii. 13.

When there is such a settled disposition of heart as that we dare not grieve him nor affront him to his face—as Ahasuerus said, ‘Will he force the queen before my face?’—God is much honoured. But now when we are secure and careless, and forget God, and can sin freely in thought and foully in act without remorse, it is ungodliness.

Fear is a grace of continual use: we cannot be always praising God, worshipping God, and employed in acts of special communion with him, yet we must be always fearing God: ‘Be thou in the fear of God all the day long,’ Prov. xxiii. 17; and elsewhere, ‘Blessed is he that feareth always,’ Prov. xxviii. 14.

A man hath done with his devotion in the morning, but he has not done with God; we should think of him, and remember that his eye is upon us, all the day long: we must rise in the fear of God, walk in the fear of God, trade, eat, drink in the fear of God, Jude 12.

Some graces are as the lungs, never out of use and exercise. More especially must fear be active when temptations and corruptions arise; we must argue as Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9.

4. If we do not care to please him.

An ungodly man thinks of nothing less than pleasing God; he neither cares to know his ways, nor to walk in them; they are ‘willingly ignorant,’ 2 Peter iii, 5. They do not search, that they may not practice, and so err not in mind, but heart: ‘We desire not the knowledge of thy ways,’ Job xxi. 14. They have not a mind to know that which they have not a mind to do, as those that would sleep shut the curtains to keep out the light.

A godly man is always approving what is the will of God, Rom. xii. 2, and Eph. v. 10-17; he practices what he knows, and is still searching that he may know more, as willing always to be more useful for God. What have I to do more?

May God grant us to always fear Him and obey Him, and endeavor to live to please Him and practice what He has graciously granted we know about Him.

— David

David’s Digest: Ungodliness When God Is Not Our Chiefest Good, Part 1

Jude 4 - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent commentary on Jude discusses from this verse “ungodly men”, and how men show their ungodliness.

In the section below, his premise is God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and then ways we can be ungodly regarding this.

You can listen to this part of verse 4 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 171 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so we are guilty of ungodliness:—

1. If we do not often think of him.

If we did not want [lack] hearts, we cannot want [lack] objects to put us in mind of God. οὐ μακρὰν, ‘he is not far from every one of us,’ Acts xvii. 27. But though God be not far from us, yet we are far from God. He that is everywhere is seldom found in our hearts. We are not so near to ourselves as God is near to us.

Who can keep his breath in his body for a minute if God were not there? He is within us and round about us in the effects of his power and goodness, but we are at too great a distance from him in our mind and affections.

How many trifles occupy our minds! But the Lord can seldom find any room there: ‘God is not in all their thoughts,’ Ps. x. 4.

Yea, when thoughts of God rush into our minds, they are like unwelcome guests— we wish to be rid of them. Wicked men abhor their own thoughts of God, because the more they think of God the more they tremble, as the devils do. Therefore the apostle says, ‘They like not to retain God in their knowledge.’ Rom. i.

This is far from the temper of God’s children. David says, Ps. civ. 34, ‘My meditation of him shall be sweet.’ It is the spiritual feast and entertainment of a gracious soul to think of God. None deserves our thoughts more than he, and we cannot put them to better use.

He thought of us before the world was, and still ‘great is the multitude of his thoughts to us-ward.’ Therefore it is vile ingratitude not to think of him again. When we hate a person we cannot endure to look upon him, and the hatred of the mind is showed by the aversation [being averse to] and turning away of the thoughts.

2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not honour him as the chiefest good.

Friends love to be often in one another’s company, and certainly ‘it is good to draw nigh to God,’ to preserve an acquaintance between him and us.

He hath appointed his ordinances, the word and prayer, which are as it were a dialogue and interchangeable discourse between God and the creature. In the word he speaks to us, and in prayer we speak unto him. He conveys his mind in the word, and we ask his grace in prayer. In prayer we make the request, and in the word we have God’s answer.

Well, then, when men neglect public or private prayer, or opportunities of hearing, they are guilty of ungodliness. So far they break off communion with God, especially if they neglect prayer, which is a duty to be done at all times—a sweet diversion which the soul enjoys with God in private, a duty which answers to the daily sacrifice.

Therefore the neglect of prayer is made to be a branch of atheism, Ps. xiv. 3, 4. When men are loath to come into God’s presence, out of a love to ease and carnal pleasures, and care not if God and they grow strange, or seldom hear from one another, it is a great evil. Our comfort and peace depends much upon frequent access to God.

So when family worship, when that is neglected, God is not honoured as the chiefest good: the heathens are described to be ‘the families that call not on God’s name,’ Jer. x. 25. In many places from one end of the week to the other there is no prayer and worship in the family, and so the house, which should be a church, is made a stye. Not a swine about their houses but is attended morning and evening, and yet they can find no time for the solemn invocation of the name of God. What are they better than heathens?

May God grant us to always have Him in our thoughts and to desire to and indeed spend time with Him.

Continue to Part 2!

— David

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