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 90)

Goat Breeding Time 2023!

The beginning of November came around, and it was time to put our male and female goats together for breeding time 2023!

We have two separate groups, two different buck lines, with the idea that the offspring from group 2 could be mated with the buck from group 1 to be able to be self-perpetuating without too much inbreeding.

With the time upon us, we had planned to do the move on a certain day, but I was busy in the morning some, and Sue carpe-diem’ed the whole thing and performed the move all by herself! Wow! And she did it in order to be a help to me, to take off something from my plate. I pray the Lord bless her for her diligence in serving Him by serving me.

And so, she filmed the journey that morning, and here’s the video:

We thank the Lord for His provisions of the goats, and we pray He might grant offspring in the Spring! And I thank Him for the wonderful wife He graciously granted me! 😀

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2023’s 3rd Round of Chicken Chicks

We had a hen that spent all her days in our camper in a cubby area, broody looking for weeks and weeks. I think because she was in there, I just never thought to do anything about it, but then thought, why don’t we just put eggs under her and see what happens.

Well, sure enough, God granted she sit them through, and she hatched out her little clutch of 5!

We shortly moved them into the summer kitchen/brooder barn, and they’re all doing well still!

And here’s their video:

We are always thankful to the Lord for His provisions and granting these new little gifts!

— David

David’s Digest: Trying to Explain in Simple Details the Gospel Message

I thought to myself, if I was going to try to sit down and explain the Gospel to someone, what would I say?

And so, I thought here I might try to do that in as simple and straightforward terms as best I could, hopefully with God’s help, in my own words (I have found people don’t like to hear “Oh, read this” and be given something written by someone else), trying to give context to biblical or commonly-used phrases, especially to someone who might not have any knowledge or familiarity with the Bible, and trying to go through it all step by step and paint the picture of the reality of the situation.

I pray maybe God will use it in some way as a means to the glory of His name in the bringing someone home to Him.

— David

We’ll start with the premise that there is a God, and there is only one (which, actually, there can only be by definition, for God to be God). The Bible says the heavens declare His glory, and it also says that we are responsible for seeing Him in the creation around us.

By definition, God must be infinite in everything He is — infinitely powerful, infinitely holy and pure, etc.

Also, it seems to me we can look around at His creation and realize He is good, and gracious, in having sunshine, water, food for us, etc.

And, everything is completely ordered — the sun always comes up, the years always pass the same way, etc.

Now, God created all the creatures as well. We see in the animals and insects, and how they behave, and they have programmed in an instinct that drives them in those behaviors. Bees do bee things (very amazing things too if you study them!), goats do goat things, cows cow things, etc.

Now, when God created man, He did a little something different — He created mankind to also have rational thought (things like the ability to wonder or ask why), and most importantly, to have fellowship with the Creator, and even understand that! The animals don’t have that. He also stamped on the first people His image of goodness, and love, and holiness, and the like — similar in nature although not in quantity (His is infinite and ours finite). Man had a sort of his own “instinct” to love God, and be and do good, and to choose these things.

Now, with God being infinitely majestic, and the creator of man, He also has a right over His creation. If you create a vase, you have right to it as to how to create it and what it’s used for, because you made it. Well, God has that right and is thus authority over man, and all creation.

Now, an authority requires fidelity to them. And how is fidelity shown, even in our versions of authority, with kings and the like? The king sets rules, and his subjects follow the rules. And breaking a rule of the king or any authority requires a penalty. We see that in our own justice system.

So, God set a rule for the first people to follow. And it was a relatively easy one — it was a “don’t do” something. All that had to be done was do nothing, which is theoretically easier than performing some action. And it could have been an action like “run a mile in 10 seconds”, which would have been impossible for man to keep, so His rule was very fair.

But, the first people didn’t keep the rule. And so God became the offended party in the relationship with man. And this offense must be an infinite one because it was against an infinite Being. And there were some extraordinarily bad results.

Man incurred the guilt of breaking the rule and incurred the penalty, and also became dirty and diseased in his being, the Bible likening it to leprosy.

And there was a complete breach in the relationship between God and man. Because man was now not holy any more, and now filthy, God, who is perfectly holy, could no longer have man in His presence.

And because the offense was infinite, the penalty must be an infinite one as well, and so it was a just sentence (ie. it served justice) that an eternal punishment sentence was placed on man.

And man lost that stamp of God’s image on him, God’s love and goodness, etc. was now dead and gone. With that God-imaged instinct of love and goodness gone, and man having acted in rebellion, man now has an “instinct” that is only to choose to *not* follow God’s rules, which is also called sin. Now, man as a sinner does what sinners do — they sin, like the bee does bee things, and the goat goat things. They are by nature constantly in rebellion to God, the Bible even saying at enmity (actively opposed and even hostile) with God. And, all people are now born only with this instinct, and that is passed on from generation to generation.

And because of that, and because the offense was infinite, there’s no way for man to pay the penalty, because he is finite.

Man now when born faces an eternal punishment and eternal separation from his loving Creator.

However, it doesn’t end there. God in His mercy has provided a remedy, which has to provide for several things: forgiveness for all of the sin, a cleansing from the disease and dirtiness of sin, and a pure holiness restored to a person. Only if these are done, can God be in relationship with anyone again.

But how can this be done, if man cannot do it? Well, the plan was to have a Mediator — one who could represent the two parties, and one who could pay an infinite price for the penalty, one who could cleanse from the disease of sin, and one who could provide a perfect holiness to people. And this could only be done by a mediator who is both God and man. God’s Son, Jesus, who is God Himself, although a different “person” in the Godhead (which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — all God, but separate persons) — God’s Son added to Himself the substance of a man — the Holy Spirit created an embryo in a woman named Mary, and Jesus was born into this world, undefiled from the passing along of the sin instinct because not pro-created. He was God and now man as well. This allowed Him to represent both parties in the breach.

And so His purpose as the Mediator, also known as the Christ who was to make up this breach, was to pay the penalty, do the cleansing, and provide the perfect holiness.

First, Jesus would need to keep all of God’s rules perfectly throughout His entire life, doing what the first people did not do, otherwise, any punishment given to Him would be for His own sin, and then He could never take away anyone else’s sin penalty, or bring any cleansing or holiness.

Then, Christ Jesus paid the penalty and did the cleansing when He died on a Roman cross, shedding His blood. The Bible says only blood will cleanse from sin, and He shed His blood. And while on the cross, all the sins of His people were transferred in a legal sense to His account, as if He had committed all the sins, not that He had, but God looked at Him as if He had, and therefore could justly condemn Jesus for those sins. And so, He endured the eternal and infinite anger, wrath and punishment for all the sins of His people. Only an infinite Being could endure that infinite punishment, and He did.

And with the penalty now paid for, and the blood shed for the cleansing from sin, the last thing that remained was the holiness for His people. So, in the same way that His people’s sins were transferred to His account on the cross, Christ’s perfect keeping of God’s rules are transferred onto their account, as if they had kept them, even though they had not.

Also, Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, which shows the Father accepted His payment of the penalty for His people, and as a first-example of them being raised from the dead to be with Him one day.

And now God and man could once again be in fellowship!

And further, He takes those for whom Christ died and actually adopts them into His family! As far as God is concerned, they are actually in His personal family, and adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus Himself! Amazing!

And He has graciously granted a record of all this in the Bible, so we could know anything about Him, our situation, and His great remedy!

Now, things have to happen to a person individually for them specifically to be able to be in fellowship with God again. That sin-only instinct that rules in all people has to be handled. What God does is He puts in a new “instinct”, like in the original people, which is a stamp again of His image — an instinct of love and goodness, etc. And that instinct is put in place in overthrow of the sin instinct, where a person is not bound to only sin anymore, freeing them from that bondage. They can now follow God’s rules, and they actually have a desire to do so — to choose these things. And while a person before could do what looked like good things, they could not be motivated out of godly love or goodness, because that kind of love only comes from God (ie. it’s His love) and was no longer there, but now they can actually love and do good that is motivated by a God-like character. This implanting of new instinct done by the Holy Spirit is called being given a new “heart” (which is the seat of all of our motivations), or called being “born again”.

Now, while a person like this has a new instinct that is in charge, during this lifetime, they still carry around that sin instinct. The Bible calls it carrying around a body of death, which I understand was an old form of punishment where a person had a dead body tied to them and they had to literally carry it around while it rotted. A born-again person still has that instinct, but it doesn’t rule, and that godly instinct, especially over time, out of love to God, more and more will hate that bad instinct, and look forward to a day when it will be gone.

And this only happens after death. And when someone dies, they either die under the eternal penalty of God and with only a sin instinct, or free from the penalty with the godly instinct. And then everyone will be judged by God. And either Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the person, and provided the cleansing and holiness for a person, or He didn’t, and then that person will have to face everything Jesus did by themselves, for all eternity.

And what motivated God to do all this, when He wasn’t under any obligation to do any of it? Love. The Bible says God is love, and He has shown it in this process, part of which is sending His beloved, only Son. Think about that as a father, or if you have a loving father or mother — think about how difficult it would be to send your son to not only die, but that so you could pour out an infinite anger and punishment on that son, even to the point where on the cross there was a brief separation of Jesus and the manifestation or His sense of the Father’s love (they couldn’t be actually separated because Jesus was still God as well, which means that kind of separation can never happen, but He sensed it as man). But, what great love of the Father to do this! And then the great love of Christ Himself in willingly doing all of these things, including enduring the wrath of the One He loved dearly and has been with from all eternity past! And then the great love of the Holy Spirit to bring all of these things about and apply them and nurture God’s people as they live out their new lives here!

So, how does a person participate in all this. The first step is understanding that you are indeed a sinner, and that you can do nothing about it yourself. And then, coming to the only One who can apply this work of new birth to your heart, and asking that He will, and that He will forgive and cleanse you from your sins, and give you that new heart, and with that grant that you hate and turn from your sin in a desire to follow His rules and commands in obedience, and that He would grant you that same love that He showed in providing this great scenario of being saved from sin and punishment and filth and restoration to fellowship with Him.

And He promises those who come to Him these ways in sincerity He will not cast away. He says seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

If you have never done this before, we pray this day, that He will call you to this, even this day. We are not guaranteed our next heartbeat, and once we die, the whole thing will have been decided. We pray you might come to Him this day, and seek and knock, and we pray He grant you this new life, and a love for Him, and a desire to be with such a loving Creator and God and Savior forever!

Amen!

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2023 Turkey Chicks – Update III

After our previous update, we thought we’d give what we expect is a final update this 2023 of the new turkeys the Lord has graciously granted.

Sadly, a few have died or gone missing, but there are still quite a few of them here.

And here’s their video:

Again, we are grateful to God for His provisions, and we pray for continued health and safety of them, and guidance in their use!

— David

Garden – 2023

After the Lord graciously granted an abundance of zucchini a few years ago, I thought maybe from now on we’d focus on just one type of vegetable a year that we know works well around here. I thought this year we’d try okra.

And then, with the doggies we found by a local creek still with us and spending some of their day time in our Garden 2, which they’ve sort of just torn apart (although they are keeping the weeds down! 🙂 ), we planted okra in Garden 1.

I dug out the mulch in the garden to make trenches, pushed the okra seeds into the soil (you have to do that or they won’t germinate, at least that’s what I’ve found) a few inches from the last seed, and then I covered them with compost.

And by God’s graciousness, here they are early August. We had a bad drought again this year (although not as long as last year), but very high temperatures, so there was a lot of hand watering done:

Okra 2023
Okra 2023

And here are our first okra gathered. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve watered and cut okra is to wear gloves, because the okra oil or something makes the skin severely itch (wow, it’s itchy!):

First Okra Picked in 2023

And then here they are now:

Okra 2023
Okra 2023

Sue’s been preserving them in cheap apple cider vinegar in quart jars, and here’s where that stands with jar count. I have to harvest twice a day or they have the potential to get too big, and then they’re too fibrous and un-eatable:

Okra Preserved in Apple Cider Vinegar

We are thankful to the Lord for what He has granted so far — true miracles of Providence!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2023 Turkey Chicks – Update II

Continuing on from our last blog post, the Lord has continued to grant more turkey chicks this 2023, and we’re very thankful! He has, however, decided to reclaim quite a few of the young ones, which we document in the video. I don’t know what was going on…maybe being stepped on by bigger ones, which is maybe the most likely scenario…I don’t think it was sickness, but could have been.

Anyway, here’s the video of the next part of this 2023 turkey chick journey…

Again, we are indeed grateful to God for His continued provisions of the new turkey chicks!

— David

Marriage Marker: The Score After a Score

…Or in other words, The “Story” after “20 Years” 😀

20 years ago, God granted me to be able to have Sue as my wife. I mentioned it at 15 years, and it’s been even more confirmed over the last 5, but besides having been given God-fearing parents, she is the best temporal gift I’ve received from Him. I am blessed to have been given a godly, God-fearing wife.

And since this is my blog post, I get to highlight her, even though she’ll be embarrassed. 😀

Why do I say she’s godly? Because the Bible describes her:

Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-6:

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

(No, she doesn’t call me “lord”, but she does sometimes reply “Yes sir” when I ask her to do something, something I have not asked her to do. )

1 Timothy 2:9-10:

9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Corinthians 11:5 – “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

— and she endeavors to keep the whole day, as it states —

…all which show obedience to God, and God says:

1 John 2:3-5:

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

and

1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

and

John 14:21 – “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

And then there is this:

James 1:27 – “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Sue has been literally fulfilling this on and off for a year and a half or more with an elderly lady who has had no one else, who lives quite a few miles outside of town the opposite direction from us. May the Lord reward her for her faithfulness and service to Him in helping her.

Also, this is Sue:

  • She is the most considerate person I know
  • She is almost always cheerful
  • Life in the temporals out here is quite difficult, and she almost never complains

And after all those characteristics, Sue would be the first to attribute them all only to God’s gift of graces to her.

While not absolutely perfect yet, she’s perfect for me — a help meet made for me (Gen 2:18). I try to make sure to thank the Lord for her every day. She is truly a “good gift” and “perfect gift” “from above” that has come “down from the Father of lights”.

And I try to make sure to pray for her every day. I’ve asked God if I could have one request, beyond that He glorify Himself through us, it would be that He would grant Sue His eternal presence one day and that He would guide me to guide her to that end. I believe this is the best thing I could ever hope for her and the best thing to be used for with her.

God has also granted we be of like mind, especially in the things of Him, including endeavoring to make Him the center of our household.

Even on our wedding day, we tried to focus much on Him. Our theme verse was that James 1:17 verse in the image above, and the following picture is from the video, so it’s a little grainy, but this is the “gift” table, where we had gifts of Bibles and AW Pink’s “The Attributes of God” for our guests to take. Most of all of them were gone by the end. We pray the Lord used or would even today use them to the benefit of those who took them:

The Lord in His wisdom never granted us children. We don’t know why for sure (we can certainly imagine and understand as chastisements for sins past), but interestingly, we were asked on our wedding day after the ceremony what we would say to them. Here’s our answer, which I believe we would still say today:

Finally, I thought we’d share with you a few moments from the ceremony: Besides the Bibles and books, we wanted to try to make sure to share the gospel message with our guests. The following is a video of that part, and the text is included here, below the video. I’d probably say a few things a little differently now, but it still seems to bring forth the gospel message.

We pray even now that maybe God has or would water that seed planted 20 years ago to bring someone to Him, or that He might do so now to a reader or watcher/listener:

Before we begin the actual joining of these two in holy matrimony, Sue and Dave asked if I would share some things that they would like said from them to you ….. which is this:

It really is beautiful here – the flowers and all of their colors and aromas, the trees and their shade – the beauty of creation.  Or the stars at night – the infinite number of shimmering lights in the sky.  Such beauty; such magnitude; such magnificence.  One could wonder how all of this could have happened; perhaps that even God does exist to have all of this and the universe about us.  Well, Sue and Dave would like to suggest that indeed God did create these wonders – a gracious, loving, perfect and holy God.  How great are the works of His creation!

But amidst all of this beauty and splendor, there is a problem.  Back a long time ago imperfection entered the creation through the rebellion of His creation, namely man.  And unfortunately, this rebellion has carried through to man today.  No doubt we can all imagine that somewhere along our lives we have done something wrong – a little lie, some unnecessary anger.  We all have sinned at some point, which is disobedience to God.  But, you see, God is a holy and perfect God of whom there could be no disobedience allowed because of His perfection and holiness.  And sadly, disobedience demands judgment and condemnation from a perfect God.  And someday, there will be an eternal judgment.

And possibly about now you might be asking, Sue and Dave, why on this joyous occasion are you talking about eternal judgment and condemnation?  Ah, but, you see, that’s not the end of the story.  It doesn’t have to end there.  And this is where there is great joy and great hope!  God sent His Son Jesus, who was and is also perfect, to take the punishment that is due us – He died on a Roman cross as that punishment!  We don’t have to face God one day because of our sin!  We can be free from that judgment forever — truly an eternal joy!  But only Jesus, being perfect where we are not, is the one who takes that place for us in front of God — we must realize that He is the only One who can do that.  And why it’s appropriate today is that, while what we have around us here today in nature is only temporary, the Bible likens eternity with God free from judgment as a great wedding feast, where Jesus is the groom and those saved are His bride!  Certainly a joyous and wonderful occasion!

So, Sue and Dave would like to call you to that – that you ask Jesus to give you an understanding of these things and the desire to turn from sin.  That as you celebrate with them today, and experience the beauty of this place, that you would also ponder on these eternal things as well.

Let’s pray for a moment, if you would please.  Father, we ask that you would speak to each of our hearts today as we celebrate something here in the temporal world that foreshadows the great eternal celebration with you.  We ask that you would reveal who you are to each of us, that we all would see you in your creation, that you would give us the gifts of belief, faith and repentance.  We thank you for your graces and mercies, and we ask those for each of us here as well.  We thank you again, and pray these things  for the glory of your name.  Amen.

May we always be thankful, and may God always glorify Himself through us in some way. We’re thankful for the time He has graciously granted us together so far! 😀

— David

« Older posts Newer posts »