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.

Category: light

David’s Digest: Living in the Darkness

At the fall, all men — Adam and his progeny — were brought into darkness — complete spiritual darkness due to a loss of the spiritual Light of God, which results in complete blindness to spiritual things:

John 1:5 – “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Men are blind to the light of nature that points to God (it does nothing salvific in their lives); and they are blind to Christ, the Light of the world (for some, this is blindness to who He truly is and what He truly did, even if they have a claimed knowledge of Him!). A soul that is not born-again cannot see the kingdom of God:

John 3:3 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

which is here now:

Matt 3:1-2 – “1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

and

Mark 1:14-15 – “14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

The noted Puritan commentator, Dr. John Gill, says this about the kingdom of God in these verses:

for the kingdom of heaven is at hand: by which is meant not the kingdom of glory to be expected in another world; or the kingdom of grace, that is internal grace, which only believers are partakers of in this; but the kingdom of the Messiah, which was “at hand”, just ready to appear, when he would be made manifest in Israel and enter upon his work and office: it is the Gospel dispensation which was about to take place, and is so called; because of the wise and orderly management of it under Christ, the king and head of his church by the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; whereby, as means, spiritual and internal grace would be communicated to many, in whose hearts it would reign and make them meet for the kingdom of glory; and because the whole economy of the Gospel, the doctrines and ordinances of it are from heaven. This phrase, “the kingdom of heaven” is often to be met with in Jewish writings; and sometimes it stands opposed to the “kingdom of the earth”; by it is often meant the worship, service, fear, and love of God, and faith in him: thus in one of their books having mentioned those words, “serve the Lord with fear”: it is asked, what means this phrase, “with fear?” It is answered, the same as it is written, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; and this is “the kingdom of heaven”.

Here is what he says about seeing the kingdom of God:

And by this phrase our Lord signifies, that no man, either as a man, or as a son of Abraham, or as a proselyte to the Jewish religion, can have any true knowledge of, or right unto, the enjoyment of the kingdom of God, unless he is born again; or regenerated, and quickened by the Spirit of God; renewed in the spirit of his mind; has Christ formed in his heart; becomes a partaker of the divine nature; and in all respects a new creature; and an other in heart, in principle, in practice, and conversation; or unless he be “born from above”, as the word is rendered in John 3:31; that is, by a supernatural power, having the heavenly image stamped on him; and being called with an heavenly calling, even with the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: if this is not the case, a man can have no true knowledge of the kingdom of the Messiah, which is not a temporal and carnal one; it is not of this world, nor does it come with observation; nor can he have any right to the ordinances of it, which are of a spiritual nature; and much less can he be thought to have any true notions, or to be possessed of the kingdom of grace, which lies in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; or to have either a meetness for, or a right unto the kingdom of glory

Besides God’s kingdom, as Dr. Gill noted, there is the kingdom of this world, over which Satan has rule as prince:

Eph 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

Again, Dr. Gill:

according to the prince of the power of the air: which is not to be understood of any supposed power the devil has over the air, by divine permission, to raise winds, but of a posse, or body of devils, who have their residence in the air; for it was not only the notion of the Jews, that there are noxious and accusing spirits, who fly about “in the air” and that there is no space between the earth and the firmament free, and that the whole is full of a multitude of them; but also it was the opinion of the Chaldeans, and of Pythagoras, and Plato, that the air is full of demons: now there is a prince who is at the head of these, called Beelzebub, the prince of devils, or the lord of a fly, for the devils under him are as so many flies in the air, Mt 12:24 and by the Jews called “the prince of spirits”; and is here styled, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; by which spirit is meant, not the lesser devils that are under the prince, nor the spirit of the world which comes from him, and is not of God; but Satan himself, who is a spirit, and an evil, and an unclean one; and who operates powerfully in unbelievers, for they are meant by children of disobedience, or unbelief; just as “children of faith” in the Jewish dialect, designs believers; and over these Satan has great influence, especially the reprobate part of them; whose minds he blinds, and whose hearts he fills, and puts it into them to do the worst of crimes; and indeed, he has great power over the elect themselves, while in unbelief, and leads them captive at his will; and these may be said in their unregeneracy to walk after him, when they imitate him, and do his lusts, and comply with what he suggests, dictates to them, or tempts them to.

With the world full of darkness, ruled by Satan, and given that the darkness cannot comprehend the light, it stands to reason that, if you live as part of the world, by its rudiments (Col 2:8 — its economic, political, social, religious systems and principles, etc.), you have surrounded yourself with a barrier of spiritual darkness that hedges AGAINST the Light of the Gospel. You live in a situation where everything around and that has influence on your life RESISTS spiritual Light.

Is that the best for a person who claims the name of Christ? Or perhaps, if you see no problem living as part of a world that is darkness, surrounded and affected by that darkness, then perhaps you are part of that darkness.

Of course, every person is in darkness until God, by His own sovereign will, shines His Light and pushes out the darkness of one’s heart, as the sun does to the darkness of the night every morning; but if the Light is shining, does that mean you plant your garden in a box with no windows?

And so, where can a clearer, less obstructed view of the Light be found? Christ is the Light…

John 8:12 – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

…the Church is the body of Christ…

1 Cor 10:16-17 – “16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

and

Rom 12:5 – “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

…thus the Bible says that the Church is the light of the world, which is as the moon that reflects the light of the sun onto the earth:

Phil 2:15 – “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world

I submit to you that the proper way a Christian should live is:

  1. separated from the world and its darkness with the world being your provider
  2. separated to living life with the body of Christ, in daily fellowship, under the direct provision of God to supply your needs (Him providing rain, Him providing the increase of plant and animal food, etc.)

This isn’t something you do once or twice a week: it requires the entirety of your life. You need to be AWAY from the DARKNESS and WITH the LIGHT.

I have found this to be true. By living separated from the world in Christian community, I have come to a greater knowledge and understanding of the darkness in my life and heart — my sin and lack of love toward God and the brethren, what it means to love and trust God and to love the brethren (Matt 22:36-40), who Christ is and what it means to be a part of His body, my lack of meekness and humility, and many other areas of spiritual Light. I submit to you that unless you do that, the best you’ll have in your Christian walk is living an unfruitful life; the worst you’ll have is that you never realize that you are actually lost (2 Cor 13:5).

The darkness DOES NOT comprehend the light. And so, by the way you live, how is your comprehension of the Light?

— David

Homemade Fat Lamp – Update I

After being able to fashion a homemade fat lamp with a wick consisting of one rope of a cotton mop head, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could form a wick holder that would hold multiple rope strands so that the wick would be more similar in width to a common lamp wick, and thus produce more light.

And here is my attempt to do just that. I bent a single, elongated loop to surround the rope strands:


Well, it appeared to work pretty well, and produces quite a bit more light!


With the extra light comes extra heat, so I tied a cord around the mouth of the jar; and now it functions as a lantern:

We thank the Lord once again for granting resources and provisions to continue to learn the old paths, may He increase His light within us daily, and may we shine brightly His light to the world.

— David

Homemade Fat Lamp

In doing a little more research on fat lamps, I decided to try making one myself using baling wire and a mason jar. Basically, the wire would be coiled and shaped so as to hold the wick (a mop head string), and a handle would be included to be able to pull out the wick and wick holder. Here’s how I did it:

I wrapped the wire around a pencil. For the mop string we had though, the coil ended up too large; and so, I bent the coils to make them smaller:

This is the completed wick holder:

And here it is with the lard-saturated wick in place:

This is the wick holder and the wick now in the jar. Before I placed them in, I put several table spoons of lard into the jar and mashed them with the spoon to flatten them out:

Finally, here the lamp is lit:

Thankfully, the wick holder handle doesn’t seem to get hot when using the fat lamp.

We again are grateful for the Lord’s provisions; for Christ Jesus, the Light of the world, the Light of life (John 8:12); and for His Word, a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our paths (Psalms 119:105)!

— David

On the Road to Agrarianism I Got a Fat Fire

In continuing on a path to the old ways, we are hoping to lessen our reliance upon electricity, which for us right now includes producing light. Typically in the old days light was generated by burning oil (Lev 24:2; Ex 39:37). Interestingly, one of the oils people would use was lard from animals. We have the rendered fat from our pigs that have been butchered; and so, I thought it might be interesting to see if using the lard might work for us.

I discovered that there are things that exist called “fat lamps”, and so I purchased one from over the Internet that was a double, hanging lamp. These don’t have a wick, but apparently a strings from a mop head can be used, a couple of which the Bunkers gave me. I put a large tablespoon worth of lard in the little “pan” of the lamp, took a mop string and put it in the lard so that it would be completely covered (the lard needs to be melted just enough to do this), put the lard-coated wick in the spout of the lamp, and lit it. It worked!…sort of — it had a very small flame. I found that if I positioned the wick to stick up in the air a little like a candle, it worked much better. The lard melted as the wick burned; the wick became saturated; and with as much lard as we used, the flame lasted for about three hours.

Here are some pictures of it in action:


Here it is, set in its hanging partner lamp:

After the first test where all of the lard was used, I wanted to see if by just adding more lard the lamp would continue to work. And so, I took another bit of lard and put it in the lamp, trimmed the wick and repositioned it, and then lit it. It was soaked enough with the previous lard that it worked fine; and then as the new lard melted, the lamp continued to burn.

Here it is re-lit, and at night with the electric lights off:

We are thankful for the Lord showing us ways to do things that are fashioned from His direct provisions.

— David