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.

Category: worldview (Page 2 of 3)

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.


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.


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

David’s Digest: Quick Quiz

Quick quiz:

Who invented Agrarianism?

Answer: God

Before the fall: Gen 2:15 – “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

After the fall: Gen 3:19,23 – “19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Who invented Industrialism?

Answer: Man

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

Prov 4:23 – “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Prov 14:12 – “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Agrarianism or Industrialism: it’s God’s way or the highway.

— David

Our First Fellowship Betrothal

Well, it has been a few years since several of us started living here on the land. When we first got here, all of the children were just that — children. But, after five years, as you would imagine, that’s not exactly the case for all of them any more. In fact, one of our young misses just recently became betrothed — our first betrothal on the land!

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “betroth” as the following:

BETROTH’, v.t. [be and troth, truth, faith. See Truth, and Troth.]

1. To contract to any one, in order to a future marriage; to promise or pledge one to be the future spouse of another; to affiance; used of either sex. “The father betroths his daughter.’

2. To contract with one for a future spouse; to espouse; as, a man betroths a lady.

“Betrothed?” you might ask? Yes, betrothed. The ideas of “romantic love” and engagement, or even “courting,” are foreign to the Bible; not that there can’t be romance, but it is not the main driver or motivator behind relationships; and in fact, betrothal is what is prescribed in the Bible. Why might it be important to have betrothals instead of typical engagements? First, the Bible prescribes it as the only pre-marriage methodology; and second, it was set up as a picture or “type” of the relationship between Christ and His bride-to-be. In this current reality of time, Christ’s chosen bride, the elect from the foundation of the world, is not married to Christ yet — that happens at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-9). His chosen is betrothed, or espoused, as expressed in 2 Cor 11:2 – “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” God instituted the “type” of betrothal to show the unbreakable bond of His chosen bride to Himself based on His volitional, self-sacrificing, and unconditional agápe love.

Betrothal of Mark Contra and Tracy Bunker

With Mr. Bunker, Miss Bunker’s father, making the original offer to Mr. Contra, and with Mr. Contra accepting, Mr. Bunker and Mr. Mark Contra formed the contract for Mr. Contra to marry Miss Bunker, with various other agreements between Mr. Bunker and Mr. Contra. Although not absolutely necessary, since an older and hopefully wiser parent, with God’s help, should be able to determine which man would be good for a daughter to marry, Mr. Bunker did first allow for Miss Bunker’s approval of the gentleman in question; and she did approve. 🙂

And so without further ado, here are some moments from Mr. Contra’s and Miss Bunker’s betrothal party:

Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Mr. Contra and Miss Bunker:

Mark and Tracy at Their Betrothal Party

Supper time:

Supper Time at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

And don’t forget the desserts!

Desserts at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Here are a few more pictures of the fellowship time, starting with the new couple:

Mark and Tracy Around the Supper Table at Their Betrothal Party
Fellowship Around Supper Table at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party
More Fellowship Around Supper Table at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Here are some sights and sounds:

And some more, including Mr. Bunker’s discussion about the betrothal ceremony and some important parts of the ceremony itself (please forgive the quality of the video as our camera doesn’t film well at night):

We are thankful here on the land to be able to be a part of a couple joining in the way the Bible prescribes. We pray for many more, as the Lord wills, and that He continue to grant us understanding of His revealed will as described in the Bible.

— David

Susan’s Musin’s – Journey Out of False Security

I’ve always been a “what if” person. Wayyyyy back in elementary school, the sixth graders got to go to a week long science/nature camp. And when I was in the second grade, I cried to my mom, “I’ll be too scared to go and leave you for a whole week; I can’t do it!” My mom, bless her heart, had to calm me down and remind me I was only in the second grade and didn’t have to worry about it right then. Well, when I finally got to the sixth grade, I had a non-conformist teacher; and our class got to camp on the beach for a week and study the California Indians; and my mom was able to go as a chaperon. My “worst fear” never materialized. Later on as a senior in high school, I was asked to be a camp counselor to the sixth grade girls at that same science camp; so I got to go after all and made it just fine 🙂

I share that little story to tell you that I have always been that way, even into my adulthood and marriage, even more so because the “what ifs” seemed bigger when I got out on my own. The ultimate (so far) was when Dave and I decided to leave our corporate jobs and families in California and move here to Texas where there were mostly unknowns. (And Texas was one BIG science camp to me with all kinds of bugs, pests, snakes, tornadoes, etc.) Most everything was being taken out from my control, which, looking back so far, has been the best thing that could have happened to me. If you have read our early blog posts, you will know that God had been teaching us from His word about His sovereignty and lovingly growing our faith to be able to make the decision to trust Him and leave everything that we considered “secure” in order to be obedient to how He calls us to live in separation from the world as His children. (2 Cor. 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11-12; Rev. 18)

As I have learned more about type and shadow in the Bible, I see that physical Israel in the Old Testament is the type of spiritual Israel today. I am very encouraged whenever I think of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years and all of the miracles God performed (ie: daily manna from heaven (Exodus 16), water from rocks (Exodus 17:1-6), their clothing and shoes never wore out (Deut. 8:1-4), etc.) We’re talking hundreds of thousands of men, women and children with all of their livestock; and God provided for their needs in the desert where there was nothing but His direct provision to sustain them. He provided shade by day and a pillar of light at night (Exodus 13:21,22). God had given them faith enough to step out and leave Egypt in obedience to His command, and He took care of the rest. However, it was because of taking their eyes off of God and His direct protection and provision that they were made to wander in the desert those 40 years before being allowed to enter Canaan (a type of heaven). And only the very few of the original Israelites that had truly and consistently trusted God were permitted to enter Canaan (Numbers 14:30; 32:12). The rest perished in their sin in the desert. The Israelites complained and longed to go back to Egypt because they had grown used to looking to Egypt to supply their needs (Exodus 16:3). Even though they were in bondage to Egypt they looked to it for security and material things instead of looking to God. I believe this is the situation most professing Christians are in today when they look to the world’s systems for sustenance (food, water, protection, care, etc.), but the Bible states this is not what God has commanded for His children to do.

Over the last five years of living here, I have been very tempted to look back to Egypt for my security, but God has taught me in His long-suffering and proven time and time again that He is the one who is in control regardless of the circumstance. As most of you know, we live off grid here and are increasingly learning to look to God for His direct, and I mean direct, provisions. God provides the rain for our water, our food from the ground, and our meat. During bad thunderstorms, tornadoes and in all the seasons, God reminds me in His word that it is He who is in control of the weather patterns and every single strike of lightning (Texas T-storms put the fear of God in me every time). I have also learned that every heart beat is a gift from God and all my days are in His hand and have been foreordained (Psalms 139:16). He also promises rebuke, chastisement and persecution to His children (Hebrews 12) to grow them into maturity; and I am to be perfectly content with only food and raiment (1 Tim. 6:8); so, ultimately, my job is to be obedient and trust in God completely, knowing that He knows what is best for me as His child. So whatever comes my way, it is for my good; and I can have peace in that.

I now look back to the “Egypt” from which God has called us to separate as His children, and the “what-ifs” are much scarier to me now if I think of returning to “Egypt” and trusting in man and its systems rather than God.

Our community has been going through the book of Isaiah recently, and I have been soberly struck by the number of verses in Isaiah and Psalms that talk about trusting in Egypt (the world and its systems) vs. God:

Isaiah 30:1-3: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth: to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.”

Isaiah 31:1: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!”

Isaiah 31:3: “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.”

Psalm 20:7-8: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.”

Psalm 118:8-9: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”

In my firsthand experience of living in the world and depending on its systems for my security, and now living outside the world’s systems in direct dependence upon God for my sustenance, I believe it has become almost impossible in our time to stay in the world and walk hand in hand with it everyday and not be taken into its trust and look to it for security (ie: grocery stores, city water, grid electricity, health care, money, etc.) and thereby not to the God of Israel who is the same yesterday, today and forever. And if I ask myself in which situation God glorifies Himself more, and in which situation my faith is grown more, and where I am drawn closer to God, there is no question. My job is to be obedient to how God has commanded me to live, and He will handle the rest. I pray the Lord continue to turn my face towards Him alone and trust in Him completely.


David’s Digest: Walmart-Jireh

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word “provider” in the following way:

PROVI’DER, n. One who provides, furnishes or supplies; one that procures what is wanted.

I’d like to ask a few questions:

Who or what is the provider of our water? If we pay to get our water piped into our house, the company that does that is our provider.

Who or what is the provider of our food? If we go to a grocery store, the grocery store is (along with every part of the chain involved in getting it there).

Who or what is the provider of our clothing? If you get it from a retail store, the store and the manufacturers are.

I could go on; but if we’re paying someone or some entity for us to have the necessities of life, then by the definition above, they are our provider.

If we’ve placed a middle man between us and God’s direct provisions, then in reality we no longer look to God for His providence — we look to the middle man. Don’t believe that? In a town, if our water stopped flowing from the faucet in our house, what would we do? We’d call the water company — our water provider. If we would starve without the nearest grocery store having food to buy, then it is our provider.

To whom we look for your life provisions, they are our provider.

Gen 22:13-14 – “13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [the Lord will see/provide]: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (see John Gill’s commentary on vs. 14)

God provided the ram for the sacrifice, and we are to look to Him alone as our provider.

Spiritual Provisions

God providing temporily is really a “type” of His spiritual provisions (we eat bread — He is the bread of life (John 6:35); we drink water — He gives the water of life (John 4:14); etc.) In the same way God provided the ram above (also as a type), He provided a Sacrifice, a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for His people; and we are to look to Him alone for salvation.

Further, God is the only source for all other spiritual provisions, such as spiritual graces, as the heart of man is desperately wicked; and everyone is dead in their sins until God, by His own sovereign will, graces and mercies, breathes new life into them. Did we conjure up our own free-will faith to believe in God, and that’s why He saved us? Then we were the provider of our faith (and thus our salvation?!) Do we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, have “power thoughts” for courage and strength, and declare we’re going to be meek and humble and not let the things of life get us down? Then we are the provider of our Christian graces.

The Bible says otherwise, and prevents any man from boasting of providing his own faith and spiritual graces.

And so, in the end, who is our provider?

— David

Cheese Waxing

Our neighbor mentioned one day that the local market was having a great sale on cheddar cheese. Dave suggested we buy several pounds to take advantage of the price. I include cheese in many of our meals but not enough to consume that much before it would start to go bad. Then during one of our church get-togethers, another neighbor mentioned that you can preserve cheese in wax. I had seen wax-covered cheese in the deli’s and grocery stores all my life but had never thought much about it. I thought it was a marketing gimmick or something.

We decided to buy a five pound block of red cheese wax from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, and it arrived in just a few days:

The instructions called for a double-boiler in order to not burn the wax, so I dutifully went out and bought one. That was my first mistake. They said you should have dedicated utensils and containers because working with wax pretty much ruins them for other uses. I then asked myself, “What was I thinking. Why would I want to ruin a brand new double boiler for this use??!” I decided to keep the double boiler because I didn’t have one and it is an integral component of good kitchen utensils. So I ended up putting water in the bottom of the double boiler and setting in it an old stainless steel bowl which ended up working just as well. I hope to find a used large saucepan at a thrift store in which to put the steel bowl for a makeshift double boiler in any future cheese waxing:

I cut a small block of wax off of the large block and placed it in the bowl to start melting:

It really didn’t take long for the wax to melt at a low heat:

At first I tried using tongs to hold the cheese as I dipped it, but that seemed to be a bit slippery, and the cheese ended up being dropped. Also, we had purchased a cheese wax brush to dip and brush the wax onto the cheese. That was my second mistake. The brush proved to be pretty useless because it didn’t provide for a thorough coating, and the process was very time consuming. Dave suggested perhaps cutting the cheese (alright, enough snickering) into smaller sizes and dipping them in half at a time with clean hands, letting that dry, and then dipping the remaining half. That seemed to work really well:

The instructions called for two to three coats of wax, but since this was my first time, I wanted to coat them really well; so I ended up dipping them about four times. It took only seconds between each dipping for the coating to dry:

Here is the final product ready to be stored for several months!

We figured in storing the cheese it would be best to keep it as far away as possible from any potential mice, so we purchased a few inexpensive hanging baskets and hung them containing the cheese in our root cellar:

I have used a few blocks of the cheese so far, and the wax has proven to work beautifully. It comes off very easily and can be washed, melted and re-used. I highly recommend this method of cheese preservation and thank God for His continued provisions.


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 neighbors 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

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