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 3 of 3)

Providence’s Providential Provisions: Wild Hogs

Again, one of the reasons we moved out here was to try to remove ourselves from dependency upon the world and its systems and place ourselves directly under God’s providence. Well, as I mentioned with water, the Lord’s faithfulness continues to be shown.

An acquaintance of one of the men on the land here informed us that he had been catching wild hogs, and quite a few of them. This being brought to Michael’s attention, he thought it would be of great benefit to the community to take advantage of this gift of meat from God. And so, he put together a plan, which involved building a pen to hold them. We built the pen, bought the wild hogs for a very nominal fee, and began to raise them. The whole community has been involved and has benefited from this provision from the Lord. We have since been able to gather several more pigs the gentleman has captured.

However, with this has brought the processing of the pigs from the very beginning to end, which for Sue and I has involved a new venture for us in the realm of farming: slaughtering and butchering. For me personally, this has been interesting, given what I said in a previous David’s Digest; however, as we continue to progress into more proper, biblical perspectives, the Lord has shown us that He has granted us dominion over these animals and has provided them as food.

And so, it had come time to do what needed to be done. Here are some pictures (for those that aren’t used to seeing this process, it may be a little discomforting).

Here are several after being shot in the head with a .22 caliber rifle (meaning they were basically instantly dead) and their throats being cut to bleed them out:

And then the butchering began:






In reality, it wasn’t too bad. And for me, once you get the skin off, it really just starts to look like meat from the store. Also, now after participating in this process several times, it is not as shocking as it was at first.

Preserving

Typically with our pigs in the past, we would simply can the meat in all of its various forms (bacon, sausage, chops, etc.) after getting it back from the meat processing place. This time though, in hoping to continue our education in the old paths, which includes reducing our dependency on the world for its canning supplies, I wanted to take one section of the meat obtained from one of the pigs, and dry cure it by hand. And so, Michael gave us a recipe, which started by rubbing the meat all over with a mixture of salt, sugar and salt petre, followed by covering it with a cloth and storing it in the root cellar for a week, after which time the container is cleaned and the rub-down step is repeated. This sits in the root cellar for 1 week per inch of meat thickness. After that, it is washed and soaked for an hour in cold water, is drip dried, and then it sits in the container for 2 weeks to “equalize” the meat, which helps permeate the curing mixture throughout it. And then technically that’s it; it’s ready to be cooked to eat, and should stay preserved in the root cellar for some time. Here is a picture of the ham with the dry cure mixture on it:

Before final storage, Sue “painted” on a flavoring mixture of brown sugar, honey, pepper and salt petre, and we hung it in the root cellar for future use:


We pray the Lord continue to teach us His ways and grant us His continued provisions, in accordance with His will. And we are most grateful to Him for both.

— David

Air It Out

In trying to continue to get away from dependency on the world, we have looked into preserving food without canning or freezing. One of the methods for doing this with fruits and vegetables is drying. There are food dehydrators available for purchase, some electric, some solar; but it seemed to me this would probably be pretty easy to construct. And so I searched for plans on the Internet and settled on these solar food dehydrator plans, partially because the design was very specifically laid out (which I need), and also because it appeared to be the most compact for the process behind the drying and still large enough to be able to dry quite a bit of food.

Here are some pictures of ours as I built it:




I decided to use 1″ wood screws and 2″ coarse drywall screws for most of it, and 1 5/8″ deck screws for the legs. I found that a 1/8″ pilot hole worked best with the 1x2s.

On the top I didn’t use a miter joint on the ends; I simply used butted joints and alternated them for the vertical vs. the horizontal frames. Also, for strength and longevity, I decided to use .93 plexiglas instead of 4-6 mil clear plastic sheeting. I tried to find a 48″ x 48″ piece but couldn’t; and so I thought I would use two 24″ x 48″ pieces with a support in the middle, but the store I was at was out of them. I went to another store, and they didn’t have 24″ x 48″ pieces; and so, I had to buy 30″ x 60″ pieces and a scoring tool. However, that was good because the distance from edge to edge of the top was for me 49 7/8″ (which means the other sizes would have been too small); and so, I was able to cut each piece to fit very nicely. Before I did that though and because of the extra plexiglas I had, I was able to practice scoring and drilling the plexiglas so as to not crack it when setting the real pieces in place. This was good because my first attempts did not work well. After practice though, I was able to get the hang of scoring and drilling, which worked pretty well on the final product:

I learned a few things with plexiglas: the scoring tool would cut into my 4′ level when using it to guide my scoring, and so I switched to a straight piece of wood; I would score only a few times with the wood guide in place and then would do it free hand as I was able to apply much more pressure causing the scoring process to be finished quicker; and I found that quick speed and light pressure was the best way to drill a hole. Also, the drilled hole should be at least the full diameter of the screw so the screw doesn’t put pressure on the hole, which I believe can cause the plexiglas to crack.

After the dryer was completed, I let it sit in the sun with the top off for a couple of days before putting food on the trays to allow the paint to bake in so the fumes would be hopefully removed.

Here is some food drying in it:

I added casters (swivel wheels) on the bottom of the legs to make it easier to move, and also added some handles which I attached to the sides where the inside food frame supports where located so that the handles would be more firmly secured and the handles’ screws wouldn’t be poking through the plywood siding:

And here are the banana and apple results. Quite tasty!

At this point they can be bagged and stored in the root cellar, and should last for some time.

We thank the Lord for His provisions in being able to make this food dryer, and for His provisions in creation to allow us to preserve in this way the food He grants us.

— David

The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind


Dave and I lived in a cottage behind our landlady’s house before we moved to Texas. We weren’t able to have a washer and dryer in the cottage so we had a standing laundry mat “date” every other week to get it all done at once. I very much liked the fact that you could get all of your laundry washed and dried in a matter of two hours once every other week!

For many reasons, our ultimate goal here in Texas is for me to be able to hand wash and line dry all of our laundry. Setting up a homestead has been more demanding than we could have imagined and hand washing/drying the laundry has been pushed down on the list of priorities many times. It has been too easy to bring the bag of quarters into the laundry mat and take care of everything the automatic way. My mother-in-law had given me a wonderful outdoor clothes line before we moved, and it has been patiently waiting to be utilized. We were waiting to move onto our own land to set it up; but now that I didn’t have that excuse anymore (by about 10 months), we figured I could at least be drying most of our laundry. So Dave set up the line several weeks ago, and I am sorry I didn’t start it sooner! Thank you, Mom Sifford, for your gracious gift and foresight in knowing how critical this would be to our homestead life!!

We are now very familiar with the variable and strong winds here in Texas, so we knew the base of the clothes line had to be extremely secure. Thusly, Dave made two round metal forms and poured concrete into them to create a two-level anchor base and dug a hole to place it in the ground so as to make it portable if we need to relocate it.

The clothes line opens up very nicely when I’m ready to use it:

and then closes back up when I’m finished with it!

Surprisingly, I have really enjoyed the experience of being outside hanging the laundry surrounded by the peace on the land and fresh air, etc., rather than being in a hot, muggy laundry mat. I realize come winter that it may not be as enjoyable, but we didn’t choose this lifestyle for the sake of comfort and convenience: it was out of obedience to God and His Word, so there is joy and peace in any homesteading chore with that being the case.

I am currently researching wash tubs and wringers to start washing much of our laundry here on the land. Thanks again, Mom Sifford!

Susan

David’s Digest: Tugging Out the Heartstrings

When I was young, our family would vacation in a cabin that was sort of in the woods but about one half to a mile inland off the coast in northern California. It was the closest to God’s creation we had been, coming from the big city; and we all liked it very much.

My brother and I had wrist rockets, which are glorified sling shots; and we would try to hit things with rocks. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to try to shoot at live things; and many times I tried.

Well, one day the rock I used hit its mark, and over the branch the little bird went. Success!! I told my dad, and he graciously went hacking through the shrubbery that was in the way of getting my prize, including through poison oak, to which he is susceptible. He was able to retrieve the bird, and he handed me my trophy.

There I held it in my tiny hands, it looking very small even there. I had hit it right upside the head in the eye. I looked at the little, lifeless bird, the life which I had taken of it, and was devastated. I felt so badly for what I had done; and I did the only thing I knew to do, and that was dig a little, round grave; bury it; border it with small rocks; and make and place a cross at the top.

Now, as a child of Adam, born with a desperately wicked heart (Jer 17:9), soon after in life that kind of sentiment didn’t last long, and I was then shooting at live things again for “fun” (but that’s a whole different area of discussion). Obviously though, this moment with the little bird left something of a lasting impression, because I still remember it pretty clearly today, and that was probably 30-35 years ago.

We had pets as we grew up in life, and I always at least felt some sort of very sentimental attachment to them. However, it wasn’t until we moved out here into the country surrounded by animals, domestic and wild, that I didn’t get to have revealed to me an area of sin in my life in relation to them.

When you’re around lots of creation all of the time, like we are out here, you eventually face the inevitable about all living things: death. I have discovered that I don’t like death; I like life. I like to watch all of the living, crawling things do what they were created to do. I like watching their behaviors so I can learn about God and His ways. Life in this temporal time reminds me of the eternal life found only in Christ Jesus. And in what we have learned over the past several years, death reminds me of sin (as it should). But often a “like” for something can turn inordinate; and when it becomes that, it has turned into idolatry; and if I’m doing that, I have then become an idolater, and thusly a person whom as Christians we should patently know God is against.

When we moved here, we brought with us our two pet rabbits and two pet fish. Since, they have all died; but the first rabbit did so very suddenly. I “took it very hard”, which means I was way overly emotional about it. Also, I relayed in my last “Digest” my reaction to when Russell our rooster was killed. I believe some of my reaction was based on my over-affections for him. God though, in His graces and mercies, through these episodes and teachings, had begun to show me there was a definite problem with this perspective towards His creation; and He placed on my heart that I needed to start to view these things differently, and that I needed to begin to ask Him to help me have a proper perspective toward these things. And so, I did.

Over time now, I am thankful that God has graciously started to change my heart condition and my perspective in these areas. When we lost our last pet rabbit, the effect on me wasn’t nearly what it was before (although I probably should have put her down some time before she died, but that goes to show I still need more work). Also, we have been around the death of our chickens, chicks, piglets, a goat, etc., which has allowed me to practice keeping a proper perspective.

Further, we have been around the butchering of animals here, including chickens, a pig and a goat. At first, it was a little difficult to watch, but with a graciously granted change in perspective, I began to understand the reasons for this and that this is really God’s provisioning to us. Also, in analyzing all of this, I think I have a tendency to project myself onto the animal; and since I wouldn’t want to have my head chopped off or feel that pain, I didn’t want its head to be or it to feel pain. But in reality, that’s how we eat; and we try to kill the animal as quickly as possible. Interestingly too to me, once you get past the skinning and butchering process, you are left with what looks like the packaged item you would buy in the store, and it then seems a little more “normal.” We have all been sheltered from the difficulties in preparing our own food, which probably has fed society’s untempered love affair with animals.

In another way, God has continued to help change this area for me with what might be called the “critters” on the land that run around and kill our animals or eat our food. I have found that once the cute, little, fuzzy rabbit who was running around your land last year starts eating your vegetable garden this year, it’s not so cute anymore; and so, without remorse, I have sent several of them to the compost pile. I have learned that God has placed these things on earth for man. They are for our use (not abuse) and for us to have dominion over (Gen 1:28), and actually keeping this in mind has helped me when having to kill these animals.

I still have emotions when it comes to God’s creatures around us: I will be sad the day Gary is gone; many of the animals have personalities, which make them more endearing; there seems to be a trust that can develop that comes from an animal after caring for it over time, and butchering it almost seems like having to break that trust; I do feel badly after shooting animals because it still is difficult to take the life out of a living creature, one to which God had given life; I try not to step on ants inadvertently if they’re not doing something destructive; and other similar things; and these may still not be fully the way I should perceive them; but I do pray the Lord continue to move me to repentance from the way I idolized His creation into maintaining a proper view on it and practicing a proper life within its realms according to His order in it.

For more on God’s order for the world and especially His people, listen to these:

Order, Part 1
Order, Part 2
Order, Part 3
Order, Part 4
Order, Part 5

— David

 

In a Nutshell

A few months ago I was asked by a cousin I haven’t seen for probably 30 or so years, who had indirectly received our update emails, the following: “Wow! It seems like a huge undertaking that you are doing. What brought you to that decision? We heard that you live off the land and are kind of getting back to how life used to be. We would be interested in hearing all about it.”

“Wow!” back atcha! Explaining some 5 years of doctrinal, belief and worldview changes to someone unfamiliar with the whole process we had been through I thought was something of tall order. However, I tried; and so I post it here, in the hopes someone might benefit from this brief synopsis, which was my reply:

As far as what has brought us to come live this life, that’s something that happened over some time with changes to our doctrinal beliefs and worldview. For people who ask us this kind of question, or even when we’ve tried to explain things to family or friends as we’ve gone along, because they haven’t gone through the same studies, it makes it difficult for them to understand why we are doing what we are. But I’ll give it a shot. And so, several years ago the Lord led us to an understanding and belief in what are typically called the doctrines of grace, which talk much about God’s sovereignty, including over salvation itself (sometimes people call it Calvinism). This is in contrast to what we were brought up believing, which is the more commonly held belief of free-will salvation (also referred to as Arminianism). We came to believe these doctrines of grace to be true, and believing them led to us leaving our current church at the time as it didn’t hold to those beliefs. Through the process of learning about these doctrines, we came in contact with folks who believed them down in Texas. Over time we got to know those people generally over the Internet, and then through visits to Texas. Further over time, one of the beliefs we came to understand is the Bible’s call for Christians to separate themselves from the world and ungodliness unto Christ in Christian community. Through much study over yet more time, we began to believe that God’s prescribed way of living as described in His word (in how His people lived in the past and in most forms of teaching throughout the Bible, including the Lord Jesus’ parables) is an agrarian lifestyle. And so, as the world and its systems of functioning (which include dependence on it for all of our necessities, including food [grocery stores], clothing [department stores], electricity and water provided by the government, etc.) began to appear more ungodly to us, and since we believed in separating from worldliness as much as possible, and since we believed the Bible teaches man was to till the soil and work with his hands (in command and by examples throughout the Bible), and since we believed we should live in Christian community with like-minded believers, we left our corporate jobs to buy land here in Texas in fellowship and community with those like-minded folks we had gotten to know, so as to start farming the land and raising animals for food. Since our moving down here a little over 2 years ago, the Lord has seen fit to grow our community by adding several other families. We’re not a commune, in that, each family owns their own land and stuff; we’re more of a neighborhood than anything else; and we fellowship together more of as a home church, with singing, meals, teachings and just living our lives together as family.

And so, there you have it, in a nutshell.

— David

 

Anti-World Worldview

Hello again!

Hopefully and prayerfully you have perhaps spent some time reading and prayerfully considering some of the things mentioned in our previous post and some of the information located at our old Web page (By God’s Sovereign Grace and Mercy). Not that there is much ado about it, but we do however pray the Lord grant you whatever light He may from it.

At this point I must interject that much of our beginning doctrinal changes (mentioned in the previous post) began at reading the articles of our teacher Michael. Over time, the Lord apparently led him in his teachings to consider more than just what we say we believe: that our lives as Christians involve ALL of our lives. For Michael, this led him to start to publish his “Underground Church” series, which is located here.

Sue and I listened, studied and prayed about the things he brought forth, which in short, partially, is that as Christians we are required to separate from the world, because the following verse really does apply: “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.” (1 Jn 2:15). Not only from this verse but others in the Bible (such as 2 Cor 6:14 – “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”) are very clear about separating from the world. But what is the world then? Here, it is anything that in essence isn’t Christ. It became apparent, by God’s graces and mercies, that the ungodly world (as described in 1 Jn 2:15) was all around us and a part of every aspect of our lives, from the world that is in charge of bringing water to our house to the world that we worked for to bring in our “daily bread.” How could this be right? Are we not to look to God only for our provisions? Besides the commands to not be yoked to and to love not the world, what happens when the world in charge of my water supply decides to not give me any water? What happens when some person in my food chain (farmer, farm working, trucker, grocery store person, etc.) decides he’s not going to do that anymore? Then what do I do? There is an obvious “chink in the armor” of our very basic well-being, for which the ungodly world is the provider.

Not only are there commands to separate and the obvious problems with the world being our provider, but the Bible specifically talks about how God set up man to live his life: He told man to dress and keep the garden before the fall (Gen 2:15); and after the fall, that didn’t change other than those works would be much harder to do. The command to dress and keep the garden never went away!

Hmmmm……

Well, this led us to the following, and why we left our corporate jobs to move to Texas and hopefully and prayerfully live a life closer to God’s creation:

We are called to separation:
It evidences the character of God, which is holiness (which means separate). His character IS separation. Every time the Israelites started to join with the society around them, they became more like them and abandoned God. Purity is always lost when impurity comes in; impurity is never made completely pure by adding purity.

We are commanded to this:
1 Peter 1:16 – “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 – “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

We are holy or separated positionally by God:
2 Timothy 1:9 – “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
1 Peter 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”
Hebrews 7:26 – “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”

Touch not the unclean thing:
Haggai 2:11-14 – “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.”
Proverbs 13:20 – “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

How were the Israelites handled with Egypt? God separated them out. How was Lot handled with Sodom? God separated them out. These are pictures of God separating FROM AMONGST THE HEATHEN His chosen people.

Do not join with other false beliefs to accomplish some sort of mission, and in fact, stay away from them:
Romans 16:17 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
1 Timothy 6:3-5 – “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
2 John 1:9-11 – “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

Even from the brethren in error:
2 Thessalonians 3:6 – “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

From the world and false brethren:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 – “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

To what do we go then?
God instituted work in the garden, which was to tend it. After the fall, work was going to be harder. Cities were formed 1) as monuments to man and 2) as a way to skirt the curse (to make work easier). Also, the Bible is replete with examples and parables that are agrarian; living an agrarian lifestyle would make it easier for any children with which we might be blessed to understand the Bible. Plus, an agrarian lifestyle is solely dependent on the providence of God – we plant and water, and He grows it according to His will. This is a picture of our spiritual evangelism, in that, we plant and water, and God grows. As a lesson for any children, they will be LIVING the physical picture of the spiritual lessons taught in the Bible. Further, our work glories in the miracles of life that are demonstrated in God growing things out of the land.

Further thoughts on why we moved:
We are trying to separate from and become less and less dependent on a corrupt and ungodly system.

The work we do in our corporate jobs profits nothing from an eternal or spiritual aspect.

Living in the world environment places us dependent on ungodly entities and people for our livelihood. The food chain is also very long; at any time if one link along the path were to break or be broken, we could be potentially unable to eat.

We want to live in a place that still supports family freedoms to build our lives, rear and educate our children ourselves, and support our families the Bible would have us do so.

We reject the ungodly culture of the day seeking a proper Biblical culture. We don’t syncretize with the culture to change it; our evangelism occurs when we stand against the culture (by not participating in it) and biblically show it for what it is. Now, we still interact with the world in some ways because we are still in the world (on earth and not in heaven); but generally our lives involve being separate and different.

We wish to live in a community of other like-minded believers, which is very, very important. True believers are family, even surpassing the temporal families the Lord has granted us (Matt 10:34-37; Matt 12:48-50) . Christians are meant to be together, functioning locally as the body of Christ, loving each other as God has commanded (1 John 3:14). It’s very difficult to live a life of love for the brethren when your life doesn’t really involve them (much how like trying to love God without prayer, Bible reading, etc. doesn’t work); and, although I suppose it is possible, but it seems to me that being involved in church gatherings and Sundays and other days is not really being involved with them very much.

And so, this is how and why our worldview has become what it has: basically we want a worldview that not only doesn’t include the world’s ungodliness as much as possible, but is one in which the sole focus is on God and His eternal, spiritual and temporal providences.

— David

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