The Sifford Sojournal

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.

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David’s Digest: Do We Indeed Love God?, Part 2

Jude 2 - "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."

Continuing from Part 1, Puritan Thomas Manton, from his Jude commentary, in helping us examine if we truly love God, notes the evidences when this is true of someone (which implies they must exist), and then offers some helps to increase it.

Again, you can listen to this part verse 2 here:

or download it:


The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 103 near the bottom…

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

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

  1. This love must be demonstrated by solid effects, such as are:

    [1.] A hatred of sin: Ps. xcvii. 10, ‘Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.’ With love to the chiefest good, there will be a hatred of the chiefest evil. Friends have common loves, as I said, and common aversations [things we should be averse to]. Upon every carnal motion does your heart recoil upon you, and say, ‘How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen. xxxix. 9; or else, ‘Is this thy kindness to thy friend?’ or ‘after such a deliverance as this,’ &c., Ezra ix. 13. Love to God will be interposing and crossing every carnal motion.

    [2.] By a delight in obedience: 1 John v. 3, ‘This is love, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.’ Nothing is difficult and tedious to him that has any affection to his work. As the prophet cured the bitterness of the wild gourds by casting in meal, so mingle but a little love with your work, and the bitterness is gone. Shechem yielded to be circumcised for Dinah’s sake, because he loved her; and Jacob endured his seven years’ service for Rachel’s sake: so will love make us obey God cheerfully in things contrary to our natural inclination. Love and labour are often coupled in scripture, 1 Thes. i. 3; Heb. vi. 10; and those that left their first works had lost their first love, Rev. ii. 4, 5.

    [3.] Delight in God’s presence, and grief for his absence; or a holy sensibleness both of his accesses and recesses, to and from the soul. Can a man love God, and be content without him? If you lose but a ring which you affect, how are you troubled till it be found again! ‘Ye have taken away my gods (saith he), and do you ask, What aileth thee?’ Judges xviii. 24. So when God is withdrawn, all visits of love and influences of grace are suspended, and they have no communion with him in their duties, should they not mourn? See Mat. ix. 15. Is spiritual love without all kind of passion? or are they Christians that are stupid [like being in a stupor] and insensate [lacking sensibility], and never take notice of God’s coming and going?

These are the evidences. I shall only now suggest two helps to keep up
and increase this love to God, and I have done with this argument.

  1. Prize nothing that comes from God unless you can see his love in it. God gives many gifts to wicked men, but he doth not give them his love. The possession of all things will do us no good unless we have God himself; other mercies may be salted with a curse. God’s children are not satisfied till they can see him and enjoy him in every comfort and mercy. Esau was reconciled to Jacob, and therefore Jacob saith, Gen. xxxiii. 10, ‘I have seen thy face as the face of God.’ It was a token and pledge of the gracious face of God smiling on him. Hezekiah was delivered out of a sickness, and then he doth not say, Thou hast delivered me from the grave; but, ‘Thou hast loved me from the grave,’ Isa. xxxviii. 17.

  2. Prize nothing that you return to God unless there be love in it. We accept a small gift where the party loves, and otherwise the greatest is refused: ‘If I give my body to be burned, and have not love,’ etc., 1 Cor. xiii. 3. Love is an act of grace by itself; other duties are not acts of grace unless they come from love; as alms, fasting, prayer, martyrdom, etc., they are all nothing; οὔδεν εἶμι (says the apostle), ‘I am’ not only little, but ‘nothing.’ On the other side, small things are made great by love; as a cup of cold water, a poor woman’s mite, they are accepted as coming from love.

May we seek from God, and may He grant us, that we hate sin, delight in obedience to Him, delight in His presence, prize nothing but what comes from Him, and may all these be out of love for Him above all things!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Indeed Love God?, Part 1

Jude 2 - "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."

Man’s heart is the director of our minds, wills, and emotions. It’s the seat from which all the issues from within us bend.

But in our natural state, it has the worst problem:

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

This deceit can cause us to think we love God but perhaps actually don’t. There will be evidences.

And so we are commanded to be on the watch, because of how central the heart is:

Proverbs 4:23 - "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Puritan Thomas Manton helps us examine if we really love God, and begins in this part with the heart. It comes from his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude.

You can listen to this part verse 2 here:

or download it:


The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 101 near the bottom…

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

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Use. Well, then, saints mind your work. Do you indeed love God? Christ puts Peter to the question thrice, John xxi. A deceitful heart is apt to abuse you. Ask again and again, Do I indeed love God? Evidences are these:-

  1. If you love God, he will be loved alone; those that do not give all to God, give nothing; he will have the whole heart. If there were another God, we might have some excuse for our reservations; but since there is but one God, he must have all, for he doth not love in mates.

    When the harbingers [who go a day’s journey before the king to make accommodations] take up a house for a prince, they turn out all; none must remain there, that there may be room for his greatness. So all must avoid, that God may have the sole possession of our hearts.

    The devil, that has no right to anything, would have a part, for by that means he knows the whole will fall to him; conscience will not let him have all, and therefore he would have a part to keep possession: as Pharaoh stood hucking [haggling] with Moses and Aaron; if not the Israelites, then their little ones; if not their little ones, then their herds; if not their herds, then their flocks: but Moses tells him there was not a hoof to be left.

    So Satan, if he cannot have the outward man, yet he would have the heart; if there be not room enough in the heart for every lust [generally, any corrupt desire], then he craves indulgence in some things that are less odious and distasteful; if conscience will not allow drunkenness, yet a little worldliness is pleaded for as no great matter.

    But the love of God cannot be in that heart where the world reigns. Dagon and the ark could not abide in the same temple; neither can the heart be divided between God and mammon.

    All men must have some religion to mask their pleasures and carnal practices, that they may be favourable to their lusts [corrupt desires] and interests with less remorse; and usually they order the matter so, that Christ shall have their consciences, and the world their hearts and affections.

    But, alas! they do not consider that God is jealous of a rival; when he comes into the heart, he will have the room empty. It is true, we may love other things in subordination to God, but not in competition with God; that is, when we love God and other things for God’s sake, in God and for God.

    When a commander hath taken a strong castle, and placed a garrison in it, he suffers [allows] none to enter but those of his own side, keeping the gate shut to his enemies. So we must open the heart to none but God, and those that are of God’s party and side, keeping the gate shut to others. We may love the creatures [anything created] as they are of God’s side, as they draw our hearts more to God, or engage us to be more cheerful in service, or give us greater advantages of doing good.

    Of what party are they? Bring nothing into your heart, and allow nothing there, that is contrary to God. When Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing at Isaac, she thrust him out of doors. So when riches, and honour, and the love of the world upbraid you with your love to God, as if you were a fool to stand so nicely upon terms of conscience, etc., when they encroach and allow Christ no room but in the conscience, it is time to thrust them out of doors, that the Lord alone may have the preeminence in our souls.

May God grant us diligence in keeping our hearts, and may we seek His help and power in this important work!

Continue on to part 2

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2nd Round of 2023 Chicken Chicks

We had a broody hen I believe in the main chicken tractor, so we put her and a bunch of eggs in the mini tractor, and God graciously granted a 2nd round of chicks this 2023!

These are obviously a little older 🙂 :

We just moved them into the pen area the other day too.

Sadly, one has some eye problems, but has made it all this time, and hopefully it will be ok in the pen area.

And here’s their video:

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for His provisions, and we pray for their safety and health!

— David

Psalm Singing – June 2023

We have continued to work through learning the Psalms from the psalter we use, and have finished recording them — Psalms 106A-107E, in the hopes they might help someone be able to learn them too and sing them to the Lord.

And here they are:

(If the above player doesn’t work, or if you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can click the Download link below, or right click it and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 106A-107E

Let us always raise our voices in praise to the Lord!

Psalm 30:4 – “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

— David

Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)
Psalms 4B & 13-18L
Psalms 19A-22E
Psalms 22F-24C
Psalms 25A-27F
Psalms 28A-31G
Psalms 32A-34D
Psalms 35A-37F
Psalms 38B-40F
Psalms 41A-44F
Psalms 45A-49C
Psalms 50A-53
Psalms 54A-59B
Psalms 60A-65B
Psalms 66A-68E
Psalms 69A-71D
Psalms 72A-76B
Psalms 77A-78H
Psalms 79A-84B
Psalms 85A-89H
Psalms 90A-93A
Psalms 94A-98B
Psalms 99A-103D
Psalms 104A-105E

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 2023 Turkey Chicks

The Lord has graciously begun to grant new turkey chicks this 2023! We’ve been “collecting” them and putting them in the summer kitchen (which is really just a brooder barn) as they’ve been hatching in the barn, and have rotated a couple of mommies. It’s kind of a bummer “stealing” their youngin’s, but we don’t have a place for every mother hen and her hatchlings. We are thankful though it appears most of the turkey hens have been nesting in the barn so far and not out and about wherever.

And here’s a video of the progress thus far:

We are grateful to God for His kindness in providing these new turkeys, and we pray He might grant continued health and safety for them according to His will!

— David

Stormin’ Storms

After one of the worst droughts I believe in Texas history last year, which was almost certainly a contributor to the the wildfire we faced, the Lord has graciously brought much appreciated rain this year. We estimate He granted nearly a half-year’s average last month!

But with that came several severe storms — some of the severest we’ve had — some of the highest winds we’ve experienced, and the largest hail — golf ball sized, with a few maybe up to tennis ball size?

And so, we thought we would take you through some of the results…

This just shows how many of the leaves were knocked off the oak trees:

This is the meat dryer upside down and pushed up against the clothes dryer. I had the legs wood-staked into the ground, but I believe over time the wood rotted and couldn’t hold against the winds:

The hail did a number on all the gutters and downspouts:

My wonderful wife has gotten us by for a while with a superb tape job she just did on her own! 😀

The hail punched holes through the window sills, and tore up screens. I don’t believe we had any broken windows through it all though:

Here’s a video of how I attempted to repair these:

I had these goat sheds staked into the ground as well, but they probably had the same problem (that middle shed is upside down).

Worrisome at the time but a funny story now: our rooster Albus (who was the inspiration for a hymn I put together, and who is one of our musical roosters from long ago) goes up every morning to hang out with the boy goats. Well, after a storm with the shed flipped over, I went up there and couldn’t find him. Uh oh. But, I wondered….and sure enough, he was in the upside-down shed, standing on the roof that was not the floor. Yea! My guess is he ended up going with the shed as it went over. We’re thankful the Lord spared him. 🙂 :

This was a palette shed we had put together for our goose at the time, Gigi, who decided to nest there — torn off its bottom and upside down:

This shed’s roof and one of its sides were blown off, but this below is it stitched back together.

I also was tired of sheds rolling over, so I pounded t-posts next to the opening on each side and tied the roof and shed to them. Hopefully that will generally hold them now, unless God has other plans for them. 🙂 :

When the winds came through the first time, this solar panel, which is attached to a palette that has three cinder blocks holding it down, ended up face down with a cinder block on the back of the panel. Well, that put some cracks in it.

And then when the hail came through, that finished the job. 🙂 …although I believe it still functions fine:

And finally, here’s the car. I figure it must have been one of the big ones similar to some that hit the roof of our house — a sound I don’t believe we’ve heard before — big pounding bangs on the house roof. I figure those must have been bigger than the golf ball-sized ones:

Then, after some road renovation to keep water from flowing off the property, our original pond overflowed — the first time since we built the extension some time before 2008.

This is the far side. When it was overflowing its worst, it was really going over much of this back side:

And here’s an overflow trench I dug to try to keep that from happening much more, although I probably need to make it wider because I don’t believe it will keep up with what can flow into the pond on a heavy rain:

Lastly, here’s a video of some of that overflow after I had dug the outlet trench:

In the end, we believe all these things are by the hand of God fulfilling His purposes:

Psalm 148:8 – “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

But, the Lord was very merciful through it all as things could have been worse, and again, He has granted some very much-desired rain. We pray He applies it to the land to bring healing after being so parched last year, and pray for His continued mercies in the weather.

May we thirst for Him, and may He fill us with His Spirit so His graces in godly fear of Him, holiness and obedience flow from us for His glory.

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

John 7:38 – “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: 1st 2023 Chicken Chick

The Lord has graciously begun to grant new animal life this Spring of 2023, the first here a little chicken chick! I believe it was just hatched out by a mommy or several just randomly in the barn (ie. we didn’t set her aside to hatch any out).

We have quite a few chickens and turkeys doing that this year (we’re thankful they’re choosing the barn!), and so we’ll hopefully see how that continues to go.

Anyway, here it is again:

First 2023 Chicken Chick

And here’s a little video:

We always thank God for His continued provisions and His creation in action!

— David

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