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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Wildfire!

With the extreme drought happening here, everything is very dry. And, around here, that often makes for severe fire potential.

Well, recently one got very, very close to our “backyard”, and it was a little unnerving to say the least.

Above, and these following, is what it looked like from a road about 1/4 mile (maybe a little more) behind the south end of our overall land area. It was pretty windy, which made things difficult. Apparently, 9 fire departments were called in:

Grissom Fire 2022 - From Road Behind Us
Grissom Fire 2022 - Wide Angle

And from our homestead:

Grissom Fire 2022 - From Homstead

And from the roof of our house that first night (the flames are not on the ridge directly behind us; it’s probably the next ridge back). So, you maybe see why we were a little concerned. It did slowly dwindle as the evening rolled on, and I sat on the roof until 2:25am, and by that time thankful the glow essentially could not be seen:

Grissom Fire 2022 - From Roof

By the next day though, with more winds, the fire picked up again. And by the time we got back from Lord’s Day services, the forestry service had a helicopter working on it, one that could suck up water from ground-water tanks and dump it, and by later in the afternoon, multiple planes flying over dropping bright red, we believe, flame retardant.

Their goal was to keep it from jumping that back road I was on when I took the above pictures. I went back there again and asked one of the firefighters if he thought they could keep it from jumping the road, and he said it was iffy. For us, if it jumped the road, it was nothing but forest up the hill, over the ridge behind us, and then down the hill to the back of the land, where there are multiple homesteads.

They worked on it all afternoon, and were still working on it into the evening. Everyone here had already prepped for evacuation if necessary. With all that continued firefighting effort, I was pretty worried.

However, as I watched the smoke billows from the windy roof of our house through the evening, I spent some time with the Lord in His presence in prayer, not just asking for His mercies, especially for the homesteads in the back, which were most vulnerable, and working through making sure I was submitted to His complete will in this situation (especially if it was to be that everything burned down), but just spending it in His presence…just a time alone with Him, even with the winds howling at times and fire somewhat bearing down on us. It was a special time with Him, and one I pray I won’t forget.

As the evening continued, one of the volunteer firefighters from a nearby town who we know some was able to contact our county’s fire chief, and he indicated that they were able to get it settled down for the night, and that it apparently wasn’t going to advance at that point. And so, we didn’t have to evacuate.

The next day, the winds picked up again, but from then on, the crews were able to keep it from moving any further. While we continued to smell smoke, and I think I saw smoke flare up at one point, the Lord mercifully granted it essentially to come to an end. And we are not aware of any loss of human life, most thankfully.

Later that week, we drove by to see how close it got to the road, and you could see burned trees not far in from the road. And here’s a map showing just how close it got, the top of the fire heading toward us. I think part of the reason they were able to contain it was because the forested area actually narrowed down between two fields, which probably helped them isolate it:

Finally, here’s a video of some of the events, including a little more from that Lord’s day evening, and drop aircraft (please forgive the wind noise):

We thank the Lord for His mercies to the firefighters, to other folks, and to us. May we always be submitted to His will in all things.

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Surrogate Turkey Mommy Chicken Chick

We had a broody turkey mommy next to a hay manger in the barn goat stall. One day she had a hatchling showing itself with her. But, it looked funny for being a turkey, and that was because, it wasn’t a turkey! A chicken egg got in with her clutch, and she hatched out a little chicken chick!

But, turkey eggs need a week more of sitting than chicken eggs, and so we were worried she might stop sitting on her turkey eggs. Well, sadly, that sort of did happen, although 3 sort of hatched out. We actually tried taking them and all her eggs and putting them under a broody chicken, and 2 more tried to hatch out, but in the end, all 5 turklets didn’t make it. 🙁

However, this little one — I think now it’s a rooster — is still alive today and doing fine!

Here’s another picture of it with its “mommy” in the barn:

And then a video. I had to use a flashlight to try to get light on them:

Even though it didn’t go as we had planned, we are thankful to the Lord for granting this provision of the new chick, our first for 2022!

— David

Psalm Singing – April 2022

We just finished up recording the next set of Psalms from the psalter we use, Psalms 99A-103D, in the hopes they might help others learn them if anyone wants to!

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 99A-103D

May we praise the Lord with our hearts, thoughts, voices and lives for ever!

Ps 89:1 – “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

— 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

Cattle Update – 2016-2021

The last time we did a cattle update was when a little heifer was born back in 2015! I’m not sure why I haven’t followed up more…I think once I got behind, it just kept being pushed off because of how long it might take to do.

But now, without further ado, I thought I’d try to get everyone up to through last year (note that not all the cattle shown were/are Sue and mine personally)…

2016

At this point, our very kind and generous neighbor was letting us run the cattle on his land…some 400 acres! And so for those years, we didn’t have to buy hay, which was really nice! And so, here they are…

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Ami & Calf

Here’s the herd sire who wasn’t ours personally, Manolete:

Longhorn Manolete

2017

We didn’t apparently take many pictures this year, as they are all of cattle headed off somewhere:

Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull

2018

This is Mateo who eventually became the herd sire after Manolete in 2019, which you can see as a little calf on this blog post:

Longhorn Mateo
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cow & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

While over on our neighbor’s property, we finally put up a somewhat decent corral to be able to…well…corral them for loading into trailers. 🙂

Cattle Corral

2019

Well, early in the year, our neighbor said he was turning his place into a wildlife reserve, so he graciously gave us about a month to get our land ready, which involved shoring up fences, etc.

And here they are back on the land. It was nice to have them back, actually:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

We moved the corral to our place, and here they are during “cube” time:

Longhorn Cattle Cube Time
Longhorn Cattle Cube Time

Ummmm….yeah….

Cattle Looking in the Car
Longhorn Cattle

One day, Amistosa, our best looking Longhorn as far as pure Spanish traits, came strolling up really skinny. I thought to give her some special feed, which I had given her before when she had gone down just before one of our worst cold spells here (which you can read about in this blog post), because it had worked before, and I did, but I guess I had given her too much, as she ended up extremely bloated.

We shoved a bunch of baking soda down her, which helped some, but over the next several weeks, including a vet visit, she never quite recovered.

One morning, when I was out of town, Sue found Ami fallen over in a little ditch that led to a small watering hole in our inner area, which is where we were taking care of Ami, and she was just struggling and rolling around, and just looked in a bad way, so Sue made the executive decision that she just wasn’t going to make it, so Sue solicited the help of a neighbor here, and he graciously helped to put her down.

Amistosa

When I got back home, we wanted to move her to a final resting spot under some trees in our north field, and so we hooked up a chain around her horns and towed her up there:

Amistosa

…and then said a final goodbye…goodbye Ami…you were one of our first group of cows for us. We thank the Lord for all the offspring He granted from her…

Amistosa

2020

Continuing on, it indeed was nice to see the cows around the house:

Longhorn Cattle

…and out our front porch:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

2021

And finally, onto last year…

Longhorn Rosa & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Natilla & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

Here’s herd sire Mateo again, a little older now. However, he started going through and jumping over (after fixing the “going through” the fence”) to our neighbor’s property, the gentleman who let us run our cattle on this land those years ago. He was nice about it, but I couldn’t control Mateo anymore, so I sadly had to dump him at the sale barn. Bye, big guy!

Longhorn Bull Mateo

But now lastly, to close this blog post off, here’s the compilation video across the years (I was wrong in the video with the 2 fighting bulls in the back of the trailer about how old they were…it was actually 1 1/2 and 2 years old):

We are always thankful to the Lord for His provisions of the cattle, the meat He’s granted from them, the sales to be able to pay for hay over the winter, and the provisions on the land He’s granted to feed them through the growing times!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Have Our Own Gourd?

Jonah 4:5-11:

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

As I read this recently, something struck me: This temporary thing made Jonah “exceeding glad.” Is there something in my life that I think is missing that would make me “exceeding glad”? Or rather what came to mind personally, is there something in my life that I wish wasn’t, and that being gone would make me “exceeding glad”?

Do I have my own form of “Jonah’s Gourd”?

Do we truly trust God in His providences in our lives, especially in the difficult times of trial and affliction? Do we do well to be angry at God for them, or the lack of something we think we should have?

Or better, do we thank the Lord for these things, or the lack of something we think we should have, in our lives, as the guiding hand of a loving Father?

1 Thess 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 12:8 – “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And then, what does the Bible say should make us “exceeding glad”?

First and foremost, the Lord Himself:

Psalm 21:6 – “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

But further, not only thankful for His afflicting hand but:

Matt 5:11-12 – “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Pet 4:12-13 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

And so, there we have it…it’s the trial and afflictions themselves that are to make us “exceeding glad”, not some temporal thing in our lives, or difficulties being removed. In fact, removing them might not only be evidence of losing the loving chastisement of a Father that makes us better followers of Him, but also the losing of the thing itself in which we are to be exceeding glad!

May the Lord Christ Himself be our greatest joy! And then, may His trials and afflictions, in the not having things we think we want, or the not removing of things we want removed, make us exceeding glad, and always thankful!

— David

David’s Digest: A Mark of a True Child of God

While reading through Matthew 5 recently, something stuck out to me more this time.

Verse 9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Only Christ can make peace between God and us, but, as Puritan commentator John Gill suggests, this is:

between men and men; and such are they, who are of peaceable dispositions themselves; live peaceably with all men, and with one another, as their relation obliges to, and their mutual comfort requires; and with the men of the world; and who are ready, willing, and very serviceable, in composing differences, and making peace between their fellow creatures and fellow Christians.

And if we are peacemakers, that doesn’t merit our being God’s children: the merit to be adopted into God’s family is only through Christ.

But is there more?

Continuing in Matthew 5, specifically verses 43 to 48, I’ll go through them here with some formatting to add a little emphasis:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

But, why?

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven!

Wow! Only God adopting us into His family actually makes us His children, but we evidence we are truly His children when we do these things. How is this so?

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So, we’re to do something similar, by loving, blessing, doing good and praying for those who hate us and despitefully use us. This is just as God brings the sun to shine and rain to fall on the ungodly.

And here’s more for the argument:

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Even the ungodly do good to their friends, so if that’s all we do, how are we any different from the ungodly?

And the final statement:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We cannot be “perfect” as God is in degree, but “perfect” here is in likeness, or “as close to God in this characteristic as possible”.

Children are reflections of their parents, and so to be that Christian reflection of God, and thus show we are a child of His, we must do these good things (praying for, doing good, etc.) to those who treat us very poorly!

I would suggest, too, that the vice-versa is implied: if we are not willing to do, or are indifferent about, these things, that it is quite possible that evidences we might not be God’s children, regardless of what we might say. I believe we must seriously consider this.

Now, all this is an impossible order under our own spiritual strength, but:

Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

And after all, shouldn’t we imitate our Lord Christ Jesus as well?

Romans 5:6-8 – “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and

Luke 23:34 – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Christ died for the ungodly, for sinners, and He prayed for those involved with killing Him, also showing, I would offer, an example of being a child of His Father.

Let us earnestly and slowly consider the marks and required actions of a true child of God one more time:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

May we ask God for, and may He grant us, the desires, and these graces themselves, to be like Him, to all of those around us, even those who might abuse or wrong us, going even farther than just not retaliating, in Christian love, motivated by love to Him!

— David

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