Friday, August 19, 2016

David's Digest: Do & Don't Do Unto Others

Matt 7:12 - "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

This is often looked at in the positive -- be charitable, help those in need, etc. However, the reverse is also implied -- do not do to others what you would not have done to you. And God is paying attention!

Puritan Thomas Manton discusses this in his sermon on Matt 7:12:
III. The third thing to be considered is the illative particle, ‘therefore.’ From what is this inferred? In the foregoing verses our Saviour speaks of audience in prayer: ‘If ye, being evil, know how to give good things unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father know how to give good things to them that ask him? Therefore, whatsoever ye would,’ &c. Christ makes many notable arguments, and shows that God is ready to give good things to us: ‘Ask, and ye shall have,’ &c. He proves it from the kindness of earthly parents to their children. And, now, therefore, to intimate this, that if men have their prayers granted, they must observe this rule; they must perform all duties of civil righteousness, as well as be earnest in acts of piety. Upon this limiting it to the audience of prayer, it plainly implies three things:—

1. That God is the judge of human actions; he will take cognisance of this, whether you do to others as they do to you, and you shall hear of it in your dealing with God; that is the first and lowest thing; and remember, you have to do with God as much as they have to do with you. He shows this to bridle the excesses of those that are in power. There are a sort of men that think they may do anything if they can do it safely: Micah ii. 1, ‘That do evil because it is in the power of their hand.’ They eagerly prosecute their purposes and desires when they have power to effect them. Now a Christian should pause upon the matter, and consider not only what is possible to be done, but what is just and lawful to be done; and conscience should put a severe restraint when nothing else can hinder us; as Joseph said, Gen. xlii. 18, ‘This do, and live; for I fear God.’ He had a full advantage against them that wrought him so much mischief, but he had an inward principle laid up in his heart which begat a tenderness, ‘I fear God.’ But when men will do everything they are able to effect, and will do anything as far as their power will reach, remember you must come before God, and God can requite it, though they cannot. It is not conscience which governs the greatest part of the world, but interest. When it is not for men’s interest, they will do no wrong; but when they have power enough to do what they intend, they care not how they trample upon their own brethren, hate and pursue them with all that is evil. It is hard to avoid this snare when we are in power. Men forget God and abuse their power, and many times, by a strange providence, they are brought to suffer the like hardness themselves. When we see the oppressions of the innocent, and things carried so perversely, we are apt to say, Lord, who shall call these men into question? who shall accuse them? Why, the sighs and groans of the oppressed before God’s tribunal upon all persons depend every moment, these will be more authentic witnesses than any matters of fact can be produced in a lower court.

2. It implieth this, and it enlargeth the rule, that whatsoever usage we expect to meet with at God’s hands, the same in some measure we should dispense and deal out to others. He is willing to give all, provided you are willing to do to others as you would be done unto. All the mercy and goodness we expect from him, that must sway our practice and conversation with men. Whatever need others have of us, the same need have we of God: Eph. vi. 8, ‘Whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.’ So for other relations. In the practice of this rule Christians are to consider not only how they would be dealt withal by men, but with God himself for Christ’s sake, which carrieth the precept far beyond the heathen latitude, and mightily enlargeth the rule. Alas! from God we have nothing but undeserved mercy, pardon of sins, &c. So we are to practise this rule, not only to those that love us, but to our enemies; we must show mercy to the worst for Christ’s sake. Strict justice, by the light of nature, requires the injurious should suffer according to the wrong is done to me. Ay! but what do I expect from God? Therefore, I am to consider how God will deal with me if I am rigid, severe, exact, and stand upon all things to the uttermost.

3. Another consideration which mightily enforceth the rule is, that if you do such things to others as you would not have them do to you, God will do that to you which you have done to others; for vengeance is his. They are not to do the same to you again, nor exact nor desire it, but God will. It is good to consider God’s judgment, of counterpassion or retaliation: ‘As thou hast done, so shall it be done to thee; thy reward shall return upon thine own head,’ Obad. ver. 15. They that were pitiless, merciless to their brethren in the day of their flight from Jerusalem, God will pay them home in their own coin: ‘And with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again,’ Mat. vii. 1, 2; Gen. ix. 6, ‘Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.’ It is not only a law what is to be done, but a rule of providence, what God will do. What more usual than malefactors to be dealt withal according to their own wickedness? There are many instances of this judgment of counter-passion, God doing to them what they have done to others.

Adonibezek, when the people caught him and cut off his thumbs and his great toes, said, ‘Threescore and ten kings having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.’ Usually this is the dealing of God. The Israelites had their children drowned in the water by Pharaoh. What then? Pharaoh and all his host, within a little while, all his nobility and men of war, were all drowned in the water. Ahab’s blood was lapped up by dogs in the place where they shed the blood of Naboth; and Jezebel, being more guilty, was devoured with dogs. Ahab only permitted this contrivance, but Jezebel acted it. Ahab humbled himself, therefore he was buried with honour; but Jezebel was entombed in the belly of dogs, and her flesh devoured by them. A gallows, we read, was made for Mordecai, and Haman was hanged on it himself. Henry the Third of France, in that very chamber where the massacre was contrived against the Protestants, there he was slain; and his brother before him, Charles the Ninth, was found flowing in blood in his bed, who had shed so much of the blood of God’s saints. Judges ix. 18. 19, compared with ver. 23, 24. When the men of Shechem had done great injury to the house of Jerubbaal, ‘Ye are risen up against my father’s house, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons upon one stone.’ What then? ver. 23, ‘Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them.’ So also the observation of Austin is not to be passed by, upon the parable of the rich man; he that denied a crumb, could not find a drop to cool his tongue.

But you will say, Is it so with good men also, the children of God, if they should break his law, doth the Lord give them according as they have done to others? Yes; God observes the same justice; though he doth pardon the eternal punishment and take it off, yet here in this world, as to temporals, they shall have like for like. Jacob supplanted his brother; he came to Isaac as the elder, the younger instead of the elder; and Laban brings him the elder instead of the younger, Leah instead of Rachel. Asa, which put the prophet into the stocks, we read of him that he was diseased in his feet. Nay; I shall give you greater instances than that. Joseph’s brethren they were not flexible to their brother, and did not hear his cry; at length they came to Egypt upon an honest errand for corn in time of famine, and the man is inexorable: Gen. xlii. 21, ‘We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.’ What was the matter? How comes this to work? In a storm, things at bottom we see come up to the top; so ever sins in trouble will bubble up, and we shall see that we saw not before. How come they to remember the trouble of their brother, for they knew not Joseph, and twenty years were past since they sold him? They found the man as inexorable as they had been to their brother. God s judgment of counter-passion sets their conscience a-work. A greater instance we have of Paul, that consented to the stoning of Stephen, and was present too at his execution; and it is said, ‘They laid down their garments at Paul’s feet;’ and he himself takes notice of it with great remorse afterwards, Acts xxii. 20. Well, what then? after his conversion how doth God deal with Paul? Stephen had prayed for him too among the rest, ‘Lord, lay it not to their charge;’ yet God gave him some smart remembrance of his sin. When Paul and Barnabas had been preaching at Iconium, though Barnabas had irritated them as well as Paul, they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Barnabas, who was equal with him in preaching, God ordered it so he was not stoned; but Paul, that had consented to Stephen’s stoning, was stoned himself and carried out for dead. What need have we to be exact in observing what is required of us here, for the Lord by one means or other will return it into our bosoms. We have done that to others which we would not should be done to ourselves, and therefore will God do that to us which we do to others.

So, not only is this a command of God, but in summary:
  1. God certainly takes notice of our actions to others
  2. If we desire His mercies toward us, we need to be merciful (Matt 5:7)
  3. And if we are unmerciful (including reviling, not forgiving, etc.) to others, that is inviting and basically asking God to be unmerciful, even in those same ways, to us, and we should expect them!

    And this also applies to those who call themselves Christians! (albeit, for a true child of God, it is chastisement for their good, Rom 8:28, so they learn from their sin and pray and work to not sin in those ways anymore)

May we heed these words, and may we be full of charity, by God granting us His graces, and may we pray to these ends.

-- David

Friday, August 12, 2016

A House - Update XLIV - Entry & Bedroom Closets Siding & Bedroom Screen Door

The Lord granted we be able to continue on the house...

We added siding to the main entry closet:

Main Entry Closet

Main Entry Closet Siding from Great Room

Main Entry Closet Siding Other Side

Main Entry Closet Siding from Library

And then the bedroom closet:

Bedroom Closet Entry

Bedroom Closet Siding

And we put in the the bedroom screen door:

Bedroom Screen Door from Inside

Bedroom Screen Door from Outside

And with those, that's basically all of the major indoor construction complete! Wow.

We thank God for granting this by His graces, and thanks much to those who are making this possible!

-- David

Friday, August 5, 2016

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 4 More Rounds of 2016 Chicks (6th-9th)

The Lord graciously granted another 4 rounds of chicks to hatch out -- our 6th through the 9th of this year!

This is group 6:

New 2016 Chicks, Group 6

She actually hatched out 9. Sadly, this mommy was very over-reactive to everything, and I think she ended up stepping on several of the little ones. We lost 5 that first day, and 1 more the next, several of which had openings through the skin in their little bodies exposing their insides.

They're so tiny...

Dead 2016 Chicks

One of the 3 left also got out one day and got its foot caught in a mouse trap! I found it running around with it attached. I was worried it might lose all use of its talon, or get gangrene, but over time, God granted it heal, and it's running around now like nothing happened. We're thankful!

Group 9 obviously had some interesting things with it, but as for the rest of the groups, things have gone very well, save maybe 1 or 2.

Here is group 7:

New 2016 Chicks, Group 7

And group 8:

New 2016 Chicks, Group 8

And group 9:

New 2016 Chicks, Group 9

At one point, I pulled the mommies from groups 6 and 7 and put the 3 from group 6 in with group 7. A few days into it, I heard frantic cheeping from their room, and when I got back there, I discovered one of them had been basically scalped, I assume by the others. I figure it got pecked at, it caused an opening or blood to show, and then its little head became a target.

But, it's not dead yet, and so I moved it into the empty room and have been coating its skull with Neosporin morning and evening, and we pray maybe God would grant it healing.

I'm calling it Scalpey: :)

Scalped 2016 Chick

Finally, here is the video of all 4 groups. Look for one mommy's extreme closeup moment! :)

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for granting any chicks, and the continued provisions from Him in this way!

-- David

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Barn - Update VI - The Loft - Update IV

After the last update in February, the Lord graciously granted we be able to pick up some more materials to finish the floor joists, and get most of the plywood down!

Here is some more of the plywood in place:

Barn Loft

And then the final floor joists in place:

Barn Loft Final Floor Joists

Barn Loft Northwest Corner Floor Joists

Finally, the plywood to finish the north side and center to north east side:

Barn Loft Northwest Corner with Plywood

Barn Loft Northease Side with Plywood

Barn Loft Southeast Corner

Barn Loft East Side with Plywood

All that's left is the few plywood pieces on the east side! We are very thankful to the Lord for His provisions for the homestead!

-- David

Friday, July 22, 2016

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2016 Goat Kids

After putting our bucks with their designated lady goats last November, the Lord graciously granted a nice herd of goat kids this 2016! He granted that we lost no mothers and no kids this year too, and we are very thankful!

We'll take you around the horn here introducing them, and we do so again in the video below. See if you can guess from where we got some of the names... :)

Here is Nellie on the left with Eva and Zsa Zsa:

2016 Goat Kids

Behind the black goat on the right next to the camper wheel is Adeline and left to right her kids Arnelle, Adelle, and Alex:

More 2016 Goat Kids

On the right is Marie, and her kids left to right Maggie, Marianna, Adeline's Alex from the previous picture, and Marco:

Some More 2016 Goat Kids

Here is Pammy on the left, and her kid Peggy underneath the camper:

Still More 2016 Goat Kids

On the right here is Gracie. Next to her is Eddie, then Theodore, and in the back in the middle next to the barn is Wally:

Another Set of 2016 Goat Kids

Here is Wally again in the front, then on the left is Annie, with Frankie next to her and Annette to the right of him:

Again More 2016 Goat Kids

Behind Annie in the background is Hannah with her buck Haney:

Another Group of 2016 Goat Kids

On the left in front is Lucy, and behind her is Boris, and behind the camper steps is Natasha:

A Few More 2016 Goat Kids

And finally, here is Winnie, whom I call "your highness." Still the queen of the group if she wants to be, but getting older, and this year she didn't get pregnant, which we don't mind because we'd rather have her around than die in kid birth:

Out Nanny Goat Winnie

And here is their video:

As always, we are very grateful to God for the kid crops, and for this year's, and we are extra thankful for the health and safety of all of the mothers and kids!

-- David

Friday, July 15, 2016

David's Digest: Forgive Them

Several years ago, I was reading through Puritan commentator John Gill's commentary, going through the New Testament, and when I came to the last verse of this parable, something struck me:
Matt 18:23-35 - 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

And here is Dr. Gill's notes on verse 35:
So likewise shall my heavenly Father
This is the accommodation and application of the parable, and opens the design and intent of it; showing that God, who is Christ's Father, that is in heaven, will act in like manner towards all such persons, who are cruel and hard hearted to their brethren, and are of merciless and unforgiving spirits; for so it is said,

he will do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
The phrase, "their trespasses", is omitted by the Vulgate Latin, the Arabic, and the Ethiopic versions, but is in all the Greek copies; and designs not pecuniary debts, though these are to be forgiven, and not rigorously exacted in some cases, and circumstances; but all injuries by word or deed, all offences, though ever so justly taken, or unjustly given; these should be forgiven fully, freely, and from the heart, forgetting, as well as forgiving, not upbraiding with them, or with former offences, and aggravating them; and should also pray to God that he would forgive also. It is certainly the will of God, that we should forgive one another all trespasses and offences. The examples of God and Christ should lead and engage unto it; the pardon of sin received by ourselves from the hands of God strongly enforces it; the peace and comfort of communion in public ordinances require it; the reverse is contrary to the spirit and character of Christians, is very displeasing to our heavenly Father, greatly unlike to Christ, and grieving to the Spirit of God.

Wow. Forgiving, even if I could be just in taking offense; forgiving and forgetting (like we would want God to) and not reviling the person; God's forgiveness being withheld for my being unforgiving of others!

But here was the kicker for me: It's easy to say I forgive someone who has done me wrong. But the level of forgiveness I need to have for someone is to where I want God to forgive them -- for Him to forget their wrong against me, to where He never holds them accountable for it!

In honestly examining myself, that was much harder to do, as I think deep down I might desire what I may envision as "justice" on them by God.

But what if God gave me all the same kind of "justice" for my offenses that I deserve?

I have looked to God for help by praying to be able to actually and fully desire that God not hold to an offender's account wrongs against me, as I believe that is the degree of forgiveness we need to have, and what I believe true forgiveness includes.

And we have prime examples from the Bible, from Christ and from Stephen, unsolicited by the offender, even right when the wrong to them was being done -- the ultimate wrong someone can do to another -- kill them!
Luke 23:34 - "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."

Acts 7:59-60 - "59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
May God grant us this Christ-like forgiveness.

-- David

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Chicks the 4th & 5th of 2016

The Lord graciously granted again two more hatchings of chicks this 2016!

I believe this is #4:

2016 Chicks, Group #4

And then this would be #5:

2016 Chicks, Group #5

And here is both groups' video:

As always, we are very grateful to God for these provisions, and their continued health and safety!

-- David