Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Community Singing - October 2017

Once again, this past Lord's day, God graciously granted we be able to gather together to sing to Him, in prayer and praise, the Psalms from the psalter we use! And we recorded them as we try to every so often, so we can learn them better, and so they might help others to as well. Here are the latest:

(If you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can right click on Download and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 60A-65B


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



As always, we pray the Lord glorify Himself through these, and that they be prayers and praises from our hearts!

-- David

Monday, October 9, 2017

David's Digest: Distance & Difference

I believe it is all too easy to forget who God really is and become too familiar with Him. And we can end up thinking that God is like us. And although the Bible refers to Him as a friend of Christians, and that man was originally made in His image, which is what is restored, over time and finally in heaven, in those He saves, we are quite far and quite different from Him, a gap that is impossible to overcome in and of ourselves.

However, thanks be to God for making a Way to close on those, which is through Christ! The fact that it took a mediator at all, and that it took Christ -- God taking on the nature of man to Himself -- to accomplish this, should evidence the distance and difference between God and man.

Puritan Thomas Manton discusses this in his works vol xviii, sermon upon 1 Cor viii 6. You can read the entire sermon here.

I believe it is important to understand this distance and difference, to put us in our proper perspective to ourselves, so we have a proper one of God -- that in essence He is infinitely far and different from us; to elevate Christ that much more in the great love and condescension of God toward us; and to give us great hope and love returned, that God, who is so far and different, would bother to deal with sinners thus.

From Thomas Manton:

I. The necessity of a mediator in this lapsed and fallen estate of mankind. Two things infer and enforce this necessity -- distance and
difference. Distance by reason of impurity, and difference by reason of enmity; both these occur in the case between God and men. God
is a God of glorious majesty, and we are poor creatures. God is an holy God, a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and we are sinful creatures.
As creatures, we are unworthy of immediate access to God; as lapsed, and under the guilt of sin and desert of punishment, and unable to deliver ourselves, we cannot draw nigh to him with any comfort.

1. Our distance, which is so great that it is a condescension for God to take notice that there are such creatures in the world: Ps. cxiii. 6, 'Who humbleth himself to behold the things which are in heaven and earth.' The excellency and majesty of God is so great that either angels or men are unworthy to approach his presence. Now, as inferior and mean people dare not approach the presence of a great prince but by some powerful friend and intercessor at court, so our distance produceth our fears and estrangedness, and backwardness to draw nigh unto God, and so hindereth our love and confidence in him. Well, then, to depend upon one so far above us, that he will take notice of us, take care of us, relieving us in our necessities and straits, and help us out of all our miseries, and finally save us, requireth a mediator; one that is more near and dear to God than we are, which can be no other than Jesus Christ, as I shall show by-and-by. When a sinner looketh only at God as in himself, he is confounded and amazed, as quite out of the reach of his commerce.

2. Difference. A mediator is chiefly one used between disagreeing parties: Gal. iii. 20, 'Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.' There must be two parties, and usually two differing parties. There is God angry, and man guilty. Conscience of guilt presents God terrible, and taketh away all confidence from the guilty sinner, so that of ourselves we cannot approach in a friendly manner to an offended and provoked God: Heb. xii. 29, 'For our God is a consuming fire;' and 'Who can dwell with devouring burnings?' Isa. xxxiii. 14. Who shall interpose and stand between God and us, the power of his wrath, and our weakness and obnoxiousness [liableness] to his righteous vengeance.

II. That none but Christ is fit for this high office, that, though God be high, and just, and holy, yet poor creatures and sinners may have access to him. A mediator must be one that can take off the distance, and compromise the difference between us and God: 'that there were,' saith Job, 'a day's-man between us, that might lay his hands upon both!' Job ix, 33. Now, considering this, Jesus Christ is the only fit interposing party; therefore he is called 'the Mediator of the new covenant,' Heb. xii. 24, 'And to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant,' and 'The Mediator of a better covenant,' Heb. viii. 6.

1. As to the distance; so in his person he is God-man. Our mediator must be one in whom God doth condescend to man, and by whom man may be encouraged to ascend to God. Now in Christ God is nearer to man than he was before, and so we may have more familiar thoughts of God. The pure deity is at so vast a distance from us while we are in the flesh, that we are amazed and confounded, cannot imagine that he should look after us, concern himself in us and our affairs, love us, show us his free grace and favour. Now it is a mighty help to think of God manifested in our flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16; 'The Word made flesh,' John i. 14. So that while we are here in the flesh, yet we may have commerce with God. It is a mighty encouragement to consider how near God is come to us in Christ, and how he hath taken the human nature into his own person; for surely he will not hide himself from his own flesh, Isa. Iviii. 7. He came down into our flesh that he might be man, and familiar with man. This wonderfully reconcileth the heart of man to God, and maketh the thoughts of him comfortable and acceptable to us, so that we may encourage ourselves in free access to God.

2. As the person of the Redeemer, so his work; which is to take away the difference and quarrel between us and God. To understand this, observe, that the mediation between the two differing parties must be carried on so that God, who is the supreme and offended party, may be satisfied. Now God stood upon these terms that the honour of his governing justice should be secured: Rom. iii. 25, 'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.' And that the repentance and reformation of sinful man should be carried on: Acts v. 31, 'Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.' These must be done, otherwise man must lie under his eternal displeasure. If the one be done and not the other done, no reconciliation can ensue. Therefore we must not look to Christ's mediation with God so as to overlook his work with man, nor so look to his work with man as to overlook his mediation with God: Heb. iii. 1, 'Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.' We have both here. The work of an apostle lieth with men; the work of an high priest with God. He hath an office with God and man, and both are necessary to bring about our salvation. And Christ cannot be a complete Saviour without doing both. To be barely a prophet would not serve the turn, but he must be a priest to satisfy God's justice also by the merit of his sacrifice. In short, his work with God is that of a priest; his work with man is that of a prophet and king.

[1.] His work as a priest is to pacify God's wrath, procure his grace, love, and favour for us; and this he doth under two relations — as a sponsor and intercessor.

(1.) As a sponsor and surety. He was the surety of a better testament: Heb. vii. 22, 'By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament' So -

(1st.) By way of satisfaction, he undertook something to be paid and performed for us. He undertaketh to satisfy God's justice by the sacrifice of himself, and so make way for his mercy on easy terms. The pacifying of God's justice was a great part of his mediation: Heb. ix. 15, 'For this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that, by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance;' that is, that penitent and believing sinners might be acquitted from the curse due to them by the first covenant, and so made capable of eternal life. What they owe he hath paid.

(2d.) By way of caution, undertaking for those whom he reconciled to God that they shall perform what God requireth of them in the new covenant. Having purchased the Spirit, he hath enabled them to repent, and believe, and mortify and crucify the flesh, and obey the gospel: Rom. vi. 6, 'Knowing that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.'

(2.) As an intercessor. He is in heaven dealing with God in our behalf. He hath not cast off his relation or affection to his people upon his advancement: Heb. viii. 2, 'A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.' In all his glory he is the church's agent, appearing for us as our attorney in court, Heb. ix. 24; pleading for us, and answering all accusations as our advocate: 1 John ii. 1, 'And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' And maintaining a correspondency between us and God, as an ambassador between two states, promoting our desires and prayers: Rev. viii. 3, 'And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.' And obtaining all necessary graces for us.

[2.] His work with men, as a prophet and king.

(1.) As a prophet, and so as a messenger of the covenant, Mal. iii. 11. He showeth us the way how we may be reconciled with God, persuading us also to be so reconciled to God. For we are ignorant and obstinate, loath to part with sin and submit to God's terms; therefore he revealeth, and persuadeth us to accept, the conditions of the new covenant, and to cast away all our rebellion against God, and enter into his peace: 2 Cor. v. 20, 'Now then we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.' They plead in his name, and by virtue of his power.

(2.) As a king and lord; so he maketh these terms part of the new law for the remedying of lapsed mankind: Heb. v. 8, 'Though he were a son, yet he learned obedience by the things he suffered.' And not only so, but he subdueth us to himself,' Luke xi. 21; by strong hand rescueth us out of the power of the devil, and giveth us grace to serve him acceptably, Heb. xii. 28; and taketh us into his care, and ruleth us and protecteth us, till we enter into everlasting life. His lordship is a great part of his mediation.

Thanks be to God for His great condescension, love, mercies and graces! May Christ increase, and we decrease, and may we worship the Lord forever for who He is and what He has done!

-- David

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Chicken Hatchings of 2017 6th-8th

The Lord graciously granted another three chicken hatchings of 2017, the 6th, 7th and 8th!

Here's group 6. I believe the hen hatched out 8:

2017 6th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


In this group, there was one that had trouble with one of its legs, and would stick it out straight back -- you can get a good look at it how it was in the video below. Well, in our experience, a good way to try to help with that is to put binders on its legs, where you use a thin piece of duct tape and wrap each end around each leg, which helps keep the legs together, with the idea that the good leg will help guide the bad one into what it's supposed to do correctly (like us being yoked to Christ! Matt. 11:29 - "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.").

At first, it was too small for the good leg to overpower the bad one, but as the good leg strengthened, I was able to attach the binder, and it did seem to help. You can see the binders on it in the video as well.

Today, she (which is what it appears it turned out to be) is still going, and able to get around fairly well, which we also show in the video.


And then, here is group 7. The mama was a hatchling from I believe a couple of years ago, and she originally hatched out 11. But...

I can't remember exactly how this went, one day I did a count, and only saw 10, but thought perhaps I had just miscounted originally. Some time later, I walked in, and there was one dead, and only 7 alive, which means another 2 were missing. What was going on? I looked around in the summer kitchen pantry there, and sure enough, I found a snake in the corner, picked it up, and there was a chick-sized lump in its belly. Arg! And bummer. I don't know how it got in there, as I had been purposefully keeping the main doors of the summer kitchen closed just because of this snake issue (we've had trouble like that before) -- maybe it got in through a small hole in external OSB, but it seems it would have had to do that when it was smaller.

Anyway, after getting the snake out of there, the other 7 are still going strong!

2017 7th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


And this is group 8. 6 or 7 hatched out, 1 or 2 died, but the other 5 are still also doing well!

2017 8th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


And here is a video of all 3 groups:




Once again, we are very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions, and for His mercy on the ones He allowed us to keep. They are all His chickens to do with as He pleases, and we are just thankful He has allowed us any. May they be used for His glory!

-- David

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Pressure Can Bacon Pieces

Back in June we took in our large pig boar, Ardy, to the meat processor. I still have a wrist strain injury from browning all of the ground meat, but that's another story...... :)

While we here are always looking to learn ways to preserve food without freezing or canning, in the mean time, I learned how to pressure can bacon several years ago and, since it is so easy, I thought I would share it with you in case it might be helpful to anyone. The price of bacon has seemed to skyrocket over the years (at least in actual prices). Wouldn't you love to "pounce" on a good bacon sale and be able to preserve it in bulk without using up freezer space or risking freezer burn? AND, it would already be pre-cooked! Real bacon! Well, below is a simple tutorial as to how I process and pressure can bacon pieces. (Sorry, if you want to can entire pieces there are other tutorials on line). Investing in a canner and some jars/lids is really not very expensive at all compared to the savings over time when you find great sales. You can pressure can just about anything.

Okay, let's go!

Here is how the bacon comes from the processor:

Shrink-wrapped Bacon


So, I just take it out of the package and lay it on a cutting board with my preferred knife ready to cut it into strips. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the bacon is still partially frozen for nice, clean cutting. As it thaws, the fat gets greasy and slippery and becomes increasingly difficult and more dangerous to cut. You may as well put it back in the freezer at that point:

Bacon Ready for Cutting


I cut it into approximately 1/2" strips. If you want smaller pieces, cut to your preferred width:

Bacon Cut in Cross Strips


Then I cut the strips cross-wise into several small sections, again, approx. 1/2" (cut to your preferred size). Don't worry about trying to separate each layer; it will all separate in the cooking:

Bacon Cut Into Pieces


Yeah, Ardy was a big boy.....

Bowls of Bacon Pieces


Okay, then I just lightly cooked the bacon in frying pans, about half-way or more cooked, and the fat is released from the meat:

Pan Cooking Bacon Pieces


I then strained out the meat with a slotted spoon. If you want less bacon grease in your jar, use a colander or more thorough straining method:

Straining Out the Bacon Grease


Here is the big bowl of bacon grease I strained, which will be canned in separate jars along with the bacon. This way, the grease will be preserved indefinitely until I'm ready to use it, and it won't become rancid:

Bowl of Bacon Grease to Pressure Can


The yield: 22 pints of delicious bacon pieces!!!

Jars of Bacon Ready for Pressure Canning


I strained the bacon grease to get out the little remnants of bacon for a clean, clear lard result:

Straining the Bacon Grease


Four and a half pints of bacon grease - not bad!

Jars of Bacon Grease Ready for Pressure Canning


I processed the bacon and grease in pint jars at 15 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes in my trusty pressure canner (don't be intimidated, if I can do it, anyone "can" :D ), dutifully following the canning book instructions:

Jars of Bacon Pieces in Pressure Canner


And the finished product! It may not look that appetizing, but here is delicious pre-cooked bacon, ready to be poured out of the jar and used in your recipe of choice. You can heat it up and get all of the grease out of it, or include the grease to fry with, etc. When bacon is called for in recipes, it usually takes time and planning. This way, it's all ready right away!

Jars of Pressure Canned Bacon Pieces


Here is a closer look:

Closeup of Jar of Canned Bacon Pieces


We are so very thankful to God for these provisions and a way at this time to preserve and be good stewards of them. Bon appetit!

Susan

Thursday, September 14, 2017

David's Digest: Sins of the Heart

Some time ago I had come across someone giving the example that as long as someone who desires homosexual relations doesn't act on them, they are okay in God's eyes, the idea being that if someone abstains from an outward manifestation of sin, they are keeping themselves from actual sin. This idea is what prompted this blog post.

The Bible speaks otherwise of this idea, and calls this concupiscence.

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines this as:
Lust; unlawful or irregular desire of sexual pleasure. In a more general sense, the coveting of carnal things, or an irregular appetite for worldly good; inclination for unlawful enjoyments.

This is not just in the sexual realm -- it covers all carnal desires of the heart.


Here is where concupiscence is mentioned in the Bible:

Rom 7:8 - "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."

Puritan commentator John Gill says of the concupiscence here:
"The law forbidding every unclean thought, and covetous desire of unlawful objects, sin took an occasion through these prohibitions to work in him, stir up and excite concupiscence, evil desire after all manner of things forbidden by the law; hence it is clear that not the law, but sin, is exceeding sinful."

Col 3:5 - "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"

Here Dr. Gill says it
"includes every fleshly lust and inordinate desire, or every desire after that which is not lawful, or does not belong to a man; as what is another's property, his wife, or goods, or anything that is his."

1 Thess 4:3-5 - "3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:"

Again Dr. Gill, regarding fulfilling the lust of concupiscence:
"for a man so to possess his vessel, is to cherish the sin of concupiscence, the first motions of sin in the heart, by which a man is drawn away, and enticed."

Acts of sin are only the outward workings of the evil—yes, sinful—desires of the heart. In fact, sin starts in the heart:

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

Luke 6:45 - "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.


And here are scriptures talking about the sins of the heart, which is by nature sinful:

Gen 6:5 - "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Psa 28:3 - "Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts."

Psa 58:2 - "Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth."

Psa 101:4 - "A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person."

Prov 6:18 - "An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,"

Prov 10:20 - "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth."

Prov 21:4 - "An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin."

Jer 4:14 - "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?"

Matt 15:18-20 - "18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."

Acts 8:22 - "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."

1 John 3:15 - "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."


Finally, Puritan Thomas Manton has some words in regards to heart sin:

This is from Manton, vol xviii, sermons upon Proverbs x 20, sermon II, the full text which can be read here:
(4.) That we must make conscience not only of our words, but thoughts. Men are cautious in their speeches and how they discover themselves; but they think thoughts are free. No; heart-sins are sins as well as the sins of the tongue and life : Prov. xxiv. 9, 'The thought of foolishness is sin'; they are contrary to the law of God. Therefore David saith, Ps. cxix. 113, 'I hate vain thoughts.' Usually we take more liberty in our thoughts than in our words and actions. Men will not rob, steal, murder, or assault the chastity of a neighbour's wife; but let their hearts run riot in coveting, and that is theft in the heart; or lusting, and that is adultery in the heart: Mat. v. 28, 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart'; or malice and revenge, and that is killing in the heart.

And this is from Manton, vol xviii, sermons upon John i 29, sermons II, the full text which can be read here:
Others, if they would be freed from sin, they respect only the preventing the outward act, but you must abstain from the lust [desire] : 1 Peter ii. 11, 'I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts [desires], which war against the soul.' If they look after the heart and inward man, it is some branch of sin, not the root, or the change of the heart, and so die impenitent. Evil practices do not flow from a present temptation, but an evil nature. All these lose their labour; they neither get rid of trouble nor prevent the act, nor are free from the breach of God's law, but Christ would make a thorough cure.

May God change our heart to ones desiring Christ, His righteousness and holiness; may He keep our hearts pure, removing sinful desires; and may He grant us the desire and strength to pray and fight against the sinful desires of the heart!

-- David

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Gigi the Goose Gets Gustav the Gander

With the loss of our gander Augie, I figured it's just not right for Gigi our goose to be alone. Plus, they cost basically nothing to maintain, and can sometimes alert when some things are not status quo around the farm.

And so we kept an eye out for a mate for her on one of the internet lists.

And recently, the Lord granted we find one fairly close by! Yea!

Apparently a young Chinese-breed gander, we went and picked him up and introduced the two, and they quickly became "an item"! Yea again, and thanks to God for both!

And we decided to name him Gustav (Goose-tav :D ). He reminds me somewhat of Gary, in the way he looks and sounds. Fond memories of Gary. :)

Anyway, here are a couple pictures of Gustav and Gigi, with him on the right:

Gustav Our Gander & Gigi Our Goose

More of Gustav Our Gander & Gigi Our Goose


And then a video of their introduction and them getting to know each other:




They continue to do very well, hang out all day together, and we've even seen Gustav act in a way that looks like he's protecting her. :)


Again, we are thankful to the Lord for granting Gigi a mate so she won't be alone, and that they were very quickly like old friends! We pray they might benefit the Church and perhaps the farm in some way.

-- David

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Tasha's Turkey Chick of 2017

One thing we've discovered with our turkey hens is that they like to make nests out in the woods, and so when one doesn't come back at night, we go looking for it where we have seen them about during the day, or try to find them the next day, and thanks to the Lord we have often been able to find them, usually with broken eggs around them, as the critters get to them if they're left, most likely over night.

Well, our brown hen, Haddie, from last year's hatching from Trina disappeared. We could not find her, and she didn't show up at all again around the homestead, as they often do at least in the morning before going back to sit.

One day when going back into the woods to cut fire wood, I saw a bunch of what appeared to be turkey feathers, and tracked them along a path. Sadly, it appeared she was taken out by some critter, although she moved quite a bit before the feather trail stopped, so she gave it a go. And so, we lost Haddie, and we miss her.

However, we were able to find our other new hen from last year, Tasha, with maybe 8-10 eggs under her, so we grabbed her and them and put them in the summer kitchen.

And by God's graciousness, she hatched out three new little live turklets! (That's what I call them, like I might call a chicken chick a chicklet :) ). Sadly here though, two of them died when fairly young, but we do have the one left, who at the time of this writing is about 2/3 the size of her mommy now! We believe she is a hen as well, she looks a lot like Tasha, and we've decided to call her Halia, in honor of Haddie -- the "Ha" from the start of her name, and that "Halia" apparently means "Remembrance of a loved one" in Hawaiian.

Here the pair are back in June:

New 2017 Turkey Chick


And here is a video of them in the summer kitchen, and then when we released them to be free:




Finally, turkeys do silly things, and here's a video example, with Lil Hank from last year's hatching tapping on the screen and saying hello through the house window...while perched on a sawhorse!




As always, we are very thankful to the Lord for granting these provisions, and the health and safety He did grant to any of them! It's only of His will, graces and mercies we are supplied with anything, where we deserve nothing, and even to have them taken away for sin. And so, we are very grateful!

-- David