Friday, February 8, 2019

David's Digest: 10 Years of the Broken Idol

I would like to share something personal yet glorious to God. These are what I've come to believe about certain things; and I thought I would share them, to indeed give God the glory; to magnify His infinite graces, mercies, faithfulness, goodness, forbearance, and other attributes; and perhaps in the possibility they might help someone else.


Ten years ago today, the Lord granted I stop excessive alcohol drinking....again.

The first was in 1999, where God turned me from living a heathen life to stopping the partying and living for Him, attending church and really seeking Him.

Now, I'll assume we can all agree that alcohol abuse is a sin:
1 Cor 6:9-10 - "9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
"

Gal 5:19-23 - "19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
"

I also personally believe that alcohol in and of itself is lawful in the Bible. I don't want to get into that here, but I do believe it is when done properly.

A little more than 5 1/2 years later, I thought that, since what I thought were the reasons I was drinking before were not a part of my life anymore, it seemed reasonable that I could participate in something biblicly lawful in a lawful way.

Sadly, that ended up not being the case, and eventually after about 4 years, I was participating in it quite unlawfully, to a very bad degree again.

However, once again, the Lord in His infinite mercies, saw fit to help me stop again, and grant repentance (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:5), as it appears.

My sin is ever before me though, especially with the aggravation of living hypocritically (20 years ago I wasn't trying to live a Christian life while I was drinking, but this time I was), and that at the time I was an elder in this community (which I am not now); and I sadly believe my sin affected not only Sue, but the group in spiritual and temporal ways, even in ways only God knows about. I will forever grieve for all of this. I pray those affected will forgive me, and thanks to those who bore with me, especially Sue, a truly godly woman and wife.


So then I wondered, what happened? How did it get so bad again given the original motivation didn't seem to be there anymore?

And then I read a book that talked about idols of the heart, and when I got to the one about comfort, I knew that was it. I worshipped comfort -- physical, emotional, whatever comfort -- and alcohol helped provide that.

Here is one of the Webster's 1828 definitions of idolatry:
Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.

And one for idol:
Any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment. An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures.

God is our comfort...
1 Cor 1:3-4 - "3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
"

...and my desire for comfort was excessive and was put in the place of God. That is plain idolatry. In fact, all sin has idolatry in it, where God says do or do not do this, and we say we know better than God, thus declaring ourselves to be god. It even was the promise for the sin in the garden, to be as God.

God says not to drink alcohol unlawfully, but I said, my desire is to my own comfort, regardless of what you say, God.

How heinous. But sin is heinous, because it's against a perfectly holy, loving, and good God. And doubly so when we do it even though we say we love God.

And so, my prayer has been that God would remove the idols of my heart, especially because He is the searcher of the heart, and only He knows it perfectly:
Jer 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

1 Chron 28:9 - "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."

Psa 44:21 - "Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart."

Psa 139:23 - "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:"

Here is what God says about idols of the heart in Ezekiel 14, and what He will do to those who maintain them:
2 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:

8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God.

God is God, regardless. However, if He will be our God, then He alone must be God. Nothing else can be looked upon for our trust, or comfort, or safety, or anything. God is the placeholder for all of these things, and if we do not behave toward Him in that way, we are idolaters.

And so, the first time I stopped drinking, all I did was tear off the tops of the weeds, when in reality, the roots were still there...in my heart.

I know that I can never drink again casually, because for me, it will slowly be building up that idol again, stone by stone. There might not be much to see at first, but eventually, before I'd know it, it would be standing tall once again with me bowing to it. God forbid!

Rom 3:10-12 - "10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
"

It is only by God's graces do we do anything truly spiritual, in matter and in manner. Without Him, we only have our carnal man, and that does no good, nor seeks for God. And so, we need to seek from Him the breaking down of the idols of the heart, for repentance, and for love to Him above all other loves.

While dealing with the struggle against seeking comfort from creation is not a constant with me at this time, I believe that God helps me every single day with this. And while I know I can never drink casually again, that doesn't mean without His help each moment I would make it, and I fully believe left to myself, I will not. And again, while the struggle is not much on my mind now, I still at times ask Him for help to not drink this day, or thank Him for helping me not drink this day, to be grateful to Him, and to make sure I remember that I am powerless without Him.

Ps 73:25-26 - "25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
"

May God grant us that to be true.


I am eternally grateful to the Lord for granting what appears to be repentance, the sight of my heart idols, and what I pray is a true hatred of them and all sin, not because of the consequences, but out of love for Him and the offensiveness they are to the One I love. And I thank Him for the great atoning work of Christ Jesus, forgiveness and cleansing from sin by His precious blood!

Although I certainly do not want to diminish the difficulty of all this -- nay, impossibility without God -- and your personal struggles with it, and the emotional, psychological and physiological aspects of alcohol dependency, I pray if you're struggling with these types of things that maybe you'll consider some of the above.

And most of all, do not ever leave the foot of Christ, in beseeching Him for mercy, help and His graces to live idol-free, especially from the secret ones of your heart.

And He is faithful. In the heart-idol verses from Ezekiel above, He says He afflicts the people so they will be His people and He will be their God. How gloriously gracious and merciful indeed!

Deut 7:9 - "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;"

1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Thank the Lord, and may God's graces and mercies be with you.

-- David

Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 2019 Community Work Day: Fence Fixing, Milo Gathering & Chimney Sweeping

This past community work day, we did half-day at our place, and the folks here graciously helped us accomplish a few projects...

First, over the years, in trying to get to the "grass that's surely greener on the other side" of the fencing, the goats have put a pretty good leaning-angle in the fencing when their heads are through and they are pushing to get just that perfect morsel that's as far away as their little necks can reach. ;) Anyway, we had to straighten up the fencing on two sides by unclipping the fencing, pulling the t-post, re-pounding in the t-post, and then re-clipping the fencing. Here are the gents helping me with that:

Straitening Goat Fencing


And here, the Stonger boys are helping gather milo seeds from the field:

Gathering Milo


Then, it was time to try our first chimney sweeping. We used an adjustable ladder, uneven on one side, and Mr. Stronger held it in place on the roof while I worked the stove pipe.

After years, I believe the creosote "glued" on the cap, so I had to pound it off:

Removing Stove Pipe Cap


And then it was time to use the sweeper. For our metal chimney pipe, you're supposed to use a poly brush so it doesn't scrape up the metal.

I will conquer you o creosote, my foe! ;)

Ready with the Chimney Sweeper


And here's the sweeping. One thing I forgot about was that near the bottom of the pipe there is a damper, so when I hit the stopping point, I kind of tried to push through it, and ended up bending the damper turner...oops. :) :

Sweeping the Chimney


And then, putting the cap back on:

Putting Back On the Chimney Cap


Finally, here are some other sights from work day....

I'm not going to ask about this one... :D I'm with Joshua....must...get...away...quickly... ;)

Community Work Day Folks


Don't wear out the youngin's, Mr. Peck! ;)

Community Work Day Folks


A quarter for your thoughts...(inflation, you know) ;)

Community Work Day Folks


Tree climbing, supervised of course:

Community Work Day Folks

Community Work Day Folks

Community Work Day Folks


We all here are grateful to the Lord for Him granting us this opportunity to be here and live together and focus more of our lives on Him, and showing we love Him by loving and serving each other. We thank Him for the safety He granted, and Sue and I thank everyone for the help!

-- David

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Pile o' Milo

In the attempt to become as sustaining as possible, we have grown some crops in fields throughout our time here. Some have been for us to eat, but also for chicken feed.

One we haven't tried but apparently works well around here is milo, and so last year I thought I would try that.

I planted in May I believe, and because of the drought and longer, hot summer, the milo was stunted, and took 4-5 months to really start to seed out. Here is what it looked like 1/3 of the way through November:

2018 Milo Field

2018 Milo Head


At that point, it was just a matter of if the seeds could mature before the freezes hit. Well, that sadly didn't really happen.

However, I've gone ahead and begun to harvest what's there, in the hopes that the chickens might eat it anyway. With the seeds being as immature as they are, I don't think that even a combine would do anything, so we're doing it by hand. At least it's not 11 acres of pulling weeds, like our cocklebur fight with the upper field! :D

Here are some buckets of collected milo heads:

Buckets of Milo Heads


And me scraping. I found a serrated knife worked best:

Scraping Milo Heads


And here is a bucket full of the scraped seeds. We have about 3 so far as of now:

Bucket of Scraped Milo Seeds


We are thankful to the Lord for these provisions and what He granted, as He is in no way obliged to grant us anything. :) And we pray for continued help in learning how to live in direct dependence on Him, both temporily and spiritually.

-- David

Thursday, January 17, 2019

David's Digest: Pride Slaying, Part 3

1 Peter 5:5 - "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

Pride is evil, and is it any wonder God resists the proud?

This is part three of Thomas Manton on the slaying of pride, from Sermon 11 in Sermons from Psalm 131, which you can read in full here.

Previous parts:
Part 1
Part 2

Here is a quick review of the first five points:

To persuade us to purge out this leaven of pride, the means are these:

First, Frequent examination of ourselves; for self-acquaintance breedeth humility. No man extolleth himself but he that knoweth not himself. Therefore the best way to take down pride is to consider often what we have been, what we are, and what we deserve.
  1. What we have been. Let us often consider the horrible filthiness of our corrupt nature, stinking worse than any carcass before God.
  2. After grace received, mixed principles, and therefore mixed operations, flesh and spirit, law and gospel, Gal. v. 17. If we consider in what state our soul is, what our actions are, how polluted with a tang of the flesh, how little comfortable sense of the love of God, we should soon see that we still carry about with us the cause of a deep humiliation in our bosoms.
  3. Consider what we have deserved. The eternal wrath of God, due to us for sin. It is a wonder that he doth not turn us into hell every moment, and that fire doth not come forth from his jealousy to consume us, who are ever and anon tripping in his service.
Secondly, Frequent communion with God in prayers and praises; for so we more and more come into the knowledge of God, and a sight and sense of his majesty and glory; and a serious sight of God will humble us.

Thirdly, Constant watchfulness, especially when we are most in danger of this sin; then we should keep a double watch.

Fourthly, Use those things with fear which may feed your pride, and so avoid all occasions of being lifted up.

Fifthly, The example of Christ. There was not a more excellent person, nor more worthy, in all the world.


From Thomas Manton:

Sixthly, Thoughts of death, and the great change that we must once undergo, should still keep us humble. This flesh, which thou deckest with so much art and ornament, must shortly become a dead carcass, removed out of sight, that it may not become offensive to those that most love and prize thee, and rot in the grave, and become food for worms. Dust we were in our composition, and dust we must be in our dissolution, Gen. iii. 19. What is viler than dust? Eccles. xii. 7, 'Our dust shall return to the earth as it was.'

We do but for a while act a part upon the stage of the world, and then we must be unclothed; as he that acteth the king in the comedy, and then goeth off and is a poltroon, as before ; he vaunteth on the stage for a while, then ad staiuram suam redit — Seneca. Though his excellency mounteth unto the heavens, yet within a while he perisheth, as his own dung, Job xx. 5-8. Our ornaments must be left behind us.

Seventhly, A gift sanctified [used for holiness], though never so mean [low], is more than the greatest gifts that puff us up. It holdeth good in all things. In estate, the truest contentment is to be kept humble in the enjoyment of it, James i. 10. The rich, in that he be made low. So for honour; it is not the outward splendour which is our happiness, but the humble mind. To be minimus in summo, least at the highest, like a spire or pyramid, is an argument of a great spirit.

So for parts, the humble Christian is the better qualified, 1 Cor. viii. 1. Knowledge puffeth up, charity edifieth. So grace; the less conceited, the more grace. Pride starveth every grace, but humility feedeth it. It is the humble soul which hath the solid comforts, and hath made most progress in religion.

Eighthly, Consider the evils of pride, both as to sin and punishment.

1. As to sin. It puts us upon other sins, murmuring against God, contempt of others: Prov. xxi, 24, 'Haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth with proud wrath.' Contention with them: 'He that is proud in heart stirreth up strife,' Prov. xxviii. 25. Envy; Saul eyed David ever afterward, 1 Sam. xviii. 9. An evil eye : Mat. xx. 24, 'When the disciples heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.' Censuring: James iii. 1, 'Be not many masters.'

2. Evils of punishment. Others [evils, bad outcomes] cannot be expected, since the proud are so odious to God: Prov. xvi. 5, 'Whosoever is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.'

[1.] The judgments of God against the proud are sure: Prov. xxix. 23, 'A man's pride will surely bring him low.' So Prov. xvi. 5, 'Though hand join in hand.' All the world shall not keep him, as that doth not keep down his own spirit. God will cross him in his person or posterity: Prov. xv. 25, 'The house of the proud shall be destroyed.'

[2.] It is swift. Judgment cometh upon other sins with a slow pace, but always treadeth on the heels of pride, in that instant wherein they exalt themselves. Nebuchadnezzar, when his heart was lifted up and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from the kingdom, Dan. V. 20. The angels fell in that instant. Herod adored as a god, and immediately eaten up of worms. Acts xii. We lose our children, estate, parts, by some sudden stroke of providence, when we grow proud of them.

[3.] It is shameful; that God may pour the more contempt on them: Prov. xi. 2, 'When pride cometh, then cometh shame.' Not only ruin, but shame; Herod punished by lice, Pharaoh by gnats and flies, Miriam by leprosy; Goliath falleth by a stone out of a shepherd's sling.

[4.] It is impartial. Not only upon Pharaoh, Herod, Haman, but his own people. Uzziah, 2 Chron. xxv. 26, 27, died without being lamented [Amaziah in those verses, or Uzziah in 2 Chron. xxvi. 21, 22]. Hezekiah: 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, 'His heart was lifted up, therefore there was wrath upon him.'


May God grant we remember just how low we as man are and the fragility of the flesh, that we be full of His graces, and that we remember just how evil pride is and the punishments that often ensue from it.

May the Lord grant us repentance and the true humility of life that only comes from Him, and may we seek Him to those ends.

-- David

Thursday, January 10, 2019

David's Digest: Pride Slaying, Part 2

James 4:6 - "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

Pride is a devilish thing, and it behooves us to be on guard against it.

This is part two of Thomas Manton on the slaying of pride, from Sermon 11 in Sermons from Psalm 131, which you can read in full here.

Previous parts:
Part 1

Here is a quick review of the first two points:

To persuade us to purge out this leaven of pride, the means are these:

First, Frequent examination of ourselves; for self-acquaintance breedeth humility. No man extolleth himself but he that knoweth not himself. Therefore the best way to take down pride is to consider often what we have been, what we are, and what we deserve.
  1. What we have been. Let us often consider the horrible filthiness of our corrupt nature, stinking worse than any carcass before God.
  2. After grace received, mixed principles, and therefore mixed operations, flesh and spirit, law and gospel, Gal. v. 17. If we consider in what state our soul is, what our actions are, how polluted with a tang of the flesh, how little comfortable sense of the love of God, we should soon see that we still carry about with us the cause of a deep humiliation in our bosoms.
  3. Consider what we have deserved. The eternal wrath of God, due to us for sin. It is a wonder that he doth not turn us into hell every moment, and that fire doth not come forth from his jealousy to consume us, who are ever and anon tripping in his service.
Secondly, Frequent communion with God in prayers and praises; for so we more and more come into the knowledge of God, and a sight and sense of his majesty and glory; and a serious sight of God will humble us.


Continuing, from Thomas Manton:

Thirdly, Constant watchfulness, especially when we are most in danger of this sin; then we should keep a double watch. Pride is incident to all, but especially to those who are ennobled with any excellency of birth, honour, or estate, or parts, or office. Few are able to master their comforts; they are too strong wine for weak heads. To learn to abound is the harder lesson, Phil iv. 12. When God lifteth them up, they lift up themselves; the wind of strong applause soon oversets a little vessel. Even gracious persons may be tainted. Pride once crept into heaven, and then into paradise; and it is hardly kept out of the best heart.

Christians are not so much in danger of sensual [of the senses] lusts [desires] as of this sin; it groweth upon us many times by the decrease of other sins; as mortified, so proud [ie. we end up proud of our non-pride and/or spiritualness]: are ministers by their office: 1 Tim. iii. 6, 'Not a novice, lest, lifted up by pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.' But withal, those are most prone that rise out of the dunghill and from a low estate to great wealth and honour; partly because they are not able to digest such a sudden and unusual happiness; partly because they look less to God, and more to their own prudence and industry: Hab. i. 16, 'Sacrifice to their own net.'

Now all these should watch: Deut. viii. 14, 'Take heed lest thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God;' 1 Tim. vi. 17, 'Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches.' The honourable should watch, the minister watch, the gifted watch, but especially those whom God hath more than ordinarily blessed with worldly increase, Ps. cxix. 70,71.

Fourthly, Use those things with fear which may feed your pride, and so avoid all occasions of being lifted up. As, for instance, do not look upon your graces and privileges without looking upon your infirmities, which may be a counterbalance to you: Mark ix. 24, 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' There is much corruption still remaineth in us, and often gets the advantage of us in thought, word, and deed. Never reflect upon your praises, but remember your imperfections, which the world seeth not, the many sins which you are conscious unto, and how much more you deserve reproofs than praises;

And if you will thoroughly slight the honour and vainglory of the world, never count yourselves humble, till you are more willing to be admonished than praised, reproved than flattered. It is the proud man that despiseth reproof, but the humble prizeth it. Instances of the one: Amaziah to the prophet: 2 Chron. xxv. 16, 'Art thou made of the king's counsel? forbear; why shouldst thou be smitten?' The false prophet Zedekiah to Micaiah: 2 Chron. xviii. 23, 'Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to thee?' The pharisees to Christ: 'Are we blind also?' John ix. 39, 40.

Holy and humble men are of another temper. Job did not despise the cause of his servants when they contended with him. Job xxx. 13, 14; David: Ps. cxli. 5, 'Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness.' This is a notable remedy against pride, to bear a faithful reproof, and take it in better part than praises and acclamations.

Again, when you reflect upon your enjoyments, consider your account, Luke xii. 48. What will ye do when ye shall appear before the tribunal to answer for all this honour and estate? Surely such a day and such a reckoning should damp men, and quench all self-exalting thoughts.

Never look upon your afflictions, but consider the mercies yet continued, notwithstanding your ill-deservings, Ezra iii. 19, that we may not murmur, which is an effect of pride, but submit to God's chastisements; that is the way to increase humility; for afflictions are humbling occasions, and so must be improved.

Fifthly, The example of Christ. There was not a more excellent person, nor more worthy, in all the world. Now what was his life but a lecture of humility? Mat. xi. 29, 'Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart;' 'He sought not his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him,' John v. 41. That is our business as well as Christ's; not to seek ourselves, but to please God and glorify God.

He chose a mean life, withdrew himself when they would make him a king, John vi. 15; came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, Mat. xx. 28. Vain men would be admired of all, are desirous of worldly power and glory; but this is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. Surely we should dress ourselves by this glass. The meek, humble, lowly mind is an express resemblance of Christ, as pride is of the devil.

When Christ came to save us, he would not choose a life of pomp, but poverty. He submitted to be conceived in the womb of a maiden, took the form of a servant, was laid in a manger, sacrificed two pigeons. He lived in the world as a man of sorrows, born of mean parents, working at their trade. Justin Martyr saith he made ploughs or yokes: 'Is not this the carpenter?' Mark vi. After he entered into the ministry, he was scorned, opposed by men, preached out of a ship to people on the shore. Finally, he humbled himself to the death, the death of the cross.

Now the same mind should be in you that was in Jesus, Phil. ii. 5. Unless you think it a disgrace to imitate him, either you must be humble, or seek another lord and master.


May God grant we be on watch against our pride, the humility to take reproof, and a desire to be like the Lord Christ, and may we pray to those ends.

-- David

Go on Part 3.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

David's Digest: Pride Slaying, Part 1

By nature, man is proud. We all have pride in our hearts to some degree. We can ask ourselves, are we as humble as Christ, infinite God who took a human nature only to be spit upon and crucified? If not, then we indeed have some pride there. :)

In fact, a proud person -- not just the pride itself -- is an abomination to the Lord:
Prov 16:5 - "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished."

It seems to me we should ponder that seriously.

Pride is also a shame:
Prov 11:2 - "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom."

And we should hate that pride in ourselves:
Prov 8:13 - "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

Further, here's a warning:
Prov 29:23 - "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit."

And finally, what traits does Christ say we should learn from Him?
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."

Well then, what can be done?


Here is from Puritan Thomas Manton on the slaying of pride, from Sermon 11 in Sermons from Psalm 131, which you can read in full here.

This is part one of several parts.


From Thomas Manton:

Use. To persuade us to purge out this leaven of pride. It cannot he purged out at once, but it must be mortified and subdued more and more. Daily labour and diligence is necessary for this end.

The means are these -

First, Frequent examination of ourselves; for self-acquaintance breedeth humility. No man extolleth himself but he that knoweth not himself. Therefore the best way to take down pride is to consider often what we have been, what we are, and what we deserve.

1. What we have been. Let us often consider the horrible filthiness of our corrupt nature, stinking worse than any carcass before God. Take the softest notion of original sin, we wanted a righteousness to place before God: Ps. li. 5, 'I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.'

We wanted [lacked] strength to serve him: Rom. viii. 7, 'The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' We had nothing to incline us to God or commend us to him. Yea, not only an impotency, but an averseness. Partly out of carnal liberty: Rom. viii. 7, 'Because the carnal mind is enmity to God.' Partly through sensuality [of the senses], or addictedness to present things grateful to the flesh: John iii. 6, 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh.' Partly through legal bondage: Gen. iii. 7, 'The eyes of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked;' ver. 10, 'I heard thy voice in the garden, and I hid myself, because I was naked.' Through carnal liberty our hearts were averse from him as a lawgiver; through bondage, as a judge: Col. i. 21, 'You that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works.'

2. After grace received, mixed principles, and therefore mixed operations, flesh and spirit, law and gospel, Gal. v. 17. If we consider in what state our soul is, what our actions are, how polluted with a tang of the flesh, how little comfortable sense of the love of God, we should soon see that we still carry about with us the cause of a deep humiliation in our bosoms, and to cry out with the publican, Luke xviii. 13, 'Lord, be merciful,' &c.; or with Paul, Rom. vii. 24, 'wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?'

Besides your wants and defects, consider the loathsome corruption of your souls, which follow you wherever you go. The sins of our best duties are enough to humble us, to have such low conceptions of God, such heartless prayers, &c.

3. Consider what we have deserved. The eternal wrath of God, due to us for sin. It is a wonder that he doth not turn us into hell every moment, and that fire doth not come forth from his jealousy to consume us, who are ever and anon tripping in his service.

You will say, Blessed be God, we are escaped by Christ; we are passed from death to life.

Ans. I do not tell you what God will do, but what you have deserved; and this not to weaken your confidence, but to humble your hearts.

Now it is enough for that, that you had once the sentence passed upon you, and have had the rope, as it were, about your necks; that you have been at the gates of hell, and might have entered in, but for the grace of your Redeemer. Besides, you deserve it still; your daily sins and best actions deserve the wrath of God.

And such a sense of it is still necessary as quickens to thankfulness, and prays for pardon, and promoteth to humility; and you turn grace into wantonness, and abuse it, if it lessen any of these acts.

Well, then, though God forgive us, we must not forget we were once as bad as the worst, and children of wrath, even as others, Eph. ii. 3. We must still condemn ourselves when God justifieth us, and set our sins ever before us though God do cast them behind his back. Now shall such creatures as we be proud, so sinful, so liable to the curse, whose righteousnesses are as filthy rags ? Isa. Ixiv. 6.

Secondly, Frequent communion with God in prayers and praises; for so we more and more come into the knowledge of God, and a sight
and sense of his majesty and glory; and a serious sight of God will humble us: Isa. vi. 5, 'I am unclean, for I have seen the Lord of hosts;' Gen. xviii. 27, 'I am but dust and ashes;' Job xlii. 5, 6, 'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.'

Can they be proud that have so often to do with an holy and glorious God? Surely one glimpse of his majesty will take down thy self-exalting thoughts. The stars differ from one another in brightness and glory, but when the sun appeareth they are all obscured, and those differences unobserved.

So when we compare ourselves with men, we seem great, wise, powerful; but God, rightly apprehended, lesseneth us in our opinion, estimation, and affection. He is all, we are nothing but what he maketh us to be. All the creatures to him are nothing, less than nothing, Isa. xl. 17; nothing in opposition to him; nothing in comparison of him; nothing in exclusion of him.

Now the mind should be often seasoned with these thoughts, as surely they will where men have much to do with God, and are often with him, if they be serious in their addresses to him.

May God grant us a sight of our loathsome selves and His eternal majesty and glory. May He grant us repentance, may His Spirit continuously mortify the pride in each of us, and may we pray and work to those ends.

-- David

Go on Part 2.

Monday, December 24, 2018

New Upper Field Fence

We have about 11 acres on a field north of our goat pens. When we arrived here in Texas, most of that field was in Johnson grass, a grass that grows well here, especially in heat and drought. In fact, a former neighbor baled it one of our first years.

Since that time though, we plowed it and tried to grow oats, which didn't work out too well. And then, instead of crops, I wanted to return to grass in hopes of becoming more sustaining for our cows or goats, and I tried planting B-dahl grass, which didn't work at all.

And then, rather than fight it, I ironically went back and planted sorghum almum, which is a close cousin of Johnson grass, and so we have come full circle, basically back to Johnson grass. :)

God has also granted some other kind of thin, but lush grass to grow, and we are thankful.

This last time of plowing and sowing though, it also planted the cockleburs that were in the field, and so we pulled the whole 11 acres by hand several years ago. Each year I have to walk the field, but for all intents and purposes, it's basically cocklebur free! Yippee! (You'll understand my excitement if you read that blog post and think about pulling 11 acres of weeds by hand, even though it was only 1 kind of weed :) )

With the field having some time to get established with the grasses, I wanted to be able to run the goats up there, which should basically end any need to buy hay for them. However, I needed to put up a north-south fence line, which is somewhere between 900 and 1000 feet.

This fence line was originally planned to be partially done by one of the folks who used to live here, but he never got around to it, although he graciously put in an entrance way for us at the county road because he would have been cutting off our main way of driving off the land.

Here is how I did each corner system. I concreted in 2 x 5 1/2 inch treated posts, about 46 inches a part, and then a half post about 78 inches from the 2nd post to function as a dead man. And then I cut out notches in the posts using a reciprocating saw where 4 inch cross posts would go, chiseled them out, and then installed the posts, drilling a 3/8 hold for a 1/2 inch by 8 inch long lag screw, and used a 1 1/2 inch paddle bit to counter sink the bolt:

Fence Post System Cross Piece Hole

Fence Post System Cross Piece Bolt

Fence Post System Cross Piece Notches

Fence Post System Cross Piece Notches Chiseled

Fence Post System Diagonal Cross Piece

Fence Post System Diagonal Cross Piece Bolt


This is where I started, putting in the corner braces:

North Field North Fence Corner


I stretched the diagonal fence lines, using a come-along and fence stretcher, with 6 barbed wire strands, at 4-4-4-4-5-5 from bottom to top on the nubs on the t-posts:

Using Come-Along to Stretch Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed Wire Fence Stretch Holder

North Field Gateway Diagonal Fence 1

North Field Gateway Diagonal Fence 2


And welded on some gate holders and added the gates:

North Field Gateway Gates


This is where I cut the road's fence where the gates are, pulled out those cedar posts, and then re-stretched and tied off each side of the fencing along the road:

North Field Gateway Fence Entrance


Every 90 feet I concreted in a landscape timber, to try to help give the fence more stability, and then pounded in t-posts every 10 feet in between.

And then pulled the wires from bottom to top. For each wire after the first, I would roll out the next one, hang it on the previous wire, pull it tight with the come-along, and then go down the line a section at a time pulling the hung wire off the wire it was sitting on. Then, I tied off the pulled end, released the come-along, went to the middle of the stretched wire, tied it to the 2 middle t-posts, went half way in between each of those, did the same, and repeated with each half until all the t-posts were connected. I figured this would help keep even tension all along the wire.

And I added the middle gate.


Sadly though, I ran into some real trouble with a set of end posts once the wire was pulled, especially because on several of the wood posts I ran into rock while digging out the holes. The whole structure started leaning badly:

North Field Leaning Fence Post System


Eventually, the back post's concrete broke, it started to torque, and the cross piece started sticking out:

Fence Post Broken Concrete

Fence Post Broken Cross Piece


Arg. I thought I might have to re-do that whole post system and re-pull each wire from scratch, but with the help of the tractor pulling the fence straight...

Tractor Pulling the Fence Straight


...I was able to dig out the end post, using what concrete was left in the hole as a positioner...

Dug Out Fence Post Hole


...re-concrete it in...

Fence Post Re-Concreted


...tamp the dirt in front of the posts...

Tamping Dirt in Front of Concreted Fence Post


...add diagonal bracing wire to help keep it from leaning (which I should have done in the first place; I really thought the dead man post and diagonal kicker post would hold enough, but I guess not)...

Fence Post Diagonal Wire Bracing


...and then re-tie off the end. I also went back, undid all of the t-post clips on the t-posts that were leaning, straightened the t-posts, and then re-attached.

Yeah, that was fun. It seems to be doing better, although not perfect, in that, the back post started leaning in some perpendicularly, so I re-tied off again the ends but more in the middle of the post, and added a t-post brace to help keep it more upright:

T-post Brace Against Fence Post


But finally, here is the fence line:

North Field Top Half of Fence Line


With weather interruptions and these issues, it has taken at least a couple of months to get that part done. But I thank the Lord things weren't worse, and for the provisions and health and strength to even work on this fence.

On to the 2nd half!

-- David