Wednesday, January 5, 2022

David's Digest: What Does It Mean to Submit All Our Actions to God's Will?

If the Lord Wills
James 4:15 - "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

At what depth should our wills in the actions of our lives be submitted to our God if we claim Him to be so? What does it mean to truly submit our lives in what we do to Him?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his superb work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" takes a deep and detailed look into what it means to submit the actions of our lives to God.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:


or download it:
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The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 379 (in the print, page 360), or you can get it in other formats here...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton - James Commentary


From Thomas Manton:

Verse 15. - For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.


Observation. All our undertakings must be referred to the will of God; not only sacred, but civil actions. Our journeys must not be undertaken without asking his leave; as Jacob, "O Lord God of Abraham thy servant, send me good speed this day" (Gen. xxviii. 20, and xxiv. 12). No wonder, if this be neglected, that you meet with so many cross accidents; they do not come from your hard luck, but your profane neglect.

But what is it to submit all our actions to the will of God? I answer,

1. To measure all our actions by his revealed will [the Bible], that is the rule of duty. We can look for no blessing but upon those ways that suit with it. There must be a submission to his secret will, but first a conformity to his revealed will. Lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] has its wills (Eph. ii. 2); but we are to serve the will of God till we fall asleep (Acts xiii 36).

2. We must the more comfortably undertake any action, when we see God in it. Acts xvi. 10, he gathered that God had called him to Macedonia: so, when we see God in the sweet means and course of his providence, or by inward instinct guiding and leading us, we may with more encouragement walk in the way that he hath opened to us.

3. When in our desires and requests we do not [try to] bind [constrain] the counsels of God; [we should say] "Not my will, but thine be done" (Matt. xxvi. 39). In temporal things we must submit to God's will both for the mercy, the means, and time of attainment. Creatures that cannot ascribe to themselves, must not prescribe to God, and give laws to Providence, but must be content to want [lack], or have, as the Lord pleases. If any thing succeed not well, the Lord would not [wills it not to be]; that is enough to silence all discontents [discontentment].

4. We must constantly ask his leave in prayer, as before was urged.

5. We must still reserve the power of God's providence. If the Lord will. If the Lord permit: God would not have us too carnally confident; it is good to inure the soul to changes. Two things we should often consider to this purpose, and they are both in the text:

(1st.) The sovereignty and dominion of Providence: the Lord can blast your enterprise, though managed with never so much wisdom and contrivance [of our own]; he can nip it in the bud, or check it in the very article of execution: and I have observed, that usually God is very tender of his honour in this point, and usually frustrates proud men that boast of what they will do, and conceive unlimited purposes, without any thought of the check they may receive in Providence.

It is a flower of the imperial crown of heaven, and the bridle that God hath upon the reasonable creature, to dispose of the success of human affairs; therefore herein God will be acknowledged: "A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps" (Prov. xvi. 9). Man designs, but the execution depends wholly upon God's will and providence.

In peremptory resolutions there is a contest between us and Heaven about will and power; therefore, in such cases, the answer of Providence is more express and decisive to the creature's loss, that God may be acknowledged as Lord of success, and the first mover in all means and causes, without whom they have no force and efficacy.


(2nd.) Consider the frailty and uncertainty of your own lives. Our being is as uncertain as the events of Providence. If we live, and God will, are the exceptions of the text, and do imply that there must be a sensible impression of our own frailty, as well as of the sovereignty of Providence, that the heart may the better submit to God. It is said, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psa. cxlvi. 4).

Frail men are full of thoughts and projects; this they will do, and that they will do; go to such a city, promote their interests by such an alliance, gain so much by such a purchase; and then they will raise up some stately fabric which shall continue their name and memory to succeeding generations, and all this because they do not mind the earth which they carry about them, and how soon the hand of Providence is able to crumble it into dust. Certainly man will never be wise, till he is able to number his days, and does sufficiently possess his soul of the uncertainty of his abode in the world (Psa. xc. 12).


Observation. We shall live, and do this or that. Mark! it is not enough that God suffer [allow] us to live, but he must also by the same will suffer [allow] us to do or act. The point is, that God's will concurs not only to our lives, but actions. We may live, and yet not be able to do any thing for the promotion of our designs: for, if God suspend his concurrence, the creatures cannot act, at least not with any towardliness and success, which quite crosses the doctrine of the heathen philosophers. Seneca said, "That we live, it is by the benefit of the gods; that we live well, it is of ourselves." So Tully: "This is the judgment of all men, that prosperity is to be sought of God, but wisdom to be gotten by ourselves."

But in the Scriptures we are taught otherwise, not only to seek success of God, but direction; he gives abilities to perform, and a blessing when the action is finished.

  • Without the efficacious [effective], as well as permissive will of God, we can do nothing; he must give us life, and all things necessary to action.
  • We must not only look up to him as the author of the success, but the director of the actions.
  • It is by his conduct and blessing that all things come to pass.
  • Our very counsels and wills are subject to the Divine government, and he can turn them as it pleaseth him (Prov. xxi. 1);

and therefore we must not only commit our ways to his providence, but commend our hearts to the tuition of his Spirit. In short, all things are done by bis will, and must be ascribed to his praise.


May God grant that we indeed see our frailty, His greatness, His supremacy in all things, His worthiness to be submitted to, His lovingkindness in His dealings with us, and may He grant that we be full of thankfulness at all times, especially if by His graces and mercies we have the Lord Christ Jesus as our own!

-- David

Monday, December 13, 2021

Susan's Musin's - It Is Even a Vapour

Life Is a Vapor Wisp
James 4:14 - "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

Dave and I recently attended the funeral of a sweet sweet lady from our church who had died suddenly. She was only 69 but had been in ill health for many years and lived in a local nursing home for a good part of the last decade or so. She had faithfully attended the church we now go to but, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, she was only able to get back out to church in the past several months. But we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her before God called her home, and we all truly miss her.

A dear man from our church faithfully picked her up and drove her each Saturday morning for prayer meeting and Lord's Day for morning services. She required oxygen, I am assuming 24/7, and was really tuckered out just from walking on her walker about 40 feet from the car door to the front door of the home church. She never complained about her health and didn't seem that worried about it but was always sweet and mild. One morning, we were told, after breakfast the nursing home attendant rolled her back into her room and left for a few minutes. When she returned, Betty's body was slumped over and her spirit was now with Jesus. God had said "it's time" and she was gone in an instant.

Our pastor preached a wonderful sermon at her small funeral, but one thing that he mentioned really resonated with me. Paraphrasing, he said how just yesterday we were all 18 and how fast time has flown and we are now so much older. It's so true. A younger person just cannot relate to that statement because they haven't lived much of their life yet (assuming a normal life span, Lord willing). But those of us who are now in our 50's, 60's and beyond nod our heads, look at each other smiling and say "It's so true!"

Betty had been in and out of the hospital with different ailments and every so often Pastor would request prayer for Betty because she was "in the hospital again". But she had such a peace about it. You could see that her treasures weren't in good health, or riches or anything but knowing Christ and trusting in Him. To speak frankly, her health had deteriorated to the point where her quality of life had shrunk to a very small sphere. But she put us all to shame determined to be worshipping God if she could possibly get to church and prayer meetings. Her sacrifice of worship was kind of a modern day widow's mite, if that makes sense. She gave everything she had in her extreme fragility and weakness to get to church and worship God while so many these days use flimsy excuses in exchange for something they would rather do.
Here is Pastor's sermon at Betty's funeral, well worth the few minutes to listen to, IMO:



Dave and I started eating turkey bacon a couple years ago when I went on a leaky gut healing program (I highly recommend it, by the way. It changed my life). Anyway, many times when I am cooking the bacon, I look at the four pieces in order in the pan and it reminds me of how short life is:
Frying Bacon in a Pan

Each piece cooks differently and I pull the fully cooked pieces from the top, move all the pieces up, and replace with new pieces on the bottom. The top ones have been through the cooking process and are somewhat dark and bubbly, maybe a little burnt, charred and beat up if I kept them in too long, but they are the ones ready to be taken from the pan first. The piece next down is a little less cooked, and not burned yet, and so on. As we grow up, sometimes there are four, even five, generations alive at the same time, but great-grandma and grandpa die not long into the lives of the great-grandchildren. Then next up are the grandparents, then mom and dad, and then, all of a sudden, we are next in line to be taken from the frying pan of this earth. Where did the time go????!!!!

As we have all seen or experienced, sometimes God, in His sovereignty, takes a young one first, or a parent or sibling first. That's His business and not ours to understand. But Pastor's funeral sermon brought something forth to me that I needed to be reminded of. It's not how long we live, but how we are spending our time here on earth. Am I wasting a lot of time I should be redeeming? (and here's Part 2) Do I really believe to live is Christ and to die is gain? (Phil 1:21) Am I immersed in the means of grace I've been given (Bible, prayer, worshipping with God's people, etc.), focused on learning more about Christ, or something that is fleeting or the flavor of the day in any given area of life? As Pastor said, our time here on earth determines our eternity. Our eternity! The glories of being in Heaven with Christ will never, ever, end, and the unthinkable torments of being in hell completely separated from God will never, ever end. May God grant each of us to pause and take some serious time to let that sink in.

I just wanted to pass along what has been pressing on my heart and am taking a new inventory of my priorities in life. God is shakin' them up, and I'm thankful. May Christ draw each of us to Himself and give us a fresh desire for Him in light of eternity.

Susan

(For more on James 4:14, you can listen to what Puritan Thomas Manton has to say regarding it on our James Commentary audio book page, or you can listen below following:


or download it.)
Download

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Latest Completed Reading: Richard Sibbes' "Bowels Opened"

Richard Sibbes Bowels Opened

I've continued to work on other readings of Christian books or treatises I've found very spiritually beneficial, all of which you can find here.

And we just finished our latest: Richard Sibbes' "Bowels Opened", his exposition on Song of Solomon 4:16-6:3 (I believe "bowels" are like bowels of love, or bowels of mercy).

The Song of Solomon is most often considered to be a revelation of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church (including each individual member). To me, it's extraordinarily beautiful, and I believe should be studied thoroughly.

In Sibbes' writing, he takes you through some of the descriptions of Christ from His spouse, and vice-versa, and a time where she slumbers while He knocks, and some of the repercussions and recovery.

Again to me, this book of the Bible is such a glorious picture of the excellencies of Christ, and an amazing discovery of the intimacy between Christ and the Church, and each Christian.

We pray this might be a blessing to you!

(Note that at the above link, you can listen to each sermon in line, download each, or download all of them in a .zip file.)

May Christ Jesus be magnified and glorified through His word!

-- David

Friday, November 12, 2021

Goat Breeding Time 2021!

Early November means goat breeding time -- time to put our billies and nannies together in hopes the Lord might graciously grant offspring starting in April, when usually it's starting to warm up!

Even though we tried to keep some new does we kept from last year's offspring away from the bucks, one got to one of them and had kids, and one didn't, and so this year is her first time with the boy goats!

And without further ado, here's the adventure from this year!



As always, we are grateful to the Lord for His continued provisions, and we pray He might grant offspring, according to His will!

-- David

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2021 6th & 7th Chick Hatchings

We are grateful to the Lord for Him granting two more rounds of chick hatchings this 2021!

Here's group 6. We put 12 eggs under her, and we're pretty sure she hatched them all out! They're doing pretty well, although some, especially one, have shown signs of getting sick (standing kind of scrunched up, often with the wings down a little, not very active), so I've been giving about an 1/8 to 1/10cc of 660ppm angstrom silver, 2-3 times a day, tapering that over time...most seem basically better, except the one, although it seems improved as well, for which we are thankful:
6th 2021 Chick Hatching
More of 6th 2021 Chick Hatching

And here's group 7. 8 originally hatched out, and 1 had started but wasn't progressing, so I helped it a little by breakup up its egg shell some, and it made it out, although I found it dead soon after. :( However, the other 8 are still doing fine!
7th 2021 Chick Hatching
More of 7th 2021 Chick Hatching

And here's their video:



Again, we are always very thankful to God for these new provisions, and any food He might grant from them, for us and others, we pray!

-- David

Monday, October 4, 2021

Storing Rain VI - West Tank (Pond)

While a decent amount of water on average is supposed to fall on our county, it usually comes in spurts, so we are always looking for ways to store more.

Even though I added an extension onto the original tank (ground water ponds are called "tanks" in Texas :) ) that was here, it can sadly dry up, which not only doesn't really allow for stocking it with fish, it also means less water available for the cattle, and last year we had to start watering the cows off the black water tanks we have, for a few days anyway, after which God graciously granted huge rains and filled up all the ground water tanks again, and we were very thankful!

Still, you can never store enough water around here, and so, after the Lord granting that we be the recipients of a kind and gracious gift of some funds, I thought it a good idea to add another tank.

I had thought originally to put it on our north field, as after good rains we would see standing water, but the ground digging folks who were going to do the job said there wasn't enough water running through there...that we really needed lots of acres feeding a tank to be good. At that point I wasn't sure what else to do. But then I thought, you know, we have a pretty good creek going through our place that flows really well with heavy rains. And so, we went back there, and they said that this would be a much better place and would probably work well. Well, great!

Here is part of the area where the creek would flow through before they started:
New Pond Digging Area
More of New Pond Digging Area

After they brought a backhoe out to make sure they could get through the top so-many feet and weren't going to hit rocks to where they really didn't think they could dig, they began.

Lots of trees to clear. It was hard to see some of the bigger oaks go down, but now we have stacks of firewood to cut up for quite some time!

Here's the bulldozer they used:
Bulldozer

The trees were no match:
Bulldozer Felling Trees
Bulldozer Felling More Trees

Here's the area cleared:
Part of Cleared Tank Area

And then the digging commenced!
Digging New Tank
More Digging New Tank

Between knocking down trees and digging, they didn't get a lot of dirt moved that first day, but here is the progress after day 2. Sue's there to give some perspective of the size of the dug-out area:
New Tank After Day 2
More of New Tank After Day 2

And this is the back side of the berm after day 2:
New Tank Berm After Day 2

Here they are back at it again on day 3:
New Tank Day 3 Digging

They'd use the claws in the back to break up the dirt to make moving it more easy:
More of New Tank Day 3 Digging

And here's after digging day 3:
New Tank After Day 3

And then after digging day 4. We still had planned probably at least another full day of digging:
New Tank After Day 4
More of New Tank After Day 4

This is from on top of the berm:
Still More of New Tank After Day 4

But then, the Lord indicated to us that we were apparently going to be done with the digging, because over night and early that morning, He filled it up nearly to the top!
New Tank After Big Rains
More of New Tank After Big Rains
Still More of New Tank After Big Rains
Again More of New Tank After Big Rains

Well, that wasn't going be pumped out so they could continue, so we thanked God for the rain and the water stored in the new tank, and submitted to His perfect, wise and good will in deciding when we were done. :D

All that was left after that was for the digging crew to come with the road grader and "top" the berm, make a spillway off to the side to allow for overflow so we weren't blocking the water flow entirely from those down stream, and then perform some final clean up.


First, we thank the Lord for the provisions He granted to be able to do this!

And we thank the very nice people who gave us those funds...thank you very much again!

And we thank Him for His graciously granting the rain and directing us in our endeavors with His perfect will!
Prov 16:9 - "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps."

We pray He always does, and who better to do this than the great Jehovah God, King of all creation!

-- David

Monday, September 13, 2021

Psalm Singing - September 2021

We finally finished up recording the next set of Psalms from the psalter we use, this time Psalms 94A-98B!

Interestingly in this set, Psalm 98A breaks off into a round amongst the parts half way through, so rather than us switching into the harmony parts in the middle of all the verses like we normally do, we had to include the harmonies from the beginning, and even the bass part this time (although, it's quite evident I'm not a bass :) ). Still, it was a fun one to do too, and the words are great!

Also as a note, when the Psalm uses the word "stupid", it means lacking senses, like being in a stupor. See Webster's 1828 definition for "stupid".

Without further ado, 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 94A-98B


We pray maybe these help others learn them, and put a song of praise in our hearts!

Ps 30:4 - "Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."

-- David


Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)

Psalms 4B & 13-18L

Psalms 19A-22E

Psalms 22F-24C

Psalms 25A-27F

Psalms 28A-31G

Psalms 32A-34D

Psalms 35A-37F

Psalms 38B-40F

Psalms 41A-44F

Psalms 45A-49C

Psalms 50A-53

Psalms 54A-59B

Psalms 60A-65B

Psalms 66A-68E

Psalms 69A-71D

Psalms 72A-76B

Psalms 77A-78H

Psalms 79A-84B

Psalms 85A-89H

Psalms 90A-93A