Thursday, July 15, 2021

David's Digest: Don't Be a CHRINO


I believe Scripture defines two kingdoms on earth: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world, influenced by Satan:
Mark 1:14-15 - "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

Eph 2:2 - "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"

I also believe the following implies that time is a factor of servitude. For example, when one spends time pursuing either mammon or God, they are serving one or the other:
Matt 6:24 - "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Besides mammon, I believe generally the activities of our lives that we can engage in fall into being a part of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the world; and, like mammon, if it is part of one, it cannot be part of the other. If we were to list all the activities in our lives throughout the week and categorize them honestly as being part of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the world, in what kingdom would they end up?

How much of our lives is spent participating in, and thus serving, the kingdom of the world; and therefore, how much of our lives is spent not in the service of Christ and following Him? And then are we actually servants of Christ?

To use the political vernacular of the day, are we just CHRINOs — Christians in name only?

It is possible to say we are Christians and not be:
Matt 7:21-23 - "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

James 2:19-20 - "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

1 John 4:20 - "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"

Judas was a Christ-follower, but externally only and not in his heart truly. (You can listen to an excellent sermon on Judas being a Christian in name only here.)

Christianity isn't something we do — it's who we are. We shouldn't fit Christianity into the rest of the things in our lives — the rest of the things in our lives should fit into our Christianity, directed by the Word of God, the Bible.


How is our Lord's Day keeping? Is the day — the whole day — kept holy, set apart for the worship of Christ and religious exercises? Here is what Puritan Thomas Watson said in part regarding the 4th Commandment, which you can listen to here, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or all the commandments in their entirety:

Use one. See here the Christian's duty, "to keep the Sabbath-day holy."

(1) The whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God. It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy but the whole day must be piously observed. If God has given us six days, and taken but one to himself, shall we grudge him any part of that day? This would be sacrilege. ... Let those who say, that to keep a whole Sabbath is too Judaical, show where God has made any abatement of the time of worship; where he has said, you shall keep but a part of the Sabbath; and if they cannot show that, it robs God of his due. That a whole day be designed and set apart for his special worship, is a perpetual statute, while the church remains upon the earth, ...

(2) As the whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God, so it must be kept holy. ...

"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable: and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words." Isaiah 58:13. Here is a description of rightly sanctifying a Sabbath.

"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath." This may be understood either literally or spiritually. Literally, that is, if you withdraw your foot from taking long walks or journeys on the Sabbath-day. So the Jewish doctors expound it. Or, spiritually, if you turn away your affections (the feet of your soul) from inclining to any worldly business.

"From doing your pleasure on my holy day." That is, you must not do that which may please the carnal part, as in sports and recreations. This is to do the devil's work on God's day.

"And call the Sabbath a delight." Call it a delight, that is, esteem it so. Though the Sabbath is not a day for carnal pleasure, yet holy pleasure is not forbidden. The soul must take pleasure in the duties of a Sabbath...

"Not doing your own ways." That is, you shall not defile the day by doing any servile work.

"Nor finding your own pleasure." That is, not gratifying the fleshly part by walks, visits, or recreations.

"Nor speaking your own words." That is, words unsuitable for a Sabbath; vain, impertinent words; discourses of worldly affairs.


Now, how about the rest of our lives? How do our lives compare to the following?

From AW Pink's "A Fourfold Salvation", part 3 on "Salvation from the Power of Sin":

But not only must the new nature be fed, it is equally necessary for our spiritual well-being that the old nature should be starved. This is what the apostle had in mind when he said, "Make not provision for the flesh, unto the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13:14). To starve the old nature, to make not provision for the flesh, means that we abstain from everything that would stimulate our carnality; that we avoid, as we would a plague, all that is calculated to prove injurious to our spiritual welfare.

Not only must we deny ourselves the pleasures of sin, shun such things as the saloon, theatre, dance, card-table, etc., but we must separate ourselves from the worldly companions, cease to read worldly literature, abstain from everything upon which we cannot ask God’s blessing.

Our affections are to be set upon things above, and not upon things upon the earth (Col. 3:2).

Does this seem a high standard, and sound impracticable? Holiness in all things is that at which we are to aim, and failure to do so explains the leanness of so many Christians. Let the young believer realize that whatever does not help his spiritual life hinders it.


Or this, from J.C. Ryle's Holiness book (Chapter 19, which you can listen to here, Part 1, Part 2, of in its entirety):

I must honestly declare my conviction that, since the days of the Reformation, there never has been so much profession of religion without practice, so much talking about God without walking with Him, so much hearing God's words without doing them, as there is in England at this present date. Never were there so many empty tubs and tinkling cymbals! Never was there so much formality and so little reality. The whole tone of men's minds on what constitutes practical Christianity seems lowered. The old golden standard of the behaviour which becomes a Christian man or woman appears debased and degenerated.

You may see scores of religious people (so-called) continually doing things which in days gone by would have been thought utterly inconsistent with vital religion. They see no harm in such things as card-playing, theatre-going, dancing, incessant novel-reading, and Sunday-travelling, and they cannot in the least understand what you mean by objecting to them! The ancient tenderness of conscience about such things seems dying away and becoming extinct, like the dodo. When you venture to remonstrate with young communicants who indulge in them, they only stare at you as an old-fashioned, narrow-minded, fossilized person and say, "Where is the harm?" In short, laxity of ideas among young men, and "fastness" and levity among young women, are only too common characteristics of the rising generation of Christian professors.

Now in saying all this I would not be mistaken. I disclaim the slightest wish to recommend an ascetic religion. Monasteries, nunneries, complete retirement from the world, and refusal to do our duty in it, all these I hold to be unscriptural and mischievous nostrums. Nor can I ever see my way clear to urging on men an ideal standard of perfection for which I find no warrant in God's Word, a standard which is unattainable in this life, and hands over the management of the affairs of society to the devil and the wicked. No; I always wish to promote a genial, cheerful, manly religion, such as men may carry everywhere and yet glorify Christ.


Or this, from Puritan Thomas Manton:

John 17:16 - "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

2. Observe again, an excellent means to digest the world's neglect is to consider the example of Christ. It is our duty, it will be for our comfort, and it turneth to our profit.

1. It is our duty. In his example we have a taste of his Spirit: 'I am not of the world,' said Christ; and we should ' imitate Christ as dear children,' Eph. v. 1. They that love to live in delight and pleasures are but christians in name. If we had no other reason to contemn the vanity of the world than the life of Christ, this were enough. Who was wisest, Christ or you ? Who can make the better choice, Christ or you? Who is in error, Christ or you? Christ chose a poor life, and you affect [work to acquire] greatness.


Claiming to be a Christian and not living as one can also be taking the Lord's name in vain. If we say we are Christians, we take the name of Christ as ours (like when a new wife takes her husband's surname).

For example, besides potentially swearing falsely, Puritan commentator Matthew Henry suggests the following is one of the ways of taking God's name in vain:

Prov 30:7-9 - "7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."

Lest I should steal, and take the name of my God in vain, that is, discredit my profession of religion by practices disagreeable to it.


And here is Thomas Watson on the 3rd Commandment (which you can listen to in its entirety here) giving his explanations of some of the ways we can take the Lord's name in vain:

Exo 20:7 - "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

[2] We take God's name in vain, when we profess God's name but do not live answerably to it, we take it in vain. They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, Titus 1:16. When men's tongues and lives are contrary to one another, when, under a mask of profession, they lie and deceive, and are unclean, they make use of God's name to abuse him, and take it in vain. "Pretended holiness is merely double wickedness." "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.", Rom 2:24. When the heathen saw the Jews, who professed to be God's people, to be scandalous, it made them speak evil of God, and hate the true religion for their sakes.

[4] We take God's name in vain, when we worship him with our lips but not with our hearts. God calls for the heart, "My son, give me your heart.", Prov 23:26. The heart is the chief thing in religion; it draws the will and affections after it, as the Primum Mobile [the outermost moving sphere that carried the others with it in the geocentric view of the universe] draw the other orbs along with it. The heart is the incense which perfumes our holy things. The heart is the altar which sanctifies the offering. When we seem to worship God but withdraw our heart from him, we take his name in vain. "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain.", Matthew 15:8-9

Hypocrites take God's name in vain: their religion is a lie; they seem to honor God but they do not love him; their hearts go after their lusts [generally, any corrupt desires of the heart]. "They set their heart on their iniquity.", Hos 4:8. Their eyes are lifted up to heaven but their hearts are rooted in the earth, Ezek 33:31. These are devils in Samuel's mantle.

Superstitious people take God's name in vain. They bring him a few ceremonies which he never appointed, bow at Christ's name and cringe to the altar but hate and persecute God's image.


Further, do we have oil in our lamps, or are we just holding empty ones?

Is our true purpose in life God and His glory alone?

Is our eye single toward Christ? Are our treasures, and thus our hearts, on things of this world, or Christ Himself and heavenly things?

And finally, are we ravished with the beauty of Christ? Do we wish to be in His presence more each day, in prayer now and in person in heaven one day? Is he our all?

The Song of Solomon is an allegory of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. If you've never read through it with that in mind, I would encourage you to do so. And here are other excellent sermons, focusing on some of this relationship, and the Church's desire, and those individuals that make up the bride of Christ, for Christ, the excellency it (the Church) and they (the individuals) see in Him, and its and their desire for communion with Him:

I believe the kingdom of Christ is real, here, and now, and is not yoked with the kingdom of the world; and those that take the name of Christ I believe should strive to live life in and focused on Christ and His kingdom, participating much in heavenly things, purposing all things for God's glory, separated as much as possible from the world's kingdom and its accoutrements.

May God grant us a desire for the things of the world to die to us, and may He grant that they indeed do!

Your main and principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for Christ. To live for glory? Yes, but for his glory. To live for comfort? Yes, but be all your consolation in him. To live for pleasure? Yes, but when you are merry, sing psalms, and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. To live for wealth? Yes, but to be rich in faith. You may lay up treasure, but lay it up in heaven.
- Charles Spurgeon

1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Rom 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Psa 73:25-26 - "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

Phil 4:8 - "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

-- David

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Tasha's 2021 Turkey Chicks

Following close on the heels of Tanya's turkey chicks, another one of our turkey hens got broody in the barn also, in one of the goat stalls.

Tanya and hers were still in the brooder barn (aka. the summer kitchen), so we didn't really have a place for Tasha, and I didn't want to put her in a small caged area like we do for our chickens.

Well, Tasha's chicks started hatching, so what we ended up doing was drop down a couple of extra OSB boards we had and stitch together two chicken fence-cages into a longer run like in the brooder barn. We then covered it all with blankets and bent one end down so I could lean over and access the inside, and we set up their water and food.

And then it was time to try to transfer her and the turklets. The youngin's were already starting to walk away from her and explore a little, so we just started grabbing them and moving them into the caged area, and Tasha thankfully kept calm. And then with her, we put a large fishing net over her, grabbed her from within that, and put her into the caged area. Thankfully, that all went rather smoothly. 8 turkey chicks in all! Wow, and thanks to the Lord!

Sadly, 1 died pretty quickly, but the other 7 kept going and growing.


Quite a few weeks later, when they all were much bigger, one morning, one of the young was getting picked on, so, with them pretty close to big enough where we were planning on letting them go soon anyway, I decided to let them free at that time.

Here they are just before we got them going:
Tasha's 2021 Turkey Chicks
More of Tasha's 2021 Turkey Chicks

Well, that part did not go rather smoothly. I couldn't get the end of the cage propped up with the blankets on, so I removed some of the blankets, and Tasha, who is skittish anyway, just seemed to panic and flew up and out of the caged area and out the north door. Arg! So, we tried to shoo out the turklets so they would stay with her, and they started doing the same thing, flying up and off walls, going all over the barn, etc.

Soon, we were able to get them all out the north door. Mommy was kind of running up the walk path up to the goat fields with a couple of turklets behind her, so we tried to get the other ones to follow, and everyone started scattering. It was quite a mess. We were trying to get all the yougin's to stay with mama, but looking back, we probably should have just let them be in the cage, as shooing them out caused a lot of trouble.

Throughout the day, 2 of the turklets made it back, hanging around the other turklet group or wherever, and Tasha came back too. And by the end of the day, only those 2 were to be found. Sigh.

In the evening, one I believe went into the barn, the other sat down next to the generator box, and so we got it and put it in the barn. We were praying God might grant more come back, or that we would find them, or that He might grant their safety over night.

Later, as Sue was walking Brodey our dog, she had an inkling to take a bit of a different path, and lo and behold, she discovered 3 sat down next to the orchard gate! Wow, what a gift from God! So, we used a fishing net with them, and got them into the barn. So now, 5 were in the barn, and 2 still missing. And that was it for that day.

The next day, I was walking around, looking around for the missing ones, and walked by the hill of dirt that was the dirt dug out for the root cellar, and lo and behold, God granted I just happen to walk by one and see it sat down in the grass! Wow, another gift out of nowhere! So, we netted it and put it in the barn in the goat stall area where the other 5 were still hanging out.

And in the Lord's perfect will, #7 never came back. We don't know if it just crouched down and died, or just ran off, but that was it. But, God didn't have to grant any of them to come back, and we thank Him for what He did grant, and His answers to prayer!


Today, the 6 are still going strong, and spending their days out and roaming the homestead. Mama never rejoined them at all, and within the last couple of days, she had gone missing. She had slightly injured her wing when she tried to fly out on that mayhem day a couple of weeks ago, but I had a hard time believing it killed her now. However, last night she made an appearance to take a dirt bath and eat some, so we know she's still alive, and it looks like she might be nesting again. We do pray God grant her safety out there, if He might. Maybe we'll be able to find her and migrate her into the brooder barn.


And now, without further ado, here's their video, which includes the release day, and the followups with finding turklets, and the 6 eventually starting to venture out of the barn:



We recognize that nothing we have is our own, and that all things are the Lord's to do with as He pleases. We thank Him for graciously granting the turkey chicks He has, and we pray we never murmur, and that He glorify Himself through them in some way, and always through us in some way.

-- David

Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Orchard - Summer 2021

With the cold winter freezes, and especially with the artic blast week we had, we were hoping for some fruit from the orchard this year. Now, even with freezes typically playing a part of a good fruit harvest, we believe these things still only come about if the Lord grants them out of His graciousness.

And, accordingly to that, He has decided to do so, and we are very thankful!

Here's a recent look at the orchard itself:
Orchard 2021
More of Orchard 2021

This is a pecan tree in the background, and you can get the size perspective with the fencing and goats. I believe this one even grew back from the root!
Pecan Tree 2021

And here's most of the rest of the pecan tree line:
Pecan Tree Line 2021

Here's a peach tree loaded with yummy goodnesses!
Peach Tree 2021
Peaches on Tree 2021

And then picked:
Picked Peaches 2021

We made a solar food dehydrator quite a few years back, and it's still working pretty well, despite some cracks in the plexiglass, the big ones I believe coming from young goats jumping off the dryer! :)

And here it is with the fruit drying or about to start drying:
2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator
More 2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator
Still More 2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator

We rarely get apricots, but this year God granted a whole bunch, and here are some dried ones. They may not look like much, but fruit with the water gone condenses its natural sugars, so they taste great!
2021 Dried Apricots

And here is the collection of dried tasty morsels the Lord has granted so far:
2021 Dried Fruit

Once again, we are always thankful to God for granting food off the land, coming from His direct hand of providence!

-- David

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Tanya's Octuplet Turkey Chicks of 2021

The Lord granted one of our hatchlings from last year get broody this year, and thankfully she did so in the barn, so she wasn't out in a forest somewhere, susceptible to ending up being dinner for a predator.

Our strategy was to wait until they hatched, if any did, and move her and them into our brooder barn (formerly what was going to be a summer kitchen), where we have a cage run that has worked well with new turkeys in the past.

Well, as God would graciously grant, she did hatch out her chicks (I call them "turklets", like "chicklets" but for turkeys :D ), and so we grabbed her, and put her turklets in a bucket, and carried them all into the brooder barn, and set them all in there.

Thankfully again, I don't believe she squooshed any in the mayhem of grabbing her (turkeys are quite strong and much bigger than chickens), and in the final count, she had hatched out 8 youngins'! Wow, that's I think our biggest haul yet!

But, these things are pretty fragile as we have found out in the past. However, the Lord has granted to see them all through, and all 8 are still going today, and going strong!

I did end up waiting until the day we felt it was time to shoo them out of the brooder barn to freedom to start taking pictures and videos, and here they are:
First 2021 Turkey Chicks
More First 2021 Turkey Chicks

Here's mama, who after they had grown so big, started sitting on the eggs that were still there:
Tanya the Turkey Sitting on Eggs

And here is their video adventure on their first and second days out!


We are very thankful to the Lord for His provisions and seeing all these 8 through to semi-maturity!

-- David

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Latest Completed Reading: Charles Spurgeon's "All of Grace"

You may know we've been recording our reading of Christian writings we find beneficial, all of which you can find here.

And we just finished our latest: Charles Spurgeon's "All of Grace"

It has a wonderful Gospel message, and encouragement for sinners to come to Christ, and not let anything get in the way of that. He weaves the doctrines of grace with a Gospel call nicely, walking that line between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility.

The entire reading is available now at the link above, where you can listen to them individually and also download all the files in a zip file.

Our prayer for all of these readings is that someone more inclined to listen than read would be able to participate in these means of grace, and that the Lord would bless them to the listener's heart and life.

-- David

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

David's Digest: The Carnal Life

James 4:13 - "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."

Where are our hearts truly? With God or the things of the world?
Luke 12:34 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" discusses the life of carnal persons and the things important to them.

How do we compare?

You can listen to all of verse 13 here:


or download it:
Download


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 375 (in the print, page 356), 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 13. - Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."


Ye that say, "To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, etc." By an imitation he recites the speeches or thoughts of the Jewish factors or merchants: Now we will go to Alexandria, or to Damascus, or to Antioch, which were the places of their usual traffic [for business]. Observe hence,


Obs 1. That carnal hearts are all for carnal projects. Thoughts are the purest offspring of the soul, and do discover the temper of it. Men are according to their devices; see Isa. xxxii. 6, 7: "Liberal men devise liberal things." Carnal men are projecting how to spend their days and months in buying and selling, and getting gain. The fool in the Gospel is thinking of enlarging his barns, and plucking down his houses, and building greater (Luke xi. 17, 18): this engrosses all his thoughts.

One apostle describes such men thus, "Minding earthly things" (Phil. iii. 19). Another thus, "Having a heart exercised with covetous practices" (2 Pet. ii. 14); that is, with earnest contrivances how to promote their gain and earthly aims.

A gracious heart is for gracious projects, how they shall be more thankful (Psa. cxvi. 12), how more holy, more useful for God, more fruitful in every good work; "what they shall do to inherit eternal life." Oh! consider, this is the better care, that more suits with the end [purpose] of our creation and the nature of our spirits. We were sent into the world, not to grow great and pompous, but to enrich our souls with spiritual excellencies, etc.


Obs 2. Again you may observe, that carnal men send out their thoughts to forestall and fore-enjoy their contentments ere [before] they obtain them. [ie. looking forward to expected events and enjoyments with excitement] It is usual with men to feed themselves with the pleasure of their hopes. Sisera's mother's ladies looked through the lattice, pleasing themselves in the thought of a triumphant return (Judg. v.).

Thoughts are the spies and messengers of the soul; hope sends them out after the thing expected, and love after the thing beloved. When a thing is strongly expected, the thoughts are wont [often] to spend themselves in creating images and suppositions of the happiness of enjoyment. If a poor man were adopted into the succession of a crown, he would please himself in the supposition of the future honour and pleasure of the kingly state. Godly men, that are called to be co-heirs with Christ, are wont [often] to pre-occupy the bliss of their future estate, and so do in a manner feel what they do but expect.

So also do carnal men charm their souls with whispers of vanity, and feed themselves with the pleasant anticipation of that carnal delight which they look for: as young heirs spend upon their hopes, and riot away their estate ere [before] they possess it.

Well then, look to it; it is a sure note of fleshliness, when the world runs so often in your thoughts, and you are always deflowering [corrupting] carnal contentments [in this case I believe lawful ones] by these anticipations of lust [generally, any corrupt desire in the heart] and sin; and you have nothing to live upon, or to entertain your spirit withal, but these suppositions of gain and pomp, and the reversion [future possession] of some outward enjoyment.


Obs 3. Again, you may observe their confidence of future events. "We will go, and continue there a year," etc. Note from that, that carnal affections are usually accompanied with, certainly much encouraged by, carnal confidence. They are doubly confident: of the success of their endeavours. "We will get gain"; of the continuance of their lives, "We will continue there a year." Lust [corrupt desires] cannot be nourished without a presumption of success.

When men multiply endeavours, they liittle think of God, or of the changes of providence. [If they were to], It is [or would be] enough to undo [sadly, to them, take away from them their] lust [corrupt desire] to suppose [that] a disappointment [might happen].

Besides, when there is such a presence of means [wealth, prosperity], we ascribe little to the highest cause [God and His providence, how He causes things to happen in our lives]. First the world steals away our affections, and then it intercepts our trust: there is not only adultery in it (James iv. 4), but idolatry (Eph. v. 5). It is not only our darling, but our god; and that is the reason why worldly men are always represented as men of a secure presumption; as, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke xii 9). "I shall die in my nest, and multiply my days as the sand" (Job xxix. 18). So in that apocryphal passage, "I have found rest, and will eat continually of my goods, and yet he knoweth not what time shall come upon him" (Ecclus. xi. 19). They think now they have enough to secure them against all chances [happenstances].

Well then, look to your confidence and trust: when you are getting an estate, is your expectation founded in faith, or lust [corrupt desire]? When you have gotten an estate, where lies the assurance of your contentment, in the promises or your outward welfare?


Obs 4. Again, from that to-day or to-morrow, and we will tarry there a year. Carnal men are not only confident of present, but future welfare; which argues a heart stupidly [insensibly, like in a stupor] secure, and utterly insensible of the changes of Providence: "To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundantly" (Isa. Ivi. 12): "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever" (Psa. xlix. 11).

Men love to enjoy their carnal comforts without interruption, thought of death, or change. Every day is as a new life, and brings sufficient care with it; we need not look out for so long time. But worldly men in their cares do not only provide for the morrow, but the next year, in their possessions; do not only please themselves in their present happiness, but will not so much as suppose a change.


May God grant the things of the world be seen as the vain things they are. May our hearts be with spiritual things and all our desires be toward Christ Jesus, being in union with Him, loving Him, adoring Him, and worshipping Him in our hearts, minds, words and actions!
1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Psalm 27:4 - "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."

-- David

Monday, May 17, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2021 Chick Hatching #2

Once again, one of our hens got broody this 2021, and after tucking her away in the brooder barn, she hatched out a bunch -- not even sure how many...maybe at least 9, and I believe they all have made it so far!

Here are a couple of pictures of them all:
2nd Hatching of 2021 Chicks
More of 2nd Hatching of 2021 Chicks

And here's their video:



We once again thank the Lord for His gracious provisions in granting this next set of 2021 chicks! We are thankful the eggs can go to help others!

-- David

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 1st Chick Hatching of 2021

That time of year rolled around again this 2021, hens getting broody, and some of ours don't always get broody in the barn or chicken tractor...

One of our hens didn't come back to roost one night. I think it was the next evening, I thought I'd go see if I could somehow find her out in the woods somewhere, which is where I hoped she was vs. having been eated by a predator. I circled around the back side and west areas behind our house. I headed down one direction, and saw what I thought was a plastic bag in a thicket of weeds with no leaves because it was still winter-ish, and I thought, no way was that the hen. But, lo and behold, it surely ended up being her! An amazing gift from God to find her back there, somewhere I would not usually look!

When we tried to get her, she ran off, but we were able to track her down, and so we took her and her eggs and put them in the brooder barn, and God graciously granted I believe it was 5 chicks, and all 5 are still going today, although sadly, it appears one is having a problem with its foot -- she's walking on it crimped backwards...don't know if it's an injury or a disorder. But, we pray the Lord might grant it healing.

Here are a couple of pictures of them all:
1st Hatching of 2021 Chicks
More of 1st Hatching of 2021 Chicks

And here's their video:



As always, we are very thankful to the Lord for these new provisions, and we pray they benefit His people in some way!

-- David

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

David's Digest: Can We Offer Up Our Issac?

James 2:21 - "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Abraham's Issac was his only son -- the son of the promise, and yet God would have Abraham offer Isaac as a literal sacrifice on an alter. I would assume this caused Abraham at least a little angst of heart and mind. However, he was quickly obedient.

What has God required of us that causes us pause by way of reason or feelings? How are we to approach obedience to God? Are we willing to offer up our "Issacs"?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his most excellent work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" applies Abraham's experience in a practical way to our lives in this verse.

You can listen to all of verse 21 here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=246, and this section starts on PDF page 246 (in the print, page 227), 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 21. - Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?


Obs 4. From that Offered Isaac upon the altar He brings this as the great argument of the truth of Abraham's faith. It is not for faith to produce every action, unless it produce such actions as Abraham's. Such as will engage you to self-denial, are troublesome to the flesh. David scorned such service as [that] cost nothing. There -- where we must deny our own reason, affections, interest -- that is an action fit to try a believer.

Let us see what is observable in this action of Abraham, that we may go and do likewise.

(1.) Observe the greatness of the temptation. It was to offer his own son, the son of his love, his only son, a son longed for, and obtained when 'his body was dead', and 'Sarah's womb dead'; nay, 'the son of the promise'. Had he been to contend only with natural affection, it had been much -- descensive love [I believe, love of a descendant, like a child] is always vehement; but for love to Isaac there were special endearing reasons and arguments.

But Abraham was not only to conflict with natured affection, but reason; not only with reason, but faith. He was, as it were, to execute all his hopes; and all this was to be done by himself; with his own hand he was at one stroke to cut off all his comforts. The execution of such a sentence was as harsh and bitter to flesh and blood, as to be his own executioner.

Oh! go and shame yourselves without, you that can so little deny yourselves for God, that attempt duties only when they are easy and obvious, never care to recover them out of the hands of difficulty and inconvenience. Public duties, if well done, are usually against carnal interests; private duties against carnal affections. Can you give up all that is near and dear to you? Can you offer up your Isaac? your ease and pleasure, for private duties? your interests, for public? Every action is not a trial of faith, but such as engages to self-denial.

(2.) Consider the readiness of his obedience. As Abraham is the pattern of believing, so of obeying. He received the promises, as a figure of our faith; he offered up his son, as a figure of our obedience (Heb. xi. 17).

(1st.) He obeyed readily and willingly: 'Abraham rose early in the morning' (Gen. xxii. 3). In such a service some would have delayed all the time they could; but he is up early. Usually we straiten [confine, make narrow] duty, rather than straiten ourselves: we are not about that work early.

(2nd.) Resolutely: he concealed it from his wife, servants, from Isaac himself, that so he might not be diverted from his pious purpose. Oh! who is now so wise to order the circumstances of a duty, that he may not be hindered in it?

(3rd.) He denied carnal reason. In difficult cases we seek to elude the command; dispute how we shall shift it off, not how we shall obey it. If we had been put upon such a trial, we would question the vision, or seek some other meaning; perhaps offer the image of Isaac, or some youngling of the flock, and call it Isaac; as now we often pervert a command by distinctions, and invent shifts to cheat our souls into a neglect of duty; as the heathens, when their gods called for a man, they offered a candle; or as Hercules offered up a painted man instead of a living.

But Abraham does not so, though he had a fair occasion; for he was divided between believing the promise and obeying the command. God tried him in his faith; his faith was to conflict with his natural reason, as well as his obedience with his natural affection. But he 'accounted that God was able to raise him from the dead' (Heb. xi. 19), and he reconciled the commandment with the promise. How easily could we have slipped out at this door, and disobey out of pretences and reasons of religion! But Abraham offered Isaac.


May God grant us to be able to see the "Isaacs" in our lives that we might not be willing to easily let go of;

... may we not lessen duty because it goes against carnal selves in some way;

... may He grant us the faith and trust in Him to not hold on to any things of this temporal world;

... may we see ourselves only as stewards of anything we have, with God as the actual owner of them;

... may we cheerfully and obediently surrender and submit ourselves to whatever His pleasure is in the retrieving of these things from us at any moment, even those things most dear to us and least pleasing to our carnal selves;

... and may the Lord grant that He be our only portion, now and always!

Psa 16:5- "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot."

Psa 119:57 - "Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words."

Psa 73:25-26 - "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

-- David

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Critter Corner: Where's the Belf-ry?

Well, we had an uninvited guest flying around in our house the other night. At first, I thought it was a barn swallow, which we commonly have around the house here, since they build nests on the porch rafters. But as it flew by me at around eye level, I wondered....and sure enough, when it landed up on the wall, it sure looked like what I had now suspected it was...a bat! We figure it must have tailgaited when one of us came in from outside.

Hm, what to do. So, I went and got a fish net we have (which, by the way, works great for swooping up runaway chickens! :D ), set up the ladder, and with a piece of cardboard, rounded up the bat, and then took him outside and let it go.

Here's a little video of the event! To me, it looked like a flying mouse. The cats were sure interested in it, although I assume they thought it was a bird:



I don't know what grief it could have caused us or the cats in the house, but we thank the Lord we were able to scoop it up and out.

-- David

P.S. If you don't understand the reference in the title of this blog post, a long time ago there was a TV commerical for a fast-food burger joint where an elderly lady was complaining of the competitor's hamburger size compared to the bun, asking "Where's the beef?" :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

David's Digest: You Must Deny Yourself

Matthew 16:24 - "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

By nature, we are all self-centered. Every sin has some idolatry in it, where we are self-gods (ie. God said to do or not do something, and in a certain way, and we say, "No, I know better", which is defacto saying we will not have God be our God, but ourselves). The original sin was to be God (while the temptation was to "be as gods", Gen 3:5, in the end, since only one God can exist at a time by definition, the reality was that they wanted to be God).

According to the above verse, we are required to deny ourselves to be a disciple of Christ. Then, it seems it would follow that we really cannot be good Christians with each other without it either, which makes sense from experience as well.

Along the lines with how important I believe Jonathan Edwards' Charity and Its Fruits as sort of being part of "Christianity 101", that every person claiming the name of Christ should attend to, I believe Thomas Manton's A Treatise of Self-Denial is right up there along with it.
And so, to help make it available in audio format for those who might rather listen than read, I recently finished recording the entire treatise, which you can access as one of our Readings pages here:

A Treatise of Self-Denial

And if you want to read it, you can find it here: https://www.monergism.com/treatise-self-denial-free-ebook

I cannot emphasize how important I believe Mr. Manton's exposé is. We hope you'll take the time to go through it, and may God guide your studies.

-- David

Monday, March 8, 2021

Psalm Singing - March 2021

Once again, in hoping to help us learn them better, and maybe help others learn the Psalms as well, Sue & I finished recording the next set of Psalms, 90A-93A, from the psalter we use!

And here they are:



(If the above player doesn't work, or if you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can click the Download link below, or right click it and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 90A-93A


Ps 66:1-2 - "Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious."

-- 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

Monday, February 22, 2021

Texas 2021 Arctic Blast: Our Homestead's Version

Here's a little around our homestead at the beginning and end of Texas' 2021 arctic blast!

This was after the first main night -- snow and cold, with forecasted windchills down to -18F. These were I believe our worst temperatures we've experienced here, even after the 2011 freeze. The thermometer says about 4F:
4F on the Thermometer

Here's the homestead:
Frozen Homestead
More Frozen Homestead

I was a little worried about the cattle, given there are some young ones, but thanks to the Lord, they all made it through ok!
Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
More Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
Another of Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm

During the week, Sue's "onesy" (coveralls) in front of the wood burning stove was the favorite for the domestics:
Mimi in the Onesy
William in the Onesy
Tuscan & Leila on the Onesy

On the first day after a week of these freezing temperatures, things started getting back to normal. Here's our resident stray hanging out on the cistern spigot, which we had double wrapped with blankets the whole time, allowing us to use it too whenever we needed:
Mimi-Dude on the Cistern Spigot

And here are all the goat accoutrements hanging on the fence after Sue took them off:
Goat Coats on the Fence

Those were just a few pictures, but we show a lot more in this video, which has the day after the first main night as above, and then after coming out of it 5 days later (including a surpise from a momma cow!):



All throughout, the Lord was merciful in granting all the animals come through (yes, that missing rooster from the video showed up!), and helping Sue and me with strength to do all the care-taking!

We have no grid electric or water, which actually worked to our advantage, as we always had electric and good water as needed. We pray for those still suffering from the effects, but also hope people might consider their situation and on whom or what they depend for life sustenance.

We also saw how we believe God pre-set up provision before we really knew what was coming, even though they seemed a little "cross" to us at the time: the boy goats had knocked off the top of their hay bale, but Sue just took that hay into the barn, and it ended up being their main food for the week; and I had pre-put out hay bales for the cows, and one had been eaten down a lot and spread out by the time the cold hit, and another spread around some, but those also afforded bedding for the cattle. Also, both the tractor and truck starters went out at the same time a few weeks ago, we needed both for this cold front, and so they were ready to go.

Once again, we are very thankful for God's help through 2021's arctic blast, and for the gift of the new little heifer calf!

-- David

Friday, February 5, 2021

David's Digest: Bridle the Tongue

James 1:26 - "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

This little member of our body can do so much damage and be so abominable -- from blasphemies to slanders. And so, it is important it be bridled.

Puritan Thomas Manton in his most excellent work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" explains why he believes James felt this was important to include.

You can listen to all of verse 26 here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf, and this section starts on PDF page 167 (in the print, page 148), 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 26. - If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.


The apostle, having showed the blessedness of those which are doers of the word, lest any should seem to challenge a share in it to whom it doth not belong, he discovers who are hearers only and not doers of the word; men that do allow themselves in any known sin; and he instances in the evils of the tongue.

Question: Before I open the words any further, I shall inquire why James does pitch so much weight upon this one particular, it seeming so inconsiderable in itself, and it having so little respect to the context?

Answer: The reasons assigned in the answer will afford us so many notes.

Reason 1.
Because this is a chief part of our respect to our neighbour; and true love to God will be manifested by love to our neighbour. They do not usually detract from others, whom God hath pardoned. He that said, "Thou shalt love God," hath also said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour." Though the object be diverse, yet the ground for obedience is the same.

Therefore the apostles usually bring this argument to unmask and discolour hypocritical persuasions: as, "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even till now" (1 John ii. 9). So, "If he shut up his bowels from his brother, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John iii. 17, 18.) How can it be imagined that those that are sensible of the love of God, should be merciless towards others? So, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John iv. 20.) The good and attractiveness that are in others is an object of the senses, and usually they make a strong impression. Well then, do not flatter yourselves with duties of worship in the neglect of duties of commerce.

Reason 2.
Because of the natural proneness that is in us to offend with the tongue. Censuring is a pleasing sin, extremely compliant with nature. How propense the nature of man is to it, I shall show you in the third chapter. Speech is the discovery of reason: corruption soon runs out that way.

Well then, watch over it; the more natural corruptions are, the more care should we use to suppress them: "I will take heed to my ways, that I offend not with my tongue" (Psa. xxxix. 1); there needs special caution for that: and, as you should watch, so you should pray, and desire God to watch over your watching: "Set a watch before my mouth, keep the door of my lips" (Psa. cxli. 3). The awe of God is a great restraint.

Reason 3.
Because it was the sin of that age; as appears by his frequent dissuasives: see verse 19. So chapter iii. per totum. So chapter iv. 11, etc. The note is, it is an ill sign to be carried away with the evil of the times. It is a description of wicked men that they "walked according to the course of this world" (Ephes. ii. 2): in the original, according to the age, as the manner of the times went.

So, "Be not conformed to this world" (Rom. xii. 2); or "to this age"; the meaning is, do not get into the garb of the times. So, "He walked after the trade of Israel" (2 Chron. xvii. 4). Many do so; they walk after the fashion and trade of the country and times wherein they live. Oh consider, this is the sure note of a vain [useless] profession. Sins, when they grow common, become less odious; and therefore slight spirits commit them without remorse.

Reason 4.
Because it seems so small a sin; and, having laid aside grosser sins, they did the more securely continue in the practice of it. They were not adulterers, drunkards; and, therefore, flattering themselves with a show of holiness, they did the more freely censure and detract from others. Note, indulgence in the least sin cannot stand with grace: your religion is vain, if you do not refrain your tongue.

They are miserably mistaken that hope to redeem their souls from the guilt of one sin by abstaining from the practice of another. Some are precise in small things, that they may be excused for non-observance of the weightier things of the law; as the stomach when it cannot digest solid food, naturally desires to fill itself with water, or such light stuff as breeds nought [nothing] but wind. The Pharisees tithed mint and cummin, etc. Others avoid grosser sins, and hope that it is an excuse for other corruptions that are not so odious. We all plead, "Is it not a little one, and my soul shall live?"

Reason 5.
Because this is usually the hypocrite's sin. Hypocrites, of all others, are least able to bridle their tongue; and they that seem to be religious, are most free in censuring.

Partly because, being acquainted with the guilt of their own spirits, they are most apt to suspect others. Nazianzen said of his father, he being of an innocent and candid soul, was less apt to think evil of others; and he gives this reason, goodness is least suspicious, and plain hearts think all like themselves.

Partly because they use to be much abroad [observing others], that are so little at home their own hearts]. Censuring is a trick of the Devil, to take off the care from their own hearts; and therefore, to excuse indignation against their own sins, their zeal is passionate in declaiming against the sins of others. Gracious hearts reflect most upon themselves: they do not seek what to reprove in others, but what to lament in themselves.

Partly because they are not so meek and gentle as true Christians. When a man is sensible of his own failings, he is very tender in reflecting upon the weaknesses of others: "Ye which are spiritual, restore him with meekness" (Gal. vi. 1): they which are most spiritual, are most tender to set a fallen Christian "in joint" again.

Partly because a hypocrite is a proud person; he would have every one to be his own foil, and therefore he blemishes others. Diotrephes would be prating against John, "because he loved the pre-eminence" (3 John 9).

Partly because hypocrites are best at their tongue, and therefore cannot bridle it. When men make religion a talk, their way is to blemish others: it is a piece of their religion.

The Lord give you to discern into your own souls, whether these dispositions be not in you, or no.

Reason 6.
Because there is such a quick intercourse between the tongue and the heart, that the tongue is the best discovery of it; and therefore (says the apostle) is their religion vain, if they cannot bridle their tongues. Seneca said, that the speech is the express image of the heart; and a greater than he said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

The quality of many men's religion may be discerned by the intemperateness of their language; words are but the excrements and overflow of their wickedness. A man may soon discern of what religion they are (says Pareus of the Jesuits) that, like angry curs, cannot pass by one another without snarling.


May God grant us a sense of our own sins, a tenderness to the failings of others, a hatred of the least sin, and help in the watch over the small member of our body that can do so much evil!
James 3:1-8: My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

-- David

Thursday, January 21, 2021

4 Great Reasons to Consider Pressure Canning! (and a Quick Tutorial)

I dove off the deep end into pressure canning about 14 years ago when we moved off grid and didn't have the luxury of abundant electricity to run a large freezer all the time. We do raise our own beef, poultry and pork to eat, but pressure can to preserve most of the meat. But you don't have to live out in the country or off grid to be motivated to pressure can. You can live in the middle of New York City, in the suburbs, or out in the middle of nowhere (insert town here) and pressure can like a boss on your own terms! And if I can do it, anyone "can"!


Why pressure can?

Here are a few great reasons to consider pressure canning:

  • Save Money!

    You'd be surprised how much food you can preserve very cheaply by simply keeping your eyes open for grocery store sales! Bacon, potatoes, Thanksgiving turkey, ham, butter, hamburger (see my quick tutorial below), venison, etc. Also sales on fruit, and veggies. You can cut up fruit, shove it in a jar with water and can it! You don't have to know the fru-fru stuff. Have it with whipped cream later on to sweeten it up.

  • Peace of mind during electric outages.

    Just a week ago, our local town had power outages due to a snow storm. Some people had to hurriedly obtain generators so their freezers could continue to run, fending off potential food catstrophes. You don't have to pressure can all of your meat; you can keep some fresh meat in a freezer and can some, so you have peace of mind and more options if you run into an emergency.

  • Save time!

    If you invest the time up front to pressure can much of your food, it will reap huge time benefits later when all you have to do is dump the already pre-cooked food from your jar into your pot or pan and heat it up. At one point, I had beef, carrots and potatoes all canned and ready to go and all I had to do was add a can of corn, a can of green beans and water/broth for a very quick beef stew for dinner. That's just one example of so many. You can also easily pressure can your own complete soups and stews. Just put all of your ingredients in a jar and can it! With canned meat (ground, cubed, etc) you just need to heat it up and season it before adding it to your meal plan (tacos, pasta dishes, casseroles, meat pies, etc.) The possibilities are endless.

    Sadly, the times in which we are living are much less stable than in ages past. If any link in the food supply chain fails, it doesn't take long before people start panicking and hoarding basic goods. Toilet paper during the COVID crisis is a prime example. You can find alternatives for TP, but if you are not prepared with food, you are in a much more critical situation. This alone is an excellent reason to consider pressure canning so you can have a pantry or cellar full of preserved foods for you and your family, and to share.

  • Don't be afraid of canning!

    It is pretty hard to mess up, and there are safeguards in place. There is a pressure overflow plug that is designed to pop out if too much pressure builds up and releases excess steam. But if you follow instructions and don't leave your canner for long periods of time, everything should work out very well. There is usually a "sweet spot" you find during a canning session where the pressure stays consistent so you don't have to monitor it as much.


If you would prefer grass-fed meat options, you might consider calling your local meat processor and ask if they know of anyone who wants to split the cost of processing a cow, pig or deer, etc. Or put a feeler out on your local classifieds. It is generally cheaper and healthier per pound than store-bought meat.

If you are hesitatant to make the initial investment to try pressure canning, you might ask around to see if you can borrow or purchase someone's canner if they are not using it. And there may be some great canning books at the local library or online you can check out if you want to research it for yourself. The canning ideas are endless if you plug into the right books and online forums/websites.

To give you an example of how long canned food can last, I canned 50 quarts of borsch in 2009 when we had a bumper crop of cabbage - and I still find a jar here and there, dump it out along with a jar of canned meat, heat it up and serve it with sour cream and toasted bread and it's still hearty, healthy and delicious! When you go to use any jar of canned food, you'll want to make sure the seal on the jar is still strong and doesn't come off when you pull on it. This indicates the vacuum seal is still intact. Then you pry off the lid with the side of a knife or other preferred utensil and you'll hear that little "whoosh" of air when you break the seal.


Okay, now I'll quickly take you through a very basic process of canning hamburger meat. This was from the most recent bull we took to the processor.

The very basic tools you need to get started canning are: A pressure canner, canning jars, lids and screw tops, a funnel, jar lifter and lid magnet (and water, of course :) If you enter "pressure canning starter kit" into a web search query or online retailer, lots of options will pop up for your consideration.


With ground meat, you need to lightly cook it before canning it. It takes approx. 14 lbs. of meat to fill seven quart jars (a quart jar can hold approx. 2 lbs of meat). So I cook it in multiple pans to get that phase done quickly:
Packages of Ground Beef
Ground Beef in Pans

In my case, I have two large canners that can process seven quarts each so I brown approx. 28 lbs. of meat in one session. It really doesn't take that long depending on how much meat you are browning at one time. These are 2-pound packs, so I can brown 4 lbs at a time:
Browning Ground Beef

Here is all the meat from one session:
Browned Ground Beef

Okay, disclaimer: I highly recommend you follow the instructions in your canning book. This is how I *personally* can ground meat but you do what you believe is best. At this point, I spoon the meat into pint or quart jars. I do not heat up the jars in the oven but leave them at room temperature:
Spooning Ground Beef into Jar

At this point, I take a wet paper towel and wipe the rims of the jars with warm/hot water to remove any grease or small bits of meat:
Jars Full of Browned Ground Beef

I use regular size tops and screw-on lids. You can purchase "wide-mouth" jars and lids if you like the openings of the jars to be bigger:
Canning Lids

I put 14 lids in water and heat it up to "not-quite" boiling:
Canning Lids in Pot

When the lids are ready, I use my handy-dandy magnetic lid wand to pull the lids out of the water:
Pulling Lids Out of Pot with Magnet Wand

Then I place each lid on top of each jar:
Placing Canning Lid on Jar

Then I use a screw top (canning jar band) on each jar to secure the lids. I had this little stack of screw tops just right and then Laila, our cat, started playing with them (sigh :) ). I screw the lids to "hand tight", but not too tight:
Canning Jar Bands

Depending on which canner you use, you pour water into the canner to the depth that the instructions indicate. It only takes less than two inches of water at the bottom of the canner. When I first started I thought it would take a lot more water, but when you place the jars in, the water level raises up almost to the top of the jars:
Measuring Water in Canner

Then you load the jars into the canner with the water already in it. Tip! You'll want your canner already on your stove before you load the jars because it's pretty heavy to lift if you are using a larger load canner (speaking from lessons learned :) ):
Jars in Canner

Here are both of my canners loaded and ready to have the lids secured. I do not heat up the canner and water prior to adding the jars. I prefer to skip the jar pre-heating process and heat everything up together more slowly:
Jars in Both Canners

I have an All American canner and a Presto canner. Both are great and I highly recommend them. The All American (on the left) has screws all around the canner. The Presto has a twist-on lid with a gasket underneath the perimeter of the lid which creates a tight fit. The benefit of the All American is that you don't have to continuously buy replacement parts, which you do with the Presto (the gasket). The Presto is less expensive so it all depends on your priorities. Depending on the sizes of jars you are canning, your processing time will vary. When canning meat, usually the processing time is 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. Just follow the instructions, especially for how much pressure to use, and you should do great!
Canners with Lids On

When the canning session is complete, you turn off the heat and let the pressure come down slowly and naturally until it reaches zero. Then you open the canner and remove the jars with your jar lifting utensil and place them on a heat stable surface to cool down. (Sorry, I don't have pics for this step.) As the jars cool, you will start hearing the "pops" from the jars which means the vacuum sealing process is complete. Sometimes you will have a jar or more that just doesn't seal for any number of reasons, so you can either can it again if you are planning another session, or put it in the fridge and use it up like any other perishable item, whichever you feel it best:
Canned Jars of Meat

Here is the finished product. I canned 28 lbs. of meat in just an afternoon. This represents many meals for me and my husband. I store our jars in our root cellar without the bands (because they are not needed for the jar lid to stay on and sealed, and they can rust on the jar) and bring them up when I plan to use them in my weekly menu. This will taste great in a wide variety of dishes, including pasta dishes, casseroles, tacos, you name it!
Jar of Canned Ground Beef

I hope this birds-eye overview has helped you consider pressure canning for yourself and your family. It's a small investment that can reap huge rewards!

Susan