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Make A Melody In My Heart – My Journey Learning To Play Music As An Adult

Did you hear that? She was born with such talent!”  Have you heard something similar?  I know I have, in fact, most of my life I heard that musical people come from musical families and it is a genetic thing.  “Either you’re born with it, or you’re not!” That is another thing I heard all the time.  This comment always puzzled me since babies are not born speaking English or German, or any other language, they are taught how to speak the language by their parents.  Growing up on a ranch I also saw my fair share of calves being born.  They do walk pretty quickly but, they don’t just start off amazing at it.  In fact, I bet if they didn’t need to learn so quickly so they could reach for food, they may take a few more days getting better at it because they fall a lot on that first day.

In 2010 I began a real struggle on the inside.  I desperately wanted to learn more about music and how to play at least some of it.  However, I was paralyzed by fear and of the lie I had been conditioned to believe.  I was taught, whether on purpose or not, that music was to be reserved for only certain people, those who were born with a natural God-given gift that I was most certainly not  given.  More over, I believed that adults could never learn music, learning music was only for children, special children, of which I was not.  These lies I believed choked my desire to learn, I would find myself wandering through a book on music in an emotional tirade thinking I was not good enough or smart enough to understand any of the concepts outlined.

TED talks to the rescue! I’m pretty thankful for YouTube as silly as that may seem; I found TED talks on YouTube when looking into the possibility of an adult learning to play music.  Adults have fully formed brains and if we didn’t learn music as a child, our Corpus Callosum is smaller; therefore we can not learn music because it requires a LARGE Corpus Callosum!  Well, thankfully, this may not exactly be the case, you see as much as human knowledge has improved (we think anyway) there is still much to be learned about the brain, thyroid, and well just the human body in general.  Watching TED talks gave me hope that 1) learning never has to stop 2) an adult brain can adapt and learn new pathways at least some and 3) proper nutrition has more to do with brain function than ever known before.  Jonathan Harnum wrote a book, The Practice of Practice and it really changed my view on my ability to learn this new skill, music.  I highly recommend that you read it.  Obviously, I may never be as good as my children since they started music at a very early age but that doesn’t mean I can’t be good enough to play quite a few songs my friends and family enjoy!

Every week I try to set aside time to practice, that is really the biggest detractor from adult learning, you know, all those responsibilities.  We all run around chasing kids, pets, trying to keep order in the home and still maintain some me time.  Now that I know I can learn music, I actually find it truly relaxing to play the portions I do know well.  Now, while I’m learning a new concept and creating a new neural pathway in that gray matter, it is work!  Sometimes I even think I feel a heated “tar” being laid over asphalt in my brain, so don’t be fooled into thinking adults can learn music means it is easy.  However, it’s work that I love!  I know that I’m fulfilling a life long dream of finally learning piano and violin!  I’m helping to keep my mind sharp and giving my brain power up for later on in life in the event I do suffer from a stroke.  Exercising my brain with music is building alternate routes for the future if I ever need them.  Moreover, I know that I am currently making a joyful noise for my Lord and Savior and one day, one day, it may even be played skillfully for all of you to hear!

Psalm 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

My DD made me this cover sheet for my music binder.  I can tell you she knows I struggle on guitar!  She just thought this cover would be so funny. HaHa For some reason both piano and violin just click in my brain better.  I’m pretty sure that brain signals crossfire when I pick up a guitar.  I know what I’m supposed to do with a guitar but for the life of me I haven’t been able to make it click into place.  Sneetch number 2 on the other hand is a natural guitarist.  He loves it and is largely self taught!  He can play piano too!  He doesn’t enjoy piano as much but he plays it well and if he loved it like he does guitar, I’m pretty sure he’d be just as good on one as the other.  It’s already difficult for those who don’t listen to him daily to tell which was his first choice instrument.  Now he wants to start flute as well.  You can be assured this house is rarely quiet unless we are all sleeping.

MomsMusicCover

I hope that this inspires you to at least consider picking up an instrument and fiddle with it.  I’ve got a couple of videos, albeit very amateur ones of what I learned in the first 3 or 4 months of practice.  I need to make some more since I’ve learned a tad on the violin since then. My Music Progress 1 My Music Progress 2 I’m almost too embarrassed to even show these videos but, everyone has to start somewhere!  I’m even more embarrassed that I’ve only made 2!  My hope is that by documented the change over time someone can click through and see improvement over time and be inspired to at least give it a good college try!  Let me know in the comments below if you play or think you may now!

Well, it’s getting late so, as always,

Until next time-

Davi

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Liebster Award January 9, 2018

LiebsterAward2018

I am truly grateful for this award given to me by whatifweallcared and to the Lord.  Please take a few minutes to look over her blog, she has some great stuff over there as well.  On to my answers, here we go!

 

1) What is your first memory of writing? 

Well, my very first memory of writing is probably not the best but I will share it and yes, you can laugh, at my expense even!  I was just nearly 3 years old and my mother came into the room and I was writing on the walls.  Suffice it to say, she was not happy!  My next most memorable memory is when I got a perfect score on a creative writing assessment test in the 5th grade.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, for me it’s like orchestrating a beautiful waltz or classical piece of music; it takes time but when done correctly it is beautiful.

2) What is your favorite writing style? 

This is really tough for me, I suppose if I had to only pick one I would go with descriptive.  I absolutely love to dig into something, dissect it and reconstruct it in a more poetic term than the dry textbook style of expository but I think a spicy expository is fun too.

3) Do you write in only one color or use many colors?

Well I enjoy writing with many different colors especially in my journals.  I find it helps to break apart the days so they are easier to read later.  

4) Who has inspired you to write? How? 

I’ve always enjoyed writing and I think my mother saw a little bit of a “natural” talent so to speak and she encouraged me to make words dance on a page.  I went through a time as a young adult where I realized something was wrong in my life and knew I needed something else and put the pen down for awhile.  After I met Jesus, my life changed through salvation first and then by daily reading of the King James Bible; the slumbering strings of authorship began to vibrate down in my soul.  All my motivation for writing comes from God now although as I will share more later, my great grandmother (Agnes) and my great great grandmother (Emilie) each wrote the story of their lives for future generations.  I’m sure that their bravery has given me a little nudge as well.

5) What is your favorite medium for your writing? When did you realize this? 

I most enjoy to write the old fashioned way with a pen and paper although, I have never used an ink well.  I’d love to do that one day.  I mostly find myself writing on a laptop because it is faster.  I loathe dictation because I need to see my dance and arrange the players correctly, I don’t visualize this well therefore dictation is not my friend.

6) What book have you read more than twice? What keeps bringing you back for more? 

Starting in fourth grade until the time I was saved at age 19, I often read Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margret. I read this book because I felt I had a lot in common with the young 6th grade girl.  My mother went to church and played piano and always took us children, but my father never went.  I don’t have a single memory of him inside a church.  Once I found the answer through faith in Jesus alone, there was no need to read that book and I swapped it out for the King James Bible.  I LOVE this book (the King James) as it speaks to my soul, refines my thoughts, and teaches me daily.  Psalm 118:23 This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.  This book quenches my soul!

7) Where do you do the most writing? Is there a certain feel to that place? 

I do the most writing in my office at home.  It’s more of an office nook.  There is either a feel of clutter and chaos if I don’t control the ever increasing influx of paper or there is a solace that comes from the Lord.  I much prefer the latter and hate it when I do things that lead to the former (and looking at my desk, I’m well on the way there! Ah! I need to fix that asap! lol)

8) If you could have unlimited traffic yet write about anything at all, what would you concentrate on? 

If I could have unlimited traffic I would probably continue with the way I write.  I do want to produce good content that is helpful for people, women in particular but I also want to share my heart, specifically as the Holy Spirit leads.  I don’t want to get caught up in “what do they want to hear” and leave out things that are needful.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

James 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

9) What would be the toughest topic for you to write about? 

The toughest topic to write about is always Christianity.  Any time you open this box there will be, well, shall we leave it there?  If you try to live right, not accomplish it mind you, someone will get upset and it may be your best friend or it may be a stranger but, someone will voice some sort of concern.

10) Have you ever thought of walking away and taking a lifelong journey around the globe while you write about your adventures? 

Oh yes, I absolutely would love to spend a year or more in travel.  If the Lord will choose to provide, I’ll go anywhere He will take me.  Well, maybe not the moon.  I don’t think I want to break orbit.

Jeremiah 27:5 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.

I’m going to emphasize I have made the earth…. and have given it unto whom…. and ask him to let me stay on earth until it’s time for heaven.  😉

Alright, there ya have it folks, those are my answers.  Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better. Now it’s my turn to nominate.  Here we go!

RULES

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, link their blog. Include award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Make a new set of 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate 5-10 recently followed bloggers and share your post with them so they see it.

My Questions

  1. Describe your morning routine.
  2. Who was the last person you gave a compliment to?
  3. What is your favorite way to save money?
  4. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  5. What is your favorite resource for new bloggers?
  6. If you had an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?
  7. What is your blogging niche and how did you choose it?
  8. What do wish to achieve with your blog?
  9. What quote inspires you?
  10. If you could travel back in time to a Historical event, what event would you choose?

My Nominations are:

MentalIntrigue

Timothy Bullard

100poundsaway

Stephanie Bregg

Ramblings Of A Crazy Middle Aged Woman

A Galore Of Words

I’m Hungry And Everything Hurts

 

Ok, I think I’ve learned a lot about linking posts and doing the picture.  Ya’ll check out some of the new bloggers I’ve listed here.  I can’t wait to read everyone’s responses! Here’s to killin’ it in 2018!

Until next time-

Davi


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Thank You Whatifweallcared! – Liebster Nomination 2018

I would like to thank Whatifweallcared for her nomination for the Liebster Award.  I’m so very excited!  I just started and I’m overwhelmed with the support I’ve received here.  I didn’t even know the Liebster award was a  thing much less the honor to be nominated. 😀

I would also like to give thanks to the LORD for giving me inspiration and courage to put myself out here in the world of blogging and write for him.

Thank you all for reading.  You’re a huge blessing to me!

Until Next time-

Davi


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Recycling Money or Maybe Just Recapturing Old Money Already Spent

Hello,

Thanks for stopping in today!  Are you still thinking about New Year Resolutions?  Maybe you’re trying to forget about that already because you are so tired of hearing the word “resolution”!  It almost never fails that people make a resolution about money or weight this time every year.  A lot of people avoid these because they just don’t enjoy them and thinking about them makes them unhappy.  Face it, when you make a list of “fun” things to do, calorie counting and budgeting aren’t usually up in the top ten list are they?  Its down right hard to stick to a resolution that doesn’t excite you and for a lot of people, if money does excite them, it’s because of something negative like debt, poor budgeting skills, or in some cases just the lack of upward job mobility.

Well, what if I told you that I may be able to help you not think so negatively about money?  Now before you get all upset, I’m not saying fall in love with money, just stop assigning a negative emotion to the physical “money” that we use in our society.  Really, money itself is an inanimate object that doesn’t have a positive or negative emotion or character of its own, we assign the traits we want money to have to money!  Let that sink in just a minute.  Money is not alive, it has no feeling of its own and it can not choose how to be used, you give it life by what you do with it.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-11,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E:Y

For those of you starting off with a budget, there are many things on the market to help you.  Like anything, it takes practice and I still haven’t perfected documenting every single cent right away.  I use the Everydollar app on my phone and computer and DH has it too so we can sync all our spending.  However, budgeting is really a whole different post from what I am trying to get to.  Likely, when you start your budget though, you will find a lot more month and a lot less cash on the paper.  My friend over at “whatifweallcared” (https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/73348879/posts/1722430001) blogged about how she recycles her money and it got me thinking about the things I do to make our money stretch a little farther out each month.   This is where today’s post comes in, what if you could recapture some of the money you are already spending?  Well, I’m here to show you how!  I absolutely LOVE to “recycle” and “reuse” the same money I know I have to spend anyway.

Do you shop online regularly?  Perhaps you too are Prime for life you are so addicted! Well, there is something you can do to save on that Amazon purchase.

  • BeFrugal is a website that will help you recapture some money you spend on Amazon.  They will give a rebate for certain Amazon categories like “Prime Pantry” and many others.  Once your purchase is confirmed and the waiting period is over, you can request the money be sent to you via check, a direct deposit into a US bank, PayPal, or an Amazon store credit.  If you choose the Amazon credit they usually add another 1% bonus to your cash value! Amazon is not the only store they have either.  There are 100’s of stores.  You can look alphabetically or just type in the store you are looking for into the search bar.  I’ve also earned cash back from Kohl’s, Sears, and Walmart with them. I’ve been using them since October and I’ve gotten a little over $18.  What I like about BeFrugal is the variety in the way I can be paid.  Since I do use Amazon a lot the extra bonus for choosing that method is nice.  I also like that you can redeem once you hit $25 in confirmed money.  Sign up through my link and we both earn a bonus! Just click and begin to save! https://www.befrugal.com/referral/?ref=WDJNDZL
  • Ebates is another website that helps to capture money.  I’ve used Ebates a lot longer but I’ve only earned about $9.25 from them.  They seem to have a lower reward than BeFrugal but they also pay out at $5.00.  Another thing that can be a down side is they only pay out every 3 months.  This is done instead of the wait period that BeFrugal has.  Let’s face it, if everyone starts returning the things they buy, they may loose money if they pay out too soon.  Ebates just makes it clear you’ll get a “big fat check” as they call it every quarter instead of showing you the different confirmation dates that BeFrugal has.  It’s really up to you which is best, you can do what I do and see who has the largest percentage at the store you are buying from, you can go with a known pay period of every quarter, or you could choose to get the cash as soon as you hit $25.  Ebates only pays in two ways, a check sent by mail or PayPal.  Each website has deals with different stores that may offer double cash back days or bonuses for sharing your link.  Right now, Ebates has a bonus that will give you a $10 bonus for signing up with my link and if you spend $25 at any of their stores, I will also get a $15 bonus!  If you think Ebates and quarterly checks is the way to go for you follow my link and sign up! ebates.com/r/DJTODD8

Not an avid online shopper?  Not to worry!  I have you covered, listed below are my favorite in store ways to recover that hard earned cash.

  •      iBotta is an app for the phone that I am crazy about! If you use coupons at the grocery store, you need this app!  You can use your coupons in store and then submit your receipt and get a rebate on some of the same items.  I use this app every week when I shop.  Sometimes they have a rebate on “any item” all you have to do is submit the receipt.  I always cross reference (well, let me say I attempt to always) the sales flyer with my iBotta app and then plan meals around those things.  If I can get a hold of coupons, even better!  If not, I feel good knowing that I’ve done what I can to redeem the fragments I can of money I had already spent.  Probably my favorite perk about iBotta is the team building!  They give bonuses for recruiting others and for redeeming the products.  For instance, if your team redeems a total of $10 and you personally redeemed 8 rebates of a specific product (not the “any items”) then you will get a bonus awarded of $1 extra.  Sometimes they have mid-week bonus or holiday ones.  They also have rebates off of websites like Amazon, Jet.com, and Boxed.  I prefer to have my iBotta money redeemed with PayPal and redemption starts when you reach $20.  They also have Venmo as an option and multiple different gift cards!  Want to help build my team and start yours? This incentive pays you $10 for signing up with my link and gives me $5 in return for helping you find a way to recapture your own money.  https://ibotta.com/r/ojhbeov
  • CheckOut 51 is much like iBotta but they don’t have a referral code for me to share and they don’t offer team bonuses when we redeem together.  Just go to your app store and search and they will send you a paper check when you reach $20.  I have gotten lots of coffee rebates here and though I certainly don’t use it as much as iBotta it’s a nice Christmas boost to be able to request this check at the end of the year.  You can request it earlier but since it takes me longer to reach the minimum I decided to just let it sit until Christmas and use it for all the unexpected things that come up in life during that busy season.
  • ShopKicks is an app on the phone that allows you to earn points even if you don’t make a purchase!  You can earn points by walking into stores like CVS, Target, Publix, Walmart and more with your app on your phone.  Many of these places even have public wi-fi so you don’t burn up all your data (in the event you aim for those T-Mobile kickbacks or the google Fi data refunds like me). You can also earn products for scanning items in the store even if you don’t buy them.  If you choose to buy, even better, double up your points.  The points are redeemed for gift cards.  I’ve been using this app since late October 2016 and I’ve almost got enough for a $25 gift card.  Right now if you choose to sign up with my code, we both get 250 bonus kicks when you walk in to your first store!  How great is that.  Download the Shopkicks app to your phone and use code: JOY831917 to start earning your gift cards.
  • FetchRewards used to be MobiSave but the developers decided to go to a point based system that allows you to redeem them for gift cards.  When my friend got married this November, I redeemed a $10 gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase her wedding gift.  I do miss the near instant cash back I was able to get from MobiSave but the selection of products was also much more limited.  FetchRewards give points for both specific products that you purchase and specific brands that you use.  I like this because I may not buy a certain product but I will buy that brand so I will at least earn some points.  Right now FetchRewards will give 1,500 bonus points to you with my code and match the bonus for me too! Download the app to your phone and use code: VB4TX

How about you?  What ways to you save money?  Please share them below, perhaps I can learn another way to help stretch our income too.

Have a great day.

Until next time-

Davi


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Winsome an Old English Word

via Daily Prompt: Winsome

I really love to study words.  Properly selected words fitly spoken can calm a troubled soul and reach deeper than any physical help we can give at times.  I suppose, since I’m also a King James Bible lover, the “Old English” or sometimes called “The King’s English” really stirs my heart.  When I saw the word “winsome” I just had to write about it today!

The word “winsome” means having an appealing or attractive appearance or character. This word hit it’s peak in use around the turn of the 20th century in 1900 and had a steady decline thereafter.  Lately the word seems to be gaining a little steam, but certainly no where near it’s 1900 hay day.  Perhaps the “vintage” and “nostalgia” movements gave the word a little juice as of late.  Google is such an amazing tool, I’m not sure how on earth I was raised without it. 😉

Winsomegraph

https://books.google.com/ngrams/interactive_chart?year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=7&case_insensitive=on&content=winsome&direct_url=t4%3B%2Cwinsome%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bwinsome%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BWinsome%3B%2Cc0

Merriam-Webster says of winsome: generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence.  This got me thinking, perhaps the word was used most in 1900 because our nation as a whole was in it’s childhood seeing the world from a new perspective.  We were no longer “rebel colonies” but a force to be reckoned with in a new and advancing world of technology.

Are things really so different now?  Our nation is older and we have our problems but we still have some winsome attributes.  One of which is our inability to stop improving.  In the 1900’s Henry Ford was revolutionizing the way we travel despite a lack of paved roads.  He was determined to see a horseless carriage improve lives nationwide.  Now we have the revolutionary Elon Musk determined to make electrical cars a reality.  He faces the problem of lack of charging stations instead of roads but like Ford, he is determined to impact the future to improve the lives of those that will come after him.

Another winsome characteristic we still possess as a nation is our gift of charity.  Americans give not only their finances, but also their time.  We may not agree  on how to give as a nation whether it be through the government arm or through local non profit and churches, but most Americans do agree to be a giver in some aspect of life.  Everyone likes to be around a cheerful giver!

Political unrest? You bet, we have it just like they did in 1900, Americans are torn over the current President and in 1900 conspiracy and assassination attempts also reigned.  Faces, names, and countries have changed but the same old games are still at play world wide.  It’s amazing how we can study history and still repeat much of it.  Here is a little article comparing 1900 to now, hope you also enjoy it.  http://www.genealogy.com/articles/research/76_life1900.html

The biggest difference I feel between the days of using the winsome and our current day is attitudes and the general lack of church.  I feel like in 1900 the American people pursued  making the future better not of  lack of contentment but rather out of good will towards others.  Life in America was still difficult with most travel being done on foot but the people were optimistic and took true enjoyment in small pleasures.  Dish washers, clothes washers, air conditioning, and even music were luxury!  We now expect all of these things to be easily found in our homes and our attitudes nationally seem to have shifted towards an entitled self willed brat who is more loathsome than winsome.  Perhaps as Psalm 106:15 says,  “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” we were given all we ever asked and now our heart, mind, and eyes are so filled with clutter, we lost what was important to our soul.  Perhaps this is why hundreds of churches close in America every year and we can not start enough new ones to keep up with population growth.  Did America loose it’s winsome attributes when we stopped using the word? Or did we stop using the word because we no longer wanted to be winsome?

Let’s have the attitude of gratitude and not allow things we can’t control steal our joy and instead, take our talents and use them to make our little area of influence whether online or in town a better more winsome place to be.  It can be a great year in 2018 if we let it.

Well, those are the thoughts I pondered as I meditated on the word, winsome.

Until next time-

Davi

 


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Allergic

via Daily Prompt: Allergic

“What do you mean? You can’t eat lettuce!? Salad is healthy!”  or “What? Green smoothies are healthy and full of antioxidants! You’re diet is too restrictive!” I’ve heard a lot of things regarding my food choices.  People often assume I refuse to eat certain things because I believe that are not proper nutrition, on the contrary, I love bananas but they cause an allergic reaction when I eat them!  Believe it or not, people make food choices on things other than, “it tastes good” or “I think this is healthy.”

I have some very stupid allergies to things like green beans, lettuce, bananas, wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, and turkey.  It’s very difficult for my friends to cook for me and so often I go uninvited to parties and an informal get together because people are afraid that if they can’t remember my list of “no’s” I will be offended.  In actuality, people that I count as a friend are not my ‘friend’ based on the food they offer but because I value their person-hood in my life much more than a few groceries.  I’d much rather receive an invitation that has a little note saying, “please bring yourself a little something so I don’t feel bad if you get into an allergen,” than find out from mutual friends that my list of allergies has caused me to be missed.

Living with food allergies isn’t exactly easy, especially when there are more than one to work around!  However, I have found with the proper planning and tools such as the Saratoga Jack, I’m not limited to just my own house for socialization.  When we decide to take a day trip, a vacation, or even  a picnic to the park I can easily pack a few things in a thermos or a thermal cooker and have a awesome meal ready to eat with everyone else and be sure I won’t be in pain.

If you know someone that lives with food allergies, don’t be afraid to invite them over, just let them know sweetly, you’d like them to bring their own food so they can enjoy a good time as well.  Likewise, if you have food allergies, don’t expect everyone to cater to you just because you can’t eat certain things, be willing to bring your own food along and enjoy time with people you care about.  Although we certainly must eat to live, there is more to life than food itself.

Until next time,

Davi


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January 2018 is here!

Well, it’s here ready or not!  We rang in the new year last night with our church family and I must confess I ate way too much but it was really yummy!  I had some organic eggs and gluten free blueberry Van’s waffles so, at least it wasn’t all bad despite being too much.  Good food is even better with great friends!

I’m sure many of you are now reviewing your list of resolutions and telling yourself this year will be different, I will make myself accomplish these! Our New Year’s Eve service at church was different this year and I’d like to share what I learned from this lesson we were taught.

Normally when I hear “turn to Luke 16,” I think of the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, in fact I recently read a blog that discussed this very same passage on the two men.  I have heard a lot taught on the rich ruler who begged for even a drop of water while he was tormented in hell and how he asked for someone to be sent back to his brethren to tell them and warn them of the awful place called hell.  I was taken a little off guard when we went to Luke 16:1-9 and I was a little ashamed to admit I had almost forgotten that the chapter doesn’t start at verse 19.

Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?

And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

In verse 4 we find the one and only use of the word “resolved” in the Bible which is about as close to “resolution” as we can get.  Let’s see what we can glean from this selection of scripture as we consider our plans for the new year.

First let us look at a definition from dictionary.com about the word “resolve” which means “1.to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something) 2. to separate into constituent or elementary parts; break up; cause or disintegrate 3. to convert or transform by any process and 4 .to reduce by mental analysis” In order to prevent being redundant I  used the most common uses of the word listed. 

Now, the servant here is wicked and dishonest with the goods and wealth he has been entrusted with.  I get the idea he was managing the wealth about as well as Bernie Madoff in our current day.  The steward was caught presumably by one of the other people employed by the rich man and like most people who are caught doing wrong he began to panic regarding his future.  Notice in verse 3 “the steward said within himself, What Shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.” He is speaking within himself, a mental analysis of resolving begins here, with an unstable future he must reflect on the things that have lead up to this event and how to prepare a future that is better than being homeless or incarcerated.  Certainly we must be able to take an honest account of our own lives in order to make any resolutions to produce a better outcome in our own future as well however, this steward is full of pride and speaks only with himself, not God when making his mental analysis.  What shall I do? I can’t, I’m ashamed even though I alone am responsible for where I am, no mention of how he hurt God with his dishonesty or violated God’s trust and law. He doesn’t mention God at all during his surmising.

Also, the steward admits to himself that he has no useful skills at all.  He can not even so much as use a shovel to dig a hole.  Surely the servant was somewhat educated just as Bernie Madoff himself was educated both in the laws of God and in upper level college courses.  However, both of these men seem to believe it was easier to make money by being deceitful rather than by using their intellect to provide a useful service.  We are not told how old the servant here is, perhaps he was also of advanced age when the whistle was blown regarding his Ponzi scheme and therefore he was unable to even dig a hole outside.   Perhaps the steward did not take care of his health and was unable to do physical labor even though he was young or maybe he had a medical condition, we can only speculate, either way he was not skilled at any type of service for others that could offer him a living wage.  Although he is capable of determining that he has no skill, the steward chooses not to endeavor to develop a skill for his future.  I find that very interesting, it seems that his resolving may not actually be to become a better person rather, he just wants to ‘feel’ better in the future. I also get the idea he has a victim mindset here as well, “my lord taketh away my stewardship..” notice that he makes mention of who is taking away his title but fails to be honest with himself that his own actions have taken away his stewardship, his master is just enforcing the laws that exist.  This reminds me of a child who was caught with a hand in the cookie jar and another hand filled with a cookie.  When the mother takes away the cookie, the child is upset with the mother, not himself for the disobedience of taking his mother’s cookie without permission.  The mother did not cause the child to take the cookie although she must enforce the rules of the household lest the home be run by chaos itself.  Obviously the master would not have knowingly given stewardship of so much wealth to a man he knew would steal and it is equally ridiculous for the steward to attribute blame to the master for “taking away” his job, yet that appears to be what he does.

The steward’s mind now takes another direction, begging for bread.  The idea of sitting on a street corner reduced to poverty makes the steward shudder to think of it at all.  He is far too prideful to be reduced to such a thing.  Psalm 37:25 “yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” must have rang in the ears of the wicked servant as he contemplated what begging bread would mean for him as people walked past him.  All of this mental analysis has lead to the steward breaking up into elementary parts the different courses of action he could take, he has used 2 parts of the word resolve already, let us see what else he does with this word.

A ha! The servant has it, an idea popped into his mind, lets call all the people that owe money to the master and reduce their bills.  Now the servant has firmly fixed himself on a definite course of action and begins earnestly about the resolution at hand, to “get in good” with those who owe his boss before they find out that he has lost his job. Verse 5, 6 and 7 show us that this steward is certainly wicked because the only idea he can come up with to save his future is to again steal from his boss.  The steward doesn’t care at all and shows no remorse over having committed a crime.  This also shows us how selfish the steward is, he is only helping to benefit the people that are in debt in order that he can pave the way for his own future.  However, his master did commend him for doing ‘what he could’ to take care of his future.  I suppose many in the shoes of this steward would consider suicide a way out like Mark Madoff did.  Even Bernie and Ruth Madoff said they attempted suicide as well.  This steward was at least willing to keep living despite the humiliation of having lost a well paying job and the reputation of a good name.  The master even considered it somewhat wise to make friends with those who have the means of obtaining money so the servant will not go on homeless.  Ruth Madoff kind of did the same by living with her sister and later her son and somehow avoiding a prison sentence herself despite being the bookkeeper for her husband.  This steward used “any process” including stealing again to “convert or transform” his lowly future into a more desirable one.

How will this apply to us as Christian ladies you may ask? Well, do we really want to use “any process” to convert our future into a better one or would we prefer to seek God and His will first?  In the end, this steward still looses even if he finishes his life here in ease and with a full belly.  He never repented of his sin and so still has a record of broken laws with God on judgment day.  Further more, God does not receive any glory from this servant who has done foolishly, not one person can look at his life as see God reflected.  The servant has spent his life trying to do his own will his own way.

I challenge you as a Christian lady to reflect on the “resolutions” you have been unable to keep on your own and be honest with yourself.  Were those things you consulted God about first? Are they actually sins in your life you need to repent of? Are you trying to ‘convert’ things your way or are you allowing the renewing of your mind through the word of God? Romans 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.  Contemplate with me, are my resolutions failed from previous years because I haven’t confessed them as the sin they are and instead try to fix it in my own way with my own will and deny the Holy Spirit and the power of God himself the ability to transform me into the image of Jesus Christ? Friends, I would rather be guilty of just about anything other than denying the Lord himself to work in my life and create in me His perfect picture and will.

I will be honest, I have felt the Lord wanted me to write and learn music since 2010.  Every year I have failed to write much at all.  I would always tell myself, such and such happened and I just don’t have time.  Friends, the bible says “redeeming the time because the days are evil” and we all do what is important to us right?  I confessed to the Lord, I’ve not used my time wisely, I’ve “wasted his goods.” as verse one says.  I do not wish to be counted as the wicked steward but rather as the faithful steward who used the little he had for the Lord.  Time starts off small, first filling up mere seconds that turn into minutes which become hours, days, years and finally your lifetime.  I want to fill my time with God and that starts with spending seconds capturing thoughts, minutes in prayer, hours in the Word, days in his service, years of grace and mercy that finally culminate in the blessed hope of eternity with Jesus in heaven forevermore.  If this is the life I want to reflect when I’m aged, I’ve got to stop filling my time with ME and fill it with HIM.  You wouldn’t fill your pockets with sand and run to the candy store for a sweet treat, you fill it with money, the world’s treasure and then run to the store and buy your sweets.  So, fill your pocket here with heavenly treasure and heap up rewards in heaven, the final resting place of a Christian.

Are you afraid of what God has asked you to do?  To be honest, I am still afraid of writing.  Writing about God is a sobering and serious thing to do.  Every idle word is taken down by the Lord.  (Mathew 12:36) In fact writing at all about anything makes me vulnerable since there are a multitude of people with differing opinions who will express them, as my friend recently said.  There is a healthy fear of the Lord we all need, especially when writing for him, but there is a fear that comes from the enemy.  This is a dark night, the word of God is hard to find in so many places, we need to publish it and put forth as much light as possible to hurting and dying world.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. God doesn’t intend ‘evil’ for us when he gives us His will, He intends it to bless up, to earn compound interest, to gain large dividends in heaven, treasures unspeakable.  Certainly fear the Lord and give him reverence, but do not fear succeeding in the will he has given for you and your family! Obedience to God is for your own good, he wants to bless you, he loves you, he isn’t a mad scientist in the sky trying to see if you can find the cheese.

So, how about it? Do you need to confess something as sin, truly repent and finally see good success in this new year? Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  There it is folks, our blueprint for a prosperous new year with good success, it has nothing to do with eating peas!

Happy New Year!

Until next time-

Davi