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Monday, August 13, 2012

Moving Day

Just wanted my faithful followers to know that I will be moving my blog to www.phillipsandphillipsmusic.com. I hope you will stop by and drop me a note. I love hearing from you. Thank you for following my blog.

Dixie

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dirty Feet


In this fast paced world, jam packed with busy schedules and looming deadlines, I often find my restless soul desiring to sit quietly at my Lord’s feet. In the Bible we find many people at His feet. Some folks had desperate needs, but there were others who just wanted to worship Him.



Let’s take a quick look at some of the ones the Bible mentions who could be found at the feet of Jesus. There was:



ü  The afflicted father—

Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. Mark 5:22 NIV

ü  A sorrowing mother—

In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. Mark 7:25 NIV

ü  A sinful woman—

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:37-38 NIV

ü  A healed demoniac—

….and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Luke 8:35 NIV

ü  A seeker of Truth—

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. Luke 10:39 NIV



ü  A bereaved sister—

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32 NIV



ü  Unfortunate sufferers—

Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. Matthew 15:30 NIV



ü   A reverent worshipper—

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17 NIV



All of these stories are so refreshing, but there’s another story mentioned in God’s Word that exemplifies the humility of Christ. I’m sure you remember when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.



It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:1-5 NIV

There are many days I fall short and my feet get dusty, but every time I sit at Jesus’ feet, I find Him washing my dirty feet. His sweet voice pleads, “Don’t nurse that grudge. Give it to Me. Oh, please don’t get too attached to the temporal that you lose sight of the eternal.”



I believe Jesus still washes His disciples’ feet today, but we first—we must sit at His feet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Floating Hearts


Has your heart ever been so heavy you thought it would never beat again?

This week as I read the story of Prophet Elisha and the floating ax head, the Holy Spirit breathed fresh life into a familiar story.

As one man was cutting down a tree, the head of his ax fell into the water. He yelled, "Oh, my master! I borrowed that ax!"

Elisha asked, "Where did it fall?" The man showed him the place. Then Elisha cut down a stick and threw it into the water, and it made the iron head float. Elisha said, "Pick up the ax head." Then the man reached out and took it. 2 Kings 6:5-7 NCV



In Elisha’s day an ax was a necessary tool for survival. Can you imagine the horror the man felt when the borrowed ax head plunged into the water? He knew it was probably gone forever, but Elisha had a plan and in a matter of moments the iron ax head was floating on top of the water. I’m sure relief flooded over the man’s heart as he snatched it up. The lost had been found!



Jesus cares about the everyday ax head situations in our lives. He has provided godly leaders who love and support us when we are drowning in suffocating circumstances. Our shepherds lead us to the foot of the Cross, where the presence of the Lord has lifting power. The Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens us so we don’t have to live “under” the difficult circumstances of life.



Burdened hearts are heavier than iron ax heads, but when one tiny sliver of Calvary's cross is inserted in a bleeding heart, it can rise with our Savior’s resurrection life and beat again.



Be encouraged today. The God of Elisha is your God, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Little People


We’ve all experienced it. We’re reading a familiar Bible story, and suddenly the words leap off the page and scream, “This is for you! Yes, you!”

I recently had this experience with the beautiful story of Naaman and the little maid found in 2 Kings 5.

Naaman was a powerful Assyrian leader with a deadly flaw. He had leprosy, a disease that did not discriminate. Even though he was a man in a position of political power and influence, he was susceptible to a common man’s illness.

A little servant girl of Naaman’s wife had the courage to share about Elisha’s power to heal the sick.

So Naaman took a road trip to meet Elisha.

Elisha gave specific instructions for Naaman’s healing. “Go dip in the Jordan River seven times.”

Naaman’s response showed the condition of his heart. He felt he was too important to dip in the muddy Jordan.

Fortunately, Naaman had a wise servant. His counsel was able to put the situation into the proper perspective. “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do some great feat, you would have done it. Now why can't you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?”

The servant’s words made sense to Naaman. He obeyed Elisha’s command and was completely healed.

Life application for us:

Many of us feel God has called us to serve, but when lowly service is presented, we respond like Naaman. “I refuse to dip into the muddy Jordan. This is not what I expected ministry to look like.”

But then the Holy Spirit, like Naaman’s faithful servant, responds, “If the Lord had told you to do some great feat, you would have done it. Can you do this little deed for Me?”

I meet people who insist, “God has called me to write.” But when the writing assignments are not huge book contracts, they refuse to write.

How can we solve this problem? I believe it’s an easy fix.

For those who feel the Lord is calling them into ministry:

Begin serving where you are. Don’t let what appears to be lowly service stop you from being a blessing. Remember that even a cup of water given in our Savior’s name will receive a reward one day.

For those who feel called to write for the Lord:

Start writing where you are. God has miraculous ways of getting your writing to the exact places He wants it to be.

The longer I live I am more convinced that God uses “little” people to do “big” things for God. The “biggest” people in God’s kingdom are those who stay “small” in their own eyes.

Will you be like the little maid and let the Lord use you today?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Operation Cinderella

Two years ago our son John married Natasha Stamman. Our beautiful daughter-in-law has been a wonderful addition to our family and a loving wife for John. Natasha’s father and his wife founded Impact Ministries International, a ministry for orphans and the poor of the world.

Last week I went on a missions trip to Honduras with John and Natasha. During the day we mainly camped out at an orphanage in Comayagua and in the evening we attended special church services, supporting local pastors and their ministries. On Sunday, we distributed food and clothing to the poorest of the poor in Honduras. Hundreds of needy souls stood in line for a bar of soap, used clothing, and a bag of rice, corn, and beans.

                                                           Selina's old shoes.....


Selina and Dixie

During the distribution a little girl named Selina came up to me holding a shabby shoe in her hand. She said something in Spanish and I knew she was asking for a new pair of shoes. We had just distributed the last pair. My eyes filled with tears when I told her there were no more shoes. She was devastated, but slipped her foot back into her pitiful shoe. In that moment I realized her foot was about the same size as mine. I kicked off my white flip-flops and gave them to her. She smiled and hugged me tightly. We said our goodbyes and I never expected to see her again because she wasn’t part of the orphanage and didn’t live in Comayagua.

The next night we drove to church. I looked over the large crowd and whispered a prayer for Selina. As we hurried to find a seat, I felt a little tap on my arm. I turned and to see who was wanting my attention. “Selina!”

She pointed at her feet.

“You’re wearing the flip-flops. They look so nice!” I threw my arms around her neck.

Selina linked her arm in mine throughout the praise and worship. Our hearts were cemented together despite our language barriers.

That night when we returned to our motel room, Natasha, John, and I couldn’t stop talking about how a simple pair of flip-flops could bring so much joy to a little girl.

The next evening Natasha and I attended a special women’s meeting. After the service a woman came up to me with a huge smile plastered on her face. She kissed me on the cheek and said something in Spanish.

I shrugged and shook my head. “No, hablo español.”



Selina's Mother at Ladies Night

She pointed to her feet. I squealed when I recognized the flip-flops. I motioned for our interpreter. “What is she saying?”

Angelica, our interpreter, replied, “She said that she is Selina’s mother and Selina let her borrow the new flip-flops so she could attend the special meeting tonight.”

As I returned to my motel room, I couldn’t help but think how it really is the little things in life that can make huge differences in the lives of the poor. May we all find some way to bless those in need today. I also learned that Cinderella isn’t the only one whose life can be changed by a pair of shoes.

If you stop your ears to the cries of the poor, your cries will go unheard, unanswered. Proverbs 21:13 MSG

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

'68 Tornado


Many times people ask, “How do you know what to write about?”



My response is always the same. “I mostly write about my personal experiences.”



You cannot “make up” your life’s story. God can use your story to encourage others.



I want to share my own personal story of an event that made our little town in northern Iowa make national news on May 15, 1968.



I was in fifth grade at McKinley Elementary School. Because of some family issues, I was living with my paternal grandparents on their farm. My two older brothers Bob and Ken were living at our parents' home in Charles City.



May 15, 1968 was a huge day for the fifth and sixth graders of Charles City. The annual grade school track meet, which started at noon with a picnic, followed by some friendly track competition, was held that day. After the students gobbled down their sack lunch, the track meet began on the College Grounds. Five grade schools, Lincoln, Jefferson, Central, McKinley and Washington Elementary were represented. Little did we realize in a few short hours three of those schools would be demolished. (Central, McKinley and Washington were destroyed. Central and McKinley would never reopen.)



My friend Nancy and I were overjoyed that McKinley had won the track meet. She invited me over to her house for a few hours after the track meet. When my grandmother came to pick me up, she noticed I had lost one of my brand new socks.



I rummaged through my bag. "I must have lost it when I changed into my track clothes!"



Grandma was very frugal and thought we better retrace my steps and see if we couldn't find the mate to my "widowed" sock. We backtracked from my friend's house to the College Grounds, but didn't have any luck in finding the sock









On the way home, when we got to the fairgrounds’ corner, (above is actual picture of a view of the '68 tornado from the fairgrounds’ corner) I noticed Grandma was very quiet. I thought she was upset with me for losing my sock, but then I noticed she was preoccupied with looking out the car window at the dark sky.



I tried to lighten the mood and jabbered on and on about the track meet and the visit at my friend's house. Grandma stayed focused and picked up speed in an attempt to hurry home.



When we pulled in the driveway, Grandma spoke sternly, "I'm only going to say this once. You go get your dog, head straight to the basement, and sit under the big table in the corner. Don't come up until I call you. Do you understand?"



I nodded my head, hopped out of the car, and whistled for my dog. Ginger came running and jumped in my arms.



"Get in that basement now!" Grandma ordered.



I galloped down the steps, clutching Ginger tightly. We hid under the table just like Grandma had instructed. I remember crying and praying out loud. "Please keep us all safe. Don't let anything happen to Grandma and Grandpa!"



After a few minutes, Grandma called down the stairs. "The storm has passed. Come on up and help me get ready for supper."



When we sat down to eat, my stomach was still in knots. I remember it was difficult to eat and then we were startled when the doorbell rang. A neighbor man bolted into the house before Grandma or Grandpa had a chance to answer the door. His voice was frantic, "Charles City has been hit by a tornado! The whole town has been wiped out!"



My heart beat wildly in my chest. "What about Mom and Dad and Bobby and Kenny?"



Grandma looked up at Grandpa and said, "We need to head to town now!"



My grandmother was an immaculate housekeeper. She did something that I'd never seen her do. She left all the supper dishes and food on the table. “We’ll clean the supper dishes when we get home. Dixie, go grab some of your favorite books. We might be waiting in the car for a while."



Grandpa was met with a friendly policeman when he stopped his car near the city limits. "Nobody is allowed inside the city limits unless you live there."
 
 
 
Grandpa pointed at me sitting in the back and explained the situation. "Her parents and brothers live in town."



The policeman looked at me. "I'm sorry. But there are live wires down on the ground. People have been killed by the storm. I can't allow you to go any further."



When Grandpa turned his car around, found a gravel road, and turned off the ignition. "I’ve got to see if Bobby and Kenny are all right. They might need me.”



I peered through the crack of the car door and watched Grandpa as he laced up his boots.



"John, be careful. You heard what they said about those live wires." Grandma's voice trembled.



"I will.  Let's pray." Grandpa closed his eyes. "Lord, guide my steps. Help me find those boys."



Grandma and I sat in silence watching Grandpa as he trudged toward town. Finally, Grandma said, "Dixie, pick out a book and we'll read it together."



Several hours later, Grandpa returned. "Bobby and Kenny are safe. They hid under a bridge and saw the tornado hit. Our family is safe, but much of the town was gone.




Later I learned that my elementary school (see building in the right of above photos) was hit and school was dismissed for the rest of the school year.



A violent F5 tornado tore a 1/2 mile wide path through the town from south to north, killing 13 people, injuring 450 others, and caused $30 million damage. In town, 372 homes and 58 businesses were destroyed, 188 homes and 90 businesses sustained major damage, and 356 homes and 46 businesses sustained minor damage. Eight churches, 3 schools were damaged or destroyed, the police station was heavily damaged, and 1250 vehicles were destroyed.



I've never forgotten the day a tornado hit our little town and changed our lives forever.


Friday, June 22, 2012

SOAR!


Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people:
“Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile.”
Exodus 1:22 NIV

I love the biblical account of Moses when he was an infant. Satan conjured up a plan to kill him, but God was watching over him. Jehovah gave Moses’ mother a creative plan to save her baby’s life. She wove a basket out of bulrushes, tucked her baby boy inside, placed him in the Nile River, and assigned his big sister to keep an eye on him.

When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch.
Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds
along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance
to see what would happen to him.
Exodus 2:2-4 NIV

Even though Moses was a “basket case,” he grew into a mighty man of God and was handpicked by Jehovah to deliver the Israelites from the land of bondage.

My husband and I have been in fulltime ministry for more than 30 years. We have seen firsthand the enemy sabotage ministries in their infancy. We’ve stood in the gap with those God has called and rejoiced with them as they fulfill their divine destiny, but our hearts have been broken when others have allowed the enemy to snuff out a new ministry God has called them to birth for the Kingdom.

I would like to speak directly to those of you who sense the Lord is calling you to “birth” a writing or songwriting ministry. Here is an acrostic with some helpful hints to help your new ministry S.O.A.R.

S-Seek God for wisdom as you birth this new ministry.

O-Offer your gifts and talents to the Lord with a humble heart.

A-Admit when you need help and don’t be afraid to seek counsel from godly mentors.

R-Refuse to allow the enemy to destroy what God is birthing in your life and ministry at this time.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 NIV

Never be shocked by the devil’s tactics. His goal is to destroy your ministry in its infancy. Remember the story of Moses. May God use your pen to lead souls out of bondage. Soar for Jesus today!

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