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I love the Christmas season. A LOT. Truly. Don’t put it past me to be breaking out some Nat King Cole and “The Christmas Song” in mid-July. My husband can testify that every year we put our tree earlier and earlier, and guess what? It’s rubbing off on my kiddos! Violet turned 2 on October 27, and guess what she wanted for her birthday? A Christmas tree. And because she has her daddy wrapped around her little finger, guess what we did? Not only did we put up a tree, but we decked the halls in the entire house for her birthday. No, we don’t live in an insane asylum, we just have children who we love very much and would do anything for.

 Trimming the tree during the last week of October got me thinking, what if we as Christians had this much anticipation for Christ’s return as we do for other things we love to celebrate?

  My grandfather and I shared the same birthday and every year up until he passed away, we would have a big family celebration at his house. I remember the weeks leading up to our birthdays were always filled with such buzz in our home. “What do you want for your birthday?” “What type of food do you two want at your party?” It was such a big event that brought so much joy to our family. I knew when I saw certain things happening that the time was drawing closer for the time of the party. Streamers up? Check. Balloons up? Check. Family coming down the driveway? Check. That means it’s time to head to grandpa’s house because it’s party time!

 Christ gave us a guideline of things to look for before He returns. In Luke 21: 8-18 Jesus says,  “Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.  Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:  And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.  But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.  And it shall turn to you for a testimony.  Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.  And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.”

 Wake up, Christians! We are living the last day! Take a look at verse 8; how many self-righteous hypocritical “preachers” are there now a days? Putting on an appearance of holiness but not truly living it.  

How about verse 9? “Wars and rumors of wars” is the mindset of the world today. For the last 20-30 years it seems as if one country is on the brink of attacking another country. I am not quite sure how much more obvious it can be!

Here’s the thing with the end of time- most folks are scared of it, including believers, but if you are a follower of Christ, your spirit should be filled with excitement. Titus 2:13 says that we should be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Christ’s return does not mark the age of despair for believers, but it marks a time of rejoicing. We will finally be 100% free from Satan and all of His snares! John 14:3 is one of the
most promising and hopeful verses in the entirety of the Bible. Christ had recently been crucified and had risen again. His asension was at hand, but the believers did not want Him to go. Jesus provided them, and us, with hope by saying, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” What an awesome promise!
Here’s the sad thing with the rapture and the second coming of Christ- the world, and honestly, a lot of believers, treat it as “the boy who cried wolf” scenario. We have been hearing it for years and years, “Get ready, He’s coming back,” and yet, He has not returned. So what in the world is the hold up? It’s you. It’s me. It’s the little boy down the street who hasn’t had the chance to hear the gospel. It’s the woman who wonders if anyone loves her. It’s the man who is struggling to make ends meet. It is that one soul that hasn’t been changed, that one heart that hasn’t been touched yet. God knows exactly who will be the last person to be saved under the unction of the Holy Spirit before the trumpet sounds the final blast. He knows who the last person to have a supernatural healing will be. He knows who will receive the final financial miracle that He will ever perform. He knows it ALL, and once the final amen is said on the last prayer that will ever be prayed while the Holy Ghost is still on this earth, that’s it. Game over. We are outta here!

God has allowed us to live in the day and age where He will pour His spirit out on all flesh (Acts 2:17). We are on the precipus of a great escape from this world, and God expects us to do our part to continually warn the world. Revelation 6:15 says, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
So keep your eyes on the sky. You never know, this may be the very day…

In His Love,
Mimi

Anticipation

Knowing All About What You Believe

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Paul and I have had the awesome privilege of traveling and ministering in some pretty incredible places, along side of some pretty incredible people. We have sang and preached the gospel from crowds of 10 to crowds of 10,000. No matter where we are, who we are with, or how large or small the crowd is, I find that there are often times a good number of people who have no idea why it is they believe what they believe. Instead of digging in the Word and finding out what God says for themselves, they take someone else’s word for it. Let me give you a simple example- I am sure most of you have heard someone say “The Bible says spare the rod and spoil the child.” Guess what? No where in the Bible does it say that! In the King James Version, Proverbs 13:24 says, “ He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” The New Living Translation puts it, “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” That old saying is merely an example of a common misconception taken as truth by people with good hearts, but aren’t willing to crack open The Book. If we, as believers, aren’t willing to do the work to find out what God has to say about any situation, then the ground work that the apostles laid out for today’s religious freedom was in vein.

There are so many folks who are being lead as sheep to the slaughter, sitting under leadership or supporting ministries that preach/teach false doctrine. If you ask a lot of folks “Excuse me sir, why do you attend this church?”  I would be willing to say that most folks cannot give you a good, solid reason why.  Find some place that will give you the 100% truth of God, all the way from the index to the maps. I am not talking about truth in the sense of “that’s the way it’s been taught for 400 years, so that makes it fact.” I am talking the type of life changing truth that can only come from the knowledge of the Bible, directed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I tell you what, before you go to church the next time, and I mean before your feet ever even hit the floor to roll out of bed, pray and ask God to reveal HIS truth to you during the next church service. Make sure that you are worshipping in the house that HE wants you to worship in. When you go to church, carry your Bible with you. If the preacher says that something is in the Word, check them on it! Please, don’t misunderstand me, I am not by any means saying that all preachers are schiesters or liars. What I am saying is that there are folks out there leading God’s children astray, whether intentional or not, because they are not using the common sense the good-Lord gave them. As believers, we should know what we believe, why we believe it, and have the scripture and spiritual wisdom to back it up. Perry Stone once shared this sentiment, “When you are studying the Bible, don’t just read it, revelate on it. Ask God to reveal a new revelation in you each time you read His Word.” I am not sure what has happened to the Christian community as a whole, but we have gotten lazy. We spend so much time doing so much “stuff,” we no longer have time for God. He has become a relic that we visit once or twice a week in a fancy building. When will we realize that God wants a personal relationship with us, not a religious experience? If you claim to be a Christian, you are supposed to be a spiritual giant who use the head of the enemy as their footstool (Psalm 110:1). 2 Timothy 3 tells us that “in the last days, perilous times shall come, and that men will have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Wake up, Christian soldiers! We are living in the last days! It is our job to get out in the battlefields of life and defend the faith. We need to rise up in boldness and declare the truth of the knowledge of Christ.

Just because a doctrine, denomination, preacher, teacher, or whomever uses the name of Jesus Christ in their teachings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Christ is in their hearts.  Matthew 7:15 gives one of the best reasons in the entirety of the scripture for knowing why you should fully know what you believe and why you believe it,  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Always keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open to God’s voice, not man’s.

 

In His Love,

Mimi

 

 

Fruitloop for Jesus

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I love researching the origins of the Pentecostal movement in our country. One of my most favorite eras was right in the turn of the century between 1870-1950. America’s religious core was being shaped by men and women who weren’t afraid to proclaim the gospel just how Christ Himself told us to declare it; boldly. Heros of the faith like Billy Sunday, who walked away from a successful baseball career to proclaim the truth of Christ. Charles Spurgeon who would preach to crowds of 10,000 people up to 10 times a week. Kathryn Kulman who would hold crusades in Las Vegas that were so powerful, that the casinos would shut their doors so that folks could attend. Probably one of my most favorite preachers of all time is AA Allen. I love the way God used him and moved through him all throughout the country, but most especially in Miracle Valley, Arizona. Paul and I were watching an old clip of one of Reverend Allen’s crusades a few nights ago, and I was just astonished. That video clip was at least 50 years old, and the words he was preaching still resound as true as ever, “Tonight I want to bring to you one scripture, from the book of St. Matthew, chapter 18, verse 18. ‘Verily I say unto you, what so ever ye shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven. And whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Here is a very simple scripture verse that proves that God has imparted supernatural power to His children here on earth. That is, the mighty power of God in their own lives to bind certain things that take place in their lives. God’s children have power to bind the devil, sickness, disease, infirmity. I believe that if any of God’s children agree anything in God’s name they can bind all the powers of the devil.” Now if that don’t like your fire, your wood’s wet. Gracious me, that speaks to me every time I hear it and every time I read it. The Word says in Romans 8:37, “We are made more than conquerers through Christ who loved us.” That doesn’t mean conquerers over some things, but over ALL things. I believe that most Christian’s today don’t realize that. We have a defeatist attitude- “Lord, bless me if you can.” “Lord make it better, if you can.” It’s not a matter of IF He can, it’s a matter of if WE are willing to push through the circumstances and trials of life and seek God’s face until we get an answer! Does God answer every prayer the way see fit? Absolutely not. We look at our problems through fleshly eyes, but He sees our future answer through His divinity. Our part of the work involves knowing who we are in Christ Jesus, and implicating that authority though prayer and fasting to move the heart of God. When we pray for a situation, we have to remember that our job is not to defeat the devil. He was defeated over 2000 years ago when Jesus’ blood was shed for the atonement of sins. Jesus literally went to hell for us, and took the keys of death, hell, and the grave, therefore, Satan has no hope of victory over us. What we do have to do is remind him that he is defeated. The devil is a master strategist, and he knows the only place he can truly 100% reak havoc on a blood-bought child of God is in their mind. He twists our thoughts, shoot, he even twists the scripture. Look what He did to Jesus when He was at the end of His 40 day fast. He strategized and struck when the time was right. He knew Jesus was hungry and weary after going all that time without eating or drinking, so what did he do? (Matthew 4:1-11) He told Jesus, “If You are the son of God, turn these stones to bread.” But what did Christ do? He struck back at Satan with the word! Jesus said, “It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The next time pain wraps your body, use scripture to pull down the enemy and remind him of his end. Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Or when financial problems come your way, remind the devil of Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” There is so much power given to the every-day believer in the Word of God, that it is almost unreal! Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the
enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Use the scripture in your daily life, and walk forward, boldly, in the calling that God has given to you! If folks look at you weird and treat you like a spiritual fruitloop for being so “brazen” with your faith, just smile and love them anyway. It’s better to be a fruitloop for Jesus than a plain cheerio church member any day.

In His love,
Mimi

Worship

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I love being a wife and mother more than anything in this world. Some of the most precious memories I have of my husband and children have occurred when I least expected them to happen. A few short weeks ago Paul and I were cleaning the house, and we had some of Eddie James’ worship music blaring to help get a little pep in our step. We were about half way through with CleanFest 2013 when suddenly we both stopped in our tracks at the same time. Through the hustle and bustle of what we were doing rang two little voices, loud and clear. We tipped toed over to Elijah’s room to find him playing his guitar and Violet holding a microphone singing. My son was doing his very best to show his sister how to sing “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.” I looked over at Paul, and he had a broad smile on his face that only his babies can bring. Wow, my kiddos are watching us closer than I ever thought. The single most striking part of the whole experience was seeing how carefree they were. They eventually caught a glimpse of us watching their performance, but they didn’t care, they were singing for Jesus. I was filled with such joy and sorrow all at the same time. I was so proud of my babies, and ashamed of us as an adult Christian community. There have been countless times that we, as Christians, have sit on the Holy Spirit when He has beckoned us to a higher level of worship simply because we are too worried about what other folks might think of us. Here’s a newsflash, WHO CARES?! The gossipers of this world will talk about you, whether you choose to be a full-on fool for Jesus or not. If it costs me my pride and image to go the extra mile and see a move of God, then so be it. How shameful are we to think that other’s perception of us is too great a cost to pay for an intimate relationship with Christ? The forerunners of the gospel paved the road for us to freely worship with their blood and very lives. I have heard innumerous times after our services “Oh sister Ladd, I wanted to get up and shout. I almost did it, but I didn’t want the people to think I’m crazy.” Listen folks, you never know who will be affected by your willingness to praise God freely. You might just be the cataclysm for the great outpouring of revival that your community or church has so longed for. The great Charles Spurgeon once said, “God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go therewith in holy exultation.”  When my husband and I got married, we publicly proclaimed our love for one another to a church full of our family and friends. Today, we show the world that we are in a committed relationship by wearing our wedding bands. Quite simply, worship should be the same way. The world might not have been there the night you got saved, but the world should know that you are saved through your affection for Him. In closing, I encourage each of you to seek God’s face and find the way that you feel lead to best express your love for Christ. Maybe you’re not lead to shout, maybe you’re lead to weep. Perhaps God is leading you to simply raise your hand, or you might feel lead to run around the church with joy. Who knows, but whatever you do, make sure it exhorts the Lord through a heart of thanksgiving and love.

In His Love,
Mimi

Aside

“Daddy! Mommy! Pweeze! Me need yew!” The cry of my two-year old woke me up in the middle of the night. You have to understand, my Eli isn’t a light sleeper- it practically takes a hurricane to wake him up- so when I hear his cry for his parents at night, I know something is wrong. My sweet boy had gotten really sick, and in the short few seconds between the time I had heard him and the time I had gotten to him, he was crying so hard he was shaking. As I picked him up, he clung to me for dear life, it was like he hadn’t seen me in ages. With tears in his eyes and with the most pitiful voice he said, “Mommy, me sick.” As silly as it sounds, I felt like my heart was breaking for him. It physically hurt me to see one of my children truly hurting. If I could have taken whatever was ailing him at that moment upon myself so he could feel relief, I would have done it in a heart beat. You know what’s amazing? God feels the same way about us. In our moment of need, we can cry out to Him. Galatians 4:6 says, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Abba Father in plain ol’ southern girl english means “Dearest Dad.” If our children cry for us and it pulls at our heart-strings, how much more do you think it pulls at God’s heart when He hears those He has chosen and set apart to be royal heirs of His kingdom call on Him? Matthew 7:11 says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” God is still working like He did more than 2000 years ago. Just as He did for the disciples, He can still step out on the bow of your boat and speak to your storm, “Peace be still,” but only if we choose to call on Him. He has already carried the burden and paid the cost for all of our sin debt. Every “sin sickness” that comes our way was defeated in Pilot’s judgement hall where the scripture tells us that Jesus took stripes on His back for our healing. The key in all of this is that we have to take that first step on calling on Him. It’s as simple as ABC. A: Admit. Admit you are a sinner and that there is nothing that you could do to earn the unmerited, freely given grace and salvation of God. B: Believe. Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son who was crucified, resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you and for me. C: Confess. Confess to the world that Christ is your savior and that you now live for Him. Once you take those simple steps, you have free access to the throne room of heaven. At that moment, you become an adopted child of the King, and when you say, “Daddy, I need you,” He will come running. It doesn’t matter where you are, how dismal the situation my be, or how lonely you feel, in Matthew 28, Jesus says that He always be with us, even unto the ends of the earth. I urge each of you, no matter your situation, please cry out to your heavenly Father, for He will be there. If you read the steps to salvation and prayed within yourself to ask Christ into your heart,  let me be the first to welcome you to the family of God! Please email me, I would love to hear from you and send you some encouragement. melissa@laddfamilyministries.com

My Child’s Cry

A Beautiful Mess

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I have a confession to make. My house is a mess. There. I said it. My house is a flippin’ mess. It looks like hurricane Hugo, part 2. There are Tonka trucks in the living room, clothes stacked up to high heaven, and dishes piled up in the sink. I have been struggling with being pregnant, having a heart condition that has literally sucked the energy right out of me, and trying to figure out how to keep it all together with a two-year old going right behind me and messing up what I have just cleaned up. Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out. It’s almost like a drowning sensation, there’s so much I want to do but no matter how I try, I can’t do it. I am forever dog paddling to try to feel some relief from all the mess, not to stay afloat, but to get my head above water for just a few brief moments to breathe.   The other day I stood in my livingroom and could do nothing but look up and shout “Please God, help me with this mess! I am feeling so overwhelmed!” Then I heard a still small voice speak to my heart and say, “It’s just a mess to you, but remember, it’s MY mess.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Was God serious? Did He mean to tell me that all the junk scattered everywhere was actually something HE wanted me to learn from, to become a message that He ordained? Then it hit me, yep, it sure enough was. In the midst of my cry for help from Him, He showed me that He had His omnipotent hand on me, no matter the circumstances. Our lives can sometimes looks like an utter junk-hole; no matter how much we try to clean up or get it right, it all ends up reflecting the mess we tried to get rid of to begin with. You see my friends, that is wherein our problems lie, WE try to clean life’s messes up on our own. The messes that we have made or that we have allowed others to make in our lives can’t simply be swept under the rug or thrown in a closet somewhere to be hid from the view. In order to be truly clean, the mess has to be completely and totally cleaned out from every crack, corner, and crevice, and there’s only one person who can clean us and all our messes up, and that’s God. No matter the mess you currently find yourself in, God’s got a reason for it. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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. ”  Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Never forget that He already knows the mess you’re in, and He knows how to clean it up and work it all out for your good. In the midst of your mess, in the center of your trash, in the eye of your storm, there is beauty. Beauty in finding that there is a Savior who loves your mess, but loves you too much to leave to leave it that way. There is a Galilean who even in the darkest of  nights is walking by your side. There is a Prince of Peace who made a royal decree that you no longer have to drown in your sinful state, you can be set free of the calamities of life by accepting Him as Lord of all. In closing, I’d like to leave you all with a quote from one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specifically armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain.”

Christianity and Shoes

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I love clothes, fashion, jewelry, and purses, pretty much anything along those lines, but my true love are SHOES! Oh man, just ask my husband, I have a pair of shoes in just about every style, in every color, for every occasion. I mean, you never know when you’re going to need to break out the zebra print Jimmy Choo’s, right? As I was going through my closet this weekend it hit me, too many people treat christianity like a pair of shoes. I know, it sounds crazy and way out there, but follow me on this, I believe I have a valid point. Christianity is like a pair of shoes in the sense that it’s not just something we wear, but it reflects who we are. I’m a firm believer in what my mama taught me. She’d say, “Boo, there’s a lot you can tell about a person by the shoes they are wearing. If they’re their the casual or business type; if they’re more worried about fashion or comfort. There’s a story behind every shoe.” People should be able to be near us and tell who we put our trust and faith in. My father-in-law always says, “I shouldn’t have to wear a neon sign telling folks that I’m an evangelist. If the goods are there, they’ll know.” It is said that the power of God was with the world renound preacher D.L. Moody so much that as he passed people on the street conviction would grip their hearts. Now that my friends, is having the goods and people knowing who you are and what you’re about without ever even knowing you.

For certain occasions I wear certain kinds of shoes- if I’m going to work out I’m going to wear my sneakers, if I’m singing I’ll be wearing some sort of high heel, if I’m heading to the beach I’ll be slipping on my flip flops, and so on and so forth. There’s an appropriate shoe choice for every occasion and every need. Just like with shoes, there’s a “style” of christianity for every type of worshiper- Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc., it’s about finding the right place of worship for you. I myself love a shoutin’, runnin’ the isles, Holy Ghost hand clapping kind of church, where as my father prefers a more reserved place of worship. There is not one style or place that is better than another, but it’s about finding out where God wants you, finding a place where the Bible is preached from the index to the maps in 100% truth, and you feel that you can be you freely.

The sad truth is too many christians treat their relationship with God like a shoe because they kick off their shoes whenever they feel like it, and they do  Jesus the same way. If the shoes becomes too tight or we just don’t like it any more, back to the back of the closet it goes. If the preacher steps on our toes or if we go through a trial then we’re ready to stop believing and trusting in God. What’s up with that? God isn’t Macy’s, He doesn’t have a 30 day return policy. He picked us out, called us to be His own, and when we said, “Yes Lord, I want to follow You and do Your will,” that was a life long commitment. When I walk out the door and go somewhere, I’ve got my shoes on and that’s it. Do my feet get tired? Yeah, sometimes, but without my shoes I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere or do anything. If you take a look around pretty much every establishment these days have the same policy- “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” It’s the same thing with God, if you don’t want to “wear” Him or be a christian full-time, don’t expect full service from Him. The Bible says in Revelation 3:15-16 that God would rather us either be on fire and fully serve Him or be cold and not serve Him at all because those who are lukewarm (those who claim to be christians one day and then say they aren’t the next) make Him vomit. Pretty powerful words coming from the mouth of God Himself.

  Next time you slip on a pair of shoes and are ready to walk out the door, don’t forget to put on the righteousness of God, too. Be a reflection of Him in every choice you make.