Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Just taking a minute today to wish my Mom a VERY HAPPY Birthday!  Doesn't she look GREAT?

Seven years ago she had open heart surgery and has been doing wonderful ever since.  When she was in the hospital everyone thought that there had been a misprint on her birth date.  Over and over again everyone commented on what beautiful, young looking skin she had.  When she came out of surgery we had one nurse after another ask us what she used on her skin.  We had no clue.  As soon as she had recovered enough to speak, the nurses started asking what her secret was.  She said, "good old fashioned Dove!"  LOL... they must be the unknown "fountain of youth"!! 

So here she is today... looking just as beautiful as ever.  OH... how old is she you ask?  Would you believe 92???  Hard to believe isn't it?  I believe I will become a "Dove girl" myself!!! 

Here she is with my son Jason.
Celebrating with 2 of her 4 daughters. 

I am SO tremendously thankful that the Lord has given us so many fantastic years with Mom.  Her health, other than a few aches and pains, is very good - both mentally and physically.  Dad has been gone for just a little over 3 years now, so I'm glad we still have her with us!  We hope and pray that the Lord will continue to be gracious to her in the coming year!  Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ladies Tea - A Cupcake Kind of Woman

Every year at our church we have a “Ladies Tea”. It is an event that everyone looks forward to. Being on the Women’s Ministry Team, it is our duty to come up with a theme for the event. This year I came up with the theme based on “Cupcakes”. I had actually found a website with ideas for Ladies Ministry, and saw the devotional “Lessons From a Cupcake” ( I loved the idea. In fact, I loved it SO MUCH that I offered to give the devotional. I have never done this in my life!!! Now don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of things that I CAN do… I can decorate with the best of you… I can do graphics… I can stand up and be an MC… In fact, I can even go up in front of the church and do some silly skit, but never, NEVER have I given devotions – let alone volunteer to do it. However, I just felt as though God was asking me to step out of my "comfort zone" and present this devotion. 

Once we come up with a theme, we find ladies to “Host” a table. That means that they will decorate their table in keeping with the theme, bring favors for those at their table etc. There are always “coveted” prizes to go along with the table decorations. The ladies compete to see whose table is voted the “Most Unique”, the “Best Use of Theme”, the “Best Use of Scripture”, and the “Most Elegant”. I’m telling you, these ladies can be brutal in their quest for the prizes!! LOL! Pictures simply do NOT do these tables justice, but here are a few of the tables:

Anyway, once I started doing some study and research, I decided to go in a different direction than I originally thought. Instead of going with the “ingredients” that go into making cupcakes, I decided to go with how different types of cupcakes represent various types of Christians. I also decided that rather than standing up front and just talking through the devotion, that I wanted to present it as more of a skit, so I asked two other ladies to help me. I set up the front of our Fellowship Hall to look like a Cupcake Shop. I called my “shop” JC’s Divine Cupcakes. (See devotional below to see how I came up with the name.)

(Had to throw in a picture of my dear Mom (on the right)... can you believe she is going to be 92???)

BIG THANKS to my friends Sonja (left) and DeVonda (center) for helping with the devotions.  They actually ate all the cupcakes I served them!!!  LOL

If you would like to watch the devotional, I have posted it on YouTube. Keep in mind, I have never given a devotional before, so I was nervous and reading a lot of it.   :-(  Because of the length it is in two parts. Here are the links:

Part 1 of Devotional
Part 2 of Devotional
If you would like to actually read the notes I used you may continue reading.  If you would like to use this for an event of your own, you are welcome to do that, just please acknowledge my contribution.  Likewise, there are a few sites that I want to give credit where I obtained information/inspiration from.

Creative Ladies Ministry
Vicki Hinze's Faith Zone
Wholesome Words - Christian Resources & Links


JC’s Divine Cupcakes
  • "JC" stands for "Jesus Christ"
  • Divine? Well “Webster’s Dictionary” says that there are 2 meanings for “Divine”. One is relating to, or proceeding directly from God… the other is Supremely good or “SUPERB”
  • My cupcakes are inspired by the Bible and Jesus Christ, plus they are REALLY GOOD, thus JC’s Divine Cupcakes!
  • Did you know that we can learn a lot of different lessons from cupcakes?
I would love to invite you in for my GRAND OPENING and FREE tastings and lessons.
Seat them at the table.
Let’s start with a “mini” cupcake… or better yet, a “baby” cupcake. This represents a new Christian. As a new Christian, there are certain things that you need to do to grow.
  •  Realize that you are a New Creation and need to live for Christ - The Bible says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • You need to Spend time with God – Pray, read the bible– 1 Peter 2:1
  • As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
  • One of the most important things we need to do is to spend time with other Christians – Go to church – Beyond the fact that the children of God are commanded to assemble together, there are so many benefits to faithful attendance:
          -  We can gather with people of God to worship
          -  We learn more of the word of God
          -  We can be encouraged and encourage in return
          -  We can blend our voices together in song to praise God
  • Finally, when you become a Christian you need to share your faith Mat.5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world...cannot be hid...let (it) shine before men Acts 18:9b Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace
  • Rom.1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ Eph.6:18-20 (Pray)...that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak
 So the lesson from this cupcake is that we need to grow in our walk with the Lord.
From a “Baby Cupcake”, let’s take a look at this “extra-large” cupcake. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this cupcake is a bit too big for its britches! I believe this would represent a Christian who is rather “Puffed Up”!
  • They love to Show Off their Knowledge. Do you know that it is possible to attend Sunday school or a Bible study not only to learn, but to show off the knowledge you already have? Have you ever noticed that some people monopolize the discussion and few others are able to participate?
  • There are some who are quick to step in and correct the "errors" others make in their interpretation and application of the Scriptures.
  • And there are others that all they do is talk about all the “great things” they do… I do this, I do that. They talk more about themselves than the Lord. These are examples of people who are "puffed up".
  • Are you Puffing Up or Building Up? The phrase, "puffs up" in 1 Corinthians 8:2 means that it makes one arrogant. In contrast, the word "edifies" means to build up. Think about how you participate in Bible studies. Does your behavior display your arrogance, or does it rather indicate a heart that seeks to build up and encourage others? For example, let’s say that you were having a ladies tea or something… you need to let them know what a great job they have done and thank them. That would be “building them up”.
  • Finally, Be Humble in Pursuit of Knowledge. It would be good to remember the words of Paul, "if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know." This verse makes it clear that we should always be humble in our pursuit of knowledge, with the realization that regardless of how much we learn, the treasures found in Scripture are so vast, we will never be able to do more than scratch the surface of the unfathomable riches of the Word of God.
 The lesson from this cupcake? Are you going to be a puffed up Christian, or are you going to build up others?
Next, let’s move on to this cupcake. I bet every person recognizes this cupcake. This is a Hostess Cupcake – which is a factory-made cupcake. We all know them because they have a unique “uniform” look to them. They all look and taste exactly the same. No matter what state we live in, or what store we go to, we will find these cupcakes. As a Christian, we should all have a “unique look” – do people know you are a Christian by looking at or being around you? But likewise, we are NOT “Factory-Made” Christians! Each one of us is unique: Psalm 139:14 says: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
  • It’s easy to condemn ourselves for all we’re not and to feel inferior and less than worthy--the devil works hard to make sure we feel all that and more. It’s easy to develop lofty ideals of what a Christian is supposed to be. But the simple truth is there are no factory-made Christians. Not made by God.
  • No, He’s a hands-on, very individual-oriented, God. Before we were even born, He fashioned us. He gave us strengths and weaknesses, dreams and desires and skills and the potential for skills that would ensure our ability to accomplish and achieve our purpose. He invested, took special care to blend our physical and emotional and spiritual selves so that we were both unique and universal. In other words, he made each of us using the human being mold and then broke the mold and hand-worked us infusing us with our unique qualities. We’re a work of art that is not replicated. His work of art. We’re His: So whatever measuring stick you use (either for or against yourself), it’s important to remember that we are not factory-made copies, not reprints or knock-offs, but certified original works of art. No two of us are exactly the same, and we all have little imperfections that make us unique.
  • We might wonder what He was doing, stinting us on patience or making us short or heavy or whatever, but He knew exactly what He was doing. And we know His motives--while we might not understand them or even grasp them--are always, without fail, for our greater good.
  • We are imperfect. Flawed to the core. But we are justified. By blood, by the Cross, by Grace.
This lesson? Remember, you are God’s handy work!
Ok, I see the two of you… you want these “Special Cupcakes.” What a BEAUTIFUL cupcake! Surely THIS must represent a true Christian woman! Everything about this cupcake just makes you want one just like it. It is simply beautiful, representing the love and beauty of the Lord. I would LOVE to be seen with a cupcake like this – wouldn’t you? Let’s have just a little taste – I bet it is unlike any other cupcake. (Taste it and realize it tastes awful.) Oh my, that’s true… it is unlike any other cupcake I’ve ever had. It’s beautiful, but it tastes awful! Let’s cut into it and see what we find. (Cut into it and find a rock!) What? Why the heart of this cupcake is made of stone! It’s not a cupcake at ALL, it is nothing but a hypocrite!
  • Hypocrite: "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. (Proverbs 26:24)
  • How many times have we heard about hypocrites in the church? How many times has it kept unbelievers from entering the doors of a church? How many times have people LEFT a church, or even abandoned their faith because of hypocrites?
  • Having but a form of godliness. 2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
  • Seeking only outward purity. Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of deceipt and wickedness.
  • Professing but not practising. Ezekiel 33:31-32 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth evil.
  • Using but lip-worship. Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.
  • God knows and detects.  Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV)27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
THOUGHT: What about you? Do you leave a dirty taste in the mouth of others? Do you try to “look” like one thing on the outside, but yet inside you are hardened to the image that you are actually portraying? If we don't live our lives like Christians, how can the world ever tell the difference between us and those that don't know Christ?
Oh dear… it looks like this cupcake has seen better days. Not looking too fresh, and certainly not up to par with the fresh young cupcakes of today. Perhaps we should just put this on the back of the shelf where no one will see it, or better yet, throw it away. Well, I hate to see it just go to waste, maybe I’ll just see if it is still any good. (Take a bite.) WOW… this still tastes delicious!! In fact, it has some flavors in it that the newer cupcakes don’t. More refined… deeper, richer flavor. I can’t believe I almost threw that cupcake away! Are YOU like one of these “older cupcakes”? Do you think your life is pretty much over? You’ve put MANY years into serving Christ, but now is the time to just move into the background and let the “younger generation” take over? If you are one of those "precious saints" called the "elderly", you can thank God, for you have arrived at the apex of life. You have arrived at the top of the mountain where you can breathe the rare atmosphere of a long life of experience, knowledge, honor, and have an excellent view that none of those below you have ever seen. Many moons have come and gone in your life. The wrinkles in your face are marks of distinction that show character traits, laugh lines, and worries. You may have lost your whistle, and you may even be a bit stooped but thank God you can still breathe and have a sturdy heartbeat. Your beautiful gray hair marks you with honor. The Bible speaks well of you when it says, "the beauty of old men is the gray head" (Prov. 20:29). Now you can dream dreams of yesteryears and feed on the good old memories of the "good ole days." You came through the hard knocks of experience and can teach others a few things about life. Life has given you a wealth of knowledge not learned in books. It is not a sin to get old or to be old. Aging cannot be stopped and it will go on until death overtakes us or the Lord comes for His church. Older folks have a tremendous responsibility to the younger generation coming up behind them. There is a warning that goes along with being in the elite elderly class. The tremendous amount of knowledge and experience that you have obtained through the years needs to be shared with the younger generation. These can be the golden years of your life. You can still be a blessing to be around when your life shines for Christ. People will seek you out for help, guidance, and advice. The wise counsel of older folks is precious. These latter years of your life can be the golden years. Let them shine for the Lord. God needs the elderly as well as the young people to serve Him. Thank the Lord that you are alive and able to serve in whatever way He may have for you. You cannot change your age and may even grow older if the Lord shows more grace. These may be your retirement years but do not retire from serving the Lord in some capacity.
Make your golden years a new beginning now that you have more time. There is always need for prayer warriors. Every aspect of the work of the church needs prayer from the janitor to the pastor. You can take some time for correspondence. Many missionaries rarely get a letter from home. It would be like a refreshing rain in drought to them.
Services the elderly can provide: 
  • Taking time to fellowship with shut-ins
  • Baking or cooking for others
  • Mentoring the younger women
  • Communication (letters/Phone Calls etc)
  • Encouragement
  • Whatever your mind and body allows - Just do it.
Prayer Luke 2: 37 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
THOUGHT: So what does the scripture encourage the elderly to do? “Declare his marvelous deeds.... to the next generation”

Hmmmm, now what do we have here? Looks like a plain, old-fashioned, cupcake. Certainly not much to look at… nothing fancy. But there is something “oddly comfortable” about this cupcake. It just seems comfortable with being itself, but yet I feel that perhaps there might be more to it than meets the eye. I’m going to check this out a little bit more. (Cut into the cupcake and find a strawberry.) Oh my, the center (or heart) of this cupcake has a beautiful, lush strawberry. (Take a bite) And the taste… why it’s heavenly. Now THIS is a true cupcake! It’s not all “puffed up” or have any fancy decorations to call attention to it. It is sweet, but not overly so. When you look at the inside it is just as sweet and pure, as God intended… no hypocrite here!
  • 1 Samuel 16:7b The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
  • Proverbs 31:30  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (NIV)
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4  “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (NKJV)
THOUGHT: How about you? Do you have a heart for God? Do you have any surprise fillings that you are hiding? Are you using the talents and gifts that God has blessed you with? ? Are you bearing that fruit that we are to show in our Christian lives? As Christians, we are expected to be sweet too. Sweetness shouldn't be something we are lacking in. We are to show Christ's love to the world and we do that by how we act and what we say. Words and actions should be sweet and further the cause of Christ.
7. CUPCAKE CAKE (White and Chocolate Frosted Mini Cupcakes with “God” spelled out in one color – the others used around and filled in)
Finally, there is one more lesson that we can learn from a cupcake. We are all unique in our own individual ways. We all look different, our personalities are different, and we each have our own special gifts and talents from God. But standing alone, we cannot do everything by ourselves. The Bible often refers to the church as a body. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." Every saint – young or old, male or female, strong or weak – is needed. When we all come together, and work together, our individual talents can be used for something even bigger and better – all for the glory of God. Just like that “Ladies’ Tea” I was talking about earlier… it takes a LOT of people who are willing to share their talents in order to make everything come together. It doesn’t matter whether you help prepare or serve the food, make desserts, decorate a table, or even plan and coordinate the whole event; God uses the individual talents of each and every person to make an event successful – or even to make a church run smoothly!
The outcome of a cupcake all depends on its preparation. It's the same with womanhood and even motherhood. You have to prepare yourself. What kind of batter are you going to be filled with? What kind of daughter, mother, or friend are you going to turn out to be?
For us as Christian women, there's got to be some key ingredients such as Bible study, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our batter should be all those things we depend on to help round us out and make us into those sweet Christian women that we are capable of being.
We have to allow our Creator to have control of the batter and of the oven settings or we may find ourselves dry, crumbly, and without any flavor. When we don't surrender to the Lord we can easily end up with sin seeping into our batter and making us bitter or even with a heart of stone.
So what kind of cupcake woman are you? Or better yet, what kind of cupcake woman do you want to be?
  • Are you going to be a “baby cupcake” for the rest of your life, or are you going to grow in your walk with the Lord?
  • Are you going to be a “puffed up cupcake” that knows everything, or are you going to be humble in your pursuit of knowledge?
  • Are you going to be a “factory-made” cupcake, or are you going to realize that you are a work of art that is not replicated?
  • Are you going to be “a cupcake that is beautiful on the outside”, but a hypocrite on the inside?
  • Are you going to be an “old, smashed up cupcake”, ready to be pushed to the back of the shelf, or will you let God continue to use you for His purpose?
  • Or are you going to be just “a plain cupcake” – nothing fancy on the outside, but with a heart for God on the inside?
  • And finally, are you willing to be part of a bigger effort – to pool your talents with others to form something bigger and better – all for the glory of God?
Just what kind of cupcake do you want to be???