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JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #12 -- December 2003)


Christmas greetings to you all! Welcome to JEM's December issue of Precious Stones!

We are rounding out a year's worth of E-zines with an issue dedicated to the celebration of the birth of Christ. As we remember that baby in the manger, we would do ourselves a disservice if we didn't look forward in this little one's life and see His suffering and death. The reason He came was not to propagate the traditions of Christmas. Jesus came to save us from an eternity apart from Him! He came to reconcile us with God, and present us clean, holy, and righteous!

I pray that God will bless you this Holiday season! May He make Christmas more real to you than it ever has been before – and may this knowledge and truth draw you ever closer to The One who was pierced for your redemption!

In His Service,
Matt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACROSTIC FOR DECEMBER
BIRTHDAY GREETING
INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
POINTS TO PONDER
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
DECORATING
A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'
CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
QUICK TIP OF THE MONTH
CRAFT OF THE MONTH
SKIPPING STONES
BIBLE QUIZ
CHECK IT OUT!
JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH



ACROSTIC FOR DECEMBER
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

During the hustle and bustle of the season,
Enjoy time with family and friends
Celebrating the birth of our Lord,
Emmanuel -- God with Us!
May the love of the babe born in
Bethlehem
Embrace your heart and
Revive your soul.

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BIRTHDAY GREETING

Happy Birthday to those celebrating this month! Lord, bless those who have birthdays this month. The world seems to spin faster during this season and birthdays can often be lost -- including the most important one of the celebration! May each person celebrating a birthday this month feel Your love and peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle. And may we all have our eyes fixed on the babe in the manger who grew to become our Savior on the cross. Amen.

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INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
By: Denise Imbody

NOW WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wisemen from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.
-Matthew 2:1,2 (NIV)

Star

The wisemen saw far off,
A brightly shining light,
A star that let them know,
A King was born that night.

Not just any old king,
But a great one, at that,
To get there, was their goal,
Get where the star was at.

They had presents to give,
To that newly born King,
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh,
The gifts, they had, to bring.

It took them quite a while,
To reach their journeys end,
They weren’t there for His birth,
But kept on to attend;

To see this little child,
Their hearts were filled with joy,
To give the gifts they had,
When they found the small boy.

They knelt down to worship,
The Christ Child, and then, gave,
The presents they had brought,
For the One who would save;

Anyone who will call,
Upon His precious name,
The name of Jesus Christ,
Who bore all of our shame.

On the cross, He did die,
Then rose, and shone more bright,
Than that star, they had seen,
That blessed, and holy night.
--Denise Imbody

Imagine seeing a star so bright, that you knew there was something so special out there, that you just had to get there. That’s what these wisemen did. They saw that star from their far off land, and traveled to their destination. No matter how long it would take, they just wanted to get there.

Well, we’re not a star, but I think we can shine brighter than one, because we have the Lord’s Light shining through us. If we live our lives the best we can, and let Him shine His Light through us, others will want to follow us, and see what we’re all about. Why we just seem to glow with his Light.

I know it’s hard to shine all of the time, but if we keep focused, and lean on Him, He will shine through us. We do not need to rely on ourselves, but on Him. Let’s try, and do our best, with Jesus’ help, of course, to make others see the Light we have.

Heavenly Father,
Please continue to shine Your Light through us. Help others to see Your Light, and follow it until they reach Your Son, Jesus, our Savior, in Jesus’ precious name, amen!

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POINTS TO PONDER
By: Nancy Groff

In this section we will look at the scriptures closely, and see if what we have come to know as the truth is found in God's Holy Word.

Lower Than the Angels?

The KJV is touted as having the least amount of inaccuracies. Yet there are a number of mistranslated words or phrases in it. At times it is necessary to go back to the Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) to find out what the real meaning is.

Consider the passage of:
Psa 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

Some time ago, I heard a preacher preach on this, and had to look it up myself. What he had said seemed unbelievable. Yet it was true.

The Hebrew word here, translated angels is elohiym. Other than this passage it is always translated God. Strong's Concordance says this:

H430
?????
'e?lo^hi^ym
el-o-heem'
Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: - angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

So is the translation correct? Is man created a little lower than the angels? Or should that read lower than God?

Consider this passage:
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

If we are lower than the angels, how can God expect us to judge them?

Gen 1:26 And God (same word here 430 and is translated God, btw) said, Let us make man in our image,

Where in the Bible does it say that angels were made in the image of God? Obviously, angels are created beings. But not made in the image of God. Through the acceptance of Christ, we can become sons and daughters of God. Where does it say that an angel can become a son or daughter of God?

Here is another passage...

1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

We can glean two things from this passage. Number one, angels are sent to minister to us. Number two, angels desire to look into the gospel. Yet there is no where in the Bible where it says that an angel can be redeemed. We do know they can fall, as Jesus said He saw satan fall like lightning from heaven.

You decide. Perhaps this is a matter you would like to look into.

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH


Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it "Good News, " and it was.
-- Larry Libby

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DECORATING
By: Matthew Imbody

When I was a child, we used to go over to my grandparent’s house a lot. It was especially wonderful at Christmas time.

We would gather there and spend the evening singing Christmas carols and breaking delicious food together. There were always presents under the little tree, which was tucked into a corner, and the glowing light of electric candles in the windows, but beyond that, I can’t remember very many "Christmas" decorations – but their home – and their hearts were decorated with the beautiful truth of Christmas, and the love of Christ!

I think the first thing people should notice when they see our "decorations" this holidays season, is the steadily burning light of Truth that Christ has strung around our hearts. Our life would also reflect that light just as if we were strewn with tinsel. And wrapped with a golden garland.

The Fruit of the Spirit should be prominently hung in our branches – Red balls of love, blue peace, silver joy, green kindness, and the like. They should not be hidden, but be easily seen even from a distance.

The gifts of the Spirit should be at our feet – and not wrapped in pretty packages and bows, but out of the boxes and in use – in order to bless those around us.

And, finally, all this beautiful preparation should be squarely beneath the wonderful guiding star of Christ – so that all will see where our faith lies – and where our strength comes from. It will lead the lost to the foot of the tree – the tree where Christ died – the tree where we can receive life – everlasting!

As you decorate your home this year , please remember that The Temple of The Holy Ghost needs decorating, too! Hearts are tender and souls are more open to the gospel during the Christmas season – remember to show them the love of Christ – and let your life shine forth with the true meaning of Christmas -- in all it's glory and splendor!

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A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?

Claustrophobic.

--Author Unknown

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CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH

We really should be getting into God’s word, as much as we possibly can. We would like to encourage you with a challenge each month, to memorize a portion of Scripture. So, we will provide a passage, and hope that you will take the time to study it daily. If you are already doing this on your own, that is great--we just thought with prayer, and making it a bit easier for some folks, that we could help those who may not be doing this yet. All passages will be from the King James Version of the Bible. We do not mind other versions, and you can study it in whichever version you like. We have chosen KJV, because it is public domain. We pray that you will hide His word in your heart.

Luke 2
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH: LEFTOVERS

Turkey Crescent Ring
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

We love turkey at our house -- even turkey leftovers! Turkey can be used in place of chicken in most recipes, so explore and enjoy! Here is one of our family's favorites ....

2 packages Crescent Roll Dough, 8 ounces each
1 cup turkey, cooked and diced
6 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup Mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip (Light Mayo works fine)
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard (you can substitute regular mustard, reduce to 1 Tbsp.)
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

Optional Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
2 medium roma tomatoes
1 medium bell pepper
2 cups lettuce, shredded

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

In a medium bowl mix mayonnaise, mustard, parsley and onion (if using). Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix turkey, bacon, 3/4 c. of cheese and 1/3 c. mayo mixture. Mix well. Set aside.

Open and unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Place opened crescent rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet into a circular pattern. Overlap the wide ends of the triangles with the points pointing towards the edges of the pan.

Spoon turkey mixture evenly onto the wide end of the crescent roll dough. Pull pointed ends of dough up toward center of ring, wrapping around the turkey mixture. Tuck the point under the edge where the filling shows thought in places.

If using tomatoes, slice into wedges and place one wedge in each open slit around ring.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Set aside.

Remove top of bell pepper and clean out seeds. Wash and dry pepper. Trim thin pieces from bottom to allow it to stand up like a cup or bowl without wobbling. Fill pepper with mayo mixture and place in center of ring with shredded lettuce.

Serve in wedges with mayo "dip". Wonderful!

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Homemade Turkey Soup
Submitted by: Denise Imbody

Ever wonder what to do with that turkey carcass? Well, it is the prime workings for a homemade soup. Just cover it over with water, in a big stock pan, and let it boil on High for 2 or 3 hours at the very least. The longer you let it boil, the stronger the flavor of the soup will be.

When you are finished with that part, just let it sit to cool down a bit. Then strain the broth into another stock pot, and add a little water if necessary.

Add rice, or noodles (whatever your preference), and some of the turkey meat from the carcass. You can also add veggies, or anything else you'd like.

It is very delicious, especially in these cooler months--enjoy!

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QUICK TIP OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

Update your Christmas card list as cards come in. Cross off any addresses that are obsolete and update others.

Wrap Christmas Tree lights around paper towel tubes, storing the cords inside the tubes.

Pack small, delicate ornaments in egg cartons.

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CRAFT OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

3 Easy Ornaments!

All of these ideas start with Clear Ball Ornaments -- glass or plastic (glass works best) -- and they all need small ribbon or cording for hanging.

The following items are needed depending on which ornament you are making --

Idea 1 - Various colors of craft paint
Idea 2 - white glue & glitter
Idea 3 - loose tinsel or icicles

Cover your work surface when making these. Idea 1 and 2 are messy! but sooo fun!

Idea 1 - Marbleized Ornaments

Take a clear ball ornament. Carefully remove the hanger and the top that closes up the ball. Do NOT lose these, you will be replacing them later.

Pick 2 or 3 colors of craft paint. Squirt some of each into the ornament and turn to coat the interior. You can squirt all 3 into the ornament and then turn to coat or you can do the colors one at a time. Each way creates a different effect. Start with a small amount of paint. You can always add more! Once the inside is coated, turn the ball upside down and drain out any excess paint. Then place in a container to dry -- egg cartons work well. It takes 2 or 3 days to completely dry and it is good to turn the balls once or twice a day.

Idea 2 -- Glitter Ornaments

Take a clear ball ornament. Carefully remove the hanger and the top that closes up the ball. Do NOT lose these, you will be replacing them later.

Squirt some glue (craft glue or just good ole Elmer's!) into the ball. Turn to coat the inside. Drain out any excess glue.

OK -- this next part is a bit tricky and definitely messy! Clean off the ornament opening making sure there is no glue on the outside or lip. Then, carefully pour glitter into the ornament. A funnel really helps! Cover opening with thumb and shake ornament. The glitter will attach to the glue and coat the inside of the ornament. Pour out any excess glitter and set ornament aside to dry for a day or two. No need to turn while drying.

Idea 3 -- Tinsel Ornaments

Take a clear ball ornament. Carefully remove the hanger and the top that closes up the ball. Do NOT lose these, you will be replacing them later.

Take pieces of tinsel - all one color or mix more than one. This is NOT the tinsel garland that is all hooked together in a rope. Use tinsel that can be separated into single strands.

Poke the tinsel into the ball -- as little or as much as you want. (The more tinsel inside the better it looks!) It helps to have something to poke the tinsel down. I use the thin handle of a wooden spoon -- it is just the right size.

Keep adding tinsel until you like the way it looks!

To finish up all these ornaments, replace the covers and hooks. If you like, add a small ribbon bow. Use thin ribbon or cording to create a hanger for the ornament or just use regular hangers.

These make great gifts!

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SKIPPING STONES
(A word of encouragement)
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

Emmanuel .... God with Us

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Most of us know that Emmanuel means God with us, but I wonder how many of us understand the significance of that fact. The God who created Heaven and Earth and all that is in them.... the God who created each of us.... Yahweh, Elohim, El Elyon ..... the Great I Am... chose to become flesh and blood.... to take off His incorruptible godliness and become corruptible flesh.

"(Jesus), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" Philippians 2:6 & 7

Can you imagine it! Think of it this way, would you choose to become a bug? Seriously! Would you? That is what God did through Jesus. He took on the form of a lower creature.

But there is so much more to it. You know the rest of the story!

"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8

And now, our Lord is once again incorruptible. He sits at the right hand of the Father waiting to return for us, His Bride, one day. So does that mean that Emmanuel no longer exists? No. God did not leave us alone. He places His Spirit in us when we accept the gift of Salvation. And then we have Emmanuel to walk with us, guide us, love us each and every day.

So during this season, when you hear the name Emmanuel sung or spoken, think on what it really means to you today. God is with us... and will continue to be with us. Forever and ever!

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38 & 39

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BIBLE QUIZ

In this section, you will find 5 questions each month, along with the Scripture reference (unless of course, the question is asking where you can find something in the Bible). We pray this will help you to get to know God’s Word more. The answers will be provided in the next issue.

All answers are taken from the KJV...and can either be found in Matthew chapter 2, or Luke chapter 2.

1. In what country were the shepherds abiding in the field, and watching their flocks by night?
2. What was to be the sign for the shepherds to find?
3. After the angel finished speaking to the shepherds, and the Heavenly hosts appeared with him, what did they say while they were praising God?
4. How many wise men came to present Jesus with gifts?
5. What kind of shelter did the wise men find Jesus in?



ANSWERS FOR NOVEMBER'S QUIZ

We have many, many things to be thankful for - one being God's Wonderful Word! So this month let's see how well you know your way around it!

In what Bible book is the story of David committing adultery with Bathsheba found?
2 Samuel

In which book is Stephen stoned to death?
Acts

What book tells of the day the sun stood still?
Joshua

In which book does Philip baptize the Ethiopian?
Acts

In which book do we meet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
Daniel

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CHECK IT OUT!

In this section we will share, and recommend our favorite website, book, movie, or any other favorite things we can think of to share with you. These are all highly recommended.

Book of the Month: One Wintry Night
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham

Books play a big role in our family and Christmas books are some of our favorites! We have a large collection that we pull out at the beginning of Advent. Even though our children are older, they still love reading through their childhood Christmas memories.

One of our favorites is One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham -- This is one of the most beautiful Christmas books available. It tells the story of Christ from the beginning of time to His imminent return. The illustrations alone will fill you with awe! It is a chapter book and can be read nightly through out the Christmas season.

Here are some more of our favorites -- many of these are available at local bookstores and online or at your library.

The Lion in the Box by Marguerite De Angeli
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Dick Schneider, Elizabeth J. Miles & Richard H. Schneider
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Tooney by Susan Wojciechowski
Mary's First Christmas by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
I Am Christmas by Nancy While Carlstrom
Christmas on Exeter Street by Diana Hendry and John Lawrence
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry

Video of the Month: VeggieTales: The Toy that Saved Christmas
Recommended by: Matthew Imbody

VeggieTales: The Toy that Saved Christmas

Are you ready for this one? This is classic VeggieTales at it's best! It is a wonderful story that teaches that Christmas is more than presents and getting things -- it's about giving -- and helping others! The vegetarian-cast is nicely rounded out this time with a bunch of my favorite flightless birds -- penguins who work at the toy factory! It's a fun Christmas ride that leaves you wanting more -- and, if you get the DVD, you get more! It includes the Veggietales Christmas Spectacular which is packed with even more family fun and entertainment! A must-see for kids and adults alike!

Ok, we can't stop! Here are some more wonderful video creations!

Small One (a wonderful old Disney feature)
White Christmas
The Bells of St. Mary
Charlie Brown Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street (the Old Black & White Version)
Prancer
Borrowed Hearts
The Christmas List
It's A Wonderful Life
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
A Muppet Family Christmas (The one made before Jim Henson died -- not the newest one with Whoopie Goldberg.)

CD of the Month: God With Us
Recommended by: Denise Imbody

God With Us by Various Artists

The CD I have decided to review is God With Us. It is an awesome collection of familiar Christmas songs, some of which are put to a slightly different beat.

The different songs are all done by several different artists. Joy To The World is sung by Anointed, and is a really upbeat happy tune. Angels We Have Heard On High is sung by Avalon, and is a version that you just have to hear. Other featured songs on this CD are Silent Night sung by Twila Paris, Go Tell It On The Mountain by Larnell Harris, and there are so many, many more familiar Christian Singers, and Christmas songs. If you are only able to buy one CD this year, I highly recommend this one.

Want some more? These also come with our highest recommendation!

City On A Hill: It's Christmas Time
Point of Grace: When Love Came Down
Phillips, Craig and Dean: Repeat the Sounding Joy
Newsong: The Christmas Shoes
Michael W. Smith: Christmastime
Various Artists: One Silent Night
Wayne Watson: one christmas eve
Songs 4 Worship: Christmas
Evie: Christmas Memories
Sandi Patti: The Gift Goes On
Avalon: A Christmas Collection

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JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH

In this section you might find a word search, An unscramble the words, OR any kind of word puzzle. We hope you will have fun with it! Ü Answers will be in next month's issue.

Can you recognize these different characters, and objects of the Christmas season? Some are Biblical, and some are just fun characters we have come to know over the years...

I love the cold
not the heat.
Stick a certain hat on my head
and I hop to my feet!
Who am I?

The sky was black
The pasture quiet
until a song burst forth that night
We were afraid to behold this glorious sight?
Who are we?

The singing, the noise, the happy times
Christmas made me loose my mind!
I wanted to stop it
make it go away
but I found out Christmas was here to stay.
Who am I?

It looks so bright and
hot to the touch
but really it's shiny and cool
It lights up the night
and clears the way
for Santa and his crew.
What is it?

We traveled day and night
following a miraculous sight.
Some believe we were at the manger side
but we had too far to ride.
We arrived when the child was a tot
and presented him with the gifts we brought.
Who are we?

An angel came to see me
when I was just a girl
the message he presented
changed the entire world.
Who am I?

My light shone brighter than any other
Than anyone had ever seen before
And even though it took a while
I help lead them to the Holy Child
What am I?

I spoke to Joseph in a dream
Several times to warn
To keep the Holy One safe from harm
Since the time He was born
Who am I?


ANSWERS FOR NOVEMBER'S PUZZLER

Give Thanks Unscramble the words below and find a list of things for which to thank God. Verse references are included.

eh si ogdg (1 Chronicles 16:34)
He is Good

sih sueihnsrgtose (Psalm 7:17)
His Righteousness

ish vole sndreue erefvor (1 Chronicles 16:34)
His Love Endures Forever

nafuiinlg veol (Psalm 107:8)
Unfailing Love

ogiterhus awl (Psalm 119:62)
Righteous Law

lenourwdf ededs (Psalm 107:8)
Wonderful Deeds

lacenriidsbbe tisgf (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Indescribable Gifts

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Please e-mail us with any comments, suggestions, or feedback, at: Precious_Stones@JEMMinistries.org. We would love to hear from you! We would also love it if you would visit our JEM website, at: http://www.JEMMinistries.org As we continue with this monthly E-zine, you will also find a link to past issues there.

May God bless and keep you throughout this month! May He smile upon you, and show You mercy all of your days--and may You find peace in Him, and through Him! In Jesus' name, Amen