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JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #26 -- Faithfulness -- 2005)


"Great is Thy Faithfulness" That's a song that means alot to me. When we need Him, God is always there -- but where are we when He needs us? Are we right there to do His will -- or does He have to call on someone else when we fail Him yet again? I know my faithfulness to my Savior could use an overhaul. How about yours?

Join us as we explore faithfulness. May this issue of JEM Precious Stones help you grow in your faith, your commitment to God, and your readiness to do His will...

In His Service,
Matt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACROSTIC FOR FEBRUARY
BIRTHDAY GREETING
INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
POINTS TO PONDER
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
FAITH AND VICTORY!
A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'
TESTIMONY TIME
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 FEBRUARY
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

Father in Heaven -
Almighty God -
I surrender to You -
Trusting You with my life
Help me to be
Faithful - to not fall prey to
Unbelief
Let me
Not turn my focus from You
Even for a moment
So that I may walk in the
Spirit with You as my guide

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BIRTHDAY GREETING

May those of us who have a birthday this month, know the blessings You bestow upon us, and be truly grateful. Happy Birthday Fellow February Babies! :)

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INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

There are hymns that speak of faithfulness
so great and so sure
a faithfulness found only in God
so holy and pure

I know it's there for me
just as it's always been
but still I turn away from You
in my doubt and sin

You call me oh so gently
to hold Your hand and ride
upon this special journey of life
with You as my perfect guide

Oh Father help me take Your hand
and never let it go
to open up my heart to You
to love You and to grow

I thank You for Your faithfulness
that never goes away
that accompanies me always
even on my faithless days

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POINTS TO PONDER
By: Denise Imbody

This is in no way to belittle hymns, or any other type of traditional songs (for many of them are so beautiful and a pleasure to sing), but did you realize that it is absolutely okay to sing a new song to the Lord? In fact, His Word tells us too...

• Psalm 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

• Psalm 96:1
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD , all the earth.

• Psalm 98:1
[ A psalm.] Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

• Psalm 144:9
I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,

• Psalm 149:1
Praise the LORD . [ Hebrew Hallelu Yah ; also in verse 6] Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.

• Isaiah 42:10
[Song of Praise to the Lord] Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.
(All references are taken from NIV.)

Many folks feel like a "new song" could not possibly be "Spiritual" or proper for God's children to sing, or even listen to, and sadly miss out on a blessing that the Lord may have for them through a new song.

The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever and therefore the above Verses apply for today, as much as they did back then...and hey think about it for a minute...hymns and traditional songs were once "new songs"....so don't be afraid to just sing a new song as He gives one to you!

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH


"Faith goes up the steps that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened."
-- Charles Spurgeon

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FAITH AND VICTORY!
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

"Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful." 2 Chronicles 20:20 (NIV)

I encourage you to read 2 Chr. 20 -- it is wonderful passage and there is much there to learn! A wonderful lesson in Faith!

Here is 2 Chr. 2:20 in 2 other versions:

(KJV) Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, shall ye prosper.

(NASB) Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.

In 2 Chr. 20, the Moabites and Ammonites with some Meunites have come to make war on Jehoshaphat and Judah.

Jehoshaphat says 2 Chr. 20:2 the morning they are leaving for the battle.

How is he able to say that ? Why can he say that?

1st -- when Jehoshaphat heard of the approaching enemy, he went straight to God. Verse 3 says "Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah." (NIV) KJV says "Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the Lord" and NASB says he "was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord."

1 Peter 5:9 (KJV) says "Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you." The Greek word for Care used here translates back to distractions.

Jehoshaphat was scared and therefore, his focus was shifted to his fear (he was distracted), but instead of holding it there, he turned his attention to seek the Lord -- he changed his focus back to God.

2nd, he prayed (v 5-12). In his prayer he acknowledged who God is, remembered and recalled what God had done, reminded the people and himself of the faith of their ancestors, did as his ancestors did and cried out to the Lord explaining his situations, and acknowledged their need for God.

I love v. 12 - "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." (NIV)

3rd, we are told that the people stood still -- they waited on God -- how often do we cry out and not WAIT for an answer! I do it way too often!!!

Then the Lord spoke to them through the prophet Jahaziel -- remember if we seek the Lord, He will be found!

In v. 15 - 17 the Lord assures them that they will be victorious -- because the battle is not theirs but His! He tells them that they will not have to fight the battle and they are told to "take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you....do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."

Whatever you are battling, you must give it to God for the battle is His. You must stand firm and watch Him work. You must not be afraid or discouraged. You must go out and face your fear for the Lord will be with you. (Now if I can write that on my heart! and remember to do it!!)

4th -- after this, Jehoshaphat and Judah fell down in worship before the Lord -- they praised God "with very loud voice" (v. 19)

We need to praise God no matter what our circumstance or situation!

This brings me back to verse 20 and Jehoshaphat's words of encouragement to the people. He could tell them to have faith because he sought God and found him! And note that verse 21 tells us that they went into battle praising God.

As you read on, you will find that the invaders turned on themselves and slaughtered each other. Jehosphaphat got to the battle to find the enemy dead! They did not fight the battle -- which is exactly what the Lord said would happen! Is He ever wrong?!

I wonder how often we run from a "fight" when if we had gone forward we would have found that the enemy was already defeated!

And finally -- Jehosphaphat and Judah returned rejoicing and v. 30 tells us that his kingdom was "at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side."(NIV)

Oh Father -- Help me to be like Jehoshaphat when I face a vast army to great for us! Help me to turn immediately to You -- acknowledging who You are and what You have done in my life. Help me to see the examples of Your faithfulness and might there and in Your Word. I pray that I seek You, cry out to You and that I wait and listen for Your reply. I acknowledge that in all things I am powerless and You are powerful. I know that the battle is Yours and not mine -- help me to release my grasp on it! Fill me with courage and joy and a heart that sings praises to You as I march off to war knowing that I will face a defeated enemy for You are and always will be victorious! Amen!

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 15:57

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" 1 John 5:4

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A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.' "
--Charlie Brown

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TESTIMONY TIME

My Testimony: By Denise Imbody

I was born in 1967, to my mother who was only 16 years old. I am not sure of all of the events leading up to it, but I ended up growing up in my grandparents home. My grandparents were Catholic, and my grandmother told me that I had to go to church until I was confirmed, and then I did not have to go anymore.

I was confirmed at the age of 14. A few months after I was confirmed, I met someone who was a “Born again Christian”. So, I began learning about what that meant. I said the sinners prayer, at the first church event that I went to with that person, and their family, but I believe as I look back now, that I just got “head saved”.

It wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I understood what it all meant. Now, I mentioned that my grandparents brought me up, and they also were bringing up my younger brother. They already had 14 of their own children, some of which still lived at home, while we were living there.

Their youngest (my uncle), who is about 13 years older than me, had some serious mental problems, and he began verbally, sexually harassing one of my friends, and then me. He never touched her, or me, but would make comments.

To make a long story just a bit shorter, and to skip some of the eerie details, I’ll just say that one night, he flipped out. When I was 16, he stabbed me 5 times. I know he was trying to kill me, because he went to the police station (knife in hand), and said, “I killed her.” (I know that, because the police walked in with, or after the EMT’s—not sure exactly when they walked in—and told us that he was at the station, and what he said.) It was during the middle of the night, and he sounded so evil, when he was hurting me. I know it sounds crazy when I say this, but I was so thankful that I was stabbed, because honestly, I thought he was going to rape me (and that in and of itself is bad enough, but adding on that it would have been incest—just really was too much for me to take—so I am glad that that is not what happened).

Well, I didn’t know that he had stabbed me until the ambulance got there. I thought he had punched me so hard, that he broke a rib, or something. Well, when I got to the hospital, and found out what had happened, and that there was internal bleeding, I really thought, that I was going to die. It was at that point that I understood, that if I really didn’t have Jesus in my life, that I would not go to heaven. Before they put me under, for the surgery, I prayed the sinners prayer again, and this time from my heart.

Of course, I had my times of back sliding, and Him drawing me back. I can honestly say that He was with me, when I was in those back slidden states, because I know He said things to me like “Why are you doing that?”, and things like that.

Well, I made it to the age of 18, and I found that special one that the Lord had for me, Matt, and at this point I was back slidden, but finding my way back to the Lord. As soon as Matt walked into the room, I knew he was the one for me. We got to talking, and writing letters (we lived an hour away from each other), when we were at our different homes. We talked about all kinds of things, from the Lord, right on down.

We both were trying to walk with the Lord, but not completely the way we should. Eventually, sometime after we were married, we began walking closer to the Lord, and each other. Yes, we have had some hard times, but I wouldn’t trade them in. We’re still walking with the Lord, and each other, even more closely than ever before.

Now, after almost 19 and a half years together (almost 19 years of those married), 3 children, 4 cats, 1 bird, and 1 house later, I believe the Lord is drawing us even closer to Him, and each other—and bringing us down some paths, we thought we would never go down. We just want to be in His will, and we are happily seeking that out.

I never felt like I really belonged to a family, or anything, but the Lord has changed all that for me. He has given me much more than I could ever have imagined. He has given me a little family that I can call my very own, and he has given me a huge family of believers—so now I have the family that I have always longed for, and I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father, who watched over me, when I didn’t even know He was there. I am a living example of that verse that talks about God being a Father, to the fatherless, because I have only seen my biological father about 3 or 4 times, in my life, but am happy that God was there for me, just like it says in His word

Psalm 68:5;NIV
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 146:9;NIV
The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

He is true to His word, and I am glad He keeps His promises!

You know, whenever I am asked what my favorite Verse is, I automatically say Psalm 27. After studying His Word, and drawing closer to Him, and learning more and more about Him, I started wondering why I always answer with Psalm 27. I mean, there are so many other ones I have come to love. So, as I wondered why, the Lord gently spoke to me, and reminded me that He gave it to me shortly after I was truly saved, and that is why it is so special to me. I will close with it...

Psalm 27;NIV
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD .
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD ; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!” Your face, LORD , I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD ; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD ; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD .

***If you would like to share your testimony in an upcoming issue of JEM Precious Stones, please feel free to send it to Precious_Stones@JEMMinistries.org. If we use it, you will get full credit, but please know that due to the number of contributions, and other concerns, we may not be able to use all submissions.***



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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.

Psalm 36
5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

Brownie Hearts

1 stick butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups plain M & Ms
1 teaspoon vanilla
heart shaped cookie cutter
8 x 8 inch pan
cooking spray

1. Spray cooking spray into an 8-inch x 8-inch pan and preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place butter and unsweetened chocolate into saucepan over low heat and melt. Stir to make smooth, set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.

3. Add sugar and vanilla, stir to incorporate.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine after each addition.

5. Add the flour, stirring to mix thoroughly.

6. Add 1 cup of M&M'S and stir to combine.

7. Place into prepared pan, making sure the mixture is level and smoothed.

8. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup M&M'S onto the top.

9. Place into the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until it tests done.

10. Let cool completely and cut with heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Do you have an original recipe that you would like to share? Click here to submit it!

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QUICK TIP OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

If you would like to bake a heart-shaped cake for Valentine's Day, but don't have a heart-shaped pan then try this:

Bake your cake in a square pan and a round pan. Then, cut the round cake in half. With frosting, attach the round cake halves to two adjacent sides of the square cake. You will make a heart!

Do you have an original Quick Tip that you would like to share? Click here to submit it!

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CRAFT OF THE MONTH
Created and Submitted by: Matthew Imbody

Heart Coloring Pages:

Instructions: Right click the picture and select "Save Picture As". Remember the name and location of the file, and open and print it with the photo manipulation software of your choice. the pictures can be printed from your browser, but it will not be centered properly on the page, and will include unnecessary information.



Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit within me.  Psalms 51:10; NLT
If the picture is missing, click here

God's law is - LOVE - written on our hearts
If the picture is missing, click here

***If you have an original recipe, quick tip, or craft, that you would like to share with us, please send it in with your first and last name, and your email address to Precious_Stones@JEMMinistries.org. If we use it, you will get full credit, but please know that due to the number of contributions, and other concerns, we will not be able to use all submissions.***

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SKIPPING STONES
(A word of encouragement)
By: Denise Imbody

FAITHFULNESS--such a big word, isn't it? I am sure we know what it means, or at least have a general idea, but I thought I'd look it up to be sure, and share it here. This is just one of the meanings, but the one that I think sums it up the best...

FAITHFULNESS
Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.

Here are some passages of Scripture that speaks of God's FAITHFULNESS to us, and how we should continue to show our FAITHFULNESS to Him, too.

This first one reminds us to keep focused on Him, and to speak of His FAITHFULNESS...

Psalm 40;NIV
8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD .
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.

This next passage, some of you probably have memorized part of it, as have I, but the verses before 5 and 6 are great too...

Proverbs 3;NIV
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

And finally this passage...

Proverbs 16;NIV
1 To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.
2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD .
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends-even the wicked for a day of disaster.
5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD , he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Notice how all 3 passages have a common theme throughout--which is to seek the plans that the Lord has for us, and not depend on ourselves--and if we do these things, He will make our plans succeed. Seeking the Lord is always a great thing to do.

Have you ever wondered why the plans you have made have not worked out? Let me ask you this...did you seek the Lord on those plans? I am not judging anyone, for I am sure that we have all gone ahead with some plans here and there without seeing if it was what the Lord had for us, and I look at those times as a learning experience. See, if we seek Him, He will guide and direct us, and the plans will work out! So if you are feeling discouraged lately, just remember to Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3). And, if for some reason it is not something the Lord wants you to do, then He will change the desire of your heart--if you ask Him--that is.

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BIBLE QUIZ

In this section, you will find five questions each month. Scripture references will sometimes be provided, but other times you will have to seek out the answers. We pray this will help you to get to know God's Word more.

Since we are talking about FAITHFULNESS this month, I thought it would be fun to look at some VERY faithful people in the Bible.

1. What is the name of the Moabite woman that followed her mother-in-law back to her homeland after her husband's death?

2. Who did Jacob work for faithfully for 14 years so he could marry the daughter that he truly loved?

3. Who brought two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs and gave them to King David as a gift, and later, after her husband's death, became his wife?

4. Who is the only recorded disciple that watched Jesus die on the cross?

5. In Luke, chapter 8, there are 3 women specifically mentioned by name, that supported Jesus and His disciples out of their own means--what were their names?

Click here for the answers

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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.

Website of the Month: His Kids Radio
Recommended by: Denise Imbody

His Kids Radio

We discovered a fun radio station through our satellite system. Don't worry, if you don't have satellite, you can still listen. It has a feature offered to those who would like to listen through their computer.

Unlike most radio stations this one focuses on a younger audience, but is still fun for the whole family. It plays songs that can range from praise and worship, to fun and silly. Not only that but it plays different shows as well. Shows like Adventures in Odyssey, The Pond, Classic Story Time, and so on like that. It also has a "Word of the Day" during the morning show, and "Word in song" (basically part of Scripture put to music. So, gather your family around the computer, and enjoy by going to this link...

http://hiskidsradio.gospelcom.net/

Book of the Month: The Cape Refuge Series
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

The Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock

I confess that Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite author's of Christian Fiction. Blackstock's own story is wonderful.. she was a successful writer in the world of secular Romance novels when she realized that the Lord had given her this talent and she wasn't using it for His glory. So she quit! She then changed her focus to only write what would glorify Him. In fact, she even took 4 of her most popular romances and rewrote them with a Christian worldview. God has blessed her in this endeavor. Her writing has grown by leaps and bounds. Her books have strong plot lines and her characters have depth. The Cape Refuge series is one of her best! So far there are 3 books in the series. Cape Refuge is a fictional island off the coast of Savannah, GA. Here you will find Hanover House -- a Christian home for those who have lost there way and need a chance to start over. The people here... even those running the mission.. are not perfect. They are very real.... and so are their struggles. In this series, Blackstock incorporates issues such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, trust, faith... among the plot of her mysteries. Here mysteries are not contrived and simple.. they have been logically thought out and crafted. Blackstock works with her "what ifs" and translates them into reality on the page. This isn't a disconnected series.. each book hinges on the other and the characters develop with each. The current books in the series are Cape Refuge, Southern Storm and River's Edge. If you enjoy thrillers and want to read some with a Christian influence, then these are the books for you!

Idea of the Month: Family Movie Time Jar
Recommended by: Denise Imbody

I don't know how it is at your house, but family movie time here used to be a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, I love to have family movie time, but it would start off fun, then quickly turn ugly. The reason, you are probably wondering? Well, we could NEVER seem to agree on which movie to watch. So 5 or 10 minutes into "Family Movie Time" it was no longer fun for me, and I wanted to say, "Just forget it."LOL

Well, we recently tried something at a friends suggestion, and it worked! Family movie time has been so much fun over the past month.

We took a jar, and everyone chose 2 movies they wanted to watch (writing each movie on a separate piece of paper), and we threw them in the jar. We would choose a movie, and everyone had to watch whether it was a movie they chose or not...and believe it or not this has worked out so well. We all have a great time now, and just enjoy each others company and movies. :)

We liked it so much we all chose 6 movies each for this next go around. We decided it would be best to pick movies until the jar was empty, before filling it again, so that all movies would get watched.

Have fun!

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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

This month's puzzler is easy and fun to do! We like to do this as a family --get everyone involved. Write out the word FAITHFULNESS and then see how many words you can make using only those letters. Get the kids involved! It can be a blast and it is often amazing to see what is there! (By the way, this is fun to do with any long word and with the names of Holidays -- so you could do this with Valentine's Day also!)

Click here for the answers

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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






Answers for this month's BIBLE QUIZ:

1. Ruth

2. Laban

3. Abigail

4. John

5. Mary (called Magdalene), Joanna and Susanna

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Answers for JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH:

Some answers:

Faith

Fun

Sea

Sun

Fist

Fan

Tail

Sane

Hit

Tune

Fate

Fifth

Sat

List

East

Eat

Seat

Set

Feat

Than.... the list goes on!

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