JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #1--January 2003)

Hello everyone--and welcome to JEM's first monthly Ezine! We hope you will read and enjoy all we have to offer in this, our first issue! Our prayer is that this undertaking will inspire, inform, and entertain all our JEM members and friends--and we would like you to feel free to pass it on, in it's entirety, to anyone that you feel will benefit from it's words, ideas, and suggestions!

This month, we are talking about new beginnings. I sit here on the first day of the new year, preparing the first installment of JEM-Precious Stones, and I can't help but ponder what the new year will bring for my family, my friends, and JEM ministries! I have to smile when I realize that the uppermost thought in my mind, as I consider these things, is, "Fear Not"! I thank God that, no matter what changes--no matter what surprises--no matter what this new year brings--God will be standing at my side through it all! And, you know what? If Jesus is Lord of your life, He will be right beside you through it all, as well! There's no need to fear the unknown--no need to tremble as you step into the uncharted territories of your life--because God is ever with you--and He promised never to leave you or forsake you!

So, on with our newest JEM venture! We pray you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!



ACROSTIC FOR JANUARY
By: Denise Imbody

Join with us
As we welcome in another
New year to fill with His
Unending grace and love.
As we pray and
Read through His word each day of this new
Year, and trust all God has for us.



BIRTHDAY GREETING

We pray that all who will be celebrating a birthday this month, will have a very blessed day, in our Lord, Jesus Christ! ‹



INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

I read the neatest thought in "Lessons I Learned in the Dark" by Jennifer Rotschild -- She is talking about bitterness and how easy it is to become bitter. When disappointment comes our way, when things don't go our way, etc., we have 2 choices - to become bitter or better. And there is a simple difference between the 2 -- I -- not just the letter in the word, but our focus. If you are focused on "I", then you will become BITTER. "I didn't get what I wanted", "Things didn't go MY way", "I am sick", "I am sad" etc. If you focus on Christ, taking the focus off "I", then things will get better. In fact, I added a tad to her thought -- think of the E in BETTER as Eternal. So shift your focus from "I" to "E" -- off yourself and onto the Eternal promises that we have in Christ.



POINTS TO PONDER

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. Did you realize that the wisemen's visit did not take place at the manger scene? If you look at Matthew 2, you will notice that it took them sometime to travel to where Jesus was. They had a long journey ahead of them, but an important one, so they kept going until they reached their destination.

in Matthew 2:16, we read...

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Here is the first point to ponder..."according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."--Even though it doesn't actually "say" it in God's word, it does point out to us that Herod kept asking the wisemen when the star appeared--and based on their answer, he had all boys 2 years old, and under killed.

In Matthew 2:9-11 it says...

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

If you notice, words like "house", and "young child" are used in the above verses--another point that the wisemen were not at the manger. You can read about this in it's entirety in Matthew chapter 2. Ask the Lord to show you something that maybe you haven't seen before. That is one of the great things about the bible--no matter how many times you read it--if you ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance, you will learn new things--and your eyes will be opened to something that you have not seen before.



RESOLUTIONS
by Barbara Lea Campbell

Have you made any New Year's resolutions yet? Most of us do, even if we don't write them down. We determine to eat better, exercise more, and spend less. Maybe you have resolved to get out of debt or to loose a certain amount of weight. All of these are worthy goals, but are they the only type of resolution you should make this year? Is improving your physical condition or financial state the most important task you can undertake this year?

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines the word resolution as a fixed purpose or determination of mind; as in a resolution to reform our lives; a resolution to undertake an expedition.

Your resolutions should reform your life and be the beginning of an expedition, an adventure. The greatest reform anyone can make is to grow in their relationship with God. And the best way to do that is to spend time daily with Him. A relationship takes two and it takes time and interaction. Don't neglect the most important relationship in your life -- your relationship with God. Spend time in prayer and in His word daily. Resolve to do so!

If you like to have a plan, there are many available for reading your Bible online - for free! Some of these plans read just the Old Testament or the New Testament and some are for reading the entire Bible in a year.

Here are some sites for you --

http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html
http://www.bibleplan.org/
http://www.bibleinayear.org/
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/journey/
http://www.navpress.com/dj_brp.asp
http://www.heartlight.org/devotionals/reading_plans/

I promise spending time daily with the Lord in his word, which is alive and active, will be the greatest expedition -- adventure -- you will ever experience!

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12



A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'

Fight TRUTH DECAY! Brush up on your Bible!
-author unknown



CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH

We really should be getting into Godís 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 greatówe 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 51
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit



RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Denise Imbody

Easy Potato Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In any size baking pan, pour Italian dressing (or any dressing of your choice...we've only tried the different types of Italian dressings) to cover the bottom of pan

After washing as many potatoes as you desire, slice the potatoes, like bread, and layer them in the pan, so that they overlap each other.

Drizzle, sprinkle, or pour some more dressing over the top of the potatoes (depends on your taste)

Cover the pan with foil, and bake on 350 degrees for about an hour, or until tender



QUICK TIP OF THE MONTH

What do you do, if you have a big meal to prepare? Or if you have a big project to make? How can you make the clean up go faster?

There is a really simple solution. Clean as you go--yes, that is all there is to it. If you clean as you go, there will not be this overwhelming mess for you to face when you're finished. You'll have minimal to no clean up left, and you'll be able to move on to the next thing you need/want to do.



NEW YEAR'S CRAFT
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

When I think of the New Year and new beginnings, I think of butterflies. Butterflies are such an awesome picture of what Christ does for us. When we ask Him into our heart and allow Him to be Lord of our life, we become a completely new and different creation -- just as a furry caterpillar is transformed into a winged butterfly.

This site has a wonderful Butterfly Craft.
http://www.geocities.com/densonfamily/download2.html

There you will find this beautiful template to download a butterfly cross pattern.

The site has instructions for transferring the pattern to wood and creating a beautiful wood craft. For those looking for a simpler activity, here is what we will be doing with this butterfly cross at our house.

Download the pattern and print it out. Tape it onto your table or counter top. Cover with a piece of clear transparency (You can buy this at Walmart, or an office supply store. It is found in the section with specialty papers for your printer.) Using permanent markers (we like the sharpie markers!) color in the various sections of the butterfly cross. Do not trace the black outlines at this point. Allow the marker to dry, an hour or so, then go back and trace over the black outlines with a black marker. Once dry, remove the transparency and cut out your butterfly cross. Hang with on monofilament line in front of a sunny window and enjoy your "faux" stain-glass suncatcher. And when you see it, remember -- "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17




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

Psalm 139
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.


It has taken me some time to realize this, but I am actually worth something. I am important to Someone. I matter to Someone.

I didn't have a great upbringing, and therefore was very insecure for the longest time. I won't lieóinsecurity still tries to rear its ugly headóbut as I grow closer to the Lord, and learn about Him, and His love, I realize that I am loved, and do matter.

I used to say things about myself, like"I'm ugly", or "no one really cares about me", but have realized that those are lies straight from the enemy. Satan would like nothing more, than to make us believe that we do not matter, and that no one loves us; for he knows, full well, himself, that our father in Heaven loves us.

I encourage you to look at your reflection, and know that there is Someone who loves you so much that He came down here to die, and rise again for you. Try to keep this in mind, when youíre feeling like you do not matter, because you do matter. Remember what Godís word says about us, in the above scripture. He, our Father in Heaven, made us. We are fearfully, and wonderfully made. We are not junk, and we do matter. We are beautiful. We are children of the Most High!



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 Godís Word more. The answers will be provided in the next issue.


1. Why did God decide to flood the whole earth? (Genesis 6)

2. Why did God allow Noah, and his family, to be spared from the flood? (Genesis 6)

3. How many of each clean animal was Noah to bring aboard the ark? How many unclean? (Genesis 7)

4. We know that it rained for 40 days, and nights, but how many days were the flood waters upon the earth? (Genesis 7)

5. When did God tell Noah that they could come out of the ark? (Genesis 8)



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: Bible Gateway
Recommended by: Denise Imbody

If you have not gone to this website, you need to check it out. Not only are there many different versions of the Bible to choose from, but you can either search by Book, Chapter, and/or verse, but you can also search by key words. I use this site almost on a daily basis--it really comes in handy if you're trying to find a Bible reference quickly.

**Special Note: I know some need to use a speech software, because of a visual impairment, but let me reassure you that this site is very user friendly!
http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible

Book of the Month: The Bible
Recommended by: Matthew Imbody

Yup, you read it right! The first recommended Book of the Month, is, The Bible! I mean, where else can you read the actual account of the beginning of life on this earth--or of the flagrant disregard of God's law by man--the results of which we still live with today! Where else can you find a worldwide flood, a father asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, and a brother betrayed by his siblings--cast into a pit to die--and that's all just in Genesis!!!

God's word needs to be at the center of our lives--and we need to make the effort to put it there! It's really not boring and tedious reading--as the devil would like you to believe--It's full of wonderful adventures, timeless love stories, and unimaginable thoughts and truths! Check it out! You won't be sorry!

Movie of the Month: Quo Vadis
Recommended by: Matthew Imbody

One of my all time favorite movies is Quo Vadis! The story takes place several years after Jesus was crucified--and it tells about the journey of a Roman soldier named Marcus Vinicius. His journey is not only one of miles and cities--but it is also a journey of the heart! Through his love for a woman, he comes to realize the love of God--and to see that her God--is truly the one and only God!

So many historical scenes are recanted in this tale--the burning of Rome, the persecution of Christians by Nero, and the death of Peter, to name a few. I do have to warn you that it isn't for the younger children. It is told like it was--Christians are fed to the lions, suicide is seen as a way out for those who have no belief in our Lord, and Nero is a raving lunatic--but, all in all, it is a wonderful movie, which deals with some of these subjects in a truthful, historically accurate, and even tasteful way. I recommend it to anyone interested in adventure, history, and the early Christian church.

Quo Vadis an MGM/US Home Video Copyright 1951



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! ‹ Answers will be in next month's issue.

Unscramble the words.

ACEINORT

BEGGIINNN

AEELNRW

CEIPRRSTU

EEIMMORZ

BONUS: EILNOORSSTU



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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 piece in Him, and through Him! In Jesus' name, Amen