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JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #30 -- Joyful -- June 2005)


You know, itís not always easy to be Joyful Ė but it is possible! God has been impressing this truth upon my life -- that, no matter what happens, there is still room for joy! He is in control, after all, and, when itís all said and done, Weíll stand with Him in victory! Join with us this month, as we share our JOYFULness!

In His Service,
Matt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACROSTIC FOR JUNE
BIRTHDAY GREETING
INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
POINTS TO PONDER
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
J O Y
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 JUNE
By: Chris Silvey

Jesus walked the earth
Over land and over sea
Yahweh sent Him
Full of the Holy Spirit
Using Him for our sake
Like a sacrificial lamb

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BIRTHDAY GREETING

Happy birthday to all the June babies out there! May The Lord fill your day with His joy, and your life with His provision and communion!

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INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
By: Gwen Tweedy

Joyful Joyful!
I will praise You,
I will sing a song to You!
Joyful Joyful! I will worship You,
For You are my friend so true.
When I'm doubtful
and not trusting,
I count on You to lift me up.
When I'm crying and not shouting,
I'll whisper Your name
and You'll fill my cup!

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POINTS TO PONDER
By: Denise Imbody

Joyful Always?

Did you ever notice that a lot of the Verses referring to being joyful are usually surrounded by a battle, or some kind of difficult circumstance? Here are a few examples taken from the NIV...

1 Samuel 18:6
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.

2 Chronicles 20:27
Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Then there are verses like these (also taken from the NIV)...

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16
Be joyful always;

Notice that one says be joyful ALWAYS!!! It doesn't say things like...

Be joyful when you feel like it.

or...

Be joyful when things are going good.

No, it says be joyful ALWAYS, and I believe that the Lord showed us that is the way we need to be, and that is why He gave us the examples of joy alongside of battles, or difficult situations.

Which reminds me of another verse that we can cling to--and in fact, I believe we all should memorize...

Philippians 2:14-15;NIV
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

So, as hard as it can be, we need to ponder this point, and be joyful in the Lord in ALL situations--good, bad, or even when we are feeling apathetic... we just need to remember to always find our joy in the Lord, and He will give us the strength we need to press on.

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH


"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse"
--Helen Keller

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J O Y
By: Denise Imbody

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the day approaching.
-Hebrews 10:25

J O Y (To the tune of Jingle Bells)
Verses written by: Matt and Denise Imbody
Author of the chorus is unknown to Us

Verse 1
Dashing out of church, there's just no time to pray.
I have so much to do, now who's this in my way?
A friend who says slow down, and says you've been amiss.
He prays, "Lord, give my friend the joy, that I have found in this."

Chorus
J O Y, J O Y, that must surely mean.
Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.
J O Y, J O Y, that must surely mean.
Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.

Verse 2
I flop down on the couch, just want to be alone.
I've had a busy day, now someone's on the phone.
They say they need my help, but I start to decline.
Then Jesus gets a hold of me, and brings this song to mind.

Back to Chorus

Verse 3
It's becoming clear; I finally see the Light.
My selfishness was wrong, but God restored my sight.
So, listen to these words, and do them all day long.
The Lord will fill your heart with joy, and this will be your song.

Back to Chorus

A few years ago, I was introduced to the chorus of the above song. I had never heard it before then, but loved it the minute I heard it. I thought, "Is there more to it? There has to be." But as far as anyone knew, there was nothing more to it. I said to my husband that we should write up some verses, because it seem like it needed more. So, one afternoon we sat down together, and the Lord gave us the words above. I was so excited, and couldn't wait to show it to friends and family. Just as I loved the chorus right away, they all seem to love the verses that the Lord helped Matt and I write. The words have touched my heart in a way, that I'm not sure I could explain.

I would love to see us all take the time for each other in fellowship. I've just been thinking that if we do not have time for each other, than how can we possibly have time for others who don't even know the Lord. If we take the time to pray together, read His Word together, and just have some fellowship time, as well; I think, along with His strength, we can be united, and able to win more souls for Jesus. Not that He needs us to do that, but he has instructed us to get out there, and preach His gospel to the ends of the earth, and I think we should stand united, in JOY, in Jesus' name.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please give us your true JOY that helps us to remember that Jesus is to be first, and Others are to be second, and that yourself (Ourselves) need to be last. Help us to stand united, and try to keep these things in mind, in Jesus' name, amen.

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A MOMENT OF 'HA HA'

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm Happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?.
--Snoopy from Peanuts

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TESTIMONY TIME

My Testimony: By Kristina

When thinking about my testimony, I began to realize that my testimony is an ongoing ordeal. I could write a book full of my life stories, yet I also feel that I have barely gotten past the first page of what God has planned for me.

I was born in November of 1985, a happy and healthy baby, to a teenage mother. My parents married when I was four years old and about nine months later we welcomed my younger sister into the world. Because of my father's job we had lived in three different states by the time I was seven years old. My mother was loving and caring, my sister and I were very close, but it is my father who leaves the most permanent mark on me from this time.

My father was an abusive drunk who cheated on my mother multiple times and constantly threatened us with his guns, going so far as to stick his gun to my mother's head. My mother worked hard making minimum wage and when I was about eight years old my mother, sister and I were finally able to escape my father. My sister and I were overjoyed to finally be away from my father...we had lived so long in fear of him.

My father stayed in contact for about three years after the divorce. He remarried, but remained an aloof and abusive alcoholic. After his wife died of liver cancer four years ago, he cut off the little contact he did have with us. We do not know where he is or what he is doing, but I continue to pray for him. He is so very lost.

My mother went on to remarry also, and my step-father is who I consider my 'real' father. Things did not start out easy for the two newlyweds, as she was the mother of two pre-teen daughters and he had full custody of his teenage son. We had a quite a few rough years trying to work everything out.

It was about this time that I began to hang out with a bad crowd. I was surrounded by friends who were into drinking, drugs and sex. I found myself falling more and more into their lifestyle. I was not a Christian, did not go to church and did not ever really think about God or faith.

About a year after marrying, my mother discovered that she was pregnant. She had many, many problems during her pregnancy but she managed to carry to full-term. My brother was born in December of '96. He had serious breathing problems and a few minutes after birth a nurse noticed that there was something wrong with his head. He was rushed Flight for Life to Children's Hospital where they found out that during birth he had had a stroke. He was bleeding profusely into his brain.

He was given no hope. The doctor refused to operate, saying that he would be nothing but a vegetable. My parents were beyond devastated. But, by only the intervention of God, that is not the end of the story for my brother. This doctor who refused to operate was leaving that night for Christmas break and was showing the patients to the doctor who was to replace him. This new doctor came back to my parents after the other doctor had left. He told them that he would operate and try to save my brother's life.

My brother had surgery to place a shunt in his brain to drain the blood on Christmas Eve. We found out later that this is actually a routine surgery given to children with hydrocephalus, which my brother was diagnosed with. The first doctor had just refused to perform it, believing it his right to say whether a child lived or died depending on his thoughts about 'quality' of life.

My brother, who everyone had thought would die within days, was discharged from the hospital after a few weeks. He continued to progress normally until he was six months old. Right before he turned six months old he began to have seizures and was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a kind that is not controlled with medication. Within weeks he could not sit, roll over or make eye contact. He had become a newborn again, having lost all that he had learned. It would be another year before he would sit up again, another six months after that before he could crawl and he did not take his first step until he was four years old. He still cannot talk, feed himself or use the bathroom by himself. He was also diagnosed with grand-mal seizures last year.

My brother is my little angel, my little miracle boy. Others only see what he can't do. I can see all that he has gone through and how very far he has come. I know that God placed my brother in my life to help me find Him.

When my brother was three years old my family decided to move. I had pulled away from my family and was fighting with them constantly. I was hanging out with the wrong friends and doing things no thirteen year old should be doing. When my family moved I slowly lost contact with these old friends. My family also decided to homeschool the fall that we moved. It was one of the best decisions that we have ever made. I would be able to work at my own pace, my younger sister would not have to go through our horrendous public school system and my brother would not be put into the care of strangers who did not understand him.

I can now look back and see how everything was working together, from the move to the homeschooling to the letting go of old friends. Things became a lot easier for me, a lot easier than I had ever thought it could be. I did not have as much stress as before, I was drawing closer to my family and was actually enjoying life. I still had a lot of open wounds due to my past, but over time they began to heal and eventually fade.

It was about this time that my mother began searching. She was in her thirties, married with four kids with a full time job, yet something was missing. She began listening to Christian music and encouraged my sister and I to do so also. After a few months a concert was held in my hometown which my mother, sister and I attended. It was the Christian singer Rebecca St. James, and that night in 2001 I gave my life to Christ.

Looking back now, I cannot believe how far I have come from that scared, angry fourteen year old. I don't think I can write in words how very lost I was. I would have laughed in your face had you told me five years ago that I would be who I am now.

My future is still a blank slate. I am nineteen years old, just beginning to dip my foot in this thing called life. But I have faith in a God who is loving and good, a God who in His mercy saved me. I struggle everyday and it just makes me realize that I can't do anything on my own. My life is in the Lord's hands...He controls it all. All I can do is place my hopes and fears, dreams and wishes in His hands and see whether it is in His will. I am becoming more content with this day by day. I will forever be grateful to Him for rescuing me.

***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 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 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 149
4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Jody Brennan

Edible Fishbowl

Clean glass fishbowl
3 (6 ounce) packages blueberry gelatin
1 cup grapes
Gummy fish, worms, sharks

Prepare blueberry gelatin according to the directions and refrigerate until partially set.

Meanwhile decorate the ocean floor (bottom of fish bowl) with berries. This is the rocky bottom. Spoon the blue gelatin (water) over the fruit. Push gummy fish, worms, sharks, etc. into the gelatin with wooden skewer stick. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

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

When shaping hamburger patties, poke a hole through the center of each one with your index finger. The burgers cook faster this way, and the outside doesnít get overcooked before the center is done. As the burgers cook, the hole almost disappears--itís barely noticeable when theyíre done. This works whether you grill, broil or cook burgers in a skillet.

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
Submitted by: Denise Imbody

Make a Joyful Songbook

Why not print up a lot of your favorite songs, and hymns, that remind you how to be joyful in the Lord. You could decorate each page as you like, or if you feel like you are not that artistic, you can find all kinds of Christian clip art out there, and decorate those pages. You can print up a nice front cover, titled SONGS OF JOY, or whatever you like. As always, be creative, and have fun!

***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: Barbara Lea Campbell

Be joyful always 1 Thessalonians 5:16 NIV

Rejoice always 1 Thessalonians 5:16 NASB

Be happy in your faith and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually always 1Thessalonians 5:16 AMP

There is no doubt that we are commanded to be joyful at all times -- no matter what our circumstances. The problem comes with the HOW -- How do we do that?

There is an acronym for JOY that gives us a key

Jesus
Others
You

Jesus -- If we keep our focus on Jesus, no matter what our circumstances, then we will be Joyful. Jesus loves us -- died for us -- His love fills our heart with Joy. The Amplified version of 1Thessalonians 5:16 says be happy in your faith -- our faith is in Jesus not our circumstances.

Others -- You need to do for others -- be Jesus' hands and feet in this world -- shine His light. When you do for others, whether you are physically reaching out to someone or you are interceding for others in prayer, your focus is again off your circumstances. You allow the Lord to love through You and His love can only bring you joy.

You -- Notice in the acronym that You come last. That's a big part of being joyful -- putting yourself last. Lay your circumstances at the foot of the cross and leave them there. Then do what Jesus says we are to do...

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " Matt. 22:37 - 39 NIV

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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.

Okay, since we looked at mom's in the Bible, last month, I thought we'd focus on dad's in the Bible this month. :)

1. This father gave his daughter, Acsah, land in the Negev, and also the upper and lower springs--who was he?

2. This father had to offer his own daughter as a burnt sacrifice to the Lord, because of a promise he made in battle--who was he?

3. This father only had daughters before he died, and they ended up marrying their cousins on his side--who was he?

4. This man had taken his cousin as his daughter after her parents had died--who was he?

5. This father planted a vineyard and got drunk off its fruit--his youngest son found him passed out naked, and told his older brothers, who walked in backwards and hid his nakedness--who was he?

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.

CD of the Month: For Christ Alone
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

For Christ Alone by Various Artists

For Christ Alone is a compilation of ten new worships songs written by one of the greatest songwriters in the Christian music industry, Charlie Peacock and recorded here by various artists... some well known like Margaret Becker, Chris Rice and Cindy Morgan.. to some lesser known voices such as Taylor Sorenseon and Nirva Dorsaint. This is one of the most worshipful CDs I have ever heard! Upbeat, but in a mellow way... not overly rocky or loud... the music focuses on the majestic, redemptive Word and work of Christ. From "New Life In Christ"... to "Kneel Down"... to "Praise to the King Eternal, Jesus"... you will be moved to worship and to stand in awe of our Lord. One important note: For Christ Alone is a Family Christian Store exclusive. You can find it at your local Family Christian Store or order it online at the following website: http://www.familychristian.com/shop/product.asp?prodID=10296

Book of the Month: Unspoken
Recommended by: Kristina

Unspoken by Francine Rivers

My favorite book of all time is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and I really enjoy most all of her writings. So I was fascinated when I heard that she was writing a series of books entitled A Lineage of Grace, based upon women in Jesus' lineage. She chose five women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary) and wrote a book based on each one's history. I recommend all of these books as they truly capture the heart of Scripture.

But the one that fascinates me the most is Unspoken, based upon the life of Bathsheba. Everyone who has had a basic Bible upbringing knows the story of David and Bathsheba's affair and the resulting consequences (murder, broken families and a great King's downfall). But I had never really thought about it from Bathsheba's point of view. I had never stopped to think that this was a real woman who lost her family, her baby and her reputation because of passion. She was a child of God who, like most of us, had lost her way.

Unspoken is a fictional account based upon the facts of her life described in the Bible. The story opens with Bathsheba as a young girl perched on her grandfather's knee and ends with her passing. In between is a fascinating story about a woman who fell in love with the wrong man, but it is also the story about a woman trying to find herself and her relationship with God.

We all know her as the mistress of David and as the mother of the great King Solomon. But she was also a woman who loved, lived and who made a powerful impact on Jewish history and, therefore, Christian history. Have some tissues handy for this reading!

Movie of the Month: China Cry
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

A while back I stumbled across a movie on a Christian television station. I only saw a small bit, but what I saw intrigued me greatly. Recently, my daughter and I came across the movie again and this time I was able to see it all. It is one of the most moving and encouraging movies... one that I will be purchasing for our family. China Cry is the true story of Sung Neng Yee who escaped from Communist China to Hong Kong some thirty years ago and now lives in the United States. Sung Neng Yee was from an affluent family and educated in Christian schools for their academic excellence, but along the way she was influenced more than she realized. As a young adult, she suffered persecution from the Communist because of her upbringing and during this time she realized that the God of her childhood faith was real and He was there with her. She refused to deny Christ even while enduring physical abuse late in her pregnancy. This is not a warm fuzzy everything is happy story.. and yet.. it is uplifting and encouraging. It is the story of faith... and evidence that we truly cannot be separated from the love of God. I wish everyone could see this gripping story of love, struggle and flight to freedom. I do not know if it is available at local movie rental places, but I know it can be purchased online at http://www.christianbook.com for a reasonable price. It is worth every penny.. I promise!

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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! ‹

Our puzzler this month is really not all that puzzling, but it will take a bit of effort on your part. The theme of this issue is JOYFUL... so I thought it would be neat to look in the Word and in your heart and find things for which we are JOYFUL. The trick? Find something for each letter of the word JOYFUL. For example -- the obvious one for J is Jesus! Have fun with this!

Click here for some possible answers

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Please feel free to pass this along! If you would like to be added to the JEM-Precious Stones mailing list, send an e-mail to Precious_Stones@JEMMinistries.org requesting to be added in the message field. If you are not a member of the JEM community, and you would like your name removed from this mailing list, please send a message to the above address, and request removal in the body of the e-mail.

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. Caleb (Joshua 15:19)

2. Jephthah (Judges 11:32-38)

3. Eleazar (1 Chronicles 23:21-23)

4. Mordecai (Esther 2:7)

5. Noah (Genesis 9:20-27)

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Possible Answers for JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH:

Jesus loves me

Open arms of Jesus always there for me

Yaweh is my Father

Faith is the hope of things unseen

Unconditional love of God

Leading from the Holy Spirit

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