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JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #41 -- In The Garden -- May 2006)


I love picking produce from my little garden -- but some years it's hard to get the little plants started. It takes a lot of work to reap the results, and there have been years when my harvest has been lean because I just didn't do the work that my garden needed from the beginning.

Our lives are like this in some ways, too. The Bible tells us that we reap what we sow -- but that also includes the work we do in our little gardens. What we sow into our lives -- and other's lives, for that matter -- is not just seed, but it's work, protection, and nurturing to bring the fruit we bear to it's ripest, most acceptable state so that it can be presented before God without being ashamed. If we don't take the time our lives need to grow, mature, and ripen in His presence and His Word, we will be ashamed one day...

So, join me now in pruning our lives of dead branches, watering our souls with The Word, and basking in the SONlight that makes our spirit rise up, blossom, and produce fruit! Join me in the garden of God's blessing and truth!

In His Service,
Matt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACROSTIC FOR MAY
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
BIRTHDAY GREETING
INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
WORD IN ACTION
IN THE GARDEN
THINK ABOUT IT!
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 MAY
By: Joy Taylor

Many will be looking for "something/someone" to fill their needs
And they will search in the wrong places, with hopeful hearts,
Yet they will never find it until they find Him.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you have an opinion or thought that you'd like to share with JEM-Precious Stones readers? Well, here is your chance...if you'd just like to comment on the E-zine or if you have something on your mind about current events that you'd like to share...as long as they are clean and family oriented and NOT against God and His Word...please feel free to share them with us, and we'll use them if we can.

Comment Submitted by: Marilyn Christine
Choose your thoughts with the same care you choose your food. I am sure that if you are like me, you do not eat anything that will make you sick- certainly not intentionally so what we feed our mind is just as important- sometimes we need to renew what we are reading, singing, saying or watching as these things can effect our thoughts. We can change what we think and what we feel by choosing things that are true, honest, pure, lovely, and of good report.. We, as Christians, have something positive to think about. Do you know that your thoughts rule your life? Be they pure or impure in your life. Choose your thoughts and words with care, keeping them in line with the word of God.

"Rejoice in the Lord always"

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BIRTHDAY GREETING

Happy birthday to all our readers who are celebrating a new year this month. I think there is NO better way to say Happy birthday to all you May babies than with this prayer straight from God's Word...

Numbers 6:24-26;NLT
`May the LORD bless you
and protect you. May the LORD smile on you
and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor
and give you his peace.'

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
By: Denise Imbody

Genesis 3:8;NLT Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees.

I realize that this Verse is a sad one for Adam and Eve had sinned, and therefore were hiding, but my heart soars at the thought of hearing my Lord walking in the garden to come and visit with me--doesn't that sound like a wonderful thought?

I got to thinking about how it must have just been such a common thing for Adam and Eve, and wonder how it was to know the Lord would be coming to see you in the cool of the day.

Do you realize that we can have this very special visit each and everyday with our Lord? It won't be like what Adam and Eve experienced, but it will be something special, if we truly want it to happen, and make the time for it to happen.

I know we all go through dry spells in our life, and it seems like nothing special is happening, but I do believe that if we persevere through those times, that we will experience something special at other times. After all we can't be on that mountaintop all the time--we have to experience those valleys--how else would we appreciate those mountaintop times?

When I think of that above verse, and the hymn IN THE GARDEN, it just sends my heart singing and thinking about how the Lord longs for us to spend time with Him. Look at the following words from the chorus of that hymn...

And He walks with me, And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share, As we tarry there
Is like none other, I've ever known

...doesn't that just make your heart want to rejoice in our Lord and Savior?

He wants--longs to spend time with us--and that in and of itself makes me feel very very special. The Creator of the universe wants to spend time with me--imagine that--why would He want to spend time with me? It's because that same Creator of the universe is my Father--our Father--not ever really experiencing what a human father would be like--that just really touches me that I have a Father--THE FATHER of all who believe, and that is enough for me.

Take time each day in the garden of your heart to spend time with Abba Father. I promise you will not regret it!

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WORD IN ACTION
By: Denise Imbody

Matthew 6: NLT
16 "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get.
17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.
18 Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

After 20 plus years of serving the Lord, I finally "GOT" this passage of Scripture and what it is about 2 or so years ago. Since then, I have prayed several times, according to this above passage, and have seen numerous prayers answered. That is definitely a WORD IN ACTION, and I just felt lead to share that God's Words are still TRUE, FOR TODAY, and ALIVE and ACTIVE!

I'd like to share a small handful of my answered prayers for you...

1. A specific financial matter.
2. That He'd provide a car for our oldest.
3. A call on my life (that I was arguing with God about! LOL)--but of course He won. ‹.
4. Whether we were to leave one church and attend another.
5. and many many others, which I can recall, but not sure I can explain adequately enough. :)

I would like to mention that all these prayers were answered within in a year of my praying and fasting about them--some sooner--some almost a year later--but all within a year. Now, it could be longer or shorter for you and your situation--I don't know--but I wanted to share what my experience has been.

Also, I just tried praying for these things, with what seemed like no results. But when I actually took the time to fast along with my prayer--wow--I was so amazed when things started to be answered.

I am ALWAYS amazed when God answers prayer--no matter how big or small--and I think that is a good thing because I wouldn't want to get commonplace about it all.

As I see a prayer being answered, I try really hard to take a moment, stop what I am doing, and thank the Father for the answered prayer. I am sure I missed here and there on occasion, but I try really hard to remember to thank Him, for I feel that is important too. :)

I just really felt compelled to write about my prayer and fasting experiences, and thought I'd see if I could encourage you to give it a try. ‹

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IN THE GARDEN
By: Barbara Lea Campbell

I grew up with gardening as a part of my life. Both my grandfathers had gardens, as did my dad. Over the years my dad's garden expanded until he grew almost all the veggies we ate, as well as melons.

I am a late in life baby for my parents... with brothers 9 and 18 years older. My father retired for health reasons when I was 9. As a result, he and I spent a lot of time together... especially in the summer. He would wake me up at 5 a.m. and take me off in his truck to my grandparents' farm an hour away. We would work all day gardening ... getting hot and sweaty and dirty, but oh the rewards we reaped come harvest time!

I think a lot about those gardening times these days. I am surprised at how much I miss them and struck by how much I learned.

I watch my dad work patiently, hoeing and tilling a plot of land that was hard and dry and unyielding. Just as God works on our dry and unyielding hearts to make them rich and fertile and productive.

My dad got that ground ready and then added the seeds.. often tiny seeds... and then he nurtured them... gave them water, pulled out the weeds that wanted to choke them, looked over them regularly for disease or insects and treated as needed. God does this too... He plants those seeds in our hearts and then He watches for weeds, insects, disease.. sin.. to try to harm us and He protects us.. gives us water.. nurtures us.

God is the ultimate gardener... we read about Him that way in John 15, but we see Him as gardener much earlier in the Bible. Gen. 2:8 says "Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed." One of God's first acts was to plant a garden in Eden.. providing for the man and his wife. The Bible never talks of God having to pull weeds or tend that garden. Verse 10 in chapter 2 talks of a river that watered the garden and in chapter 1 verse 11 the Lord said "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. That garden was perfect.. planted in perfect soil... not soil hardened by the world and the circumstances of life and sin.

Our hearts are not perfect like that...oh that they were! Instead, we have hard hearts.... hearts that need tilling and watering and weeding and fertilizing. And our Father, God is the greatest gardener. It will not necessarily be fun or pleasant. Just like the days I spent gardening with my dad, it can be hot.. dirty.. tiring work. But oh the rewards you will reap!

Another thing I love about gardens was the time I spent with my dad there. Even though it was work, we were together. I have memories of stopping in the middle of a hot day and eating watermelon with our hands to cool off... my dad would talk about the various veggies and how good they would be when they were ready for harvesting... my mouth would water with anticipation.

The Bible tells us God walked in the garden .. Gen. 3:8 "the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day." He still does.. He "walks" in the garden of your heart. He is there to fellowship with you.. to talk with you and walk with you. Have you stopped and listened for Him with your heart lately?

Lastly... there were times we would find danger in the garden, often in the form of a snake. The garden in Eden had a snake also.. we all know that story. He was clever and beautiful to behold... he still is and he seeks out the garden of our heart. He wants to undo all God has done... to destroy our crops... weaken our roots... send a blight to our harvest. Don't let him do that. Keep a watch out for him.. don't let down your guard.. and keep meeting with God in the garden. My dad always told me to call him if I saw a snake.. to never try to kill it on my own. It is the same with our enemy... never try to battle him alone. When you see that snake in your garden, call your Father in heaven. He has already defeated the evil one... He knows just how to handle him.

"I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses." from In the Garden

I encourage you to take a walk in the garden with God today. Invite Him to be the Gardener of your heart. The work will be hard.. but the reward is everlasting!

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THINK ABOUT IT!

In God's garden, there's work to be done!
--Author Unknown to Us

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TESTIMONY TIME

YOUR Testimony: By Barbara Lea Campbell

Each month we feature a testimony. It usually deals with the time in a person's life when they become a Christian. That is a wonderful time and truly the ultimate testimony to the grace of God. But there are other testimonies. When the paycheck is spent and the pantry is empty and your neighbor brings you a meal or you receive an unexpected check.. that is testimony to the provision of God. When a loved one is battling with cancer or some other disease and the Lord chooses to take them home, that is testimony to the Lord's mercy. When it seems that everything in life has gone wrong.. maybe you lost your job.. your spouse has left you.. you are losing the battle with illness.. your child is in a state of rebellion.. no matter what, you can cling to the knowledge that God is there with you and still on His throne and working in all this.. that is testimony. Testimonies are written every day... it is all in how you look at your life. So stop and take the time today to see how God is working in your life.. how your testimony is being written.

***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.

Isaiah 58
11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Joy Taylor

PASTA SALAD

Pasta of your choice (I like to use spiral pasta) boiled and rinsed
1/2 C. Mayonnaise
1/2 C. ranch dressing (or to taste)
1-2 Tbsp. honey mustard
grated cheese (I use cheddar/jack)
green or purple onions
3 or 4 boiled eggs - chopped
sliced olives
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and serve cold or warm (we prefer it cold)

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

Slow Watering

My dad was a gardener extraorinaire! He had all sorts of tips and tricks to get the best veggies. One tip he used for his tomatoes, works well for flowers too. Take a plastic milk carton.. an empty one. Wash it out thoroughly. Poke 2 or 3 holes in the bottom with an ice pick. You want them to be large enough for water to seap through, but not so large it gushes out. Set the carton next to your plant and then fill it with water. The water will slowly seap out during the day. Slow watering like this is often better for plants. The water gets into the roots and doesn't wash away the soil from around the base of the plant.

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

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT ROCKS

You'll Need:
9 or 10 Good Size Rocks
Permanent markers or Paint (of course you'll need paint brushes if you use paint ‹)

--The Following Verses--
Galatians 5;NLT
22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

What To Do:
1. Taking either your marker or brush, and one of the rocks, write one of the characteristics of the above Verse on it. For example, the first rock should say LOVE, the second rock JOY, and so on like that, until you have all 9 characteristics on their own rock. If you'd like to use 10 rocks then you could write Galatians 5:22-23 on that last rock so folks will know where they can find it in the bible.

2. Place them around your garden as decoration and for all to see.

OPTIONAL: If you feel really creative and decorative, you can paint the rocks completely ahead of time, to add some extra color to this project--you'll want to do this before putting the words on each rock--so plan ahead of time, and set aside to dry.

***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: Jacqueline Moore

Scripture: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1

Saints, whether you realize it or not, spring is fast approaching. As we turn our thoughts towards spring, we start thinking about our yards and our gardens. Many of you have probably already started thinking about what type of seeds you will be planting this year. Some may choose to plant only flowers. Others may choose to plant only vegetable and some still will plant both.

As I reflect back to biblical times, I have noticed that the garden was very important to all. You see, the lands in which they resided where often barren and would sometimes lack water. So they had to be very diligent in what they grew because they knew their very lives depended on their crops. Unlike us, if their gardens failed, they couldnít just run out to the corner store to get something for dinner.

The same holds true today in our own gardens. What you decide to plant has a distinct bearing on your well-being. You see, I am not talking about your flower garden or your vegetable garden. I am talking about your spiritual garden. Whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap. What seeds are you planting in your spiritual garden? I pray that you plant seeds of love, seeds of hope, seeds of forgiveness, but most of all, seeds of faith.

You see, when we start our gardens at just the right time, give them the love, care, nurturing, and attention that all gardens need, we can grow a bountiful crop that can and will last until our next planting season.

Prayer: Oh kind and gracious and merciful Father, we come this morning as humbly as we know how. We lift up our eyes unto the heavens from which all of our blessings flow. Father, we know that we are not worthy of fresh grace, but You give it to us anyone. We know that somewhere along the way, we have sinned, but You forgave us anyway. We know that sometimes we disappoint You, but You love us anyway. Thank You Father that You love and forgive me despite me. Father we come standing in the gap this morning for our fellow saints, for our family members, and for our friends. So many need so much, but we know that there is nothing too hard for God. Continue to touch, bless, anoint, and heal those saints among us who are afflicted. Keep us all just a little closer to You this day and give us the wisdom to choose the right seeds for our gardens. Now Lord we pause to praise You. We give thanks to You this day; we magnify and uplift Your most holy name. We ask and pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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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.

There are plants found throughout the Bible. Test your knowledge of Biblical Botany.

1) The Hebrew spies brought back figs, grapes and this fruit from the land of milk and honey.

2) Aaron's rod bloomed and produced these.

3) Hiram, king of Tyre, sent this wood to David for the building of his palace.

4) The Hebrew longed for the food of Egypt... cucumbers, leeks, onion, garlic and this.

5) God keeps us as the what of His eye?

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: Precious Memories
Recommended by: Jennifer Holladay

Country music has been my genre of choice. It was always on in the car since I was a small child, and I knew the words and could sing along.

I was pleased with the release of Precious Memories by Alan Jackson. Precious Memories is a compilation of the singer's favorite hymns that he compiled for his Mama, and shows his listeners his faith and love of the lord.

The CD begins with some old favorites, "Blessed Assurance", "Softly and Tenderly", and "I Love to Tell the Story". Alan brings to us the power of Jesus' love for us. The fourth track, "When We All Get To Heaven", Alan expresses the feelings of rejoicing that we will all feel when that awesome day arrives. In "Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus" Alan shares vocals with his wife and daughters and the sense of love and family shines through in their harmonizing. The next several tracks, "In the Garden", "Are you Washed in the Blood", "I'll Fly Away", "What a Friend we Have in Jesus", "Standing on the Promises", "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms", "The Old Rugged Cross", and "How Great Thou Art", each testify the love of Jesus. The final track, "I Want to Stroll Over Heaven with You" is a poignant song to a loved one (assuming to be his wife) about being with her in heaven some glad day to enjoy the beauty where all things are new.

As country music can be a genre of heartache and mistakes this CD is a refreshing way of hearing one of my favorite artists sing songs that are uplifting and are surrounded with the love of Jesus. I listen to this CD over and over and it helps me get through my rough days.

Book of the Month: The Politically Incorrect Wife
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

The Politically Incorrect Wife by Nancy Cobb & Connie Grigsby

I cannot recommend this book enough! It is really, really good! There are a lot of books about being a Biblical wife... and this one joins them in that... but for me, there was just something about the way the authors presented things. I think a lot of it was the fact that they have both struggled in this area and they were very open and candid. There were things I read and thought "Wow! Someone else has thought that!?" Everything they talk about is Biblically based.. this isn't just their opinion or what they have found works through trial and error. And they stress that being a Politically Incorrect Wife really isn't about your husband.. it is about obedience to the Lord and your relationship with God. This book will challenge you to be the wife God has called you to be.. but it won't shame you into it. And, if you are like me, you will find great comfort in knowing that others struggle with this too... and it is a day to day fight... but with God it can be done.

DVD of the Month: Mark Lowry Goes to Hollywood
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

Any show with Mark Lowry promises to be good. He will make you laugh... cry... and everything in-between. Our family has enjoyed Mark for many years. Something I have begun to notice with his last few programs is a bit less silliness and a bit more sharing. In Mark Lowry Goes to Hollywood, Mark strikes a wonderful balance between comedy and sharing the message. I know that Mark has lost some dear friends in the last year or so and I wonder if that, plus world events has brought on a sense of urgency. No matter the reason, I love the outcome. This DVD has all you expect from Mark.. funny stories, funny faces, great music... and more. Mark really shares some encouraging words about God's love for us even when we doubt or falter in our faith... and he shares the Gospel. The music features 2 great Gospel Groups - the Isaacs and LordSong, as well as Mark singing a solo or two himself. He has a really good voice. Songs include "Home Where I Belong (I Wanna Go To Heaven)", "Wandering Heart", and "Make it Real", which is an amazing song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither's daughter. The Bonus material on the DVD is wonderful also.. please do not miss it! Mark finds the oldest grandmother in the auditorium and sings her favorite hymn with her.. it is wonderful! One of the best things about this DVD is that it truly is family friendly. Any one of any age can watch this. There is no language... no intense scenes.. no innuendo.. no nudity... nothing objectionable! My teenagers love it as much as my husband and I. So if you are looking for some good family entertainment that combines laughter, song and a great message, rent Mark Lowry Goes To Hollywood.. or better yet, buy it! It is well worth watching again and again!

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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! ‹

Can you decode these plants that are found in the Bible.? Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a number. For example A=1, B=2, and so on like that.

1 3 1 3 9 1

1 12 13 15 14 4

1 12 15 5

1 16 16 12 5

2 1 18 12 5 25

3 5 4 1 18

3 25 16 18 5 19 19

6 9 7

7 18 1 16 5 19

8 5 14 14 1

13 1 14 4 18 1 11 5

13 5 12 15 14

15 1 11

15 12 9 22 5

16 1 12 13

16 9 14 5 19

16 15 13 5 7 18 1 14 1 20 5 19

19 25 3 1 13 15 18 5

23 8 5 1 20

23 9 12 12 15 23

Click here for the 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:

(all references from the NIV Bible)

1) Pomegranates Numbers 13:23

2) Almonds Numbers 17:8

3) Cedar 2 Samuel 5:11

4) Melons Numbers 11:5

5) Apple Psalm 17:8

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Answers for JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH:

ACACIA--Deuteronomy 10:3

ALMOND--Numbers 17:8

ALOE--Psalm 45:8

APPLE--Song of Solomon 2:3

BARLEY--Ruth 1:22

CEDAR--Numbers 24:6

CYPRESS--Isaiah 44:14

FIG--Genesis 3:7

GRAPES--Genesis 40:10

HENNA--Song of Solomon 1:14

MANDRAKE--Genesis 30:14

MELON--Jeremiah 10:5

OAK--Genesis 35:8

OLIVE--Genesis 8:11

PALM--Exodus 15:27

PINES--Isaiah 37:24

POMEGRANATES--Deuteronomy 8:8

SYCAMORE--Luke 19:4

WHEAT--Job 31:40

WILLOW--Ezekiel 17:5

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