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JEM-PRECIOUS STONES
(Issue #52 -- PUMPKIN PATCH -- October 2007)


Have you ever stared out at a pumpkin patch and seen all the different sizes, colorings, and shapes of each individual pumpkin? Have you ever wandered through pondering all the love and care that went into making every masterpiece that lays on the ground before you -- the sheer wonder that a tiny seed could create such a massive fruit, and that our God created and controls it all? Join us this month in the Pumpkin Patch! You probably won't see the great pumpkin, but I can assure you that you will see One who is Greater if you keep your eyes open...

In His Service,
Matt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACROSTIC FOR OCTOBER
WORD REFLECTION
BIRTHDAY GREETING
INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
COMIC STRIP
WORD IN ACTION
PUMPKIN PATCH
THINK ABOUT IT!
CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
QUICK TIP OF THE MONTH
CRAFT OF THE MONTH
SKIPPING STONES
TIME OUT!
BIBLE QUIZ
CHECK IT OUT!
JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH



ACROSTIC FOR OCTOBER
By: Denise Imbody

October is a month where we think of
Candy corn, pumpkins, and all kinds of
Treats but did you realize that behind all the
Orange, red, yellow and
Brown colors of autumn the
Eternal Lord of all
Reminds us of His everlasting love?!

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WORD REFLECTION By: Barbara Lea Campbell

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts" Ps. 139:23

On the surface we can read this verse and think that the Psalmist wants God to understand his motives. After all, maybe he hasn't done the right thing, but he meant to... his heart was in the right place. Wasn't it? Don't we tend to rationalize our disobedience and sin that way? Or maybe we are justifying our lack of action. Do we want a cursory searching? God to just glance our way and say "OK... you meant well."

But if we dig a bit, we find that isn't what the Psalmist meant. To search and to know in this verse means to dig in, to investigate, to know intimately. What's more, what he asks God to know isn't just his outer appearance... he wants God to delve in and really know his heart. The word used here is the Hebrew word Lebab and it means the inner man, mind, will, soul... it is the core of who we are, what we do, how we feel, how we act.

Remember David knew all to well about God's view of the inner man. After all, that is how God chose him to be king. He looked at the inner man, at his heart. "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7 NIV

David also knew what the prophet Jeremiah would later proclaim... "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jer. 17:9NIV And David knew who could understand his heart, who could cure it. God.

This is what we need to do. We need to ask God to search us.. to know us.. the real us.. the us no one else sees. Funny thing, He already does know us. But by asking Him to do this, we are acknowledging our need to be examined.. acknowledging that all is not right and that we want Him to remove the mess, the gunk in our lives and make us like Him... whole and complete.

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BIRTHDAY GREETING

May the Lord of Peace and Love fill you with His blessings and calm your fears this month. May He multiply unto you all the good things you desire on your special day! Happy Birthday!

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INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT
By: Denise Imbody

Ponder if you will the
Unfailing love of the Father who
Made everything there is and
Proclaim it to all who
Know and do not know of His
Infinite glory that will
Never leave those who love Him

Please do take the time to
Always remember how
The Father sent His
Christ to be our salvation and who deserves all the
Honor and glory forever and ever!

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COMIC STRIP
By: Matthew Imbody

Note: These Comic Strips are specially designed to work with JAWS and other speech software. With Graphics turned on, JAWS should read a description of the comic. If you have any trouble with it, or you would like to comment or give feedback, please feel free to write us at Precious_Stones@JEMMinistries.org.


The Last Pumpkin...

There are four panels.  Each contains a picture of a sad pumpkin, lying on it's side, amongst dead brush and dried remains of it's pumkin patch.  In the first panel, the pumpkin says, 'Hello?  Is anyone out there?'  In the second pamel, 'All my friends are gone...' In the third, '...and it's getting cold! The fourth, 'Could you take me home, please?'


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WORD IN ACTION
By: Denise Imbody

A Candle's Flickering Flame

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.” -John 8:12

I love to sit and watch a candle’s flame as it flickers. Sometimes it just seems to be dancing, happily, without a care in the world. Other times it seems as though it is holding on in hopes not to go out.

During the times it seems to be dancing, it seems so happy, and nothing can bring it down. Nothing can bother it. Nothing can touch it.

The other times when it seems like it’s holding on, in hopes not to go out. It seems so sad. Like if the littlest thing happens, it will go out. Yet, it flickers hanging in there, not going out, even though the wax all around it is melting. It seems as though it could drown in it’s own wax, or if the slightest breeze goes blowing by, it will go out.

I think we have times like this in our Christian walk. Sometimes we are like that candle’s flame that seems to be dancing. We seem, and feel, so strong in the Lord, and in our walk. We feel like nothing can ruin our walk. In those times, we feel bold, happy, and like we can do whatever the Lord asks.

I think we also have those times when we feel like that candle’s flickering flame, where if just one more thing happens…that’s it we’ll go out. We could drown in our problems, or if the slightest thing comes along and upsets our walk, and we’re like that’s enough; feeling as though we can not take anymore.

What should we do in these times? We need to hang in there like that happy dancing flame. Even if we don’t feel like it. It’s hard at times, believe me, I know. I have never wanted to give up on the Lord, but there have been times, when I’ve just had enough, and don’t feel as I can take much more, if anymore.

I will never, not ever, give up on Jesus, because I know He will never give up on me.

Heavenly Father, please help us in our times of struggles, and trials to hang in there. Help our flame never go out, as You are our flame…help us to remember that. Help us to remember with You, we can go on, and on, as long as You have us to, in Jesus’ name, amen.

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PUMPKIN PATCH
By: Matthew Imbody

Have you ever been to the pumpkin patch? It’s a great experience that many children get to sample (at least up here in the North East) through a School field trip – but it’s even more fun to enjoy it as a family!

You get to roam the pumpkin patch looking for the perfect pumpkin – usually a big one, with no dents, bruises, or blemishes. The perfect pumpkin will be that traditional pumpkin shape – and won’t have flat spots from sitting on the ground. It will also be orange – bright orange! Ripe and full of seeds! The green ones aren’t right – even the ones with green spots or slight discoloration – and the perfect pumpkin just has to have a nice stem, too. Sometimes people pick their pumpkins up by the stem, and that stem breaks off in their hand – disfiguring what could have been the best pumpkin in the patch...

Did you ever think about God wandering the "pumpkin patch" of earth looking for a "pumpkin" to bring home and make beautiful? His criteria is much different than ours, though. Many times He picks the broken, disfigured, far-from-perfect "pumpkins" to take up in His arms and use for His glory! The "pumpkins" that think they are already perfect also think they don’t need God’s help. You can almost see them shy away as The Lord walks past – but the "pumpkins" that realize they are nothing without Him, are the ones He is drawn to. They almost leap into His embrace – knowing that He is their only hope and Savior!

May God hold us all in His mighty hands – and make us more than we could have ever been! May we shine with His beauty and love, and show the other pumpkins that there is still hope – even when we feel we are far from perfect!

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THINK ABOUT IT!

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff, including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see.
--Author Unknown to Us

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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 139
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

Crockpot Macaroni Bake

1 pkg. (12 oz) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can beans (red beans or black beans)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 1/2 c. water
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. grated cheese (we prefer sharp cheddar)
cooking spray

Spray the inside of your crockpot with the cooking spray. You will need a large crockpot 4 - 6 qt to make the entire recipe. If your crockpot is smaller, you may want to halve the recipe.

Cook onion, celery and bell pepper in oil in skillet until slightly tender and onion is translucent. Combine macaroni, ground beef, vegetables, soup, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 c. of cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into crockpot. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. cheese over top of casserole. Cover and cook on high 2 - 3 hours or on low 6 - 7 hours.

Note: This could easily be converted to a meatless meal by leaving out the ground beef and adding another can of beans. Also, ground turkey can be substituted for the beef.

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: Denise Imbody

I heard on an email list, about how Rachel Ray suggested that if you put the plastic wrap in your freezer, before trying to use it that it will cut more smoothly, instead of sticking to itself when you go to cut it off the box. So, after much delay in trying it out, we decided to give it a go. It truly does work, and now we keep our plastic wrap in the freezer, so it is ready to use whenever we need it.

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

Easy Pumpkin Craft with Scripture

Materials Needed
Paper Plates
Orange Construction Paper, Paint, or Marker
Yellow Construction Paper
Markers, Pens, or Pencils
Scissors
Glue Sticks

What To Do
(If you are working with smaller children you might want to prepare some of this ahead of time.)

1. Most paper plates have a line you can follow that is right inside the rim, so that is what I am talking about when I say paint or color the circle of the paper plate.

2. Cut that circle out.

3. Cut out eyes, a nose, and mouth.

4. Glue your pumpkin face on to the yellow construction paper.

5. Draw a stem on top of the pumpkin using either a brown or green marker, and color it in.

6. Write the following Scripture Verse wherever you like (or have room--depending on where you glued your pumpkin):

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16;NIV

7. Finish decorating your picture with autumn leaves, acorns, etc, that you draw and color.

8. Display for everyone to see!

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: Marilyn Christine

I am not perfect and I know that this will come as a surprise to most of you- because you thought I was--Hahaha One of the things I did all my life was try to be perfect to other's standards- you know, the way '' they'' expect us to talk, dress, eat, think and behave plus a lot of other ''they'' standards. - I have never found out who ''they'' are but I often heard what ''they'' think is the right way to success.

The Lord has been showing me that the perfection of this world is not the same as God's standards. I need to forget the useless and unhealthy things that clutter my mind from ''the standards of the world set by someone called 'they''. God's word says:

''"For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God." ~Colossians1:9

If everyone thinks alike, no one would need to do much thinking. If we follow what ''they'' say we will find our walk with the Lord faltering. Remember that what ''they '' say must agree with what God says. The elimination of selfishness for the perfection according to ''they' can only be accomplished with God's help. I can throw away the worldly things I depend on and walk in God's power and spirit. There is no limit in God's power. I pray that I may have more dependence on God. I pray that I throw away the "crutches of"they " I rely on and let God's power and standards take place in my life.

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TIME OUT!
By: Marilyn Christine

Keeping my Wrinkles

Lately I have been noticing in the mirror that my face is growing wrinkles. They seem to come in my sleep. Face lifts are not in my financial means nor do I have that kind of courage. And now the government has told us that wrinkle creams don't work. I am not so sure I am glad they told us that. LOL

Miss Sidney and I had a wrinkled conversation the other day.

Miss Sidney: "Oma?'

Oma- ''Yes..."

Miss Sidney: ''When you die and--"

Oma thinks: oh, no- what does she want me to do? but says...''Hmmmmmmmmm''

Miss Sidney; ''When you die and go to heaven; can you keep your wrinkles?"

Oma thinks: Lord. what should I say, I know she will never understand the new body and the wonders of heaven compared to earth? so Oma says= ''Hmmmmmmmmm, I will try. but Why?'' ( notice this is a bold question to ask a child)

Miss Sidney says: ''So when I die and go to heaven- I will know who you are.''

Oma says: ''Just for you I will keep my wrinkles.''

Wrinkles are part of who I am and sometimes when I see that old lady in my mirror I do think of ironing them out but then I remember that they are part of a blessing that makes me Oma- They are my identity.

Time will of course, change Miss Sidney's views on life and wrinkles. I shall remember that my wrinkles are a blessing to a child who sees wrinkles as a need. Sometimes we see wrinkles in others and we try to iron them out. Maybe we should let them keep them so we will know who they are.

Well, this Meme who is also called Oma must go- I pray that each one of you will find joy in your wrinkles- © Meme16

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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.

As we look through our pumpkin patch this month, we see that pumpkins are carved and a light is placed in them to shine out onto the World. We are like those pumpkins. God puts His light in us so we can shine it into the World. Let's look a bit at the Light found in the Word.

1) According to Jesus, why should we let our light "shine before men"?

2) The apostle John wrote of Jesus that "in Him was life" and that life was the what of men?

3) In Isaiah we read that these people have seen a great light?

4) Why, according to Jesus, have men loved darkness instead of light?

5)To whom was Jesus speaking when He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life?"

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: Living for You by Gateway Music
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

I had never heard of this church or their music until a friend gave me this CD. At first I thought, ok.. another worship cd. But wow! This is much more. The songs are so invigorating... they really seem to speak what is on your heart and shift your focus off yourself and onto God. I know it sounds a bit cliche, but this really is a worship experience. "The Revelation Song" is an amazing rendition of the picture we see in that book of worship in Heaven. "The More I Seek You" reminds us how faithful He is to be found when we seek after Him. "In Every Breath", the awesomeness of God is met with a desire to give our entire life to Him.. "Every breath Lord, all that I am ,I want my life to bring You glory. Every moment and all I have, I want my life to bring You glory. Forever, I surrender." Other songs included are "Pure", "Who You Are", "My Everything" and more. You can listen to some of these online by searching for Gateway Worship at www.youtube.com (Please note that YouTube is NOT a strictly Christian site and there can be offensive content found there). You can hear samples of each track at the Gateway site, as well as find chord charts and lyrics there. http://www.gatewayworship.com/ This is a wonderful CD that will invigorate your worship!

DVD of the Month: VeggieTales--THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF HA'S
Recommended by: Denise Imbody

Big Idea has done it yet again. They have combined a classic movie, with a Bible story told by Jesus, and created yet another great adventure for the whole entire family.

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF HA'S is a delightful story that combines the classic movie THE WIZARD OF OZ and the Bible story THE PRODIGAL SON. Darby, played by Junior Asparagus, decides that he has had enough of the farm life, and wants to try it out on his own so he can do whatever he wants--this stems from the fact that he wants to go to the new amusement park that costs all kinds of money--but his father says that his money is for his future, and there is too much that needs to be done around the farm right now. He takes his piggy bank, and his pet piggy named Tu Tu, and heads off for the amusement park.

He finds all kinds of friends and adventure along the way, including the characters you might expect...Scarecrow played by Mr. Lunt, Tin Man played by Larry the Cucumber, and Lion played by Pa Grape.

The video includes a brand new Silly Songs with Larry, and is approximately 49 minutes long.

And as all DVD seem to have, you will find those special Easter eggs that have hidden little treasures for you to seek out. So grab your family, and some popcorn and M&Ms, and get ready to have some great family fun with the Veggies!

Book of the Month: The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

This isn't a "new" idea, in fact, we've visited it quite a few times in Precious Stones, and I am sure we will visit it again.

The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a wonderful book for children and perfect for this time of year. Higgs looks at Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns in a very different way. In Pumpkin Patch, your child learns of the farmer who plants the pumpkin seed, tends to the pumpkin, nurtures it, feeds it, waters it and harvests it when the time is right. The farmer then is able to remove all the mush and gush in the pumpkin, make it look like him and put his light inside so that it shines for all to see. The spiritual lessons in this story are many. This is a book to be enjoyed by children of all ages.

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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

How many words can you make out of the phrase...

PUMPKIN PATCH?

If you have any trouble, there are a few answers for you in the answer section to help you out.

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:

1) So that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven. Matt. 5:16

2) Light John 1:4

3) Walking in Darkness Isa. 9:2

4) Because their deeds were evil John 3:19

5) To the Pharisees in the temple John 8:12-13

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Answers for JEM'S PUZZLER OF THE MONTH:

1. PUMP
2. KIN
3. PUMPKIN
4. PATCH
5. MINK
6. PINK
7. THINK
8. THANK
9. MAIN
10. IN
11. AM
12. PIN
13. AN
14. PAN
15. MATCH
16. PITCH
17. ITCH
18. PUT
19. TIN
20. TAN
21. MAT
22. MIT
23. MINT
24. PINT
25. PAINT
26. ANT
27. PANT
28. CHAIN
29. MAP
30. TAP
31. CAP
32. PAT
33. HAT
34. PIT
35. TIP
36. CHIN
37. PINCH
38. PUNCH
39. CHIT
40. CHAT
41. INK
42. TANK
43. PUNK
44. HUNK
45. PUP
46. UP
47. IT
48. AT
49. HIT
50. NAP

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