Tuesday, November 29, 2011

7 Miracles That Saved America

    Some time ago I finished listening to Seven Miracles that Saved America - mostly because it was written by one of my favourite authors - Chris Stewart (of the Great & Terrible series). He did not disappoint. One does not have to be American to recognize the singular position that country played in world history - as, among other things -  the first nation to embrace lasting democracy. 
As Latter-day Saints we have a further insight into the background of that - acknowledging that America was to be the stage upon which the Restoration of ALL things was to take place. Many things had to be prepared for that Great Event. This important detail however, is not mentioned in the book, and is unnecessary for the purpose of the book - which is to enlighten all God-Fearing Christian people who are open minded enough to recognize the hand of God in the establishment and protection of that great nation. It is also imperative to recognize the hand of Lucifer in many attempts to thwart God's plan for this country. For as Lehi promised, there will be opposition in all things. 

A HIGH Recommendation for every reader LDS or Not. All those who enjoy reading truth. One does not have to be American to enjoy it. 
- Cindy

Seven Miracles That Saved America 
by Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart

Also available on Audio CD

“When the odds were stacked against us—and there have been many times when the great experiment we call America could have and should have failed—did God intervene to save us?”

That question, posed by authors Chris and Ted Stewart, is the foundation for this remarkable book. And the examples they cite provide compelling evidence that the hand of Providence has indeed preserved the United States of America on multiple occasions. Skillfully weaving story vignettes with historical explanations, they examine seven instances that illustrate God’s protecting care:
* The unlikely discovery of America by Christopher Columbus
* How (and why) desperate English colonists were able to survive the “starving time” at Jamestown
* The Battle of New York during the Revolutionary War
* The miraculous creation of the United States Constitution
* Abraham Lincoln’s desperate prayer that turned the tide of the Civil War at Gettysburg
* How a series of extraordinary events changed the Battle of Midway during World War II
* The preservation of Ronald Reagan’s life from an assassin’s bullet, allowing him the time he needed to help extend freedom around the world

Available now in book or book on CD - @ Generations LDS Bookstore 
Click HERE to find out MORE 

“A Final Thought”

by Chris Stewart (from 7 Miracles that Saved America)

“There is an interesting story in the Bible that, we believe gives a final reason to have hope.
The 18th chapter of Genesis tells that story of God, appearing to Abraham and sharing His intentions to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Hearing this intent, Abraham asks God a rather pointed question. “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (v23)
Then he starts to bargain with the Lord “Peradvanture there be 50 righteous within the city; wilt thou destroy and not spare the place for the 50 righteous that are therein?” (v24)
And God answers, “If I find in Sodom 50 righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes” (v26)
Thank about that. “I will spare all the place” the entire city. And why? For their sakes.
For the sake of the good.
Then Abraham, apparently knowing that the people in Sodom and Gomorrah were really pretty bad, rethinks his proposition. Realizing there might not actually be 50 righteous within the cities, he makes a counteroffer, asking if God wouldn’t spare the city for 45 righteous. (v28)
And so they go, Abraham bargaining with God, essentially pleading on behalf of the righteous until hey get down to ten. And God say “I will not destroy it for 10’s sake.” (v32)
Surely there’s a lesson for us here. Maybe we have reached the point where we, as an entire people, are no longer worthy of God’s blessings. Are the good among us fewer than 60% of our population?
Fewer than ½? Fewer than 40%? Or 30%? Is there any way to really know?
But in a sense it may not matter quite as much as we think, for God has shown His willingness to save an entire people for the sake of the righteous, even if they are but a few.
If that is true, maybe we need not worry so much about our country and our people and whether our society has become too wicked, for surely there are wicked among us. Instead, maybe we need to concentrate on our own lives, our own goodness, our own families. Are we one of the 50? One of the 10? Are we, those of us who still believe, living our lives in such a way that we could convince God to save our nation if only for the few?
Though severe storms lie before us and around us, we do not struggle through darkness by ourselves. As the early patriot John Page once wrote to Thomas Jefferson ‘Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this Storm?
Indeed, we do not walk alone.”
Pages 293.294

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jacob T. Marley,
by William Bennett

I have always wondered about Jacob Marley. ... oh, I know he's just a fictious character, but I always sorta felt bad for him, he having to spend eternity dragging a lot of heavy chains around, while his compatriot and fellow Jerk - Ebeneezer gets a second chance to escape the same fate. Pretty good friend to warn him I'd say - since we all know Scrooge deserved the same chains "having added to them these seven years".

There is no question that Jacob got what he earned - he said it himself. "I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by year. It is a ponderous chain." But exactly where does mercy and justice meet? We all cry out for mercy, and Ebeneezer (though not sold on the idea at the beginning) cried out for mercy too .... but doesn't Jacob Marley get any mercy? When I get this philosophical, my kids remind me "MOM, its a BOOK! A Story. Calm down. He wasn't real."
Well, good stories make me think about real life, and I love to see the deeper meaning in them. And when I read that classic favourite - A Christmas Carol - every December, a part of me is unsettled because of the unfinished piece about Jacob Marley .....

Evidently, there are others who felt the same way. Lucky for us, one of them happens to be the incredibly talented Latter-day Saint author William Bennett. ...

Enter the NEW book "Jacob T. Marley" the soon to be classic companion - at least in my family. (sssshhhh - don't tell them, but all my adult kids are getting one of these for Christmas to go along with each of their copies of A Christmas Carol.)

Written in 'Dickens-ish' language, it is beautiful to read - a pure literary pleasure that makes me smile, simply enjoying the flow of it.
Available at Generations Bookstore (and all other good Independent LDS Bookstores).
CLICK HERE to Read More about it on our website

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the MESSIAH by Toni Sorenson

by Toni Sorenson

the setting: beginning about 20 BC - Helaman chapter 11

The people abound in wickedness, both Nephite and Lamanite. Gadianton robbers plague the people from their strongholds in the hills. The prophet Nephi is given the power to bind and loosen in earth and in heaven. He persuades the Lord to replace war with famine that the people might be brought to humility and repentance. The rains stop and destruction from war is replaced by famine. The effects are felt among the righteous as well as the wicked. Many perish. Finally, at the point of utter despair and sure destruction, the people repent and the rains come again.... Almost four years without rain!

"And now O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again IF they wll serve Thee? And IF so, O Lord Thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou has said." (Helaman 11:16)
Big IF's. 

It is the generation of Samuel - when believers among the Nephites are fewer in number than among the Lamanites. All over the land the people are being prepared for the birth of the Messiah - about whom their men of God have been prophesying for nearly 600 years.
Turmoil grips Zarahemla, despite the humbling famine. In many ways it is a time not unlike our own. Believers await the signs they have trusted in for so long. Unbelievers ridicule and mock them and trample everything that is precious under foot. Believers are persecuted and their faith is stretched and tested in their hardships. The wicked reason "it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come, if so, ... why will he not show himself unto us, as well as them who shall be at Jerusalem? ...  this is part of a diabolical plan of deception to keep the people downtrodden and in ignorance - promising them an event which can never be proven - not among us" they say "but in a land which is distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes..." 

Sound familiar? Uh huh. Yeh, me too.

What would it have been like to have lived then? Probably similar to now I imagine. And yet we have the 20/20 vision of hindsight that they did not.
Those believers had faith in an event yet to hapen and a being yet to be born. We have faith in an event that DID happen and in a Redeermer who has not only been born, but lived and preached and ministered and died - all according to prophecy, and who rose again, and who promised to return.
Author Toni Sorenson took Nephi at his word, and likened "the scriptures unto ourselves". She paints a picture of the time encompassing the books of Helaman and 3rd Nephi, in the Book of Mormon. A time which we should recognize as up close and personal. 
Take a journey through the eyes of a young man named Kiah. A boy raised by a believing mother, in a world where they were the minority - even among their neighbours and friends.
Days never to be forgotten. Days that we would do well to imprint in our hearts, as we are reliving them in our own day. The final days when foretold signs abound, and those with eyes to see recognize them and take note. 

a novel by Toni Sorenson, author of the Best Selling MASTER
500 page HB Cdn $26.95

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

presents the Musical
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

November 17, 18, 19
including a Saturday Matinee
Westbury Theatre in Edmonton, AB
tickets available at Generations Bookstore
and going fast! 
phone the store 780-413-0392
or click HERE to purchase online 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hainan Incident

Holy Cow - I just finished a gooooood book this week that cost me  a LOT of sleep.
(I need some responsible person in my life telling me when to "go to BED!!")
Normally I am not a fan of mystery / suspense type stories. Heck I don't even like birthday surprises. I am not hardwired to enjoy surprises of any kind. So its always a big 'surprise' when I enjoy a good suspense book. I thoroughly enjoyed the "Hainan Incident", and I heartily recommend it.

After about a week of reading when I could find the time, I invested two very late nights in a row 'cause I believed I might finish it the first night - but I badly overestimated my reading speed - notwithstanding the fact that I could NOT put the book down. The second late night I came within 3 PAGES! 3 Pages of finishing, but I was so doggone tired I couldn't focus and kept reading the same paragraph over and over till I finally admitted defeat and turned the light off. The story was at such an exciting point that night that I literally was shaking! I was shivering so bad (I kid you not) my TEETH were chattering. No wonder I don't like surprises. I couldn't live like that on a daily basis if you paid me! I finally finished it (the last 3 pages) first thing in the morning - as soon as my mind was clear and my eyes could focus again. And I've been thinking about it ever since.

A first novel for author DM Coffman, (always a pleasant surprise when a first novel is this good) it was well written, engaging, believable, even compelling. The Hainan Incident takes place on Mainland China, with the main character being an American born attorny of Chinese descent. Convert to the church who served a Chinese speaking mission. A good man, who had the background, the education, the disguise (quite conveniently), the language and the patriotic desire to accept an unexpected assignment as an undercover agent to expose corruption in China’s court system. Incidently, DM Coffman lived in Beijing with her husband - like two of her characters - during the time that the story takes place, so she has excellent insight into the places and people she writes about. 

the Hainan Incident
     by DM Coffman
Also available on audio CD

Before beginning his first undercover assignment, American attorney Yi Jichun travels to Hainan Island on the South China Sea for some much-needed respite—but finds trouble instead. Already uneasy about his charge to expose corruption in China’s court system, Yi stumbles upon a hidden computer network in an ancient island village and finds himself drawn into an investigation that tears him between his religious principles and the lie he must live.
Aided by Sarah, an esteemed fellow judge, and Meijuan, a village leader exiled by her powerful and corrupt son, Yi uncovers the Hainan Net—an international organization that targets global shipping channels in its quest for world power. But Yi loses ground when Sarah discovers his true identity as a foreign spy—and as the American military organizes a stealth assault in full cooperation with China’s government, Yi must reconcile the laws governing the land with the laws governing his honor.

Price: (CDN) $17.95
Buy Now

Yi [Jason] Jichun is an active and worthy member of the church, but going into Communist China he must hide that fact so as not to draw attention to himself (and his differences) while he is undercover. How does one live the precepts of one's religion when one must never admit to others that he has a religion? Especially a religion such as ours? His American raised 'thinking' sometimes stands out as peculiar to those he closely associates with, but never does he dishonour himself, his covenants or his God. 

During a brief vacational respite before he reports to the University in Beijing he visits a tourist destination on the beautiful island of Hainan, but while there, unwittingly comes across a piece of trivia that seems strangely at odds with its surroundings. What others may call coincidences Latter-day Saints see very differently, as Yi is guided and protected as he worthily (if unwittingly at first) allows himself to be used as an instrument in the Lord's hands for a purpose much bigger than his wildest asperations or imaginations. Literally the fate of the world is on the alter. ..... 
Whew! I owe a lot to Yi Jichun for preserving the day to day normalicy of my life when I didn't even know it was on the chopping block. Oh yeah, it was only a novel ..... :-) 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eliza's Field of Faith

 I read a Great book to my grandaughter . . . . "Eliza's Field of Faith"
by Raschelle Castor.

What a wonderful book - based on a true story, and beautifully illustrated by Dixon Leavitt - every author's dream of an illustrator.

I wiped tears away on almost every page - something it seems my grandaughter is quite used to, and she just patiently waited. I think she thinks my voice just naturally cracks when I read.
Eliza's father is called away to serve a mission far away, and he leaves his family with the hope that they will be blessed for their faithfulness. Eliza doesn't see things that way, and she thinks its unfair that the prophet expects so much from her family. "When the prophet calls," her mother reminds her, "it is as if God is calling. And I'm not about to tell God No."
Eliza feels that her family is unfairly tested during her father's absence, and just when they need the Lord the most, He lets them down. No seagulls to eat THEIR crickets! What Eliza soon realizes, is that the Lord has not let them down, and that sometimes miracles happen in ways we least expect them. "Faith ALWAYS precedes the miracle."
It was a story I loved reading my grandaughter, and I'm sure we'll read many more times. I hope it is a story she becomes so familiar with that she memorizes it, as I expect that there will be many times in her life when she could use a reminder of how the Lord is ever mindful of us, and that our ways are not always His ways.
I recommend this book for everyone who has young children (or young grandchildren), and everyone who loves beautifully illustrated, tenderly told stories of inspiration and encouragement. Truth is, if I didn't have grandchildren I still would have bought it. Its MY kind of book. Grandchildren are a good excuse to read outloud.
Michael de Groote, of the Mormon Times said "There are many children's picture books in the national and the LDS market. Eliza's Field of Faith is one of the best. It is a book that is full of beauty and inspiration for adults and children.”
I completely concur. 
 Told thru the eyes of Eliza -- a young girl whose father was called away on a mission, this is the true story when there was no miracle of the gulls, .... ."

Comment from another reader:
"I just bought this book and absolutely can't stop raving about it! My wife, and mother-in-law both read it and cried. I read it and cried. Wow. Amazing work Rachelle. Such symmetry and power in the prose! Thank you for sharing this book with the world!"
- Cindy