Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankfulness

I once read of a soldier in the American Third Army who was sent to a rest camp after a period of intense fighting in World War 2. When he returned to his outfit, he wrote a letter to General George Patton, commander of the Third Army, thanking him for the splendid care he had received.

General Patton wrote back that in the 35 years he had endeavored to give all the comfort and convenience he could to his men, this was the first letter of thanks he had received.

Are we guilty of neglecting to thank God for His many blessings to us?

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, but for the Christian every day should be a day of giving thanks.

The Psalmist encourages us to "magnify the Lord with thanksgiving."

Courtesy Google.com
A magnifying glass makes objects seem larger. Thanksgiving makes God bigger to us.  It helps us see Him better, see His ability to supply all our needs. When we thank Him for what He has done in the past, our faith is built up to know He will meet today's needs too.

Psalm 103 admonishes us to "bless the Lord at all times." To bless means "to praise and to give thanks." This psalm is an outpouring of thanksgiving for God's many blessings.

Some of the many benefits we receive from God listed in Psalm 103 include
(1) He forgives our sins and redeems us through the blood of Jesus--vv. 3-4.
(2) He heals us--v. 3.
(3) He surrounds us with lovingkindness--v. 4.
(4) He renews our lives--v. 5.
(5) He gives justice and reveals His will--vv. 6-7.
(6) He is merciful and tender--v. 8.
(7) He is slow to get angry and does not stay angry--vv. 8-9.
(8) He never holds grudges and is the ideal Father--v. 13.

Before we enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner this year, let's pause to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His many blessings to us.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

God's Gift to a Lonely Army Wife


As Veteran's Day approaches, my thoughts always turn to our personal experiences during the year my husband spent in Vietnam, 1969-70. He left the day before our second wedding anniversary. We've been married 50 years now, but that was probably the hardest year of our lives for both of us. The separation was heart wrenching.

Bob in Vietnam in 1969-70
And it didn't get easier with time. One night after Bob had been gone for about six months, I had a strange experience.

I was living alone in an apartment just off the main street of downtown Anchorage, Alaska. As I drove home from church that evening, I was feeling sorry for myself. All of my friends at church were going home with their husbands and families, but I was alone.

Snow was beginning to pile up. The street I lived on was quiet. I was anxious to pull into my assigned parking spot just across the street from the entrance to my building and snuggle up in my warm bed.

But somebody had parked in my place. "Oh, no!" I muttered angrily.

As I drove by, something about the car caught my eye. It looked vaguely familiar.

A ways down the street I found another place to park. Fortunately, I was wearing my snow boots. Disgruntled that I had to walk so far, I gathered my purse and Bible and trudged back up the street to my parking spot.

Before entering my apartment building, I went to investigate the car that had invaded my space. That's when the realization dawned on me. The car was a two-door, beige, 1960 Chevy Impala--the very automobile Bob had bought when we started dating at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks five years earlier.
AnnaLee beside our 1960 Chevy Impala while we were
students at the University of Alaska

I could scarcely believe it. It must be a car that looked just like our old car. But no! The interior was tan, just like our car. Then, as I walked around the vehicle, I noticed that the decorative strip on the front fender of the passenger side was missing.

It was our Impala!

Bob had been teaching me to drive on the rutted, unpaved streets of Valdez, while we were visiting my parents. I had hit a pothole--the entire street was full of them; they couldn't be avoided. The car jostled against a telephone guide wire that tore off that very strip.

I smiled as memories flooded my mind. We'd had so much fun in that Chevy. We'd loved it.


Floodwaters rising at 4:00 a.m. as we evacuate.
It had been faithful even when the summer we got married, Bob and I and that car had gone through the worst flood in Fairbanks history when the Chena River that flows through town overflowed its banks.

Water flooded our little cottage and left mud and debris and a dirty ring nine inches above the surface of the floor. The Chevy was parked just outside the whole time. Although it still worked fine, we weren't sure if water had gotten into the engine.

When Bob went on active duty with the Army a month later, we were afraid to trust it to drive the Alaska Highway and all the way back East. So we sold our beloved Chevy and flew to Bob's first Army school and then to his assignment in Germany.


A week later floodwaters receded

As the snow fell softly around me, my anger fled. In its place was a peace that God had given me a gift that cold, dark night--a gift of memories and the assurance that He cared about a lonely Army wife.

The next morning our old Chevy was gone. I never saw it again. I never did learn why it was in my parking spot or who had parked it there. Only God knows.




As we recognize our veterans this year, let's also remember the sacrifices made by the wives and children who are left at home while their husbands and fathers offer their lives in the defense of our freedom.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

We've Got to Pass It On

I've always been fascinated with family history, especially stories of how the Christian faith has been passed down from generation to generation. The Apostle Paul had a similar interest. In 2 Timothy he commented on Timothy's faith, which his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice passed on to him.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul spelled out God's plan for evangelism and discipleship:

In 1858, a man named Kimball, a Sunday school teacher, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. That clerk was Dwight L. Moody, who became an evangelist. He led many thousands to Christ in the United States and England.

While a student at Lake Forest College in the late 1870s, J. Wilbur Chapman, attended a Moody meeting in Chicago and received counsel from Moody that helped him receive certainty of his (Chapman's) salvation. Later, Chapman became a friend and coworker of Moody's.

Billy Sunday was converted at a street corner meeting held by the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. Chapman hired the former baseball player to help with his evangelistic meetings. Billy Sunday became an evangelist too and held a series of services in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. A group of local men became so enthusiastic as a result of the series that they planned another campaign, bringing Mordecai F. Ham to town as the preacher. During the meetings, a young man named Billy Graham heard the Gospel and yielded his life to Christ.

Who hasn't heard of Billy Graham, evangelist to the world and pastor to many Presidents of the United States? And his son, Franklin Graham, continues as an evangelist and leads humanitarian efforts around the world through Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child.

I can trace my own Christian heritage as far back as 1650 to the persecuted French Protestants nicknamed Huguenots. My grandmother, Florence LeFevre Personeus, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The first white settler there in 1712 was our ancestor, Isaac LeFevre, who at age 16 was the only member of his large family to escape martyrdom at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They were French Huguenots.

A LeFevre cousin holds the LeFevre Bible now preserved
at the Lancaster County Historical Society
Isaac fled with the family Bible baked in a loaf of bread to the Feree home in Strasbourg, France. With them, he fled to Bavaria, then to Holland, and eventually to England, where they met William Penn, who deeded to them a tract of land in Pennsylvania in the Pequea Valley, 55 miles west of Philadelphia. They named their new settlement "Paradise," because they had finally found a place where they could worship God freely. The name of the town remains to this day, and a monument to them stands beside the railroad tracks near the spot where U. S. Route 30 crosses Pequea Creek.

My grandfather, Charles C. Personeus, was the third generation ordained minister in his family. He spent 65 years as a pioneer missionary in Alaska, 1917-1982. My parents followed in their footsteps as missionaries in Alaska, and now I am the fifth generation ordained minister in the Personeus line. Both the LeFevre and Personeus genealogies include many missionaries and pastors.

My husband, on the other hand, started his own chain of conversions when he became the first born-again Christian in his family. His parents eventually came to know the Lord too. Our son and his family are active in ministry. And now, our grandson and his wife are preparing to go to Thailand on a two-year missionary assignment, which may be extended.

What about you? Do you have a Christian heritage? I'd love to hear about it.

It's been said that Christianity is always a generation away from extinction. God has no grandchildren. No matter whether we are a minister or not, passing our Christian faith on to our children and associates is our greatest privilege and responsibility. A shoe clerk led D. L. Moody to the Lord and started the above chain that continued to Billy Graham, perhaps the most influential Christian evangelist in the modern world.

Are you teaching "these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others"?

My grandparents' story is told in my book, Frontiers of Faith. You may also enjoy my historical Christian fiction trilogy based on true incidents my grandparents told about. To read more about them, go to my website: www.AnnaLeeConti.com

Thursday, October 26, 2017

100th Anniversary Celebration at Juneau Christian Center

Juneau Christian Center Past and Present
This past month I had the great privilege of returning to my childhood home for the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Assemblies of God church in Juneau, Alaska, pioneered by my grandparents, Charles & Florence Personeus, in 1917.

I wasn't born there, but I lived in Juneau from my earliest memories until I completed 7th grade. I grew up in this church, so this celebration was especially meaningful to me. All of my spiritual formation took place here, as well as my call to fulltime ministry. Returning for this celebration fulfilled a long-held dream. Since this year my husband and I also celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, we decided this trip was how we would commemorate it too.

What a celebration it was! Here are a few photos (courtesy of the Alaska Ministry Network) of the event held at what is now called Juneau Christian Center.

A banquet at the church kicked off the weekend event.
I was the guest speaker at the banquet. I recalled my memories of growing up in
the Juneau church and shared about my grandparents' call to Alaska and
their 22 years of pioneering the church 
in Juneau (1917-1939).

The entire Alaska Ministry Network flew in for the celebration. Alaska District Superintendent,
Rev. Bill Welch, presented a commemorative plaque to the pastor and his wife,
 Mike & Deenie Rose, who were also celebrating 30 years as pastors at Juneau Christian Center.


The plaque showing the church's previous name
from the former church building was on display.
I brought greetings from my 95-year-old father,
Rev. Robert E.  Cousart, a former member of the
 church, and the First Secretary Treasurer of the
Alaska District


When I concluded my presentation, I challenged everyone to be found
faithful in carrying out the ministry God calls us to do for Him.
Pastor Rose closed in prayer.
On Sunday morning, Pastor Mike Rose preached a powerful
message, "Surging into the Future," a fitting conclusion to
a memorable celebration and a launch into the next 100 years.

Reconnecting with friends from years gone by and making new ones were highlights of our visit.

Even the weather cooperated! Juneau had a rainy summer and rain was forecast for this week too. We landed at the airport in pouring rain. The next morning, though, the rain stopped, the clouds lifted to reveal the tops of the beautiful mountains that surround Juneau, and the sun came out. No rain fell for the next 5 days!

We visited all the scenes of my childhood--the Bethel Beach Children's Home my parents' operated for 5 years had long been demolished to make way for Egan Highway, but I recognized the twin peaks on Douglas Island right across Gastineau Channel from where the home had been.

We drove up Starr Hill past the house we lived in just three houses down from the beginning of the trail up Mt. Roberts. I pointed out Harborview School, where mine was the first 1st grade class to attend there. The 5th Street School, where I went to 3rd-7th grades, is now a vacant lot.

At the old Alaska Coastal Airlines on the waterfront, where my father worked as boss of cargo for the 10 years we lived in Juneau, we ate several times at The Hangar, a restaurant located in that building that overlooks the channel. We especially enjoyed the fresh halibut, my favorite fish.

Funny, how narrow and steep the streets of Juneau are. As a child, I didn't realize that, but then we usually walked everywhere.

Of course, we went to see Mendenhall Glacier, one of the most photographed glaciers in the world. And we drove past Auke Bay and Tee Harbor, where my family picnicked often in those early years, and then out the road as far as it went, where we could see the beginning of Lynn Canal.

One morning we ate sourdough pancakes with Alaskan blueberries. Yum! Our table had a great view of Mt. Juneau towering above the Governor's Mansion. Right across the street from it the house where my Uncle Byron was born in 1918 (the blue house with the square cupola on top) still stands.

Two of my Alaskan Waters novels feature Juneau. The second half of Book Three, Beside Still Waters," is set here. Bob continually asked me, "Is this where Violet did _________?"

It was a week I'll never forget!


My grandparents' story is recounted in my book, Frontiers of Faith. They are also featured in my novels under the fictitious name of Pennington.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Grandpa's Prayers

My Grandma Personeus always told young women, "It's better to marry a man who can pray 'the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails much' than to marry a millionaire." Grandma knew firsthand because that was the kind of man she married.

Charles C. & Florence L. Personeus
Charles Cardwell Personeus was born January 13, 1888, in Masonville, New York, the son and grandson of Methodist ministers. He spent 65 years of ministry in Alaska and died at age 98, in Ellensburg, Washington, on October 10, 1986.

Grandpa learned to pray early in life. He began preaching while still in his teens and became superintendent of the first Pentecostal mission in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1910.

He had been preaching for several years when God called him to go to Alaska as a missionary. Feeling he needed to go to Bible school to prepare further, he enrolled at the Rochester Bible Training School in Rochester, New York. There he met my grandmother, Florence LeFevre.

After their graduations, ordinations, and marriage, the couple set out for Alaska by faith in 1917. En route, they joined the fledgling Assemblies of God but received no promise of monetary support.

Arriving in Juneau in November, they pioneered the first Assemblies of God church in the Territory. This year, Juneau Christian Center is celebrating their 100th year of continuous ministry.

During their 65 years in Alaska, the Personeuses also established and pastored small congregations in remote villages, opened a home for children orphaned in the 1919 flu pandemic, ministered to servicemen stationed in Ketchikan during World War II, and served with their son, Byron, on the first Assemblies of God Speed-the-Light mission boat, the Fairtide II.

Today, there are 92 Assemblies of God churches and preaching points from Ketchikan to Barrow.

Prayer was the strength of Grandpa's ministry. He and Grandma began each day with Bible reading and prayer. When anyone was sick, they prayed. Jesus was their Great Physician.

Grandma suffered a number of serious falls and life-threatening illnesses, often when no doctors were available. Grandpa's first response was to pray under the power of the Holy Spirit, and the prayer of faith raised her up.

In the mid-1930s, when she lay dying of advanced gallstones and the doctor could only offer a 50-50 chance of survival if she had surgery, Grandpa prayed. As they praised God for healing, the hard lump in her side disappeared in 10 minutes time, and she was able to eat for the first time in weeks. She lived to the age of 96 and never again had an attack of gallstones.

Courtesy Google.com
Grandpa and Grandma had a burden for the lost. One young man stumbled into their mission in Juneau while a service was in progress and sat with his head in his hands in utter despair. After the service, he poured out his story. He had worked hard for years at the Chichagof Mining Camp to save thousands of dollars to buy a house for his parents. On the boat to Juneau, he was enticed into a card game, and two card sharks had fleeced him of his savings. He had made up his mind to get his money back or kill those men.

All night Grandpa and Grandma prayed for him. The next morning, Grandpa located the man on the docks and brought him home for breakfast. During their morning Bible reading and prayers, the Word of God broke through his hardened heart, and he knelt to ask God to remove the hatred. That morning, although he had lost all his money, he gained eternal life. As a result of his testimony, his parents too found Christ as their personal Savior.

One time when my grandparents were visiting us, the clock struck the hour and Grandpa jumped up. "It's time to pray for Africa!" he exclaimed as he headed for the bedroom to intercede for the missionaries and for lost souls.

In their later years, Grandma suffered much pain from cancer, yet she would never take painkillers. Instead, she would ask Grandpa to pray until the pain subsided.

Grandpa set a great example of prayer and service for the Lord. He never lost his fire. Even in his nineties, his hearing nearly gone, he would pray and testify under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Grandpa taught his family to pray and minister too. His two children, Byron and AnnaMae (Cousart), followed in his footsteps in ministry. I too am an ordained minister of the gospel, as is my husband,.
Bob. Through Grandpa's righteous life and effectual, fervent prayers, generations are being blessed.

This fall, I've been invited to speak at the 100th anniversary celebration of the church in Juneau, Alaska, that my grandparents founded in 1917. What an honor!

If you enjoyed this account, you can read many more similar stories in my book, Frontiers of Faith, the Story of Charles C. & Florence L. Personeus, Pioneer Missionaries to Alaska, "The Last Frontier," 1917-1982.



















My grandparents also provided the inspiration for my Alaskan Waters Trilogy of historical Christian novels. As I researched their story, I came across true incidents of real people that triggered my imagination.


My books are available in paperback and ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and bookstores. The third book was released this summer. Learn more about them and order at www.AnnaLeeConti.com.







Thursday, September 14, 2017

Harmony or Cacophony?

Four generations of my family taken on my
parents' 60th wedding anniversary
I've always loved music. In fact, my parents tell me that when I was a year old, I sang out so loud in church that everyone had to wait for me to repeat each line before they could sing the next.

As a child, I loved to listen to my mother and father sing duets, their voices blending together in beautiful harmony. As I grew up, I joined them in a trio.

Then I majored in music in college and met my husband singing in the Choir of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. When we married, we sang duets together too. Now, our grandchildren are  making beautiful music as well.

Harmony is a musical term. It takes two or more instruments or voices to make harmony. A melody is made up of consecutive tones, but harmony occurs when two or more pleasing tones are sounded together.

Harmony doesn't happen by chance. When my young grandchildren "played the piano," the sound was dissonance and discord, not harmony. We covered our ears and demanded that they stop. When they first began to play musical instruments in their grade school band, we didn't want to discourage them, so we gritted our teeth and sat through their performances.

Soon, they learned how to blend together and play the intricate harmonies of the master composers. Nothing is more beautiful than a symphonic orchestra or an a capella choir singing in harmony.

For God's people to live together in harmony, we need to learn the lessons of harmony from an orchestra.

Courtesy Google.com

First, we all instruments must be tuned to Concert A. If even one violin string is slightly out of pitch, even if the musicians all play the right notes, dissonance, not harmony, is the result.

For Christians, Jesus is our "Concert A." He is the One by whom we must measure ourselves. If God's people all play in tune with Him, harmony is the outcome.

Another ingredient of harmony is timing. Not only must the right notes be played in the right pitch, they must be played at the same time. Have you ever heard an orchestra warming up? Each musician is playing the right notes in the right pitch, but in their own timing. Cacophony results.

We as God's people must operate in God's time for harmony in the Body of Christ. He is the Conductor. In order to make beautiful music, we must follow Him and those He has placed in leadership positions.

Courtesy Google.com
Composers and serious musicians spend years studying the fundamentals of harmony in order to write and play and sing well. So we as Christians must spend our lives learning from the Scriptures how to play in harmony with God's people. We must fellowship with one another as well.

Are you living in harmony with God's people? What do you need to do to facilitate harmony?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Repetition

This week the children in New York went back to school. In my training as a schoolteacher, I learned that repetition is essential to learning. I have read studies showing that a child of average to bright intelligence needs a minimum of 500 repetitions in order to learn a fact.

God, who created us, knew that, so He instructed parents to continually repeat His commandments to their children in every possible setting:

Courtesy Google.com
A young mother, listening to a missionary, remarked on how wonderful it must be to be the first one to tell someone about Jesus.

The missionary responded, "As a mother, you have that opportunity with your own children."

Have you ever thought about what a privilege it is that God entrusts parents with the awesome responsibility of teaching our children about Him and His love?

As parents, we need to look for and capitalize on every "teachable moment" to communicate biblical values to our children.

I still remember the times when as a child I got hurt doing something I had been told not to do, and my mother would wipe away my tears and soothe my booboos as she quoted Numbers 32:23:

"Be sure your sins will find you out."

As she taught me to ask Jesus to forgive me too, I learned that disobedience has consequences--in this life and in eternity. How thankful I am for that early teaching. It has saved me from many heartaches.

Courtesy Google.com
Research also demonstrates that children learn more by observing their parents' lives informally every day than by formal education. Vacations, holidays, and special occasions present wonderful opportunities for creating family traditions and "teachable moments" that communicate our Christian values. This is especially true because the emotion of the occasion will heighten learning. 

What do our celebrations say to our children concerning spiritual truths? Why not establish family traditions that teach truth and and fun at the same time?

What do our everyday actions and attitudes teach our children about God? Do we just send them to religious instruction or do we take them with us to church, thus demonstrating the importance of God in our adult life?

Do we keep spiritual reminders and Scripture plaques around the house?

Do our expectations and discipline of our children demonstrate to them the Father love of God?

As school gets under way again, let's look for memorable ways to
instill biblical values in our children's lives.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Spiritual Aerobics

In 2000, my husband underwent triple bypass heart surgery. Even after the surgery, he still got out of breath frequently. The doctors said two-thirds of his heart muscle, the part that pumps oxygen to the body, had been seriously damaged by the blockages.

Today, after losing weight and years of walking a couple miles a day, his heart muscle has been strengthened. It is still functioning at only fifty percent of normal, but it is twice as strong as prior to the surgery. Episodes of breathlessness are much less frequent, and he enjoys a fairly normal life. That improvement has been made possible by continually stressing his heart muscle through aerobic exercise.
Fireweed after a boreal fire in Alaska
Alaska, where I grew up, is noted for its vast fields of beautiful wildflowers. Vibrant fuchsia fireweed is the first regrowth after a wildfire. God exchanges beauty for ashes.

The seeds of other wildflowers must first endure a freezing winter before they can germinate and produce such beauty.

The cones of some conifers must first withstand a forest fire to release their seeds.

Winds blowing against trees strengthen their roots.

In military training, new recruits are pushed to the limit to prepare them to be able to endure the hardships of battle.

Athletes don't just go out and win without months of physical training.

A first grader doesn't immediately solve quadratic equations, but after years of schooling and testing, solving them becomes doable.

So it is with our Christian life. Hebrews 12:1, 2, describes the Christian life as running a race:

 "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." 

We need to develop spiritual muscles. We don't become mature Christians the moment we come to Christ. Tests and trials and tribulations strengthen our spiritual muscles. Life stretches us spiritually and teaches us to lean on Jesus.

No one is a greater blessing to others than one who has grown sweet and loving, but this doesn't just happen. It takes a long time to become saintly, and it doesn't happen without patiently enduring the tests and trials in the race called life.

Did you know that the benefits of patiently enduring don't end in this life? God has promised a crown of life to those who are faithful to love and serve Him in spite of the trials.
Courtesy Google.com
The next time you are tempted to gripe and complain about the trials you go through, remind yourself that they are the means by which God is growing Christ-like character in you. He doesn't cause bad things to happen to us. They are common to all. But God will make "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" that we might "be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:28, 29, NKJV).

What trials have you weathered that have brought spiritual growth?


The main character, Violet, in my most recent book, Beside Still Waters, faced the choice of allowing the severe trials of her life to make her bitter or better. Notice that the only difference between those two words is the letter I. Taking your focus off yourself (I) and "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews, 12:2), makes all the difference.

Beside Still Waters is available in paperback and ebook. See my website (www.AnnaLeeConti.com) for more information about the book. Available at Ambassador International, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and bookstores.





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Praise the Lord Anyway!

Have you ever had days when the nagging inconveniences of life seem to gang up on you and threaten to steal your peace and joy?

Yesterday was one of those days. A simple project of replacing my computer keyboard and our modem with a newer, high speed one turned into a complicated process. Then, when everything seemed to be working well, we woke up this morning to discover our internet and phone weren't working. We finally located the problem. The modem power cord had somehow become disconnected.

Rev. & Mrs. C. C. Personeus in Pelican, Alaska, in the fifties
Such inconveniences remind me of my Grandpa Personeus, pioneer missionary in Alaska. Traveling home to Seward from Anchorage one night in the dead of winter, he got a flat tire. He slid out of the warm car, looked at the tire, and exclaimed, "Well, praise the Lord anyway!"

Those irritating yet really insignificant events in the whole scheme of things happen to all of us. They can ruin our entire day if we let them. The best way to keep them in the proper perspective is to learn to praise the Lord anyway.

We have no control over the occurrences of those annoying events. They seem to choose the most inconvenient times, don't they?

But we do have control over our response. We can praise the Lord no matter what happens. As we constantly speak of God's goodness and grace toward us, we bless Him and keep ourselves from being overwhelmed.

The next time a car cuts across in front of you forcing you to slam on your brakes to keep from hitting him, like happened to me yesterday, and you feel that road rage roar to life, tame it by praising the Lord anyway.

When you drop that last egg on your freshly mopped floor and it splatters all over, praise the Lord anyway.

When your toddler smears jelly on your freshly dry cleaned suit as you kiss her goodbye, praise the Lord anyway.

When your computer shuts down in the middle of preparing a report, praise the Lord anyway.

Praise the Lord no matter what happens! God inhabits the praises of His people. Praising will not only bless the Lord and cause Him to draw nearer to  you, but you will feel better too.

Courtesy Google.com


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lesson from a Solar Eclipse

All the talk about the solar eclipse expected on Monday brought to mind the eclipse of 1994, when New York was in the path of a total solar eclipse.

Courtesy Google.com

I was teaching second grade. Remembering my experience of a total solar eclipse the summer I graduated from high school in Alaska, I wanted the children to see the beautiful corona without damaging their eyes. I set up a large tub of water in the parking lot and with the help of several mothers, I took them out one by one to observe the reflection of the corona in the water. The still water gave us an exact reflection of the happenings in the sky.




















Proverbs 27:19

Just as the sun and our faces are reflected in water, so our lives give an accurate reflection of who we really are inside.

My Cruden's Concordance has more than seven columns in tiny print of references in the Bible that contain the word, heart. What does the Bible mean by that word?

With a quick perusal of the references just in the Book of Proverbs, we find a wise heart, a wicked heart, a perverse heart, a deceitful heart, a heavy heart, a sick heart, a merry heart, a righteous heart, a proud heart, a haughty heart, a prudent heart, a pure heart, and a foolish heart.

The Bible uses the term, heart, to describe the source of our emotions and motivations. The heart contains all our desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections.

The heart is what we really are, not what we or others think we are.

Our heart determines why we act, speak, and think as we do.

Jeremiah 19:9 tells us that "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." That is why we need to pray with the psalmist every day, inviting God to "search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23, 24, NIV).

Our hearts can deceive us. Only God really knows our hearts. Sin begins in our hearts, so God's daily search can nip sin in the bud.

Growing up in coastal Alaska, I often observed the reflections of the mountains in the water. I noticed that the clearest, most perfect reflections appeared in calmest waters. Only as we quiet our hearts before God can we have our hearts cleansed and purified.

Have you initiated God's search of your heart today?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fight Ever Onward!

In Alaska, where I grew up, the Pacific salmon are now returning to the glacial streams where they hatched. They spend most of their lives in the ocean, where they grow big and strong. Then their instincts send them back home to spawn.

Courtesy Google.com

The salmon must fight against the current with every ounce of their strength. Their flesh turns red and gets torn on the rocks, but the instinct to procreate is so strong that they struggle on until they reach the spot miles upriver where they originated.

Courtesy Google.com

They face many hazards along the way--bears, fishermen, birds of prey. Yet, so many make it to the spawning pools that often the streams look like blood at first glance.There, the salmon lay their their eggs. Their life cycle complete, they die.







Alaskans had a saying: "Any old dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a real live one to swim upstream."


Courtesy Google.com


As Christians, we too must swim against the current of this world. We face many snares that would trip us up. If we are going to make it, we must continually strengthen ourselves spiritually and check our progress, keeping our eyes on goal.

As a teenager, I spent a week on a salmon fishing troller on the Gulf of Alaska. I noticed that when the engines stopped, the ship didn't just sit still in the water. It drifted wherever the waves took it.

So too in our Christian lives. If we are not moving forward in our relationship with the Lord, we will drift along with the current and end up on the rocks.

Just as sailors constantly check their navigational instruments to keep on course, so must we check on our position by studying our life's compass, the Bible. When we see we are getting off course, we need to quickly make corrections. We must not be careless. We can never rest on our oars until we are moored safely at our journey's end.

Have you checked yourself recently? Do you need to make a mid-course correction? Do it today.
Don't delay.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Excerpt from Beside Still Waters

Opening Scene in Chapter 1 
Beside Still Waters 
Book 3 in my Alaskan Waters Trilogy

Boston, Massachusetts, March 1915

Aunt Mabel was dead.
Violet Channing unlocked the door to the three-room flat she’d shared with her aunt, her only living relative, now deceased. The cloying scent of her aunt’s floral perfume could not obscure the rancid odors of garbage and stale food in the stairwell or the medicinal smell of sickness that pervaded the apartment.
Violet clenched her fists. Aunt Mabel was too young to die!
Closing the door behind her, Violet surveyed the tiny living room. It was stuffed with the nicest things Aunt Mabel had been able to salvage when she lost her large, Victorian house in a wealthy neighborhood to the creditors after her husband died.
Slightly tattered lace curtains draped the lone window, the only source of ventilation—if it could be called that. The soot-ladened air from the tenements’ stark chimneys had permanently stained the curtains a dirty shade of brownish gray. Hand-crocheted doilies covered the head and armrests to protect the Victorian sofa she’d managed to save when her house was repossessed.
The apartment felt empty without Aunt Mabel’s dominating presence. She had tried so hard to make this cold-water flat look like her lost home. But the two of them couldn’t even afford enough coal to keep warm in winter or the doctor’s fees when she started coughing.
If only she’d stopped taking a lunch to work sooner to save up enough money for a doctor’s visit. Violet shuddered. Her aunt’s fits of coughing had worsened so quickly. She had refused to see a doctor until her sputum became tinged with blood. By then, it was too late.
“Consumption,” the doctor told Aunt Mabel. “Keep warm and rest.”
He took Violet aside. “There’s nothing I can do for her. Her lungs are too far gone. She probably has only a few weeks.”
“Keep warm. Ha!” Violet spat out, feeling again how her stomach had clenched at his words. She groaned. Her throat tightened, and she sank to her knees on the Persian carpet Aunt Mabel had brought with her to cover the bare, plank floor. The torrent she had held at bay throughout the funeral broke forth like a sudden, angry squall.
When she had no more tears to cry, Violet mopped her face with her handkerchief. The cold had seeped through her skirt. Suddenly aware that she was shivering, she arose.
Hugging her threadbare wool coat closer over her long, black mourning suit, she sat in her aunt’s Boston rocker to figure out what to do. She no longer had the responsibility of Aunt Mabel’s welfare and was now free to choose what to do with her life—if only she could find the means to do it. The rent was paid until the end of the month, but the simple funeral had required all but a few remaining dollars. She needed money.
Violet reviewed her options. Before her uncle died, she had been studying to be a teacher. That’s what she really wanted to do. Because Uncle Chester had mortgaged the house to the hilt to finance his risky business ventures, she and Aunt Mabel were left destitute when he died.
At eighteen, Violet had had to give up her education to take a low-paying job as a seamstress in a garment factory to provide for the two of them. Six weeks ago, she’d had to quit that job to care for her dying aunt. The thought of reapplying there made her shudder—and not from the cold. That ramshackle wooden building, full of dust and lint, was a tinderbox.

But how else could she support herself?

Beside Still Waters, along with the other two books in the Alaskan Waters Trilogy, Till the Storm Passes By and A Star to Steer By, is published by Ambassador International and is available at Amazon.com (Kindle and paperback), BN.com (Nook and Paperback), Vyrso, and Christian bookstores. Visit my website at www.AnnaLeeConti.com or connect with me at Facebook.com/AnnaLeeConti.Author.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Purifying Obstacles




Recently, I was glancing through a magazine and the title, "Purifying Objects," above a picture of a rushing river flowing over rocks caught my eye. It reminded me of the glacial streams of my childhood in Alaska, such as the one shown above. The rocks and gravel over which the water flowed purified the water, making it safe to drink.

Many times, obstacles crop up in our lives like boulders in streams. They cause the water to roil and writhe and tumble us about. But, if we will allow it, God will use those very obstacles to cleanse and purify us so that out of our innermost beings will flow rivers of living waters that will refresh all those with whom we come into contact.

Don't fight the deep waters of trouble that come your way. Remember, God is with you and He will not let you drown. Instead, He wants to use the obstacles in your life to purify you so you can refresh others.




Violet had to learn this lesson in Beside Still Waters.

Beside Still Waters, along with the other two books in the Alaskan Waters Trilogy, Till the Storm Passes By and A Star to Steer By, is published by Ambassador International and is available at Amazon.com (Kindle and paperback), BN.com (Nook and Paperback), Vyrso, and Christian bookstores. Visit my website at www.AnnaLeeConti.com or connect with me at Facebook.com/AnnaLeeConti.Author.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

From Firetrap to Icebox

Is she jumping from a city firetrap factory into a wilderness icebox? 



In the third and final book in the Alaskan Waters series, Beside Still Waters, Violet Channing, orphaned at a young age, is tossed about by life's turbulent waters when the aunt who raised her dies. She wants nothing more than to be a schoolteacher. 

Living in a Boston tenement in 1915, barely able to survive, she accepts a job as a live-in teacher for a sick, motherless child in the harsh Yukon Territory. 

Sailing up the Inside Passage of Alaska, she falls in love with a dashing Yukon riverboat captain. Just when her life feels as beautiful as her new surroundings, tragedy strikes again. 


Can Violet allow her losses to make her better not bitter and learn to love again in this continuing saga of the loves, tragedies, and second chances of a Norwegian immigrant family who must battle the beautiful but often dangerous waters of early twentieth century Southeast Alaska?

Scenes Violet may have seen while traveling to the Yukon Territory:

Whales bubble feeding along the Inside Passage
Courtesy Google.com


Whale breaching along the Inside Passage
Courtesy Google.com



White Pass & Yukon Route Railway between
Skagway & Whitehorse
Courtesy Google.com
Lake Bennett, Yukon Territory,
Courtesy Google.com
Yukon Sternwheeler "Casca" mentioned in Beside Still Waters
Courtesy Google.com

Beside Still Waters, along with the other two books in the Alaskan Waters Trilogy, Till the Storm Passes By and A Star to Steer By, is published by Ambassador International and is available at Amazon.com (Kindle and paperback), BN.com (Nook and Paperback), Vyrso, and Christian bookstores. Visit my website at www.AnnaLeeConti.com or connect with me at Facebook.com/AnnaLeeConti.Author.