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Ann Spangler's sensitivity to the ever-changing spiritual and cultural climate in which we live has enabled her to address themes of profound interest to many readers.
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In The Desert

In The Desert

A desert valley with wildflowers in the foregroundRemember when Adam and Eve got shoved out of the Garden of Eden after taking that fatal bite of fruit? In the Bible, the opposite of this garden paradise is the wilderness, the desert. A harsh place without the ability to sustain life, the desert is described in Deuteronomy 8:15 as a “great and terrifying wilderness.” It’s a waterless place filled with venomous snakes and scorpions. So it seems an odd spot for a loving God to send his people or to send his beloved Son, which he did prior to his public ministry.

As the opposite of Eden, the desert is a harsh place where human beings are forced to face the effects of sin, which has withered and destroyed the peace of the whole world. It’s where Jesus battled Satan, conquering the temptations that plague us all. But the desert is also portrayed as a place of opportunity—a place to meet with God and learn to trust him as he cares for us in Earth’s most inhospitable place. In the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land and Jesus’ journey to his public ministry, Scripture portrays the desert as a bridge to something far better. Get through the desert with your faith intact, and you will know how great God is and how greatly he wants to bless and use you.

As human beings whose hearts are roiled with the strife that sin brings, we no longer live in Eden, where perfect peace reigns. Thrust into the wilderness, we are not abandoned there but led by the Spirit to learn the lessons that only the desert can teach us. Today, let us remember that Jesus has led the way both into and out of the wilderness, beckoning us to endure such times with faith, believing that as we do, he will help us grow in trust and fruitfulness.  More

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When Church is the Problem

Man holding a sign that says "No"Sometimes, sad to say, our lack of peace comes from going to church. For many of us, church is our most important source of community. It’s a place where our spiritual lives are invigorated and our relationships strengthened. Being part of a healthy church enables us to grow as Christians. But what if church is contributing to our lack of peace?

For plenty of people, it’s extremely difficult to utter a certain two-letter word, no, especially when someone at church asks for their help. So they say yes to every committee, every good cause, every Bible study, every opportunity to serve. While some have taken on the heart of Christ in their service, others have just plain worn themselves out. If you recognize yourself in the latter category, ask God to help you know when to say yes and when to say no. Put a little distance between the request and your answer, giving yourself time to take the matter to Christ, expecting him to guide you.

Church can also deplete our peace if the community of Christians we belong to is characterized by legalism. All variety of churches have been guilty of morphing the gospel into a religion that depends primarily on effort rather than grace. Of course, it takes effort to live as Christians, but if we find little joy and peace in doing so, it may be that we are living a distorted form of Christianity.

What’s the best way to deal with legalism in a church community? The place to begin is in your own heart. Recognize it as a serious distortion of the gospel, admitting to yourself and to God your continued desperate need for grace. Live that prayer daily, and you will find your faith becoming more passionate and your life becoming more peaceful.  More

(Image courtesy of pakorn at freedigitalphotos.net)

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Turn the Light On

Proverbs 31 is a ministry headed by Lysa TerKeurst. Each day, it reaches out to hundreds of thousands of women with devotions that are designed to “bring peace by filtering everyday life through God’s truth.” I love that phrase because it’s so evocative. Can’t you see a grizzled old miner hunching hopefully over his gold pan, sifting through dirt and stones to find a nugget of gold? Likewise, if we continue to expose the ordinary struggles and joys of our lives to God’s word, we will discover it’s life-giving power. Today it’s my privilege to share something about how Jesus is the light by which we can filter every hardship. Check it out at  http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/turn-the-light-on/

 

 

Becoming A Woman At Peace

As summer draws to a close and the busy fall season is approaching, I wanted to let you know about a new book I’ve written that can help you keep your focus on the Lord no matter what the future brings. The book has just been released and is entitled The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace. It’s available in e-book form as well as in paperback. Every day I focus on a way to experience more of God’s shalom–the peace he has promised to those who belong to him. Whether you are dealing with too many demands on your time, struggling in a relationship, wrestling with difficult memories, or coping with an illness, financial pressure, or some other challenge, or whether you simply want more of God, I hope this book will add more peace to every single day.

Though I was at first reluctant to write a one-year devotional, fearing I would run out of things to say, I was surprised by how much joy I experienced throughout the process. God definitely added more peace to my life even though the year had its share of ups and downs. In fact, writing the book turned out to be the most enjoyable experience of my writing life thus far.  As a single mother of two teenage daughters I certainly have a need for the kind of peace God promises.

If you would like more information about the book, please look for it in your local Christian bookstore or check out these sites:

At Amazon:  The One Year Devotions for Women:  Becoming a Woman At Peace

At Barnes and Noble

At Christianbook.com

You can also order copies directly from me. I will be happy to autograph these if you will indicate if you would like me to inscribe them to you or perhaps to a friend or family member. To order, simply email admin@annspangler.com.  Make sure you include your name, address, and a phone number at which you can be reached. I’m sorry that I can only fill orders to addresses within the continental United States. The price is $15.99 per copy plus shipping.

With love and best wishes for days ahead that are filled with a much deeper experience of the joy and peace God has promised.

Ann Spangler

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