Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guest Post - Author Joyce Glass

We have so many expectations in life, but do any of them pertain to our relationship with God? Christian Author Joyce Glass shares a devotion today on that topic. Welcome, Joyce! 

Come Expecting


Do you get excited going to see a new movie? Why? What are you expecting? I love to go see new movies, and love when they are really good!

As Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness, he was in constant communication with God. He is one of the few people in the Bible to meet with God face to glory. Moses was not allowed to see His face, but He experienced His glory and heard His voice.

Take Two

In Exodus 34 Moses is returning to Mount Sinai for God to write out the Ten Commandments again. Remember Moses broke them when he came down the first time, because the people had created an idol to worship while he was gone. In his anger he threw down the original tablets of stone.
“So Moses chiseled out two tablets of stone like the first ones. Early in the morning he climbed Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.” ~ Exodus 34:4 NLT ~
Moses came expecting. He brought the tablets as the Lord had commanded him. He came early in the morning. We can learn so much from this little verse.

God desires us to come expecting to hear from Him, to listen to His word and obey Him. When you spend time with Him, and seek him daily through His word and in time of prayer He will reveal His plans for you. He will comfort and guide your steps each day. Be prepared with an open heart and mind.

Be Prepared

Come expecting, because God has so much to share with us each day! Moses came prepared to hear from God. God did not just hand him the stones with the commandments.

Do you want to know what is on God’s heart for you and your family? Come expecting!

What has God shared with you

when you came expecting to hear from Him?

Please share in the comments below.

iNeed God Final Book Cover

Come Expecting in your time with God. iNeed God ~ daily downloads for your heart Bible Study by Joyce Glass now available on Amazon. This 90-Day study offers you fresh ways to spend time with God while you grow more intimate in your relationship with Him.

Learn more about the study at

Joyce Glass - Feb 2014.JPG

Meet Joyce Glass:
Joyce Glass is a writer, speaker, and lover of God's word even more than chocolate! Her desire is to encourage you to walk closer to God. Dig deeper in your faith. Pray in earnest daily for God to teach you His ways, and serve Him right where you live and work now. You can connect with Joyce online.

Connect with Joyce:
Twitter: @joyce_glass

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Be The Gospel

"The Plaza"
Gainesville, Florida
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3

Regardless of our vocation or circumstances, as Christians, we all have a spiritual purpose. At the center of this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing is more important than sharing His grace and love.

As you read through the New Testament, the road to salvation is clear (John 14:6), as is the purpose of a Christian’s life (Matthew 28:18-20). This can manifest itself in many ways depending on your spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12 & Romans 12:4-8). We can participate in a variety of Christian missions because they often utilize many spiritual gifts while sharing the love and grace of Christ. 

Recently, I was in Gainesville, Florida, for a family vacation and then traveled on to Hilliard, Florida, for an extended family reunion. (I’ll share more about that in a future post.)

While in Gainesville, I got to see firsthand one of the homeless missions my sister Teresa is involved in. Homeless are a huge challenge in Florida, particularly in the University town of Gainesville. This is too short of a forum to get into all the angles, but on one side you have fear, unease, mistrust, and on the other…well, basically the same. A large segment of the homeless population lives in or utilizes “The Plaza” downtown, designed for recreation and concerts. Many citizens don’t feel safe using The Plaza for its original purpose.

The city has attempted various solutions, some palatable and others not so much. In an effort to move the homeless from the downtown area, the city recently remodeled an old prison on the outskirts of town and renamed it “The Grace Center,” a one-stop facility to meet the homeless’ needs. (As of this writing, housing has been delayed 90 days due to lack of funding).

Convincing the homeless to make the trek from downtown has been a challenge. In the meantime, Christian organizations continue to go to The Plaza to feed the homeless on various nights while some have started serving meals at The Grace Center.

On a hot, humid Monday night, I accompanied one such group—“Be The Gospel”—to serve dinner at The Plaza.  

Pastor Lem sharing a short
message and blessing
before the meal
The leader of the group, Pastor Lemuel Simmons, gave instructions and prayed beforehand, reminding everyone that feeding the homeless wasn’t for our glory. It wouldn’t make us more holy or more acceptable to God. Our salvation is intact. Ultimately, our deed wasn’t to make us feel good. Our purpose was to love the people we were about to encounter. We’d love them with food, with eye contact, with smiles, with conversation, and our availability. In other words—Be the Gospel.
How often in our lives do we think about being the gospel? Sure, we can recite the Great Commission and the role we’re supposed to have out in the world to reach the unsaved. But what about the less desirable? The ones that make us uncomfortable? The ones that might even threaten our physical safety while we’re trying to help them?

What I discovered that muggy evening, as I have the other times I’ve participated in homeless ministries, is that you often walk away with more than you give. Being amongst these folks shines a spotlight into your own life, the things you take for granted, the things you waste every day, the fast track to nowhere everyone seems to be on. Jesus walked among the “least of these” in society with often little more than the garments on his back. His focus was on reaching the folks—not what was in it for him. 

I enjoyed the evening. I’m glad Teresa invited me. All of the folks served were grateful, some talkative, a few were angry and occasionally loud, while some quietly took their food and faded back into the scenery surrounding The Plaza. By the time the last spaghetti had been scraped out of the pot and the last glass of tea served, more than food had been shared. Jesus had been shown to the folks who live in The Plaza.

Me, Pastor Lem, & Teresa
Pastor Lem’s speech about not making the evening about us had been taken seriously. Yet, fellowship among society’s downtrodden had lightened everyone’s heart and step just a little—even if just for the night. And maybe—just maybe—that’s a little of what Jesus felt when he did the same. Because, you see, blessings are often a two-way street.

Sharing a laugh
If you’re not doing so already, look for an opportunity to Be The Gospel to someone. It might be the only encounter they have with the grace and love of Christ this week.

Do you already participate in a ministry? I’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments, along with any prayer requests you may have. Feel free to e-mail me confidential prayer requests.

God bless,

©Laura Hodges Poole

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are You Living Like A Prisoner?

View through a cell
pass-through window
from Vietnam War
Prisoner of war. The phrase instantly conjures up a universal mental image of a soldier’s imprisonment riddled with physical and mental torture, starvation, and sometimes death.

Last week, during our travels, Josh and I stopped in Andersonville, home of the infamous Civil War POW camp in south Georgia. Also ensconced there are a military cemetery and the National POW Museum, which houses memorabilia from all wars Americans fought in. We were pleasantly surprised by the incredible care taken to preserve history and by the size of the state park. In a town so small, it could easily be overlooked by tourists. In fact, I would imagine an accidental encounter with Andersonville would be unlikely. 

After driving through thirty miles of farmland, Josh and I crossed a bridge a mile or so before entering the complex. We looked down at old railroad tracks below and wondered whether trains carrying prisoners ever passed over those tracks. We were astonished to learn they did, and then the prisoners were marched to the camp.

Sweat poured off us in the 98o weather as we walked through the 26-acre mostly treeless camp with the afternoon sun beating down on us. We both agreed conditions must have been deplorable in the 1860s. It’s unfathomable to imagine the ways humans devise to mistreat fellow humans, no matter their differences. Still, the camp intrigued us, as did the museum.


Josh and I were impressed with displays from each war and particularly the creative ways POWs found to endure such horrid conditions and pass the time. From inventing codes to communicate with each other to carving artwork in rocks or pieces of wood, the POWs seemed to have one thing in common—their ability to survive.

As I thought of this in the context of a Christian’s life, it seemed shocking that I was able to find any similarities. After all, we aren’t prisoners, nor are we mere survivors. We are victors! The war against our enemy has already been won! Yet, I marvel that Christians sometime allow themselves to be led into spiritual captivity by Satan and then spend valuable time in bondage to his lies.

We all know folks who profess to be Christians, maybe ourselves included, who live in bondage. We allow Satan to affect our moods, circumstances, choices, relationships, work, and countless other aspects of our lives when he’s already been defeated. (Colossians 1:13).

Christians should never be spiritual prisoners of war. Satan only takes prisoners when we let him. We’re often guilty of laying our troubles at the altar, then picking them up and walking away with them. We rail against difficult circumstances that could grow us spiritually. But the worst is when we yield to the lies the enemy tells us about our ability to function in God’s Kingdom.
  • I'm not as smart or creative as the leaders of a church committee or mission group.
  • I'm not popular, so maybe no one would listen to my ideas.
  • The obstacles are too high or other such nonsense we succumb to when we live in the human realm with the enemy undermining what we’re called to do.

The saddest part of this is—in listening to Satan’s lies, we’ve allowed him to build spiritual walls around us, cutting us off from God’s promises.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.  Colossians 1:21-23 
Even though trials and heartaches can make a Christian’s life feel like we’re merely surviving at times, we must strive to live like victors. We are soldiers in God’s army, fighting for the unsaved and against an enemy who doesn’t want to relinquish his hold on them. (1 Peter 5:8) But we can never lose sight of the fact that Christ’s blood has already defeated Satan! When he tries to slither up to you and tell you otherwise, quote the verses below. He’s well aware of his future demise. As Christians, we can’t allow ourselves to forget it. (Ephesians 6:10)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 

If you have a prayer need or would like to share a word of encouragement for others walking through trials, please share in the comments below. Feel free to e-mail me confidential prayer requests. I’d love to pray for you!

God bless,

©Laura Hodges Poole

Check out the renovated Bible Gateway website! In addition to several Bible translations, they have devotions, articles, and books available for purchase. Bible Gateway is an invaluable resource I use for daily Bible study and writing research. Below are additional photos I took in Andersonville. Click on any of the photos in this post to see a larger image. Thanks!

Outdoor exhibit

Cell block from POW Camp
"Hanoi Hilton"
Vietnam War

Cemetery entrance

Josh searching for his
Great-Great-Uncle Homer's
and he found it!

Guard tower/camp entry

Simulated shelters