Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrating A Half Century

Papa and me (1965)
You whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:3b-4 NIV 

What a great promise! As I reflect back over my last fifty years, I can’t begin to count the number of times in my life God has sustained and carried me—through loss and grief, the excitement of raising two beautiful children, and the roller coaster ride of both mountaintop and valley experiences of life. I’m fortunate most of my immediate family are still alive and my parents both in good health. I enjoy good health, a roof over my head, employment, and people who love me. I’ve been fortunate to have success in what I’m most passionate about—writing.

The reasons to give thanks are infinite! At the top of the list is the gift of forgiveness and grace God extends to me daily.

On a milestone birthday, one often reminisces about times of old and reflects on missed opportunities and achievements. I’m no different. A child of the 70s and early 80s, I witnessed the disco era, Watergate, and the introduction of computers.

Now the kings of disco (my favorites as a teenager), the Bee Gees, are no more. Only one silver-haired brother remains. My hair isn’t quite that gray yet, but it definitely makes me feel old when I mark time by the passing of cultural icons of my generation. Pay phones and snail mail letters are almost completely gone, too. Although, vinyl records are coming back among the retro crowd! I guess I’ve lived long enough to be retro. J

But rather than lament the passage of time, I am so grateful for the One who sustained me through change—both good and bad. And as I celebrate my fiftieth birthday, it’s not enough to reminisce or celebrate past achievements.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might… Ecclesiastes 9:10a 

If God chooses to bless me with continued longevity and good health, I want to be about doing His Kingdom work with all my might. In all that I do, I must continue to seek His will—to shine His light in this darkened world. I’m so blessed He gave me both the desire and talent to write. I can’t imagine a life without this gift. I want my writing to bear fruit, stay fresh, and encourage those who read it.

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. Psalm 92:14  

And to that end, in celebration of my fiftieth birthday, I’m giving away the Kindle version of both of my books. (Print versions are also available for purchase.) You don’t have to enter a drawing or leave a comment (though I always love hearing from my readers). Simply click on the links below through March 15, 2015, to claim your books. Share this with your friends. I’d like to give away as many books as possible to celebrate reaching the half-century mark of my life. What a glorious thing to be able to say! Praise be to God!

Click HERE to claim your free copy of my devotional

Click HERE to claim your FREE copy of my novella

If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or email me confidential requests. I’d love to join you in prayer. J

God bless,

©Laura Hodges Poole

“Disc” image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Learn, Pray, Act

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”~ Josh Whedon, author, screenwriter, director

When I was a little girl, I’d trek alongside my father as he worked in his garden that spanned an acre or more of our property. The soft, hot Florida sand squished between my bare toes, and sweat streamed down my little cheeks. Sometimes I ran to keep up with his long strides. Sometimes he slowed his step and took my hand. If I had one word to describe my father, it would be the word “doer.”

God calls us to be doers of His Word (James 1:22). How do we prepare to be a doer? Or do we merely allow the Spirit to guide us in certain situations through divine appointments?


Imperative to Christian life, ministry effectiveness, and spiritual growth is learning—absorbing God’s Word and other Christian books and resources—in order to share with others. If we really want to be led spiritually, immersing ourselves in scripture is the first step.

And we should want to do this, right? I’m the first to admit I have trouble wading through genealogy, or details of the building of the tabernacle and outlining of the law in Exodus and Leviticus. But hidden in those genealogy lists are Bible heroes—their stories are ones of persecution, hope, deliverance, and ultimately, the birth of our Savior. Instead of skimming over, think of the sacrifices of Ruth, the failure and forgiveness of King David, and the obedience of Obadiah. Somewhere among these stories is our story, as well.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
We also want to be led by the Holy Spirit. Actually, this is the ultimate goal. It’s only possible by coupling learning with prayer.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

Think about it. Which friend do you count on the most? The one you regularly interact with, knows you intimately—the good, bad, and the ugly—and still loves you? Or the one you exchange pleasantries with occasionally?

The same is true of our relationship with God. When you know Him intimately, learn His nature, and are able to trust Him completely, this resonates in our message to others. We can’t possibly share a God we don’t know on an intimate level. When the Bible says we are made in His image, His handiwork, we can believe it. He longs for a relationship with us. Spending time with Him is the most important part of our lives. 

Learning and praying alone isn’t the endgame for a Chrisitan. Yes, we want to draw closer to God and become more like Christ for eternity. But, we’re saved not only for ourselves but for others.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
That’s good news. God has prepared work for us to do. He wants us to act! It’s not enough to learn and pray, if we don’t use it to help someone outside ourselves. Humans are not static. Relationships are not static. God has placed us in family and friendships He deemed important. Whether it’s your neighbor, brother, or co-worker, God has a message to relay through you. We may not even be aware of what the specific message is, but God knows what that other person needs. You may be the one He has chosen to share it.

Explore whether God wants you involved in missions outside of your inner circle—foreign or domestic—physically or financially. We all have talents and spiritual gifts to share. Seek God’s wisdom in this. We are His workmen here on earth. May we always be one “who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9 
Learn, Pray, Act.
  • Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you ~Thomas Jefferson
  • Never confuse movement with action. ~Ernest Hemingway
  • Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe. ~Mitch Albom, author
What’s your favorite Bible verse that motives you to act? Is there one that caused a turning point in your life and called you to action?

If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or email me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you!

God bless,

© Laura Hodges Poole

Recommended resources available online for comprehensive Bible study:

BBN Radio Bible Institute. Free online classes in Bible doctrine, Christian living, Bible books and characters, and more with 117 divisions of study and multiple classes within each division. Certificates are offered with each completion of a division. I have taken a few of these classes and can highly recommend them.

Thru The Bible Radio. Tons of free resources including study guides, notes and outlines, and downloads are available to help you with an in-depth study of the Bible in five years. Even if you don’t listen to the audio, the other resources will provide you with tremendous study potential. I’ve listened to Dr. J. Vernon McGee for years on the radio and have downloaded and printed many of his resources.

Bible Gateway Scripture Engagement. “This section of Bible Gateway, created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement, outlines a set of practical exercises and activities you can undertake to interact more meaningfully with the Bible (Bible Gateway).” Many links are available to teach you how to successfully approach reading scripture. 

“Bible” image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena/
“Young Woman Praying Sincerely” image by David Castillo Dominici/
“Action Screen Show Motivation” image by Stuart Miles/