Category Archives: Faith

Refresh Yourself

Picture if you will a very hot and dry desert. What’s the first thing you think of? Water! For fourteen years our family lived in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. I remember quite clearly one summer after our first child was born, our air conditioner went out because the temperatures reached 120′! YES, I said 120 degrees!  If you’ve every flown over the valley you’ll see that nearly every home has a pool because of the extreme heat.  I also remember that I never left the house without water!! Anyone who has ever lived there knows exactly what I’m talking about. I also remember taking walks. It was either EARLY in the morning or when the sun went down and even then I would literally pour water on me to keep me cool as I hit the hiking trails or the streets of my neighborhood.

Our soul is very much like that hot and dry desert. Whether we realize it or not our very being THIRSTS for God! Many people may not realize it but the truth be told, we are God’s creation, and living a life without him in it is like  living in the desert without water.

Let’s take a look at a true story of Jesus and a woman who came to get water from a well:
As Jesus was leaving Judea and returning to Galilee, he came to village in Samaria.  Jacobs well was there and because he was tired from his long walk, he sat beside the well around noontime. “Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water.” “But Sir, you don’t have a rope or bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will NEVER be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.John 4:4-14

Here Jesus is teaching us a comparison between the water that we drink  and the LIVING water that comes from Him.  As we can clearly see the Bible references Jesus as the “Living Water”.  The word of God also reveals that Jesus is the bread of life.  First let’s look at what Jesus says in Mathew 4:4 “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Jesus explains in another passage of scripture what this means: “The true bread of God is the One (Jesus) who comes down from heaven” John 6:33.

What is the best way of obtaining the “true bread” which is God’s word? “So then faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God” Romans 10:17. In the scriptures above this the apostle Paul explains the importance of the teacher, the minister that God has sent to proclaim “His” word and in Hebrews 10:25, the word of God teaches us one very important aspect that we must be careful to not forget as Christians, His people, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” The King James version says, “Forsake not the assembling of  yourselves together, as a manner of some have…” So what is God saying here? “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith (faith comes by hearing God’s word by his ministers that he has called) and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13.

Many times we can get distracted and go through life thinking that this part of Christianity is unnecessary.  We get wrapped up in work and raising our families that we sometimes do not see the importance of going to church.  I remember going through a period in my life where I failed to see it’s importance. I went from faithfully going to hear God’s Life giving words to not. And I can honestly say that I do not ever want that to happen again. Why? Because hearing God’s word causes faith to grow.  The scriptures also say that through “faith and patience” we “inherit God’s promises”.  If we’re not being fed the “bread of life” or drinking that “living water” on a regular basis our faith that helps us conquer EVERYTHING in life will not grow. Faith my friend is the ONLY thing that can overcome doubt, fear, anxiety and worry. Hearing God’s word increases our faith to overcome anything that presents itself in life. God’s word says, “the just shall live by faith.”

I encourage you today that if you have put going to church on the back burner to rethink your decision and based on the word of God put it back on your “To-Do” list.  “Blessed are they that Hunger and Thirst after righteousness (God and His word) shall be filled” Mathew 5:6 (Jesus words)

Pastor Nina Tidwell
Ponce Church, Ponce Inlet, Florida~A Surfside Church

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Til’ the Hurt is Gone

“You’re never gonna be alone…If you feel like letting go-I’ll never let you fall…I’ll hold you til’ the hurt is gone”  Lyrics from the song “Never Gonna Be Alone” by Nickelback.  On YouTube alone there are have been over 8 million people that have nourished their soul by the verses from this song.  That’s 8 million people that are either going through or  have experienced some kind of heartache in their lives.

As I listened to the powerful words of hope, I could not help but think about how close they are to the very words of Jesus. In one particular scripture Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and in Luke 4:18 Jesus himself says that He has come to “…heal the brokenhearted

Maybe you have lost a loved one and wonder if you’ll ever be free from the pain.  Or maybe you have gone through a divorce and feel like you’ll never love again. Whatever you are going through the God of all Peace wants you to know that you truly are NOT alone.

You may be asking the question “How do you know?” Let me encourage you to read one of my previous blogs titled: “Girl Meets God” in it you’ll find my personal story and how I met the only one who could take my own pain of loss and heartache away. Is it possible? Absolutely! The only way the pain can continue is if you choose to hold on to it.  It’s like a wound on your own body.  If it is not given the proper care such as cleaning the affected area, medicating it and covering that wound with clean bandages it will not heal properly, in fact it can even get worse by becoming infected. Our heartaches and pains in life also need the proper treatment.  Just like Jesus said, “…I have come to HEAL the brokenhearted…”

How? In my research when someone experiences a loss of any kind, there are emotional stages and one of them is “anger”  We can become angry with others and even angry with God.  Let me stop you here for a moment:  The scriptures say that we have an enemy and that enemy is NOT God.  Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief (devil, satan) has come to steal, kill and destroy, BUT I (Jesus) have come that you might have life and life more abundantly” Look carefully at this  passage Jesus is letting us know right away who our enemy is.  He clearly lets’ us know that it is neither God nor Himself  bringing evil into our lives.   In this passage Jesus is teaching us  that there is a thief  (this is the same enemy that deceived Adam and Eve in the garden) and that He (Jesus) came to help us and deliver us from this evil and gives us His Life in abundance.   If you look at the life of Jesus on the earth, you’ll see that the scriptures say “He went about DOING GOOD and HEALING all that are oppressed from the Devil”
So we can clearly see here that God is a GOOD God…and He sent His Son Jesus, giving us good things and providing a life greater than we can ever imagine.

Once we make the decision and believe the TRUTH which is God’s word, then we can begin to “let go” of the anger and begin to “Look to Jesus” who promises to do good and heal those whose hearts have been broken.  There is hope my friend, just ask God to help you.  Believe in His Son Jesus…He is the one who came to give you His Life…full of joy, peace and happiness…and remember, you’re “Never Gonna be Alone”


“Red & Yellow, Black & White…”

I’m sure many of us are familiar with the song sung  in Sunday Schools all across American and abroad: “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and it goes something like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”. It does not matter what age we are nor the color of our skin, the Living God sent His Son Jesus for us ALL because of His amazing Love (John 3:16).
As I look at the young child from Japan in my previous blog, “Japan: Mission of Love” I think of how the Lord loves all children from every nation. I also think of His commission for His people: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” This kind of person see’s all mankind as equal. There are no walls, there is no prejudice.  All we see is God’s creation and His desire to share with them the greatest gift of all: Jesus.

I remember growing up and how my father was kind to everyone.  It did not matter what color they were, nor their ethnicity.  I remember in the early 1970’s my father took me aside one day and said, “We are NOT prejudice”  I’ll never forget that! Day’s later my brother of whom was returning from Vietnam brought a friend of his from the war that was African-American along with his family.  You must understand, we lived in an all white neighborhood and the only time you would see a black person was when you crossed the  “8 mile” line. So for our neighborhood this was a big deal! As I think back I am so thankful that my Dad taught me to love all people, not matter the color of their skin.

As a minister of Jesus Christ,  I will go wherever He sends me, and I will preach the Good News of God’s Love to whomever He leads me.

“…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…Jesus Loves the little children of the world”

Ponce Church

Japan: Mission of Love


Girl Meets God

Growing up as a young girl I remember getting up early every Sunday morning with my Dad and going to church.  Although I have fond memories of singing in the choir and  hearing about Jesus in my Sunday school class, I did not know that we had such a loving God until years later.

Much of my life as a young school girl I witnessed a bitter-sweet marriage with my mother and father. Rarely did I encounter love.  The only time I remember a little peace in the home was usually during the holidays.

In Michigan at the age of 10 I remember my father standing on the landing with suitcases in hand say to my mother that he was leaving.  When I heard this it felt as though my heart dropped into my stomach.  As I look back that was probably one of the most heart-wrenching times in my life.

As the days and years went on I watched my mother take prescription drugs to help numb the pain. As I look back, I can’t help but remember that what was once supposed to be a temporary fix, turned into years of addiction for my mother.   This was a time when doctors would  write prescriptions without getting to the heart of the matter. To me many drugs then and now function as a band-aid to cover  a wound that is much worse and needs more care than just an abrasion.

Over the next five years I witnessed first hand the heart-ache and pain that my mother so desperately tried to endure. But her battle was lost at the young age of 45 when she decided to end her life. Before her death I remember one particular incidence:  It was the middle of the night and for some reason I awoke and found my mother so stoned standing in the kitchen with a knife in hand cutting an empty plate.  I know now that the Lord was with me as I gently took the knife out of her hand and put her to bed.

Aside from all of this I remember that I began to gravitate toward people my age and older that were big on alcohol and drug use. I remember (and I do NOT encourage) there were times when I would sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to get drunk with my friends while sitting on the corner of our street.

This behavior went on for a few years until one day, because I could no longer deal with my mothers illness,  I decided just days before her death to go and live with my father along with his new wife and family.   Two days after moving in with my new family my father received a phone call from a concerned neighbor asking him to come and see if my mother was alright since there had not been any activity at the house.  When my father, who was a firefighter and captain of the paramedic squad arrived, the door was locked which led him to climbed through the back living-room window. It was there he found my mother overdosed with a note at her side.

Now I had a new hurdle to overcome and that was my struggle with the enormous guilt that I carried for the next five years of my life:  The only thing I knew to do at that time was to drown my sorrows with drugs and alcohol. It was during this time that I had also become anorexic until one day I was literally scared into eating again after my body began to act abnormally. I remember saying to myself, “I have got to start eating again” and so I immediately got up, went into the kitchen and began to make myself something to eat.

In my senior year of high school I decided to get married (mainly to get out of the house) but it lasted only a year and a half and it was not long after that I began “partying” again. Then one day after my divorce (and while living again with my parents)  I remember  my brother Bob came to visit and shared with me about this amazing person named Jesus. While he was talking to me I knew that there was something different about him which that in itself captured my attention. As I look back I see how God’s perfect timing was spot on because I was getting real tired of my life fast!

It wasn’t long after this that I had been given a cassette tape with the personal story of a woman by the name of Sandy Brown.  She was a former cocktail waitress in Vegas.  She spoke about how Jesus showed himself to her and she didn’t even know who he was until He said his name and then she thought to herself: “I know that Name, I use it all the time!” From that day on Jesus  began to transform this young womans life by helping her to overcome her drug addiction and ultimately opened the doors of churches all over the country allowing her  to share her amazing story with others about God and His amazing love through Jesus Christ.

Because of all that I had been through I knew that  I was ready for a change.  So I said a prayer that I meant from my heart, and it went something like this, “Jesus I believe in you..I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead…forgive me of all I’ve done wrong.  Help me to follow you, be my Lord and my Savior” After talking to the Lord I remember lying on the floor in my sisters bedroom and it felt as though I had a blanket on top of me, it was very comforting, I was also crying, not because of sadness, but because it felt like this huge weight was lifted off of me and I knew that something inside of me was different.  Although the outside did not change much right away I knew that on the inside my heart was filled with God’s love, joy and a peace that I had never felt before in my entire life!

Has my life up to this point been perfect? No. But one thing remains true: I have by the mercy of God experienced the Lord’s goodness and feel a great passion to share His unconditional love with anyone who is willing to listen.

The Lord has led my husband Rick and I along with our two boys to start the first church ever in the history of our home town.  Pastor Rick teaches the Bible in ways that can help us on a day-to-day basis.

If you are looking for something more meaningful in your life, just know this: God loves you! There is nothing that you have done, or are currently involved in now that will keep God from showing His love to you.  He is ready and waiting for you to call out to him. “They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also access Pastor Rick’s messages for free at http://www.poncechurch.com


His Love is Never Limited

Jesus Love is not limited. When he walked this earth as a man he shunned no one. He loved everyone especially those who were despised and ridiculed by others.  As I was thinking the other morning, I remembered a true story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples were invited by Mathew (a despised tax collector) for dinner at his home, “Later Mathew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. BUT..when the Pharisees (people who claim they love God but show NO mercy to others) saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now GO AND LEARN THE MEANING OF THIS SCRIPTURE; I want YOU  to show MERCY not offer sacrifices (sacrifices today are doing all the ‘right’ things outwardly yet inside there is no mercy or love toward others). “For I have  come to call not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who KNOW they are sinners.” Mathew 9:10-13 nlt

As I remembered this passage of scripture he began to show me a very important point: The fact that Jesus sat and dined with sinners (we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God) was proof that he was not condemning them, but in fact demonstrating God’s Love and Mercy in action. The religious people could not stand even the thought of being around them which was a sure sign, proving their lack of mercy with hearts full of judgment and condemnation (Mathew 23:23-26)

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I have chosen to live a life of mercy as He has commanded me to. Just as the scriptures say, “those that have been forgiven much, show others much love.”  In my 30 years as a follower of Jesus I have been forgiven of much and have lived and continue to learn that Loving others in the way He has loved me is the only way of life for me.

Something my wise husband who has been a teacher of the Bible for over 30 years said this in regards to the religious phrase “hate the sin love the sinner”: “We don’t need to hate the spec in our brothers eye-The log in our own eye is a full-time job.” Well said. Meaning, don’t get caught up in others mistakes, but rather take that energy and work on improving our own lives. Love God, Love Others, Love Life.


Worry Free Life

My husband and I were talking the other morning and since he has been teaching faith, our thoughts and how to deal with worry and stress, I decided to share with you an analogy I thought of during our discussion.  If you are breathing, I guarantee that you have plenty of opportunity to worry.  You may be going through something right now and are at your limit, or even past your limit: completely overwhelmed. The bible says that God has made a “way out” of temptation, that includes worry.  Jesus was quite clear when He said “Take no thought for your life…” What He is saying here is simply, “Don’t Worry!” Humor me for a moment and let me help create a visual scenario of the analogy that came to mind during our discussion. Have you ever seen a “worry bucket?”  Picture if you will, a bucket full of water, now let’s assume that the water is an example of worry. For many, if not most, that bucket is full, it may even be overflowing.  As we all know overflowing is a sign of too much, can’t take any more!  Ok, I’ve established that thought in your mind.  Now let’s picture another bucket: a bucket FREE of worry, full of abundance, good things, health, peace, joy, etc.  I can almost guarantee you that this bucket is not as near full as the worry bucket.  Jesus encourages us to NOT worry, specifically about money: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. AND AREN’T YOU FAR MORE VALUABLE TO HIM THAN THEY ARE? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Mathew 6:24-25 Jesus is simply saying that worry cannot and will not improve our (past, present or future) situations or conditions.  In fact, as Pastor Rick has taught that entertaining worry, fear and doubt can actually make our situation worse.  How?  The scriptures say that “mens hearts” fail them because of fear.  This means that worry and fear are partners and when we keep adding to our worry bucket which increases out stress level  can cause health problems even death.  So what’s the solution? Start putting your thoughts on His promises…just like the scripture above, “…aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they (birds) are?” Know that God has your back,

so go ahead, begin to fill your NEW bucket with good things. How do I begin? Start by focusing on God’s promises: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding…” “My God shall supply ALL my need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus“, “The Father knows the things that you have need of”, “Whatsoever you ask in My Name (Jesus) I will give it to you that the Father will be glorified in the Son, ask ANYTHING in my name and I will do it”, “All things are POSSIBLE to them that believe”, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen”, “Faith pleases God”, “The Just shall live by faith.”

Let’ begin to fill our NEW bucket with thoughts that produce GOOD things in our life…since worry does NOTHING for us, and remember FAITH makes ALL THINGS POSSIBLE! Let’s begin to fill our new bucket with worry free thoughts: God’s promises. Every time your mind want’s to put another worry drop in the worry bucket, just say, “NO, that bucket us full and does nothing for me—So I am putting NEW drops in my new bucket!” My bucket that is free of worry and full of blessings, health, abundance and only GOOD things!

For more encouraging messages go to http://www.poncechurch.com/


Giving Thanks and Miracles

Giving Thanks and Miracles

Giving Thanks and Miracles

While preparing my message for Sunday, the Lord began to show me an amazing connection between Thanking God and Miracles. Like most human beings, we generally give “thanks” to God  AFTER a prayer is answered or something good comes our way. During my studies this last week the Lord showed me clearly in the scriptures how Jesus, our best example, gave THANKS to God BEFORE the answer came or before the need materialized. Allow me to share with you one of the accounts where Jesus proved this to be true: “So they rolled the stone aside-then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, FATHER I THANK YOU for hearing me…You always hear me-but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me-then Jesus shouted “Lazarus come out!” and the dead man came out…” John 11:41 There is POWER in giving THANKS before we see the outcome, power enough for miracles to happen in our lives.  Why? Being thankful NOW, before we see the result IGNITES Faith...and from here we will see God’s MIRACLES take place in our lives. If you  would like to learn more about this amazing truth I invite you to go to http://www.poncechurch.com/ click “Download Audio” and it will take you to my newest message “Giving Thanks and Miracles” You can listen right from there or you can download it to your computer or MP3.
God Bless,
Pastor Nina Tidwell