Category Archives: forgiveness

Love My Enemies? Really?!

Believe it or not the subject of “Love your enemies” is just as much therapeutic for me as it will be for you.  Before I have ever started blogging, I have always enjoyed writing. Sometimes I would write to God about my concerns, worries, fears and even anger toward others. I have also been very good at writing people, especially if someone has hurt me, my family or church.  There have been many times in my life where I have been able to relate to Peter the disciple of Jesus. For those of you who have never heard the true story, Peter took his sword and cut off a mans ear because they were coming to take Jesus away! Folks, this was a man of God, a follower of Jesus and he was so angry and protective that he lost it! When this incident took place Jesus said to Peter, “You do not know what spirit you are of…” and proceeded to heal the mans ear.

As human beings the first thing we want to do is retaliate! Some of us are ready to rip others up one side and down the other, especially when they’re cruel, unkind and sometimes just downright ignorant.  You can probably tell by my  blog that I am dealing with an issue myself right now.  No it’s not my family,  in fact it doesn’t matter who or what it is, what matters is HOW do we do it? “How do we do what?”  How do we LOVE our enemies or those that have wronged us or offended us? Allow me to tell you how I do it:  Just today, I asked the Lord for help. I asked Him to help me love the way He loves.  Jesus himself said it’s possible, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  One particular scripture that the Lord has been speaking to me throughout the day is “Love your enemies…” as I looked it up in the Bible, I found the words of Jesus saying, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say LOVE  YOUR ENEMIES! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way (when you do this) you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” John 5:43-45 nlt.  Notice he provides a way out of common temptation to react. Jesus is saying that there is a better way to deal with our issues with others:  He says for us to “pray” for them.  This act immediately turns our attention from lashing back at them to “showing mercy.”  Did you know the Bible says that when we “judge” others that we will be “judged” with the same judgement we are judging others? It’s true. In another passage Jesus says, “…when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins…” Mark 11:25-26.

Friends, we are all faced with difficult and painful situations in life. And the sad thing is, many times they occur by the same people. I have good news! Jesus has a helpful answer for this as well, “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Mathew 18:21-22

I am a human being just like you. I have feelings like you. I get hurt just like you.  Did you know that Jesus was presented with the same circumstances as you and me? The word of God says that He was tempted in every way that we are, “yet without sin!”  Instead of retaliation, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness, Jesus chose to show mercy. He practiced what he preached! Remember the scripture I shared at the beginning when Jesus said to “pray” for those that persecute us? He lived what He taught. While he was hanging on the cross he prayed to the Father in heaven and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34

Even in the toughest and most painful times in my life I am always reminded of how much he loves me. How much he has forgiven me and how important it is for me to “forgive” those that have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.  I have found that this is the only way to relieve the pain and restore peace.  But it’s a choice. I can choose to hang on to the hurt or I can love my enemies by praying for them and forgiving them. I choose the latter.

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He’s Alive and Well

For thousands of years the story of Jesus death and resurrection have been told in churches, meeting places and homes all over the world.  Jesus himself began to speak of his death even before they laid a hand on him. “Listen” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again” the gospel of Mark chapter 10, verses 33 & 34.

Celebrating Easter is more than the traditional  chocolate bunnies and colored Easter eggs, it’s remembering Jesus laying down his life for all mankind and God raising him from the dead. Why? Jesus Christ the Risen One was sent to us because of God’s amazing love.  Jesus endured the beatings for you and me. He allowed them to hang him on the cross to pay for our sins.

In the old testament Adam and Eve chose to not follow God’s instructions and when they disobeyed what the Father told them sin came into the earth.  Prophets in the old testament spoke of the coming Messiah who would take away the sin of the world.  “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2Corinthians 5:21  Because of the wonderful mercy and love of God, he sent his one and only Son to die for you and me, and when God raised Jesus Christ to life again, he made it possible for us to be put back in good standing with God our heavenly Father again.  All God asks of us is to believe. Believe that he sent Jesus to us, that he went to the cross for us, died and believe that God raised him from the dead.

Jesus Christ is alive and well today. He sits at God’s right hand in Heaven and because of the power of the resurrection, he lives in his people, his followers, Christians today. How? “The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11

As you celebrate Easter this year remember God’s amazing love for you and all of mankind. Realize and accept the truth that we need our sins forgiven. Understand that with our own strength or works we cannot make that happen, forgiveness only comes through believing in Jesus Christ and that he died for us.  Open your heart to Jesus and follow Him. Once you make this decision, your life will have meaning.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:8-13

Happy Easter!

Pastor Nina Tidwell
Ponce Church, Ponce Inlet, Florida

Everyone Welcome! We’re Surfside and we’re Casual!
Sundays 10AM
4670 S. Peninsula in Ponce Inlet


Free From Addictions

Have you ever been engaged in a conversation with someone and have them say something so “off-the-wall” that it leaves you speechless? Well that happened to me during my walk just the other day. While enjoying the beautiful ocean and river view from the jetty a friend was passing on their bike. We both stopped to say hello and chat a bit. During our conversation we got on the subject of family and friends that have struggled with addictions such as drugs and alcohol.  This person began to share how for some reason people who are struggling in these areas are drawn to them.  As they elaborated more about this subject they began to express how they believe God puts the addiction on these people, and basically said that is their lot in life. When I heard this I just about FELL OVER!! Friends, this ridiculous man-made philosophy could not be farther from the TRUTH! (This is a good example of folks not knowing nor understanding the Love, Grace and Power of God)  Please allow me to share why. Firstly the word of God  is truth and HIS TRUTH says that Jesus came to set the “captives” free, Luke 4:18. Do you know what that means? ANYONE and I mean anyone who is imprisoned (in a life-long struggle) by drugs, alcohol, and anything else that keeps one from enjoying life, has been given an opportunity to walk free.  Jesus who holds the key to their freedom came to unlock their prison door and let them out! 1Corinthians 10:13 says that God, has provided a “WAY OUT” of temptation, trials or troubles (including addictions) period!  It’s as if the One who has the key to your freedom (Jesus) comes and opens your cell door and says, “Come on out, you’re FREE!”  The word of God also says that Jesus has “rescued” us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” Colossians 1:13 nlt
My friend this is GOOD NEWS! Your ticket to freedom comes from a very LOVING God, and He demonstrated His amazing love by sending His Son Jesus to set you free! This is no joke. This is not just a nice story, this is the power of God, and He is ready, willing and able to take you on a new journey to freedom. One, He is asking you to allow Him to help you. If you’re not a Christian yet and you want to be, all you have to do is ask Jesus to be a part of your life. Say this prayer from your heart: “Jesus, I believe in you. I believe God sent you for me, that it is your will for me to be free! Be my Lord and my Savior, show me YOUR way. Show me the way of your peace. Help me to be free from the things that can harm me. I want you now. You are my strength. Because of you I am no longer bound by this addiction. It no longer has power over me. Forgive me Father for my sins and I thank you that you love me and no longer remember my mistakes. Thank you God, and thank you Jesus! Amen.”
YOUR NEW JOURNEY, A FRESH START: Now one of the next steps to take on your journey of recovery is to give your mind NEW thoughts. The Bible says to “renew your mind” with the word of God. Why would He say that? Because God’s word is spirit and Life. When we become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, the Bible says we are a NEW creature in Christ Jesus. We’re forgiven, we now have God’s very Spirit living inside of us, but our minds always need renewing. Our mind continually needs to be nourished with God’s truth. God’s word washes away all of the negative thoughts that have kept us bound.  “And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing, FIX YOUR THOUGHTS on what is True (God’s word), and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. THINK ABOUT things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the GOD OF PEACE  will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 nlt.
The Lord has put “pastors and teachers” into the body of Christ (Christians) and has given them gifts to teach God’s word. I would encourage you to find a church that teach Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that teaches Faith and Love.  I cannot tell you how when I first became a Christian, how powerful it was for me to “hear” God’s word and be in a church that teaches the truth. You especially want a church that teaches Gods love and that God does NOT put evil on you to teach you a lesson. You want a church that teaches about God’s Grace, Love and Mercy. If you do not know where to start, send me a message and I will be more than happy to help you find a church that offers what I have shared with you today.
Know this: God is NOT mad or angry with you. He is so loving and merciful. The word of God says that it is His love and goodness that leads us to Him. He is with you every hour and every second of the day. You can literally call out to Him and He WILL help you. He is that awesome and so faithful, ready to pour out His Love on you. I know, I met Him over 30 years ago and He has never let me down, ever!

I also encourage you to listen to Pastor Rick’s messages. His newest series “The Great Escape”  is now available to listen for free or download and listen to at any time.  Go to  poncechurch.com


Mending Families

Lately I have been thinking about families and how so many relationships within each family unit are hurting.  Although it is included, I am not just singling out couples such as husbands and wives I am also referring to our relationships with our mothers, fathers, in-laws, our brothers and sisters and in some cases even our own children. I recently shared with a friend how God helped me to forgive my own parents.  Because I was tired of carrying my own personal baggage overflowing with hurt emotions the Lord was able to help me finally rid myself of the pain through the amazing power of “mercy” and “forgiveness.”  I know that those two words seem almost impossible to consider, but I guarantee that if you continue reading, the Lord will help you to enter a new phase in your life free from your own baggage and replace it with real happiness, joy and peace.

Because it seemed so difficult to conceive the idea of forgiveness I asked the Lord to show me how.  One of the main scriptures that he used to help me understand why people do what they do was the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior.  Imagine for a moment  Jesus,  hanging on the cross inflicted with such immense pain  brought on by beatings and nails driven into his hands. Not to mention those closest to him who chose to run and hide from and even deny him and how through it all  Jesus  was able to pray this prayer, while hanging on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I know, our first immediate response is “of course they know what they’re doing, how dare they” but surprisingly enough he helped me to see that they really did not know how much pain they were inflicting.  In my case, once I realized and accepted this amazing truth, He was able to help bring me to a place where I no longer suffered pain by the words and actions of others.  Later through study and research I have found that “Hurt people hurt others.”

Before my mother died, she was trying to deal with her own pain: The devastation of my father leaving. (read my post “Girl Meets God”) I remember one day because she was hurting so much inside that she tried to get me to hurt my father during a phone conversation. I was between the ages of 10 and 11 years old. I remember she handed me the phone and tried to force me to say “I don’t love you anymore” to my father. I remember crying, I could not do it. As I look back I see and understand now that my mother was suffering. She was living in her own torment of pain, brought on by anger, bitterness and unforgiveness toward my father.

Every family is different. We may all have different issues that we are dealing with but one thing we all have in common is we all have been given the opportunity to be free from the pain caused by others.

Another truth that the Lord was able to show me as a young Christian is found in Mark chapter 11:25, “And when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you your sins.” This scripture helped me to see that I needed the Lords mercy for things I had done in my past and for the last 30+ years as a follower of Jesus,  this  truth has helped to keep me in check when it comes to loving and forgiving others. God is a gentleman. He will NEVER force his will on us. He has given us the freedom to choose. One scripture says, “I have set before you LIFE and DEATH: CHOOSE LIFE”.

This kind of Love toward others has helped me to be free! Free from the hurt and pain brought on my others, all because of two very powerful words put into motion: Forgiveness and Mercy. This freedom is only available to the one who is willing to forgive and let go.  Our key to becoming free is Love:  Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.”

ATTENTION: If you or someone you know is in real physical danger contact the Violence Hotline: 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) for help.  You can also contact your local police department and authorities to help get you and your children to safety. Note: Although my story is not about physical abuse, there are many families who are facing dangerous situations and so I felt is was important to share this information to help individuals and families that are in need of such services.


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.


Is God with You?

How would you  feel  if  members of your family were plotting to kill you? What do you think your reaction would be if someone close to you sold you into slavery? Or what if you were wrongfully accused and thrown into prison? Sounds like a CNN headliner right? What I am about to share with you is a TRUE story of a man named Joseph and how because of a dream, his brothers set out to kill him.  In this dream he saw his family bowing down to him just before he was about to help and save them and many others from a great famine. When he shared this dream his brothers they were so outraged and full of jealousy  toward Joseph.  Reuben, Josephs older brother influenced his brothers into not killing him but suggested they just throw Joseph in an empty cistern (Reuben’s plan was to later return Joseph to his father). Now instead of leaving Joseph to die in the dry well they decided to sell him to some local traders who were passing by.

With all of this devastation taking place in Josephs life, was God with him? Let’s see what the word of God says, “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH, so he succeeded in everything he did and served in the home of his Egyptian master.” The following is AMAZING!  Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar so he soon made Joseph his personal assistant.” (Genesis chapter 39:1-4 nlt) WOW! Talk about turning things around!

Not long after, Potiphars wife decided she wanted Joseph for herself, but Joseph refused to give in to her lure, so he fled from her. She was so outraged that she made up a lie about Joseph which led to his imprisonment. Right now you’re probably thinking “enough already, give the guy a break!” So what happened next? The scriptures tell us,The Lord was with Joseph and showed him His faithful Love How? “Before long the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to SUCCEED.

WHY WAS JOSEPH ABLE TO RISE ABOVE HIS PROBLEMS? He KNEW GOD was with him! Because of his connection with God he was able to master his emotions by refusing to allow anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred toward his brothers overtake him. Joseph refused to judge his brothers and chose to show them mercy “But Joseph replied, ”Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (there was a famine and Joseph was very powerful and had harvested grain to help feed others during the famine) No don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them”

Key: Learning to not blame others is the FIRST step to mastering our emotions. Joseph understood that God would turn his circumstances around IF he kept his heart from bitterness, anger and hatred. He knew that the ONLY WAY OUT would be for him to show mercy toward his brothers and because he did, GOD showed MERCY on Joseph and he will do the same for you and me.  Do you have family, friends or co-workers that have hurt you or committed wrongful acts against you? I encourage you to get connected with God right now if you want to see your present circumstances turn around in your favor. If you’re a Christian, ask God to help you show mercy as He has been merciful to you. If you are not a Christian, the Bible says “They that call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved” Ask God to forgive you and receive His Son Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus went to the cross in your place…taking your sins upon Himself. Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. Take His gift of mercy and give out mercy. The Bible says that God shows His mercy to those who are merciful (forgiving) toward others.

The Lord IS with you my friend!  Don’t allow your present circumstances imprison you. Just like Joseph you can get rid of unforgiving thoughts and emotions toward those that have hurt you. Let it go and let God work it all out.  When you do this the Lord WILL work on your behalf just as He did Joseph’s.

http://www.poncechurch.com/ for Pastor Rick’s recent series on “Mastering Our Emotions”


What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Loving others is not easy especially those who irritate or rub us the wrong way. Many times in my walk with the Lord I have had to endure people that are difficult to be around. No matter where you are in life, you will have such experiences and there is no avoiding it. Sometimes even now when loving others does not come easy I remember what my husband Pastor Rick  shared with me not so long ago: “Given their situation or circumstances they are doing the best they can.”
I remember while living and raising our children in Arizona I had a hard time with forgiving some members of my family.  I knew as a Christian how important it was to love and forgive others, but in REAL life I found it to be extremely difficult at times. As  a young Christian I remember Jesus teaching me the importance of love and forgiveness.  In  Mark chapter 11 Jesus says, “…and when you stand praying forgive. If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you your sins.”  I must admit, even today this scripture ALWAYS keeps me in check. Why? Because I have been forgiven of so many things in my life and God expects me to show that same love and mercy to others.In my own life I have found that when I love others I am happier and at peace. I am able to really enjoy life.  You could say that LOVE has a “freeing” affect on the one who chooses to give it out.  So go ahead, begin to look at others as God looks at you, with love and compassion.  I guarantee you will find that your life will be full of real happiness and joy!