Category Archives: God with us

Life After Tsunami

Amid the rubbish stands one of the most beautiful sites anyone will ever see: Springtime Sakura, better known as “cherry blossom” trees.  While preparing for my trip to Japan, I look at the hard work our friends in Otsuchi are doing by helping the people that have been devastated by the tsunami that swept through their town, taking lives and tearing down many of the structures that once stood strong.  But with all of the pain and suffering, there is something more powerful than death and destruction: Life!

Jesus says in the ancient scriptures “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come, that you might have Life and Life more abundantly” John 10:10.  You may say, “Where is this Life? How can Life be present when there is so much sorrow? ” When God raised Jesus from the dead he sent His Spirit to live inside every person who chooses to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. This Spirit demonstrates the love of the Father (God) when we love those around us.  As the people of God his Love empowers us to help a neighbor living just down the street or thousands of miles away bringing comfort to the hurting.  This kind of Love is expressed with more than words, it is accompanied with action,  “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we must also give up our lives for our brothers and our sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but show no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth.” 1John 3:16-18

Just like the Sakura trees showing off their display of life and beauty…the people of God are active all over the world  showing this  “Life”  through acts of love toward mankind.  “Let your lite  so shine that mankind will see your good deeds (acts of Love) and Glorify your Father which is in Heaven” Jesus words found in Mathew 5:16

Thank you for your prayers as I continue preparations for my upcoming trip to Japan. Below is Pastor Guna and Jey and members of their congregation returning from their first trip into Otsuchi.  They have recently returned with another team and are working to help clear anything damaged by the tsunami and cleaning the homes so the families (who are in shelters) can return to their homes. God bless them as they show the people of Otsuchi God’s love through their acts of kindness.

For more information regarding our call to Japan, read my blog titled, “Japan: Mission of Love” or go to our website at PonceChurch.com


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”