Category Archives: God’s love

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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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


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


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


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


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