Tag Archives: Jesus

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.


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


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


Life’s True Value

Have you ever had to take inventory before? Maybe you’re a business owner or an employee of a company that requires annual inventory. If not, I’m sure you’ve taken inventory of what’s in your kitchen especially if  you are  getting ready to prepare a meal for your family or friends and so what is the first thing you do? You check your cupboards or pantry to see if you have the proper ingredients and if not, you make a list of the things you need to purchase at the grocery store or local market.

In business  we are required by law to be “honest” in our assessments during inventory. Many years ago I used to work in retail and I remember the times we were required to take inventory of “everything” in the store and I mean everything. We could not leave anything out, and we were required to be accurate in our calculations.  In life whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly taking inventory and making assessments of the things we have or don’t have, the question is are we being accurate? Are we forgetting something? As we make assessments of our life are we leaving anything out?

In Philippians chapter 3 verses 7-9 the Apostle Paul says, “I once thought these things were ‘valuable’, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. vs 8 Yes ‘everything else’ is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as ‘garbage’ (worthless) so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”

As I mentioned earlier we are all (knowingly or unknowingly) taking inventory of our lives: For some we look at life and how hard it is. We may be frustrated because of our financial situation. We may be jealous of what our neighbors (or family and co-workers) have. We may even be irritated by the fact that we don’t have the job or career we “really” want. What the Apostle Paul is saying here is that he has  knowingly made an honest assessment of his life. The “things” he once thought were ‘valuable’ to him are no longer that. He made an honest assessment and came to the true understanding that the infinite value in Life comes ONLY from Jesus and knowing him. You might be asking yourself “How?” “How can I stop looking at and being ‘consumed’ with the things I have or “don’t” have and carefully and honestly see the “True Value” in Jesus?  I’m glad you asked, picture if you will a “warehouse” it’s your warehouse containing  “everything” you posses, including your present circumstances whether good or bad and in this warehouse  you also have a chest full of “gold” but you overlook it because everything else in your warehouse has captured your attention which causes you to not see it.  Why? Because while we’re ‘busy’ taking inventory of our life we are failing to  make a “complete” assessment. We’re so focused on all the other stuff, that we are unable to see that right in the middle of everything else in our warehouse  is something that is MORE valuable than anything else. So how do we focus on this treasure that has been in our warehouse since day one? Take NEW inventory and “include” Jesus as being the MOST important and most VALUABLE asset in your life. What does the “value” of Jesus offer us: God’s word says that he “…works ALL things together for GOOD, to those that love God and are called according to His purpose” Another promise is “…and NOTHING shall by any means hurt you…” Another nugget of truth of knowing Jesus is, “I CAN do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength” Friends, He is our Life, Purpose and Peace…everything else is “garbage” it’s worthless compared to Jesus.  Taking our eyes off of the “garbage” and putting our focus on Jesus is the most valued treasure we could ever obtain.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a TREASURE that a man/woman discovered hidden in a field…” ~ Knowing Jesus.

For more go Ponce Church website and download Pastor Rick’s newest
messages, “The Value of Jesus”


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


Japan Mission of Love

During church service a couple of weeks ago a member asked if they could read a facebook post regarding the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan from a family member who lives in Tokyo.  At the time of her reading their story, I had no clue what the Lord was about to put on my heart.  I remember talking with two other women at church later that morning, and I remember  sharing (in passing) that if the Lord wanted me to go to Japan I would go.  As I made the comment I had a little what I call “ping” go off inside of me, but I shrugged it off.  It wasn’t until later that day as I rehearsed the morning and what I said to the ladies did I begin to sense a “Hey God, are you calling me to go to Japan?”  I also began to think back how years ago while listening to a missionary talk about going to Mexico to help build a Christian school and how I had  no desire or intention of going until he began to pray. Oh my goodness! During his prayer Jesus began to speak to me, I remember thinking “Wow Lord, you want me to go don’t you?” I went from dis-interested to overjoyed! As I shared what the Lord said to me with my husband he agreed and sensed the same thing and then brought up the idea to bring our son Rich, who at the time was around 14 years old (there were other families with youth planning to go on this trip as well). It turned out amazing! As we began to make plans for Reynosa, Mexico, the Lord began to show me my place and what He was calling me to do, and that was to minister to the women in this community. Pastor Juanita of whom held church services in her yard was in favor of my ministering to the women of her church. As a group we also raised funds to purchase groceries for these families (mainly women and children) and following each morning meeting we passed out bags of groceries to each family. The Lord moved mightily during these meetings touching the lives of nearly every woman there including healing an infant of  an infection.  Years later Ponce Church raised funds to help build a church  sanctuary on Pastor Juanita’s property.

Japan Religion:  During my research I have found that approximately 84% of the people of Japan practice Shintoism and Buddhism leaving less than 2% who are Christian.  Another study reveals that most of the Christian churches are made up of women believers with very few men. It is also said that there are only 20-30 Christian conversions in a 20 year span.  This my friend must change.

Go Into All the World and Preach the Gospel to Every Creature: Since I became a Christian I have always told the Lord that I would go wherever He wanted me to go to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. In my Christian lifetime he has had me share his love with strangers as a group of believers and myself hit the streets of Detroit, Michigan. He has led me to attend Bible School in Oklahoma. During my time at school he has inspired me to preach the gospel on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma with my Christian friends while ministering to the poor as well. He also taught me the importance of ministering to children, youth and later showed me the importance of reaching the community of children with special needs.  Later the Lord led my husband Pastor Rick and our family to Florida to start the first church ever in the history of Ponce Inlet, Florida: Ponce Church.  As a church we have raised funds to help the poor and donated cars to single mothers. Our church has also helped single mothers and their children get back on their feet to start fresh after fleeing abusive relationships.  Since 2003 we have been faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a town of which many have not heard the Good News, and now the Lord has put it on our heart to reach the people of Japan.

The Plan: Thank you friends for your prayers  as I take the necessary steps in seeing this vision come to pass. Currently there are 24 major cities in Japan that do not have a church presence of any kind.  I have currently made contact with pastors outside of Tokyo. They have graciously offered a home-stay along with airport transportation.  My plans are to go into Otsuchi (Ogaguchi) with their teams and personally bring aid to the affected families.  I will also help them as they continue to work by restoring the homes that are left standing so that the families can return to them (they are currently living in shelters).  Our long-term vision is to start a church(s) with those that will receive salvation through Jesus Christ and continue our work by training those converts to fulfill their calling to pastor their people.  As founders and Pastors of Ponce Church we will oversee these new churches in Japan. Thank you all for your prayers of faith and support as we go and reach the people of Japan with the Love and Grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your support~ Japan: Mission of Love