Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

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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“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


It’s Christmas Time Again!

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas! One of the most celebrated times of the year. Complete with love, excitement, laughter, and don’t forget the Cookies, Cakes and Ginger Bread men.  Not to mention snow falling, fires burning and lights all aglow.  Ah yes, Christmas time is here once again. With the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring…let’s remember to keep it real, simple and stress free!  The following are just a few tips to help preserve the Joy and Peace that Christmas brings:

1) Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videotapes.

2) Stick to a budget: Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity or adopt a family in need, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange

3) Reach Out: If you feel lonely or isolated, volunteer to help at your church or visit the hurting in hospitals and nursing homes .  Volunteering your time and  helping others also is a great way to lift your spirits.  Jesus says that when we LOVE our neighbor our JOY will be full! John 15

4) Taking time for yourself: Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and look at the stars. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

5) Learn to say No: Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Family, friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.

6) Forgive Others: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Forgive any grievances you may have toward loved ones and remember Jesus said, that if we want the Father to forgive us we must forgive those that have wronged us (Mark 11). When we hold grudges toward others we think we’re getting back at them.  The truth is,  we are only hurting ourselves. When we are not forgiving, we are imprisoning ourselves in pain and sorrow and it can affect our emotional and physical health.  My advice would be to ask God to help you forgive…and remember If you want mercy from our heavenly Father then we must extend that same mercy.

7) Remember the Good: Some of us have lost those that are dear to us.  It is OK and normal to be sad at times, especially during the Christmas season.  One way that helps grieving is to “Remember the Good”.  Remember their smiles and their laughter.  Surround yourself around family and friends that are closest to you.

8) Celebrate the Reason for the Season! Remember Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews about the true meaning of Christmas, that it’s MORE than just packages and bows and focus on God’s Love for he gave us the Greatest Gift of All!  Celebrate Jesus!
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/MH00030/NSECTIONGROUP=2
for more on stress management