Notes from the Church Lady

Debra Whittington

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalms 100:1-5

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalms 103:1-5

“Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?” Psalms 106:1-2

It is difficult for me to understand how some people can possibly not believe in God when His wondrous presence is all around us. I see the Lord at work all around me every day in nature and especially in those who are children of God because they have Jesus living in them.
This past weekend, Mark and I had the privilege of traveling to Carlsbad for the New Mexico State Gideon Convention. This convention is such a joy to attend because we get to hear how the Lord is working throughout the world and spend time with dear Christian friends.
I must admit that I had some doubts about attending this year due to recent health problems, but I trusted the Lord to see me through any difficulties and He did.
Our first evening in Carlsbad was spent at the home of a Gideon couple we met at our first convention almost 20 years ago. They invited all the Gideons to attend a cookout at their home. They have a lovely home located on the shores of the Pecos River that runs through Carlsbad.
Although the location is breath taking, it was the people in attendance that made the evening so special. We sat at a table with a couple from Alamogordo we hadn’t met before. Immediately, we felt like old friends because the bond of Jesus Christ was there. The conversation never wavered as that bond served as a springboard for numerous topics to discuss.
After dinner, Mark and I walked down to the deck overlooking the river and watched the sun set into the river. What a glorious sight it was to behold.
Behind us, we heard people talking and laughing as they renewed old friendships and established new ones. It was beautiful music to my ears.
The weekend continued with amazing accounts of how the Lord is at work throughout the world. I had goosebumps as I listened to how the Lord protected those who are distributing His Word throughout the world. My heart leapt with joy as we heard testimonies of how people’s lives were dramatically changed by reading the Word of God.
We were inspired by speakers who reminded us that we are called by God to share the Good News by beginning in our own neighborhoods. We were reminded of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 and the charge to Jesusí disciples in Acts 1:8.
On our way home, we stopped to see my family in Artesia. Although the visit was brief, it was such a blessing. We were at my Mom’s and went out to look at her beautiful yard. As we stood there, a robin suddenly flew down and landed in the grass.
He didn’t seem to be worried about our presence as he hopped around in search of something to eat. I was amazed that he didn’t fly away, but seemed focused on why he was there.
The Lord used that robin to speak to my heart. I realized how the Lord had provided spiritual food all weekend to nourish me. I also thought about the peace I felt, as the world didn’t bother me as I rested in the Lord’s presence without a care or concern.
Yes, it was a wonderful weekend that I will treasure forever. However, just as that robin landed in my Mom’s backyard, I am reminded that there are many wonderful experiences waiting for us at home. In our own backyards, whether it is our home, church, town, or whatever, the Lord provides a place of rest and nourishment for us all.