Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Taking the Heat


Matthew 16:18
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

In the past, when my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I travel to the historic town of Oxford, Georgia, to visit my mother, the weather is remarkably cooperative.  Yes, there are the occasional showers, but always a plethora of dry, temperate days to satisfy our outdoor inclinations.  Whether it's kicking the ball or throwing the frisbee in Mom's extensive yard, or walking the nature trail, Virginia and I traditionally spend more time outside than in.

Not this time around . . .

We are smack dab in the middle of an oppressive heat wave.  Temperatures soar to and stay in the 90s for most of each day, making outdoor recreation an undesirable activity.  Virginia does venture outside, but stays beneath the shade of the trees.  I hate not joining her, but this Gammie does not do well in sweltering temps.  I just can't take the heat!

One evening, though, after dinner, Virginia begs me to go on a walk.  Yes, it is a few degrees cooler than earlier in the day, but she really has to coax me to acquiesce.  "Okay, honey," I say with a sigh, "we can take a walk, but only to the Old Church and back."

Satisfied with this short stroll, Virginia bounds out the door eagerly, as I reluctantly follow behind.  We saunter casually and reach our destination, not without shedding a few droplets of sweat along the way.  Standing on the walkway to the church, something catches my eye.  Is the door to the church open?  Yes, it is!  I see people moving around inside.  "Look, Virginia, that door is open.  Let's see if we can go inside so you can see what the church looks like!"

We are welcomed by a gentleman who knew my father when he was alive, and knows my mother well.  He is the chair of the Oxford Historical Society, and is showing the church to a couple contemplating getting married there.  And what's more, the air conditioner is on.  What a blessing!

Of course, Virginia is delighted to look around this simple, yet elegant, building that has seen generation upon generation pass through its doors.  Though only used for special occasions now, the Old Church still has a dignified, sanctified feel about it, and Virginia enjoys taking it all in.



See the balcony?  Unfortunately, it was closed, so we couldn't explore.




And yes, there are even old timey fans in the pews.  Virginia has to try them out!





Once our visit is over, and we are back at the house, I can't help but wonder about Peter.  When Jesus commissions him as the rock upon which God's church is to be built, did he even have one inkling as to what that would mean for him?  For the generations that would follow?

And how could Peter ever imagine the eventual proliferation of church after church after church in a country that wouldn't be discovered until 1500 years later?  Bottom line?  He couldn't!

But I like to think Jesus did when He placed that power and authority on Peter's shoulders.  Yes, The Way would be persecuted, marginalized, and threatened in its infancy, but it would prevail and flourish as it does to this day, in spite of anti-Christian factions that are rife in our modern, secular culture.

Those flaming, scorching gates of Hades can try every evil in the book to overcome the church, but they'll never win.

Because Jesus, and His church, can take the heat!

Amen!

24 comments:

  1. What a beautiful church you found and visited.

    Indeed you are right, Christ knew what responsibility He was placing on Peter's shoulders.

    God bless.

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  2. Yes, the church is so beautiful in its simplicity, Victor, and conveniently, right down the street from my mother's home. And thank goodness for Peter!
    Love and blessings!

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  3. Oh yes, the Church remains triumphant, no matter what Satan and his minions try to throw at her. She is still strong and vibrant, and preparing for her wedding day... Great post. So happy you and Virginia had this lovely time together exploring God's house. That was a "cool" treat!!

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    1. It was a "cool" treat, Pamela, that's for sure! :)
      And yes, the Church will be victorious in the end.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. What a lovely discovery, Martha! Were it not for Virginia's serendipitous spirit! That old church's architecture and feel reminds me of our own sanctuary, founded back in 1848! Here's a link to its history; perhaps you and Danny can visit someday? https://www.rsum.org/history

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    1. I believe the church in Oxford was founded around that same time, Mevely, if not a few years before. I will certainly take time to look at the link you sent.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. A child shall lead them. Go Virginia! Trust the children to lead the way to discovery.

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    1. Yes, Debra, she's one of a kind!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. I love those pews in the old churches. It's great that it is still used for special occasions, if not for Sunday worship! Your granddaughter is precious!

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    1. I love them, too, Terri, and I believe they are the originals, just spruced up. And yes, I think Virginia is pretty precious myself!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Such an encouraging post, Martha. The church and God's values are most definitely under fire in our nation. But as you have so accurately stated: Jesus and His church can take the heat!
    Always love the pictures, too.
    Love and Blessings!

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    1. Yes, the Church CAN take the heat, and will continue to do so. Often, I think of you living in California, and I wonder how you stay the course against such opposition, yet you do. It is all thanks to the victory of Jesus. May we continue to proclaim the truth!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. What a great discovery for you both, Martha. Yes, with Jesus we can take the heat. It may be hard at times but He has already gained the ultimate victory. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, the Old Church has been a landmark we've visited before, but when Virginia is with me, we could never get into as it is locked. God truly gave us an amazing opportunity that evening, and one I will always treasure, as that was Virginia's first time seeing the inside of the church. We held my father's memorial service there years ago, but Virginia was too young to attend. She was glad to see where her Grandpa was remembered.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. AMEN, Sister! It's really hot here too! NOT a good sign for the summer in front of us!

    She is darling!
    Blessings to you both!

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    1. The heat wave finally broke here in GA, and I hope it's been the same story in your neck of the woods, Loralu. And yes, I think Virginia is pretty cute, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Martha, what a beautiful and powerful article! I love the analogy of the historic church to Peter and God's church withstanding the opposition, hell itself, and being able to take the heat! And the photos are wonderful! Thanks so much!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post and the message, Karen! The Old Church is a central part of Oxford's history, and I'm so grateful I was able to show Virginia the interior.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Martha, the old church's architecture is stunning! Even though old church buildings can be challenging to navigate, there's something about the design that modern buildings just can't match.

    God's church is indeed POWERFUL. However, the Church is NOT built on Peter (that's a Roman Catholic concept). The Church is built on the true Rock, Jesus. Jesus is the One who Overcomes!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, I so appreciate the architecture of old churches. So plain and humble, there is little to distract from the worship of God. Also, the acoustics are amazing - no microphones needed here! And absolutely true about Peter - Jesus said that HE would build His church using Peter. Such an honor and responsibility.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. Love the story. Love the pictures. Love the application. Thanks for this piece of your vacation.

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    1. You are so welcome, Bill! Hope your recent vacation was wonderful for the whole family. Did you see the Pirates play the Braves, or was it the other team, which I can't recall. I know you won't love it that we are Atlanta Braves fans down this way, but hey! Gotta support the home team!
      Love and blessings!

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  13. so neat to spend time with your granddaughter and that church too plus a spiritual lesson all rolled into one. Love the story and photos.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked this, Jean. What a great time we had!
      Love and blessings!

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Investments

  Do not be wise in your own eyes;  fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment for your bones. ~Prove...