We have begun our final days of this trip now being in Greece. Turkey has done a great deal to improve and modernize their country but it is still nice to be in the culture of Greece. Here we are visiting the areas of Philippi, Thessaloniki and more. It is just amazing to take this journey and see over and over how much man hasn’t changed and why God in His mercy needed to redeem us with His sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Scriptures come to life when you are here and read them. We look just like they did and we need the same warnings and guidance.
God never changes. This is shown best by the Grace and Mercy He offers us today just as He did thousands of years ago.
I can’t get over how much the messages in Revelation resemble our world today. John wrote very specifically what was said to him to the seven churches. We got to visit all of them. How ugly our flesh is. We seem to want to worship ourselves and have others do so too. This trip throws the truth of that in one’s face and you just have to repent.
Today we will cross into Greece for the remainder of the trip. God has been so gracious and I’ve loved every minute of this. Our pastor does a remarkable job bringing the relevance of back then to us today.
Today is my oldest granddaughters birthday. She is in her senior year of college and prepping to be a teacher which makes grandpa proud! Happy birthday Faith!
Today we head to Greece for the remainder of our trip. We drive s long distance with a few stops. I have loved this portion in Turkey.
As I read John I see a uniqueness in him like no other disciple. He understood love from God and he seemed to receive its fullness. I’m sure he must have struggled with it, but I marvel at his delivery of love and the ease in which he’s able to offer it to others just as God wants us to also do. The Holy Spirit wants to help us with this too. I never felt worthy of it until much more recently in my life for it is totally about who God is and never about who we are. Just receive it with sheer thanks.
Today we take a boat ride to Patmos. I was impressed with the way God used John’s prison time. John was brought here as a prisoner but God used the time to give him the revelations to write in our Bibles last book. Isn’t it amazing how God uses what man does to destroy for His Kingdom’s Glory! It made me realize once again that even though I thought I was a prisoner to my past (and I was) God uses it today as a tool to help set others free. God is so amazing!
Yesterday was such an incredible day with seeing so many of the 7 churches addressed in the book of Revelation. Today we see Ephesus which is the most restored of all of them. I have been here before 28 years ago but there is much work which has been done in this time. This is a remarkable country. We have driven so much in bus so we get to see much of the daily living of the people. I really appreciate this.
What keeps hitting me over and over is the way our society looks today in comparison to the society 2000 years ago. We lust for pleasure in so many formats. I hate seeing this yet you can’t close your eyes to the truth of it. I ask God to shows me what to focus myself on and He keeps reminding me that the church isn’t the ruined structures but the people who dwelt in them. To help the church today stay focused on helping the people of today find Christ and stay focused on Him.
Yesterday we began to see the actual ruins of the biblical time in Philadelphia and two others. The massive size is one thing and the depth of sin they represent is another. When one realizes how little man has changed on our sinfulness, one sees the control flesh has on mankind. Putting all of that together with Christ’s work on the Cross just makes it all more amazing. Those sins were forgiven then as they are today when we simply accept Christ for ourselves and begin to believe.
The Power of Christ’s Holy Spirit within us is incredible and how little I rely on Him. This is a huge area of growth I need. The conquest of the flesh is never won from our efforts—only from our surrender.
A great day yesterday in Istanbul. This am we fly to Ismer where we will stay and visit several ancient sites by bus. These will be Ephesus and Corinth and more.
As I was having my devotional time yesterday early morning a gentleman from our trip came down and asked to join me. Once he was done with his devotions we talked about our backgrounds and jobs. It led to me sharing my own story and my book. He then said he’d had a tragic event in his past that has always troubled him. He’d only told his wife and a group of men in a mens fellowship one time. He said he’d never experienced someone opening up about this topic. He said he really wanted to talk more and get my book. He doesn’t live too far from me back home so I said we’d connect when we return to Idaho.
I’m always amazed what God does even in very unexpected places. He is always at work. I love getting to be part of this too!
We got into Istanbul at 4:30 pm their time so by the time we got checked into our room and ate dinner it was bed time even though we’d only been up for about 7 hours. I was wide awake at 3:00 and got up at 4. I know I’ll adjust but it will take another day.
I received a prayer request last night that a man whose past is quite similar to my own has had a nervous breakdown. He’s hospitalized presently. He has talked to me numerous time about coming for help but hasn’t been willing to take the step. Exposure is so difficult. I’m asking God that this can be an open door to let the Light of healing begin.
God waits for our step of faith to begin no matter how small the step is. His Light of truth and healing patiently is there for each one of us. How I love Him.
We are 1 hour and 42 minutes from landing in Istanbul turkey. It will be 7 am at home but 4 pm here. Not sure how sleeping will take place tonight. We have been here before when I taught in Turkmenistan but I was much younger then. God is good and the ride has been great. I’m sitting by a lady on our tour who lives in Salem Oregon. Today is also my brother and wife’s 50 year anniversary. They are just waking up. I’ll have much to report in tomorrow’s entry. God is so good to let the 4 of us travel together.
As I begin to start today’s entry I am noticing there is no blog for yesterday the 20th. I remember writing it and I can recall the content of it, yet, it isn’t here. It isn’t in the draft category either which means it is lost or else I’m losing it! Yikes!
Today Kathy and I leave for the trip we have booked to take for 3 years in a row and now it is finally happening. It is to Turkey and Greece–The Journeys of Paul. The nice thing about getting to finally go now is that my younger brother and wife are also going. The total group is around 30 led by our pastor and wife. It is a 12 day trip so we will be returning on Oct. 3. I am not sure how well I’ll be able to keep my blogs current but I will do the best I can. God is never done with our journey and I don’t want to ever think I’ve arrived. He keeps the lessons going and I always want to be a good student no matter how old I get.