Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Final Day in Greece ...Thessaloniki and Philippi....then home :)

Well, today is our last day here in Greece, the last full day of our tour. We begin by going to the Roman Forum in Thessaloniki where Paul would have preached. This forum was active from the 1st centure BC to the 3rd centure AD. The synagogue here was used from 2nd century BC to 1943 the time of the Holocaust. Sobering once again to stand in these places that have so much Biblical significance and history.  It was here at this place that I was given the blessed opportunity to read Acts 17:1-9 about Paul’s short ministry in Thessalonica where he went to the Jewish synagogue “and on three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures...then some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, including a great number of God-fearing Greeks, as well as a number of the leading women.” I LOVE the fact that leading women were leading others to the Scriptures by leading by example! : )  But after this, the Jews became jealous and a riot happened in the city after that and it was then that Paul and Silas went off to Berea when it was night, to escape these Jews.  While we were here,  I also read from 1 Thessalonians 5 where Paul talked about the Day of the Lord and where the theme verse for the study comes from “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” 1 Thess. 5:5. So that was super special to read that here! : )  In verses 16-22 are what people call the ‘karate chops of faith’ ...”Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.”  Verse 23-24 go on to say “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” So much is packed into those verses and we couldn’t had a whole morning sermon on them, but we didn’t. :)

what the forum would have looked like in Paul's day

After we had this meaningful time in the Scriptures, we stopped in to see a beautiful church a block away from the forum. Incredible paintings once again! If I remember correctly, it is the Church of Alexandria. ? :)
From here, we drove on the bus for a couple hours to go to Philippi. We stopped at the coastal city called ____ where the Apostle Paul would have come in on the ship and walked along the Roman Road to go to Thessalonica. So amazing to see that Roman Road! These roads that the Romans had built so that they would have easy access to all the major centers, also was the road that quickly spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can just see him walking there, can’t you? :)

loved hearing our Greek Tour Guide's rich Greek accent while she passionately told us many things of Paul ♥

old city walls of the coastal city Paul would have docked a ship at when he came to Greece

beautiful old aquaduct
coming straight down towards us in the trees, can you see the old Roman road? Can you just picture Paul walking on it?

old Roman road that they built to get from city to city...little did they know that these would be used to bring the Gospel

imagining the Apostle Paul coming in on a ship and then walking the Roman road to get to Philippi and Thessalonica :)

In Acts 16:6-12 we read about how Paul had been in Troas where he had a dream of a Macedonian man pleading with them to come to Macedonia. So Paul set sail from Troas to Samothrace and on to Neapolis...which is modern day Kavala, right where I am now standing, so close to the waters edge watching the ship come in. :) Neapolis is the seaport of Philippi, and where Paul would have gotten off the ship to go walk on the Roman Road going on to the center of Philippi to bring the Gospel and to encourage the church. Can you just imagine Paul walking that Roman road! : )  Wow!!   Before going to Philippi, we went to the river where Paul would have met Lydia. What a beautiful spot! While we were sitting at the river, we read the passage from Acts 16:11-15 about Lydia’s conversion. So special!! In the church here, we sang a couple of hymns (which sounded absolutely heavenly) and saw beautiful paintings of people from the Bible being baptized. So lovely and so meaningful! What a place to be!

loved seeing the goats/sheep out in the fields with their shepherd

At Philippi we read the passage from Acts 16:40 about Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi, the midnight deliverance while they singing in jail and the jailer and his whole household becoming believers and being baptized, the official apology and Paul and Silas being released then going to Lydia’s house where they saw and encouraged the believers before leaving the city to go to Thessalonica. Wow! I can’t tell you how meaningful it was to be reading all of these Scriptures at all of these places and having such new insight as to the circumstances that Paul and Silas would have been in or came from when they arrived at each place. Fascinating! It makes the Bible come alive in such a new way! Wow! Wow! Wow!

When we arrived back in Thessaloniki, we had enough time for the bus driver to take us up to the old city walls of Thessalonica. I stood there in amazement looking at those walls, overlooking the city from their place above it and out over the Aegean Sea beneath. Tears filled my eyes again as I thanked God for bringing me here to experience this amazing journey through the New Testament with the Apostle Paul and his fellow missionaries. I'll feel like a missionary going home to tell others of what I've experienced here and sharing this blog with many pictures with you. :)  Thank You God!!

our wonderful bus driver who was very moved by all our testimonies we shared on the bus ♥

We were up by 3:30 am to hop on the bus to catch our early morning flight out of Thessaloniki to Germany. What an amazing experience!! So much on my heart and in my head....will need some time to contemplate all this and to process it all! :)  So thankful!

bye've touched our hearts....we will not forget you...

thankful for my travelling partner Tammy ♥

it still amazes me that God had me go to Thessalonica while I'm taking part in a study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians ♥

my heart is overwhelmed at what all has taken place and what all I have been shown and told...praise God for it all!!

after long flights, the prairies of SK are a welcome sight ♥

home with a changed heart....again ♥

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