Hello from Pamukale, Turkey! Today was a FULL day of incredible study and fun! The theme was restoring prosperity.
We began with a sunrise air balloon ride, which was INCREDIBLE. We were able to see many of the sites we would be at later today from the air! It was so beautiful, and we sat in awe of God’s creation.
After heading back to the hotel and eating breakfast, we were off. Many of us felt like we had already done an entire day’s worth of activity! We began in the ancient city Hierpolis. A city Philip was closely working with. It has one of the biggest necropolises (city of the dead) in the world. We talked about the idea of looking back in our life at what God has done and using that to inform our life as we head inevitably to our own necropolis. We also saw Philip’s martorium a place honoring Philip in the spot he is traditionally believed to have been crucified after suffering much persecution. We reflected in the idea that it was Philip who actually lived a life abundant, not the ones who put him on the cross.
After lunch, we headed to Colossae, home of the Colossians. This city has not yet been excavated, so it looks just like a regular hill with an extremely flat top. Here we talked about Philemon (of Colossae) being asked by Paul to forgive his runaway slave Onesimus who was a new believer. What a picture of the gospel. A slave in bondage set free by grace!
Our last stop was Laodicea. Our first of the 7 churches of Revelation. The 7 churches form a postal route, however, we are going backwards. In Laodicea, there has been much excavated in the last 15 years. With two theaters, the longest stadium in the world at that time, and a special wool used to make designer cloaks, there was much prosperity in this city. It also is the only church to receive ONLY criticism in Revelation. Jesus uses the things they are known for to talk in metaphor on their failings. He loved them, so he reproved them. There is a 4th century church on site that is BEAUTIFUL, and could also serve as proof that these Christians repented and turned from their ways. They had been so caught up in the prosperity there city had, they no longer identified with Christ, but as Romans.
We learned and saw SO MUCH today. It couldn’t possibly all be captured in one blog post! For now, we are meditating on the truth heard today and hearing g up for another big day tomorrow!
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Sep 3-14, 2023
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