How Far Are You Prepared to Go for the Lord?

Greece- Rome Trip Log – Saturday, September 19, 2015

Door on the floor of the Coliseum in Philippi which released wild animals upon Christians
Door on the floor of the Coliseum in Philippi which released wild animals upon Christians

I write this note from Thessaloniki, Greece. This is the last night in Greece. Tomorrow morning we head for Rome, Italy. It has been a tremendous experience. While the tours, hotels, meals and transportation have been exceptional, more important that all combined has been the opportunity to reexamine our personal faith in the context of the Apostle Paul.

Every occasion I have I ask our 55 travel partners on this trip called, “Following the Footsteps of Paul”, what has been the highlight of the trip so far? The answers are all over the place. Today, when asked what was the highlight of the trip for me I had to respond that it was walking on the floor of the coliseum in Philippi yesterday and listening to the tour guide mention the Roman appetite for “Spectacles” in the coliseum. After describing concerts, plays and other forms of entertainment she mentioned that this sight was also a sight for gladiator fights to the death and then she pointed to a door in the floor where animals were released upon Christians. It made me almost sick to my stomach to think about the harsh intolerance that was visited upon Christians during the time of the Roman Emperor Nero. Even though Philippi was a long way from Rome, the Roman influence was real.

In modern times, at least in America, Christians seem more focused on internal differences than having to actually suffer for our faith. For the past several days our Tour has focused on a large part of the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Geographically, it is stunning to realize the miles Paul had to cover to get from city to city. His road was not easy, yet he did not quit until he was finally arrested and put on trial in Rome.

I encourage you to read the following words from the Apostle Paul which detail some of what he endured to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 11: But whatever anyone dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman—I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death. 24 Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. 28 And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How far are you prepared to go for the Lord?
  2. What do your thoughts regarding Christians having to suffer for their faith informs you regarding the depth of your personal faith?

 

Prayer:

Lord, grant me a faith that will not shake, will not buckle and will not deny you. Keep my focus on the joy of your salvation. When others assail you, talk about you and mock you: grant me the courage to witness for you. In the worst of times give me the strength not to curse you. Help me to look for the positive, envision a life beyond suffering and energy sufficient to make it another day. Lord, I lift you, magnify you and will tell the world of your grace and mercy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers, Photos, devotionals and Greece-Rome2015 Tour Logs from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More information regarding Nicholas Hood III Ministries at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

Book cover
Book cover

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Co 11:21–28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.