S0... Our cruise boat stopped at the port of Kusadasi, Turkey. We found the city fascinating - the rug dealers, the leather coat salesmen, the Turkish coffee, the raki; now this was not Iowa! We hopped on a tour bus headed for the ancient city of Ephesus located about 6 miles from Kusadasi.
Ephesus was a earthquake-toppled mess of marble, covered with silt for centuries. Archaeologists are unearthing it bit by bit, discovering the buildings and culture of the time. On the interest scale, it rates a '10'. Our Muslim guide was very knowledgeable and reminded us that Paul, according to Acts 19, lived in Ephesus about 3 years as a tent maker and evangelist. The guide pointed out where the shops were, where the theater district and schools were, where the prostitutes hung out and where the 25,000 seat auditorium stood. And something happened...
Ephesus became a real place. Paul became a real person. The letter to the Ephesians from the Bible became relevant. I could 'see' Paul explaining the risen Christ to the locals. I could 'hear' the idol sellers hawking the little Artemis statues. I could 'feel' Paul's passion for telling the truth about Jesus as the way to Life Eternal. My heart actually started to pound... I could feel my faith grow! The Bible became real... alive!
Come, Holy Spirit, and keep Your Word and this experience alive in me. Remind me that the stories in the Bible are about real people and real places. Let this truth take root and grow each day, giving me a fresh passion to share the risen Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life!