Reflecting on the words of Paul on the Greek island of Rhodes

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Some time ago I made a brief visit to the Greek island of Rhodes, famed for its beautiful butterfly valley, its rich history, historical sites and ‘St. Paul’s Bay.’

Above is an early morning view from my little balcony in the quiet village of Haraki (Charaki) which lies just north of Lindos in Rhodes. Lindos was founded around the 10th century BC and overlooks that bay which is reportedly the location where Paul landed all those years ago. “And it came to pass, that after we had gotten from them, and launched, we came with a straight course unto Co-os (Kos), and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence to Pat-a-ra.” (Acts 21v1)

“Them…” who were they? We read that Paul’s fellow Christians “all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.”

How rare it is in these days to witness sincerity, concern and genuine love expressed as it was amongst the early Christians.

In this “crooked and perverse” world we live in, Christians are appalled at the behaviour of those around them who have no love or care in their hearts for even close relatives. But is it possible that even those who declare themselves to be Christians fall short in this?

 I think on Paul’s words in Philippians 2v5-8 … “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross…”

Therefore we are exhorted to “let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus.”

And to “do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Phil. 2v14-15)

If these lights grow dim – what hope is there for the rest of this perverse world in which we live?

Yes, it is often difficult. We will most certainly face persecution, opposition and false accusations as we “press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3v14)

But we have these promises if we press forward in His strength… “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4v7); “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” (Phil. 4v13); “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4v19); “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” (2Thess. 3v3)

As the same fierce sun sets once again across the same beautiful rolling tide that washed Paul’s ship into the little bay of Lindos, I know that the same Saviour who loved His servant Paul, loves us with an everlasting love and desires the very best for each one of us, that we may be used of Him to shine as lights in the darkest of waters.

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