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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: The Ties That Bind
By Joseph Veseli


"Okay, tie me up."
The two burly guys grab the chains and start wrapping them around me. I wince when the cold steel touches my bare skin and when the links pinch my arms as they circle my body. Upside down, I feel the blood rushing into my head, a slight thumping sound in my ear reminding me that my heart is beating. They finally finish, put padlocks on the chains, then step back to watch, smiling from ear to ear.
How do I get myself into these things?

Suddenly a trap door opens and water splashes onto my face as a tank rises up and begins to engulf me. Deep breathes, one, two, three, hold! My head penetrates the water and within moments, I'm completely submerged. Opening my eyes, I see a blurry clock counting down from three minutes. It's at one minute, forty seconds. Where did the time go?

I begin shaking, trying to loosen the restraints tied around me, and as I do my body is losing precious oxygen. I close my eyes, wiggle my arms, loosening my left shoulder just enough. Rocking back and forth until I feel my body hit the glass enclosure, once, I gain more momentum, twice, my back hits the other side, and slam! I hit the glass with my left shoulder as hard as I can. A scream almost escapes, but I catch it before I inhale gallons of water.

My shoulder, now dislocated, screams at me for being so cruel. But it works. I feel the slack in the chains and I start to wiggle hard and fast.
From outside, they must think I'm drowning, convulsing as I breath in water.

My lungs are burning and I feel my strength begin to ebb.
Just a little more Lord. You know all glory is Yours.
I look at the clock, forty-five seconds left. I better hurry.
The chains slide down my body, their weight working for me, as I continue to shake and wiggle. Finally, I feel them give and begin to fall. One of the locks hit me on the brow, hard. Dizzy, but I can't stop now. Time is running out.

I try to bend up and realize a part of the chain is still hooked onto my pants, holding me down. Panic! My heart pounds and I know I'm seconds from death. I grab a hold of it with my right hand and jerk, I feel the pain in my left shoulder but I ignore it. I jerk harder and it falls.
I bend up, grab ahold of the lock at my feet, pull the pin in my shoe and begin to work the lock. As I do, I look at the clock, fifteen, fourteen...

The lock jerks free and falls onto the chains below. I pull myself up, slip, pull again. I break the surface of the water to the sound of the cheering crowd! I'm alive. I look at the clock just as it turns zero.

"Thank You Jesus," I pray.
One of the guys comes over and helps me down. "Good job Jacob, another great show."
He gives me a towel and a mic. I walk to center stage and raise my hands. The crowd goes wild! I motion for silence and it takes a few moments for the applause to die down.

"The chains that bound me tonight, are like the chains that tie us to this world and the god of this world would like nothing more than for you to believe that you will never be free. But I'm here to tell you, just like I was freed from these chains, you can be freed too. Jesus said in John 8:36, 'So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.' If you put your trust in Him, and turn away from your sins, you have God's promise, you will be saved!"

Looking at the crowds, I smile. Despite the pain and the fear of death, it's all worth it if just one will come forward.

"Jesus also says in John 7:37, 'Anyone who is thirsty may come to me.' So come!" I watch. No one is coming forward. No one's heeding the call.

The disappointment begins to rise, but then, a single person begins to walk down the isle. Like the angels, I rejoice over just one who comes to the alter to be set free from the ties that keep them from God's grace!

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This article has been read 397 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lynn gipson 03/10/13
Wow, I felt like I down there with you.The clock ticking away and I almost couldn't breathe. This was riveting, and you helped save a soul.

Could have used a few double spacings, but this is a terrific story.

God Bless
Danielle King 03/10/13
Oh wow, what a way to witness. I'm so pleased it's not mandatory! This is a unique take on the topic and also very well written. I could feel the panic in the tank as the seconds ticked by and the whole detailed piece makes compelling reading. Great job.
Alicia Renkema03/10/13
You want red ink, well here it is: Why did you sign up as a beginner? This is one spellbinding read. Houdini always intrigued me as a child. Then when I grew up and became a believer, I really enjoyed going to see Andre Cole, a Christian magician, who does all of his act for God's glory and testifies to that every where he goes. I can't help but wonder if this represents anything that you have personally done in your life for the Lord. It felt just like you knew exactly what to write about at every turn. Great writing. The end gave me chills.
Vince Martella03/11/13
Wow. Pretty extreme stuff! I really liked the present tense point of view. At first, I thought you were going to slip back into past, then remembered your POV comments. Present POV really keeps a sense of urgency. Some red ink (and some is purely subjective on my part): I think a more creative title would have set this piece apart and been more worthy of such a great story. I think leaving out the first sentence would have added some suspense for at least a paragraph. Altar rather than alter (to change) at the end. A very engaging read (not to mention the great scriptural tie in) and a job well done.This should place well. Keep writing!
Cheryl Harrison03/11/13
Clever idea for the topic.

Long ago, I attended a service where a group of men did power tricks like this. It is a wonderful evangelistic format. First, you capture the attention of people, and then you slip in the truth of the Gospel.

You had a few spelling issues, but your descriptions drew me in.

Practice makes perfect. Keep writing. God Bless!
Noel Mitaxa 03/11/13
Great descriptive skills shown here, in a very breathtaking read. Clear insight into your MC's immediate thinking and his ultimate goal.
It probably needs a warning like "Do not try this at home!"
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/12/13
I think this was quite clever. I like melding a magician or I guess escape artist would be a better fit, into someone who really tells the gospel truth. I think there is a touch of irony there too with the escape artist and there is only one way to escape death and that is through Jesus. Well done.
Judith Gayle Smith03/13/13
Methinks you will break out of the Beginner's level very soon! Incredible and powerful.
Bea Edwards 03/13/13
Very impressive first entry!
I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and the way you used your MC's POV to keep the suspense taut. Well done but be aware of spelling and formatting issues as they can keep a good entry from placing in the top.
By the way...do you do this?
Linda Berg 03/13/13
I found myself holding my breath as I read about your attempt to escape.

The ending was a surprise to me when the escape efforts you participated in were tied to the chains that are loosed with freedom found in relationship with Christ. Great job tying that together.

C D Swanson 03/14/13
Congrats! God Bless~
Cheryl Harrison03/14/13
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. Well deserved.
Vince Martella03/16/13
I knew this would place; congrats on a well deserved win!
Vince Martella03/16/13
I predict the "ties that bind you" to Level 1 will soon be broken!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/13
Congratulations on ranking 30 overall! (The top 40 overall can be found on the message boards)