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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Like Living in a Goldfish Bowl (11/07/13)

TITLE: Moving Beyond the Fishbowl
By Victoria Catron
11/13/13


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More than once as a child and a youth my parents made me go to church when I had no desire to attend. As a child I had to leave family functions early on Sunday evenings, essentially losing out on my play time with cousins. In high school I had to leave best friends' sleepovers early or just not stay all night so that I wouldn't miss church services Sunday morning. What was so special about listening to a man talk about things that didn't really fit into the rest of my life? How did attending church help me get through school? How did it help me with my friends? How did it help me with problems? Indeed it seemed more like an unneeded and even hypocritical thing.

Through circumstances and divine intervention there came a time in my life when not only church services but the Lord himself became the ultimate desires in my life. Still there were times when I had more questions about the importance of church and the Bible than I felt were answers. It took at least a year in a Wednesday night Bible study that explored topics from A to Z before I realized that I needed more depth than my church was providing for me. It was like living in a goldfish bowl while having the desire for the wide expanses of the ocean within my soul. So I applied and attended Bible college away from home for three years. I learned so incredibly much but hadn't reached an end. God put a desire in me to see others love Him and their respective churches just as much or more than I did.

In order to fulfill those desires I still needed and desired to learn, still had to have a longing for the ocean rather than be content with the fishbowl. Don't get me wrong there is security and provision within such small confines but there is also stunted growth via the lack of different scenarios, diverse companionships, gifts and talents beyond my own, etc. Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV clearly says that we should attend church to build up our faith, to instigate love and good works, and as an encouragement. Earlier in the same book it says that DAILY exhortation is needful to help keep sin from making our hearts hard (Hebrews 3:13 KJV). It's no coincidence that a good portion of the New Testament books were written to local bodies of believers. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 KJV God gave the apostle Paul a wonderful illustration of how local churches are to be compared to a physical body where the differences working together make up the whole with Christ as the head.

I've heard Christians say that they don't need to attend church because they can worship God anywhere and by themselves. While this is true it's not the complete truth as the Bible reveals it. Satan desires to fool Christians into believing that a fishbowl is the best place for them but the reality is there's a creek, a river, a pond, a lake, an ocean out there filled with blessings and, yes, even hardships prepared to bring us closer to our Creator. In the Gospel according to Matthew Jesus proclaims that the "gates of hell shall not prevail against" the church (Matthew 16:18 KJV). It doesn't mean that Satan won't try to destroy churches which is why we must be sure that we are depending upon God's Word as our guide (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Yet, all too often Christians' lives, homes, et cetera continue to be more easily destroyed because we aren't actively involved in the support "system" that God provided for us. Remember that followers of Christ are in a spiritual war! We only have hope in Christ, in that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)."


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Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 11/14/13
Beautiful devotional. Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree the Bible is an expanse of Ocean and beyond, and so powerful in our existence, and far beyond any "building or church" can provide. Christ, the true church, and His word and His ways are the true desires of the hearts of Christians. Your message so clearly shows that.

Wonderful job.

God bless~

Bonnie Bowden 11/15/13
Wonderful devotional. We all need the church and the church needs us! It is beyond the fishbowl--it does lead to lakes and oceans and beyond.
Richard Hicks11/16/13
Awesome job.

I pray that we all can move beyond the fish bowl, and grow into all that God has for us.

Keep Writing
Amelia Brown 11/16/13
Preach!!!

This is indeed a beautiful sermon. I can see this being presented from the pulpit on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I like the unique take on the topic. This piece is not really about transparency or being seen by the public; but rather about broadening our territory, branching out from our comfort zone, and going for bigger things.

Well done and keep writing.
Taryn Deets 11/20/13
I hadn't thought about the fishbowl being a confined space. Thanks for sharing~great devotional!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/21/13
Congratulations on ranking 6th in your level! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)