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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)

TITLE: The Sea of God
By Sheldon Bass


Firelight danced across the elder's rugged features, enhancing the weight of his message, as flickering flames cast shadows onto the background trees. He was one of the few left who had walked with Jesus; eating with Him, touching Him; hearing His words.

Not far off, the sound of surf washing onto the sand and rocks lulled them into comfort. Every so often, some sea bird would echo, "caw", into the moonlit night. All seven in attendance, with hungry hearts, intently listened.

"When we come to Jesus and experience the exhilaration of our first encounter with Him, we begin to know God personally. We are like children splashing joyfully in the shallow waters on the shores of the vast sea that is God. But this is not where He intends for us to remain. He would have us know Him more fully, more intimately."

All bodies leaned in closer, not wanting to miss a single syllable.

"We must learn to swim, instead of just splash around, going nowhere. We must grow in knowledge and trust and faith. The only way this is possible, is to allow the Lord to lead us into deeper waters, where we are totally reliant upon Him. As faith grows, we gain spiritual wisdom and start to swim, while God supports us upon the waves of His love."

The Apostle's words sounded sweet; poetic.

"Too often Christians are content to remain in the shallows, never knowing complete abandonment of self in faith to Christ. If we do not follow into the deep things of God, He will send a storm or strong current to upset our comfort, to wash us out to a place where we must depend on Him. We are not to rely on our legs to stand on the sandy bottom forever. We must learn to fully trust Him."

Sparks from the blazing campfire flew upward, swirling toward the heavens, as if to join the thousands of sparkling points of light looking down from above.

"Learning to swim is learning to pray, and to obey God's Spirit within us; to obey His word. Learning to swim is learning all the Christian disciplines. It is trusting that He is sufficient for all we need, not splashing and thrashing about in opposition to His working. And it is the knowledge that greater joys are yet ahead. The deeper the water, or the trial we face, the more we learn to trust Him, and the greater becomes His peace that washes over us."

The old Apostle's eyes shone with warmth and love, and his words rang with truth in the hearts of these new believers.

"The rewards of being a strong swimmer; having a mature faith, is discovering the depths of God's unending love. It's discovering that His power has no limit. It is the anticipation of eternal rewards and hope that does not disappoint."

The listeners, in bare feet, dug their toes into the warm sand, enraptured. Even the air seemed thick with the spirit of love; for one another, for the beloved Apostle; for Jesus.

"God is unlike the sea in that it has a coastline, an end somewhere. The more we come to know our Savior, the more we begin to realize how vast; how eternal His endless resources are. Giving ourselves to Jesus in complete abandonment of self, in absolute surrender, is the only means of having an intimate relationship with our Redeemer. When we unite with the Creator of this marvelous universe, we become one with all His love and power."

From outside the ring of firelight, suddenly came a fisherman, who'd been standing just out of sight, listening.

"Forgive me for intruding," he began. "I want to know this Jesus. I want to give myself to Him and be saved."

Nothing could have pleased the group more than a new spiritual birth!

The Mediterranean Sea felt warm, as Apostle Jude and the new Christian, named Jacob, waded out for the baptism.

"I've lived a terribly selfish life," said Jacob. "And I want to make a big splash when I go under the water, loud enough for the devil to hear that I now belong to Jesus."

This brought grins all around, which came easily in the celebratory atmosphere. Abandoning his selfish will, Jacob surrendered in faith; splashing into the sea of God's grace and power.

Afterwards, in recognition of the Apostle's metaphors, all decided upon a night-time swim. Some splashed in the shallows, while others swam into the deep.

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This article has been read 916 times
Member Comments
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lynn gipson 04/11/13
Touching, soul searching, deep thinking story. Very interest worthy and well, well, written. I enjoyed this one so much.
Terrific work@
Lori Dixon04/11/13
How are you not in the masters circle? :) Wonderful story, fabulous message. God's got plans for this writer!!!
Dana Anders04/12/13
Great message and well-written. Loved the way you moved back and forth from description to dialogue. The only problem? I wanted to keep on reading! :)
C D Swanson 04/13/13
I truly enjoyed this "Poetic" story, with outstanding descriptive paragraphs. The images came to life. Nicely done.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/13/13
I really enjoyed this lovely tale. Your allegory is a perfect message and a delightful fit for the topic. In the beginning I was slightly taken back by the change from past perfect to using the gerunds. It just interrupted the flow a tiny bit for me, but didn't take me long to settle back into the delightful story. Good job.
Alicia Renkema04/13/13
This whole devotional shone with the love of our Lord. It is interesting that you chose one of Jesus' lesser known apostles, Jude, to be your MC here. I loved how you interwove the atmosphere of the camp fire on the beach with the apostle's teachings of Jesus. This was a wonderful take on the topic. I had actually thought of doing a devotion on this same theme, but I am terrible at writing fiction (at least so far), and this piece had devotional qualities, but it was was really biblical fiction which is much harder to do. I appreciated this very much. Thank you for Jesus's words by the sea, I love everything more with the sea as its backdrop. This piece had such lovely descriptions too...
Sarah Elisabeth 04/14/13
A timeless sermon for us all!

Your writing is good and concise, so I'm going to critique the story just a bit because you do the dialogue well. You may consider showing this scene from a character's viewpoint. One of the listeners perhaps, who sees the sparks flying from the fire, feels the love in his own heart. Or even from Jacob's viewpoint, as he leans in and listens, hoping not to be discovered, but yearning for the joy he sees in each of their eyes.

Just a suggestion. Like I said, your overall writing is good which is why I thought I'd point out some things to make it even better :-)

Christina Banks 04/15/13
Wonderful analogy. That we would all learn to stop splashing and swim out deep.
Bea Edwards 04/15/13
I really liked the entire piece, but the line while "God supports us upon the waves of His love" resonated in my spirit. Sweet and insightful devotional. Well done.
Judith Gayle Smith04/15/13
Wonderful. So descriptive, terrific story and characters.
Myrna Noyes04/15/13
I could just picture myself as one of the listeners at this early church fireside gathering on the beach! I, too, leaned in to listen to the wonderful words of the teacher, and I rejoiced when the fisherman wanted to accept Jesus and be baptized with a big splash to signal his conversion to the devil! :)

Your descriptions put me right on the scene, and one of my favorite lines was: "Sparks from the blazing campfire flew upward, swirling toward the heavens, as if to join the thousands of sparkling points of light looking down from above."

The teaching was so captivating, as well! Great writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/18/13
Congratulations on ranking 7th in your level and 29 overall!