Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)
TITLE: The Sea of God
By Sheldon Bass
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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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