Today I sat and thought of "thoughts" written down by me and shared with others every week.  I felt a sadness and felt like writing nothing. If I couldn't even encourage myself to write anything how could I write something that would encourage others? I think I thought the thoughts I was thinking and thinking of writing were too deep to write down, too deep to think really, but God encouraged me to share what was on my heart like always and it will be an encourager for someone today I pray.
It's incredible to realize that what we do each day
has meaning in the big picture of God's plan.
Read Psalms 32:8 
The Big Picture
Sunday afternoon there was a baby shower at my church. A young couple will soon have a baby girl come into their lives that doctors told them a few months ago would never survive.  God stepped in and outranked the doctors call. God has a way of doing that sometimes. I am grateful for His authority.  I am grateful He has the last word on who will survive. 
While the ladies of the church were making ready for the shower for the upcoming miracle life which doctors said would never be, across town another lady from our church held her mother's hand and was told by doctors a decision must be made about life support.   The doctors' call was little chance of survival. 
The decision was made not to use more life-saving measures.  As I drove to the hospital to sit with my friend awhile, I thought of all the joy at the shower I was missing and all the sadness that would be at the hospital where I was going. I still had hope as I drove that God could step in just as He had so many times before.  Miracles aren't just for babies. Miracles are for all, young and old alike. 
When I arrived at the hospital my friend and I sat and talked and prayed together. She told me she believed her mother was a Christian and was ready to go. She had been sick for a while in a nursing home.  She believed it was her time to die. My son came and prayed also.  We prayed for healing. We prayed for peace. We prayed for strength. We prayed for comfort. Later that afternoon Martha passed away with her family all by her side.  
This short, earthly life is no
more than a prelude to a share in the
timeless Life of God.
Read 1 John 5:13
Of course, I asked why no healing.  God answered because it was time for her to die. There is a time to die and a time to be born.  There is a time to mourn and a time to celebrate.    My son and I talked about death and healing and miracles.  I told him if he should ever have to make such a decision as my friend had to make as she held her mother's hand, for him to make the same decision. If God chooses to keep me around at that time in my life, His life support system will kick in when man's is unplugged. 
A person ought to live so that everybody knows he is
a Christian, and most of all, his family ought to know.
Read Joshua 24:15
And as for the title of this thought, I am writing, why The Big Picture?  Decisions are made every day that we think little about, where we go, what we do, who we talk to, who we smile at. There are baby showers and baseball games, trips to the grocery store and the park. All of these small things make up the big picture of all our lives which God has a plan for.  Be grateful for each small thing He allows you to do.  He makes the final call on our every step, on our every breath. 
Today as you celebrate new life and miracles in your life, remember others may be facing death and loss in their lives at the exact same moment.  Life is very temporary. Live each day to the fullest. Let your families know you love them, but more importantly, let them know you love God and know that you know that you know where you will spend eternity.  If you let your family know that while you are with them, they will never have to question it once you are gone.  
Hang in There
Last week while sitting in the sand on the beach my son and I had a discussion joined in later by my husband and my son's fiance. If someone suddenly decides to take his own life (kill ... which thou shalt not) who has been saved by grace, will he go to Heaven?  If someone who has been saved by grace is killed suddenly in a car crash while telling a story (lie..which thou shalt not) to someone he is talking to on the phone at the moment of impact will he go to Heaven?  And finally this question, if someone drowned in the ocean in front of us who had been saved  by grace, but at the moment he walked into the ocean had gotten angry with someone, cursed and said he hated  them ( surely another thou shalt not in some form or another)  would he go to Heaven? The point was made that in God's eyes no sin is greater than another. 
Hmmm.. I won't tell you the outcome of our discussion because I am sure many would disagree as well as agree, which is basically what the outcome was between the four of us. 
We discussed stories we had heard and even songs.  I have so often heard of brushes with death when people have the opportunity to call out to God and ask forgiveness for everything. When death is right in front of you if you have the opportunity surely you remember all the commandments that you have ever broken and cry out to Jesus for forgiveness.  Everyone has heard the song Jesus Take The Wheel, right?  She cried out and all was well with her and even with the baby in the back seat.  Even those who call themselves atheists have been known to call on the name of the One they said didn't exist when their lives hang in the balance. But what if there is no opportunity to cry out to Jesus when death comes quickly? The funny thing about the discussion is that the possibility of accidental death was closer than I imagined while sitting peacefully in the sun. 
The next day we bought floats and plastic blow-up boats and went into the ocean. I do not know how to swim, but for some strange reason got really brave and felt safe sitting and floating in a pink and yellow inner tube in the ocean blue, or sea of green. or perhaps a little of both colors mixed together I found as I experienced all the colors up close and personal.
One second I was floating peacefully, the next second I was in the ocean headfirst submerged with all the colors of the sea surrounding me and filling my lungs quickly.  The only other time in my life I had been underwater was when I was baptized when I was young and when I was old.  Those times I was told to hold my breath and close my eyes and of course had the assurance someone was holding me and pulling me back out quickly. 
This time there was no advance warning and no assurance of rescue.  All I remember was seeing the water all around me and knowing I was in the water. There were no deep thoughts, no revelation moments, no bright lights or angels, no rings of fire or demons either which is somewhat reassuring. I think what I got from this whole near-death experience which it was even though there were no bright lights is the quickness of it all - what could have been.  If I had died in the water that day I believe I would have opened my eyes to see Jesus after I took my last breath. But also I think of things unsaid, loose ends, unfinished poems, and stories. I think of people who I should have hugged a little tighter, smiled at a little longer, and all those I could have told about the love of God that I haven't yet told. 
Today I searched for statistics to share with you all about drowning.   Did you know children under one usually drown in a bathtub or toilet, or even a bucket, not a pool? More than one of four fatal drowning victims are children under 14 and younger. Did you know most drowning deaths near an ocean do not occur in the ocean, but in residential pools?  And did you know it is possible to drown in seconds, not minutes?  Drowning begins when three breaths are taken underwater.  
Even though all these facts are worth sharing and make you think of safety measures we all should take with our children and with ourselves, there are more facts I feel are more important to share with you. 
Those Who Shall Not Enter...
I Corinthians 6:(Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
II Thessalonians 1:7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Make Sure...Test Your Faith
II Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.
Hang in there...
Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.