Friday, October 16, 2015

My view on being “Promoted to Glory".

I thank God for giving me the gift of life eternal: it is only through Jesus my Saviour that I have that gift. Praise His holy name! Those who do not believe in or have any trust in Jesus are missing out on what our Father wishes to give them as a free gift.

My thoughts on a life after this life – the real life, life eternal – have become almost a daily occurrence since my Oncologist said I had two years to live. I received this prognosis in 2013 and now we are approaching the end of 2015 – the two year limit. Receiving such a prognosis can be a shock, but in my case it was not shock. My Moster (mother’s sister) Hilda died in 1963 as a result of cancer. She had the same operation, with accompanying bag on her stomach as do I. When the Doctor told me I was to have an examination to see if I had cancer, my immediate answer was; ”I’ve got the same thing as my Aunt Hilda had, that is cancer.”

After the operation I knew the cancer might return. The Surgeon said at that time they had removed all the cancer, but that was not the case, although that was what they told me. Somehow some cancer cells had already entered my blood stream and had found a new part of my body to be attacked. At first I kept thinking about my impending demise, but then I came to the conclusion that my time on this earth is not determined by any prognosis, nothing that a Doctor can do anything about; my time is in the hands of my heavenly Father. He alone will make the decision when He will Promote me to Glory and I will remain on this earth until He decides otherwise. 

What does this mean? It means, to me, that I will continue to serve Him on this earth, at least for a while. Now, once I came to this conclusion, I began to focus less on my illness, and instead look around for what God had in store me until He is ready to call me home; “at home with the Lord”.

I have often read, and conducted funeral services whereby I’ve been reminded of what the Scriptures say. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 (NIV) the following words: 
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”

As Paul says in verse 9 “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body (alive on this earth) or away from it.” Verse 8 makes it clear what is meant by the phrase “away from it” by saying On this earth we are pilgrims, wanderers moving toward our real destination of being “at home with the Lord”. For all eternity, whatever that means.

While I have reached the ripe old age of 77, I know that does not mean the end of my life. However, it does mean I am getting closer to the end of my earthly journey and will soon know what the words “at home with the Lord” really mean.

Let me return to my life and health problems. Sometimes, although rarely am I able to get a normal night’s sleep; usually I sleep a little throughout the day and night. I get the sleep that I need, however it is broken up throughout a 24 hour period.

What this means is that I am not able to participate in the regular services of my church - corps.
I can get to Sunday service at 11 AM, however not every Sunday. That is one of the reasons that I am trying to put together a Sunday Service via SAVN,tv and our channel on that platform. However, I am having difficulty finding people who are willing to participate in these services. has a service called “Live-Chat”. This function allows for an interactive type of communication, almost like we interact at the corps when attending services. This is the great strength of this function, as I see it.

The question I faced was what do I do, in order to minister to others?
The answer is a process of which I am in the middle at present. It is continuing. After seeing the projects which the FSAOF (Former Salvation Army Officers Fellowship) were engaged in and seeing the need of additional financing, I came to the conclusion that my previous work experience could come to good use now, today. I have worked as an accountant for a number of corporations in the US. I have had the position of controller and auditor. I have also been Director of coffee-house ministries in the US and something similar in Sweden, called the International Meeting Place. The International Meeting Place in the City of Malmö was supported by the Red Cross, Save the Children and Amnesty International. It received a large portion of its budget from the Immigrant Bureau of the city.

Allow me to sum up! When ’the bell tolls’ is nothing that we have control over; neither the place nor the hour. It is – when all is said and done – in the hands of my Father in heaven. And rather than sit and feel sorry for oneself, I feel I should be seeking ways to be of service to my fellow human beings and through that service, letting the Spirit flow and touch the lives of others.
I can’t think of a better way to end this than to quote, once again, verses 8 and 9 “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”

Leonard Johnson
In Royal Service

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