on precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints (Ps 116.15)

I am in the process of digitizing our old messages recorded on audio tape. Today I came across our Christmas program from 2002. We have used an arrangement of Christmas carols interspersed with a reading of the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke several times over the years. On this particular occasion, we asked one of our dearest members, an elderly gentleman named Wally Russell, to be our reader for the evening. At the time he was 88 years old.

Wally Russell came into our ministry when he was 75. Within a few days following the passing of his wife, he received a mailing from us inviting folks to come ‘check us out’. Wally visited our services the next Sunday and one of our men followed up with a visit to his home. In that visit, Wally came to understand his need for a Saviour and trusted Christ to save him from his sins. He would often testify of his gratitude to the Lord for ‘turning me around 180 degrees’.

Wally passed away last year at the age of 92. He is now in the presence of his Lord and Saviour. As I listened to his voice in the recording, I thought of the fact that the words Wally read that Sunday in 2002 are a brilliant reality for him now. He is in the presence of the Lord who came to the earth to save him. No doubt he has seen many of the angels and has grown spiritually far more than he ever could on this earth. What a blessing it is for our brother to be in heaven, and how we long to know what he now knows.

Wally’s voice stumbled a few times in the reading that night. Time on earth was taking its toll. But the moment his spirit slipped out of its earthly bounds, everything was made whole.

This is the chief delight in the ministry – witnessing the spiritual birth, growth, and translation to glory of the lives of the Lord’s saints.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3