He's Gonna Toot And I'm Gonna Scoot


Sharing outrageous humor, rib-tickling insights and inspiring, real-life examples, Barbara Johnson shows readers how to put life's trails into heavenly perspective. While we wait on Gabriel's horn to sound, Barbara gives women an external telescope with which to view their often difficult world.

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Sharing outrageous humor, rib-tickling insights and inspiring, real-life examples, Barbara Johnson shows readers how to put life's trails into heavenly perspective. While we wait on Gabriel's horn to sound, Barbara gives women an external telescope with which to view their often difficult world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849937019
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Johnson guided millions of hurting women through the tunnel of despair with her best-selling books including Plant a Geranium in Your Cranium, Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death, and Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy.
She and her husband, Bill, founded the non-profit Spatula Ministries which helps parents in crisis. She died of cancer in 2007 at the age of

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Chapter One

We've Got a One-Way
Ticket to Paradise!

When Bill and I moved into our California mobile home several years ago, we quickly discovered a potential problem we'd overlooked during our prepurchase visits. As soon as the movers had left and the dust had settled, things gradually became quiet—except for the sound of airplanes flying nearby. We found we were under the approach path for Los Angeles International Airport!

    For a day or two, we thought the noise would be a real nuisance, but it wasn't long until we stopped noticing it altogether. And eventually I even came to like this aspect of our neighborhood a few miles east of LAX. As strange as it may sound, I sometimes enjoy standing outside at night and watching the planes approaching at five-mile intervals. Sometimes when I'm able to see the lights of four to six planes, all lined up across the sky from as far as forty miles away, all sorts of heavenly images flood my mind.

    In my imagination, those planes aren't just vehicles carrying passengers from Boston or Bangkok; they're not cargo jets hauling oranges to Oakland or pecans to Peoria. Instead, in my mind, the planes are full of joyful Christians, soaring upward, climbing through the night skies, bound for heaven itself.

    Sure, it's just my imagination playing games. But isn't that a wonderful image? Just think of the joy those planes would carry if each one was packed with hundreds of heavenbound Christians! That's such a happy picture. It's certainly a contrast to the one that filled myimagination when I first moved to California many years ago. Back then I was so homesick for Michigan, where I grew up, that every time I saw an airplane I imagined it was going home to Michigan—and I wanted to go too! Since then I've met many others who have also longed to go home, wherever that might be—anyplace from Kansas to Korea, Colorado to Cuba.

    Now I watch the airplanes flying overhead, and I'm homesick all over again. But it's not Michigan I long for these days. At this stage of my life, I'm homesick for my REAL home—heaven! Standing outside on a moonlit night, imagining those planes flying away to paradise, I have a frozen picture in my mind of all the wonders awaiting us there, and before I know it, I'm almost overwhelmed by the awesome promises of God. (When my neighbors call to ask if I'm all right, I tell them I'm just getting in a little rapture practice!)

A Joyous Preoccupation

Maybe it's just a hormone thing (after all, my last book was titled Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death), but lately, thoughts of heaven have completely absorbed me. It's become such a joyous preoccupation for me that I've collected an amazing assortment of quips, quotes, inspiring stories, motivating ideas, Scripture insights, gospel song lyrics, and funny cartoons about our eternal life in heaven—a collection too good to keep to myself. And the proof that Word Publishing apparently agrees with me is right here in your hands.

    This book is intended as a joyful reminder of the wonderful life awaiting us in heaven. In these pages I hope you'll find encouragement (a word that means to "fill the heart") as you struggle through difficulties, renewal when you find yourself sinking in the spiritual doldrums, and laughter when you think you'll never laugh again. This is a book that, I hope, will reaffirm for every Christian the words to that beautiful chorus:

I'm going higher, yes, higher some day,
I'm going higher to stay;
Over the clouds and beyond the blue sky,
Going where none ever sicken or die—
Loved ones to meet in that "Sweet by and by,"
I'm going higher some day?

And it's a book that should show nonChristians what they're missing. Like someone said, if you want to dwell in the Father's house you have to make your reservation in advance!

    Including this introduction, there are seven chapters in this book—because seven is the perfect number, and heaven is perfect. The stories, quotes, and inspiring messages are loosely grouped around my favorite heavenly themes: music, bells, crowns, mansions, angels, and inheritances, along with the "fly away" fun we'll focus on here in chapter 1.

    And just like the rest of my books, each chapter ends with a collection of zany jokes and wisecracks, silly poems and touching stories that have made me laugh. As Christians, one of the things we're uniquely qualified to laugh about is death, so I hope you won't mind if we poke a little fun at the Grim Reaper now and then. We're calling the collections "Cloud Busters" because of something I read somewhere. It was an essay that described clouds as "those sorrows ... which seem to dispute the rule of God." But Jesus "busted" right through that idea when He said we would see Him "coming on the clouds of the sky." Another Scripture verse says, "Behold, he cometh with clouds."

    Oswald Chambers said that instead of contradicting God's presence, clouds are actually "a sign that He is there." They are "the dust of our Father's feet," he wrote. Now that's an image that makes me smile—God kicking up dust as He strides across the skies! And the thought that we'll someday be soaring upward, blasting right through those "dust clouds" on our way to heaven, certainly brings laughter to my heart. Until then, I hope the little gems at the end of each chapter will keep you smiling until your time on earth is finished and you blast off to do some "cloud-busting" of your own!

The Route I'm Hoping For

A friend once closed a letter to me with the quip "Until He comes or until I go!" Given a choice, many of us would agree with Joni Eareckson Tada's eighty-year-old friend who said she was eagerly anticipating heaven but hoped to "stay around for Jesus' return" because, she said, "I never like to miss a good party." Like this woman, most of us probably agree that the BEST way to get to heaven will be if Jesus comes again while we're still alive. Then we can skip death, rendezvous with our Savior in the clouds, and "party" with Him as we enter the gates of heaven. That's the route I want to take, just the way the beautiful old hymn describes it:

Oh, joy! Oh, delight! Should we go without dying, No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying. Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory, When Jesus receives His own.

This part of Christ's second coming is what biblical scholars call the rapture. The apostle Paul said it will happen like this:

The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Or, as we who are a little less sophisticated in spiritual matters put it: He's gonna toot, and we're gonna scoot!

    A lot of people are saying "toot 'n' scoot" day may not be far off. As one writer suggested, "By every indication which we can gauge, the rapture seems near. Certainly each day that passes brings it twenty-four hours nearer, and each trend that develops points to its coming."

    The rapture can't come soon enough for me! I'm ready right now! So if I sometimes seem a little distracted these days, it's not because of advancing age or approaching senility (even though my next book will be titled Living Somewhere Between Pampers and Depends). It's because I keep one ear tuned toward heaven, listening for the sound of that trumpet announcing Jesus' return! That's when I'll be a soaring cloud buster, myself!

We're Outta Here!

Just think of what that day will be like. Well, actually, it won't be a day. First Corinthians 15:52 says it'll happen "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye." He's gonna blow that trumpet and poof! We're outta here!

    Someone gave me a darling T-shirt that gives us a glimpse of what this scene may be like. It's a pair of running shoes with little jet trails rising out of them as their Christian owner is zapped up to heaven.

    Of course, imagining this scene is one thing—but I don't want to be left here to see it in person! That kind of nightmare was described in the bestselling novel Left Behind. Soon after the story begins, the rapture occurs, and the people left behind feel bewildered. The main character is the captain of a commercial airliner making a transatlantic flight when the chief flight attendant tells him, "I'm not crazy! See for yourself! All over the plane, people have disappeared."

    "It's a joke," he replies. "They're hiding, trying to—"

    "Ray! Their shoes, their socks, their clothes, everything was left behind. These people are gone!"

    It's true. We won't need our earthly shoes in heaven, where, if the old spiritual hymn is accurate, we'll be walking streets of gold in "dem golden slippers"!

The Shoes of the Sailors

Such thoughts remind me of a trip Bill and I made to Hawaii recently. At Pearl Harbor, we visited the somber memorial to the USS Arizona, which sank in 1941 during the surprise attack that pushed America into World War II. The ship now rests on the bottom of the harbor, a sad monument to the 1,177 men who died when it went down.

    In my current state of heavenly fixation, the part of the Arizona's story that touched me most poignantly was a detail one of the tour guides shared. He said the contents of the great battleship had been left intact and that divers who visited the ship recently were surprised to find, more than fifty years after the disaster, that the sailors' shoes were still there, right where the brave men had died. Some were under the table where the sailors were playing cards. Others were left beside the bunks where the men were sleeping or by the ship's signal light where they stood watch. Hearing this description, I couldn't help but think that's the way it will be for us when we fly away to heaven.

    Someone shared a wonderful story with me about heavenly footwear recently. In the story, a harried woman rushes to a discount store to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts. The store is packed, the lines are long, and her patience is frayed.

    She pushes her piled-high cart into a checkout lane behind two small children. Seeing the little girl s tangled hair and her older brother's shirt with the two buttons missing, the woman wonders where their mother is. The children are almost giddy with excitement as they repeatedly examine the item they are holding: a package containing glittery gold, adult-size, fold-up house slippers.

    Finally it's the youngsters' turn to pay, and the boy—he's probably eight or nine—pulls a wad of balled-up dollar bills from his pocket. Carefully he smooths them onto the counter. There are four of them. The clerk rings up their purchase and announces the total: six dollars and thirty-six cents.

    The little boy's shoulders sag. Again he digs deep into the pockets of his tattered jeans and pulls out a dime and a penny. There is an awful moment of silence as the little boy looks up at the clerk, perhaps hoping there's been a mistake. "You need two more dollars and two more quarters," she states matter-of-factly.

    "Sorry, Lizzie," the little boy says, gently pushing the gold house shoes back across the counter toward the clerk. "We'll have to wait awhile. We gotta save up some more money."

    "But Jesus will LOVE these shoes!" wails Lizzie, starting to cry.

    The shopper, pushed out of her exhausted numbness by the girl's cry, quickly sizes up the situation and fumbles in her purse. Without a word, she hands three dollar bills to the clerk with a little smile.

    "Thank you, lady!" the little boy exclaims.

    "Thank you, lady!" the little girl repeats.

    "We just had to get these shoes for our mama," the boy explains. "She's real sick. Daddy says she's going to heaven soon. He says heaven has streets of gold and Jesus is there. So we wanted to get Mama these shoes. We thought Jesus would smile when He saw 'em on Mama's feet 'cause they'd be like the gold streets."

    Imagine yourself and your loved ones walking the streets of gold in matching gold slippers. Won't we be a sight to behold? And if there are golden slippers awaiting us in heaven, they sure won't be the discount-store variety!

Filled with Hope for the Sweet By and By

Sad events in our lives here on earth make us long for that day when we'll "meet on that beautiful shore" in the "sweet by and by," as the beautiful old hymn describes heaven. The hope of heaven sustains us in our earthly struggles and pushes us closer to God. As Joni Eareckson Tada said,

Suffering hurries the heart homeward.

     For Christians, home is heaven! That's our eternal home as well as our enduring hope, a hope someone defined as


    The hope of heaven, the knowledge that we'll someday enjoy "peace eternal," means we can face anything here on earth as long as we focus on the joy that's waiting for us in heaven. We cling to this hope as a constant reminder in good times and in bad. As the psalmist wrote, "I will always have hope."

Meet Me at the Pearly Gates

One especially powerful aspect of our heavenly hope is knowing that loved ones who have died are not just "gone" but they've "gone on ahead" to wait for us there. Often this belief is the only thing that can sustain us as we grieve for those we hold dearest. That's something I know from painful experience!

    After our son Steve was killed in Vietnam and his things were shipped home to us, we found, in the jacket he had been wearing the day he died, a letter I had written him. It was stained with water from the rice paddy where he had fallen and was black with mold. But the lipstick kiss I'd put on it was still visible. Usually I wrote Steve letters full of jokes or funny tales about his three brothers' latest shenanigans. But something—actually it was Someone—moved me to write a different letter that day. It said:

Steve, today I felt a special need to reaffirm our faith in eternal life and being prepared to meet God. I particularly wanted to assure you that whether you are at home here in West Covina or over there in Vietnam you are still SAFE in God's hands ... and even if your life would be sacrificed for us in Vietnam, EVEN THEN, Steve, you are safe in the arms of Jesus....
Somehow today, I wanted to get all this on paper to you to think about ... and to let you know we are proud and thankful for you, especially for your faith in what we believe also, because it seems to be so important now.
Even death, should it come to us—ANY of us—brings us just a step closer to God and to eternity, because we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ.

     What comfort it brought Bill and me to know those thoughts were precious enough to Steve that he defied orders not to carry personal items and tucked that letter into his pocket on the morning he was killed. One of his friends told us later that Steve had shared the letter with him, and he had told Steve, "Man, you gotta keep this one!" And he did.

    His death was a terrible loss for us. And so was the death of a second son, Tim, just five years later in a car crash with a drunk driver on his way home from Alaska. In that heartbreaking time, another letter consoled us. It was one Tim had written to a girlfriend describing the wonderful change that had occurred in his life in Alaska. He had recommitted his life to the Lord, he said, and he was eagerly anticipating God's glorious gift of eternal life.

    "Time is short," he wrote. A few days later, he was killed.

    The only way we survived the deaths of our sons was knowing that both Steve and Tim's final exits here were their grandest entrances there. Now we cherish the knowledge that they're waiting for us just inside the pearly gates—our deposits in heaven. Oh, how eagerly we await that glorious reunion!

Fly Away Home

Holding this rock-solid belief about the glory to come for us and our loved ones not only empowers Christians here on earth to endure tough times, it also inspires us to accomplish great things. For example, songwriter Albert Brumley dreamed of flying away to heaven as he toiled at picking cotton in 1928. The result was Brumley's simple but classic hymn "I'll Fly Away," which opens this chapter.

    It's a simple song with a powerful message, and it has been recognized as the "most recorded gospel song in history."

    Of course, this idea of flying away to heaven wasn't born in Albert Brumley's mind as he picked cotton anymore than it was an original idea when it landed in my mind as I watched the LAX traffic fly overhead. It's an ancient image described in Scripture:

The years of our life are three score and ten, yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone and we fly away.

    At the end of our lives here on earth, as Christians, our souls "fly away" to heaven. When we think of "R.I.P." carved on a Christian's tombstone, we don't think "rest in peace" but "rejoicing in paradise"!

    A touching story reminded me of that promise last year when Swissair Flight 111 crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia. One of the 229 passengers killed in the crash was Jonathan Wilson, a twenty-two-year-old man who was heading for Geneva to work for Youth With a Mission, a ministry that trains young people for outreach mission work around the world. The parting words Jonathan spoke to his family when he left Florida would later take on a double meaning that reminded them he had flown away—not to Europe but to heaven. He told his family he would "be there until the Lord called him home."

    This remarkable story proves the point of a little clipping someone sent me recently. To nonbelievers, it's just a joke. To Christians, it's glorious truth.

When traveling by plane, the Christian said, "If we go down, I go up."

    Now we know that young Jonathan—and thousands of other children and moms and dads—are up there, rejoicing along with Steve and Tim. Picturing the happy reunion we'll have someday in that "land beyond the river that we call the sweet forever" brings tears of joy to my eyes. And I like to think that Christian parents and others who've shed so many tears of anguish here on earth may have an even greater capacity for rejoicing up there. As Randy Alcorn said, "All of us will be full of joy in heaven, but some may have more joy because their capacity [has] been stretched through their trust in and obedience to God in this life." How comforting to know the hole left by the loss of our loved ones will be filled in heaven with "joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts!"

    Whenever this image comes to my mind, such feelings of anticipation sweep over me that I feel like a young child, eagerly awaiting Christmas morning. I can hardly wait!

Toot 'n' Scoot Traffic Goes Up

Of course, even though we hope the Lord will return for us soon, there's no way we can know for certain when the rapture will occur. So we have to be ready to fly away to heaven at any moment, because, as someone said, the trumpet hasn't sounded yet but the trumpeter is surely warming up!

    For that reason (and a few others!) I won't be making reservations with the company in Seattle that's selling tickets for a rocketship ride in the year 2001. The newspaper clipping describing this crazy caper (sent to me by a friend who knows my longing to "fly away" and who suggested this was one way I could do it) says that, on the first day reservations were accepted, fifteen people plopped down a five-thousand-dollar deposit for the three-hour trip, which will ultimately cost each passenger nearly one hundred thousand dollars.

    While those daredevils will fly sixty-two miles above the earth, the journey I'm dreaming of will take me much farther than that; I'm heading all the way to eternity! But one thing we'll have in common is that we'll both be headed up. (Of course, I won't be coming back down like those rocketship passengers!)

    While we're not really sure where heaven is, the Bible often refers to it as being up or above. That produces one of the "side effects" of heavenly thinking. When we're focusing on the joy we'll know in heaven, our thoughts turn heavenward—that's upward. Our hopes rise, and life down here is more bearable.

    Recently I saw this story about how a doctor's friends created a touching tribute for him by their upward thinking:

A doctor who had devoted his life to helping the poor lived over a grocery store in the ghetto of a large city. In front of the grocery store was a sign reading, "Dr. Williams Is Upstairs."
When he died, he had no relatives, and he left no money for his burial. He had never asked for payment from anyone he had ever treated.
The doctor's friends and patients scraped enough money together to bury the good doctor, but they had no money for a tombstone. It appeared that his grave was going to be unmarked until someone came up with a wonderful suggestion. They took the sign from in front of the grocery store and nailed it to a post over his grave. It made a lovely epitaph: Dr. Williams Is Upstairs.

    My friends share these little stories with me, knowing how things that touch my heart or make me smile are always welcome in my mailbox. Fortunately, they understand that my sense of humor is a little warped. That's why, after hearing me complain recently that someone's behavior had nearly sent me to the home for the bewildered, a friend sagely remarked:

Barbara, some people are only alive because it's illegal to kill them!

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting ...

It's true. We have all sorts of problems—and problem people—to contend with while we're waiting for God to take us home. And for people with an impatient temperament, the waiting itself is hard enough to contend with!

    We all seem to struggle with impatience. A newspaper article recently reported that the lack of patience has become such a problem that "it wouldn't be surprising if a 12-step program were introduced any day now. Call it IA—Impatience Anonymous." Some folks I know won't even buy frozen dinners if they take longer than five minutes in the microwave!

    Here in Southern California, one of the places where we have to do a lot of waiting is in traffic jams. The only good thing about going nowhere on one of our multilane freeways is that it gives me a good excuse to let my mind wander. (Of course, it sometimes wanders off completely, leaving me sitting there wondering where it's wandered to—and wondering where I was going when I got started!)

    Whenever I'm stuck in traffic or forced to do some waiting, I head off on a different path—mental path, that is. My favorite "mind trips" take me right up to heaven. I love thinking about what it will be like when the trumpet toots and we scoot out of here. Even though millions of us will be flying away to meet Jesus in the clouds, isn't it nice to think there will be no traffic jam in the sky, no lines to stand in, and no car problems to contend with? That thought gives us the endurance we need to cling to the first part of Psalm 27:14 while enduring the second part:

Be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

    Someone pointed out that we're not the only ones who have to wait. God is also experienced at waiting. When we're struggling through problems here on earth, trying to cope with the trials that block our way home, He longingly waits for us to turn to Him. He watches our stories unfold and waits for us to acknowledge His plan for our lives. He counts our tears and waits for us to cry out to Him. God is there with us wherever we are on the road of life. He is our comfort today as well as our hope for tomorrow. "This is a strange journey we walk," one friend wrote to me, "full of peaks and valleys. But since God is in both places, we walk unafraid."

    Frederick Buechner said, "We are as sure to be in trouble as the sparks fly upward, but we will also be `in Christ.' ... Ultimately not even sorrow, loss, or death can get at us there." And Billy Graham wrote, "There is no greater joy than the peace and assurance of knowing that, whatever the future may hold, you are secure in the loving arms of the Savior."

    What could be better than knowing we're "leaning on the everlasting arms" of Jesus? What could be more encouraging than remembering that we're loved by the almighty One who created us—and died for us! What could be more rewarding than the knowledge that the Carpenter from Nazareth has built mansions for us in heaven! And those inspiring facts are just part of the reason why heaven will be so wonderful. The real reason is much simpler. As Charles Dickens wrote:

You never can think what a good place Heaven is without knowing who He was and what He did.

    Dickens's words remind me of the real reason why heaven will be so glorious: because in heaven we'll be with Jesus.

When Christ shall come
with shout of acclamation
And take me home,
what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow
in humble adoration
And there proclaim,
my God, how great Thou art!

Frankly, I'm fed up with up. From the moment I wake up in the morning, it seems I'm playing catch-up with up until I think I'll wind up locked up in a mental ward.

    At straight-up seven o'clock, I lock up the house, start up the car, and hurry up to get to the office. At work I'm either looking up some facts, speaking up at a meeting, or standing up for what I believe in. I know it's up to me to hold up the truth. When my allotted time is up and I've finally used up every opportunity to stir up enthusiasm for my upstanding position, I give up and hope those others aren't mixed up about the points I've brought up for discussion.

    Then I lock up the office and head home to brighten up my family's evening by stirring up something for dinner, knowing they've worked up an appetite.

    My husband says I'm too worked up about up. He'd really like me to shut up and stop being so upset. I'm trying, but every time I give up, up pops up again!

    Up is really starting to get me down!

Ann Luna

* * *

Always read books that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

* * *

Epitaph over a dentist's grave:
He is filling his last cavity.

* * *


Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

* * *

Bumper Sticker: When you do a good deed, get a receipt—in case heaven is like the IRS.

* * *

    Bishop Fulton Sheen once went shopping at a department store. He got on an elevator at the fifth floor and pushed the button for the sixth. Before the doors closed, a woman rushed on, and as the elevator rose, she said, "I didn't want to go up. I wanted to go down."

    She turned to Bishop Sheen and added, "I didn't think I could go wrong following you."

    "Madam," replied the bishop, "I only take people up, not down."

* * *

Bumper Sticker: Rapture Ready!

* * *

Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.

* * *

    A man had just undergone surgery, and as he came out of the anesthesia, he said, "Why are all the blinds drawn, Doctor?"

    "There's a big fire across the street, and we didn't want you to wake up and think the operation was a failure."


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Table of Contents

1. We've Got a One-Way Ticket to Paradise! 1
2. Transposed by Music 23
3. May the Joybells of Heaven Ding-Dong in Your Heart Today 43
4. Stick a Geranium in Your Starry Crown 65
5. Finally, Fabulously Home! 85
6. Angels Watchin' Over Me 109
7. Ain't a Gonna Need This House No Longer 133
Acknowledgments 155
Notes 157
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