Letter to Grace and Truth Family

Letter to Grace and Truth Family
Dear Grace and Truth Family,
The last month has been quite an ordeal for me. On Feb. 16, 2002 (Wednesday
night), I preached and went to bed that
night. During the night I began to get a deep pain inside my chest. I was
having a heart attack. Mary rushed me to the
hospital here in Hendersonville. They performed an arteriogram the next day
and found a blockage in three arteries. I
was sent to Centennial Hospital in Nashville where the next day triple
bypass open heart surgery was performed. The
pain in recovering is tremendous (as those of you who have gone through
this are very familiar).
As I was waking up in recovery, I felt like I was in a dream world
(probably due to the Trauma and the after effects of the
anesthesia). The first thing that came to my mind while I lay there in a
dream state was the sheep. With this kind of pain
after someone saws your chest open and does a knitting job on your heart
you lay there thinking, I don't think
I'm ever coming out of this. As soon as I was aware I began to pray,
Lord If you want to take me out of
here that is fine with me. Lord, if it is in your will and if you will be
merciful, the flock needs me. This stayed on my
mind continually. The Lord did something in the recovery room. He changed
my mind about some things (remember a
change of mind is called repentance). Before the heart problem I thought I
was repenting sufficiently. I realized as I
began to wake up that I had been keeping myself under tremendous stress for
many years trying to take care of
everyone's needs. I was studying till 4 and 5 in the morning, doing
without sleep for year after year. If I am dead I
will have no answers for anyone. Here is what God is changing in me. I am
not going to stay up all night studying
anymore. I have hundreds of people calling me. I will answer questions
moderately. If you want further answers I will give
tapes on the subject. After each class I have stood at the dry erase and
answered questions anywhere from an hour to 3
hours. I can't do that anymore. Occasionally, I may do this but not
for as long and not on a regular basis. My
doctor says if I am to have a future, I must curb some of my activity and
I am not going to quit preaching. I will be preaching every service. The
Lord willing I hope to preach for another 20-25
Let me tell you about Mary. Several months ago, Mary had an operation on
her foot to remove a bunion. This is a very
painful operation. The next week Mary came down with a Kidney stone the
size of the end of my thumb. It was too large
to pass and gave Mary an infection that put her in the Hospital for 5 days.
The doctors put in a stint to bypass the urinary
tract. Then the following week they began lithotripsy, to explode the stone
with sound waves. Mary went through this
process 3 times over 3 weeks to explode the stone. She still has a small
piece in her Kidney. The doctor said it was the
toughest he had ever dealt with. Two weeks after this ordeal, she was
rushing me to the hospital in the middle of the
night because of my heart attack. She spent 8 days in the hospital room
with probably no more than 8 hours sleep in
those 8 days. She suffered stress and trauma. Having a history of blood
pressure problems, her blood pressure went
through the roof. She's making several doctors visits since
I've come home from the hospital.
You say, Jim, why are you telling us all of this. As you bible teacher, I
want, first of all, to keep you informed of
what's happening here at Grace and Truth. Secondly, I want to
emphasize the doctrines of God's
Sovereignty that I preach continually. That is that God predestined us to
conform to the image (likeness) of Christ by all
these trials that He is bringing in our lives (Romans8:29) that all
things work together for good to those who love
God and are the called of God( Romans 8:28)that God is refining us
as He works all things after the counsel of
His own will( Eph 1:11)We are His workmanship( fabric) (Eph 2:10)
It is God working in us all to will and
to do of His good pleasure ( Phil. 2:13) He has declared the end
from the beginning and from ancient times the
things that are not yet done( including all heart attacks!), saying,
My counsel shall stand and I will do all My
pleasure. (Isaiah 46:10) Solomon said,  I know that
whatsoever God doeth it shall be forever,
nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it, God doeth it (that is
everything!) that men shall fear before Him( Eccl.
Thank God for heart attacks, high blood pressure and kidney stones for it
is molding us to rest and be like Jesus. 1
Thess. 5:18 In Everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus concerning you.
A little on the light side before I close. I began preaching to the nurses
in ICU as soon as I was conscious. I had Mary
give tapes out of the car. We gave away a bag of videos and audios. We
probably preached to 20-30 nurses and
technicians. We began to take names and addresses when we were out of
tapes. If I'd had no heart attack I
would not have the opportunity to preach to those people!
We love you all,
Jim and Mary