Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord,
This past Monday afternoon one of our longtime deacons, Mr.
Gerald Fields, suffered a massive heart attack while surveying in a
remote mountainous wilderness area quite some distance away from anyone.
It began with the palms of his hands beginning to hurt then
traveled partly up his right arm. He returned to his 4-wheeler (a company
vehicle) and sat in it for a few minutes with the air/conditioning blowing
on him. He began to feel better so he got out and went back to work walking
about 200 feet away while lifting and removing some rocks.
There was a recurrence of the pain. He then realized
something was seriously wrong with him. With this in mind he returned to the
vehicle and radioed a message to his company that he was experiencing some
serious problem of some kind.
An ambulance was sent immediately but due to the remote area
it took some time to reach him due to distance and locked gates that
belonged to ranchers and they did not have the keys to open them.
Finally the medics did reach him on foot and determined he
was in serious trouble. Knowing they could not help him they radioed for a
medical helicopter to come and take him to a hospital in Modesto.
There was an obstacle here as well. They could set down about
two miles away in a small clearing. He was then given a bumpy ride to the
medics manning the helicopter.
Once there he was told that he was in very serious trouble
and immediately flew him to the hospital.
Somewhere along the way he asked someone to notify his
family. His wife, Pam, then called me and I told her I would join them at
Once I arrived I went into the waiting room and found his
wife and almost all of his family there (the others arrived shortly
thereafter). One doctor came in after some time and told us the primary
doctor would be in shortly and fill us in on the details of what was going
on with Gerald.
About 30 minutes passed and then the doctor did come in and
Pam his wife was pointed out to him. He then addressed her and all of us by
saying that they had found a blood clot in the main artery blocking the
blood flow into the heart and had removed it.
He then added that though he was optimistic, it should be
realized Gerald was in a very serious condition and might not make it.
Their concern was regarding the extent of the damage to his
heart and it would be about 48 hours before they would know. In the
meantime it would be necessary to keep him in the hospital for a week to 10
The doctor told Pam she could go in and briefly see him. She
asked if I could go with her and he agreed. There were two doctors and two
other medical attendants standing by him. Upon seeing him I was very
concerned for his body was quivering all over. He was conscious but heavily
sedated. I put my head down against the side of his head and prayed while
Gerald held on to my hand and was trying very hard to say
something to me. The doctor said he was confused due to the sedation while
gently moving us out of the room.
I went back to see him the next day and Pam told me what he
was trying to say to me. I had him scheduled to give a split-sermon this
Sabbath and he was trying to tell me he would not be able to do it.
My wife and I went in to see him yesterday afternoon
(Thursday) and found they had already moved him out of the Intensive Ward
Care to another room. He is making remarkable progress, and as it so often
happens, the doctors do not understand it.
While chatting with him he told me all of the steps he went
through upon experiencing the first pains in his hands. Even through he
came to realize something was seriously wrong, he never did become worried
or panicky in any way. He said his thought was that he hoped he would come
up at the right time, meaning the 1st resurrection.
Hearing about all of this from the very beginning of the
heart attack to the time he was in the hospital I can easily see there was
an ongoing miracle from God to make sure he did not die. He told me that
had he died out there no one would have found him. The area was that remote
and far removed from any people.
Examples of from Holy Scripture —
Tuesday morning, with Gerald very much in mind and fervently
praying for him I went back over Scriptures that should have a calming
impact on us in such critical times in our lives knowing there is indeed the
real life ahead of us.
Some of the Scriptures I reviewed were ones that Mr. Herbert
W. Armstrong told us years ago that we should read and claim the same
promises when we are facing a serious illness or whatever where death and
the grave might claim us.
Please note the following Scriptural examples in II
King Jehoshaphat of Judah —
I will take excerpts from the following chapter which I hope
you will re-read in detail while thinking deeply about what is said here in
these Scriptures. It is one of many that should not only be inspiring to us
but should be a lesson in real faith that should remain with us come what
Mr. Armstrong said we should apply this to diseases,
sickness, problems, and whatever else.
Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great
multitude is coming against you ...” And Jehoshaphat FEARED, and set himself
to SEEK THE LORD and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah
gathered together TO ASK HELP FROM THE LORD ... then Jehoshaphat stood in
the congregation of Judah, and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, ... and
said (prayed): “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do
You not RULE over all of the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is
there not POWER AND MIGHT, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are you
not OUR GOD, ... O our God, will You not judge them? For we have NO POWER
against this great multitude that is coming against us; NOR do we know what
to do, BUT our eyes are upon You.” Now all Judah, with their little ones,
and their children, stood before the LORD. ... Then the Spirit of the LORD
came upon Jahaziel ... and he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you
inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to
you: 'DO NOT BE AFRAID, NOR DISMAYED because of the great army, for the
battle is NOT yours, but God’s ... You will Not need to fight in this
battle. Position yourselves, STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD,
WHO IS WITH YOU ..’” (II Chronicles 20:1-13).
If we were to cry out to God with our whole hearts, and with
the same intensity as we see here, more of our prayers would be answered
and deliverance would come much more speedily as it did at that time!
The remaining verses of this chapter reveal God did indeed
deliver them just as He promised He would!
We are also to believe in our God and the POWER of His might
regardless of what comes against us! The same courage and strength of will
should be found in us as was in Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, when they
were given an ultimatum by king Nebuchadnezzar:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer in this
matter, If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver from
the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand [one way or
another], O king. BUT IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do
NOT serve your gods, ...“(Daniel 3:16-18).
The context reveals a calmness within them based on a real
foundation of belief and faith in God. This should also be found in us for
the same reasons. Because of the relationship we have with our God, we
should not panic when faced with the reality of death for we know who we are
and the real life that is just in front of us and soon to be experienced due
to the grace and mercy of our God.
Though I reviewed other Scriptures in my Bible study that
morning, I will only focus on one other in this writing.
King Asa of Judah —
During the reign of king Asa an enormous Ethiopian army came
against Judah whose army was much smaller and no match against it. Asa then
prayed to God for deliverance:
And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said
(prayed), “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with
those who have NO POWER, help us, O LORD our God, FOR WE REST ON YOU, ..”
So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa ... the Ethiopians fled (II
Then a warning and admonition was given to king Asa by one of
Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah .. and he
went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and
Benjamin. The LORD is with you WHILE YOU ARE WITH HIM. If You SEEK Him, He
will be found by you; BUT IF YOU FORSAKE HIM, HE WILL FORSAKE YOU.”
For a long time Israel has been without the true God,
without a teaching priest, and without law, but WHEN IN THEIR TROUBLE they
TURNED to the LORD God of Israel, and SOUGHT Him, He was found by them (II
Tragically over some time Asa drifted away from God and when
serious trouble did come again , as it always does in the lives of all of us
of one kind or another and in one way or another, Asa sought help from the
Syrian army. God then sent a another prophet to Asa with the following
“Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and
have NOT relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of
Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubian not a
huge army ...? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into
"FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD RUN TO AND FROM THROUGHOUT
THE WHOLE EARTH, TO SHOW HIMSELF STRONG ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHOSE HEART IS
‘LOYAL’ TO HIM. ...” (II Chronicles 16:7-9).
The calming feeling Gerald Fields had from the very beginning
of realizing he might be dying, to where he is now, was due to what he has
lived for all of these years. He was just hoping he would come up at the
right time. God and His truth meant that much to him.
As with many of you, Gerald and his family have remained
faithful to all of God’s truths that were taught to the Church by His late
apostle. Even though they have grieved over seeing many longtime friends
leave us due to some disagreement with those teachings and rulings, they
have not been so moved. They remained faithful and with God.
Calmness and peace can be experienced with the knowledge of
that faithfulness to God.
It is realized all of us are human and some do get alarmed
and a bit panicky under such circumstances until they settle down and think
their way through it.
An Example —
I remember years ago a minister who was also faced with the
potential loss of his life. He had been on a fact-finding trip to the
Philippines and upon his return trip to Pasadena his only choice was to
board a passenger plane that had been known to have some real problems with
others like it.
It was with some apprehension that he boarded it. While
flying over the ocean be saw from his widow seat one of the engines catch on
fire. At that moment he said he had never wanted to see his family as much
as he did then. Then he thought through it and settled down with the
thought it did not really matter that much. Almost immediately the fire
went out and there were no more problems and shortly thereafter he was home
with his family again.
A Life Filled with Promise and Hope —
God has called and selected us to be His people and to live
His way of life that is filled with promises from Him. He has blessed us
with His Holy Spirit that is a Spirit of faith. It supplies us with the
living hope that we will be given an ever-lasting life upon the soon-coming
return of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The patriarchs, apostles, and the members of God’s Church
from its very beginning believed God and looked forward as do we that the
promised life to come will become reality at the resurrection from the dead
and then all of this life’s problems will be behind us.
One example of this is that of Abraham:
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a
foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him
of the same promise; for he WAITED (‘looked’, KJV) for the city (New
Jerusalem, Revelation 21) which has foundations, whose builder and maker is
God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).
If we have truly been called and chosen by God then we also
should be focused on the spiritual world just as all of those people of God
were, as this same chapter in Hebrews makes known to us.
God should be even more real to us than He was to Jehoshaphat
and Asa. When disaster or death threatens us as did those two kings and all
of Judah, we should be calmed as were those kings after the prophets of God
made known to them they were going to be delivered from disaster and earth.
God tells us the same today for those promises apply to us as
well. Those examples are there for our learning and admonition not to lose
faith and the hope we have in God, but stand solidly and firmly upon those
precious promises from Him to us. (I Corinthians 10:11).
Please always remember: “His eyes run to and from throughout
the whole earth to show Himself STRONG in behalf of those whose heart is
LOYAL to Him” (II Chronicles 17:9).
Gerald Fields knew this and also knew if God should let him
die, he would be in the resurrection. He just hoped it would be the one he
lives for and I am confident he would be based on my close relationship with
A Very Good Example —
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Gerald Fields set a good
present-day example for all of us. It is my hope that we all remember it
along with other examples in the Bible that speak to us of the promises of
God that gives us that solid foundation of faith and hope in Him, our
wonderful and caring God.
Let all of us remember Gerald as he continues to heal, along
with all of the others who are sick and afflicted with sickness, disease, or
beset with hard and trying problems. God does tell us that our prayers for
others are very meaningful to Him. It is in this manner that we continue to
show our love for our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ our Lord (James
5:15; John 13:34-35).
Until next time, our love and prayers are for each of you,
There is now an ARCHIVE posted inside my Pastor's
Comments by which you will be able to review past writings.
The “Open Letters” I have written that have appeared
in the Journal can now be viewed on the website as well
To listen to our Church services by a speaker phone,
please dial (free call): 1-877-553-9909, then follow the operator's
instruction and punch in the code: 8819 (our Post Office Box number), and
you will be connected to us.
© Church of God, Faithful Flock