A fitting goodbye

A tribute to Jack Edward Helser.

My Dad, Jack Edward Helser, went home to his Joy Sunday morning April 22 at 9:55am. He was 85 and passed peacefully in his sleep. From the unusual movements of his head and mouth, it seemed to me like he was being greeted with kisses from loved ones on the other side of the veil as he abruptly turned his head from side to side to see who was next to welcome him home. Of course, that could well be my imagination – but it was a behavior I’ve never before seen from him while sleeping. And in the last year I’ve watched him sleep a lot.
EPSON MFP imageThere were a few minor miracles when I said goodbye to Dad. My cell phone is set to do not disturb before 9am. Previously I had prayed if there were any emergent need with Dad that my phone would either ring through or I’d wake up to get the message in time. The nurse called at 7:30am. Continue reading


Three weeks after posting Dream of two horses, my elderly father was admitted to the hospital with kidney failure. He returned home a week later to continue healing from the lingering effects of toxins that accumulated in his body and brain. His speech, memory, taste and appetite were all affected, together with significant loss of strength and balance.

Once home, Dad slept all but a few hours a day, leaving his bedroom only to use the bathroom. Uncertain what to do, especially since he was adamant about not going back to the hospital, the Holy Spirit instructed me saying “when your Dad falls twice in a day, it’s time to readmit him”. Days later, Dad fell twice in 12 hours and the county 9-1-1 responders transported him to the hospital.

The months since have been tiring and stressful, from dealings with the hospital, health care providers, nursing homes, social services, Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, attorneys and the like. By far the most stressful element, has been in helping Dad to make an honest assessment of his health and care needs and to accept his placement in a skilled nursing facility.

At about the same time Dad fell ill, my wife developed a condition for which she’s having surgery next week. Not to be outdone, my cat Tigger developed a hyperthyroid condition that causes seizures and needs treatment. Then there’s me, still recovering from a heart attack last April and dealing with fatigue from the medications I take to heal my heart, along with making arrangements for shoulder replacement surgery in December.

“When it rains, it pours” is certainly true during this season and I would otherwise be overwhelmed except for the Holy Spirit who spoke words of encouragement to me when all this started last June.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Indeed, I can. Thank you, Jesus!

Dream of two horses

It’s been awhile since the Lord gave me a spiritual dream or at least a dream so vivid that I remember and reflect on it for days, even weeks. It’s also been awhile since I last posted to my blog which has caused me to reflect on whether I should continue with it. I’m not compelled to delete my blog any more than the Israelites were compelled to fill in Jacob’s well or dismantle the rock altar by the Jordan. Nevertheless, there comes a time to “move on” from that which we’ve labored to build. And I can’t help but feel a kind of “it is finished” resolve in my spirit.

2horsesI don’t know if I’ve just run out of steam, things to say, or if the heart attack has simply altered my sense of priority. Perhaps the answer to that is in the dream the Lord gave me a few weeks ago.

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I’m not a fan of writings that for the most part seem assembled from the quotations of scholars, historians, and theologians, weaving them together like some great tapestry of spiritual enlightenment. To me, such writing seems oddly disconnected from the soul of the author which leaves me cold. I’d so much rather read a personal testimony from the author’s own life experience. What was your condition, how did the Son intervene, how were you healed or blessed, and what did you learn? That’s what I want to know, for no derivative of commentary ever touched my heart like the open, honest, and vulnerable testimony of a brother or sister in the Son.

knockoutAnd yet, it is a daily devotional-commentary I receive by email that has had me on the receiving end of the Lord’s chastisement several times these last 2 weeks. Whoever is in charge of publishing excerpts from an author who died in 1971, has obviously been spying on me and selecting them with intent to hit me squarely between the eyes.

It first happened while I was lying on a gurney in the emergency room 2 weeks ago, strapped to an EKG monitor, and with an IV in each arm, I spoke frankly to Karen about the possibility of my death. She refused to hear it of course, admonishing me to speak faith but still I wanted her to know that I loved her and she was free to return to her family in Illinois, leaving the care of my elderly father who lives with us, to my siblings. And I apologized to her because our wish has been for a Notebook ending to our lives together. Again, Karen spoke words of encouragement, even while I lamented the Back to Eden garden I’d started in faith but now could not finish because of the heart attack. Continue reading

A new heart

This is a letter I sent to dear friends who prayed for me while I was in the hospital.

Dear Pam and Vinny,

We got home yesterday about 2pm. Issuing the discharge orders took awhile, in particular putting together the long list of new drugs and arranging follow up appointments. The drugs I have to take to reduce stress on my heart while it heals and keep the stent from clotting, costs over $600 a month. Ouch! And I’m experiencing the side effect of the main one ($400/mo.) which will make me look for an alternative or just quit it altogether – breathing difficulties. It feels like I can’t take in enough breath nor expel everything that’s in my lungs – that “can’t catch my breath” type of feeling.

ekgIt’s difficult to figure how this happened; my cholesterol numbers are good although my good cholesterol is a little low which is typical for someone who is obese and doesn’t do aerobic exercise. But that’s never been a problem for me and the last time the doctor tried to put me on cholesterol meds to elevate my good cholesterol – I refused it and started walking most days. You asked about dehydration – I might lose 2-3 lbs while working in the yard but drink water and sometimes Gatorade. Karen comes out every 30-60 minutes with a drink to make sure of that; she’s always done that even when I’m just mowing the lawn.

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Exposing the Tithe Lie

There are 7 articles in the original “Tithe” series, written between 2000-2002 and posted to my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com, now defunct. This article consolidates the  7 articles in the order they were published. Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was one of the instruments God used to set me free from man’s dead Laodicean church system. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving. 

To Tithe or not to Tithe: the $earch for Truth

Though I’ve always struggled with the tithe, I still shook my head in disgust when I heard about the preacher who’s congregation quietly left the church during the prayer following a long sermon on tithing. He said “Amen”, looked up and cried out “half my church is gone!” I laughed saying “they must have fled the conviction of the Holy Spirit”.

donottithe8What the Lord said took me completely by surprise: “They fled from error and guilt-based giving”. “What?!?” I’ve heard more sermons on the tithe than on any other topic except perhaps our need of Jesus for eternal life! After I picked up my jaw from the floor, the Lord prompted me to study tithing and giving.

Throughout the Bible study I prayed for His guidance and in the end I reached the inescapable conclusion that the “tithe” is to the modern church what the issue of “circumcision” was to the church in Paul’s time.

NOTE: Nothing in this article is intended as an excuse to stop giving as the Lord leads you to give.

The verse most often cited in support of the tithe is from the Old Testament, found in Malachi 3:8-10: Continue reading

The Victory list


The Back to Eden garden I began laying out in January while the ground was still frozen, came to an abrupt halt in February when the sod thawed (hey! that rhymes!) and RAIN began to fall. All. Month. Long. That is, when it wasn’t SNOWING! And melting. And SNOWING. And melting. And just this morning, another inch of snow was there to greet us!

Will it ever stop? Should I build an ark instead, Father? Rather than complain, I thanked God for the snow and whatever it is that I’m supposed to learn from this maddening delay to my plans.

“Eden wasn’t created in a day, you know”, says the Lord “and I have power far beyond your abilities.” Right. I get the message, Lord.

Do not despise the day of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10).

Another lesson God had for me is a simple one, which often seems to be the most difficult to grasp. He said “you’re frustrated because you’re trying to do work out of season.”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). 

Still the bare-root fruit trees need to be in before they break dormancy. So I cut and removed the sod where they’ll be planted; a task more easily done when the sod is wet and made even easier by an idea the Lord gave me to impale the sod with a fork hoe and pivot to toss it into the tow cart. It was poetry in motion, let me tell you! Continue reading