Thursday, June 13, 2013

2 Corinthians 5 - Hope in the Hereafter and a Tribute to Helene Ashker

LINK: 2 Corinthians 5


Temporary Tents to Eternal Dwellings

This is a continuation of what Paul had talked about in 4:16-18. 2 Corinthians 5:1 is also a summary of what had been written about the resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:34-54 (remember that most Greeks did not believe that their bodies would be resurrected after death). Our temporary earthly tent (body) will become a building from God. This is not the heavenly home in John 14:1-6 but our glorified body. We groan, longing for our eternal body, and the Holy Spirit is a guarantee that God will give us one.  

Paul was not afraid of death because he knew that he would finally be home with the Lord. Death is only a prelude to eternal life. That is hope! We have hope of eternal life, but we will all be judged by Christ where we will be rewarded for the way we have lived our life. We must all give an account for how we have lived (Matthew 16:27; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). 

The Ministry of Reconciliation

In contemplation of standing before the Lord caused Paul to want to live a life that honored God and counted for eternity by persuading men to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. The love of Christ was their motive for doing this as opposed to the false teachers who took "pride in what was seen" rather than what comes from the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Paul was willing to be a fool in order to win them to Christ. God reconciled them to Himself through Jesus, and their passion as ambassadors was to implore others to be reconciled to Him as well. Through that reconciliation and Christ being sin for them by dying on the cross, they would be righteous before God. (See the Romans posts for the righteousness concept.) 


Helene Ashker - Present with the Lord

The last time I corresponded with Helene was in April of 2008 when we exchanged emails about the possibility of her coming to my church to speak for a women's conference (and eating the good ice cream she remembers here). I also passed on the sad news that a mutual friend from Navigator days, Bruce, was in his last days in his "temporary tent" due to melanoma. 

She wrote, "Tell him that I am bummed that he gets to see Jesus before I do." 

Little did I know, that shortly after that email exchange, doctors would discover a tumor, and she would join Bruce in heaven a little over two years later. 

I first heard about Helene in my junior year at Oregon State University back in the late 70s. The buzz around her coming was palpable, like the Queen was visiting or something. I was asked if I wanted to get some "time" with her, and I had no idea why I would want to get time with someone I didn't even know. Who was she anyway? What is the big deal? What do you mean by "time" with her?  I declined the offer. 

Then I heard her speak.

It was standing room only when Helene gave a message on the Shekinah Glory of God (Leviticus 16) in Buxton Hall, and I kicked myself for not taking the opportunity to have "time" with her!

But there were many more opportunities over the years, and every time she came through Oregon, I was first in line for those appointments. God still brings to mind her wise words from those meetings. In fact, when I was praying with my husband last Thursday over what to do in a tough situation we were facing with another person, Helene's words came to me, and I knew what to do!  Through tears in my eyes, I told my husband how God still speaks through Helene even thirty years later!  

I not only had appointments over the years but lived with Helene in 1983. It was supposed to be two years of training, but God had other plans. It was a tough time, and I had a breakdown. The breakdown occurred in the middle of the day when I was working for a chiropractor in the Seattle area. In the providence of God, Helene was in the office at the time the emotional dam of my life broke. 

She closed the door to my office and calmly asked me, "Carol, what do you want?"  

I couldn't even look her in the eyes but stared tearfully out the window and declared, "I am sick, and I need help."  

And she said, "OK, you will get help." 

She immediately went to work and found me help, and I always credit Helene with starting my journey of healing to wholeness. With her training in counseling, she could have helped; but she was wise enough to know that she had become the "object of fear" (her own words) in my life. She was intimidating at times, direct, but always loving, and I loved her back. 

Through the years, we stayed in touch, and she continued to encourage and love me through notes and emails. I always felt that she was on my side. The last time we saw each other was when my kids were quite small. My husband watched them, and we spent a wonderful afternoon together.  

She said, "He is a good husband, Carol, isn't he? Some of them are not, but I can tell he is a good one. I am so happy for you." 

It meant so much to me that she approved of the man I married!

A few years back we realized we were both going to be in Seattle at the same time, but we had scheduling conflicts that prevented me from seeing her. We did not have her for my church's conference either. More missed opportunities for "time." I wish I could have gone to Texas to say good-bye, but I didn't know she was sick until I heard she had left her earthly tent for her heavenly dwelling on May 30, 2010. 

Helene was like a female Paul. She lived a life that honored God and counted for eternity by persuading women to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Once they came to Him, she helped them grow and trained them to do the same. What a privilege it was to know her!  

When I wrote my friend, Teala, about her passing she said, "We sure have had some great examples that have gone before us, have we not!?  What a great reminder to love this old wild world."

Helene was a great example! She is present with the Lord now, and I am sure He has said, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

Rest in Peace, Helene. I love you.


Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17 (another Topical Memory System verse)

Helene wrote two books that are about having a ministry of reconciliation:

Jesus Changes Women

Jesus Cares For Women: A Leader's Guide For Hosting An Evangelistic Bible Study For Women


Lord, thank You for sending us Helene Ashker. May we ALL have Godly example like her in our life. Comfort her family in this time of great loss. Tearfully Yours, Carol
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