Archive for May, 2013


Anyone on Facebook has seen it probably a hundred times.  Click “like” and share, if you love Jesus.  Below it may even suggest that if you don’t, you are ashamed to be called a Christian.  Which of us have not been guilted into doing this at least once?  The first instinct is, of course I love Jesus, and I must proclaim it from the mountain tops of Facebook!  Click.  Or we think, what if this is what Jesus meant when He said that if we are ashamed of Him here on earth, He will be ashamed of us in Heaven and say He never knew us.  Click.  Maybe it is even, I have so many Christian friends on Facebook, I don’t want them to think I am not ready to stand up for Christ.  Click.

Once in a while a rational bone steps in.  This is silly.  Jesus knows I love Him.  I am not ashamed to proclaim Him to others.  Those who know me certainly know I am a follower of Christ.  I don’t need to be a follower of a Facebook post.

These things have been going on for a long time.  It used to be through email.  Remember those?  If you love Jesus, pass this on to 10 friends in the next 15 seconds and watch the blessings you will receive.  What?!

I wonder who starts these messages.  I wonder if it is really a Christian.  I wonder if the Devil is out there laughing at how easily it is to lead God’s people around by the nose.  First this way, then that way.  Just invoke a little fear, a little pride.  Stir up a little self-righteousness.  And off they go.

I need to warn you.  This is just the beginning of something much, much bigger, and far more dangerous!  I read this morning about several reports of people around the world claiming to be Jesus, or special prophets/saints.  Be careful!  Do not be deceived by the desire to know if it is real, just in case.  Jesus told us what to watch for upon His return.  He won’t be quietly sneaking back, deceiving people into following him, gathering people, small groups at a time.  He won’t be begging for money for ministry.

Jesus warns us in Matthew 24 that false Christs and false prophets will come, and that they will even do great things.  In verses 23-25 He says:  “At that time, someone might say to you, ‘Look, there is the Christ!’ Or another person might say, ‘There he is!’  But don’t believe them.  False Christs and false prophets will come and perform great wonders and miracles.  They will try to fool even the people God has chosen, if that is possible.  Now I have warned you about this before it happens.”

When Jesus comes back, He will be on mission.  He will come in a way that will be unmistakable.  Look at the the words Jesus spoke in verses 27, and 30-31:  “When the Son of Man comes, he will be seen by everyone, like lightening flashing from the east to the west…At that time, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.  Then all the peoples of the world will cry.  They will see the Son of Man coming on clouds in the sky with great power and glory.  He will use a loud trumpet to send his angels all around the earth, and they will gather his chosen people from every part of the world.”

I am not saying when.  I am not saying in what order anything will happen.  I am warning.  When Christ returns, whenever that is, we will know it without a shred of doubt!  The whole world will know it in a moment, not just the Christians, everyone!  Then the whole world will change, too.  There won’t be a quiet reformation.  It will be a world-wide revolution as Jesus establishes His kingdom!

Be alert!  Be prepared!  And don’t be silent!!!!  Jesus is coming, but before Him will come the false Messiahs.  Many will be deceived.  But if we are not afraid to share the Gospel of Christ.  And we are not afraid to share the good news of His return and what that will look like, then fewer will be deceived than what might be.  WATCH!!!

My Goal, God’s Plan

I own a number of Bibles. Different versions. Some study Bibles. Some pretty basic. Some large, some small. I have marked in a few. Others could be re-sold as new. When I bought an iPad, I downloaded a Bible app…then another, and another. Different versions. You get the picture. I began using the iPad Bible exclusively. I highlighted verses and recorded notes. Then one day I heard a song, or read something. I can’t remember anymore, and it was only a few months ago!!! The words talked about a man looking through his mother’s Bible after she had gone to be with The Lord, and how blessed he was by that. It occurred to me that by recording all of the things God has taught me in His Word on a digital Bible, I would really be leaving no tangible legacy for my 4 boys.

I felt driven to go back to the good old fashion paper Bible. I have read through the Bible completely one time. I wish I could say it has been more considering I accepted Christ as my Lord when I was four! But it is what it is. I have made a new goal, though. I am going to read through the Bible at least 3 more times, each time in a new Bible. I will highlight, and jot notes, etc. And when I go to be with Jesus, there will not be just one Bible for my boys to share, or decide who will keep. Each boy will have a Bible that God taught their mother through. They will have the verses that spoke to me, the lessons I learned, the messages I felt led to share with them as I studied.

The thought did occur to me that, with all the driving I do, I may not be able to complete this goal. (Morbid, I know, but a possibility none-the-less.) But as I considered that, God gave me a real peace about it, and I knew that He will give me the time to complete this for my boys.

God has revealed something else to me, though. This may be the point where I lose some of you. The point where you say, “That’s it. She’s flipped a wig, gone wacky, white coat and rubber walls.” But maybe you won’t. Either way, I will write what God has put on my heart, because I have promised Him my obedience as I seek to be a faithful servant with this blog.

I won’t get into all the prophecy stuff. I will say that the end of this present age is drawing ever closer. Whether you are a pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation whatever…it doesn’t matter. Jesus will be returning soon. I do not say that Jesus will return tomorrow, next month, next year, or a decade, two, three or more from now. But the time is coming, and it is coming sooner than what we all may think. Here is what God revealed to me today. The Bibles I intend to leave for my boys when I leave this earth, are Bibles that God intends to be used when all of His people, the Church, are gone. I think my idea of a legacy for my boys is a good one. God wants to take that so much further than I would have ever imagined. He continuously leaves me in a state of awe and wonder. Praise be to the God who’s ways are higher than my ways and thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9)!!!!!

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NCV) – The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.


Proverbs 31:26-27 (NCV) – She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind. She watches over her family and never wastes time.
If there is one thing you will learn about me as you read my blog, it will be that I am far from perfect!! The last couple of weeks have been the end-of-the-school-year-rush. Multiple school programs, field trips, track, baseball, meetings, etc. Through in work, family get-togethers, yard work now that the snow is finally gone. My house has looked like a tornado hit!! In my frustration the other night, I began a rant about doing all the work and never receiving help, or being appreciated. I also made sure to throw in all the sacrifices I was busy making for the sake of other family members. It was ugly!! Me and my big old self-serving, glory seeking, pity-partying mouth! Once again I found it necessary to turn my heart to God and seek forgiveness. I humbled myself and asked again for a self-less servant’s heart.
And I wondered…why is it I can give God all the glory for the work He is doing through me on this blog, but I continually seek all the glory for myself in the parenting and work I do at home?
Know what happens when you wonder? God answers. God pointed out to me that I have not given my parenting to Him. I have asked Him for wisdom. I have asked Him to walk beside me. I have asked Him to help me. But what I was saying was, “God, I’m doing this parenting thing, can You help me out when I need it?”
Before I write a post on this blog I pray. I acknowledge that I am a vessel, and ask God to fill me and use me. I ask Him to give me the words, pour His Spirit into me, and flow Him out of me. I ask that His will will be done, and the He will be glorified.
When I was a young girl, I was drinking chocolate milk. My cup was half full when my dad offered to re-fill it for me. It was the first time I ever recalled him doing that. The problem was, the chocolate milk jug and the orange juice jugs were identical to the touch…and my dad is blind. I will just say that the liquid in my cup did not mix well!
I am that cup.
When I write, God fills me with His words. For some reason it never occurred to me that God can fill this cup, this vessel, with more than one thing and make it work. I can be filled with His words for writing, and I can be filled with all the Spiritual wisdom, and guidance, and love necessary to be a good parent. If I ask God to fill me with these gifts when I am mothering, then I will be able to pour them out onto my children. How much more blessed will they be to receive the wisdom, guidance, and love of God through me?! Fill me up, Lord! And pour YOU out! Cover my children with the blessings and gifts that You give to me to give to them. Amen!!!


 When I am working, I have 2 things that mark me as an employee.  One is a company car.  The other is a photo identification badge.  While I am attached to either of those identifiers I represent my employer.  I am careful to speak and act in such a way as to represent them well.  I don’t want to do or say anything that might negatively affect people’s perception of the organization as a whole, or even my fellow employees.

   The other day my schedule and driving path actually allowed me the opportunity to stop by the bank to do some quick business.  I parked the company car and approached the building…only to find that it had closed already.  It had taken me 3 weeks to finally be able to do this, so I was a bit perturbed.  There was another woman there who was feeling the same frustrations as I was, and I confess, I said some words I should not have.  As I approached the company car and saw the logo on the side, I realized that I had not represented my employer well just then.

   On the way to my next stop, I thought how the company logo on the side of the car was like the fish on the back of a vehicle driven by a Christian.  To be honest, I have avoided putting one on my personal car.  Not that I am afraid to let people know that I am a follower of Christ…I just know that I don’t always drive the way I should.  I have always thought that I am not doing much good for the case for Christ if I am speeding or otherwise driving in a rude manner, to say the least.  If people don’t have any reason to believe that I am a Christian, based on my bumper, then they can’t connect me to Jesus, and can’t blame Him for my bad behavior.  You see, there is logic to my thinking.  

   As I considered this further, I came to realize that I was looking at it backwards, upside down, and inside out!  I am, in fact, a follower of Christ…even if I don’t always look like it.  I believe that He is my Savior, the Son of God, and I have made Him the Lord of my life.  And I know that He is very busy working in my life to make me more like Him.  Just as I represent my employer, I represent Christ to the world around me.  I should always be concerned with how my words and behavior reflect on Him.  Not only should I have a fish, or another identifier that links me to Jesus on my car, I should have a photo ID badge as well.  


               Mary Berkenpas  Mary Berkenpas

              Ambassador for Christ


When I intentionally identify myself as Christ’s representative, I hope that it will not be a poor reflection on Him.  Instead, I hope it will serve to remind me of who I am in Christ…a new creation…a daughter of the King…and I will speak, act, live in such a way!!


2 Corinthians 5:17 (NCV) – If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation.  The old things have gone; everything is made new! 


2 Corinthians 5:20a (NCV) – So we have been sent to speak for Christ.


2 Corinthians 6:6 (NCV) – We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God’s power.


2 Corinthians 7:1b (NCV) – We should try to become holy in the way we live, because we respect God.


I love this blog!  I’ll tell you why.  God uses it to keep my eyes focused on Him:-)  I know that He is using it in your lives, because that is, in part, why He called me to write it.  Every time I write, I pray first that I will be the pen in His writing hand, that He will give me the words to write.  I also pray that He will draw those whom He wants to read it here, and that He will see His will accomplished in it.  I don’t know why each of you read it.  I don’t even know that you will receive the message from it that I believe is in it.  I do believe, whole-heartily, that God is using it in some way for His glory.  One of the things I love about it most, though, is that He uses it to teach me!  Even as I write, His words reach down inside of me and fill my soul.  That is awesome!!!

I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past couple weeks considering a verse in Hebrews (12:2a).  Paul says, “Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect.” (NCV).  The NIV says it this way:  “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Look only to Jesus…fix our eyes on Jesus.  This is what God has been working on with me.  I have mentioned in at least one other post that I spend a lot of time driving during the school year.  I spend a lot of that time listening to Christian radio and praying.  My thoughts during that time are largely fixed on Jesus.  Then I arrive at my destination, teach a lesson to my student, consult with his teacher’s aid and teacher, chat with the principal or secretary on the way back out, and set on my way to the next school.  Then I realize…wow, I don’t think I had a single thought of Jesus in that entire time.  I feel a real need to re-connect with Him…re-focus my eyes.

In her book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young likens it to a ballerina who is spinning around.  She must keep her eyes focused on one spot on the wall so that she does not lose balance and fall.  I would like to look a bit more closely at that.  The ballerina cannot physically keep her eyes focused on that one spot every second.  If she did, her neck would be wound so tight, it would snap like a spring!  Each revolution she must spin her head around to catch up with her body, and then re-focus.  I think that is what life is like for us.  Our lives are the ballerina’s body…they just keep spinning and spinning and spinning.  Our souls are our eyes, and that spot on the wall, of course, is Jesus.  As our lives continue to spin, we keep our souls focused on Jesus.  At some point we lose that focus in the business of the spin.  But when we realize it, we need to snap our souls around and catch sight of Him once again.  We are humans.  We live imperfect lives in an imperfect world.  We are going to lose focus now and then.

There is more.  How many of you know what it is to “space off?”  You know, you are sitting comfortably on the couch, watching television.  Your mind wanders.  The  next thing you know, your eyes have gone fuzzy and nothing is clear.  That is about the time some beloved family member or friend snaps their fingers in your face.  You blink, and re-focus.  As our lives/bodies are busy spinning like that ballerina, I think we also have a tendency to let our souls get that spaced-out look.  Not only do we occasionally lose the spot on the wall (Jesus), even when we snap around and see Him again, He may be out of focus.  When you are going through those times, you know Jesus is there with you.  You may not see Him clearly, but He is there.  Whatever you do, don’t let go!  Pray, even when you can’t feel Him.  Pray, even though you may not be able to hear Him.  Pray with all the faith you can muster, even if it is only the size of that mustard seed.  Jesus is there…with you.  He never leaves.  He is never out of control.  And Henever, ever stops loving you!  You are His.  You belong to Him.  He hasn’t given up on you.  Don’t you give up on Him.  Pray.  Ask Him to help you see Him clearly.  Ask Him to once again be the central focus of your life.

May God bless you as you seek Him today, and in the days to come!

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