Preparing our Hearts for Christ

We usually begin our celebration of Advent on the Monday four weeks before Christmas, so today we will read Day One of our “From Creation to Christ: A Family Advent Devotional” book.

The paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99 and includes 25 devotionals with accompanying songs, scriptures, and full-color graphics. There’s also an ebook available that includes links to lyrics videos for all 50 songs.

You can download a free PDF for the ornaments here.

And checkout my advent playlist on YouTube.

The daily devotionals were originally published here on my blog in 2020. They are still available here, but I have made quite a few improvements since originally writing them. Hope you enjoy and pass it on!

Advent Season Starts Soon

Last year I published my fourth book – a daily advent devotional. This summer I spent two weeks updating it with comments I’d received from readers. I hope it’s as much of a blessing to you and your family as it has been to me and mine.

It’s available on Amazon or Kindle. It takes about 10-12 days for delivery so order today to make sure you have it before advent begins.

From Creation to Christ: A Family Advent Devotional Tracing the Story of the Savior Through Scriptures, Stories, Songs, and Pictures https://a.co/d/d0eN3sm

Please share!

Friendship

Over the years, intimate friendship has always been tough for me. Maybe because I’m selfish. Maybe because I’m critical. Maybe because I can be too direct and intimidating. Maybe because I’m too busy, and genuine friendship takes work.

So, today, as I was reading James, I was captured by James 4:4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4 ESV

Being friends with the world is easy. The world encourages me to be selfish and critical. The world is waiting for me every time I pick up my phone and veg out on the couch, or pick up a big slice of “poor me pie.”

But, God is a better friend than the world can ever be. God listens to me at all hours of the day or night. He’s never too busy. He’s never distracted. He never ignores my call. He’s never too tired.

God tells me what I need to hear, not only what I want to hear. God gives me wise counsel filled with His loving grace and mercy. God is patient with me. God knows my weakness and still loves me.

The world woos us, pretending to love us, calling to us to come and be filled, but really it is only speaking empty lies and deceit. When I’m chasing after the world, I’m turning my back on the lover of my soul, Jesus, my Savior and Shepherd who gave up His life in my place.

If you’re looking for a true friend, look up.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 ESV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 ESV

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6 ESV

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 6:24 ESV

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 ESV

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20 ESV

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22:17 ESV

A Dream Come True

When I was a much younger mom, about to begin my second year homeschooling, I stumbled upon a history curriculum that blew me away. It was exactly what I was looking for – Biblical, mom-friendly, and kid-friendly. It included extra ideas for crafts and read-aloud books. Through this history book, I finally became aware of how interesting it can be to learn about history! It was the first homeschool textbook that I became an outspoken advocate for.

In the twenty years since Linda Hobar published that first history textbook, The Mystery of History, God has grown Linda’s ministry, adding three more history volumes spanning from ancient history to modern history – and I’ve loved them all. God has helped Linda to become an incredible spokesperson for homeschooling from a persuasive, winsome, intelligent Biblical worldview.

About ten years ago, I had a crazy “fan girl” experience when I ran into Linda in the bathroom of my church during an exercise class that she and I were both participating in! How does this happen? I’d heard that she had moved to Memphis — keep in mind I originally found her book while we were living in St Louis and she was living in Texas, I think … and here she was in MY CHURCH BATHROOM! What is going on?

In the years since then, her husband became my older son’s baseball coach, and I had the blessing of chatting with Linda at several homeschooling events, but we’d lost touch in the last few years.

So, I was super excited to run into her again at my church women’s retreat a few months ago. We had some time to catch up and she invited me to join her in her latest venture — hosting a podcast, The Mystery of Home Education. (I’ve listened to every episode and loved them all. I know you will, too!)

But I hope you’ll especially take 23 minutes to check out today’s episode, January 20, 2022, where Linda interviewed … *me.*

What??? Me??? Kim Endraske???

Former Evangelical Atheist turned Evangelical Christian… Homeschooling mom and Wanna-be author and speaker. Me?

Isn’t God so good to work all things together in His perfect time and place??? I hope you will be encouraged to hear more about my journey of coming to faith and walking out my faith.

Thank you, Mrs. Linda Hobar. You have greatly impacted me and my children. You have mentored me and my family through the books you have written and the talks you have shared. May the Lord bless and grow your ministry and in turn bless and grow His kingdom!

Lord, let me not despise small beginnings. You are my Creator. You have purpose for my life, and for Linda’s, and for every person reading this little blog or listening to Linda’s podcast. History is indeed YOUR story. History is His Story. To the glory and fame of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

The Great Revealer

Have you ever seen my favorite TV couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, in their most excellent show, “Fixer Upper?”

This amazingly talented couple help their clients select a home in need of help. Then, the Gaines complete an incredible rehab on these “needy” houses. The show culminates on the last day with a big “reveal” to their clients of their new, improved house.

The highlight of the show is the moment this giant, billboard-sized poster of the “before” image of the house is opened up to reveal the “new and improved” exterior of the home as the client stands in awe and tears of amazement.

As I was working on my previous blog post “Hidden in Plain Sight,” I was prompted to do a little word study into this word, “REVEAL.”

I confess, I am a bit of a “word junkie.” I love to study where words came from, their roots. So when I see a word with a prefix like “re-,” I sometimes get this sneaky desire to see where that word came from, especially when the word isn’t obvious. What is a “veal” anyway? Surely not a baby calf!

It turns out that “-veal” actually comes from VEIL. Like a bride removing her veil, revealing her face to her excited groom, to reveal comes from the French and Latin for unveil, to remove the VEIL.

How cool is that?

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes, for removing the veil that prevented me from seeing you. Lord, help me to be waiting and watching for the day Jesus is REVEALED, the day when I will see Him face to face.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV

A Long Look Back at 2020

For all of its tests and trials, 2020 was a good year, full of God’s unfailing kindness, mercy and love, if we choose to look for them.

On this first day of 2021, I want to look back at 2020 and remember.

January 2020

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

If you made it this far, Thank you!

Let me share something with you, we all have to choose where to place our focus.

Do you want to dwell on the masks on the faces and the big dream wedding that never was?

Or do you want to be thankful for the people wearing the masks and the wedding that still happened?

Even right now, at this very moment, I’m finishing this post from the E.R. waiting room as my husband got rear-ended by a speeding car while sitting at a red light.

Will I dwell on the totaled vehicle or give thanks for God’s protecting hand?

Last month I chose a new word for 2021: LOOK!

Look up. Look to Jesus. Look at what is eternal. Fix my gaze on God’s goodness.

TWIG

The Unchanging in the Middle of a Crazy Covid Christmas

This Christmas Season, we can dwell on how strange this holiday and this year have been … or we can dwell on those things that remain the same.


“The LORD will reign forever and ever.” (Exodus 15:18)


“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)


“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)


“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)


“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Join me in prayer.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your faithful, steadfast love, that we can trust You, that You are a promise keeping God, our everlasting rock, our eternal anchor, our unending peace in the midst of chaos. We pray for people all over the globe to know Your unchangeable love, joy and peace. You are the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. We praise Your name in the middle of these days of uncertainty. Amen

From Creation to Christ – An Advent Devotional – Day 25

My family has loved doing advent devotionals for years, so I decided to write my own. I pray it blesses your family as much as it’s blessed mine.

You can purchase the whole book in print or in an ebook format on Amazon. You can download a printable set of ornaments here or draw or make your own!

Day 25: The Birth of Jesus

Picture / Ornament: Baby in a Manger

Scripture: Luke 1:1-2:20

Song: Mary, Did you Know?

Another Song: He Shall Reign Forevermore

Today is the day. Christmas Day. The day you’ve been waiting all month for. Are you going to get any Christmas gifts today? Did you already open any gifts?

Do you know what is the GREATEST gift you could ever be given? It’s Jesus. Jesus, the promised Savior, is the greatest gift that could ever be given, and He is the greatest gift you could ever receive.

What would happen if your mom and dad spent all month shopping around for just the right gift for you and for each of your siblings, but when Christmas morning came you were all too busy playing outside to take the time to open those special gifts?

What if you all got so many presents from your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that you didn’t ever get around to opening that one special present from your mom and dad?

Don’t let the gift of Jesus be like that.

God has given us the most perfect, most special, most precious, most valuable gift that He could ever give, but we have to receive that gift. We have to put our trust in God and believe in His Son, the One who has been given to save us from our sins, the One who died in our place as a payment for our sins, the One who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, the eternal Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd, and the Bright Morning Star.

John 3:16-18 tells us that, “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the Only Son of God.”

Today is the perfect day to thank God for His perfect gift, the gift of His One and Only Begotten Son, Jesus, the promised Savior, who was born at just the right time in just the right place to save His people from their sins.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

From Creation to Christ – An Advent Devotional – Day 24

My family has loved doing advent devotionals for years, so I decided to write my own. I pray it blesses your family as much as it’s blessed mine.

You can purchase the whole book in print or in an ebook format on Amazon. You can download a printable set of ornaments here or draw or make your own!

Day 24: The Shepherds Tell Others

Picture / Ornament: Shepherd

Scripture: Luke 2:15-20; Acts 1:1-11; Matthew 28:18-20

Song: The First Noel

Song: I Love to Tell the Story

Another Song: Here I am to Worship

After these extraordinary messengers, the angels, appeared to the shepherds, do you know what the shepherds did? The first thing the shepherds did was to hurry to find the baby in the manger that the angels had told them about. They told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said, but do you know what else they did? They told other people what they’d seen and heard, too! The shepherds couldn’t stop themselves. They wanted everyone to know about this good news that the angels had told them about. They praised and glorified God for what they had heard and seen – both in their own hearts and minds, as well as telling other people.

When you get a really great present for Christmas, maybe a new puppy or a toy you’ve been waiting all year for, do you want to tell your best friend about it? My kids do!

In the last two recorded conversations that Jesus had with His disciples, Jesus told them to make disciples of all nations, from Israel to the very ends of the earth. Jesus wanted His followers to teach and baptize new believers. Jesus promised that He would always be with them. Jesus promised that His Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them power. Jesus wanted His followers to be His witnesses, testifying to others what they had heard and seen.

The shepherds were eyewitnesses to both the angels’ proclamation of good news and to the newborn baby Jesus whom they had found in the manger. The shepherds excitedly shared the good news about what they had seen and heard.

Likewise, Jesus’s followers, Peter and Matthew and Luke and John and many, many others, were used by God as His eyewitnesses to what they had seen and heard. They couldn’t keep this good news to themselves any more than the shepherds could! Peter and John told the Jewish leaders, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

We, too, can be eyewitnesses for Jesus! We can tell others what we have seen and heard and come to know. We can tell our friends, our family, and even people we meet around town about what the real meaning of Christmas is, so they, too, can know this GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY that God has given for ALL the PEOPLE. (Luke 2:10)

Today is a perfect day to thank God for this good news about our Savior Jesus and for the honor and privilege of being His messenger and witness today.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.