Yesterday I pulled out the Valentine’s Day tub from the garage.  Honestly I have never been much on Valentine’s Day.  I’m a little cynical about cupid and his arrow.  Perhaps my cynicism comes from the fact that I was always the girl at school that came up empty handed on February 14th.  Sure I got little “Be Mine” cards from my friends and a token of love from my parents, but I would always watch the others girls at school tote around their roses and balloons and wonder if any guy would ever ‘love’ me.  However, in junior high and high school I was either naive or ridiculously wise beyond my years (thanks to a dad who shamelessly poured the Word of God into me and a mom who was on her knees praying protection over my heart) because I was rather content hanging out with girlfriends instead of stinky boys!

Probably the biggest reason for my cynicism with Valentine’s day is because I am a ponytail princess to the core.  I’m not into all the fluff and romance of February 14th.  Keep it simple and real.  Joe has learned that I feel more loved with a simple handmade card and a night off from wife and mommy duties than I do with a ridiculous Hallmark (what a CONSPIRACY!!!)  card and roses. (my apologies if you work at a card or flower shop, but I promised to keep this stuff honest!)

            This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday.  I can’t think of a more appropriate day for us to celebrate love.  Jesus truly was my first love.  I was taught and learned how to live in the freedom of His love and acceptance at an early age.  In a generation where young girls are bombarded with stories of princesses and fairy tales endings, I can’t help but wonder if we are setting an entire generation of girls up to be disappointed.  Only Jesus can provide the kind of love that princesses long to feel.

            I am an amazingly blessed individual.  My heart has known the unconditional love of parents who stuck together through the tough times in part for my sake.  My heart has felt the endless love of a husband who stands by my side even when I am not so lovable.  And there is not a piece of paper big enough to list the countless family members and friends who have shown love to me in my lifetime.

            Even though my earthly life is filled with people who love me, all of their love put together can not come close to matching the love I feel when I spend time with my Heavenly Father. 

            This brings me back to my goals of 2010.  All of my goals fall under the umbrella of two categories:  prayer & spiritual gifts.  One of my goals this year is to update my prayer notebook and begin using it consistently again.  I have kept a prayer notebook since high school and I love looking back at my old notebooks and seeing how God has moved.  There is not space here, but if anyone is interested I could share with you how I keep a prayer notebook.  (don’t want to bore anyone if no one is really interested!)

            Another of my goals relates to my spiritual gift of teaching.  I have always been passionate about teaching others the Word of God.  I wonder if there is anyone reading this who attended a junior high slumber party where I led a time of devotion and prayer before we went to bed?  Honestly, friends from school would ask me to come to their slumber parties to do this.  In college I led a weekly Bible study for my basketball teammates and through my adult life I have taught many different Bible studies for women.

            This year I decided to take a break from teaching a Bible study at church and I began praying about just what God would want me to do with my spiritual gift of teaching this year.  Deep in my soul I kept hearing Him say, “Holly I want you to fall in love with me again.  I want to rekindle passion in your heart for my son Jesus.” 

            I began this ‘temporary’ blog with the intentions of rekindling some of the passions I had when Joe and I met and married.  Many of you went with me on that journey as I prepared for my 10th wedding anniversary.  As I wrote, I would get emails from readers who would share their own stories with me.  Broken marriages.  Years of not going to church.  Disappointment with God.  Desire to know the Jesus I know.

            My heart was broken by the stories and I felt an urgency to do something.  God gave me the answer.  For the first time ever, I am going to lead an online Bible Study using my blog as a platform.  I have no idea if anyone will even join me in this adventure.  However, I must do it because God clearly told me to do it.

            As I was praying about just what I would want to study, I kept coming back to Jesus.  My marriage is strong because we are both passionate about Jesus.  My life is blessed because I am surrounded by others who follow after Jesus.  Just as I dedicated time to focus on my romance with my husband of 10 years, I want to dedicate time to fan the flames of my love for Jesus.

            So here’s the plan in a nutshell:  I am going to be spending the first half of this year studying the book of John. Why John?  It is simple yet challenging.  It is easy to read yet packed full of deep truths.  One of my goals for 2009 was to read more theology books (books that deal with the deep things of God) and I didn’t read even one theology book last year.  Studying John will nudge me to study some theological things that I have wanted to study for a long time but have not taken the time to do.  But most of all, the book of John will help us all understand just how much God loves us. 

BIBLE STUDY DETAILS

Many of you know my dad is a preacher and an author.  One of his most recent books is on the book of John.  So, here’s what I am going to do.  If you are interested in going on this ‘journey’ with me, I am going to ask you to purchase his book, “Journey into Knowing Jesus” which you can view on his website  www.journeyseries.com .  I have worked out a deal so that you can get the book shipped to you for $10.  You will need to call the number on the website during business hours and ask to speak to my mom Virginia (you can leave a number and she will call you back).  Tell her you are doing the Bible study with Holly online and she will know what you are talking about.

The book is 26 lessons covering the book of John.  I ask that those joining me in this Bible Study at least read the lesson (which is about 4 pages long and takes about 30 minutes to complete) and then I will blog about my own discoveries in John.  I will share life stories, pose questions encouraging you to dig deeper, and hope to have a few ‘guest writers’. 

If you are going to be joining me, please sign up with your email on this blog AND comment under this post.  This will allow me to know if anyone is joining me.  I am going on this adventure even if it is all alone!

So the commitment is 30 minutes a week for 26 weeks.  I promise you will never be the same.  Not because you have read my blog.  You will never be the same because you will be getting to know the One who gave His life in love for YOU!  Please pray about joining me….If money is an issue, please email me at joeandholly@sbcglobal.net and I will work something out for you. 

I will begin the week of February 14th…quite appropriate huh?  HE LOVES ME.  HE LOVES ME.  HE LOVES ME!!!!!!

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