Reflections on My “Sixty-Six Love Letter Challenge”

A year ago on Valentine’s Day I wrote a post called “Sixty-Six Love Letters”. In that post I shared this quote,

“Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love letter sent to you from God…” [1]

That quote inspired me to read all sixty-six of God’s love letters to me by Valentine’s Day 2016.

Well, I’ve had a couple of months to reflect since February 2016 and so am ready to share what I learned from my “Sixty-Six Love Letters Challenge”.

  • As I kept going through the challenge, I discovered I could read a lot more Scripture than I thought I could. When I started, a couple of chapters seemed like a lot. Then I found I could read 5 pages in a sitting! (That’s when I needed to catch up.) 🙂
  • Reading bigger chunks of Scripture in a sitting often made the story come together better. However, I’ll admit I do still like those three-chapter books that I could read through and feel like, “Hey, I just read a whole book of the Bible!”
  • I was awed by the poetry in the Bible and the power of God: 

    “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name….” (Amos 5:8, ESV)

What a blessing it is to not worship or fear the stars or the sea but to worship the Lord Who not only made the stars and the sea but also directs the sea and names the stars (Psalm 147).

  • The Old Testament and the New Testament go together like Oreo cookies and cream filling – you simple cannot have one without the other. That may seem like a simple truth, but sometimes I think we like to value one or the other more. Of course, I’ll be the first one to admit that reading through the history books of the Old Testament was rough, but there is a profound truth in those books that ties into the New Testament: People cannot save themselves; we need a Savior. Then the prophets point us to Christ in so many ways. As Acts 10:43 (ESV) says, “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
  • Truly, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV) Reading God’s Word changes your life. Sometimes it jabs and slices into areas that are uncomfortable. That’s called conviction. Don’t read these sixty-six love letters unless you want to come away looking (and living) at least a little different. 
  • Reading through the whole Bible in a year was great, but I didn’t delve into passages that left me with questions. This year I want to be about that delving deeper – even if it’s only into a handful of books. Like I tell my Spanish students, “It won’t really help you if you know it, but don’t really know what it means!” (Something like that!) So that’s my new goal for this year. Lord willing, sometime after Valentine’s Day 2017, I’ll be reporting in on how it went.

What about you? Did you take up the Sixty-Six Love Letters Challenge? How did it go? What did you learn? If you’re in the middle of it, how’s it going? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so type in a comment or send me a message. Blessings!

[1] Watson, Thomas: A Body of Divinity,

Sixty-Six Love Letters

I’m sitting here with a stack of love letters – sixty-six of them in fact. Of the many wonderful things about them, one of the very best is that these letters were written for me!

Some of them are looking worn. I guess I’ve read them over and over for a variety of reasons. Some of them tell stories. Others present powerful poems. Some share great advice. Others offer comfort and encouragement that I’ve gone to again and again. They not only help me understand the world better but also give me a deep look into the heart behind each originally handwritten word. Woven into all of them is this amazing epic of a Groom (who really outdoes Mr. Darcy or Mr. Whoever-Your-Superhero-Is by a long shot) pursuing the Bride even when she’s not so lovable. What girl wouldn’t love that? Yes, these letters were written by quite an awesome Author.

Ok. Whom am I kidding, right? These sixty-six letters that I’m talking about are bound up in a book: the Bible. But everything I’ve said about them is still true.

I got the idea of viewing the books of the Bible as love letters from this quote:

“Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love letter sent to you from God…”

A Puritan pastor named Thomas Watson said that. I wonder what a novel written by him would read like. I know I’d at least like to have heard a sermon by a man who really lived out the above words!

Anyway, as I sit here mulling over God’s love letters to me, I’m pursuing a new adventure. I’m going to try to read all of these love letters by February 14, 2016. I’m not following a specific plan because I want to spend more time on some sections than others, but I have a list to check off.

Anyone want to join me in this venture? I’d love to hear about it if you do! Leave a comment if you like. (See “Leave a comment” to the left! or in the box below depending on your display.)

So far, it hasn’t been as hard as I imagined, but maybe a little accountability and camaraderie would help. Along that line, I’ll probably give glimpses from this journey throughout the coming months, and it would be great to hear what you’re learning from God’s story as well.

IMG_0398Whether we read all sixty-six love letters or just a handful this coming year, I hope we all grow in knowing the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18-19), the only Groom Who can promise us – and deliver – a real Joy-Filled Ever After.

Special thanks to my friend Diana M. for the snail-mail snippet that inspired me to search the Scriptures more seriously this year. 

1 Watson, Thomas: A Body of Divinity,