08 February 2015

Real Love - By Bonnie Roof


This is the week when most people's thoughts turn to love - and their Valentines. However, love is a lot more than candy, flowers, jewelry and whispers of "I love you's!!"

        "I love you, Patrick, with all of my heart. You taught me what real love is - with your kindness, your caring ... your commitment. From the day I became your wife, I have felt nothing but safe and cherished and whole."  - from A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Sound like your relationship with your spouse or one to which you aspire?? Yeah - me too, (sigh)!! Award-winning author Julie Lessman is the "Queen" when it comes to writing inspirational romance novels that steal your heart and increase desire for the beautiful love relationships portrayed in her novels. However happy the novel ending always is - she makes it clear those relationships didn't begin that way, as the meaning of love is God, and the happiest, most beautiful relationships are only attained through a relationship of man and wife with God as the center. 

What does the word love mean?? For many, it has been downgraded to include many things having little to do with biblical "agape" love. The Bible devotes a lot of space to the subject of love - God considers it to be of utmost importance, Jesus told us that love of God and fellow man are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 37-40). Therefore, it is important that we have the right understanding of love.

We are told to love God, our spouses, our brothers in Christ, neighbors, strangers and even our enemies - we are to love in the same way God loves us (John 15:12). What does the Bible say about how God shows His love?? (For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He ((even)) gave up His only begotten ((unique)) Son, so that whoever believes in ((trusts in, clings to, relies on)) Him shall not perish ((come to destruction, be lost)) but have eternal ((everlasting)) life. John 3:16, amplified). 

Biblical love is placing other's needs above our own - a choice followed by action. (No one has greater love ((no one has shown greater affection)) than to lay down ((give up)) his own life for his friends. John 15:13, amplified). We may not ever need to physically die for someone, but we should be willing and we must die to ourselves to be able to serve God and others. We are told to present ourselves as living sacrifices and our actions should reflect the sacrifices of love. (But if anyone has this world's goods (( resources for sustaining life)) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?  Little children, let us not love ((merely)) in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth ((in practice and in sincerity)). 1 John 3: 17-18, amplified).

God's love is sacrificial, selfless, given freely and not based on merit (Ephesians 2:5, Romans 5:18). We should continually thank Him for the incredible love shown us - the only "Perfect" love!!

"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)." 1 Corinthians 16:14

Do you have other examples of God showing His love for you??

GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment for YOUR opportunity to WIN a copy of your choice of any of Julie Lessman's books!!!!        

38 comments:

  1. Amen to that. Real love is sometimes having to put aside your expectations for how the marriage is to be and roll up your sleeves to get to work being a financial help meet. That is what gets me through every day. Thanks for posting this!

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    1. My pleasure, Lisa. I have known, personally, the challenges of working while raising a family. Marriage, itself, is challenging and something that must be worked at on a daily basis. Only with God as it's center - can we achieve it's best rewards. Thank you for your comments!!

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  2. Hello Bonnie, I enjoyed your post! I love the picture your chose for this article.... I agree that sacrificial love is true love. I daily pray Ephesians 3:17 AMP May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love... My goal is to LOVE WELL. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on the meaning of true love. :)

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    1. Hi, Caryl - so glad you enjoyed the post and that you know Him and the meaning of true love!! Thank you for taking the time to share your beautiful thoughts!!

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  3. Oh, wouldn't the world be an awesome place to live if we all even attempted to love with God's heart?!?!? He has blessed me far, far beyond anything I deserve. Robin in NC rw620 at aol dot com

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    1. Amen to both comments, Robin!! Too many blessings for me to count and the smallest are often some of the very best!! Thank you for stopping by!!

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  4. Amen, Bonnie, great post! And as Caryl K. says.....Ephesians 3:17 is a scripture I pray daily for me and adult kids.
    I love Julie's books and have read all of them except her last one! She is a great person and great author!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jackie!! Such a beautiful scripture!!

      Julie's latest book, "Surprised By Love", is also one of her best and the perfect ending to The Heart of San Francisco series - however, as you know, they are all beautiful, inspiring books with such loveable characters, twists and that trademark passion that we love so much. Yes, she is a beautiful sister-in Christ and one of Christian Fiction's very best authors!!

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  5. A very beautiful post and I thank you for it! Without God, I am nothing....he is the master teacher of love. Let's all follow in his footsteps.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Melanie - you're so welcome!! The master Teacher of love, indeed!! It is only because of His love that we are even here.

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  6. BONNIE, what a beautiful post! I have often pondered how I can love my neighbor as myself. That is a toughy! ESPECIALLY when said neighbor only speaks occasionally when she feels up to it. I DO know that I have been there for her if she ever needs me...for prayer or to give her something she needs, but to love her as much as I love me? I need work! :/ I'm so thankful God loves us all the same unconditionally regardless. It's easy for us to love those that show us love -- not so easy to those who are rather unlovable. But He requires it of us. Thank you for this amazing post.

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    1. Thank you, Diana!! You "hit the nail on the head" - how successful are any of us at loving the unlovable?? It is only through following the pattern of His sacrificial love that we are able to do so. I think that is something most of us have to work at on a continual basis. Yes, we have a loving God who loves us unconditionally - we are all "works in progress".

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  7. BONNIE!!!

    WOW, what a BEAUTIFUL POST for Valentine's week AND to counter the 50 Shades movie mentality that is so prevalent this week. My heart aches for the women trapped into this movie's definition of "love," because it's a cancer that eats away at any chance they have for true love and joy in a relationship.

    And I am SO honored you would quote one of my novels in your powerful post because both you and your timely words are precious to me, my friend, imparting a wealth of truth, blessing, and God's heavy anointing to each of us.

    You said, "The Bible devotes a lot of space to the subject of love - God considers it to be of utmost importance, Jesus told us that love of God and fellow man are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 37-40). Therefore, it is important that we have the right understanding of love."

    Oh, AMEN AND AMEN!!! Without God's Word and His definition of love, we are lost in a landscape mired in self that will turn our hearts to stone, keeping us from the true concept of love we all crave and desire. Thank God we have a God of Love Who is SO adept at turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh!!

    I love you and appreciate you and your wisdom, encouragement, and anointing SO much!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. You, your books and comments are always an inspiration, blessing and joy to me, Julie - words aren't enough to express my gratitude!!

      I choose to put the movie buzz about THAT movie, and the kind of love it expresses, out of my mind right now and concentrate - instead - on the best kind of love, God's love. Satan has perfect timing with that movie coming out near Valentines, doesn't he?? If people want examples of the right/best kind of marriage/love relationship - they need only read the Bible, instead of giving their hard-earned money to the movie moguls.

      Speaking of the best kind of married love - I don't know of a marriage any more loving, sacrificial and God-filled than that of you and your hubby!! However, I also know that it took work, and God's help, to get to that blessed place, it didn't just happen.

      Love you too, my sweet friend!!

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  8. So true. So often we think of love as a feeling only, not an action. I'm thankful God has given us His example of what love is. He is faithful and will never leave us.

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    1. Too many people think of feeling only, don't they - Pam?? HIS love and faithfulness - the most important things!! Thank you for your lovely comments!!

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  9. 1 Corinthians 16:14 is one I like too.. I always get so much out of reading the posts here.
    Blessings ! !
    That is such a pretty heart and the red is so pretty..

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    1. Beautiful scripture, inspired by God - and the beautiful heart is courtesy of Carrie!! Thank you, Carrie!!

      I'm thrilled you find the posts meaningful, Deanna!! Blessings to you, as well, and thanks for commenting!!

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  10. God has always been by my side, but most definitely the last 5 years since losing my husband. God and I have always been "best" friends, but now he's carrying me and holding my hand in all walks of my life now.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com
    Susan in NC

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    1. What would we do without His comfort, peace, strength and guidance - especially during times of trial?? He "lightens our load". Saying a prayer for you, Susan!!

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  11. Hello Bonnie. This is great post and so important for all of us. I agree with Diana on the issue of loving all others as much as we do ourselves or our friends and relatives. I do know I fail at that and only GOD could help us do that. Like the Terrorists we are dealing with now plus those who just murder for fun. That is a hard one.I do pray that they will be saved and changed, but not so sure I will perfect the other. I too, love the scriptures you commented on from GOD's word. Some are in my favorites. That Julie is a much loved and so admired lady by so many authors and others. That in itself is great. And a terrific writer of books. I would be thrilled to win one of her books, and our own choice. WOW! I have her Winds of Change series and Dare to Love Again. I do have 2 or 3 e books on my Amazon Cloud Reader. So thankful for free books and contests or I would not have the good books I have. GOD bless you and the other OWG girls. Love you all. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Hi, Maxie!! Thank you!! I always enjoy reading your sweet comments.

      Being imperfect, all of us need only to continue to ask God's guidance on a daily basis and strive to be more like Him - He understands our weaknesses and failings and knows our hearts.

      Yes, Julie is a favorite with so many people, and rightly deserved - because of her love for God and others and her beautiful God-given gift of writing.

      I'm grateful for those free books and contests, also - Maxie!! Another of God's blessings to us!!

      Our blessings and love to you, too - Maxie!!

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  12. I alternately love and hate Valentine's Day: I love showing and telling my kids how much I love them and I daydream about the man I'll marry (I'm divorced...but a Christian), but I hate how singles are excluded at this holiday...even in our churches, where they have Couples Only dinner parties.
    The series you quoted from is among my favorites; I liked the second to last book best.

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    1. I can relate to your situation, Jen, and the love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. Yes, too many people tend to think in terms of couples on Valentine's Day - that day doesn't have to be an expression of love between couples, only- perhaps you could be instrumental in starting an event for Christian singles in your area.

      I'm grateful that I have God and others who show love and appreciation to me, not only on Valentine's Day - but on a daily basis. It was only after my divorce and allowing God control of my life that I learned the true meaning of love and contentment - whether married or single - through God changing my desires.

      Julie has written such beautiful, inspiring books filled with flawed characters - as we all are - redeemed by God's love. I love them all!!

      Praying God's perfect plan for you, Jen!! Thanks for your comments!!

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  13. What a good post! Something about God's love for me that overwhelms me is the way that He cares about the little things in my life - those things that I think would be insignificant to such a big God. He completely surprises me when He shows me that those things matter to Him. I love Julie's books, thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you, Loraine!! Doesn't God's love and power just overwhelm you - knowing that He is capable of orchestrating everything in everyone's life at the same time, even the little things - which often mean so much to us and bring so much joy?? He IS a God of surprises, isn't He - and one Who has a sense of humor, also.

      So glad you've had the opportunity to be blessed by Julie's books and that we can give you the opportunity to win another of those blessings!! Thanks for your wonderful comments!!

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  14. This is a wonderful discussion on love. Oh what the world is missing today when they don't understand what love really is. Thank you for sharing this.

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  15. You're so welcome, Robin!! Amen to your comment re: those people missing out on real love!! They need our prayers!! Thank you so much for stopping by!!

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  16. I know I so often overlook times of God's love. I take HIm for granted, much to my dismay. He is perfectly loving in everything and I need to acknowledge that more!

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  17. Hi, Kate!! I think we're all guilty, at times, of taking for granted - the vastness of blessings, large and small, bestowed upon us through His love. For many of us, maturity has something to do with it, also - both physical and spiritual. I practically grew up in church, however, it took many years for me to work through my "issues" (wrought through insecurities) and realize the scope of His love for me - and the importance of yielding control of my life to Him. He's always there beside us - whether we acknowledge Him or not - with unconditional love, and His plans will always work to our good. Thank you for your beautiful, honest comments!!

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  18. A lovely post Bonnie on a lovely subject - LOVE!! So true that love requires sacrifice and often putting others ahead of ourselves. Often I have read the famous love chapter in the bible, 1 Corinthians 13, and been convicted. Our love often sorely lacks, especially when we think of God's love toward us. Thank you again Bonnie and big hugs!!

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  19. Thank you, Noela!! So true that our love often lacks - it pales in comparison with His amazing love, doesn't it?? It's overwhelming to consider the sacrifices He made for each of us unworthy, sinful humans. Hugs back, dear Noela!!

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  20. Bonnie, this is a beautiful post. I have experienced God's intimate love especially in times of loss and loneliness. To realize that "my Maker is my Husband" has allowed me to keep the love of God close to my heart and heal disappointments that I have had in some relationships in my life. I am thankful for a Godly husband, but my expectation must always be from trusting God to supply all my needs as no human can be perfect, especially when I don't always (or ever!) know what's best for me.

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    1. Thank you, Carla - affirmation on my posts by the authors whose work I enjoy, means so much to me!! Such wonderful, insightful comments - as with you, I've learned that God's plan for my life is the only one that will bring me lasting happiness and fulfillment. He, alone, knows my future. Thank you for commenting!!

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  21. God is love :-) Our emotions can run the gamut but we know that our one true constant love is Christ! Blessings to you this Valentine's Day.

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    1. A love that never disappoints, as man often does, Christine!! Blessings to you, as well - thank you for stopping by!!

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  22. One of my favorite verses about love is Jer. 31:3 - " The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. " Everlasting love....isn't that what we all desire? Unfortunately, our human love is sometimes temporary, thank God for His love that is eternal.

    Julie Lessman is such a passionate person about her love for God and I long for the same. Thank you for the opportunity to win one of her books.

    aimmesser@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi, Amy!! Amen for His eternal love - you are so right about man's often "fickle" love. I love those words: everlasting love and lovingkindness - beautiful attributes of our God!!

      Julie has a passion for everyone and everything, and it is her bold love for God that drew me to her, before I even read any of her books. Knowing that He leads in the writing of each of her books is also an important reason for my reading each of them. Constant communication with God and the changes in one's life - wrought by His love and forgiveness - are steps towards boldness for Him. I'm thrilled that you're a reader of Julie's books - each one is so beautifully inspiring - good luck!!

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