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Receiving Love

As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, "My time has come, the glory of God will soon surround me - and God shall receive great praise because of all that happens to me. And God shall give me his own glory, and this so very soon. Dear, dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then, though you search for me, you cannot come to me - just as I told the Jewish leaders.

"And so I am giving a new commandment to you now - love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13: 31-35 (TLB)

Mary Foulger, from Ontario, Canada, remembers the first time anyone told her they loved her. When she was a child, her parents showed her love - they provided her with a home, fed and clothed her, bought her presents, looked after her when she was sick, and took her on trips when they could afford it. But they never actually said the words I love you. They were probably never told that they were loved as children either. As wonderful as her parents were, Mary doubted their love when she was younger, wondering if their kind actions toward her were motivated by a sense of duty.

The first person who told Mary they loved her was Ruthie, a three-year-old child from the church Mary was attending. She did not know how to respond. How could a three-year-old whom Mary barely knew tell her she loved her when her parents couldn't? Ruthie could tell Mary that she loved her because her parents had demonstrated and spoken of their love for her.

It is vitally important to know that we are loved - especially to know we are loved by God. Sometimes Mary sits quietly before the Lord, opens her hands, and says, "Jesus, I receive your love. Father, I receive your love." And as she receives love from God, Mary can pass that love to others both through actions and words.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending your son to die for us, not out of duty but out of love. We open our hearts to receive your love today, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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