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(Eph 2:8) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(Eph 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

So there is a condition? Kind of. You can’t be free without Him.
It’s like asking how do I get closer to so and so and then asking do I have to do anything for so and so, Well not really they will love you but you will want to do things for them and with them because you love them.

Why do you love Jesus? Because He loved me first.

(1John 4:14) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
(1John 4:15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.
(1John 4:16) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
(1John 4:17) In this is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
(1John 4:18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has to do with punishment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
(1John 4:19) We love him, because he first loved us.
(1John 4:20) If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
(1John 4:21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves God love his brother also.

(Isa 55:11) So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God gives humanity an idea to a million people at the same time. One out of those million will become pregnant and birth God’s idea. Or maybe 900 thousand will.

(Mark 4:20) And these are they who are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.

God’s idea of Jesus was put on humanity and only one woman, Mary out of every person ever born or will ever be born picked up this idea. (this is only my idea and has no biblical basis)

‘I am sorry God for being angry because I could not sit around all day but had to work.
I am glad to work. It is good for me and I enjoy it.
Thank you for being patient with me and merciful.’
God’s desire is that every human being become Jesus.

But He knows not everyone will have the honesty and courage to accept His good gift.

(1Tim 2:1) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
(1Tim 2:2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
(1Tim 2:3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
(1Tim 2:4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
(1Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
(1Tim 2:6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, this to be a testimony at the proper time.

There are a lot of paradoxes here:

1   God loves me without requiring anything and yet He requires all of me.
It only needs to be looked at a different way. It’s like being married. I want to give my wife all of me. I know she loves me without asking for anything but I want to do all I can to love her.

Love doesn’t require it inspires. There is a big difference. It’s not a heavy load or set of rules that needs to be done in order to fulfill the contract and then the contract is over. It’s a journey of love with someone who has all I need to complete it.

2          God wants us to love other people and yet not to love them more than Him.
What is the paradox? People are unlovable. It is impossible. The paradox is that it sounds like we are required to love other people in order to love God which is impossible.
The other way of looking at it is that when we love God we are empowered with His love that flows out on to other people. It is not to prove my love of God by loving people. It is a simple extension and outpouring of the excellent relationship I have with Jesus.

By loving Him I am able to love everyone else. Without Him I can not. With Him I can’t help it.
3       God’s word does not return void and yet I have to be good ground in order for it to work. I think that if I refuse to obey that He will find someone else or some other way to make His word happen.
I’m not sure the answer to this paradox is that simple. I think Jesus continues to woo us all. I think if my ground is hard and rocky He helps me till it.

Yes Mary was the only one ‘good enough’ and yet He allows us to birth Him in our own lives. So she was not the only one and we are all called to do what she did.
Do we have to in order to be loved?

What a silly question. Do I have to give birth to my own child who I love deeply? I don’t ask that so much as how can I express the love I have for him/her?
‘Jesus, how can I become one with you today?’

‘Thank you for cleansing my mind of wrong thinking.  You are the ultimate good and great God and at the same time you are my friend. This seems paradoxical just as how can you be everywhere at the same time. You have qualities that go beyond my experience. I only see who you are with me. I can not see all things at all times. It is good that you are this personal with everyone all the time.
‘Jesus. Let your word accomplish in me what You set out to do. I trust you. You are my good friend and I yield. ‘

(Luke 1:38) And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.

What is rocky soil?
Turning away from Jesus.
Refusing to do His word.
His word will accomplish but do I want to be part of that or do I want to be left alone?

What did Eve do?
(Gen 3:6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
(Gen 3:7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Eve was not dumb. In fact she was pure. More pure than Mary. Why didn’t Jesus just end it before the devil had a chance to deceive?
Because He loves us more than we would love.
He gives us the choice. Love is freedom and without freedom there is no real love.

‘Jesus help me make the right choice more and more and the wrong choice less and less.’

(Rom 6:12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
(Rom 6:13) Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
(Rom 6:14) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.

Real freedom comes from being free from sin. I only understand this by looking at addictions. At first I choose to use this drug. Then after using it over and over my freedom is gone. I become a slave to the drug. Jesus breaks addictions.

The point is that all sin is an addiction and a master. I want to serve Jesus.
In serving Him, I am free.

This is the biggest paradox of all and one that all kinds of reasons can be put forth to not serve Him.
I don’t know why either because serving Him is delightful in so many ways.
When I care about someone, I don’t recoil in hatred after not having my love returned. Or do I?

When I am free in Jesus to love someone it’s not like that anymore. I truly love them. No matter what they do I will be on their side. I think about my own children. Nothing they do would ever make me want to abandon them. Sure they might hate me and try to kill me but I would always love them.
Doesn’t Jesus extend this kind of love to us? Yes. Mary birthed Him but we killed Him and yet He still loves us. Why?
Because that is who He is. It really has nothing to do with my behavior. It has everything to do with His nature. He is a loving parent and I get a glimpse into HIs love by the love I have for my own children.

So as His child do I want to obey Him or run away from Him?
That is the lifelong question.

‘Jesus, I run to you.’
Imagine another paradox than the ones I first saw.
This paradox is that He loves me with a greater love than I can imagine.

I won’t try to offer any solution to this one. I don’t get it. How can He love me so much when I am nothing to Him and very very unworthy? I have no answer but only a response: to drink in a small portion of the love He pours out to me.

To accept Him as Mary did. Me being a humble servant to Him is not like sweat shop workers obeying the boss. It is like being in awe of the most loving and serving person ever. It would be like me going up to mother Theresa. I would feel humbled by just being able to talk to her. Not because she has all the power over me to dominate and control but because her powerful love makes me know how small I am.
If she asked me to do something I would feel privileged to do it.

‘Jesus help me continue to be renewed by your word. I feel the wrong thinking dirtying me daily. I need your cleansing and continued guidance. Thank you for loving me most of all. I feel the unconditionalness of it. You inspire me and give me great joy by being in your presence. Thank you. That is all I can say or do. Thank you.’

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