As Jesus traveled throughout Palestine sharing His message of God’s forgiveness and love, “Follow me” was an invitation He often extended. For example, this passage in Matthew’s Gospel:
The very first person to reach the status of billionaire was business magnate John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937). He first became a millionaire when he was only 23, and he was a billionaire by the time he was 50. In fact, with a net worth estimated at $418 billion in today’s dollars, he is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.
A well-known story tells of a man who was walking along a beach at sunset and noticed a young boy in the distance who kept bending down, picking something up, and throwing it into the water.
As the man approached, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and was throwing them back into the water. The man asked the boy what he was doing.
One thing that seems set in stone is that most things don’t stay the same over time. Many people are conflicted about that. On the one hand, you have people who are eager for change, like self-help author Karen Salmansohn, who said, “What if I told you ten years from now your life would be exactly the same? Doubt you’d be happy. So why are you afraid of change?”
In the Bible, God often uses metaphors or word pictures to describe our relationship with Him; for example, a shepherd and sheep, a father and child, a vine and branches—and a bride and groom.
Although the Bible contains 66 books, commentators have often noted that it is really one book with a consistent theme. It is a love story. Like every love story, this one has a beginning, some ups and downs, and a dramatic conclusion.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a young man who makes a million-dollar mistake in his company and is overwhelmed with stress and worry. A few days pass, and sure enough, his managers call him in and say to him:
“After spending a million dollars training you, I sure hope that you aren’t thinking of quitting!”
In years past, Activated has occasionally featured articles describing little ceremonies the contributors participated in around the turn of the New Year. For example, friends might gather to reflect on the old year and to share their hopes and ideas for the coming one.1
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s kindness and mercy flows through the text, like this verse in the Psalms: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”1
But what happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem took God’s love and mercy for humankind to an entirely new level! God offered His only Son to the world, who showed Himself to us as a weak and helpless child and chose to take on human form in order to save humanity.