One lesson from the well-known story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac (found in Genesis 22:1-18) is that God was making a point: child (or human) sacrifice is not His way. To suggest it, and then forbid it, is a dramatic way of illustrating that this never would be considered acceptable worship.
Several years ago, I remember reading an article in which the chief scientist of NASA predicted that we will have evidence of life on other planets in the next decade. In fact, a planet quite similar to earth has been located a mere 1,400 lightyears away, and it may be a top candidate. However, using our current technology, it would take about 20 million years to travel there so, even if we were to discover life there, I doubt we'll be setting up an exchange student program with them anytime soon.
Jesus said to his disciples... “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another...” (John 13:34) 1 According to Jesus, the mark of a Christian is love. Take a moment to let that sink in... Love. It's the most significant attribute Christians can offer the world. However, we need to be reminded that love isn't merely a feeling; it's something you do. Country singer Clint Black sings a song along these lines; one verse says, “Love isn't something that we're in. It's something that we do.” 2 In other words, love is a verb!
A profound parable, found in Luke 18:1-8, tells the story of a ruthless judge who fears neither God nor man and a widow who comes to him repeatedly with the request, “Grant me justice.” For the longest time, he refuses to consider her request but, finally, in exasperation, he says:
“Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her complaining!”
Have you ever had a "divine appointment"? I believe I have…, many times. The Dictionary of Christianese1 describes a divine appointment as “An apparently coincidental encounter or event that has actually been caused by God for some specific purpose. This purpose may be obvious during the encounter, or the purpose may become apparent only some time later.” Let me share with you what I think was a divine appointment.
Who hasn’t read the classic “Cinderella,” the story of a beautiful young lady who lost her glass slipper at the great ball? Cinderella’s feet were so delicate and so beautiful that only her feet could fit the exquisite glass slipper. Because this glass slipper could only fit the foot of the graceful woman whom he had met at the ball, the prince used it locate his new now lost love. As the prince searched high and low for her, he thought about how her beautiful feet had danced so gracefully that night, more gracefully than all the other ladies at the ball. He thought that he would like to enjoy her grace and beauty the rest of his life.
Several years ago a friend of mine received an mp3 player for Christmas with a pair of headphones that have a noise cancellation feature. Here's how it works: A microphone in the headset picks up nearby noise (such as his wife asking him to take out the trash) and the built-in processor then sends a sound to the headset at an opposite frequency, thereby canceling out the original sound. When he wears those headphones, he hears nothing except the music from his mp3 player. I've tried them myself... They're amazing! You put them on, and the noise of the world seems to disappear!