That Junk Yard Dog Can’t Hurt Me!

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.[1]  (Revelation 20:1-3)

So many times the book of Revelation has been used to scare folks into buying books and believing that everything is a conspiracy.  In 2015 Jim Baker started selling end-of-times food, water filters and other nonsense because he believes the end is near and we can escape the end.  From Sadaam Hussein to Barack Obama, pastors have somehow worked them into Revelation as being the anti-Christ or some foolishness. 

The prophetic book is a wonderful book of hope in the midst of persecution.  To summarize the book, I would say, “God wins!”  One can turn to Revelation and receive so many blessings that will fill the soul with peace.  (Revelation 1:3) This is especially true when it comes to our relationship with Satan.  Yes, I meant our relationship with Satan.

There is no one that can claim ignorance that there is a God (Romans 1:18-20), clearly teaches that it has been made evident to all mankind.  He calls us through His word and accepts us when we obey the gospel.  When we hear (or read) that Jesus died on the cross and resurrected on the third day, was sat at God’s right hand and made Lord and savior, then we have heard the gospel.  That knowledge now demands that we do something with it, either believe it or not believe it ((Romans 10:17; John 8:32).  When the person believes the gospel then it can be said that he had developed a special kind of faith.  This is a faith that moves me to do something in order to accept the free gift of salvation (Hebrews 11:6; John 20:31).  God requires that man repent of his lawless lifestyle and make up his mind to change how he lives (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30); open his mouth and confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:10; Mathew 10:32); be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38); and, finally, do our best to remain faithful to Him until we die (Revelation 2:10).  Thus we have a personal relationship with Christ, the Father and His Holy Spirit. 

With the promise of salvation also comes the security of that salvation.  Romans 8:31-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from that love-not even the devil!  Since this is true then why is it that many fall away, abandon the faith and some even become atheists?  This is where the junkyard dog comes into play.

Revelation 20 says that the evil was cast into the abyss and chained for a thousand years so that he would not deceive the nations any longer (1-3).  This binding of Satan happened when Jesus resurrected from the dead, never to die again and thus conquering death (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).  This means that the devil cannot posses us, hurt us, touch us and make us his followers.  Unless we want him to.

Junkyards of old had a mean and vicious dog chained up.  This was deter the thieves.  That dog had enough lead in his chain to make a perimeter.  As long as you did not cross into his perimeter the dog could not harm you.  The same is true of the devil.  He is chained up and only hurt you when you decide to cross his perimeter. 

Sin is fun and attractive.  If it were not so then we would not desire it.  May we have the strength and courage to keep away.

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Re 20:1–3). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Hannah Grace Had No Grace In Her Life

“Then Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.”-1 Sam. 2:1

Hannah Grace, what a beautiful name.  Hannah means “favorable” and “grace.”  Grace means “steadfast love, compassion, kindness, favor, and goodwill mercy.”  To have such a name one would think blessings would abound.  To Hannah there was no grace in her life. 

The story of Hannah takes place during the darkest times in Israel.  This was in the times of the judges and the terrible and embarrassing cycles of sin.  God’s children failed in purging the land of idolatry and eventually (several times) forgot God and worshipped the man-made idols.  This story shows that in the dark times God remembers the faithful and through them He blesses the world.  However, to Hannah there was no grace in her life.

Hannah had a husband but no children, and she also had to share her husband with a second wife, Peninnah.  It seems that for Hannah her pain was more because she did not have children than having to share her husband.  Peninnah had children-sons and daughters.  But Hannah could not have children and the writer of 1 Samuel says that “…the Lord had closed her womb.”  (1 Sam. 1:5) This means that the Lord had miraculously made it where Hannah could not have children, at least not yet.  To Hannah there was no grace in her life.

To make matters worse, Peninnah would often “ridicule” Hannah and show off her children.  Peninnah was a bully and her bullying had caused Hannah to feel depressed and less of a woman.  At every opportunity Peninnah would boast about her children and made sure to point out the obvious, Hannah had no children.  To Hannah there was no grace in her life.

Elkanah wanted to please Hannah so he would give her a “double portion” while Peninnah and her children only received one portion.  This angered Peninnah and in retaliation she would bully Hannah. (1 Samuel 1:4-5) To Hannah there was no grace in her life.

One day the Lord opened Hannah’s womb and gave birth to a son, who would later become a priest of the Lord and judge over Israel. (1 Samuel 1:19ff) What a blessing!  In the second chapter of 1 Samuel Hannah sings a song of praise and thanksgiving.  In one verse she says that her heart “exults in the Lord,” “my horn is exalted in the Lord,” and her mouth “speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in the Lord.” There is no longer any mention of Peninnah or her children.  When God rewarded Hannah because of her patience and faithfulness she said she no longer had a need to be depressed, now she could lift her “horn in the Lord.”  Just like a ram standing on the mountain top with it’s horns held up high signifying power and victory, so too Hannah.  To Hannah there was now grace in her life.

But wait, there is more to the story.  Unbeknownst to Hannah, God was using her for something great.  Hannah was a type of Mary the mother of Jesus.  God was involved in both of these women’s pregnancies.  Hannah had given birth to a prophet and judge, while Mary had also given birth to a prophet and judge (Mark 6:4; Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 3:22; 7:32; John 1:1) There is no doubt that Hannah was a type of Mary-Hannah was pointing to the mother of Jesus.  (See chart for comparison) To Hannah there was now grace in her life.

There is a blessing in waiting on the Lord while being faithful to Him.  For Hannah the blessing was first one child and then more.  She sang a beautiful hymn and Mary spoke the beautiful Magnificat.  Hannah was happy and her rivals had been silenced by God.  Certainly, to Hannah there was now grace. 

Hannah’s story teaches several simple and practical lessons:

  • Trusting and waiting on the Lord while doing His will, will certainly bring about blessings beyond imagination and we will see grace in our lives.
  • Our families can be the bright lights shining forth in a sinful world, even when the times are the darkest.
  • Families that dedicate time to prayer and consecration will be blessed. Elkanah and Hannah would make a yearly prayer and sacrificing trip to the temple of the Lord.
  • Husbands should always love and respect their wives; that is one husband should love and respect his one wife.
  • When the family is not as God has ordained be prepared for discipline, marital dilemmas, jealousies and eventually the breakdown of a marriage.
  • When we are faced with trials we should be prepared to take our trials to the Lord in prayer.
  • When our trials are over, whether they turn out the way we want them or not, we should be prepared to praise the Lord.

Hannah's Prayer and Mary's Magnificat

(A Mother’s Prayer – (Hannah’s Song) by Rachel Aldous baby dedication Mother’s Day Song)