November 20, 2008


My phone seems to deliver many an Ebenezer to me! Voicemails, missed calls, and text messages have all shown me God’s glory. One such Ebenezer texted by my best friend simply read Zech. 9:12. Curiosity started knocking so I opened to this sweet passage and was utterly blessed: “Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”

Curiosity knocked again: What is a prisoner of hope? How can we be prisoners and still have hope, much less be prisoners of hope? Rattling this question around for months, I finally did a little digging and uncovered more sweetness of the Lord. Here’s what I found:

Return: To turn one’s self anywhere; where one was not before
Sometimes I think hope has to look a certain way or it isn’t able to accomplish what I need it to. But this tells us, turn anywhere, somewhere new even, and look for hope.

Fortress: fortify, make inaccessible, enclose, secrets, mysteries
A fortified, secure stronghold, hidden from the enemy

Prisoner: Prohibition upon oneself, i.e. to bind oneself with a vow of abstinence, promising to abstain from certain things otherwise permitted. To tie, bind. To be taken in war, made captive.
Decide upon and commit to hoping in a new way, turning away from the things we’ve permitted to stand in the way of hope. The enemy wages war against us and would love to take us captive. Vow to let the Lord wage war for you, and for Him to be the only thing that takes your heart, mind, soul and strength captive.

Hope: to wait, linger for, look for, expectation, outcome; to be strong, robust (from the notion of binding fast, tying fast; is applied to strength.)
When we are weak, God is strong. I love that this definition of hope refers to the idea of a rope being twisted together with the final outcome a strong usable instrument. Waiting, lingering, expecting in hope refines our weakness and molds us into strong usable instruments for the Lord.

Now: Primary signification appears to be that of the heat of the day. Any period of time.
Interesting that rescue comes at the hottest part of the day. If you’ve mowed at the heat of the day on a southern August day you know this is when weakness and bone-tired wariness are at their peak. But notice the second part…any period of time. As we hope, we trust that God’s timing of “Now” is perfect and He knows when we can’t bear up under the heat of the day any longer.

Announce: declare, to be conspicuous, proclaim, make known, report, expound
We won’t miss the boat! Jesus will make the Father’s will clear to our hearts and minds.

Restore: to turn back, return unto, refresh, repair, to bring back to mind
I imagine if God’s heart were compared to our world, restoration would be the size of China and Russia combined. He longs to restore what’s been broken, lost and stolen.

Double: copy, second, repetition
He also longs to restore in abundance. We lack no good thing as children of God...

...or as prisoners of hope.

November 7, 2008

Know What?

"But now that you know God—or rather are known by God..." ~Galatians 4:9

...known by God.

...known by God.

Those words have tumbled around in my heart for a while now. Specifically in the secret compartment of my heart.

You see, it seems to me hearts have one undisclosed section under lock and key. Concealed from others, things inside remain unconfided. Maybe it’s because there isn’t someone to tell. Perhaps pride wiggles in before words get out. We don’t want to weigh others down, so we don’t ‘trouble’ them. Possibly fear creeps in and a struggle between vulnerability and shame ensues.

No matter the reason, the truth is, that hidden cavern isn’t so hidden afterall. Oh, from the eyes of man maybe, but thankfully not from the eyes of God. Proverbs 15:3 promises the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch. And like Galatians 4 tells us, He knows the depths of our unknown. No detail of our journey is overlooked. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep … I know them.”

Here’s the clincher for me. Before God formed us He knew us (Jeremiah 1:5). Did you catch that? Before. We’ve never stood a chance to hide from the Lord! No matter what might be in our heart’s screened-off area: joys, triumphs, anger, shame, grief, hurt… It has always been clearly seen by God. He knew our hearts when there was nothing in them and has known every little and big thing we’ve hidden in our hearts over our lifetimes. His inventory of our concealed area is 100% accurate!

I write this because at times it’s easy for me to believe I’m unknown. Feeling unknown opens the door to many damaging mistruths. So I want to encourage you, if your secret compartment is full to the brim and your heart aches to share those things…call out to the One who loves you and understands you (1 Chronicles 28:9). You are known.

The man who loves God is known by God.” (I Corinthians 8:3)