Park Where You May

Away for a few days…

Sweet times with loved ones, blessedly spending more time being with than doing with, finding some much needed white space and slow-down, I loved it so much I slowed down to Stop!

It’s time now to turn the inertia back into momentum. So I pick up the Five Minute Friday prompt word and



They go to the park, because the yard behind their house is too small for play, too sloped to do much even if it covered more ground.

They go to the park and they fly a kite or befriend some stranger’s dog or walk all around and look at things or make new friends and play tag or sit on a bench and talk. And if it’s a park that has picnic tables, they sometimes take lunch and eat there, too.

Me?  I go park myself on my own bench in my own yard and look up between trees to see amber and bronze and deep red happening all around, blazing bright against deep blue, to watch gold shower down, sprinkling the air with fragments of light as they flutter earthbound.








img_1328 Then it starts to rain real wetness and I park myself on my porch and watch the show from there.

Does it matter if the bench is public, or private, or non-existent, with the leaf-strewn ground providing the lounging place? It all belongs to God, it’s all His great big park, and we’re all invited to enjoy.

So, this weekend… let’s all take the time just to enjoy!


Wordsday: Wonderful Work Words

They’re beautiful, these Greek words! 

And Brother Lawrence’s secret is hidden within them…


Just take a gander at them, and I think you’ll quickly guess which are sources of certain English words. I think you’ll also detect something of their differences in meaning–even though they’re all translated “work” or “working” in our New Testaments:





Which leads you to think of energy?

Which would be the source of our word ergonomics?

Where do you think our word synergy came from?

How  about dynamo, dynamics, and dynamite?


But right now, let’s just take a look at one of these, one that shows us a wonderful phenomenon as it’s presented in scripture–the phenomenon that Brother Lawrence got a grasp on, which made his life such a sought-after example for others seeking God…

It’s ENERGEO. In all the following scriptures some form of this Greek word occurs, and is translated “work.” (Hover your cursor over the reference and the verse will appear.) The important question about each verse is “Who’s at work here? (It might also be helpful to keep in mind that the “EN” in ENERGEO means “in” or “inward.”)

1 Co 12:4-6, 10, 11

Eph 1:11;  [“I pray that… ] Eph 1:18-19, 20; 3:7,20

Phil 2:13; 3:21

Col 1:29

In all of the above, do you see what I see? God’s mighty energy working in people or circumstances.

However, God is not the only energy at work in people and circumstances. Look at these horrors:

2 Th 2:7

Rom 7:5

Eph 2:1-2

Now, if you do quirky notations in your Bible like I do, you might want to put a little lightning zig-zag over top of the word “work” in  each of the above “energeo” instances in your your own Bible. It might make a helpful reminder in your future Bible reading or study…

But that’s just one of the words translated “work” in the NT. And with the others we could go on and on. So let’s just stop and re-capture our purpose in doing this word study on “work” in the first place.

It’s expressed at the end of this past post. In it, we were trying to wrap our minds around the kind of help that Brother Lawrence received from God in his (work) efforts to walk and live and breathe continual communion with God. We were seeking to find where God’s working ends and our working picks up. We wanted to learn as well as we could manage, just how this synergy takes place– so that we might be able to live more connected with God ourselves.

We had come to Philippians 2:12-13 as a key scripture to get a grasp on, to understand how God’s working in us (energeo, as above), and ourselves doing some kind of work/effort on our part function together, how we do our part and what to look to God for Him to do.

Well, that first “work” in verse 12 (“work out your own salvation…”) turns out to be a rather different construction, and isn’t included in our above list of “beautiful Greek words.” It’s katergozomai, which is made up of the prefix kata (“a preposition denoting motion or diffusion or direction from the higher to the lower”) and the base word ergozomai (which is the middle voice of ergon, above, which usually has more to do with the laboring kind of work). But the thing about katergozomai is that in most other occurrences of it in scripture, it isn’t even translated “work,” or “work out,” but more often “do, commit, produce, bring about… ”

It’s about hooking up with something and following through on it, sometimes almost like riding a wave. The something might be a process, or the working of God, or (in the negative) sin. The second example (riding the wave of God’s Spirit) was what Paul wanted the Philippian believers to be doing. It’s what he was urging in Philippians 2:12-13. And that’s exactly what Brother Lawrence was evidently doing.

God, in His great spiritual energy, works in our lives, and circumstances, and most importantly, in us, according to His will and desire for us, and our part is to to join in on that, pick up on it, and cooperate in following through.


In what ways do you think you could be enabling yourself to “work” more toward this end?

What wave(s) are you riding?



The Wordsday Word: a WORK in Progress

I’ve been WORKing hard on the meanings and workings of the word work, trying to work up a post on it for “Wordsday”… Maybe I’ll finally have it all worked out by next week? Working my way through the dictionary entries and Bible concordances and lexicons, I’ve just about worked my fingers to the nub and my brain to numb, and my major conclusion is: This is hard work!

And now, I just tried to work in some typographical emphasis by having my word editor place all occurrences of the word in bold face, but it didn’t work!

Do you see the problem?

Every above use of that 4-letter configuration has a different definition and use!

My unabridged English dictionary gives 54 definitions for this word in its four-letter state alone, and that’s not counting all the info on synonyms! Then, in addition to all that, one and a half of this dictionary’s big pages are occupied with definitions of related words and phrases, in the same family (like working, works, worker, etc.)

So when you read the word “work” in the Bible, what are you to take it to mean?

Well, looking in concordances and lexicons, I find the New Testament Greek is a little more helpful. It provides at least three different words for our English “work,” and that helps differentiate meanings, somewhat.

But we don’t read the Bible in Greek, most of us anyway. What to do? Methinks a little employment (i.e., use, putting to work) of said concordances and lexicons can be an indispensible help when the meaning of what we see as the English word work isn’t clear and obvious from its context.

However, I have a long way to go in this part of the work.

So, hopefully, next week we’ll be able to better work out the conundrums in verses like Philippians 2:12-13.

Until then…

It’s a Matter of the Heart

So where do you start? How do you move toward a continuous “conversation,” or communion, with God?

How do you “exercise your faith” as Brother Lawrence said to do? How do you even begin to live out obedience to that first, and greatest, and most basic commandment to “Love the LORD your God” with all your being—in a world that pulls you every which way but up towards Him?


Should we, just possibly, begin with the part of us that greatest commandment mentions first?

Just as the collage above is incomplete, lacks definition, energy, and clarity, so is every spiritual growth plan without a clear imprinting of heart.


Heart comes first in the Greatest Commandment–before soul, mind, or strength. Always. Consistently. Any time it appears in scripture.

Then why do we so often–maybe even consistently–try to approach God exactly backwards, in reverse of that order? 

Do we not too often start trying to “love God” by the strength of our fleshly efforts and our intellect, perhaps along with the help of man, and lose sight of our own heart as the receiving-and-sending mechanism it is, and the need for God’s Spirit to lead, empower, and energize that heart? In this backwards approach do we not do just what Paul told the Galatians not to do? (Gal 3:3)

As I took a few Caran D’ache Neo Color II water soluble crayons (love those things!), some stencils, and a wet paint brush, and imprinted heart in the above collage, I began at last to see some form and definition arise in its composition. Amid the process, scriptures began to come to me. Like… “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified…” (Rom 10:10 NIV). For it is out of the heart that all the issues and actions of life arise (Prov 4:23 NIV, Lk 6:45)… The heart is central, primary in these matters.

But the human heart can’t do the work alone, either! Our hearts are deceptive, and wayward, and needy, and inadequate, and often broken and bruised and damaged.

Brother Lawrence recognized this. He well knew his crucial need for God to do the guiding, energizing, helping work within him. His frequent prayer was, “Lord, I cannot do this unless You enable me.

When he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me to myself. It is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss.” 

…Brother Lawrence said we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, … imploring His assistance in our affairs just as they happen.
So, for the ability and power to keep in communion with God, he instructed his hearers to “apply to Him [God] with some diligence.”
This is in keeping with scripture:

The essence of Jesus’ teaching was “Follow me,” “Come to me… learn of me… for I am meek and lowly of … heart… and you shall find rest for your souls. He also instructed His disciples to “keep on seeking, … knocking, … asking” for His Holy Spirit, who would be their Helper.

Paul acknowledged that it was God powerfully at work in and through him in his ministry (Eph 3:7)  and prayed for those Ephesians to whom he wrote that God would enable them to realize how powerfully God could work in them, too (Eph 1:19). And when he instructed the Philippian believers to “work…,”  in the same sentence he declared that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Ph 2:12-13).

Seems like there’s a paradox there. But there isn’t. Seems like a good Wordsday Word this week would be “work,” both in English and in the two different Greek words that are translated “work” in that pair of Philippians verses..
Meanwhile, let’s keep turning our hearts toward God, and “applying to Him with some diligence”–and may we enjoy, increasingly, a blessed fellowship of heart.

Wordsday Word: Sanctuary… & Thoughts on Someone Who Is One

I ripped the word from a piece of political junk mail I’d set aside for special use, for collaging.img_1115

Later, turning it over to slap glue on the back, I discovered to my chagrin that it was addressed to someone else, roads away. Misdelivered.

Ah, well, it did say “or current occupant,” and was therefore junk mail. And now, to my mind, it was being used for something far higher than junk. Otherwise, it would have been tossed in the trash, never rightly delivered anyway.

Now it was giving the final touch to my collage about practicing an awareness of God’s presence. It was, in fact, the only word that had been crying out to be placed there.


sanctuary 1 : a consecrated place: as : the ancient Hebrew temple at Jerusalem or its holy of holies b (1) : the most sacred part of a religious building (as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed)…  (3) : a place… for worship 2 : a place of refuge and protection* 

In the collage a picture of an abandoned monastery rests just behind the left shoulder of the little girl. I realize I arranged these images thus because she represents me, and the monastery’s placement represents my heart’s longing for sanctuary, for a sacred place of communion with God right in the everyday that does not get intruded on or assaulted from without by noise and strife and distractions—or by distractions from within…

In the comments on Kel Rohlf’s God + Art  post that gave me my collaging prompt, I noticed the recurring word “distracted” or “distractions,” giving the big reason people had trouble keeping in “continual conversation with God.”

Kel also asked, “Have you ever wanted to be a monk?”

My soul shouts a resounding, “Yes!” not because she wants to be cut off from fellowship with humanity, but from such distraction, which fills our world and consequently our minds and hearts. Oh, for a sanctuary from that clamor, where we could fellowship continually with God, even while doing our daily life!

But then, there was something else I’d learned about the word “sanctuary” as it’s used in scripture, before I’d even thought about doing the above collage… And I’d also just happened to have read a certain parable…

Isaiah 8:13-14 KJV speaks of God Himself as a sanctuary for us, and tells us to sanctify Him as such.

And the parable that came my way this week was that of the wedding invitation, and the people too busy, too… distracted?… to attend! (Mt 22:1-5,8-11)

Clearly God gives us some responsibility in this matter of fellowship with Him, though He doesn’t leave us alone and helpless in it. It’s our part to make an effort and to keep enlisting His help in overcoming the distractions, so we might enjoy that privileged fellowship with Him rather than be yanked about by all the foolish clamoring things that rob us of its joy.img_1142




It’s never been easy—even for Brother Lawrence.  Back when I first read his words, I missed the fact that he entered monastic service late in life—and how he emphasized that the kind of fellowship he enjoyed comes only after much persistent, patient working towards it, and depends much upon us “applying to God with much diligence” for it.

And he did have a method for dealing with his distractions. Whenever he caught his mind strayed off from God, He quickly recalled himself, then asked God’s forgiveness, and His aid. For He told God frankly that left to himself he’d do nothing but wander off.

How do you overcome the distractions that hinder ongoing fellowship with God?


(Note about the above collage. It’s not finished at this point. Go to the next post (once it’s published) to see what happened to it to give it the definition it still needs here.)


*Merriam Webster’s  Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition