Category Archives: Bible Verse Photos

God’s tender mercy

Because of God’s tender mercy,
  the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.  Luke 1:78,79

How does “tender mercy” definite my relationship with the Creator of the Universe, and my relationship with His Creation?

Fr Thomas Keating writes this way: “You cannot exaggerate the closeness, the gentleness, the tenderness of God. It is not sentimental.  It’s a love that wants to give us the treasure of the divine life–not just becoming better human beings. It is unconditional love pouring itself out. And it has to pour itself out. That is the nature of infinite goodness.”

 

Peace on Earth, Mt Emily Oregon, Mt Emily Union County

God is only love

“Often hell is portrayed as a place of punishment and heaven as a place of reward. But this concept easily leads us to think about God as either a policeman, who tries to catch us when we make a mistake and send us to prison when our mistakes become too big, or a Santa Claus, who counts up all our good deeds and puts a reward in our stocking at the end of the year.
God, however, is neither a policeman nor a Santa Claus. God does not send us to heaven or hell depending on how often we obey or disobey. God is love and only love. In God there is no hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. But just as the father of the prodigal son let his son make his own decision, God gives us the freedom to move away from God’s love even at the risk of destroying ourselves. Hell is not God’s choice. It is ours.” Henri Nouwen
I realize the concept Nouwen proposes may be radical to some. Yet the older I have become, the more my relationship with God through His Son is based on love and forgiveness, praying for enemies rather than hating them.  I hold the promise the Lord gave to Israel long ago through the prophet, Jeremiah:
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:33,34
Ohope Beach

Crowned with everlasting Joy

Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem[a] singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

                                        Isaiah 35:10
 
Meg and I fly home from New Zealand tonight.  As I read this writing by Henri Nouwen, I was struck by how much of our lives involve letting go.  We are filled and then emptied, and then filled again.  It is a deep blessing to make/share these memories with Meg. We hold deeply to each other, as we move ever closer to eternal time with God.
 
“Joy and Sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England fall are to the soberness of barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend you already know you will have to leave each again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun colored ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can’t find words to capture your complex emotions.
 
“But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy in God, a joy that no one shall take away from us. “ Henri Nouwen
Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Bringing the good news

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation.

Isaiah 52:7

     During Meg and my recent travels on South Island, we renewed our friendship with Ant Harris, a professional guide with Southern Alps Guiding at Mt Cook National Park. On his day off, he took me up to the Mueller Hut, a hike that climbs quite steeply from the valley floor. We started up into clouds, but soon climbed above the inversion layer, where we delighted in glorious views of Mt Cook and the surrounding ranges.

I was deeply happy with this challenging day–exhilarating and exhausting. But ultimately this happiness, like any other, was transitory, always needing to be refilled by another encounter or another event. I seek and hope for the ultimate good news or peace good tidings and salvation, where divine union with the Living God brings joy that never ends.

Mt Cook
Ant Harris and Eric

The King of Glory

Ohope, Psalm 25

 

“Drink deeply of life: the love, hope, sorrow, and pain of it all.  Ponder the miracle of your being and the web of all living things. Your passion, your gifts, your dreams, and your love are not to be squandered. The King of Glory is knocking on your door. Open your heart; it is time to invite Him in.”

Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty;
    the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
10 Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
    he is the King of glory. 
                         Psalm 24:7-10