Tag Archives: Bay_of_Plenty

Time in prayer

Long ago, through prayer, I was blessed with a miraculous, intense healing of mind, body, and soul. As I have prayed the years since, I cannot specifically claim that “I” have caused anything equally miraculous to happen. I do know that I find incredible peace and rest when I let go of my “chattering voices” and in stillness, feel the incredible connections with God and His Creation.  And I do accept what Oswald Chambers writes: “The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the ‘answer.”

“God will probably not be interested in how many things we included in our day, but how much of our day included Him.” All Zobe-Nolan
Zumwalt_Prairie, Wallowa_Mts

White_Island, Bay_of Plenty_NZ

Reflections on Psalm 139

Psalm 139 reminds me again and again that nothing separates from God’s loving Presence. He is always with us, regardless of where we are–physically, mentally, spiritually.

Lord, you have examined my heart

    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

“God loves us because this kind of affection is unique to the Creator and the created.  God’s knowing us this deeply does not pose a threat to our independence as individuals with free will, but comes as  a gift of good news.

“Have you consider the feelings that accompany being loved in this fashion—loved inside and out for all that you do, think, and feel?  When you feel absent from God’s presence, deep in stress and suffering, reread these verses to remind you of the unbreakable connection with your omniscient God, the one who ‘knows’ you—inside and out.” J. Dana Trent

“Nothing is real without deriving its reality from God.”  Henri Nouwen

Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Rainbows of Ohope

Once in while, a showery set of clouds comes across the Bay of Plenty, and as the afternoon sun shines through the rain, beautiful rainbows rise above the ocean of Ohope Beach.  If the tide is low, and if the rains persist, the rainbows reflect off the wet sand, as they remain for many minutes above sand dune, shore, and sea.

Ohope Beach, lilies

Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

New Zealand rainbow, taken with my iPhone

Ohope Beach

His steadfast love never ceases

On this most special day, I am reminded of what I should remember each day with each breath: God is with us at all times, in all places. He is the God of Life, and His steadfast love and mercy never cease, whatever the circumstances or conditions.

Shot at sunrise while walking to the beach at Ohope on our second morning there.



“Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved.”

“Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved.  If you could accept and believe that you are unconditionally love and embraced,  you could go all over the world and never be lonely…In our personal relationships a moral life is not enough. We must also live the mystical life, a life which is embraced by the God who says, “I love you fully and unconditionally.”  Henri Nouwen

Mt_Harris_OR, Union_County_OR

Ohope, Bay_of_Pleanty

Traveling with the eyes of GodT

Meg and I arrived home Thursday evening.  The return trip was long but easy. We are blessed to have each other to as our memories flow back and forth between us.  And, we are blessed to have family and good friends to share time with. Henri Nouwen, as he does so often, summarizes our feelings:

“Traveling – seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people – is exciting and exhilarating.  But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us, “How was your trip?” we might be less eager to go.  Travelling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.

This is what life is about.  It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made.   When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home.” 

Ohope Beach

Sunrise, Sunset, Ohope Bach, North Island, New Zealand

Ohope Beach lies on the Bay of Plenty, a long crescent shaped bay four hours east of Auckland.  It recently was rated as the top beach in New Zealand.  The beach here runs for miles, offering great waves for surfing and boogie boarding.  Excellent fishing is found both in the ocean and Ohope Harbor, or Ohiwa as it is also called.  Morning and evening light is never the same, never boring, sometimes subtle, sometimes shocking, but always alluring and enduring.

Ohiwa, Ohope_harbour

lilies and Ohope sunrise

Norfolk pine, Bay of Plenty

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

First light

During our stays in Ohope on the Bay of Plenty, North Island, Meg and I have looked out to the long crescent of land that extends toward the horizon in the east. The road along this East Cape twists and turns, sometimes high above the ocean, sometimes at beach level; sometimes close to the ocean, sometimes inland.  The drive is slow, highlighted by gorgeous bays and beaches, and most dramatically, the East Cape Lighthouse.  There, the sunrise first meets New Zealand, and actually is the second landfall from the International Dateline after the islands of Tonga (where Meg and I served in the Peace Corps) .

As Meg and I watched the sunrise Wednesday morning, we enjoyed these selections from Psalm 25 as we felt the power of the Lord’s ever abiding gifts to us, His children:

East_Cape_lighthouse_NZ,  Bay_of_Plenty

East_Cape_lighthouse_NZ,  Bay_of_Plenty

Let the past rest

A New Year, a new month, a new day.  The past does not need to restrain or restrict us when we are willing to begin anew with Christ, who never leaves us.  Oswald Chambers, in his writing for December 31 from “My Utmost for His Highest,” states how we can let our past rest and our future, ever recreated afresh, begin:
“As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”
Bay of Plenty

Three Sisters Beach

Called back

Henri Nouwen writes, “I trust in you, Lord, but keep helping me in my many moments of distrust and doubt. They are there and will be every time I turn my eyes, ears, or hands away from you.  Please, Lord, keep calling me back to you, by day and by night, in joy and in sadness, during moments of success and moments of failure. Never let me leave you.  I know you walk with me.  Help me walk with you today, tomorrow, and always.”

Over the years I have I come to realize how amazing God is:  I think I am seeking Him, whereas He is always seeking me.  Indeed, He is the good shepherd who seeks all of us who have gone false, separate directions!
Ohope Beach sunrise, North Island, NZ

Below Hat Point in Hells Canyon, OR