Tag Archives: Ohope Beach

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

Taking time for God

“Practice an extended period of private prayer, reflection, and meditation, pondering, percolating—whatever you want to call it. But do something everyday on a regular basis to engage in a conscious dialogue with your inner self and God. If every waking moment is filled with input and stimulation, your soul’s voice is being drowned out. You’ll eventually b begin to experience spiritual numbness, a blasé feeling…

Not making time to pay attention to your soul each day is like driving around with God in the back seat of the car,  but with the music turned up so loud you can’t hear a word He is saying.”  Joe Paprocki
Ohope Beach sunrise, Psalm 46:10

Ohope and the Bay of Plenty

Ohope calls itself the “sunshine capital of New Zealand.” Frankly, I would call it the “sunrise/sunset”  capital. The Bay of Plenty was named by Captain Cook in the 1770’s after he found abundant provisions to replenish his ships along this coastline.

Since it faces northwards, Ohope Beach benefits from both sunrises and sunsets. As you can see, the colors glow magnificently. At sunrise, the mountains of the East Cape of the Bay of Plenty are often blanketed with clouds. This cloud cover creates a mystique to the land behind these mountains. Beautiful coves and beaches lie beyond the East Cape.  It was the filming site for the excellent New Zealand movies, “Whale Rider” and “Boy.”


Ohiwa oyster farm, Ohiwa Harbour
Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty, Ohope
Ohiwa sunrise, Ohiwa Harbour
Ohiwa Harbor, Bay of Plenty
Ohope, Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach, East Cape Bay of Plenty, East Cape North Island
Ohope Beach, New Zealand sunset
Bay of Plenty, East Cape New Zealand
Ohope sunrise, Norfolk pine
Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty, East Cape New Zealand

God’s Curtain of Light

Psalm 104

 Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Lord my God, how great you are!
    You are robed with honor and majesty.
  You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
Psalm 104 image, Ohope, Bay of Plenty, East Cape

Still, for Good Friday

For Good Friday

This day
let all stand still
in silence,
in sorrow.

Sun and moon
be still.

be still.

the waters.

the wind.

Let the ground
gape in stunned

Let it weep
as it receives
what it thinks
it will not
give up.

Let it groan
as it gathers
the One
who was thought
forever stilled.

be still.

and wait.


—Jan Richardson

Ohope Beach, East Cape Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach, East Cape Bay of Plenty

Love remains

During this Easter week, it is good to remember and reflect upon the incredible unfailing love God shows us despite the evil and chaos that never seems to end. Indeed, we have sound reason NOT to let our hearts be troubled!

“Hope and faith will both come to an end when we die. But love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die, we will lose everything that life gave us except love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the divine, indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain but will also bear fruit from generation to generation.

“When we approach our deaths let us say to those we leave behind, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to you and offer you consolation and comfort.”  Henri Nouwen

Isaiah 65, Ohope Beach
Isaiah 65, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach and the Bay of Plenty: sunrise and sunset

One of the great joys of visiting family in Ohope is watching the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, the ever changing morning and evening light.  Ohope Beach lies on the eastern end of the Bay of Plenty, an eighty mile curve of sea three hours southeast of Auckland.  Because of its north-south location, this ocean expanse, unlike the Oregon coast,  receives both sunrises and sunsets.  The light is unique.  Enjoy these pictures.


Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
beachcomber Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
beachcomber Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Ohope Beach setting moon

Full moon setting at sunrise, Ohope Beach


Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
Ohiwa Harbor surise, Ohope Beach
Ohiwa Harbor, Ohope Beach, Ohiwa Harbour
Ohope Beach West End , West End Ohope rainbow
Ohope Beach West End , West End Ohope rainbow
Ohope Beach sunset, Bay of Plenty sunset
Ohope Beach sunset, Bay of Plenty


Ohope Beach West End sunset, Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach West End sunset, Bay of Plenty
West End sunset Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty sunset,
West End sunset Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty sunset,
Whale Island Whakatane, Bay of Plenty sunset
Whale Island Whakatane, Bay of Plenty sunset