Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.24

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

The Psalms: Light for living…

Shalom!

“I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.” (Psalms 16:7-9 NLT)

Remember George Orwell’s prediction of 1984 that “Big Brother” would be watching? There are those who will tell you his prediction is now 32 years later with the internet and cell phone technology is now in full swing. Whether Big Brother is watching or not we have a Bigger God watching over us! Not only can we take comfort from the Psalmist, we can also take comfort from God Himself. “…There is no other God— there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:10–13, NLT, selected portions)

Please make special note of these portions of 43:12 &13, “First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you… No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” Because no matter how much bigger our God is than Big Brother he will not only try to bully us he will also try to rob us of our peace and tranquility. But Big Brother has two BIG problems the first is he’s so stuck on himself and how strong he thinks he is he’s blind to his second BIG problem, GOD!

What Big Brother’s forgets when he tries to mess with us is God gets in the middle and you and I know who’s gonna win that struggle, don’t we? I love the way Ezekiel puts it. “I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!” (Ezekiel 34:15–16, NLT)

Having sleepless night thinking about Big Brother’s intimidations? Don’t think about Big Brother or counting sheep, instead count on this… “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.” Recite that a few times and you’ll get the best night sleep you’ve ever had.

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.gloryseeddevotionals.org/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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Shadowed by Angels in Tuckaleechee Caverns?

Tuckaleechee.Caverns.2

By Gary “Crusty the Christian” Piper

On Friday August 12, 2016 along with my wife Patti, Bonnie and Jon Teeple we descended deep in the earth going where I’ve been before but probably should not have gone this time. We were on a tour of Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, Tennessee. I say I probably should not have gone because of 4 blocked coronary arteries and 52% lung capacity due to pulmonary fibrosis and a very large number of steep stairways. The descent wasn’t a problem for me but when we started back up things got very difficult for me. In fact 3 or 4 times I began to feel the beginning symptoms of an angina or heart attack. However keeping my concerns to myself I plugged away stopping to rest and catch my breath when I could. I had the capability of testing my oxygen level but decided not to because that would have told Patti I was having more trouble than she could already see I was having and probably would have gone ballistic on me and panicked. In retrospect Tuckaleechee Caverns is not for those with heart and pulmonary problems but WOW it was worth it!

I am not sure at what point I noticed a young couple (probably in the late twenties or early thirties following us but during one of my stops while everyone else walked past me those two stop and began looking around as if they were trying to go unnoticed. After that happened a few times I told them they didn’t need to wait for me, they could go on, ”We’re okay,” the man said, “we’re in no hurry.” A few times later I began to suspect they had picked up on the difficulties I was having and were shadowing me in case I began running into more trouble than I could handle. Perhaps one or both of them were members of the medical profession and had picked up on my struggle to breath, I thought to myself.

At one point our tour guide stopped for a few minutes and I lost track of them thinking they’d decided to go off on their own but a few minutes later after the group began walking again I noticed they once again following. By now I’d figured they were indeed shadowing me in case I did run into trouble and a few minutes later because of their presence I felt my fears began to ease and in spite of the continued chest pain and shortness of breath a feeling of peace began settling in. I was able to enjoy the tour of the cavern because I knew deep inside I was going to be okay. And more than that each time I glanced back and saw them the feeling of comfort increased.

Now as I think back on what happened while deep in the earth two things haunt me. Why did I wait until now to tell anyone what was happening to me and in me. And why didn’t at some point on our way back to the surface did I not strike up a conversation with them. I am typically not a very good conversationalist when it comes to strangers but now as I look back something was telling me even though I didn’t know them they were not really strangers. But what’s just as strange Jon who talks to everyone didn’t strike up a conversation with them either.

After the tour was over while sitting on a bench we watched as the couple walked up the stairs leading to the main level we waved and told them thank you they waved back and said it was okay. Seconds later they could not be found in the main level or the parking lot. It never occurred to me that they were no more than just two concerned strangers “Good Samaritans” ready to help me if the occasion arose, until this morning anyway. This morning while I was making the bed Patti asked me if I thought the entire incident was a little strange. Suddenly the word Angel flashed into my mind. Since then my mind has been racing, trying to remember if there were any more clues as to who they were or what they were but the only thing that resonates with me was they were always there, always waiting with us when I needed to stop and moving with us when I could go on again.

Over the years I’ve read stories of people who have had experiences with Angels and now I find myself telling of my own story. However, I need to say at this point I am not totally convinced it was a true encounter with Angels. Having said that I also need to tell you I consider myself an optimist therefore if there’s a possibility keeping in mind, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Hebrews 13:2, NLT), they indeed were Angels until I prove to myself otherwise.

The dilemma facing me now is how can I prove or disprove to myself they were real Angels. Disproving something is easy, just refuse to believe and as long as you keep refusing to believe something eventually, to you at least that something will not exist even though it may indeed exist. And on the other side of that coin keep believing in something and it will become a reality to you even though it may not exist. Remember the “God is dead” movement a few years ago? Note, in response to that movement there has been a couple of movies suggesting that God is indeed very much alive and well.

My point is there is no real way of proving or disproving whether or not my mysterious Tuckaleechee Cave Angels were real or not. The end result of my investigation lie in my faith, based on scriptural and circumstantial evidence. First, does the bible reveal the existence of Angels? Yes, after doing a search in the New Living Translation of the bible there are 108 verse references to Angels.

Before going further I need to add one more thing. I thought perhaps there were in one of the pictures we took while down in the cave but no such luck. There is no proof they were ever there except their pictures that have been burned into our memories. Perhaps Bonnie has a picture of them on her phone. I’ll check with her later.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia suggests that with Jesus’ advent in the world the ministry of Angels has been limited; it does suggest however there is still work for Angels to do. “The visible activity of angels has come to an end, because their mediating work is done; Christ has founded the kingdom of the Spirit, and God’s Spirit speaks directly to the spirit of man. This new and living way has been opened up to us by Jesus Christ, upon whom faith can yet behold the angels of God ascending and descending. Still they watch the lot of man, and rejoice in his salvation; still they join in the praise and adoration of God, the Lord of hosts, still can they be regarded as “ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation.”

“…still can they be regarded as ‘ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation.’” While this may not be scriptural I choose to see it as such, for me it is the “circumstantial proof” that seeds and is even now germinating in my spirit giving me permission to believe God did indeed send two Angels to minister to me and if necessary minster me back to health should something had terribly gone wrong. For me this is my first encounter with Angels and it will take me quite awhile to come to its full fruition. This is the first time God has visibly “had my back” His usual MO for me is in the stealth mode working behind the scenes.

As gravity of the experience begins to grow in my spirit its implications go far beyond just watching over me while I was doing something that was foolish for me to be doing in the first place. However, it further solidifies and deepens my belief not only in the providence of God but also extent to which He will go to ensure the plans he has for our lives will not be cut short either through our own foolishness or through circumstances beyond our control. I believe one of the reasons for my “now” belief in the truthfulness of our Angelic encounter (I say our encounter because Patti, Bonnie, Jon, and I because we all saw them and exchanged glances with them and gave them our thanks) is my ability to see the long term and lasting impact it will have on my faith journey. Perhaps it will impact the other three as it has mine.

Before I bring this part of my story to an end I need to say something further about my own personal belief in Angels. While my belief in “God’s Angels” just went from “I’m pretty sure” they exist to “now I know they exist”. At the same time I also believe in the existence of “God inspired” Angels, we refer to them as “Good Samaritans” people that seem to come out of nowhere help us out then all of a sudden go on their merry way. I remember one particular time in the summer of 1958 we were headed for Yellowstone Park. At one point the ball joint driver side of my dad’s car broke and sent us careening into the oncoming lane. Luckily no cars were coming. After coming to a stop my dad retrieved the front wheel a few minutes later a Good Samaritan stopped and helped my dad “jury rig” the front wheel good enough to hobble into the next town where dad fixed it. There were two miracles that day, no oncoming cars and the arrival and help of a “God inspired Angel”. Wait a minute now that I stop to think about it, maybe that Good Samaritan wasn’t human after all. Now that’s something to think about!

Even though I will be bringing this portion of my Angel story to an end there will no doubt be more to come because even though it seems as God touches us with a miracle then seemingly disappears until the next time whenever and wherever He touches our lives in one of His many different ways those touches will always ripple into and mold our lives far into the future.

Father God, I don’t know the names of those two Angels who saw to my safety but I will always remember them. And I look forward to the day when I will get a chance to meet them either in this life when the need for them arises once more. I would say thank you but words at this point seem pointless and shallow. I love you Father.

AMEN!

P.S. God, I just have to say this, it sure would great to sit down with those two and have a nice conversation! But, I can wait if I need to. AMEN (again)!

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Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.23

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

The Psalms: Light for living…

Shalom!

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NLT)

Of all the 66 books in the bible there are 3 that are standouts for me. One is the book of Isaiah, it is from Isaiah I learn about God, and how He interacts not only with humankind but with me on a personal basis. Another standout is the gospel of John, out of John I learn about Jesus not only as my Savior but also as my personal friend as well. It is in John’s gospel where the Holy Spirit becomes more than just a shadow becoming an intimate extension of Jesus.

And the third member of biblical dynamic trio is the Psalms. The Psalms have been classified as a “Wisdom Book” and in some circles it is called a “Poetic Book” but I have taken the liberty to classify it as a “Prophetic Book”. While it may not provide insight into the future like such prophetic books as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or Revelation what it does is provide me prophetic insight into how my relationship with God works. In addition to providing me with insight into my relationship with God it also provides me with prophetic insight into Gary Piper.

When I “screw up” and wander off the Psalms tells me why and how I can get back on the right path. When I am depressed the Psalms are there to lift me up. When I feel like I could whip the world all by myself the Psalms are there to short circuit my pride. If you want to read and discover God, read and study Isaiah. If you want to read and discover Jesus, read and study John. If you want to discover Light for living then read and study the Psalms. Keeping in mind the other 63 books of the bible all lend themselves to fulfill Paul’s prophetic insight, “Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (2 Timothy 3:17, The Message)

One last thought. When reading/studying any of the bible’s 66 books remember you’re not just a casual observer reading a text book or a newspaper you are an active participant in the ongoing story of God. When you read/study the Psalms become the Psalmist and watch and witness what the Holy Spirit does to your life and your living life.

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.gloryseeddevotionals.org/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.22

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

The Psalms: Resources for living…

Shalom!

One of my favorite comic strip characters is the Born Loser. I know this may not sound right but he was one of my fictional heroes. While it is easy for me to identify with him there is a huge difference between the two of us. Losing comes natural for the Born Loser losing for me is a matter of choice. You read me right, I chose to lose and I suspect you do too rather you realize it or not. Why do we choose to lose? Because Jesus urges us to, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35, ESV)

You may find this hard to believe but Jesus is one who likes to see losers like you and I in action! Not because he’s someone who “gets off” on human misery but because as explained by the Psalms the Holy Spirit turns losers like us into winners like Jesus! “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 1:1–3, NLT)

Not only does the Psalmist tell us the fringe benefits of losing he also tells us what we need to do when we find ourselves facing those incidental situations life throws at us putting us in the loser bracket, “…they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.” Those 14 life giving, loser to winner words are based on the awesome fact that the ever and very present [“And
behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
” (Matthew 28:20, ESV)] Holy Spirit accompanies us wherever we go and into whatever we experience elevating us from the losers bracket into the Winners Circle.

The difference between a loser and a winner is the Holy Spirit!

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.gloryseeddevotionals.org/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.19

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

To escape or not to escape…

Shalom!

When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”” (Genesis 19:17, NLT)

“Escape to the mountains,” the angel told Lot just before Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. But instead of escaping to the mountains for some reason Lot didn’t go instead he escaped to a small village called Zoar. Lot should have accepted God’s invitation because some time later, “…Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters.” (Genesis 19:30, NLT) (And it goes downhill from there you can catch the whole disgusting story in Genesis 19:31-38)

From my own experience in escaping there are two basic ways of understanding it. One is to understand it as running FROM something; Lot was running from the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the other is running To something; Jesus, from time-to-time would “escape” to the mountains to be alone with God. While running to something is actually running from something however running TO places the emphasis the destination and what awaits us. I know some may see that as making a play on words and it probably is but I will remind them of the power words hold over us.

However, the main point I want to make this morning is not the difference between running FROM or running TO the point I want to make is about accepting God’s invitation to be with Him. We may never be in the same predicament Lot was but day in and day out God presents us with the giftedness of grace that usually (but not always) interferes with our plans. The question is will we “pull a Lot” and in the end see it backfire or will we “pull a Jesus” and spend some quality time with God?

Whenever we find ourselves facing overwhelming odds you can always bet there will be an invitation from the Holy Spirit saying, “Escape (run TO) with me to the Mountain of the LORD where you will find lush valleys filled with the best the LORD has to give.” And the good news is you don’t even need to go anywhere all need to do is bow your head (if possible) and say, “LORD, it’s me ______________ I need to be with You for awhile.”

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.gloryseeddevotionals.org/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.18

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

Jehovah-nissi, the LORD is my banner…

Shalom!

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for Him. Turning to Philip, He asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for He already knew what He was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:5-9 NLT)

“Jesus already knew what He was going to do…” Do you suppose that applies to us as well? Is it possible the LORD knows what is going to come our way today and He already knows how He’s going to handle it for us? Is it possible life will try to overwhelm us with adversities and difficulties and because of His foreknowledge the LORD is already taking step to spoil life’s plan and carry out His plan?

I don’t know about you but I answer those questions with a great big YES! But I run into trouble when the courage I need to follow the LORD crumbles. Enter at this point Jehovah-nissi, the LORD is my banner. For a nearly week I have been struggling with understanding the full impact of what that name for God means for my life. Because Moses’ staff was a symbol of God’s presence the Israelite army was able to defeat the opposing army therefore Moses gave God the name Jehovah-nissi, the LORD is my banner. (You can discover it for yourself in Exodus 17:8-16) I understand why Moses gave God the name Jehovah-nissi however I wanted my own understanding; I wanted my own symbol of God’s victory over my opposition.

Then I thought of the testing of Phillip, Andrew’s short sightedness, and Jesus’ ultimate feeding of so many with so little and suddenly I realized in addition to everything else Jesus is to me He is not only my symbol of God’s presence in my life He IS God’s presence in my life. There is nothing life will throw at me today that Jesus and I can’t handle, or should I say there is nothing life will throw at me today that Jesus can’t handle.

Jesus is my symbol and source of courage! Who’s your symbol and source of courage?

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.gloryseeddevotionals.org/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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Glory Seed Devotional, 2016.08.17

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2016: Year of the Blessing…

What me worry?

Shalom!

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.” (Luke 12:21–22, NLT)

This morning when I read the above scripture my first reaction was, “Someone who would say something like that never worried a day in their life.” And you know what? I was right! Jesus could say that because of the richness of His relationship with the Father. Then I found myself envious of Jesus because I want what He had, I want the same rich relationship He had with Father.

Jesus knew what worry was about and He knew what it would do because like us He lived among a people who worried. He witnessed firsthand how worry shifted a person’s relationship from the Father to themselves. He watched as people He loved became so entangled in the everyday affairs of living it choked the life out of them. Jesus knew worry was like a cat burglar so he told people, “A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10, NCV)

I know we’re not suppose to envy anyone but deep in my heart I don’t think Jesus would mind if we sought the rich relationship He had with the Father for ourselves after all didn’t he say, “I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” And with my simple way of thinking He was saying, “I want to give you what I have.” We humans relate a life without worry as a life without the many sources of worry and we know that is impossible but what is possible is wrapping ourselves in faith and working alongside the Father doing our best under difficult circumstances so the sources of worry can become stepping stones to a richer relationship with the Father, ourselves, and those around us.

Not to worry does not mean to be worry free… It means wrapping God around your life and believing in your relationship with Him…

Believe in presence of the GOD and in the strength of his GRACE!

GRACE and PEACE,

Gary

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Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you would like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: https://gloryseeds.wordpress.com/.

If you would like inspirational music playing as you read this Glory Seed may I suggest clicking on this link: http://www.abidingradio.org/listen/

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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