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Tag Archive | "Pilgrim Bible Church"

Building Faith


Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine St. • Cedar Springs

616.696.1021

 

“Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the people praise You. Then shall the earth yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.” (Psalm 67:5-6) (NKJV)

Perhaps you are like a lot of people who struggle to develop a life of deep-rooted faith. Having faith in God can be difficult when we tend to look at everything in our life from an earthly perspective. We are surrounded by chaotic events, a crumbling culture, and people who often (whether they mean to or not) tend to let us down.

However, I would remind you that God is steadfast, He is above our problems, and unlike people, He is perfect in every way. Scripture teaches that He is worthy of praise, and there is a natural progression from praise to a deepening faith.

Psalm 22:3 tells us, “But You [God] are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (NKJV). The word “enthroned” can also be translated “inhabits.”  If you invest in praising God, you will find God to be present help in your life. Wherever the praises of God abound, God’s Presence abounds — and joy and victory.

Praise is a lifestyle, demonstrating your continual trust in Your Heavenly Father. Because you trust God, you believe that what He promised you, He is also able to perform, and you praise Him for it.

Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful.” (NKJV). 

The more we focus on God, the more we praise Him for who He is, the more our faith and confidence in Him grows. The bigger God becomes in our sight, the smaller our problems seem. Praise recognizes and gives God the credit and glory even before the answer is manifested in the natural realm. Praising God for the answer to our problems and prayers before we see it is faith in action.

So spend some time choosing to praise God regardless of the situation you are facing. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what it will do to build your faith. When we pour in to God, He pours into us! Let’s praise Him on purpose.

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ELLA MAE KNOCH


 

C-obit-knochElla Mae (Mosher) Knoch, 89, of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at Vista Springs. Ella Mae was born October 29, 1926 in Cadillac, Michigan the daughter of Clifford and Lavona (Stark) Joslin. She was a longtime member of Pilgrim Bible Church and had served as secretary and treasurer. She enjoyed sewing and taught a sewing class at Pilgrim Bible Academy. She had been active working the voting booths for Ensley Township. She loved the Lord, her church and her family. Surviving are her husband, Walter Knoch Sr. whom she married on December 12, 2010; son, Rodney (Sue) Mosher; seven stepchildren; grandsons, Kenneth (Stephanie) Mosher, Peter (Grace) Mosher; great grandchildren, Greyson, Hazelle, Kiptyn, Hunter, Bosten and a granddaughter on the way; many step grandchildren and great grandchildren; brothers, Harry (Sarah) Joslin, Elwyn (Goldie) Joslin; sister, Orpha Nicholson; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a husband, Maynard Mosher; daughter and son-in-law, Connie (Richard) Tiede; great-granddaughter, Emery Mosher; brother, Leon Joslin; sister, Olive Hurst. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be held Monday 11:00 am at Pilgrim Bible Church, Cedar Springs. Pastor Michael Shiery officiating. Interment Crandall Cemetery, Ensley Township. Memorial contributions may be made the Alzheimers Association or Pilgrim Bible Church.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Looking to God in a Crisis


Pilgrim-Bible-webRev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine Street • Cedar Springs

 

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 

Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ Selah. But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One Who lifts up my head.” (Psalm 3:1-3) (NKJV)

When we come face to face with a crisis in our life, many times our instinctive reaction is to feel totally overwhelmed by the immensity, complexity, and seriousness of what we are facing. If we give into that temptation often we find ourselves mired in despair and feeling like the crisis will never end. This, in turn, can lead to even more problems which we must confront.

In Psalm 3, we find David facing an incredible personal crisis that enveloped the nation of Israel in its grip. We are permitted a glimpse into what David was confronting and more importantly, we can see a path to dealing with our own crises.

David was facing a political coup. There was a cleverly organized conspiracy to take away the throne of Israel from him. To add insult to injury, this plot engineered by his beloved son, Absalom. David was facing not only civil rebellion in the kingdom, but far more crushingly he was dealing with betrayal by former close friends and his own son. Of all the painful things we may have to face in life, nothing is more traumatic than when friends turn against us or our own family members stab us in the back.

It is interesting that David begins this Psalm by addressing the Lord directly. He was facing the nightmare of his life. He had been forced to flee from his palace in the capital city of Jerusalem. Now an exile, running for his life, no longer certain who to trust, he shows his desperate dependence by turning immediately to God.

Likewise, it is always appropriate in our crisis moments, as well as the good times, to turn to God first. Ultimately He can help and work out our situations when everything and everyone else has failed, so why wast time. Go to Him first!

David noted in verse 2 that there were many who observed his situation and boldly declared, “There is no help for him in God.” They felt that either God had abandoned David or that God was powerless to change the situation. They saw the writing on the wall and viewed the outcome as an inevitable disaster for David.

May I remind you that even when everybody says your crisis is hopeless that the last chapter has not necessarily been written. It is not unusual that when the world declares something is over for God to step and announce that He’s just begun to work in that situation.

In verse 3, David begins to enumerate what God is to him and why he has perfect confidence in the Almighty in the midst of this crisis. He says that God is his shield. The word “shield” there means more than a mere frontal protection. It was a protection that completely surrounded David. It was a protection from his trials without and his trials without and his temptations within.

David went on to announce his confidence that God was his glory and his uplifter. Men had cast him down, but the Lord was there to lift him up again. Even though violent plots had been hatched against him, God would sustain him and restore peace to his life again.

Friends, if you have given your heart and life to God you are in His perfect, loving care. You may be reeling in the midst of your crisis, but your Heavenly Father sees exactly where you are and He has the resources to bring stability to your life even in the midst of your storm. Stand confident in your faith in God’s power, and know that God does all things well. Even in the worst of times, you can and must trust the perfect character of God. David found it to be true and so can you!

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VICKI LYNN MARION


 

30-OBIT-marionVicki Lynn Marion, 59, of Sidney Township, Stanton, died Friday, July 24, 2015 at her home. Vicki was born April 26, 1956 in Cedarville, Michigan, the daughter of Darwin and Viola (Marks) Minard. She loved gardening, being outdoors and kayaking. She was an amazingly strong woman, with the biggest heart and a mom to many. Surviving are her daughter, Lynn Marion of Cedar Springs; boyfriend, Jerry VanHolstyn; brothers, Keith (Diane) Minard, Steve (Charlene) Minard, Mike Minard; sisters, Darlene (Jack) Bonenberger, Barbara Minard, Sheila Minard-Brady; many nieces and a nephew. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mark Marion in 1996 and a nephew, Darwin “James” Minard. The family greeted friends Tuesday, July 28 from 12 noon until time of service at 1:00 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Michael Shiery of Pilgrim Bible Church officiating. The family would appreciate memorial contributions to help with funeral expenses.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Living with hope and joy


Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine St. • Cedar Springs

“And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;  there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4) (NKJV)

These words of promise are especially poignant to me as I write this article. Just last week, a former college classmate and friend of mine, found his world suddenly ripped in two. His wife was leaving a store near their hometown when their two-year-old son broke loose from her grasp, dashed into the parking lot and was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle. Obviously the family is devastated over this tragedy.

However, in the midst of overwhelming sorrow, what gripped my attention was how the family has responded during this difficult time. Although their hearts are broken, they have reached out to the driver of the vehicle with love and compassion. They have met with her, prayed with her, and assured her that there is no bitterness in their hearts toward her. Their words and conduct have resonated with quiet hope and certain joy, and their testimony in the midst of personal tragedy is impacting their community in a powerful way.

My friends long ago placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and now through tear-stained eyes of faith they rest confidently in the promise of our text. They realize that tomb that holds their son’s body is only temporary, that his spirit is with the Heavenly Father, and that this separation will come to an end! There is coming (as the old songs says) “A great, getting up morning.” Eternal reunion is assured through the victory which Christ won over death on Easter morning.

Perhaps someone reading these words is also grieving. Perhaps your world is upside down. Tragic events have shattered a tranquil existence. Let me remind you that as a Christian, through God’s grace, you can live with hope and joy.

When we say we have the hope of Heaven, we do not mean that in the way we usually use the word “hope.” Some of you right now are hoping that warm weather will arrive in a few weeks. In our beloved state of Michigan, you can hope that, but there is no certainty or guarantee it will happen that quickly.

However, when we talk of the “hope” of Heaven, we are talking from a standpoint of confidence. The Bible tells us that it is impossible for God to lie. That same Bible holds multiple promises from God that Heaven is a reality and that the separation of death for God’s children will end in an eternal reunion of joy.

Paul Helm wrote: “Though the life of Heaven is for our future, its certain occurrence imparts a confidence and joy during the present.”

C.S. Lewis said: “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”

And maybe T.W. Hunt summed it up best when he wrote:

“In this life, pleasure ends itself. When the meal is past,  the enjoyment of taste and smell ceases. When the symphony ends, no audible harmonic vibrations remain. When the ride finishes, we ‘want to do it again.’

In eternity future, joy will be a continuum that never ceases. That joy will include within itself peace, expectation, beauty, sublimity. Our present understanding of pleasure only hints at the dimensions of enjoyment in the sheer outer joys of Heaven.” 

If you are hurting, allow me to encourage you. Joy is coming in the morning. Weeping only last for the night. And for the children of God, the best is yet to come!

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Thank God Anyhow


Pilgrim-BiblePastor Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine Street | Cedar Springs

 

 

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls–

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV)

What do you really know about the first Thanksgiving in America? There is much more to the story than what most people realize. In 1620 there were 102 Pilgrims; 56 of them died due to starvation, disease and the cold winter. In 1621, 46 Pilgrims and 91 Indians met to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and for the preservation of their lives. Those people had every reason to be depressed and discouraged, but they were thankful anyhow.

The keywords found in Habakkuk 3:17-19 are “though” and “yet.” Habakkuk is saying, “I sure don’t understand all that is happening, but I am going to thank God anyhow!” Let’s look at these verses and see that regardless of how things may look on the surface, we have a reason to “thank God anyhow.”

We can thank God that His sovereignty never changes. Habakkuk 3:17-18a reminds us that circumstances change, but God never does! We may not be able to rejoice in our situation, but we can always rejoice in our Sovereign. Habakkuk is painting a bleak portrait of the future, but he looks away to a God who is always the same.

He is the One we can depend on in desperate times, we can trust in troublesome times, we can believe during unbelievable times, and we can lean on Him at all times! We may not always know what He is doing, but we can always trust Him to do what is right.

Habakkuk 3:18b tells us that we can thank God for our salvation. Things might be bad in this life, but things do not affect my salvation. Salvation does not depend on things going well, salvation. Salvation does not depend on things going well, salvation rests solely on the grace and power of God! Life is uncertain at best. One phone call or doctor’s visits can changes everything; salvation is eternal in nature.

Thank God that His strength never collapses. Our strength does not lie within us, the Lord is our strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). When we are unable to stand, He enables us. When we can’t go on, He helps us. When we are in the deep valley, He leads us to higher ground.

“Deer’s feet” and “high hills” speaks of the mountain tops where the deer is free from the dangers found below. Habakkuk is telling us that God enables him to rise above his circumstances and the God gives him the strength to stand above the battle and enjoy freedom in the Lord!

When life happens and we are left reeling with the impact of bad news and tragic events, lets choose to thank God anyhow. As Larry Petree wrote years ago:

Thank God for the valley I walked through today, 

Thank God all my burdens were lifted away, 

Thank God for the mountain I’ve had strength to climb, 

And when the sun just won’t shine, “Thank God.”

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Choosing to rejoice in difficult circumstances


Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pastor: Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine Street • Cedar Springs • 696-1021

 

Given a choice, I’m sure that almost everybody would prefer the moments in life where everything seems placid and calm. Those days when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all seems right with the world. The cheerful words of the old song come to mind:

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-a, My oh my what a wonderful day. 

Unfortunately, reality is that many times our days aren’t like that at all. Perhaps it’s a marriage that has dissolved from a dream to a nightmare. Or it could be a child that has deeply disappointed us, a family member that is terminally ill, the loss of a job and financial security, or any other number of possibilities that haunt the corridors of our mind and threaten our peace and joy.

How are we supposed to handle events like these? The human instinct is to complain, gripe, and even grow bitter. God’s Word gives us a drastically different conclusion.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” (James 1:2) (NKJV)

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can discover the power of prayer. We are not talking about little ritualistic prayers that are little more than words uttered as mere form. This kind of prayer comes from the depth of who we are and shows a desperation. We instinctively understand at moments like these, that we are not infallible or invincible, and that we really do need help from God. The beautiful part of prayers like these is that God promised us:

“Call to Me, and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3) (NKJV)

Understand that inherent in that promise is the understanding that we must be surrendered to the will of God. Also, we must realize that His answer may not be what we expect, but He does all things well.

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can gain an unshakable faith in God. True, mature, and deep faith is formed not in the calm and peaceful sunshine, but in the howling winds amid the dark night of the soul! Faith in our fellow humans if often found to be a let down, but faith in God results in more faith as we find Him to be absolutely trustworthy. You can trust the character of God!

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can discover the real values of life. Two years ago, I sat in an oncologists office and listened in stunned disbelief as my father was informed that he was now a cancer patient. It truly seemed that the life of our family had been turned upside down for the worse!

I’ve learned to hate the word cancer with a new passion since then. As a family, we’ve run the gauntlet of that disease together. We’ve uttered impassioned prayers, shed gallons of tears, faced the uncertainty of surgery, waited with bated breath for every test result, and stared into the darkness hoping this was all a bad dream.

We’ve also discovered that God is faithful, His grace is sufficient, and that a vibrant relationship with Him is the most important thing in life. We’ve learned to cherish every moment together as a family, spent a lot of time reminiscing about our favorite family memories, made some good new memories, and determined that we’re in this together on this side of eternity and that we’re resolved (by God’s grace) to someday stand on Heaven’s shore together as a family. We’re learning to live with eternity’s values in view. It’s not been easy, but we’re finding out that you can face a trial head on and still be joyful.

 

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Time


Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

 

As I write these words 2013 is rapidly slipping away and soon 2014 will become reality. I’m sure that many of you share with me a sense of astonishment at how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday that we were ushering in 2013 and here we are bidding the year adieu. It is a good time to stop and reevaluate the priority of handling time in the light of God’s Word.

God has given each of us the same amount of time each day. We each have 24 hours. Each hour has 60 minutes. Each minute has 60 seconds. We are the arbiter of our time. We have the ability to invest or squander this precious gift as we see fit. Moses, in Psalm 90, makes some interesting observations about time that we would do well to consider.

First of all, we need to recognize the time.

“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10) (NKJV)

According to the Bible, the average life span is 70 years. In America, with our advanced medical technology, that average is somewhat higher. In the grand scheme of things compared to eternity, our lifespan is brief. Even though we know this to be true, multitudes live daily as if this life will never end. It would be prudent for us to recognize the time we have been given is precious and never to be regained. We will only live this life one time. As best-selling author Randy Alcorn has written: “Life is merely the lobby to eternity.” Our time on this earth is not about toys, trinkets, and treasures but rather about investing in eternal dividends.

Secondly, we need to redeem the time.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) (NKJV)

Moses recognized the need for the proper use of time. Our time should be used to acknowledge the brevity of time and the need to use our time wisely. One of the tragedies of our days is that so many people live on a shallow spiritual, intellectual and moral plane. Rather than feeding their soul, mind and spirit on stimulating and uplifting books, music, and conversation, they are wasting vast amounts of time on social media, gaming, superficial reality shows, sports fanaticism, and other assorted drivel of pop culture. I challenge you to make a conscious effort this year to limit the wasting of time and instead to make strong efforts to use that time wisely and build up your spiritual walk with God, your personal knowledge of important wisdom, and your relationship with your family.

Thirdly, we need to rejoice through time.

“Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (Psalm 90:14) (NKJV)

The sooner we find the mercy of God in Christ, and are satisfied with that mercy all our days, the happier we will be! The word “mercy” here refers to God’s love. That love has been extended to all of us. When we choose to accept that love and reciprocate that love with devotion and service, we will find that we can rejoice even when life presses in on us. As the world around us becomes more chaotic, choose to recognize the time, redeem the time, and yes, even rejoice through time. I wish all of you a blessed and happy new year.

 

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Christian school changes name


“Welcome to Cedar Christian Academy.” Those will be the words students will hear as they open the school year on August 19. The surroundings will be familiar, but the name will be different. After decades of operating as Pilgrim Bible Academy, the school board recently voted to change the name to Cedar Christian Academy.
The school, which operates under the auspices of Pilgrim Bible Church, at 361 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, has served families desiring Christian education for their children since 1973. In recent discussions, the board felt that the time was right to change the name of the school.
“We fell strongly that there is a great need for Christian education that will instill Biblical principles and good moral values, along with quality learning in today’s students,” said Mike Shiery, pastor of Pilgrim Bible Church. “We believe there are numerous families in our community who would like to provide a Christian education for their children but really don’t know where to start. Our staff would like to have the opportunity to assist them in making their dream a reality.”
Rev. Shiery explained the reason behind the name change. “Our board felt that the name ‘Pilgrim Bible Church’ could be construed as somewhat exclusive. Some people might get the idea that only children who attended Pilgrim Bible Church could attend the academy. We want to make it clear that we are interested in ministering to the whole community of Cedar Springs, not just a select few.”
Cedar Christian Academy is located on the grounds of Pilgrim Bible Church at 361 Pine St. If you are interested in more information about the academy or enrolling your children for the upcoming school year, you can contact the school at (616) 696-1021.

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Finding Peace in Strange Places


Rev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

 

As I progress through my earthly journey, I find a particular word and concept becoming more precious to me. Peace is such a beautiful word, and when it is a reality it is to be carefully cherished and guarded. Peace, whether it is spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial or any other way you choose to define it, is the cry of multitudes of people.

Many of us have our own pre-conceived ideas of what peace is, and we labor valiantly to make it a reality in our world. We feel that we have to have a certain set of ideals, which if met, will create a temporal peace which will satisfy this longing. It could be, that by doing so, we are basically putting God and His plan for our life in a box and missing the peace He is currently offering us.

Just hours before His crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) (NKJV)

Our Lord knew that in a very short time these disciples would feel discouraged, disillusioned, and defeated. He was well aware that their world was about to be turned upside down and yet He promised that His peace would be with them. To some of Christ’s followers, peace was the overthrow of the Roman oppressors with some of them in key government positions and Jesus always around to provide a miracle if the need arose. They were about to learn that peace was not necessarily an idyllic existence, but rather a relying on the character and goodness of God to oversee their lives in unpleasant circumstances. I believe that same lesson applies to many people today.

The story is told of an art gallery that sponsored a contest years ago. A substantial financial prize was offered to whoever would paint a picture that best portrayed the concept of peace.

On the day of the judging the gallery was packed with curious spectators. By popular acclaim one particular picture was expected to take first place. The painting portrayed a little boy romping with his dog in a grassy meadow. The sun was shining, the little boy was smiling, and the dog looked content. To the minds of those gathered at the exhibit it was no contest, this surely had to win first place.

To everyone’s shock and consternation, however, the judges placed the coveted blue ribbon on what appeared to be a dark and foreboding painting. The artist had pictured on the canvas a rocky little island in the midst of a vast body of water. Dark storm clouds hovered above the craggy mass of land.  Lightning streaked the ominous darkness and violent waves beat upon the jutting rocks. It was a scene of desolation and despair.

Curious and even a bit put out, the crowd began to shout questions and comments to the judges. “How could you possibly award first place to a picture like this? Have you lost your minds? This is not peace, this is chaos!”

It was then that one of the judges walked over to the canvas and pointed to a small opening in the rocks that the crowd had overlooked. The artist had painted inside that small opening, the figure of a mother bird with her wings outstretched over her little brood of babies. In the midst of the storm, they were safe and content. The judge announced with a smile, “Ladies and gentlemen, that is peace!”

Friends, in a world that seemingly has gone mad, in circumstances that make no sense to us, the promise of Jesus to His disciples extends to all who know Him as Savior today. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.”

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