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Tag Archive | "Pilgrim Bible Church"

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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What God was saying at the cross

Rev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church

261 Pine St., Cedar Springs, MI 49319

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8 (NKJV)

As we come into the Easter season, we are again brought up short at the sight and story of the Cross. It is a story that is simultaneously gory and glorious. The evidence of the depravity of mortal man that would impale the innocent Son of God on a wooden crossbeam is not only matched but overwhelmed by the evidence that Jesus loved sinful humanity enough to volunteer to sacrifice Himself for us.

The Cross is God’s vivid illustrations of His love for us. Knowing that the majority of humanity would reject His gift of love, He still chose to send His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sin. The story simply overwhelms us. It is almost more than our finite minds can grasp, because it is so opposite of what most people would do. We despise the people who have despised us, and turn on those who have misused or mistreated us. But Jesus, while suffering untold agonies on the cross, offered no recriminations for His torturers. Instead He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:24) (NKJV)

No wonder men, women, boys and girls down through the last two thousand years have been changed by hearing of this love, or that an Italian painter named Francetti is said never to have completed a painting of Christ on the cross because every time he tried to paint it he wept so hard he could not put his brush to the canvas.

On  March 15, 1985, Mr. Wayne Alderson appeared on the Today Show. It was the 40th anniversary of Mr. Alderson’s being wounded as the first American soldier to cross the Siegfried line into Germany in World War II. He had a permanent crease in his head from the wound. Asked for his most important memory of the occasion, Mr Alderson replied that it was a friend who saved his life that day. Alderson had come face to face with a German soldier. The German threw a grenade at Alderson’s feet, and Alderson shot the German. The grenade exploded almost instantly, sending Alderson to the ground, face down in the mud. A nearby German pillbox opened fire in his direction, and he knew that if that grenade had not killed him the machine gun fire would. But his friend turned him over, so he could breathe, and threw himself across his body, shielding him from the deadly fire. “I can never forget the person who sacrificed his life to save me,” said Mr. Alderson, tears in his eyed. “I owe everything to him.”

Friends, we can never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. We owe everything to Him. If you have never thanked Him, if you have never asked Him to come into your heart, there is no better time than now.

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Christmas Carries Over

Pilgrim Bible Church
West Pine St., Cedar Springs
Rev. Mike Shiery

Each Christmas we read again the stories of the birth of Jesus and the visits of the shepherds and wise men to His birthplace. These stories come with all the old charm, and their message thrills us again because of its wonder and meaning. I confess that the powerful truth of Christmas, that God loved each individual enough to give us all the Gift that we didn’t deserve, stirs and thrills me to the depths of my being.
I love the majestic simplicity of the Christmas story, as well as the lights, decorations, traditions, family time, feeling of good will, and even the snow and cold weather. One songwriter poignantly expressed the feelings of many people when he wrote: “If everyday could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”
Of course we know that Christmas Day will soon be past, the carols will no longer be sung, and the decorations will be packed and stored away for months to come. However, the spirit of Christmas does not need to be relegated to some box in the closet, but can forever impact us.
I believe that the road map for such living can be found in the story of the shepherds and the wise men. The Bible tells us that after the shepherds had been to the stable, they “returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.”
Then after the wise men had worshiped the babe, they returned home by a different route from that which they had previously traveled.
The thought that I would like us to consider is that the experience of the shepherds and of the wise men carried over in our lives. It wasn’t the experience of a day or an hour. It was an experience that would enrich their lives ever afterward.
It is the experiences which carry over that make life wonderful and beautiful and rich. Sometimes they are rather simple happenings; a boy will remember all his life the touchdown he made in an unimportant game; a girl will receive a school honor which brings pleasure all her life. Of course, there will also be outstanding events that carry over.
It is possible for us to have experiences this Christmas season which will carry over and give beauty and richness and meaning to our lives long after this Christmas is past.
I encourage you to make good memories, cherish family time, enjoy traditions, and revel in the joy of the Christmas season. But most of all, make the foundation of your Christmas experience a relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, He truly is the reason for the season.

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