Monday, December 17, 2007
Faith the size of a mustard seed.
Starving thousands clothed and fed.
Missions work supported worldwide.
Passionate about his quiet time.
Devoted to his Provider, God.
Preached with power and fervor.
Still renowned for his faith.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
In the accompanying photo you can see the portrait of George Muller that graces my desk. The photo on the right of one of the orphanage buildings was taken when I visited Bristol, England earlier this year. Note: Click on photo for larger image.
The rock on the left was taken from a crumbling stone wall in front of one of the buildings. The other piece on the left is from the foundation of one of the orphanage buildings. The college that presently occupies these buildings was doing some renovations and I took this piece as a reminder of God's faithfulness and provision.
The book in the center is written by Roger Steer, Muller's biographer. Roger and I met in Exeter in March and enjoyed a wonderful time of Christian fellowship.
So, when I wonder if God will provide for our present needs I just need to look around my office. Of course His word declares His faithfulness and I just need to trust His promises.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I just discovered this incredible quote by George Muller. I had never read this one before or, if I have, I had forgotten it. - David
“In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.”
- George Muller
George Muller must have felt the same way for him to say the following:
"Why should we limit either the goodness or the power of God by our own knowledge of what we call the laws of nature?"
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Confidence in God – The Life and Ministry of George Muller of Bristol.
Like many Christians I was somewhat familiar with the ministry of George Muller to the orphans of Bristol, England. I knew of his commitment to living by faith and had heard illustrations from his life from time to time as I sat under good preaching. For instance, more than once I had heard of the time Muller prayed for breakfast provision with the orphans seated at empty tables. During the prayer, a bread wagon broke down near the orphanage and rather than let the bread be spoiled, the merchant donated the bread which was put to immediate use – breakfast! To my shame, this story along with his reputation for piety and prayer were about all I really knew of George Muller. This summer I finally read my copy of the classic biography on his life written by his son-in-law, A. T. Pierson entitled George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith and gained a new appreciation for Muller’s passionate faith and simple complete trust in God. In his own words, “There was a day when I died, utterly died; died to George Muller . . . died to the world . . . and since then I have studied to show myself approved unto God.” This sentence more than any other expresses the confidence in God that was the secret to Muller’s amazing ministry. Pierson noted that Muller’s life was, “living proof that a life of faith is possible; that God may be known, communed with, found, and may become a conscious companion in the daily life. . . that the days of divine intervention and deliverance are past only to those with whom the days of faith and obedience are past – in a word, that believing prayer still works the wonders which our fathers told of in the days of old.”
George was born on September 27, 1805 in what was then called Prussia. He was raised in a wealthy family who had little or no time for God. He was the favorite son of his father who spoiled him and excused or overlooked all manner of evil behavior in young George. Pierson notes, “Before he was ten years old he was a habitual thief and an expert at cheating; even government funds entrusted to his father, were not safe from his hands.” He continued down this wayward path to the point that he spent the evening of his mother’s death in drunken carousing through the city streets. However, God had other plans for this wayward worlding and in his 21st year, George Muller came to know the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Somehow he found himself at a worship service where a simple servant of God knelt in prayer to ask God’s blessing on the meeting. It was the first time George had ever seen any kneel to pray and it made a profound impact. He recorded these thoughts in his journal – “I am much more learned than this illiterate man, but I could not pray as well as he.” This would not be true for long; in the years ahead, he would excel in the discipline of prayer and it would become the cornerstone of all his life-work!
Two years later, in 1827 Muller applied to the London Missionary Society to serve as a missionary to the Jews and traveled to London to prepare. He remained in preparation for the better part of eighteen months. In 1829 he wrote to the Society and declared his intentions to serve only on the condition that he serve without salary and that he labor only where and when the Lord should direct. This was unacceptable to the Society and so his missionary endeavor was cut short before it officially began. In 1830, Muller became the pastor of a small church at Teignmouth. He insisted in taking no salary trusting only on Jehovah-Jireh for his daily provision. It was here that Muller set down as a firm life principle that he would never receive a fixed salary for any service rendered to God’s people. At the end of his life he would summarize this decision in these words: “I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.”
Accordingly, Muller kept meticulous daily records of all that God did for him and the orphanages. In 1865 after 31 years of serving over 10,000 orphans and meeting their daily needs, he recorded that he had been able during the entire time to remain true to the original principles upon which the work had been established. He had never gone into debt, he had never made others aware of his needs or those of the orphanages, and he had never accepted help or resources from unbelievers. When asked what would happen to all of his work and the orphan houses after his death he replied, “My business is, with all my might, to serve my own generation by the will of God: in so doing I shall best serve the next generation, should the Lord tarry.” Pierson noted, “This man of God had staked everything upon one great experiment – he had set himself to prove that the prayer which resorts to God only will bring help in every crisis, even when the crisis is unknown to His people whom He uses as the means of relief and help.”
For over sixty years he saw God provide for five large orphan houses and for the daily needs of over 10,000 orphans. During that time he personally gave over 110,000 British pounds to Sunday schools and day schools where over 150,000 children were instructed. He gave an additional 90,000 pounds for the purchase and circulation of over 2 million Bibles and 3 million books and tracts. Besides all this, he gave over 260,000 pounds to missionaries in foreign fields. When you add all the money that was given to him for the orphanages to this amount, he gave away almost 1.5 million pounds to the Lord’s work! No wonder A. T. Pierson said, “such a life and such a work are the result of one habit more than all else, -- daily and frequent communion with God.” May the Lord raise up in our day, men of like faith and prayer.
"…I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming. Thousands and tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. When once I am persuaded that a thing is right and for the glory of God, I go on praying for it until the answer comes. George Mueller never gives up!"
Monday, October 29, 2007
"This implicit surrender to God’s Word led him to certain views and conduct in regard to money, which mightily influenced his future life. They had their root in the conviction that money was a Divine stewardship, and that all money had therefore to be received and dispensed in direct fellowship with God Himself. This led him to the adoption of the following four great rules:
1. Not to receive any fixed salary, both because in the collecting of it there was often much that was at variance with the freewill offering with which God’s service is to be maintained, and in the receiving of it a danger of placing more dependence on human sources of income than in the living God Himself.
2. Never to ask any human being for help, however great the need might be, but to make his wants known to the God who has promised to care for His servants and to hear their prayer.
3. To take this command (Luke 12: 33) literally, ‘Sell that thou hast and give alms,’ and never to save up money, but to spend all God entrusted to him on God’s poor, on the work of His kingdom.
4. Also to take Romans 8: 8, ‘Owe no man anything,’ literally, and never to buy on credit, or be in debt for anything, but to trust God to provide.
This mode of living was not easy at first. But Muller testifies it was most blessed in bringing the soul to rest in God, and drawing it into closer union with Himself when inclined to backslide.
"For it will not do, it is not possible, to live in sin, and at the same time, by communion with God, to draw down from heaven everything one needs for the life that now is.’" - Muller
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The captain continues the story thus: "I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, What lunatic asylum could that man have come from. I never heard such a thing as this. 'Mr. Muller,' I said, 'do you know how dense this fog is?' 'No,' he replied, 'my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.' He knelt down and prayed one of those simple prayers, and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. 'Firstly,' he said, 'because you do not believe God will, and secondly, I believe God has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.' I looked at him, and George Muller said,'Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up and open the door, and you will find that the fog has gone.' I got up and the fog was indeed gone. George Muller was in Quebec Saturday afternoon for his engagement."
-from I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes by Glenn Clark
Friday, September 28, 2007
Finally in 1898 he died a blessed servant of the Lord. Throughout his life God had never let him down. He was blessed with the funds to found and run Ashley Downs, which included five houses. God allowed him to establish 117 schools and train 123,000 pupils. Over the years God enabled him to pass out 275,000 Bibles. All this and more was donated without Mueller mentioning a single word to anyone but the Lord.
As he neared his later years he described his faith saying, “I have never been permitted to doubt during the last sixty-nine years that my sins were forgiven, that I am a child of God, that I am beloved of God, and that I shall be finally saved; because I am enabled, by the grace of God to exercise faith upon the word of God, and I believe what God says in those passages which settle these matters.”
In faith the prodigal son was led home.
"If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House then this would provide visible proof that God is FAITHFUL STILL and HEARS PRAYER STILL."
GEORGE MÜLLER THE MAN
George Müller was an ordinary man, but his undeniable faith, implicit trust and love for God has the same impact on the world today as when he died in 1898. This continues to be an inspiration and witness to all who commit their lives to God.
One of the many fascinating aspects of George Müller's life is that it illustrates very simply the power of God. There are those who find it difficult to accept the authenticity of much of the scriptures and view many of the remarkable stories with scepticism. George Müller received £1,500,000 in answer to prayer without ever needing to ask for funds. At present day prices, this would be well over £75,000,000. Had this happened two or three thousand years ago the same sceptics would, undoubtedly, have questioned its authenticity. As it happened in the latter part of the nineteenth century with modern records and factual evidence, the facts can be challenged but certainly not disputed.
What is perhaps even more remarkable is that it is the SAME TODAY. The George Müller Foundation makes no appeals, yet through the same trust in God, money is received almost daily for the Homes, for the Elderly work and also for The Scriptural Knowledge Institution, which aids the work of missionaries world-wide.
George Müller was the faithful servant whom God used. This fact has an intriguing parallel with many Biblical characters.
David's note: Has God changed since Muller's homecall? Is His arm shortened that He cannot provide? I must answer with a resounding NO!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In the following words he gave his answer:
I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impressions. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
I seek the will of the Spirit of God through or in connection with the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also.
Next I take into account providential circumstances. These plainly indicate God's will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
Thus through prayer to God, the study of the Word and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters and transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective."
And did this plan work?--one asks.
Let Mr. Muller's testimony answer:
"I never remember," he wrote three years before his death, "in all my Christian course, a period now (in March 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I EVER SINCERELY AND PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, of if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes." (Italics his.)
"A servant of God has but one Master. It ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honored in that world where his Lord was poor, and mean, and despised."
"I hope in God, I pray on, and look yet for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be."
"If honest of heart and uprightness before God were lacking or if I did not patiently wait on God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow-men to the declarations of the Word of God, I made great mistakes."
"It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer."
"The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray."
Note: The picture is of Bethesda Chapel in Bristol, England where Muller pastored and worshiped.
Monday, August 27, 2007
I live in the spirit of prayer.
I pray as I walk, when I lie down, and when I rise.
And the answers are always coming.
Tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered.
When once I am persuaded that a thing is right,
I go on praying for it.
The great point is never to give up till the answer comes.
The great fault of the children of God is,
They do not continue in prayer;
They do not persevere.
If they desire anything for God's glory,
They should pray until they get it.
~ George Muller
Thursday, August 23, 2007
This afternoon I sat by the lake with two excellent books by my two heroes, men of faith whose lives have shaped mine since I was a young man. My companions were HUDSON TAYLOR'S CHOICE SAYINGS and SPIRITUAL SECRETS of GEORGE MULLER (by Roger Steer).
As I perused the pages, fretting about pressing issues, I sensed a refreshing relief...an assurance that I would be alright, that Jehovah-Jireh would provide. The breeze was brisk, the air cool, raindrops occasionally sprayed on the reader from the leaves of nearby trees. But my heart was warmed.
As I rested there I wrote:
Today I sat with friends of old,
Men of purpose, mighty, bold;
As I mused I was refreshed
Reminded that this present test
Will work for my eternal good
And glory bring to our great God.
I rose determined to press on
Regardless of the raging storm,
Knowing that He will provide
Every pressing need supply;
Today, I may the answer see
But, if not, He'll steady me.
Mighty God, I watch and wait
In Your hands I place my fate,
You alone can turn the tide
Setting fear and doubt aside.
I look to You, naught else will do
Lord, my help cometh from You.
- David Fisher, Elim Lodge, August 23/07
Saturday, August 04, 2007
"At last I saw Christ as my Saviour. I believed in Him and gave myself to Him. The burden rolled from off me, and a great love for Christ filled my soul. That was more than fifty years ago. I loved Jesus Christ then, but I loved Him more the year after, and more the year after that, and more every year since."Born in Prussia in 1805, George Mueller began running from God early in life. By age ten he had devised a scheme to embezzle government money entrusted to his father. He spent his schooldays in drunken immorality. He even served time in jail at age sixteen for failing to pay his bills.
The university he attended had some 900 divinity students, but Mueller said there were not nine of them who truly feared God. He continued his sinful habits during his college days until finally at age 20 the burden of his sins overcame him and he trusted Christ as Saviour.
Soon he committed himself to a full-time gospel ministry. When Mueller was twenty-five, he went to Teignmouth, England, with his new wife, Mary, to pastor a small church. He gave up the small salary offered when he discovered it was paid through the rental of church pews. From that time on he resolved to live by faith.
Mueller moved in 1832 to Bristol, England, to be the pastor of another church. There his famous work with the orphans began when two young children were thrown upon the church's care. Mueller had only two shillings to his name when he began the orphanage work, but over the next sixty years God sent more than $7,500,000 to supply their needs. New buildings were built or purchased, staff was hired, and the hundreds of children never missed a meal. Many times prayers were said over empty plates only to have food arrive at the last moment.
Mueller resolved never to tell anyone what his needs were. He told them to God and confidently expected them to be met.
During his life, Mueller started 117 schools which educated over 120,000 young people and orphans. He became pastor of Bethesda Chapel in Bristol. The church had some 2,000 members at his death.
Spurgeon said, "Of flowers of speech he has none, and we hardly think he cares for them; but of the bread of Heaven he has abundance."
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
We walked down a muddy incline to Mr. Muller's grave. The area around his tombstone and those of his first and second wife was kept up...thanks for the efforts of the Foundation.
Seeing Arno's Vale reminded me afresh that it's only the decaying body of the Christian believer that is placed in these cemeteries. Our spirits are "absent from the body, present with the Lord".
Thank you, Julian, for taking me to Arno's Vale and for the wonderful hospitality and love you extended to me during my visit.
I look forward to a future day when I can ask George Muller about his life of faith and obedience. My first priority, though, will be to stand before Jesus and fall at His feet in grateful adoration for loving me and saving me.
What a day that will be!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Thank you for your prayers, your comments, your best wishes and your kind thoughts as I prepare to leave tonight on my Pilgrimage to England. I've been too busy to respond to your comments but they are greatly appreciated!
Please check my blog daily for updates on how things are going. It has become a jam-packed itinerary but it will be a rewarding journey. Thanks again, dear friends, and please pray daily for me and also for Carol and my family here at home.
Much love in Christ,
Thursday, February 15, 2007
In reviewing the 63 years he spent in a faith ministry, the results are staggering.
The institution also distributed over 281,000 Bibles, nearly 1.5 million New Testaments, and over 111 million tracts.
Greetings, my friends! This morning I went digging in the Pilgrim Scribblings archive mine and came up with a post that evoked more response than most of my other writing. As I read it I realized that I am still "there". I still haven't learned to trust Him more implicitly. I'm still edgy as I "wait for the salvation of the Lord".
During these uncertain days I'm cast upon the Lord like never before. May I learn to trust Him more, the One who is completely trustworthy, the One who changes not and always keeps His word.
Here is that post. May the God of all grace use it to challenge you today!
Time and time again I go back to a book, Bright Days, Dark Nights, penned by a favorite writer of mine, Elizabeth Skoglund (see my links). She writes on subjects such as confidence, depression, anxiety, change and transition using the writings of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, to illustrate her point.
The following quote by Spurgeon mirrors a statement that I used to make quite honestly and quite often. But now, I must confess, I don't know that I'm able to truthfully say it any more. The ravages of uncertainly, the stresses of being "down to the wire", the scariness of "not knowing" have played havoc with "all I once held dear".
Admitting this is difficult! What I once declared may have sounded very "noble", very "spiritual", very "right" but the years have taken their toll.
Let me give you Spurgeon's quote before I continue... "If I might have any choice between having abundant wealth, or being brought to absolute dependence upon daily supplies, if, in the latter case, I could have greater power to exhibit and to exert faith in Christ, I must confess that I should prefer the mode of living which would give me most room to enjoy the luxury of depending upon my God. I believe it is more happy and more divine a life to live from hand to mouth, dependant upon the provinces of God, and having the confidence to trust Him, than it is to have all the abundance of this world, but to have nothing about which faith may exercise itself." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There it is! As I said, I used to echo these thoughts although not so eloquently. Do I want to trust God implicitly? Of course! Do I believe that He can provide all I need? Absolutely! Do I want abundant wealth in a worldly way? Definitely not!
So, as I find myself in uncertain waters, I am crying out to God to be the Great Provider. He has been that in the past for me and He will never change.
Living on the edge has made me edgy and that can be a good thing.
1. I could be on the edge of another God-thing...another miracle that has no explanation other than that God did it!
2. I could be on the edge of a breakthrough where I experience deeper intimacy with God than ever before.
3. I could be on the edge of a new career path...a new vocation where God continues to be at the center.
Or, in a negative sense:
1. I could be on the edge of financial ruin.
2. I could be on the edge of unexpected grief or pain.
3. I could be on the edge of something that could shatter hope.
So, as I begin a new day with my hand held firmly by a Sovereign God I will say, "Surely God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid." - Isaiah 12:2
Yes, the unknown is scary! Yes, I want to truthfully say what Spurgeon said! But, for now, I will say this, "Moment by moment I'm kept in His love."
I'll choose to look at the positive "edges" and "expect great things from God."
Thanks for your prayers during my bumpy pilgrimage!
February 15th, 2007 note: I trust that you will be encouraged after reading this post in which I bared my heart and soul. Step out by faith and trust Him wholly. Because... "those who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true" as the hymnwwriter has so ably written.
Trust Him today!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Click on the Ashley Down section of this link for some pictures of the district of Bristol where George Muller built the five (5) large orphanages that cared for thousands of homeless children.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
I've dreamed of this for over 50 years and now it's coming to pass!
One of the highlights will be a trip from London to Olney to see the Cowper/Newton Museum. Of course John Newton wrote the famed hymn, Amazing Grace and William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper")wrote There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood, which is in my top 10 of all time favorite hymns.
Thanks for your prayers as I plan this trip. I'll be blogging throughout my travels to keep you up to date on what I'm experiencing. Hopefully you'll vicariously take the trip with me.