Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Orphan's Story

In 1939 my mother died; I was eight at the time. There were four children in our family, and we lived in Highley Nr Bridgenorth in Shropshire . It was war time and my father was in his sixties. He was too old to look after us and needed to find somewhere for us to go together to be looked after. My Aunty went to church at a little Mission Hall in Birmingham where they supported an orphanage called George Müller's Homes. My Aunty felt this would be the right place for us to go and persuaded my father to send us there. My brother and one sister went in 1939 and I followed a year later in 1940. My other sister stayed home with them.

I arrived at Müller's very excited and wondering what life would be like, but missing my mum and my other sister, as we had been very close. I had been fostered for a year, which had been a very unhappy experience when I often went hungry. George Müller's Homes seemed like heaven to me, with regular meals, plain and simple, clean clothes, baths (I hadn't had many of them) good shoes, discipline and education. We read the Bible and sang children's songs. We had our own hymn book, a copy of which I still have today. I did not know anything at all about Jesus. I was so hungry for love and in such need of reassurance that as I heard the stories of Jesus, who loved me, a little orphan, my heart just opened up to him. I was nine then, and Jesus and those truths are still with me at the age of 74.

What was life really like there? Fun and hard. It was wartime, and we had to share everything. We slept 60 to a dormitory, made our own beds, scrubbed and polished floors, worked in the laundry (for about a thousand children and the staff). Imagine the washing for all of us! We were taught to clean our own shoes, brush our hair, knit our own stockings and socks darn them too. We used scrubbing boards in the laundry, learned how to lay tables, wait at tables, clean silver and polish furniture. We learned how to make our own clothes, stitch samplers, write letters, to sing and recite poetry, march to music, skip to music, sing the alphabet and other songs. My favourite was reciting poetry, and I write it and love it to this day thanks to Mullers dedicated teaching staff. People came from far and wide to see us perform. We were taught to write properly with nib pens and ink Although the teaching staff could not really show affection because they mustn't be seen favouring one more than another they were very kind. We did miss out on cuddles which made me miss my mum more, but I was fortunate I had a big sister and a brother in the boy's department who we saw once a month. When we left Müller's it was hard to get close to him as we'd missed out on the growing up and together times.

The highlight for me was Sunday afternoons when the book cupboard was opened. I was an avid reader then and still am. We were encouraged to read all good books and it taught me to choose carefully what things I read and I vetted all my children's books and comics as they were growing up. I read 'Pilgrim's Progress', and 'The Holy City' by John Bunyan, and was fascinated in later life to see the cage on Bedford bridge where he was imprisoned. I now have my own copy of 'The Holy War'. I always had a copy of 'Pilgrims Progress' as we were given a Bible and a copy of Pilgrims Progress when we left the home.

There is so much more I could tell! Such is my love for Müller's and the happy times I had there that I go up there every year to our reunion and am on the committee which runs it. Old boys and girls come from all over the world. George Müller and his Faithful God live on in his family, of which I am proud to belong. We sing the song 'We Love This Family of God' and one line in it says 'We are family, we are one' - and that's how we feel!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Muller Miscellany

Without ever asking anyone other than God, he received over $7,200,000 dollars (in 1800's money) through prayer alone.

Born in Prussia in 1805, by age 10 George was inventing plans to embezzle the government monies his father had charge of. His school years were years of drunkenness and immorality. At age sixteen he was jailed for failing to pay his bills.

The University he attended had 900 Divinity students. George said that there were only about nine who truly feared God. He continued in sin until at age 20 he received Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour.

George married and became a Pastor, but refused his salary when he found out it was collected from "pew-rents." He decided to live on faith from that time forward.

Müller established Orphanages in Bristol, England, and founded the "Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad." His life was characterized by prayer, faith, and self-denial in the cause of Christ.

During his lifetime, he established 117 schools which educated more than 120,000 young persons, including orphans.

In 1875, at the age of 70, and until age 87, he had a 17-year ministry of world-wide Evangelistic tours, which also raised money for his orphanages and the thousands of children in them.

He would live for another six years. At the time of his death at age 93 in 1898, the Church that he pastored in Bristol had about 2,000 members.

An Hour With George Muller

Here's a link to a very interesting interview with George Muller entitled An Hour With George Muller. Check it out. You'll be encouraged to trust God more! This interview was conducted by a Mr. Charles Parsons.

Here are some of his reflections concerning his time with Muller:

"From another room Mr. Muller fetched a copy of his life, in which he inscribed my name. His absence afforded me an opportunity of looking around the apartment. The furniture was of the plainest description, useful and in harmony with the man of God who had been talking to me. It is a great principle with George Muller that it does not become the children of God to be ostentatious in style, appointments, dress, or manner of living. He believes that expensiveness and luxury are not seemly in those who are the professed disciples of the meek and lowly One who had not where to lay His head. On a desk lay an open Bible, of clear type, without notes or references.

This, I thought, is the abode of the mightiest man, spiritually considered, of modern times—a man specially raised up to show to a cold, calculating, selfish age the realities of the things, of God, and to teach the Church how much she might gain if only she were wise enough to take hold the Omnipotent Arm."

Check out the link for more!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Scriptural Knowledge Institution

There are several reasons why the life and ministry of George Muller have been such an inspiration to me.

One of these was his establishment of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Here's what the Muller Foundation web site has to say about this worthwhile ministry:

"The Scriptural Knowledge Institution, or SKI, as it is known was founded on March 5th, 1834. George Müller laid down four main objectives, which are shown here. In addition, he felt that since this was of God, there would be no patronage, appeals or requests for subscription and that the Institution should never contract any debts. He was convinced that God would provide all resources and meet every need.

Within the first seven months £167 had been received and by May 1894 the figure had risen to half a million pounds. The institution still flourishes today with the same principles, although there are some changes to meet today's needs. Just over one hundred years later, in 1997, over three hundred thousand pounds was sent to missionaries working both at home and overseas for their support. Most of that money resulted from donations being channelled through SKI by individuals, Trusts, and churches.

The objects of SKI are expressed as follows:-

1 To assist Day-schools, Sunday-schools and Adult-schools, in which instruction is given upon Scriptural principles, and, as far as the Lord may graciously give the means and supply us with suitable teachers, to establish Schools of this kind.

2 To put the children of poor persons to such Day-schools, in order that they may be truly instructed in the ways of God, besides learning those things which are necessary for this life.

3 To circulate the Holy Scriptures.

4 To aid in supplying the wants of Missionaries and Missionary Schools.

Note: These objectives are as printed in a document entitled 'First Report of the Operations of the Scriptural Knowledge Society for Home and Abroad' and was signed by both George Müller and Henry Craik on the 7th October, 1834.

The Bethesda Chapel was the next pastoral ministry for George Müller. The large Chapel was run down and the congregation of six looked extremely small, but with a year's guarantee of rent George Müller committed the future needs of the church to God. The membership grew, financial support came and the Bethesda Chapel prospered both materially and spiritually.

Mary Müller had now given birth to daughter Lydia and it was at the time when Bristol was stricken with cholera. The effects of the cholera resulted in a death rate of high proportions, especially among the adults, and countless children became orphaned.

George Müller, as always, committed the whole problem to God and sought guidance as to what should be done."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Features

A new friend and partner Douglas Case from Risingline, a web design and marketing company, has added some features to this George Muller blog that some of our faithful readers have requested.

Now you can subscribe by e-mail or by an RSS feed. Check out the new features on the right margin of this blog. By subscribing you'll automatically be informed of any new posts. And, with these new features, I'll attempt by God's enabling to be more diligent about adding new stories and reflections about this man who simply trusted God.

Those who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true.

Check out Doug's web site here. Thanks, Doug!

God bless you all richly!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Not Sent...Yet

The following quote, taken from The Autobiography of George Muller was posted here on the web site for the Abba Fund.

"My gracious Lord has not sent me help yet. Yesterday and today I have been pleading with God, giving reasons why He would be pleased to send help. The arguments I used are:

  1. I began the work for the glory of God that there might be visible proof of God supplying, in answer to prayer only, the necessities of the orphans. He is the living God and eager to answer prayer.
  2. God is the “Father of the fatherless,” and as their Father, He should be pleased to provide (see Psalm 68:5).
  3. I have received the children in the name of Jesus. Therefore, He, in these children, has been received, fed, and clothed (see Mark 9:36-37).
  4. The faith of many of the children of God has been strengthened by this work. If God withheld the means for the future, those who are weak in faith would be discouraged. If the ministry was continued, their faith might still further be strengthened.
  5. Many enemies would laugh if the Lord withheld supplies and say, “We knew that this enthusiasm would come to nothing.”
  6. Many of the children of God, who are uninstructed or in a carnal state, would feel justified to continue their alliance with the world in their ministries. They would continue in their unscriptural proceedings to raise money if He did not help me.
  7. God knows that I cannot provide for these children in my own strength. Therefore, He would not allow this burden to lie on me long without sending help.
  8. My fellow-laborers in the ministry also trust in Him.
  9. I would have to dismiss the children from under our scriptural instruction to their former companions if He does not help me.
  10. He could prove wrong those who said, “In the beginning supplies might be expected while the ministry is new, but after a while, people will lose interest and stop supporting it.”
  11. If He did not provide, how could I explain the many remarkable answers to prayer which He had given to me previously which have shown me that this work is of God?

In some small measure I now understand the meaning of that word, “how long,” which frequently occurs in the prayers of the Psalms. But even now, by the grace of God, my eyes are on Him only, and I believe that He will send help.”