Tuesday, July 5, 2016

If I could be more like George

Many have heard about George Muller. He lived a long time ago in a country far away... well, not that long and not that far, but his story is worth reading. If you are a believer, then you will want to live like he did. I know I want to be like him.

George Muller, known as "the man of faith" ought to be listed in Hebrews chapter 11. It seems he was able to discern what was good and right, decide to do it, and then follow through without compromise. The result was a life that reflected the power of God in a man. I want to highlight a part of his life that I believe was one key to his ability to live by faith, and walk in godliness.

George figured out early in his walk that God's word above all other 'words' should be his daily bread. In a "Heroes of the Faith" book about Muller, it said, "A common error George succumbed to as a divinity student was reading books about the Bible instead of reading the Bible itself. George admitted, 'I practically preferred for the first four years of my Christian life the works of uninspired men. The consequence was that I remained a babe, both in knowledge and grace.'" (Harvey, p. 21)

"'God began to show me,' George said, 'that His Word alone is our standard of judgment; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, He is the teacher of the people.'" (p. 24)

"The Bible became...the true source of inspiration, and the one book to which he was solely devoted. He began an experiment. He would test the Bible's truth by experience: 'The Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the Word of God and studying it. The result of this was that the first evening I shut myself into my room to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously...But the particular difference was that I received real strength for my soul in doing so.'"

"Near the end of his life he said he had read the Bible through approximately two hundred times, one hundred of them on his knees. He found God's promises in the Bible and experienced the truth of them in his daily life. He learned to believe what he read and to act accordingly. He mined religious truth, not from books of human fabrication, but from God's Word - and what George read, he lived." (p. 25)

These facts about Muller have convicted me recently. And, because of this blog, I feel a bit hypocritical. The fact is, folks should study the Bible directly (for themselves) to learn about what God wants us to know concerning final judgment and all other facets of our life with Him.

When I have had heavy spiritual questions in the past (like, "Is Jesus Christ really God?" and "Is eternal torment God's plan?") then I went straight to Scripture - just the Holy Spirit and me and God's Word. It was then that I received answers that were to me clear as living water. (My answers from above were "yes" and "no" respectively).

As I understand more about history and see all the ways 'the church' has gone astray from God's Word, it becomes more apparent that it is a universal problem - a temptation - to wander away from the Word of life and go our own way. My exhortation is: Start first with the Bible and God Himself as your teacher when you are searching out a truth. Use prayer and invest the time. It may be more difficult and time-consuming, but of course time in the Bible and with the Lord is never wasted.

Keep in mind that books about faithful people are worthwhile reading. Biographies are wonderful sources of inspiration as we share in the lives of fellow believers. I highly recommend reading all about George Muller - his story will inspire you to pursue holiness, prayer and a life of faith. Just remember to go to God's Word for your 'theology' and doctrine. Unfortunately, man's interpretations, creeds and rules are not to be trusted in place of Scripture itself.

If believers could be faithful in pursuing knowledge of God from the Bible first and [almost] solely, our famine concerning God's word would fade from the land.

Now, go! Read your Bible and pray for the Holy Spirit to bring it to life for you - it will bring you to the source of Life, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!!

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of "The Autobiography of George Muller" edited by Diana Matisko. Published in 1984 by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania.

"[Muller's] library consisted of a Hebrew Bible, three Greek Testaments, a Greek concordance and lexicon, with a half dozen different versions of the Bible and copies of the best translations in several languages. These constituted his entire library!

When he preached, he would read a whole chapter or part of one and then proceed to draw rich treasures that made it worth crossing the ocean to hear. His method of preaching caused members of his congregation to become mighty in the Scriptures. They were better qualified to guide inquiring souls to Christ than many young ministers who had spent three years in a theological seminary.

With absolute confidence and childlike simplicity, he believed every Word that God had spoken. He eagerly returned to God's Word several times each day as though he was in constant communication with heaven, receiving fresh letters of instruction and precious promises from his heavenly Father.

Muller never studied the Bible for others. He studied only for himself to find out what His Father required of him. He became so impregnated with God's truth that, when he spoke of God, his listeners would be reminded of the words of our Savior in John 7:38, for from him seemed to flow 'rivers of living water.'

It was George Muller's greatest hope that his record of God's faithfulness to him would encourage believers to develop faith like his own - the faith without which it is impossible to please God; the faith that works by love and purifies the heart; the faith that takes hold of God's strength and is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."

May this faith fill our lives as we seek God first in prayer and His Holy Word. Amen!

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I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!