“I trust in Thy Word.” (Psalm 119:42).
Just in proportion in which we believe that God will do just what He has said, is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
God delights to exercise faith, first for blessing in our own souls, then for blessing in other believers’ lives at large, and also for those without. When trials come, we should say: “My Heavenly Father puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something sweet afterwards.”
“Trials are the food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do god to all His children.
But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which faith is exercised and thereby increased. There is the reading of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Are you able to say, from the acquaintance you have made with God through His Son, that He is a lovely Being? If not, let me affectionately entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire the gentleness and kindness of the LORD Jesus Christ and His beauty, that you may be able to say how good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do good to His children.
Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us. And when trial comes, we shall say:
“I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured He will do it.” Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before the world, and thus strengthen the hands of others.” – George Muller
January 1, 1841. During this week we have met daily for prayer, asking the Lord for the means to have last year's report printed. It is three weeks since it should have been sent to the press. If the report is not printed soon, people will know that it is because we lack money.
By the donations which came in during these last days for the orphans, and by ten pounds which was given today, we can pay for about two thirds of the printing. Therefore, we sent a part of the manuscript, trusting that the Lord would send in more money. But if not, we will wait until more comes in.
January 11. During the last week, the Lord not only supplied us richly with all we needed for the orphans, but He enabled us to put several pounds aside for printing the report. On Saturday evening only three shillings were left. I was expecting an answer to my prayers for funds, and the Lord did not disappoint me. More money came yesterday, and we now have enough to print the last part of the report.
January 12. Today I received a letter from a brother who gave me the right to draw upon his bank account during this year, up to one thousand pounds. It may be used for any brother or sister who have it in their hearts to serve as missionaries in the East Indies and whom I consider called for this service, as far as I am able to judge.
[This power lasted only for that year, but no suitable people offered themselves for this service. Finances can be obtained much more easily than suitable individuals. Indeed, in all my experience, I have found that if I could only settle that a certain thing to be done was according to the will of God, the money was soon obtained to carry it into effect.]
March 4. For the encouragement of believers who are tried by having unconverted relatives and friends, I will relate the following circumstance which I know is true. Baron von Kamp, who lived in Prussia, had been a disciple of the Lord Jesus for many years. In the year 1806, great financial distress came upon many thousands of weavers in the area. They had no employment because the whole continent was in an unsettled state from the war. The baron believed that it was the will of the Lord to use his wealth to furnish these poor weavers with work, in order to save them from complete ruin. There was not only no prospect of personal gain, but rather the certain prospect of immense loss. Nevertheless, he found employment for about six thousand weavers.
But the baron was not content with this. He also wanted to minister to the souls of these weavers.
He set believers as overseers over his immense weaving concern. The weavers were instructed in spiritual things, and he personally shared the truth of the gospel with them.
The work went on for a good while until at last, on account of the loss of most of his property, he was obliged to think about giving it up. But by this time, his precious act of mercy had proven its worth to the government. It was taken up by them and carried on until the times changed. Baron von-Kamp was appointed director of the whole concern as long as it existed.
This dear man of God was not content with this. He traveled through many countries to visit the prisons for the sake of improving the physical and spiritual condition of the prisoners. He also assisted poor students at the university of Berlin, especially those who studied theology, in order to win them for the Lord.
One day a talented young man heard of the aged baron's kindness to students. He wrote to the baron, requesting his assistance because his own father could not afford to support him any longer.
A short time afterward, young Thomas received a kind reply from the baron, inviting him to come to Berlin. But before this letter arrived, the young student had heard that Baron Von Kamp was a "pietist" or "mystic," as true believers were contemptuously called in Germany. Young Thomas was deeply involved in philosophy, reasoning about everything, questioning the truth of revelation, questioning even the existence of God. He disliked the prospect of going to the old baron for help. Still, he thought he could try, and if he did not like it, he was not obligated to remain in connection with him.
Thomas arrived in Berlin on a day when the baron was out of town on business. He began to speak about his philosophies to the steward of the baron. The steward, however, was a believer, and he turned the conversation to spiritual things.
At last the baron arrived. He received Thomas in the most affectionate and familiar manner. The baron offered him a room in his house and a place at his table while Thomas studied in Berlin. Thomas accepted the offer.
The baron now sought in every way to treat the young student in -the most kind and affectionate way, to serve him as much as possible, and to show him the power of the gospel in his own life. He did all this without arguing with him or even speaking to him directly about his soul. Thomas obviously had a skeptical mind, and the baron avoided getting into any argument with him. The student often said to himself, "I wish I could get into an argument with this old fool. I would show him how irrational his beliefs are." But the baron avoided it.
When the baron heard the young student come home in the evening, he would go to meet him and serve him in any way he could, even helping him to take off his boots. Thus this lowly, aged disciple went on for some time. While Thomas still sought an opportunity for arguing with him, he wondered how the baron could continue to serve him.
One evening when Thomas returned to the baron's house, the baron was making himself his servant as usual. The student could restrain himself no longer and burst out, "Baron, how can you do all this? You see I do not care about you. How are you able to continue to be so kind to me and serve me like this?"
The baron replied, "My dear young friend, I have learned it from the Lord Jesus. I wish you would read through the gospel of John. Good night."
The student now for the first time in his life sat down and read the Word of God with an open heart and a willingness to learn. Up to that time, he had never read the Holy Scriptures unless he wanted to find out arguments against them. God blessed him. From that time he became a follower of the Lord Jesus and has continued in the faith ever since.
May 7. The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened- in my inner man day by day, may - result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.
The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.
Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend (although I am unworthy) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God-not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.
When we pray, we speak to God. This exercise of the soul can be best performed after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God. Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, -instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us. We may profitably meditate, with God's blessing, although we are spiritually weak. The weaker we are, the more meditation we need to strengthen our inner man. Meditation on God's Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials. What a difference there is when the soul is refreshed in fellowship with God early in the morning! Without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day can be overwhelming.
October 1. When I had not one penny in hand-for the needs of this day, ten shillings were brought to me for the orphans. The enclosed note read: "Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Trust in the Lord." This word of our Lord is to me more valuable than many bank notes.
November 2. At the time of our great poverty, one pound was sent by a lady from Birmingham. About half an hour later, I received ten pounds from a brother who had saved up one hundred and fifty pounds. He put it into a savings bank, but he now sees that to devote this money to the work of God glorifies the name of Jesus more than to keep it in the savings bank for a time of sickness or old age. If such times come, the same Lord who has cared for him in health and strength will also care for him then.
In Matt. 6:19-21, it is written: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The Lord Jesus, our Lord and Master, knows what is best for our true welfare and happiness. His disciples are strangers and pilgrims on earth-we neither belong to the earth nor expect to remain in it. Therefore, we should not seek to increase our earthly possessions.
This is a word for poor believers as well as for rich believers. It may be said; "But every prudent person seeks to increase his wealth that he may have plenty to leave his children or to have something for old age or for the time of sickness." This is the custom of the world. But we disciples of the Lord Jesus have been promised "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 1:4). If we seek, like the people of the world, to increase our possessions, those who are not believers may question whether we believe what we say about our inheritance and our heavenly calling.
Our Lord says that the earth is a place "where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." All that is of the earth, and in any way connected with it, is subject to corruption, change, and dissolution. No reality or substance exists in anything but heavenly things. Often the careful amassing of earthly possessions ends in losing them in a moment by fire, robbery, or a change in the world markets. Furthermore, in a little while, we all must leave this earth, or the Lord Jesus will return. What use will earthly possessions be then?
Our Lord, however, does not merely tell us not to lay up treasure on earth. If He had said no more, people may abuse this commandment and use it to encourage extravagant habits, spending everything they have or can obtain upon themselves. Jesus does not mean that we should live up to our income. He adds, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Every penny given for the Lord's sake to poor brethren or to the work of God is a treasure laid up in the bank of heaven. When we go to heaven, we go to the place where our treasures are, and we shall find them there.
The Lord concludes: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Where should the heart of the disciple of the Lord Jesus be, but in heaven? Our calling is a heavenly calling, our inheritance is a heavenly inheritance, and our citizenship is in heaven. But if we believers in the Lord Jesus lay up treasures on earth, then our hearts will be on earth. laying up treasures in heaven will draw the heart heavenward. It brings along with it, even in this life, precious spiritual blessings as a reward of obedience to the commandment of our Lord.
November 13. I took one shilling out of the box in my house. This shilling was all our money for today. More than a hundred people must be provided for, and this is not the case once in a while, but very frequently. It is infinitely precious to have the living God as a Father to go to for help. Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus may claim His help since we are all children of God. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). Although all believers in the Lord Jesus are not called upon to establish orphan houses and schools for poor children and to trust in God for means, all believers should cast all their care upon Him who cares for them. We need not be anxiously concerned about anything. (See 1 Peter 5:7, Phil. 4:6, and Matt. 6:25-34.)
Under these circumstances of need, a silver watch, which had become the property of the orphan fund yesterday afternoon, was sold to help us through the expenses of today.
The coal is almost gone in each of the houses, and every article of provision is greatly reduced. Truly, we are exceedingly poor. Nevertheless, we have the necessary provisions until Monday morning, and thus we are brought to the close of another week. This afternoon, all the workers met for prayer.
November 14. When we met again this afternoon for prayer, we had reason to praise, for the Lord had sent financial help.
November 15. Last Friday, brother Craik and I had a meeting for inquirers into the faith and new fellowship members. We spoke wish eight of them and had to send away ten since our strength was gone. This evening we saw seven and had to send away three.
December 9. We are now at the close of the sixth year of this part of the work. We are left with only the money which has been put aside for the rent. But throughout the year, we have been supplied with all that was needed.
During the last three years, we had closed the accounts on this day and held public meetings stating how the Lord had dealt with us during the year. The substance of those meetings was later printed for the benefit of the Church at large. This time, however, it appeared better to delay both the public meetings and the publishing of the report. Through grace we had learned to lean on the Lord only. If we never spoke or wrote one single word about this work, we would be supplied with means as long as we depended on Him. What better proof could we give of our dependence on the living God alone and not on public meetings or printed reports than that, in the midst of our deep poverty, we still went on working quietly without saying anything. Naturally, we would have been glad to expose our poverty. But spiritually we were able to delight in the prospect of the increased blessing that might be derived by the Church as we continue to express our needs to God alone.
December 23. In reading over my journal this year, I found that the Lord has given me many precious answers to prayer. On May 23 I began to ask the Lord to deliver a certain sister from the great spiritual depression she was suffering. After three days, the Lord granted my request.
During this year one of the greatest sinners I had ever known in all my service for the Lord was converted. Repeatedly, I prayed with ills wife for him. She came to me in deep distress on account of the cruel treatment she received from him because she wanted to live for the Lord. Her refusal to respond to his anger only infuriated him more.
At the time when the situation was at its worst, I pleaded the promise in Matt. 18:19: "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." And now this awful persecutor has been converted!
On May 25 I began to ask the Lord for greater spiritual prosperity among the saints in Bristol than ever. Praise the Lord, He truly has answered this request. At no period has there been more manifestation of grace, truth, and spiritual power among us than there is now.
Chapter 3 - The Naked Trust of Faith
by Addresses from the Leominster Conference
Mr. Muller read Gen. 1. 24-26, and spoke on Faith-its naked trust, and its triumph in darkest hours:
In these verses we have a most precious illustration of what we are to understand by faith. The God of heaven had made promise to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob that He would give them the land of Canaan; and it was added that the descendants of Abraham were to sojourn long in a strange land. Now this man of God, Joseph, believed that God would be as good as His word. Although there was not the shadow of a natural appearance that that word would be fulfilled, yet he stayed his mind upon God-he took God at His word, and made the elders of Israel swear that they would take his bones with them to Canaan. "God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence."
Now just in the proportion in which we are enabled to believe that God will do just what He has said is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions; it has nothing whatever to do with probabilities or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we no longer are resting on the word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind.
"Oh, if I could only feel so-and-so!" "If I only had the impression that God would do so-and-so;" "If I saw the least probability of it," are words often used. But, I repeat, faith needs no feelings, no impressions, no probabilities, but rests on the naked word of God, and has to do only with the revelation which we have in our hands. As in these days of darkness in which we live men will become more and more daring in their departure from the revealed will of God, let us see to it that we are satisfied with "It is written." As the disciples of Christ, the word of God is enough for us; and if we want more, we practically say that His revealed will is not enough, and thereby we dishonour Him.
We have also particularly to keep before us, that faith has not to do with this part of truth or that part merely, with this or that promise, but with all the revelation that God has been pleased to make of Himself, as much in the Old Testament as in the New. Whether it be prophetical books or historical books, the gospels or epistles, we take God at His word in every part. We only know God by the revelation that He has made of Himself, and faith has to do with revelation. When we take Him at His word the heart is at peace.
Now, beloved brethren, I will give you a few hints with regard to the increase of our faith. I have sought to explain what we are to understand by faith. Now let us see how it can be increased. God will do His part to increase our faith, but the means which He uses we oftentimes do not like. Trials, difficulties, disappointments, losses, bereavements, sickness-all these things are employed by our heavenly Father for the exercise and the increase of our faith. If an infant never used his limbs, they would always remain weak; but they are strengthened and invigorated by exercise. So it is with faith, and God delights to exercise our faith-first for blessing in. our own souls, then for blessing in the Church at large, and also for those without.
But this exercise we shrink from instead of welcoming. When trials come we should say, My heavenly Father puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something sweet afterwards. Trial is the very food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the hands of our heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children. He is an infinitely wise Father who knows what suits His children, and He orders all for blessing to us, as well as glory to His own name. And it is for this very reason that trials and afflictions come, and thus He shows how true is that word, "that all things work together for good to them that love God." Through our trials there is not only the exercise of patience, but the development and strengthening of faith in the degree in which all the other graces grow. You remember when Peter asked the question, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?" The Lord's answer is, "I say not unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times seven." And what was the result of such an answer? We should have thought and said, "Lord, increase our love, our patience, our readiness to forgive the offending brother." But no, the answer is, "Lord, increase our faith;" Because if faith be in exercise, and we lay hold on the truth that we are ourselves forgiven, we shall always be ready to forgive one another.
But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which faith is exercised, and thereby increased. There is the reading of the Holy Scriptures, that we by them may acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His word. And what shall we find? That He not only is God Almighty, and a righteous God, but we shall find how gracious He is, how gentle, how kind, how bountiful He is; in a word, what a lovely Being God is.
Are you able to say from the acquaintance you have made with God that He is a lovely Being? If you are not able to say so, let me affectionately entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire His gentleness and His kindness, that you may be able to say how good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do good to His children. Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost soul the more ready are we to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us. And when trial comes we shall say, "I will wait to see what good God will do me by it, assured that He will do it." Thus shall we bear an honourable testimony before the world, and thus shall we strengthen the hands of others. But if we faint under the trial we shall weaken their hands.
In order to trust in God we must acquaint ourselves with Him, as He has in the Scriptures revealed Himself. You know Psalm ix. 10, "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee." It is not said that those who preach about God, or those who write about God, will put their trust in Him; but those who know His name-those who have learned from His word what He is.
Now, by way of illustration, I will refer to myself. The promises we have in Matt. vi. as to food and raiment, and all the affairs of this life, are given that we may have no anxious care for the morrow, knowing that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. All this I have for fifty-four years found to be literally true in my own happy experience. I have found during all these years that God has always acted according to His word. Therefore if any are tried let them remember the word of promise, and let them stay themselves upon it; and they shall find that God most assuredly will act according to His word. This I have found in my own experience; so I stay my heart upon God, trusting Him to help me through every difficulty; and I have never been allowed to sink, because I rested myself on the Word. He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee;" "As thy days, so shall thy strength be;" so that I am able to say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Difficulties have vanished away, or if they did not vanish away, God did so help and strengthen me that they did not trouble me. These precious promises are given to every child of God; and we have to take them and to say, They belong to me, poor, wicked, hell-deserving though I am. And so I say, these promises belong to George Muller, this poor sinner who never deserved anything but hell; and I have found that God is as good as His word. This I have found for the last fifty years, during which time I have required hundreds of helpers in my work, and these God has given me. For you are unable to make helpers, and there is no society that can provide them for you; but God by His Spirit can fit and qualify them for the work; therefore I have given myself to prayer, and have not sought to obtain them by advertisements, and God has shown me how He delights to answer, and has provided me with suitable helpers.
Then in all the little things connected with this life I have found what a blessed thing it is to have the heart stayed on God. I do not carry the little trials myself; and you know that life is made up of little things. If we do not take them to God we are not happy, the mind is ruffled, and we are in danger of becoming irritable. But if the little things are taken back to God we shall find how ready He is to help us with them. And all this has to do with the revealed will of God.
One point more. Simply in answer to prayer I have received more than a million pounds sterling, simply by looking to the Lord; but far more than this: in like manner I have trusted Him for spiritual blessings, and in answer to prayer I have received tens of thousands. Many thousands of souls have been given me from the Orphan-houses and various schools, who are now walking in the ways of the Lord, and thousands have gone before. All this also was obtained by trusting in God; for He gives souls also, not only money. We have to trust God for everything. Let me say to you then, Learn more and more, more and more to trust in God.
Now it may be said, "But you have the gift of faith, and we have not." The reply is, "I have no gift of faith; my faith is precisely the same as yours; only while it is the same it may have been more exercised, and therefore having been more exercised is a little stronger; but it is the self-same faith which we all have who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Oh, seek, beloved in Christ, to have your faith developed arid strengthened! Be satisfied with all God's dealings with you, and be sure that He intends them for blessings to your souls.
“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children."
On October 7, 1830, I was united in marriage to Miss Mary Groves. This step was taken after much prayer and from a full conviction that it was better for me to be married. I have never regretted either the step itself or the choice, but I am truly grateful to God for giving me such a wife.
About this time, I began to have conscientious objections against receiving a salary by renting pews. According to James 2:1-6, this practice is against the mind of the Lord because the poor brethren cannot afford as good a seat as the rich. A brother may gladly give something toward my support if the choice is up to him. But when he has other expenses, I do not know whether he pays his money grudgingly or cheerfully, and God loves a cheerful giver. The renting of pews is also a snare to the servant of Christ. Fear of offending those who pay his salary has kept many ministers from preaching the uncompromising Word of God.
For these reasons, I told the brethren that at the end of October, 1830, I would give up my regular salary. After I had given my reasons for doing so, I read Phil. 4. If the saints wanted to give something toward my support by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receiving it either in money or provisions. A few days later. I realized that if I personally received' every single gift, much of my time and that of the donors would be lost. Also, the poor might be embarrassed to give me a small amount. Others might give more than if the gifts were anonymous. Therefore, it would still be doubtful whether the gifts were given grudgingly or cheerfully. For these reasons, we put a box in the chapel with a sign explaining that whoever had a desire to give something toward my support could put his offering into the box.
My wife and I had the grace to take the Lord's commandment in Luke 12:33 literally, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." We never regretted taking that step. God blessed us abundantly as He taught us to trust in Him alone. When we were down to our last few shillings, we told Him about our needs and depended on Him to provide. He never failed us.
On November 18, 1830, our money was reduced to about eight shillings. When I was praying with my wife in the morning, I was led to ask the Lord for money. Four hours later, a sister said to me, "Do you want any money?"
I replied, "I told the brethren when I gave up my salary that I would tell the Lord only about my wants."
She said, "But He has told me to give you some money. About two weeks ago I asked Him what I should do for Him, and He told me to give you some money. Last Saturday the thought came again powerfully to my mind and has not left me since."
My heart rejoiced at seeing the Lord's faithfulness, but I thought it was better not to tell her about our circumstances, lest she would be influenced, to give accordingly. If it was of the Lord, she would be moved to give. I turned the conversation to other subjects, but she gave me enough money to last all week. My wife and I were full of joy on account of the goodness of the Lord. He did not try our faith much at first, but allowed us to see His willingness to help us. Liter, He tested our faith more fully.
The next Wednesday I went to Exmouth. Our money was again reduced to about nine shillings. I asked the Lord on Thursday to please give me some money. On Friday morning about eight o'clock, while in prayer, I was led to ask again for money. Before I rose from my knees, I felt fully assured that we would have the answer that same day. An hour later, I left the brother with whom I was staying, and he gave me some money. He said, "Take this for the expenses connected with your coming to us." I did not expect to have my expenses paid, but I saw the Lord's fatherly hand in this blessing.
When I came home about twelve o'clock, I asked my wife whether she had received any letters. She told me she had received one the day before from a brother who sent three sovereigns. Thus, even my prayer on the preceding day had been answered. The next day one of the brethren came and brought me four pounds which was due to me as a part of my former salary. I did not even know that this sum was due to me. Within thirty hours, in answer to prayer, I received seven pounds ten shillings.
Throughout 1830, the Lord richly supplied all my temporal needs, although I could not depend upon any human for a single shilling; Even regarding temporal things, I had lost nothing by acting according to the dictates of my conscience. In spiritual things, the Lord dealt bountifully with me and used me as an instrument in doing His work.
On the 6th, 7th, and 8th of January 1831, I repeatedly asked the Lord for money but received none. A few times I was tempted to distrust the Lord, although He had been so gracious to us. Up to this time, He had not only supplied all our needs but had given us many miraculous answers' to prayer. I began to think it would be of no use to trust in the Lord this time. Perhaps I had gone too far in living by faith.
But praise the Lord! This trial lasted only a few minutes. He enabled me to trust in Him, and Satan was immediately defeated. When I returned to my room only ten minutes later, the Lord sent deliverance. A sister brought us two pounds four shillings. The Lord triumphed, and our faith was strengthened.
When we again had only a few shillings, we were given five pounds from the offering box. I had asked the brethren to please let me have the money in the box every week. But they either forgot to take it out weekly or were ashamed to bring such small sums. It was generally taken out every three to five weeks. I explained to them that I desired to look neither to man nor the box but to God. Therefore, I decided not to remind them of my request to have the money weekly, lest it hinder the testimony I wished to give of trusting in God alone.
On January 28, we had little money again although I had seen a brother open the box and take out the money four days earlier. But I would not ask him to let me have it. When the coals for our fire were almost gone, I asked the Lord to incline the brother's heart to bring the money to us. Shortly afterward, it was given to us, and our temporal needs were supplied.
The Lord has kept me from speaking, either directly or indirectly, about my needs. In a few instances I have spoken to very poor brethren to encourage them to trust in the Lord, telling them that I had to do the same.
On February 14 we again had very little money, and I asked the Lord to supply our needs. The instant that I got up from my knees, a brother gave me one pound which had been taken out of the box.
In March I was again tempted to doubt the faithfulness of the Lord. Although I was not worried about money, I was not fully resting upon Him so that I could triumph with joy. One hour later the Lord gave me another proof of His faithful love. A Christian lady brought five sovereigns for us, with these words written on paper: "I was hungry and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink."
On the morning of April 16 our money was reduced to three shillings. I said to myself, "I must now go and ask the Lord earnestly for fresh supplies." But before I had prayed, two pounds were sent from Exeter as proof that the Lord hears before we call.
Some may say that such a way of life leads a Christian away from the Lord and from caring about spiritual things. They say it may cause the mind to be occupied with questions like: "What shall I eat, what shall I drink, and what shall I wear?" I have experienced both ways and know that my present manner of living by trusting God for temporal things is connected with less care. Trusting the Lord for the supply of my temporal needs keeps me from anxious thoughts like: "Will my salary last and will I have enough for the next month?" In this freedom I am able to say, "My Lord is not limited. He knows my present situation, and He can supply all I need." Rather than causing anxiety, living by faith in God alone keeps my heart in perfect peace.
This way of living has often revived the work of grace in my heart when I began to grow spiritually cold. It also has brought me back again to the Lord after I had been backsliding. It is not possible to live: in sin, and at the same time, by communion with God, draw down from heaven everything one needs for this life. Frequently, a fresh answer to prayer quickens my soul and fills me with great joy.
In June brother Craik and I went to Torquay to preach. When I came home, my wife had about three shillings left. We waited upon the Lord, but no money came. The next morning, we were still waiting on the Lord and looking for deliverance. We had only a little butter left for breakfast, sufficient for a visiting brother and a relative. We did not mention our circumstances to them so that they would not be made uncomfortable.
After the morning prayer meeting, our brother unexpectedly opened the offering box and gave me the money. He told me that he and his wife could not sleep last night because they thought that we might need money. I had repeatedly asked the Lord for the money but received nothing. But when I prayed that the Lord would impress it on the brother that we needed money, he opened the box and gave it to me.
One morning in November I suggested we pray about our temporal needs. Just as we were about to pray, a parcel came from Exmouth. We asked the Lord for meat for dinner since we had no money to buy any. After prayer, we opened the parcel and found a ham!
My wife and I never went into debt because we believed it to be unscriptural according to Rom. 13:8, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another." Therefore, we have no bills with our tailor, butcher, or baker, but we pay for everything in cash. We would rather suffer need than contract debts. Thus, we always know how much we have, and how much we can give away. Many trials come upon the children of God on account of not acting according to Rom. 13:8.
November 27 was the Lord's day. Our money had been reduced to two pence. Our bread was hardly enough for the day. I brought our need before the Lord several times. When I gave thanks after lunch, I asked Him to give us our daily bread, meaning literally that He would send us bread for the evening. While I was praying, there was a knock at the door. A poor sister came in and brought us some of her dinner and five shillings. Later, she also brought us a large loaf of bread. Thus, the Lord not only gave us bread but also money.
At the end of the year, we looked back and realized that all our needs had been met more abundantly than if I had received a regular salary. We are never losers from doing the will of the Lord. I have not served a hard Master, and that is what I delight to show.
God was also faithful to heal my physical infirmities. One Saturday afternoon, I broke a blood vessel in my stomach and lost a considerable quantity of blood. Immediately after I prayed, I began to feel better. Two brethren called on me to ask what arrangement should be made for a preacher at the Sunday services. I asked them to come again in about an hour when I would give them an answer.
After they were gone, the Lord gave me faith to get out of bed. I dressed and decided to go to the chapel. Walking the short distance to the chapel was an exertion to me in my weakened condition, but I preached that morning with a loud and strong voice for the usual length of time.
After the morning meeting, my doctor called on me and told me not to preach again in the afternoon because I could greatly injure myself. I told him that I would consider it great presumption if the Lord had not given me the faith to do it. That afternoon I preached again, and he called and said the same concerning the evening meeting. Nevertheless, having faith, I preached in the evening. After each meeting I became stronger, which was plain proof that the hand of God was in the matter.
The next day, the Lord enabled me to rise early in the morning and go to our usual prayer meeting, where I read, spoke, and prayed. Later I wrote four letters, studied the Scriptures at home, and attended the meeting again in the evening. My health improved every day. I attended the two meetings as usual, preached in the evening, and did my other work besides. In less than a week, I was as well as I was before I broke the blood vessel.
Do not attempt to imitate me in this matter if you do not have the faith. But if you do, it will most assuredly be honored by God. I often prayed with sick believers until they were restored. When I ask the Lord for the blessing of bodily health, my request almost always is granted. In answer to my prayers, I was immediately restored from a bodily infirmity which had afflicted me for a long time, and it has never returned since.
Charles Inglis, the well-known evangelist, relates the following remarkable incident:
"When I first came to America thirty-one years ago, I crossed the Atlantic with the captain of a steamer who was one of the most devoted men I ever knew; and when we were off the banks of Newfoundland he said to me: 'Mr. Inglis, the last time' I crossed here, five weeks ago, one of the most extraordinary things happened that has completely revolutionized the whole of my Christian life. Up to that time I was one of your ordinary Christians. We had a man of God on board, George Mueller, of Bristol. I had been on that bridge for twenty-two hours and never left it. I was startled by someone tapping me on the shoulder. It was George Mueller.
Captain,' said he, 'I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.' This was Wednesday.
It is impossible,' I said. Very well, if your ship can't take me God will find some other means of locomotion to take me.
I have never broken an engagement in fifty-seven years.'
I would willingly help you, but how can I? I am helpless.'
Let us go down to the chart room and pray,' he said.
"I looked at this man and I thought to myself, 'What lunatic asylum could the man have come from? I never heard of such a thing.'
"'Mr. Mueller,' 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 went down on his knees, and he prayed one of the most simple prayers. I thought to myself, 'That would suit a children's class, where the children were not more than eight or nine years of age.' The burden of his prayer was something like this: 'O Lord, if it is consistent with Thy will, please remove this fog in five minutes. You know the engagement You made for me in Quebec for Saturday. I believe it is Your will.'
"When he had finished, I was going to pray, but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray.
First,' he said, 'you do not believe God will do it; and, second, I believe He has done it. And there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.'
I looked at him, and George Mueller said this: 'Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years and there has never been a single day that I have failed to gain an audience with the King. Get up, Captain and open the door, and you will find the fog is gone.' I got up, and the fog was gone. On Saturday afternoon George Mueller was in Quebec."
George Mueller (1805-1898)
Founder of the Orphanages at Bristol, England
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
FIRST: WHAT IS FAITH? In the simplest manner in which I am able to express it, I answer: Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God's Word, this confidence is FAITH.
NO IMPRESSIONS ARE TO BE TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH FAITH. Impressions have neither one thing nor the other to do with faith. Faith has to do with the Word of God . It is not impressions, strong or weak, which will make any difference. We have to do with the written Word and not ourselves or our impressions.
PROBABILITIES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. Many people are willing to believe regarding those things that seem probable to them. Faith has nothing to do with probabilities. The province of FAITH begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail. A great many of God's children are cast down and lament their want of Faith. They write to me and say that they have no impressions, no feeling, they see no probability that the thing they wish will come to pass. APPEARANCES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. The question is—whether God has spoken it in His Word.
And now, beloved Christian friends, you are in great need to ask yourselves whether you are in the habit of thus confiding, in your inmost soul, in what God has said, and whether you are in earnest in seeking to find whether the thing you want is in accordance with what He has said in His Word.
SECOND: HOW FAITH MAY BE INCREASED. God delights to increase the Faith of His children. Our Faith which is feeble at first, is developed and strengthened more and more by us. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of Faith . I get letters from so many of God's dear children who say: “Dear Brother Mueller, I'm writing this because I am so weak in faith.” Just so surely as we ask to have our Faith strengthened, we must feel a willingness to take from God's hand the means for strengthening it. We must allow Him to educate us through trials and bereavements and troubles. It is through trials that Faith is exercised and developed more and more. God affectionately permits difficulties, that He may develop unceasingly that which He is willing to do for us, and to this end we should not shrink, but if He gives us sorrow and hindrances and losses and afflictions, we should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that Faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.
The Church of God is not aroused to see God as the beautiful and lovable One He is, and hence the littleness of blessedness. Oh, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, seek to learn for yourselves, for I cannot tell you the blessedness! In the darkest moments I am able to confide in Him, for I know what a beautiful and kind and lovable Being He is, and, if it be the will of God to put us in the furnace, let Him do it, that so we may acquaint ourselves with Him as He will reveal Himself, and that we may know Him better. We come then to the conclusion that God is a lovable Being, and we are satisfied with Him, and say: “It is my Father, let Him do as He pleases.”
When I first began to allow God to deal with me, relying on Him, taking Him at His Word, and set out fifty years ago simply relying on Him for myself, family, taxes, travelling expenses and every other need, I rested on the simple promises I found in the sixth chapter of Matthew. Read Matthew 6:25-34 carefully. I believed the Word, I rested on it and practiced it. I took God at His word. A stranger, a foreigner in England, I knew seven languages and might have used them perhaps as a means of remunerative employment but I had consecrated myself to labor for the Lord, I put my reliance in the God who has promised, and He has acted according to His Word. I've lacked nothing—nothing. I have had my trials, my difficulties, and my purse empty, but my receipts have aggregated thou- sands of dollars, while the work has gone on these 51 years. Then, with regard to my pastoral work; for the past 51 years I have had great difficulties, great trials and perplexities. There will always be difficulties, always trials. But God has sustained me under them and delivered me out of them, and the work has gone on. Now, this is not, as some have said, because I am a man of great mental power, or endowed with energy and perseverance- -these are not the reasons. It is because I have confided in God; because I have sought God, and He has cared for the Institution, which, under His direction, has 100 schools, with masters and mistresses and other departments which I have told you before.
I do not carry the burden. And now in my 67th year, I have physical strength and mental vigor for as much work as when I was a young man in the university, studying and preparing Latin orations. I am just as vigorous as at that time. How comes this? Because in the last half century of labor I've been able, with the simplicity of a child, to rely upon God. I have had my trials, but I have laid hold upon God, and so it has come to pass that I have been sustained. It is not only permission, but positive command that He gives, to cast the burdens upon Him. Oh, let us do it! My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee.” Day by day I do it. This morning sixty matters in connection with the church of which I am pastor, I brought before the Lord, and thus it is, day by day I do it, and year by year; ten years, thirty years, forty years.
Do not, however, expect to obtain full Faith at once. All such things as jumping into full exercise of Faith in such things I discountenance. I do not believe in it. I do not believe in it. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN IT, AND I WISH YOU PLAINLY TO UNDERSTAND I DO NOT BELIEVE IN IT. All such things go on in a natural way. The little I did obtain, I did not obtain all at once. All this I say particularly, because letters come to me full of questions from those who seek to have their Faith strengthened. Begin over again; staying your soul on the Word of God, and you will have an increase of your Faith as you exercise it.
One thing more. Some say, “Oh, I shall never have the gift of Faith Mr. Mueller has got.” This is a mistake—it is the greatest error—there is not a particle of truth in it. My Faith is the same kind of Faith that all of God's children have had. It is the same kind that Simon Peter had, and all Christians may obtain the like Faith. My Faith is their Faith, though there may be more of it because my Faith has been a little more developed by exercise then theirs; but their Faith is precisely the Faith I exercise, only, with regard to degree, mine may be more strongly exercised.
Now, my beloved brothers and sisters, begin in a little way.
At first I was able to trust the Lord for ten dollars, then for a hundred dollars, then for a thousand dollars, and now, with the greatest ease, I could trust Him for a million dollars, if there was occasion. But first, I should quietly, carefully, deliberately examine and see whether what I was trusting for, was something in accordance with His promises in His written Word.
“As laborers together with Him.” 2 Cor. 6:1
Living By Faith
Are You Living By Faith?--We sometimes have the idea that men of great faith pray and have it easy. Here is a typical entry in George Müller’s diary:
“Nov. 19. Since Sept. 18, 1838, this has been, perhaps, of all the days the most trying. The poverty has been exceedingly great for the last six days. There had come in no money since yesterday. On this account no bread could be taken in, as far as the natural prospect went. Nor was there any money at three in the afternoon to take in milk for tea, when brother B. came to me. However, we prayed together, and the Lord had mercy. For one of the labourers found that he was able, which he knew not before, to give of his own 10s., so that there were the means to take in the milk, by the time that it is usually brought. This evening about six there came in still further 10s. 3d. by the sale of Reports. Thus, by the good hand of our God upon us, we were able to take in bread as usual. How very kind of the Lord that He sent us an abundance of potatoes and two large sacks of oatmeal, before this season of deep poverty, as to pecuniary means, commenced! May the Lord now in great pity look upon us, for we are in deeper poverty than ever, as with every day it increases, whilst there is no full deliverance. Thanks be to the Lord that my mind has been in peace this day also, though our faith has been so very much tried! Thanks to Him that my mind is in peace now, though there is nothing but want on every side before me, respecting tomorrow! Surely, the Lord will again, in His own time, more fully stretch forth His helping hand!”
Here is his entry made for the last day of the ﬁrst ﬁve years of his operating the orphanage. Note the abundance that he was working with:
“Dec. 9. Morning. This is the last day of the ﬁfth year of the Orphan work. Hitherto the Lord has helped us! This morning there was only 1l. 1s. 9d. in hand, but 1l. 7s. was needed for the supply of today. I therefore opened the box in my house, in which 2s. 6d. was found. This 1l. 4s. 3d. I sent off to the Orphan-Houses. Evening. There came in during this day 1l. 6s. 6d.; out of this I had to pay away 1l. 2s., so that now, at the close of the year, though the balance amounts to 15l. 0s. 6 1/4d., there is only 4s. 6 1/4d. in hand, as the rest has been put by for the rent, which is due up to this time. With this 4s. 6 1/4d. we have now to commence the sixth year, leaning upon the living God, who most assuredly during this year also will help us in every way, as our circumstances may call for it."
Would you be encouraged if the final day of your fifth year revealed such slim resources? Would you still say God was blessing you? We need to learn from Müller. Living by faith is often living "hand to mouth"—His Hand... my mouth! Maybe your struggles are more in line with living by faith than you realize:)
Müller commented on the impact of trials on his life and the well being of the ministry in the following entry that immediately followed:At the close of these details (with reference to the year from Dec. 9, 1839, to Dec. 9, 1840) I make a few remarks in connexion with them.
1. Though our trials of faith during this year also have been many, and recurring more frequently than during any previous year, and though we have been often reduced to the greatest extremity, yet the Orphans have lacked nothing; for they have always had good nourishing food, and the necessary articles of clothing, etc.
2. Should it be supposed by any one in reading the plain details of our trials of faith during this year, that on account of them we have been disappointed in our expectations, or are discouraged in the work, my answer is, that the very reverse is the fact. Such days were expected from the commencement of the work; nay, more than this, the chief end for which the Institution was established is, that the Church of Christ at large might be beneﬁted by seeing manifestly the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in the hour of need, in answer to prayer. Our desire, therefore, is not that we may be without trials of faith, but that the Lord graciously would be pleased to support us in the trial, that we may not dishonour Him by distrust.
3. This way of living brings the Lord remarkably near, He is, as it were, morning by morning inspecting our stores, that accordingly He may send help.Greater and more manifest nearness of the Lord’s presence I have never had, than when after breakfast there were no means for dinner, and then the Lord provided the dinner for more than one hundred persons; or when, after dinner, there were no means for the tea, and yet the Lord provided the tea; and all this without one single human being having been informed about our need. This moreover I add, that although we, who have been eye witnesses of these gracious interpositions of our Father, have not been so beneﬁted by them as we might and ought to have been, yet we have in some measure derived blessing from them. One thing is certain, that we are not tired of doing the Lord’s work in this way.
4. It has been more that once observed, that such a way of living must lead the mind continually to think whence food, clothes, etc., are to come, and so unﬁt for spiritual exercises. Now, in the ﬁrst place, I answer, that our minds are very little tried about the necessaries of life, just because the care respecting them is laid upon our Father, who, because we are His children, not only allows us to do so, but will have us to do so. Secondly, it must be remembered, that, even if our minds were much tried about the supplies for the children, and the means for the other work, yet, because we look to the Lord alone for these things, we should only be brought, by our sense of need, into the presence of our Father, for the supply of it; and that is a blessing, and no injury to the soul. Thirdly, our souls realize that for the glory of God and for the beneﬁt of the church at large, it is that we have these trials of faith, and that leads again to God, to ask Him for fresh supplies of grace, to be enabled to be faithful in this service.
5. My heart’s desire and prayer to God is, that all believers, who read this, may by these many answers to prayer be encouraged to pray, particularly as it regards the conversion of their friends and relations, their own state of heart, the state of the Church at large, and the success of the preaching of the gospel. Do not think, dear reader, that these things are peculiar to us, and cannot be enjoyed by all the saints. Although every child of God is not called by the Lord to establish Schools and Orphan-Houses, and to trust in the Lord for means for them; yet there is nothing on the part of the Lord to hinder, why you may not know by experience, far more abundantly than we do now, His willingness to answer the prayers of His children. Do but prove the faithfulness of God. Do but carry your every want to Him. Only maintain an upright heart. But if you live in sin; if you wilfully and habitually do things, respecting which you know that they are contrary to the will of God, then you cannot expect to be heard by Him. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer.” Psalm lxvi. 18, 19.
6. As it regards the children of God, who by the labour of their hands, or in any business or profession, earn their bread, particularly the poorer classes of them, I give my affectionate yet solemn advice, to carry into practice the principles on which this Institution is conducted, as it regards not going in debt. Are you in debt? then make confession of sin respecting it. Sincerely confess to the Lord that you have sinned against Rom. xiii. 8. And if you are resolved no more to contract debt, whatever may be the result, and you are waiting on the Lord, and truly trust in Him, your present debts will soon be paid. Are you out of debt? then whatever your future want may be, be resolved, in the strength of Jesus, rather to suffer the greatest privation, whilst waiting upon God for help, than to use unscriptural means, such as borrowing, taking goods on credit, etc., to deliver yourselves. This way needs but to be tried, in order that its excellency may be enjoyed.