Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: When George Mueller said, “Give us our daily bread,” he meant it literally. Here’s Jim Elliff.

Jim Elliff: There was nothing on the table but empty dishes. There was no food in the larder, no money to supply the need. And the children were standing waiting for breakfast. “Children, you know we must be in time for school,” said Mueller. Then lifting up his hands he prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”

Leslie Basham: It’s Thursday, September 22nd, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: George Mueller was just 28 years-old when he began to be burdened with an idea. He felt like one of the most powerful ways he could bring God glory was to help house and feed some of the thousands of orphans living in 19th century England. We heard about his motivations for this work yesterday. And if you missed any of it, you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com to catch up.

Living in one of George Mueller’s orphanages was a daily adventure. Here’s Jim Elliff. He’s quoting from a biography by Roger Steer.

Jim Elliff: The plates and the cups were on the table, but there was nothing on the table but empty dishes. There was no food in the larder, no money to supply the need. And the children were standing waiting for breakfast. “Children, you know we must be in time for school,” said Mueller. Then lifting up his hands he prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” Then, according to the account, a knock was heard at the door and the baker stood there.

“Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast, and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2:00 and I baked some fresh bread and I brought it.” Mueller thanked the baker and God for His care. Almost immediately there came a second knock on the door. This time it was the milkman who announced that his milk cart had broken down outside the orphanage and that he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so that he could empty his wagon and repair it.

This sort of thing happened over and over and over again. I mean, it happened so very often, that God supplied just what he needed by the moment as they actually needed it.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: George Mueller had chosen to display this type of faith years earlier as a young pastor. Here’s Pastor John Piper.

John Piper: He gave up his regular salary early on in his ministry, put a box at the back, and never asked people for money again. He knew this was not mandated in the Bible. Paul clearly asked people for money, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Don’t idealize this man by saying he’s trying to get you to do all the details of his life. This is a God-chosen strategy, or a Mueller-chosen strategy that he believed God had called him to in order to display to the world through the orphan houses, and through how he was praying the money in, that God is real and answers prayer. It was all a strategic life.

Jim Elliff: He was determined that if God did not provide the food and the clothing for them, he really just needed to close the whole thing down. He was very concerned for the children. He knew that the purpose God had driven into him was to demonstrate the life of faith. And if God didn’t supply, God must not be in it at that time.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here’s Pastor Jim Cymbala from the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

Jim Cymbala: You don’t see Mueller praying too much about eight months from now or a year from now or three weeks from now. The Lord put him in a situation where everything was lived out on a daily basis.

I’ve made mistakes in my own life many times by not giving enough focus to the day that is before me and the needs that I have. All our listeners can be blessed by that. The Lord is not going to give me the grace I need for next Wednesday; He’s going to give me the grace I need today. Then if next Wednesday comes along and I’m still alive, He will help me for that day. But many times we worry and get distracted by things that the Lord is not even focused on. We need to go daily for our daily needs and His daily supply.

John Piper: When faced with a crisis and having no means as far as he could tell to pay the bill, he would say, “How the means are to come I know not, but I know that God is almighty and that He hears and that the parts of all are in His hands; and that if He pleases to influence persons, they will help.”

That’s where I get the idea that the sovereignty of God over the human heart became the foundation of his confidence that God would answer his prayers and cause money to come in. He said, “The hearts of all men in Australia, China, America, England . . . the hearts of all men are in the hands of God. If I send a message to my Father that these orphans and I have needs, He promises, ‘I will meet all your needs according to my riches in glory in Christ Jesus. You walk uprightly, you seek the kingdom first; I will keep my promise.’”

The only way, when he saw 2,000 kids hanging month-to-month on God—the only way he could be peaceful is to know, “God is sovereign over the hearts of people I’ve never spoken a word to.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: George Mueller talks many times in his journals about the peace of God. That was something that struck me as I read his biography this last time through. Because I know a lot of people today, myself included, who have a lot fewer pressures than George Mueller did at times, and yet who know so little of God’s peace. The peace of God is something that consistently characterized this man’s life.

“We have never been lower in needs than yesterday and today, and yet my soul, thanks to the Lord, was also yesterday and today in perfect peace.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That peace came about as a result of trusting God. The Scripture says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on you because he trusts in you.” And that says to me, if I’m not experiencing God’s peace in my heart, there probably are some areas where I’m not trusting God to meet my needs.

“Nothing but real trust in God can keep the heart in peace. In Him we trust. To Him alone we look at all times, and thus our hearts are kept in peace even in the darkest hours.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here’s what George Mueller wrote when it looked like he was going to lose a piece of land that he felt he really needed for a new orphanage:

“If the Lord were to take this piece of land from me, it would only be for the purpose of giving me a better one. For our heavenly Father never takes any earthly thing from His children except He means to give them something better instead.”

John Piper: That’s not the gift of faith; that’s believing what the Bible says. “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

Jim Elliff: He didn’t, by the way, believe that he had a gift of faith. He believed that he had the normal grace of faith, and he took the typical Scriptures and he believed God on the basis of the Scriptures that any of us could use.

As soon as people put him in a category of having this unique gift of faith (which not all have, Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12), they don’t have to take his life seriously anymore. They don’t have to check their own unbelief in the promises of God to care for his people. And then his whole purpose for living and for doing the orphan work would fail.

“Though all the believers in the Lord Jesus are not called upon to establish orphan houses and trust in God for means, yet all believers according to the will of God concerning them in Christ Jesus may cast and ought to cast all their care upon Him who cares for them and not need to be anxious and concerned about anything.”

John Piper: This is a God-chosen strategy or a Mueller-chosen strategy that he believed God had called him to in order to display to the world through the orphan houses, and how he was praying the money in, that God is real and answers prayers. It is all a strategic life. You have to think what yours is. It would be unbiblical to say, “You cannot and dare not ask anybody for money” because Paul clearly did in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.

You take Matthew 6:33 and dream your dream of how to display the trustworthiness of Jesus for your city, your church. It doesn’t have to be the same as his. It certainly doesn’t have to be orphans. And it doesn’t have to be never ask for money.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: John Piper just referred to that familiar verse, Matthew 6:33, which says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these shall be added unto you.” As you think about George Mueller and the example of his life, I hope God has brought to mind some ways that you can seek God’s kingdom even if it requires a new level of trust. If our eyes are on the Lord and we’re following Him, then we can be assured of His provision.

So what are the areas of your life where you’re tempted to fret, to be fearful, to look to the future and say, “But what if...?” George Mueller reminds us to keep our eyes on the Lord in every area of life: his finances, his marriage, his work, his walk with God. With every need he said, “My eyes are upon the Lord. God is faithful; God is good. Everything He does is good.”

As I study the life of George Mueller I have to say, “Lord, let my life leave a mark of Your faithfulness.” I don’t care whether people remember my name or that they’re reading my books. But I do want them to look at my life and say, “God is good. He is faithful. He can be trusted.”

I’ve gotten so much out of reading about George Mueller’s life, beginning from the time I was a little girl. I hope that you’ll get a copy of the biography that was quoted from earlier. It’s simply called, George Mueller: Delighted in God. It’s by Roger Steer. We’re also offering a biography of George Mueller geared for younger readers. It’s one you may want to read to your children so that they can grow up knowing the heart and the ways of God as seen through the life of George Mueller.

You can order a copy of one or both of these biographies by calling 1-800-569-5959. Reading these books will keep your mind set on the peace and hope that are available in God. Again that’s 1-800-569-5959, or you can order your copy at ReviveOurHearts.com. And while you’re there you can hear my complete interview with one of our guests, Jim Elliff. He’s the founder of Christian Communicators Worldwide. I talked quite a while with him and his brother Bill Elliff, who is a pastor in Little Rock. George Mueller has affected both of them greatly, and you can hear more at ReviveOurHearts.com.

George Mueller was known for his prayer and his life of faith. He was passionate about something else as well. We’ll hear about that tomorrow. To close our time today, here’s Jim Elliff on the way George Mueller prayed.

Jim Elliff: He had four things that he consistently said. First of all he said, “You need to make your requests unto God on the ground of the merits and worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He meant, of course, more than tacking on “in Jesus’ name.” I’ve learned to sort of labor a little bit in the beginning of my prayer to make sure that I’m on praying ground. That is not based upon my merits, how well I’ve done in the last few days or how spiritual I think I am or what I think I deserve. But to try to get myself in a very clear way understanding that if I get anything, it is strictly because of Jesus Christ. And I think that’s what Mueller was meaning.

Secondly he said, “The things that you ask God for should be of such a kind that God can give them to you because they are for His honor and your real good.” He would test whether this was right to pray according to those two things: Is it to God’s honor and is it for my real good as a believer, as a real righteous request?

Thirdly he said, “You need to continue in prayer,” as we’ve already talked about.

And then fourthly he said, “We need to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers.” Then he said this: “Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained and in not expecting the blessing.”

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries .

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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