Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, September 23rd. One of the greatest servants of our time didn’t act out of duty. He was motivated by joy.

“Above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Whatever be done in the way of giving up or self-denial or deadness to the world should result from the joy we have in God.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Imagine that you’re responsible for overseeing the care of thousands of orphans. At the same time you’re establishing schools and pastoring a church and you’ve decided never to ask anyone for donations. Well, George Mueller was in this very situation as he served the Lord in Bristol, England. We’ve been listening to his story all week as we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of this extraordinary man of God.

If you’ve missed any of the story you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com to find out how to hear it. Even though George Mueller would wake up every day with enormous responsibilities weighing on him, he discovered an important secret that kept those pressures from overwhelming him.

Jim Elliff: He said he made it his aim every morning to get his soul happy in the Lord.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re listening to Jim Elliff.

Jim Elliff: That was his first matter of business. And the way he did it was he would take his large print New Testament usually, and he would go walking out in the fields in the morning.

“Above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you. The Lord’s work may even have earnest claims upon your attention. But I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls happy in God Himself.”

Jim Elliff: He said he learned early on that rather than beginning by trying to pray, by kneeling down and trying to pray . . . . He said he would often fight for 30, 40 minutes, trying to feel that he was really communicating with the Lord. But he learned later that if he just took the Bible and began to meditate on the Word of God and get his soul happy about the greatness of God, the beauty of His plan and the work that He was doing and the promises that He promised, and then let his prayers flow out of that . . . . This was a great secret for him that he practiced in all of his life.

“Day by day, seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm, settled conviction for the last five and thirty years.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Spending time with the Lord as George Mueller did will affect every part of your life. Here’s Pastor Jim Cymbala.

Jim Cymbala: God uses people who doctrinally don’t agree with one another, and some people we could have rather strong opinions that in one place in their doctrinal position they might not be as Scriptural as we see it or as we feel. But God uses them in phenomenal ways because they spend much time with God. It seems like they bear the imprint of His presence on their lives, and as they preach the cardinal truths of the gospel and of Scripture, they bring blessing and healing and life and spiritual energy to people, not because they’re perfect in their doctrine or not because of their doctrinal position, but because they’ve been much with the Lord.

And that was the truth about Mueller’s life that impressed me so much. Here was a man who didn’t just talk the talk—he walked the walk. He was constantly with the Lord, in the Scriptures, spending time with God. And what a blessing that produced for others.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we heard yesterday, part of George Mueller’s prayer time was spent asking God to meet the specific needs of that day.

Jim Cymbala: It wasn’t just that he knew what the needs were on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Before he would take a trip he knew how much money would have to be supplied while he was gone, that he would have faith for that, trust God and bring it as a petition to the throne of grace where both mercy and grace is promised to every believer who comes sincerely.

But when decisions had to be made about the most minute things, he would never be seen rushing into it, but would put in his journal, “prayed much today” about this decision, about starting another building or doing this or doing that, or even taking a trip, going to speak, what to speak about. “Spent time with the Lord wanting to know what I should share in the meeting that night. The Lord made this real.”

This was part of, of course, not only his life in the Word, but his communion with the Lord. He wanted to do God’s will. And the more we want to do God’s will, the more we’re going to see God helping us because we’re being sent on His errands. You know, there’s an old saying by, I think it was one of the Puritans, that “He who wants to be sent on errands by the Lord must live close to the Master.” And Mueller wanted to be sent on errands by the Lord, so he lived very close to the Master.

“It is absolutely needful, in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God’s appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. Consider it and ponder over it. I have read through the whole Bible about 100 times, and I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace and joy have increased more and more.”

Jim Cymbala: His insight into the importance of God’s Word—I’ve just treasured it all my adult life. It’s helped me so much as I give time to carefully reading through the Bible. As you know, his “library” was very, very meager because he really didn’t believe in reading a lot of literature, even spiritual books outside of the Bible. He was a man of one Book.

And that Word was not just read; that Word was meditated on and that Word produced mighty faith in him, especially those promises that he would latch onto. He was interested in historical narratives. He was interested in the commands of God. All of those had a place in his walk with the Lord, but when those promises would be made alive by the Holy Spirit, that would sustain Mueller through the mountains that he was facing that had to be overcome.

“I saw that the most important thing that I had to do was give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it. What is food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God. Not a simple reading of the Word of God so that it only passes through our minds, but considering what we read, pondering over it and applying it to our hearts.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here’s Pastor John Piper.

John Piper: Here’s the man that’s known all over the world for prayer, and he says it’s second to the reading of the Bible. If you want to be successful or fruitful in ministry, this is where you must feed every day. Not prayer, but the Word of God. And not simple reading of the Word of God so that it only passes through our minds as water through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, applying it to our lives.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: George Mueller continued to preach, teach, and care for orphans year after year, trusting God to provide even as the needs got greater and greater. When Mueller turned 70 years old he fulfilled a lifelong dream to be a missionary. Over the next 17 years he traveled the world visiting 42 countries, preaching an average of once every day. It’s estimated that between the ages of 70 and 87 he spoke to three million people. And this man of God still wasn’t ready to retire.

John Piper: From the end of his travels—then he was 87 in 1892—till he died in 1898, he preached again in his home church. He worked with the orphans and the Scripture Knowledge Institute until he died at age 92. He said when he was 92, not long before he died, “I have been able every day and all day to work, and that with ease, as 70 years since.”

The funeral was held the following Monday. He died March 9, 1898 on a Wednesday. The funeral was held in Bristol. “Tens of thousands of people reverently stood along the route of the simple procession. Men left their workshops and offices; women left their elegant homes or humble kitchens, all seeking to pay a last token of respect.” This one brought me to tears. “A thousand children gathered for a service at Orphan House Number Three. They had now lost their second father.”

Jim Cymbala: He’s another hero of faith. So when I read Hebrews 11 or I consider George Mueller’s life, I can go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I might not be George Mueller, but You know what I’m facing. If You led him and supplied in the path that You chose for him, I can certainly trust You to help me with what I’m facing today as a housewife, as a female professional, as a mom of a couple kids. Whatever our situation is in life, the same God who helped Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and George Mueller—as He supported and helped them, He’ll do it for you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we look at the life of George Mueller, it’s easy to think, “Well, he lived on another plane of life. He was in some unattainable realm. I’m just an ordinary person.” But it’s great to read in his biographies that he had the same kind of struggles that we have. It’s amazing to me to see how God used this very real, very fallible, but trusting man to do great things for His kingdom.

If you’ve missed any of the story this week, you can order this series on CD, plus you can learn more about George Mueller by reading a biography we recommend called George Mueller: Delighted in God. The book is by Roger Steer, and it first touched my life when I was a young woman.

We’re also offering a biography that is geared for younger readers. And moms, I want to encourage you to order that book and read it aloud to your younger children or let your older children read it on their own. It’s so important that our kids get to know the lives of these great heroes of our faith.

Leslie Basham: You can order by calling 1-800-569-5959. You can also order quickly and easily online. Our web address is ReviveOurHearts.com. While you’re there you can get connected to more information on George Mueller from our guests John Piper and Jim Elliff along with Pastor Bill Elliff.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Next week as we enter Pastor Appreciation Month, we’ll begin new series called Follow the Leaders. Find out what God’s Word has to say about how we should relate to our pastors and spiritual leaders. I hope you can be back with us.

To close our time, here’s John Piper. He’s been speaking to a group of pastors about the life of George Mueller, and he’s going to end in prayer.

John Piper: Father in heaven, I praise You for Your grace in the life of George Mueller. What a life he led. He may have had aggravating aspects to his personality as we all do. But oh, what a grace of faith, and we want to get inside. Jesus promises, “I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake you.” Therefore we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper. What can man do to me? Seek the kingdom first and all these things will be added to you.” O God, release 900 or so pastors into a fresh, risk-taking ministry that displays to their church and to the world that they have a prayer-hearing God and that He is faithful still and all-satisfying, come what may. And I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

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

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