Category Archives: heroes of the faith

George Mueller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson

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If you want a challenge in your faith walk, I recommend reading the biography of a remarkable man, Mr. George Mueller, the founder of homes that housed thousands of orphans in the 1800s in Bristol, England. This book gives a detailed look at the life of Mr. Mueller from one who was greatly influenced by Mueller in his spiritual life. This pastor from America, Arthur. T. Pierson, was a personal friend of George Mueller.

The story is outstanding not because of George Mueller in and of himself, but that he proved in his life and ministry that God was a prayer hearing and answering God. He sought first of all that God might be glorified in answering his fervent prayers for the many needs of his ministry. In fact, everything Mueller accomplished for his ministry (which grew steadily from humble beginnings) was not from going to people as a source but instead was accomplished through fervent prayer.

Mueller chose never to broadcast a need for his orphanages to anyone, however, but only to God. Even all his helpers were not allowed to broadcast any need, but only to petition heaven for their needs. How different this is than the approach used today with ministries having telethons and begging for money. Many times Mueller, his wife and his helpers were sorely tested and lived in poverty themselves as they gave just about everything they had for the sake of the work. Reading these testimonies, it really put me to shame, to be honest. These workers sold all they had for the sake of the work and did not count their lives dear unto themselves,just like the Apostle Paul said of himself in the book of Acts.

After a youth filled with thievery and rebellion, George Mueller became a believer while studying Divinity at the University of Halle, without any interest in God. A friend invited him to a Bible study and the sight of people praying on their knees that night drew Mueller into seeking his own personal relationship with Christ. He functioned as a pastor for over sixty years. In his retirement years, he took on an evangelistic outreach that took him all over the world. Yet his principles remained the same: the needs were always placed before God and God alone to provide. Mueller kept a Narrative of the Lord’s dealings with him, after being influenced reading the autobiographical narrative of the Lord’s dealings with John Newton, a pastor he admired, who is famous for writing the hymn Amazing Grace. In Mueller’s own narrative, great detail is given to showing how the Lord answered specific prayers in His own timing, and by reading about the details of this Narrative, it imparted great incentive for me to continue in my prayers like the persistent widow in Luke 18. George Mueller prayed for two people’s conversions for over 60 years, and even did not see the answer before his death, but stated: “I have not a doubt that I shall meet them both in heaven; for my Heavenly Father would not lay upon my heart a burden of prayer for them for over threescore years, if He had not concerning them purposes of mercy.” (page 302)

Another important takeaway from this biography is to learn George Mueller’s Bible reading habit and of making himself happy in the Lord as the first order of each day. What a beautiful idea, to start each day making sure that one is happy and content in their relationship with Christ as the most important thing. He read the Bible through two hundred times during his lifetime.

This book is long, 375 pages, but is edifying and worth the read. I should not compare myself to George Mueller, for Scripture says that is unwise, and I fall way short. But, I can glean great encouragement to petition God like George Mueller did, for Mr. Pierson stated:

“While men are asking whether prayer can accomplish similar wonders as of old, here is a man who answers the question by the indisputable logic of facts. Powerlesssnes always means prayerlessness, It is not necessary for us to be sinlessly perfect … but it is necessary that we be men and women of prayer–habitual, believing, importunate prayer.” (pages 371-372)

George Mueller lived like the faith heroes of Hebrews 11, therefore his faith and life of prayer is worth imitating today.

This book was published by Kregel Publications in 1999.

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A Review of Captive to Conqueror by Harold Wildish

Captive to ConquerorSomewhere or other, I found a copy of a rather unknown book by a Plymouth Brethren missionary named Harold Wildish who died in the early 1980’s. His story is remarkable. This is an English book and its contents are from a meeting at Filey of the Christian Holiday Crusade put on by the Movement for World Evangelization. The speaker, Mr. Wildish, had a topic of Romans 5-8 and Romans 12: 1-11 and that is the content of this book. Each chapter began with the exact Scripture reading and then his exhortations from each passage. He reminds us that the battle of sin and death has already been won by Jesus Christ and of the great truths we need to appropriate from Romans 6 and 7 about being dead to sin, alive to God, and married not to the law, but to Christ. These are teachings we need to sink our teeth down into. For we can’t appreciate the victory that Romans 8 describes without knowing what Christ has done, once and for all, with our sin.

One part of the book particularly moved me. Wildish described being away from his wife and preaching in a hot, “sin soaked village” in South America. He said at the time it was one of the hottest spots in the world, and he lived at the time in the back of a building where the mosquitoes buzzed all night and oily food nauseated his stomach. He went down to the muddy Demerara coast that evening, and the slightest breeze refreshed him in his spirit, and gave him the fulness to preach to sweaty, sin filled souls.

Somehow, although he felt like quitting, the Spirit touched the hearts of all those who attended his message that night. After he dismissed the group, everyone stayed in their seat, they all wanted to get right with God that night. Two years later, people were still talking how he ministered to them mightily through the Spirit of God. Lives were changed because he persisted through adversity.

I love finding books like these! I consider them little gems among the many voices of Christianity today. This man ministered in Africa and Jamaica and in the Amazon area. His messages are still available to listen to today at sermonindex.net. http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=1408

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Review of Time Travelers of the Bible by Gary Stearman

I just finished this massive 500+ page book by Gary Stearman and received so much encouragement, I wanted to share it. Don’t be intimidated by the page length, for the print type is large enough that the pages went by quickly for me. I kept telling myself as I read it, “I want to read this again.”

The main emphasis that I received from this book was how God exists outside the boundaries of time. He is not limited to past, present and future as we are, but to Him, He is already existing in eternity. As believers in Christ, though we have to live our lives in the time dimension, it is possible to have our lives strengthened by the knowledge that God sees us already there with Him in eternity, that there is a purpose for our pain, and that our losses will be compensated one Day.

I learned so many new things reading this book, for example, that there is a symmetry to time, and how the time that was lost in Joshua’s long day in Joshua 10: 11-14 probably corrected later in the time of Hezekiah when the clock was turned back in II Kings 20: 9-11.

Another thing I learned was that the book of Isaiah makes an outline of each book of the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible, and 66 chapters in Isaiah.Each chapter corresponds with the number of the book that it goes along with. Chapters 1-39 have been noted to be quite different from the remaining chapters 40-66 in the book of Isaiah. (Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort ye my people.”) Chapter 40 corresponds with the beginning of the New Testament, the book of Matthew, the very first gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Comfort did not come until Messiah arrived!

Stearman also shared that when Christ appeared in post-resurrection form, He existed in more dimensions than the four the rest of us exist in, and that explains how He could walk through walls, and appear and disappear at will. He also explains about the size of the New Jerusalem, how massive it will be, and how our chief end now is to prepare for that next life.

To those who have suffered from losses in life, I believe this book will give geat encouragement to look forward in eager expectation to our life in the eternal state. For our lives here are passing by like a shadow, but then the shadows will flee away.

There is much more, but I have given you a few examples to whet your appetite! Read the book and be encouraged.

Gary Stearman is on the program “Prophecy in the News,” founded with the late J.R. Church. He also is pastor of Grace Fellowship Bible Church in Oklahoma City.

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A Review of Christian Heroes: Then and Now: George Muller by Janet and Geoff Benge

This book on George Muller is part of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge

This book on George Muller is part of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge

Reading the book: George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans was amazing. I don’t know how learning of this man escaped my notice until reaching my late thirties. Muller was an incredible man with incredible faith. I bought this book as part of my son’s home-school program. I was doing Sonlight Curriculum at the time. They have some wonderful books selected for each year and my kids were delighted by many of them. This book I read aloud to my son, and as we did so, I kept saying, “Wow!”

George Muller never asked anyone to meet his needs for the charity work he started. Instead, he told God and waited for the answer. He trusted God would provide at the perfect time. He is mainly known for the orphanages he started in Bristol, England in the 19th century. Many children were homeless and ragged. He had compassion on them and was moved to start an orphanage for them. This was only the beginning. By the time he died near 1900, over ten thousand orphans had been served by his ministry.

The thing I liked best about George was that he never complained to others of his lack. Amy Carmichael, another missionary during the time, was moved by his example and trusted God in this same way to be the One to provide for her Dohnavur orphanage in India.

The book is written for upper elementary age students, but I enjoyed it just as much as my son. Janet and Geoff Benge, the authors, have a whole series for kids on Christian heroes. Others include Gladys Aylward, Eric Liddell, Hudson Taylor and many more.

The pressure is on when it comes to being a school-aged kid these days. So many things in our world scream for us to deny our faith. Christian parents can encourage through reading to their children, whose faith is shaken by our culture and the world system on a daily basis. Kids need to know that Jesus Christ is faithful in every need of their life, and George Muller’s example of childlike faith demonstrates to them how it can be done. George had a huge Bible reading habit. He read the Word nearly 200 times in his life. Because he knew the Scriptures, he had no problem trusting God. Knowing the Scriptures also made him a happy man. It reminds me of one of my friends who reads like George did. She is the most carefree person I know, and has great faith not in her abilities, but in what God can do.

After reading this, I went on to purchase the Autobiography of George Muller, and his other book, Answers to Prayer. Seeing that God was faithful to Muller gave me the confidence to become bolder in my prayer habits, and also to be more serious in taking the time every day to read His Word. Reading this book started me on another quest as well: to learn about more heroes of the faith. I am continually in awe by learning of what our brethren during different eras were able to accomplish by grace and through faith.

Even if homeschooling parents are not doing the Sonlight Curriculum, I would definitely recommend including this book in your program. In the back of the book, there are listed other materials by the authors including Unit Study Curriculum Guides. It was an easy read with larger type. The upper elementary child could read on his own, but I recommend it as a read aloud so that the parents faith also can be encouraged. Also included in this book is a brief bibliography for those who want to find out more.

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