Friday, January 31, 2014

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

William Law on the Use of Money, pt2

Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Chapter VII

How the imprudent use of an estate corrupts all the tempers of the mind, and fills the heart with poor and ridiculous passions, through the whole course of life; represented in the character of Flavia.

IT HAS ALREADY been observed, that a prudent and religious care is to be used in the manner of spending our money or estate, because the manner of spending our estate makes so great a part of our common life, and is so much the business of every day, that according as we are wise, or imprudent, in this respect, the whole course of our lives will be rendered either very wise or very full of folly.
     Persons that are well affected to religion, that receive instructions of piety with pleasure and satisfaction, often wonder how it comes to pass that they make no greater progress in that religion which they so much admire.
     Now the reason of it is this: it is because religion lives only in their head, but something else has possession of their heart; and therefore they continue from year to year mere admirers and praisers of piety, without ever coming up to the reality and perfection of its precepts.
     If it be asked why religion does not get possession of their hearts, the reason is this; it is not because they live in gross sins, or debaucheries, for their regard to religion preserves them from such disorders; but it is because their hearts are constantly employed, perverted, and kept in a wrong state by the indiscreet use of such things as are lawful to be used.
     The use and enjoyment of their estate is lawful, and therefore it never comes into their heads to imagine any great danger from that quarter. They never reflect, that there is a vain and imprudent use of their estate, which, though it does not destroy like gross sins, yet so disorders the heart, and supports it in such sensuality and dulness, such pride and vanity, as makes it incapable of receiving the life and spirit of piety.


The above extract is from the beginning of chapter 7 of "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life" by William Law.  You can find Law's book in it's entirety in the fantastic eBook below: "The Top 7 Classics on Holiness."

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This fantastic compilation brings together some of the greatest classics on HOLINESS in Christian life and ministry. Learn the secret of walking in God’s presence and power from those whose writings have stirred and challenged countless Christians throughout history.

   The Top 7 Classics on HOLINESS contains the full texts of:
   • Purity of Heart – by William Booth (1902), 10 chapters.
   • Heart Talks on Holiness – by Samuel Logan Brengle (1897), 27 chapters.
   • Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots - by J. C.
       Ryle (1879), 21 chapters.
   • God’s Way of Holiness – by Horatius Bonar (1864), 9 chapters.
   • A Plain Account of Christian Perfection – by John Wesley (1777),
       entire book.
   • A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life – by William Law (1729),
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   • The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living – by Jeremy Taylor (1650),
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Monday, March 12, 2012

William Law on the use of Money

A few hundred years ago (284 to be exact) William Law published his most famous work, "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life."  This book was to go on and have a profound effect on countless people and played an important role in the life and ministry of John Wesley.
     Law's stated intent was (as is obvious from the title) to call people to a Christianity that went deeper than lip-service, towards a holy devotion that actually affected their entire lives.  More than a dry theological read, however, he creatively used stories of various people and the effect that devotion (or lack of it) made in their day-to-day lives.

One of the topics he touched on was the use of money and possessions - something still very relevant to our own day and age.  While written in 1728, perhaps we will have ears to hear the changes we need to make in our own lives today?

Below is chapter 6 of William Law's book that touches on this important topic:
* Note, emphasis (bold/italic) is mine.

Containing the great obligations, and the great advantages of making a wise and religious use of our estates and fortunes.

AS THE HOLINESS of Christianity consecrates all states and employments of life unto God, as it requires us to aspire after an universal obedience, doing and using everything as the servants of God, so are we more specially obliged to observe this religious exactness in the use of our estates and fortunes.
The reason of this would appear very plain, if we were only to consider, that our estate is as much the gift of God, as our eyes or our hands, and is no more to be buried or thrown away at pleasure, than we are to put out our eyes, or throw away our limbs as we please.
But, besides this consideration, there are several other great and important reasons why we should be religiously exact in the use of our estates.

First, Because the manner of using our money or spending our estate enters so far into the business of every day, and makes so great a part of our common life, that our common life must be much of the same nature as our common way of spending our estate. If reason and religion govern us in this, then reason and religion have got great hold of us; but if humour, pride, and fancy, are the measures of our spending our estate, then humour, pride, and fancy, will have the direction of the greatest part of our life.
Secondly, Another great reason for devoting all our estate to right uses, is this: because it is capable of being used to the most excellent purposes, and is so great a means of doing good. If we waste it we do not waste a trifle, that signifies little, but we waste that which might be made as eyes to the blind, as a husband to the widow, as a father to the orphan; we waste that which not only enables us to minister worldly comforts to those that are in distress, but that which might purchase for ourselves everlasting treasures in Heaven. So that if we part with our money in foolish ways, we part with a great power of comforting our fellow-creatures, and of making ourselves forever blessed.
If there be nothing so glorious as doing good, if there is nothing that makes us so like to God, then nothing can be so glorious in the use of our money, as to use it all in works of love and goodness, making ourselves friends, and fathers, and benefactors, to all our fellow-creatures, imitating the Divine love, and turning all our power into acts of generosity, care, and kindness to such as are in need of it.
     If a man had eyes, and hands, and feet, that he could give to those that wanted them; if he should either lock them up in a chest, or please himself with some needless or ridiculous use of them, instead of giving them to his brethren that were blind and lame, should we not justly reckon him an inhuman wretch? If he should rather choose to amuse himself with furnishing his house with those things, than to entitle himself to an eternal reward, by giving them to those that wanted eyes and hands, might we not justly reckon him mad?
     Now money has very much the nature of eyes and feet; if we either lock it up in chests, or waste it in needless and ridiculous expenses upon ourselves, whilst the poor and the distressed want it for their necessary uses; if we consume it in the ridiculous ornaments of apparel, whilst others are starving in nakedness; we are not far from the cruelty of him, that chooses rather to adorn his house with the hands and eyes than to give them to those that want them. If we choose to indulge ourselves in such expensive enjoyments as have no real use in them, such as satisfy no real want, rather than to entitle ourselves to an eternal reward, by disposing of our money well, we are guilty of his madness, that rather chooses to lock up eyes and hands, than to make himself forever blessed, by giving them to those that want them. For after we have satisfied our own sober and reasonable wants, all the rest of our money is but like spare eyes or hands; it is something that we cannot keep to ourselves without being foolish in the use of it, something that can only be used well, by giving it to those that want it.
     Thirdly, If we waste our money, we are not only guilty of wasting a talent which God has given us, we are not only guilty of making that useless, which is so powerful a means of doing good, but we do ourselves this further harm, that we turn this useful talent into a powerful means of corrupting ourselves; because so far as it is spent wrong, so far it is spent in support of some wrong temper, in gratifying some vain and unreasonable desires, in conforming to those fashions, and pride of the world, which, as Christians and reasonable men, we are obliged to renounce.
As wit and fine parts cannot be trifled away, and only lost, but will expose those that have them into greater follies, if they are not strictly devoted to piety; so money, if it is not used strictly according to reason and religion, can not only be trifled away, but it will betray people into greater follies, and make them live a more silly and extravagant life, than they could have done without it. If, therefore, you do not spend your money in doing good to others, you must spend it to the hurt of yourself. You will act like a man, that should refuse to give that as a cordial to a sick friend, though he could not drink it himself without inflaming his blood. For this is the case of superfluous money; if you give it to those that want it, it is a cordial; if you spend it upon yourself in something that you do not want, it only inflames and disorders your mind, and makes you worse than you would be without it.
Consider again the forementioned comparison; if the man that would not make a right use of spare eyes and hands, should, by continually trying to use them himself, spoil his own eyes and hands, we might justly accuse him of still greater madness.
Now this is truly the case of riches spent upon ourselves in vain and needless expenses; in trying to use them where they have no real use, nor we any real want, we only use them to our great hurt, in creating unreasonable desires, in nourishing ill tempers, in indulging our passions, and supporting a worldly, vain turn of mind. For high eating and drinking, fine clothes, and fine houses, state and equipage, carefree pleasures, and diversions, do all of them naturally hurt and disorder our hearts; they are the food and nourishment of all the folly and weakness of our nature, and are certain means to make us vain and worldly in our tempers. They are all of them the support of something, that ought not to be supported; they are contrary to that sobriety and piety of heart which relishes Divine things; they are like so many weights upon our minds, that make us less able, and less inclined, to raise up our thoughts and affections to the things that are above.
     So that money thus spent is not merely wasted or lost, but it is spent to bad purposes, and miserable effects, to the corruption and disorder of our hearts, and to the making us less able to live up to the sublime doctrines of the Gospel. It is but like keeping money from the poor, to buy poison for ourselves.
     For so much as is spent in the vanity of dress, may be reckoned so much laid out to fix vanity in our minds. So much as is laid out for idleness and indulgence, may be reckoned so much given to render our hearts dull and sensual. So much as is spent in state and equipage, may be reckoned so much spent to dazzle your own eyes, and render you the idol of your own imagination. And so in everything, when you go from reasonable wants, you only support some unreasonable temper, some turn of mind, which every good Christian is called upon to renounce.
     So that on all accounts, whether we consider our fortune as a talent, and trust from God, or the great good that it enables us to do, or the great harm that it does to ourselves, if idly spent; on all these great accounts it appears, that it is absolutely necessary to make reason and religion the strict rule of using all our fortune.
     Every exhortation in Scripture to be wise and reasonable, satisfying only such wants as God would have satisfied; every exhortation to be spiritual and heavenly, pressing after a glorious change of our nature; every exhortation to love our neighbour as ourselves, to love all mankind as God has loved them, is a command to be strictly religious in the use of our money. For none of these tempers can be complied with, unless we be wise and reasonable, spiritual and heavenly, exercising a brotherly love, a godlike charity, in the use of all our fortune. These tempers, and this use of our worldly goods, is so much the doctrine of all the New Testament, that you cannot read a chapter without being taught something of it. I shall only produce one remarkable passage of Scripture, which is sufficient to justify all that I have said concerning this religious use of all our fortune.
     "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me . . . Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." [Matt. xxv. 31-64]
     I have quoted this passage at length, because if one looks at the way of the world, one would hardly think that Christians had ever read this part of Scripture. For what is there in the lives of Christians, that looks as if their salvation depended upon these good works? And yet the necessity of them is here asserted in the highest manner, and pressed upon us by a lively description of the glory and terrors of the day of judgment.
     Some people, even of those who may be reckoned virtuous Christians, look upon this text only as a general recommendation of occasional works of charity; whereas it shows the necessity not only of occasional charities now and then, but the necessity of such an entire charitable life, as is a continual exercise of all such works of charity, as we are able to perform...
     There is no middle way to be taken, any more than there is a middle way betwixt pride and humility, or temperance and intemperance. If you do not strive to fulfil all charitable works, if you neglect any of them that are in your power, and deny assistance to those that want what you can give, let it be when it will, or where it will, you number yourself amongst those that want Christian charity. Because it is as much your duty to do good with all that you have, and to live in the continual exercise of good works, as it is your duty to be temperate in all that you eat and drink.
Hence also appears the necessity of renouncing all those foolish and unreasonable expenses, which the pride and folly of mankind have made so common and fashionable in the world. For if it is necessary to do good works, as far as you are able, it must be as necessary to renounce those needless ways of spending money which render you unable to do works of charity.
     You must therefore no more conform to these ways of the world than you must conform to the vices of the world; you must no more spend with those that idly waste their money as their own humour leads them, than you must drink with the drunken, or indulge yourself with the epicure: because a course of such expenses is no more consistent with a life of charity than excess in drinking is consistent with a life of sobriety. When, therefore, any one tells you of the lawfulness of expensive apparel, or the innocence of pleasing yourself with costly satisfactions, only imagine that the same person was to tell you, that you need not do works of charity; that Christ does not require you to do good unto your poor brethren, as unto Him; and then you will see the wickedness of such advice. For to tell you that you may live in such expenses, as make it impossible for you to live in the exercise of good works, is the same thing as telling you that you need not have any care about such good works themselves.


You can find William Law's book in it's entirety in the fantastic eBook below: "The Top 7 Classics on Holiness"

Top 7 Classics on Holiness
This fantastic compilation brings together some of the greatest classics on HOLINESS in Christian life and ministry. Learn the secret of walking in God’s presence and power from those whose writings have stirred and challenged countless Christians throughout history.

The Top 7 Classics on HOLINESS contains the full texts of:
Purity of Heart – by William Booth (1902), 10 chapters.
Heart Talks on Holiness – by Samuel Logan Brengle (1897), 27 chapters.
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots - by J. C. Ryle (1879), 21 chapters.
God’s Way of Holiness – by Horatius Bonar (1864), 9 chapters.
A Plain Account of Christian Perfection – by John Wesley (1777), entire book.
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life – by William Law (1729), 24 chapters.
The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living – by Jeremy Taylor (1650), 27 sections.

Kindle price: only $4.00!

Monday, February 20, 2012

George Muller's Advice on Bible Reading and Prayer

In his narrative, on May 7, 1841 George Muller took some time to explain his habit of prayer and Scripture reading which proved of such great help that he felt it necessary to share with others:

It has recently pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now, while preparing the fifth edition for the press, more than fourteen years have since passed away. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing to give myself to prayer, after having dressed myself in the morning. Now, I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the word of God, whilst meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.

I began therefore to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon his precious word, was, to begin to meditate on the word of God, searching as it were into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the word, not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for a while making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the word may lead to it, but still continually keeping before me that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened, and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, either very soon after or at a later time, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man...

The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this: Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for a revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour, on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that he has brought before me in his precious word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is, to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as everyone must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts. When we pray, we speak to God. Now, prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal manner, requires, generally speaking, a measure of strength or godly desire, and the season, therefore, when this exercise of the soul can be most effectually performed is after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us. We may therefore profitably meditate, with God’s blessing, though we are ever so weak spiritually; nay, the weaker we are, the more we need meditation for the strengthening of our inner man. There is thus far less to be feared from wandering of mind than if we give ourselves to prayer without having had previously time for meditation. I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials, in various ways, than I had ever had before; and after having now above fourteen years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it. In addition to this I generally read, after family prayer, larger portions of the word of God, when I still pursue my practice of reading regularly onward in the Holy Scriptures, sometimes in the New Testament and sometimes in the Old, and for more than twenty-six years I have proved the blessedness of it. I take, also, either then or at other parts of the day, time more especially for prayer.

How different, when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon one!


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

Over the years many have held George Muller up as an example of someone who lived by faith.  It was often said (by himself and many others as well) that he maintained the work of the Orphanages and the Scripture Knowledge Institute "by prayer alone, never asking anyone for help".

For example, in the introduction to the "Autobiography of George Muller" we read that Muller:
Wholly destitute of funds, is supporting and educating seven hundred orphans, providing everything needful for their education, is in himself an extensive Bible and Tract and Missionary Society, the work is daily increasing in magnitude, and the means for carrying it on are abundantly supplied, while he is connected with no particular denomination, is aided by no voluntary association, and he has asked the assistance of not a single individual. He has asked no one but God, and all his wants have been regularly supplied
Now, right from the start I'll say that I definitely think he was an amazing man of faith.  And I think it was incredible what God did through Muller's life and fantastic how he was able to depend on God to help so many thousands of lives.

But - from a missionaries perspective - I think there's more to the story than we sometimes see.  I've often seen people today who feel called to missions either  (a) feel guilty because they need to raise funds to work overseas...and therefore don't feel as spiritual as Muller, or (b) shy away from raising funds at all, trying to imitate Muller's faith (without always seeing his results!)

The interesting thing is that if you read Muller's autobiography, you quickly notice that while, technically, he told no one but God the needs that he had, there were many ways he used to make that need indirectly known, and to raise support.

For example,
1. "The Box" - Muller was also a pastor and lived by faith for his support (in contrast to the many pastors who charged "rent" for their pews in the church).  He felt renting out pews was contrary to Scripture and instead put up a box in the church for people to put in their freewill offerings.  This was a radical step for the times.  But it was also a continual reminder to the people that their pastor was depending on God (and indirectly on them) for support.  Every week they saw the box and were reminded of this fact.  He states this in chapter 4 of his autobiography:
I read Philippians 4 and told the saints that if they still had a desire to do something towards my support, by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receive them, though ever so small, either in money or provisions...For these reasons especially, there was a box put up in the chapel, over which was written that whoever had a desire to do something towards my support might put his offering into the box.

2. His "Narratives" - Muller started writing his autobiography and published it within two years of starting his orphanage ministry.  (The first part was printed in August 1837 and covered what was to become the first 8 chapters of his present autobiography.  He continued to publish many additions to it every few years).  Not only did the sales of his narrative bring in a little support, but his book let everyone know that he was living by faith and would have served as indirect encouragement that they could (if they so felt led) support his ministry like the many dozens of people he had written about.

3. Corporate Prayer Meetings - Muller began meeting daily with his staff (those that worked with him in the orphanages, etc) to pray for the needs that they faced in their work (see chapter 12).  So he changed from saying "I told no one but God" to "we told no one but God" about the needs.  While I agree that this still required much faith, the reality is (as told in his autobiography) that it was often the workers themselves, who knew of and saw the financial needs, that gave out of their own money to help the work.

The reason I bring this up is so that missionaries who do raise support do not feel discouraged or unspiritual for using various means to make their needs known.  Obviously, our Heavenly Father knows what we need, He is the one that we go to first, and it is through persistent believing prayer that God can move the hearts of men and women to support the work.  But we also don't despise means for communicating the message - Muller used his narratives, and many today use newsletters; Muller had a box in the back of the church (and orphanages) and some today have "boxes" on websites, allowing donors to give.

The reason Muller wrote the narratives was to encourage faith and stir the church to attempt great things for God through faith - not to discourage those stepping out in faith!  So yes, Muller lived by faith and it's my prayer that more and more will likewise live radical, prayerful, faith-filled lives as they attempt to see God's kingdom impact the nations!


Kindle Availability:
George Muller's "Answers to Prayer" is available in these Kindle eBooks:
  • The George Muller Collection - just $2.00!
     (Features Muller's Autobiography, Answers to Prayer, and Counsel To Christians)

  • The Top 7 PRAYER Classics - just $4.99!
    (Features Muller's "Answers to Prayer" as well as other classics by: D. L. Moody, Andrew Murray, R.A. Torrey, Rosalind Goforth, E.M. Bounds & Madame Jeanne Guyon)


Saturday, February 4, 2012

George Muller's "Answers to Prayer"

Over a lifetime of ministry George Muller saw God answer prayer in amazing ways.  Through faith and prayer alone he established schools, orphanages and supported missionaries and Bible distribution that impacted countless thousands of lives.
His book "Answers to Prayer" (compiled by A. C. Brooks from the Narratives of George Muller) highlights some of those dramatic answers as well as some very practical advice on growing in the Christian life. 

George Muller states,
"I never remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March, 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes."

At the beginning of "Answers to Prayer" Muller gives six steps on knowing the will of God:


1.I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

At the end of the books Muller gives five conditions for prevailing in prayer:


1.Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only ground of any claim for blessing. (See John xiv. 13, 14; xv. 16, etc.)
2.—Separation from all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us, for it would be sanctioning sin. (Psalm lxvi. 18.)
3.—Faith in God's word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to believe Him is to make Him both a liar and a perjurer. (Hebrews xi. 6; vi. 13-20.)
4.—Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly: we must not seek any gift of God to consume it upon our lusts. (1 John v. 14; James iv. 3.)
5.—Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest. (James v. 7; Luke xviii. 1-8.)


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George Muller's "Answers to Prayer" is available in these Kindle eBooks:
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Why God Used D. L. Moody - pt 4: Freedom from Love of Money, Passion for the Lost & Enduement with Power

The fifth reason why God used D. L. Moody so powerfully - and something that is incredibly relevant for today - is that he was free from the love of money.  Torrey writes,
Mr. Moody might have been a wealthy man, but money had no charms for him.  He loved to gather money for God's work; he refused to accumulate money for himself.  He told me during the World's Fair that if he had taken, for himself, the royalties on the hymnbooks which he had published, they would have amounted, at that time, to a million dollars.  But Mr Moody refused to touch the money...Millions of dollars passed into Mr. Moody's hands, but they passed through; they did not stick to his fingers.
       This is the point at which many an evangelist makes shipwreck, and his great work comes to an untimely end.  The love of money on the part of some evangelists has done more to discredit evangelistic work in our day, and to lay many an evangelist on the shelf, than almost any other cause.
Sixth was his Consuming passion for the salvation of the lost.  Moody was so full of passion for the lost that he "made the resolution, shortly after he himself was saved, that he would never let twenty-four hours pass over his head without speaking to at least one person about his soul."
Torrey tells the story:
Once, when walking down a certain street in Chicago, Mr. Moody stepped up to a man, a perfect stranger to him, and said: "Sir, are you a Christian?"  "You mind your own business," was the reply.  Mr. Moody replied: "This is my business."  The man said, "Well, then, you must be Moody."  Out in Chicago they used to call him in those early days "Crazy Moody," because day and night he was speaking to everybody he got a chance to speak to about being saved...
Oh, young men and women and all Christian workers, if you and I were on fire for souls like that, how long would it be before we had a revival?  Suppose that tonight the fire of God falls and fills our hearts, a burning fire that will send us out all over the country, and across the water to China, Japan, India and Africa, to tell lost souls the way of salvation!

The seventh and final reason given is that D. L. Moody was definitely endued with Power from on High.
Torrey states that Moody had "a very clear and definite baptism with the Holy Ghost...he had no doubt about it.  In his early days he was a very busy man; he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power.  He worked largely in the energy of the flesh.

But after "seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost," Torrey states,
The power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and asked that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such hoy that at last he had to ask God to withhold his hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy.  He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him...
Moody would get discouraged when others squabbled about not needing a definite baptism of the Holy Ghost, saying:
Why don't they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need?  They are good teachers, they are wonderful teachers...but why will they not see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is just the one touch that they themselves need?
Oh, if we could recapture and put into practice these 7 areas, imagine how the Lord might move among us!  But this isn't easy - it requires a death to self, a putting away of distraction, a holy focus and fervor that the world will mock and oppose and attempt to quench. 
Yet may Moody's life stir us to action and zeal in these seven areas and may we would follow him as he followed Christ!

Why God Used D. L. Moody:
  1. A fully surrendered man
  2. A man of prayer
  3. A deep and practical student of the Bible
  4. A humble man
  5. Freedom from the love of money
  6. Passion for the lost
  7. Definite enduement of power from on high.


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