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good books imageThe Diary of George Müller : Great Man of Prayer. By A.J. Rendle Short. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1972. 128 pp.
Review by Dr Ng Peh Cheng

 The book is a fascinating compilation of experiences of George Müller that demonstrate the meaning and practice of living a life  “less by sight” and “more by faith”  believing that nothing was too great for God of the Christian faith.  The purpose of keeping a diary of his faith in God is to “speak well of His name” and for the benefits of the readers, “that thus my beloved fellow-pilgrims, who may read this, may be encouraged to trust in Him” (p. 35).  

George grew up in a wealthy home but not in a Christian family.  In Chapter I, he gave accounts of his sinful lifestyle without Christ especially in his habits and attitudes toward money,

My father, who educated his children on worldly principles gave us much money. . . . The result was, that it led me and my brother into many sins. . . . For before I was ten years old I repeatedly took of the government money which was entrusted to my father, and which he had to make up (p. 7).

The sinful act followed him even when he was a student of divinity at Halle University, “When my money was spent, I pawned my watch and a part of my linen and clothes, or borrowed in other ways. . . . I had no sorrow of heart on account of offending God” (p. 13).  The turning point of his life came about when a friend invited him to a Christian meeting and subsequently he acknowledged that the “Lord began a work of grace” in him (p. 17) and experienced a transformation in his life and sought to live according to the Holy Scriptures,

Now my life became very different, though all sins were not given up at once. My wicked companions were given up; the going to taverns was entirely discontinued; the habitual practice of telling falsehood was no longer indulged in (p.17).

He has a warning for young believers not to repeat his mistake of reading “religious books in preference to the Scriptures” (p. 21) but to develop the habit of reading the Bible because, “God Himself has condescended to become an author . . . which His Holy Spirit has caused to be written through the instrumentality of  His servants and it contains that which I ought to know” (p. 22).  And the lack of knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is not to know the fundamental points of the Christian faith and may keep believers from “walking steadily in the ways of the Lord” (pp. 22, 23) and not knowing the Lord’s will for his or her life,

To ascertain the Lord’s will we ought to use scriptural means.  Prayer, the Word of God, and His Spirit should be united together.  We should go to the Lord repeatedly in prayer, and ask Him to teach us by His Spirit through His Word. I say, by His Spirit through His Word. For if we should think that His Spirit led us to do so and so, because certain facts are so and so, and yet His Word is opposed to the step which we are going to take, we should be deceiving ourselves (p. 19).

A great portion of the book (Chapter II) is entirely devoted to detailed accounts of the Lord’s unfailing provisions for the building and maintenance of three orphanages. Two more orphanages were added making a total of five! (Chapter III). The orphanages were Müller’s desire to serve the poor to glorify God only and he makes a clear distinction between asking for money and answering when asked,

I certainly did from my heart desire to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek, in other respects, with the help of God to do them good for this life; I also particularly longed to be used by God in getting the dear orphans trained up in, the fear of God; but still the first and primary object of the work was (and still is), that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-labourers, whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, AND HEARS PRAYER STILL (p. 47).

Reading through every single entry in his diary of the Lord’s supply is an experience of wonder and awe but readers may have different views on whether financial needs should be made known to others or to commit them to prayer alone.  Readers may also find the details of his accounts laborious to read.  Muller had this to explain that his accounts did not, “contain anecdotes for amusement . . . [or] embellished tales; [but] facts in which the hand of God is seen stretched out on our behalf, as the result of prayer and faith” (p. 97).  His faithfulness in recounting the Lord’s bountiful supply is a valuable testimony to strengthen His servants to trust Him wholly and to have the courage to take God at His word and to rely upon it.

The example of George Muller’s spirituality should be read by those who are seeking to know what spiritual formation is and is not.  For instance, his life followed the principle of close obedience to God consistently in his church order, ministry, preaching, family life and civic duties as a citizen.  He also made a distinction between the gift of faith and the grace of faith in the context of praying for healing (p.36).

The book may be an old publication but it still holds a message for the present generation,

If Müller were alive today it is certain that he would repeat with the utmost emphasis what he was never tired of teaching, that God is still the living God, the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; not of George Müller only, but of every humble Christian. But he would also repeat, with equal emphasis, that to make up our own minds about taking a certain course without the very clearest indications that it is a God-directed course, and then to expect Him to supply our financial and other needs, is the counterfeit of faith; it is sheer presumption (p. 127).

Welcome to BGST, Dr Bruce Milne!

We are glad that Dr Milne, brother of Dr Douglas Milne, is able to pay a quick visit to BGST. He has served with the church in East Africa, UK, and Canada where he was Senior Minister of the First Baptist Church in Vancouver. He has lectured in Spurgeon’s College, London, and Regent College.

Register NOW for “The Calling & Work of A Pastor” by Dr Bruce Milne (AT253, 1.5 credits) will be commencing on 16 November, 7.15pm - 10.15 pm. This course covers 4 consecutive nights at Bishan campus. You can still register by calling us at 63538071.

Tourism Up

The number of tourists visiting Israel during the High Holy Days in September was 119,600, 32 percent higher than in the same month of 2003, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported last Monday. Tourist entries were down 33 percent compared to August figures, and 19 percent compared to July.

Some 1.2 million tourists arrived during the first nine months of 2004, 52 percent more than in the previous year.

The International Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2004

CHAPEL NOTES

On 10 November, Dr Quek Swee Hwa shared on the theme of “Striving for Excellence” from 2 Cor. 8:1-15. Excellence is not just something that one accrues to oneself but as in the passage preached, it is giving not only of money, but also service and one’s life to God. Dr Quek ended by pointing out from Psalm 8:1 that striving for excellence is striving for God Himself.

Chapel Speaker on 17 November will be Mr Andrew Lee Boon Hui who is working toward the MCS at BGST. 

NEWS BITS

  1. New Admissions.

  • Mr. Loy Chin Fen is working toward the Dip CS at BGST. He has a BA in architectural studies from The National University of Singapore and worships at Bethesda (Bedok Tampines). He was a copyeditor with IMPACT Christian Communications before he resigned for full time studies at BGST.

  • Mr. Peter Lim is visually handicapped but that has not deterred him from working toward the Dip CS at BGST. He worships at the Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church. Both he and his wife, Siew Hong, desire to serve as missionaries to the visually handicapped in a cross-cultural context.

  • Mr. Tan Swee Meng is a student in the Dip CS. He is an engineer and has obtained his degrees from the National University of Singapore (M.Sc) and Nanyang Technological University (B. Eng.) He is married with three children and serving as an active lay leader at the Redeemer Baptist Church.

  1. BGST Offices & Library will be closed during the week of 22nd to 27th November for the big move to our new premises at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd. If you are able to help with unpacking, please call Serene at 63538071 by 19 November.

BGST GENERAL FUND UPDATE:

Budget for the month of Nov 2004 = $ 52,391

Funds received to-date (12 Nov)   = $ 16,395  

Funds needed for current month   = $ 35,996  

Budget for Oct - Dec 2004           = $271,735

A Blessed Birthday to…

Mr Richard Yew  16/11

Ms Cherine Tan   17/11

Mr Peter Yeo  17/11

Mr Donald Ng  19/11

Mr Roland Yip  20/11

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This page is updated on 13 Nov 2004. 
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