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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Today, my wife and I travelled, by bus, to Livingston.  The journey lasts for about an hour, so she advised me to take a book to read.  The book that I was almost finished reading had only a chapter left, so that wasn't going to be of any use.  I quickly scanned my bookshelves - and spotted a book that I had acquired (I suspect that it was a 'freebie'!) some time back, but that had since been neglected.  It is a book that tells the story of George Müller of Bristol (although he was Prussian by birth and upbringing).

It is also a book that has already grabbed my attention, and already has a number of passages highlighted.  Very early in the narrative, we are provided with a brief synopsis of the subject who was born in 1805, and who departed this earthly life in 1898 - a true 19th century man.  The final part of the synopsis reads: "... the last six years were used of God in mellowing and maturing his Christian character."  So, a man of God, whose name has become almost a by-word for believing prayer, and who was in his 93rd year of mortal life when he was called home, was mellowed and matured in his Christian character in the final six of those years!

Actually, when I gave the matter some further thought, I realised that the idea isn't really so strange!  Although not yet close to the age at which George Müller was promoted to glory, I am certainly past the fresh flush of youth - both physically and spiritually!   However, it is as I have become less young (I refuse to be 'old'!) that I have found myself drawn closer to the Lord, and spending more time in His Word, than I have ever done before.  How mellow and mature I am becoming is something that others are better equipped to judge.

Why should this be?  Well, I speculate!  However, I suspect that it has something to do with the increasing awareness that I am closer to my heavenly reward today than I have ever been before!  Now, I know that that has always been true, but I seem to be becoming increasingly aware of it.  And not simply aware of it, but looking forward to it with increasing anticipation. 

I have a regret.  That regret is that I have waited so long to reach this stage.  By the way, I am not claiming anything even remotely like 'perfection'.  I may joke about that ("I used to be conceited, but now I'm perfect", etc.) but I am fully aware of the reality.  However, as a 'one-liner' that came to me, many years ago, puts it: "In this world, I shall never be sinless but, by the grace of God, I may sin less!"   When I confess my sin during my private devotions, and receive the forgiveness that has already been gained for me at Calvary, I also ask that the Lord would continue His work of sanctification in me.  (That, by the way, is a word that means, basically, being made more like Jesus.  I deal with it more fully in the first book in the "Getting to know you" series - details in the heading to the blog!).

It is unlikely - although not impossible (the Lord has a great sense of humour!) - that I will ever enjoy the spiritual stature of a George Müller.  However, I will be content to walk a little more closely to my Saviour each day.  My advice, and encouragement, to others is not to leave it until you are my age.  Spend more time with Him, now.  Read your Bible (or listen to recordings!) in a systematic way.  Ask yourself questions about the passage that you have read - "What does this passage teach me about the character of God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all three?"  "What is this passage saying to me as an individual?"  "Is this passage pointing out a specific sin that requires to be dealt with?"   Don't 'say prayers' - pray!   Keep a list of prayer subjects for daily prayer; another one for weekly prayer (and the day of the week on which those people will be prayed for, or situations prayed about!).  Spend a few minutes, at the beginning, moving into His presence.  It all helps to draw you closer to Him - and that can only ever be for your good!

You will be blessed - you can't be otherwise.  I encourage you to do it - you know it makes sense!

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