Friday, June 11, 2021

Living for the good of others!


It is reported that there are 7.5 billion people living on planet earth today and sad to say not many of them could say that they have never misappropriated something that belonged to another person i.e. that they have not committed theft. Possibly, the same could be said about lying but that is another subject.  

The eighth commandment is ‘Thou shalt not steal’, the sixth is ‘Thou shalt not kill’, the seventh ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’. So, God was precise in giving us an exact code of moral conduct for life.  

The definition of theft is to ‘dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it’. The word ‘theft’ covers many acts of misappropriation - larceny (theft of personal property), robbery, fraud (identity, benefits, expenses, mortgage, insurance etc), embezzlement and burglary.  

The writer received six strokes of the cane at senior school for stealing apples from the school orchard in common with any other person that has violated the eighth commandment. My other misdemeanours before conversion would be too shameful to share with you.  

George Muller was born in Germany in the early nineteenth century. His Father collected taxes for the government. When he was a boy of ten, he began stealing and even took some of the taxation money that his Father was responsible for. When fourteen years of age, as his mother lay dying, he was gambling and drinking and was involved in minor criminal activities. His Father wanted better for him and enrolled him in a similar occupation to his own. It was not until he came into contact with Christians at a prayer meeting that Muller began to consider the pathway of his life. Around twenty years of age he got on his knees and prayed to God for forgiveness; his life was dramatically changed. This young man who had previously deprived people of their money began a long life of providing for thousands of orphans. At Wilson Street in Bristol he and his wife rented a house where they cared for thirty orphan girls. They acquired three more houses in Wilson Street giving homes to over one hundred boys and girls. 

Eventually, complaints by the residents of Wilson Street cause them to look for larger premises and they found land at Ashley Down, Bristol. It was here, that in subsequent years they built five orphanages and accommodated over 1000 children at any one time. They had the facilities for double that. It is said that Muller and his wife cared for over 10,000 children in these homes. He also provided over 100 schools where 120,000 children benefited in their education. Muller never appealed for funds to provide either the houses or food for these orphans. When an orphan was old enough to leave the orphanage a tin trunk and two changes of clothing was provided for them as they launched out into independent living.  

At Alma Road in Bristol, Bethesda Chapel became the centre for Muller’s preaching having moved up from Teignmouth where he had learned to trust God alone to supply his needs.  During the last seventeen years of his life he travelled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout the world to preach and teach the word of God.  No appeals were made for finance for this travel, but a record of every item of expenditure was kept and recorded for accountability. In Mullers experience salvation brought a wonderful change not only in his life but for the benefit of thousands of others.  

Henry (Harry) Moorhouse was born in 1840 in the City of Manchester. When very young he was sent to jail on more than one occasion. He had become a pickpocket and frequented the race courses where he would steal wallets from unsuspecting punters. In 1860 when passing the Alhambra Circus in Manchester where Richard Weaver was preaching, he heard a noise and thought it was a fight taking place and went to join in. Instead of fighting he heard the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and was gloriously saved.  In his early days as a Christian he preached in the open air and public places and was helped by observing other preachers such as C H Spurgeon and D L Moody.  

Once, he wrote to Moody in Chicago and said that he wanted to preach there. Moody was going to be absent from Chicago for a couple of nights, so he allowed Moorhouse to preach. When Moody came home and heard Moorhouse preaching for another five nights on the same text each night he said that he learned how to preach the love of God. This affected Moody’s own preaching from then on. The text that Moorhouse preached on every night was John chapter three verse sixteen –‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’. Moorhouse died when he was forty years old but not only was his life changed as a result of his conversion to Christ but his preaching caused a massive change in many other lives. He is buried in Aldwick Cemetry, Manchester and the verse John chapter 3 verse 16 is engraved on his gravestone. 

When Jesus died on the cross at Calvary two thieves died alongside him that day. Both railed on Christ as they hung in agony on their cross. However, one thief began to recall why he was there and also started to consider why the man on the centre cross was there.

He came to realise that Jesus Christ had committed no wrong and so he said to the other thief ’Don’t you fear God . . . since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong’.  Then he said to Jesus ‘Remember me when You come in Your kingdom,’ Luke 23. 40-42. That thief had discovered that Christ is the King of a coming Kingdom and was saved.  He had stolen but he was forgiven and assured that he would be alive with Christ in paradise that very day. How did he know, I believe that God convinced him in his heart, mind and conscience, as he will do for you if are prepared to trust Him. 

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