THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Fri, July 20, 2018 16:36:39
Humanism is on the rise in the UK. More and more people, it seems, are opting for Humanist burials and weddings, where any reference to God is scrupulously avoided.
The irony, of course, is that Humanism has its own deity - and the clue is in the name! Having ruled out the possibility of a higher power or creative personality, humanists have turned their worship towards the human spirit. The Bible describes this attitude as 'worshipping and serving the creation, rather than the creator'
To quote from the Humanist Society Scotland website, "Humanists believe that the solutions to the world's problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention".
In other words, man is his own saviour. It follows that the human being is the sole arbiter of right and wrong, the measure of morality and the object of living. Man's opinion is gospel, his needs are paramount, his word is law. Humanists fail to see that they have simply displaced one god with another!
Human beings were made to worship. As mankind moved further away from God they worshipped planets, stars, mountains, rivers, trees, animals, fish, insects, snakes ... and themselves. Only the absolutes of the Christian Gospel can restore man to a right relationship with God - a relationship where human beings have a dignity and purpose, because they were created in the image of God Himself.
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Tue, May 15, 2018 16:54:00
Our morning reading today was Psalm 82. Asaph writes this Psalm about justice. He bemoans the injustices of earth, and pleads with God to step in and judge righteously. One phrase stood out: all the foundations of the earth are out of course
(v5). Asaph feels that the whole earth is wobbling, because there is no moral foundation in the justice system.
Well, he could be writing about 2018. Injustices seem to abound, and moral absolutes are ridiculed. Truths that have blessed our nation for centuries are now discarded as bigoted and worthless. No wonder things feel wobbly. Stability demands righteous foundations.
As a Christian, my personal foundation can never wobble! I am founded on Christ - His Person and His Work. There will be no movement there, despite the changing standards and mores of our godless society. And one day a King will reign in righteousness. Justice and righteousness will be the hallmarks of the future reign of the Lord Jesus. We pray: Thy kingdom come!
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Wed, August 23, 2017 09:46:52
1700s Britain was an ugly place. By common consent, standards of decency and public morality were incredibly low. Visitors from mainland Europe were astonished and disgusted by the filth, coarseness and debauchery on display on London's streets. Images by Hogarth, such as Gin Lane depict a society on the brink of collapse. Lawlessness and robbery was rife, leading Hugh Walpole to observe, "One is forced to travel, even at noon, as if one were going to battle".
Despite all its well documented faults, the Victorian era saw an amazing change in society and attitudes. Slavery had been abolished, education was widely available to the poor, the penal code had been reformed, Sunday Schools were common in every parish, charities - such as Barnardo's Homes, NSPCC, YMCA - had been established. Knowledge of the Bible was widespread.
What made the difference? No doubt there were many factors, but without a doubt the main driving force for change was what is now referred to as the Wesleyan Revival of the 1700s.
John Wesley was converted in 1738. Immediately he set about spreading the Gospel message throughout the UK. By the time of his death in 1791, Wesley had travelled 250,000 miles on horseback, from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands, preaching the Gospel. Thousands were converted, and social change followed hard on the heels of the revival. Given a new hope and purpose in living, the new converts saw the world in a different way - and society was changed.
Sadly, today's UK society is reverting to the disastrous model of the 1700's. What we need today - more than ever - is a genuine evangelical revival. When people are converted, everyone benefits. Let us pray that the Gospel Wesley preached will be preached without fear, and that the God of John Wesley will change our society again!
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Wed, August 09, 2017 12:06:06
My daily reading at the moment is in the Old Testament First book of Kings.
I've noticed how that the reigns of many kings of Judah / Israel are recorded concisely, in a matter of a few verses. No doubt important rulers in their day, but meriting only the briefest of glances in the Word of God. The salient points of their reigns were not their military might or material wealth. Rather the Bible focuses on their relationship with God.
When all is said and done, that is surely all that matters. In one hundred years from now, most of us will be totally forgotten. Any legacy we think we will leave will have long faded. Things that interest / obsess us today will be totally meaningless. What will remain eternally is our standing with God.
I'm encouraged today to try to view things from an eternal standpoint. To get my priorities re-calibrated. To focus on what really matters. Around 2000 years ago Paul wrote: We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18)
Let's live today with eternity in view.
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Sat, July 29, 2017 15:19:50
Our Bible Study last night focused on the five brave souls who stood by the cross of Jesus while He suffered (John 19:25-27). Not an easy place to be ...
Four of the five were women, and the fifth was John, the only one of the twelve disciples present.
The four women were -
1. Mary (mother of the Lord)
2. Mary's sister
3. Mary the wife of Cleophas
4. Mary Magdalene
We know very little about the middle two, but we have details of the first and the last named women - and what a contrast they were! Mary (mother of the Lord), although a sinner like us all, was a godly young virgin chosen by God to bring Jesus into the world. Mary Magdalene, on the other hand, had known the darkness of demon-possession and immoral living. And yet both stand together at the cross.
The fellowship of the cross brings surprising people together! They were there because they loved the Lord, and although they could do nothing, and say nothing, at least they could stand with Him in His hour of suffering and shame. He meant everything to them, and they were prepared to endure the shame of the cross just to stand by His side.
God recorded their actions. Heaven was pleased with the stance they took. They will have an eternal reward - just for standing at the right place, at the right time.
Our Lord is still rejected and despised by the world. It is our privilege to stand by His cross, to take our stance - humbly, publicly, unapologetically - with Him. It will run contrary to current political correctness and media-driven liberal morality, but it will be noted and appreciated in Heaven.
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Wed, June 07, 2017 10:14:19
There is a scandal that has been around for over 2000 years. It has never made the front page of any tabloid, but has affected the lives of millions. It doesn't involve any celebs, although some are scandalized by it.
It's the scandal of the cross.
Paul, writing to the Galatians, refers to 'the offence [scandal] of the cross' (5:11). People find the cross offensive, scandalous.
Why is the cross of Christ a scandalous thing? There are a number of reasons:
1. It was a shameful death - to be crucified was the lowest, most shameful form of execution. To accept a crucified Saviour means we must swallow our pride.
2. It was a substitutionary death - when Christ died on the cross He became the substitute for all who believe in Him. The cross reminds me of my guilt and sinfulness.
3. It was a representative death - as a Christian, I died with Him. I died to sin, to self, to the world.
4. It was a judicial death - in the cross, God judged me and all that I stand for. The cross tells me that I am nothing.
Naturally, we don't like the message of the cross - and yet we need it! Whether an unbeliever or a believer, all God has to say to us is bound up in the cross.
In the very same letter to the Galatians, Paul says that he 'glories' [boasts] in the cross (6:14). What is naturally a scandalous thing has become a glorious thing!
Am I offended by the message of the cross, or do I glory in it?
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Thu, January 12, 2017 14:24:05
January can be a bleak month, after the festive season. The decorations are down, the weather's cold, and the days are still short. It takes time to get back into routine again - and, if like me you've had the flu for two weeks, it can seem a bit dreary!
January can, however, teach us valuable lessons. It's a new start, a fresh page. An opportunity to press the reset button on our lives. For me, it's also an opportunity to start a new Bible reading plan for the year. This year I'm using the One Year Bible published by Tyndale. It brings together daily readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, and covers the entire Bible in 12 months. Really enjoying it so far.
Part of today's reading is from Genesis 26, all about Isaac digging wells. Most will know that Abraham was famous for building altars. Jacob was famous for erecting pillars. With Isaac it's digging wells.
In the Middle East securing a reliable water supply was vital. In our lives, it is no less vital to have a refreshing supply of spiritual water. In the Bible still water often speaks of the Word of God; living (or running) water often speaks of the Spirit of God. The two cannot be separated. As I turn to the Word of God, so the Holy Spirit refreshes me and satisfies my thirst. It does, however, require some effort on my part. Digging wells has never been a desk job. May we resolve in 2017 to dig wells in the Bible and find the refreshment we need for each day. Have you sorted out your Bible reading plan yet?
THINKING SCRIPTUREPosted by Douglas J H Mowat Wed, November 16, 2016 09:23:35
Reading in Genesis 28 this morning, I was impressed by the words of the Lord to Jacob: "For I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you" (v15).
These words remind us of the grace of God. Jacob had not covered himself with glory so far! In the previous chapter he had deceived his father Isaac in order to get the firstborn blessing. In the coming years he would display traits that most would find unattractive. Yet God in His grace makes this wonderful promise - a promise not dependant on Jacob's merits. As Christians, we too are the objects of the grace of God. The blessings we enjoy spring from His free grace, and have certainly not been earned by us!
We are also reminded of the purposes of God. Unknown to Jacob, God had a masterplan for his life - a plan that would not only bless Jacob and his descendants, but "all families of the earth" (v14). God is working to a masterplan in our lives too. Paul reminds us that "all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom.8:28).
Finally, we see in this the faithfulness of God. Jacob would have many slips and mistakes in his life, but God would be faithful to His promise. Jacob could depend on His word and be assured of His presence. We too can rely on a God who is completely and utterly dependable, and whose word cannot be broken - "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor.1:9).
Let's make this promise our own today, and enjoy the presence of a God of grace, purpose and faithfulness!