Thy Kingdom Come

Today is the start of the 11 day world wide prayer initiative called Thy Kingdom Come. Along with intentionally praying for 5 people who you would love to see come to believe in Jesus as their Saviour, there are daily reflections and short Bible studies. You can sign up to these on the Thy Kingdom Come website to receive a daily email. The daily video reflections can be viewed here:

What happens when Johnny Depp loses everything?

That is the title of an article written by Dr Luke Martin, reflecting on where people find their identity. The article is below and was originally published on the LICC website:

What Happens when Johnny Depp Loses Everything?

It feels like everywhere I look online, I’m confronted with posts and videos dissecting Johnny Depp’s legal case against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. There’s commentary on who’s winning the PR battle, video compilations of the most dramatic moments, and the opinions of various celebrities on the case.

In brief: in 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce against Depp and accused him of physical abuse. Given the horror of domestic abuse, many were confused and angry to think the Hollywood star could have stooped to such evil. Depp claimed the accusation was untrue and is now suing Heard for defamation.

The trial is yet to complete, but Depp has stated he’s already ‘lost everything’; his career and reputation have been ruined by the allegations.

I’m too far away from the facts of the case to make a judgment on who is ‘in the right’: Depp, Heard, or neither. But I’m left reflecting on Depp’s words about the state he finds himself in. What happens to the identity of one of the most famous men on the planet when he feels like he’s ‘lost everything’? What is he left with?

Another person in the public eye is the recently retired Irish rugby player Andrew Trimble. During an interview with the BBC, Trimble, a man of Christian faith, states that although he loves the game, he is ‘defined by something more important’. His faith supported him when he was omitted from the 2015 Rugby World Cup due to injury. Faith gives him an ‘eternal perspective’, which makes him happier whilst playing the sport. If his career comes crashing down, due to injury or whatever else, all is not lost.

The Christian message declares that all human life is valuable because we are created and loved by God. Although God’s gifted us all in various and diverse ways, our ultimate identity needn’t rest in what we do and whatever benefits come from it. I don’t know Depp’s religious views, but I do know this is good news for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, as it is for Andrew Trimble, and for me.

In practice, if we let this message transform us, the people we encounter in our daily lives may be surprised and curious to find that although we work hard and aim to achieve success in life, we’ve found treasure that is greater than any job title, fame, or promotion. Perhaps that’s treasure our culture is hungry for.

Dr Luke Martin
Founder, The Creed and Culture Project. For more info on CCP’s event on ‘Identity’ on 18 June, see here.

Originally published here:

Election Day

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. — 1 Timothy 2:1–2 NIV

Today is the day we have the privilege and responsibility to vote for our local leaders. The apostle Paul urged the people of his day to pray for their Roman rulers and oppressors. He urged the Christian community to not only pray for the Roman leaders who were persecuting them, but to pray for blessings on them. Paul also called the believers to pray for the leaders with thanksgiving so that peace might reign. Let us follow Paul’s instruction to pray for our leaders – but not just today, but every day.

Praying for Putin

If you have been wondering how to pray about the war in the Ukraine, and more specifically, how to pray for Putin, Mark Greene from LICC offers some helpful thoughts. This post is used with permission and the original post can be found here:

Praying for Putin

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
Their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.

Psalm 5:9

Remind you of anyone?

There’s nothing like a real-life dictator who’s indifferent to the misery and mayhem he wreaks to bring David’s conflict psalms to life. Indeed, whilst it is deeply unwise to suppose that God is on any particular side in a war, there are times when, despite our own sinfulness and rebellion, the evil of one side is so clear that we can be as sure as any human can that God stands against it. ‘The bloodthirsty and the deceitful you, Lord, detest.’ (Psalm 5:6)

How we then pray for Putin is another question. In the weeks before the war, I prayed that God might raise up an Esther to whisper restraint into his life. I prayed that God might humble him as he humbled Nebuchadnezzar. And I hoped that the Lord in his mercy was not using him like the King of Assyria to discipline us for our rebellion (Isaiah 7:17).

As ever, the psalms help us pray.

First, we must be honest, as David is – calling out the actions and attitudes of his enemies as he sees them. Putin is a self-absorbed, conscience-less, cunning despot and many of us have no doubt felt, as Bonhoeffer did in relation to Hitler, that his death would be the swiftest way to reduce the suffering of literally tens of millions of people. I find no contradiction in praying for his salvation and his removal from power, though I find myself unable to ask for his death.

Second, the psalmists are honest with God about their vengeful, murderous feelings towards their enemies. We may well have similar feelings. And whilst it is right to repent of them swiftly, it is also right to express them to God – he knows anyway. And when we don’t process such feelings about our enemies, it only gets harder to genuinely want God’s best for them.

Third, David reminds us that we are not in control. God is. And justice will indeed one day be done. In the meantime, we pray for a swift resolution to the war, the protection of the innocent, wisdom and courage for our leaders, homes for the refugees, and healing for all from the sulphuric ravages of this diabolic tyranny.

Mark Greene,  Mission Champion, LICC

Original post: