Food 4 Thought by Marcia Dixon

It’s all about love in 2014

With February being the month of love, people’s minds will, unsurprisingly, turn to issues of sex, love and marriage.

There’s no doubt that 21st century relationships are hard going. Numerous singles experience difficulties finding love, whilst numerous married couples are finding it hard to stay in love. This is true of the Christian community also.

Relationships – whether with God, our family, friends, significant others – are the cornerstone of life. In fact, they are what makes life worth living, and there’s a correct way to handle this area of our lives so that our relationships are enriching, life-enhancing, loving and beneficial.

Let’s make 2014 the year we really work on learning how to build strong relationships – firstly with God, then ourselves and with others. And, if we need guidance on how to do this, then we need look no further than 1 Corinthians 13.

If, as Christians, we endeavour to follow the truths contained in this Scripture, we will find that we will experience much better relationships and, in the process, encourage others to glorify our Father in Heaven.

So let’s do it.

God has a purpose for you in 2014

This is my first Food for Thought column for 2014 – a year I have welcomed and am looking forward to, no matter what happens.

A new year should always be embraced – even if the preceding year was a terrible one – because a new year provides an opportunity to physically and metaphorically leave the past behind and embrace, what one hopes to be, a positive future. In fact, the moment the year changes from 2013 to 2014, you’ve entered a new season, however you feel, so it makes sense to make the most of it.

A new year brings with it a chance to set new goals, pursue new opportunities, leave behind the hurts and bad experiences of the previous year, and embrace the good things one hopes a new year will bring. It’s even better when God is in the mix.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”’

These are Scriptures that many Christians – and non-Christians for that matter – have taken to their hearts, as it’s important to believe that God has some good things in our future. And, in order to experience what’s written in the above verse, one has to believe it, for the truth of the matter is that oftentimes the only difference between having a successful year and an unsuccessful year is one’s mindset.

Whilst no-one knows what the future holds, there are steps we can take to build a prosperous and hopeful future.

  • Believe that God has your life in His hands, that He has everything under control, that He is with you through the good times and the bad,and is working out everything for your good.
  • Bring every aspect of your life to God through prayer. He will direct your path, help you make the right decisions, and strengthen and comfort you when life gets tough.
  • Let go of emotional baggage, and forgive those who have hurt, betrayed and despitefully used you. Don’t give such individuals free space in your head.
  • If you are a person of faith, be prepared to take God-inspired risks. If God has given you dreams and visions to fulfil, He will give you the resources you need to do so.
  • See every experience – the good, the bad and the ugly – as something from which you’ll learn a life lesson with which you can help, encourage, support or counsel someone else.
  • Enjoy your life, your family; laugh, have fun, travel, try new foods, make new friends, take up a sport, listen to music, go out. Basically, live life to the full.
  • Love God, love others and love yourself, because in so doing you fulfil God’s greatest commandments.

Have a great 2014.

Bridging the gap between church and politics

I read an interesting blog by political activist, Lee Jasper, recently, which accused Britain’s Black churches of being more in love with mammon and materialism, as opposed to pursuing equality and social justice.

It’s a sad day when community leaders and members of the general public start to believe that churches are more concerned in filling its coffers with money than saving souls.

It’s obvious that, like their American counterparts, many people here in the UK want the Black church to fulfil a quasipolitical role, which entails not just preaching the Gospel, but combatting social injustice, and serving as advocates for the poor and the powerless – very noble and worthy aims.

Lee-jasper

Whilst there are, unfortunately, churches that exist, whose sole aim is to make money, I’ll stick my head above the parapet to say that they are far outweighed by churches that seek to fulfil the tenets of the Gospel. And, whilst they may not be involved in politics in an overt way, they do their best to serve as advocates for the people in their pastoral care, and support the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged, both practically and spiritually.

Maybe it’s time for those involved in Black politics, who want to engage the support of the churches for some of their endeavours, to find ways to bridge the gulf between the Church and Britain’s Black political classes.

Meet them for lunch, visit their churches, invite them to your events. Maybe, just maybe, support from churches might be more forthcoming if Black politicians started building mutually beneficial relationships with the Church. They might be pleasantly surprised at how their attempts to build bridges are welcomed.

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