Food 4 Thought by Marcia Dixon

Learn to love yourself too!

When asked by His disciples what was the greatest commandment, Jesus answered in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).

During the forthcoming Black History Month, it would be worthwhile for the Black community to focus on the subject of love.

Not the fuzzy, butterflies-in-the-stomach, weak-at-the knees kind of love that people feel when they meet a romantic partner, but rather love that is characterised by consistency, loyalty, strength of character, respect, self-control, boundaries, personal development, hope and faith.

Whenever people talk about Jesus’ perspective of what constitutes the greatest commandments, they either focus on loving God or loving others, but don’t necessarily focus on the self-loving aspect of this transformative commandment.

Can you imagine what the Black community would be like, if we loved ourselves like we loved our neighbours?   

For those of us who also love God, self-love would make us realise and take pride in the fact that we are a people, made in the image of a God who is just and who upholds mercy and truth. It would also help eradicate that sense of inferiority some Black people feel due to racism.

I found it fascinating when it was recently revealed in the media that slave masters used to remove certain books and chapters from the Bibles before giving them to slaves. They obviously understood the power of God’s Word, and recognised that by just reading Scripture, it would awaken in the people they enslaved cries for freedom and justice.  

It is apparent that those Black men and women, who fought for Black civil rights – whether from slavery, colonialism, apartheid or racism, whether Christian or not – recognised, subconsciously, that they were people of worth and value, that they were not subservient or inferior to other races, and that they should be allowed to determine their own future by pursuing the ambitions and goals they wanted to. In effect, they loved themselves.

In the current age we live in, and in light of some of the issues and problems the Black community in Britain is facing, self-love, not of a narcissistic, selfish kind, but a self-love that is empowering, respectful of self and others, and which encourages greater self-awareness, could play a part in bringing about the social change we desire.  

It would make people feel better about themselves, cause them to acknowledge that they are people of worth, promote inner peace, and encourage them to maximise their God-given potential – in spite of the difficulties and obstacles they face.

Love for self should not stop us from loving our neighbour, whom we should see as our equal and, of course, love for God should always be paramount.

Self love will change us, love for God will help us change the world.

First ever Destined to Soar Women’s Conference to take place

I am currently organising the first ever Destined to Soar Women’s Conference, which is scheduled to take place on October 12 at The ARC, Forest Gate, London.

The conference theme is ‘Being All You Can Be’, and will encourage women to dig deep into God, use their gifts and talents to impact society, and be a witness for the Lord. I’m excited about it, and believe it will provide a great place of sharing, fellowship and networking.

When I joined forces with Keep The Faith magazine to host the DTS Women’s Breakfasts, I never envisaged that 1) I would get such a broad range of women attending; 2) it would have such a transformative impact on the women who attended, and 3) I’d end up hosting a Women’s conference.

I felt led to start a series of breakfasts that would help women develop their leadership skills and hear practical information on how to build successful ministries. I have now hosted a total of 11 breakfasts, with attendees coming from across the UK and, most importantly, the feedback has been positive. The information learnt has caused many to take their careers, businesses and ministries to a new level.

It’s my prayer and aim that people have a good experience at the conference, and that they leave having made some new friends, renewed their confidence, learnt some insights on how to have a greater impact for God in the world, and deepened their spiritual walk.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Focus on His story, not yours

Christians, who are given the honour of preaching the Gospel, should recognise they are called to share the Gospel story, not their story.

I am hearing increasing numbers of people state that many of the sermons they are hearing these days are loosely based on Scripture, with the preacher focusing on sharing spiritual truths based on anecdotes from their life.  

It’s so easy in the age of motivational speakers, personal development and the desire for inspiration rather than correction, for some speakers to focus on telling their story to illustrate spiritual matters.  

It’s the Word of the Bible that changes people, transforms hearts, and saves people from sin. So, any speaker who thinks their story is as important as God’s Word, I’d implore them to think again, and remind them that God’s Word will remain long after you and I leave this earth. 

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