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June 13th, 2015

Like An Eagle I Will Fly

Like An Eagle I Will Fly

“who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” [Psalm 103:5] — Eagles become stronger, bolder, their eyes sharper, younger and soar higher as they grow older. So feel young and strong as days go by. We have a good life for scores +10.

“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” [Psalm 18:29] — When mighty winds blow Eagle uses its power to scale greater heights. Use the tribulations to soar higher and see God.

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives..But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation” [Galatians 5:16-18] — Eagles never attack their enemy (snake) or prey on the land, rather they take off to the sky and tear them to pieces. Fight your war in the SPIRITUAL REALM…the battle belongs to the LORD.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” [Isaiah 40:31] — In all these put all your Hope in the Lord and Lord alone. In Christ alone my Hope is found; he is my light, my strength, my song.

Listen to the Don Moen song Lead Me Through The Night

– – – written by Cecilia Francis

March 15th, 2015

Things To Do During Lent

Things to do during lent

Lent – These 40 days before Easter are a wonderful time to rethink everything and to allow ourselves to take up our crosses as Christ once did. Watch this lent video showing 40 days of Jesus in the desert.

1. Decide on your Lenten sacrifice

Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the desert; our sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice of self Jesus made to save us from our sins. Because of this, it is a Lenten tradition to sacrifice something for these 40 days. Think about all the trivial things in your life that shift your focus away from God. Do you find that you dedicate more time to sending text messages and posting status updates than to prayer and time with God? Do you have a habit of eating junk food excessively? What is something your life could do without? Prepare for Lent.

2. Include something special in your Lenten routine

Giving up chocolate or Facebook for 40 days is great, but why not do something positive, too, instead of just removing the negative? Resolve to spend more time volunteering, with your family, pray more, or somehow get in touch with your faith. Some families decide to set aside their spare change during these 40 days and do something with that money. Either donate it to the church or to a local charity, or spend it on goods for those in need. It’s a nice touch to this season, focusing on those that don’t have anything to sacrifice in the first place. Think about what Lent means to me.

3. Attend Mass as often as possible

In addition to weekly Sunday service, it’s good to go to church frequently, especially during Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when we remember that we come from dust and to dust we shall return. Many traditions often have an additional worship service in mid-week, and attendance at these services is a good way to participate in Lent.

4. Go to Reconciliation

Reconciliation, or Confession, is a wonderful way to turn away from sin and reunite yourself with Christ. If you don’t already, try getting into the habit of going to Confession on a regular basis. The Catholic Church has made it obligatory that all the faithful receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year and once during the season of Lent, though it’s recommended that you attend Confession at least once a month if possible. Your church probably offers weekly confessional services, if not more during this time of year. If you’re not sure when to go, pick up a local bulletin or just make a quick phone call! You can schedule private confessions as well. Understand that Lent is the path to freedom.

5. Spend time on devotions

Though not required, devotions are a great way to put yourself in the right mindset for Lent. The Church highly encourages Adoration of God or the veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. Your local parish probably has regular Eucharistic Adoration, where you can go to sit and engage in deep prayer, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. To practice veneration, you could say a decade of the Rosary daily, or pray to your patron saint. Any prayer, so long as it means something to you, is a step in the direction God intended. If you have a prayer you’ve grown up with that speaks to you, resolve to spend more time focusing on what it truly means and how you can embody that prayer in your everyday life.

6. Take time for self-examination and reflection

Christmas and Easter are times of happiness and joy; while the preceding and succeeding seasons are cheery and bright, the same cannot be said about Lent. It is a time of simplicity and solemnity. It is a time to reflect on your dependence on God’s mercy and your understanding of faith. Take moments during this time to think about how you embody Christ’s message. To top it all off, Lent, in most climes, is during winter — when just a look out the window is a somber reminder of the tribulations Jesus went through for our happiness.

7. Fast and abstain

All Catholics aged fourteen and older are asked to abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays, though fish is allowed to be eaten. Additionally, Catholics aged 18-59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Lenten Fridays, meaning that only one full meal may be eaten in the day. Of course, do this however you feel is safe and effective. Some people should definitely not fast (the pregnant or the elderly, for example). If fasting isn’t a reasonable option for you, fast from something other than food. Make sure it’s something that’s a challenge — like your phone or email — so you can feel the sacrifice you’re making. Read about what to give up for lent.

8. Take something on

While many people choose to give harmful things up for Lent, you could use the season to help you build good habits. You could promise to be more patient and kind toward your neighbor, or you could vow to help the needy. Whether you choose to sacrifice or to adopt new, strengthening habits, you should allow your Lenten promises to help you grow in faith and virtue. In addition to bettering your own life, take this time to build habits that better the lives of others. Volunteer at a hospital or shelter, or simply get more active in your church by offering to greet, read, or take care of the offerings.

9. Have a Seder meal

Though some see it as largely a Jewish tradition, that is not the case! On Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, many Catholics have a seder meal, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus — the very last day of Lent. You eat the “meal” in silence, reflecting on your Lenten experiences with unleavened bread and wine (or grape juice). How has this Lent changed you? If you’d like to get a little historical with it, try including matzah (unleavened bread), maror (horseradish root), egg, or haroset (apple, spice, and red wine mixture) as part of your meal.

10. Promote a communal alms-giving project

Many communities choose to partake in something like Operation Rice Bowl during this season, offering help to those communities that are in need. It’s possible your Church already has something like this going on — but if not, start the ball rolling yourself! This is the perfect time to focus on bettering the world, just as Jesus did. Any charity in the area can be the basis of your project. All you need to do is get your parish on board. Talk to your priest and see if he can help urge the masses to get behind a good cause.

11. Add purple adornments to your living space

The color of Lent is purple – a quick stroll by any church will make that abundantly clear. Add a few touches of deep, royal purple into your home to remind you that these 40 days are quite meaningful. But do keep it simple — Lent is hardly a time for overabundance. A few purple candles, a purple table runner — nothing too gaudy, eye-catching, or unnecessary. It’s a time of reserve and preparation for growth. Save the excess for Easter!

12. Make a Lenten calendar

Such a calendar will help you to focus on the progression of the Lenten season and is a neat reminder to see the days ticking away, getting closer and closer to Jesus’ resurrection. Lent is 40 days long and doesn’t include Sundays. It ends the Friday before Easter (the last day being Holy Thursday); count backwards from there. Hang the calendar in a common area in your home. Every day, tick off a box. As you get closer and closer to Easter, how do you find yourself feeling? Are your sacrifices becoming more or less difficult to maintain? Read more on Family Lent Calendar.

13. Have a weekly sacrifice meal

In addition to fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, have a “sacrifice meal” once each week. A simple bowl of rice and glass of milk instead of your family’s traditional spread. Limiting yourself to this will remind you of what’s normal for you — highlighting that it isn’t normal for others. The things we so easily forget! Again, only partake in diet restrictions if it’s advisable for you. If you’re not sure, it’s wise to consult a doctor beforehand. Jesus doesn’t want you sacrificing your health!

14. Burn palms from last year’s Palm Sunday

At the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday, burn the palms you have from last year’s Palm Sunday. Keep them in a bowl at your dining room table (or wherever they could serve as a reminder) to reflect on Jesus’ life and death. As you eat each meal, you’ll feel a natural urge of gratitude for the splendor that you have.

November 16th, 2014

10 Rules To Make Your Marriage Stronger

Rules To Make Your Marriage Stronger

Here are 10 rules to make your christian marriage stronger and smoother.

End the Day With a Clean Slate

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Make it a goal to clear the air with your spouse on a daily basis. Fortunately, most days there will not be a need to clean the slate. For those days where tensions are high make an agreement with one another that you will work out your differences before going to bed.

Not 50-50

The Bible says that it is a man’s responsibility to love (Ephesians 5:25) and it is a woman’s responsibility to submit (Ephesians 5:22). If the husband will commit to love then it makes it much easier for the wife to submit. If the wife will submit, the husband will have less trouble loving her. The beautiful thing about this is that God does not say, “a man should love his wife if she will submit.” Or, “a woman should submit to her husband if he loves her.” Each spouse’s responsibility is independent of what the other one does. When a couple looks at marriage as a 50-50 agreement then they will always play off of how the other treats them. However, when they see the marriage as their sole responsibility, then they will have a much stronger and happier marriage.

Keep Personal Problems Personal

Don’t share your marriage problems with your co-workers. If you are seeing a marriage counselor then it is important to be open and honest. But when chatting with your friends at the water cooler or the hair salon, you need to guard your negative words about your spouse. Long after the problem is resolved your friends will remember. They weren’t part of the healing process and therefore they won’t know how to forget.

Live Within Your Means

One of the major causes of divorce is money problems. Live with the money you have. Even though you think that expensive gift (that you can’t afford) will help endear your spouse to you, it more often than not will drive a wedge of insecurity in your relationship.

Divorce is Not an Option

Never enter a marriage with the thought that you can get divorced if things don’t work out. Regardless of your interpretation of the biblical passages dealing with divorce, you should make it a personal commitment to your spouse and to God that you will not consider divorce as an option. Enter the marriage with the understanding that you are making a solemn vow before God to your spouse that you will stay together until death separates you.

Guard Your Heart

Protect your eyes, ears and mind. Men, you need to learn to look away when your eyes are drawn to other women in an inappropriate way. Ladies, you may hear sweeter words from your co-worker than you do from your own husband. Remember to whom you made a promise to love—even when times are difficult.

Forget the Past

Isn’t it amazing how, all of a sudden, you can remember things from the past that you thought were forgotten when an argument arises between you and your spouse? Forget the wrong that he or she has done to you in the past and focus on the present and future.

Compliment in Word and Action

The word “compliment” can mean a couple of different things. First it can mean to say nice things to one another. It can also mean to do something that helps the other to be stronger or look better in the eyes of others. Both senses of the word compliment are important in a marriage.

Love One Another

Make a decision to love one another as much as you can. Remember that he/she is your partner whom God gifted for your entire life on earth. God picked him/her just for you from among all the other faces, to become a part of you in mind and body.

Put God First

Most people who want to protect their marriage will say that their spouse is more important than their job. Unfortunately, it seems that people who are in ministry (pastors, missionaries, etc.) will say that in a list of priorities their wife is sometimes at the top of the list and sometimes their ministry is. If you put God at the top of your priority list, He will show you where your emphasis should be at any given time. If God is truly first, then the other priorities will fall into place.

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