Church Letter Writing Success Mini Course – Tip 12 of 13

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It is recommended you use all 13 Tips in your Ezine.

Our twelfth lesson in “13 Tips For Church Letter Writing Success” will build off the letter “R” in our Church Letters


So far, we have looked at the following:

C – Be Clear

H – Be Hopeful

U – Be Understanding

R – Be Responsive

C – Be Consistent

H – Be Helpful

L – Be “Letter-Ready”

E – Be Evangelistic

T – Be Tactful

T – Be Timely

E – Be Energetic

Today, we will take a look at:

R – Be Right

People do not want to be viewed as just “people”, they want to be seen and known as “individuals” and certainly do not want to feel like a number when they are part of a church body.

This is a great challenge for every leader, and that is to

communicate on a personal level with those in your congregation.

A most unpleasant scenario would be to write a letter to “John” when the man’s name is actually “Steve”, or most likely you have received letters such as: Dear (First Name).

While most churches now utilize Mail Merge operations today and most people know it, there is still something about receiving a letter like this that makes it highly offensive especially within the church body.

Personally, I’ve made this mistake in writing these e-mails, and while I recognize that most of the hundreds of people receiving e-mails realize these are not written one by one, it still is something that shouldn’t happen! So if it has happened to you, thanks for your forgiveness… 🙂

One thing that I need to point out here is when you are using the resources of or to be sure to change some of the information that appears in each letter. For instance, your church name may, or may not be, “First Christian Church” as you see in all the letters. This is our “generic” church name, so be SURE to edit that when sending letters. Also, not many of you are named Pastor John Doe, so again, be SURE to edit the letters you send for accuracy instead of just copying and pasting.

Below is your twelfth complimentary letter which you may modify and use in your own church communications.

We Miss You Letter

I write briefly to let you know that you have been missed at church the past few weeks.

I trust all is well with you and your family, however, I wanted you to know that when you are not able to be with us, you are missed very much.

While life can be busy for all of us to the point it seems we have no time to just relax for awhile, I encourage you to place your relationship with the Lord and His family near the top of the list of priorities. I believe with all my heart that as we allow God to take His rightful place, many of the other areas of life find a way of working out as we are dependent upon His wisdom. James 1:5 says: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Wisdom means more than just knowledge. It means using the knowledge that God gives to us in a right way, at the right time, and in the right place. This is the kind of wisdom God grants to us without finding fault!

My letter to you is not about finding fault, but it is simply meant to encourage you to guard well your relationship with the Lord and His family.

Blessings in Christ,


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Source by Norman Lawrence

Early Church Persecution

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The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church. -Tertullian


This article is an introductory look at the persecution of the early church. The Jewish social setting and subsequent persecution of the Christians by the Jews will be looked at first, followed by the Roman social setting and persecution of the Christians by the Romans.



Jewish Scholars point to the rejection of the Torah as the basis of the conflict between Christians and Jews, while many Christian scholars have pointed to the rejection of the Messiah as the basis of the conflict.1 A closer look at the complex social setting of Jerusalem during the first century will reveal a much more complex set of events.

Judaism of the first century was composed of eight very different groups of Jews. In the same way that it would be a gross misrepresentation to lump Mormons, Muslims and Atheists in the same category, so it would be likewise inaccurate to lump Jews of this time period into one category, simply based on their national or ethnic identity. Here is a brief overview of the various groups, focusing on the political aspects of their identity, since politics were at a fever pitch in this complex and struggling nation:

Sadducees: This was a group of wealthy Jews who controlled the Temple, which enabled them to continuously generate the financial resources to remain in power. While not completely embracing their Roman occupiers, they sided with the Romans to help themselves remain in power over the temple.

Am Ha- ‘aretz: The people of the land. These were the segment of the common peasant population, which paid little attention to the observance of the Torah and seemed to shun the study of the Torah.2 This group would have included any Jews who proclaimed atheism and by and large held little political power.

Scribes: Literally translated as one who can write. These were the scholars of their day.

Essences: A sect which separated themselves from the cities, observing extreme purity and piety in the deserts, awaiting a sure eschaton to come in their generation, which would remove the foreign invaders from Judah and establish a new order.

Zealots and Sicarii: The Sicarii were the terrorists of their day. They would hide small knives under their garments and in the midst of busy crowds stab specific offenders. Politically they served to stir up sentiments of war against those they opposed.3

Hellenized Jews: An ever-growing population of Jews who were embracing the new order of Hellenism to the exclusion of Judaism. The reasons for this transformation were numerous, chief of which were financial and political gains that came with embracing and trading in Hellenized areas.

Pharisees: The people who were most focused on Torah worship and observing with rigid detail not only the laws of the Torah, but also the laws created to build a fence around the Torah. This group of people felt great pressure from multiple directions. They had the Sadducees controlling the temple, the Hellenized world enticing Jews to view Judaism as the old way, Hellenism as the wave of the future and the Roman government oppressing them. They were holding on to a belief that seemed to be fading away in this complex and changing world.

Going back to the initial arguments of why the Jews persecuted the Christians, Jewish scholars who point to the lack of Torah worship as the basis for the conflict discount the fact that many groups in this world were not observing the Torah, with little to no persecution being directed at them. Paul was said to have observed the Torah worship when in the company of Jews, but he still faced persecution.4 In addition, records found in the Dead Sea Scrolls speak of an anti-ritualistic sentiment within the Jewish population. Christian scholars who point to the rejection of the Messiah as the basis of the conflict fail to recognize than the Essences and other obscure sects used messiah language and some even claimed to be a messiah, yet there is no record of directed persecutions among those groups. To better understand what could have caused the persecution of the Christians within Jerusalem, the record of Christian activity in Acts must be observed.

In the first seven chapters of Acts, during the Apostles’ witness to Jerusalem, the Apostles were found in the temple preaching. Those in attendance of such sermons would have been the Sadducees and Pharisees. The message of a new kingdom reserved only for those who professed Christ would have angered the Sadducees by threatening their power hold on the temple. As much as they would have desired freedom from foreign invaders their link with the Romans helped to keep them in power and thus the Christian message was an affront to their capital. Likewise, the same message would have been even more distasteful to the Pharisees. It would have struck the same already raw nerve of the invading Hellenism in that Christianity, like Hellenism, demoted the very symbols of their ethic solidarity of purity, food laws, Sabbath and circumcision. Judaism was once again being portrayed as obsolete by yet another new philosophy in the new, enlightened world.

It was not merely the message of the Christians that resulted in persecution, but the combination of the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time. Had the Christians been preaching their message to groups such as the Hellenized Jews or the Am Ha- ‘aretz they would have probably been met with either acceptance or at worst disinterest. However, their choice of groups and venues ignited a powder keg that was already set to explode. Josephus observed this great hatred and unrest poised to strike back at the Hellenistic and Roman threats. In his autobiography he talks about his effort to defuse an impending revolt:

I perceived that innovations had already begun, and that there were a great many very much elevated in hopes of a revolt from the Romans…. [I] Persuaded them to change their minds…and this I said with vehenement exhortation, because I foresaw that the end of such a war would be most unfortunate to us. But I could not persuade them; for the madness of desperate men was quite too hard for me.5

Needless to say, “loving your enemies” was not met with the greatest enthusiasm.

So the motivation for the persecution of the Jews in Jerusalem changes, based on which group is being addressed. The Sadducees were fighting to maintain the established order, the Pharisees were fighting against the degeneration of the Torah worship and many others were poised to invoke a revolution against the Roman invaders. There was no one reason for the persecution, but rather a complex web of cause and effect relationships.


In the eyes of the Roman government Christianity, which at this time had no official title, was seen as merely another religious segment within Judaism. With so many sects within the Jewish community, it is easy to see how Romans viewed Christians as merely one more peculiarity in a nation of peculiar people and religious beliefs. So the Jews had very little recourse in turning to the Romans to persecute Christians. This resulted in the trial and stoning of Stephen without help from the Roman authorities.6 While it was unusual for Jews to execute capital punishment under the Roman governance, it was not unheard of. In John’s account of the trial before Pilot, Pilot tells the Jews to judge him themselves. They respond that it is not lawful for them to put anyone to death.7 However, in the context of them demanding Jesus be put to death, the comment by Pilot seems to suggest they were known for doing just such a thing, on occasion.

Before the stoning of Stephen, the Christians were living in Jerusalem, worshiping and praying in the temple daily. After the beginning of the Christian persecution in Jerusalem, they were forced out and subsequently began to travel to other cities, spreading the gospel to the Diaspora Jews first and the Gentiles second. It must also be noted here that the persecution of Christians by the Jews was not a unified effort. It was largely the Pharisees and the Sadducees who pressed for the persecutions.



Unlike the Jews of Jerusalem who viewed the Romans solely in terms of an enemy occupation, the Jews of the Diaspora had learned to co-exist with the Romans in a tense truce, having lived in many of the Roman cities for generations. The Roman Pagans had accepted the Jewish people as a reality and each group had their own butchers and did their own separate sacrifices for their meats to be sold in the marketplace. The Jews in the Roman Diaspora had also attained a measure of wealth and influence in the Roman world.8


When Paul would arrive at a new city he would first go to the synagogue and preach to the Diaspora Jews. The Jews who rejected his message were often the ones who would go to the Roman authorities to incite them against Paul. This union of Roman and Jewish persecution of Christians is seen in Acts 14. In that story, the Jews go to the Roman authorities to seek Roman action, subsequently resulting in the punishment of stoning, which was the Jewish form of capital punishment.9

Jews who rejected the message of Paul, desired both to disassociate themselves and to prejudice authorities, portraying Christians as dangerous revolutionaries. It was a mass-conversion in Antioch when Christians first received a nickname differentiating themselves from their Jewish counterparts.10 This differentiation opened a new era of persecution from a Roman world that gave no such religious immunities to Christians, as it had for the Jews.



It was not long before Christians became a recognizable and particularly detested segment of the Roman world. By 64 AD they were already so set that Nero was able to use them as a likely scapegoat in his Smokey the Bear campaign, which will be discussed in the next section.11

The problem with converted Christians is the way in which they broke from the social norms that were vastly important in the Roman world. From arranged marriages to well prepared dinner banquets for select guests, political positioning of families was key to survival in this world. However, when friends or political acquaintances converted to Christianity they would withdraw almost entirely from the political structure. They refused to partake in the festivals and games, rejecting the gods, which they felt kept their nation strong for so long. They rejected the divinity of the Emperor–a sin that the gods would not allow go unpunished for long. They even refused to partake in joyous sexual ritual prostitution and lively drinking bouts. In addition, some of the Christians refused the meat from the markets, because it was routine for the cuts to be part of the sacrificial system. And most personal, they refused invitations to dine with other long time friends and families. These kill-joys were shunning their former political alliances and beginning to make enemies out of one time allies and friends.12

The difficulty for Christians only compounded as the tensions leading to the persecutions grew. For Jewish Christians the temptation to fall back to their safe Jewish roots in which they were raised also held the lure of being able to once again claim Jewish religious legal immunity. Gentile Christians had no natural link to this religion with its’ roots in Judaism and no political power to protect or aid them or their families. The fact that the Christian church was able to survive was nothing short of a miracle.13


And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast…having…ten horns…drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.14

The ten persecutions of the Christians spanning from 64 AD to 313 AD was ascribed by the fourth century Christian church as the ten horns of the beast in Revelation and by the ten plagues seen in Egypt.15 The persecutions, each with varying motives and reasons, all share the same peculiar markings in that while the persecutions were historically verifiable, no recorded laws have survived that specify reasons for the persecutions. As the persecutions evolved from one generation to the next, the subsequent generation seemed to use the past persecutions as edict enough for continuing or reigniting them. For example, in response to Pliny on how to deal with and prosecute Christians, Emperor Trajan writes, “No general rule can be laid out in fixed terms.” However, he does say unequivocally, “Certain accusations published anonymously should not be entertained on any charge. For they both set a very bad precedence and are alien to the spirit of our age.” Pliny was content in sentencing Christians to death for simply being too stubborn in their holding to Christianity in the face of certain death.16

Stemming from the second persecution under Domitian, the charge of refusing to worship the Imperial Cult seemed to be the first and great charge against the Christians. Some have argued that atheism was the charge against Christians; however, atheism in and of itself was not a crime in the Roman Empire. If, though, Christianity was held to with such stubbornness that one refused to pay alms to the Imperial Cult, then the subject was in violation of law. However, the worship of the Imperial Cult was not an issue until the reign of Domitian who, unlike his predecessors, forced the people to address him as their “Lord and their God” during his lifetime, and not after–when Caesars ascended to the level of a god. Domitian even had coins made bearing his likeness that read “father of the gods.”17


1. Persecution under Nero 67 AD — Nero burned a great portion of Rome in a fire that lasted nine days. When word got out that Nero started the fire an uproar forced him to find a scapegoat and so he blamed Christians. During this first great persecution of the Christians Nero started a trend that lasted throughout all ten of the persecutions in that he devised new and increasingly gruesome punishments, including sewing animal skins to Christians and releasing wild dogs to eat them alive. He also put shirts dipped in wax on some of the Christians and then lit them on fire, using them to illuminate his gardens for his invited guests. His acts were so heinous that even the Romans felt sorrow toward the Christians. Paul and Peter died in this first round of persecution.18

2. Persecution under Domitian 81 AD — Known for cruelty, he killed his brother and many senators, some due to his hatred of them and others to simply confiscate their lands. He also ordered the death of the entire lineage of David. His persecution of Christians stemmed from their refusal to worship him as a god, something most emperors up to this point refused to accept. Among those killed during this persecution was Simeon, the Bishop of Jerusalem. He tried to boil John alive, but when he miraculously survived he was banished to Patmos. Timothy was beaten by a crowd of people on their way to celebrate a pagan feast. He was beaten so badly that he died from his wounds two days later. During the persecution, if any famine pestilence or earthquake happened, the blame was laid on the Christians.19

3. Persecution under Trajan 108 AD — Much the same continued regarding Imperial Cult worship during Trajan’s reign. Ignatius was the most famous of the martyrs of this persecution.20

4. Persecution under Marcus Aurelius Antonius 162 AD — So brutal were the means by which these martyrs were persecuted that it is said the Pagan onlookers would shutter with horror at the sights and some became converts at, “A faith which inspired such fortitude.” Polycarp and Justin Martyr were given crowns of martyrdom during this persecution.21

5. Persecution commencing with Severus 192 AD — The age of Tertullian, who said that if the Christians removed themselves from Rome at this time, it would have suffered a great depopulation. In a reversal of the source of the persecutions a Christian healed Emperor Severus of a sickness, but the multitudes demanded the execution of Christians and the reapplication of the defunct Imperial Cult laws to apply to Christians. Many who suffered martyrdom under this persecution fell during games at the amphitheaters. Leonidus, father of Origen was beheaded during this persecution.22

6. Persecution under Maximus 235 AD — In Cappadocia the president Seremianus did all he could to exterminate the Christians from that province. During this time Christians were martyred without trial and their bodies were cast into pits as many as 50 or 60 at a time.23

7. Persecution under Decius 249 AD — There were two causes of this persecution. First, Decius hated his predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and second he was jealous of the rampant growth of Christianity, causing the heathen temples to decrease in attendance. By this time many schisms in the Church body had formed and the persecution was met by a divided Church. Fabian, Bishop of Rome was entrusted by Philip to care for his treasure. When Decius seized it and found less than he expected he had Fabian decapitated–the first martyrdom of this persecution. Many soon followed with yet another new set of imaginative deaths to befall those refusing to renounce Christ. Of note, Origen, like his father before him, was sentenced to death. He was thrown in prison where his feet were pierced and his legs were stretched for several days. He was threatened by fire and tortured with long, slow pains such as these for days upon days. However, before any death could befall him, Emperor Decius died and his successor Gallus engaged in a war with the Goths, leaving the Christians with a respite. Origen, having been given a release, retired to his home and died of natural causes five years later. During the reign of Gallus a plague broke out in the empire. So Gallus ordered sacrifices be made by all in the empire. When Christians refused the magistrates had many of them put to death.24

8. Persecution under Valerian 257 AD — This emperor likewise invented new and distasteful ways of persecuting Christians. Most interesting, however, was the turn of events that marked the end of this, one of the greatest persecutions of the church. Sapor, the King of Persia, captured Valerian and literally used him as a footstool when he mounted his horses. After subjecting him to be a slave in his kingdom for eight years the Persian king then had Valerian’s eyes put out. Still seeking more gruesome ways to torment him, he had Valerian flayed alive and then rubbed with salt until he died.25

9. Persecution under Aurelian 274 AD — The reign of Aurelian, though not this persecution, was short-lived as his own servants put him to death. However, the following emperors who replaced him (and subsequently were likewise met with quick ends) continued the persecution.26

10. Persecution under Diocletian 303 AD — Commonly called the Era of martyrs. Christians were increasing and becoming wealthy. On February 23, 303 Diocletian set forth his work to extinguish Christianity in one day. Watching on from on high the churches were raided, razed to the ground, and the documents burned. Not satisfied with just this, he purposely burned a portion of the city so that he could blame the Christians and further his cause. Countless Christians were martyred in an endless number of ways. The entire city of Phrygia, known for all of its inhabitants being Christian, was burned to the ground with all the people of the city dying in the fire. The torture and martyrdom was so severe that several pagan governors accused the Imperial Court with impropriety. Because of this, some Christians escaped death, but not before having their ears cut off, right eyes poked out, noses slit, limbs dislocated with such severity that they were rendered useless, and finally branded with red-hot irons.27

One final item of note: The persecution of the Christians was not a continuing event in the Roman Empire. With some expected exceptions, the time in between these distinct persecutions was rather peaceful for the Church. With each new emperor however, they were met with new uncertainties.


In conclusion, the reasons for the various persecutions of the Christians were as varied and complex as the world in which the early church lived. It is a mistake to oversimplify the issue in an effort to categorize it. As has been documented, Christians suffered persecution from both Jews and Gentiles. The reasons for the persecutions varied with each group, as well as from within each group. There is much speculation as to the motives and reasons behind the persecutions. However, there are very few surviving documents, legal or otherwise, which express the grounds for such persecutions, other than the fact that they were simply, “Christians.”


Fox, John. Fox’ Book of Martyrs. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962.

Hare, Douglas R. A. The Theme of Jewish persecution of the Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967.

Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Flavius Josephus, Translated by William Whiston. Philadelphia, PA: Henry T. Coates & CO.

Roetzel, Calvin. The World That Shaped the New Testament. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

Whittaker, Molly. Jews & Christians: Graeco-Roman Views. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Workman, Herbert. Persecution in the Early Church. London: The Epworth Press, 1923.


Christian and Pagan Primary Sources Speaking of the Persecution

This information is taken largely from Molly Whittaker’s Jews and Christians: Graeco-Roman Views. See the Works Cited Page for more details. This is not intended as an exhaustive list.

New Testament:

Mark 15:39

Matthew 27:54

Luke 23:47

Acts 11:19-26

Acts 13:42-50

Acts 14:1-6

Acts 14:18-20

Acts 16:13-40

Acts 17:1-9

Acts 17:10-14

Acts 17:17-21

Acts 17:32-33

Acts 18:12-18

Acts 19:23ff

Acts 19:40

Acts 22:25-9

Acts 23:26-33

Acts 24:22-7

Romans 13:1-6

I Peter 4:12-16

Hebrews 10:32-4

Revelation 2:13ff

Early Christian Sources:

Ignatius Letter to Romans 5.1

Martydom of Polycarp 1-19

Justin martyr Apology 2.9-20

Acts of Justin

Letter of the Gallican Church

Octavius 8.3-5

Octavius 9.1-6

Octavius 10.1-4

Octavius 31.1-2

Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs

Origen Celsum 1.9

Origen Celsum 1.28

Origen Celsum 2.55

Origen Celsum 3.12

Origen Celsum 3.55

Origen Celsum 5.14

Origen Celsum 7.9

Origen Celsum 8.24

Origen Celsum 8.67-9

Origen Celsum 1.28

Galen Reference 6 (Pg. 15)

Epictetus 4.7.6

Lucian On the Death of Peregrinus 333-8; 341

Alexander the False Prophet 232.25; 244.38-245

Tertullian Apology 50

Pagan Sources:

Tacitus Ann. 13.32.3-5

Tacitus Ann. 15.44.2-8

Life of Nero 16

Pliny Letter 10.96.1-10

Pliny Letter 10.97


1. Douglas R. A. Hare, The Theme of Jewish persecution of the Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 2.

2. Calvin J. Roetzel, The World That Shaped the New Testament, (London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 59f.

3. Ibid, 57ff.

4. Hare, 6f.

5. Flavius Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Philadelphia, PA: Henry T. Coates & CO.), 3.

6. Molly Whittaker, Jews & Christians: Graeco-Roman Views, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 133.

7. John 18:31

8. Whittaker, 133

9. Whittaker also notes similar incidents in 13:42-50, 17:1-9, 10-14, (Whittaker, 133).

10. Acts 11:19-26

11. Whittaker, 134.

12. Ibid, 133f.

13. Ibid, 133.

14. Revelations 17:3, 6.

15. Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church, (London: The Epworth Press, 1923), 9.

16. Wittaker, 134.

17. Roetzel, 113f.

18. John Fox, Fox’ Book of Martyrs, (New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962), 5f.

19. Ibid, 6f.

20. Ibid, 7f.

21. Ibid, 8ff.

22. Ibid, 12f.

23. Ibid, 14.

24. Ibid, 14ff.

25. Ibid, 18ff.

26. Ibid, 22ff.

27. Ibid, 24ff.

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The 5 Ws of Newsletter Or Ezine Publishing

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You have a website that sells a product or service. You have decent traffic, but most of the visitors are unique visitors, meaning, they visit once and then leave and potentially forget that your business even exists. One of the single most important things that website owners should do, but all too often do not, is capture the names and email addresses of visitors to their site. Obviously it's not usually possible to capture the information of every single visitor to your site, but that is really ok, because you do not want every name. What you do want to capture is the information of individuals who visit your website, are interested in your product or service and either, want to learn more from you, or want to hear about deals or specials you may offer. But how do you get this information? The simple answer is with an ezine or newsletter. To help you decide whether to develop such a tool, here are the 5 Ws of Newsletter or ezine creation:

(1) – Who should publish newsletters? Just about any online business can benefit from distributing a newsletter or ezine. There is no better way to promote your business with little expense than by sending an ezine to your opt-in list.

(2) – What kind of content should my ezine include? The key to any successful ezine is great content. Your readers have subscribed because they have an interest in your industry or area of ​​expertise. The information you provide to them should there before be relevant and fresh. Topics can include anything from product reviews, industry news, useful resources, tips and tutorials and specials or promotions. The content can be written by you, by a ghostwriter or obtained through some of the hundreds of free article banks on the internet (as long as proper credit is given to the author).

(3) – When do you send a newsletter? This depends on a few things. First, how much time do you have to put into it? If you do not have much time, you might consider sending a quarterly newsletter to at least get your name into people's consciousness four times a year. This may however, give readers too much time to forget about you. With quarterly newsletters, there is always the danger that by the time recently subscribed readers receive your newsletter they will have forgotten you. Sending an ezine monthly or bi-monthly provides a higher probability that your readers will remember you, but you will not feel that you are monopolizing their inbox.

(4) – Where do website visitors opt-in? There are various ways that you can have your readers opt-in to your newsletter. Some ezine services provide you with code to add a pop-up window to your site asking visitors to opt-in as they arrive at, or leave your site. Although these methods have proven successful, many fear that their visitors will be annoyed by these tactics and opt for a simple sign-up form. Placing your form so that it is immediately visible to your visitors when they arrive on your site is likely to gain you more subscribers, as will having an opt-in incentive such as a free e-book or a discount on a product or service.

(5) – Why distribute an ezine? An ezine or newsletter is an incredible way to develop a relationship with your website visitors. As you probably already know, repeated exposure to a brand promotes familiarity and usually encourages positive feelings towards that brand. The more familiar consumers are with your product or service, the more likely they are to buy from you rather than one of your competitors. By sending your readers information regularly, you are establishing yourself as an expert in your field, so increasing your readers' receptiveness to your products or services.

For most, the benefits of putting out a newsletter well outweigh the work that you will put into creating it. Every online business should have a means to capture visitor information and ezine or newsletter distribution is a great way to do just that.

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Viking Mystery in Michigan – White Indians

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Rune Mysteries – Michigan White Indians

Michigan is full of Viking Artifacts dating back to 1000 AD.

In 1876, Johan Bauer from the village of Wallsange, Sweden went in search of the “Rings and Runes of Kolberg.” He found them and started his life long quest for rune mysteries. In 1891, he emigrated with his parents to America where he became editor of a Swedish language newspaper in Ashland, Wisconsin.

One day, an Indian came into the office asking to buy a subscription. Bauer thought if was a joke. The Indian told him several Indians in the area were descendants of White men. The Indian spoke several Swedish words that peaked his interest.

Bauer recorded the Indian’s story in a 63 page booklet in 1930. The title was “Viking Mettles”. The story of the coming of the White men, with their Rune Mysteries to America in 1010 AD.

The Indians said the white men wore “ice” (armor and helmets.) The Indians uttered strange words (Swedish) and wore Runic Charms to ward off evil. Where else could these Indians have learned Swedish words except from the Vikings themselves.

The coming of the Vikings in 1010 AD is told in dozens of legends and folk tales from the old men of the Chippewa, Menominee, Choctow and Arapahoe.

Why are American historians reluctant to write about these Indian legends.

In 1969, a hunter and five friends went hunting in Lake Country Michigan, near the Town of Baldwin. One of the hunters slipped while coming down a slope. He fell through a covering of sod and stones that laid over a roof of rotting logs.

It was a room about eight feet square. The floor had fire rings filled with carbon. There were conical piles of rocks, cairns, next to the pit, inscribed with runes.

Betty Sodders in her book “Michigan Pre-History Mysteries” reported other similar runes in the upper peninsula.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you will join with us and surf the net for more Hidden Viking History.

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Books Set in Vietnam – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

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If you are traveling to Vietnam, then it is pretty much impossible to ignore the fact that the country was at war for more than 20 years, and when looking at books set in Vietnam, it is just as difficult to escape the impact of the war on most literary endeavors. There are many fine novels written about Vietnam, but this selection attempts to present a range of views, giving you a wide perspective on the country and its history before you make your journey.

‘Matterhorn’ by Karl Marlantes

Written in 1977, but only published in 2010 after more than thirty years of rejections, this novel is being described as an ‘epic’ and the first ‘great’ novel of the Vietnam War. There is no getting away from the realities of the war in this book, as Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas and his Bravo Company face their fears of combat and the harshness of the jungle highlands of South-East Vietnam.

‘The Man from Saigon’ by Marti Leimbach

Books about the Vietnam War are often written from a male perspective, but with this one we meet Susan Gifford who is sent to Vietnam to write human interest stories about the war for a women’s magazine. While she may be quite naive to begin with, Gifford is soon covering the actual conflict, and finds herself in love with Marc, a fellow journalist. But if you think this books is going to be some kind of soppy romance, then you are wrong — there are very few books I have read that so completely immerse you in the horror and fear of war as this one. And while there is romance – the complications of Gifford’s relationships, both with Marc, and her Vietnamese photographer, Son, give this novel real emotional depth.

‘Novel without a Name’ by Duong Thu Huong.

And what of the North Vietnamese soldier? In this novel we share the story of Quan a soldier who has been at war for ten years, only to return to a village much changed in his absence. Written by a woman who has been imprisoned for her political beliefs, the novel captures Quan’s disillusionment and loss of innocence, giving us a side of the war which is rarely revealed. Here we see the ‘glory’ of the cause giving way to displacement of civilians, the hunger of villagers and the inevitable breakdown of families and relationships that are a result of sustained conflict.

‘Dragon House’ by John Shors

And now to modern day Vietnam, where two Americans try to deal with their own past by setting up a center to look after Vietnamese street children. On arrival the duo are confronted with the corruption and chaos of Ho Chi Minh City, and as readers we are treated to all the sounds and smells that bring the streets to life. But it is the children who will steal your heart in this novel, taking you with them as they battle the squalor in which they live. This book is a story of love, hope and redemption which is a stark reminder of the legacy of conflicts past.

‘Daughters of the River Huong’ by Uyen Nicole Duong

Spanning four generations, this is a book which takes us far back into the richness of Vietnamese history, before leading us through colonization and war to the country we know today. Written by a political refugee who arrived in the United States when she was just sixteen, this novel tells the story of one family of Vietnamese women, and in doing so reflects the struggles of a nation.

If you are about to visit Vietnam, you are visiting a country which has a particular fascination for those of us from the West – it is impossible to travel through Vietnam without being confronted by the roles colonization and war have played in its history. Arm yourself with these novels and you will be able to understand just that little bit more about the people who walk the roads of Vietnam today.

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Bright Future Prospects for Content Writers

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Every day, thousands of jobs in content writing industry are advertised on the internet. With the ever-altering algorithms of search engines, significance of web content has significantly risen, contributing to the bright future prospects for content writers. Websites carrying top-quality content are ranked higher by the search engines in order to serve the users with the best result. Because of this reason, the need for quality writing services would always be in great demand. Online businesses would always be looking for more and more copywriters to provide their website with good content.

However, those who are new to the world of content writing do not realize how significant they could become to the website owners by providing them well-written content. Many people think of content writing as an extremely easy job.

Most importantly, without the human touch, readers will not feel connected with the content. People usually come across some websites on the internet carrying content that make no sense. Such website owners try to copy the text from other websites and then use the same a bit differently. However, they do not understand that not only humans but even the search engines do not like such copied content.

Moreover, search engines like Google and Yahoo strongly discourage any content which is in spin format or created to fool the readers and makes no sense. That is why while searching for anything on most of the search engines you would find no robot or software rewritten content (particularly on the top 5 pages in the results). Thus, without good content, the success of online businesses would always be uncertain.

This further gives way to quality writers who write innovative and creative content for websites and help the internet to grow as the best place for knowledge.

All the above mentioned reasons suggest that jobs for content writing definitely have a sound future. However, to be a successful content writer is not so easy. You bought to have exceptional skills and talent to write content that can drive significant amount of traffic to the website you are targeting and therefore boost up its search engine ranking. So, do brush up your skills regularly to come up with your best and fight the competition in the content writing market.

So, hire someone who can write good text for you and help your website stand apart from others on the internet such that people get good information from the same.

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4 Steps For Being in the Mastermind Hotseat

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The hotseat in a mastermind group is where you are center stage. You get to share what’s going on with your goal achievements. To keep the mastermind group focused and businesslike, here is a four step list to follow when giving your report. Some mastermind groups have the hotseat last ten minutes, and others have the hotseat go thirty to forty-five minutes. The mastermind group will have their set of rules for how much interaction and follow-up questions are allowed at each stage. My recommendation is not to spend too much time rehashing old things or negative things, but learn the lesson from each and move on to the new opportunities and commitments.

  1. Your Achievements
  2. Brag! This is a time to tell everyone what you did that helped. It reaffirms your feeling of success and provides inspiration to the other members.

  3. Your Stumbling Blocks
  4. Did something not work out as you expected it would? The rest of the group can learn from failures and frustrations. Especially if they helped come up with the plan that didn’t work. Or perhaps they can provide the cheerleading to help you stay the course until success is achieved. Often we give up too soon from achieving our goals, and just need to be reminded that it’s OK to be frustrated, just keep focusing on where you’re going.

  5. Your Opportunities
  6. Do you have a trade show coming up and you are eager to network? Perhaps your website is about to relaunch with a new look? Other members might have some suggestions for the best way to use these opportunities such as referring a copywriter for a press release announcing the new website. This is a great time to create strategies and evaluate how effective each might be with your ultimate goal.

  7. Your Commitments
  8. How well did you achieve your opportunities and commitments from last time. This isn’t where you’re in the court being interrogated by Perry Mason but rather a supportive detailing of the facts. It’s also where you commit to your next steps.

To really be successful, you should have one big goal that you’re working towards. When you have many, you get scattered and often don’t achieve as well as you may like. Find one big goal and create mini-goals that work you towards it. Communicate with your mastermind, and you will be amazed at how quickly you achieve that big goal. Then you can use your mastermind to find another really big goal!

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Technical Writing – About Flowcharts

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“A route has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects.” – Milan Kundera, 1929-, Czech Author, Critic

What’s a flowchart?

A flowchart can be defined as a graphical representation of a sequence of operations or steps. In other words, it’s an illustration of the various steps involved in a project or process.

Typically, a flowchart consists of a number of boxes, arrows, and text that combine to form a sequence.

Why create a flowchart?

The purpose of a flowchart is to show the various steps of a process in a snapshot. By looking at the flowchart, the viewer should be able to identify the various steps involved in the process.

Flowcharts can be very useful for a technical writer. If you’re working on a complex process, a flowchart can show you the various steps involved in that process. For example, you could be working on a manual on how to troubleshoot the Autopilot Flight Director system for the Boeing 747 aircraft. There are various steps involved in troubleshooting this system. Each step has multiple sub-steps. By creating a flowchart, you can quickly see which step takes place at what stage in the process.

How to create a flowchart

When you’re working on a complex project, creating the flowchart itself may be a time-consuming task. Here are six simple steps you can follow to create even complex flowcharts:

1. Start by defining the end result of the process or project. The end result could be anything such as completing a user manual, writing a complex software process, installing a new part, or performing a test.

2. List the various steps involved to achieve the end result. This will take some research. In complex processes, each step could have a series of sub steps. The steps involved to create a user manual could be:

a. Meet with SME

b. Research existing documentation

c. Videotape the procedure

d. Take photographs

e. Create illustrations

f. Develop the user guide

g. Test the user guide

h. Make changes/adjustments

i. Deliver final product

3. Define the starting point of the process of project. This is the first step that starts of the process. For example, the first step could be project planning or research.

4. Write down the starting point and the end result. Both of these should be in boxes with some space in between them. Adjust this space according to the number of steps and sub-steps involved in the process.

5. Draw an arrow from the starting point to the end result.

6. Along this arrow, list the various steps in order that are needed to go from the starting point to the end result. Include any sub-steps as needed.

Some processes may have multiple branches of steps involved. For example, to get from Step 1 to Step 2, there could be three options. You would illustrate this on the flowchart as three separate arrows going from Step 1 to Step 2.

A flowchart is like a roadmap. It has a starting point (A) and an ending point (B). Your objective is to get from Point A to Point B. The flowchart tells you what’s involved in the process.

For a technical writer a flowchart can be a very useful tool to illustrate various operations and processes. Before you start your next project, see if you can illustrate the process via a flowchart. It will make life easier for you and your manager or client. The end result will be a better project which is good for your target audience.

Note: Microsoft Visio is a good software for creating flowcharts.

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The Power of Color in Writing

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Color is one of the greatest set of adjectives to use in writing. Why? Most people that read can see color. It is a part of their world. It amplifies imagery and allows a scene or story to transcend its physical, literature status and become almost reality to the reader.

Most people use color in their writing. It helps greatly. But not everyone may understand or think of the different ways to use color. People might be stuck choosing the same adjective over and over again. This can dull a piece of writing. Not even theses can tell someone what to choose for their imagination.

The simplest way is to put a color to an item. A red apple, a black cat, a blue fish, etc. These all create a more specific and detailed vision to the reader. But they are very common and simple adjectives. There is more than just red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, white and black. There is a whole spectrum of thousands of colors. Having a wider vocabulary when you want to be specific can not only help the reader's vision and the story's imagery, but it also increases the chances that the reader will not get bored as quickly.

Here is just a small look at possible choices in color:

Red, burgundy, carmine, cerise, cherry, crimson, fuchsia, maroon, magenta, ruby, sanguine, scarlet, vermilion …

Orange, auburn, carroty, chestnut, coral, ginger, peach, tangerine …

Yellow, amber, bisque, blond, flaxen, golden, ivory, lemon, ochre, saffron, tawny …

Green, chartreuse, emerald, forest, jade, lime, mint, moss, olive, pine, sage, verdant, verdigris, viridian, willow …

Blue, azure, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, royal, sapphire, teal, turquoise, ultramarine …

Purple, amethyst, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, mauve, mulberry, orchid, plum, violet, wine …

White, alabaster, ashen, pearly, gray, silver, smoky, stone, black, charcoal, ebony, obsidian, onyx, sable …

There is more than just picking a color though. There is comparison. You can use another well known object and its color to help strengthen the imagery. For example:

The leaves were red and oranges. vs. The leaves were colors of flickering fire.

The shirt was pink. vs. The shirt was pink like fresh rose petals ..

The wine was purple. vs. The wine swirled with colors of amethysts and plums.

Both ways can be very effective. It's all about emphasizing certain things with important detail. You do not need to tell the reader what color everything is. But being able to effective paint a picture of words with color makes the reading clearer and more enjoyable.

Do not be afraid to take chances. Try new things when describing detail. During editing or reviews from others you can decide if it is not enough or too much, or hopefully just right. Things may sound overdone at first or awkward, but they can be fixed easily. The important thing is to have fun. The piece will speak for itself once you really get into it. Just go with the flow and enjoy creating interesting and unique imagery with colors.

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A New Earth, Oprah & Eckhart Tolle Quote Jesus – "Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit"

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Eckhart Tolle author of A New Earth reviewed chapter 2 online with Oprah quoting Jesus who said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.”

Tolle and Oprah discussed the illusion of ownership, identification, awakening, facilitating an inner shift, and personal transformation. All powerful truths and concepts worthy of our time and attention.

Oprah said: “You talk about the illusion of ownership on page 42. You say “The ego tends to equate having with being and lives through comparison. And you use a quote from the Bible that Jesus said. …What does poor in spirit mean?”

Tolle replied: “No inner baggage, no identifications.”

Oprah thoughtfully still pondering on the matter inquisitively inquired further, “I never knew that’s what poor in spirit means. How did you come to that interpretation of what poor in spirit means?”

Tolle pulled from his personal spiritual journey and elaborated saying, “There was a time after I went through this inner shift. It must have been three years later, I was visiting my mother and she had a New Testament on her shelf. I picked it up and started reading. I could suddenly see the truths that were hiding there and that in many cases, the conventional interpretation was a superficial one of what Jesus had said. And that was one of the things I immediately saw when He said ‘poor in spirit’. I realized its to do with not carrying stuff inside so that your spirit is very light. It has no burden. He was talking about awakening and living in that free state of consciousness. Wonderful to suddenly be able to read it and suddenly it all makes sense, which before it hadn’t made sense.”

I agree with Tolle that spiritually we must be “ready” and at a time in our life’s journey when we are open to truth and divine revelation. Indeed such divine intervention and encounters can occur whether we are ready or not, after which our hearts surprisingly are suddenly and amazingly opened. For Tolle he was in a state of spiritual pursuit and hungering for divine insight, inquisitively pursuing the mysteries of life.

Assuredly religious and traditional interpretations can sadly many times miss the mark of what Jesus intended to impart by way of truth and revelation. Tolle accurately alluded to this calling some “conventional interpretation” to be “superficial”.

Jesus Himself said to the Pharisees, who to many were excessively religious and rigid, “You make the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such things do you” (Mark 7:13). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for removing the power from the Word of God by burdening the people with lofty traditions to adhere to, which disconnected them from the joyous experience of worshipping and serving the living God.

At one point Jesus got so mad and frustrated with the Pharisees, He sternly told them, “Your father is the devil” (John 8:44). “He that is of God hears God’s Words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God” (8:47).

The scribes and Pharisees often tried to entangle Jesus in religious debates, wherein they sought to enforce their traditions. Jesus did not hesitate to confront them saying, “Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3) “This people draws near unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men” (15:8-9).

Often sadly religious teachings are nothing more than traditions and commandments of men, void of the love and life of God. Yet unsuspecting people who don’t take time to read the Bible for themselves are easily seduced and swayed by such self-righteous Pharisees. Clothed in the trappings of religiosity many teachers and venerated dignitaries are engulfed in adhering to traditional ceremony, being more enamored with form than the living God.

Having identified with their religious ideology, affiliation, and tradition they have thereby prevented themselves from wholeheartedly and freely drawing near unto God. Any form or spiritual occurrence that does match their tradition or experience, they demonize and reject. Yet in so doing it is their very own souls they are forsaking as they build for themselves a memorial to the deadness of their own religious tradition.

God however would have humanity to “be established in the present truth” and forever progressing spiritually going from glory to glory (see 2 Peter 1:12).

Most denominations however prefer to build a traditional monument to their founder rather than to Christ the ultimate head of the church and author of life. In so doing they replace Christ as the head and builder of His church universal, deify themselves in exclusivity, alienate spiritual seekers in their community, and cease to look unto the “author and finisher of their faith” preferring form over substance.

Jesus however is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23)and author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); without which our faith is shipwreck and divine influence severed as we seek to exalt ourselves religiously.

Christ alone can and will build His church (Matthew 16:18); by the pattern, protocol, and power of His Spirit, not the leading of a man-made denomination. Whenever a man, ministry, church, or denomination seeks to govern and guide a move of God; rest assured God Himself will leave them. God will never go where He is not acknowledged, neither needed.

Individually I have experienced religion that is cold as ice and not nice. Occasionally I have thought to network and link up with larger religious organizations thinking that collectively together we could have a greater impact. Upon calling some of these “established” organizations however, I have found their secretaries and bureaucracies to be cold and alienating.

One instance in particular, I phoned a very large worldwide ministry based out of Orlando to make an inquiry. Instead of being greeted warmly, I was asked abruptly, “Who are you with?” Sensing the interrogator tone on the other end, I humorously replied, “J E S U S” spelling out each letter by name.

The secretary was no amused or phased in the least and sternly held to her organizational hierarchal disposition, asking the same question again being entirely disinterested in me as a person preferring to label me as an organization.

Thankfully Jesus and the Holy Spirit are bigger and beyond religious labels and forms. Jesus walked through walls and walked on water. The Holy Spirit showed up and moved in numerous forms – like a gentle dove and as wind and fire. God always shocks and surpasses your theology, often violating it entirely.

Hence there is always division when spirituality and religion collide. The “established” religion of the day always feels threatened when spirituality comes with a new awakening for humanity. The initial response therefore is usually to demonize and belittle the new revelation, instead of investigate and examine it further.

This is the knee jerk tendency or proud religiosity, which is entirely self-centered and fixated with me. What’s in it for me? How does it effect “my church”, “my offerings”, “my doctrine”, “my understanding”, “my interpretation”, etc. The ironic and self-righteous tendency however is to go beyond the “my” and “I” with which religion often does what it wants, interprets as it wants; but in the process puts God’s name on it in an attempt to validate and give itself credibility.

This is why when Jesus came His greatest opposition and enemies were from the religious circles. Sinners, prostitutes, conniving businessmen, and foul talking fishermen all loved and liked Jesus. It was the religious crowd full of manipulation and spiritual subtlety that Jesus couldn’t stand and abruptly opposed, immediately exposing their own insecurity.

Had the religious been genuinely spiritual, they would have sat and listened to Jesus to see if what He was saying was true and of spiritual benefit to them. Instead they quantified everything in monetary and self-effacing terms, preferring to protect what was theirs instead of embracing what was coming from God Himself.

Religion sells God, but is void of God’s divine life. Religion is subtly about projecting self-righteous attitudes, instilling fear in followers, enhancing one’s shallow ego with self-exaltation, building its denomination, protecting its affiliation, and disseminating its own ideological persuasion.

I was utterly shocked when I lived in Brooklyn Heights, where the Jehovah Witness kingdom halls are headquartered. I often talked to and discussed spiritual matters with “the witnesses” on Montague Street. When I questioned them about Jesus’ exhortation to take care of the poor from Matthew chapter 25, they said, “We don’t do that. God will take care of the poor. We just preach the Word.”

I in turn questioned the validity of the “Word” they preach, it being a New World translation. I then mentioned “to him who knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “But he who has this world’s goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how can the love of God dwell in him?” (1 John 3:17).

It was then the “witnesses” were silenced and walked away in shame. Certainly I myself have often been without and perhaps with a bit but neglected those suffering around me. Nevertheless I don’t embrace creating a religious doctrine that alienates the poor and suffering, which relinquishes the divine and greatest commandment to love and lift a hurting humanity.

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).

Such man-made doctrines are often legalistic and demonic. The apostle Paul mentioned the doctrine advocated by the Vatican which forbids priests to marry and betroth a wife. “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies and hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Jesus is about love, life, and spiritual enjoyment. Religion and the devil are about enslavement, control, and death. Throughout the early church era as evidenced throughout the book of Acts, whenever the religious council and establishment could not control the apostles, they sought to threaten, beat, imprison, and eventually kill them.

Jesus said it well, “The thief [speaking of the devil and religion] comes to steal, kill, and to destroy: but I have come that you might have life, and life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Religion deeply entrenched in itself and its own preservation doesn’t mind if its interpretation is entirely useless, outdated, or utterly dead. As long as it exalts someone’s head, they will fight to the bitter end to preserve it. Because for them forms are more important than joyfully and spiritually experience life.

Hence when discarding one’s own inner baggage and identifications, the first place we often must begin is with religiosity and the way we often erroneously relate to our own loving Creator. Remember God will not allow anyone, including a self-righteous denomination, put Him in a box. God is bigger than your ideological, religious, and mental box.

Therefore when cultivating poverty in spirit to attain the riches of heaven, begin by stripping yourself of dead religion and mean, manipulative associations.

Upon discovering your dependence first and foremost on God alone, thereafter you can embrace others in the family of faith and find for yourself a spiritual home.

Concerning remaining poor in spirit, we do well to remember the words of the apostle Paul who said he was both “full” and yet “hungry” (Philippians 4:12). The British revivalist Smith Wigglesworth who raised several people from the dead and ministered healing to countless sick folks said he was content with his own discontentment.

David a man after God’s own heart, though being king and possessing innumerable things, cried: “As the deer panteth for the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night” (Psalm 42:1-3).

“Now also when I am old and gray headed, Oh God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Like Tolle shift inwardly, connect spiritually, and live miraculously.

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Source by Paul Davis