Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Price of Children

Author Unknown

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle-income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be "rich." Actually, it is just the opposite. What do you get for your $160,140?

  • Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
  • Glimpses of God every day
  • Giggles.... under the covers every night
  • More love than your heart can hold
  • Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs
  • Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies
  • A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate
  • A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain
  • Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day
For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off a bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first date, and first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so . . . one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scientist Creates Life - Almost

By Alice Park

If you were setting out to design a human being from scratch, odds are you wouldn't take J. Craig Venter as your template.

It's something of an irony then that such an imperfect organism as Venter has devoted much of his career to understanding the engineering of other organisms. He was the leader of one of two teams that in 2000 sequenced the human genome—the entire 25,000-gene cookbook that makes us people in the first place and not chimps or birds or banana trees — and he has conducted the same work with many other organisms.
But Venter, 61, may have just done something that is at once more thrilling and promising and unsettling than all that. According to a just-released paper in the journal Science, he has gone beyond merely sequencing a genome and has designed and built one.
In other words, he may have created life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

HIV vaccine from tomatoes, a long awaited gift for millions

By Tanuja Rohatgi, Checkbiotech

In the fight against diseases, one disease which continues to elude is AIDS. Most medication until now, can only slow down the progression of AIDS. However, with help from researchers in Mexico, plants may soon offer a solution.

One of the greatest problems that the world faces is creating treatments for HIV at costs that even the developing world can afford. Or even better, creating production methods for a vaccine that can be inexpensively set up in developing countries – and what could be less expensive than growing a plant.

One such solution involves using plants to produce a vaccine as presented by Dr. Miguel Angel Gomez Lim and his group at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados) Irapuato, Mexico. In their recent publication they showed how they were successful in generating transgenic tomato plants that produced a key HIV protein called Tat.

The first hurdle faced by Dr. Lim in generating the enhanced plants was the selection of the right plant. He zeroed in on tomatoes, unlike the commonly used tobacco, to avoid consumption of toxic alkaloids found in tobacco plants.

To generate the transgenic tomato plants, Dr. Lim selected the Tat gene and joined it with another gene responsible for fruit-specific expression of proteins in tomatoes. The genetically modified Tat gene construct was introduced into tomato cotyledons via standardized procedure and transgenic plants were grown to maturity.

Source: Fruit-specific expression of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 tat gene in tomato plants and its immunogenic potential in mice.Ramírez YJ, Tasciotti E, Gutierrez-Ortega A, Donayre Torres AJ, Olivera Flores MT, Giacca M, Gómez Lim MA

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stocks Plunge Worldwide on Fears of a U.S. Recession


FRANKFURT — Fears that the United States is in a recession reverberated around the world on Monday, sending stock markets from Bombay to Frankfurt into a tailspin and puncturing the hopes of many investors that Europe and Asia will be able to sidestep an American downturn.
On a day when United States markets were closed in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, the world’s eyes were trained nervously on the United States. Investors reacted with what many analysts described as panic to the multiplying signs of weakness in the American economy.

Shares of banks led the decline in many countries, underscoring that the subprime crisis continues to hobble the global financial system. On Monday, a big German state bank, WestLB, said it would report a loss of $1.4 billion in 2007 because of its exposure to deteriorating mortgage assets.

“There is indeed some panic,” said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist at Deutsche Bank in London. “What we’re seeing, in Europe and Asia, is that the markets are pricing in a recession.”

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Monday, January 21, 2008

New Age

By Greg Stier
The New Age is not new. Tenants of New Age doctrine have been a part of human history since the serpent deceived Eve in the garden with the promises of godhood. Although those in the New Age movement vary in their particular doctrines and practices (because it is not one centrally organized religion) they do have some common core beliefs. According to Douglas Groothius in his excellent book, Confronting the New Age, there are nine New Age core beliefs.

Here are their nine commonly held beliefs:

1. Evolutionary optimism
New Agers believe that the world is poised to explode into a New Age of enlightenment. They are convinced that this “new world order” will be united under a one world government and initiated by a quantum leap in humanity’s spiritual evolution.
Biblical view: “But mark this and there will be terrible times in the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1)

2. Monism
Monism means “oneness.” New agers believe that we are all one with each other and the universe. We are all connected by the common cord of the cosmos.
Biblical view: “God saw all that He had made [diversity], and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

3. Pantheism
New Agers do not believe in a personal God. They believe that the totality of all the “oneness” in the cosmos can collectively be called “god”. Some call it “the force”. Others call it “consciousness”. But by any label it is the deification of the universe and everything in it. That’s why Shirley MacLaine can proclaim, “I am God.” She believes that as part of this cosmic consciousness, she is god and so are you.
Biblical view: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... Through him all things were made... In him was life, and that life was the light of men... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us... No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made him known.” (John 1:1, 3, 4, 14, 18)

4. Transformation of Consciousness
New Agers believe that the New Age must be experienced to be transformational. Through meditation, drugs, yoga, martial arts, or cosmic experiences, the goal of the New Ager is to become one with the universe. The goal is a state of mind that is at peace with oneself and at one with one’s universe.

Biblical view: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind....” (Romans 12:2) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

5. Create your own reality
In the New Age movement morals are subjective. Since their is not an external objective standard of authority when it comes to behavior then you are free to create your own moral reality. The New Age encourages its participants to experiment and experience their own morals on their journey toward oneness.
Biblical view: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness....” (Isaiah 5:20)

6. Unlimited human potential
New Agers are convinced that all the power of the the universe is available to every person. The more that we can know the god within us the more we can unleash the cosmic force to achieve the unachievable (ESP, telepathy, out of body experiences, and psychokinesis [moving or manipulating objects with our minds] are all evidence of their belief in unlimited human potential).
Biblical view: “Now to him [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

7. Spirit Contact
New Agers believe that there is an army of spirit guides, extraterrestrials, and entities who are seeking to communicate to humans through mediums or channelers. These channelers are humans who are in touch with the cosmic consciousness and are used by these spirit guides to communicate universal truth to others. These cosmic truths routinely contradict Biblical teachings.
Biblical view: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” (Galatians 1:8)

8. Masters from Above
New Agers believe that UFO’s and those who have had extraterrestrial encounters prove that there is not only life on other planets, but that these more evolved species have much to teach us.
Warning: Watch any of the Star Trek series and/or X-Files, you will see that this is true! Most Hollywood movies or television series about science fiction and space exploration are built on the premises of the New Age movement. Many who watch these shows end up buying the lies they promote!
Biblical view: “...Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

9. Religious Syncretism
As Douglas Groothius writes in his book, Confronting the New Age, “New Age spirituality is a rather eclectic grab bag of Eastern mysticism, Western occultism, neopaganism, and human psychology”. Many New Agers claim to be Christian. Most Americans today are New Age in at least some areas of their belief system. The whole contention, “it doesn’t matter what you believe, it only matters that you believe,” flows from the New Age belief system.
Biblical view: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14:6)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Coping With Loneliness

By Debra Farrington

Humans were created to live in community. So how does one deal with feelings of loneliness?

Three years ago, I moved from my home on the West Coast to the East Coast for a new job. Taking only my cat with me for company and continuity, I spent the first few months in my new home feeling more lonely than I have ever felt in my life. It wasn't that people weren't kind to me. But I was apart from good friends, my spiritual community, and all that was familiar. I was exhausted each day by the demands of a hectic job. What little energy I had left was spent in learning my way around, finding a new doctor, hairdresser, and dentist, not to mention friends and a new church. I remember being very envious of those whose husband, partner, or family moved with them. At least they brought some kind of support system with them.

While it might have been easier to have a built-in support system during those months, the unavoidable fact is that we all experience periods of loneliness. Popular mythology holds that only single people experience loneliness, but I've met married people who have faced lonely periods as well. As human beings, we need the companionship of significant people in our lives.

Enter the biblical stories of Adam and Eve in Genesis ("it is not good for man to be alone"), or of the animals entering the ark 2 x 2, and it seems like we have a biblically mandated solution to loneliness--marriage. But the Bible also contains the stories of single people leading full and rich lives. Miriam, Moses' sister, helps lead the Israelites out of Egypt. A beloved leader, she leads the people in celebration after their escape. When she is punished with leprosy, and must stay outside the camp for seven days, they will not go on without her. When she dies, the people stay put until she is buried. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, in the New Testament, appear to be single, and have significant friendships with many, including Jesus. Paul, Jesus, and others fill the pages of the Bible--all single people, beloved of God, with rich, full lives. God doesn't appear to them and demand that they get married to fulfill the mandate in Genesis. Perhaps we get too focused on Adam and Eve, and the Ark, and forget that the Bible contains stories that affirm the value of the single life as well.

Still, loneliness can be a reality in the single life, but perhaps some of it comes from confusing loneliness with the act of being alone. I often tell people in my singles retreats that we won't make good partners for anyone in this life if we can't be a good partner to ourselves first.

If you find that you dread an evening by yourself, make a list of the things that you might do to nurture yourself. That list can include anything that nourishes your mind, body, or soul: browsing your local bookstore, taking a leisurely bath, listening to music, walking, meditating, journaling, enjoying a favorite hobby, going out to a movie or show (yes, you can go out by yourself!). Use that list to make your time alone into restorative time for yourself. We get so little self-care time in this life, and I can guarantee you that anyone who is married, and particularly those with children, would be thrilled to have an evening to attend solely to their own needs. Jesus often went off by himself to pray and escape the demands of others and of the day; it's not a bad model to follow.

Another time that loneliness strikes us can occur when we want a partner in life so deeply that we ignore the wonderful community that surrounds us. There's nothing wrong with the desire for a partner, but focusing exclusively on that rarely brings it about. Humans were created to live in community, so one way to move away from loneliness is to focus on others. It is in giving that we receive, says the prayer of St. Francis. What we will receive we cannot know in advance; this isn't a magic formula. But volunteer your time, pay attention to the needs of family, friends, and colleagues, or give of yourself in any other way that seems appropriate, and see what happens. Let yourself experience the intimacy of friendship and of service to others, rather that putting life on hold until that significant other comes along.

Finally, learn to befriend your loneliness. Think of it as your teacher, and ask it for wisdom. Speak to God about your feelings, and ask to know what this time of loneliness has to teach you. Talk with others about it--friends, clergy persons, spiritual directors, or others--and ask their help and support. As I grappled with loneliness in my new home, and talked with others about it, I realized that I had to live differently if I wanted more connection to others. I was spending too much of my time at work, leaving little time to get the rest I needed in order to have enough energy to go out and make new friends and develop new support systems. My feelings of loneliness in a new environment were kept at bay by working too many hours, which further increased my isolation. By listening to my feelings--as uncomfortable as that was--I discovered that my loneliness had something to teach me about living a more balanced life, one that had time for prayer, friends, and fun, and not just work. Even God took the Sabbath off.

None of this is to say that feelings of isolation, of loneliness, are fun or easily managed. They are real and sometimes very painful. And if they are chronic, you might want to find someone who can help you look at them carefully. But these feelings can be important tools in making changes in your life. They certainly have been so in mine.

Copyright © 2006 Beliefnet, Inc.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Demons That Still Haunt Africa


High up in the mountains of the northern Rift Valley is the village of Kiambaa, a place of maize farms and mud huts where the air is so light and pure, it is said to hold the secret of Kenya's world-beating distance runners, who train in the surrounding hills. On New Year's Day, a mob of several hundred people armed with machetes, clubs and bows and arrows surrounded Kiambaa's tiny tin-roofed church, where up to 200 men, women and children were huddled. The mob freed those who gave up mobile phones or money, raped the women, then closed the doors on the rest, heaped mattresses and dry maize leaves against the entrances and set them alight. The Kenyan Red Cross pulled 17 bodies from the ruins. Survivors put the death toll at 35.

At least one body, that of a young man called James, lay in a nearby field, where he collapsed after running out of the church with his hair and face on fire. Daniel Mwangi Nganga, 37, whose disabled brother was hacked to death in the family home as the crowd approached the church, recognized the killers as friends and neighbors. "We went to school together," he says. "They used to come to our homes. We prayed together." He searched for an explanation. "We just don't know what happened."

It wasn't supposed to happen in Kenya. Until a few weeks ago, this country of 37 million was a poster nation of the African renaissance, a term adopted by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to describe the continent's economic and political resurgence in recent years. Kenya is one of the stars of this revival: it has held elections regularly since independence in 1963, its economy grew 6.4% in 2007, and it has been a stable exception to turmoil in East Africa. But the outbreak of violence there following last month's presidential elections threatens that progress. A potential implosion in Kenya is especially worrying to the U.S. because the White House sees it as a frontline state in the war on terrorism, a bulwark against its volatile, jihadi-infested neighbor Somalia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kenya in Crisis

Thursday, Jan. 03, 2008
By Nick Wadhams

With a booming economy and tourist trade, Kenya had been considered a bright spot in East Africa. But its Dec. 27 election, which was supposed to be the pride of African democracy, sparked a spiral of violence after candidate Raila Odinga and his supporters accused incumbent President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the results.
What started as political protest quickly turned into something much more dangerous: ethnic conflict. That's because the election was also a competition between the country's two largest ethnic groups--the Luo, who support Odinga, and the Kikuyu, who back Kibaki. The two groups have been wary of each other since Kenya achieved independence from Britain in 1963, and the Luo have never held the presidency.
With their candidate leading in early polls, the Luo were poised to celebrate a historic victory. Instead, Odinga's nearly 1 million-vote lead vanished amid reports of improbably high voter turnout in Kibaki strongholds. Kibaki was hastily sworn in and promptly banned live TV as the violence surged in the streets. (At the height of the crisis, a broadcaster aired children's shows in which smiling kids sang, "Patty-cake, patty-cake.") On Jan. 1, a church in Kiambaa where Kikuyu had sought refuge was burned by an angry mob. At least 50 people, many of them women and children, died in the attack. In the midst of the violence, analysts say, it will be difficult to get the results nullified, but Odinga remains defiant. "If you want to do any kind of negotiations, that must be the starting point--that I won the election and Kibaki lost it," Odinga said. "If Kibaki accepts that position, then we can negotiate ... Without that, there is no basis for dialogue."

Monday, January 7, 2008

Does God Want You to Leave Your Church?

The following is a report on the practical applications of Brian Sanders' new book, Life After Church: God's Call to Disillusioned Christians, (InterVarsity Press, 2007).

Hi friends, it gives me great pleasure to be able to voice out my thoughts. For the past 3 months, I have become so dissatisfied with church. My heart pines for something deeper. I was praying about what step to take when I came across this article. It would bless you.

You show up at church every week, sing the songs, hear the sermon, and place money in the offering plate. But the whole time, you feel as if you’re just going through the motions out of habit and obligation. You’re not connecting to God or other people there, and you’re not motivated to participate in the mission.

So you think about leaving, but then you feel guilty. After all, you love God. And He must want you to stay at your church, right? Maybe not. In fact, He might actually be calling you to leave. Here’s how you can respond to the frustration you feel:

Pay attention to your yearnings. Acknowledge the reality of what’s making you feel frustrated at your church, and listen to your longings for something more. Don’t dismiss your yearning for a better church experience; realize that your concerns may very well be valid.
Differentiate between leaving church and leaving God. Understand that it’s one thing to abandon your relationship with God, and an entirely different thing to leave a particular church. Know that leaving a church for the right reasons should strengthen your faith instead of weakening it. Make sure you’re dealing with issues of how well your current church is or isn’t functioning as it should, rather than a personal crisis of faith. Consider leaving only when doing so will free you to find a better way to grow spiritually.
Differentiate between looking for more and nursing wounds. Check your motives to honestly determine if you’re thinking of leaving because you want more spiritually, or because you’re upset about some way you’ve been hurt at your current church. Are you angry about something someone said or did there? If so, have you pursued healing and extended forgiveness with God’s help? Do you feel unnoticed? If so, have you made an effort to build relationships there? Make sure you’re not holding grudges, but truly looking for ways to grow spiritually that you can’t in your current congregation.
Consider whether or not you’ve grown out of the church’s message. Is your church geared primarily to seekers? Does it fail to help believers mature throughout their spiritual journeys? Have you tried to go deeper in your relationship with God there, but not found the encouragement and support you need?
Consider whether or not you’re able to ask questions. Do the people at your church welcome honest inquiry? Have you been able to express your doubts and struggles there without being ignored or criticized for doing so? Do you feel pressure to keep quiet about the deep spiritual questions you have stirring around inside your soul? Can you talk openly with others in your congregation about your questions, and participate in respectful and thoughtful conversations?
Consider whether or not your church is relevant to your real life. Can you relate your experiences in church to what you’re going through in the rest of your life? Does what is being taught and said and done in church help you at home with your family, on the job, and elsewhere?
Consider whether or not you have something meaningful to do. Do church leaders encourage you to use your spiritual gifts and natural talents? Is your time and energy taken up in activities that don’t relate to the church’s mission? Are you given the opportunities you need to contribute in meaningful ways?
Consider whether your money is used well. Does your church use the money you and others in the congregation give wisely, according to biblical principles? Do leaders clearly communicate how they’re using funds? Are the church’s financial transactions marked by integrity, or excess or abuse?
Commit to God, not just practices. Know that if particular practices aren’t helping you encounter God at your church, it’s time to let go of those practices and find fresh ways to pursue Him. Recognize that staying committed to practices when they don’t enable you to connect with God is not just unproductive, but also spiritually dangerous. Keep your focus on God rather than certain methods of approaching him.
Keep three essential elements of church in mind. Realize that just because a certain place calls itself a church doesn’t mean it lives up to the name. Acknowledge that, while no church is perfect because they’re all made up of imperfect people, churches that lack the biblical fundamentals aren’t healthy places to be. Understand that a healthy church should offer worship that’s centered on Christ, community that’s marked by love, and mission that helps fulfill the Great Commission. Ask yourself whether or not your church honors God, encourages members to build meaningful relationships with each other, and reaches out to lost people in the community. Know that a church isn’t a building; it’s made up of people. So when any group of people is committed to Christ, to each other, and to the lost, Christ is there in their midst and they are church.
Dream of more. If you do decide to leave your church, don’t settle for less spiritual growth than you experienced before. Fight disillusionment and pursue the longings for spiritual growth that God has placed in your heart. Look for a new spiritual community that: helps all members discover and use their God-given gifts and talents, is led by teams, is multiethnic and multicultural (just as heaven will be), serves and empowers the poor, fights injustice, evangelizes the lost, teaches the Bible faithfully and applies its truths regularly (instead of watering it down for people’s comfort), makes the Great Commission central to its mission, actively meets a variety of needs in the surrounding community, practices Communion often and makes it central to the worship experience, empowers people to think critically on their own and to grow in maturity, gives people opportunities to practice what they learn, makes prayer a top priority, embraces the whole Gospel, works to expand God’s kingdom, encourages people to give generously, practices simplicity and integrity in financial matters, and features a network of home groups for people to connect in close friendships.
If you decide to stay, find new hope and joy in the process. Consider staying at your current church if you can fully support the ministry and its leaders despite your frustrations. Choose to stick with it for a set period, remaining full engaged during that time before thinking of leaving again if you still think that may be best. Honor your church’s leaders, wishing the best for them and praying for them regularly. Find reasons to love your congregation, and to actively invest in it. Commit to becoming a positive agent of change from the inside out, addressing your frustrations gradually and respectfully, and by becoming part of the solution to the problems. Don’t be afraid to speak up in prophetic ways, as long as you humbly acknowledge that you could be wrong, and that you balance love and truth when you speak. Rather than trying to change people yourself, intercede for them in prayer asking God to change them according to His will.
If you decide to leave, do it well. Emphasize that your departure is due to God’s leading in your life rather than just a reaction to the church’s flaws. Be positive, mentioning what you appreciate about the church as well as your frustrations. Be graceful, refraining from any unnecessary negativity when explaining your decision. Be honest, yet constructive with what you share. Share your vision for how you hope to grow spiritually in the future. Thank the people who have been a part of your spiritual journey at the church you’re leaving. Make plans to replace yourself in the areas in which you’ve served so there won’t be void in those ministries after you leave.
Stay connected to God and others after leaving. Until you find a new, healthier church where you can grow more, be sure to keep up your spiritual disciplines (like prayer and Bible reading), meet with other believers regularly, and keep serving and giving (perhaps through charities or other organizations in your community). Remember that you’re still part of the universal church even when you’re in between local congregations.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Obama - The Contretemps

An unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurrence.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

America Votes, World Take Note

The Iowa's caucuses hold tomorrow Thursday January 3, 2008, kicking off the race towards choosing the next President of the United States, the next leader of the western world - perhaps the most powerful man in the world. Just so you know, what happens in Iowa tomorrow affects you no matter your neck of the wood.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the US GDP of more than $13 trillion constitutes over 19% of the gross world product, the largest national GDP in the world. The United States is the largest importer of goods and second largest exporter. The US is the third largest producer of oil in the world, and its largest consumer. It is the world's number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, aluminum, sulfur, phosphates, and salt.

The United States has vast economic, political, and military influence on a global scale, which makes its foreign policy a subject of great interest around the world. In 2005, the United States spent $27.3 billion on official development assistance, the most in the world. On the other hand, US nongovernmental sources such as private foundations, corporations, and educational and religious institutions donated $95.5 billion. The total of $122.8 billion is again the most in the world and seventh in terms of GNI percentage. Outside of the American homeland, the U.S. military is deployed to 770 bases and facilities, on every continent except Antarctica. U.S. military spending in 2006, over $528 billion, was 46% of the entire military spending in the world and greater than the next fourteen largest national military expenditures combined.

Friends we are at the valley of decision. No man or woman can afford to sit still, stand aloof, or remain indifferent. This is not simply the American cup of tea, it is the world's as well. It is about a roof over your head, food on your table, and clothe on your back. The man who is given the key to the White House also pulls the strings of the world's economy. The man who commands the world's largest military determines the peace in your home front.

I urge you all, to please pray for the American people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks to God for them. Pray this way as they choose their president and all in authority so that the whole world can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.