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The horsepower of 208,000 Corvettes

This artist concept provided by NASA shows the rocket design, called the Space Launch System (Credit: NASA)What has the horsepower of 208,000 Corvette engines, costs $35 billion, and can take you to Mars? The world's most powerful rocket, a plan unveiled yesterday by NASA. They call it the Space Launch System. The rocket will stand 400 feet tall, weigh 3,250 tons, and be able to carry as much as 165 tons into space. By comparison, the space shuttle rocket could haul 27 tons.

This must be the day for space news: European astronomers have announced their discovery of a planet that could potentially support life. It orbits a star about 35 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vela. Since gravity on this larger-than-Earth planet is about 1.4 times what we experience, those who live there would probably be shorter and squatter than us. In case you're thinking about moving to the new planet, consider one of its most attractive features: it orbits its sun every 60 days. My boys would have enjoyed Christmas and birthdays every two months.

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What God thinks about the economy

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (Credit: Frank Jr via Fotolia)Republican presidential candidates sparred last Monday night over competing plans to create jobs and stimulate our struggling economy.  The previous Thursday, President Obama announced a new plan to do the same.

Yesterday the issue became even more urgent.  A Census Bureau report released Tuesday states that 46.2 million Americans are impoverished, more than ever before.  The Great Recession and its aftermath have left nearly one in six Americans living below the poverty line, defined as an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.

The current financial crisis is the most recent of 12 such setbacks over the last 40 years, according to a recent editorial in Forbes magazine.  The article states that the dollar has fallen in value over the last four decades by more than 70% against the euro/German mark and the Japanese yen.  U.S. net exports have fallen from a modest surplus 40 years ago to a $400 billion-plus deficit today.

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The greatest need of our day

Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Justin Lane/Pool)I don't think we have ever received the kind of response that yesterday's "Letter to America" elicited.  So many of you posted and emailed comments of support.  I am deeply grateful to each of you for reading these essays, and to every person who took time to reply.  It is a great honor to serve the King with you.

In reading your responses, I sensed the Spirit's leading to reply to four of them in this morning's essay.  The first is a simple statement: "I believe this is the only thing that will save America."  There is no doubt in my mind that you are right.

Democracy requires morality, lest we cast ballots based on personal preferences rather than the collective good.  And morality for fallen people requires a personal relationship with a holy God.  David was right: "There is no one who does good" (Psalm 14:1).  Unless the Holy Spirit purifies my motives, my actions will inevitably dishonor my God and my country.  A national spiritual awakening is without question the greatest need of our day.

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A letter to America

In God We Trust 4 cent stamp (Credit: air via Fotolia)I had already written today's essay when the thought gripped me: If God could write a letter to our grieving nation, what might he say? I feel compelled to answer that question this morning. I believe his letter could read as follows:

"I love you. I formed your continent in my heart long before I fashioned it from the seas. Its majestic peaks and fertile plains were painted by my Spirit on the canvas of its vast beauty. I have given you resources unsurpassed by any other nation. Then I called Pilgrims and Puritans to your shores, courageous pioneers who would bring my word to your great continent. I sparked a hunger for liberty that led farmers and merchants to risk their lives in its pursuit. When they declared that 'all men are created equal,' they spoke truth I inspired in their souls.

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Good news on 9-11

The 9/11 Memorial displays the names of the 2,982 men, women and children killed in the 9/11 attacks—in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon—and in the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  Visualization by Squared Design Lab"The cockpit's not answering.  Someone's stabbed in business class, and um I think there is Mace that we can't breathe.  I don't know, I think we're getting hijacked."  With these words, American Airlines flight attendant Betty Ong calmly alerted reservations agents to the hijacking of Flight 11.  Her call came at 8:19 A.M.  Her airplane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center 26 minutes later.

Seventeen minutes after, United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower.  American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon at 9:37 A.M.  United Airlines Flight 93 then crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 local time.  The attacks cost 2,977 civilians from 90 countries their lives--more than died at Pearl Harbor or D-Day.

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