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     Have you stopped to consider the impact of fatherlessness on our country?  With the rise of single parent families in America and the absence of a father in the home, social ills have increased.  Six are noted here.
     —Poverty.  Children in fatherless homes are five times more likely to be poor.  In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.  Almost 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11 years old.
     —Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.  The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”  Children who live apart from their fathers are 4.3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with their fathers in the home.
     —Physical and Emotional Health.  Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral  problems.  A study on nearly 6,000 children found that children from single parent homes had more physical and mental health problems than children who lived with two married parents.  Additionally, boys in single parent homes were found to have more illnesses than girls in single parent homes.  Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent.
     —Educational Achievement.  In studies involving over 25,000 children using nationally representative data sets, children who lived with only one parent had lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, poor attendance records, and higher drop out rates than students who lived with both parents.  Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.  Even divorce has an impact on children.  School children from divorced families are absent more, are more anxious, hostile, and withdrawn, and are less popular with their peers than those from intact families.
     —Crime.  In a study using a national probability sample of 1,636 young men and women, it was found that older boys and girls from female headed households are more likely to commit criminal acts than their peers who lived with two parents.   A study in the state of Washington using statewide data found a male born to an unmarried teen mother was ten times more likely to become a chronic juvenile offender.
     —Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy.   A survey of 720 teenage girls found:  97% of the girls said that having parents they could talk to could help reduce teen pregnancy.  93% said having loving parents reduced the risk.  76% said that their fathers were very or somewhat influential on their decision to have sex.  Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents.  (All of the above statistics are from: www.fathers.com).
     Fathers have a significant position and role to play in the home.  While all of the above information proves this point, consider also the spiritual leadership that fathers should provide for their children.  Paul writes, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).  Fathers should nurture their children by spiritual instruction and training.  Children desperately need their fathers to be present in their lives, to love them, to be a role model for them, and to lead them spiritually to know and follow God.

Flight From Womanhood

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     Philosopher Peter Kreeft, commenting on Francis Bacon’s Man’s Conquest of Nature, had this to say, “The term in the phrase Man’s Conquest of Nature is a sexually chavinistic term, not because all use of the traditional generic “Man” is, but because we have a civilization that is in the midst of what Karl Stern called “the flight from woman.” We extol action over being, analysis over intuition, problems over mysteries, success over contentment, conquering over nurturing, the quick fix over life-long commitments, the prostitute over the mother” (Ravi Zacharias, I, Isaac, Take Thee Rebekah, 16). 
     This flight from womanhood is the costly price we have paid in our gender wars by making difference synonymous with hierarchy.  God made the differences, and those differences are purposeful.  There is also difference in the Trinity without inferiority” (Zacharias, 16-17).
     “The entire fury over gender warfare and sexuality is because the issues are positioned purely in pragmatic terms, forgetting that in the first created order there was specific design and intended purpose.  All the philosophizing and arguing by well-meaning people to the contrary will not explain why the biology is so distinctive, as is the chemistry that follows.  The differences between men and women are not perfunctory; they are essential.  The complementariness is not bestowed by society; it is God-given.  The purpose is not just love; it is procreation.  It is not merely a provision; it is a pattern.  Woman is not a fellow man; she is a unique entity, part of man but separate from him.  The difference matters and is sacred in purpose.  In violating this we violate a transcending intent” (Zacharias, 16). 
     Zacharias touches on an important aspect of human existence.  God created Adam and Eve.  In this creative act, He made them male and female.  He gave them each individual purpose.  He made them complementary.  Whenever equality is pushed to the point that God’s original design and purpose are distorted beyond recognition, then the consequence to human identity and meaningful purpose is destructive and great harm is done.  The evolutionary model of man destroys this sacred intent and attempts to blur the distinction between men and women that God has divinely purposed. This is just another example of the difference between the sacred and the profane.
     The Word of God upholds the value and preciousness of womanhood.  The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 gains the respect of her husband, her household, and her God.  She does this by manifesting a “fear of the Lord.”  “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:30-31).

A Disturbing Trend

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     Karen Uhlenhuth wrote an article for the Kansas City Star (Sept. 7, 2008) entitled, “More than half of young mothers give birth out of wedlock.”  Consider some of the statistics reported in the article.
     –For the first time in a half-century of record-keeping, a majority of babies born to women younger than 30 were out of wedlock.
     –In 2006, 50.4 percent of children born to those under 30 were born to single women. Compare that to 1960 when only 6 percent of babies born to women under 30 were born to unmarried women.
     –Andrew Sum, an economist at Northeastern University in Boston (director of Northeastern’s Center for Labor Market Studies) estimates that taxpayers contribute about $7,000 a year to support the typical family of an unwed mother without a high school diploma. 
     –The Institute for American Values published a study in April (2008) that pegged the cost to taxpayers of children living with a single parent–whether because of divorce or an out-of-wedlock birth–at more than $112 billion annually.
     –Sum made an interesting observation, “Private family miseries translate into major public burdens.”
     A social disaster is looming on the horizon.  More and more women and children are going to be in poverty.  What is the real problem?  Is it carelessness?  Is it lack of education?  Or, is it lack of moral values and moral restraint?  As our society drifts farther away from God and His truth, it becomes morally weaker.  The apostle Paul writes, “Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (I Cor. 6:18).  “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupisence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” (I Thess. 4:3-5). 
     God has ordained that one man and one woman come together in holy wedlock to form a new union which is able to support and care for children born to that union (Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 6:1-4).  When we violate God’s Will, there is a price to pay.  The queston is, “Can we afford it?”  Can we afford it economically?  Can we afford it spiritually?

A Father’s Farewell Charge

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     The following words of David were spoken to his son, Solomon, prior to David’s death.  “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever” (I Chronicles 28:9).
     David realized that Solomon would not be successful in his personal life or in his role as king of Israel without God.  David encourages Solomon to know and to serve God.  He instructs him to seek God and never to forsake Him.  The spiritual anchor that God provides to one’s life is the most important element to success.  Without God, we are destined to struggle and fail. 
     This father’s day, there are many fathers who will recieve gifts and be pampered.  However, there is a gift that I want to challenge father’s to give to their children.  It is the gift of encouragement in faith and devotion to God.  David possessed a great faith in God.  In his own wisdom, he knew that his son needed to anchor his life in relationship to God.  Faith is a precious virtue.  Pass it on! 

The Last Christian Generation

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Josh McDowell has written a book entitled, “The Last Christian Generation.”  McDowell reveals the thinking of many young people in America today on religious issues.  While many (65%) want a close relationship with God, they do not believe the same things about God and Christianity as previous generations.  For instance:
         -63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God.
         -58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths.
         -51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.
         -65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity.
         -68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity.  (McDowell, 14,15)
Many young people today do not hold to a Christian worldview that is grounded in Biblical truth.  A change has taken place with regard to the way truth is perceived.  A majority of young people (81%) have adopted a view that “all truth is relative to the individual and his/her circumstances” (McDowell, 45).  70% of our “churched” young people believe there is no absolute moral truth” (McDowell, 45).  Truth is defined as what “feels” right or what “works.” 
The New Testament church must reaffirm the objective truth of God’s Word (John 17:17; 8:32)  Truth is synonymous with God’s Word!  Truth makes us free from the servitude of sin.  Truth is both knowable and credible.  Let us work diligently to impart this truth to the next generation!