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Fathers & Crime

My son Thomas, who is studying criminal justice at Cedarville University, sent me this link:  http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/.  Below are some frightening statistics.  Frightening because there are so many fatherless homes these days:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report)
- Children with fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school and 70% less likely to drop out of school.
- 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
- 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]

    So fathers need to be involved in the family.  When they are, the children commit less crime and get in less trouble.  While this is true for earthly fathers, how much so with our heavenly Father.  He is always available to us.  We can pray to him whenever we want.  He is always interested in our activities.  He knows us better than we know ourselves. 

The Printing Press and the Bible

    Johann Gutenberg invented the moveable type printing press in the West around 1450.  Note that the Chinese had developed their moveable type printing press (clay) around 1041 A.D. and the Koreans had the first metal moveable type printing press in 1230.  But these did not reach the West. 
      Having invented the printing press, and having no competition, Johann Gutenberg could have printed any book that he wanted to.  So which book did he chose?  He chose the Bible (in Latin Vulgate of course).  And then he went printed about 200 copies in paper and about thirty copies in vellum (calf skin).  What was impressive was that you could read it without glasses as the type was neat.  Both copies were hand painted so that they did not look like something cheaply done.
      Why did he chose the Bible?  We do not know as the Bible was infrequently read as a Bible in the church.  In the church they would have read the missal, which is "a book containing all that is said or sung at mass during the entire year" (Websters). 
       Nevertheless, he chose the Bible and now these Gutenberg Bibles are probably the most expensive book to buy.  Fortunately, today Bibles are plentiful.  But do you treasure the Bible as an artifact (I have a Bible from the 1807 that my ancestors used) or do you treasure the Bible as God's Word to you?

I AM THE WAY

   Today I preached on John 14:6 Jesus Christ makes a claim that He is God.  He says "I AM the Way." 
First, when Christ says "I" am the way, He is saying that the way to heaven is through Him.  You don't get to heaven through what you know, or through your good works, or through your relatives.  The way to heaven is through a personal relationship with the "I", that is through Jesus Christ.  It is not what you know, but whom you know.
    Second, when Christ says "I AM" He claims that He is the same I AM of Exodus 3:13-14.  He claims that He is God, the same God that freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.  The I AM of the Old Testament performed many miracles, the 10 Plagues, the drowning of Pharaoh's army, etc.  The I AM of the New Testament performed 35 miracles.  So Christ is the same I AM.
     Third, when Christ says I AM THE way, he is saying that there is only one way.  It is an exclusive claim.  He did not say I am a way to heaven, and you can also get to heaven through your good works, or through following the eight-fold path of Buddha.  No, he said I am THE ONLY way.
     Fourth, when Christ says I AM the WAY He shows us the way and is the way.  Just like Christ shows us what it is to be love and is love.
    

The Thin Horse Market

     I teach World Civilization at a local community college.  A community college is an institution that teaches the basic courses at a less expensive rate. 
     The World Civilization course that I use has a chapter on China and in that chapter they have a discussion on the thin horse market of Yangzhou.  The "thin horse market" of Yangzhou was a market where men came and bought women to be their concubines.  Peasants often sold their young daughters to middlemen who then raised them to be concubines.  They would have their feet bound as it was more erotic, and they were taught the basics of singing, calligraphy, etc.  Then they were sold to the rich.
     The book puts a very positive spin on it.  For example it states:  "For a poor peasant household, after a bad harvest and faced with high taxes, the sale of a comely daughter often seemed preferable to the sale of ancestral land."  And again, "Was a woman better off as the wife of a poor peasant, experiencing hardship, hunger, and want, or as the concubine in a wealthy household with servants, good food, and the likelihood that her children would receive an education?"
      God created women to be help-mates, not to be sold on the market like a horse.  Women are humans, not horses.  They should be loved and cherished, not bought and sold.
      Lord, help us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Reformation and Education II

   Last week we showed how important education was in the Reformation.  The ministers had to be trained to read the Bible.  But the ability to read the Bible was not just for the ministers.  In 1647 Massachusetts passed the Old Deluder Act which is quoted below:
    It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.
   [In plain English:  Satan the old deceiver kept men from knowing the scriptures because it was in an unknown tongue or language (i.e., Latin), so that the true meaning was hidden from them, and so that the learning will not be buried, the Lord will assist our efforts.]
     It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint; provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns.
   [When the Lord has increased the town so that there are fifty families, the town will appoint one person to teach the children how to write and read.  The wages shall be paid either by the parents, or by the town in general.  If the parents pay, it should not be excessive.]
   Then the act goes on for larger towns.  But what is exciting here is that the town schools, in the US, the government or public schools, were set up for the specific reason to teach the children how to read the Bible so that they would not be deluded or deceived by Satan. 
Thank God that we can teach the children how to read in their own language so they can read the Bible.