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Summary: The fear of life is often seen in resisting change and living in denial of the seasons of life. If we try to fight the seasons of life rather than accept them, we will miss the blessings God has for us and we will fail to mature. We need to embrace life

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Embracing Life

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-15)

Intro

1. A major part of who we are and what we do is determined by fear.

2. Fear is not necessarily evil. Legitimate fear of danger, for example, results in restraint: whether driving, playing football, or welding, caution is a virtue.

3. There are fears that come as a result of childhood trauma that we may never get over. Here are a few from a list of several thousand. I chose those beginning with the letter ¡§B¡¨ as a manageable list; there are about 4 times as many uder ¡§a¡¨ or ¡§e¡¨ for example

Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.

Bacteriophobia- Fear of bacteria.

Ballistophobia- Fear of missiles or bullets.

Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.

Barophobia- Fear of gravity.

Basophobia or Basiphobia- Inability to stand. Fear of walking or falling.

Bathmophobia- Fear of stairs or steep slopes.

Bathophobia- Fear of depth.

Batophobia- Fear of heights or being close to high buildings.

Batrachophobia- Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.

Belonephobia- Fear of pins and needles. (Aichmophobia)

Bibliophobia- Fear of books.

Blennophobia- Fear of slime.

Bogyphobia- Fear of bogeys or the bogeyman.

Botanophobia- Fear of plants.

Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia- Fear of body smells.

Brontophobia- Fear of thunder and lightning.

Bufonophobia- Fear of toads.

3. But sometimes fears strap us and keep us from doing God¡¦s will.

4. One fear we all deal with is the fear of life¡¦s uncertainties¡K.

5. It is normal and okay to be afraid, but we can¡¦t let it strap us. Ps. 56:3 says, ¡§When I am afraid, I will trust in you.¡¨

Main Idea: The fear of life is often seen in resisting change and living in denial of the seasons of life. If we try to fight the seasons of life rather than accept them, we will miss the blessings God has for us and we will fail to mature. We need to embrace life and the wonder of being human.

TS--------„³ Solomon offers us some great advice in this area, and I will attempt to sum up this advice in two concepts.

I. Do Not Try to Circumvent the Normal Life Cycle, but Embrace It (1-8)

1. God has ordained that mankind typically experience many seasons of life

2. God could change human nature, human philosophy, or human society if He so pleased---but He isn¡¦t because He doesn¡¦t¡K.

3. Verse 1 and verse 11 provide the gridwork for understanding Solomon¡¦s poetic list

(1) verse 1 does not encourage fatalism (Que Sera, Sera), but rather a realistic picture of the nature of life¡K

(2) forewarned is forearmed¡K.

(3) God¡¦s children should participate fully in what it means to be human, sin excepted; they should not expect children to act like adults, but they should

likewise not fear aging and changing ones behavior in light of that aging¡K

(4) verse 11a implies a need to discern what is appropriate based upon life¡¦s seasons

4. In a typical lifespan, you will experience many of the seasons Solomon describes: ler¡¦s note his list (1-8)

(1) does this mean that all these details in each person¡¦s life are foreordained?

(2) no; God is particular to point out things that are foreordained; if everything was foreordained, it would seem silly to point out some things as foreordained¡K

(3) God knows everything that will happen, and many things He direcetly orchestrates¡K.

(4) What God HAS ordained is this typical pattern for the typical person¡K

5. Life¡¦s seasons must be accepted, not avoided¡K.

(1) a four year old child asks over 400 questions a day

(2) the average person over 50 will have spent one year looking for lost items (16 minutes a day, about 2 hours a week)

(3) the average person speaks about 31,500 words per day

(4) 27% of U.S. male college students believe life is a meaningless existential hell

(5) 7% of Americans think Elvis is alive¡K

6. This includes the difficult times:

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NO PLACE FOR PAIN

In his sermon on dealing with trials, Nashville pastor Byron Yawn points out: "For most, especially American Christians, even the remotest suggestion that there could be value in our suffering is viewed as uncaring and insensitive. We have been conditioned by our culture to believe the opposite. A collective attitude that exalts comfort and views personal happiness as the end of all things has blurred our perspective. There is no place for pain in American Christianity.

"Because of this distorted perception, we rarely stop to search for the ¡¦hand of God¡¦ in the midst of our trouble. Seeking to understand God¡¦s purposes in our pain is all but foreign. As a result, embracing pain¡¦s role in our sanctification is usually the farthest thing from our minds. As one so aptly put it, ¡¦Most people count it all joy when they escape trials. James said to count it all joy in the midst of trials.¡¦ We need to come to grips with a significant truth: God¡¦s will is not our happiness, but His Glory. The two may, or may not, be directly related."

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