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Summary: What will a new year bring? How can we live our days confidently without knowing what is around the corner? How do I face an uncertain future? Well, Solomon, in the Bible, some 3000 years ago, wondered the same thing. Look at Eccl. 8:7 that we have printe

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HOW CAN I FACE LIFE WITH CERTAINTY?

Ecclesiastes 8:7, Joshua 1:1-11, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

INTRODUCTION:

As we enter into this new calendar year, it is understandable for us to wonder what this year will hold. Maybe you’re facing uncertainty in your job. Will you be asked to relocate? Maybe you have children that will enter school this fall. What teacher they will get? What friends will they make, how they will do? Maybe your are aging a tad and you wonder if this will be the year for a major health breakdown. For myself and my family it’s questions about the new church plant. But everyone is interested in the future, even beyond this year. I think you can clearly see that on the spiritual side in the popularity of the “Left Behind” books by Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye dealing with the issues of what will happen when Jesus comes. How many of you have read at least one of those? But it’s also clearly seen in the myriad number of psychic possibilities we have. There’s the “Psychic Network” the “Psychic Connection,” “Psychic Friends..” I thought I’d put the word “Psychic” into one of the search engines.. I was astounded- There were 1,460,000 hits for that subject! Each site seemed to contain a bi-line trying to coax you to their page.. “I can tell your future.” “We offer palm readings on the net.” I thought that might be somewhat difficult. Then there was this one from a lady that called herself a “Psychic Specialist” “I am not special but have a very special ability. I want to make it easy for you to see that I really can give you advice that will help you. So.. I will answer one question on anything that’s bothering you.. For $25! Twenty-five dollars! I thought she was going to make it easy! But there was more.. “You can take advantage of this offer only once so please choose your question very carefully.” I thought, for $25 bucks, I guess so.

But that goes to show me two things. (1) How unaware people are that God detests such practices: Duet. 18:10-11- “..do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord.”(NLT) God was just as strict on those consulting one. God says in Lev. 20:6, “If any among the people are unfaithful by consulting and following mediums or psychics, I will turn against them and cut them off from the community.” (NLT) (2) I was struck by how many people want to know what’s up ahead, how many are uncertain about their lives. I’m sure that there are those who actually pay $25 to have the woman answer a question about their life. And I know that there are thousands that consult these psychics everyday. Why? Because they are seeking answers. They want to be able to face their days with confidence and certainty. Don’t we all?

What will 2003 bring? How can we live our days confidently without knowing what is around the corner? How do I face an uncertain future? Well, Solomon, in the Bible, some 3000 years ago, wondered the same thing. Look at Eccl. 8:7 that we have printed for you where he asks: "Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?" I believe that if King Solomon would of looked back at how God dwelt with Joshua, one of his most famous ancestors, that he could of received some help on this question. So, let’s look at Solomon’s question, Joshua’s answer & then

Solomon’s conclusion that enabled him to face his days with confidence. Because the great news is that we can face this year and our entire existence with the same certainty.

I. THREE STUMBLING BLOCKS:

To begin I want us to look briefly at three stumbling blocks that can keep us from having the certainty that we need. Often times it is best to remove the barriers we have so we can more easily build the bridges that we need to improve our lives. The Bible is our guidebook when understanding life and it gives us some advice on this topic. So here’s three things that we tend to do when looking at tomorrow that the Bible tells us not to.

1. We tend to presume upon tomorrow! Prov. 27:1 "Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring."(NIV) The N.T. carries the same message in James 4:13-14. “Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” You can’t brag about what you’re going to do next year, you don’t even know if you’re going to have tomorrow. You’re only a heartbeat away from eternity. Not only do you not know what the future holds, God doesn’t want you to know what the future holds. Ask yourself.. “Do I really want to know my future? I don’t. Think back even 10 years ago.. Would you want to know everything that would happen in your life? Why if God were to show you everything it would overwhelm you. You’d know this is the day for that car wreck or this is the day your parent dies, or this is the week that I find out I have cancer. So God in His wisdom doesn’t overwhelm us by showing us the entire future at once.

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