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                 "I HAVE SET THE LORD ALWAYS BEFORE ME"

                              Psalms 16:8

INTRODUCTION

1. In Psa 16:11 we are reminded that in the presence of God there is
   fullness of joy and true happiness...

   "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness
   of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

2. I am sure that all Christians would agree; but even so, there are 
   times...
   a. We all find ourselves not as close to God as we would like
   b. We find ourselves spiritually weak, filled with depression and
      anxiety

3. In such times, what can we do in order to become close to God again?
   a. The answer is found in Psa 16:8
   b. "I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right
      hand I shall not be moved."
   -- It is when we "set the Lord before us" that we receive the 
      benefits of His Presence...

[In this lesson, I wish to review ways that you can draw closer to God,
or to "set the Lord before you", anytime you find ourselves drifting
away from God.  Perhaps a good place to start is to...]

I. SET THE LORD BEFORE YOU THROUGH GOD'S CREATION

   A. LET NATURE HELP YOU DRAW CLOSE TO GOD...
      1. For the Creation speaks to us of God
         a. It tells of His glory and His knowledge - Psa 19:1-2
         b. It impresses us with His eternal power and His deity - Ro 
            1:20
         c. In their own way, such inanimate objects worship God - Psa
            68:8,11-13
      2. When we take time to contemplate God's creation...
         a. We understand more of His power and of His person
         b. This understanding enables us to come closer to God
            1) Just as increasing understanding between friends 
               enhances friendship
            2) As it does any relationship (e.g., marriages)

   B. OTHERS USED NATURAL SETTINGS IN DRAWING CLOSER TO GOD...
      1. Isaac would go out into the fields to meditate - Gen 24:63
      2. Jesus would often go to the mountains to pray - Mt 14:23
      -- It may be easier to draw closer to God in the midst of God's 
         creation (nature), and away from man's creation (cities)

         Walking alone at eve and viewing the skies afar,
            Bidding the darkness come to welcome each silver star;
         I have a great delight in the wonderful scenes above,
            God in His power and might is showing His truth and Love.
                          -- Alone At Eve, Will W. Slater, vs. 1

[But God's creation can tell you only so much about Him.  To draw
closer, you need to...]

II. SET THE LORD BEFORE YOU THROUGH GOD'S REVELATION

   A. GOD'S WORD PROVIDES THE FULL REVELATION OF GOD...
      1. Through nature we are limited in what we can learn from God
         a. We can see His power, divinity, glory, and knowledge
         b. But we learn nothing of His will and purpose for us
      2. It is only through Divine revelation that God has made His
         Will fully known
         a. He has revealed many things through His Spirit, who in turn
            revealed them through the apostles - 1 Co 2:9-12
         b. Such things were written for our benefit and understanding
            - Ep 3:3-5

   B. OTHERS DEPENDED UPON THE WORD TO REMAIN CLOSE TO GOD...
      1. David used it in many ways to stay close to God - Psa 119:92-
         93,105,147-148
      2. Jesus used it to ward off the Tempter - Mt 4:4,7,10
      -- Let God's Word help you draw near to Him who is the source of
         peace and strength

         Sitting alone at eve and dreaming the hours away,
            Watching the shadows falling now at the close of day;
         God in His mercy comes with His word He is drawing near,
            Spreading His love and truth around me and everywhere.
                          -- Alone At Eve, Will W. Slater, vs. 2

[But do not stop with listening to God through His Word.  To really
draw close to God, you need to...]

III. SET THE LORD BEFORE YOU THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS

   A. A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP MUST BE A TWO-WAY STREET...
      1. God has revealed Himself to us through His creation and
         revelation
      2. We must reveal ourselves to Him, which we do through prayer
         a. The means by which to express every concern, to receive
            appropriate blessings - Ph 4:6-7
         b. The means by which to draw boldly to God, to obtain mercy
            and grace to help - He 4:14-16

   B. OTHERS FOUND PRAYER THE MEANS TO RECEIVE HELP FROM GOD...
      1. David found that confessing sins to God brought forgiveness
         - Psa 32:3-6
      2. Jesus found prayer to be a source of strength in times of
         trial - Mt 26:36-44
      -- Draw near to God's throne through prayer, let Him know of your
         deepest needs

         Closing my eyes at eve and thinking of heaven's grace,
            Longing to see my Lord, yes, meeting Him face to face;
         Trusting Him as my all wheresoever my footsteps roam,
            Pleading with Him to guide me on to the spirit's home.
                          -- Alone At Eve, Will W. Slater, vs. 3

[Finally, allow me to suggest that you...]

IV. SET THE LORD BEFORE YOU THROUGH YOUR FELLOWSHIP

   A. STRENGTH COMES FROM ASSEMBLING TOGETHER...
      1. Just as there is strength in numbers - cf. Ecc 4:9-12
      2. In view of the very real danger of falling away...
         a. We need to exhort one another daily - He 3:12-13
         b. We need to admonish one another through our frequent
            assemblies - He 10:24-25
      -- Like coals in a fire keeping each other hot, assembling
         together is designed to keep the "spark" alive in our
         relationship with God

   B. THE EARLY CHURCH FOUND STRENGTH BY ASSEMBLING TOGETHER...
      1. As when Peter and John were released after being arrested
         - Ac 4:23-31
      2. As when Peter was imprisoned - Ac 12:12

   C. OUR ASSEMBLIES CAN BE A FORETASTE OF GOD'S PRESENCE...
      1. In which we drawn near to God together through song, prayer,
         and His word
      2. In which we enjoy the fellowship of God and His servants even
         now - cf. Re 7:9-17

         Oh! for a home with God, a place in His courts to rest,
            Sure in a safe abode with Jesus and the blest;
         Rest for a weary soul once redeemed by the Savior's love,
            Where I will be pure and whole and live with my God above!
                          -- Alone At Eve, Will W. Slater, chorus

CONCLUSION

1. Do you desire to draw closer to God?

2. Then "set the Lord before you" through these avenues:
   a. Contemplating nature
   b. Meditating on God's word
   c. Spending time in prayer
   d. Having fellowship with other Christians

Do this, and we can draw closer to God, singing with David:

         "In Your presence is fullness of joy;
            At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
                                                  (Psa 16:11)
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