What Matters Most
I think we were all taken aback earlier this month by the sudden loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. While I was not a follower of their careers or work particularly, like you, I was shocked and saddened for them and their families. Suicide is always alarming, devastating and painful for so many. In the U.S. alone, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. On average, 123 suicides are committed every day, and for every suicide there are another 25 attempts. What makes a person sink so low? Professionals will speak to us about mental health issues and they will say that “it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression.”
Life is precious and we want to help. If you are reading this and have been battling with suicidal thoughts, please contact one of the suicide prevention hotlines 1-800-suicide or 1-800-273-talk.
While many have thought about suicide, something all of us have had to deal with is discouragement, disappointment, despair…or in general, down times. There is another hotline/number I encourage you to call. 911. I’m not talking about the number 911 we call when facing an emergency. I’m talking about the 911 in the Bible. Psalm 91:1. When facing dark days, dial up Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” And then add in Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91 shows us 4 keys to keep ourselves encouraged. These keys are important for us at all times, especially when facing down times. Here are 4 things that really matter:
#1: It Matters Where I Dwell
Ps 91:1 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
- Focus on the word “dwell” for a moment. There are 3 dictionary definitions that work here.
- To linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing.
- To live or stay as a permanent resident.
- To live or continue in a given condition or state.
- It matters where I dwell. Where we allow our mind to dwell is so crucial. There are 3 questions we need to ask ourselves when it comes to where we dwell.
- What do we dwell on? The negative, the critical, the impossible?
- Where do I dwell? Where is my emotional, spiritual and mental state?
- Who do I dwell with? Do I go to the Almighty?
- We need to continually assess our mental, emotional, and spiritual state. When we do, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I where I need to be?” If we’re not where we need to be, we need to dial up Psalm 91:1 and remember key biblical figures like Joseph, Jesus, Moses, and Paul. They all found ways to keep themselves encouraged in the midst of incredible adversity. They got their mind right, spirits right, and emotions right.
#2: It Matters Who I Trust
Psalm 91:2-8 “2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”
- In these verses, we see that God is our refuge and strength. He is our mighty fortress and we can trust Him even when calamity comes.
- Does this mean we will never face problems? Most certainly not. In this world, we have problems. Some are a result of our own doing and others are a result of what others do to us. But sometimes we experience many problems in life because life it not fair or easy or perfect. Bad things happen to good people. We live in a fallen world. Paul brings clarity and gives us perspective in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. He reminds us to set our sights on heaven, because all will be good and perfect there. Focusing on heaven also helps us maximize this life, even as it elevates the life to come.
#3: It Matters How I Choose
Psalm 91:9-13 “9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
- Life is a series of choices and how I choose and what I choose is so important…will I choose to anchor my life in Christ? There are really not 3 options here. There are two. If I choose the Lord and anchor in Him, then the winds will blow but I will stand fast.
- Satan will try to dupe you – remember he is the father of lies (recall Matthew 4:6, where Satan quoted and misused Scripture in an attempt to dupe Jesus). Satan will tell you that you are defeated, your marriage is doomed, your finances are a bust, etc.
- It’s important to remember your identity in Christ. You are gifted, you are created for a purpose, you are the apple of His eye. Choose who you are going to believe… Jesus or Satan. Satan will always try to dissuade us from trusting in God. He tried with Jesus and he will try with us. So choose Jesus. Choose to lean into Him mentally, spiritually, emotionally.
#4: It Matters What I Believe
Psalm 92:14-16 “14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
- There are 8 promises and points of faith we find in verses 14-16
- I will rescue him – Deliverance
- I will protect – Hope
- I will answer – Prayer
- I will be with him in trouble – Presence
- I will deliver – Overcome
- And honor – Love
- With long life will I satisfy him – Eternity
- And show him my salvation – Victory
- I love Ps. 91, not because all are healed in this life, but because all are healed in the next life. Not because everything goes perfect in this life, but because all goes perfect in the next life.
- As we walk with God we don’t have to be confined to a pit of untruth/bondage. We can walk in truth and freedom. Here’s what I believe:
- God and His promises are true.
- God has sheltered us in ways we don’t even know or always see.
- When we face hard times, He will always be with us.
- The best is yet to come.
Today, add Psalm 91 as an arrow in your quiver. Whenever hard and dark times come, dial 911. Remember that it matters where you dwell, who you trust, how you choose, and what you believe. Remember that the Lord is your refuge and “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”