Operation Bandana has provided 279,555 bandanas as of July 20th, 2017         
 

An Open Letter to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

PSALM 91

For thousands of years, this psalm has been an inspiration, comfort, and promise for warriors in harm’s way. It is amazing to read the ancient descriptions of warfare described by the psalmist, and compare it to what we see in the global war on terror today. Insurgency, snipers, suicide bombers, IEDs, environmental terrorism—they seem to fit into the words “fowler’s snare”, “deadly pestilence”, “terror of night”, “arrow that flies by day”, “pestilence that stalks in the darkness”, “plague that destroys at midday.” What does God have to say in Psalm 91 that can calm our fears and help us to face the challenges?

Verse one begins with a great truth written in the third person. . . that he who dwells, or abides, in the shelter that God provides will be resting in His shadow. The psalmist then makes this personal and speaks in the first person. . . stating clearly that God is his refuge, his fortress, his God whom he trusts. This is a magnificent testimony! Was this David writing to his son, Solomon? Some have suggested this—but we do not know. Certainly a warrior like David would have much to share about the faithfulness of God in battle—things that he might want to pass on to others as means of encouragement and wisdom.

The description of God’s shelter in verse four is the image of God’s wings which surround, cover, protect. . . with His faithfulness as a shield. Within that bunker of strength the reader will be separated from the devastation around him. Is this physical protection or spiritual protection? We need both—not just in our physical battles but also in the realm of spiritual battles.

Verse nine begins with another great truth. . . that he who makes God his dwelling will be protected and guarded. The statement of verse one now becomes the challenge of verse nine with the word “if.” That is always the challenge. . .and the choice. Will we choose to dwell (abide) in the dwelling place of God?

If the reader chooses to allow God to be his shelter, as the psalmist proclaims that he has done, then the LORD speaks the greatest truth of all in verses 14-16. He tenderly, yet powerfully proclaims that those who love Him, who name His name. . . He will rescue. Our cries for help, in the form of prayer, He will answer and His protection is sure even in the midst of battle.

And how does the LORD provide and protect? With His presence, His peace. We can trust His faithfulness knowing that He loves us, has a plan for our lives, and desires for us to live eternally with Him. It is fitting that the psalmist ends this beautiful poem with the great truth, “and show him my salvation.” Do you know his salvation? His salvation was provided by the ultimate warrior, Jesus Christ. In the past, two thousand years ago, He faced the all-time champion of evil at Calvary and shed His blood in death on the cross for our victory. In the present we continue in battle with the enemy, but have His armor with which to stand and fight. And in the future day He will return, fight the last battle, and reign victorious over all the earth.

How can we, in this modern age, personalize Psalm 91, this “warrior’s psalm”? In any verse where you see the word “you”, insert “me” or “I”. For example: “If (I) make the Most High (my) dwelling—even the LORD, who is my (the psalmist’s) refuge—then no harm will befall (me), no disaster will come near (my) tent. For He will command His angels concerning (me) to guard (me) in all (my) ways.” vs. 9-11

And for the loved ones at home, on the home front. . . how can you personalize this psalm in order to pray for your dear one deployed in harm’s way? Put his or her name where you read “you” or “your”. For example: “Surely He will save (name) from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover (name) with His feathers, and under His wings (name) will find refuge; His faithfulness will be (name’s) shield and rampart.” vs. 3-4

We invite you to take Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and to personalize John 3:16 in declaration that you have believed and trusted in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, “For God so loved (me), that He gave His only Son, that if (I) believe in Him, (I) will never perish but have eternal life.” It is then that you have made the decision to not only dwell in the shelter of the LORD, but to make Him your dwelling place, for all of eternity.

From Excellent or Praiseworthy, a publication of Campus Crusade for Christ—Military Ministry to encourage you in your marriage and your walk with the Lord and to help military families stay connected during deployments.  Visit excellentorpraiseworthy.org.

A note from Mary, Founder and Executive Director…

Thank you to all of you amazing and courageous servicemen and women for your service to our nation and the world as you help ensure freedom and safety at home and abroad. You are the best of the best, a true patriot, some of America’s finest, sons and daughters of America, our heroes, and we love and respect you and remember you with our prayers and our gifts of Psalm 91 bandanas.  Our hope is that the words of this Psalm, printed on a simple bandana, will be a balm for your weary soul, draw you into the presence of God, and give you strength, courage, comfort, and protection.

I know you guys like those goody boxes with consumable, perishable treats in them, but Operation Bandanas sends you a very special treat too. The words imprinted on the Psalm 91 bandana is the bread of life: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…the true bread comes from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. ..Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'” (John 6). Our great God will satisfy every need that you hunger for. Keep your bandana close and read it every day, meditating on it and claiming its promises.

We love to get notes, emails, and pictures of those who have received Psalm 91 bandanas. It encourages all who have ministered to you with their time and treasure through Operation Bandanas to see and hear that our gift has made its way into your hands. Perhaps there will be a testimony you will want to share with us about how your bandana made a difference for you or how much it meant to you. We would be so happy to hear from you!

Email me if you want to request some bandanas for your units!

We love you guys!

God keep you under the shelter of His wings…and contact me to send you Psalm 91 bandanas for your group!

Mary Bass Gray

Founder and Executive Director

Operation Bandanas

Author, “Lovin’ Our Troops, A Story of Service on Two Fronts

mary@operationbandanas.org