Psalm 91: Promises of Protection (personalized)

Have you Heard of Psalm 91?

I had never really heard much about Psalm 91 until a few years ago when a friend shared with me about a book she was reading. She knew I was going through a difficult time and she told me about Psalm 91. She said it is known as the Psalm of Protection. It includes many of God’s promises to keep and protect us. My friend suggested that I read it daily and use it as a prayer of protection over me and my family.

I don’t read this daily, but I do read/recite it very often. I have found that it became more meaningful to me when I personalized it. What I did was simply replace the words “you” with “I”, “your” with “my”, etc. This way when I am reading or reciting it, it is me talking directly to God. Reciting HIS words back to him. Reminding God of His promises. Not that He needs the reminding, but I do.

I hope this version will be helpful for you as you read and study Psalm 91. I have included a pdf version if you would like to print out a copy.

Psalm 91

1 Because I dwell in the shelter of the Most High
   I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save me
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
   and under his wings I will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.
I will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at my side,
   ten thousand at my right hand,
   but it will not come near me (or my family).
I will only observe with my eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If I say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
   and I make the Most High my dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake me,
   no disaster will come near my tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning me
   to guard me in all my ways;
12 they will lift me up in their hands,
   so that I will not strike my foot against a stone.
13 I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   I will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] 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.”

Printable/PDF Version of Psalm 91 Personalized

Have We Turned Into a Culture of Man-Haters?

Our Roles

This topic is one that has been on my mind for a while. It is a complicated subject and can often stir up feelings of anger, resentment and even hostility. As you know, the human race is comprised of both men and women. We have lived on this planet together since the beginning of time. Our roles have changed over the centuries and we are now at a point where men and women are (for the sake of argument) mostly considered and treated equally, though we haven’t made it all the way there quite yet.

Traditionally, men have been in the role of the provider and women have been in charge of the home and child rearing. Those roles have, over the last 30 years or so, been shifted. Women are more often in the workplace and many men are now at home with the kids. But throughout history, women were treated as second class citizens, possessions or even servants. Many of those ideologies run deep and if we look closely, still affect us today.

The title of this post is Have We Turned Into a Culture of Man Haters? So you may be thinking what does that have to do with what you are talking about? Bear with me. Throughout history, men and women have had a love/hate relationship, literally. I currently know many women who have good men in their lives, not just their significant others, but fathers or siblings as well. I also know many women who have had nothing but terrible men in their lives. Cheating, abusive spouses, financially lazy or irresponsible significant others, deadbeat dads, emotionally unavailable fathers, and the like.

In this era of the #MeToo movement, I am thrilled that the men in society are finally being called out and held accountable for their bad behavior. I have, unfortunately, had to deal with a few not-so-nice guys in my world as well. While scenarios such as these; harassment, abuse, intimidation, and irresponsibility can be displayed by many men, we need to remember that not ALL men behave in such a manner.

Getting Past the Past

As a woman, heck as a human being, I feel it is very easy to let the experiences of our past convince us that every man will treat us in a negative way. Just because Joey was an abusive jerk doesn’t mean that David will be. But our first instinct is to protect ourselves (and that’s a good thing) but we shouldn’t have our guard up so high that we can’t see the good when it is right in front of us.

Let me give you an example. A dear friend of mine, who I’ll call John, is what most people would consider a really “good guy”. He provides for his family, works hard, is loving and caring towards his wife and kids. Is always willing to lend a hand to someone. Is generous with his time and money if he has it and is just an overall decent guy. So what’s the problem?

image of man with toddler on his shoulders at the beach

Well, John is from a family of not-so-good men. His father, his uncles, his brothers and the male cousins in his family have been less than stellar when it comes to treating women right. Some have neglected children, cheated on wives, wouldn’t work or contribute to the household finances, have ignored the needs of their family, mistreated or abused their wives, had drug or alcohol abuse issues and so on.

John, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of these men. Despite being an upstanding guy, he is not treated with love and respect by the other women in his family, including his own mother, despite the fact that he helps to take care of her. The arrows, via harsh words slung at John, hurt him deeply. While his own little family; the wife and kids, appreciate him and all he does, the stinging words or actions from his other female family members is painful. Would the females in his family be considered man-haters?

Recognize

This situation got me to thinking about how we view other people, particularly men, as the enemy. Even the good ones. While I don’t want you to get the idea that I am having a pity party for the male race in general (as we all know, they are typically at the top of the heap) I want us as women to really take a look at our bias towards men as a whole.

In reality, it is the toxic men that have caused us to feel negative about men overall, but it is up to us to look at each man individually and not make blanket assumptions. In the same way that we shouldn’t make blanket assumptions about a particular race or religion.

Yes, there are a lot of no-good men out there, but there are also a lot of great men as well. They need to be acknowledged and appreciated and not treated like they are the enemy. Do you remember the old saying, don’t through the baby out with the bathwater? It simply means not to discard the good (or valuable) with the bad (or worthless). If the good men get treated the same as the not-so-good men, it will wear them down. Like my friend John. Thankfully, he does have his immediate family and his friends to affirm him. But some men don’t.

Speak Life

Look around at the men in your life. I think it is safe to say that you will likely find some bad apples, but please look closely to see if you can find the good ones. I simply don’t want us as a collective body of women to ignore the good guys. Now, they won’t always be exemplary human beings, as none of us are, but we should acknowledge and speak words of life into these men. Let them know they are appreciated and respected. Lift them up.

Think of the positive ripple effect a good guy can have. He can raise his son to be a good, respectable man. He can be an example to his daughter of what a real man looks like and how she should be treated. He can call out other men when they are toxic and stand up for the rights of all the women in his life. These men need to know we see them and together, we can bring about positive change.

A good man may be hard to find, but I promise you, they exist.

Meditation: The What & The Why

pool of water one drop blue

Why Meditation?

As part of my self-care these days I have been practicing meditation and mindfulness. It was a little difficult at first for me to accept this practice as I always associated it with an eastern religious belief system. Not something that as a Christian I should be doing. There has typically been a stigma surrounding the word “meditation” in the Christian community.

My interest in meditation began as I was looking for ways to combat my anxiety. I began to dig in and found several apps that were helpful in meditation and/or mindfulness. I was looking for ones that didn’t feel like they were drawing me into a religious practice but just the basic secular practices of meditation. These tend to focus on breathing, mindfulness, mood check-ins and more. A few of the apps that I think are pretty great are:

All of the above apps have free and premium options, I am sticking with the free options for now as they satisfy me (and I’m cheap).

What is Meditation and Mindfulness?

But let’s back up a bit. You may be wondering, what exactly is meditation and mindfulness? (Definitions from English Oxford Dictionary)

Meditation:

  1. Focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
  2. Think deeply about something.

Mindfulness:

  1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.‘their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition’
  2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

There are different types of meditations, including mindfulness meditation, contemplative, visualization, and spiritual meditation. To learn more about the various types of mediation, I recommend this article from MindWorks.

What Works for Me

For our purposes today, I am going to focus on the types of meditation that I prefer to do. First, I usually practice mindful meditation in the form of breath control. This practice helps to settle not just the mind but the body as well and can be very useful in providing some relief during times of high anxiety or stress. It forces you to focus on your breathing in a way that calms both the mind and the body. I have found the more I practice, the easier it is to utilize it at a moment’s notice, should I become stressed.

The other meditation that I find effective is visualization, sometimes used in conjunction with breath exercises. For me, these are usually guided meditations. Meaning, I am listening to someone verbally guide my thought process to a calming setting. For example, the guide may tell me to picture in my mind a location that I find peaceful, such as viewing the ocean or walking in a field.

The guide may direct me to use all of my senses and pay attention to the sounds, the smells, the sights, etc. Really become focused and aware of all that is present around me. When I am doing this, I am truly focused on this scene and not focusing on what my current reality might be. Good or bad.

As I mentioned before, I am a Christian and part of my journey is to grow spiritually. So while I was looking for various sites and apps to help with meditation, I found a few interesting ones that are considered Christian Meditations.


These are contemplative meditations that focus on scriptures and prayers but often incorporate breathing and mindfulness practices as well. That is the third type of meditation I enjoy. They help to center me, calm me and also feed me spiritually.

A few of the Christian Meditation Apps/Sites that I prefer are:

How I Practice Meditation

woman long brown hair in a ponytail on rocks at the ocean meditating

When you think of meditation, you may picture someone sitting cross-legged with their hands resting on their knees and chanting some word or phrase. While that may be one way of practicing meditation, it usually isn’t for me.

I often begin my day with a spiritual meditation and I do so while I am still lying in bed. The room still dark, eyes closed, I put on my earbuds and spend about 15 minutes in meditation. It’s a great way to start my day.

I try to do a different type of meditation before I go to bed to help me relax. Maybe the visualization. Sometimes I might be sitting up or even lying down on the sofa. If you are trying meditation, you do whatever feels most comfortable for you. Get in whatever position works best for you.

Why It Works

Meditation is helpful mentally and physically because it guides you into focusing on something other than your present reality. It trains and redirects your mind. It helps you to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings (mindfulness) and helps your body relax.

With continued practice, meditation can help to reduce stress levels, help your mind become more focused, help you sleep better and a whole host of other wonderful benefits. It is a discipline just like exercise. You need to do it more than once to reap the rewards. Think of it as a workout for your brain but a lot less physically demanding.

If you haven’t tried meditation yet, I suggest you check out a few of the sites/ apps I mentioned and give it a shot. Find what feels most comfortable for you. It may seem a bit awkward at first, but after some practice, you will start to look forward to it daily.


“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”

Anonymous

Tauren Wells, The Hills and The Valleys (Worship Wednesday)

This song, Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells has come up recently because of Coach Tony Bennett from the University of Virginia giving a shout out to it after the team’s NCAA championship win.

It is one of my favorite songs and was pivotal in helping me through some difficult times. I hope you enjoy and are uplifted by this song.

Check out all of our Worship Wednesday Songs.