The lips of the righteous nourish many. —Proverbs 10:21 NIV

 Plump is in; thin is out. Lips, that is.

An ad I saw online touted the look of full lips. The lips on the model in the picture were so full, she looked as though she were having an allergic reaction. 

Now, I’m not one to run out and buy every product that’s supposed to better my appearance and increase my sex appeal. Nearly fifty years of marriage, three kids, five grandkids, and seven decades of life on this planet have pretty well taken care of that. I struggle enough with my appearance—the last thing I need is to look like I’ve just been shot up with Novocain. 

But the ad got me thinking about lips—and their purpose.

Lips reveal our emotions: they kiss, smile, pout, frown, and open to release laughter. The position of our lips affects the expression on our face. I can always tell when my husband is upset about something by the set of his lips—a thin, tightly pressed line. On the other hand, when his lips are smiling, his eyes are twinkling. 

Lips are the gateway for food. Closed lips keep food and liquids in our mouths. “Chew with your mouth closed,” we tell our kids. Closed lips also keep things from going in. Good when you’re trying to lose weight, bad when you’re trying to administer a dose of medicine to a reluctant child. 

Because of their nerve endings, lips stimulate the senses of taste and touch. When I want to check to see if my tea is too hot, I use my lips. When my kids were little, I pressed my lips to their foreheads to see if they had a fever. My lips were more reliable than my work-weathered hands.  

Lips also are vital for speech, enabling us to create sounds and form words. I’ve learned to cope with a lifelong hearing loss by watching people’s lips as they talk. When I can’t see their lips, it’s hard for me to understand what they’re saying. Hence the saying in the Huey household, “I can’t hear you—I don’t have my glasses on.”

Like anything else, we can use our lips for good or for evil. We can kiss someone or spit on them. Our lips can encourage or discourage—and affect our own feelings. A smile will not only brighten someone else’s day, but it will also boost your own spirits. Don’t believe me? Try it. A frown, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. A frown is the thundercloud of the face and the spirit.

The lips that praised Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday by the end of the week betrayed Him, denied Him, cursed Him, and condemned Him. A kiss signified He was the one to arrest. Lips that boasted undying loyalty denied even knowing Him. Lips that shouted “Hosanna” on Sunday screamed “Crucify Him” on Friday. 

I can use my lips to complain or praise, demolish or construct, poison or nourish, deny or confess, curse or bless, spit or kiss. 

How do I use my lips? How do you use yours? 

 Dear God, may my lips be plump with praise. Amen.

 Read and reflect on 1 Peter 3:10–11.

NOTE: Look up “lips” in a concordance, then read and reflect on the Bible verses that have to do with lips.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Michele Huey, Inspirational Author & Speaker
Where faith, love, and life collide

The Grocery List

“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1 (NIV)

I grew up at a time when small, family-owned grocery stores perched on just about every corner in every neighborhood. My mother would call in her list, and they’d gather the items, pack them up in boxes, and deliver them by the end of the day. The stores extended credit, so when Dad got paid, they got paid.

I’m reminiscing those old grocery store days because I’ve been pondering prayer and our perspective of it. 

Too often we approach prayer like writing up a grocery list and phoning it in to God, expecting Him to box up what we need and deliver it pronto. 

It doesn’t work that way.

Like the disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us to pray. 

So let’s look at Jesus’ response. “The Lord’s Prayer” is simple, but it contains all we need on our grocery list to the Heavenly storehouse.

First on the list is HONOR. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Sometimes we’re so focused on the family relationship that we forget our Father’s holiness. We’re so busy crawling into Daddy’s lap that we neglect to bow down in worship to El Shaddai. Honor Him as your heavenly Father and honor Him as your God. 

Second on the list is SUBMISSION. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Submit to His will for you and surrender what you think you want. Father does know best. Too often we want what we want and nothing else, and get mad at God when we don’t get it.  “This wasn’t on my list,” we complain. “This isn’t the brand I ordered.” Submit to His best for you. 

Third on the list is TRUST. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This isn’t a request only for food to sustain us physically. We also need bread for our minds, hearts, and spirits. And notice the words “this day.” Too often our lists contain more than what we need for one day. We feel better when we see caches stashed away for tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow)—it’s much easier than trusting God, whom we can’t see, for today’s needs. 

Fourth on the list is FORGIVENESS. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I prefer the word “trespasses” rather than “debts,” but both convey the same meaning: If you want to be forgiven, you’ve got to forgive others who have hurt you. And we all need to forgive and be forgiven.

The final item on the list is DELIVERANCE. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” God, being holy, will never lead us to do wrong. That’s our choice. I like the way the NIV Study Bible explains this verse: “Do not lead us into trials so deep that they would tempt us to be unfaithful to you. God does not tempt (in the sense of enticing us to sin).” Rather, we ask God to deliver us from the evil that surrounds us, so it won’t it affect us, inside or out. 

Honor. Submission. Trust. Forgiveness. Deliverance.

And, remember, you have all the credit you need—just write the check in the name of Jesus, who already paid. 

What’s on your grocery list?

Father, remind me to keep my prayers simple.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 6:5–13.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.