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


Read and reflect on Psalm 46.

Selah!  – Psalm 46: 3, 7, 11 NIV

If I were to choose a Scripture for the New Year—as a theme verse to reflect on throughout the year—I’d select a word used 74 times in the Bible, mostly in Psalms (71 times—the other three can be found in Habakkuk) and often overlooked. Perhaps we ignore it because it’s only one little word of five letters standing all by itself at the end of a verse. Perhaps we pay little attention to it because no one knows with certainty its meaning, not even biblical scholars. So we skip right over it and keep on reading.

But the word selah (pronounced SEE-lah) is not to be ignored, even if we don’t know what it means.

Strong’s Concordance defines selah as “to lift up, to exalt.” 

So the first word I want to focus on is praise.

Sometimes the phrase “Praise God!” slips through our lips almost meaninglessly and is soon forgotten. How often do we truly praise God—from the heart, not just the mouth?

On a drive to my doctor’s appointment one time, I spent nearly the entire 45 minutes praising God—aloud. It all started when I thanked Him for dry roads and good weather. One praise flowed after another. Once the pump was primed, the water of praise just gushed out. 

Too often I focus on my problems, not on praise. Can it really be that much easier to list a litany of laments than all the ways God has lavished us with His love?

Another definition for selah is “the writer’s instruction to the reader to pause and exalt the Lord,” or “pause and calmly think of that!” 

The focus here is on the word pause.

How often do we intentionally pause and think about the blessings God has poured into our lives? Or to take time to know Him better? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I don’t give God the time He is due. Too often my prayer and Bible reading time is like rushing through the drive-through, gobbling junk to appease my hunger, rather than take the time to savor the banquet and sip from the overflowing cup of blessings my Lord places before me (Psalm 23:5). 

Try it. Put your day on pause and sit down and focus on your blessings. Little things. Big things. Speak them aloud—there’s power in the spoken word—or write them down. It won’t be long before the clouds of hopelessness and despair part, and you feel the warmth of His sunshine in your soul.

Pause and praise—and one more thing—Presence.

Just as the meaning of selah is uncertain, so are the days that will comprise 2022. 

But of one thing I am certain: That His Presence will go with me (Exodus 33:14). For He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6).

What is your focus verse for 2022?

Thank You, Lord, for being with me every moment of every day. Remind me to pause and praise You often throughout the New Year. Amen.

TO MY READERS: Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace throughout the New Year. (Numbers 6:24–26)

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.