Monday, April 6, 2009


The lips of the righteous nourish many. – Proverbs 10:21 (NIV)

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

An ad on my Yahoo mail page 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. Thirty-five years of marriage, three kids, five grandkids, and nearly six 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 coffee 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?

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. – Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)

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

Special-Tea: Read Luke 19

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