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I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalms 34:1 NIV

The word lips appears in the Bible some 200 times. I haven't read each of those occurrences, but they often refer to the words that proceed from our mouths. Of course, lips don't usually move on their own account; they are directed. Thoughts are formed in our brain, which sends signals through our neural networks to formulate the speech that passes through our lips. Our lips are only the final departure point for what is in our minds and hearts.

From the same lips that pass expressions of love, venom may also spew. Isaiah 6:5-9, he speaks of being a "man of unclean lips." In this passage, Isaiah recognizes his unworthiness and impurity. His confession of being a "man of unclean lips" signifies more than just physical dirtiness. It symbolizes the sinful nature of his words and communication. Isaiah acknowledges that he lives among people with unclean lips, who use words to harm others, seek power for themselves, and claim things in God's name that are not truly from God. The passages remind us to be mindful of our speech and intentions, recognizing that our words can either build up or tear down.

In today's verse, praise for God is a positive example of what should proceed from our lips. This psalm of David, written from a place of joy, proclaims God's greatness in rescuing him from a place of despair. Not only is he grateful, but he invites the listener to join in, "Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together." (v. 3)

How we respond to others, our tone and our words are formed from where our hearts are. Even a casual greeting, "Good morning, how are you?" is an opportunity to show our joy: "I'm well by God's grace. And yourself?" Or, we can respond, "Okay, I guess. I've had enough of this rain, though." Or something much worse. But you can sense the difference. That seemingly simple encounter will be the only time that day we will have to serve as a witness to that person.

As a people, redeemed by Jesus Christ and granted eternal life, we have much to be thankful for. Our communion liturgy says, "It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere, to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth." Let what passes from our hearts through our lips glorify God.

Father Almighty, we come before You with hearts open, seeking Your guidance and grace. 

We recognize that our words hold immense power. They can build up or tear down, heal or wound, encourage or discourage. We desire to use this power wisely. 

May every word that passes through our lips reflect Your love, truth, and grace. Please help us to speak with kindness, compassion, and humility. 

May our conversations be seasoned with salt, bringing flavor and light to those around us.

When tempted to gossip, complain, or criticize, remind us of Your command to love one another. May our words be a balm to wounded hearts.

Lord, cleanse our lips as You did for Isaiah. Purify our speech, removing any bitterness, anger, or falsehood.

May our praises be genuine, our encouragement sincere, and our prayers fervent.

In moments of frustration or impatience, grant us the wisdom to pause and seek Your guidance before we speak.

May our words testify to Your goodness, pointing others toward You.

Lord, we surrender our tongues to You. Use them as instruments of Your peace, truth, and love.

In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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