Life in the Mouth

While working as a dental hygienist, I looked into a lot of mouths.  Although at that time  it didn’t seem funny,  I remember two particular patients that I chuckle about now.  Of course, the humor might only be appreciated by those who have worked in a dental office.  One day I was running late with my afternoon appointments. I looked at the book with encouragement, noting that my next patient was a teenage boy, and not an adult. Adults generally take longer because of possible issues with gum problems. So, I was beginning to relax, thinking I could get back on schedule. Well, I was wrong.  Words can not describe how I felt as I looked into this young man’s mouth. Not only was he wearing full orthodontic metal braces, but he had decided, just before coming in for his dental appointment, that a juicy orange would be a good snack. Without being too descriptive, taking orange pulp off metal brackets takes a long time.

Another time, an elderly man came in as a new patient. I introduced myself and seated him in the chair. I then turned my back on him, as I began setting up the paper work to record his patient history.  However, he had decided it was time to begin work right away, because as I turned in my chair to ask my first question, he had already dislodged his upper denture and it was resting on his extended tongue. He sat there, in that position, with his eyes closed waiting on me to retrieve his denture and start cleaning his remaining teeth in his lower jaw.

I’ve learned to appreciate a healthy mouth, after seeing so many afflicted by tooth aches, disease, malformations, or injuries. This is not an appeal to brush and floss your teeth, although that isn’t a bad idea. 🙂  I want to focus on the mouth because there is an important link between a healthy mouth and our well-being, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Regarding physical significance, when food enters the mouth, the digestive process begins. The mouth contributes to our musical ability, as we sing, hum, and whistle.  By using our lips, we can kiss, blow, bite, and spit.   A damaged or malformed mouth can cause someone to battle with how they view themselves. Dental health impacts the cardiovascular system, our immune system, our ability to support healthy weight, and our enjoyment while dining.

Emotionally, our words, and the tone of those words, display to the world, what is inside us. I heard it said  years ago, and I say it often, to remind myself of this truth, “what is in the well, will come up in the bucket”. If there is anger in our hearts, it will slip past our teeth with the least provocation. If there is bitterness, it will ooze out of our mouth like slime, covering those around us, our situation and our environment. If there is unforgiveness,  our words will sound harsh, brassy and sharp. When hatred is felt,  there is potential for violent, harmful thoughts to be propelled by our tongue, and out of our mouth. People will often interpret our personality by observing our mouth, labeling us with terms like friendly, shy, quiet, loud. Our mouth can show when we are fearful, stressed, in pain, or in trouble.  We can frown and pout and do various other forms of expressions to convey our emotions.

Getting to the spiritual aspect of the mouth, a heart where the love of God resides has the potential to offer words of  love in many flavors : merciful, gracious, forgiving, healing, comforting, affirming, encouraging, edifying, uplifting, blessing and understanding.  The  words we speak change lives, ours and others.

Scripture gives us some promises about the words we utter:

Proverbs 18:20-21 (AMP)20 A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

Proverbs 11:11 (AMP)11 By the blessing of the influence of the upright and God’s favor [because of them] the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 12:18 (AMP)18 There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

How many blessings are we missing by speaking with hopeless, faithless and lifeless words?  How many times do we experience lost opportunities to see God’s favor surround us, when we need it the most, because we speak with unbelief? How would our world look if we spoke the words God leads us to speak, with His wisdom, His heart, and His compassion? How many times have we failed to speak in a way that would encourage, uplift or bless others?

Biblical guidelines for speaking are not merely suggestions to be taken lightly.

Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP)Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

James 1:19-27 (AMP)19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

Healthy life, physically, emotionally and spiritually begins in our hearts, and is evidenced by our mouths. We, His Body, can impact the world by allowing Him to reign in our hearts and letting His words flow from our mouths. We all face this battle with our tongue, and James states that no man can tame it. These verses urge me to weigh my words more carefully.  By allowing the Holy Spirit to reign in our heart, we are filled with Him and He enables us to speak words that bless and heal.

For a long time, I never really considered that words mattered. After all, everyone is entitled to say what they think and feel. Yes, this is true, but is everything I think and feel honoring to God and to those around me? This has become such a tangible lesson for me.  God has allowed me to see the hurt felt by others from my words, and to experience how other’s  words have hurt me. There is overwhelming frustration as I reflect back over all the useless and unloving words that have come out of my mouth. My only encouragement is knowing the Lord’s forgiveness, and that He is able to redeem and restore. It is never to late to learn what the Holy Spirit is willing to teach, and to expect Him to change, within me, what is not pleasing to God.

connecting, with love


Body Beauty and Health

There is a link to an amazing story at the bottom of this post.

Artists have long appreciated the human body. Scientists have studied how our bodies function, documenting their findings. The medical profession has tended to our body’s health, or lack of, from the inside out, observing its complexities. Lovers have written songs, poems and odes expressing fascination about the design and allure of the human form.  I doubt anyone would deny the value of a healthy and fit body.

Even causally observing the genius of our design, it is easy to appreciate our Creator. Our appreciation deepens as we understand that God has replicated the design of the human body in His design for His church. He calls us the Body of Christ. We, His Body, were designed and purposed to act like a healthy body.

Each body needs a head. My body is available to respond to the directives from my head, my mind. I tell my body to sit, stand or walk and each part acts in agreement to make my efforts coordinated….or at least most of the time. 🙂 Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ. Following the leadership of Jesus coordinates His Body.

A healthy body needs a flowing circulatory system to pump blood into all the parts of the body, and the Body of Christ needs the flow of His Holy Spirit to support His life in us.  The health of each body part ensures a better quality of life. The same is so with His Church, His Body.  Our arms, hands, legs, feet, fronts, backs, internal organs and external appearances, should all receive adequate respect as we care for our body. Granted, a hand and a big toe function differently and definitely view life from different positions. However, both are vital for efficiency in life. If we respect our bodies, we care for each part, and experience health. The Body of Christ is healthy when we do the same thing.

1 Corinthians 12 (NLT)12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Understanding that we all have body parts, there is no need for us to walk around with labels for each body part. We recognize the design of the body or body part, without the labels. If we become familiar with God’s design for His Body, through His Word and His Spirit, we are able to recognize and respect other parts of His Body, without using denominational labels. Another aspect of body life is that we don’t normally tell an arm to remain motionless and inactive. We give freedom for that arm to respond spontaneously, as it is led by the head. By allowing an arm to act as an arm, there is greater ability and a continual flow of healthy life.  In contrast,  consider the disadvantage of wearing a sling or a cast on an arm. A hand must work as a hand, freely moving in its designated  purpose, and should not be required to act as a foot, or worse yet, to be made  immobile.  As each body part acts in its own diversity of function, there is a higher purposeful, efficiency for the whole body.

The same is so with His Body. There is diversity of gifts, callings, and ministry emphasis, within the Body of Christ, given by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  There are parts of His Body focused on healing, deliverance, and miracles. Some parts of the Body deal with prophecy, wisdom, knowledge ministry, declaring His truth as revealed by His Spirit and His Word. Others are all about teaching, evangelizing and preaching. There are those called to revival awakening, prayer, tongues, faith and worship while other parts of the Body are serving, ministering, giving and providing. Each part of the Body of Christ should have respect.  Yes, there may be overlapping assignments, like you use your toes to pick a sock up off the floor, but it is your hand that you predominately use for picking up and carrying. In like manner, we all need to pray, but some parts of the Body of Christ are set apart for intercessory prayer as their main focus.

By trusting Jesus, our Head, and as His Holy Spirit flows through us, we can freely allow each part of the Body of Christ to work in the distinct function and purpose designed by God.

Each local assembled Body of Christ needs to have fully functioning Body parts  to be able to act in vital roles for His Kingdom life.  Denominational labels tend to restrict certain parts of the Body, depending on their viewpoint and interpretation of God’s Word. Removing those denominational restrictions allows  greater freedom for the Holy Spirit to tell an arm, a foot and a back, in that particular assembled Body of Church, how to move and flow in God’s ordained purpose. Also, when labels are removed, the tendency to only use certain parts is diminished.  Jesus did not recognize or approve of  denominational labels or division among the members of His Body. He desires whole Body Life.

   Jesus Forbids Sectarianism

Mark 9:38-41(NKJV) 38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

Several years ago, I took off a denominational label, one that I had worn since childhood. It was not an easy thing to do. I was hesitant to give up what I perceived to be a comforting place in a denominational position. But God opened by eyes to understand a little more clearly His Body design. Now I am able to look at the Body of Christ, as a whole. It is far more satisfying to embrace  a complete and healthy Body, with all the parts visibly active. Removing that label has freed me to love more, and to love more of His people.

As we face increasing tension, turbulence and stress in our world, this is surely not the time for the Body of Christ to be dismembered and divided. We need to line up under our Head, with all parts in action. A whole Body displays a larger reflection of His love, peace and grace, and a greater salt value to the world.  We can’t afford to face the future as a maimed Body, wounded by amputation. The Holy Spirit is able to heal, make whole, and unify the Body of Christ…we just need to listen and obey Him.

I’ve included a link to an amazing story about a friend from Russia. You will be greatly moved by this true story, and what happened to her body, physically and spiritually.

connecting, with love