From Yesterday to Tomorrow

kenyan_aaMaybe it’s the Kenyan AA, the Costa Rica by the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Company, the Three Continent, or perhaps it’s Tully’s Hawaiian Blend, that does it to me.  I’m not sure if it is the coffee or something, but there are some mornings that I become acutely curious about the mental path my mind travels.

When I find myself wondering about the wandering of my mind, and I question the wisdom of the words that travel from my neural pathways to the tip of my keyboard, I may need to think about my drink:  Does the blend of coffee influence my thoughts?

My first cup of coffee this morning was Kenyan AA.  As I was sipping it, I thought about the Beatles and the resurrection.  Did this best blend of coffee from Kenya ingest a strange correlation between England’s Fab Four and Jesus?

Yesterday is one of the better-known songs by the Beatles, and a line in the song says:  “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far way . . .” As I thought of those lyrics, I thought they might have been the exact words of Jesus’ disciples immediately following His arrest.

I took another sip and “yesterday” was my thought in a little different context.  I wondered about a couple of things:

  • How did the disciples think about “yesterday” the day after the resurrection of Jesus?
  • I wondered about Paul McCartney’s words: “I’m not half the man I used to be . . .”

Because of the resurrection I’m not half the man I used to be: I’m a whole person due to the fullness of Jesus.  This relationship is clarified by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!

Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!

Glory down all the generations!

Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

I’m not sure how your “yesterday” was, but I do know the hope you can have tomorrow through the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.

Cogito Ergo Sum

1855645010_thinking_thoughts_xlargeCogito Ergo Sum is a Latin phrase that means I think therefore I am.  The little mental messages that flash through the mind act as a backseat driver that determines the direction of a person’s life. They either read the map clearly or they act as a dysfunctional detour.

With this being true, a person needs to give some thought to his thinking.   Are you more prone to mindless musings or mindful meditations?  Zig Ziglar was an often quoted motivational speaker who knew the importance of the thoughts we think.  Ziglar encouraged people to perform a “daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin ‘thinkin’.”

Ziglar was a Christian, and it’s possible that some of his quotes were Scripture-based.  The words of the Apostle Paul may have provided Ziglar some food for thought:  We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 CorInthians 10:5).

Let me share a couple more Ziglarisms:

  • Remember that failure is an event, not a person.
  • You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he encouraged them to think about their thoughts:  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Have you given much thought about how you will think in 2014?  Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Think excellent thoughts and not ones of mediocrity
  • Think thoughts that are full of compassion and not misdirected passion
  • Think constructive and not destructive thoughts
  • Think powerful thoughts of faith instead of paralyzing thoughts of fear
  • Think thoughts of reconciliation and not retaliation

Thomas Edison once said that, Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.

Where are you in Edison’s equation and are your thoughts mindless musings or mindful meditations?

Buds and Blossoms

A first glance the white flowers in the picture to the left add beauty to the shrubbery; however, the white flowers are actually part of a nuisance vine that clings to the host plant and drains it of its strength.

A similar process can subtly take root in our lives.  Something that seems harmless will attach itself to our daily routine.  Eventually it will blossom into a habit that saps us of our strength and robs us of our vitality.

Because thoughts can become habits and habits can control our lives, we need to be aware of their presence.  A simple and effective way to do this is to follow the 4 Star Process:

1.  Self-awareness:  Become aware of what you are thinking by recording your thoughts.

2.  Think about the thought.  Is it catastrophic thinking?  This type of thinking is characterized by words such as:  always, never, should, and must.

3.  Action:  Many of our thoughts are part of an unconscious process in which we act without consciously thinking, we need to practice disciplined thinking: Eliminate thoughts of Grudges and Gossip, and embrace thoughts of Goodness and Grace.

4.  Rehearse:  Successful public events are often preceded by hours of private rehearsal.  Benjamin Franklin said that, By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Rehearse and prepare by examining your  brain drainers and brain boosters. These come in the form of the thoughts and habits that Paul speaks of in the verses that follow:

  • Brain Drainers:  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.   But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice,  slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:5-10).
  • Brain Boosters:  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,  whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever  things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8)

Here’s a question to keep you thinking:  What buds are about to blossom in your life?


No the title of this article is not a typo.  It is a term that has the distinction of being one of the longest words in the English language and one of the most difficult to pronounce.  Floccinaucinihilipilification is defined as the act of esteeming something to be valueless.

Due to the nature of my work, I meet people from all walks of life.  Sometimes I am asked to help them with their personal and peculiar situations.  Low self-esteem is at the root of some of these problems.

Those who deal with issues of low self-esteem may spend too much time in self-floccinaucinihilipilification.  Their life is a mirage of self-deception that leaves them empty and hollow.

One of Aesop’s Fables comes to mind when I think of self-esteem.   It is the story of the Ass and the Lion’s skin.  One version of the story is:  An Ass once found a Lion’s skin which the hunters had left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and went towards his native village. All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then everyone knew him, and his owner came up and gave him a sound cudgeling for the fright he had caused. And shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said: “Ah, I knew you by your voice.”

While you can draw many principles from this story, I think it speaks to people who are not comfortable in their own skin.  This can be the result of childhood relationships.  If a person came from a family in which the relationships were close, strong, and positive, their self-esteem was nurtured.  If on the other hand, their family of origin was one of constant criticism and negative feedback, they may struggle with self-esteem.

How does a person begin to lift his self-esteem?  The first step is to become aware of your thoughts.  Negative thoughts that ruminate on your weaknesses and flaws are detrimental to your well-being.  Reframe these thoughts and focus on solutions and the positive aspect of your life. Instead of measuring your worth in pounds, weigh it in the value of a smile; see strength in acts of kindness, not bulging biceps; and see beauty in gracious words, not Estee Lauder.

The second step is to consider the potential of your relationship with God.  Some of the most uplifting words in the Bible are:  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (I John 3:1).  Think about those words–God wants to identify you as one of His children.

One way you can help another person with their self-esteem is to embrace Jesus’ principle: Love your neighbors as yourself (Matthew 19:19).  Why not lend a hand, so you can lift a life out of despair?  Diane Loomans captured the essence of this principle when she wrote:

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I hope you esteem this article as being a thought worth thinking.