Aspiration is "a strong desire for high achievement, or an object of such desire; an ambition. To aspire means to have a great ambition or ultimate goal, to desire strongly; to strive toward an end; to soar."

Aspiration is the soul faculty of desire to ascend and become one with our Source of Being, God. Aspiration is a soul virtue; we each have the power to aspire and ascend.

Edna Lister on Aspiration

Desire begins with aspiration, moves to inspiration, and leads to illumination. – Edna Lister, The Yoke of Love, December 7, 1941.

Understanding comes only from advance beyond the point of our ability to reach at present, and to which we do not yet even aspire. This is the Father's way. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 2, 1942.

Aspiration and inspiration come under instinct; even an animal looks up (aspiration), listens and smells the air (inspiration). The creature consciousness is self-conscious and operates under instinctive appetitive desire, imagination and will. Man awakens and aspires to something higher than self, to inspiration of the Spirit. The ascending creator is personally consciousness of desire, imagination and will and knows that when it leads to the self, it creates darkness. From soul consciousness we move into soul creation under surrender to God's desire for us, which is love, imagination, which builds energy, and His will, which is wisdom. Then the pineal and pituitary glands open to illumination and intuition. Thus, the fundamental principles underlying our ascension are desire for the Father of Wisdom, devotion to the Mother of Love and faith in the Son of all Energy. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 13, 1947.

When conscience begins to awaken with the first inspiration, aspiration begins the long travail of ascension. – Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

Your aspiration for perfection is what attracts your Oversoul. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 21, 1951.

From the earliest man, ruled by fear, hiding in a cave from his enemies, to the devotee of the highest intellectualism, the turning point in all civilizations has been the unconscious aspiration toward something greater than self. With this unconscious aspiration, urging us to look upward and see the stars for the first time, the faint stirring of conscious intelligence comes into expression within us. The sleeping soul, the higher creative consciousness, finally roused from its long slumber by aspiration, slowly opens its eyes, stretches itself and begins its long upward search. The search always ends in the ability to reach above the stars toward a dimly remembered Source from which the soul descended to take on a form of flesh. – Edna Lister, Faith: The Challenger, 1953.

Only aspiration can keep your desire at the white point of heat. Aspiration is the pilot light that ignites desire and sends it seeking. In conquering enemies of the soul, you must use aspiration to ignite desire to ascend upward only. This conquering must be part of a plan that consciously directs and controls the path desire travels. Self-centered desire is forever at the mercy of fate, blown this way and that by every wind. Soul desire moves untouched on a planned path through the winds of earth. – Edna Lister, Faith: The Challenger, 1953.

You have aspired poorly indeed unless your aspiration has increased your faith in and devotion to a universal Source of All Life. You run down like an unwound clock unless you allow your aspiration to soar upward. Faith and devotion can ascend no higher than aspiration allows desire to beam its powerful rays. – Edna Lister, Faith: The Challenger, 1953.

A sigh is unconscious aspiration. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 8, 1953.

Aspiration is the basis of prayer. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 16, 1953.

To aspire is to desire, to aspire "after," to do something active about it. You aspire toward a goal, a mark, a prize, and can go no further than the height of your aspiration. You can become no greater than the point where your aspiration ceases, for there you create a "sonic barrier," a ceiling too thick to penetrate. When you have no further need to seek, no need to "do," old age sets in, whether you're ten or eighty. Those who lack aspiration have a closed mind, they know enough, are smug, self-satisfied and self-virtuous in their present knowledge. – Edna Lister, Aspiration and Prayer, June 19, 1955.

You can offer no high prayer without aspiration, nor attain fulfillment of our aspirations without prayer to give them their foundation and power. Aspiration must be resurrected from a low vibration, and prayer ascended to a state of joyous ecstacy. – Edna Lister, Aspiration and Prayer, June 19, 1955.

Living in the Christ Light involves three attitudes toward God: Aspiration, faith and devotion. No success is possible without these three. From plant to creature, from the son of man to the Son of God, all seek the light. Light is magnetic to a seed or bulb in the ground or to the soul seeking the Light. Everyone aspires to greater things, from a new garden hose to a television set. Each must have faith in his ability to succeed. We must have unconquerable faith in God's Light and devotion to God, to service. – Edna Lister, Your Divine Gift, December 25, 1955.

God is still doing business at His same old stand; we know that God is always there. We cannot aspire toward a limping God, but because we know that we live under a triumphant God, we aspire. – Edna Lister, Aspiration, June 17, 1956.

From our first breath of aspiration toward something greater than the self to worship, we must obey the law of forgiveness. – Edna Lister, An Ambassador of Love, July 5, 1956.

To give up self, to surrender to be possessed by Spirit, requires the cleansing of self. All cleansing by the soul comes under aspiration. The soul calls, we aspire, and we move up in consciousness. – Edna Lister, Prove Thy Works, September 16, 1956.

The forty-four faculties are soul senses, eighteen lesser, which include the five outer senses that developed through the animal or instinctive intelligence. The next five senses are imagination (aspiration), intuition, desire, will and love. We take our first breath of aspiration when we add the sixth sense (imagination) to the five outer senses; aspiration is the first "looking up." Intuition, the seventh sense, leads to truth. When we awaken desire, we add the eighth sense for higher development. Then we add the will. When we unharness desire, it falls to mingle with the five senses of instinctive intelligence and the higher senses totter, closing the door to imagination, intuition and will. Love is the tenth sense; we cannot have love without a spiritualized identity. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 17, 1957.

The spiritual senses include desire, will, intuition, illumination and aspiration. We can't ascend to the Son of God stage without discernment, which forms the basis of aspiration. – Edna Lister, The Brain: Your Servant, October 8, 1957.

We ascend as far as we give up self. This is available to all believers, according to their faith and degree of acceptance. We ascend according to our degree of aspiration, moment by moment we ascend according to our desire. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 9, 1958.

Ascension is progress. As we aspire, Light seeps in and the whole world ascends. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 12, 1958.

All souls have three capacities: Aspiration toward, devotion to, and worship of a Source greater than self. – Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 27, 1959.

Aspiration is the soul's need for greatness, answering God's call to "Come up now." Aspiration brings joyous exaltation, and opens the only way to an understanding of that yearning, brooding Mother love, the sustaining, nourishing quality in the love of God, when you let it use you. – Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascensio, May 8, 1960.

Aspiration is the soul's call for something greater than itself. Without aspiration you are nothing, for it is the only way you can cut through self love to become the Love of God. Every soul aspires to a Source higher than self. You want to know where you are going, how you are going, and what you will find when you arrive. All joy comes through aspiration, which is the candle of desire that you must light with the flame of praise. – Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascension, May 15, 1960.

Faith is man's expression of hope and aspiration on earth. Faith causes you to aspire to something greater than self and when you find this goal, you express faith in it and faith-full devotion to it. – Edna Lister, Is Faith Enough? June 21, 1960.

Aspiration is the savage's first upward glance; it is instinctive intelligence. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 12, 1961.

To be exalted is to be "lifted up." The Psalm says to lift up your soul in praise. You can experience no exaltation without aspiration. You must aspire toward something, for life is as dull as ditch water unless you have some goal. – Edna Lister, The Soul's Exaltation, November 13, 1961.

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Prayer: The Broad Highway

Edna Lister created this Bible study outline for May 15, 1935. Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 3:14, Galatians 3:13-29 and Jeremiah 23:35-36.

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 3:14.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:20-29.

Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What hath the Lord answered? and, What hath the Lord spoken? And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden. – Jeremiah 23:35-36.

Prayer is the soul's aspiration voiced. Aspiration is an awakened desire toward God, toward the good and perfection.

You must accept God's promises as applying to you. Acceptance is conversion, the revelation of the indwelling divinity. To "put on Christ" is becoming aware of truth, which is not new.

Acceptance is also implied in the principle of nonresistance, which encompasses Christ's Crucifixion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Power, life, and strength are all yours to use when you have done away with the old.

Prayer is intimate communion with God. Communion implies a two-way circuit, sending and receiving, receiving and sending. You give and receive during your prayer communion.

Words are first ideas and thoughts, which you must work to interpret in the present as words. Thought is the medium between the idea and the Word. Your thoughts must partake of the truth of reality, which includes the realization and recognition of the Eternal.

Develop the habit of right thinking, and using the right words. When you develop the habit of right thinking, you will always speak the right words. Every man's word shall be his burden. – Jeremiah 23:36, so make your words as buoyant as a balloon.

Prayer can move or remove mountains when you fast from habits of thinking and using negative words. Opinions distort vision, like looking through dirty glasses. Faith cleanses the lens of your perception into perfection.

Prayer is like a broad highway from a city to a distant estate with a walled vineyard. This is your heavenly workroom for prayer. The wall surrounding it is omnipresence, which you maintain in good repair through God consciousness and prayer.

As you draw closer, you see that what appeared as picture perfect from a distance is not. The vineyard is filled with weeds, brambles and nettles, but the vines are still there. It takes hard work, but you dig out the weeds.

Earth life is like a broad highway to a vineyard, which you have made and kept. If you forget to use the vineyard, you settle down at the side of the road, stagnant, leaving your vineyard unprotected.

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The Yoke of Love

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day. Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 and Matthew 11:29-30.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.– 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:29-30.

A yoke is a crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircle the necks of oxen or other draft animals working together, a bond or tie, something that connects or joins together. You must yoke your desire to your choice, under the bond of honor.

Desire begins with aspiration, moves to inspiration, and leads to illumination, which operates under three Christed principles of tone, number and form. They belong to you, and yoked together, they create concord.

You have freedom to choose the yoke you wear, and to make yourself happy or unhappy according to your desire. Choice and desire must have concord to tie them together, to keep harmony and unity flowing through, with no separation from God.

Honor brings you to concord, which is first an agreement, then a contract with God. A contract is a covenant. The yoke symbolizes your covenant with God, a covenant of love, signed in honor.

Love considers only love, contemplates only love. Love expresses only love. Love is perfect, and considers only love as itself, as being perfect. Love creates only love, in its own image and likeness. Love is the greatest investment in a life annuity.

Light is the Face of God, shining down upon you. How can you walk with God, how can God walk in you, if you are yoked with any darkness? How can He dwell in you, if you dwell in darkness? "If the Light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

God has sowed His seed of Light (symbolized by the number six, 6) within the heart of every living soul. His seed may fall on fallow ground, but it cannot die. Self's ideas and desires die to feed the seed until it becomes the number of perfected humankind (symbolized by the number nine, 9).

You pray yourself into the yoke of love. Thus, the term "yoke" can apply to an object or to a personal choice of action. You can yoke yourself to something, meaning you bind yourself to it, at least temporarily.

To yoke yourself to God consciously involves desire, choice and honor. Your desire involves aspiration, imagination and illumination. Without honor, your choice can lead to dissolution and finally, annihilation.

Aspiration can be as unconscious as the breath you draw. It can flame or retrogress into absorption of your soul. Imagination can quicken desire until it leads to soul illumination. Spiritual illumination comes when the soul is set on fire. A flaming desire will not let you sit down.

Self satisfaction creates dry rot of the soul. Disease sets in when the soul is not aroused to aspiration and inspiration.

No one feels the need to make a choice unless he is fired by aspiration, inspiration and some degree of soul illumination. Sometimes your choice may tear your heart out, and you must watch others walk on it.

Success comes from service and the sacrifice of self. Being yoked in love can give you the courage to push on and stand by until you reach success. Yet some people stand by for the wrong reason or in misunderstanding. They are yoked unequally. To find yourself yoked unequally requires that you make a choice. The law is Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. – 2 Corinthians 6:14.

The law also says that you cannot go to heaven while walking over the broken backs or hearts of others. Emancipation comes only through mastery of the situation in which you find yourself. Your choice must therefore come from within, from the soul. You cannot look back once you have made your choice in the silence of the chapel of love.

The one who is more illumined must lift the yoke until it ascends. The one who desires freedom is responsible for lifting the yoke while maintaining silence. Honor is placing God above all things. When you love God above all else, you step up and into the place called concord, which means harmony.

The secret of emancipation from a situation in which you are unequally yoked is to add more Light. Darkness is always too impatient to wait for law to act. It tears asunder that which is good, and cannot abide the Light. If you find yourself in darkness, you have not carried Light supremely in your life, because God is Light.

The only hope darkness has for its continued existence is to hide from Light. When darkness interferes with your life, you can always say, "I am on my way up and out of this."

Life squeezes, pummels and punches you until you let the Power of God use you more and more swiftly until it uses you instantly. If you still close down or withdraw, you still have not reached the third step, honor.

Concord is an agreement you reached when you made your choice. You know concord when you are in agreement with the Light.

The first step is steadfastly facing the Light. Second, when you face the Light, you instantly come to the point of vowing to the Father not to pull against the yoke again.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:29-30. You take upon yourself the descending ray of love. Love is the only miracle that exists. Enough love overcomes anything. Love is perfect and can only see and know itself.

Yet love does not consort with darkness, nor does it condemn darkness. Love is the only creator, and can create only more love. If it cannot follow Light, it is frantic to escape.

Love cannot see evil. Love minds its own business and never snoops. Love would never desecrate the inviolable precincts of another's soul. The yoke of suspicion and bondage is born of darkness, not of love. God does not interfere with what you choose, but holds no account against the soul who escapes the yoke of another's pressure.

The last step is your covenant with God, which is love. God planted His seed of Light in you before you descended to earth. God is the Light, and He cannot die. Your seed of Light cannot die. Your Light cannot be put out, but it can crystallize if you fail to use it, to make it grow.

All it takes is imagination to start this seed growing upward into greater Light. Take the first step as soon as you make your choice. Walk out into the Light.

Continue walking, even if you see no path. Follow the Light. Stay in the Light, for it is your home and will take you all the way back to the Father.

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Aspiration 1

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for March 4, 1945. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 4:18-22.

Aspiration means "to look up, to have a desire for." Aspiration is the action of exhaling, just as inspiration is the action of inhaling, or taking. Your action of exhaling symbolizes giving. As you speak the Word, you exhale the Breath of Life.

From the most primitive savages to the highest intellectuals, people are seeking something greater than the self. When you have found this "something" through desire, you can have faith in and devotion to it. This is the basis for all religions.

What you find determines your results. Some worship God as nature, but nature represents only a fraction of Creation, separated from the whole. God is all and is the whole unity of the One. What the world needs today is a religious renaissance – to seek the All.

Jesus the Christ was a living ensample of the All That Is. The prefix "en" means "within, to bring into such condition, to put into or on something." The prefix "ex" means "without [outside], an example." An outer example shows an expression, a facet. An ensample holds the living Christ within itself.

To become an ensample of the living Christ, you must conquer three temptations on the misuse of Mind, Substance and Power. To do so, you must stand and hold your point of God consciousness.

First, overcome the temptation to misuse Substance. Second, conquer the temptation to misuse the Mind of God. Third, constantly face and conquer the temptation to misuse God's Power for the self.

Today's cultural aspiration is for more – more luxuries, more clothes, more money, more cars, more land, more things. What the world needs is more love, more knowledge, and more God for more miracles. Love never faileth. – 1 Corinthians 13:8. You are tired, I am tired and God is tired of waiting. We ask, "How long?" God answers us as children, saying that it is our choice.

Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-22.

Faith stands forever. Faith cannot be broken. Jesus said, "Come and see" and "straightway," they followed.

To overcome means to come up in consciousness, over some obstacle. To overlook means to look up over some mental barrier. Look unto Me, and be ye saved. – Isaiah 45:22. Aspiration increases your desire, faith and devotion. Your aspiration directly contacts greater Light,

and your soul pushes up like a seed seeking the sun. You can tunnel through a mountain to achieve victory.

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Aspiration 2

Edna Lister created this sermon transcript for March 4, 1945. Scribe: Ruth Bender Collord. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 4:18-22.

The Father sent us forth with Wisdom and Love. His Wisdom within us is will, the masculine aggressive quality. Love within us is desire, which includes a definite total aspiration to ascend back to the Source.

Aspiration means "to look up, to have a desire for." Aspiration is the desire to find a source greater than the self. Aspiration, faith and devotion are the fundamental tripod upon which all religions are based. The height of your vision is gauged by your desire. You can be no greater than that ideal to which you aspire.

The Creator breathed life into you in the beginning to make you a living soul. Yet to return, you must aspire and inhale.

The nature worshiper, in seeking strength and vitality, finds that Mind, Substance and Power move through him in only their physical phases, not the strength and vitality that enlivens body and soul. It works the same for the intellectual who seeks God in knowledge.

The one who aspires to reach God receives His Breath of Life. Each soul worships according to his degree and kind.bGod is all the Mind, Substance and Power. You can take in only what you can accommodate. Your aspiration should be to encompass the whole of it. Jesus the Christ epitomizes the All of Mind, Substance and Power.

The prefix "ex" refers to the outer, while the prefix "en" refers to the inner. An example is the outer expression of that point to which you have aspired, bounded by self. An ensample is a living expression of the Christ consciousness within the soul.

You have all the Mind of God to draw upon, all His Substance to become, all His Power to renew and rebuild your body. The day will come when you have become that ensample.

When you reach the high point of aspiration, you will face the three temptations to misuse Mind, Substance and Power, as Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. You will be tested and tried from the depths of the creature soul to the Oversoul before God's throne above.

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:1-4. Had Jesus turned the stones into bread, he would have misused the substance of God.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. – Matthew 4:5-7. To cast yourself down from a pinnacle is to tempt God, attempting to force Him to save you. Being a show-off is misusing God's Mind.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. – Matthew 4:8-11.

To fall down and worship the devil is serving the self, the little me, and is a misuse of God's Power. You misuse Power whenever you indulge in any resentment, rebellion, resistance, gossip, criticism or condemnation of others or yourself.

Only a tissue paper's thinness lies between a blessing and a curse. Bless, do not curse.

You need only to be cured of the idea, the aspiration toward the thing you believe you need, not the thing itself. Whatever you aspire to, it comes.

When two of John's disciples saw Jesus baptized, and a dove descended on his shoulder, they followed him and asked, "Where do you live?" He answered them, "Come and see." (John 1:36-39)

Put another way, these men asked Jesus, "What state of consciousness do you dwell in to achieve this?" He answered, "Come and see," and they followed him immediately.

Faith is unbeatable. You cannot overcome faith. The time you spend looking to see if the object of your aspiration is accomplished, to see whether the mountain has removed itself, you waste in wondering rather than knowing.

Use the three blades of Mind, Substance and Power in cutting your way through the jungle of doubts, fears and what-ifs. It is inevitable that faith will win through. You will reach the city of your dreams. Hold fast to this high point in consciousness until your desire, aspiration and the faith of God moves before you, clearing the way. Know ye that ye are gods now.

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Aspiration 3

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for March 4, 1945. Scripture: John 1:29-34.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. – John 1:29-34.

Aspiration means "to have a desire for, desire after, to look up in consciousness." From the most primitive savages to the highest intellectuals, people have sought something greater than the self. This aspiration serves as the basis of religion.

We have created so many problems and such confusion in the world because of how and what we name things. Some people, for example, cannot discern the difference between nature and God. Nature is but a part of the All That Is, separated in limited perception only. God is all, the absolute unity of the All That Is.

The world today needs a religious renaissance. Right now, our soldiers are praying, and their mothers and fathers are praying for them and with them. If the whole world prayed together, we would have heaven on earth.

Lent is the season appointed for the cleansing of soul from all earthly stain. During Lent, you enter the wilderness of self and face the temptations on the misuse of Mind, Substance and Power as Jesus did.

Jesus' life is an ensample of Christed living, not an ordinary example. An example showcases just one part of the Christlike pattern for living, but an ensample illustrates the whole. The prefix en means "to put into or on; to bring into the condition of." The prefix ex means "outside; out of; away from; not including; without; former." It suggests a problem and serves as a warning to others.

Aspiration means "a hope or ambition of achieving something; the action or process of drawing breath." Aspiration symbolizes the function of the lungs; when you aspire, you reach for more air. Today, folks aspire to more love, more money, more pleasure, when what they need is more God.

Jesus could always "see around corners" and knew his mission would lead to the cross. Jesus hesitated to step out and begin at the wedding in Cana. His first miracle, turning the water into wine, was to honor his mother's request and to please her.

You can and must dream of using substance creatively, but to build steps in ascension, not crosses of crucifixion. Once you extend your steps so far, they become a ladder of ascension.

You're tired of waiting. I'm tired of waiting. God is tired of waiting! We ask, How long, oh God? He answers, How long, oh child? Look up over, come up over the obstacles on the way.

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Basic Principles of Christianity

Edna Lister created this Bible study outline for September 22, 1946. Scripture: Romans 8:16-29.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:16-29.

From the savage to the highest intellectual type, humanity expresses aspiration toward something greater than the self. The savage gives power to a stone idol made in his own image and likeness. The man who is just one step from the creature stage of consciousness, also makes a god in his own image and likeness. Thus, he will not need to be too perfect.

Aspiration means "to aspire, to desire earnestly." When you find that toward which you aspire, you pay devotion to it and offer worship of it. Devotion means that you may consecrate yourself to it, to dedicate your life to it. Thus, loyalty must be part of your aspiration. You give up your life to that which you worship. Worship means "to pay homage to" or to be in "adoration of."

These are the foundation principles of all religions and the religious life. Since we all start from the same basic principles and premises, we must seek further to discern why our results have differed through the ages. Your use and application of these fundamental principles determines the quality and quantity of your results.

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Aspiration and Prayer 1

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for May 31, 1953. Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13.

Aspiration means "to aspire, to desire earnestly." An aspiration is a goal. You can go no farther than the height of your aspiration, or become any greater than your aspiration.

Without aspiration, you have no further need to do anything. Instead, you appear "virtuous," filled with smugness, and self-satisfaction.

Prayer comes in several stages or degrees of effectiveness. Mental prayers make one a ceiling bumper, or a cloud climber. You can pray from your hair roots, from the ceiling, on clouds or before thrones. Yet you must move from the mental to the spiritual, from demanding to letting. True prayer is a yearning toward something or someone greater than the self. You need someone (as a personality) to receive your prayers. Prayer is "worship of" and "devotion to." You can have devotion to principle without yearning, but principle is usually not enough. Who was ever able to yearn over law? Principle can satisfy some souls, but not everyone.

No prayer is successful without aspiration. Aspiration means to be resurrected from old ways of being into new life. Prayer is how you ascend in consciousness. Love is the key to successful prayer. When your prayers are love-filled, you have miracles every hour.

You must love something enough, and may choose between God and the world. Most people love to possess, but you cannot afford selfish love. We all need generously giving Mother love. When a mother shares a pie among five family members, she may choose to take a piece herself or to take none at all.

A mother who takes no piece of the pie is short-changing herself and setting a poor example for her entire family. If she takes no piece, her sacrifice is invisible, for no one ever sees what you do not do. A mother who takes a tiny piece of piece lets her family see the ensample of a sacrifice, provided she speaks not a word about it, which would defeat the whole purpose.

Love fulfills Wisdom, which is the basis of all law. Love is neither sentimental nor weak. Love is the strongest thing in the universe, yet gossamer light, no burden to carry.

Grief and sorrow add weight, and self is the heaviest thing in the world. Nothing can stand in love's way, and nothing can resist its flow. When you add action to your love, you move it into the "to do" stage, where it becomes universal and all powerful in your life.

Joy is the action needed. You can reach your goals by aspiring to joy consciousness. Through joy you become. Joy is love in action. Do you believe this?

Love is a compound of joy, devotion and the Mother Love of God. Love is timeless and measureless. Some speak of selfish or unselfish love, which is a false comparison, for no self may taint love or it is no love at all.

When love possesses you, you become timeless, measureless, infinite and limitless in unconquerable faith. Faith is atomic power. Faith is also substance, nourishing, sustaining, renewing, and creating energy in the body.

Prayer made of faith is desire to reach the golden silence, a state of joyous devotion. Joy is the moving activity of all fulfillment. From aspiration, which is a yearning, you move to fulfillment, resurrecting your aspiration, and ascending to joy in prayer.

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Prayer: The Soul's Aspiration 1

This Edna Lister sermon transcript is dated June 7, 1953. Scribes: Margaret Pratt Doan and Ruth Johnson. Scripture: Matthew 6:6-13.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – Matthew 6:6-13.

Aspiration means "to desire earnestly to do, to pursue something, to attain a goal." The first expression of life and the first movement in civilization must be an aspiration.

To attain any goal, you must aspire, and your aspiration inevitably brings you to that goal. You cannot advance, achieve or express life without aspiration. You cannot become any greater than the goal you aspire to, or go farther than the height of your aspiration.

Without aspiration, one feels no need to do, but is filled with self-exaltation, self-satisfaction and "virtuous" smugness. Such a person is a square peg in a round hole, unhappy unless he can force everyone to do things his way.

The soul's aspiration is rooted in desire. Aspiration toward attaining a greater goal than what you have ignites the flame of desire. The body's death begins when the soul's aspiration dies. So, first you must desire and aspire to possess something, then put enough flame in your desire to do what you must do.

Prayer is the soul's aspiration vocalized, in many stages of desire, beginning with the savage who worships a stone or a fetish. People pray in many ways, but valid prayer must be free of self.

The psychological and metaphysical grades of prayer are usually demands on God – "I want. Give me" – but "skull bumping" aspiration ascends no farther than your hair roots.

At the intellectual level, you find the "Christ is within me" type who has devoted himself to principle, which is a valid approach to God, but is still demonstrating. He demonstrates the right behavior if God continues to answer his prayers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

"Ceiling bumper" prayers are nothing more than mental statements of principle, law or fact that contain no love, aspiration or devotion, yet here you begin to see a goal greater than self. Next come the "cloud climbers," those who do see a goal greater than self. They devote themselves to principle, so they climb the ladder to the clouds, one rung at a time.

You need to know that someone is on the other end to hear your prayers. Belief in God as just principle alone does not open the floodgate of Light. Who can hunger for cold principle? When you add personality to your conception of God, you ascend the ladder of Light and law to seek the throne above.

Aspiration is a resurrection from the old to the new, born of a burning desire to know that God, as a Father, unlocks the Gates of Light. To open the floodgates, seek and listen for the Master's knock at your "door" at the crown of your head.

After you accept that the Father yearns over you, your aspiration becomes passion to become and to do, which brings you to the love of God. Now you compose your prayers in joy and devotion to God as personality. You yearn for God, the world, including family, friends and organizations.

The Lord's Prayer is our ensample of prayer for all ages, and covers the great avenues of life. When you yearn for more truth, you step from resurrecting the old to ascending to the new, and ascension becomes a constant act.

Yet no ascension is possible without the compound of joy and love, a longing, devotional attitude toward God who is that dependable principle. The all-encompassing feminine principle of love is taking us home to God. Love is the glory in your soul, as joy is the energy in your body.

Love is Light, the strongest element in the universe, yet so gossamer light that you may bear it without feeling a burden. Emotions of grief, sorrow and self-pity taint love with the weight of self, and self-pity is the heaviest burden in the world. And you can misuse love.

For instance, possessive mother love squeezes the loved one to death. So you must add the divine principle of action to the full love of God to express love in the outer. Joy is the great activating factor.

Joy, Love and Wisdom are the trinity from which all laws manifest. Joy is energy as love in action that fires your enthusiasm and makes you conquer worldly challenges. Love is joy in action.

Your prayers ascend to God's throne when you aspire to reach the Source of Light to supply your answers. Joy in action amalgamates your devotional love of God, your aspiration and goal become one, to be an instrument to release joy.

Resurrect all good, forgetting the old as you balance aspiration with joyous prayer and love. Almighty Power returns over the line of devotional love you have built to God's throne, and you become the servant of all Power and Light, according to your physical capacity.

You no longer measure your aspiration by the spoonful in prayer, which now partakes of unconquerable faith's timeless, measureless quality. Faith is atomic substance and energy, the Holy Spirit's transforming Power stepped down to use you because you have become a sun center of Light.

You do not consider your acts as selfish or unselfish, but become that limitless quality of unconquerable faith, "the substance of things hoped for." Faith fills your mental body atoms, nourishing and sustaining physical cells to renew and recreate them. The Light goes before you as the Spirit of the Lord.

The same Power that creates also can destroy form. Reach to the Source and stand in the Light when a challenger causes you tummy butterflies. Declare him perfect, and that God moves through. Ascend.

Almighty Power is the Holy Spirit, which answers all prayer, from lowest to highest. Step into the Source of Supreme Light and limitless Power and let it use you according to God's perfect will. Joyous activity will fulfill your success and take you to your goal. Aspire greatly.

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Aspiration and Prayer 2

Edna Lister created this Bible study outline for June 19, 1955. Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14.

To aspire is "to desire, to aspire after, to do something active about it." You aspire toward a goal, a mark, a prize, and can go no farther than the height of your aspiration. You can become no greater than the point where your aspiration ceases, for you create a "sonic barrier," a ceiling too thick to penetrate. When you have no further need to seek after, no need to "do," old age sets in, whether you are ten or eighty. Those who have no aspiration have a closed mind. They know enough, are smug in their present knowledge, self-satisfied and self-virtuous.

True prayer consists in a yearning toward something greater than the self, and more, something greater than you can find in the world. Prayer has many stages, from lukewarmness to the white point of heat, and many states of consciousness.

What has prayer to do with aspiration? Prayer is the jet fuel that powers your spiritual aircraft through the sonic barrier. A jet cannot fly without fuel. As in the physical world, your prayers can ascend no higher toward the Source than the yearning, burning degree of desire under them. Wishing, wanting and hoping are not enough.

You need burning hot desire, flaming, sparkling imagination and some action of belief that can attain to white heat. You must "believe to see," for seeing to believe will trap you at the lukewarm degree.

You can offer no high prayer without aspiration, or attain fulfillment of your aspirations without prayer to give them their foundation and power. Aspiration is to be resurrected from a low vibration, and prayer is to be ascended to a state of joyous ecstasy.

Love is the expression of true prayer, which forges the strongest lines of gossamer Light in the universe. Love God enough to penetrate your personal sonic barrier into a joy that is Power in action, into faith unconquerable, a place of miracle after miracle, miracle upon miracle, an ever-ascending goal.

To apprehend is to fully understand. "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind" I love enough, "reaching forth to those things which are ahead," my new goals and aspirations, I press on without lagging or dawdling, with active faith and love, using joy to attain the prize, beauty, health and perfection in all ways.

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Aspiration and Prayer 3

This Edna Lister Bible study transcript is dated June 19, 1955. Scribe: Ruth Bender Collord. Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14.

"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" expresses the comprehension that a vibration does precede you.

No one is a failure if he continues aspiring toward a goal. Your achievement consists in ascending to your aspiration. You must see a greater goal to achieve.

First, you must have an aspiration, then you must empower it. When you "know" too much or better than everyone else, you die out at the top.

Prayer is the jet propulsion of your life. Prayer is the Power behind your aspiration. You cannot expect to get results until you go beyond your "sonic barrier" in prayer. This requires ascending to your faith. Look toward something that is greater than self.

Your state of consciousness is your composite of thinking, feelings and the imaginary pictures you build at the time. Your life is all an externalization of that in which you place your faith. You need the right pictures to create a new set of records.

Do not curse what you do not want, but bless it. A psychological law is that you may not be negative about anything, a character trait, person or situation, and have it turn out right. It is not what the position does for you, but what you do for the position.

This is your life, and you can do what you choose. Even God Himself cannot help you or get inside if you shut Him out.

To comprehend life is to ascend from the old state of consciousness and create a new outline for living. Use your mind and control your thinking, command imagination, and build the right pictures.

This one thing I do now, forgetting those things which are behind. – Philippians 3:13. Can you imagine a cowboy dragging a dead carcass from winter through spring and summer?

Create an imaginary cloud, up there, with a bonfire on it. Put all your past trouble, blame, grief and hurt feelings in it. Do not bury them as dead things in the subconscious, but burn them in Light. Put your past in this burial ground of Light and free your brain cells for the beauty of the present.

Bring up all your lines of Light, extending to other people, and love enough. Declare, "I reach forth for those things which are new." ascend to that place in consciousness where Paul was. Set up the good in imagination, for strength, to do more than you ever did before.

The "high mark of the calling of God" is to make of your body into what He created in the beginning, more beauty and strength. Aspiration can move out to do this on your prayer.

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New Testament on Aspiration

I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14.

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Etymology of aspire: Middle English aspiren, from aspirer, from Latin aspirare, "to desire, steadfast longing for a higher goal, earnest desire for something above one."

Etymology of aspiration: "action of breathing into," from Latin aspirationem "a breathing on, a blowing upon; rough breathing; influence."

Aspiration is an abstract principle.

Aspiration is a soul virtue.

Aspiration is a soul faculty.


You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. – James Allen

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. – Henry Ward Beecher

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? – Robert Browning, Andrea Del Sarto


Allen, James. "Vision and Ideals," As a Man Thinketh. London: Savoy Publishing, 1903.

Browning, Robert. "Andrea del Sarto," The Complete Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1895, 346.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1903.

Knox, Thomas Wallace. Life and Work of Henry Ward Beecher. Hartford, CN: Hartford Publishing Company, 1887, 308.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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