Edna Lister's Sermons and Lectures on Understanding

To understand means "to comprehend, to apprehend the meaning or import of, to grasp the idea of, to comprehend as a fact, to grasp clearly, to realize, to have knowledge of, to know or learn, by information received." Understanding is "the power or ability to understand, intellect, intelligence, intelligent, capable of judging with knowledge, the faculty of comprehending and reasoning, the intellect."

Understanding is a result of integrated mental faculties, the insight gained by applying the mental faculties. You gain understanding by always standing under the Light. Understanding is a soul virtue and a spiritual faculty.








Get Wisdom and Get Understanding

This Edna Lister healing meeting outline is dated February 15, 1934, Buffalo, New York. Scripture: Proverbs 4:5-9, Matthew 11:30.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. – Proverbs 4:5-9.

No single musician can play a symphony alone. The conductor needs the entire orchestra. God could not enjoy the glory of Creation without having us to reflect His glory. Some things just go together, like a conductor and musicians. For example, even great wisdom does you little good unless you have understanding.

Hold up your prayer molds for God to fill now, for nothing is impossible to Him. Limitless Power is always waiting for you to release it.

Each soul is an expression of the one Mind, the one Substance, the one Power. Everything is composed of God's Mind, Substance and Power now. For example, you can combine butter, eggs, and flour to make a thousand recipes, good or bad, but the substance you use is always the same.

Love is always waiting to be released, to return Creation to God. Let God, let the one Power do the work.

My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:30. Keep your eyes focused ahead to the future, and remain independent of the world.

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Control Over Outer Forces and Powers

This Edna Lister Bible study outline is dated December 1, 1934, Buffalo, New York. Scripture: Mark 4:35-41.

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? – Mark 4:35-41.

The Master's rebuke to the tempest was, "Peace, be still," which illustrates power over the forces that can destroy. The situation remains dangerous until you can release enough Power and have the steadfast faith and understanding to direct and control the resulting disintegration.

Under the cyclic law of action and reaction, everyone is granted the opportunity to step up in consciousness and take higher initiations. Some fail while others pass quickly. Yet no one really loses, for all gain strength in love and Light, and another opportunity will be offered.

However, the one who commands Power without the requisite and corresponding understanding runs the very real risk of destroying himself. Also, one who takes credit for such a release of Power will create the reaction of a debt of force.

Your only full protection comes through Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10. You must remain in complete obedience to God's commands to withhold or to give.

You may not let go for an instant or you force a debt to be paid to the law. Your faithfulness shall lead you to hear the Master say, "Today shalt thou sup with me in paradise."

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Learning to Be Great

This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated January 20, 1935, Buffalo, New York. Scriptures: John 13:1-17, 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. – John 13:1-17.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time – 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Jesus' disciples followed him faithfully. He had clear-seeing eyes for true soul vision. Save for Judas, James, John and Peter, the rest were often lukewarm.

The Master wanted to leave behind a symbol of his great love for them. Nothing could mean quite the same as washing their feet. It would stick in their minds as an indelible memory, to lead them to understanding.

To anoint anyone with oil, you must overcome any natural distaste, you must love the something or someone enough.

They would forever remember his attitude, and his words: Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. – John 13:12-17.

A disciple is a servant of a master. As a disciple, you must hold an attitude of willingness, of service to the Master of Masters.

A child wants to help, needs to help, to be a grownup in God's service. Pride creates a great barrier. Peter asked the Master to wash his hands and his head.

No one can show you the way. You must do the rest for yourself, possibly even to betray a friend, like Peter did. You cannot assume willingness from self, yours or another's.

You must offer real service through understanding. The reward of humility is a happy, active, doing life.

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This Edna Lister Bible study outline is dated January 23, 1935, Buffalo, New York. Scriptures: 2 Kings 6:8-17, Proverbs 4:5-9.

Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my Lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. – 2 Kings 6:8-17.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. – Proverbs 4:5-9.

Wisdom, Love and Selflessness crown you with the glory of God. Wisdom expresses the Father principle. Yet Wisdom alone is not enough. You must add the Mother Love of God, to gain understanding.

This text promises certain benefits when you do get understanding. If you "keep" understanding, she will preserve you. If you "exalt" her, she will promote you. If you "embrace" her, she will bring you to honor.

When you keep, exalt and embrace understanding, she will place an ornament of grace on your head, a crown of glory. The crown of glory is the high place for the soul, Jerusalem, the Light of your Oversoul star.

The Master commanded his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to "wait for the promise of the Father," until they receive the Power of the Holy Spirit. Call upon the Christ, the Head Master, accepting no substitute.

St. John, writer of the Revelation, said that "no one in heaven or on earth" was worthy to open the book sealed with seven seals because no one was persistent enough. You must ask, seek, and knock. "Open in the name of Jesus the Christ" is your "Open sesame."

The Light from above is the Light of understanding. Only on the mountain peaks of soul consciousness do you hear the high call of Christ.

Throughout history, groups of people in desperate straits have prayed and decreed, "It shall not pass," and have found themselves safe. Leonidas, the Spartan king, withstood the Persian army against overwhelming odds. Britain repelled the Spanish Armada. Washington and his Continental Army endured the killing winter in Valley Forge.

No one outside these events ever knew what really happened. We now begin to touch that degree of Power that has been hidden for ages. Understanding means "standing under" the Light of God.

Speak the Word in a mighty voice, not a whisper. Declare, "Come forth," and it will manifest. If you decree, "It shall come to pass," it will, exactly as you decree.

If you leave the heights and fall back in consciousness, you must arise and march to the heights once more. Looking forward, you are mindful (Mind-full). Looking back, you are mindless (Mind-less).

It is time to open your eyes to see the protection that surrounds you. Like Elisha's servant Gehazi, at Dothan, you can and will see the chariots of fire.

Elisha and Gehazi at Dothan

Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. – 2 Kings 6:8-17.

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The Key: Understanding

This Edna Lister Bible study outline is dated April 12, 1942, The Consistory, Buffalo, New York. Scriptures: Job 32:8, Proverbs 4:5-9, Psalm 19:14.

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. – Job 32:8.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. – Proverbs 4:5-9.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14.

When God created man in His image and likeness, He included "a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8). This tells us where our understanding originates.

You receive wisdom from the words of God. Yet wisdom alone is not enough. The pearl of great price is compounded of Love and Wisdom in perfectly balanced expression. The only key to it is the key of understanding.

Three golden treasure chests are nested within each other; the innermost chest contains the pearl of great price. To open them, you need only one key.

A set of tiny teeth (bittings) in three places on one key fits the tumblers in all the locks. The first set is desire. The second set is faith. The third set is devotion.

The first chest contains desire, which can transform lukewarm indifference into a flaming glory at white heat.

The second chest contains faith unconquerable, which transforms faith in God into the faith of God. God always trusts you, but you must learn to trust yourself.

The third chest contains devotion. What does devotion mean? To stand under the Light always.

Now you have opened the three treasure chests, but you do not find the pearl. Instead you find layers of wrapping, like fine tissue paper, which you must pull off, thickness by thickness. You tire of unwrapping, tear at it and hunt for it.

This is where persistence pays its greatest dividend. Ask, seek and knock, and carry on until you conquer.

Lo! You find your pearl of glory, the ability to stand steadfastly poised to receive your reward.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. – Proverbs 4:5-9.


Awakening to Understanding

This Edna Lister Truth Temple sermon outline is dated October 27, 1946, Tacoma, Washington. Scripture: Acts 13:1-13.

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. – Acts 13:1-13.

The five men mentioned here are prophets, teachers for the soul, Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul, who became Paul. The only method for expansion or ascension from self to soul expression is the straight and narrow way. The five men represent illumination, intuition, imagination, faith and understanding. "They ministered to the Lord" means that they rendered aid and served.

John represents mothering love, which descended from above through the five faculties, nourishing and sustaining their zeal, instructing them and keeping their lights bright and burning. This is the full awakening to truth, the descent of love into "soul" and ascending upward again.

Understanding is standing under the Light, and the crown of the head fully open. Faith, expressed through active works, becomes unconquerable. Constructive imagination enables one to fish on the right side of the boat. Intuition is perfect hearing and doing of the law, hearing the voice and knowing. Illumination is the light of unity or oneness of soul.

Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Jesus answered, "He who is of the truth, recognizes the truth." Five prophets from five faculties operate through intellect. If you dwell on truth, you must become and be the truth. Knowing truth is not enough, you must become the truth. Becoming truth is becoming a "living ensample like unto Christ."

First it is flaming, burning love possessing all that you are. Second, it is vivid, thrilling, ecstatic imagination, and third, it is acting as if, and ministering unto mankind in service to the Lord.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 –1971
The original Pioneering Mystic
minister, teacher, and author

Edna Lister


Etymology of understand: Old English understandan, "comprehend, grasp the idea of," probably literally to "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand."


Understanding is an abstract principle rooted in the Wisdom Emanation.

Understanding is a soul virtue.

Understanding is a soul faculty.


References

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).


Related Topics

See Comprehension

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