Success, a Law of Doing

Noah Webster defined success as "the favorable or prosperous termination of any thing attempted; a termination which answers the purpose intended; properly in a good sense, but often in a bad sense."

The modern world defines success as "the fortune (good or bad) befalling anyone in a particular situation or affair; the prosperous achievement of something attempted; the attainment of an object according to one's desire: now often with particular reference to the attainment of wealth or position." This definition is glaringly materialistic. According to its Latin root, the verb succedere simply means "to come close after," as in "to succeed," hence, its connotation to achieve or to result in any outcome, good or not good.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matthew 6:33.”

Financial success, with its attendant wealth, prestige and power, has long been associated with "The American Dream." However, the original American dream of the Pilgrim Puritans of the 1600s was fired by their desire for religious freedom to worship according to the dictates of their conscience and beliefs.

This evolved to include the quest for financial and personal autonomy by the time Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — The Declaration of Independence.

We recognize the need for financial well-being and personal autonomy, including free speech and the freedom to worship as we choose. Yet, on the Via Christa, we find the goals of freedom and success in the mundane sense to be inadequate. We desire soul freedom and hold it paramount, above the world's taint. Success, on the Via Christa, is measured in how completely one becomes like unto Jesus the Christ in soul stature, as a Christed one.

Edna Lister on Success

"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." – Romans 8:16-18.

According to this proclamation, we are joint-heirs with Christ to the kingdom of God. We may share in his life, wisdom, love, companionship, health, wealth, success and power. – Edna Lister, Your Royal Birth, November 30, 1931, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The simple secret of success is always to be the servant of all God's Power! – Edna Lister, Undated 1934.

Anyone enthralled with an idea becomes a success at it. Anyone enthralled with the idea of selfless service is successful, because Power doubles their ability. Anyone enamored with this divine love, which is Power, shall become a world leader. – Edna Lister, Divine Love, August 26, 1934.

Your thoughts may be beautiful, but if your acts or words are ungainly, others will perceive you as always wrong. If your thoughts and approach are powerful, success should follow. – Edna Lister, The Life Powerful, September 21, 1934.

Each of us is a genius. You are all experts in something, often in your profession or favorite hobby. Some are experts in avoiding work, or experts in finding excuses. Many are specialists in poverty and disease. If you want to know a person's genius, listen to his line of talk. You are radiant with genius, yet your use of silence is the turning point, the parting of the way to success or failure.

You cannot be an expert job holder and an expert job hunter at the same time. Let go of the job you do not yet have, and apply yourself in your present place. Let your Light so shine. – Edna Lister, Intuition, November 22, 1934.

Put your failures in your asset column as successful experiences in how not to do it. – Edna Lister, Power as Life, February 16, 1936.

Gratitude, joy and faith determine your success, which equals your steadfastness of purpose. – Edna Lister, Joy, March 19, 1937.

You can turn defeat into success, and profit from your defeats. A defeat cannot make you a failure. Only your ideas about defeat can do that. A defeat is nothing more than an experience that if you choose, can gain you spirit and courage. Defeat and delays are good. They broaden your perceptions, understanding and lead to illumination. – Edna Lister, Illumination Through Perception, June 26, 1938.

Success does not come because you want it or desire it. Success must be planned for, served for, sacrificed for. It pushes forth from within you according to your loyalty and steadfastness under the Light, and no man may add it to you from the outside. You must build each step by your own service to the Father. – Edna Lister, August 25 1938.

You need only two ingredients to make the greatest success the world has ever seen: unconquerable faith and unquenchable love. They will conquer anything the world of darkness can produce. They will part the Red Sea. They will overcome the little self. They will uncover self's hidden treasures of darkness. They will turn any darkness of failure into the full Light of success. They will close the mouths of lions. They will render impotent any illness. All you need to do is exercise them instead of the limitations. – Edna Lister, January 22, 1941.

"The joy of the Lord pours down and radiates through me as health, strength and success in all my affairs. Success is now mine. Success is now mine. Success is now mine." – Edna Lister, November 19, 1941.

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. – Edna Lister, The Yoke of Love, December 7, 1941.

You must work for your day of success. – Edna Lister, Threefold Consciousness, March 15, 1942.

Sacrifice means different things to different people, but we view it as service and sacrifice to gain success. We are all familiar with the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), which ends with "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." – Matthew 25:29.

Success comes to the soul who desires to succeed, is willing to serve God in any and all capacities, and to sacrifice self to do so. The soul who is too lazy to exert himself will atrophy (lose) his developed talents through lack of use. To the soul who has the desire to achieve, more shall be added.

You can do anything if you have the flaming desire to succeed, backed by the courage of your highest convictions. Let no one push you off your high point in consciousness. God can take you anywhere your soul vision conjures. – Edna Lister, Your Inheritance, May 31, 1942.

Praise is the stuff of which your success is made. – Edna Lister, October 21, 1942.

The long-range view of life is the success view of life. When you cramp your view down to fit today's despair, you lose the incentive and the power to move forward into your success. So, make your 1945 vision a long-range vision, part of a 10- or 20-year plan. – Edna Lister, January 8, 1945.

A wise person always has a plan, daily, monthly, and yearly. If you aim at the sun, you at least get to the roof of your house. Do not be rigid in your plan. Climb over or tunnel through the obstacles, but never stop or give up your plan. The successful fellow holds to his plan, and is also able to joyfully sacrifice time and effort to do the next thing next. You are a success now.

If you do not like today's degree of success, change your plan. Unless you declare your success, you are saying that you do not like that law of life or care to obey it. God credits you with every thought, every second of planning and praying about your plan. A grudging attitude about doing the next thing next dilutes all the credit in your account. – Edna Lister, Trailing Robes of Glory, March 25, 1945.

Those who are successful in business apply the lash to self and driving power to use the hours others spend in sleep and play, to work for outer success. A genius, who is always a soul devoted to Spirit, has the inner strength to apply the lash a million-fold harder to gain outer success, and is conscious of under-the-surface limitations that hinder him from perfect freedom and so digs them out. The one who fails, generally uses his time for vain indifference, laziness and lukewarmness of desire to become a success. – Edna Lister, October 14, 1945.

God has made you as a creator with Him, and has given you the substance to use in creation. Yet, you can create nothing lasting while you wobble and waver in doubt and fear. Instead, you must nourish and sustain every creation by love to become an even greater creator. Hour by hour, you achieve success through using your desire, thinking and imagination. – Edna Lister, Successful Healing, March 22, 1946.

A successful idealist or businessman, who has an altruistic vision and what it will do for the world and others, is automatically reaching the high place in consciousness. – Edna Lister, June 28, 1946.

A nation is built of a group of individuals. Whatever qualities are essential for individual success, those same ingredients and abilities are necessary for a nation to succeed, too. Three qualities are keys for success: First, you must know that God is all life. Second, you must know that God is divine love. Third, you must practice the principles of right living. – Edna Lister, Stepping Stones to Success, May 25, 1947.

Failure balances success when you come by balance through travail. The best thing to know is how not to do it. When you learn it the hard way, you are more apt to hold onto your success. – Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

Do your duties and be success. – Edna Lister, June 22, 1947.

Every small thing is a test. How do you pass? Success will be yours when you make molehills out of earth mountains. You can do this by blessing everything below and praising everything above.

Everyone is free to speak or act as he chooses. Some try to push their will on you or fight your desire to do it your way. You satisfy the adversary by agreeing but inside you know that the door will open at the right time for the next step. Agree that the adversary has the right to say what he thinks, loose him and let him go. Declare, "This person will be divinely happy to see me step through the door to success." You need not agree that what the adversary says is right for you. That may be the law for him and that's where you agree. – Edna Lister, July 31, 1949.

No failure is possible in God. Make your great plan and put it on a cloud of Light. Success comes when you have loved enough and your plan's power and glory haunts you day and night. – Edna Lister, Promises Made, September 17, 1950.

How can you learn the geometry of the universe if you do not memorize its mathematical rules? You cannot get proper answers unless you learn rules. Call things by their proper names or you cannot know success. – Edna Lister, Attitudes of Being, July 31, 1951.

Restrain yourself from talking about your goal to save yourself the annoyance of others' faultfinding and the effort of lifting their opinions about what you plan. The secret of all success is to keep on working. Say, "God, move in and possess me" and push up through your formerly puny faith. Stop whining, "Poor little me." Don't be one of the thousands of men and women in the business world who have quit at the brink of success because some detractor spoke a harsh word that demoralized them. – Edna Lister, Prove Me Now, October 28, 1951.

If you still blame your parents for your failure after age sixteen, you are lying to yourself, for only mental and emotional laziness delays success. It is never too late to be successful, just too soon. – Edna Lister, The Great Challenge, November 23, 1952.

Success consists of continuity in expression. – Edna Lister, December 15, 1952.

Ask greatly of self. Seek first the kingdom of heaven to achieve success. The difference between a weak man and a creator lies in his ability to translate his experiences into success. Ask all sacrifices of the self, not of others. – Edna Lister, Gifts and Giving, May 24, 1953.

Those who fear failure will escape into apathy, which leads to ice coldness that freezes their talents. Lukewarmness is the room temperature where an escapist hides. Such people do not use their discrimination, discretion or discernment faculties, and are of little use to themselves or their families. You must use your talents at the boiling point to succeed. – Edna Lister, Behold, I Stand at the Door, November 29, 1953.

Years do not matter. It is never too late, just too soon. Grandma Moses began painting when she was eighty and became a famous success. Success has five keys, which we call approach, choice, plan, responsibility and fulfillment. – Edna Lister, Your Life Plan, May 16, 1954.

People ask, "Why don't I always succeed?" A wise one says, "Pray." They respond with, "I have prayed" or "I've done that," which reveals the opinion and prejudice that "ice" their zeal to lukewarmness. You cannot cook dinner just by putting it in a cold oven. You must turn up the heat, the rate of vibration. This principle operates in everything, according to degree and kind.

What have you hung in your mental art gallery, portraits of success or landscapes of failure? Imagination always builds pictures, but keep only those that are worthwhile and build a bonfire to consume the rest. Oil imagination's hinges and turn it upward. Never descend to the basement to worship resentment-revenge idols. Do not wallow in that cellar, but clean it up and move to your tower room.

Decree, "I arise and ascend past the Promised Land to enter Eden, my garden of love. I shall yearn and brood over my creations as a mother, covering them with glory, Light and the love of God."

How high do you make your decrees? Are you creating ceiling-bumpers or on huge clouds, sailing high enough to reach heaven? A man once built a canoe in his attic, then had to tear out the wall to move it. Why create in a small room rather than in the great outdoors? Why build creations in bondage?

Ascend to your Garden of Eden where God's Power can and will use you. Love your worst favorites until they become your glory, and a Voice shall say, "Child, this is your natural habitation until the Spirit and might of the Power, Love and glory of God possesses you. This is law, and law is the faith of God." – Edna Lister, I Arise, June 20, 1954.

The application of what you know to what you do brings multiplication and success. – Edna Lister, Divine Mathematics, August 28, 1955.

Your degree of enthusiasm for life and work determines your degree of success. – Edna Lister, Your Broadcasting Station, October 2, 1955.

Every life, to be successful, must have a goal, and a plan for attaining that goal. Vivid imagination is the greatest part of any plan, because what you see is what you get in life. You have heard people say, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." – Job 3:25. Your fears do come upon you.

Clearly focus what you visualize now, with no double exposures. Create a clean negative, and make your active imagination pay a dividend. Picture your accounts, wallet or purse full of money for a new home, new everything. A key to success is to use everything you already have, and prepare for more beauty everywhere. Stop the inner conflict between selfish "little me" and Oversoul's Christed "I AM" consciousness. – Edna Lister, I Am the Light of the World, January 1, 1956.

You cannot create a chart of "How to Do It" unless you first know how not to do it. You must know and understand what has caused your past failures before you can outline success and how to do it. – Edna Lister, Let Me Keep Lent, February 12, 1956.

You must know what goal you want to reach before you can succeed. What you want, you desire to do. So, you must want it enough. You must be willing to suffer, to sacrifice, to face death of the little self every hour. – Edna Lister, The Three Loves, April 15, 1956.

A defeat is not a failure. You can change even a dozen defeats into experience. Spirit is the Comforter, to console and encourage you. The Spirit of life bestows the courage to endure until you reap profits from defeat, until you change defeat into success. – Edna Lister, The Comforter, August 19, 1956.

Self-based confidence is a sign of the creature consciousness. Soul-based confidence is the sign of a creator. Self-based confidence inducts from the outer, but soul-based confidence conducts from above. A creator comprehends. Soul confidence is faith in action, which turns defeat into success. Every experience pays you dividends in knowing what to do or not to do next. – Edna Lister, What Money Cannot Buy, December 1, 1957.

The consistent and constant application of what you know to what you do brings success. This is the secret of all success in every walk of life and in every form of action. – Edna Lister, January 20, 1958.

Eliminate the "I can't do that" attitude. You can. Idle words are your biggest obstacle to success. Yet even if you remove "I can't," your "I'll try" will still stand in the way. Stop trying and do. You repeat the same old thing until you finally bite your tongue, which is progress. – Edna Lister, As God Sees Me, June 8, 1958.

To succeed, you may not waver or let self interfere. – Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958.

The quality of your imagination, idealization and visualization determine your attitude toward life. Success or failure, wealthy, poverty-stricken or just getting by, it is your choice. Choose wisely. – Edna Lister, Visualization, May 17, 1959.

The first chapter of the Book of Genesis teaches us the secret of success, to declare everything good. God named His Creation good seven times in the first chapter of Genesis. After declaring a thing good, you then invoke law, which turns your creations into good. God's purpose is good. – Edna Lister, Hear, Hearken, Heed and Obey, November 8, 1959.

The difference between success and failure depends on your confidence. Failure comes when self feeds the soul the sedatives of doubt and fear. Fear of failure puts soul to sleep. Self says, "If I'd only had his advantages. If I had only been given a chance." When self lowers soul to half-mast, it wanders, wanting to die and leave it all behind, all the disappointments and the joy. Success demands great things of soul in confidence, but not in self-confidence. First, you must have confidence in the power of God's love, which is bracing and building. – Edna Lister, Realization Through Praise, June 26, 1960.

When your heart's desire is flaming to let the full Power of God use you for success, God gives you success. Your desire calls it forth. – Edna Lister, Here and Hereafter, October 9, 1960.

When you decide to push through your doubts and hesitation, unafraid, you do. This is the difference between failure and success. – Edna Lister, Know That God Takes Charge, June 11, 1961.

The key to success is to forget the world, and be one with God. – Edna Lister, Jesus' Many Appearances, December 17, 1967.

"I am formed in God's image. God's Power is using me and I will succeed at what is before me." Success comes from your Godlike self, the Oversoul, so you are already successful, kind, loving and prosperous. – Edna Lister, March 20, 1968.

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The Secrets of Success

This Edna Lister lecture transcript is dated January 31, 1933, Tacoma, Washington. Scribe: Clarissa A. Watkins.[1]

The secret of success lies in joyousness and sweetness of disposition. No one can stand between you and your own, limit you, or keep you from expressing if you will smile your way through the criticism. The value of a smile lies in its expectancy and joyousness.

Form the habit of smiling joyously. As you work toward serenity of spirit, put on a smile to represent this joyous tranquility within. People react to the smile, then you react again with an even bigger smile. Ask for greater illumination, a greater capacity to smile.

Every word you speak judges you. With every thought you hold, you create something. The emotions you are sending forth create for you. What are you sending forth? You are responsible for your own life.

The secret of success lies within you, the ability to stand and accept whatever comes into your life as your own creation. Look neither to the right nor to the left, nor into the face of your family or friend to discover where it originated. Accept it as your own personal responsibility, and that will determine your success.

Success consists in the ability to push a little harder, think a little faster and smile a lot more than the rest of the world. Failure consists in the ability to find a corner to sit and think it over, to lie down and cry when trials beset you.

Success includes standing alone, never whining, crying or asking favors, but pushing, loving and praising. That gives you the ability to push harder, think faster and smile more, lift up, and continue lifting. If you push harder, think faster and smile more than the world, nothing can hold you down.

1^ We owe a debt of gratitude to the enthusiastic and determined efforts of Clarissa A. Watkins, who rendered her shorthand notes into typed manuscripts, found among Edna Lister's personal papers. In a typed note, she wrote, "To our Most Glorious Leader, Edna Lister: Here are my typed up notes, and please do forgive the delay. We all believe that we should publish as many of your lectures as you will permit. No one has ever brought such a message to earth. Please accept this humble offering of service, C.A.W."

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Keeping the Law

This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated August 19, 1934, Buffalo, New York. Scriptures: Mark 12:28-31 and Hosea 12:8.

"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." – Mark 12:28-31.

You think of keeping or obeying the laws concerning your daily private life, and those laws that pertain to our nation and the world. Yet people seldom consider the law that governs the relationship between things and substance, and their relationship with both.

Hosea said, "I am become rich. I have found me out substance." – Hosea 12:8. As the pursuit of "things," such as material goods and success, consumes you, you shift your focus from God. In keeping the law that governs your relationship with things and substance, you must fix your eyes on God.

Worship the one God, Him only, with mind, heart, body, soul, and no false gods of material wealth. You can achieve balance in keeping the law through charity and giving up self and its expressions.

Often you can see divine law work, but many people seem so surprised that it does. Anyone, anything can push you off the path, off-track, if you let them. Anyone can disconnect anything, but you should never disconnect your plug to the Source, nor let another pull it.

We are sons and daughters of God, all glorious, radiant, and powerful. All things are possible now. Father, we give ourselves up to Thee, to Thy way of life.

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The Life Victorious

This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated September 28, 1934, Buffalo, New York. Scriptures: Isaiah 59:19 and Jeremiah 32:27.

"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." – Isaiah 59:19.

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" – Jeremiah 32:27

A victorious life is not having power over anyone, anything, or any place, not money or success, not force or any single outer thing. A victorious life is rooted in a man's pride in his own ability to create. He starts to create something, but may lose sight of his ideals and allows the material world of things to absorb him, to own him, which will leave him unhappy, no matter his degree of success.

Only creating can satisfy the soul. Men are creating machinery to cool the air, turning barns and blacksmith shops into garages. You can see change everywhere, new growth, new Light. A victorious life grows from knowing that you are a victor, confident in your ability to create, to accomplish. You want to go somewhere. You are glorious, divine, so be fearless and go.

"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." – Isaiah 59:19. The enemy comes in like a flood. The Israelites lived in a parched and arid land, cut by only a few rivers, subject to flash floods. Water was critical. A flash flood is immensely powerful and sweeps everything before it, leaving only barren destruction in its wake. A flood will level everything unless you raise a dike or a levee to contain its flow.

You must lift up a standard against the enemy. A standard is a banner, an ensign symbolizing support, and it stands at the forefront of the battle line.

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" – Jeremiah 32:27. When God is your standard, no enemy can prevail. The Light, shining from your eyes when you remain at one with God, is your unbreachable levee.

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This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated May 17, 1936, Buffalo, New York. Scripture: John 1:1-5.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." – John 1:1-5.

Triumph is "a state of being resulting from successful achievement, and exultation." Victory is "the defeat of the enemy in a contest, a battle or a moral victory." When victorious, you feel triumphant, experiencing joy at your success.

What is success? What is an enemy? Who is the enemy? "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." – John 1:4.

A ship, slipping its moorings, is not automatically guaranteed victory or success. It must be fueled, provisioned and adequately crewed. The pilot must have all the necessary maps and charts, and finally, a competent captain in command to assure a successful voyage.

If you run out or short of any provision, your voyage may end in failure. Yet, once the soul is provisioned with ample and adequate Light, your pilgrimage never fails.

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Daring to Do

This Edna Lister Bible study outline is dated February 7, 1937, Niagara Falls, New York; she also used it April 29, 1956, Tacoma, Washington. Scripture: 1 Chronicles 11:22-23.

"Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear." – 1 Chronicles 11:22-23.

Courage is bravery. You can be brave, yet experience a torturing fear. One's background can be poverty, lack and want, or money, position and family, honor. Against this, life may paint a foreground filled with trouble, barriers, obstacles, hurdles, handicaps of illness, debt, discouragement and despair.

A pit is a small, cramped place with no easy way out. Being in a pit on a snowy day evokes an image of discomfort, being stuck in a slippery hole, cold and alone. Being in that with with a lion would be terrifying. What is your lion?

No matter your background, you can paint your own foreground as a son or daughter of God. Dare you believe in God? In His Power? In His glory? In your own destiny?

Faith that surmounts all odds can overcome all trouble, tear down any barrier, melt, dissolve and absorb obstacles, and jump the highest hurdles because it dares to do.

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You and Your Glory

This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated May 2, 1937, Buffalo, New York; she also used it November 10, 1946, Tacoma, Washington, and January 8, 1956, Tacoma, Washington. Scripture: Luke 17:1-2.

"Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." – Luke 17:1-2.

The earth has a shell, a crust that is 1400 miles thick, and is getting warmer. Most people have a 1400-mile-thick shell, too, a rhinoceros hide of opinion and prejudice so dense that nothing can crack or penetrate it.

The Master said, "It is impossible but that offenses will come." If you spend all your time watching for, thinking about, and adding up your efforts, your gifts, your services to others, you will bleed all the joy and glory from life.

His vestry called an English clergyman to task, and told him he was a failure because he had added no new members. He replied that he had befriended one boy who was attending services. "Oh that boy," they said. "He doesn't add anything to the Church!"

The following Sunday the youth touched the clergyman's hand as he turned to leave. The young man said, "I feel I want to study for the ministry." The old man took him in, trained him, and helped him through school. Twenty-five years later, Robert Moffat[1] returned from South Africa, with all England at his feet, honoring him. He had taught an entire nation, to the old man's glory.

You fashion tomorrow from today's redeemed soul substance. Your success tomorrow depends on your use of substance in accordance with law today. Today's glory makes tomorrow glorious.


1^ Robert Moffat was a Scottish pioneer missionary to South Africa for over 50 years. He opened mission stations in the interior, translated the Bible into the language of the Bechuanas, and wrote two missionary books on South Africa: Labors and Scenes in South Africa and Rivers of Water in a Dry Place.

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The Open Door to Success

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for October 24, 1937, Cleveland, Ohio; she also used it September 18, 1955, Tacoma, Washington. Scriptures: Revelation 3:8-11 and Revelation 3:20.

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." – Revelation 3:8-11.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." – Revelation 3:20.

The world views success as materialistic accomplishment. Yet to accomplish something depends on a man's degree of desire as to the kind of success he wants and will work to attain. Depending on your viewpoint, a hero is good, and a racketeer is bad. Both objectives have their own followers.

A goal is a target, an aim, a place, position or item attained. Your aim or purpose in attaining that goal can be selfish or humanitarian. Your methods of attainment can be good or bad. You may open or close all kinds of doors to your home, to love, to friends or to children. Keep your doors open to Light, but closed to the world for protection.

"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." – Revelation 3:8. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." – Revelation 3:20.

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Living Prosperity

This Edna Lister speech outline for April 2, 1947, Tacoma, Washington. Scriptures: Matthew 22:35-40 and Matthew 26:6-13.

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." – Matthew 22:35-40.

"Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." – Matthew 26:6-13.

True success and prosperity come from true sacrifice of self and obedience to law. You must risk something. You could take your faith out for a walk ten minutes a day to strengthen it, just as you study or exercise. You can become an expert in anything by giving it ten minutes a day for ten years.

So many people become expert dodgers instead, not job hunters and job holders. Too many become experts in giving up and avoiding life. Become an expert in standing firm, knowing, daring, doing and being. These skills require sacrifice, obedience, love and faithfulness.

A young man had lost his job in hard times. He could find no work, he had no money, no home and no friends. He returned from a fruitless search to his rented room, only to find the heat turned off. Feeling very sorry for himself, hungry and frozen to the bone, he wept. He decided to throw himself into the river. It was a long walk, but he kept going, his mind a blank.

The whole time, he was talking to himself in discouragement and self-pity. He leaned against a doorway, exhausted, and asked, "Who will help me? Who is on my side?" In his brief, numbed silence, he heard a Voice say, "I AM." Astonished, he listened and heard, "I AM," repeated twice more.

The young man looked up and saw a rosy glow. His little self fell silent long enough to hear his soul speaking. He returned to his room, and the heat was on. Exhausted, he slept. Early in the morning, a call came from a firm where he had interviewed the day before. By that afternoon he had a good job.

Before you can do anything and expect success, you must know where you are going. More important, you must know who is going where – super-conscious I AM or subconscious "little me."

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Open Doors to Success

This Edna Lister sermon outline is dated September 18, 1955, Tacoma, Washington; she also used it November 20, 1955, Cleveland, Ohio. Scriptures: Revelation 3:8, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 3:18-20.

"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." – Revelation 3:8.

"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." – Revelation 3:11.

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." – Revelation 3:18-20.

These are beautiful, glorious words of assurance and comfort, something to count on. Which of the many outer doors to health, home, business, success, friends and companionship do you knock on?

The Master cannot mean a small door, so it must be a key door, which once entered, causes all other doors to swing wide. It represents the door to your own soul, through which pours the Light of your Oversoul Star as all Mind, all Power and all Substance to fill your creations, the door to your House of the Lord and room of Light.

Your room of Light is foursquare, north, south, east and west, which you build by the way in which you live the Golden Rule. It has four walls, four doors and large windows on either side of the doors. You can enter from any point, position or place where you are, and no one can shut the doors. You can turn away and wander in the dark, with your back to the Light, crying, "Where is God? Where am I? Why can't I see?" Yet if you close the door, God always knocks again.

Many have misunderstood one statement, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." Read it as "As many as surrender to be the servant of all the Power to love God with all mind, heart, soul and body, I rebuke and chasten." We could read this as, "As many as sing 'Holy, Holy, Holy' night and day before the high throne, as many as are helpers, teachers and healers by choice, through whom I can pour an ever greater Power, I rebuke and chasten."

Being rebuked and chastened is a privilege, a sign that you are growing and being used. Should you lose your way in the world, something sends you back to Christ, who has knocked at the door of your mind.

If pride holds you back, a blow will come that forces you to give it up in sacrifice. Some are too eager to show their "good works," and their words reveal a know-it-all. Family, friends and the world will pin their ears back.

You are always surprised when you are rebuked, saying, "Who, me?" Surrender self, and give it up to make room for love enough to do the work. If you are caught out on your words and must eat them, you are being chastened. This means you have been sifted and found worthy.

"I went to the angel and said to him, Give me the little book. And he said to me, Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be sweet as honey in your mouth." – Revelation 10:9. This describes idle words. They may taste sweet as you say them, but your stomach rebels when you have to say, "Excuse me! I didn't mean it."

Appetitive soul rules from the solar plexus, and if you let it indulge in idle words, they cause heartburn when you have to eat them. The words don't know you didn't mean them, but work on their own vibration according to the degree and kind you gave them.

You can hold the doors to your room of Light open in three ways: First, by anointing your eyes with "eye salve." Second, by buying "white clothing," and finally, by buying "gold refined in the fire." First, use the eye salve, which is love. You can reach up and see Christ in everyone when you wear your rose-colored glasses. Give them the benefit of the doubt, without blaming. Live life as though the spotlight is on you and the world is watching every action and hearing every word.

The "white clothing" represents the purity of a heart of all love, the Christ mind, and your purpose, which is standing in the Light. Your desire for perfection holds the door open, not because you are perfect. You no longer worry. Like Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind," you say, "I'll worry about that tomorrow." As a king hires a court jester to make him laugh, hire someone else to do your worrying.

You have earned your eye salve for spiritual vision and white clothing to be clothed in Light, now, but you need gold refined in the fire to be rich. Your exchange must be equal and balanced, for only steadfastness of purpose will buy the gold. At last you see the great vision, the horizon expands and begin climbing toward it. You pass tests and overcome temptations and ascend higher.

Finally, you reach your goal, and success is yours. Right away you begin to be bored, cramped and shut in until nothing seems worthwhile. You want to break down the wall and run away. Fear enters, you feel lost and alone and try to crawl back into your cast off shell, only to find that you cannot.

You hear a Voice again, saying, "Behold, I stand at your door and knock." You look up and see another higher vision, and remember your vows of purity of heart, mind and purpose. The horizon expands again, the door opens, and again you hear a Voice crying, "Buy from me gold refined in the fire, new white garments, and more eye salve." And you do buy the gold of Spirit in the golden silence.

Again you hear a Voice, saying, "I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown," the halo of your crown lotus petals open to the Light. You know God's Voice will always say, "Behold!" Place yourself in the Divine Alchemist's crucible until the dross of self is burned away. You become pure gold, refined in the fires of love until the face you turn to God shines with His golden Light.

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Defeat or Success?

Edna Lister created this Bible study outline for September 25, 1955, Tacoma, Washington. Scriptures: 1 John 5:14, 2 Peter 3:8 and Philippians 4:19.

What is defeat? "As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is." [See Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."] To feel a sense of defeat causes you to begin thinking of failure. The instant you consider defeat, you begin to slow down for repeated failures, quitting, sitting down to wait before success arrives, all ending in total defeat.

Success is confidence, expectancy, eagerness and accepting now. Your first confidence is that God's will is good. "This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us." – 1 John 5:14. "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." – 2 Peter 3:8.

Your second confidence is that you do have the time now. It's never too late, just too soon. It is not even delay because it is finished in divine Mind the instant you ask, and manifests under law at the right time. You may not push or force, but just accept now.

"God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory." – Philippians 4:19. Success is eternal expectancy, and eternal eagerness. Defeat expects the bad. Success expects the good.

Be eager for more life and experiences, more tempering by life's experiences. You may not pray to kill temper, but to accept life's experiences eagerly as tempering for the soul, as steel must be tempered.

Take your place in line and hold it without martyrdom. If you need to give place to a needier one, never quit or go to the end of the line on the defeat idea. Step back, one pace, then stand expectantly, eager to receive, with hats off to your past and coats off for your future while you stand, work and serve.

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The Open Door

This Edna Lister sermon transcript is dated November 20, 1955, Cleveland, Ohio. Scribe: Ruth Johnson. Scriptures: Revelation 3:8, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 3:18-20.

"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it: for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name." – Revelation 3:8.

"I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it" refers to the mystical door of your soul consciousness, whose insistent drawing power makes you determined to lift your petty desires to mate them with God's will for you. This door opens the vast storehouse of universal substance to creators.

You are part of the infinite unity, and every part of your being overlaps the whole. The water of the River of Life washes everyone, and is your immunity from darkness. How do you hold the door open?

"Behold, I come quickly! Hold that fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." – Revelation 3:11. Every nerve in the head becomes a petal in the thousand petaled lotus, a crown of glory. No vibration of an imbalance can touch you, and nothing negative can take your crown, gold or white raiment from you.

Some people hold fast to life's negatives. They often hoard recurring pains, encourage them, promise to take them to bed, nurture them, and make the pains strong rather than strongly recognizing God's healing.

"Give me enough strength to finish, then I can cuddle you, dear little pain." You use soul credits when you claim pain. Yet the Father no longer lets you use credits for self after you make high vows of ascension. You must let law use you instead.

Say, "Father, let the Power move forth" when you know that pain is a spiritual debt. "Let this debt, which I recognize, burn like Moses' burning bush that I may see the law therein." Light absorbs the debt, and you do not feel pain.

You do not benefit your Father when you pay the hard way through pain, a habit you have developed from long years of expecting pain. You have conditioned yourself because you have vowed to help pay the worlds' debts.

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." – Revelation 3:18-20.

Oversoul tries the gold of Spirit in the fire of experience, but you are buying at a heavy price if self dictates the exchange rate. Declare strongly, "This is mine to lift. It is good and very good," for from blackest night comes the most radiant dawn.

The white raiment is woven of truth as Light, your auric sheath of protection. The price for a sheath of Light is steadfastness in courage, which is God's Wisdom upheld by Love.

"Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see." – Revelation 3:18. You cannot touch even the fringe of God's love if you still take offense. Go up in consciousness to your tower room and anoint your eyes with a devotional attitude toward God, love's eye salve. It absorbs negative words and actions, and they are not.

The love of God is not soft, but firm, rugged, and never deviates from absolute truth. Love is an unchangeable, unmovable rock on which to stand, one that will not move to suit the convenience of your selfishness.

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." – Revelation 3:19. How can you learn your lessons unless God tells you what you do wrong? Chastening is a privilege.

Once your embodied soul signs the vows and covenants with your Oversoul, the principle of divine justice shows you your selfish faults and brings you back in line. Law presents each rebuke three times as love, but whacks you if you refuse to recognize it, until you ascend again to Light.

Most people enjoy doing things the hard way. To do God's "greater works" is work. "Therefore be zealous and repent."

Your miracles are less than 100 percent because you pray for partial miracles. Do you want weakness changed to strength to fulfill your destiny, or to finish your life in frailty and old age? Repent, and walk in God's glory. You can ascend to your penthouse of Christed I AM consciousness to receive a new mission.

You can live in your high place, on your Path of Destiny. It matters not if your mission is public or to stand in a quiet place and release Power, you just fulfill your destiny. To stand and know truth for world conditions is a great and richly rewarded service.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." – Revelation 3:20. To sup means to be fed, mingling with the everywhere evenly present and available measure of God as Mind, Power, and Substance.

You can breathe and touch the portion of Mind that touched Jesus 2,000 years ago. You cannot hold Mind, it must flow or stagnation and crystallization would result.

The Master says, "I will knock, even if you close the door ten thousand times. I am always ready to pour Power through when you let me open wide the door. Be courageous, and hold the door open."

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Rose-Colored Glasses

This Edna Lister Bible study outline is dated April 22, 1956, Tacoma, Washington. Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13:12 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

"La Vie en Rose," or "looking at life through rose-colored glasses," has come to mean that you see someone as perfect, which is part of the law of good, declaring, "This is good."

People and situations are good, as far as they have come, then you declare them perfect until they become so. Declaring the good is a tough law to follow, so you analyze three steps to comprehend it: Desire, decision, and action.

Desire for what must be your choice, and a right choice, not seeing "through a glass, darkly." See with an "open face," with no hidden taints of self in the way, no opinions or prejudices. Making a comprehensive overall choice is best. To choose more life will cover everything you could ever need or be. Your desire to possess more life must burn and flame. Life must become an adventure.

First, you may not be gullible or soft, but must equip yourself to make the proper appraisals of everything — people, land, houses, cars, business. Your ability to make a just appraisal is even more important in your relationships with others. You cannot put trust in another, whose discretion is a leaky sieve, nor can you burden others with confidences past their ability to hold them private.

After you choose, you must decide "when, where, what and how" you will apply the flame of creative fire to your every hour of rest, work and study, to mold your life to become all powerful and all successful. You must always choose now what picture you hold in imagination: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." – 2 Corinthians 3:18.

The third step is action, yet how hard it is to move, to get going if self sits glued to the chair. Some people cannot seem to get going until noon. Once soul chooses, you may make no more demands of self, but assertions, such as, "I am success. I am strong. I am powerful. I am free."

Yet you cannot live your life by just thinking about it, but must live your choice. Your Word must "become flesh." Put all you comprehend of God into action as understanding for your fellow man, or you will confuse your relationship to life.

Some put off action until money or their family situation permits. No power exists in money. Love what you can do with God as money, and focus your action on the reality behind money.

When you are "changed into the same image from glory to glory," money will come. Your money will stretch, and whatever you need will be a bargain. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" to ascend, to be powerful, to do anything.

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

Edna Lister

Etymology of success: "result, outcome," from Latin successus "an advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome," noun use of past participle of succedere "to come after."


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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