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Lift-up every mixed-up mess to God to let his Holy Wind/Spirit and FAN be the “Separator of fable from fact.”  

Insights on Matt. 3:11-17 by Cobbey Crisler
shared with the blessing of his widow, Janet Crisler
as an Inspirational Blog by Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director Emeritus

[Warren:] Before starting his healing ministry, Jesus came to his cousin, John the Baptist, for a water baptism.  Like Jesus —according to Matthew 3:12—let us come “with FAN in hand, to thoroughly purge” (or meticulously eliminate) every trace of the “fable” of a bad virus that would aggressively appear to be mixed-in with the God-ordained and maintained “fact” of an all-harmonious universe and all-good creation.


Mary Baker Eddy defines this “FAN” – that we are to have “in hand” so as ready to use early and often (or “promptly and persistently” SH 273:32 )– as “Separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought.” (SH 586).   

 Below are some Cobbey Crisler insights on the baptism of Jesus that have helped me often to lift up a humanly-unsolvable situation to the Spirit of God to separate out and permanently eliminate the mess!  [The baptism of the Holy Ghost & fire can be found in Matthew 3:11-17.]


[Cobbey Crisler: Verse 11, John the Baptist speaking) “I am baptizing you with water: but the one who is following me (Jesus)… He is going to baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”… Let me just suggest something… I think it does help to clarify how we can learn from these illustrations by going beneath the surface as much as possible.  For instance, in the separation of the chaff from the wheat there are innumerable things that are required for the thresher to do before the results can be successful… We want to get rid of the chaff and get to the useful wheat.  Why must we separate them?  They’re all mixed.  Take that symbolically.  If this is all to be happening within us, this kind of baptism, Holy Ghost and fire, is there anything mixed up in us?  Of course not, we’re not mixed up.  We’re never confused.  We never have arrived at a point where we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong.  If some of us, a few of us, have that problem of being mixed up on occasion, then the chaff and wheat are together.  Is there a way you and I can get out of that mixed up state?    Is this the baptism then that is required as far as our thinking is concerned?  In order to begin to sort this process of separation, the thresher must first locate a threshing floor.  The threshing floor has certain requirements to it for maximum results.  What are they?  It has to be high, and certainly as level as possible.  Why high?  Because it needs to be unobstructed.  You can’t have structures around it.  It would have to be open with minimum obstruction.  Hopefully none at all.  Open to the wind.

“Here we are on our threshing floor with all the mixture at our feet. Our first responsibility was to get it up to the highest point where there are no obstructions.  That’s very interesting because for anyone who is at some mixed-up point in his life, the first requirement is to get up to that point.


“Second, what must be done?  What’s the next thing the thresher does?  Now he’s up there. It’s a beautiful wind.  Is he going to put up a hammock and swing in it? He’s got to do something about the mess at his feet.  It’s very exact this illustration.  What does he do?  He uses a fan.  What is termed a fan in the King James Version is not the Madame Butterfly fan [or our electric fan] variety, but is like a fork, a pitchfork.  He goes right into the mixture of the chaff and wheat and throws it into the air.


“So far, responsibility number one has been ours, to get to the high level in thought, locate the threshing floor. The second responsibility is also ours.  To make sure we have that fan in hand to separate the chaff and wheat, to actually dig into that pile and throw it up into the air.  But the actual separation occurs by the wind.  Not ours.  Do you see the difference in the responsibility?  The Divine takes care of the separation after the human had gotten to the level where it is willing to work for the Divine and yield to it.  The wind, or pneuma, or Holy Ghost, has that defined responsibility of separating the chaff from the wheat in our own thinking.

“Where does the fire come in?  If you want to get rid of the chaff, it will be very important to destroy it completely.  Because the chaff could, with a change of wind, be mixed back into the wheat.  To eliminate that possibility, a thresher will build a fire downwind, the chaff will blow right into the fire and be consumed simultaneously…
“It is through this process of baptism, the meeting of the Holy Ghost and fire, that this deep spiritual cleansing goes on within us.  This baptism of thought which requires the fan…
(Verse 13) “At this point, John the Baptist having announced this, Jesus appears and come to be baptized.”  (Verse 14) ‘But John says, No, it should be the other way around.  I’ve just been talking about this new baptism.’  (Verse 15) ‘Jesus said, permit it for the moment.’ Implying that the human mind has to swallow things piecemeal… the progress of man’s spirituality is a step at a time.  Jesus, therefore, receives the water baptism.  (Verse 16) But almost immediately we are told that water-baptism is to be superseded, we find that “the Spirit of God descends like a dove upon Jesus…Perhaps that dove was indicating… that the water-baptism is past. Spirit’s baptism must take over in this radical change of thought being required by this new era.  (Verse 17) “In the middle of this great event, ‘A voice is heard that says, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, A Tax Collector’s Report,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**


[Warren: Consider the lifelong, spiritual confidence our children get from our saying this blessing each night to our beloved children, in whom we and God are well pleased.]


[Cobbey again: “Remember the consistency of the Scripture. This is what turns us into students.  The consistency of the Scripture would force us to study in depth how we please God.  Here is ‘My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’  How do we please God? Do you remember any particular Scriptural statements on that?… One of the things that Paul says about it in Romans 8:8 is, ‘They that are in the flesh (they that are earthly minded, who obey the lower nature) cannot please God.’ “
What Mark Recorded,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**


[Warren again: The preceding verses, Romans 8:5-7, with other translations shed more light on the challenge of earthly-minded body worship that seems prevalent today in obsession with fitness, diet, revealing “selfies”…  (Verse 5) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”  (“People who are controlled by the physical think of what is physical: and people who are controlled by the spiritual think of—give their attention to—what is spiritual.” Goodspeed (Verse 6) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  (“But to set the mind on the flesh brings death, whereas to set the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace.” The New Testament: A New Translation (Olaf M. Norlie)


These passages and several from Mary Baker Eddy have helped heal body-worship and lots of resulting ills and issues: “Paul said, ‘Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ Sooner or later we shall learn that the fetters of man’s finite capacity are forged by the illusion that he lives in body instead of in Soul, in matter instead of in Spirit.”  S&H 223:2

There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.” (S&H 468:9)

These ideas from Miscellaneous Writings describe the form, color, light, beauty of our world being loved promises and representatives “of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.” (87)  “My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired.  Earth is more spiritually beautiful to my gaze now than when it was more earthly to the eyes of Eve. The pleasant sensations of human belief, of form and color, must be spiritualized, until we gain the glorified sense of substance as in the new heaven and earth, the harmony of body and Mind…

“Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven: but we must grow out of even this pleasing thralldom, and find wings to reach the glory of supersensible Life; then we shall soar above, as the bird in the clear ether of the blue temporal sky.

“To take all earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: ‘I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light,
and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.’”  (
Miscellaneous Writings. 86:14- 87:14)]

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