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GEMS to stop a procession toward the grave with your God-ordained, “growth-in-grace” progression!
Insights from Cobbey Crisler, Ken Cooper & others for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Probation after Death"
for October 25, 2020

prepared by Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director 314-378-2574

GEM#1: Enjoy Ken Cooper’s insights and custom prose and poetic contributions on “Probation after Death,” the subject of this week’s Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson.
[Ken:] “
We know “progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill”. (SH 233:6-7 2nd progress). God only sees what He is, and His Truth never changes. In correcting any false belief, we prove its falsity, and this correction / probation is the fulfilling of our progress in understanding. As the Golden Text states so clearly, “we will walk in the name (nature) of the Lord our God for ever and ever”. With God, the “I AM THAT I AM”, there is no future tense, no “will “, – only “now”. Mary Baker Eddy writes: “You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so. Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing towards it; it is at this point and must be practised therefrom.” My. 242:3-7.

When we walk with each of the synonyms, names, of God, with Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind, Principle, we partake of these qualities, and the nothingness of death is proved. This was the demonstration of Enoch, Elijah and Jesus, and this proof underlies the Science of our true being.

The prose writing Enoch ever walks with God sets out the spiritual commitment required, and the results that are guaranteed for ever. The beauty of each synonym is that each synonym is at one with each other, is exactly what they are, – when we walk with Love, we are at the same time walking, for example, with Life. Love may be uppermost in our thought, but it brings with it all the qualities of God, including Life eternal. There can be no probation after death because there is no death, and that is the Truth. Our true probation is our constant unfolding of perfect infinity. The Psalmist sang “I have set the Lord always before me”. In Jesus we have the perfect example of what this means. In perfect humility, God was always uppermost in his thoughts. When he looked at others, he saw what God sees. His love was unconditional. With The Widow Of Nain, he knew her circumstances, but there was no interrogation of the human picture, – no gossiping of how had her son died. Jesus walked with God and not material circumstance. As with Enoch, there was no death-process, only the recognition of the ever-presence of Life which is Love. When the widow felt the love that Jesus constantly expressed, and heard his words “Weep not”, she too felt the simultaneous presence of Life and Truth. The procession of mortal mind was stopped, and the progression of divine Life re-established.

Enoch walked with God, Elijah proved his ministry, and Jesus brought that “at-one-ment” into the lives of everyone who touched the hem of his thought. Mary Baker Eddy makes it apparent for us:

“Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, we are helped onward in the march towards righteousness, peace, and purity, which are the landmarks of Science. Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, — wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory.” SH 323:6

Whether we walk, march, or run, we are right now the perfect reflection of unfolding infinite Life, untouched by matter, held in the firm embrace of all that God is.

PDF copies of the scripts are available on the top right of this week's ONLINE metaphysical article for CedarS Camps.

GEM#2: Apply God promise of being upheld to all who serve to the delight of God’s soul!
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1)

Cobbey Crisler on Isa. 42:1, 6 (Responsive Reading, RR), 7
“Chapter 42:1 is a prophesy of a servant who should come, the “elect of God” who would have “the Spirit of God upon him.” [W: In Verse 6 (in this week’s RR) there’s a shift from God calling this elect servant in the third person, to God calling YOU and holding your hand, and keeping YOU, to give YOU “for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles.” You will notice in Verse 7 – and in Isaiah 61:1 – what the assignment of this servant (YOU) would be, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (W: or out of a lockdown, shelter-in-place or quarantine).”

[Cobbey again:] “Isn’t it interesting that the prophet Isaiah foresees this prophesied individual in the terms of “a servant” when the Greek word most often in the New Testament for healing has the classical Greek meaning of “to serve.” You remember how Jesus defined his ministry in those terms, “I came not to be ministered unto but to minister” [Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45]. Healing is serving by definition in Greek. Serving whom? God and man.”
­“Heal the Sick”: A Scriptural Record,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[Warren:] These prophesies in Isaiah foretell the coming of Christ as God’s healing servant. But the verse in our Bible lesson also promises that YOU are the called this called and healing servant who will be upheld. That is a promise of protection that you can specifically affirm in your prayer walks and watches— not only for yourself, but also for all our brave workers in health care, law enforcement, food supply, election polling, and other essential lines of service. All the dear ones who seek to restore freedom and harmony to our communities, to our country, and to our whole world have been clad in Love’s complete protection as they (you, we) have “pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom” (SH 91:2).

Florence Nightingale, a famous wartime nurse in the Crimean war, was cited by Mary Baker Eddy as a great example of the immunity and endurance that God gives to all who provide care for and serve others. She wrote: “…Florence Nightingale and other philanthropists engaged in humane laborers have been able to undergo without sinking fatigues and exposures which ordinary people could not endure. The explanation lies in the support which they derive from the divine law, rising above the human. The spiritual demand, quelling the material, supplies energy and endurance surpassing all other aids, and forestalls the penalty which our beliefs would attach to our best deeds… Constant toil, deprivations, exposures, and all untoward conditions, if without sin, can be experienced without suffering. Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.” (Science and Health, p. 385:2)

[W:] MANY wonderful resources are being shared daily with great healing content for our Global Prayer Watch for World Health 2020. Check out on JSH-online an excellent Journal podcast by Janet Horton, a retired US Army Chaplain. It gives context to the above passage by sharing a brief biography of Florence Nightingale and her tireless labors for the soldiers during the Crimean War. She also shares an example of the pulling together and protection that she and others in the Pentagon demonstrated when it was bombed on 9/11.

[W:] As I was praying to see as divinely protected all the world’s front-line, health care providers, including all dear Christian Science nurses—and all patients as well, I continued to read page 395 in the chapter, “Christian Science Practice.” I found especially helpful the paragraph with the marginal heading of “Mental Quackery.” There it says: “It is mental quackery to make disease a reality—to hold it (the coronavirus) as something to be seen and felt—and then to attempt its cure through Mind…. Mental practice, which holds disease as a reality, fastens disease on the patient and it may appear in a more alarming form.” (SH 395:21)

GEM#3: Keep your focus and priorities immovable in God to be unmoved— with a full dose of joy!
Cobbey Crisler on Psalm 16:8
-11 (B2)

Verse 8, "I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Verse 9, "My heart is glad,” and guess what else happened; what follows? "My flesh also shall dwell confidently.” How does “flesh dwell confidently"? That's a mental state, but it’s been subdued by a mental state. "My heart is glad.” What medicine do we want more than anything else? What leads us to a glad heart?

Then the flesh simply subsides as the significant bellwether as far as health is concerned.

What is the dosage of gladness in Verse 11? "In thy presence [is] fullness of joy." That's the dosage, ‘fullness." There’s no room left for anything else.

[About diseases that attack breathing;] Someone asked me during intermission about a marauder of a disease called Tuberculosis [or CoVid-19?]. The fact that there was a great emotionalism in that because it's taking family members. In the spirit of our investigation of Scripture, going to it for the answers; perhaps this should apply to each and every one of us since we're the ones to search the Scriptures. The Bible will not dwell on the problems of tuberculosis [or covid], but it will dwell on the solutions. That's what you want as far as any one of the maxims of the Bible

The Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the original meaning of both terms, ghost and spirit, being breath, you can tell it must mean that simply by studying all the references to the Holy Ghost. You'll find that people are filled with the Holy Ghost. The only thing like that we can relate to anatomically is [lungs) What are we being filled with? What does the pharmacy of the Bible indicate is the cure for improper breathing or lungs? If we can be filled, if we can take in, breathe in the atmosphere of God, we are getting pollutant-free air to just inhale. We must utilize that breath and send back out purity utilized. This is the sequence of breathing in its highest spiritual form when we run into it in the Bible. Perhaps, a good dose of searching the divine intent behind the term, the Holy Ghost, will translate that into our nature. The divine nature has no tubercular problems. The divine nature is the nature of solutions to problems.”

“Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#4: For dominion, treat fear, not the flesh! Cobbey Crisler on Ps. 56:4 (citation B3)

“Speaking of fear, look at Psalm 56, Verse 4, “I will not fear what?” “What flesh can do unto me.” So, flesh isn’t the problem. But guess what is? Fear. It’s fearing what flesh can do unto me. Flesh is not the patient, then. One of the most radical discoveries in Biblical therapy: we’ve been treating the wrong patient. That’s not the problem in Biblical thought. [It] wants to be absent from the flesh, not even weigh it in, factor it in to Biblical healing. The flesh has naught to say, but completely submits to what the mental state dictates. That’s dominion.”
“Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM #5: Dig into some ideas (in Psalm 25:5, B4) to help you get THROUGH a long, waiting period of a seeming exile in a lockdown or stagnation stage? (I capitalize THROUGH, because Love means us to keep moving and serving, never to wallow (and “stall-oh!”) in the dark part of the definition of “Wilderness. Loneliness; doubt; darkness.” in as in when “Divine Love leads me and you “through the valley of death, (where) I will fear no evil” “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:5, B4 from NKJV) These ideas are perfect to what appears to be a waiting period. This is a great correlative passage for our rite of passage during this unprecedented period when right activity seems to be on “pause — wait on God…” (Science & Health, 323:10).

The idea of being a patient waiter, as if on God’s wait staff, means being ready to graciously wait and to do whatever is needed as a good host, and host of only good. This relates to when Jesus had finished 40 days of sheltering in place in the wilderness, he “returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee… and… their synagogues (churches) and laid his hands on everyone (at least symbolically) and healed them.” (Luke 4:14) Let us, like Jesus, as we come out of our wilderness, waiting experiences, stick with the only real power, the power of the Spirit!

GEM#6: See & Be Your Perfect Self! — An imperative “divine command” (SH 253:32, S12) from Matt. 5:48
[Cobbey Crisler on Matthew 5, Verse 48]

Jesus’ final summary … "We should be perfect," he said. According to what measurement? How does he regard when he got the revelation from God that Jesus was the Son of God? Did that mean for Jesus that he was the only Son of God? Notice the same relationship goes beyond, to us. Because he said it's a mandate, "Be ye therefore perfect." Why? "Even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." If the original is perfect, the image must be.

Again, we can compare how Moses viewed this. He had somewhat the same to say. But he didn't say it in the strength of the present tense that Jesus did. In fact, in Deuteronomy 18, (Verse 13), Moses is recorded as saying, "Thou shalt be perfect before the Lord thy God." Same point but different tense. Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect."
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax-Collectors Report,” B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#7: Act like you know that prophesy is fulfilled now and that incurability is healed by changing your concept and believing! Cobbey Crisler on Mark 1:14-15 (B13) Four foundational points for Jesus

Mark 1, Verse 14. We have "John put in prison." He has already disappeared from the scene.

And, ‘‘Jesus comes into Galilee, and his work begins."
Verse 15. There are four foundational aspects to the gospel we need to study. Normally, an architect might refer to just one cornerstone in a building. But let's remember that all four of the corners have cornerstones. To that degree, let's ask ourselves if this is not a clue to understanding Mark. We have a foursquare gospel, and at each corner we have a particular point. If this is true, you should be able to compile the information that follows in the gospel under one of the following four headings.
(1) The announcement that, "the time is fulfilled." What does this mean? Prophecy. The time for the fulfillment of prophesy has arrived. So, everything is just brimming in the gospel of Mark with this great news. All of the expectation is over for the Messianic prophecy: We have a fulfillment now. ‘What could be more exciting than to be living in an era of fulfilled prophecy? Nothing, apparently, because this is what impels the gospel writers to pick up their pens….
Study Mark as if it were a textbook, filled with data that Jesus needed us to know in order to follow him. It is a handbook, so to speak, a textbook where we can find data that can be applied. Those four foundational points, under "the time is fulfilled," you will see over and over again, explicit or implicit, in the text.

(2) The second one, “the kingdom of God is at no distance.” It is right here. Even that idea is radical to Christendom today often because the kingdom of God, or often heaven, is considered to be so far away from any of us now. It is out of reach, and we’re not really behaving ourselves sufficiently to get there. It takes Palomar’s 200 inch reflecting telescope to even get a glimpse of it. But we find the founder of Christianity saying, ''Not so." His theology is based on the fact that "the kingdom of God is at hand."

Do we act like it is? We moan and we groan most of the time. We wouldn't if our state of mind was the “kingdom-of-God-is-at-hand" and the “prophecies-are-fulfilled." But those are only two of the cornerstones.

(3) The third one is “Repent!" That means to change your concept. Now, we’re going very deeply to the roots of what is required of us to get anywhere spiritually. The problem is mental or he never would have stated it in this way.

It would be cruelly misleading if he laid down as one of the four important aspects of his theology the fact that we had to change our concepts of things. The implication is that every human ill, physical, moral, mental, all can be changed mentally. Otherwise, repenting wouldn’t make any. Changing one's concept wouldn't make any difference.

This might be where maybe we temporarily get off the train leading to Jesus' theology. We may say to ourselves, if our bodies are riddled with cancer, of what avail would it be to change our concept? How would that affect the body? The implication is that this is the panacea. Repent ye. Change your concept about things.

Do you realize what kind of a religion that suggests? It's very revolutionary in this respect: nothing is incurable from the point of view of Jesus ' theology. If you can change your concept, then everything is curable. That's some good news of victory that has yet to hit the human race with any impact like Mark, the hammer.

(4) The fourth and final cornerstone is to "believe the gospel," That "believe" is not just to hold an opinion that waves in the breeze. This is a conviction and a trust in the pronouncements of the gospel of the kingdom of God, and that "kingdom of God is at hand."

With that structure of the gospel in mind, we can do this kind of work together. As a matter of fact, the reward comes from doing this work individually and meeting each other that way. It affects the world's climate by doing this kind of deep research. In your own individual study, try those four columns.

The time is fulfilled,

The kingdom of God is at hand,

Repent ye,

Believe the gospel,

and see how you can outline the whole gospel in that way.

We may just discover that Peter becomes one of the most polished orators of all time. Yet he is regarded as a rather simplistic fisherman who probably stumbled in Greek and was more at home in his Aramaic.”

“What Mark Recorded,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#8: “Heal the sick!” – the 3rd of Jesus’ “imperative commands” summarized by Mary Baker Eddy (SH 37:25, S26
[Cobbey Crisler on Matthew 5, Verse 7].
"Say," Look at the first words there to say. Is that a coincidence, or is that essential? Where have we run into that statement before?
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Who said it? It was Jesus' first statement (Matthew 4:17) after "Repent."

The assignments given to the disciples would not be assignments they were incapable of doing, or Jesus would have been unwise.

(Verse 8). He said, "Heal the sick." What do you expect them to do? He said, "Cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils." Notice the sequence. The things he did. Even putting casting-out-devils at a higher level of what was required of prayer than raising the dead. Then stating, "Freely ye have received, freely give."
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax-Collectors Report,” B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#9: Be receptive to God's unforgettable, life-saving power! See resurrection of all kinds!
Cobbey Crisler on Luke 7:11-16 (B16) – Nain widow’s dead son raised

“Were it not for Luke, we would not have had preserved for us one of three recorded times that Jesus raised someone from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). There is a significant fact about the accounts of raising the dead in the Bible. They are not all in the New Testament. The significance is that not all healings made a sufficient impact at the time to have impressed upon human memory the location where it occurred. This is why you will find statements mentioning when Jesus went to a particular village.

However, in every case of raising the dead, from the Old Testament all the way through the New Testament, the human mind was startled by seeing what it accepted as the impossible, occur. This is what is in common about Zarephath. Shunem, Nain, Capernaum. Bethany, Jerusalem, Joppa, and Troas. They didn't forget where it happened. The details of the healing are particularly sharp.

In this case we have a city called Nain, probably a village as it is today. There is still an ancient cemetery outside the gate. There was a lonely widow at the head of this procession. Jesus, detecting thought again, saw her entire situation at one glance. He came to her and said, "Weep not" (Verse 13). He dealt with the heavy weight of grief on thought, touched the coffin (Verse 14), strictly forbidden under Jewish law, and then said, "Young man.”

Notice the radical nature of what Jesus said. The only one supposedly there who could not hear was the one Jesus addressed. He must have expected that man's faculty of hearing to be normal. "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." He doesn't help him either.

Dominion over death is part of that unqualified dominion God gave to man. As a matter of fact, dominion, as a word, as a concept, simply can't be qualified. If it is, you no longer have dominion. (Verse 15,) "He that was dead sat up, and began to speak. He delivered him to his mother. "

Also, it might be interesting for you to recall that of the three times Jesus raised the dead, womanhood played a prominent role every time. It was Jesus' compassion and awareness of the thought of this woman that lead him to raise her son. In the case of Lazarus (John 11:1-46), Mary and Martha urgently had requested Jesus to come. In the case of Jairus it was his twelve-year-old daughter (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-56).
These things don't just happen. If Jesus is dealing with mentality, if he is requiring much out of the patient's thought, then there must be a receptivity in order to get a result.

I think that we can derive a certain conclusion about the receptivity of womanhood, especially on the subject of resurrection. For if you move ahead a few chapters in your thought right now, you will recall there was no man anywhere near the tomb, including those who are reputed to have been Jesus' closest disciples. But the women were there and receptive to resurrection.”
“Luke, the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#10: Have a spiritual sense mind-set that works like Christ Jesus' invisibility-cloak! Find it natural to be divine! Cobbey Crisler on Colossians 3:2, 3 (B17), 4
(Colossians 3:2) Have you heard the modern expression mind-set? Verse 2 is almost that literally in Greek. “That our mind-set must be on things above.” Can we have an inner spiritual sense entertained that provides the divine reason for our being, even when we’re living on the earth at a human level if we “set our mind on things above, not on things of the earth”?

(not in this lesson is Verse 3) “For ye are dead.” That’s exactly what the body is. If we are to be absent from the body, the body itself is now dead to our thought and our thought no longer responds to it. No longer worships it. The Greek word means to be away from something, to be separated from. “And your life,” we haven’t lost anything then. “Our life is,” or literally, “has been hidden with Christ in God.” (Hymn 370)

(Verse 4,) “When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear,” what about us? “We also will appear.”

“We are joint heirs with Christ,” Paul says [in Romans 8:17], inheritors of the divine being. We are sharers, “partakers of the divine nature.” “We will appear with him,” How? “In glory.” In imperishable radiance. That’s not an abstraction. It is supersensible, but it’s concrete being. It’s a sharing of the glorious liberty of the children who find it natural to be divine.”
“Glory: Divine Nature in the Bible, by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#11: Grow your angelic outlook – & your church in an Act 6 model from infancy in diversity to maturity in unity. For Cobbey Crisler on “the rest of the story” of Stephen and the early church from all of Acts 6 (cit. B18) Click PSST for more of Acts 6 before citation B18 & more verses around citation B19 in Acts 7, GEM#12)
[A few “teaser” highlights from Cobbey:] “So, let’s turn to Chapter Six in Acts and continue asking the question: “After the Master What?” The answer to that question, in the infancy of church, is not going to be the same as in the maturity of the church, perhaps. So, let’s see if the pressures of world opposition begin to move in from all sides on this expression of unity and harmony and the incredible effects that seem to have resulted from such unity and harmony
Chapter 6 becomes important because the human beings who are at first huddled together just for warmth, in the beginning of Acts, are now suddenly getting challenged to get to a higher, a broader, a wider, and a deeper sense of church than they have even imagined. … Now, let’s look at the beginnings now of something that will reflect a wider, more spiritual, concept of church than has existed up to this point in human history, and that is the universality of Christianity. We’ve seen already that the early church meetings included home, which was a breakthrough, a departure from norm.

Also, including women is a departure from norm, I’m sure all of you agree with me. Then what else? Not just women. … All of these things: blacks, in other words, other races; Gentiles; non-monotheists – all of those will come up as serious questions marks and challenges as the church gropes humanly to fulfill the mission that’s already outlined divinely. …

In the event that we might be under the delusion that (church) committee work is nothing but (a sort of) mechanical, hand-to-mouth type of operation, read Acts 6, verse 8, and see if that is how Stephen regarded his assignment when he accepted the post.

Is that all he did was serve on that committee, to serve widows? “Full of faith and power,” he was doing what simultaneously? — “Great wonders and miracles.” (See below)

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

And now, remember what generally happened when Jesus did too much healing?

The next verse, or verses, would generally bring us into the resistance to that kind of thing.

And here, in Acts 6, verse 9, we find … apparently in Jerusalem, there were synagogues of Jews from various nationalities. In other words, they were ghetto-like in a way, but appealing to their own national group of origin.

“So, you have “the Libertines, the Cyrenians, Alexandrians (these are in North Africa), Cilicia (which is Paul’s territory in Tarsus), Asia (which would be a part of modern-day Turkey)” and the synagogues, undoubtedly were…there were several synagogues, hundreds of them perhaps, in and around the Jerusalem area, and some of them just more nationalities.

And they’re “disputing with Stephen” now. See Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

“And yet something Stephen had was irresistible. And it’s defined as the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” (Acts 6:10)

Much of it must have been based on what? – Scripture, the Holy Ghost, of course, and what about this new concept and strength that would come from the unity which the church was manifesting at this time?

Well, “the accusations, however, are made directly against Stephen,” sounding very familiar to all of us. There the same accusations that were made against Jesus, weren’t they? “They haul Stephen to the Sanhedrin, the same council that had convicted Jesus. (See below, Acts 6:12, paraphrased)

“They set up false witnesses, which again happened in the narrative of Jesus.” (See below, Acts 6:13, paraphrased)

And “they charge him with blasphemy, and announcing that Jesus would destroy this place which is another term for temple.” Do you remember that charge was made against Jesus as well? (See below, Acts 6:11,13, paraphrased)

Acts 6:11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

Acts 6:12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,

Acts 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

One of the groups of early disciples, most of whom had fled in the opposite direction when Jesus was being charged similarly, look and study whether Stephen budges.

Despite the malice, the falsehood, the vengefulness hurled at him at this moment, “all he could do when they looked at Stephen was to see that, if his human face resembled anything, it resembled the face of an angel.” (See below)

Acts 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Now that has to do with transparency probably, because the “face of an angel” conveys that. (See above)

Can you imagine that Stephen had one resentful thought in his consciousness? If he was giving that kind of appearance even to his enemies.

If thoughts are things, if thoughts are expressed by our bodies as they so often are, and we can tell what total strangers are thinking just at a distance often, just think how we could (perhaps) guess, but fairly validly, at what Stephen was thinking at that moment.

His thoughts had pinions if they reminded the onlookers of an angel. And you know, out from that state of thought comes Acts, Chapter 7, which we won’t deal with too extensively. It is for the benefit for his Sanhedrin hearers – something they, of course, already knew – it was the history of Israel.
“After the Master, What? The Book of Acts,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#12: Breakthroughs in Stephen’s farewell speech that ushered him into recognizing his eternal Life! Click PSST for more of Acts 6 & 7 around cit. B18 & B19 on Stephen’s story, previewed in GEMs #11 #12)
[A few “teaser” highlights from Cobbey:] “Stephen was drawing God’s design as he saw it, that silver, if not golden, thread through the scriptures. Starting with Abraham and working through to Moses in Acts 7, verse 32, notice that he selects for his example Moses’s beautiful view of God when “he stopped and looked to see why the bush was burning.” (See Acts 7:32 & Exodus 3:2) …

And there Moses was in the mostly unlikely place in the middle of Sinai, and here is a bush burning. But somehow it wasn’t consumed. If that were happening in the middle of Times Square the local commuters and pedestrians would merely rustle their “Wall Street Journals” and walk on by,

But Moses stops to find out why. That makes him an inquirer and immediately casts him as an important scientific observer in the history of humanity. That’s scientific inquiry, isn’t it? He wants to know why that the bush hasn’t burned.

And, at that moment, he receives communication. And he receives one of the greatest breakthroughs about God, one that every one of us must have today before we can progress in any comprehension of the Godhead, I AM.

Why is that such a breakthrough? Because here those children of Israel for nearly 400 years in bondage had been worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived hundreds of years before. After many centuries of long, tired prayers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and nothing happening currently, what happens to any concept of God as I AM? It really becomes you’re worshipping not an I AM God, but what? an I WAS God.

And that’s a God who is dead. And not too long ago, “Time” magazine, on their cover, brought that back again. That’s a I WAS God. Here the tremendous pushing aside, waiting for the receiver, Moses, to get that point: “I AM, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and I AM has sent me unto you.” (See Ex 3:6)

I’m still I AM. I’m not a God of the past. …

“Stephen’s face was like an angel’s…,” so were his thoughts. (See Acts 6:15: “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”

And we can consult with these thoughts and learn immensely.

… right from the beginning are we told church is a physical or material structure? Did Stephen invent that idea of church? Where does he find it? It’s revealed to Isaiah back to the prophets. We find Jesus quoted as referring to it; we see Stephen here talking about the “temple made without hands.” … And guess who is standing there listening to Stephen say this? Right. Saul.

And who is the next one in history to make this same point? Paul (from audience). In his talk in Athens, he looks around at all the physical structures to as many Gods as you can think of, and any they couldn’t think of, they had an alter to them, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD,” just to be safe. (See Acts 17:23: “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”)

What resulted? Paul suddenly talked about “the temples made without hands, eternal in the heavens.” (See II Cor 5:1) He heard that for the first time, as far as we can tell from Stephen. …

Was Stephen’s martyrdom in vain? (“No.” From member of audience) It was probably always in the memory of Paul. … he went forward despite what he had done.

Well, Acts, verse 54, shows you that even the angelic demeanor amongst mankind doesn’t receive too great a reception when thought is collectively united against this – the collective lie that the collective good is designed to overthrow. The “mass-ism,” the “mob-ism,” the unthinking subordination of individuality.

And they gnash on him with their teeth, which is a quaint Elizabethan phrase, but he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looks up steadfastly into heaven, and here’s what he sees. He saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.

He was bearing witness to a vision that few have had. “Behold,” he said, “I see the heavens open and the son of man,” that’s even human-hood, “elevated to the right hand of God.” (See below, paraphrased

Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

The dominion even possible for human-hood under God’s government, he saw.

Now that’s exactly what he needs to survive what’s about to happen to him. “They cried with a loud voice, they stopped their ears”; and look how Luke uses a phrase in mockery of what is the meaning of true church! “They run upon him,” how? “With one accord.” (See below)

Acts 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

The collective malice you see trying to destroy, stop, obstruct, the progress of collective good. “They cast him out of the city, they stone him, and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” (See below)

Acts 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

Now, there’s something very special about Stephen’s experience, and before we leave it, I think it might be of interest to you to note that what Stephen says in Acts 7, verse 56, has a prophetic precedent. (Repeated below)

Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Matthew 16, verse 28. Jesus predicted something. He said, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (See Matt 16:28: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

Did Stephen know that he was that close to his master, that he was number one to fulfill that prophecy? He was very close to his master indeed, because in going back to Acts Chapter 7, when “they stoned Stephen,” his last recorded words are “receive my spirit.” (See Acts 7:59 “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”)

Do you remember what Jesus said? “Into thine hand I commit my spirit.” (See Ps 32:5 “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”)

And the last thing in Acts 7, verse 60, “Lord, with a very loud voice…” – they hadn’t (you see) suppressed the Word of God as far as Stephen was concerned.

Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The stones bouncing off his flesh, hardly noticed because of that glorious vision that he was seeing, that the Son of Man did have dominion over all these obstacles, and that Jesus was right – never budging despite the persecution and the obstacles. “Lay not this sin to their charge.” (See above, partial)

The ultimate of love, sounding like what that Jesus had said? “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (See Luke 23:34  ”Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”)

What a way to go with victory! Saul could not help but be impressed by that, especially in his later years.

At this point, however, part of the fury against this kind of thing which the human mind couldn’t cope with – the human mind isn’t ready for that – none of the helpless, the squealing, the weaseling, the tail tucked between the legs, the I’ll do anything, I’ll sign any document under any pressure, kind of thing.

None of that satisfaction was there – a higher commitment to God completely subordinating everything else.

Well, we’re introduced to Saul, unfortunately, persecuting the church. And yet the result of his persecution is that the church no longer becomes parochial as far as geographical location is concerned. Jerusalem doesn’t become the exclusive place where the action is.

On to Judea and Samaria in advance of Saul’s attempt to persecute go the early Christian church members. But this time the apostles don’t budge. The ones they would have wanted the most, they don’t move from Jerusalem.”
After the Master What? – The Book of Acts, by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#13: Open your spiritual sense eyes and know with scientific certainty to drop all heavy burdens! Cobbey Crisler on God’s command for light to shine in your heart for the divinely natural glory of God in Christ Jesus and in you! II Corinthians 4:6, 17-18 (B21)
[Cobbey:] Chapter 4, verse 6 of 2 Corinthians ( a prequel to citation B21. Here is a commandment from God. This commandment was for “light to shine out of darkness,” and to shine where? [Voice: “in our hearts.”]. Where is the finger of God at work? Where has Christ written his letter, his epistle? If that’s shining, if we’re facing God, face-to-face, Mind-to-Mind, if our mentality is taking on the likeness of God Himself, then that light is showing. But it’s a light that knows. It’s a mental light, “the light of the knowledge.” In the Latin Bible, do you know what that word is? It’s our word for science, scientiae. It is the light of the knowing in a sense of disciplined science “of the glory of God.”

We have the ability, therefore we are without excuse, to know God because he has revealed Himself, His nature, to us. We can call upon our divine nature. We can begin the answer the question, “What is natural?” with the response, “The divine is natural for me.” That “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus” leaves not one slight dark spot of Adam’s amnesia left on the disc of our consciousness.”

Verse 17 of Chapter 4 (of 2 Corinthians, citation B21) stresses the meaning of the Hebrew word “kabod”— even though we’re in the Greek New Testament. Because it says “our light affliction.” Lightness here is the opposite of heaviness. [W: see the blessing below* of being “spiritually lighthearted.”] “Our light affliction” we don’t consider our afflictions light, do we? I mean, our shoulders are bent over, and if only our relatives knew what we were assuming as burdens for them. Our relationships would be happier, if the United States tackling so much of the economic burden of the world, and the military burden. Are our shoulders bending nationally as well as under such weight? According to the Bible, this is “light affliction” and it’s “for a moment,” and it’s going to work out for us “a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory.”

Remember “kabod” means heaviness and weight. This weight suddenly turns out to be something that’s substantial. We’re talking about substance, the real weight. We’re not talking about an abstraction.

We’re talking about concrete being here in this “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” [2 Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 17]. Yet in Verse 18 we are told it’s not something you’re going to open your eyes and see. We have to cultivate the spiritual sense of appreciating what the physical sense do not tell us about.

Of what value, of what validity, of what reliability are our bodily senses if not one of can tell us there is a God? Because if God exists, as the Bible reveals He does, and we can see His effects appreciably in our lives, and none of the senses tell us that God exists, who needs the senses? They are not bearing witness to facts that exist, even though unseen.

We can’t bow down to our bodily senses as giving us correct information, can we? We know how deceived we are all the time. We also how limited the senses are we know that some of our pet animals can detect things occurring through their senses that are completely unappreciable to ours. So, why have we been so satisfied with the data coming to us from these five channels?”
“Glory: Divine Nature in The Bible,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

Being spiritual light-hearted on our Prayer Watch for Worldwide Well-Being enables us to “turn the tables” on the isolation fables of “loneliness, doubt, darkness.” These are among the burdens that a Prayer Watch with “no opposing element” calls you and me to drop. "I drop my burden at His feet, and bear a song away." Christian Science Hymnal 124:3]

Principia's Founder Mary Kimball Morgan, CS, has great advice for us as Prayer Watchers: “If you ever feel that your work is becoming burdensome, just stop and place the responsibility where it belongs – in your Father's hands. Get rid of the sense of burden before continuing your work, for heaviness of thought cannot glorify God." This is part of an awesome, one-page treatment on how to be "equal to every demand placed on you" and "be deeply in earnest and at the same time spiritually light-hearted." (Education at the Principia, p. 222)

We are to be light-hearted (early and often) because from the beginning we know the happy ending that “He is risen!” This blessing of beginning with the end in mind can help reverse the curse, enabling us and others “to kiss the cross and wake to know a world more bright” (Hymn 253:3, 550:3) This brighter world view can come right in the midst of thought focused on the dark months forecasted of ever-mounting covid-19 cases and deaths, lockdowns, restrictions, economic woes, and concerns about re-opening of schools, travel, businesses….

GEM#14: Realize (or “real-eyes”) the power of Paul’s advice to the Philippians to be forward-looking instead of backward-looking to help resolve all mistakes ever made. How heavenly it would be to rise above all partisan politics for unity around our common good! Getting caught-up in a polarized “blame game,” is “mental quackery” and only postpones real solutions. Paul tells us plainly to “do…this one thing” to come out “perfect” on the other side of any seeming disaster – “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before…” Philippians 3:13, citation B22)

[A Cobbey Crisler insight relating the story of Stephen’s stoning in cit. B18 & B19, Acts 6 & 7 to Phil. 3:13, 14:]
[Cobbey:] “Was Stephen’s martyrdom in vain? (“No.” From member of audience) It was probably always in the memory of Paul.

(It) may have something to do with the “thorn in the flesh,” which he says reminds him continually, of his past.

II Cor 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

“Paul had to forget his past. Can you imagine that anyone here in this room, and I think all of us have a past that we would like to forget. If we dwell on the past, we’d like to forget, we’re not going to forget it. And Paul’s approach to that might be good advice for us.

“Because, remember he said, “Therefore forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark….” (See Philippians 3:13, 14 below, also citation B22)

Phil 3:13 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,

Phil 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

“So, he went forward despite what he had done.”]
After the Master What? – The Book of Acts,
by B. Cobbey Crisler**

Mary Baker Eddy echoes this life-lesson in Science & Health: “When we learn that error is not real, we shall be ready for progress, “forgetting those things that are behind.” (SH 353:22)

Here’s a past CedarS application activity to bring new life to Paul’s advice in Philippians 3:13 that we’d love to do again as part of a hands-on, Bible Outdoors curriculum in CedarS Bible Lands Park. Hundreds of campers and staff have happy, hands-on memories of doing a fun, spiritual growth, “Tire Traversal” activity at CedarS in the 1980s and ‘90s. Using two, side-by-side sets of 19 tires suspended on aircraft cables between a double set of big trees on opposite shores of a Crown Lake cove, we challenged campers to race a friend (or themselves) using the one piece of advice that Paul gives to perfection-seekers in his day and in ours. To get from to their destination on the far side of the cove, perfection-seekers needed to freely swing from the tire they were on and eagerly release it as they reached out for the next one— symbolically dropping the past and seizing the now in line with Paul’s Philippians 3:13 tip on how to be perfect.

We were forced to discontinue this fun, hands-on application of this Bible message because one winter a visiting beaver community chewed through the supporting trees and used them to make a home on Crown Lake! We have “forgotten” that loss in favor of “reaching out” to demonstrate an even better dream. We hope one day soon to re-build twin, side-by-side Tire Traversals. (This time we’ll use power poles, treated so as to NOT be tasty to beavers.) These Tire Traversals will be spiritual-growth teaching-tools, this time in our Bible Lands Park near Philippi—and will serve as a fun element in a future, hands-on-learning tour of Paul’s journeys. These Tire Traversals are planned to span our Mediterranean Sea just north of Kayak Cove—between the Carthaginian and Sicilian peninsulas. Estimates to accomplish it start at ~$7,000 (or less with some donated services & materials). We’d love to keep our eyes on this prize to provide activities that teach Biblical life-lessons in fun, hands-on ways!
[W. – Fall 2020 update:] If you’re an angel wanting to help us love this dream into view, consider this project as an unselfish way for you to make a tax-deductible investment of another possible economic stimulus check. Just call us for more info or to donate at 636-394-6162!)

American Camp Association

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410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

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19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

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