Thoughts on the scripture readings – Wednesday Jan 2nd

Our Lord says, "whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall
come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." St. James appears to contradict this, pointing out what we all know from experience, that "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." This illustrates the nature of faith: true faith proceeds out of a pure heart, and a humble spirit. If we have faith, then we will have confidence that our requests will be granted because our requests will be in accordance with God's will. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." This also sheds light on yesterday's readings. Why is it that our Lord's words had such power – to the withering of the fig tree – while our own words seem so weak? As St. James points out, our words have great effect, but it is usually negative – because they come from our passionate hearts. "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." When we allow our heart to be purified through the Grace of Christ, when we allow faith to dwell in our hearts, then our words will yield good fruit unto His glory.

James 3:11-4:6

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine,
figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a
wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a
good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have
bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not
against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is
earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there
is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above
is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full
of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence,
even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not:
ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet
ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye
ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and
adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity
with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy
of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that
dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore
he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Mark 11:23-11:26

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain,
Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in
his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall
come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say
unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that
ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying,
forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is
in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive,
neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.


Reader Nicholas Park
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX
WEB: http://www.orthodox.net
BLOG: http://stnicholasdallas.blogspot.com

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