Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11, NRSV)
It was right for God to look for fruit from this vineyard, and it is right for the Lord to look for the same evidence of God’s grace in your life and mine today.
Peter wrote--in a manner of speaking--that the only way to have your cake is first to eat it.
The more one is like Christ, the more one can expect a strong response.
Jesus had shared with them everything the Father had given him, the secrets of the Father’s nature, of God’s plan for the world. He had shared his own pain, his feelings, his joy, the very humanness of himself with those in whom he had entrusted himself.
Emotional connection with God provides us with distinctive insights into God which cannot be gained any other way. But in order to anchor that truth into our real lives, we need to live it out. Something goes seriously wrong with our capacity to absorb or even understand Scripture if we do not live it, but just study it.
To build good character is a human activity, but to become Christlike, to be sanctified, is a supernatural activity.
Cleansing and pruning are not God’s punitive correction, rather they are God’s wisdom at work, creating within us the character, and developing within us the capacity to bear much fruit.
the entire nation of hungry, bedraggled people, whose life skills include making mud bricks, had turned on against their leader, Moses. They hinted that Moses had been either foolhardy and rash and was in the process of killing them by accident, or worse, he had—perversely—been been intending all along to kill them by the slow and gruesome death of starvation.