The Experience of Pruning…

weinberg merzhausen

I spent a few hours this past Saturday in the beautiful vineyard of Tucker’s Walk just outside of Garretson. One of the owners of Tucker’s Walk – Dave Greenlee – explained to me the process of pruning the vines for greater fruitfulness. It was memorizing as he skillfully slashed off dead branches and carefully secured the stock to the metal fence to keep it properly aligned.

Intentionally slicing these branches seemed to be a cruel process… but it is vital for the growth of the plant. Dave explained that the goal is to remove 90% of the plant’s growth from the previous season for high-quality grapes.

Ninety percent is a large portion of the vine!

Jesus spoke about this same reality in our own lives. After spending time watching a professional skillfully cut and mend the vineyard, Jesus’ words have become a greater reality to me:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)

When we experience the tender hands of our Heavenly Father removing unhealthy patterns in our lives, it can cause excruciating pain. There are seasons that we flood our beds with tears and can only produce groans in our prayers. We scream out for comfort but it seems as if our very identity has been forcefully removed.

Take heart… Christians that bear fruit experience pruning in order to bring about greater health. It seems brutal; even unloving at times. The Master Gardener – the God who sent his Son for our salvation – prunes with great patience and love for the souls of His people.

Are you going through a season of pruning? What has God been calling you to let go of? Are you listening or has the pain blinded you to the love of the Father?

The Suffering King (Devotional)


I often write my reflections & prayers when I read Scripture. I will begin posting these short meditations in the hope that it helps you grow in your faith. I encourage you to read the passage and THEN read my reflection on it.

The Suffering King
READ: Luke 17:20-25

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

The Kingdom of God is vastly different than any earthly kingdom. An earthly king will often establish his rule through the use of force and enslavement. The king will overthrow another nation and subject the people to cruelty in order to force adherence to his new rule.

The kingdom of God is not like this.

Jesus explains in this passage that his Kingdom is inaugurated not through acts of violence done unto others but by acts of violence done to him – the King. In order for the Kingdom of God to come onto the earth, Jesus must first “suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”

Father, help me have eyes to see Your true Kingdom. Let me never confuse your Kingdom with earthly power as your church has done in the past. Instead, I pray I would live out the implications of your upside down Kingdom. A Kingdom which begins with the suffering of its King on behalf of his enemies makes NO sense in the eyes of the world. In the same way, I pray that my life is counter-cultural and brings you glory. I ask this in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and to the glory of the Father. Amen!