Secrets of the Vine for Women: Breaking Through to Abundance

Overview

The Abundant Life Awaits You...

Talking with His disciples the night before He died, Jesus used a vineyard analogy to reveal His plan to bring every one of His followers to a place of genuine spiritual abundance. But if we don't understand how God works in our lives to bring that wonderful harvest about, we can actually work against His good hand in our lives without ever knowing it.

In this little book based...

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Overview

The Abundant Life Awaits You...

Talking with His disciples the night before He died, Jesus used a vineyard analogy to reveal His plan to bring every one of His followers to a place of genuine spiritual abundance. But if we don't understand how God works in our lives to bring that wonderful harvest about, we can actually work against His good hand in our lives without ever knowing it.

In this little book based on John 15, I invite you to listen carefully to what Jesus said. You'll learn how to cooperate with your Father for your greatest fulfillment and for His awesome glory.

And you'll discover how Jesus responds to our cry as women for transformation, a rich spiritual harvest...and deeper intimacy with Him.

Warmly,

Darlene Marie

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601423979
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Series: Breakthrough Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 405,535
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Darlene Marie Wilkinson is the New York Times bestselling author of The Prayer of Jabez for Women and other books. She is the founder of the Women Who Make a Difference conference and enjoys encouraging women through her writing and speaking. The Wilkinsons are blessed with three grown children and several grandchildren, and currently reside in the Southeastern United States.

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Read an Excerpt

A Place to Grow

Dear Reader,

Thank you for picking up Secrets of the Vine for Women. I’m praying that you, along with thousands of others, will remember this little book as a turning point in your life.

A turning point, a pivotal experience, something that leaves you forever changed—that’s what so many women are looking for today. And I can tell you from personal experience that Jesus’ words in John 15 are life changing! In this conversation in a vineyard the night before He died, Jesus showed His followers how God would be at work to bring each of them to a truly abundant life.

I invite you to step with me into that vineyard and listen carefully to what Jesus said. And as you read, may you be in awe of your Father’s faithfulness and greatness, because incredible spiritual abundance is His plan today for you, too.

With affection,
Darlene Marie

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Reading Group Guide

Chapter 1 - A Spiritual Harvest

1. What words come to your mind when you think of an “abundant” life? What percentage of the women you know do you believe live an abundant life? Why do you think this is the case?

2. Look at the contrast Jesus makes in John 10:10. What does this tell you about what Jesus wants for our lives? What does it tell you about the real source of true abundance?

3. Can you recall a painful or difficult time in your life when you felt confused about what God was up to? What were your thoughts and feelings toward your situation, yourself, and God?

4. Looking back on a period of pruning in your life, can you identify any ways in which the experience resulted in personal growth or other benefits?

5. To what degree do you believe God is actively intervening in your life through circumstances or people you come into contact with?

6. Picture a continuum, with 1 being fate (“all of life just happens”) and 10 being God (“He is directly responsible for all that happens in my life”). Where on the line does your belief rest? Note: There is no “right” answer, but either extreme is inaccurate. If your answer is 1 or 10, this book is going to be a surprise!

7. Describe why a person’s belief that God is actively involved in her life is so important.

Chapter Two - The Touch of Abundance

1. How do you respond to the truth that although salvation is a free gift by faith, God wants your life to produce something for Him?

2. Keeping in mind that God planned good works specifically for you to do, what kinds of activities do you feel uniquely gifted (based on your natural talents, abilities, and circumstances) to accomplish?

3. Read Titus 3:14. Paul equates good works with meeting “urgent needs.” How does this definition change how you think about fruitfulness? Who do you know that has an urgent need you could help to meet this week?

4. How comfortable are you with placing a lot of emphasis on what you do or don’t accomplish for God? Why do you think this is?

5. Read Matthew 5:16. What does Jesus say is the purpose of doing good works? Give some examples of what this might look like in a woman’s life. What is the difference between this and good works done to be seen by men?

6. If you had to rate your level of fruitfulness for God right now, where would you place yourself?

7. How motivated are you to bear more fruit for God? Explain your answer.

Chapter Three - Lifted by Love

1. What emotions might be felt by a woman who consistently bears “no fruit”? Why?

2. Identify a time in your life when ongoing serious sin put you directly in the path of God’s discipline. Did you recognize what was happening at the time? How did this affect your response?

3. If a woman believed that God will increase the intensity of discipline, why would she persist in sin?

4. God’s discipline for specific sin ends as soon as we repent, but what kind of painful consequences might continue? Why is it so important to differentiate between the pain of natural consequences and that of discipline?

5. Share a time when God used a spoken warning (rebuke) in your life or in the life of someone you know. How did the person respond, and what was the result?

6. Look at James 4:17. What are some sins of commission and omission most prevalent among women?

7. Read Proverbs 3:12. What does God feel about you even as He is correcting you? How does knowing this change the way you think about His discipline?

Chapter Four - Making Room for More

1. What sort of activities might God want to prune from a woman’s life? Why would these activities be considered “leaves”?

2. Discuss what might happen if we mistake God’s pruning for discipline.

3. How has understanding spiritual pruning changed how you think about past painful experiences?

4. Can you look back on a time when you felt compelled to change your priorities for the better? Did you recognize that it was God at work? Did it lead to more fruit?

5. Read Philippians 1:12–14. Paul made a direct connection between hardships he’d endured and fruitfulness that resulted. Can you describe how a past season of pruning directly resulted in more fruit in your life?

6. The harder we hold onto something God is trying to prune, the more pruning comes…why do you suppose we so often struggle to let go?

7. Reflect on a time when you experienced a circumstance that God used to prune you. How long did it last? Why do you think God’s pruning has different intensities and different lengths of time?

Chapter Five - The Miracle of Much Fruit

1. Think of a very close friend outside your immediate family. What qualities make that relationship meaningful and valuable to you? How much do you see these same qualities in your relationship with God?

2. Is the way you abide today different than a year ago? five years ago? Explain the difference.

3. Have you ever gone through a season in your Christian life when you made little or no effort to abide with Jesus? How did that feel, and what happened?

4. Can you identify with the mistake of wanting people you love to meet needs in your heart that only God can meet? Explain.

5. Read Matthew 11:28–30. How does what Jesus says here relate to the promise of abiding?

6. What are some unique challenges women today face when it comes to abiding?

7. What do you wish would be true about “abiding” for you? What steps can you take today to make this come to pass?

Chapter Six - Your Father’s Prize

1. Why might it be important to avoid trying to determine whether another believer is being disciplined or pruned?

2. Is it difficult for you to believe that God not only loves you, He also likes you? Explain the difference and why you think many women find this a difficult concept.

3. How would you compare the parental discipline you received growing up to what you’re learning about God’s discipline? How do you think your past experiences still affect your response to God today?

4. When it comes to pruning, what are some practical things you could do to help yourself surrender something to God once and for all?

5. Read Mark 14:36 and Romans 8:15. God invites us to call Him “Abba Father.” Why do you believe God teaches us that this kind of intimacy is possible?

6. Describe the role of faith in the choice to be more fruitful for God. Why is it so important?

7. Describe the way you want your life to look in one year in terms of fruitfulness and intimacy with God. Make a commitment to pray for one another accordingly.

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lovely little book

    This book is based on John 15 from the scripture, and guides you through the "vineyard" speech that Jesus made the night before He died.

    I loved the imagery in this book, the use of the girl and her father in his vineyard to help visualize and explain the meaning of the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples.

    This book is very easy to read and brief, covers a beautiful and inspirational speech, and offers up what every woman can take from the words that Jesus spoke.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Good Things Come In Small Packages!!!

    This was a great little book of only six chapters, however, the information inside based on John 15 was very powerful and insightful. Great things sometimes come in small packages! I belong to a prayer group, attend church almost every Sunday, and teach Faith Formation classes at my church to 4th graders and still find it difficult to make time to abide in God. Other "things" are always on my list to do! Well, Darlene, helps to present to women in this book what we must do to change our thinking so that our time with God doesn't get pushed aside and left out. I like the point that she makes about the busier we are, the more we need to abide. Because abiding is precisely how we are refueled and can avoid emotional and spiritual burnout. Darlene invites us to make a vow to pursue God in a sincere, respectful friendship for the rest of our lives no matter what we feel. She explains that no other relationship could be as important, and none will ultimately be as fulfilling. I am ready to begin my friendship with God. Thank you, Darlene, for this heartwarming inspirational book! I will recommend it to many of my friends.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Breaking through to abundance! This is what Darlene Wilkinson is hoping and praying that the women who read this book will accomplish. She bases her study on John 15 where Jesus used a vineyard analogy to reveal His plan to bring His followers to a place of genuine spiritual abundance. It can be a quick read, but I would suggest taking your time and doing an in depth study with her. I especially liked the comparison of Mary and Martha. Most of us women are Marthas. We get distracted with serving instead of trying to build a relationship. When Martha asked Jesus to tell her sister to get up and start helping, Jesus gave a tender and surprising reply: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has choses that good Part." vv. 41-42



    How do we arrive at the abundant life Jesus wants for us? This book will help us to see and understand how we can Break through to Abundance! I highly recommend this book.



    "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Simple but powerful

    Secrets of the Vine for Women is a simple book. Simple to read and simple to understand. Based on John 15, Darlene Marie Wilkinson compares God to a vinedresser (the gardener in a vineyard). When we are living with sin in our lives, God lovingly disciplines us, like a vinedresser cares for each vine. When we are showing spiritual fruit, God prunes us, like a vinedresser prunes each vine. The purpose of the pruning is so that we can produce more spiritual fruit and live in abundance. Simple but powerful truth.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Good story line.

    Book Review: Secrets of the Vine for Women
    By Darlene Marie Wilkinson
    ISBN: 978-1-60142-387-9


    This book is an eloquent adventure through John 15 of the Bible. The story parallels the story of Man that keeps a vineyard and his daughter. I really enjoyed how this story was carried throughout the entire book. The author's love of God and desire for others to also abide in Him is very apparent. The author did give advice to read the Bible as though it was written to you personally. I disagree with this statement. True there are certain platitudes that were given to all people in the Bible, but much must be taken in context. One must consider who is being spoken too, and what situation they are in. Aside from this a very good book, with lots of great reminders about staying connected to God.


    Click here if you would like to download chapter 1
    Chapter 1


    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Useful Book Makes You Go "WOW"

    Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher but I am giving an honest review.

    Most books I receive from the publisher aren't very helpful. Usually, they are boring, overly lengthy, full of useless stories, and don't teach me anything about life or God. Nothing more than a Sunday sermon, at least. But I really enjoyed this book. It is very short, simple, sweet. You can finish it in an hour or so. And you come away going "Wow" what a neat book. You actually GET something from this book. So I would strongly recommend this book and also recommend it as a gift to give other Christians.

    Author Darlene Wilkinson is the wife of famous author Bruce Wilkinson, who wrote: "The Prayer of Jabez" and also "The Secrets of the Vine". The Prayer of Jabez took a lot of heat from critical Christians because of its similarity to the "name-it-claim-it" crowd and the properity gospel. This book by Darlene is along the same lines: creating abundance for yourself with a godly spin.

    Darlene is teaching on John 15, about how God wants us to have an abundant full life and if we aren't careful and don't understand how God works, we can actually work against God's good hand in our lives. You will learn how God intervienes when sin is holding you back. How God responds when your good intentions lead you astray. How much God longs to be your friend and how to make that friendship happen.

    Samples:
    Pg 13, I like one analogy the author makes, when she relates our lives to a puzzle. How matter how the pieces don't seem to fit, the beautiful box picture reminds us that our individual pieces were made to fit together.

    Pg 21, God has a plan of abundance for us. Just like in John 15, God has planned the biggest most beautiful harvest possible! And you are invited to be apart of it!

    Pg 22, Jesus is the vine. God is the vinedresser. And we are the branches - parts of the vine. Essential parts of the vine - the parts that allow fruit/grapes to grow! Without Christian believers like you and me, there would be no harvest. We are an essential part of God's vineyard!

    Pg 38, If you do not bear fruit, and you fall off the path, God will not forsake you, whom He has chosen. He will interviene to discipline you and bump you back onto the track, so that you will bear fruit.

    Pg 46, You might be just one step away from a fresh start with God.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful devotional, please check it out!

    To follow the three seasons of God's vineyard will bring you a life filled with purpose and love.

    This small devotional shows the parallels of raising a productive harvest of grapes to the ways in which we as women should live our lives to have a deeper connection with Christ. It gives wonderful examples of what discipline, pruning, and gaining abundance is all about in our daily lives.

    The part that really hit home for me was the Mary and Martha story. I do believe that we get caught up too much in the busyness of our taking care of things instead of spending the time enjoying the presence of the people around us and the Lord.

    I think thie little book would be very beneficial to any woman who is searching for a closer relationship with God. It is very well written in terms that make it easy to follow and understand. The bible study guide which is included makes it even more useful and makes you think more on how to best use the information.

    I would recommend this book to any woman looking for a nice and short devotional read.

    This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review.

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    A Treasure worth Keeping

    This book has touched every fiber of my being. Secrets of the Vine for Women bring a refreshing and a wonderful way in learning about Jesus as the vine and we are the branches. The illustrations bring a remarkable way of how we should abide in the Word of God. It is such a great little power-packed book to refresh ones spirit. I am grateful that I belong to my Heavenly Father. This book reminds you of who you are and who you belong too, and what is required of you.

    I couldn't put this book down, I truly enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It stirs in me the "don't be afraid to step out of the boat" type of experience. Build your faith and bare much fruit, keep the faith, and always trust your Creator. I highly recommend Secrets of the Vine for Women to every woman and teenage girl that sometimes needs a little reminder of their purpose and the reason they were chosen.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Fresh Perspective

    Darlene Wilkinson's book Secrets of the Vine for Women reflects on John 15, the Bible chapter which focuses on the night before Jesus was crucified. In that chapter, Jesus states that "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser." Wilkinson interweaves the Scripture study with a story of a woman and her father, who carefully tends his vineyard. Using this analogy, Wilkinson walks alongside the reader through God's pruning -- an often bewildering, painful process which allows a woman to fluorish. Women will identify with the author's teachings on "busy-ness" and the desire to "fix" people and situations. The reader learns the importance of abiding in Jesus, the only source of strength. Although I have studied John 15 in other Bible studies, I appreciated the fresh perspective on this passage. I recommend this book for relatively new Christians, as well as for any woman who needs encouragement on her journey. I received my copy of Secrets of the Vine for Women free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books, in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated in this review were my own.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    She shares the secret!

    Secrets of the Vine for Women by Darlene Marie Wilkinson was written to encourage women in their walk with the Lord. When her husband, Bruce, began to receive letters from women sharing how Secrets of the Vine had encouraged them, Darlene decided it was time for this little devotional.

    Each chapter begins with a continued short story of a daughter and her father, the vineyard owner. The author's focus, through six chapters, is in these areas:

    ?The Season of Discipline
    ?The Season of Pruning
    ?The Season of Abiding
    This in depth study of Jesus' words in John 15, invite the reader to live a life of abundance by following Jesus in obedience. The author gently shows the reader that although we may be doing good for the Lord, we may not be obeying Him, and thus not living a full, blessed life. She emphasis that pain is often involved to place us where God wants us to be. But also repeatedly shares that God always wants only the best for His children!

    This is a small book, but because of the chapter study questions, would make an excellent tool for personal devotions or a Bible study group. You will be blessed by this treasure and will find truths to encourage yu walk with Him in deeper intimacy.

    Darlene Marie Wilkinson is the New York Times bestselling author of The Prayer of Jabez for Women and other books. She is the founder of the Women Who Make a Difference conference and enjoys encouraging women through her writing and speaking. The Wilkinsons are blessed with three grown children and several grandchildren, and currently reside in the Southeastern United States.

    Thanks to Darlene Marie Wilkinson and Multnomah Books for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Uplifting and Inspiring

    Do you want to live beyond yourself, letting go of your agenda and your control so that you can receive what God has for you? Secrets of the Vine for Women, by Darlene Wilkinson, is full of encouragement and advice on how to live fruitfully for God. In six short chapters, the author provides three secrets of the vine that result in greater fruitfulness, service, and impact of your life for God. Each chapter begins with a brief fictional scene about a young woman returning to her childhood home where she rejoices with her papa at the abundance of grapes from his vineyard. Based on John 15, she portrays followers of Christ as the branches of the vine and God as the passionate, attentive vinedresser, who has a goal in mind as we face every circumstance in lives. Even more, God cares about our fruitfulness and wants to take us to the next level. This little book shows us how God carries us to the next level and gives practical advice on how to abide with Him. A short study guide in the back provides topics for reflection and application of the concepts in the book, which would also offer thought-provoking sharing in small group discussion. I found this simple book to be uplifting and inspiring. The author did not make me feel guilty for not doing enough or for not achieving success through measurable outcomes. She re-aligned my perspective, showing me that we bear fruit NOT by doing more or serving more, but by pursuing intimacy with God. She states that "our opportunities don't very often require a platform, an extraordinary talent, or an unusual opportunity." All that is required is a heart that abides and a heart that is ready. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Devotional

    This little book of only six chapters would make a good personal devotional. Because of the extensive Study Guide for each chapter, it could also serve as a source for a group Bible study.

    A frame story, set in Tuscany, about a vinedresser instructing his daughter in the art of growing a bumper crop of grapes is the metaphor for this study of John 15. The reader quickly sees that she is the daughter, and God is represented by the father, the vinedresser.

    Thank you to Cindy Brovsky at Random House for my copy.

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