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, Darlene Marie Wilkinson, author of the New York Times bestseller The Prayer of Jabez for Women, invites 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.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A Place to Grow
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.
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.