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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

on 23 June 2001
As popular as The Prayer of Jabez is, its sequel, Secrets of the Vine is having the greater impact on my life. Because I've gotten into gardening while living in England, the clear descriptions of pruning a grapevine made sense. The author then takes us from plant pruning to people pruning. For the first time, I understood that "..our Father the Vinedresser is guided by similar principles [as the gardener]. To make room for the kind of abundance he created us for, He must first cut away parts of our lives that drain...from what's truly important." Instead of questioning God's actions, I've realized that in mature pruning "the pruning intensifies as God cuts closer to the core" of who I am. This is an easy, quick and captivating read, but the message, though a tough lesson to learn, is long-term and extremely freeing.
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2004
I enjoy hearing what others have to say about the Bible, especially those who have a knowledge of Hebrew. They can gather meanings that are not apparent to me from the plain words in the English translation. I was delighted to find that The Secrets of the Vine focuses on one of the most puzzling Bible stories I have ever read, and expanded my knowledge of what that story means. Through a combination of this new understanding and reflecting on The Prayer of Jabez, I have come to appreciate new choices concerning my relationship to God. That's a great gift, and I feel deeply moved by the experience. I think you will be, too.
After the Last Supper, Jesus took His disciples outside to visit a vineyard in order to teach a lesson. Obviously, this was a most important lesson because it came as the last ordinary conversation they could have together in person. The story is told in John 15.
"I am the vine, you are the branches."
"He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit."
Bruce Wilkinson does a good job of explaining about viticulture as a way of expanding the meaning of these passages. The vine itself is the bulky gnarly trunk that comes up from the ground and is kept pruned into just a few branches. The branches are tied up to keep them in the air. If they are not tied up, they fall to the ground where dirt and disease will keep them from bearing fruit. The branches must be cut back in order that the vine will produce fruit rather than leaves and new growth. The older the vine gets, the more it has to be cut back to be productive. But the older it gets, the better the grapes can be.
If you have fallen off the wires, God will tie you back up so that you can once again bear fruit. Once there, He will keep you pruned.
The book argues then that much of the time we will feel like we are being disciplined (in a loving way) when we sin or pruned (to become more productive) when we are doing God's work. The book describes how to tell when you are receiving the one versus the other. Both may be painful, but each provides a different lesson.
What I got from this interpretation is that we should focus on how we can better do God's will. Mr. Wilkinson makes a fine point when he says that sometimes we see God as opposed and unloving to us. I often find it hard to imagine why God would be willing to put up with our tiny and incomplete lives. When we overcome that feeling though, we can realize that God wants us to strengthen our relationship with Him first.
A particular point that was revealing to me was that this means we should spend more time abiding with God and less time doing works. Most of us try to do more and more works. The final pruning causes us to bear more fruit.
I also see this as an invocation to narrow our focus onto God, so that His will permeates our thoughts and actions more thoroughly. Obviously, one action taken through God's will accomplishes much more than all of our actions taken without His will.
As a test of the validity of these thoughts, I was pleased to see that they made my experiences with the prayer of Jabez more vivid and moving. Thinking about this Bible lesson from John 15 also served to expand and sharpen my mental and visual focus. I took these experiences to mean that these messages were redirecting my life. I am very grateful for the experience.
After you have read and prayed upon what you learn from this book, may you find ways to abide more and more deeply with God. God bless you!
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on 11 April 2002
This book is a sequel to THE PRAYER OF JABEZ which shows Christians how to ask for a life of abundance in service for God. SECRETS OF THE VINE instructs us how God works in our lives to give us that life of abundance if we cooperate with Him to make it happen. We can expect to go through three seasons. In the first one God disciplines us to remove sin and in the next season God does some pruning to allow us to better order our priorities. In the third one we will be invited by God to abide more deeply with Him. The author shows us how to recognize which season we are presently in and how to get the most out of it. The lessons of the book are easy to understand but the prescriptions for growth appear quite difficult to complete. It is important to remember that most worthwhile goals in life are not easy to reach. I recommend this book as a follow-up to THE PRAYER OF JABEZ - especially if you are serious about your walk with Christ.
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on 5 December 2003
With Chapter 15 of The Gospel of John as its basis, where Jesus speaks to His disciples about the True Vine and the branches, this marvel of a book uses the imagery of the vineyard to illustrate the spiritual truths of achieving a fruitful life for God. If anyone thinks this book might be about material abundance, it is not…far from it ! In fact, it shows how as part of the pruning process, one might have to let go of those possessions we "hold too tightly".
When the Vinedresser gets out his sharp shears, it feels like tough love, but if we submit, it is a liberating love that brings us the joy of being closer to Him. Chapter 3, "The Best Good News (You Didn't Want to Hear)", outlines the steps of discipline, and Chapter 4, "Love by Degrees", talks about repentance, and much of the following chapters are on that daunting word, "pruning".
"Pruning is how God answers your prayers that your life will please Him more and have a greater impact for eternity" (pg. 60).
In Chapter 5, "A Country Awakening", there is a very useful chart that helps discern whether one is being disciplined or pruned; as often both can be painful, they are sometimes confused, but their purpose and consequence are quite different.
In Chapter 6, "Flourishing Under the Shears", Dr. Wilkinson talks about how we have to submit to the tests of faith, and might have to give up things dear to you, in order to have personal transformation, and a bigger harvest for God.
Chapter 8, "Living in the Presence", is exquisite, and gives the simple steps to the "promise and practice of abiding", an abiding that brings peace and happiness to every day, no matter what the circumstances.
It is a well-made volume with nice quality paper, and nine line drawings of vineyard themes by Vicki Shuck that are lovely, and represent much more than vines and grapes.
Small but very mighty, this book is one of the most important I have read ( I have underlined so many passages, it has almost as much of my ink as print); it has been a powerful blessing in my life, and if you are looking for a "breakthrough" book, this may well be it.
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on 30 October 2003
Secrets of the Vine walks us through the first half of John 15, where Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser...I am the vine, you are the branches." As Christians we have likely heard this metaphor before, but have we really grasped all that it implies?
Taking slight liberties with the text, Wilkinson introduces us to four distinct stages of a vine bearing fruit: no fruit, fruit, more fruit and much fruit. He expands on each, introducing us to our current stage and offering helpful guidance to propel us toward the "much fruit" category.
The first "secret" talks of God's fatherly discipline that pushes us toward a life that bears fruit. Secret number two is that God the vinedresser will prune us of our selfish desires so we can bear even more fruit. Secret number three involves God's invitation to abide more deeply with Him.
In the words of the author, "...the secrets of the vine reveal how God changes you so that you will become even more useful (fruitful) for His glory."
This little book will help you come to terms with the current struggles you have in your life, and focus your attention on becoming the person God meant you to be. Highly recommended.
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on 9 November 2015
I found this book very interesting and thought provoking. The author writes clearly and in a language which is easy to understand explaining fully about the meaning of the vine. It is a very humbling book to read. Thank you
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on 9 March 2014
Very pleased with this book, had already read,. and wished to now have my own copy of this book. Thanks..
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on 28 December 2012
it worth the read but with great understanding hard to get into lot of reading and thinking great for thinkers
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on 31 May 2005
In the closing hours of his life, Jesus knew that this would be his last chance to talk with his disciples before his death. Surely anything he has to say then would be among the most important things he had to say during his earthly ministry, so what did he say? He identified himself as the true vine, his Heavenly Father as the vinedresser, and talked of the how the vinedresser deals with the branches. But, what does this parable mean?
In this wonderful book, Dr. Bruce H. Wilkinson examines that passage (John 15: 1-8) and others, and explains what it was that Jesus was trying to say. God has called his children to bring glory to him by leading an abundant, Spirit-filled life, and those who do not he will discipline. How does God discipline us, and what does he want of us? That is what this book is about.
Overall, I found this to be a great book, and an enlightening exegesis of the text. I must admit that I have never read any of Dr. Wilkinson's books before, but this one really impressed me. If you want an inspiring and uplifting book on the Christian life, then I highly recommend this book to you!
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on 11 September 2010
The product arrived on time and was well packaged. There was quite a few pen marks on the pages which I was slightly disappointed about however as the product was second-hand I shouldn't complain! So overall very pleased with it's punctuality and packaging.
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