Author Archives: Vince Miller

Live Lawless

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Live Lawless

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.—‚Galatians 5:22-23

"There is no law," what a proclamation.

The writer is not proposing a state of lawlessness where you get to do whatever you want from a position of self-interest. But rather freedom from a law that binds you to shame and keeps you shackled to sin and thus separated from the Spirit. But brother, there's freedom for the man who keeps in step, walks, and is led by the Spirit of God. It's a new way of life—unshackled and productive. Fruit with exceptional byproducts readily seen. Fruit focused on God, not self. One with production that comes from God, for His purposes, for His glory, yet working through you. And that is the lawless and fruitful life.

DO THIS: Live lawlessly.

PRAYER: God, may all I do today represent you. Help me to be sensitive to your Spirit and demonstrate your fruit to others.

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Ransomed

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Ransomed

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.—Mark 10:45

A "Ransom" is a payment made for the release of a captive. This, of course, infers that someone is in captivity. And that someone is you, me, and every living person.

But what is especially interesting is the timing of this declaration by Jesus. It follows a request by James and John to "sit on the right and the left hand of Jesus in the coming kingdom." These two men blinded by selfish ambition completely missed the selfless ambition of Christ—"to serve, and to give his life." Christ's mission was not a crown but a cross. It was a path of sacrifice, humility, pain, and suffering not for selfish ambition ("to be served"),  but one of selfless ambition ("to serve and to give his life"). So while these two men postured and positioned out of personal ambition, their jockeying blinded them from seeing both their depravity and the ultimate mission; the mission of ransoming blinded men.

DO THIS: Don't let your ambition blind you.

PRAYER: God, help me today to set aside my ambition, and live entirely focused on you and what you want to accomplish.

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Not Hot Or Cold

Simplicity a daily devotional by Vince Miller

Not Hot Or Cold

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.—Revelation 3:16

Waiting in line at my favorite coffee shop today, I notice two choices for drinks. Hot or cold. And while there are plenty of variations for delivering my shot of morning caffeine, one temperature not present on the menu is "lukewarm." Notice how this temperature is despised in the verse above—"I will spit you out of my mouth." It's something so detestable that it is force ejected like vomit from the mouth. And why? Because it is an undesirable temperature.

This verse is not a judgment on tepid coffee but on man and the "lukewarm" church of Laodicea. To be tepid, all you need to do is nothing. Choose to do nothing when your choices are good or evil. Choose to do nothing when you have the opportunity to speak and act. Choose to do nothing when you see injustice and sin. Choose to live in paralyzing fear when you know you stand up for what you believe.

Evil people are not the ones who are most adversely impacting our world. It's God-fearing men who do nothing. Yet it will be God-fearing men that boldly speak the truth in love that change homes, businesses, churches, governments, and the world—men who choose not indifference, apathy, silence, or inaction.

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them and do nothing." —Albert Einstein
"We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings." —Helen Keller
"The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." —Plato
"To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it." —Martin Luther King, Jr.

DO THIS: Don't be apathetic today.

PRAYER: God, in my moment of indifference, may I speak up and act.

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Love Unconditionally

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Love Unconditionally

These short clips are teasers for a new series entitled "7 Challenges Men Encounter."  Each lesson will come with a 20-minute video and a 1-page downloadable discussion guide. This clip is from lesson four, "Love Unconditionally."

OTHER LESSONS IN THE SERIES: "Reject Passivity, Accept Responsibility, Lead Courageously, Live With Integrity, Serve Humbly, and Invest Eternally."

TEASER CLIP

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The Underdog

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The Underdog

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”—Luke 19:7

These words capture a sad moment for religious people. This muttering was intended as a pronouncement against Zacchaeus, a man who collected taxes from the citizens of Jericho. While most knew Zacchaeus for what he did, Jesus regarded Zacchaeus for who he could be. He saw an underdog looking for hope. Breaking cultural and religious customs, Jesus didn't ignore him or mutter about him—in contrast, he asked for an invitation into his home. In doing this, he consciously deflected the shame that Zaccheaus endured. Jesus took Zacchaeus' shame upon himself and allowed the crowds to mutter about him. Notice again, “[Jesus] has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” What a God we have. He believes in you—the underdog. And he loves you.

KNOW THIS: God loves you—an underdog. Accept his love, mercy, and compassion.

PRAY THIS: God, yes, I feel the weight of my shame today. Will you please deflect my shame with your love, compassion, and mercy. Heal my broken heart and lonely heart. Be my friend, and be my Lord.

HEAR THIS: Ross King, Love Is A HammeriTunes or Spotify

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Who Is Man?

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Who Is Man?

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."—Genesis 1:26

Decades ago, there was a clear set of assumptions about what it meant to be a man. Today, however, there is a movement in culture working hard to redefine manhood and masculinity. Some of this attacks the transgressions in our misunderstanding of masculinity that have intentionally and unintentionally harmed others. Some of this is tearing apart classic structures that enabled the ease of mentorship. And some of it is constructing new stereotypes that are confusing and maybe not so helpful for men and women. In light of all this confusion, we need to remember it's not culture, its trends, or consequential stereotypes that define man—it's the Creator of man; God. He is the Creator, not the culture or its trends. And his model Jesus Christ is the prototype for all men.

DO THIS: Be God's man.

PRAY THIS: God, help me today to become the man you have designed me to be—gloriously crafted by your hand in your likeness.

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Keep Learning And Growing

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Keep Learning And Growing

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.—Hebrews 6:1

Did you know that most adults in the United States read less than one book each year? This is nuts. Maybe this is a result of all the new methods we use to deliver information? Our fast­paced world is providing information in sound bites, visual simulation, and 280 characters—­thus, we're not just reading books anymore. But this should not di1ninish our need for learning and growth; it should give way to it. The writer of Hebrews commands us to "go on" and move past the "elementary" teaching of the faith. It's a charge of spiritual motivation. It's not something that a teacher, parent, pastor, or political official can legislate. In other words, you've got to want it. And it's not intended to diminish the fundamentals but to take the elemental to the next level.

DO THIS: Go on and take one action to learn and grow in your faith today.

PRAY THIS: God, give me both the desire to grow and the opportunity for growth today. May I in the process get to know You and my fellow man better.

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7 Types of Busy Dads

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7 Types of Busy Dads

This article is a repost written by Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He is married to Tonia, and they have three children. He received the Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Ryan serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan.


Dad's Are Busy

Most of us dads are busy. I get it. Our sin is busyness. Said a different way—our sin might be workaholism. Here’s the deal: Regardless of busyness, you are responsible to shepherd your family. Many will tell you, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and darn it, people like you.” I’m not here for that. What kind of dad are you?

“As a shepherd, I don’t get to simply lead the sheep. I bind the wounds of the sheep. I take care of the sheep.” Dr. Tim Pasma 

The gospel truth is: you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough and people won’t like you.

You need God’s help. Getting at these seven types of dads will help us grow and change so we lead families who grow and change. I’ve learned most about this topic from Dr. Tim Pasma (Pastor at LaRue Baptist Church and one of my biblical counseling professors). This post comes from his lectures on the idols of the heart and workaholism. I’ve distilled his lectures down to dads. Thank me later.

Now, we church dads know our sinful heart drives our sinful behavior. Any behavior you see on the outside—has to do with the inside—the heart. James 1:13-15 says “each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death“.

Desire is at the root of all sin. Our goal then is to change the heart so we change behavior. How? By establishing biblical priorities and implementing biblical principles. Biblical fatherhood knows these priorities and principles.


7 Types of Busy Dads and the Idols of Their Hearts

#1 Mr. Able (Idol = Greed)

This dad wants to buy and own expensive luxury items. Think about large boats, more houses and so on. Before you draft an email to me—hear me out. There’s nothing wrong with having money and having fun with your money. But what are we teaching our children when it comes to selfishness and greed?

Tedd Tripp talks in Shepherding a Child’s Heart about the “fight over a toy” among siblings. He begs us to ask ourselves as parents whether it’s simply a “fight over a toy”? Or is it a failure to prefer others over self? Is it selfishness?

Tripp goes on:

Do you tend to see your children’s greedy “I wants” as the idolatry of possessions? Or do you think that it is simply natural—something that will be outgrown? If so, you will fail to help your children grapple with spiritual reality. You will never confront the sinful tendency to find meaning and significance in things. Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.  

Can you have money? Sure thing. Great on you. You’re blessed. Save and spend, brother, spend and save. But what does giving look like in your life? Better yet, what does sacrificial giving look like for you? If you reflect and find your hearts’ desire is to have a sixth and larger boat—when you ain’t in the boat-shipping business—well, that’s interesting, based on this verse:

See Matthew 6:19-24 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

#2 Mr. Baxter (Idol = Fear and worry about the future)

This dad is a tad different than Mr. Greed. This dad may not want rich things, but he’s afraid of financial loss and unsure about the future. He’s usually the over-saver. It’s a thing. Maybe you didn’t have possessions growing and now that you have some—you ain’t givin’ them up! You save so much you never give. You hold on to your possessions in fear and worry. Congratulations, this makes you a sinner like Richy Rich Dad in #1.

Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? … For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Full disclosure: I think the dad who seeks first the kingdom of God—his life will be a different example to his kids than the dad who doesn’t. Which dad are you?

#3 Mr. Dean (Idol = Reputation/Pride/Status)

You know this dad. This dad wants neighbors and community to view him highly—but inside of the house is usually a different story. This dad seems awesome on the outside. Everyone who doesn’t live with him would think he’s the best dude ever. But if his wife and kids were honest with you—a different tune would be played.

This one gets at motivation too. Honestly, even if people in your own house think too highly of you—it may speak to your efforts to play God and be the hero—instead of point your family to God. Go ahead and email me on this one!

It’s not that having your neighbors and community think highly of you is a bad thing. But, at what expense and how major and life-changing are their opinions to you? There is a work versus grace mentality going on here. Are you doing the “right things” for people and their view of you? Or, are you serving Christ and not living for people all that much? One of these ways is better than the other! I have to ask: which dad are you? Let’s seek humility over the sin of pride.

See Philippians 2:1-11 and Philippians 2:20-21: 

For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

#4 Mr. Eric (Idol = Escape responsibilities and duties)

This dad usually has a bad marriage and family life. If you’re this dad, you don’t want to come home. You drive slower in traffic just to take a longer commute. When home, you convince yourself and your family you’re too tired to help or deal with anything in the home.

Often, this is a slow decline. You started off decent as a newly married. You did everything to win the girl. Then, the slow creep down to escape-responsibilities town started taking place. So much that it’s been months or years and your wife handles most things at home and with your kids. Are you this dad?

Read the entire passage of Ephesians 5:15-6:4. But I’ll key in on Ephesians 5:15-17: 

Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Imagine the difference made in this type of dad if he lives in view of these verses? If we father with Ephesians 5:16 in mind, our evenings and weekends will look different than they do now.

#5 Mr. Ford (Idol = Pre-adultery/Adultery)

This dad finds acceptance and approval with the female secretary or colleague. He’s starting to form—or has already formed—unwise, inappropriate relationships. Let’s be honest and call this what it is—pre-adultery.

I won’t go lite here because I don’t want you to go lite on me. Dads, we don’t get up in the morning, read our Bible’s, pray and truly worship God all day—just to commit adultery by 5 PM. No, adultery is death by a thousand paper cuts. There were a thousand little decisions you made along the way. We can’t be ignorant of what’s happening. Guard your affections. See the signs. Teach your sons.

Matthew 5:27-28

“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

#6 Mr. Grady (Idol = Man’s approval/Avoid disapproval)

This idol is sneaky. You should want to do good work in life. And, in general, you should care what people think. But not too much! What’s your why? Kind of like #3 Mr. Dean—what’s your motivation behind your actions? You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Do you work hard at work—because you understand you’re honoring God? Or, are you working hard simply because you’re afraid of displeasing your boss or losing your boss’s approval? This takes discernment. But I see this one in my own life. Why do I say yes all the time and over commit to work or church or whatever? Why am I so afraid to push back?

When I’m at my best, I know whether I’m saying yes to simply please people—or—I can say no and please God. I get it. There’s seasons and all that. But, there’s gotta be a balance somewhere between doing the right things—yet not doing them for selfish interests—or being terrified to say no. Gotta be. What’s my point? We should be careful to serve God and not man—in all of our dealings. Fear of man is a thing. It’s in the Bible.

Proverbs 29:25: The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.

John 12:42-43: Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God.

#7 Mr. Heston (Idol = Self-righteous/perfectionist)

This dad is a “good Christian.” He’s proud of his work ethic and does what is right. Often, this dad simply hasn’t experienced failure. This dad says when things go wrong, “I’ll just lean in a work harder.” Half-truth alert! Sure, sometimes leaning in is the answer—because you actually haven’t been working hard enough! But, beyond that, where is God in your life? Are you dependent on him—regardless of how much or how hard you’re working?

Sadly, while this dad might not say it aloud, he lives as though he believes being the perfect worker makes him righteous. Are you this dad?

Philippians 3:4-9: 

I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: … But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ… 

These are the desires that drive each of us, busy dads. Our goal should be to change the heart so we change behavior by establishing biblical priorities and implementing biblical principles of time management. Biblical fatherhood knows his priorities and how to manage time.

Do you still feel too busy?

Change your heart, brother. If you want to help yourself and your kids, begin learning how to combat your idols—the idols of your heart—the cravings—the desires. This is why we wrote 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad, to combat these sins for dads.

What’s motivating you to do what you’re doing? Why are you overwhelmed with busyness? I not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I think God would remind you of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Last question: which dad are you?

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