Author Archives: Vince Miller

Transition

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Transition

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?—Isaiah 43:19

Sometimes we are so fixated on the old; we miss the new. We are blinded by our past experiences, challenges, and issues. This "sight blindness" prevents forward progress. It keeps us from "springing forward." It's a chain anchored to the earth that keeps us secured to old ways. And a man bound by old ways cannot perceive. He is unable to see the great work that God is unfolding.

PLAY THIS: Love Is A Hammer, by my friend and brother Ross King on iTunes or Spotify

PRAY THIS: God, show me your path, ways, and the future you have for me. Give me the privilege to perceive it.

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Seek Good In Your Relationships

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Seek Good In Your Relationships

Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor
    but evil comes to him who searches for it.—Proverbs 11:27

I was motivated by another man years ago to give attention to how my wife and I were interacting with each other. I came to realize that over time, I had developed bad behaviors that we inflicting unintended harm to my bride. I had developed a "critical spirit" that began as sarcasm but developed into scarcasm. The tiny wounds I inflicted led to bleeding in our relationship over time. And it spilled over into relationships with others—specifically my children, friends, and coworkers. I discovered one day that I had become an expert at only finding faults in others, and not seeking the good in each of them. It took me a long time to feel the effects of this bad behavior, but I found the opposite to be true when searching for the good in others. It had an immediate positive impact. The writer calls this favor. I love this term. Build some favor today by complimenting your spouse, friend, child, or coworker. Test it and see if favor doesn't result!

DO THIS: Compliment someone today and build favor.

PRAY THIS: God, turn my eyes from seeking bad to seeking good. Multiply my favor today.

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Build Great Friendships | Letters To My Son

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Build Great Friendships

The secrets to building great friendships with others.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.—Proverbs 18:24

It Was Easier When You Were Younger
It was a lot easier when you were a kid. Kids just showed up, and because they were present, you built friendships. As you get older, it gets a little more complicated. Morality, media, work, activities, and distance separate us. These issues will make formal friendships more and more challenging. Some of this separation is good, and some is bad.

"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."—One of the top five regrets of men.

Many men on their death bed have big regrets. One of the top five is staying in touch with friends. I believe most do not realize until it's too late how vital friendships are to us. Good relationships with your family and friends bring immense human happiness, which results in deep human satisfaction. And I want that for you. In fact, God wants it for you.

During my childhood, I was desperately lonely. My father was gone. My mother was absent. My friendships were challenging for me. But I wanted to have them, just like everyone else. While I was at lost for great relationships, I discovered a few secrets over the years that have brought me great satisfaction, and I hope learning these now will benefit you in your future.

5 Secrets To Building Great Friendships

One | Don't Search, Reconnect
One way to build great friendships is by engaging with friends you already have. I have several good friends that live a considerable distance from me. However, I have come to learn that while I rarely see these men in person, I can still have an active and loyal friendship with them. There are many reasons I stay in touch, but reaching out to them regularly (even just once a month) has kept the conversation going and our relationships alive. Many men never think of doing this, but we should. We should take ownership of the connection and reconnection. All you need to do is occasionally call, text, email, or ping them. Touching base like this means a lot.

Here is why this is important. Men need to learn to maintain friendships by taking small steps to nurture them. I think our lack of initiative in nurturing is what leads to this feeling of regret. I know "nurture" feels like an effeminate word, but it's not. Nothing could be more masculine. But nurture requires forethought and intention that is others-focused. Most men, me included, get consumed by all the other activities of life that revolve around self and thus fail to nurture friendships because we are obsessed only with ourselves. This is just one of the ways pride's insidious nature impacts reconnecting with our existing relationships. It's essential to learn how to nurture connection and reconnection now before you get married—because marriage and family are all about nurture.

And by the way, it's good to practice on us by calling your mom, sister, brother, and myself once in a while.

Two | Don't Be Interesting, Be Interested
As men, when it comes to relationships, we think competitively. Because we think this way, we spend more time thinking about what makes us unique and interesting. We aspire to be the "most interesting man in the world." And yes, we are our favorite subject matter. But to build great friendships, you may need to worry less about being the most interesting man in the world and be interested in others.

People love other people who are interested in them because, as I have already stated, every man's favorite subject is himself.

If you want to build some great connections, get a guy to share a story about himself, and show interest by asking subsequent questions. I have found people are fascinating. Their interests, upbringing, experiences, and areas of expertise are crazy cool. And behind every one of these people is an interesting story. Dig it out. Ask questions until you find it; everyone has one. Before you know it, you may discover you have a connection with a person who could become a life-long friend. So, work at getting people you meet to share a story.

Sometimes, when I meet people, I often see how long I can get them to talk about themselves before they ask about me. It's a fun little game I play, mostly for my entertainment. Give it a spin with others, and use this question frequently—"Could you tell me more about that?"

Three | Don't Pretend, Be Real
"Being real," as I call it here, requires appropriate levels of vulnerability. We have to be careful, though. There's a balance we must strike between sharing too much (oversharing) and not sharing enough (pretending). We need to find ways to share and connect that build trust with others, and vulnerability is the tool for doing this. Vulnerability builds trust, which leads to stronger and healthier relationships. While many men wrongly think being masculine is about being invulnerable, invincible, and impervious to issues, real men are appropriately vulnerable and thus authentic. Being vulnerable means we drop our guard, and in doing so, invite others into a more intimate relationship with us. This leads to relationships that welcome an emotional exchange, not merely a transfer of facts and opinions. This is precisely why, on a plane, people will spill their guts to the person sitting next to them about how they feel. They know there is nothing to risk because, more than likely, they will never meet them again. What ends up happening is we build a quick emotional and psychological connection with this person. Often, we don't take these risks with people we see every day because we are afraid, and as a result, we pretend because we think it is safer.

I would recommend that you learn how to develop the muscle of vulnerability in your life. I know life is not perfect, and I know you will probably not share everything with me, but you should with someone. If you spend too long pretending in life, you will end up being artificial—and people can sense this from a long way off. Lean into this with a trusted Godly man. You will not regret it.

Four | Don't Neglect, Make Time
You need to be forging out a little time for relationships every day. College is not just about being consumed by studies, advancement in sports, and locating a spouse—it's about getting a job. But all these activities touch on one crucial element, and that is your social development. You need to give just a little bit of attention to this each day. Your life is going to get busy—too busy. You're going to become consumed by activities. And this will be an ongoing problem you will encounter, regardless of your stage or phase of life.

I am much older than you and deal with this every day. My problem is my ability to laser focus on tasks. While this is a tremendous strength, it can also be preventative to relationships. Often, I become so focused on the present task that I become oblivious to this need, and it has taken work and attention on my part to address this. I have had to give attention, a little bit each day, to get my mind off a task and care for the people God has given to me. They, after all, are the means and the end of every job I am trying to complete.

I would encourage you to spend time watching people who are experts in relationships. Men who are inspirational that others instinctually follow. There are small habits and behaviors that they embrace that others do not. They may be aware or unaware of these things, but spend time with these men and study them. Practice what you see in them that has Godly implications on your relationships.

Remember, all this requires time—so make time. First, make time learning how to master relationships as you spend time with people who are experts. Second, make time to invest in these relationships as well.

Five | Don't Wait, Make Plans
I don't know why men don't do this, but we don't make plans. Women make plans all the time. You may remember or trip to the Dominican Republic in your senior year of high school. I was blown away by how many women were there. I even turned to your mom and commented on this. I distinctly remember your mom saying, "It's because women make plans," and she is spot on. I think if men were smart, they would figure this out, as it's a big missed opportunity.

Be a leader and get some guys together. Whether for road trips, ski trips, hunting trips, or mission trips, it doesn't matter. See the world while you are young, but do it with friends. You can make plans; even something impromptu is excellent. In college, we called it "making a memory." You can either sit around staring at a device or you can jump in the car and make a memory you will never forget. I have a ton of memories like this, most of which I may leave out of this letter and share with you privately.

In closing, you have limited time. You cannot have a hundred great friends. But you can have a few close friends.

I love you, son. Dad

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 16 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org

Redeemed

God Sprints a daily devotional by Vince Miller

Redeemed

I don’t know any man, husband, or father who doesn’t feel like he has failed on numerous occasions. For some men, a feeling of failure can cascade out of control and further prevent them from being the man God wants them to be at home, work, or school. When anyone experiences feelings of inadequacy, they sometimes engage in an exercise of self-shame to reinforce the initial failure. While this shaming cycle may appear to help, it’s only another manifestation of indirect pride that says, “I’m no good and a complete failure” rather than “I’m a redeemed man, husband, and father who has simply made another mistake.”

Today refuse the cycle of self-shame, rather live in your redemptive state. This is the current state of a man redeemed by Christ. Refusal to accept it is to refuse reality.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.—Ephesians 1:7

DO THIS: Accept salvation but also your ongoing redemption.

PRAY THIS: God, forgive me for shaming myself. I am not a failure in your eyes. I am only a sinner saved by the riches of your grace. May I experience and accept this grace today and live in the redemptive washing of your blood that wipes out past, present, and future sin in me.

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You Still Waiting On What’s His Face To Come Back

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You Still Waiting On What's His Face To Come Back

I laughed at loud at this line. "You still waiting on what's his face to come back?" It was a line of the cold open during last weekend's SNL. Alec Baldwin, playing the role of President Donald Trump, had to drop in this one-liner during a phone call with Mike Pense who responds with, "You mean Jesus, sir?"

There is nothing like a good hearty laugh, but at the same time, the return of Christ is no laughing matter. It's imminent. It's going to be divisive. It will be just. And I promise we won't be laughing when he returns, and his name will echo understandably across the earth. Nevertheless, here is how the apostle Paul looked at this situation.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.—Philippians 1:21

It's the daily grind of the imminent return. It's for now, till then.

DO THIS: Live for Christ.

PRAY THIS: God, give me direction on how to live for you today. The adventure of today is sure to present me challenges and tensions, which will be no laughing matter. May I think and act as your Son—living all in as if today is my last.

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Stop The Anger

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Stop The Anger

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”—Ephesians 4:26-31

Do you ever look around and wonder to yourself, why are people are so angry? On certain days it feels like our country and world is growing increasingly angry. We are surrounded by "bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice." We don't need more of these things. We need less. And to address these issues, you must address with the enemy within by "not letting the sun go down on your anger." This is because unaddressed anger is fuel for "the devil."

As you navigate your day be sensitive to the Spirit's nudge and "do not grieve" him. He's the seal of your approval, don't let others steal his seal from you. Put off your anger. Put off the anger of others. Look forward and live "for the day of redemption."

DO THIS: Stop being so angry today and live in your future redemption.

PRAY THIS: God, I admit I have anger issues, mostly because I don't get my way. Help me to go to war with my selfish desires. May I trust you for what I need today and live in freedom from anger that leads to sin.

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Dinner’s Ready

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Dinner's Ready

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.—Matthew 4:4

There are some meals we'll never forget. Like a meal prepared by a mother eager for our return home. Or a meal prepared by a grandmother on a special holiday. But nothing is like the meal God prepares for us. It's a feast on truth and the Word of God. According to Jesus, God's Word is the ultimate feast. It's nourishment not for our belly but our soul. Our spirit is hungry for it, but too often we are starving from malnourishment. Don't go hungry today. Feast on God's Word using the Inductive Bible Study tool below. Print it and study the scripture below.

PRINT THIS: The Inductive Bible Study Worksheet.

STUDY THIS:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”—Matthew 4:1-4

Be Courageous

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.—Joshua 1:9

While this moment felt catastrophic for Joshua in lieu loss of his mentor and leader Moses—it was not. This is a moment that God himself reminded his man that "Moses is dead, but I am not."

Being courageous as a man is not a new idea. It’s a vision embraced by many biblical leaders since the dawn of time. You've probably heard or read this Old Testament decree several times before, “Be strong and courageous do not be afraid the Lord your God is with you. This statement was a declaration handed from God to Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon. It’s a declaration of trust, faith, and courage in God through the challenges of life. But more importantly, it's a declaration handed to you, my friend. Chose now to embrace God's vision for you.

DO THIS: Have courage and fight disbelief in your life today.

PLAY THIS: Lead Courageously 1-Minute Clip

JOURNAL THIS: "These are the things stuck in my mind that prevent courage and faith in You."

Just Pray

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Pray without ceasing.—1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is a fundamental discipline that we need to learn to build into the daily pattern of our lives. Prayer is merely talking with God. For newer Christians, talking to an unseen God is unusual. And it's unusual because when we are having a conversation, there is usually someone physically standing in front of us that talks back. Prayer does not exactly work like this. But the small hurdle of learning to talk with an unseen God is not the central issue we have with practicing the discipline of prayer. The central issue is all the other pressing issues that keep us from this critical activity. Daily we face demands that compete for our time. Because of this, we go days, weeks, and even months devoid of prayer, trusting only in human effort rather than also trusting in God through prayer. This can leave us feeling physically exhausted and spiritually depleted. Fight the urge to do this again today.

PRINT THIS: The ACTS Method of Daily Prayer

JOURNAL THIS: "Hear my adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication."

Prayer’s Priority

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When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.—John 18:1

Jesus was fully aware of his coming betrayal, arrest, sentencing, and death. Yet at this moment, he did not let future events hijack his time in prayer. John, the writer above, could have easily left off the fact that Jesus was praying, but he adds in this detail because prayer was so habitual for Jesus. This seemingly "minor detail" was a regular practice in the life of Jesus. And when discipline is repeated, it makes permanent. It becomes permanent not only because of the practice but because of the relationship that results from the practice. As Jesus faced these last moments on earth, he wanted to spend them with his brothers, but there was no way the busyness was going to keep him from the Father.

PRINT THIS: ACTS METHOD OF PRAYER

PRAY THIS: God, help me to practice a prayer habit but also guide me to greater intimacy with you.

The Greatest Mentor

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The Greatest Mentor

And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord.—Acts 9:26-27

Everyone needs a mentor. A voice of support and encouragement. Barnabas, whose name means the Son of Encouragement, was this advocate for Saul. When other Christian's rejected Saul's conversion to the faith because of past sins, Barnabas stood on his behalf. Risking his reputation, Barnabas stood with Saul. Barnabas told Saul's story of conversion. Barnabas gave witness to the evidence of his newfound faith. We all need others like this in our life. Men who will link arms with us, stand behind us, and give witness about God's work in our life. The short amount of time that Barnabas invested with Saul led to the most significant expansion of the gospel in the first century. It was one mentor for a short time. Do you have a mentor who will stand with you?

DOWNLOAD THIS: Find a Mentor

PRAY THIS: God, show me a mentor that will stand with me.

JOURNAL THIS: "The characteristics I would like to have in a mentor are..."

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