faith, Family

Get Good Counsel on Money | Letters To My Son

Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.—Proverbs 15:22

There are certain areas of a man’s life where the counsel of others is necessary, but where I have found it hard to ask for help. One of these areas is money.

Why am I so hesitant to ask for help in the area of money and finances?

I think there are several reasons.

One | Shame

I, like many, have made numerous financial mistakes over my lifetime. I’ve lived on the financial edge, accrued debt, purchased useless things that I could not afford, and have made a bad investment or two. I, like most men, don’t like to reveal my failings to other men; it is shame and embarrassment about these events that keep me from getting the help I need.

Two | Self-Reliance

Shame, while one of my issues, is not the only issue. Self-reliance, in combination with ongoing shame, is a powerful one-two punch. Self-reliance complicates everything, resulting in the belief that I ought to be able to figure out budgeting, spending, saving, and investing on my own. Even though I may have a novice understanding of money, remaining in a state of ignorance because of self-reliance is not the better choice. And worse, the faulty self-talk that says, “try and figure it out on your own,” will keep you captive to unhealthy practices and from gaining the knowledge, disciplines, and skills for success.

Three | Pride

The third related core issue with shame and self-reliance, is pride. Arrogance keeps me, and all men, from asking for help and advice.

How do we handle these personal issues that keep us from getting the help we need?

I have learned we must humbly find help before we become humiliated. Proverbs 15:22 says it this way: “Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” One mark of Godly men is humility—not shame, not self-reliance, and definitely not pride. Humility is to think of yourself less. It’s thinking less about how the present financial situation reflects on you as a person and more about how others can aid in guiding you out of it. This infers that we must separate who we are from what the issue is, and in doing so, we must embrace the virtue of humility. But a humble man does not think “less of himself” in a self-defeating manner, but instead, he “thinks of himself less” as it relates to the issue at hand. Money, as it relates to manhood, can feel like a direct attack on who we are as a person. The best thing we can do is detach the issue from who we are and admit our mistakes and failures so we can find a way out with competent counsel. Why? So we can be the men God designed us to be and so we do not live in constant shame, self-sufficiency, and pride.

Where do we find help for our financial questions?

First | Jesus

One of the most popular and essential areas from which one to develop a biblical understanding of money, finances, budgeting, debt, and sound financial decision-making is the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus talked about money more than many other subjects—more than heaven, more than hell, more than heaven and hell combined. And even more than love. Of the 39 parables Jesus told, eleven of them are devoted to talking about some aspect of money. Maybe Jesus knew money would be challenging for men?

So if you are looking for wisdom on money, read the words of Jesus in a few of these stories.

  • The Parable of the Prodigal Son—Luke 15:11–32
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus—Luke 16:19–31
  • The Day Laborers in the Vineyard—Matthew 20:1–16
  • The Widow’s Two Coins—Mark 12:41-44
  • Ceasar’s Taxes—Matthew 22:15-22
  • The Rich Young Man—Matthew 19:16-24
  • Zaccheus the Tax Collector—Luke 19:1-10

Or consider these foundational quotes by Jesus about money.

  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.—Matthew 6:21
  • Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.—Luke 9:3
  • No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.—Matthew 6:24
  • For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?—Mark 8:36
  • Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.—Matthew 5:42

Second | Other Faithful Christian Men

There are many great Christian men out there who know a ton about money. They are usually men who have done an excellent job managing, leading, and guiding their finances. Ask them if they would share with you what they know and how they handle their finances. Ask them questions and let them know what kind of specific guidance you need. If you want, you could gather a group of men together who wish to openly discuss the topic of finances, learn with one another and encourage one another.

But remember that there are also some people from whom we should not seek counsel. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” Be aware that some of the financial advice that we find in the world can be self-serving. In other words, it feeds on the assumption that we will be selfish at some point and that, financially, there will be things that we will want, that we will be afraid of missing out on, and that we will convince ourselves that we need right now.

Regardless of whom you turn to for guidance, spend some time addressing your motives and desires and make sure that your heart is in the right place before you make a significant purchase or investment. If in doubt—don’t do it. If pressured for a quick decision—walk away. If you have not prayed about it—wait. Waiting is a profound financial principle that people who live in a consumer-driven society need to heed.

Son, don’t let shame, self-reliance, or pride keep you from discovering the fantastic gift of financial freedom. We have all paid a dumb tax with finances. Don’t pay more. Get counsel, teaching, and Godly advice on money.

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

faith, Family

How To Feel Differently About Your Spouse

Feelings have no engine of their own.  In most cases, they are pulled around by thoughts and actions. Therefore, if you are going to see a change in the way you feel about your spouse, then, first of all, you will have to change the way you are treating them.  This is why I often say, “Never expect to feel any different about your marriage unless you are willing to do something different.”

I have come across many a spouse that seems to be waiting for their feelings to mysteriously change before they start treating their mate in a different manner. The only problem is that they are waiting for something that does not exist.

The Proverbs 16:3 Principle

Proverbs 16:3 gives us some insight on this subject. It says:

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

If you will notice, God’s Words tells us that the external can positively affect the internal. In other words, Proverbs is teaching us that in that in order to move the inside, sometimes, the outside must be the first to change.

Imagine if I obtained a train car, painted the word feelings on it, and set it all by itself on the tracks. Let us also go a little further and assume that it is hundreds of miles away from where I would want it to travel.

First off, this train car may describe some of you in that your feelings for your spouse may be far away from where they once were at another time in your marriage.

Secondly, the train car may also portray how you feel in that you sense that you are all alone and emotionally stuck.

Getting the Train Car Called Feelings to Move

The question is how are we going to get that train car to move in a positive direction? We could sit back and wait for it to move on its own accord, yet I am sure that would accomplish little. We could have long conversations about possible solutions, but that would also be to no avail.

Ultimately, the only plausible way for forward progress to begin is to hook an engine to that train car and proceed down the tracks.

In like manner, husbands and wives that are seeing very little movement in their feelings toward one another must find a similar engine. I call it an engine called action. Once this occurs, it is almost always just a matter of time before they start to feel differently toward their spouse. 

There’s always Something You Can Do

I certainly understand that there are people with chemical imbalances, hormonal problems, or physiological issues that may throw their feelings off. I am fully aware of such cases. I also understand that there are heart issues such as hurt, unforgiveness, and bitterness that take time to heal. Nevertheless, I have found that even in the most difficult of cases, there is always some way to start showing kindness in a tangible way so that a spouse can eventually start to feel differently about their marriage. It is not only a Biblical step, but I have also found it to be extremely effective.

Credit to Dr. Raymond Force of Hitting Home Ministries for the content of this article.

faith, Family, Fortitude

The 5 Voices All Men Hear | Letters To My Son

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other

Douglas MacArthur

The Secret to Listening to the Right Voice

Son, I think being a man requires tremendous strength and courage. Even more, it requires a keen awareness of where to focus that strength and courage. Understanding this is crucial to your growth and development as a man, leader, and one day, husband and father. In fact, the advice I am about to give you could be some of the most important that I ever give. It took me years to understand what I’m about to tell you, but if you hold on to this lesson, it will aid you all your life.

Five voices are incessantly screaming at men. These five voices, as I call them, are heard several times during a given day. Given the circumstances of that day, certain voices will be louder than others. But these voices have incredible power over men. They have the ability to direct our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. This means they have the potential to lead you toward life and godliness or loss and destruction. If you can grow in awareness when you hear them, identify them, and redirect them, then you will experience great success in this life.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Jesus in John 10:27

Voice #1 — The Man That I Think I Am

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Mark 10:37

Every man wants to be legendary. We want to hold a trophy, stand on the platform, and be praised by fans on the world’s stage. And some days, you’re going to think you’re a legend but only in your own mind. This insidious thought is a dangerous voice for men to follow. It’s evidence of our deepest arrogance, and it must be addressed before our imminent fall. Pride comes in many forms, but it ultimately plants a thought in our mind, which impacts our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. The result of this is rather ugly and makes us look stupid. I wonder if James and John felt this way when they made the statement above. The only trophy they held on this day was the award for being the “Most Stupid.”

I’m sure you have bumped into a few arrogant guys in life. Men who are masters at their skill, talent, or gift have allowed their mastery to master them. These men are destined for a great fall, so don’t be this man. Avoid the fall by being cautious of the sex appeal of this voice.

Voice #2 — The Man Others Think We Are

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:2

Yes, it’s true: others have a wonderful plan for our lives. If you haven’t discovered this yet, you soon will. Bosses, coaches, teachers, and friends project a manner of thinking and acting to us or about us. I promise that they will reinforce their voices with Tweets, Snaps, and posts. With or without malicious intent, their propaganda doesn’t always correctly reflect who we are; it’s their perspective. Their view is right to them, whether we like it or not. Yet, we have the choice to listen to this or not.

The truth is, these sound bites from others are often compelling voices that affect men. In the moments when we are emotionally vulnerable, they can be persuasive and leading, but you need to remember that you are not the sum of what others think about you. In fact, their voices may be genuine, but genuinely wrong, and lead you down a path of destruction.

As your identity is forming, the voice of influential friends, coaches, and teachers will be loud to you. You might end up believing that what they say about you is true. Take caution, because this leads to you living up only to what others expect of you—which could be off-course. Many men have chased after this voice, and then run from one voice to the next, and ended up confused and exhausted. Even Jesus ignored these voices when they led down ungodly paths; note the soundbite above from the religious leaders. Don’t follow these ungodly voices or believe what they say about you.

Voice #3 — The Man We Think Others Think We Are

We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

Numbers 13:33

This voice may appear a little confusing when you first hear it, but stay with me for a minute or two. This voice is the one we hear when we lie down at night, staring at the ceiling. It speaks to us as we reflect on the happenings of the day, considering that occasional failure— it’s the voice of our mind talking to our soul about what others think about us. Unfortunately, this voice has incredible power because it develops thoughts about ourselves in our minds that, combined with emotions, construct systems of belief about who we are.

The voice of “what we think others think” is a deceptive voice because it is both powerful and private. I cannot tell you how many times in my younger years, I lied awake in bed at night with thoughts about myself and what others think about me. These voices disturbed me for years. In bed, many men hear the voice of an unloving father, an unappreciative wife, an unsatisfied boss, an unsupportive coach, and an unreliable friend—and believe that they, the man, are responsible for the voice. Men replay the sounds of these tapes, privately shaming themselves, ruminating only on failure and allowing these voices to control their lives.

Voice #4 — The Man We Actually Are

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

Romans 7:18

At some point, you are going to come face-to-face with the most challenging voice any man hears: the voice of your sin. Yes, we men inflict harm intentionally or unintentionally, which results in suffering for others. You are already aware of this. But occasionally, you will hear the weightier voice of sin. You will feel sin’s full weight, which is more than just making a mistake or hurting someone else; it’s an offense against God. Some days this voice will be so weighty it will feel overwhelming. It will bring you to your knees so much so that you will see no way out. When this happens, I want you to remember you are not the first to feel this way. Even the apostle Paul felt this way, and he let us know this in the sentence above. While I want to say ignore this voice, this voice is true. Son, we all sin. We screw things up. We make mistakes. We have, indeed, offended God. But it’s not the end of the story. This voice teaches us and motivates us to look for a solution and a better voice, which brings us to the last voice—the one you need to hear.

Voice #5 — The Man God Says We Are

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:17 – God speaking to Jesus

In the end, there is only one voice that you should hear. One voice to heed. One voice that is true. It’s the voice of God. What God says and says about you is the only truth you should believe. The other sounds we hear are gibberish soundbites in a world that is lost and confused. God’s voice is the only true one. God’s is the only one that matters. It’s God’s voice that spoke you into existence. It’s God’s voice that echoes across time. It’s God’s voice that extends grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness to you when you hear voices that say you don’t deserve it. It’s your Father’s voice that utters the most beautiful sentence you will ever hear, “This is my son [insert your name], with whom I am well pleased.”

Son, I can barely hold back tears in writing this letter to you. It’s God’s voice all men long to hear. Stop chasing the other voices. Shun them. Turn a deaf ear to them. Listen to only one from the God and Father who created you. It’s he you follow, listen only to him. His voice is trustworthy, confident, and dependable.

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.

Matthew 17:5

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

faith, Family, Personal Development

Be Offensive – 15 Ways To Your Best Offense | Letters To My Son

We live in a world where people are being trained to be offended. It appears we live in a time when it’s nearly heroic for people to point out the offenses of another. Maybe this is because we’ve more recently supported social approaches that promote sensitivity, which appears to have escalated into hypersensitivity. Men need to learn the virtue of being sensitive.

However, I wonder if this has led to a culture of men who are over-sensitive in fear of being attacked? I know some men who feel they are on the verge of being attacked for being born male. Which raises the question:

Have we become so fearful of offenses and offending others that we have lost our offense?

Let me be clear; there’s nothing masculine or Godly about being offensive in what we say or how we say it. Sexual innuendos, lewd joking, perverse gestures, or even a “hint” of an immoral action is not appropriate or honoring for a man of God. However, this does not mean we need to forgo some offense. By offense, I mean “taking assertive and positive action.” Offensive action is when we develop an organized and forceful campaign to achieve something. In this culture of growing over-sensitivity, too many men give way to fear that perpetuates more fear. It’s a fear of taking action due to concern about hypersensitive responses. This concern can result in living life overly cautious, hesitant, and indifferent because of undercurrents and trends that have endorsed and reward a culture of fear and passivity. Resultantly, we end up training ourselves to respond defensively or not at all. This defensive strategy leads to tragic results in a man’s life when it continues for too long or when we fail to act offensively. In addition, when emotions like guilt and shame reinforce our inaction, we remain enslaved to non-action. In the Bible, we see tragic examples of this repeatedly; men who were defensively inactive when they should have been actively offensive.

Son, never miss an opportunity for greatness by being overly cautious or supporting any system that does. Sometimes you need some offensive—in word and deed. But do not fail to be sensitive, as every situation does not dictate offensive responses.

My quick list below is a compilation of two things with each point. First, there are activities that you should stop doing that prevent offensive action. Second, you must assume a corresponding movement that is appropriately offensive. I have made mistakes in these areas along the way, and in some other areas, I still make mistakes. Think of this list as being similar to offensive strikes in a sport. They are strategies for bringing the ball forward that move us from being defensive to being optimistically offensive.

My goal is for you to be a greater man than I. If you take action, even with a handful of these suggestions, you should experience tremendous results in your life.

ONE | Reconciliation

Stop giving excuses for the times that you have harmed others with your words or actions; be offensive, and seek forgiveness from others. On numerous occasions, I have failed to reconcile relational issues. Explaining, blaming, and deflecting are defensive strategies. They are not offensive. However, reconciliation is an offensive move.

TWO | Sin

Stop hiding sin. Be offensive by taking action that diminishes the power of sin. Confession, repentance, and accountability work against our desire to protect wrongdoing; rather, they bring it into the open. There are sins that I embraced for too long because I chose to conceal them.

THREE | Leadership

Stop waiting for your leadership moment; it may not come. Choose to be on the offensive and seize the leadership moments before you. There is always a leadership void waiting to be filled. I have made the mistake of thinking that I needed to be invited to a leadership table to be a leader, and this faulty thinking. Influence is leadership, and you have opportunities for influence right in front of you, right now—lead into them.

FOUR | Speaking Up

Stop being quiet when you see injustice. Be offensive and discover the power of speaking the truth in love. I have made the mistake of turning a blind eye to injustices happening right before me. While their action was wrong, my inaction was worse.

FIVE | Transparency

Stop repressing your feelings, passion, and ideas; this can turn into aggression or depression. Be offensive by being appropriately transparent. Keeping your feelings to yourself will stunt your emotional growth and delay your relational maturity.

SIX | Opportunity

Stop complaining about not getting opportunities. Be offensive and create an opportunity where there is none. I have made this mistake, and it causes us to embrace a victim mentality.

SEVEN | Saying Yes

Stop saying “no”; be offensive and say “yes” to more new opportunities. I have missed a few fun opportunities because of this.

EIGHT | Saying No

Stop saying “yes” to everything, be offensive and say “no” to the right things. Make a good decision against yourself. I have said yes to way too many things and found out I could not keep all of the commitments.

NINE | Persistence

Stop wussing out, when something is hard, be offensive by being persistent than others. I have found much of life is learning to be committed longer than others.

TEN | Asking For Help

Stop aimlessness. When you don’t know something, be offensive, and ask for help. Men make the mistake of living in hidden ignorance because they arrogantly refuse to invite help.

ELEVEN | Women

Stop waiting for the right girl to approach you, be offensive, and approach her. Women like offensively minded men. That’s how your mom and I met. She made a snarky remark to men, and I thought it was attractive, so I turned on the offensive.

TWELVE | Spiritual Habits

Stop believing spiritual maturity happens by accident, be offensive, and build discipline now. Regular prayer, bible reading, worship, and journaling are good habits that will pay off for you down the road. I wish I would have built healthier spiritual habits earlier in my life.

THIRTEEN | Character Flaws

Stop letting that one character problem hold you back; be offensive, and manage your character issues. It takes a while to learn how to handle them effectively. If you start now, it’ll benefit your relationships with respect to play, school, work, dating, marriage, and family. I have made the mistake of maintaining the same character flaw because I never learned how to manage it effectively. This required a lot of reconciliation along the way. Therefore, defeat the need for excessive reconciliation with offensive character adjustments.

FOURTEEN | Vulnerabilities

When are you most vulnerable, be offensive. Cancel that appointment, subscription, event, or meeting. I have made the mistake of staying committed to harmful patterns and destructive relationships for too long. If it makes you vulnerable to sin, act quickly.

FIFTEEN | Accountability

Stop avoiding accountability. Be offensive by inviting other great men into your life who will drive you to be better. The longer you wait to develop these relationships, the further behind you will be in your development as a man and man of God. Men need brothers; never forget this.

In the end, life is not a spectator sport. It also is not intended to be only played defensively. We must engage as men. Be offensive.

I love you, son—Dad.

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

faith, Family

The Men We Are

It’s no secret this world is filled with negativity and negative messages about men. We must continually renew our mind (Romans 12: 1-2) and remember who we are despite the messages we hear – or tell ourselves. Let this list from God’s word encourage you as it does me. Thanks to Vince Miller https://beresolute.org/ for compiling this list. Listen to what God wants us to believe about ourselves in contrast to the world. Read them all and memorize the one you need to focus on today. Maybe even share it with a friend.

I AM A CHILD OF GOD. “But to all who have received him, those who believe in his name, he has given the right to become God’s children.” (John 1:12)

I AM CONDUIT OF LIFE. “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me–and I in him–bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.” (John 15:1, 5)

I AM A FRIEND OF CHRIST. “I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father.” (John 15:15)

I AM JUSTIFIED. “But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

I AM NOT ENSLAVED TO SIN. “We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6)

I AM NOT CONDEMNED. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

I AM FREE FROM THE LAW. “For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

I AM A HEIR. “And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17)

I AM ACCEPTED. “Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory.” (Romans 15:7)

I AM A SAINT. “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:2)

I AM REDEEMED. “He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

I AM A TEMPLE OF THE SPIRIT. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

I AM A NEW CREATION. “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I AM RIGHTEOUS. “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

DO THIS: Memorize the verse you need to remember.

PRAYER: God, remind me that I am not the sum total of what I think or others think about me—but only what you say I am.