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    Don’t. Stop . Praying


    Jesus was a storyteller. He was often telling stories to explain spiritual truths. One such story He told is in Luke 18, about a persistent widow who wouldn’t give up asking for her needs to be met. Verse 1 of the chapter states the purpose of the parable: “he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”

    “Always pray and don’t lose heart.”

    That’s tough. Especially in our microwavable, overnight-shipping, bigger, faster, better culture. We want it and we want it now. Not losing heart is tough when we don’t see our prayers answered quickly.

    For instance, what if you were praying for a loved one to come to faith in Christ, and you didn’t see any progress for years? Would you keep praying after five years? What about ten? Could you keep praying and not lose heart for two decades? About about three? A friend of mine did just that.

    Debbie, a good friend of our family and a faithful team member at our church, prayed for her son’s salvation for thirty-two years. Two years is a long time, but imagine thirty-two! Debbie told me on Sunday that her son came to faith in Christ recently after thirty-two years of prayer! There were many times they were tempted to give up and lose heart, but they kept praying for their son…and God came through!

    Is there something or someone you were praying for that you’ve given up on? I hope Debbie’s persistence and Jesus’ words in Luke 18 will revive your prayers. I hope you’ll add someone back to your prayer list whose name you crossed off a long time ago.

    You may have given up, but I can guarantee God hasn’t given up. God wants to change the person you’re praying for, but He also wants to change you along the way!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Murder Mystery Dinner


    Jesus made a lot of shocking statements, but one of His most shocking statements happens in Luke 22 when He states, “the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.” That statement quickly turned the supper into a murder mystery! A whirlwind of questions and bewilderment began circling around the room as the disciples tried to figure who the backstabber was. Luke and John focused in on one question that circulated that night:

    “WHO IS IT?”

    That’s the easy question to ask. When it comes to sin, the easy, natural thing to do is look around. But what if we asked a different, more personal question? Matthew and Mark zeroed in on that second question:

    “IS IT I?”

    Admittedly, this isn’t a question any of us want to ask. But I wonder how things could have changed for Judas that night had he taken time to ponder that question. Interestingly, he’s one of the only ones who didn’t ask the question that night. His mind was already made up.

    Don’t look around for Judas; look within.

    What treachery or hypocrisy might you be holding back from others that you need to own and confess? The people who were the closest to Judas didn’t even know him. Don’t let that be true of you.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    There’s more where that came from! Click below to watch the entire message called “A Stabbing at Supper” from our series, Death Where is Your Sting?

    Make sure forward this to a friend who could use some encouragement!

    Access the whole series as well as hundreds of other messages from Awaken Church at awaken.church/teachings.

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    The Bible in 30 Days Part 1


    At the beginning of this year, I did something I’ve never done before in my life. I read the entire Bible. In thirty days. I’ve read the whole Bible many times: Genesis through Revelation, chronologically, and even a few times in ninety days. Ninety was tough. Thirty had never crossed my mind. Until I met Nathan Finochio (you should follow him on Instagram for laughs and for some great Biblical/leadership insight). Nathan was speaking at a conference I spoke at at the end of last year, and he challenged people to read the Bible in thirty days. I thought he was crazy…and I was right (love you, Nathan!). And he was also dead serious. He gave some strategy on how to accomplish it and said he does it every January, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

    Over the next few Mondays, I thought I’d share some insight I learned from reading the Bible at such a fast pace. Here’s part 1…

    You can do more than you think you can.

    Don’t let fear hold you back.

    Reading the entire Bible in thirty days meant committing to 2-2 ½ hours of reading every day. Even on Sundays when I’m exhausted after preaching all day.

    I was afraid I’d fail.

    I was afraid I’d get behind and feel overwhelmed.

    I was afraid Bible reading would turn into homework and I’d hate it.

    None of the above happened. I actually really loved it, and may do it again in years to come.

    You’ll never grow if you let fear hold you back from pushing your own limits.

    Make the necessary sacrifices.

    Before I committed to the Bible reading plan, I had already decided to fast from social media for the month of January. Had I not been fasting from social media, reading that much each day would have been even harder. That month of reading reminded me of the value of saying no to some things so I can say yes to other things. Social media isn’t bad, but taking time away from it can be really good (that’s probably a separate blog post!). Even if you don’t completely quit social media/TV/sugar, or whatever your vice is, there’s probably part of it you can cut out to make room for something better.

    It takes time to develop a habit.

    Reading 2 ½ hours per day for a whole month got me in a much better habit of reading. I learned to take advantage of lunch breaks, early morning hours, and mid-day reading more than ever. You’d be surprised at how quickly five minutes here and ten minutes there adds up. Those thirty days gave me a greater hunger for reading and helped me build a healthier habit of being intentional with my time.

    Your goal may be totally different than mine. It might involve the Bible or reading in general, or it could be working out, eating right, or something else. Regardless of your goal, you are capable of more than you think. Get a goal in mind, let some friends know for accountability, make the appropriate sacrifices, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Be The Mailman.


    When God commissioned Ezekiel to prophesy to the nation of Israel, He forewarned him that it wouldn’t be an easy task…

    “And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.”
    — ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬ —

    At times I’ve found myself hesitating with or even completely dodging a conversation based solely on the fact that I don’t know how the person will respond. Life is full of those conversations; there’s no way around them. If we spend our lives dodging those hard conversations, it will inhibit our growth and the growth of those around us. Here’s a simple truth to remember that will help you push forward when you’re presented with a tough conversation…

    You are the mailman.

    Think about the role of your mailman. He/she simply delivers the messages they’ve been given to deliver. They don’t determine the recipient, the contents, or the response of the recipient. They just deliver the message.

    That was Ezekiel’s job, and that’s our job as well. Whether it’s a message of rebuke, encouragement, correction, or the like, speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and faithfully deliver the message. We don’t determine the recipient, contents, or their response. You be faithful with your role and pray the recipient will be faithful with theirs!

    Is there a challenging conversation you’ve been dodging? Pray through your approach, then initiate the conversation, speaking truth in love. God will be honored, you will grow, and hopefully the person you’re talking with will grow too!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    In Love


    Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the day of sweets, cupid, conversation hearts, and ridiculously priced Hallmark cards. Oh, and it’s also about love!

    Since today is a day to celebrate love, I wanted to highlight one of the main passages in the Bible that highlights God’s love: 1 John 4.

    1 John 4:8 – …God is love.

    The ORIGIN of love.

    God is the origin of love. He is where it comes from and how we learn what it looks like. His self-sacrificing, self-denying, never-ending love is unlike any human love we’ll ever experience.

    1 John 4:9 – …God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

    The DEMONSTRATION of love.

    The Father sent His only Son for undeserving sinners. There is no greater act of love than that! We did nothing to deserve His love, but He freely gave it anyway.

    1 John 4:11 – if God so loved us, we also out to love one another.

    The RESPONSE of love.

    Putting romantic love aside for a moment, John reminds us that God’s self-sacrificing love should change us and the way we relate to others. If you realize God’s love for you, you can’t logically continue to not love those around you (see 1 John 4:20-21 for more).

    Whether you have a special someone in your life or not, remember you are deeply loved by the God who is love. He defines love, demonstrates love, and give it so we can demonstrate it to others!

    You are loved!

    ———

    Thanks to everyone who participated in the book giveaway! I always appreciate you sending these blogs to others and posting on social media about them. This helps us to awaken as many people as possible with encouragement from God’s Word! So whether there’s a contest or not, keep passing these on!

    The winners of our giveaway are…

    Jordan Wilken

    Heather Falke

    Emily Snipes

    Please email us your name and mailing address and your new book, The Bible From 30,000 Feet will arrive at your house shortly! If you didn’t win, that’s ok. The Bible From 30,000 Feet is also available for purchase at awaken.church/radiant!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Share Your Story


    Today marks one year of blogging for me. I’ve blogged off and on for years, but last February, I set out to post encouraging thoughts three times each week. And, except for one week when I got behind, I did it. I appreciate hearing from some of you about how helpful and encouraging these emails and blog posts are! And if you’ve just recently joined us, welcome!

    Ultimately, whether you write devotional content, fiction, or nonfiction, writing is a form of storytelling. It’s being brave enough to believe you have something worth sharing, then doing what it takes to share it.

    I’ve recently learned a valuable lesson about myself when it comes to the idea of sharing what’s on my heart. In a conversation with a close friend, I realized I have a tendency to allow my fear of being perceived in the wrong way to prohibit me from sharing at all. If I sense that what I have to share could come across as arrogant, condescending, or the like, I have a tendency to not say it at all. That realization has opened my eyes to a thought I want to pass on to you:

    YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY!

    We all have unique experiences, vantage points, insights, and ideas that are worth sharing (some more than others).

    If God has changed your life, it’s our responsibility to speak up about what He has done. You should live it, but you should also talk about it!

    We all have spheres of influence and God-given skill sets with which to share our stories.

    God changes lives.

    You are the proof.

    Speak up about what God has done!

    And while you’re sharing what is on your heart – in person or in writing – do it with humility and always make sure God is the hero of your story!

    —-

    To celebrate a year of blogging, I want to give YOU the gift!

    Three of you will win the incredible new book written by my pastor, Skip Heitzig, The Bible From 30,000 Feet. It will help you see God’s Word from an all-new vantage point!

    All you have to do to be entered to win is…

    1. Subscribe to my email list if you haven’t already.
    2. Share the graphic below on your social media with the hashtag #awakenedemails and a link to kevmill.com.

    Make sure to do so by Tuesday (Feb. 13) at noon. We will randomly select 3 winners Tuesday afternoon and let you know on Wednesday!

    Good luck!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Learn to Blush


    “You’re so embarrassing, dad!” That’s what one of my daughters told me this week. We all know that feeling of embarrassment when the joke’s on us or the feeling of shame when we get caught. Although we hate feeling shame, believe it or not, it can actually be a good thing. In fact, God called Israel out for not feeling ashamed!

    They were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.

    — Jeremiah 6:16 —

    Although God doesn’t cause shame or condemnation for His kids (there’s a difference between condemnation and conviction), shame is redeemed when it leads us to repentance. Put another way: if you can live in sin and not feel shame, there’s a problem. The aim of our shame is not to push us away from God, but instead, to push us away from our sin and closer to God.

    Shame is a good thing when it leads us away from sin.

    Is there sin in your life that you’re aware of but have gotten used to?

    Has the sting and shame of sinning been numbed since you’ve gotten into the habit of doing it for so long?

    If so, something needs to change. Pray that God would make you uncomfortable in your sin and you would “know how to blush.” The goal is not embarrassment; the goal is repentance, which reunites our straying hearts with God.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Don’t Rob Yourself


    In John 8, Jesus said if we abide in His word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Right there is the equation for spiritual freedom, so let’s work backward to see how it works… You become free by knowing the truth; you know the truth by abiding in the word; and you abide in the word through strategy and sacrifice.

    Luke 10 gives us a good example of how this plays out in our lives. Jesus came over to Mary and Martha’s house, and Martha is busy in the kitchen while Mary camps out at Jesus’ feet to listen. We like to diss on Martha, distracted in the kitchen while we hail Mary as a holy hero for sitting with Jesus. Although in that one instance, they may have been a little unbalanced, it’s important to understand we need a blend of both Martha and Mary in our lives.

    We need the get-to-work nature of Martha, serving and working hard to get things done.

    We also need the pause-and-sit nature of Mary, soaking in time with Jesus.

    There will always be things to do – many of them good – so don’t let the good things rob you of the best thing.

    Our waking moments are often filled with Martha moments, where we need to get things done. In that case, we need to be strategic and sacrificial with Mary moments. In fact, I’d say that the more Mary moments you make, the merrier your moments will be!

    If you want spiritual freedom, you need the truth, and if you want the truth, you need to abide in the Word. Abiding means making a choice of where your attention will go. It’s you saying, “For this allotted period of time, I’m going to do this one thing.”

    Make sure to go to awaken.church/radiant to find some practical, hands-on resources that will help you be consistent and go deep in your time in God’s Word! In fact, if you complete one of our Bible reading plans during the next year, we’ll make a donation in your name! Find out the details at awaken.church/radiant.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    There’s more where that came from! Click below to watch the entire message called “Like A Boss” from our series, Radiant.

    Make sure forward this to a friend who could use some encouragement!

    Access the whole series as well as hundreds of other messages from Awaken Church at awaken.church/teachings.

     

     

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    One Word That Will Change Your Prayers


    Everywhere Jesus went, somebody needed Him for something. There were even times that Jesus went somewhere specifically to get away from people for a bit, but people tracked Him down! And yet, He was always so compassionate when they found Him.

    I’m always intrigued by Jesus’ interactions with people who want healing. Compare these two stories with me real quickly…

    While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
    ‭‭– Luke‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬ —

    And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
    ‭‭– Mark‬ ‭9:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬ —


    Did you catch the subtle difference in their requests? It’s just one simple word: If you will vs. if you can.

    In Mark, when the man says, “If you can,” Jesus is shocked. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “If I can?! Do you know who you’re talking to?!”

    Here’s what we have to remember: Although God doesn’t always answer prayer in the way we ask, it is never His ability that is in question.

    We need to get out of the habit of questioning God’s ability and instead begin questioning our timing. If He hasn’t answered your prayer the way you wanted, rest assured that it’s not because He can’t. It’s because He has something better in store. His timing and plan are always better than ours!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Start Bragging!


    Inevitably, you’ve met someone who loves to talk about themselves. Comedian Brian Regan calls them “Me Monsters.” You know the type… “My boat…my vacation…my portfolio…my investments…my promotion…” Nobody likes a Me Monster. However, as much as we hate bragging, believe it or not, God actually encourages it…

    but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.

    — Jeremiah 9:24 ESV —

    Obviously, God isn’t encouraging bragging in the typical self-centered way we think about it. He’s encouraging boasting in a God-centered way. He wants our boasting to be about our relationship with Him. Here’s what that looks like…

    Instead of bragging about your accomplishments, boast about God’s accomplishments.

    Instead of pointing back to your success, point to God’s faithfulness to answer prayer.

    Instead of bragging about material things, focus your story on the eternal.

    Like a braggart so easily turns the conversation back to his or her accomplishments, what if we steered conversation back to how good God is?

    When people think of me, I want them to think of someone who “understands and knows God.” Nothing else I’ve done or will do matters!

    “Only one life ’twill soon be past.

    Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

    — C.T. Studd

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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