If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. Napoleon Hill

Walking In God’s Favor: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1Corinthians 13:11 NLT

By constant discipline & self-control you can develop greatness in character

Moving from a Level 1 Stewardship life of struggle to Level 2 Stewardship the life of stability is an individual choice. Many of you cannot see yourselves  maturing from Level 1 Stewardship a life of struggle into Level 2 Stewardship a life of  stability; therefore you remain in a life struggle.

Level 2 faithful stewards learn to live on a budget and give their money a mission.  But more importantly, Level 2 faithful stewards are accountable to God. The Level 2 faithful steward has learned to say “no” to the person in the mirror.

One of the keys that differentiate Level 1 Stewardship the life of struggle from Level 2 Stewardship the life of stability is the will to delay immediate gratification for long-term goals. One sign of spiritual maturity is the will to choose long-term goals over short-term  gain.

Self-Discipline is the key ingredient to success  

I clearly remember our parents teaching us the connection between work and money.  As a kid, they would give my two younger brothers and me money for doing chores like cutting the grass, raking leaves or washing the car.  As soon as I received my money, I would run down to the corner grocery store to spend every penny I had earned on Chinese Sweet & Sours Balls, Red Hots, banana flavored Now & Laters, and  my favorite, Hostess Chocolate Twinkies.

My parents would comment how  I had holes in my pocket when they observed how quickly I spent my money. They found teachable moments  to encourage me to save.  They planted seeds of wisdom like ” Money don’t grow on trees” in  my life.  My parents were the first teachers who sowed into my life the importance of working hard and saving money.

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The more discipline you become, the easier life gets

My truth is,  even today as an adult I struggle with the desire to spend money I don’t have, to  buy things I don’t  need, to impress people I don’t know.  That desire to spend money grew into an uncontrollable desire to have wealth without going through the process of  developing the discipline necessary to manage wealth.

In order for you to move to Level 2 Stewardship a life of stability you are going to have to go through the process. It’s your choice. You have the ability to become a better steward of your wealth. We are living examples that God will empower your life  to do that which you cannot on your own, do for yourself. Remember keep praying, keep believing, with God all things are possible.

You are invited to listen to WJOU Christian Radio Station Saturday 5pm December 8th  as we tell our story moving from Level 1 Stewardship the life of struggle to Level 2 Stewardship the life of stability.

Michael J. Vance is the president of the Huntsville Independent Insurance Agents Association co-founder of Stewardship Of Wealth.com and a financial & benefit-risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency   Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville Alabama, and blog from their financial guide ”Stewardship of Wealth“.

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Your faithfulness in handling what God has given you will determine your success. Noel Jones

Walking In God’s Favor: Remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the power to become rich. He does this because he is still faithful today to the covenant that he made with your ancestors. Deuteronomy 8:18 (GNT)

Faithfulness Lives Where Love Dwells 

Level 3 Stewards humbly recognize the awesome power of God’s favor in their lives. You can feel God’s protection covering your life and you have personally experienced over and over again God opening doors for you.  You know God has given you the power to have the surplus in your life.

Level 3 Stewards cheerfully give their first fruit off the top and then some. You have moved beyond the 10% tithe and generously give a love offering out of your surplus. You have a personal covenant with God and are living examples of what faithfulness is all about.bahamas 1

I agree with Antonio McGinnis when he says in his book The Game Is Deep  “There is no greater feeling than being prepared for every opportunity when it comes your way”.  The Level 3 Stewards live each day as if it’s their last day, but plan as if they are going to live forever.

God IS Faithful To Give You Hope When You Are Hopeless

Most of you know instinctively, that you should have a will and last testament, living health directive and power of attorney in the invent of a major accident or accidental death.  But how many of you invest in the time to secure these valuable life documents. You spend more time planning for a vacation then you do planning for your life.

When Ardella and I invested in the time to plan our future lives together, it was very enlightening. We begin to think about our financial assets and the kind of legacy we desired to leave to our children and grandchildren and soon to be great-grandchildren. We considered the physical and medical challenges of aging together gracefully.  More importantly,  we shared our deepest thoughts of how we each wanted to live our last days and hours of life on this planet.

Many of you will never experience Level 3 Stewardship in your lifetime. You will never feel the peace of  God in this area of financial maturity and responsibility.  You have no desire to move past the known life of stability into the abundant life of sustainable surplus.austin-texas 1Your Faithfulness Makes You Trustworthy To God

The Level 3 Steward’s life has become a reservoir of God’s bountiful blessings.  Blessing seems to overflow in the Level 3 Steward’s life.  I heard someone say it like this, ” I am drinking from my saucer because my cup is overflowing”.  When  God showers His blessing down on the faithful in Level 3 Stewardship, they wisely store some of their surplus for their future, their legacy, and for the storms of life.

Prayer of  Blessings: Lord, our life is in Your hands.

Michael J. Vance is a financial & benefit-risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency , president of the Huntsville Independent Insurance Agents Association and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com  Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville Alabama, and blog from their financial guide ”Stewardship of Wealth“.

 

Regardless of what happended yesterday, if you will stick with the Lord today, your yesterday doesn’t have to control your tomorrow. Tony Evans

Walking in God’s Favor:  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10 NIV

You Rise By Lifting Others

Level 4 Stewardship is one of the best ways to describe the heart of a servant. Many faithful stewards start off as servants but end up as celebrities. They become addicted to the attention, unaware that always being in the spotlight blinds you.

God can trust the level 4 Stewards with wealth, power, and influence. The heart of the Level 4 Steward is in giving service to God. Level 4 Stewards makes sure the decisions they make honor God and build His Kingdom.

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Great Leaders Must Become Great Servants

There are four areas of life the Level 4 steward focuses on: How you care for your body (temple),  how you invest your time,  how you develop your talents or gifts, and how you manage your money(treasures). This is a wholistic approach to servant leadership.

God wants all of you, not just little pieces of you. The Level 4 Steward accepts the truth that God owns it all, and you are only caretaker. Level 4 Stewards think like a servant, with God being the owner.

Authentic Leaders Have A Servant Heart 

To think like a servant requires a change in your heart. A servant thinks more of how you can serve others rather than serve yourself. Once you have a transformed heart, you no longer focus so much on your own needs, but turn your heart to the needs of others.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, give me the mind of a servant leader.  Give me the integrity to serve others not for my personal gain but for Your glory. Help me to see beyond my needs and see the needs of others around me. Guide me in caring for my body temple, so your spirit may have a healthy dwelling place.  Lord reveal to me each day where to best invest my time. Empower me with your spirit to reach my highest potential. Guide me to wisely share my wealth in order to build your kingdom and help those with less wealth.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a podcast Better Husband Father Man, a hub for all things; parenting, marriage and self-improvement. He is a financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency  and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com  Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook ”Stewardship of Wealth“.

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only us in the world. Helen Keller

Walking in God’s Favor: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV

Patience Is Not The Ability to Wait, But How You Act When You Are Waiting

There are no short cuts to Level 4 Stewardship; a life of sustainable increase and significance. You must be willing to go through the process. Gospel music icon James Cleveland wrote a song that says ” Please be patient with me. God is not through with me yet.” Level 4 Stewardship is a lifelong journey, not a destination. You must be in it, to win it.

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After raising four successful children of our own, Ardella and I understand the power of patience and prayer when you have teenagers and toddlers in your home. When your authority is challenged, your sanity is questioned, and your energy level is depleted, it takes patience to love the blessings of parenthood.

Great Things Come Out Of Patience

We believe God, the Source of all power, is working in our lives even when you can’t see it or don’t believe it. One of my favorite biblical leaders is Joseph. Reading his life story is absolutely incredible. Joseph’s own brothers put him in a pit to die, then decided it was smarter to sell him into slavery for money. He served 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was falsely accused of sexual harassment by his boss’s wife. His partners in prison forgot their promises they made to help him when they were released from prison.

With all this history, at the young age of 32, Joseph became one of the most powerful and wealthiest leaders in Egypt; second only to Pharaoh. Joseph shows us the power of patience when you have purpose in your life. Inside of Joseph ‘s heart, the seeds of greatness were planted when he was only 17 years old. He didn’t know when or how long it would take to mature. So when the storms of life came upon Joseph, he kept his confidence in the Source of All Power working on his behalf.

Have Patience All Things Are Difficult Before the Become Easy

Growth can often seems like a painful and fearful process. When the Creator calls you to Level 4 Stewardship, you sometimes feel uneasy and uncomfortable with yourself. Like Joseph, you can trust in the Source of All Power in your life. Our Creator will do whatever is best for your good and what will ultimately give Him glory. Like Joseph, you can ultimately say, “What others meant for evil, God meant for good.”


Remember when the Creator calls you to Level 4 Stewardship, He has already equipped you to handle going thorough the process. The process is not graded on the speed of your growth as much as is it on how strong you become. God will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for eternity. As you travel this spiritual discovery of Level 4 stewardship, keep in mind, masterpieces takes time.

Prayer of Blessing: Creator God, thank You for having patience with us.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man  a hub for all things parenting, marriage and self-improvement. He is a financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency  and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com  Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook ”Stewardship of Wealth“

Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness. Billy Graham

Waking in God’s Favor: Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)

Without forgiveness there is no future 

In our society people will take advantage of you. They will scheme, swindle, and fraudulently go after your wealth. People like Bernard Madoff, who perpetrated over a 50 billion dollar Ponzi scheme, have made money their God. They have no problem ripping you off, if it puts money into their pockets. They knowingly take advantage of their influence, power, and wealth.

Forgiveness is a divine quality the comes from God

Level 4 Stewards practice the spiritual principle of forgiveness.  They have personally experienced the transformational power of forgiveness in their own lives and extend that kind of forgiveness to others.

Forgiveness is critical to the healing process

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When someone takes advantage of you, your faith can help you heal from your loss in many ways. Forgiveness is not an option for Level 4 Stewards. They extend grace to others, learn from the experience, and move on with their life’s mission. You can only experience this kind of forgiveness when you are connected to the Source of forgiveness.

Prayer of Blessings: Lord, place Your spirit of forgiveness in our heart.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man a hub for all things parenting, marriage and self-improvement. He is a financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook ”Stewardship of Wealth“.

In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you came from; it matters only where you are going. Condoleeza Rice

Walking In God’s Favor: Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. Romans 12:2 NCV

Welcome to the stewardshipofwealth.com summer reading list. Since 2012 Ardella and I have posted practical wisdom and insights we have learned from our journey of becoming a better steward of our wealth.

Our stewardshipofwealth.com Team is committed to playing a significant role in encouraging you to grow in areas of your life you need confirmation and clarity.

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Here are 12 suggested summer readings to empower you in the process of becoming a better steward of your wealth.

1. Your Best Life Now – Joel Osteen
2. A Champion Game Plan For Life – Preston Brown
3. Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money-Rabbi Daniel Lapin
4. Breaking Free from Financial Slavery – Deforest B. Soaries Jr.
5. Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
6. It’s Not too Late: Your Future Can Be Greater Than Your Past-Dr. Tony Evans
7. 80 Proven Ways to Become a Millionaire – Paul S. Damazo
8. Success God’s Way: Achieving True Contentment & Purpose-Charles Stanley
9. Total Life Prosperity: 14 Practical Steps To Receiving God’s Blessing-Creflo Dollar Jr.                                                                                                                                   10. 7 Strategies For Wealth & Happiness – Jim Rohn
11. Power To Get Wealth: No Money Required – Keith D0uglas
12. 5am With God: Build a Closer Relationship With God – Keaires Roberson

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Prayer of Blessing: Lord, we thank You in advance for wisdom.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man a hub for all things parenting, marriage and self-improvement. He is a financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook ”Stewardship of Wealth“

Saving and investing money for the future is good stewardship. Erika F. Puni

Walking in God’s Favor: But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if he has enough money to pay the bills?  Otherwise he might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh! Luke 14:28-29 TLB

To Enjoy Your Golden Years Save More Today 

You must begin with the end in mind. If you plan to become faithful stewards of your wealth in this life you must be willing to pay the price. You are going to have to develop the habit of saving.

Years ago, Ardella and I began planning to save a certain amount of money from our income so that we could have the flexibility to follow our dreams,  passions and opportunities in life during our golden years.

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One of our passions is sharing real life experiences with newly married and engaged couples. We share practical tips we have learned in our own marriage and from other married couples like Les and Leslie Parrott www.lesandleslie.com who also enjoy their marriage and have a passion for mentoring married couples.

You Are Never Too Old To Pursuit A New Dream

Let’s face it, as you gracefully age, you generally have less energy and your health slowly begins to decline. As a result, you need to manage the amount of physical activity and maximize the results, so you don’t injure or prematurely kill yourself.  In other words, you have to work smarter not harder.

While you are young and healthy you must develop the practice of planning for your golden years. Otherwise, your golden years will not be so golden.  Many employers are no longer contributing or providing retirement plans for their employees. Therefore you must become  personally proactive  in saving and investing money for your golden years.

With that in mind, what is your plan? Do you have an emergency fund for the storms of life that are sure to come if you live long enough? Have you begun setting aside money for your golden years?

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Practicing The Joseph Principle 

The Joseph principle is the ability to look around the corner and anticipate life’s challenges you may or may not face one day.  In the Bible, Joseph wisely counseled Pharaoh in the book of Genesis to plan and prepare for the future.

And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of  Pharaoh  and let them keep food in the cities. Then the food shall be as a reserve for the land for seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt that the land may not perish during the famine.” Genesis 41:35,36  (NKJV)

Joseph was divinely given the principle of saving for the storms of life, and saved the entire Egyptian nation and his family.   There are many lessons you can learn and practice in your life from the Joseph principle. Most importantly; begin with the end in mind.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord help us to plan wisely for our future.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man a hub for all things parenting, marriage and self-improvement. He is a financial & benefit risk manager  with Hundley Batts & Associates  Insurance Agency and the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com  Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. She is a gifted educator and a Master Guide in the Pathfinders  Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people.  The Vance’s have been married well over 3 decades and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook  ”Stewardship of Wealth“