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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“.

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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“

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters. Mother Teresa

Walking In God’s Favor: You shall love the Eternal One your God with everything you have: all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27 VOICE

The Power of  Love

Does love motivate your decisions? Faithful stewards have discovered in their spiritual journey that God’s nature is love. That He gives each of you the freedom to discover His loving nature for yourself. The Creator freely gives you opportunities to experience His divine love. The faithful steward understands that God only wants what is best for your good and His glory.

Living For the Love of God  

Our Creator has a purpose for your life and He is calling you to a higher level of stewardship. We love what the book of Jeremiah says in chapter 29 verse 11. “I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for your hope and a future”. Wow! Now that is the kind of God we choose to love. We know He has everything under control and loves us deeply. When you learn to let go and let God….that’s when things start happening.

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The Stewardship Of Love 

I clearly remember when I began the process of looking for a life partner. I prayed that my future wife  would be someone who truly loved God.  We would be able to connect spiritually. It was very important to me that we shared our love for God with one another. I was raised in a home where I observed my parents praying to God with one another, worshiping God with one another, and trusting in God with one another. The love of God seemed to be a high priority in their relationship.

I am so thankful to God for bringing Ardella into my life. Every area I have allowed Ardella to touch, has turned to gold. We have prospered in our spiritual life, our family life, our professional life, and our financially life. Over the years, God has continued to bless our marriage, our family, and our lives as we continue to grow stronger in love with Him as well as each other.

Faithful stewards have learned to make intimacy with God their highest priority. God is faithful. He loves you with an unending love. There are no boundaries to God’s love for each of you.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, thank You for Your love.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a the 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 exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook  ”Stewardship of Wealth”.

I have learned in my life that when I give of myself and when I know I am helping others to reach their fullest potential, my heart is strengthened and my soul is enriched. Sheila C. Johnson

Walking In God’s Favor: Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17  MSG

Who Wants To Become A Millionaire?

We enjoy encouraging people who have a plan, passion, and a purpose for becoming  wealthy.  You can be in the middle of a recession and you will find people who continue to seek creative ways to realize their financial goals. We believe personal stewardship is the pathway to your success.

Deciding to become a better steward of your wealth takes wisdom, diligence, and prayer. If you seek the spiritual power that God gives you to get wealth, you are going to have to think differently, and make choices that will move you toward your financial destiny.

Identifying North America’s Millionaire Families

You will be surprised to discover the profile of those who accumulate financial prosperity in America. According to Thomas J. Stanley & Williams D. Danko, authors of the The Millionaire Next Door, who researched Americans that have a net worth of a $1 million or more.

Their findings are interesting. Usually the person is an entrepreneur, who has lived in the same city all their adult life. They own either a service company, small factory, or chain of stores. They remain in a lifetime relationship and have married once. They live next door to people with a fraction of their wealth. They earned their money on their own, and 80%  are first generation rich.

Millionaire Families Life Lessons or Traits 

Here’s seven common traits or life lessons found in millionaire families who successfully created wealth in North America:  (Adapted from the The Millionaire Next Door)

1. They live well below their means.

2. They balance and integrate their time, energy, and money efficiently in ways that create wealth.

3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.

4. Their parents did not give them their wealth.

5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.

6. They are good at finding and targeting marketing opportunities.

7. They chose the right occupation.

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Do you want to leave bills or benefits to your family? Jesse Jackson in his book, It’s About Money, says “Income without wealth, is just flash without cash.” Always remember,  income is based on your paycheck, and wealth is based on your assets (what you own). What you own is your assets minus your liability equals your net worth. True wealth can be passed along to your children’s children.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for wisdom that creates wealth.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man a hub for all things marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. Michael J. Vance is the financial & benefit risk manager at Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency. Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. Ardella Vance 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 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their 30-day spiritual guide  “The Stewardship of Wealth“.

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one as reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcme while trying to succeed. Booker T. Washington

Walking In God’s Favor: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. I Corinthians 11:1 NIV

Honesty & Integrity is a critical factor in a succcessful life

You empower others to grow when they can see a living example. Nothing is more discouraging than a leader who gives good advice but sets a poor example.  On the other hand, nothing can be more encouraging or inspiring than a leader who lives the life he or she talks about.

Taking Responsibility for Your Choices

Level 4 stewards internally recognize the importance of being who you say you are. Personal integrity has a tremendous impact on your own life and those around you.

In my early 30′s, as a young husband, father, leader, and business man,  I made it a goal I would not teach or speak publicly about principles I was not practicing in my own life.

Warren Buffet says “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Integrity; Vitamins For The Soul

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Healthy Choices

This idea to be transparent in your public life  can help you to set positive goals of faithful stewardship in how you prioritize your time,  develop your God- given gifts, care for your body-temple and save & invest your financial resources.

Spending quality time with your spouse, attending your children or grandchildren’s events,  exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, budgeting your personal finances, along with setting business goals requires you to consider who you are and the example you leaving others to follow.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord help us to choose to live with honesty & integrity.

Michael J. Vance is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man a hub for all things marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. Michael J. Vance is the financial & benefit risk manager at Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency. Ardella Vance volunteers her time, talents, and financial resources to causes she is passionate about. Ardella Vance 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 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and nine grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their 30-day spiritual guide  “The Stewardship of Wealth“.

The best economic stimulus plan I can prescribe is ending the love affair with money and dependence on debt, and replacing them with an underlying trust and reliance on God. Lee Jenkins

Walking in God’s Favor: Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath  fulfilled the law. Roman 13:8 KJV

Creating Wealth Starts By Eliminating All Possible Debts

We believe overcoming financial bondage is one of the greatest struggles for those of you seeking financial freedom. Many of  you only dream of saving money. In many instances you do not experience financial health because you are trying to borrow yourselves into wealth. You want to look rich to cover your raggedness. You desire to appear prosperous to hide your poverty. You feel that wealth can heal your wounds.

Some People Go Into Debt, Just To Keep Up With People Already In Debt

Many of you do not see anything wrong with living in debt. The more you can borrow the better. We didn’t either at first; just like the story of the frog . I’m told if you put a frog in a pot of water on a stove with no lid, and gradually turn up the heat, the frog will remain in the pot until it is cooked alive, even though the frog has the ability to easily jump out of the pot at anytime.

Initially we felt debt was a good thing; just a financial tool. It allowed us to obtain things we felt we needed  now and we could pay for it later….WOW! That sounded like a good deal… Just like when the serpent lied to Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told Eve if she ate of the tree of good and evil she would not “surely die”. Listen to me people, if you play with snakes you will get bitten.

The Borrower Is A Slave To The Lender

Debt has been successfully marketed by banks and financial institutions in the United States as your pathway to prosperity. As a result, many of you have found yourselves in financial bondage with little or no hope of ever experiencing financial freedom again.

If you are in bondage because of debt, your first step into financial freedom is to admit your finances are out of control. If you continue to live in denial, you won’t seek help and you won’t break free.  The Bible says that “the borrower is slave to the lender”. Ask God, in prayer, for the power  to break break free of  debt. With God, and a made up mind, you can experience financial freedom.

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We invite to join our Stewardshipowealth.com Community Empowerment Session January 17th  with Fountain of Life Ministries. We will introduce you to the principles of stewardship and share some tips for debt free living.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, give us the desire to live debt-free.

Michael J. Vance the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com. He is the financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency and is the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man.  A hub for all things, parenting, marriage, and self-improvement. 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 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and nine exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook  ”Stewardship of Wealth.”