Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of God. So let us celebrate the struggle. Stevie Wonder

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

The Only Thing That Sticks Closer To You In Adversity Than A Friend Is Debt

We believe overcoming financial bondage is one of the greatest struggles for you to obtain financial success. Many of  you only dream of saving money. In many instances you do not experience financial success 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.

Living In Debt Sacrifices Your Future Day Needs, For Your Present Day Wants

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 wanted now and we could pay for it in the future….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.

75% Of The Richest People In America Said Getting Out Of Debt Is The Key To Creating Wealth 

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 free of  debt. With God, and a made up mind, you can experience financial freedom.

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We invite you to visit www.daveramsey.com  our LIVE Smart Money Event on Tuesday 7pm November 7th 2017.  You will discover godly ways you can win with your money. Ardella and I will personally walk along side you to cheer you on to victory. Make it your goal to live debt-free 2018.

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

Michael J. Vance is the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com and the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man your hub for all things marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. Michael J. Vance is 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. 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 financial workbook  “The Stewardship of Wealth“

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I meditate and pray all the time. The faith and respect that I have in the power of God in my life is what I’ve used to keep myself grounded, and it has allowed me to move away from the storms that were in my life. Halle Berry

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

Transformation is more often about unlearning than learning.

Moving from a life of struggle to a life of stability is an individual choice. Many of you cannot see yourselves  maturing from a life of struggle to a life of  stability; therefore you remain in a life struggle.

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

Maturity begins to show when your concerns for others outweighs your concerns for yourself.

One of the keys that differentiate the life of struggle with 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.

I (Michael) 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.sow photo 1

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.

Trust the Process: Time has a way of showing you what really matters 

My truth (Michael) is, even today as an adult I struggle with delaying immediate gratification for long term goals. Sharing My Testimony  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 financial skills necessary to manage wealth.

In order for you to move to 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 a living example that God will empower in your life  to do that which you cannot do on your own. Remember keep praying, keep believing, with God all things are possible.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, give us transformational power.

Michael J. Vance is the co-founder of Stewardshipofwealth.com and the co-host of a weekly podcast Better Husband Father Man your hub for all things marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. Michael J. Vance is 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. 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 seven grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their financial workbook  “The Stewardship of Wealth“

Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for. Marian Wright Edelman

Every successful person begin with two mindsets. The future can be better and I have the power to choose.

If you are really ready to become a better steward of your wealth you must be willing to go through the process of increasing your financial IQ. It’s been said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result”.

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Ardella and I are encouraging meaningful others to manage their money wisely by facilitating Financial Empowerment Sessions. Ardella and I personally were able to pay off over $70,000 of debt in 48 months by learning to use the debt snowball. We experience a three-step process of becoming dedicated, disciplined and diligent in order to receive our financial deliverance from the bondage of debt.

Tough  times don’t last, Tough People do. You Must Go Through the Process

The first step was becoming dedicated in desiring to get out of the bondage of debt. We made becoming debt free a priority in our prayer life. We asked God to renew our hearts and minds so the we could have a desire to live debt free.

The second step was disciplining our money habits, we give our money a mission. We began spending our money on paper, on purpose before the month begin by making a cash flow plan and using the debt snow ball.

The third step was diligence in working our financial plan. It took us 48 months of faithful diligence, discipline and dedication before we begin to experience deliverance from financial bondage. The journey out of this mess didn’t happen over night and neither was the trip into it.

Resilience is knowing you have the power and ability to keep moving forward. 

We thank God for answering our prayers and bringing us to this place of deliverance and healing. There are many married couples who cannot agree on how to handle their money who argue with one another, manipulate one another or just avoid one another. Unfortunately, many of these couples end up corrupting their marriage because of money.

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Practicing biblical principles for handling money has empowered us financially and spiritually. We have no desire to spend money in order to prove to the world we have arrived. More importantly we are free to serve and give to God cheerfully without the financially bondage of debt in our lives. There is financial peace in our home. We are able to leave our family a legacy of love, peace, and prosperity.

You’re personally invited! Tuesday 6:30pm August 16th for the Community Action Partnership Financial Empowerment workshop in Huntsville, Alabama. Our Stewardshipof wealth.com Team will share tips for creating generation wealth.  For more information contact Tony Pitts 256-704-1641

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, Thank you for empowering us with resilience.

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 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 Pathfinder Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vances 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”.

The borrower is slave to the lender. Watch out, MasterCard will become your master. Michelle Singletary

Walking In God’s Favor: And, of course, it is very good if a man has received wealth from the Lord and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy. Ecclesiastes 5:19 TLB

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life

Our definition of wealth is holistic and different than most people. We define wealth as things money cannot buy such as good health, loving relationships, peace of mind, creative abilities, knowledge, and contentment.

Having a huge bank account,  strong investment portfolio, or family trust fund, doesn’t  necessary mean you are truly wealthy. If you have a billion dollars net worth and instead of using it, you are always worrying about losing it, then you aren’t truly wealthy.  You have a scarcity mentality.

The real measure of  wealth, is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money  

Mr Williams

The first truly wealthy person I was able to observe over the years was my father-in-law, the late Howard T. Williams. This barrel- chested, quick to laugh man, was always willing to share a smile and words of wisdom with anyone who crossed his path.

Mr. Howard Williams was an employee for  Chrysler Corporation for 37 years and had one of those long-term relationships. He was married to the same woman, Dalzenia, for 47 years. He gave back to his community by serving as a member of the Detroit School Board for 13 years, as well as serving his country in the U.S. military during World War II.

Mr. Howard Williams avoided credit cards and had an emergency fund for the unexpected. He saved money in a college fund for all (5) of his children and paid off his home mortgage early. On the day of his death, Mr. Williams had a will and his burial arrangements in place. He was a faithful steward who recognized all his blessings came from the Creator God.

Being wealthy doesn’t always mean having money, it means being happy with the amount you have

Mr WIlliams Military Service

In the world’s economy, wealth is measured primary by material possessions and the things money can buy. In God’s economy, true wealth begins with things we cannot necessarily see like contentment, and is measured with certain things money cannot buy such as wisdom, health, and character.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, help us to seek true wealth.

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 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 Pathfinder Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vances have been married well over 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and eight exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook “Stewardship of Wealth”.

A leader lives with people to know their problems. A leader lives with God in order to solve them. John Maxwell

Walking in God’s Favor: Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers. Philippians 4:6 TLB

Living a Stewardship Lifestyle

We were introduced to stewardship principles by Elder Harold Lee, as a young couple with 4 kids, while I was serving in the U.S. Navy at Rough & Ready Island in Stockton California. My life’s spiritual discovery has never been the same.

071111-N-6597H-220 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 11, 2007) Ð Amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1) transits through the Pacific Ocean while on deployment in support of maritime security operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jon Husman (RELEASED)

The USS Tarawa LHA-1 was the ship I was deployed on in 1981

We discovered that God has placed in each of you more potential then you will ever develop and  you must choose to or not to develop your God Given gifts. After practicing and living stewardship principles for over three decades we teach 4 levels of  stewardship in which you are living  consciously or unconsciously each day of your life.

Level 1 Stewardship is a life of struggle. The Level 1 Steward is trying to survive; to keep the lights on, food on the table and gas in the car. I remember as young father being so concerned about paying bills and meeting my family financial obligations I could not think about my higher purpose. Something was missing. Why did I want to become wealthy?

The Level 1 Steward can become so overwhelmed trying to survive, you can not hear God’s voice calling you. The Holy Spirit speaking to your heart is drowned out by the immediate needs in front of you.

Why ask God for what you don’t have, if you’re not faithful in what you do have?

The first life lesson you must learn in Level 1 Stewardship is that God is the Creator Owner and you are only a manager, apprentice or steward.  This spiritual truth must be the foundation of your life.  You can become a billionaire and be a billion miles away from God if you do not internalize this truth.

The second life lesson you must learn in Level 1 Stewardship is to put your faith and trust in God.  God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. The better steward you become, the more God will trust you, because he knows you can handle it.  Level 1 Stewards walks by faith and not by sight.

When riches dominate your heart, God loses authority in your life

Why is it when God blesses you with a good education and you worship the education. Why is it when God blesses you with a successful business and you worship the business? Why is it when God blesses you with money and you worship the money. Instead of worshiping the Gift Giver you worship the gift.

The Level 1 Stewards worship God as Creator Owner and have faith in God’s sustaining power. Stewardship is not just about giving money, it’s about giving everything. Stewardship is a lifestyle.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord we worship You and have faith in You.

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 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 Pathfinder Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vances have been married well over 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and eight exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook “Stewardship of Wealth”.

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give. Ben Carson

Walking In God’s Favor: Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7 MSG

We Rise By Helping Others

Why would God say He loves a cheerful giver? Giving is an emotional experience that involves the heart.  The word of God says that where your treasures are, that’s where your heart will be also. You must make giving a part of your day to day Christian experience. Here’s how to start.

  • Pray…Ask for God’s power to change your heart. David asked  God for a clean heart. Only God has the ability to change hearts. God can transform your thinking if you give Him permission.
  • Seek…Discover God’s wisdom in His Word. Turn off the TV,  iPad  and Blackberry.  Get into a regular Bible study group. How can you walk in God’s wisdom if you rarely read His divine road map?
  • Fellowship…Rub shoulders with people who are generous givers of their time, talents, treasure (money) & temple(body) in honor of God. Hang around people who live a stewardship lifestyle and are great examples of faithfulness.
  • Share…Tell your experience to others of how God has blessed your faithfulness. Many times you do not realize God is all you need, until God is all you got.

You Do Not Have To Be Rich To Give Generously

People can give more when they are not in bondage to debt and credit cards.  It is difficult to give cheerfully to the Kingdom when you have overextended yourself financially. Learn to say “No” to the person in the mirror and “Yes” to the Giver & Creator of life.

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Do Good and Goodness Will Follow You

You are invited May 20th 10am for the One Thousand People One Mile One Step At A time Walk in Big Spring Park Downton Huntsville, Alabama. Discover the power of giving as  families, business leaders, and  young professionals share their time and resources to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. A community project in collaboration with Mayor Tommy Battle Healthy Huntsville Initiative.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, help us to give generously.

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 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 Pathfinder Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vances have been married well over 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and eight exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook “Stewardship of Wealth”.

Focusing your life soley on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself; because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential. Barack Obama

Walking In God’s Favor: If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18 MSG

Faith is being sure in what you hope for and certain in what you do not see.

Do you humbly recognize the awesome power of God’s favor in your life. Do you feel God’s protection covering your life, and have personally experienced over and over again God opening doors for you?  Do you know that it is God who has given you power to have surplus in your life?

 WEUP Radio Wealth Wednesdays Program with Justin McFarland & Steve Murry 

Do you cheerfully give your first fruit off the top and then some? Have You moved beyond the 10% tithe and generously give a love offering out of your surplus? Faithful Stewards have a personal covenant with God and are living examples of what faithfulness is all about.

We agree with Antonio McGinnis the Executive Director for the Harris Home for Children 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”. Faithful Stewards live each day as if  it is their last day, but plan as if they are going to live forever.

How Shared Goals Empowers Your Marriage 

When Ardella and I invested the time to plan our future lives together, it was very enlightening. We began to think about our financial assets  and the kind of legacy we desired to leave  to our children and 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 moments of life on this planet.

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Ardella and I celebrating a shared goal of a 10-day tour of Europe

The Faithful Steward’s life has become a reservoir of God’s bountiful blessings.  Blessings seems to overflow in the Level 4 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 a Faithful Stewardship, they wisely store some of their surplus for their future, their legacy, and for the storms of life.

Prayer of Blessing: Lord, thank you for the wealth and blessings You have given 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. Michael is a financial & benefit risk manager with Hundley Batts & Associates Insurance Agency  and 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 Pathfinder Club, a global organization empowered to teach life and leadership skills to young people. The Vances have been married well over 30 years and share their lives with four adult children and eight exceptional grandchildren. They currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama and blog from their workbook “Stewardship of Wealth”.