The Curse of Prosperity
There's a reason—a disturbing reason—for the
In recent years, people have begun to call name change. When people sit down before
Thanksgiving by another name, Turkey Day. I the great feast on Thanksgiving Day, they still
have always found this name a bit peculiar. sense that they ought to bow their heads and
On other holidays like Columbus Day, George give thanks. Yet people today would rather
Washington's Birthday, and Memorial Day, forget God. They would like to suppress the
we pay our respects to those we are feeling on Thanksgiving that God deserves
remembering, but on Turkey Day we kill and their gratitude. So, they are trying to
eat them, rather like cannibals in the South discontinue the name Thanksgiving and to
Pacific having a People Day would take credit forsake the traditions on this holiday which
for what God had given them. kept God at the center.
Why are so many ungrateful to God for His
blessings? The fundamental reason is that we
are too prosperous. After the exodus from
Egypt, God told the nation of Israel that He
was leading them to a desirable land already
prepared for their habitation. It would be a
land overflowing with milk and honey, a land
filled with strong cities that others had built
and with vineyards and with olive groves that
others had planted. So, after occupying the
land, they could expect a life of prosperity.
But God warned them that with prosperity
would come the danger of forgetting God. Building comparing itself with the Sears
They would be tempted to look around at their Tower. In relation to all the people living in
wealth and say to themselves, "By our hands, past generations, in relation to the vast
by our labor, we have achieved this; we have majority of people around the world today,
built a good life for ourselves." The would modern middle-class Americans are
take credit for what God had given them. fabulously wealthy. Think of it. What are you
lacking that you could reasonably want? There
is probably a restaurant in your city to satisfy
any craving your appetite is capable of. You
have more clothing in your closet than many
of your ancestors possessed in a whole
lifetime. Your houses and gardens would, in
past generations, have set you just below the
highest nobility. Kings of old would have
gone to war to acquire your telephone, your
air conditioner, your car, your television.
Although prosperity is a blessing from God, it
is, as we have said, a danger also. It can have
a chilling effect on our love for God and on
The same mentality exists in America today. We our gratitude for His blessings. What is the
enjoy unprecedented prosperity, and yet we fail to remedy? Should we give away our goods and
recognize that its source is God. Why? We take take a vow of poverty? That might work. But
our wealth for granted. We feel we deserve it. We it might not. With poverty might come
imagine that we created it. It is a funny thing bitterness rather than gratitude. I think God
about human beings that they are more thankful prefers that we take the following, more
when they are suffering poverty than when they practical, measures to guard our spiritual
are enjoying plenty. In Little House in the Big health in the midst of material wealth.
Woods, the author describes how new pioneers
living on the edge of subsistence celebrated
Christmas. Each of the older children received Let Us Stop Putting Ourselves in
exactly two presents (a pair of knitted mittens and the Place of God
a piece of candy), and in addition one of the
younger children received a home-made rag doll. Many self-made men have no time for God
Were the children unhappy and ungrateful because they think that they have no one to
because their gifts were so meager? On the thank for their success but themselves. They
contrary, the author concludes her reminiscences view life as a brutal competition in which the
by saying, "What a happy Christmas it had been!" fittest survive, and they count themselves
among the fittest. None of us would be so
Perhaps you say, "Others may have the crass, but still we are all prone to thank
problem of being too rich, but not me. I'm not ourselves for our achievements. When we
rich." Because we know people who have finally move into a dream home after years of
bigger houses and cars than we have, most of working and saving, do we say, "This is the
us feel that we are just average folks. But result of what we have done," or do we say,
comparing ourselves with wealthier "This is the result of what God has enabled us
acquaintances is like the Empire State
to do"? For indeed, everything we have comes Etemenanki was patterned after the original
from God and belongs to Him. Tower of Babel, or Babylon. Beyond the
ziggurat lay Esagila, the great temple of
Remember Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4). God Marduk, god of Babylon and within his
warned him through a dream interpreted by temple there was a golden statue of the god.
his chief counselor, Daniel, that because he
failed to acknowledge his dependence on God, When the king looked to his west, he saw the
God would bring him low, making him like a great river itself, the Euphrates, dividing the
beast in the field. A year passed and nothing city into two sectors, and in the western sector
happened. The king probably had forgotten he saw great temples and homes and broad
the dream, or had decided that he was in no avenues.
danger of divine judgment. Then one day he
went up to the heights of his palace and Humanly speaking, Nebuchadnezzar had
surveyed his capital city, Babylon. every reason to be proud. He said to himself,
"Is not this great Babylon that I have built?"
On his north he saw the Hanging Gardens, (Dan. 4:30). But what happened when
which were one of the seven wonders of the Nebuchadnezzar boasted in himself and failed
world. There, a visitor could see exotic to thank God for his achievements? The
flowers and trees and beasts and birds judgment that God had foretold a year before
collected from every corner of the known immediately fell upon him. His mind was
world on his east the king saw the beautiful filled with the mad delusion that he was a
Ishtar Gate, which still exists in ruins Beyond beast, and for seven years he went about on all
that, he saw the wall of Babylon stretching fours, seeking to feed himself by grazing
into the distance. The wall was actually two grass, and he allowed his beard and nails to
walls. Each section was twenty-five feet thick, grow as if they were fur and claws.
and between them was a space forty feet wide
filled with rubble that supported a military It is possible that America will come to a
road running along the top. So, the overall similar fate. As a nation we neglect to give
width of the wall was close to one hundred thanks to God and instead we boast in
feet. No one knows how high the wall was, ourselves. God has patiently withheld
because in the course of centuries people have judgment, giving us a chance to repent. But
carted the bricks away and put them to other his patience will not restrain judgment forever.
uses. One Greek writer said that the wall was
eighty-six feet high. Outside these walls was
a moat three hundred feet wide, and beyond Let Us Stop Putting Human Science
the moat the land was wet and marshy. No and Human Ingenuity in the Place of
wonder that the world in Nebuchadnezzar's God
day regarded the defenses of Babylon as
impregnable. And indeed, no attack force ever How do you react when you hear that another
took Babylon by going over the walls. life has been saved by some marvel of modern
medicine? Do you praise man's ingenuity, or
To the south of the palace Nebuchadnezzar do you praise God? You should praise God, of
saw the great ziggurat of Babylon. This course, because medicine advances only when
ziggurat, called Etemenanki, was a step God allows man to understand something new
pyramid within a perfectly cubic space, over about the world He created. Who shows a
300 feet in each dimension. It is likely that doctor how the body works, who teaches him
how to treat its diseases, who guides his hand
in surgery? It is God.
Yet, few who thank the doctor who is God's
instrument remember to thank God Himself. Let Us Remember Past Blessings
Why? One reason is that we do not realize just
how puny man's achievements are. When we One reason we fail to thank God for blessings
enter a shopping mall for the first time, or is that we forget them. What did God do for
when we spot the latest model of a luxury c ar you yesterday, last week, a year ago? Do you
coming down the street, or when we watch the remember? If you do not, how can you be
blastoff of a manned rocket, we feel a properly thankful? Most of us give God a
momentary thrill of admiration. But when we laundry list of requests in the morning. Then,
come across a divinely crafted object that we as we go through the day, we more or less
have never seen before—an unfamiliar flower forget God and fail to notice how His answers
or bug or tree or mountain perhaps—we may are working themselves out in events. So,
hardly glance at it. Any backyard is full of when we return to Him the next morning, we
wonderful living things designed by God, yet just give Him another laundry list of the same
we take them for granted. Have you watched kind, consisting of requests without
the metamorphosis of the ugly caterpillar? Do thanksgiving. What is the remedy for this
you know how the lowly squirrel manages to problem?
run at full speed along a pathway no more
than an inch wide? Do you know how the 1. When you pray, emphasize spiritual
firefly produces light? We are hardly aware of requests. Pray for souls, for their salvation if
how fearfully and wonderfully we ourselves they do not know God, for their growth to
are made. Did you know that the complexity spiritual maturity if they do know God. Ninety
of the human body in relation to one of man's percent of your requests should not be for
greatest achievements—the Space Shuttle, for healing of sickness, or for rescue from trouble.
example—is like the difference between the You will discover that God frequently does
Encyclopedia Britannica and a postcard? not grant a request of this kind, because to
grant it would be to negate His higher purpose
By the way, modern science has figured out in the trouble or sickness. God did not take
how the firefly produces light. The mechanism away Paul's thorn in the flesh. Why? He
is very complex. Why has God allowed man wanted to keep Paul humble (2 Cor. 12: 7-9).
to solve this particular puzzle of His creation? He let Fanny Crosby lose her sight when she
Because God leaves man no excuse for was a little girl and He never restored it. Why?
denying the Creator's existence. The light- He wanted her to develop the sensitivity to
producing mechanism in a firefly is in itself sound that would make her the finest religious
sufficient proof that the firefly did not evolve. poet of her generation. John Bunyan was an
There is no way the mechanism could work outstanding preacher, yet God allowed his
unless it was complete. Therefore, it could not opponents to silence him by putting him in
have evolved by degrees. The same is true of prison for several years. Why? He wanted
thousands upon thousands of other Bunyan to write Pilgrim's Progress, that great
mechanisms in nature. No wonder the Bible work of Christian literature which has been a
says, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is source of instruction and blessing to millions.
no God" (Psa. 14:1).
Therefore, if you pray only for the relief of thank God for His benefits if I customarily
misfortune, you will often approach God with show gratitude to the people around me. A
a disappointed heart. But if you see every sincere "Thank you" should always be on my
misfortune in a spiritual light, revealing that lips. I should say it to a brother, a sister, a
God uses trouble to accomplish good spouse, a parent, a child, a neighbor, a clerk at
purposes, you will be able to thank Him for the store, a person on the street. Then, because
whatever happens. I have set gratitude at the core of my
character, I will remember to give a heartfelt
• 2. Keep a record of God's blessings. "Thank you" to God.
When He does something
extraordinary or miraculous, do not The adage, “Charity begins at home," implies
pass over it quickly, keeping only a that the home is the best place to start showing
dim memory somewhere in the more thankfulness. Let us begin by showing
recesses of your brain. Write it down more of it in our marriages. Let us express
somewhere, in a notebook perhaps. more appreciation for what our spouses do for
After you have compiled several us. Some time ago, during a year when my
stories of His working, these will be wife was extremely busy with work, I had to
very helpful and encouraging to read at do many household chores that formerly had
difficult moments in your life. In the been her responsibility, chores like doing the
past I have recommended that a dishes and doing the laundry, even preparing
believer keep a prayer diary. But I meals. Now, doing the dishes is not a bad job.
have found that answers too many It is just that you are never through. You no
requests do not become evident until sooner walk out of the kitchen than dirty
years later. So, a prayer diary will not dishes begin piling up again. They multiply
help you much if you lose patience and like rabbits. As for making beds, I fail to see
set it aside after a few months. the point. You pull up the covers in the
However, if you keep it faithfully for morning, only to push them down again at
five or ten years, it will do much to night. It would make more sense to leave them
support your prayer life. It will in one place. You can see that my competence
encourage you to pray, and to pray in at housework is border line. Nevertheless,
faith, and to keep on doing it has given me a new gratitude for my
wife's unselfish labor in the past. It has
Let Us Stop Being Self-centered and brought me under conviction that I have not
Cultivate the Habit of Thankfulness told her "Thank you" as often as I should.
Thanking God is one way we show that we As we learn the habit of thanking people and
love Him. But 1 John 4:20 says, "If a man say, acknowledging our dependence on them, we
I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: will develop a keener sense of our dependence
for he that loveth not his brother whom he on God. He is our creator, the giver of life
hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath both in this world and in the world to come.
not seen?" We might also say, "If a man say, I Through Him life has meaning and purpose.
am grateful to God, and is ungrateful to his The past holds no enduring shadows. The
brother, he is a liar: for he that gives not future shines with hope. It is He who covers
thanks to his brother whom he hath seen, how our sins with a robe of righteousness, who
can he give thanks to God whom he hath not makes our failures a training ground for
seen?" In other words, I will more readily spiritual success, who equips and improves us
until we can serve night and day in His temple an enormous and beautiful concert hall. The MTC
forever. He is the One who will erase all our has performed for 10 U.S. presidents and
pain and dry all our tears and give us a new entertained Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers and
body to serve as a tabernacle for the soul; a millions of people in 28 countries and 71 foreign
body that the Bible describes as spiritual, cities.
powerful, and immortal; a body so wonderful The MTC has received numerous awards and
that we cannot now imagine what it will be recognition. The MTC has made numerous
like. There is nothing good that does not come records that were gold and many records that were
from God. There is nothing bad in anything platinum and this choir has received a Grammy.
He does or in anything He designs. So, as we Some of the recognition the MTC has received has
come to Thanksgiving, let us indeed give been very mind boggling. Former President Ronald
thanks—let us give thanks to the great Reagan labeled them as “AMERICA’S CHOIR.”
Benefactor whose goodness many people on Former President George W. Bush proclaimed
that day will ignore and resent. Let us not be them to be a “NATIONAL TREASURE.” Eugene
among them. Let us prove ourselves to be Ormandy, the renowned conductor of the
God's children by giving Him the praise He is Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra called them
due. “THE WORLD’S GREATEST CHOIR.”
The Bible does say in Psalms, that singing is a
religious duty and that we are to sing aloud unto
O TO BE LIKE THEE? God for our strength makes a joyful noise unto the
Lord of Jacob. Psa.81:1
The Bible says we are to sing unto the Lord and
we are to make joyful noise unto the Rock of our
The MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR has been The Bible also tells in several verses of Scripture
well known across the world for over 150 yrs. The that instruments are O.K., as long as you use them
MTC (MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR) began in the proper manner. Does it mean that if we use
performing in the dusty deserts of Northern Utah in guitars and trumpets and organs and drums and
1847. They were originally housed in an adobe tambourines, that we are no longer a church, but
building and were accompanied by an organ that
we are now a dance hall? Just because these type
was shipped from Australia to San Bernardino, instruments are used in the wrong places doesn’t
California. From there, it was pulled by 12 mules mean that we can’t use them to enhance our music
over mountains and rough deserts through the
ministries as long as we do it to honor and glorify
Rocky Mountains to its final destination in Salt City, God.
The Bible also speaks of different types of Music:
The members of the MTC are every day people just
like us. They get up in the morning like us and go I. Psalm 60:12, talks about the idle
to work, pick up their children from school. songs. This describes music of praise,
However, when they go out of town, they have to how through God we can do all things
take vacation time from work. The MTC has left its and all our enemies will be slain.
roots and grown to a choir of over 360 singers and II. In Psalm 42:8, it covers music of the
an orchestra of 110 musicians. They no longer night. What this verse describes is
sing in an adobe building, but they now perform in
how God is our strength through loving
kindness in the day time and He shall stand in that huge choir to sing His praises JUST
be with me with a loving gentle song in FOR HIM – IT WILL BE WORTH IT
the night. ALL!!
III. Then in Exodus, 15:1, it tells of songs
of victory. This is about when Moses MINISTRY FINANCES
and the children of Israel began
singing praises to the Lord for God has been so good to us this year, with a
protecting them and winning babble revival almost every week. Who could ask for
over Pharaoh and his men. or
any thing more f a Revivalist? We have
traveled many miles.
Therefore, from these verses of Scripture, I feel we
should learn various things about music. First, it The van now has over 222,000 miles on it.
should be uplifting to the one who gave us life by This year has been the most expensive of any
giving His life for us and giving us confidence that year. We have had to spend several thousand
we have a Savior that can do anything. Second, it dollars on it just to keep it going.
should give us the comfort a security that Jesus is
with us day and night and He is even willing to sing We realize something must be done soon
us to sleep. Thirdly, we know we can always have about another way of traveling. We are
victory in Jesus, not because we are Christians praying for a Motor Home, but we want it to
fighting against evil that Satan puts before us, but be the will of God.
that Jesus Christ is the commander and He will not
loose. See, I always thought it was always We want to thank all of you that have been
interesting how the individual that creates faithful in your monthly support to our
something knows everything there is to know about ministry. With out you help we could not
His creation from beginning to end and that He is make it.
always in total control of it.
This next year is going to be a trying year
O TO BE LIKE THEE? financially. We are in many small churches
that just can’t give much to help us come to
So which music would you rather have? Travel all their church. I just went to a church and told
over the world and perform and entertain by singing the pastor before we went that I would not
to Presidents, Kings, Queens, Duchesses and take anything from him to come. We don’t
dukes, have gold and platinum records and sing in know which church God may start Revival in.
big, hugh opera houses? and never really know the
One you are singing about and what He’s done for We are asking that our prayer partners help
you so you may live for an eternity? us not only in prayer but maybe you could
help us financially by sending the ministry.
OR? We have some that send us $25.00 each
month. Some send more, but any amount
O TO BE LIKE THEE!!!!! $5.00 or $10.00 each month could help us
reach a church that can’t have us. I don’t
Sing praises to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the believe that we have many days left before
ALMIGHTY GOD, have music with meaning and a Jesus comes back. It will be too late then to
message to touch souls that can win lost people to give. You can make you check out to the
Chris. I know you will not sing in the nicest, following: Magnolia Ministries
fanciest places in town, but one when we walk 5251-C Hwy. 153 PMB 249
through those g ates and we look in His face and
Hixson TN. 37343 past.” We need to press forward in God’s
Your gift is tax deductible. Pray about this work. If we are not going forward, then we
and give if you can. are going backward. You do not stand still.
We need courage to find strength to go on
God bless you just 5 minutes more. What do we need to
Bro. Nichols forget? Past?
(a) Self. Romans 7 – “When I want to
do good,” I don’t. Be careful or
you will be discouraged.
Remember Paul’s past life. He
Pray for could have looked back at his past
the crusade in Bogotá Colombia. We need life and quit. Someone says that
$12,000. you don’t always treat people as
you ought to. Sometimes we are
just plain hypocrites. Don’t look
pious! Who is the accuser?
Satan! Does God ever accuse us
of our past sin? He says they are
Be Thankful gone! Why remind God? He
Be Thankful doesn’t even remember. You think
Ephesians 3:17-19 “I have failed.” We all do at one
time or another. We are all made
We should always be thankful out of dust. Psalm 103: 13, 14.
Jeanette Nichols every day of the year, but we Failing does not make one a
seem to wait until this season of failure. You have had or are
the year to express ourselves. We need help with having a rough time in your life.
our physical and spiritual stamina all the time. This does not mean you are a
failure. Dust yourself off and get
I had to go to my doctor recently and he was giving up! Go to God and confess your
me some options about my physical needs. One of sin. God shows us weaknesses of
the things he said I needed to do and it didn’t cost people in the Bible. God will still
anything was to have a regular exercise plan. This use us as He did them.
is good for my health. Moses. God said to tell them “I AM
sent you. Who am I? Why use me?
What about our spiritual stamina? Do you feel your God says, I am your strength, I’ll be
strength is gone? Do you just want to quit working your tongue, and I’ll be your power. I
at being the best wife, mother or daughter? AM what you need
(b) Position. We take pride in our
Many strong Christians are falling. We need to position. We think we can do a
keep going on. This is a big responsibility because better job than others. Maybe you
others are following in our steps. There is only one feel you’ve been overlooked as a
way to do that and it is to take one day at a time. pianonist, singer, Sunday school
What can we do to keep others from stumbling and teacher, etc. Put these thoughts
falling? Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13-14. Behind you, forget it! Psalm 75:6,
7. God puts down one and lifts up
1. Set a definite goal. We need to press on another. Stay busy in the little
to win the prize. He said, “forgetting the task. God will promote you. Are
you doing the unseen well? God to get alone. “Tend the inner fire.”
knows. Galatians 6:7. You can easily quit when not spiritually
Don’t faint when God is ready to fed.
use you. 2. When emotions are weary. We need
2. Forget what others have done to hinder to rest, play, and have leisure. Get
you. It hurts worse when friends hurt you. yourself emotionally lifted. Visit
People will let you down. You will let others someone you can laugh with or one
down. The flesh – mine, yours, everybody, is a who can lift you up.
sinner. We all still in the flesh. Have you been 3. When physiological ego has been
disappointed, hurt or felt failed? Someone tried? This can be of unresolved guilt.
passed you in the hall and did not speak. All Confess the sin held back and get rid
will fail us except God. Who has failed you? of the guilt. 1 John 1:9.
Who have you failed? Let’s get the “mote” out 4. When physical body down from illness.
of our eye. Many spread things by a prayer Don’t quit! Just wait!
request. Who would God use if we never 5. If suffering great loss, pain, illness,
failed? “Let people be people and God be disappointment, trial, you say, “I’ve
God.” Keep your eyes on God! done my best. Is this all I get?” Do
you need to forget self, pride,
Put trails or testing in right perspective. 2 something someone has done? Do
Cor. 11:24-28. Have you suffered when you need to trust the Lord? Just keep
doing right? James 1:2-4. Has a testing pressing on! Let’s renew our
turned you aside? Is your strength gone? determination to freshen up our
Success can be a test. We always think spiritual stamina. Take time during this
testing is bad things. Nothing that comes season of the year to be thankful for
to a Christian is bad. Every trial will pass. everyone and everything. We only
Don’t quit! Endure it! Press forward! have a short time before we stand
Don’t stop! We are still under construction. before our Lord and King. Look up!
There are some areas we need to guard.
1. When spiritual resources are depleted.
You have been busy and not had time
with the Lord by yourself. Have a time
The Team of Magnolia Ministries
Wish All Of
You A Very Happy And
Wonderful Holiday Season
God Bless You All