The Carnal Alphabet

I was scanning an old bulletin excerpt saved from probably 40 years ago from an old scrapbook of my parents and came across this, The Carnal Alphabet, typed on it, which also gave the author’s name. I found it so good and “awakening” to my own Self-Centered Carnal Self, I made it into a graphic so that I could share it as revelation to others as well. After all, Habbakuk 2:2, 3a says, Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time…”

Amazing, isn’t it, how it depicts our society today. We, as a whole, worship Self, not God, and looking at this graphic really illuminates this fact:

carnal-alphabet

I really had my own eyes opened to how Carnal I myself am. How about you?

Now let’s take a look at Romans 8:6-8 and see what the Word says about being Carnal:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Friends, you and I cannot please God living this way! (Yes, sadly, I am speaking to myself here too!)

The carnal mind is enmity against God. I googled it, and emnity means “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.”  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be hostile toward God nor He to me. I want that life and peace that comes from being spiritually-minded…i.e. caring about what God has to say…about His Will, not my own…focusing on God’s opinion and not my own about things, etc.

Oh, how I pray this awakens anyone reading it today, as it has me.  God help us all, to repent, changing our minds and focus…

Prayer:

God, show me when I am being Carnal… and when I am carnally-minded…focused on Self and the things of this world. And living For Me, and not For You.  Open my eyes to see, and ears to hear, so that I can make changes and be led by Your Spirit, and focused on that which You desire me to be focused on. Eternal things… On Your Word, On loving others, On gratitude for all blessings, etc.  

I desire the life and peace that is available to me, as I turn away from my self-focusing to Please You God.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

Covetousness – Rampant!

As a songwriter with a mandate to create songs which present godly truths, I was in wonder by the ominous assignment God gave me.  His words?  “I want you to warn the Body of Christ of a Gross Sin in My Eyes that is NOT being warned about from church pulpits, and is NOT being considered SERIOUSLY by my people…but that is RAMPANT in My Church.  This sin is COVETOUSNESS!”

Rampant means, “in full sway; prevailing or unchecked“!

Listeners, If God says it’s so, it is so! I felt an urgency in my spirit at the time of receiving this mandate…as if He was awaiting Our Response!

covet intro

I did my part to research The Word…And observed and pondered covetousness’ effect upon society (and in my own life too, bringing about a repentant heart)… YET was most surprised of what the Spirit revealed of how the The Kingdom of God was experiencing a devastating blow “to its advancement” due to this sin being rampant among ignorant or deceived Believers! God, for sure, needs to discipline us and turn us!  I truly believe it is due to the unrelenting onslaught of The Enemy, in this area, that many of us have fallen prey to this particular sin. (I’ll talk more of this later…) 

I want you, my readers, to know that the Holy Spirit personally revealed the scripture immediately below to me, as I was preparing to release the song “Covetousness”…and it is certain that God looks on our hearts:

Ezekiel 33:30b-33  “…and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So my people come to you, as people do, and they sit before you as my people, to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy and in pursuit of their own gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings a lovely song, with a pleasant voice, and plays an instrument well; for they hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. 33 When all this comes to pass–and it surely will–then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Frankly, I believe He was further communicating to me, that THIS is indeed the present condition of The Church! The stronghold, covetousness, now evidently so rampant that He is grouping us together, saying: “my people” are “greedy and in pursuit of their own gain” (covetousness) and “it has come to pass”! Actually Phil 2:21 says similar: “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Revealing that I shouldn’t expect to observe much response to what He is giving me to share publicly on the subject.(You know your own heart, before you read the Ezekiel verse…if you were just being “entertained” by the video or were responding to the message in a serious manner.)

YET, I pray that my labors are NOT in vain, and that many WILL TURN, as I myself have chosen to do….resulting in God being made joyous by our newly-surrendered lives! I am praying for you, even as I release this blog!

Therefore, I exhort: EACH must question his or her OWN RESPONSE to the message He is giving His Church, of which we are a part.

Will you please be the One who puts what He is reveals into practice”?

Will you turn toward Contentment and away from Covetousness?

Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain! …More gain than covetousness could ever bring us!

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Now.. If you would like more information and truth, insight and practical application, about Covetousness, then read on:

Quite simply, Covetousness IS IDOLATRY.  It is your seeking contentment in “other things” apart from God… a “keeping up with the Jones”… a going after status, possessions, and power out of envy of our neighbor. It is taking your eyes off GOD and unto SELF.  It is taking your focus and resources away from the KINGDOM and God’s Purposes…and putting them on temporary things and fleeting pleasures, using them for your Own purposes. 

possessionsWe can covet many things: status, money, goods, houses, lands, and even people! Anything that someone else has that we desire to have for ourselves is covetousness. Anything we hang onto tightly, and are unwilling to give to God or others represents covetousness. Anything we zealously “want” so much that we take on needless debt or get involved in improper conduct (such as adultery) to satisfy “our craving” for that thing or person, is covetousness. Anytime, instead of asking God and waiting for his goodness of provision, that we covet and take, we exercise covetousness. Simply speaking, it is Love of Self rather than Love for God. Satisfying ourselves and our lusts, rather than honoring God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 

Let there be no mistake.  No covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it says in Ephesians 5:5-7 that the wrath of God will come upon the children of disobedience in this area, and that we are not to be partakers with them in Covetousness. (the verse can be found in the scriptures area below)

Lust is “longing for” and “going after” So the question is: Are you “longing for” things of this world, more than you are “longing for” God? 

I John 2:15-16  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Friendship with something, means we have a closer alliance with it than we have to God. James 4:4 says “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 

Do you buy and sell (the world’s system) more than you give and receive by faith (the Kingdom’s economy)? Do we “chase after” ? …more than we “ask of God” ?

thou shall not

covet-nothing

It is only when we believe the promises of God and trust in Him alone as OUR SOURCE, that we will find ourselves moving from covetousness to true contentment.

  • We must realize the goodness and generosity of our Father, and how he does delight in giving good things to his kids, if we but ask… And he gives to us, mostly, that we may give of our resources to meet others’ needs, and to the advance the Kingdom.  Friends…even if all we have left someday is God, He is enough.
  • Do not be afraid to give…to enjoy contentment… to stop the frenzy of this sin, for I assure you, that He WILL GIVE to you in answer to YOUR ASKING.  “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be open” ! Our God loves giving us GOOD GIFTS when we ASK!
  • It is alright to enjoy his contentment - already haveblessings, Saints.  And He does prosper His Servants.. and prosperity IS of God… But it is so we can be conduits of his divine resources too!… Giving and Receiving is the way of the Kingdom! His provision coming in and being sown outwardly …all the while holding very loosely all that He has given us to enjoy.    In reality, all we enjoy belongs to Him, and we are just stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

money-root-of-evilCovetousness “clogs” up the flow of God’s Provision toward US and toward OTHERS. This is why it is a serious sin to The Church as a whole at this time. Do we realize how many churches are closing due to this sin? For supply is being closed off…just as Satan desires. Monies are being allocated to satisfy our Covetousness instead of Advancing the Kingdom! And some people don’t go to church at all, because covetousness has reached maturity, to the point that they no longer want to part with their own money for offerings? They fail to realize that they are supporting the work of God in their giving, and that tithing is simply giving back that which God has given them. But can churches be covetous too? You bet they can.  Many small church pastors are covetous of mega church pastors, for they have larger budgets, they get more kudos, they have more prestige or power. Bigger paychecks! Frustrations and bitterness comes…discontentment with their small church, etc. AND yet we then look at some mega churches, who have pastors coveting each other’s roles within their own organizations!…and each others’ pay grades!

Covetousness has invaded every single area of society, this is why it is on the heart of God TO WARN, for he says “because of these things his wrath will come onto the children of disobedience.” Covetousness grows as a virus, spreading into other areas of our lives: individuals… schools….churches… businesses… internet… nations… the World!

desire creedWe have more gadgets,  thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits then we can keep track of…our malls and supermarkets full of enticing merchandise that we don’t think we can live without. Advertising seductively speaks that we will find happiness, and all will be peachy, if we just get “that”, whatever it may be. Status is measured in name brands and company logos.

An example of what I mean? Brand Name labels used to be hidden in the inside of our pants or shirts, and now they are viewed as being the important thing! Why…If you don’t wear a certain “brand”, you’re just not “cool”.  Friends, this breeds covetousness in children at school, in workers at work, and between companies as they “covet” for their brand renown. It has gone so much to the extreme in the US, that we actually export “non-brand name clothing” to third world countries, for we and our own children would not be seen wearing such “cheap clothes”. (i.e. not brand name!) This is a single example of a widespread issue. Do you know that brand-name athletic shoes are among the most stolen items at high schools and colleges? It is because of “covetousness”!!

  • covet-definitionAnd we’ve been assaulted with covetousness online!
  • I personally receive dozens of emails daily, from people trying to get me to BUY SOMETHING.  They do it by presenting a picture, a great price, and putting a thought in my head that “I just can’t live without this!”  Groupon, Amazon Local Deals, eCost, Yipit, and others come daily attempt to feed our lusts… and most websites, when you do buy something, put you on “their list”. UNSUBSCRIBE if you are daily tempted! and STOP BUYING! The more you are caught up in shopping and spending, the more you will be “enticed”.  It is a vicious cycle, unless it is “taken in hand”!  Instead, Start Giving what you have in surplus to others, as God would prompt you. (I’m not telling you to give everything you have away. Just listen to the Spirit if he prompts you to give something to someone! What goes around comes around…God will replenish you through someone else) 
  • By the way. those in poverty may have the biggest struggle in the area of covetousness, for they “desire MORE” for themselves, and may experience envy of their neighbors, coveting what “they” have.
  • Poverty is to be met by ASKING of GOD! He is no respecter of persons. In fact, Christ became poor, that you might give you his riches!
  • Poverty sometimes causes hoarding, for a person may FEAR LACK. Hoarders LOVE THEIR THINGS.. so much they can’t part with them… until they are lost under piles of stuff they have already, that is!) Instead, their family members part with them, in relationship! Covetousness, manifested as hoarding, has really become a serious issue! Choosing things over love from family! Wow! (But, I guess you don’t have to be a hoarder to do that kind of choosing though. Covetousness has a serious consequence: We can lose relationships!)

Now, understand, covetousness is not only in regard to things and possessions.  It has to do with “competing” and “grasping for more” …you covet that person’s job for yourself… lust after your neighbor’s wife… covet that woman’s beauty so you just must have that plastic surgery…or “I need a lawn care company too!” Covetousness takes many forms, and can lead to financial ruin, destroyed relationships, and sorrows of many kinds.

  • Even Eve, sinned the sin of forbidden-fruitcovetousness… she wanted more than what God had given her… she wanted what was out of her reach… she coveted the fact that she could become like God. Contentment was NOT her heart, even when the whole of the garden was hers to enjoy.  Covetousness today is exactly the same.  We have plenty and then some, but we want more! We want what “that person” has!

looking at neighbors ice cream

  • As part of our sinful nature, carried down from that first sin in the garden, covetousness will show up in children almost immediately. Parents, this is your opportunity to teach them about coveting what is their brother’s or sister’s or friend’s things, and to have them learn contentment.  Lovingly train them early about how God looks on covetousness, and you will prevent a stronghold in their life. Praise them as they ARE content, and lovingly correct them when they aren’t.
  • Women beware of coveting other women’s shopping ability if you go to the mall and have little resources to spend, while your friend pulls out her credit card and racks it up. It’s not a competition to see who can go home with the most goodies! Better to have a contest of who can “spend the least” on a shopping trip, and getting the better deals on the things your household needs!looking at others shopping
  • And for heaven’s sake, if you have a husband or boyfriend, do not be covetous of your friends and their household situations, putting strain on him or your marriage…to keep you in your “luxuries”, due to covetousness.  This is grievous and burdensome to him if finances are tight! God is your source, not him! Ask God. Don’t let your covetousness destroy your marriage, by piling up debt, never being satisfied with his gifts, having to have a certain expensive brand at the grocery store, etc. Let him enjoy your attitude of “contentment” and “pleasure in Him” instead of complaining! 

fish menMEN, don’t be envious of the income, resources, haul, or catch of another man in your life or vantage point. Proverbs 12:12 says, “The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of righteousness yields fruit.” 

BE CONTENT with what God has given you for position or income.  Be faithful where you are…ASK OF GOD, and He will promote you for your hard work and honoring of Him. The scriptures teach that promotion comes from The Lord: Psalm 75:6-7 “For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another.” You don’t have to “take” power  or “abuse” your authority or “compromise” your integrity in order to get ahead.

If the other man has more “man toys” then you, he probably also has more headaches and expense to “maintain” them!  And this could include “their wives!”

And EVERYONE:  “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side!”  (this is covetousness in a sentence!)

Exhortation: HOLD EVERYTHING LOOSELY…meaning Do not attach your heart to it!

I Cor 7:29-31 implies our time is short here… and we are to hold everything “loosely”. This passage instructs: “…and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.”

This is basically saying, we need to have a certain amount of contact with the world, and yes, you need the world’s goods… but Use It – Not Abuse It! Do not “love the world”. Love God! Only the Kingdom will go on… the World will pass away.

Proverbs 28:16b says “…But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.” Sounds like a great promise to hang onto as you are decision making in the days ahead!

in god we trust

  • WHO and WHAT you “trust” matters!
  • Is it GOD? or SELF?
  • Are you going to ASK and BELIEVE? RECEIVE and GIVE and RECEIVE?
  • OR, are you going to covet and take? holding on and not letting go!

IF WE WILL BECOME ALERT, THE SPIRIT OF GOD WILL DO A ONE-ON-ONE RESCUE OF EACH OF US – SO WE, HIS CHURCH, MAY COME  “OUT” FROM THIS STRONGHOLD!

CHOICES WILL BE MADE…EACH AND EVERY DAY:

  • TOWARD CONTENTMENT or TOWARD COVETOUSNESS…
  • TOWARD GIVING or TOWARD TAKING…
  • TOWARD HOLDING or TOWARD RELEASING.

We have free will. And it’s God’s great grace that will empower us to overcome. I know I have some things, myself, to bless others with, stored away in my garage… so, I’ll appreciate the one-on-one getting out from under my own covetousness, by being more of a giver too!

idolatry 2Now… here are some related scriptures to help us. Let us no longer remain ignorant of this gross sin in God’s eyes, that we might please Him, AS Lord:

Ephesians 5:5-7 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

I John 2:15-16  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

James 4:1-3 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:4 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses*, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the ENEMY of God.  (*infers “being unfaithful” to God in this passage)

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

Luke 12:15-21 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.  And he spoke a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Worthy to Note: It’s the storing up of our many treasures that can be of covetousness, even if God’s blessings gave them in the first place. If we desire them for “self” and “status”, disregarding God’s need for them to be distributed that our plenty will satisfy someone else in their scarcity, then we are not rich toward God. If a person is rich toward God, he or she will be using their given resources to bless others and to advance the Kingdom. They better be prepared for increased resources.. for God loves a flowing-in and a flowing-out GIVER!  Our “always having all sufficiency in all things” is so that we may “abound unto every good work”! (smile)

hebrews 13 5

Timothy 6:7-12 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.e of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

James 5:1-6 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.  Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

I Cor 7:29-32 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.  (Use it-Not abuse it!)

Jeremiah 8:10 says within it:  “Because from the least even to the greatest, everyone is given to covetousness.”

Proverbs 28:16b says “...But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.”

CLOSING REMARKS:

I know this is a very serious topic, and very sobering in presentation.  The verses reveal the seriousness of the sin to God.  And the seriousness of the result to us, if we live a lifestyle of covetousness.

Although the Lord is expecting more our obedience than our words… Still, a good way to begin surrender in this area, is with a prayer of repentance. His blood is powerful and will wipe away your sin, as you ask forgiveness, so there no need for condemnation. Just turn from covetousness, toward contentment, in response to the sweet conviction that is within your heart.

Dear Lord,  

I come To You, acknowledging that, yes, I, myself,  have walked in a certain degree of covetousness. I choose to turn away from Covetousness in my life…but I need you to help me!  Make me alert to temptations, and please reveal those times I am “falling into it” unknowingly deceived.  I will trust you, and ASK for that which I need to satisfy me.  And I will GIVE as you instruct, to the work of the Kingdom and to my neighbors in need, knowing that I will RECEIVE from your hand as I myself sow.  I will be content with what all you have given me, and I thank you for all the many blessings that are mine, Lord.  Reveal to me what to do with what I do have. Enable me to enjoy the things you give ME richly to enjoy, whilst holding it all loosely, able to release it anytime to your purposes. God, I know I have become entangled in this sin.  I know it has been rampant in my own life, as it is The Church, so please forgive me now… Cleanse now my conscience from my acts of selfishness, and I will “reckon myself dead to this sin!”. Being no longer ignorant, but aware, of how you look on this sin, enable me to have GREAT GRACE to DAILY OVERCOME – choosing contentment over covetousness – and using that which I am given to store up treasures in heaven and not hoard it here on earth.

In Jesus name, AMEN   

And here also is a word from the wise, that you may go on into victory:

Contentment makes poor men rich; and Discontent makes rich men poor! (Benjamin Franklin)

Written by Elizabeth Norland, August 10, 2013

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