Possess Your Possessions: What Comes To Mind When This Phrase Is Declared?

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A message about possessing possessions is always encouraging, drawn from the Old Testament picture of Joshua and Israel entering and taking the land. It’s about conquest and victory! It’s about promise and the faithfulness of God! And so, believers are challenged to do likewise.

But in today’s context, what comes to mind when the phrase “Possess Your Possessions” is declared?

I can’t speak for everyone, but in Singapore at least, I can only guess that possessions are usually associated with money, wealth, houses, cars and other forms of material abundance. As such, to possess our possessions would mean to have more and more of these. Sounds good? Amen?

This is not surprising as the influence of the prosperity gospel is prevalent and rather well received in a nation that has experienced material progress and prosperity in our short 50-year history. According to this gospel, one’s financial position is an indication of his faith and the favour of God upon his life, or the lack of. Put another way, since a believer is already highly favoured in Christ, he is entitled to an abundance of possessions. It is his right after all, so he might as well take it. (By grace, of course, since he doesn’t deserve it at all.)

Five Errors of the Prosperity Gospel
What does the Bible say about the Prosperity Gospel?

Whilst I have no problem having a few more dollars in my bank account, I want to be careful that I am not justifying my greed through spiritual or prophetic jargon. Consider this: If material prosperity is taken as the main (or only) measure of God’s blessings, when one seeks the blessings of God, is he not asking to be more prosperous materially? In other words, to be greedy for the blessings of God, in this context, is thus to be greedy for more possessions. In Christian circles, we often hear testimonies of how “God has blessed me!” and are encouraged to desire to have the same, by tithing and giving more because as we sow, so we shall also reap. Simply, we want to have what our neighbour has, and more! I believe the Bible has a word for such an attitude and appetite: Covetousness.

Luke 12:13-21 In the middle of a very serious and important teaching, this guy interrupts Jesus with a question, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” I suppose the share of inheritance was rightly his, and he merely wanted to possess his possessions. Jesus then turned this into an object lesson and said to the crowd, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.” Then, through the parable of the rich fool, Jesus cautions, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Like this man, if we are pre-occupied with possessions in the present, might we also be missing the weightier warnings of Jesus, that of greater and eternal significance?

Be careful with slogans and teachings that feed our fleshly desires and greeds, but do nothing to help us be truly rich toward God. In seemingly desiring the blessings of God, we could be justifying our covetousness without even realising it! Enjoy what you have, with thanksgiving and contentment. Our relationship with God is not determined by the possessions we have or do not have, but by His Son, Jesus who redeemed us with His own precious blood. To this end, we are His possessions and in that, we are already blessed. And even if we should have nothing in this present age, in Christ, we still possess all things (2 Cor 6:10).

Related Posts: Hungering for the Things of God; Hidden Covetousness

14 Years of Following Jesus

Today is 8 July 2014.

Each year, on this day, I take a moment to reflect and recount how 14 years ago, on 8 July 2000, Jesus invited me to follow Him. And so, what I am doing is nothing new; except, this year is especially significant. Having gone through a major transition in 2003/04, leaving the business to step into full-time ministry, the Lord has taken me into yet another transition, this time, stepping out from a church-based ministry to develop a ministry of my own.

The LoveSingapore 40Day Fast material through which the Lord spoke and called me to follow Him.

As I wrote in Follow Me: It’s Been 9 years: “The past 9 years have been the most exciting years of my life and I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  There’s more, for sure!” Interestingly, in 2012, the Lord showed me the word “abundance” and that sparked a new hunger and thirst to seek Him for all that He has in store for me. Two years later, that seeking has directed me into the next leg of my journey of serving Jesus through the expression of my present assignment, Archippus Awakening.

Even as I look forward to new things, new lessons and new experiences, it is important for me to acknowledge all that the Lord has allowed me to learn and the people He has led into my life and ministry. Firstly, I give thanks for Rev Francis and Sis Shirley who gave me the opportunity to partner them in Covenant Vision Centre when I first stepped out. In 2007, they entrusted me with the development and operation of Covenant Vision School of Ministry. When Covenant Vision Christian Church was birthed in 2008, I was commissioned as pastor and later ordained and positioned as the Deputy Senior Pastor. Without their prayers, support and encouragement, I would never have been able to learn so much.

Next, I am thankful for all the pastors and ministers – men and women of God – whom I have come into contact with. As I observed and interacted with them, it has deepened my understanding and broadened my perspective of ministry, as well as my own walk with God. Through the School, I am thankful for every student that has allowed me the privilege and honour to speak into their lives. Unknown to many, their Dean and Instructor has also often been the Student, silently learning and growing. In the Church, I give thanks for each and every member. Whether leading them in ministry, working with them in various projects, or ministering to them in their situations and challenges, these have shown me so much. I could go on, but time and space will not allow me to list everyone and every experience.

That said, this acknowledgement would not be complete if I do not mention my wife, Serene. Ever since the Lord called me 14 years ago, she has always been the one who is ever ready to obey and respond. Back then, when I asked her when I should step out, she said, “Anytime.” In Oct 2013, the Lord gave the word of stepping out and crossing over to and through Serene. I thought it only referred to my pastoral position but Serene was fully convinced it was for me to let go of everything. She was right. On 1 July, I ceased being the Dean of CVSOM. Together, over the past 14 years, we have gone through so much – as husband and wife, as father and mother, as fellow sojourners. In this new season, I sense that we will grow even more as fellow ministers and co-labourers for the Kingdom of God.

And finally, but definitely not the least, our children 🙂 In 2002, it was only 2yo David and 1.5mo Sarah. Today, they are joined by Aaron, Esther, Ruth, Deborah Hope and Anna Joy! Whether they realise it or not, every experience that I go through, they go through too, albeit in different ways. I am so thankful for their prayers and support, and especially their understanding when Daddy is away and unable to pray for them before they sleep. They are such a blessing and joy, both individually and collectively as the Lim Tribe.

14 years … wow! And yet, this is nothing compared to others who have served the Lord for decades since their youth. I’ve often remarked that there is a sense of regret that I wasted so much time when I was backslidden in my season of waywardness. That said, I have also come to know that God can redeem anything and in Christ, He will redeem the kairos that I have missed and turn this next season into the most abundant and fruitful of years for the sake of His name and kingdom! AMEN!

Reviewing The Year Through My Facebook Posts

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Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak (Matt 12:34). In our age of social media, we could say that out of the abundance of our hearts, we will tweet, or post.

As 2013 draws to a close, I thought it’d be an interesting exercise to review my posts through the year to see what resonated most in my heart. Unlike the Year In Review generated by Facebook based on posts which garnered the most likes, here are some of my personal favourites with a little commentary of what prompted each post.

You can’t love Jesus and not move forward! This was the challenge I issued to the congregation based on our church’s theme and process. Too many declare their love for Jesus but never move from that at all. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.” And that means doing all He tells us to do.

I’m on cloud nine! My wife said that I preached a good message this morning *beam* Others may tell me that I preached well. But when Serene tells me that, it makes all the difference!

This morning’s message convicted a sister to be baptized regardless being only believer in family. Love it when people respond to the Word! This is every preacher’s desire – when people are convicted by the message and are moved to act on it.

Biblical declarations may sound positive. But without Christ, it’s just another motivational chant and you’re still relying on yourself. This has become such a concern. Christians sure know how to talk Christian, but are they necessarily living a life in Christ? Unfortunately, a trial or crisis usually reveals otherwise.

You can learn from others’ experiences. But what you need to experience personally, only you can experience. No one can experience it for you. At the end of the day, it’s a walk that only you can walk.

After the Transformers ride… Me: “Deborah, you were so brave!!” Deborah: “Do you know why I am brave? Because God is with me. Love these chats with my 6 year old.

Don’t serve because pastor says so. Nor serve because it makes you feel better about yourself. Serve because you love Jesus. Always good to challenge ourselves to know why or whom we serve.

Singlish faith: Ok God, you say one ah! I really love this one! Only Singaporeans can identify with this phrase and how to say it correctly – haha! This is something I say to the Lord often, in Singlish, of course.

The question is not “Is God speaking?” but “Are we listening?I posted this after a series of instructions and affirmations from the Lord. Totally overwhelmed by how clearly He spoke!

It may seem insignificant but that little act of obedience, your response by faith, is what opens the door to all that God has already prepared for you. Believing this for myself. Now, to run through the opened door.

Before faith can be victorious, it must be courageous. Preached “Victorious Faith” and was reminded that at times, it is courageous faith that leads us to victorious faith! Amen!

In our relationship with God, we mustn’t have a contractual but a covenantal mindset. The former is based on terms whilst the latter, trust. Really love this revelation by the Spirit. Stop bargaining with God, presenting your terms or demanding your entitlements. Just trust Him and serve Him. He knows best.

Just dawned on me: God could raise any one of these to become the next Graham, Moody or Spurgeon; and I would have played a small part in speaking into their lives! Yes, Lord! After preaching at a youth camp, I realised my little contribution could be used by God to raise a new generation of preachers and leaders. Wow! Sure bowled me over.

A walk with Jesus not only helps you celebrate coincidences as divine but also to understand them as sovereign checkpoints towards all He has planned for you. Looking back, it is truly amazing how the Lord has led me thus far. Everything falls in place when seen from His perspective. I’m so looking forward to the next leg of the journey in 2014.

Meaningful that the 9 of us spent tonight reviewing 2013 & committing our desires for 2014 to the Lord. Our family held a Thanksgiving & Consecration Service on 29 Dec as prompted by the Lord in the spirit of Joshua 1:11 that “within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”

Indeed, It’s been a very challenging but interesting year. Yet, all through, the Lord has been with me, sustaining and enabling me by His grace. I don’t really know what to expect in 2014. All I know is that I have a word from the Lord and I will be holding on to that for dear life. For, if the Lord has spoken, then surely He is faithful to bring it to pass. We may face uncertainties and challenges along the way, but we can rest assured that His presence goes with us. Nothing will rock our conviction nor distract us from the call. In the words of Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

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PS: As always, my prayer is that the Lord will use these posts to bless, encourage and even provoke you. For more of my rambling thoughts (revelations?), check out Quotable Quotes. Feel free to share these with others, but please remember to credit http://www.brohenson.org. Thanks!

Christmas Blessings from The Lim Tribe

Christmas 2012 frame

When the Lord spoke the word “Abundance!” into my heart in January, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Well, the year has been nothing short of that … ABUNDANT … and still I know there is so much more the Lord has in store for us! This Christmas season, we are reminded of the birth and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in John 10:10, Jesus Himself declares that He came that we might have life to the very fullest! This is a promise that we have experienced through this year in so many interesting and meaningful ways.

Dear friends, we give thanks to the Lord for your friendship and partnership in the ministry. As we have personally experienced God’s abundant love, grace and blessings, our prayer for you is that you experience the same too! How? Simply through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour!

The Lim Tribe wishes you a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year in the Lord!

From Henson & Serene
with David, Sarah, Aaron, Esther, Ruth, Deborah Hope & Anna Joy

God Is Into New Things!

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18, 19

It was on one of my evening runs that I noticed this tree in Bishan Park. It looked a little odd with the leafless branches sticking out on one side; and on the other side, a small bunch of green leaves sprouting. Quite immediately, Isaiah 43:18-19 came to mind!

Yes, at times, we may go through dry and seemingly barren seasons. There may be no leaves, no flowers, no fruit for a while. Does it mean that nothing is happening? Not at all! This could just be a time of recuperating, of resting and of realigning. God may appear silent but He continues to work in the background of our lives.

It’s easy to see the branches but no one sees the roots. Yet, that’s where the action is. Our part is not to focus on the outward but to continue to draw from the Source. There may have been disappointments and discouragements, mistakes and mess ups. That’s ok. Keep drawing to keep growing. All these, like the old leaves, will soon fall off and the winds will carry it far away. If we hold on to the past, we will not allow these to make way for new leaves, for new things, to come.

God is always into new things and we are to move forward with Him. How tempting it is to remember the former things, and that’s why the prophet Isaiah declares, “Do not remember the former things!” Let it go! Stop looking back with regrets! Keep doing that and we will miss what’s ahead. God does not wait for us to stop looking back before He begins a new work in our lives. It’s already started, He says! Do you not see it? Shall you not know it?

This is so exciting as I sense this is a personal word to me! The new season has already begun! A new wave has emerged in my life and ministry, and God is inviting me to jump on and ride it with Him that I may experience the abundance He has for me, my family and ministry.

Perhaps He is saying the same to you?

I’m Surrounded!

Have you ever felt totally and utterly overwhelmed before? You try to keep your head above the water but your mind is just cramped full of details and questions. Try as you might to escape these thoughts, there just seems to be no way out. You are crying out for answers and all you experience is this oppressive sense of the entire room closing in on you! All too soon, you are surrounded and hemmed in by fear and anxiety.

That must have been how Gehazi, felt too when he went for a morning walk with Elisha, only to see the city entirely surrounded by the Syrian army! Immediately, he says to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” It must have been a scary sight! They were totally surrounded by horses and chariots. And it would only be a matter of time before the army closed in on them. However, whilst Gehazi saw and reacted in the natural, Elisha saw something else in the spiritual, and coolly replied, Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16

Gehazi must have wondered, “Hello?! It’s just the two of us. Who else is with us? If we don’t start running, we are dead ducks!” At the request of Elisha, the Lord opened Gehazi’s spiritual eyes and the young man couldn’t believe what he saw … he was still surrounded, but this time, by a far greater number of the Lord’s army, horses and chariots blazing with fire! (2 Kings 6:17)

Whether you are an executive braving the corporate jungle, or a homemaker trying your best to keep your house and children in order, you know what I am talking about. There are just those days when you feel totally surrounded and overwhelmed by the ridiculous demands and pressures of life. You look at the “Syrian army” around you and are so tempted to say, “It’s no use! I’m totally surrounded. I might as well give up!” DON’T!

The enemy wants to keep you in the natural, but you need to understand that the battle is in the spiritual. If your eyes are continually fixed on the problem, it will appear larger and larger until it consumes you! Do you not see that this is the ploy of the enemy? He wants to surround you, to besiege you, to starve you, to weaken you and finally, to kill you.

“‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Instead, ask the Lord to open your eyes that you may see! Ask Him to reveal the truth of His presence and protection over and around you. In Psalm 125:1&2, the psalmist declares, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” (emphasis mine) In Zech 2:5, God Himself declares, “I will be a wall of fire all around [Jerusalem], and I will be the glory in her midst.” YES, people of God, YOU ARE SURROUNDED … not by the enemy … but by the power, by the presence, by the abundance, by the grace, by the love of God!

I know it’s not easy when you are in the midst of a trying time and everything seems to be closing in on you. In the narrowness of that moment, call on the LORD and ask Him to open your eyes that you may have the right perspective to be strong in Him. Learn from the psalmist who said, “I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6&7, italics mine.)

Indeed, if God is for you, who can be against you (Rom 8:31)? Do you not know that the battle is not yours to fight, but the Lord’s? Do you not know that the heavens have been opened over you, that every spiritual resource has now been made available to you in Christ? Do you not know that whatever the enemy throws at you, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God? If not, then ask the Lord to open your eyes that you may see!

As God’s children, the safest and most secure place is in the Father’s arms, where we are constantly surrounded by His everlasting love.

My dear friend, no matter how tough a situation (or a person) may be, nothing is too difficult for the one who places his trust in God. Pray for the Lord to open your spiritual eyes to see Him for who He truly is and that you, being wrapped in Christ and His righteousness, are totally safe in His arms because He surrounds you completely. And then, walk in the freedom and victory He has already secured for you by the precious blood and through the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the cross!