Welcome to Day 7 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing our final free will offering of incense that she penned in 2016. It is a powerful story of Christ’s intercession at work in her, taking us all on a journey into the heart of God for the beautiful people living in Vietnam.
We pray that your hearts are being so encouraged to continue pressing into Jesus, to see His incense rise in intercession in and through you. Our own hearts are being so encouraged also in sharing old and new testimonies. May praise and worship rise in each one of our hearts and be on our lips as we bow in awe of our mighty God who always lives to make intercession for each one of His children, who never leave His safe hand. May we recognize His face and Presence waiting to be uncovered in those He sets before us and moves us to intercede for.
How did I get to be in that incredible place? And why am I telling this story now, in the middle of this RA/Fibromyalgia Season of re-learning my place?
Another word-sharing-session with my counselor brought me to the place of remembering. I told her that I still wanted to be up and doing and walking away my anxieties. I am not finding the PEACE here that I thought I should have attained by now. So my Counselor asked if I could take a walk through the memory hall of my mind. The same emotions that were triggered during the actual pleasant times can be triggered again, proven by studies, simply when we remember those times.
Shortly after she proposed a time of remembering, a new Blog-Friend of mine found out that I had taken a God-Planned-Adventure to Vietnam, and she stirred up these very memories when she shared her own Adventures. Thank you Valerie, at gracewithsilk for asking to hear about my story! So today I am walking over the land that a healthier and stronger me was allowed to witness.
I was probably 17 or 18 years old when I had a vision while I was praying. I saw myself in an Asian Village, being so thankful to share in a love that was God-given. I assumed I would be a Missionary. But my life took a different turn, and decades later, as a stay-at-home Mom, I found myself wrapped up in the story of my Pastor and his Wife, trying to adopt a baby from Cambodia.
I prayed and agonized with them through a very long and difficult adoption process. When they returned with their beautiful baby boy, I sat amazed by the pictures in their slideshow. It looked like the Asian Village in my vision from so long ago. Tears rolled down my face, as I felt the Lord say that I had been in that village with them through my praying. Ahh beautiful, I thought. Now I know why I had that vision. End of Story.
But God’s endings are not the same as ours. Another decade later, and this time our oldest son took a trip to Vietnam with his new friend. We didn’t know that a possible marriage with his friend’s sister was in the itinerary. But again, Jesus finds ways to let a Mama know how to pray. On the very night of the marriage, half-way around the world, my heart was burdened to pray for my children’s spouses, with an urgency like never before. So when our son came home and asked us to pray with him so that his new wife could get a VISA to come to America, my heart had already been prepared.
Years of praying, and crying, and waiting were finally answered in the spring of 2011, when her VISA was approved. When we finally met our new daughter-in-law, loving her was easy because my heart had been captivated before she ever set foot in America.
So when she asked me to go with her back to Vietnam for a Family Reunion Party later that fall, I thought my heart would burst.
My journeys now feel large when I can take a day-trip involving a 3 or 4 hour car ride. But my times for Adventure are not finished. When I let Jesus plan my journey, whether through chronic illness or healthy travels, HE will set my feet in the good place of HIS choosing: Finding BEAUTY and LOVE each step of the way.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus”
Welcome to Day 6 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a free will offering of incense in a testimony of God’s sufficiency in our intercession in Him, Scriptures and a poem of praise and worship.
May you be blessed in the encouragement and comfort Bettie brings us all in Christ Jesus. Come join us tomorrow for another post from Bettie: a powerful story of answered prayers, taking us all on a journey to the beautiful country and people of Vietnam.
If you feel so led, will you join me in lifting Bettie and her family up in prayer this weekend as she and her husband move in with their daughter and her family. They are saying goodbye to their home of many years to welcome God’s sufficiency for them in this new phase of ongoing surrender, as her husband’s health and hers continues to deteriorate. May God fill us with His precious Word to pray over Bettie and all those He calls us to intercede for in His Name.
The day started out slowly, like most of my days, but I felt Jesus with me. As He had been speaking more words about surrender, I felt that I was listening this time and preparing for what He would take me through. This waiting time to find a medication that would bring the RA back down from an inflamed state felt like it was taking too long for my own time-table. So, I continued to ask Him to uncover more of my own desires for self-sufficiency that still lingered within. As I had been asking my friends for prayer, I thought that I was on the road to acceptance.
Until another small set-back pushed me over the edge, and the tears spilled out.
Many years ago, the Lord took me through a long season of intercession for several friends and family members. It was a time of deep stretching. And it became my first lesson in learning that only God’s Grace is sufficient. The burdens became too heavy for me to carry on my own. I knew that the prayers themselves were being birthed in the Spirit, as words and Scriptures would flood my mind.
Then many years after that, the Lord opened a way for this small town Midwestern girl to travel with my new Vietnamese daughter-in-law by ourselves to Vietnam for a 3 week visit with her family. She had only been in the US for 7 months herself, and I had never been out of the country. I knew I was in over my head. I knew that God’s Grace would have to be my sufficiency.
In those seasons, the night-times were places where Jesus often called prayers up from the deepest places of my heart. Pages and pages of old journals document the hard and the sweet words He spoke through my prayers. Prophetic and surprising, so many of those prayers were answered in just the way God had asked me to pray.
So when I cried at the self-sufficiency being taken away in this season of Chronic Illness, the Holy Whisper of God surprised me:
This is not a foreign place for you, my daughter. I have prepared you for these days already. You have learned that my Grace is sufficient in every place of prayer. Am I not sufficient for you here?
And suddenly I was whisked back in time, remembering those days . . .
“All For Love”
The words gushed out of my heart
The groans and the tears
On the floor at my feet.
Intercession swirled over my head
The pain that another felt
My heart like my own
God brought the questions
Then God sent His Word
Pray the answers
How could I explain the prayers
Poured from my belly
The longing for which I waited
They are The Apple of Your Eye
They are The Dearly Loved Ones
Whom You spilled Your blood
Months passed and years plodded
The prayers kept pouring forth
My soul where I carried grief
Bitter turned to sweet!
Prayers found fullness!
Even as my singing heart rejoiced
Even as the weight was lifted
A pin had pricked my soul
A bleeding kept pouring forth
A hidden chamber in my heart
A question lodged still remained
You saw it all my Lord Jesus Christ
You carried all those weights
I thought I would die underneath
Yours is the only heart fully able
Be the true intercessor for us all
Carries the hardest-hearted-sinner
But You ask us to join you there
Crawl up into Your lap of love
We speak the same words You speak
You want to show us the beauty
Only Love Eyes can look upon
Only Love spilled out can win
They are the ones
We are the ones
I am the one
The apple of Your eye
“In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,” Deuteronomy 32:10 NIV
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV
When we see the cross set before us, we look upon the One who shed His own dear blood, and we wonder how. We wonder why. When all the answers are filled up in only one word: His love led Him there. He took JOY to redeem us back to the heart of His Father.
Have you let Him show you the love He carries for you?
Do you know that you are the apple of His eye?
Dear Lord Jesus,
We do come before you, falling to our knees. How could you have loved us so? We know that we are so hard-hearted, and we must admit that we are filled with our own self-sufficiency. Some days we are so proud of that sufficiency.
Oh, Lord, forgive us for all these ways that we turn away from You. And yet You still love us and call us back to Yourself.
Will you give us glimpses of the depth of Your love? Will you wash away more of our places of pride? And will You fill us with the immeasurable love that only You can bring?
We need You so much. We long to be with you Jesus. We praise You for Your beauty and Glory.
Welcome to Day 5 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in Scriptures and a testimonial poem of praise to the power of Christ’s intercession at work in her. Yes! His incense arises in power in our weakness, compelling us to loose His Promises in faith, and to see them bear fruit in our lives and others’.
Loosing the Promises of God
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (ESV)
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. Revelation 1:17-19 (ESV)
Grief waits upon No one It swells And breaks My placid perfect Life awake.
Now spit And foam The Promises Long hid Come rushing Crashing Back to Life.
The longing From my heart His Promises To know Long hid away In drawers Fastened Shut.
But as the waves Swell And break The drawers Loose His Promises To life.
My body, mind And soul In Spirit breath Awake.
From deep within The Living Word Each Promise Brings In Holy Spirit breath To sing.
For in the Word's Waking My heart Draws near Christ's heart To hear.
This childlike heart In steadfast love is Rootèd secure:
That I might Taste and see The width And breadth And depth Of Christ.
Living water rushes Strong, crashing My heart to search And know In waves of mercy The blood of Christ Still flows.
Each day anew My burdened heart Christ draws near In Spirit song To wake And sing with Him Each Word To life.
Before, behind Beneath, above My Savior sings And calls to me: "Draw near And I'll draw near To you."
But now I know It is not me But Christ Who fulfills The law in me.
He draws me That I may Draw near To Him.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:52 (ESV)
Welcome to Day 4 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in Scriptures and a poem God poured out of her, as He began to expose her sinful heart, more and more, through each trigger of trauma. In that place of her weakness, He invited her to release her self-righteousness and self-sufficiency for His all-sufficient grace. She also shares a song she often finds herself singing in her home: a song her mother sung around her, when she was growing up, about the steadfast love and mercy of our LORD.
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)
As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.
Ezekiel 20:41 (ESV)
A Pleasing Offering
What if we saw Each tear Each ache Each unutterable cry As gifts You ask us bring?
What if our offering Is all that shame And all that fear Would have us hide and turn away?
What if incense sweet Is not of human strength But of broken heart Contrite and bowed here low?
What if depths of me Met depths of You In alabaster broken Poured here at Your Mighty feet?
What if clothed in shame I stretched to touch Your garment pure And power filled me here?
What if all You've ever asked Is that I come Just as I am Broken, in need of my True Friend?
What if Dove descends And Eagle soars In all that's broken True?
LORD, here I am A sinner Broken, weak, in desperate need These gifts I bring to you My offering, pleasing sweet.
"Child," I hear your Voice In cloud now raised My feet here bowed On Holy ground so pure.
"Arise in Christ Forgiven, free See now My face In Yours."
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50 (KJV)
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Welcome to Day 3 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense through a Promise from God’s Word, a poem and a photo of flowers her daughter came home with for her on a particularly difficult day. It was truly a gift of God’s kindness, without her realizing it.
My King, My LORD In Me
1 Kings 9:3 I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy- this place you have built, where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it. For it is dear to my heart.
I cannot see With eyes of flesh Am blinded To all so true, so pure.
But then, Your Spirit falls Like oil my worship to You released Fragrant incense to You I raise My heart, it breaks and pours.
My hands, they lift My lips, they cry My heart to You returns Freed in You, I'm now soaring high.
I cannot see With eyes of flesh Am blinded To all so true, so pure.
But in worship led My eyes, You open Riches here reveal Wealth immeasurable: all in You.
And so my heart, it pours My hands in kindness reach My lips in love, You speak Surrendered, free: My King, My Lord in me.
Welcome to Day 2 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense through a devotional testimony, including a poem and prayer.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2(ESV)
At my baptism, after a long Prodigal journey home, I promised God I would follow Him anywhere, whatever the cost. Little did I realize where He would lead me, mere weeks later.
Strapped to the altar again In this obedience I dread I'm tethered and taut.
Pouring confession Of sin and fears Of horrid pain In seeping wounds.
Burying myself deep In shame I cringe At who I believe I am A mess, laid bare.
As I began to step out in faith, the enemy hurled accusations at me. As I reached out, confessing my weakness and sins openly before Christian leaders, the enemy worked through them to affirm my old identity.
What I didn’t yet see was that God was allowing every attack, every rejection and every back turning toward me, for my good. For, every stripping was permitted to humble me in my pride. Tenderly and patiently, Jesus has been laboring in me to uproot my faith in myself and in man, to replant my longings and affections in the good and soft soil of His heart.
But in my pouring out You lift my eyes to truth My striving dies Your Face to see.
Eyes of love My face in light cascade My weak and feeble frame In warmth You bathe.
The tears now flow Released in streams My heart unburdened, Bare.
Oh no Not broken mess But Christ in me The Eagle freed.
Your Voice Upon this altar cries "Sin and shame Are not your name.
"For not you But I have chosen And appointed you To go and bear much fruit.
"Now go: depart under A new authority Be cleansed to see The pure as pure."
Even as I have repeatedly stumbled in my pride, returning to bow before my idols and muddying my vision (Proverbs 25:26), God has not left my side. Christ has continually moved in to avenge His elect, lovingly training me in righteousness. He has been like He commanded Hosea to be unto Gomer. He has refused to let me go.
He has separated me from my idols, hemmed me in on all sides and showered me in kindness to lead me to repentance. He has been taking the truth of my redemption, my “buying back”, from my head to my heart (Hebrews 10:16). Piece by piece.
Where sacrifice Of pain On altar strapped To die, I see.
You lift my gaze To see Your face In mine.
In the fear of losing my precious Savior, I followed Him where I, at first, didn’t want to go. For, what He has asked me to do has so often directly contradicted what I think is “right” and “good”.
But it’s then, in dying to my own thinking and plans to obey His will that I have discovered that He has in fact been taking me where my heart has truly longed to go: deeper and deeper into His searching and knowing. I now know the jealous flames of His love, and the stripping of His Word, have been sent, not to destroy me, but to circumcise my heart and open my eyes to His never-forsaking Presence with me.
All along, He has been leading me into receiving His reputation (Shem) in my humbling, His Name of power and majesty (Yah) in my weakness and His light (nihe’ra) of truth, love and grace in the darkness of my sin and hiding.
Shem yah nihe'ra Your renown, Your Name Your gold glowing You're shining bright in me.
No longer I But Christ in me I see Your burning coals My heart and lips have freed.
A JOY My heart explodes A waterfall of grace Splashing on my face
Lifting the weight of my sin, pain and sorrow, through all the stripping and burning, He has been inviting me to celebrate His life and breath at work in me. To believe Him when He says that it is no longer I but He – Christ- who lives in me. To believe Him when He sees that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and that I may come boldly before the throne of grace in my time of need.
My broken walls You have rebuilt Salvation and deliverance Are in You.
Hemmed in Your nail-pierced hands Your palm Upon my head.
No, I shall not lie In a bed of shame But rise to follow You Into the light.
It is not me, but CHRIST who is yielding up my fleshly desires for His life giving breath. Just like Paul, I can now say (2 Corinthians 1: 9-10 ESV): “Indeed, [I] felt that [I] had received the sentence of death. But that was to make [me] rely not on [myself] but on God who raises the dead. He delivered [me] from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver [me]. On him [I] have set [my] hope that he will deliver [me] again.”
Those first few sheddings of the old came through horrific trauma triggers. But precisely the gravity of each attack showed me the deep desire of my God to wake me up from my slumber and to set me free. As I cried out to Him, He upheld me and revealed His desire for me to live and move and have my being in Him alone.
At every turn, as I have stumbled and fallen, as I have turned back toward the old, believing in the enemy’s accusations of condemnation against me, above God’s holy Word to me, Christ has defended me.
He has lifted me up out of the muck and mire of pride, bitterness and self, to set me upon the Rock of His precious Word to me. He has flamed alive His Word in my heart, cauterizing the wounds of each stripping and then pouring out a balm of comfort by His Holy Spirit to restore my body, heart and soul to my First Love – to bring unity in the Sword’s dividing.
For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50 (ESV)
Recently, He even gave me such a beautiful picture of this process on my finger. I had cut my fingernail too close to the skin and it had become infected and in that infection extra “wild flesh” began to grow because my body began to see the new nail growing as an intruder, triggering an overactive immune system.
The doctor prescribed a nitrate pen to burn away the “wild flesh” in daily applications, scraping away the loosening “wild flesh” after a week, and then cauterizing the open wound in a fresh burning to avoid new infections. Then, she prescribed a cortisone cream designed to reduce inflammation and the skin’s natural cell division to gently remove the final layers of skin that didn’t belong there.
Now, I see the Great Physician’s loving care in His repeated burning, stripping, burning and balming of my heart in His Word to me. That I am still alive today, when all I wanted was to die through the painful stripping and burning, is a testament to His tender mercies poured out on me and the intercession of His Son rising in and for me. Now, I know the flame of His love isn’t sent to burn and consume us, but to flame alive His Word in our heart and to consume the dross of our idolatry and pride.
As a child, I counted up the cost of following Christ and turned my back on Him, believing He had turned His back on me. Now, hidden in the righteousness of Christ, I have counted up the cost anew, and declare Him worthy of all praise. For I can now say, along with Paul, that all else is rubbish, compared to the surpassing wealth of knowing Christ in His death and resurrection. For His Presence is heaven to me.
No! I will not die But live to tell What You: the LORD Have done.
My lips You've set apart From a new heart Blessings to bestow.
My lamp is shining brightly On salvation's hill For I live by faith not in myself But in the Son of God.
In the One who loved me And gave Himself for me Who called me out of darkness Into His glorious light.
Praise now so often pours forth from my lips and tears stream down my face, as I recognize and acknowledge how God has been showering me in a mercy I do not deserve.
Oh how my heart now longs for Him to burn ever more brightly in me. I long for Jesus to burn away all dross in me, to make me holy as He is holy.
And I know He is honoring this yearning that He has sown deep within me. He just keeps exposing and uncovering more and more sin. Burning away more and more dross, so that His sweet incense may be released ever more in and through me.
Do you recognize that longing for holiness in your own heart also, and how it has waned at times also? Do you recognize the struggle to embrace the stripping and flame, as God’s love for you? Will you join me in a prayer of thanksgiving and repentance? Come, let’s praise our Father for His Promise to fulfill the longings He has planted in us. For, He is the strength of our hearts, when our own hearts fail us.
Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You for the jealous flames of Your love burning away the dross in us, to draw us ever closer to You. Thank You for the cleansing waters of Your love washing over us, for carrying away our sin and our shame.
Thank You for sending precious Jesus to be our salvation, our Rock and Redeemer and the Lifter of our head. Thank You that You have promised never to leave or forsake us. Forgive us for all the times we have agreed with the enemy’s accusation that You have abandoned us. We come out of agreement with that now.
Forgive us also for every time we have clung to the accusations of the enemy against us, rather than coming boldly before the throne of grace in our time of need. We come before You now, just as we are, without one plea, asking You to cleanse us of all unrighteousness by the blood of the pure and spotless Lamb: Your Son, Jesus.
Thank You for searching and knowing our hearts, for continually leading us to a godly sorrow in repentance – in the changing of our minds – without regret. Thank You for exposing every accusation, every sin, every idol in the stripping for Your fire to consume it. Thank You for restoring unto us the joy of our salvation and for choosing not to take away Your Holy Spirit from us.
Thank You for the stripping back You have ordained, not to harm us, but to heal us: to exchange our heart of stone for Your tender heart of flesh. Thank You for Your sweet mercy, Your longsuffering and compassion toward us. Thank You for the blessing of Your sweet Presence in the flames.
Thank You that though our flesh is so very weak, YOUR Spirit in us is so very strong. Thank You for, again and again, leading us to deny our flesh and sow into the Spirit. Thank You for giving us a hunger and thirst for Your Word that nothing else will ever be able to satisfy our hunger and thirst, but You. Thank You for filling us with Your Son: with an all-consuming fire to love, honor and obey You at all costs.
Thank You for leading us to pour out our hearts to You, to give You our pain and our deepest longings, to bring our whole heart to You. Thank You for teaching us to lay all down before You, for opening our eyes and ears to Your pure Word rising in us. Thank You that strong in You, we shall resist the devil, causing him to flee from us.
Father, thank You, that hidden in the righteousness of Christ, we can count it all joy, when we meet trials of various kinds, for we know that the testing of our faith is producing steadfastness in us. Thank You that steadfastness shall have its full effect in us, that in You we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Thank You for the gift of Your Presence in every humbling, for leading us to release everything and everyone into Your hands to receive You.
Thank You that we are born again into a living hope, with an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. Thank You for teaching us to rejoice in this truth, though now for a little while, we have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of our faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Thank You for causing us to humble ourselves before You, that others are now beginning to see, no longer us, but the light of Jesus and His face shining upon them. Thank You that You have drawn us – Your royal priesthood – out of darkness into Your glorious light. In Jesus’ mighty Name, Amen.
Welcome to Day 1 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in a poem inspired by God’s Word to her in the crushing.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 (ESV)
How can I rest How can I open my palms Let go And rest?
How can I receive The Word That says You delight In me?
When Your Word in me Has closed doors on me In confessing My weakness and sin.
How can I receive Delight in that When Your Word calls me Depart, bereft?
Am I not mistaken? Does not each loss Each door closing Only affirm I'm lost?
"Oh my child," I hear You speak "In your pain, be still Know My Son is calling.
"Let the Sword of Life Now circumcise your heart That ears and eyes May open unto Me.
"For, I have come Not to call the righteous But to pour My oil Of mercy upon sinners.
"Receive My living water Feel My waterfall of grace Now splashing on your face Receive My goodness and mercy
"In My Son's crushing Of your pride and self Receive My oil Richly flowing.
"Yes, there's life In the womb Feel the Son of God Now crowning in you.
"Be not afraid, My child This labor pain you're feeling Is but a shedding of the old To birth the new.
"For, Christ wore A crown of thorns To place a crown Of life upon your head.
"In the garden of Gethsemane My Son drunk the cup Upon the Cross Your debt to pay in full.
"Now be Christ's friend Let the counsel Of the Holy Spirit Set you apart.
"Let each loss Become sweet gain For, into every crushing My oil of comfort pours.
"Let now My Holy Spirit pour Upon the soil Of all Christ's crushing.
"For, is it not your honor To bow before Him here To taste of His sacrifice For you?
"Has He not proven In His crushing for your sins His Bride is worth Far more than rubies?
"Yes, the enemy may rage In darkness all around you But hidden in Christ See your lamp glow bright.
"Sow now Into the good soil Of Christ's own Body Broken open for you.
"Let His seed of truth Long hidden in your heart Now reap perfect peace In the dying.
"Bring no longer a Burnt-out sacrifice of self But a free will offering In mercy richly flowing.
"Watch and wait My holy flame shall fall Upon the oil Of Christ's anointing.
"A fragrant incense In My fire shall rise Repentance and Refreshing reaping.
"Now, delight In Me, My child For I delight In you."
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:55-60 (ESV)
‘You will also be [considered] a crown of glory and splendor in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God.’ It will no longer be said of you [Judah], “Azubah (Abandoned),”Nor will it any longer be said of your land, “Shemamah (Desolate)”; But you will be called, “Hephzibah (My Delight is in Her),”And your land, “i.e. Beulah, pronounced Be-oo-lah.Married”; For the Lord delights in you, And to Him your land will be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. Isaiah 62: 3 – 4 (AMP)
Welcome to Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is introducing us to the free will offering of incense – spices brought forward by the people and a grinding and perfuming process completed by the High Priest.
-Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord:
spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; Exodus 35:5,8
-And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. Exodus 30:7-8
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4
The aroma has become so familiar to me that even one whiff will set my mind in the direction of evening time, and resting. In fact, my husband has become acquainted with that aroma, even though he himself does not use the fragrance. It is the fragrance of the oil that I massage into my diseased joints, night after night: the pure oil of Frankincense. Recommended by many who are familiar with the healing properties of essential oils, Frankincense has many benefits, both by documented sources and oral traditions.
But did you know that Frankincense has another kind of history? Why did the Magi bring that specific gift to the infant Christ? And how were the Ancient Hebrews so familiar with that fragrance?
We first hear of Frankincense and its appointment in the 30th chapter of Exodus, as the building of the Tabernacle and its appointments are being directed by the Lord. A special altar set aside for offering incense to the Lord was described, as well as the special ingredients for the making of the incense offered there. Frankincense, with its Hebrew meaning closely associated with the Hebrew word for the color white, was an aromatic resin to be combined with other highly fragrant plants and resins, for a special combination of odors to be offered continually before the Lord.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Ark of the Covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD.’” Exodus 30:34-37
Holy, set apart, consecrated for the Lord’s service only, this combination was recognized as something not to be taken lightly, something that signified the Presence of the LORD in their midst. And, yet, when a small baby was born in the tiny village of Bethlehem, ancient scholars, traveling to witness a prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, gave three very special gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were acknowledging the presence of Royalty, and the presence of the Most High God in their midst. Jesus, the Son of God, dwelling here in the world of men.
Fast forward a few decades, and Jesus’ disciple, the one who was called “The Beloved of the Lord” gave us another picture of the sweet fragrance of the incense. This time, in his vision of the actual Heavenly Temple and the Lamb of God upon His throne, John was told how we, the people of God have a place before our Lord’s throne:
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8
The color white
Pure and sweet
A fragrant offering lifted up
As the smoke of the Incense
Rose before my LORD.
Of the Lord’s Incense
Set apart as Holy, consecrated
Expression of Worship
Rose before my LORD.
The Christ Child
Sent to dwell below
With the people of this world
Expression of Royalty
Rising before the LORD.
The Christ Gift
Given so pure
For the sins of us so dark
A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice
Rising before the LORD
Deep calls unto Deep
My wounded Life
He now covers with His own
Rising before the LORD
Worship so pure
Prayers set free
He is calling from my heart
As a new Incense
Rising before HIS Throne.
Will you join Anna and I in prayer today?
Thank You that Your Holy Spirit carries every prayer of Your Son in us – our Great High Priest, who was crushed for our iniquities – before Your holy throne. Thank You that Your Son holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Thank You that, he is therefore able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to You through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
We bow before You now, as we acknowledge that there is none like You, the Only God who listens and hears His people when they cry. May our voices be sweet to Your ears, and may our praises be glorious before You now. In the name of Your precious Son Jesus we pray. Amen.
And we welcome you to join us in the coming days for our daily free will offerings of incense in Christ Jesus that we pray encourage you to bring forward your own free will offerings of incense in Christ Jesus.