Part 3: Chapter 3: Aaron’s Budding Staff

Welcome to Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to Aaron’s budding staff. In the days to come, Anna and Bettie will be adding free will offerings of praise, testifying to the blossoming Word of Life in their hearts and midst, to the bottom of this post.

We read in Numbers 17:10 (ESV): And the Lord said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” The budding and blossoming rod was thus placed in the Tabernacle’s tent of meeting – the same tent we shared about in Chapter 2 that was made of goats’ hair, a durable fabric that helped protect the Tabernacle through the long years in the wilderness.

Numbers 17:5 (ESV) speaks of why God made Aaron’s staff to sprout: And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you.” Some of the Israelites had grumbled about Aaron’s privileged position as a priest and had challenged Moses’ God-given authority.

Anna invites you to join her, as she shares of how God opened her own eyes to see life blossoming, where she least expected it, as the Holy Spirit prompted her to stop pleading in unbelief and to instead start praising Him in the fresh faith He filled her with, as she turned her face toward Him.

When I, the returned Prodigal, first began praying for my own loved ones to come to faith, I prayed in the flesh. I prayed from a place of unbelief, rooted in pride and self. And yet, even in that place, God saw my true desire to know Him in His death and resurrection. 

He honored the tiny mustard seeds of faith – the Word He had fed me since I was a little girl- that lay buried and dormant in my heart. He took them and broke them open unto life. 

Each seed began to unfurl and flourish and bloom, by the power of the Holy Spirit that He poured out upon me, as I sat at His feet. Physically, at first, nothing changed, but spiritually: everything. For, my heart awakened, quickening to the touch of the Holy Spirit. 

As I began to pray, rather than compelling me to plead for my loved ones’ rescue, the Holy Spirit compelled me to arise in thanksgiving and praise. He placed one Promise from God’s Holy Word after another before my eyes and invited me to take His hand and walk into the truth of my loved ones’ salvation in Christ Jesus. And then, He commanded me to look for proof of His Presence at work in them. 

I was astounded to find Him so very present, where I had deemed Him absent. He led me to so much repentance, as I gloried in His power and grace. 

Psalm 105:3 (ESV) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!

Through it all, it was as if He was asking me afresh, what He had asked me, right at the start of my walk with Him: “Who do you say that I am, Anna?”

And as He did this, I continually found myself weeping before Him. Why? Because as I lifted up those Promises before Him, I was not just affirming my loved ones’ salvation, I was affirming my own salvation and redemption in the LORD. 

I was shedding my own unbelief, rooted in pride and idolatry. I was taking off the accusations of condemnation I had allowed the enemy to clothe me in, to instead put on my breastplate of righteousness and belonging in Christ. 

I was deflecting the darts of the enemy, as I picked up the shield of faith to declare every human rejection for doing the will of my Heavenly Father, as Christ’s choosing of me to be conformed unto His likeness and to pour out the love and comfort He was pouring into me, out upon others.

I was shaking off the dust of every place that did not receive Jesus in me and putting on the shoes of peace to walk into the knowledge of God’s completion of the good work He had begun in them and in me in each of these places. 

I was laying down the works of the flesh and picking up the sword of truth to speak the Word of completion and wholeness into situations of incompletion and brokenness.

I was putting on my helmet of salvation, as I woke up daily to study and listen to the Word of God, to find God returning the Word to me, when prideful or selfish thoughts threatened to consume me. Instead, I found Christ consuming the dross in me, as each testing I faced proved the gold of His Presence and love in me.

I found myself laying down the thoughts the enemy was feeding me to instead exercise the mind of Christ and praise God for His good and perfect judgments in my life, even where these judgments were causing me such deep pain. It’s then my eyes began to open to see the beautiful grains of truth glistening in my hands.

And now, I know that Christ has been interceding in me, not just for others, but for me too. For, through it all, God has been purifying and cleansing my own heart, as I have prayed for and spoken the Word of God over others. He has been busy making His home in my own heart. 

What I saw as God’s withholding as a child, I am now beginning to receive as His gift to me. When everything looks like it is falling apart, as we pray –  trust me: it is. But only so that it can all fall into alignment, according to the will of the Father in Christ Jesus, in whom every Promise is Yes and Amen. 

For, Christ is inviting us to let go of our worldly peace to receive His peace that passes all understanding. He is inviting us to let Him take off our masks of self-righteousness, that He might reveal the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in His face.

He is inviting us to let Him break open our hearts hardened by sin and rebellion to restore our faith in Him. He is holding out His new heart of flesh to us that we might hear, see and receive Him in ourselves and those He has set before us.

Truly, truly, just like Jesus prophesied over Peter in John 21:18, when I was young, I used to dress myself and walk wherever I wanted, but now that I am older, I am stretching out my hands, and Jesus is dressing me and carrying me where I do not want to go. 

Numbers 16:28 (ESV) And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 

As I am ending up where I would never have chosen to go of my own accord, I am tasting a love, joy and peace beyond measure in the arms of my Jesus, through every trial that comes my way. By the grace of God, I am getting to know the One who knows me better than I know myself, the One I now experientially know to be faithful to His every Word. 

In my Abba Father returning me to my stronghold of hope (Jesus), He has been pouring out a double portion of blessings. God has opened my eyes by faith to see Christ’s face reflected in myself and in those He has set before me. He has turned me back toward Himself, reminding me that He has already lifted the veil that once covered over His beauty glowing in me.

For, as He opened my heart to receive Him as a little girl, I turned towards Him and it’s then the veil hiding His face was lifted. No, nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus: not even the accusations of our enemy that condemn us in our weakness and need, and (temporarily) convince us to hide our sin and our pain from our God in shame. Even then, we remain hidden in Christ and His righteousness, as Jesus moves to intercede for us, to prove and reveal Himself in us and those around us.

I believe, when Aaron’s staff budded, it did so, not to declare Aaron’s superiority above those who were jealous of his setting apart. No, it did so to silence the accusations of the enemy against the elect of God and to remind Aaron’s brothers and sisters that no one comes to the Father, except through the living and breathing Word of God who sets each one of us apart according to His purposes. For, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33, ESV).

Aaron’s and Moses’ holiness became visible, not just in the budding staff, but also in the incense Moses called Aaron to burn before the LORD amongst his dying people. As he burnt that incense, it brought a halt to the plague killing his rebellious brothers and sisters in the LORD. Faith was rewarded in his brethren’s obedience to the LORD’s direction, as God’s rod and staff comforted them all in the valley of the shadow of death.

But it was never Aaron’s and Moses’ own perfecting work that halted that plague. As Moses said in Numbers 16:28 (ESV) “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.  It was the Holy Word sprouting in them, as the Word accomplished what He was sent to do. For, whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16, ESV) to reveal Jesus and His holiness in our midst.

Jeremiah 1:11-12 (ESV) And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

Isaiah 11:1-5 (ESV) There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Day 1: He Gives Us More Grace

Day 2: Blossoms of Peace in His Time

Day 3: Break the Night

Day 4: An Irrevocable and Coming Kimgdom

Day 5: Here I Am, Send Me

Day 6: The Song of My Father

Day 7: Beauty for Ashes

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Incense

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.

Offering surrendered:

-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

Promise Given:    

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.


The Frankincense

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


Beautiful Jesus!

Deep calls unto Deep


My wounded Life

Broken, Despised

He now covers with His own

Pure Fragrance

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?

Dear Father,

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.

Day 1: Delight in Christ

Day 2: The Jealous Flames of Love

Day 3: My King, My LORD In Me

Day 4: A Pleasing Offering

Day 5: Loosing the Promises of God

Day 6: All for Love

Day 7: Sunrise in Vietnam