(Praise and Worship)

Exodus 30:34 (NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each.

35 "And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.

36 "And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.

37 "And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD.

38 "Whoever shall make any like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people."

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh were presented to the young King of the Jews.

Exodus 30:9 (NASB) "You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a libation on it.

Strange means from another source, foreign. God can only receive the perfect. God can only receive what came from Him.

Jesus can be the only mediator because He came from God. Only He can return to God. He is the only provision which God sent. Prayer (incense) which is not offered in the name of Jesus is an abomination to God.

There is much worship which is not acknowledged. Do you know that the word - religion, means - return to bondage. Men are worshipping foreign gods. Much of what passes for worship in our churches is strange fire. It is nothing but phyicking up - emotions. You cannot work yourself up into worship. Worship happens when you see the Lord - His holiness and greatness. Worship is not feelings. If God did not initiate it, He will not acknowledge it.

Only people designated by God could draw near Him and then only in the way He prescribed.

Leviticus 16:11 (NASB) "Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.

12 "And he shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil.

13 "And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, lest he die.

14 "Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15 "Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.

16 "And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel, and because of their transgressions, in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.

17 "When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.

The word - incense can be translated through fire and smoke.

The are four ingredients in incense. The odor is released by fire. We have been put in the fire of the world and our response is an odor. It is more of an aura. With no fire, there is no sacrifice.

The first ingredient was Stacte, the sap or gum from the Balsam tress. It was dried, then crushed very fine. Crushing brings us into submission.

The second ingredient was Onycha, the shield of a mollusk foot. It was ground up. It was expensive and had a disagreeable odor. This shield was the result of what it ate. What we eat or take-in determines our odor or what we give off.

Ecclesiastes 10:1 (NASB) Dead flies make a perfumer's oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.

Some people or situations are put into our lives to ward off the thing which would spoil the fruit of our lives.. We need them.

The third ingredient was Galbanum, a carrot-like vegetable who's stem was cut close to the ground, causing a milky sap flows out. This sap hardens and then is ground up. It comes from Siberia and Persia, or modern day Iraq. It was not very costly. The first two ingredients were very costly, but this one was not. It was common.

Many times the common insignificant things of our lives must be included in equal parts for our lives to have the fragrance the Lord wants. We are taken with the exotic. Things like washing dishes, cutting the grass may seem insignificant, but it may be what the Lord wants us to do. It may not seem spiritual. It is in the everyday things we do that we show Jesus. The supernatural God has chosen to reveal Himself through everyday people who usually don't affect anyone outside of their family circle.

You must have certain things in life in order to mature, like marriage which teaches you give and take, a child which teaches you responsibility, or two children which teaches you about sibling rivalry. People are always trying to runoff the things which cause maturity. We must realize that God is in these things.

They took these ingredients and added Frankincense. When it is burned, it gives a real pleasant odor. It will burn a long time with a steady flame. There are some folks that are like that. Other people go up like rockets and come down like rocks. We need this ingredient in our lives. Not a bonfire. With a bonfire, all you can cook are hot dogs and marshmallows. With a steady flame, you can cook a meal or heat a whole house. A steady fire is more useful.

You get Frankincense by making successive incisions through the bark of a tree. The first incision yields the purest, (whitest) frankincense. The more incisions, the more yellow it becomes. You do better to submit to God with His first incision. Frank means free or no cost.

When they had mixed it altogether, they had to temper it with salt. Salt is what preserves and what flavors. We are the salt of the earth. There are things which come along simply to give your life flavor. They seem of no value. It will act as a preserving agent. Certain things you learn keep you from being blown about with every wind of doctrine. You quickly see though things like the name it and claim it. Have you ever eaten a food without salt? You knew it was not there immediately.

You must be beaten very small to be a fine four - no resistance toward God. Grapes have to be crushed so that the pulp and the fleshy parts can be discarded. Then it has to be sifted. Olives were put between two opposing stones and ground to get the oil. Have you ever felt like this was happening to you? Pressed, beaten, crushed. ground and removal of the flesh - produces sweet fragrances to God.

Remember the Alabaster jar which was broken at Jesus's feet. It was broken to allow the fragrance out, but also so that it could never be used again for anything else. When God breaks you, you will be useless for anything else but God. The world won't have you. The only place for you is in the Lord.

Remember Jacob wrestling with an angel (Jesus). Jacob means swindler. Jacob wouldn't let Him go. God touched him and broke his thigh. He was then renamed Israel (one conquered by God or prince of the Lord). He limped forever after that. The princes of God are those who have been touched and broken by God and will forever bear the mark of God.

The incense was then set on fire. The fragrance was carried in the smoke. Without fire, there was no smoke. The smoke was a vehicle to carry the fragrance to God.

Some prayers are offered to God without fragrance. God has nothing to smell. All of the ingredients we have talked about are necessary for there to be fragrance. If there is no awareness of God, no brokeness, no submission, no limp, then they never have been touched by God. If your prayers are offered without fragrance, God does not smell anything.

Exodus 30:32 (NASB) 'It shall not be poured on anyone's body, nor shall you make any like it, in the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you.

33 'Whoever shall mix any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a layman, shall be cut off from his people.'"

It was never to be used on flesh - never. The Father only can appreciate Jesus. There are some depths we can never understand. Since we can't understand, He must give us the ingredients to give back to Him. The priest could see the light, smell the incense and even eat the bread, but it was all for God. The priest was involved in it, but it was all for God. All of our worship, our delight in Him, our submission is for God, is for His pleasure.

Many times when we worship, we worship for our own pleasure. It is not how pretty the music is, how good the singer was or how loud. It is what went on in the heart. Two people standing next to each other, acting the same, in the same service and one is worshipping while the other is not. Worship is for Him, and comes when He reveals Himself to us.

We want feelings, but that doesn't matter. It is reality that matters.

The odor which ascends to God also saturates the clothes and hair of the priest. The worshippers come away smelling like the worshipped - like God. Something about your life makes people think of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Our fragrance should follow us and remain after we are gone.

This is where we are. This is bedrock. Whatever happens to you, it makes it possible to emit a fragrance of God into this garbage heap of a world. The Lord preserves people - Christians, so He can put His fragrance here and there. We are planted in different places in a stinky world.