By Michal Ann Goll

Thus has the Lord of hosts spoken: Execute true judgment and show mercy and kindness and tender compassion, every man to his brother. And oppress not the widow or the fatherless, the temporary resident or the poor, and let none of you devise or imagine, or think evil against his brother in your heart (Zechariah 7:9-10).

Mary and Martha

Do you remember the story about Mary and Martha? In the past, I heard that “Mary chose the better part,” and that Martha was reprimanded.

We need to look at the Scripture again. Part of the story takes place in John 11, and it revolves around Lazarus, who was Mary and Martha’s brother. Mary was the one who had anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair. She was also the one who just wanted to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak, while Martha was in the kitchen, preparing food (see Luke 10:38-39). There has been a lot of emphasis on Mary in recent years, and the place in God she typifies. We all need to have the heart Mary, loving to sit at His feet, period.

Martha, dear Martha! She was the one who received Jesus and welcomed Him into her house. Now, she did become distracted with much serving, and that was the point that Jesus spoke tenderly to her, redirecting her heart to “the better part,” to worship Him. (See Luke 10:40.) But I believe He was wooing her, drawing her to Himself, not correcting or belittling her. She had messed up, had an attitude problem, and had compared her serving and cooking to Mary’s “sitting.” What a common error that is—a lesson we are still trying to learn.

When Lazarus was sick (see John 11), the sisters sent word to Jesus. Jesus loved Lazarus, but He did not come right away, but rather waited until Lazarus died. By the time He came, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Look at John 11:20-22, “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha then said to Jesus; Master; if You had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You.”

Do you see a pattern here? Not only was it Martha who welcomed Jesus into her house, and in that, to her city, but when her brother died, she was the one who met Him, and asked for her brother’s life to be restored. We need Martha! It doesn’t have to be, “Are you a Mary or a Martha?” The point is, God wants us to be both. There is no place for comparison in the Kingdom of God, and we don’t have to choose between either living a life of prayer and devotion, or serving—we are to choose both! So, whether in the past you’ve considered yourself a Mary, or a Martha, and making that determination has disqualified you from being in the other camp, the wall is now torn down, and the camp enlarged. It’s time for Mary and Martha to come together. After all, they were sisters, and they did live in the same house. So should we!

War Generals

What we’re talking about here is the Body of Christ coming into formation, becoming connected. In order for us to truly be effective in this battle for compassion, there has to be order, good supply lines, and good communication. I believe the Lord wants to release a whole army of compassionate warriors, and if there is to be a whole army, then there certainly has to be commanders overseeing, directing, and caring for the troops. We need to assemble ourselves together, and gather around those who are further down the road than we are—ones who are filled with courage, vision, and passion for God. These are men and women who are committed to defending the Gospel. They are not afraid of warfare, and they are eager to engage in all necessary battles, and are willing to fight.

God wants generals, or breakers, who know His heart. Unlike the world’s concept of what a general looks like, God’s generals are ones who know authority, yes; but they follow the example of their Master and Savior. They live their lives carrying a towel, ready to love and to serve. They know the meaning of the phrase, “lower still.” They understand that the authority they carry comes from the greatest servant of all, Jesus!

He calls us to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). With His help we will rise up as the army of God, replete with generals, majors, sergeants, corporals, and privates. We will be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37), carrying our swords, our shields, and our towels.

I hear the sound of horses’ hooves pounding the ground and the sounds of victory filling the air. The battle is the Lord’s and through Him we will be victorious!

The Poor Man’s Watch

When preparing to go on my first trip to Mozambique to serve Iris Ministries with Rolland and Heidi Baker, I bought a simple plastic watch. It was very cheap, but it actually had more bells and whistles than my nicer watch, and was a great tool for the trip. When I got home, I unpacked my clothes, developed my pictures, gave out gifts to my loved ones, and tried to “get my life in order again.” There was my nice pretty watch laying on my nightstand, waiting for me to take it up again, but something inside me didn’t want to put it back on. Days went by, weeks went by, and I just couldn’t take this simple cheap little watch off my wrist.

I went to the Lord, asking Him what was going on—didn’t I want to go forward, was I holding onto something I needed to release? Finally one day my friend, precious Holy Spirit spoke to me. He said, “You are on the poor man’s watch.” This word went through my heart like an arrow. I knew it to be true. There was no taking it off—there was no “getting my life back in order.” In actuality, my life was getting in God’s order.

God has a poor man’s watch that is perfect for each one of us. It is not a gift, it’s part of the Kingdom of God. If we want to experience His Kingdom, we have to wear the watch.

Next Time Jesus Will Come

I have a promise from Jesus. A number of years ago, I had an angelic visitation that lasted several weeks. It was awesome, wonderful, fearful, unsettling, challenging, and life altering. Toward the end of this visitation, I was talking with God, telling Him I didn’t want this to end. I was lovesick, and I didn’t want to go back to life as I knew it before. My heart had been touched and transformed by being in His presence. In the quiet early morning hours, before the sun had even thought of rising, Holy Spirit spoke to me. He said, “Next time, not only will the angels come, but Jesus Himself will come.”

Looking for Jesus

I’m looking for Jesus; I’m waiting for Jesus. But could it be that Jesus is waiting for me? Could it be that as I engage my heart to not only hear the Word of God, but to live the Word to those who do not know Him, Jesus just might come to me? That sounds like the Kingdom of God coming on the earth! I want to be a part of establishing God’s Kingdom, and raising up a whole army of like-hearted loving warriors who have embraced the call to compassion. He is waiting for you. Will you enlist in this army? I pray that your answer is yes, and that you are stirred to action—because compassion acts!

Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you this day, volunteering myself to be your arms, your feet, your hands to hurting and needy people. I want to embrace your heart for the poor, the orphan and the widow. I want to offer to you the field you have given me, that you would show me how to help provide for those who are less fortunate. Lord, I ask you to speak to me, lead me into the avenues of service that I am to engage in. Lord, according to James 1:5, give me the wisdom I need to move forward, connect with the people I need to network with. Today I make a commitment in my heart, with my mouth, to show You and the world my faith, by my works—because I love you, and I know that You so love me!

In Jesus Name, Amen!