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Gary or Jill Getchell at zebraministries@gmail.com

Zebra Ministries

Welcome to the herd!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

Yesterday’s Oswald led me to this:

Acts 15:36-41 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Paul had a job to do from God, and he didn’t want to take someone who had turned back in the past.  Ministering to the world is difficult work, he needed people he could count on. 

Barnabas felt differently, maybe because Mark was his cousin. (Col 4:10)

Nowhere is Paul chastised for his decision and John Mark probably learned something from being left behind. 

From the profile on John Mark: "Mistakes are difficult teachers.  Their consequences have a way of making lessons painfully clear.  But those who learn from their mistakes are likely to develop wisdom.  John Mark was a good learner who just needed some time and encouragement.”

Which is exactly what he got from Barnabas.

Neither man was wrong and together they illustrate the righteous judgement and mercy of God.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

I love you.

Most every day I take two walks, I walk my dogs in the morning and I walk myself in the afternoon, but yesterday it was supposed to get hot so I decided to walk myself in the morning too.

At the last minute, I decided to walk the dogs first which was a mistake.  As we strolled along, them stopping and sniffing at every bush, I realized that it was going to get hot before I could finish my big walk, which meant I was going to end up hot and crabby.

We think we are doing other people a favor when we put them first, but we aren’t if that means we are putting them before God. Jesus very clearly said if we wanted to be His disciple He needed to come first.

Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

We don’t have anything to give others, except what God gives us.  He is the vine and source of living water.

John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 7:38–39: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  By this he meant the Spirit.

Running dry on water?  Fruit looking rather puny?  Try increasing the time you spend with God.

 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” is the first and greatest commandment.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is number two. (Matthew 22:37-39)

God first, others second.  If you reverse the order or even worse cut God out of the equation all together, you are going to find yourself walking up hill in the blazing sun getting hot and crabby.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

Every time I take a shower I squeegee the shower walls to keep the hard water deposits and soap scum from building up and ruining the glass.  Every morning I think, “There has to be a God lesson in this.”

The obvious lesson is that we need keep our heart as clean as I keep the shower walls, constantly presenting our hearts to the Lord. 

Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”   

Maintaining as Paul often said, “a clear conscious before God.”

Acts 24:16: “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

Yesterday I read this in the introduction to the book of Judges.

“Judges is a book about sin and its consequences.  Like a minor cut or abrasion that becomes infected when left untreated, sin grows and poisons the whole body…The first step away from God was (is) incomplete obedience.”

Disobedience is our first step away from God.  And the result is a gradual deterioration in our relationship with God.  But like the frog in the warm water we often don’t notice until the situation gets intolerable.  At which point we throw ourselves before God and beg for forgiveness. 

We could save ourselves so much grief if we would just choose to obey.

I love you Zebras, so much. Sometimes I feel like I say the same things over and over again but truth never changes and incomplete obedience is just disobedience with a different name.

It takes discipline to stop and squeegee a shower every time you use it but I do it because I value my shower. It takes discipline to stop and daily spend time with God, to listen with an open heart and a desire to obey. But we do it because it shows we value God.   


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

I love you.

An important reminder from Oswald yesterday:

“No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests.  It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges-always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied.  And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.”  Amen!

I am so grateful God allowed Oswald’s words to be preserved.  Even after reading them for fifteen years he continues to challenge and encourage me.  God has given us everything-for free.  Our job is to pass it on.  Self-pity makes that task impossible. 

Philippians 2:1–2, 4 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose…Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Matthew 10:8b Freely you have received, freely give.

I love you Zebras, so much, I know I already said that, but I do and I desire for each of you to be encouraged and challenged to go do the things God has given you to do because together we can impact the world.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

I love you.

I got locked out of yoga this morning, but I wasn’t surprised.  I was late and I knew the teacher was going to be faithful to her guidelines and lock the door when class began.  I drove over there anyway, hoping that I would make it but I didn’t.
God is faithful.  He has done what He promised to do, He destroyed the nation of Israel because their hearts turned away and worshipped other gods. 

Deuteronomy 30:15–18 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

And He is going to be faithful to do what He has promised to do, which is to shut the door of Heaven in the face of those who are not ready. 

Matthew 25:1–13 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’  “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.  “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’  “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’  “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Theologians say the oil represents the Spirit of God which means the kingdom of Heaven’s door is going to be shut on those who do not have Him. 

Romans 8:9–11 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Acting like it isn’t true doesn’t change the facts.  And counting on God to change His mind is just dangerous. 



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Good morning Zebras,

One of the greatest dangers of begging on God’s behalf is it’s so easy to go that one extra step to win someone to the faith and water down the Gospel.  To get excited and offer “cheap grace,” salvation with no strings attached.  A ticket out of hell, with the unstated understanding that God doesn’t expect anything in return.  Which is simply not true. 

We can, like Paul, change ourselves to reach someone with the Gospel, but we should never change God because if we do it is no longer begging, it is lying. 

1 Corinthians 9:22:  “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Notice, Paul changed, God did not.

God has done everything to save us, He called us to Himself and He provided the way of reconciliation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ life, death and resurrection paid the price for our sins and restored man’s broken relationship with God.  There is no other way to God except through Jesus.

Nothing we do can ever pay Him back for our lives, but that does not mean we owe Him nothing.  What it does mean is when we realize all He has done for us, the natural and reasonable response is to give Him back the life He saved.

We have all heard of the tradition that if you save a man’s life he becomes your slave until he repays his debt.  In the case of Christ, it’s a debt we can never repay so we have become His slave for life, but because He’s a loving God, He made us sons instead.  And true happiness and joy is found when we finally understand that.

We don’t do anyone any favors when we cheapen God’s grace and offer them something that doesn’t exist.  Instead we need to speak truth, God loves them and gave up His Son so that they could be with Him forever.  Accepting Him will change everything.  Rejection is death. 

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the entire Gospel, spoken with love and truth is what changes lives.  But for most of us that’s just not easy to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please give us the words to speak to those who don’t know you, make us willing to die to ourselves and become beggars on Your behalf.  And please keep us from misrepresenting You to the world, because it’s truth of who You really are that sets people free. Amen.