“Worthy of the Calling” by Koontz

Worthy of the Calling Free OBS Sarah Koontz

“Worthy of the Calling” is the first Online Bible Study (OBS) that I’ve gotten a glimpse of from behind the scenes. When Sarah Koontz posted in our Christian Women Bloggers group that she was prayerfully pulling together a launch team for her new OBS, I was intrigued and threw my name into the hat.

I am so excited to walk through the doors God keeps opening for me to participate in book launches! It’s really neat to get to know the authors on a personal level and learn the story behind the book, movie, or the OBS. Launching a new product is a lot of work, and I consider myself blessed to have been a teeny part of helping to raise awareness of this study and, more importantly IMHO, the author. 

Who Is Sarah Koontz?

Sarah Koontz
Sarah Koontz ~ Christian Writer

Sarah Koontz is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. She writes to inspire women of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design at SarahKoontz.com.

Sarah got her start in the blogosphere when she and her best friend launched a blog about family, healthy choices, chickens, and life on the farm. Since her ultimate goal was to become a speaker and  published author in the Christian Living genre, however, it wasn’t long until Sarah learned that her current writing platform would actually hinder, not help, her chances of being published. She recalls:

I had the privilege of speaking with the acquisitions editor from a respected Christian publishing house. When I pitched my first book idea, she asked me why I was blogging about health when it was obvious my passion was to equip Christian women to embrace God’s design for their lives.” Sarah

After much prayer, conversation, and consideration, Sarah took a major step of faith and walked away from her successful health blog into which she had invested blood, sweat, and tears and toward a brand new blog where she would write freely about her faith. The ultimate and overarching goal was to become a published author.

Writing on God’s Schedule

It was around this time that Sarah felt the Lord leading her to write an Online Bible Study on Psalm 119. Which she did, and the feedback she received on it was incredible! When it was finished, she assumed she would go back to working on her non-fiction book. 

Sarah Koontz Freebies from the Worthy of the Calling OBS
You will love these freebies!

But, the Lord had something else in mind for her (and her audience): EPHESIANS. Sarah was prompted to write this amazing study—but I honestly believe that she had no idea how big this would become! It’s YUGE!!! ? ?

God led Sarah not only to write this amazing Bible study, but also invite others into the process: creative partners and a launch team (of which I am a part).

“Worthy of the Calling” —BEFORE IT EVER CAME OUT— inspired a variety of artists who created items reflecting Paul’s main message to the members of the church in Ephesus. From bookmarks to coloring pages and original artwork to clothing and accessories—even a new song!—all of this was created for you to enhance your Bible study. Most have been made available to participants as free downloads and giveaways.

So Much Beauty. Such Wow.

Sarah had no idea that her study would impact so many lives before it even came out. But God did. He’d only just begun.

Worthy of the Calling Free Online Bible Study“Worthy of the Calling” is an original, exegetical, and inspirational Bible Study that arrives daily into your e-mail inbox for one month. Investing only 10-15 minutes per day, you will be able to complete a verse-by-verse through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

You’ll read a few verses every day, five days per week, and use the weekend as time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how to apply it to your life. The study is complemented with free downloads to help you in your time of reflection.

I needed this study in my life. Sure, I have enjoyed being part of the launch team, but more than that, I’ve enjoyed having someone else walk me through Ephesians with a completely fresh perspective on the message contained therein.

You Are Worthy 

Sarah clearly shows that the theme running throughout this letter is the Christian life—what that means from a practical standpoint. 

Sarah Koontz - Ephesians - Online Bible Study

These aren’t just esoteric or abstract concepts that are hard to grasp. They are simple. Profound. True.

Following Paul’s lead, Sarah lays a firm foundation explaining who we are in Christ: chosen, heirs, spiritually alive, reconciled to God with direct access to Him. Day 12 provided one of my favorite lessons: “You Are Rooted in Love.”

Drawing from her experience on the farm, Sarah was able to shed light on the importance of deep roots. She states that a “robust root system” is essential for us to withstand life’s storms, and then she explains exactly how a Christ follower could strengthen his or her root system. #sogood

As the study moves toward one of the most famous sections in scripture, the spiritual armor of God, Sarah walks us through each verse with care and consideration looking under every rock for some nugget of truth to help us live an abundant life worthy of the calling.

Worthy of the Calling Free OBS Sarah KoontzNear the end of the study, we walk through the armor of God. This is not a redo of Priscilla Shirer’s recent study which was in-depth and took weeks to go through a few verses. Instead, Sarah’s study of this section is more of an overview with excellent, memorable summations and practical application to our lives.

Working my way through “Worthy of the Calling” reminded me not only whose I am, but who I am in Christ. It reminded me of my calling—not “into ministry” or anything like that—but my calling to be myself, and to trust that being me is the best thing I can do.

The Big Takeaway

When I asked Sarah what she was praying would be the biggest takeaway for the folks working through her study, she replied,

You are God’s daughter. Created for His glory, and chosen by Him before the foundation of the world. You are holy and blameless in His sight and He has blessed you with EVERY spiritual blessing. You are worthy of the calling you have received, and God has provided all that you need to walk in worthiness.”

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. If you’re interested in cultivating a habit of Bible reading, reflection, and application in your busy life, then let me recommend to you Sarah E. Koontz – Christian Writer‘s brand new, FREE, e-mail based Bible study on Ephesians. It’s called “Worthy of the Calling,” and it’s worthy of your time.

Click here to participate in this free study: Worthy of the Calling by Sarah E. Koontz

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Armor of God: Garments of Vengeance

Laura Zielke

When you are raised in the Christian church, you learn about the “Armor of God” at a young age. I’m guessing it’s because little children love to play with fake swords, and pretending to be a Roman soldier is very cool. Besides, there’s just something about imagining yourself “girding up your loins” that sets your mind spinning.

Child: “Mama, what’s a loins? Do I has some? Where is them?”
Mama: “Um, hold on Honey.” (Mom rushes to Google. Yay! A picture!)

I’m sure it was a parent who created this extremely helpful “How to Gird up Your Loins” infographic:

How to gird your loins

Hey, don’t “dis” the poster. This handy little guide provides you with a creative way to answer your children’s loin question while at the same time avoiding “the birds and the bees” conversation for a while longer! 🙂  But I digress.

The Apostle Paul, while under house arrest in Rome, wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus. In this letter (Ephesians), he opened their eyes to spiritual warfare and instructed them to “put on the full armor of God.” He then elaborated on this directive by listing seven pieces of armor as well as the spiritual significance of each one. Here they are (along with a free coloring page for anyone who would like it):

Armor of God Coloring Page
Click to download a free coloring page
  1. Belt of truth
  2. Breastplate of righteousness
  3. Feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
  4. Shield of faith
  5. Helmet of salvation
  6. Sword of the spirit
  7. Prayer

I’d like to thank Priscilla Shirer for sharing her realization that there are actually SEVEN, not six, pieces of armor listed in this passage. I recently began her new Bible study entitled “Armor of God,” and during the first video teaching session, Priscilla shared a couple nuggets of information I don’t recall noticing prior to this. The first was the seventh piece of armor, prayer, as listed above. She rightly taught that “Prayer activates the armor.” She also pointed out while Paul may possibly have used a Roman soldier as the visible model for his list of armor, as an educated Pharisee, he also—most likely—was basing his thoughts on a passage in Isaiah. Say what?!

As I turned in my Bible to Isaiah 59:17, I was surprised to read, “He [the LORD] put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head” (emphasis mine).  So, when Paul instructs us as Believers to put on the full armor of God, he literally means that we should put on God’s armor! In other words, somehow, God is allowing us access to His armor.

As I was reflecting on God’s armor, I made a connection with something we’ve been studying in our home school. We are in the middle of a literary analysis course, and more specifically, in the middle of a chapter entitled, “Exploring Epics: An Introduction to Epic Literature.” You’ll never guess what one of the most common literary conventions of epic literature is? Wait for it… Wait for it…


That’s right! Armor. In this chapter, the author explained how important armor was in the olden days: “Before the days of weapons of mass destruction, a hero had to depend on his weapons and armor for victory in battle. The better armor a soldier possessed, the better were his chances for victory (or survival) in battle…the armor and weapons of a man represented more than just his status in society: it often represented his very identity” (Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings, Student handbook, pg. 152). She also noted that the kings, princes, and heroes had the BEST armor.

Now, I’m not equating the armor of God to mythical armor in epic literature. Not at all. I share this information to help us, first of all, remember the importance of armor to people in Bible times, and second, to recall who owns the best armor. Why? Because, friends, we have access to GOD’S ARMOR!!! Just marinate on that for a moment:  WE—the redeemed children of the most high God—have access to HIS armor! On a spiritual level, then, we are invincible! (But only when we put it on!!!) 

As I reflected on Paul’s list of armor and compared it to Isaiah’s list, I noticed something…

Armor of God meme

I had to laugh when one of my friends shared this meme (above) on Facebook earlier today. I snickered because, well, it’s Kristen Wiig—the woman is hilarious! But I also grinned at God’s timing: I’d already been pondering about the “missing pieces” of God’s armor and doing a little digging on my own. Rather than comment on her timeline, I decided to write this blog post.

So, is the armor of God incomplete?

If you reference only Paul’s list of armor, you might come to that conclusion, as it seems to be missing…well…pants! But when you factor in Isaiah’s, it is clear that God’s armor is complete. Isaiah 59:15-17 says:

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

According to the prophet Isaiah, in addition to “righteousness as a breastplate” and “the helmet of salvation,” God also possesses “garments of vengeance.” But guess what? We do NOT have permission to wear those—God alone retains the garments of vengeance. Not only that, but He makes it abundantly clear that those garments are HIS and not to be touched. It’s not our place to avenge anything. He is the sole and perfect Avenger. We are told:

It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
Deuteronomy 32:35

Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Romans 12:19

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18

This much we know for certain:
We have free access to God’s armor and weapons—just not all of it. We have access to what we need, and we must trust God to take care of the rest. 

As Peter said, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

In other words, through His Spirit, we are perfectly fitted out to fight the good fight here on earth. When we put on the full armor of God, we are clad with truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate), the gospel of peace (footings), faith (shield), and salvation (helmet). We also have two weapons at our disposal: the sword (Scripture) and prayer. But vengeance? No. The garments of vengeance belong to the Lord.