Tag Archives: Paul

How You Can Discover Why You Are "Worthy of the Calling"

Why would I participate in an online Bible Study?
Initially, the concept left me skeptical. I am a face to face person. Many times it feel as if I am running against the grain of culture. I value human discussion and interaction.  Participating in a study sans group seemed unsettling to me. However, I have dug in a few times and found that there are great opportunities out there. The reality is that our schedules do not always allow for in person studies. Online ones help fill that void. They can also supplement whatever you may already be doing. Is there ever a cap on spiritual growth?
Let me introduce you to an opportunity to participate in a Bible Study that will remind you of your worth.

Sarah Koontz is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah writes to inspire women of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design at SarahKoontz.com.
Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life
I have followed Sarah for a few years and have benefited from the ways she unpacks scripture while communicating in a very personal way how it applies to our lives. Specifically, she seeks to let scripture empower us by speaking into our lives. It’s like conversing about the Bible with a friend. This study was actually created in response to her own desire to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.
I am honored to be part of her launch team for this study. I would never endorse a product I do not believe in. Truthfully, I volunteered to join her in this venture and hope to inspire others to join me in this opportunity. Let’s grow together!
Why should you join?
To feed your soul. Honestly. If you are like me, we are tempted to forget to nourish ourselves as we attempt to care for our families and friends. Spiritual starvation is dangerous-to ourselves and those in our midst. This study offers bite sized chunks that satisfy.
To witness the beauty of the Body of Christ: Each week Sarah is offering free give-aways. These items are handmade by creative individuals who display the marvelous ways God has gifted us. (This week’s freebie is  this beautiful painting. Register at the link below or click on the image.)They bring another way of lifting up the passages of Ephesians for focus. Some of these items are included in the study. (Who doesn’t like coloring pages?) You can also purchase these items in Sarah’s store. By doing so, you support these individuals in their unique callings.
What can you expect?
This study gives us a look at Paul’s letter through the eyes of the original recipients. Paul wants these Gentile believers to embrace their identity “In Christ.” They share the same value in relationship to Christ as their Jewish brothers and sisters. They are learning what it means to be citizens in this unique kingdom. In any sound Bible Study, understanding context is vital. These are letter written to address specific situations. In order to apply parts of them to our lives today, we discover the intention, language, and style of the author.
In several of the lessons, key Greek words are lifted up in order to give deeper understanding of the nuance of a verse. Furthermore, she identifies patterns. For example, In lesson three, she points out that the phrase “In Christ” occurs 27 times in the book of Ephesians. Why was Paul trying to convey by his repetition here?
She also identifies the writing style of certain passages. How does a prayer that was written for the church of Ephesus apply become our prayer as well?
The lessons are small enough not to be overwhelming, yet, deep enough to offer substance. Woven throughout each lesson, you will find personal stories and questions on which to ponder until the next lesson.
We are all short on time. It’s so easy to push away one more thing. But, our actions, our attitudes, and our endurance flow out of our spiritual gauge. When it is empty, it affects everything we do.
I encourage you to consider this study-15 minutes a day. The lessons are delivered daily to your email. Do able right?
Who can use encouragement? It all begins on October 16. Who’s with me?

Thursday Thoughts: Why Our Trials Aren’t Just About Us

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)
When we find ourselves in the midst of trials, it becomes easy to focus on ourselves. And for good reason.
Life, as we know it, has changed. The anxiety surrounding that moment builds as we feel a loss of control.

  • unexpected illness
  • death of a loved one
  • car repair
  • job loss
  • lack of improvement in chronic illness
  • broken/strained relationship
  • consequences of fighting for justice
  • financial stress

The rhythm was altered without our knowledge. The implications may involve physical/emotional hardship. 
The discomfort is unsettling. We seek restoration. But as we seek it, we may develop “tunnel vision.” We look for God’s redemption within the scope of our own lives. 

Yet, God’s movement in our trials speaks to those outside our scope as well.

Paul and Silas were no strangers to trials.  Because of their passion for bringing Jesus’ message to a secular society, persecution was a regular experience for them. But when God acted to deliver them, others took notice.

Others witnessed them calling out to God through song as they lay in pain from their beating. Their response was counter cultural. But “the other prisoners were listening to them.”
As if that wasn’t enough, God’s power came through with a mighty force and blew open the prison doors and loosened the chains! As a result of this experience, the jailer’s eyes were opened. He recognized God’s hand in Paul and Silas’ moment of trial and sought to be baptized.

Our trials aren’t just about us

Throughout scripture, God is about drawing others to Himself.  Whether it be directly (public manifestation) or indirectly (testimony).  Our trials are one venue through which that happens.
How are others seeing God’s hand at work in your trial?
Sovereign God,
No part of our lives is outside your view. We are reminded of your power to break through those situations which come our way and cause distress. Please hear our cries as you have heard the pleas of those who have come before us. We seek deliverance from the hardships we are experiencing (name them). As you restore us, may others see you at work.  Amen