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The Sin of Self-Righteousness

I used to have a pet peeve. It was people who gossiped about other people; more specifically Christians who gossiped about other people. It just bugged me to hear Christians talk about how we are suppose to walk in love and then hear those same Christians talking about people in a very unloving way behind their back. I didn’t get it. But surprisingly I am not writing this blog post to talk about those Christians and how they need to straighten out. Why? Well, God straightened me out on this matter a good number of years ago.

Even though I didn’t like to hear people gossip about other people, I usually didn’t say anything to anyone about it when I encountered this, but one day, about 5 years ago, I couldn’t take it any longer and finally sat down and had a conversation with my husband about this.

I asked him to give me advice and told him how I seemed to have zero tolerance for gossipers. I told him how I just wanted to shun them like the plague and never talk to them again. My heart was getting hard toward Christians who talked bad about other people and I was definitely at the point of needing HELP.

As happens so often with my quiet but very wise husband, he listened to my dilemma and then said one thing in a very calm manner that helped me see the light. He said, “Gossiping is just a weakness the same as you and I have weaknesses.” It hit me like a ton of bricks but in a good way. I saw immediately that I had been self-righteous in this area because it’s not a weakness for me.

Now, I am certainly not saying that I have never gossiped about anyone before, but I do not make a habit of it. My friends can count on me to say to their face what I need to say which eliminates the need to talk about them behind their back.

My closest friends are people who are free to be honest with me and people with whom I feel I am free be honest with and I love it this way!

I do think you are wise to keep friends who do not gossip about others though, because the truth is, if a person gossips about others to you, it is highly likely that they will gossip about you to others.

That was my deal. I just felt and still feel like I can’t completely trust those kinds of people. But it was my heart attitude that God was after. He was after that spirit of self-righteousness that had me comparing myself with others in this particular area.

This was one of those defining moments in my life where I realized that I was the one who wasn’t walking in love with others by being annoyed with them because I felt they weren’t walking in love.

Now, let me clarify something. I do realize there are times we have to bring issues up in a counseling session or with an accountability partner or a manager may have to talk with their supervisor about one of their employees, but there is still a way that these conversations can be handled.

If we are walking in love there should be no sense of putting the other person down or making them look bad. Instead, we should have a sense of caution and humility when discussing others, keeping in mind what Steve so lovingly brought to my attention – we all have weaknesses.

The self-righteous Pharisees were the only group of people that Jesus had a problem with and it was simply because they came across as holier-than-thou. I don’t want to come across like that to people outwardly, nor do I want to have a holier-than-thou attitude going on secretly in my heart.

I could be wrong, but I think it is pretty much impossible for us to have a judgmental attitude toward someone else without having first compared ourself to that person. That’s what I was doing. I was comparing myself, as a non-gossiper, to gossipers.

Check out this story about the Pharisee and the tax collector and then I’m going to insert myself into the story.

Luke 18:9-14

Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (NLT)

Now, let me take these verses and stick my own scenario in here. I could say, Two women went to the park. One was a non-gossiper and one was a gossiper. The non-gossiper stood by herself and prayed this prayer:I thank you God that I am not a gossiper like other Christians. For I don’t slander people, talk about them behind their back or steal their good reputation. I’m certainly not like that gossiper over there. I am honest with people and up front with them.’

But the gossiper stood at a distance and dared not lift her eyes to heaven as she prayed. Instead she stood there feeling sorry for her words, saying, ‘oh God be merciful to me, for I am a gossiper.’

Oh my, does this shed some light on the subject or what? The non-gossiper (Pharisee’s) heart was filthy even though her outward actions were good. Do you know why? Because she was relying on her own good works to be righteous. But in reality, this is impossible. Take a look:

Romans 3:20 

For by the merit of observing the law no one earns the status of being declared righteous before God, for it is the law that fully exposes and unmasks the reality of sin. – (TPT)

And here again is verse 14.

14 “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

If you want to do a little project, you could take this same story of the Pharisee and the tax collector and stick in there an area of your own where you are currently struggling with self-righteousness. It really helped me to do this. It opened up my eyes even more as I wrote out this parable, sticking myself in there.

But the great news is, I didn’t have one moment of guilt or condemnation over this issue because now I do know where my righteousness comes from. Take a look:

Romans 4:3 

For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (NLT)

 and this…

2 Corinthians 5:21 

For God made the only One who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him. (TPT)

In fact, it is precisely because of knowing that there is now no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1) that we are able to receive gladly whatever correction God brings into our life and walk in His power to make those adjustments.

Those people – and I was one of them for a very long time – who constantly live under guilt and condemnation already feel so bad about themselves that they cannot take correction or even direction very well from God or other people in authority over them. Why? Because they already feel so bad about themselves that being corrected makes them feel even worse. In their mind, it’s just too painful for them to bear. (even though condemnation or making a person feel bad is not at all God’s intent when He chastises His children).

Don’t Go On An Introspective Sin Hunt

In writing this blog post I want to be careful not to throw you into an introspective sin hunt so let me say that I am 100% convinced that we need to be Jesus-conscious and righteousness-conscious as opposed to sin-conscious, but we should also continually keep an open heart toward God in the area of our love walk.

You see, love is the new commandment that Jesus gave us that totally streamlines our Christianity and makes it simple because when we walk in love we will not gossip or judge those who do. Love will inspire us to be concerned for and pray for people instead of judging them.

I don’t feel like I’m suppose to be getting up each day and measuring myself from daylight until dark. I did that for years and I was constantly turned in on myself, feeling good about myself when I felt I was good and feeling bad about myself when I felt I was bad.

All those years I vacillated back and forth between self-righteousness and self-condemnation and even sometimes self-hatred. I’m so glad I don’t measure myself daily like I used to in order to see how I am doing or to grade myself in order to see if I got a better grade today than yesterday.

I feel so free! Not free to do whatever I want, but free to trust God with my whole life. I trust Him to keep me on the straight and narrow path. I trust that since He said He will put His laws in my mind and write them on my heart, The Holy Spirit living in me will bring up anything that needs to be brought to my attention and remind me of my true identity in Christ Jesus.

All those years that I was focused on my behavior – am I being good today or bad today? – had I instead been living out of my true identity in Christ by remembering, “I am good in Jesus. I am righteous in Jesus. I am acceptable in Jesus. I am qualified in Jesus,” my life would have been so different because right believing always leads to right living!

I have experienced much more spiritual growth living this way than I ever did measuring myself all those years. I don’t say this to brag. How could I even think about bragging when I tried to change in so many areas on my own for years and didn’t succeed until I started relying on Christ in me? It’s Him, It’s Him. It’s all about Him!

I hope this encourages you because the devil just loves it when we keep our eyes off of Jesus and on ourselves. He loves it because he knows this is not where freedom will be found.

My husband Steve said it well when we were talking about this blog post. He said, “What I do is simply keep my focus on my relationship with Jesus, knowing that as I do I will be changed from glory to glory! (see 2 Corinthians 3:18)

To some people, this is too simple. They don’t believe we can be changed by merely beholding Jesus. That is incorrect, though. In reality, it’s the only way I ever started seeing genuine, lasting change in my life.

Again, it’s all about Jesus! I love saying that!

There are many different ways in which we may see the need for an adjustment in our life. Sometimes we will see the need for change while reading the Bible. We may see that what we are reading is not what is happening in our own lives.

Other times God will make something clear to us during our prayer time or it may come just like this revelation did with me where I was getting unhappy enough in this area that I sought counsel from my husband on the issue.

Another way God brings things to our attention is through other friends, accountability partners or through people in authority over us and as long as they are not trying to control and manipulate us, we should listen, be teachable and be willing to take what they say to God in prayer.

We don’t have to be afraid of those times when God shows us adjustments needed because He loves us and He only wants the best for us!

Let’s see self-righteousness for what it is – a sin. The good news is, when you live under grace, you don’t want to sin!

I don’t want to be a gossiper and I also don’t want to be a self-righteous person who judges those who have weaknesses in areas where I am strong. I always want to remember that any good that I ever do is only because of God’s grace and not because I am great.

I want to be a Jesus-follower and a person who allows God to bring the adjustments into my life that are needed for me to bring Him the most glory! This life really is all about Jesus! It’s not about what everybody is doing to us, how we feel about everything, what we think about everything or even what we want.

Don’t misunderstand me, God cares about every little thing that concerns us and I believe He wants His children to be blessed, but the truth is, the freedom we seek will not be found when we are self-absorbed but can only be found in Him.

Acts 17:28a says, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

I’m thrilled to report that God has indeed changed me in this area by His grace and caused me to believe so deeply in the power of prayer that when someone does something that could potentially annoy me now, I immediately go to God and pray for that person instead of judging them.

Now, of course I’m not going to claim to be perfect in this area, but even in times when I start heading in a self-righteous direction, my awesome Helper, the Holy Spirit, gently reminds me not to judge, but to pray.

When God changes us by His grace He does a work so deep and thorough in our heart that it transforms the way we respond to people and circumstances. God’s grace changes us from the inside out, but we have to receive His grace for that to happen.

So I encourage you to receive, receive, receive from Jesus, today… and everyday!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Breaking Free From A Religious Mindset

Are you reigning in life? If not, the thing that’s holding you back could be a religious mindset. But Father God wants you free! This is why He gave up His one and only Son to come and rescue you – to replace all those rules with relationship.

When I came into a revelation of God’s grace in 2012 I had so many religious mindsets that I had to break free from and this has been an ongoing process, but oh so worth it!

My friend and fellow minister of grace, Connie Witter, taught such a phenomenal message recently on her TV program. I watched it this morning and then I watched it again because it was SO GOOD!

I felt very strongly that I was to share this on my blog. It is so critically important for those of us who want to continue to grow in grace, that we listen to teaching full of the good news about God’s grace. Thankfully, with all the technology available today, this is not a difficult task.

I, myself, listened to this teaching that I’ll be sharing with you (below) while I was in the bathroom getting ready today and then I watched it a second time while eating my lunch. See, very easy.

I just know you’re going to love this 28 minute teaching! After listening/watching, if you would like to find out anything more about Connie Witter’s tv program/teaching/ministry, you can visit her at Because of Jesus Ministries.

 

Did you like what you heard? If so, I encourage you to consider joining us at a Women of Grace Conference this year.

Note: These conferences are not exclusively for women. Men are welcome too.

Here’s the link to the first one in Branson, MO coming up in March: Women of Grace Conference; Branson, MO

And here’s the link to all of the Women of Grace Conferences in 2018: Women of Grace Conference schedule for 2018

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Established in Righteousness

Matthew 6:33 has been my favorite Bible verse for as long as I can remember; the only problem was, I was reading it wrong for most of my life.

Here it is:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (NASB)

I interpreted the verse like this: Seek God first and do the right thing, and all these things will be added to you. In my mind that meant I needed to work continuously to live right which put me on a works trip. My works trip dropped me off in a town called frustration every time.

Sometime last year my lightening fast brain realized that Matthew 6:33 says seek His righteousness, not my own righteousness. Oh my goodness, how did I miss that, I thought?

I like how the Amplified translation expounds on His righteousness. It says His way of doing and being right. This is good news for every Christian because it means we have God’s way of doing and being right living on the inside of us!

This certainly wasn’t the first time I had misinterpreted the scriptures as a result of reading the Bible through the eyes of legalism.

As a side note, some translations for certain verses can be confusing as well. The Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), I have heard from a very reliable source, is one of the closest literal translations to the Hebrew and Greek. I have also heard that the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a very literal translation.

I do use many different translations, but I check them with the YLT and NASB many times to see how they compare. Really, I don’t find many problems, but once in a while I do come across a verse in a certain translation that I feel could confuse people.

Even with this verse in Matthew 6:33, I noticed that some translations make it sound like it is based on our righteousness (that it’s up to us) and that is not how the verse reads in the original Greek. It clearly states “His righteousness.”

There is a big difference in God’s righteousness and our righteousness. Here is what the prophet Isaiah had to say about our righteousness:

Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)

We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.

But the good news is….

2 Corinthians 5:21 says this: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)

The Vine’s expository dictionary of New Testament words defines righteousness as “the character or quality of being right or just;” It is used to denote an attribute of God, e.g., Rom. 3:5, the context of which shows that “the righteousness of God” means essentially the same as His faithfulness, or truthfulness, that which is consistent with His own nature and promises.

If you want to live with confidence always remember that you have God’s nature living on the inside of you!

If you are a believer in Jesus and have accepted Jesus as your Savior, You already have His righteousness as a gift according to Romans 5:17! This is really good news and something I want to encourage you to remember daily and speak over yourself often.

To be established in something is to have that something as your very foundation for security. God wants you to be sure of and grow daily in the revelation that you are righteous by the blood that Jesus shed for you through His willing sacrifice on the cross.

Anytime we are struggling with anything and feeling anxiety and frustration we can remind ourselves in that very moment of who we are in Christ. In fact, this is the perfect time for us to remember and speak out that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and we have His righteousness! You should try it. You will find yourself relaxing when you replace the feelings of guilt and condemnation, which cause anxiety and frustration, with the truth of your right standing with God.

Since your righteousness is in Christ and not in your own performance, but is a gift to you because of Jesus’ finished work, the more you believe and receive this truth, the more stable, calm and confident you will feel. It is so worth spending your mental energy on meditating on this Biblical truth.

I was talking to a friend just yesterday who was asking my advice about something and she kept saying this in her texts” “I’m working on that.”

After a while I felt I needed to ask her what she meant by I’m working on that because I wasn’t convinced that she meant I’m letting The Holy Spirit work in and through me to change me from the inside out.

Come to find out we needed to back track and make sure she was doing everything she was doing from a foundation of God’s grace and led by the Holy Spirit instead of in her own strength.

Here is what my friend was doing and what we all do from time to time:

Romans 10:3-4 

3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with God. (NLT)

Of course I emailed the paragraph you just read to my friend to see if she approved it before I used it. Here is what she said about herself:

Approved. This friend was depending on herself to “work this out” instead of letting Jesus work it out. She was stressed out. Anxious, afraid, mad, bitter and resentful…

This is always going to be the result of trying to live by our own righteousness. It is living under the law instead of living under grace. The Apostle Paul refers to the law as the ministry of death and the ministry of condemnation. (see 2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

He didn’t say this because there was anything wrong with the law in and of itself. The law is holy, but because the law is impossible to keep perfectly it gives everyone who lives by it the constant feeling that they are coming up short. I’m sure we can all say “been there, done that” more times than we care to remember.

Those who live the Christian life by the law (by trying real hard to keep all the rules) will constantly be disappointed. In fact the Apostle Paul says in Galatians that those who try to live this way are actually doomed to disappointment. Yikes! (see Galatians 3:10)

But thank you God for sending Jesus to fulfill the law on our behalf and thank you Jesus for coming for us!

I’m telling you my friend, because you have Jesus, you already have His righteousness.

Once again we come back to our believing. I hope you never get tired of hearing me talk about our believing because I want to pre-warn you that it may be in everything I write. The reason is that I feel it was the most critical piece of revelation that helped me pack up my bags and finally move out of the town of frustration.

The friend I said I talked to yesterday – she is on her way out too because she is going deeper, beyond her actions to her beliefs. She is learning that her right beliefs about what she has in Christ Jesus is the very thing that will result in right actions.

Listen….we can have something for years and not even know that we have it and until we know we have it, it won’t do us a bit of good.

I recommend that you take the revelation of your righteousness in Christ and apply it to your own life. Here is how you can do this:

You can Google this phrase: Bible verses on our righteousness in Christ. Then as you read the scriptures and meditate on them you will be able to say with assurance, that promise applies to me and that promise applies to me and that promise too!

I will help you get started:

Psalm 5:12 (AMP)

For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor).

Now you know you can read this verse and instead of saying, I don’t feel this verse is true for me right now because I just blew it. You can say, yep, that’s for me because I am the righteousness of God is Christ. God is blessing me and surrounding me with goodwill right now!”

When you start meditating on Biblical truths like this, these promises will become your default reaction to satan’s lies.

You will become more confident as you become more established in the righteousness you have in Christ. Right behavior will begin to flow out of your right believing. You will be so excited about discovering the goodness of God over and over again that you won’t be able to help yourself.

Your love walk will increase and you will turn around and think, how did I change in that area? The only answer you will have is, by the grace of God and the gift of His righteousness!

Romans 5:17 says this:

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (NIV)

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Questions & Answers: Grace-Based Relationship Advice

Hi Sandra,

My name is Debbie and I live in Australia.

I have been reading your book and I absolutely love it!

I have some questions that I would like to ask you about and hoping that you may be able to answer.

My Answer:

Hi Debbie! So happy you are loving my book. I praise Jesus for using it to encourage you!

I’m so glad you felt free to email me and ask your questions because there are no bad questions when it comes to your grace journey. In fact, one of the things that has helped me learn and grow on my own journey the most is thinking through and answering other people’s questions just like yours!

Here are your questions with my answers under each one:

1.) “ I know in your book you give examples of times when you had placed yourself under pressure for various reasons and this may sound really simple, but how do you deal with situations when other people may not be happy with the pace that you are working at to accomplish a task?”

I totally understand your question and hope this helps:

Being assured of who we are in Christ helps us tremendously in situations like this. Here’s why: when we have our identity solely tied to who we are in Jesus, meaning what Jesus thinks about us and the value He puts on us, it begins to matter less and less what others think about us. He shows us our worth and value through His unconditional love for us, His free gift of righteousness given to us and His complete forgiveness of our sin – all aspects of God’s grace!

I believe knowing who we are in Christ is something we become more and more secure in the more we read/hear the gospel – the good news about God’s grace. I literally feel like I am hidden in God’s love for me and this sense of security I feel strengthens over time as I continue to meditate on how much God loves me on a daily basis. 

I have a section in my book where I talk about the importance and life transforming power of Beholding Jesus according to 2 Corinthians 3:18. You may have already made it to this place in the book, but if not I believe it will help you gain more understanding on how to receive from Jesus by beholding Him.

At this time there are very few relationships left where I still struggle with worrying about what others are thinking of me or if they are not happy with me because I am so rooted and grounded in understanding God’s deep love and satisfaction toward me.

BUT

There are definitely some relationships where I still struggle with feeling insecure around various people or catch myself wondering what they are thinking of me and relationships where I sometimes let it bother me if they “don’t think I’m working fast enough” (from your question above) or even other things similar to this.

Here’s how I’m dealing with it: Whenever I sense myself getting into anxiety mode around a person or frustration mode because of something they’ve said or a way in which they’ve reacted toward me, I sometimes start to head in the wrong direction with my emotions or even begin to go into people pleasing mode.  BUT I have learned to stop and say to myself. “Sandra, remember what Jesus says about you, how He loves you and values you (no matter what you do or fail to do) and remember that what Jesus says and feels about you overrides what this other person is saying, thinking or feeling about you.”

This is why it’s so important to receive God’s love toward us and remember how He feels about us everyday. If we don’t we won’t have that place of security to pull from when we get into a pressured situation like you mentioned in your question. In my book, I compare this to the importance of having strong core muscles and how we so heavily rely on our core for just about every physical activity.

Understanding God’s love for us is like having strong core muscles. We can completely rely on and run back to God’s love for us when someone says or does something that makes us feel shaky or like we may fall over (emotionally), just like we can rely on our core muscles to keep us from falling over in a strong wind. The revelation of His love brings us stability in difficult, painful situations.

This is why it’s wrong when people say teaching people about the love of God is just the abc’s or the baby/beginning stage of Christianity. No Way! Teaching people how loved they are by God is A-Z. It’s critical and we can never hear it enough!

Think about how much better all relationships would be if people were secure in the Father’s love for them. A continual revelation of His love continues to drive fear out of our lives and fear/insecurity is what causes so many problems in relationships. Therefore, the massive amount of problems in people’s relationships worldwide is proof that the need for a deeper understanding of God’s love is great. I love this passage from Ephesians 3:17-19!

2.) “Also, another question, someone once mentioned to me that if you are in pain it is better to not mention it to others, to stop others from thinking any less of you and thinking or saying anything negatively about you. What are your thoughts about this?”

I feel it is definitely not good to keep your pain bottled up inside, but I do not recommend sharing your pain with people you cannot trust – meaning people you know who will judge you.

Anyone we share our struggles with should be people we know who will encourage us by reminding us of who we are in Christ and pointing us to Jesus and what He thinks about us.

I have surrounded myself with people who I feel free to be myself with and those are the only people I open up to in specific areas. I avoid telling people things who have a difficult time keeping my business confidential and also avoid sharing my difficulties with self-righteous people because I know they will respond like a Pharisee, in a judgemental way.

You can tell who the Pharisees are by listening to their conversations. They come across as though they think they’re better than others. And in saying this I’m not saying we don’t all act like a Pharisee from time to time because we can all fall into this trap.

The difference is that full-time Pharisees are blinded to the truth about grace so they are not even sorry for being judgmental and critical of others because they don’t even see that it’s wrong. They think they are just helping people be as wonderful as they themselves are (in their own mind). Oh my goodness, I was a class A Pharisee before I came into a revelation of God’s grace. Can you tell? I recognize the signs!

So yes, you really should share your pain with others, but only with grace-filled (gracious) people who you feel comfortable with and people who you know will love you back into a place of wholeness instead of condemning you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there won’t ever be anything to work through in relationships, even when you are connected with the right people, because there will be. Nobody is perfect. We are all on a journey. I believe open, honest, respectful communication on both sides makes for the best relationships!

I hope this helps you. I had so much fun typing out my answer. As I mentioned, these questions always help me because they force me to think through my answers so thank you for sending me this email!

Debbie, I’ll be praying that you get a full-on, life transforming revelation of God’s grace as you continue to read my book!

Debbie’s Takeaway:

Hi Sandra,

“Thank you so much for your reply to my questions. It helped to give me a better understanding about why it’s so important to know who we are in Christ. Although I have often heard about the concept of ‘knowing who we are in Christ’, you have helped me to realize that this understanding helps us in so many different ways – from helping us keep our emotions from getting out of control, to helping us keep calm, to providing us with a true sense of security, to helping us let go of what others say because what God says about us carries more weight.

For many years I have struggled with being so concerned about what people think of me and I’m still struggling with this. But this year I’m making it my goal to get to know who I am in Christ.”

I can’t think of a better goal!

* Thanks to Debbie for giving me permission to share this on my blog!

Feel free to email me a question anytime by clicking on the envelope at the top of this website or in the drop down menu from your mobile device and I will do my best to reply to you with a grace-based answer!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Lies Religion Taught Me & The Truth That Set Me Free

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As a Believer, have you ever been told you’re going to be judged by God someday – that when you get to Heaven He’s going to display on a big video screen your life and all the things you’ve ever done wrong?

Friends, I invite you to join in on an online Bible study that my friend, Connie Witter, is doing titled Lies Religion Taught Me & The Truth That Set Me Free!

Every Wednesday at 10:00 am through Facebook Live Connie will be taking one religious lie that she believed over the years and teaching others the truth that set her free in that area. The Bible study is 20 minutes! Then every Thursday morning her and her friend Gwen will do another 20 minute Facebook Live video to discuss any questions or comments that may have been posted from the day before.

This past Wednesday was the first week of this Bible study and Connie started with What Religion Taught Me About God’s Judgement. Then on Thursday her and Gwen unpacked the subject even more.

And no worries if you are not on Facebook. She will also be posting this study to YouTube. But for today, to get you started I am going to give you a link where you will be able to watch week one and get the information for the rest of the Bible Study. Why? Because I like you!

I have watched both videos twice and felt they were so powerful. Then, Yesterday, as I was driving home from dropping my girls off at school, I felt like the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart to share this with you through my blog!

Connie and Gwen are two of the women I will be speaking with this year at the Women of Grace conferences. I feel blessed to be in relationship with them as they are very loving, gracious people.

You are going to enjoy this Bible study! Here’s one of the many testimonies that have come in so far that Connie gave me permission to share:

“Good morning, Connie!  Just a quick message to tell you how much your message about religious lies touched my heart. I’ve been stuck for quite some time – knowing the truth in my head and it just wasn’t sinking into my heart. I cried pretty much throughout your entire teaching – thank you for helping me break through the crud that was so stubbornly surrounding my heart. I will watch it again until I’m no longer crying, but rejoicing in the Lord’s love instead. Thank you for sharing the Good News in a way that I could finally open up to believe and RECEIVE it into my heart. Many blessings & much love to you, sister!”

Here’s your link! Enjoy!

Lies Religion Taught Me & The Truth That Set Me Free

To read Connie’s bio and learn more about her ministry you can go to Because of Jesus Ministries.

To read Gwen’s bio and learn more about her ministry you can go to Reigning Through Righteousness Ministries.

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Quitting The Rules

Rules List written on the blackboard with hand holding white chalk

A few days ago my husband Steve and I landed in Orlando for a three night marriage getaway. Today was our last day and we’ve had such a great time. We haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!

Steve is the funniest person I know. When this man gets on a roll I am doubled over with laughter.

Thursday night, when we arrived, we decided to head over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. A group of ladies were standing there with Cinderella’s castle in the back ground preparing to take a selfie and Steve just very naturally says, “They’ve spotted me again. They just won’t leave me alone. Sure, they’re acting like they’re taking a selfie, but I know what they’re really doing. They’ll probably post it and it will go viral!”

Hahahahahahahaha!

Oh my gosh, I was laughing so hard! The reason this was so hysterical is because it’s so opposite of my husband’s personality. The last thing Steve McCollom wants is to be in front of a crowd or to have everyone starring at him and I guarantee you that it would never even cross his mind to post a video in hopes that it would go viral!

Organizing this marriage getaway took work. It required us to plan ahead and put money aside in our budget. In addition, we had to agree to set our list of daily responsibilities aside and make our relationship with each other a priority.

Our teenage girls were jokingly giving us trouble about not bringing them with us. Actually though, they’re so glad we’ve put our marriage first, in priority over our relationship with them, because it makes them feel secure to know we are still in love after 26 years of marriage!

Now that we are here we are so glad we set the time aside for this trip.

We totally recommend spending special time with your spouse on a regular basis, but you do not have to do something away from home or something expensive in order to make an investment into your marriage.

Steve and I have done so many stay-at-home dates or dates at our daughters’ sporting events over the years. We’ve told our girls that we’re doing a stay-at-home date and said to them, “we’ll be downstairs watching a movie. You stay upstairs,” or we’ve said to each other, “Hey, Starr has a volleyball game tonight. Let’s both go and make it a date night!”

Track season is coming up. Both our girls want to be in track; therefore, we’ll be doing lots of dates at track meets this spring. These kind of dates cost $0.

In regards to spending special, set-aside time together, there’s something I’ve noticed that has changed for us in the past year or so. We no longer put ourselves under a law as to how often we have to do date nights or marriage getaways. We did this for a long time and sometimes having a rule in place to help you get disciplined in an area can be helpful, but running our dating life by a law made it feel more mechanical for us.

I believe one of our main goals in life should be to live Spirit-led in every area. Spirit-led living always takes us far beyond any place a rule or law can take us.

Learning how to live Spirit-led only comes one way – through the heart change that is created in us as we live under the waterfall of God’s grace, day after day after day.

Interestingly enough, I noticed once Steve and I removed this law about how often we had to go out, we just started going out regularly because we simply enjoyed each other’s presence. In other words, we no longer needed a rule to remind us to go out together. We started staying-in-step with the Holy Spirit’s leading in this area.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I feel like every time I remove a law (an I-have-to-do-this rule) in my life I start doing that very thing that I used to do out of duty, from a place of devotion instead.

I’m just going to speak from my own personal experience and hopefully this will resonate with you as well, but I feel like so many times when I have a rule or a law in place it prevents me from hearing from, being led by and following the Holy Spirit’s lead in my life. Why? Because I find myself depending on the law to keep me in line.

I did this for decades because all my rules felt like such a place of safety for me as if they would ensure that I wouldn’t step out of line in any area. I was deceived though because actually my life was a series of one failure after another.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying there is no place for guidelines, rules or planning. I have all of these in my life in some form or fashion. In fact, I wouldn’t be in Florida with my husband right now if I hadn’t planned this trip. But I still believe the ultimate goal here is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives.

Before Steve and I let go of that law that we had set for ourselves that we “had to go on a date every two weeks,” I would find myself complaining to Steve.

“It’s been over two weeks since we’ve been on a date (sigh).” I would sometimes get annoyed at him for not thinking up a date and asking me out. Not that Steve never did this, but you know, when you’re operating under a law it’s going to end up showing you where you or others have fallen short every time you or they don’t follow that law perfectly.

I’m thrilled to report I no longer have this feeling now that we focus on living our lives by the Spirit’s lead as opposed to keeping ourselves in line by a list of rules. But guess what? We never once had a conversation about letting go of this law.

I believe what’s happening to us is that as Steve and I grow in grace by reading and studying God’s Word through a new covenant lens as well as reading books and listening to teachings about Jesus (the person of grace), Jesus is changing our heart and that heart change is causing us to move further and further away from living by rules while our desire to live Spirit-led lives has increased!

It’s so cool. It’s like, “hey, we don’t need this rule anymore because we have stepped over into living Spirit-led instead.”

Let me give you another example. I used to have a terrible habit of talking to my husband disrespectfully and making him feel bad about himself whenever he would make a mistake. I knew it was wrong, but I needed to understand God’s grace in a personal way before my heart could be changed in this area.

Once I started my grace journey on January 2nd, 2012 (I encourage you to get my book to read more about my story of freedom), I noticed a radical change in this area of my life.

Now, because of the work of change that God’s grace has made in my heart, I found I’ve lost the desire to talk to Steve disrespectfully or make him feel bad when he makes a mistake.

I won’t take credit for this change or any of the other positive changes in my life because I’ll never forget all the years that I tried soooooooooo hard to improve myself and failed miserably.

As a result of God’s grace, I am now living more Spirit-led where my marriage is concerned.

We have a black wood floor in our home. A couple months ago we were getting one of our toilets changed and Steve was dragging the box across the floor. He didn’t see it at first, but a staple on the bottom of the box was causing a long, deep scratch on the floor as he was dragging it.

I remember him calling me and telling me he had made a big mistake. He told me what happened and I replied, “Don’t worry about it Babe. You are way more important to me than my floor.” He went on for a while about how bad it looked and I could tell he was mad at himself that he had made that mistake, but it just wasn’t in my heart to make him feel bad about it.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that my response was like this because I now understand in a very deep way how much I have been forgiven of by God; therefore, I have a heart desire to naturally extend that forgiveness to others!

This is exactly why I will be spending the rest of my life helping others by setting their eyes on Jesus – who is Grace. I am convinced if I spend my energy pointing people to Him instead of trying to straighten them out they will also experience a heart change as they behold Jesus and this heart change will result in positive changes in their lives!

We had a decision to make in regards to fixing the floor. We could spend $1200 to fix it or buy this particular marker to touch it up and make it look as good as possible.

Steve would have let me do either, but I chose the marker route. Do you know why? Yes, one reason was that I did not want to spend $1200, but the main reason I chose to leave the scratch on the floor was because I wanted to be reminded of how Jesus has transformed my heart so drastically each time I notice the scratch.

Really, I hardly ever notice it, but when I do I say in my heart, “Thank You Jesus for how You’ve changed my life!” That scratch on the floor actually promotes thankfulness in my heart for God’s grace.

Oh my gosh, I’m seriously getting a deeper revelation in this area as I type this blog post. I hope you are as well!

As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self – life. For your self – life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder Him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self – life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self – life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit. But when you are brought into the full freedom of the Spirit of grace, you will no longer be living under the domination of the law, but soaring above it! – Galatians 5:16-18 (The Passion Translation)

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Merry Christmas! (2017 Christmas Card)

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We hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas season honoring & celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as spending time with your family and friends.

In this upcoming year may each of our hearts burst with gratitude toward our gracious heavenly Father – everyday – for sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to rescue us so we can enjoy relationship with Him and have the privilege of being called His sons and daughters!

Merry Christmas!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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The Adventure of Spirit-led Living

My brother David lives on the edge. He likes action, he likes adventure and he can’t stand to sit around for too long before taking off again. He has traveled to over 150 countries, jumped out of an airplane, swam with sharks and I guarantee you he is currently contemplating which daring feat he can conquer next.

I am pretty much the complete opposite of my brother. I wouldn’t dream of jumping out of an airplane and I have already decided to never swim in the ocean so I don’t get attacked by a shark. I think I watched Jaws one too many times growing up because I can’t stop thinking about how my feet would be dangling below the surface of the water….accessible to shark teeth.

But I have discovered another kind of adventure that I want to share with you today. It’s the adventure of letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives and having the guts to follow Him! I have been living this adventure for a number of years now and I have to admit, I’m having the time of my life!

You see, for nearly 34 years, I pretty much followed one thing… my brain. If I couldn’t figure it out, I wouldn’t do it. If it didn’t seem reasonable, I didn’t do it. If it messed with my plan, I wouldn’t even consider it. To be honest, my life was organized, orderly and boring. But thankfully, God helped me change the faulty belief I held that said everything had to make sense to my brain for me to move forward.

God began to work with me and teach me that I didn’t have to live by what my brain dictated, but I could live by following the leading of the Holy Spirit instead. I didn’t have any idea what an adventure I was in for when I agreed with God to make the switch. I have less control over my life now than I have ever had; yet, I’m enjoying my life more than ever!

Spirit-led living has affected every area of my life in a positive way. My marriage, parenting, friendships, giving, writing, homeschooling, and on and on.

Jesus said this about The Holy Spirit’s role in our lives:

John 14:16 

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever. (AMP)

Do you know how good this verse is? It’s like amazingly good news! But I have to admit that I didn’t really get it for years. I would subconsciously think. ‘Thanks God, but I’ve got it all figured out. My mind has my life under control so… I’m actually good.” I wouldn’t say it out loud, but I was living it. I spent much more time overriding the Spirit of God than I actually spent listening to anything He had to say and more time doing my own thing than following His lead.

You should have heard my brain’s reaction when I announced that I would no longer continue letting it rule my life. My brain had a panic attack. It had been the boss for many, many years and it didn’t like having to give up that role. I informed my brain that it was now going to live subservient to my Spirit and oh how it tried to flood me with fearful thoughts of what would happen if I lived this way.

I actually had to learn how to walk again, by the Spirit, and this is still an ongoing process every single day. It’s one of the gems I have found on my journey of grace.

Spirit-led living won’t always make sense to our mind. Sometimes we will feel led to do something that our mind is telling us not to do or we can be led not to do something that our mind is screaming at us that we better do.

After working hard for days to make sure other responsibilities I had were finished first, I finally had the opportunity to sit down and write this blog post. Then about 15 minutes into my writing, the Holy Spirit had me stop, receive communion for myself and on behalf of a friend and text her a specific word of encouragement. I don’t even ask questions anymore.

It was not all that long ago that I would have thought, this doesn’t make sense. I need to write this blog post. Why should I stop and do that? Like I said….. I don’t even ask anymore. I know there is a plan in everything the Holy Spirit leads me to do and I don’t have to know what that plan is. That’s been huge for me, not having to know.

I have seen so many amazing things happen when I stop what I have planned and minister to a specific person or stop and give my daughters a hug or stop and tell my husband I love him.

I have stood in awe of what comes out of Spirit-led moments. Moments where maybe I am prompted to share a certain scripture with my girls and that leads us into a phenomenal conversation or moments like the one at Whole Foods a few weeks ago where I heard a lady say that she had pain in her knee and I knew I was suppose to ask her if she would tell me her first name so I could pray for her healing.

Listen, in this day and age, I better be hearing from the Spirit to ask a complete stranger their name, but I couldn’t shake it. I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me. I asked her and she was so visibly touched by me having overheard her and the fact that I even cared enough to stop and offer prayer.

I encouraged her that God cares about everything she is concerned about and also encouraged her to expect a miracle. I haven’t seen her again at Whole Foods but I don’t really need to because I did the part that God was leading me to do by His Spirit. I am not responsible for the outcome, only for following Him.

We can be tuned into the people around us and what is going on in their lives just like Jesus was. When we study the gospels, it’s the stops of Jesus that stand out to us, because He was always stopping for people, aware of those around Him and the condition of their heart. If they were hurting, He sensed it. If they were afraid, He felt it. If they felt like a failure, he saw it and purposely took extra time to show them compassion.

When my family and I leave our home, we go out of the house knowing we are Christ’s ambassadors. We talk a lot as a family about how we are representatives for Jesus. We know our mission is not to go out and beat people over the head with our Bible’s, but to bring love, light and encouragement into the dark places of their world. We go out of the house as sons and daughters of the most high God, with the intent of slipping in and out of people’s lives to get them thinking about Jesus.

You haven’t begun to see adventure until you start living with this purpose in mind. I mean, you really don’t know what God has planned for you from day to day and it gives you a sense of excitement. It is no longer about your plan, but His plan for you each day and from my own personal experience, time and time again, when I live out His plan for me by following The Spirit, He always helps me get everything that I need to get accomplished, completed by the time it needs to be done. Our productivity goes up, up, up, when we live Spirit-led lives!

I noticed a huge difference in my ability to be a witness to my own kids, my husband and people out in public once I started ministering led by the Spirit because The Holy Spirit knows exactly what each person needs and He opens the doors for us. We don’t have to kick them down or pressure people. Ministry is natural when it’s Spirit-led.

We can live Spirit-led lives. Obviously, since we are human, and our own mind, will and emotions get involved, we don’t always succeed; but by the grace of God we can continually learn how to defer to the Spirit more and more. Then, when we do end up getting out of step with the Spirit, we can simply make the choice to receive God’s grace once again to help us get right back in step with Him!

We are teaching our kids this as a way of life as well. It has been so much fun teaching them! We have discovered something; if we just try to control our kids by heaping up rules and regulations on them, it eventually backfires on us.

There are many things our kids ask us about that give us the opportunity to teach them how to be led by the Spirit. It is really cool to begin to encourage them to pray about various situations and come back and tell us what they are feeling in their hearts. It teaches them to begin to live Spirit-led lives for themselves and it gives them confidence that they can hear from God instead of us just spelling everything out for them.

The Spirit Leads Us Into All Truth

In John 16:12-14 

Jesus said:

12 I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. 13 When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, He will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own authority, but He will speak of what He hears and will tell you of things to come. 14 He will give Me glory, because He will take what I say and tell it to you. (GNT)

One thing that I have learned on this journey is that I can’t hear what God wants me to do in life if I am running around like crazy all the time.

Just for clarification, when I say ‘hear Him,’ I am talking about a ‘knowing’ or a ‘certainty’ that I feel inside on which way to turn in each situation. I am not referring to hearing an audible voice. The Bible says be led by peace and that overwhelming sense of peace in our hearts or the lack of it helps us determine how to proceed in any given situation.

It is a good idea to wait for a period of time (maybe only a few seconds sometimes and maybe longer other times) to make sure we are actually being led by the Spirit and not our own soul (mind, will and emotions). I used to be terrible at this. I almost never waited, but would rush into something new, completely living life based on the dictates of my mind. But now I am learning to just wait a bit and listen. Here’s an example.

A few mornings ago I woke up and one of the first thoughts I had was, I think I should write a blog post this morning and then do my work. My emotions and my will came quickly to support my mind because I absolutely love to write and I love to help people. But, thank God I have learned to wait and consider that decision instead of just rushing forward as I had done previously for so many years of my life.

As I prayed and waited, it wasn’t even a minute and I knew that writing a blog post was not what I was suppose to do. I did not have peace about this. I needed to get some other things completed first.

Blog posts take me a decent amount of time to write because it is important to me to study the scriptures to support my post and to only release it when I feel it is really finished. So it is not something I just whip up in a few minutes.

Actually, let me say that I have no idea how I am doing this in the first place. I do not know what I am going to write (except for the idea and possibly a title) until I sit down and start typing. Then, every time I do, the Holy Spirit leads me in what to write. I won’t take the credit for it because each time I write, I just sit here and think, how in the world is all this coming together? The only answer is by God’s grace!

I didn’t even go to college. In the natural I am not that smart and certainly not a literary genius, yet we are seeing really good fruit from this blog. God is good and my husband and I are so thankful to God for this.

I am telling you this to encourage you that God wants to use you to help other people too. Put all your trust in God and He will lead you every step of the way by His Spirit into the destiny He has planned for you. He will also cause you to have the abilities that you need to fulfill your destiny!

These lyrics from Amy Grant’s song titled, ‘Hope Set High’ say it all.

“You know that when it all comes down
When it all comes down
If there’s anything good that happens in life
It’s from Jesus.”

I hope you are beginning to see what an incredible way this is to live because I have a strong desire to help people enter the rest of God and this is one of the keys to you being able to do this. As we learn to follow the Spirit’s lead, life just gets better and better.

In regards to your schedule and slowing down a bit, I simply encourage you to start by praying about this and if there are any changes you need to make, the Holy Spirit, your Helper, will give you answers. He has a way of showing us, even one easy change we can make sometimes, that makes a world of difference.

Because I have learned to do this, I do not normally over-schedule things anymore. But recently I did over-commit. I made several new commitments each week and we were definitely feeling the stress of it. I tried to hold out until one of the commitments ended, but it wasn’t working so I prayed about it and decided to drop one day of activities.

In this particular situation, I could do this without breaking my word to anyone. Otherwise, in order to walk in integrity, I would have needed to ask that person if I could be released from my commitment.

Walking in integrity is something my parents taught me well so I know I don’t have the freedom to just go around committing to things and then breaking my commitments all the time; although, there are extenuating circumstances sometimes that call for us to explain our dilemma to the people involved and ask them if they would release us from our commitment.

Things just calmed right down after we made this change and gave ourselves a little extra breathing room. As I look back on the situation now, I see that I over-committed in an effort to please my kids.

Wanting to do things that make our kids happy is a good thing, but following what God wants is more important. Besides, I’ve learned that if I stress myself and my family out by over-scheduling life, we are all going to end up unhappy anyway.

Now, there are periods of time in our lives when we do have busier seasons and when that happens, God’s grace is right there to help us through these times while being able to remain at rest. Rest is not necessarily a rest from work, but we can rest in work.

I think we all agree though, that life can get crazy out-of-control if we are just doing everything we want, think or feel we need to do without consulting our Helper. I do not believe the Holy Spirit would ever lead us into something bad and stress is bad so following His lead is the only way to live!

The Spirit Functions As A Fruit-Producer In Our Lives

When the Spirit indwells us, He begins the work of harvesting His fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23) These are not works of our flesh, which is incapable of producing such fruit, but they are products of the Spirit’s presence within.

John 14:26

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (AMP)

See, according to this scripture, the Holy Spirit is right there in us teaching us all things, but if we allow ourselves to get agitated, disturbed, fearful, intimidated, cowardly and unsettled as John 14:27 says, then we won’t receive the grace or direction from the Holy Spirit that is being offered in John 14:26.

He (the Spirit of grace) never stops supplying, so we need to believe this promise in John 14:26, stay in rest and never stop receiving!

I hope you will join me by making the announcement to your brain that it is no longer running the show because we have a far superior solution. We have a gift that Jesus asked the Father to send us. The wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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You’re A Blessing Waiting To Happen

Happy African American mother and daughter playing.

Do you believe this? You should because it’s true!

A couple of weeks ago I was just going about my daily routine and I felt like God reminded me: Sandra, you’re a blessing waiting to happen!

Right away I received this encouragement from my awesome heavenly Daddy and began to say to myself, “I’m a blessing waiting to happen.” “I’m a blessing waiting to happen!” Then I said, “Look out world, here I come.”

It’s amazing how confident we become when our confidence is in who we are in Christ and not who we are in ourselves. In fact, one of my favorite songs right now is Water To Wine by Hillsong United from their album, Wonder. And my favorite line in this song is “Apart from You Lord I’ve got Nothing.”

I love this line of the song because when we know that apart from Jesus we’ve got nothing, it takes the weight off our shoulders and reminds us that with Jesus we have everything we need. How relaxing is that?!

So I left my house that morning for an appointment to get my hair cut and my hairdresser asked me when I was planning to get a hair color again. She felt I was due for one. I usually only get my hair colored every 6 months so I wouldn’t have normally gone until February but my schedule happened to be open for the morning and amazingly hers was too.

Lisa, my hair stylist, did have another customer coming in for an appointment, but could work us in together. Her other client’s name was Michelle.

It didn’t take long for me to discover that God had indeed orchestrated myself and Michelle being at the salon at the same time because Michelle was hurting. Sadly, her son had died not all that long ago.

I was sitting in the chair listening to Michelle discuss what her life looked like at that point and time and at the same time I was listening to my Helper, the Holy Spirit, for any specific direction. I didn’t say anything for a good, long time. I just listened.

Then, the time came when the Spirit opened up an opportunity for me to speak Jesus’ love into Michelle’s life. She was ready! People are always ready when we minister to them by the Holy Spirit’s leading – in the Spirit’s timing.

I carry copies of my book in the back of my car for times just like this. I definitely felt the Holy Spirit leading me to ask Michelle if she would like a copy of my book after sharing just a little of my story with her and she was moved to tears. That would be a yes!

We both knew this meeting was no accident.

I want to encourage you to believe that YOU are a blessing waiting to happen everywhere you go because of Christ in you.

Romans 8:11a says,

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. (NLT)

And the rest of verse 11 says:

And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (NLT)

Here’s another true story that will inspire you.

My friend’s husband, Rob, owns a business of his own and was needing to get some supplies. Here’s what happened in his own words to his client.

“So God is at work in me on your project. There was an item sold out at the Manchester Menards so I had to go to the St. Ann Menards. As I am there looking for it, on the shelf it’s supposed to be on, I can’t find it. So I go find a worker in that area. I find a female employee and she types it in the computer and tells me it is in the clearance area. As we are walking over there I notice she is holding her right shoulder with her left hand. I tell her my church believes in prayer and healing and I ask her if I can pray for her RIGHT NOW. She says yes, I ask if I can lay my hand on her shoulder and she says, “ok.” So we stop in the aisle and I pray for Jesus to heal her. After praying I tell her we like to check in and ask her about the pain analysis from 10-0. I then ask her to raise her right arm, while still standing behind her, she slowly turns toward me with the biggest, buggiest shocked eyes and says “What did you do to me.” I said, “I didn’t do anything, Jesus did.” All her pain was gone. She then took me to the item, I thanked her and left.”

I loved this story. No fanfare. Not looking for applause. Just desiring to pass on the life of Christ within him as he was out and about in his world. He prayed, gave Jesus the credit and left. I believe this is the heart of God!

You better believe that lady will never forget what God did for her that day.

There are two great reasons for us to JUMP out of bed each morning, excited for another new day.

  1. Each day is a new opportunity for us to get a deeper revelation of our wonderful Jesus!
  2. Each new day holds the possibility of us being able to share the good news with someone!

And to all the parents reading this – this includes your kids. Moms, please don’t think if you’re a stay-at-home-mom that your job isn’t important. You have the privilege of delivering the good news to your kids everyday.

  • You can remind them they are the righteousness of God in Christ
  • You can remind them of their true identity in Christ in many ways
  • You can remind them they are forgiven for their sins because of Jesus
  • You can remind them they are unconditionally loved by Daddy God
  • You can remind them they never have to live under condemnation
  • You can remind them of the many promises in God’s Word

It’s so exciting to be alive and have the opportunity to connect with our heavenly Father, our Savior and our Helper (Holy Spirit) as well as pouring into other people’s lives every single day as God orchestrates opportunities for us. It’s all for God’s glory!

The devil wants us pre-occupied and distracted by so, so, so many other things in life to keep us from ever getting around to numbers 1 or 2 (above) and believe me, I experience these distractions just like everyone else. When we do get distracted, there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus.

Of course, the devil wants to distract us and then when we do get distracted he hopes we waste more time living under guilt and condemnation. We cannot give him the pleasure of giving into his deception because that’s all he’s got, my friend. Lies. Deception.

For those of us who are Jesus Followers, the devil doesn’t actually have any authority over us other than what we give him by believing his lies. The only weapon he has is deception.

Just remember tomorrow morning when you wake up to say to yourself, “Because of Jesus, I’m a blessing waiting to happen. Because of Jesus, I can make a positive difference in someone’s life today. Because of Jesus I can put people in touch with Jesus!” WooHoo, it’s all because of Jesus and it’s all about Jesus.”

Have fun being a blessing this week!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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Reproducing the Life of Jesus

How do we reproduce the life of Jesus? Hint: It’s not by trying harder!

This teaching by Pastor Greg Riether, the pastor of Healing Grace Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is powerful and this isn’t the only one that is. I’ve been devouring Pastor Greg’s messages on YouTube this past month or so and they are pure grace; therefore, I’m seeing positive changes in my heart and as a result, positive changes in my life.

I can’t even begin to express how important it is that the teaching you are hearing be Jesus-centered, grace-based teaching.

If you’ve ever been in a church service or listened to an audio teaching that is being taught from an old covenant perspective you’ve probably noticed that you feel pushed down and oppressed, as if you’ll never be able to do enough to measure up to God’s standard. It’s terrible. You can literally feel the heaviness in the room.

To be clear, I’m not saying the whole Bible, both old and new testament shouldn’t be preached because it should, but when Jesus died on the cross and rose again, it changed everything and I mean everything. Jesus ushered in the new covenant of God’s grace; therefore, all scripture should be taught through a new covenant perspective.

When you are in church or when you’re listening to a teaching you should be being reminded of what Jesus has done for you through His finished work on the cross. This should always be the central focus and when it is, you’ll find you feel lifted up and filled with hope.

Thankfully, there are more and more Jesus-centered, grace-based churches being started around the world; but regretfully there are many others who put a heavy load on people every week simply because they don’t teach the gospel – they don’t teach the good news. I believe this is why there are so many people who either don’t go to church or they don’t enjoy going to church. They are getting a steady diet of a mixed gospel which is not the true gospel.

On one hand, they are being told that God loves them unconditionally, but in the same sermon they are being told what they better do to earn God’s love.

Truth be told, if a person gets a revelation of God’s love for them, believe me, they are going to live a life full of good works and a life that blesses the Father’s heart. It’s the natural outgrowth of hearing the good news!

This is one reason why I share different teachings on my website with you, because my husband Steve and I know the value of continuing to hear the good news – the gospel of grace – day in and day out.

Steve and I are so hungry to know Jesus more and I know you are too! This is why we often have Jesus-centered, grace-filled teachings playing in our car, while we’re cooking a meal, cleaning up the kitchen or getting ready for the day.

I believe Pastor Greg Riether is one of those people you will want to add to your list of grace-based ministers whose messages you listen to on a regular basis because, as I said before, he is preaching messages that will point you to Jesus and leave you filled with hope!

I pray you enjoy this teaching as much as I did. You are going to hear a lot of amazing stories in conjunction with this message. Near the end, when Pastor Greg says they are going to receive communion, don’t turn the teaching off because he tells the best story.

Enjoy. You will be encouraged!

Greg Riether has been a pastor and teacher for 30 years. He is the author of The Real Grace Series (The Parables of Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus, The Miracles of Jesus), The Grace Minute Devotional (being released in December 2017) and The Aleph-Tav Old Testament. He is the Lead Pastor at Healing Grace Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Visit him on the web at: www.healinggracetulsa.com.

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom