• Heart Undressed Blog


I first met Renae, in 2015, when she came to visit our church. She was sweet & slightly reserved. At that time, we were told she’d been saved 9 months earlier, after having left a destructive relationship & lifestyle. For the first few weeks, she sat with our family. Her sense of humor & quick wit endeared her to our small Body. She asked good questions & contributed to discussions.

My relationship with her grew when she joined a women’s Bible study that met 2x a month, in our home, in the Fall. The group was 50/50—half church/half community. When you put a group of women together, with coffee (or hot chocolate), in a home environment, something happens. They relax, share a little, laugh, & over time—warm up to the idea of transparency. We could count on Renae for funny one-liners!

About 4 months into the Bible Study, Renae’s daughter went missing for a few weeks & was later found in a field…the victim of foul play. Her death remains an unresolved mystery to this day. The Bible Study gals rallied as best we knew how -- praying, bringing meals, & a few attended the funeral. Through this horrible shock, Renae stayed connected to church & the study. Tragedy has a way of washing away pretense. You quickly see who will go the distance in painful situations.

Last year, Renae approached me about the possibility of starting a mentoring relationship. Despite life interruptions & unavoidable changes, we continued to pursue meeting together. Last week found us in the back booth of the local Sonic Drive-in. We generally meet for 2 hours. Renae arrived with her last assignment in tow & instantly shared some of her observations while writing out her faith journey from childhood to the present. As I asked more in-depth questions, it became clear, to both us, that her walk with the Lord was largely based on external knowledge & not on relationship. Spiritually, you can’t give away/explain what you don’t possess yourself. So I told her I couldn’t move forward until I knew that she understood the purpose/sacrifice of the Cross (Christ reconciling us to God by paying the penalty for our sins—once for all), and the power of the Resurrection (we are saved by His life spiritually, which flows into, & out of, our daily lives practically). Then I explained that being born-again is more than head knowledge. It’s confessing Jesus as Lord (with your mouth), & believing He was raised from the dead (in your heart), acknowledging your need for Him, repenting of doing things your own way, and then, praying to receive Jesus Christ, by way of His Spirit. At that juncture, we are made spiritually alive in Christ and the process of sanctification begins. The life-long goal, as I see it, is for Christ’s influence to increase in my life while my own selfish ways decrease. {See Romans 5:10; 10:9&10; 2:4; 8:11; John 3:30)

At this point in our meeting, Renae appeared to be a little antsy. I asked her if this had been her understanding of salvation. She quickly clarified that it had not. Then she looked me in the eyes & declared, “LET’S DO IT!” So we did. We held hands across the table & I nodded for her to start. She poured out her heart in prayer, amidst tears, & then I prayed for her. I’m testifying to you that it was an AMAZING time together! We really weren’t aware of anything around us…we were only aware of what God had done, & His presence with us. I felt in awe of how God directed the course of our conversation. I was blessed how He brought scriptures to my mind to read to Renae. (Some of you know what I’m talking about.) The next day I received a text from her. It said, “FINALLY! I understand Galatians 2:20.” 😊 In church, on Sunday evening, she shared with clarity & purpose. Others noticed the difference in her countenance.

Sadly enough, in today’s world, many believe that there are multiple ways to God. By discounting the Bible as Absolute Truth, the fact & purpose of Christ’s death is nullified & His resurrection refuted. At best, Jesus becomes a loving “good guy” who wouldn’t possibly want you to be unhappy. There are no requirements for a relationship with Him, let alone a born-again experience. You can live anyway you want to & still get to heaven in the end. The Bible is reduced to a guide…take it or leave it. And you have the freedom to interpret it anyway you want to. So, it’s all good! ☹

I’m reminded of some study notes, I wrote in my Bible, referencing 2 Peter 3:7. At the end of time, as we now know it, these same unbelievers will experience a horrible reality. After death, when exclusion from salvation is a realized fact, the people who did not believe in Jesus Christ, will realize that He is Lord. They will also realize that they are lost and that it’s too late. A life without Christ is a wasted life. All the energy & all the pain will have been for absolutely nothing! This is a sickening & sobering thought to me!

The Lord used my time with Renae to stir up my passion---God’s perfect antidote for my tired soul. I concluded our time together by reading 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, where it states that for anyone who is in Christ, their old life is a thing of the past. As a new creature, they have been given the ministry of reconciliation. This is truly the mission, the calling, of every authentic, indwelt Christian, nor matter what your job “title” might be or how you earn a living. Verse 19 says that “He has committed (literal meaning ‘placed in us’) to us the word of reconciliation.” We are ambassadors for Christ. (vs 20) And what is the message we are to share? Simply this: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (vs 21) It simply doesn’t get any more miraculous than that! In Christ, every day is a new beginning!

1 view

Recent Posts

See All


Guest Contributor | Jessi Phinney October 12, 2020 In the adult years of my spiritual journey, I’ve wrestled out many elements of faith that I thought I had “nailed down”, shortly after my total surre


I think we subconsciously categorize the ways that we perceive God working. If there isn’t a human or scientific explanation, we call...

Stephen Phinney Twitter Pic Final.png

Advancing Exchanged Life Ministries

  • IM Blogging
  • IOM Home
  • IM Worldview
  • LinkHim Network
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon

Email Us Today: Click Here  |  Text Us: 602-292-2982 

© 2019 IOM AMERICA | INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF EXCHANGED LIFE |  P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS  67579  |  Donate Now | All rights reserved. Privacy Terms