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014 Interview with Martha Peace {Transcript}

About This Transcript

This interview was recorded live on-site at the 2016 IBCD Summer Institute entitled Disordered Desires: Bringing Grace to Modern Sexuality. Martha Peace joined our host Craig Marshall to discuss her journey to become a biblical counselor, the message she wants to express in her books, and the need to have a high view of God. Martha Peace is a ladies’ Bible teacher and biblical counselor to women through the Faith Biblical Counseling Center located at her home church, Faith Bible Church, Sharpsburg, Georgia. She conducts seminars for ladies and is the author of seven books including The Excellent Wife and Damsels in Distress and co-authored with Stuart Scott, The Faithful Parent. Her latest book co-authored with Pastor Kent Keller is Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes. Martha worked for eight years as a counselor to women at the Atlanta Biblical Counseling Center. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of The Master’s University. She and her husband, Sanford, have two grown children and twelve grandchildren.

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Craig Marshall

Hello and welcome to the IBCD Care and Discipleship podcast. We’re here at the IBCD Summer Institute and get to have some interviews with some of our speakers. Today I’m delighted to have Martha Peace with me. Martha, thanks for joining us.

Martha Peace

You’re welcome. Glad to be here.

Craig Marshall

Martha, for those who may not be familiar with you and your writing, would you tell us a little about yourself? What has brought you to a place of speaking at Biblical Counseling Conferences?

Martha Peace

That is a long journey in God’s grace. I am a nurse, an RN and the last job I had, as a nurse, was teaching nursing at a college. I loved it but it was during that time that the Lord saved me. I was 33 years old. I was married, I had two children and after a couple more years of teaching I quit my job and devoted my time to my family and to starting to teach the Bible to women. I almost instantly knew that God had gifted me to teach. My favorite thing is to teach books of the Bible verse by verse. I had a pastor who helped me. He told me what commentaries to get and I started a lady’s Bible study.

After about five years I met a man named Lou Priolo. Now Lou is a biblical counselor and he had moved to our area to start up, that was dormant, the Atlanta Biblical Counseling Center. I was curious and wanted to be more practical teacher, took his courses. He asked me to become certified through the ACBC Group and I said, “No. I’m not a counselor, I’m a teacher. Then he snuck, behind my back, and talked to my husband and said, “If you tell her to do it, she’ll do it.” Sanford came to me, because he agreed with Lou, and he said, “I really think you should try it. I think God has gifted you.” I said, “Well, I’ll try.” I did.

Craig Marshall

Why did you want to stick with teaching? What was it about counseling that you saw …

Martha Peace

It wasn’t any opposition really to counseling. I just loved teaching the Bible. Just simply going verse by verse teaching the Bible. I just thought, “That’s what I want to do the rest of my life.” Then when Sanford asked me to try it then I did start working on my certification. I did start working with Lou, at the counseling center, and he discipled me, he helped me. Eight years later, he had helped me develop material on being a godly wife and I taught some classes on that. We recorded them. When we did that we started using those tapes, you had to use tapes back then, for homework for wives. I was counseling women. I would give them tapes, Lou the same thing. One day he said, “God is using this material powerfully.” I said, “I’ve noticed that too.” He said, “You need to write a book.”

Craig Marshall

Wow, yes.

Martha Peace

That’s a long story too but the rest is history. Eventually, three years later, The Excellent Wife book came out. That’s how I got involved in counseling. It’s still my favorite thing to teach the Bible verse by verse.

Craig Marshall

Yes. In studying these passages and loving teaching about it, how do you decide what you’re going to write about? What has prompted you to write your various other books?

Martha Peace

Every time I write a book, I think, “Well, this is it. I don’t have any more ideas.” With counseling, I’ve been certified as counselor twenty seven years. I’ve counseled hundreds of women. Our church has free biblical counseling ministry to the community. I’m one of the volunteers there. I have seen patterns of issues that women have and struggles that they have and have come up with biblical solutions to that. After doing that long enough, one day it would just dawn on me, “Well you know, this would make a good book.” At first I did not like writing. It was just too much work, too much trouble. I can do chemistry problems better than I can write a book. It wasn’t easy for me. But it’s grown on me over these years. The Excellent Wife book came out 21 years ago. Most of my books really have to do with counseling issues like Damsels In Distress. That book has a chapter on trials, on hurt feelings, on manipulation. Different things that women would be interested in.

When I got saved, I read the Bible for the first time in my life. I was astounded, just astounded with everything. When I read Genesis 1:1 and it said, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” I just remember being overwhelmed with joy at what God had done. Even in the Old Testament when it would talk about the Lord God said and God … I was just like, “Oh, this is God talking to these people.” When I got to the New Testament I was coming under conviction every other sentence. It was like, “Oh no. I’m doing that wrong or I’m thinking that wrongly.” Then when I got to the book of Titus, now remember I was 33 years old.

Craig Marshall

Okay.

Martha Peace

I got to Titus chapter 2 verses 3-5. It says older women likewise are to and it gives all of these character qualities. Then the seven mandates that they’re to be teaching and encouraging the young women to do: to love their husbands, children, be kind, sensible, pure. All of those things and I stopped and I thought about that. Now I knew I wasn’t an old women then but I thought, “That is my ministry and that is what God wants me to do.” I think that’s what he wants every women to do. They don’t have to be up front necessarily teaching but they should be involved in the younger women’s lives. I remember stopping and praying and asking God to make me this kind of woman. I figured it would take until I was old for that to happen. Then I also asked Him, if it pleased Him and this makes me want to cry, but to let me develop material to teach women on each of these seven issues before I died. I’ve done that now so I’m ready to go.

Craig Marshall

Hopefully no time soon.

Martha Peace

No, I know. It’s just me and the Bible and God. I just latched onto that and that was like, “This is what I’m suppose to be doing.” Now, when I thought about that, I thought just in my little church. I had no clue that what would happen did happen.

Craig Marshall

Along that line, as you’re looking at Titus 2 and thinking of women who are now empty nesters and understanding Titus 2 are supposed to be pouring into these younger women but maybe they feel like they’re not prepared enough. They haven’t set down when they’re 33 and thought, “This is the trajectory I’m going.” What would you say to them as they find themselves hearing that passage and thinking about their particular stage in life?

Martha Peace

I think several things. A godly, mature woman need to understand Bible doctrine and be able to explain it. She needs to, of course, be able to explain the gospel. Just basic doctrine. She also needs to know the specific verses for the women and children and then in the context and how to explain those. Then she just needs to not be selfish. These empty nesters, like me and I’ve been en empty nester for quite a while, they tend to be selfish and they won’t get involved. They’re only playing with their grandchildren or they’ve gone to aerobics. That’s where they are. They’re just not obeying the Lord. I did write a book about this and it’s called Becoming A Titus 2 Woman. It’s for all women: young, single, married or old. They need to be thinking in these terms. I tried, in the book, to tell them how, by God’s grace, that they can practically develop this godly character and then what it looks like to teach and exhort the younger women.

Craig Marshall

That could be a good place to start, looking through that book?

Martha Peace

Yes.

Craig Marshall

Seeing what that holds forth.

Martha Peace

I think so.

Craig Marshall

Just growing in those truths.

Martha Peace

Yes.

Craig Marshall

Yes. Great resource for ladies to look into. I know you did a pre-conference for us on Becoming A Titus 2 Woman. We have some of those audios, as well, that they could listen to and then get the book and go from there. What would say your most passionate about helping women understand? What do you want them to know and to be passionate about as well.

Martha Peace

I want them to have a high view of God. My cousin, I have a male cousin who’s older than me. He is not a christian. He has been very curious about the change in my life and especially the books and everything. I send him all the books that I write. One day they were visiting us and he and his wife said, “What happened to you?” I gave them my testimony and when I finished William said, “You see God as the prophets saw God.” I said, “Well I don’t understand what you mean.” He said, “They saw him high and exalted.” I said, “Yes I do.”

Where I live in the southeast of the United States, just about everybody is born again. They may or may not be but they have what I call easy believism. You just walk down the aisle, you pray the prayer and you’re saved. Once saved always saved and you can live like the devil. You’re just carnal, you need to not be carnal but the fruit is not there. That’s not a high view of God. That’s a very man-centered view of God and God is a little bit in the picture.

If I could instill in somebody’s life, a women’s life, I would want them to see God as their high king of heaven. I remember the first time I read the Bible. When I got to the book of Daniel, I had heard some of those Bible stories as a child, I had no clue what really was in there and in the context there. Daniel’s view of God was so high. He talked, he prayed to the high king of heaven. I just love that. I think that any christian should have that heart and God has to give it to you. To have a high view of God.

Craig Marshall

Helping women pray for, seek after a high view of God and then also a heart that longs to reach out and not just keep that to yourself but be pouring that into the younger ladies …

Martha Peace

Exactly.

Craig Marshall

… and cheering them along. Is your counseling in the context of the south where everyone is born again or claims that they are, what are some ways you found to draw out from them where they really are spiritually? How do you …

Martha Peace

We have to get them unsaved before we can get them saved. Of course, we can save them.

Craig Marshall

Sure.

Martha Peace

Only God can. I like to ask people the evangelism explosion question. If you died today and stood before the Lord and he said, “Why should I let you into heaven?”, what would you say? Then that’s very telling, the answers, even if they have the right answers to the question. If there’s no fruit in their life and if they’re not responding to the scriptures like almost all my counsels do, then I take them to second Peter chapter one and I walk them through these character qualities that we’re suppose to have. Peter says, “If these qualities describe you and are increasing then they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of Him.” and it goes on there.

I will tell them, from the time you got saved until now and I’m going to read this list. I want you to say yes or no and I would explain each one. Do you think that you know that you have increased, God has changed you, in these character qualities? Not sinless perfection but overall you can see a big difference. The ones that I suspect that they may not really be saved, usually they will say, “No I can’t see any difference.” Then another question that I ask that’s very helpful there is, have you ever in your life prayed a prayer or had the desire or the thought and it doesn’t have to be my words but the gist is God use me for your glory no matter what that means? Always, if they are not saved, they will say, “No and I will not.”

Craig Marshall

Wow. Push back strongly against that idea?

Martha Peace

Yes, that’s not a believer’s heart.

Craig Marshall

Yes, that a really important part of counseling is just ascertaining where people are in the walk with the Lord where He’s wanting them to grow and all of that. Those are some helpful, guiding tips. Martha, it’s been so great to have you with us.

Martha Peace

Thank you.

Craig Marshall

So thankful you are coming to speak at our events and thankful for your writings as well. I know you have friendships with many of the speakers here and get to hear little glimpses of that so that’s a lot of fun.

Martha Peace

Right.

Craig Marshall

Thanks so much for your time and thank you all for joining us for the Care and Discipleship podcast and all of the talks from the Summer Institute will be available on our website so you can catch Martha’s talks and the other speakers as well. We look forward to being with you next time.

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