His Name Is Wonderful (Isa. 9:6)How Can You Find True Peace?
Leslie Basham: When a woman named Gina got married, she saw no need to take on her husband's last name.
Gina: I told him that he was free to take on my last name and that we could both hyphenate. If he would expect me to take his name, then I should be able to expect him to take my name. That's how I thought as a feminist. Everything had to be equal. So I kept my maiden name when we got married.
Leslie: Today you’ll hear what led her to reconsider that decision.
This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, December 12.
Peace. People sing about it, write about it, and hand out awards for it. But it seems like we can never achieve it. Or can we?
Later today we'll hear the story of Gina—a woman who discovered the source of true peace. You'll hear how God used the advice of a death-row inmate to direct Gina's story.
First, Nancy Leigh DeMoss is telling us about the source of true peace as she continues in the series, His Name Is Wonderful.
Nancy: You look back through history and it seems like people are always looking for a ruler who will bring peace, who will bring peace to the world. We've been looking at the text in Isaiah 9:6 where more than 700 years before His birth, God announced four names that His Son would be called.
His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and then the name we are looking at today, the “Prince of Peace.” That's the Hebrew term Sar Shalom—the governor or peace
In fact, this name, Prince of Peace found in Isaiah 9, is the first reference to peace in the book of Isaiah. But Isaiah has scattered throughout the book twenty-five references to peace, of which this is the first. In fact, in the next verse, Isaiah 9:7, we read, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” You know why there will be peace? Because Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, shall reign and rule.
Now, you’ve heard the term Shalom—peace, wellbeing. It implies several things. First of all, it’s a sense of personal wellbeing. It talks about our sin-sick hearts and souls being restored to health. Shalom, having personal peace. And then, Shalom speaks of a right restored relationship that we could have with God—sinners being reconciled to a holy God, Shalom.
Then, Shalom also refers to the restoration of relationships between individuals. Once we’re right with God, we can be right with each other. And then this word, Shalom, is used in another sense to speak of righteousness and prosperity prevailing throughout the whole world.
This term, Shalom, looks forward to the millennial reign and rule of Christ when there will be peace on earth. Yet we need to remember that there will never be peace on this earth until Christ is enthroned as King. And then as King, Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, He will bestow peace on this earth.
Now, Isaiah spoke and ministered to the people of Judah at a time when they didn’t experience much peace. The King of Syria and the King of Israel had joined forces to fight against Jerusalem. This was a time of bloodshed, conflict, and warfare. It sounds a lot like our world today. And parts of the world, that's what they experience all the time.
But Isaiah said there’s coming a Messiah who will be the Prince of Peace. That gave these Israelites something to look forward to. That gave these Jews in Isaiah’s time something to look forward to—the coming of the Prince of Peace. Well, the good news of the gospel is that Messiah Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings Shalom into a broken world.
Over and over again you see this concept. Zechariah in the New Testament, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied that Messiah would come. He would come to “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). That’s why Christ came to earth. When the angels proclaimed in the starry sky that night Jesus was born, they proclaimed the good news. What did they say?
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom God’s favor rests” (Luke 2:14 NIV). That’s the message of the gospel—the Prince of Peace has come.
Then as the Lord Jesus was spending His last moments with His disciples, as He prepared to go to the cross and then knew that He would be rising from the dead and going back to heaven, He told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). This is the Prince of Peace speaking.
He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
Now, by the time that Christ was born, the Jews who had heard and read and quoted these prophesies for hundreds of years about the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, they had come to expect a Messiah who would bring peace with human weapons and armies—a great warrior king who would defeat and destroy the Romans who occupied Palestine. That’s what they were looking for.
That’s why they didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah when He came because He didn’t come with pomp and circumstance as a human king might have. That wasn’t God’s plan. In fact, Isaiah tells us in chapter 53 how the Messiah would establish peace.
He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed. (v. 5)
You see, the Prince of Peace had to suffer; He had to die; He had to lay down His life so that we could have peace by being forgiven of our sins. Messiah, the Prince of Peace, brought peace to this world by being pierced, crushed, and wounded.
Don’t forget that at Christmas it all points and leads to the cross. At the cross the Lord Jesus made it possible for sinners who were at war with God and estranged from Him to be reconciled, to be brought near to God. He made it possible for people who are estranged from each other to be brought together.
Through His death He has broken down every barrier, every wall, Ephesians 2 tells us. Every barrier between us and God, every barrier between you and your mate, between you and your children; only through Christ, the Prince of Peace, can these barriers be torn down.
Now the verse that we've been looking at, Isaiah 9:6, says that the government will be on His shoulders. Now, that king wearly that kingly robe . . . The picture is that Christ is responsible to govern the nation of Israel, and one day to govern the world.
I want to say to you today that if His shoulders are large enough to carry the burden and responsibility of the world, don't you think that His shoulders are big enough to carry you and your problems? Whatever they may be, no matter how huge they may seem, His shoulders are bigger.
We talked yesterday with a woman who is carrying a child who has now been diagnosed with a chromosomal disorder. This woman knows that when this child is born a few months from now that the child is likely to have severe mental or physical birth defects. It was an incredible thing to look into that woman’s face to see in her eyes and her countenance the peace of God reigning and ruling. Why? Not because she knows the outcome for that child, but because she knows the Prince of Peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor.” He is a wonder of a counselor.
“His name shall be called Mighty God,” El-Gibbor, our powerful champion. His name shall be called Father of Eternity, everlastingly our Father. And His name shall be called Sar Shalom—the Prince, the King, the Governor, the ruler of peace.
Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, wrapping up a teaching series called, His Name Is Wonderful. If you missed any of it, you can hear the audio, read the transcript, or order a CD at ReviveOurHearts.com.
In the second half of Revive Our Hearts, Nancy will introduce a story of a woman who discovered the kind of true peace we’ve just been hearing about.
Nancy: How many times have you gotten advice from a death row inmate? If you did get that advice, would you heed that advice?
We’ll hear from one woman who did get some advice from a man on death row. And God used that advice to lead her to make some significant life changes.
Here in December, we’re thanking God for the stories He’s been writing in the lives of women—stories of freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.
I think you’ll agree that Gina has experienced the freedom and fullness that comes from whole-hearted surrender to the Lord. Let’s listen to Gina’s story.
Gina: When my husband I decided to get married, we had this discussion about what my name would be. I told him that he was free to take on my name and that we could both hyphenate. If he would expect me to take his name, then I should be able to expect him to take my name. That's how I thought as a feminist. Everything had to be equal.
He, of course, would not take my name. Some people have said, "I can't believe he's still married to you." But God had a plan even there. So I kept my maiden name when we got married.
. . . I would have described myself as a driven career woman, somebody who definitely had goals. One of those was to be a successful attorney. I was a diehard feminist. I was a liberal.
Just to give you an idea of where I was at, I remember in law school writing a paper about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a very liberal justice on the Supreme Court, and her views regarding abortion and a woman's right to choose.
. . . In my marriage I was somebody who was very bent on everything being equal. I kept a mental list in my head of everything that I did. If my husband didn't measure up, it caused a lot of conflict.
Deep down I was probably a really unhappy person, but I had accomplished a lot. I thought that would bring me happiness and joy.
I think God started drawing me to Himself when I had my first daughter, which was 1999. Being responsible for another human being made me start to realize, "Maybe I want to give her some foundation in her life beyond me and my husband." So we started looking at churches and tried to go back to church.
My husband and I had both been raised in a traditional church, but it had definitely been something I had done on Sunday. I never had any real relationship or heart transformation. Though I had some knowledge of God, there was nothing in my life that reflected living for God.
At the same time, as I was pursuing this, I just felt empty leaving these churches. I thought, "There has got to be more than this. What am I missing?"
God just orchestrated an interaction with the most unlikely person. I had a client who was on death row. I had been represented him for about three years at that point. Part of my job was to learn all about his life in order to try and get mitigation to save his life, to get sentencing.
During this time we had a lot of spiritual discussions. He would share his views with me about the Bible. At this point in time I went and visited him.
He was serving his death sentence down at Pontiac. I was sharing with him that my life felt out of control and that I felt like I was on a roller-coaster. I would work all week. Then I would come home and try and be a good mom in the evening and on the weekends. I just felt like I never had enough time to do everything that I needed to get done. It was depressing me.
I thought I was going to be this great lawyer and this great mom and have this great marriage and do all this stuff. And I had done it all, yet it still had left me empty.
He suggested that we go check out this one particular church. When I came home and shared it with my husband, he kind of . . . We didn't even know what Evangelical meant. We just had no frame of reference for even understanding anything beyond what we had been raised with.
He jumped on the computer and he was like, "What's Bible-based? Wha'ts Evangelical? This church is really big. This sounds crazy. Why would we attend a church that your death row inmate client suggested that we attend?" So, we didn't go.
A couple weeks later I had a conversation with a friend of mine. She suggested, "Hey, I know you've been looking for a church. I heard this judge that you're in front of attends this one church. Why don't you ask her about her church and see if she can give you some guidance."
So I went and talked to this judge that I appeared in front of every day. I asked her about the church they attended, that her husband was an elder at. Instead of recommending that church, she recommended the same church that my death row inmate client had suggested we attend.
So I went home and told my husband, "I don't know what's going on, but I think we are supposed to go check out this church." So we did. We packed up our baby girl one Saturday night and went to a Saturday evening service.
I just remember thinking, "I heard the gospel for the first time." I thought that he was talking just right at me. I realized that this was what I had been searching for. I had never understood that I was a sinner and that I needed a Savior. All the lightbulbs started going on, and I thought, "I want what these people have." I gave my life to Christ very quickly after that. We continued attending that church, and my husband came to faith several years later.
. . . God did two significant things. He brought a woman into my life who was a more mature believer. She really mentored me. At the same time (I was still working part-time) I would be driving in my car a lot to and from court. I was usually in the car when Revive Our Hearts was on. I would listen to Nancy every day.
At that point she really helped undo a lot of my wrong thinking and undid a lot of my feminist thinking that had been in my life. I started to understand what a biblical worldview was, what the Bible taught about what it meant to be a woman, what it meant to be a wife and mother, and what it meant to live for Christ. It was a really significant time. God was growing me really, really rapidly at that point. So much was falling apart in terms of what I used to hold dear and hold on to. She was really instrumental in a lot of that.
. . . When I would reflect back on who I was before I got saved, especially as it related to my relationship with my husband, the destructiveness of feminism and the way it viewed equality, and how I had internalized how that meant every little thing had to be equal and the conflict that it caused . . . There was one day that Nancy was teaching in Genesis. I remember her talking about Eve desiring for the role of the man. At that point the Word of God was so relevant to me. It hit home because I thought, "God knew that this would be the struggle that women would have. It is the result of sin." That was really eye-opening for me in terms of undoing and having to let go and let God change my thinking and help me embrace the things He says are good and right for me.
. . . I had a conversation with somebody who I used to work with. He was now the public defender of Dupage County where I used to work. There are other contempories of mine who are running for county offices like judge.
There was a twinge in me that said, "Am I really successful? Does what I'm doing really matter? Look at all these people; look at the name they are making for themselves." But I was able to quickly see that, no, the things that I'm doing now have kingdom impact. The things that I'm doing now will last for generations. If I can train my children up to walk with Lord and in His ways and if they then pass it on to their children, that has so much greater value.
The things that I rejoice in are the little things that I wouldn't have thought would have value. Things like running a household, caring for my family, making life for them run smoothly and be enjoyable, doing things for them that demonstrate my love in tangible ways.
. . . After coming to faith in Christ I started to put into practice biblical teaching and respecting my husband, honoring him, and changing how I viewed our marriage, seeing it as a partnership and a oneness. Not taking the opportunity to be antagonistic over every little thing and understanding that I was his helpmate was huge. I think he would say that he credits a lot of my choices and behavior in wooing him to the Lord—like 1 Peter 3 says.
. . . On our tenth anniversary, which would have been about five years after I came to faith, I finally took my husband's name. When we got married I wouldn't take my husband's name because I thought that was below me.
He was totally shocked. Actually, at that point I had changed so much in my choices and my behaviors; I had already given up my career and was a stay-at-home mom at that point. He didn't really need it anymore because I had demonstrated that oneness to him in other ways. But I knew that it was something I really needed to do. I wanted that outward reflection of oneness for our family.
I did it on our anniversary. He opened his card, and I had put my driver's license in there. He was, "What's your license doing here?" Then he looked at it and he was, "Whoa!" Imagine not having his name, it's just . . . Sometimes when I think back to who I was and things that I thought, on the one hand it's really good because it helps me see people who are really far from God and I can remember I was really far from God and my thinking was really, really worldly, and yet God still intervened in that through the most unlikely people and He transformed me. It gives me hope when I see people that are far from God.
Sometimes it's hard not to be, "Eww, I don't want to remember that person" because I'm so thankful for who I now. The joy that I have now for all the things that I never thought had value.
Nancy: I’m so grateful for what God has been doing in Gina’s life and that Revive Our Hearts has been able to be part of it.
As you reflect on Gina’s story, perhaps there are some priorities for your life that need to be adjusted, so I hope you'll let the Lord speak to you about that.
Revive Our Hearts is asking the Lord for many, many more stories in 2013 just like Gina’s. So many women are just going with the flow, not asking the Lord for His will as it relates to the practical choices in their lives. You can be part of the story God wants to write in their lives. Here's how.
When you support Revive Our Hearts, you’re helping us point women to the truth of God’s Word. You’re helping us challenge women not to just go along with what everybody else is doing, but to seek the Lord for themselves and to surrender to His purposes for their lives.
This ministry does that through the radio and podcasts, the website, blogs, social media, conferences, books, and lots of other resources. But these are only possible thanks to listeners like you who support the ministry financially.
As we've been sharing with you recently, usually about 40% of all donations for the entire year are given during the month of December. So each December we ask the Lord to provide what He knows we need for us to be able to continue ministry in the year ahead.
That’s where we are right now, and that's why we really need to hear from you. Your gift at this time will make a big difference in the extent of ministry we can take on during 2013. Some friends of the ministry know how important it is to hear from our listeners in December. So they have been matching each gift up to a challenge amount of $450,000.
I’m thankful for every person who has contributed to that challenge thus far, but we need many more to help us to not only meet that goal but surpass it. If you've not made a gift to help with our year-end needs, would you ask the Lord if He would have you be a part of helping Revive Our Hearts during this important time? You can make a donation by calling us at 1-800-569-5959, or if you prefer to make a donation online, you can visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Thank you so much for prayfully considering having a part in this ministry at this crucial time.
Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.
Is there anyone in your life that seems like a lost cause? Tomorrow, you’ll be challenged to get involved in those lost causes through God’s power and for His glory. I hope you’ll be back, for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
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