Wendy Speake is a passionate Bible teacher with a hunger for Jesus like no other. With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, she ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and biblical life application, whether on the stage or on the page. She’s led thousands in feasting on God’s Word through her annual online sugar fasts, and I’m delighted to have her share some of the truths she’s uncovered with us here. It’s a grace to welcome Wendy to the farm’s front porch today . . .
As we near the end of one year it’s common to fear the battles that loom before us in the next.
God’s Word, however, should give us courage as 2020 advances: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the battles you face. They are not yours but mine.”
Wrapping up one year as you prayerfully prepare for another, you may wonder if it’s true.
“Is this Bible promise for me? Are my battles not my battles, but the Lord’s? Is He that intimately aware of the foe I face that He’d call my fight His fight? Is He just waiting for me to turn my face to Him as I await marching orders?”
Perhaps that’s where you are right now: afraid at the start of another year, afraid of the same addiction, same illness, same broken-down relationship, broken-down body, same negative inner dialogue, same old enemy!
Though you believe that Christ is your eternal victor, it’s hard to believe that He can bring victory to your circumstances today.
A little over a year ago my husband and I traveled to Israel. The landscape brought every Bible story I’d ever read to living color.
One day we drove through the shepherds’ field outside of Bethlehem on our way to Herodium. Eight miles south of Jerusalem we climbed the arid mountain where Herod the Great built the vacation palace which would later become his tomb.
When we reached the summit, our guide turned his back on the ruins we thought we had climbed to see. Lifting his hand, he invited us to take in the view.
360 degrees of Israel.
Pointing to the south, he directed our gaze to a patchwork of greens and browns. “Down below, in the valley at the base of those hills, is where God rerouted the armies of the Moabites and the Ammonites, as Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah watched on.”
That was all he said, all the geographic context he gave before turning our attention back to the remains of the extravagant fortress we’d come to see.
Only I couldn’t take my eyes off the valley below. I was still facing south, remembering the story of how God had invited His people to stand back and see His Salvation!
Do you know the story? In 2 Chronicles 20:1–30, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, received word that “a great multitude” was advancing against him. Afraid, King Jehoshaphat “set his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”
The people of Judah gathered together to fast and pray, and the Lord responded in a radical way. He said to those who were battle-weary:
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chron. 20:15,17 NIV)
Immediately, Jehoshaphat fell on his face and worshiped. And all the people of Judah followed him to the ground. Every one of them prostrate before God. That’s when some of the Levites—Israel’s worship leaders—stood up and started to sing.
Instead of looking down into the valley filled with enemy-armies, they looked up and sang praises to the God of angel-armies.
And as they sang, “the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (v. 22 NIV).
The priests sang, and God saved! His muscle and His might brought salvation as Jehoshaphat and all of Judah looked on. Empty-bellied from fasting, but full of faith, believing.
How often do we sing before the victory?
How often do we worship the deliverer before the deliverance?
Yet that’s the invitation. This isn’t some antiquated Bible story.
This story is our story as we set our faces to the One who brings down every stronghold in our lives, that we might experience His strong hold! “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the battles you face. They are not yours but mine.”
Take a lesson from Jehoshaphat.
Start your year with fasting, prayer, and worship.
Just as Joshua and the Israelites shouted in victory before the walls of Jericho fell, and just as the Levites sang their praises before God did anything praise-worthy, we get to march into the new year shouting God’s victory in our lives and singing His praises too.
Are you facing the enemy of addiction?
Addicted to sugar, addicted to social media, addicted to affirmation, addicted to an unhealthy relationship?
You may not be able to break you free, but I know the One who can!
For the past six years I’ve led an army of Jesus-hungry women to their knees during our annual 40-Day Sugar Fast.
Though it started as a tool for those who struggle specifically with sugar addiction, it’s become a stronghold-crumbling, bondage-breaking season for everyone who joins us.
Running to sugar or shopping to cope with the battle-stress of life never works. Never.
Here at the start of the year, make the radical choice to run to Jesus instead.
When you’re in need of saving, run to the Savior! When you’re in need of deliverance, turn to the Deliverer.
Don’t run from sugar-high to sugar-high throughout the coming year; run to The Most High in 2020.
Don’t hide your face in Facebook either; come face-to-face with Jesus in the Good Book!
Every battle is His!
It’s not food’s job, alcohol’s job, Amazon Prime’s job, Instagram’s job, or coffee’s job to deliver you—not from your weariness or your loneliness, your physical ailments or emotional pain.
Jesus alone is Savior—let Him save!
Here’s why: Every battle belongs to the Lord when we belong to the Lord!
That’s why we sing His praise before He does one praise-worthy thing!
Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt Bible teacher who ministers to hearts through storytelling and biblical life application. During her career in Hollywood, Wendy found herself longing to tell stories that edify, encourage, and point audiences to Jesus Christ. Today she does just that, writing books, speaking to groups across the nation, and leading multiple online fasts and Bible studies each year. Wendy hosts her annual online sugar fast every January, (the next one begins January 6, 2020) and her book The 40-Day Sugar Fast was just released.
The question Wendy dares you to ask is: Would you give up sugar to experience the sweet presence of God in your life? Many of us think that if our bodies become healthier, then we’ll be healthier. But a healthy body doesn’t do us a lot of good if we are spiritually malnourished.
If you run to sugar for comfort or reward, eat mindlessly or out of boredom, feel physically and spiritually lethargic, or struggle with self-control, the 40-Day Sugar Fast will help you discover not only freedom from your cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for you. It’s a process that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us more of Himself—the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger.
[ Our humble thanks to Baker for their partnership in today’s devotion ]