Sarah Rachel Hill Speaking a Northside Church’s Women’s Conference
“May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”
2 Corinthians 1:2-11
For more info on Strive for Greatness check out – Women of Purpose Conference http://striveforgreatness.com/events/
A few weeks ago while running at night (something I typically do) the rain began to fall. Feeling so proud of myself for being out there, the music on my play-list truly fit perfectly for this hardcore workout moment. Usually, I run with a headlamp on (it’s ok to chuckle at the thought of that) but I thought that since it was raining, I didn’t want to frighten anyone driving by so I turned it off. As the rain began to really come down, I felt as if I should be running faster and harder (yes pride was seeping in). All the sudden I lost my stepping, rolled my ankle, skidded down the asphalt and sat there feeling ridiculous!
When I got up, I had to convince myself that it was not broken and everything would be ok. Talk about bad timing; I couldn’t afford to be out with how much I had coming up on the calendar. As I got home, I couldn’t even walk on it. I immediately iced and elevated it. It was so painful, but I refused to go to the doctor fearing I would hear the words “It’s broken.” I spent the next few days home, nursing it back to health. In the stillness, I began working on preparing my notes for a conference I would be speaking at in the next couple weeks.
As I sought the Lord about what He would have me share on while in North Carolina, I felt driven in a million directions. I understood why my mind was so crazy; my life seemed to also be going all different directions. My plate has been so full with so may different ministry opportunities. Interesting to note, the last thing I posted on my social media before this happened was, “I’m feeling spread so thin.”
I am one who If not busy, I soon become quite restless. So not being able to run, surf or even walk for that matter you could see how quickly I started feeling restless and down. I knew God was allowing me to have some time to rest; yet here I was not focused, not able to do what I needed to. I really felt defeated and you know when you are down, the enemy loves to have a hay day with putting lies in your mind. I started wondering if I should cancel my trip because I wasn’t sure what to share on, I felt inadequate and to top it off, I couldn’t walk.
I’m sure you have heard enough about my truly minor problem but I soon began to see that this was a battle I was in and it was far beyond me. Kauai in the past month faced some of the worst flooding we have seen in years. It one week we had 50, yes 50 inches of rain. The day before I was to leave for NC it was a torrential down poor all day. As I went into town to the school I work at; I had to drive through a flooded town. The water level was up to the car doors. I was one of the last cars through, before they closed the road. I thought by the time I headed home the road would be opened again.
The storm never let up that day and as I headed home there were mud slides, roads washed away and no way for me to get home. I had nothing for my trip to NC and no way to get the things needed to travel. I sat in my car for hours praying for the roads to open with no avail. My dear friend Cherie Hamilton called me. She said, “Sarah I feel like you still need to go to NC!” She did not even know that I was debating on not going. I thought she’s crazy; I have nothing!
As I went to a friend’s house that night, I was up talking to the Lord, telling Him all the reasons why I could not go. I thought He must not want me to go and this must all be a sign. In the wee hours of the morning, I heard His still small voice. “Sarah, if I called you to go without all your comforts, would you go?” In my heart the initial thought was no, I need my things. I began to feel as the rich man in the Bible felt, when God asked him to sell all he had and follow Him. I did not want to be that guy. I wanted to be willing to say yes to obeying the call I knew months earlier God had placed on my heart, when I first prayed about going to NC. I knew He wanted me there! So I said, I will go Lord, with nothing! As I was on the plain I was reading in Joshua; the things he faced in following the call, blew me away!
In a number of ways, the preparation for invasion and the conflict that lay before Joshua and the people begins in chapter 1. It is significant that first, God speaks and commissions Joshua (1:1-5) and then calls him to be strong and courageous (1:6-9). In view of this word from God, Joshua speaks to the people and gives them instructions for preparing to cross the Jordan in three days (1:10-15). This is followed by the response of the people which, of course, had its source in the Word of God (1:16-18). God’s revelation should always be followed by a response to what He is calling us to do.
The Commission Given (1:1-5)
1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory. 5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
The victory and possession of the land which follows is a direct result of the Word of God and of man, in this case Joshua, hearing and responding to His Word. This should show us that there is no victory or chance for us to experience the blessings of our new life in Christ apart from the Word of God. Whenever any believer begins to turn away from the Word weather it is from indifference, apathy or whatever reason, he is turning away from the Lord and into defeat. It would have been very easy to ignore what the Lord was calling me to do, but I refuse to allow my selfishness to turn me away from God and His calling. What are you allowing to defeat you in your walk today?
With the mention of the death of Moses, Joshua is then told, “Now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people.” The words “Now therefore arise,” teach us the truth that no man can live the Christian life by keeping a set of laws or taboos. While the Christian life involves obedience to the principles and commandments of the Word, it is so much more. It is a life to be lived by faith in the power of God. We simply cannot live the Christian life in our own energy or by our own determination. The Christian life is not just being Mr./ Mrs. Nice or merely keeping a set of Christian principles and rules. It is a faith relationship with God to be lived out in the power of the Spirit and in the light of the Word. What step of faith is God calling you to take today; is it leaving behind all your positions to follow Him? Nothing is more satisfying in this life then to follow Christ.
With the Words, “arise, cross this Jordan,” the Lord is saying, “get out of the desert and move on into Canaan.” God’s will for the believer is never in the wilderness. It is in Canaan, the place of deliverance and favor. “Arise, cross” by the parallel of New Testament says, “take up your armor, stop trusting in yourself, trust me and move out.” When I was finally willing to be obedient and go without my things, God in His grace, provided a way. Literally hours before I needed to be at the airport my friend called me and suggested that I have a couple girls from the youth group (who were on the other side of the closed road) go to my house, pack a back pack with some necessities, then have them meet us at the river. He then was willing to cross the raging river (I love the correlation of crossing the river) to get my things and bring them back. God has promised to supply for all our needs, but He needs us to be willing to count the cost and say yes to follow Him.
In verse 5, Joshua is given the promise, “no man will be able to stand before you,” but this promise is also a warning. While the land was theirs for the taking, it would not be taken without conflict or battle. And likewise, as the land of Canaan was full of fortified cities and enemies that needed to be driven out, so the Christian life is a life of conflict with enemies, which must be overcome. Though the outcome is assured if we claim God’s sufficiency and the saving life of Christ, we must still do battle and reckon with the fact of the enemy throughout this life. This is a wake up call, a reality that must be faced: life is full of battles and conflicts. We wrestle with the flesh (indwelling sin), with the devil and supernatural powers of darkness, and a world that is antagonistic to God, to His Word, and to godly living.
Nevertheless, the positive side is that these words, “no man will be able to stand before you …” are also a promise of continued deliverance in battle after battle after battle. Because of the immeasurable sufficiency of the saving life of the Christ, there is no enemy we can possibly face which the Lord (our Joshua) has not already conquered. Our need is to understand what He has already done for us through His Word.
Satan’s power has been broken and we can resist his deceptions and attacks. Though sin still dwells within or the flesh and is still active in our members, its power over us has been broken through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. This means the victory is ours because of the cross!
I was able to see the victory of Christ while I was speaking in North Carolina. God moved in ways I would have never imagined and as I saw Him do that, I better understood why I faced so much opposition in getting there and why I had such difficulty clearly knowing what it was God wanted me to speak on. In our insufficiency comes God’s sufficiency! As I shared with about 300 kids at a breakfast in NC, I saw close to 40 kids raise their hands to receive the Lord. I also saw God break down racial boarders that are clearly still seen in the South, especially in the churches. He moved to unite the Church like only He could. God does not desire division in the church. It was so refreshing and a blessing to fellowship as the BODY of Christ, the way He has intended it to be. God moved and the enemy did not win!!
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also walk just as He walked.”
There is such beauty with abiding in Christ. In the midst of so much going on in the world you can easily become overwhelmed, often feeling defeated. I especially feel that way when I look around and see how many people need Jesus! As someone who is in ministry, I can tend to feel like we aren’t even making a dent in this world. Especially on Kauai and with the youth.
The Lord had been doing a huge work in my life by simply teaching me about the power of prayer and being in His presence. To understand the access we have through prayer not only to Christ, but the power in interceding on behalf of others. The Bible says that, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
I have come to realize how often I am sluggish in my prayer life. It’s like we treat God as our magic Genie. When we need something we will come to Him with our requests “wishes” but then leave Him hanging other times. We even have the nerve to blame Him when things are not going right in our life. So often many of us take all that the Lord has done for us, all His grace, all His mercy, all His love and treat it as a common thing. We take Him for granted.
As I was home during the holidays, I was bombarded with news of kids who were not making the best choices for themselves back on Kauai. Kids are notorious for this, as we all know! I must say though, the news was pretty disheartening for me. So many of the kids who had been doing well in their walks, now found that the world was looking very appealing to them. I remember being up one night till 2am talking with different kids, praying for them and helping them through things. As I laid down to go to sleep, I had a heavy heart! I felt the Lord begin to talk to me, asking me if these issues were too big for Him? When I opened the word this is what I read…
New King James Version (NKJV)
Joy in the Fellowship of God
A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life, to destroy it, Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword; They shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
It is believed that this Psalm was written while David was in the wilderness hiding out from those who sought to kill him. He had lost all the comforts and riches he once held so dear. Not only did he lose everything, the man who he served with, the very king who brought him into his kingdom and gave him of all he had, that very king now sought to kill him.
David at this time was going through a lot! Yet he didn’t turn his back on God. There is so many things I love about Psalm 63! In David’s dry and weary season, in his spiritual drought, he sought the Lord. He made a conscious choice to follow God. The theme I have this month with the youth is purposing in your heart to follow God. From the moment you wake till the moment you lay down, live every moment savoring the sweetness of our Savior.
When we look to God in the hard times, it enables us to take our eyes off that problem and allows us to see it from a different perspective. That does not mean things will change right away; but our faith will grow and we will trust Him with the unseen. We understand David was in the wilderness for quite a while, but God
did deliver him! God was teaching David how to depend upon Him. God was causing David to focus on Him.
David knew something about savoring God. He meditated in the night watches. The night I was up stressing for all these kids, I should have been praying for them and meditating on all the promises God
has given us in His word. The Bible says, “In His presence is fullness of Joy.” If life today is robbing you of His joy, then take the time to cocoon in His presence. Savior Him and all He is and has done. Talk to Him.
Through His Holy Spirit, He has given us access to Him. Don’t lose heart. Share with Him your trials, tribulations, fears, temptations, stresses and joys. Find that sweetness of being with Him in prayer. It will change your life.
It has mine! I have never savored Him more. I look forward every morning to talking to Him. Interceding for those who are struggling and seeing Gods mighty hand moving in them. He is faithful, and we should savor in that alone!
The First Step…
She watched excitedly, yet nervously as the wobbling child lifted his leg. Will he do it? Will he finally take his first step she thought? She had waited for what seemed like forever for this moment. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she looked so proudly towards him.
The first step for a young child is always the hardest. This couldn’t be truer in Isaac’s case. Within the first eight months of his precious life there were signs that he was delayed. As cute as he could be, we all rallied around him, helping to assist in bringing him along.
For my sister, Christina, the hardest step was to feel comfortable with being open about the delays and sharing with others. She soon realized that the only way she could help her son was to take every road possible, offering him whatever assistance he needed. I’ll never forget the somber day when she received the diagnosis that her son was showing early signs of autism (Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3). She was so broken and asked God, “why?”
After she had a few days to take it all in and the news settled, she knew she needed to fight for her son, who was unable to fight for himself. Christina took all the steps possible to become educated on autism. She jumped on signing Isaac up for every service and assistance she could find for him. Her life became completely committed to doing everything she could in being the voice for her little boy.
As a Christian, often we are delayed in holding fast to the promises of God? Here He, our loving Daddy, has made the way and offered everything we need to walk in total faith. Yet fear worries us sick. We forget all that the Lord has done and how He has shown so much faithfulness in our lives.
A story that has had a huge impact on my life before I went into ministry is found in Matthew 14:25-33. You have the disciples hanging out with Jesus. They watched Him take fives loaves and two fish and multiply them to feed more than 5000 people that were there. An absolute miracle! I don’t know about you, but if I saw this I think my faith would be so strong and founded that I would never doubt God again! I just might not ever question anything again… Not true, I am human as were the disciples!
Right after this, Jesus sent them out in a boat and if you haven’t read the story, this is where it gets good. Jesus sends a storm and then walks on water out to the disciples. It was in the night hours and they were freaking out! Talk about a fright; they see someone walking to them on the water and the waves are going crazy! I can just see Jesus being like, “Watch this.” Maybe He and God were cracking up while the disciples were peeing their pants thinking, “There’s a ghost.”
Nonetheless, Peter challenged Jesus saying, “If it is really You, call me out of the boat.” What I love is that Jesus replied, “Come.” It was almost as if there was an invitation for all the disciples to step out. Peter was the only one nuts enough to do it! Next to Jesus He was the only guy who ever walked on water. If you surf, you can imagine how amazing this would be (or if you can’t swim).
When the Lord placed Kauai on my heart for ministry, at first I was in disbelief that He could call someone to Hawaii. I remember going to bed apologizing to the Lord because of it. That night I had a radical dream about kids perishing on Kauai (literally dropping dead) without the gospel and when I awoke, I was afraid of not going! As I shared my heart with others, there were a variety of responses. Most were chuckles or out loud bursts of laughter. People thought, as I had, “What a place to go reach people.” The more I heard this, the more I tried to convince myself that I shouldn’t go.
After I graduated from Bible college, I was driving home, alone in my car talking to the Lord, asking if I was really supposed to go to Hawaii. On the radio I heard a pastor talking about this story in Matthew. I remember hearing the Lord ask me, “Sarah, will you step out of the boat, or be the one who stays put?” I don’t want to be the Christian who stays put in their walk with God. I want to be a part of sharing His name and love with others.
Although there were a lot of “I don’t knows” and “Lord how are you going to do this,” with the Lord’s great strength, I was able to take that wobbly first step myself. It seems to be just as hard with the steps that have followed. In fact, the reason I am sharing this is because as I asked the Lord what He wanted me to write about, this is what He has placed on my heart.
I receive many emails from people and often they are from those hurting with life’s pains and unknown futures. Some have had a rough day, a rough year and some a rough life. They have had to fight for every step like Christina has had to do for Isaac.
I had a girl write me the other day asking, “If God is so good and faithful, why hasn’t my dad found a job in over a year?” Immediately I told her He is faithful and in His time, He will provide! I shared how I too had to trust things to Him right now, but I knew He would take care of it. At that moment I had total conviction come over me. Here I was sick all day about things going on in my own life that I should be trusting to God, but I hadn’t been.
You see when we take one step it’s easy to take the next right away. With every step I took coming here to Kauai, the Lord has provided! For the past five years, I was on staff with a church and although that aloud me to focus more on outreach, it also made me dependant on a paycheck instead of the Lord. I was not trusting God each month to get by because I was assured money was coming in.
Lately I have felt that the Lord is calling me to step out in faith and trust Him for provision. He is doing new things in my life and ministry and opening a lot of exciting doors, but with each door I must walk through, I am doing it in faith. I might be back to the “I don’t knows” and “Lord how are you going to do this,” but I know this is where the Lord is leading. As I shared with all the kids this week, “I don’t know how, but I know He will, and I can’t wait to share with you how He does.”
God wants us to walk by faith not by sight (2 Chor.5:7). There are so many great verses about walking with Jesus – not ahead of Him. His promises are true and if we have to learn that for the first time or all over again, Praise God! He will never give us more than we can handle. He wants to grow us and shape us and mature us. He has given us every resource we need with the Bible and prayer. Take advantage of this time and when in doubt, play worship music or read!
Isaac is Christina’s miracle baby. She had such a difficult time getting pregnant. She had several miscarriages. Her heart was so broken. She was steadfast in prayer and Gods promises and she got pregnant with Isaac. He is the best thing ever. God has also given Christina the strength to fight for her precious son. Although getting him to take those first steps were difficult, it lead to the most beautiful and rewarding thing; her baby walking! Ten years ago, I put my car on a boat to Kauai and had to follow. It was the hardest step I had taken at the time and there have been a lot of trials and battles along the way. In that, though, it has lead to being a part of something I could have never dreamed possible! Seeing kids lives changed and them giving their hearts to Jesus is amazing! God has always been faithful! He knows why we are where we are, so let’s just trust, worship and thank Him that He made a way for us through His Son being born. Happy Birthday Jesus!
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
In ministry, I often hear so many stories from hurting people. There is a lot of pain in our world, but the encouraging thing for us is, that this world is not the end. We are promised a future and a hope!
In the midst of trials, so often the situation seems too big and we forget the promises the Lord has given us. Sometimes, it seems like there is never an end ahead or a light at the end of the road. We see how huge problems are and often, that makes God seem so small.
I ran into a girl while shopping the other day. As I was talking with her, she shared how she was at her wits end and ready to give up on everything. While she shared with me, she grew emotional. I could see so much hurt in her eyes. I sat and listened as she spoke. “I just don’t know why all these things are happening and I’ve tried praying and everything. Why am I not hearing from Him, Why isn’t he helping me”, she asked?
I have heard this so many times from believers all over as I have traveled lately. Even I have felt discouraged and distant from the Lord! I kept asking for wisdom and directions and just didn’t seem to be hearing anything nor seeing my situation change.
Discouragement is often difficult to move past. Team that, with trials and you have what seems to be a hopeless concoction. In hopelessness we tend to grow depressed and distance ourselves from others. It can be a sad situation. Often we run from God instead of running to Him. I believe that the enemy is working over time, trying to make the church feel defeated and in despair.
My friends and I were chatting about how often we respond to the question, “how are you”, with a, “I’m fine”, even when we are totally not fine. If we would take the time to sit and share how we really are, it would be so different. Many times we are in such a hurry that we don’t even wait for a response. Or we have so much going on we feel no one really cares to hear, so why share? Sometimes when I am talking to a kid and they give me the quick, “I’m ok”, I ask, “No how are you really doing”? Then I will get a real response.
I share this because as I was talking to this girl, I was that person in a hurry. When I saw the hurt in her eyes I was broken by my initial lack of concern. When I really listened to what she shared, I could relate to her feeling that the Lord was silent to her prayers because I had just been in that same place.
I am a firm believer that the Lord speaks often, but we are too busy to hear Him. A week ago I packed my car, a lunch, my Bible and some worship music and headed up to the mountains to be with Jesus. My friends tease me, knowing I try to do this at least once every two months. They always say, “Is He (Jesus) only hanging out in the mountains”? ☺haha
We know that this is not the only place Jesus hangs out, but for me, it is the one place where I have no cell service, I’m surrounded by His beauty and it is a perfect escape from the business of life. I wanted so badly for nothing more than to be in His presence and to hear from Him. I sat worshiping and praying and reading; it was extremely refreshing. I still didn’t sense Him speaking to me though. As I kept asking to hear His voice I felt I was to simply worship Him because He was worthy. In reading, I began to feel a peace come over me about everything and truly the freedom to lay it at the cross. It wasn’t till two days later that I truly began hearing from the Lord. It was in a moment of checking the surf and since there were no waves, I sat looking with a gaze into the deep blue ocean. In stillness, there the Lord began reminding me of His love and grace.
His love I read once is like the inescapable sea that washes up on the shore, it never runs dry. The Fathers loves is so great for you and me! If we would believe that in faith it would make surrendering our problems to him so much easier. I read this in a book the other day called Faith, by Chuck Smith. It resonated so much with me and it brought truth to how God must feel. It said,
“God has given us so many promises of how we can trust ourselves to Him. We can be free in all that He has created us to be. If we are living in constant fear and anxiety, our conduct cannot please God. I’ve often wondered how God looks upon a prayer like this: ‘Oh God, help me to believe you. Lord, please help me to believe your promises.’ Suppose I were to say to my grandson, ‘Son, on your sixteenth birthday, grandpa is going to give you a car.’ If he knew that I had bought cars for all the rest of my grandchildren on their sixteenth birthdays, how do you think he’d respond? I’m pretty sure he’d expect the same thing to probably happen for him too. So what would you think if, after I gave him this promise he replied, ‘Oh grandpa, help me to believe you. Help me to believe in your promise, grandpa!’ I would think, Son, why can’t you believe me? Have I given you a false promise before? Have I promised wild things and failed to come through? God has given us a Bible full of amazing promises and yet so often we say, ‘Oh God, please help me to believe you. Lord please, help me to believe you’ll do as you promised”.
To most of this sounds crazy! Of course we would trust we would get the car. We should also have that same trust in Christ and His promises. God is faithful and sovereign. He longs to be the one we trust completely and surrender all to Him. If we are not hearing from Him, we are called to wait on Him. If we are consumed with the situations of this life, we are called to lay it down at the cross. His Yoke is easy and His burden is light. Lay the heavy load down at His feet. Do not allow the enemy to cause defeat through depression or lies that God is not there. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He is a very present help in time of need. You are loved and cared for by the Most High God!!!
I was able to pray for and encourage this young girl and remind her that God is there. I challenged her to get in her Bible and remember His promises. I reminded her that He holds the universe in the palm of His hands and all she is going through is kept safe in those loving hands.
God has given us each other for prayer and support. As I spoke this weekend to a group of young girls I challenged them with these same words: Find someone in your life who you can be completely transparent with, someone who you can share everything with and that you can trust to hold you accountable. A person who spiritually has a firm foundation and will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Who will even tell you when you are wrong; and you will be able receive that from them. A friend you can pray with and when they ask you, How you doing”, you can share honestly with them. Remember always Jesus is your friend too and longs to speak with you and you with Him!