My Mother’s Day Tribute

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My mother Sara, visiting with Santa last Christmas.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.      When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  John 19:25-26

 “As the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude about Him, one figure arrested His attention. At the foot of the cross stood His mother, supported by the disciple John. She could not endure to remain away from her Son; and John, knowing that the end was near, had brought her again to the cross. In His dying hour, Christ remembered His mother. Looking into her grief-stricken face and then upon John, He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” then to John, “Behold thy mother!” John understood Christ’s words, and accepted the trust. He at once took Mary to his home, and from that hour cared for her tenderly. O pitiful, loving Saviour; amid all His physical pain and mental anguish, He had a thoughtful care for His mother! He had no money with which to provide for her comfort; but He was enshrined in the heart of John, and He gave His mother to him as a precious legacy. Thus He provided for her that which she most needed,–the tender sympathy of one who loved her because she loved Jesus. And in receiving her as a sacred trust, John was receiving a great blessing. She was a constant reminder of his beloved Master. 

 The perfect example of Christ’s filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now, even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing, widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy.  {Desire of Ages, p. 752.3}   

Jesus’ mother was not perfect. She made many mistakes. At a wedding feast she was filled with pride and wanted Jesus to show off in front of everyone. Later she was actually embarrassed by His claims and joined his brothers and sisters in trying to call Him back home where they thought He belonged (John 2, Matthew 12:47-50, See also the Desire of Ages chapter entitled “Who are My Brethren”).  Even though she may not have been perfect one thing is certain, Mary loved her Son. I can more than just imagine that as Jesus hung on the cross, Mary would have done anything she could to trade places with her Son. No doubt Mary would have died for Jesus. This is what made His mother so precious to Him. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved His church. This means a husband should be willing to die for his family. Later in the same chapter Paul tells wives to reverence their husbands. That word “reverence” is very powerful! Think about it, nowhere does the Bible tell us to reverence a priest or pastor but yet we are to reverence those who love us so much they would die for us. I believe that is because there is no one more Godly than a person who has in their hearts the self sacrificing love that God Himself has placed there.

 I remember visiting my grandmother with my mother one time when I was around ten. I forget what it was but my mother was not letting me do something and I got upset and said some mean things to my mother. My grandmother told me never to talk to my mother that way because she would die for me and you don’t talk to someone that way when they love you enough to die for you. I have never forgotten that. If my grandmother had told me to be respectful, because my mother was “the boss of me,” or because she is older or whatever, I would have resented it. Instead my grandmother pointed out that my mother earned my respect because of her love for me. That I will never forget.  

We reverence God, not because He is bigger and stronger than us, but because He gave His life for us. God would have us to reverence that love wherever we see it manifested, especially in our parents.

 Satan has filled our world and minds with all kinds of lies about God. Every false doctrine is an attack on the love and character of God. False doctrines like sinners being in eternal torment in hell, and being saved by works instead of grace and many others make it hard for us to really comprehend the love of God. God has given us the Bible to find the truth about God’s love. More than that, He has given me a wonderful Mother who has always truly loved me. I am wise to Satan’s lie that God does not really love us, because I have seen God’s love in my mother. Thanks to the love of my mother and father, I know God is love. I reverence that love.  

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you!

 

Love,

 

William

 PS Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

Please also visit my site filled with Bible Studies and devotionals at http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

Solo Con Dios

new-bike-016I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. 

Last Friday I bought a new bicycle. It is a Specailized Hardrock mountain bike. With the economy the way it is and car dealers supposedly making great deals these days I had my eye out for a new car if I could find a great deal. Still with the economy the way it is I was wondering if a new car was really good stewardship. I need to drive relatively new cars as I am no auto mechanic. I dropped out of the new car market though when I found this new bike.

 

I took my old walmart bike to the bike shop to have a tire fixed. While there I was looking around at new bikes. I have been trying to save gas money and get more exercise by riding my bike for work when I don’t absolutely need my car. I remembered a while back, a friend telling me that if I was serious about riding my bicycle instead of car all around town then I really needed to get a serious bike. So I made a compromise with myself. Instead of buying a new car I bought a nice new bicycle! Boy am I glad I did! With this new bike I glide across town! My old bike wore me out but this one is amazingly comfortable and easy to ride.

 

I was so excited with my new bike I rode it to church Sabbath. I left early and stopped at Lowry Park on the way where I had my personal devotions on a park bench by the river. I then rode on up to church. Sunday I had already been invited to join the Adventurers on their bike ride. I actually rode my bicycle about five miles to where the ride began. It was when I was half way there that I realized I had left me cell phone at home. I was not going to turn around on a bicycle and ride all that way back to get it. I had left early as I was not familiar with our meeting place. I left way too early! I had no trouble finding it and showed up an hour early! There I was an hour early with no cell phone, no books to read, nothing to do! That is when I heard God speak to me… “Now I have you all to myself, no distractions! You and I can just hang out and talk for a while, there is nothing to distract you.”  There are often people I wish I could spend time alone with without any distractions. I realized God wanted to spend time alone with me too. I am special to Him!

 

Don’t get me wrong I spend time with God but this is often how it goes. I get up in the morning and start praying. While I am praying I pray for all the people I am studying with, those in the hospital or needing encouragement. Then when I start reading my Bible my mind will wander to all the people I need to see and things I need to do and as weird as it may sound I actually feel guilty sitting there reading my Bible because there is so much I need to do! As I talked with God that morning waiting for everyone else to show up, God told me I did not need to feel guilty for spending time with Him. He reminded me He was an important Being to spend time with just as much as all my Bible study interests. He also reminded me that our conversations are real. I am not just thinking to myself and or daydreaming, but I am actually having a real conversation with another Being. God told me that while I think e-mail, cell phones and Facebook have greatly improved communications that they are actually light years behind prayer. God has something that has kept people linked together long before Facebook, it’s called “being in the Spirit.” While we have neighbors we still don’t even know and people on Facebook we still never hear from those who are in the Spirit have always been closely knitted together.

 

After panicking because I had no cell phone with me I realized again how awesome it was to have God’s undivided attention and for Him to have mine.

 

Everyone showed up and we had a great bike ride together. Afterwards I rode my bicycle home where I met my friend Adam. We rode our bikes to Davis Island and back. By the end of the day I had put over 40 miles on my bike and was not the least bit worn out! Today I am on my bike again. I have not touched my car since Friday. I am hoping this new bike will get me in better physical shape, save me money on gas and ware and tare on my car. With no stereo on my bike I am also looking forward to more time alone with God as I ride across His wonderful creation going from Bible study to Bible study!

Please enjoy more Bible studies and devotionals at my personal website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

I am Celebrating Five Years in Florida!

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I am writing today from my beautiful church in the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

 

Wow! This April 16, I will have been in Florida for five years. In some ways it seems like I moved here yesterday and in other ways it seems like a long time. Here are some things I have learned here in Florida over the last five years.

 

We don’t have elections every day here in Tampa. At first I thought we did. Then one night I understood what the weatherman was really saying, “For all you BOATERS out there.” Okay boaters not voters. Now I get it. At first I was wondering what we were voting about all the time.

 

God has wonderful people everywhere. I used to think all the wonderful people were in Texas and Oklahoma, but then I moved to Florida and found all kinds of wonderful people here in Florida. Then I went on a mission trip to Peru and found even more wonderful people. Actually they were good friends I just hadn’t met yet. Turns out even in this sin-darkened world, Christ is still lighting the earth with His glory.

 

I could write all day about how everyone in my church from young to old has touched my heart. Over the years I have mentioned many things either in my sermons or writings, so I want to mention one thing I have never mentioned that really touched my heart. Ever since I met the Ogaus family their mother was sick. I studied with them and became friends with them and watched them watch their mother die. Mano was around 14, Javens around 13 and Jonise 7. At the same time my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I have never lost anyone in my immediate family before and I was at amazed at how bravely these kids went through what they did when their mother died. I was amazed how faithful they were to their family and their God. I was amazed at their faith. While they thought I was teaching them I was actually desperately learning from them how to face life’s fiercest trials. One night after their mother died I got a call from Javens. He needed a personal favor and I explained I could not help him right then because my mother who was visiting had become ill and was in the hospital here. Javens cheerfully accepted my excuse but then just before he hung up he said, “Oh William, I will be praying for your mother that she gets better.” As I hung up it hit me that a child was praying that I would not have to experience as an adult what he had already tasted as a child. That has always touched my heart.

 

During an evangelistic campaign I called and asked the Ogaus family if they could help me stuff and stamp some envelopes. They told me I did not need to call and ask just bring things by for them and they would always take care of them for me. Javens also offered several times to clean my car whenever it needed it to show his appreciation for my ministry to his family. Either he was very thankful or thought I had a dirty car. The Ogaus family has moved on to New Jersey but I will always remember Mano and Javens as a wonderful young woman and young man and not as kids. I still keep in touch with them. No matter where they go or where I go I will always be their friend. They taught me so much.

 

Well if I kept writing about how this family and all the other families have touched my heart here I would be writing for the next five years!

 

Another thing I have learned in my five years in Florida is that Tex-Mex is not the only real food there is. I have to admit it was quite a culture shock when I moved here and found out that not all Spanish food is Mexican food. Don’t know what I was thinking though. I knew not all English speaking people drink hot tea just because they do in England. While I have met a lot of new friends my stomach has met a lot of new foods. Just like God has good people all over the world He also has some good foods all over the world. Yellow rice and black beans is one of my new favorites.

 

Actually the diversity in cultures here in Tampa has inspired my ambition to learn more about the rest of the world. In 2006 I was blessed to be a part of a mission team in Peru. I long to go back and also go on missions to other parts of the world too.

 

While I love Oklahoma and Texas, Florida is the first state that made me buy a digital camera! So much beauty here and I had to capture it and share it. Now when I drive across the Howard Franklin Bridge from Tampa into St.Petersburg and look out on the beautiful bay I just think to myself, and when I drove from Fort Worth to Dallas all those years all I saw was concrete. Let me take the time now to apologize for sending so many pictures of the same Florida scenes over and over. I realize you all know what a sunset looks like and have probably seen alligators at the zoo. I know too you could Google Florida and find pictures of the exact same things I send you. Still there is so much beauty here in Florida that just makes me grab my camera over and over again.

 

One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I work hard and I play hard. I can put in a 60 hour week at work, play a round of golf, keep up with my personal Bible study and prayer life as well, and still have time to sit on a park bench every now and then and watch the sun set as I sip on my lemonade. I guess being single does have its advantages. Notice I said single but did not say not having a family because I do have family, a huge family! Come to think of it I bet renting instead of owning helps keep my life simple too. Not only has my ministry blossomed (if you will allow me to modestly say that) here in Florida over the last five years but my personal life has too. So many new friends and adventures kayaking the bay, biking the trails and golfing on the most beautiful courses in the world.

 

What is more beautiful than anything else in Florida are the people who have come to accept and know Jesus as their personal Savior. Many were older and many have been younger. Many have stayed right here and blossomed and grown so much that I forget there was a day when they were just beginning their walk with Christ. Others have moved to different parts of the state and even world and are now leading others to Christ. While I can honestly say without any hesitation that the last five years here in Tampa have been the best five years of my life, I also know our God does not live in the past. I believe as we all draw closer to Jesus the best is yet to come!

 

 

 

Please enjoy more Bible studies and devotionals at my personal website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

Online Sermon/Study Videos

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Just wanted to share some sermon videos I have made with the help of my friend Joel. Several are short videos where I attempt to simplify dificult Bible texts. others are just inspirational sermons. I hope you find these helpful. Enjoy! http://onewaytoheaven.ning.com/page/william-earnhardt-sermons  The website my sermons are posted on is not my site and I am not responsible for the content of that site.

You can also find more difficult text explanations on my website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com just click on difficult texts.

Sexual Abuse of Boys No Laughing Matter

3I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  Luke 17:2

 

 

I usually keep my blogs and devotionals positive, but today I am writing about something that deeply grieved me. Last Tuesday night I turned on Leno around 11:40pm to get a couple of laughs before preparing for bed. Then Leno told a joke that broke my heart instead of making me laugh. He told about the boy in Utah who had been a victim of statutory rape by two female teachers. Leno said, the boy was okay besides the fact that since the females had been arrested and taken away from him his best days are now over. Everyone laughed. I was stunned. I was stunned that everyone including Leno thought that a child being sexually molested was funny. I am no Elijah. I know I was not the only person who realized this was anything but funny. Still my heart broke for this boy and his family who are seen as anything but victims.

 

A friend explained to me the double standard. I know there is a double standard between men and women and boys and girls but I draw the line at sexual abuse. Our society does not want to recognize men and boys as victims, only perpetrators. I am a man and have seen this many times. I have never spoken out publicly when I have seen myself misrepresented, misunderstood or wronged because I am a man. Even if it is wrong, as a man I can tolerate it even if I don’t like it. However, I will not stay silent when male children become the victims of this kind of treatment. I would not dare laugh about a girl’s best days being over after being sexually molested by two male teachers and I will not laugh about a boy’s best days being over after being molested by two female teachers. We need to protect our boys! For one they are real people just like anyone else. Second, you know how on an airplane they tell you in an emergency to put your mask on before helping a child? That is because if you are not taken care of first you will not be able to breathe to care for the child. The same is true for boys. Boys are to be protectors. We raise them to protect girls and as they get older women. However if no one protects boys in our society, how will they be able to protect girls and women? Most rapists and molesters were abused themselves. That is no excuse to become an abuser. However I hope society realizes we need to protect the people whom we need protecting us.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the young man who was not only abused but was also the laughing stock of a primetime network show just because he was a male victim.

The Love Motivation Vs. The Fear Motivation

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared the truth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.

 

The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is to me the most satanic doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us. It dawned on me that many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually work. Galatians 6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments.

 

Those who have “the everlasting gospel” have their work cut out for them. We must uplift the Cross and the truth about the Cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a Cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the Cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that Cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus!

 

When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men.

 

PS it is funny how some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.