Grace Martial Arts Fellowship began in 1990, went online with a website in 1995 and began publishing newsletters to the Christian martial arts community in 1998.
Because of the quality of information found in those early newsletter articles and the fact they are no longer available online, we’ve decided to re-publish many of them in the coming weeks and months. Our hope is that a new generation of Christian martial artists will be blessed by the wisdom of those who were on the path before them.
MARCH – APRIL 2004
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The Apostle Paul
” Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”
In Love with God!
Mark McGee GMAF Director
I am in love with God! It is the cry of my heart, the song of my soul, the joy of my life. I am a Christian and I am in love with God. Love between the Creator and His creature is the meaning of being a Christian. The most common element in our relationship with God is love: His Love for us and our responding love for Him. God loves you!
That is always true. It never changes. God loves you in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, during the week and on the weekends. He loves you when you think of Him and when you don’t think of Him. God loves you when you return His Love and when you don’t. God loves you when you obey Him and when you disobey Him. God loves you when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. God loves you when you work and when you play, when you eat and when you fast. God loves you when you do His will and when you don’t. God loves you when you succeed and when you fail. God loves you when you have a good idea and when you have a bad idea. God loves you when you make a wise choice and when you don’t. God’s Love for you is constant and dependable. God’s Love for you is based on His Character, not yours. God loves you all the time. He loved you before time and loves you all the time. He loved you before you believed in Him and He loves you while you believe Him. God is Love and He Loves each one of us completely and totally.
We have never known anyone in our lives who loves us the way God loves us. No human has ever loved anyone the way God loves us. God loved His people in the Garden, through the desert and on the Cross. He loves us now and will love us forever. We are are God’s people living in the harbor of His Love. If someone asks us what it means to be a Christian, our answer can be that a Christian is a person in love with God.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5
God told the people of Israel that their love for Him should be their entire being. Jesus repeated that clear and concise statement to His disciples: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37) We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and all our might.
What does it mean to love God with “all” our heart, soul and might? It means that our minds, emotions and will are combined together in a deep and abiding love for the One Who created us, died for us and forgave us. Our thoughts are consumed with our love for God. Our emotions burn with our love for God. Our choices and actions are guided by our deep love for God. We obey Him because we love Him. We worship God because we love Him. We talk to Him and listen to Him because we love Him.
We think about Him continually and desire to be with Him constantly because we love Him. We read His Word regularly and consider it abidingly because we love Him. There is no fiber of our being that is not love with God because we love Him “with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our might.” He is our first thought upon waking in the morning. He is our continual thought through the journey of each day. He is our final thought as we lay our head upon the pillow at night. He is our Everything!
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. Deuteronomy 10:12
Love means service. To say we love someone, then do nothing they ask us to do is not love. To say we love someone and hear their desire for a loving relationship with us, then do nothing to show our love through our actions is not love. To say we love someone, then do nothing to spend our time and energy on that person is not love. To say we love someone, then turn away from them when they ask for our help is not love.
God was direct with Israel. He told them He loved them and wanted them to love Him. He required of them four responses to His Love:
The fear God wants from us is not to be “afraid” of Him or be terrified by Him, but to revere Him – deeply respect Him, hold Him in awe. This “fear ” of God leads to obedience, which unlocks our deepest love, that opens the door to serve Him freely and willingly. We can only experience the depths of God’s Love in our heart as we respect Him and offer Him an obedient life. In turn, God’s Spirit within us Loves the Father and the Son through us leading to a life of rich and abundant service. God is a Loving Heavenly Father. He is a better father than any earthly father who has every lived or will live. God wants what’s best for us and He has the ability to make that happen. He will provide everything we need physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to enjoy Him and serve Him. We have but to ask God to help us in our service and His Love meets our every need.
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. Deuteronomy 30:16
God wants to bless us! Think about that. God wants to bless us! He wants us to live and multiply. He wants to bless us wherever we go and whatever we do. The promise made in Deuteronomy is specifically to Israel in its journey from the captivity of Egypt to the joy of the Promised Land, but we learn in the New Testament that God also wants the same for us today. We have all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places and God is ready to bless us each moment of every day as we fear Him, obey Him, love Him and serve Him.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. Mark 12: 30 – 34
Jesus explained the entire Old Testament in two principles: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. As the scribe responded wisely to Christ, doing that is more [perissoteros – more important than] than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Love is the deepest relationship. It’s not about what we do, how much we pray, how often or long we fast, how much we give to the poor, how much time we spend at church… it’s about loving God with every cell of our being and loving our neighbor as ourself. That’s the most important thing. When we love God that way our service and sacrifice mean something very special to God. God sees us on the inside. He knows what motivates us. He knows why we do what we do, say what we say, go where we go, see who we see, hear what we hear, learn what we learn, know what we know, want what we want. He knows if our heart and soul and mind and strength is being spent on Him or on ourselves. He knows.
God only wants one thing from us: everything.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
When we give God our everything, when we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we receive a special gift from God. It is the gift of all things working together for good. His purpose is that we love Him and enjoy a loving relationship with Him that will continue through eternity. God wants what is best for us. He really cares for us.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
We cannot imagine, even in our wildest dreams, what God has prepared for us. Look around at the beauty of our planet. Even with its flaws the Earth is a most beautiful and wonderful place to live. However, the Earth pales in comparison to what God has prepared for us in Heaven. When we stand with each other on the other side and feast our spiritual senses on what God has prepared for us, we will be amazed. The beauty, majesty and perfection of Heaven will most certainly be more than we ever thought God would do for us.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
How fortunate we are to know God and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, but it is no credit to us. We did not love God first. He Loved us first and we love Him because He first us. God’s Love is beyond our understanding but it is within our reach. If you know Christ personally, you know God’s Love. You prayed for it, received it, felt it, kept it, shared it, wanted more of it. It is yours forever.
If you do not know Christ personally, this is your invitation to open your heart, soul and mind to Him right now. God Loves you and offers you His greatest Gift, the Passion of Christ His Son. Jesus died for your sins. He paid the penalty you owed. His death is payment in full. You owe nothing but will receive everything simply by asking God to forgive you of your sins and placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You will have it all: God’s Love, God’s Peace, God’s Promise. If you do not have a personal relationship with God through Christ, you are only seconds away from the greatest moment of your life. Receive Him, believe Him, open your heart to His Love; then enjoy Him and love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength. God is waiting to hear from you.
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:21
DID YOU KNOW?
KARL WILLIAM MARX SR.
Have you ever asked yourself the Question what do you want in this life? The majority of folks who answer this come to the same conclusion. We all want, wish for, desire, and pray that our lives will last a long time, as well we wish for peace of mind with a joyful existence. Then a great many of us spend our lives under stress and anger, both of which shorten life or at least makes living less than enjoyable. You hear a lot about “know thyself,” “becoming one with the Universe,” “‘becoming enlightened,’ and other man made self, me and I expressions of stupidity. The answers to all our problems can be found in the Holy Bible, God knows what we need before we need it.
Let’s take for example the benefits of us having wisdom. Not the wise in our own eyes kind, I mean the real right from the word of GOD Scriptures. It’s all right in there. God told us straight out, to not forget HIS law, and to keep HIS commands in our hearts. IF we do those things HE promises us LENGTH of days and LONG LIFE and PEACE. What more do we need? HE teaches us to not forsake mercy and truth, wow! our God say’s for us to bind them around our neck, and write them on the tablet of our heart. OK! what more do you need to understand what it takes to live longer and more peaceful to boot. Now here comes the clincher. You know how so many folks are constantly looking for ways to be esteemed by their students and peers, right? I know for sure, I one was of them, right at the top of that list of want-to-be’s.
Well, here is the answer, right from the Scriptures. Check it out yourself, in Proverbs chapter three verses one thru six is some really good reading to gain understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, when we OBEY God’s Will and HIS WORD, HE will have us find favor and HIGH ESTEEM in the sight of GOD and MAN. See? there you are, it’s not the high rank, or the big titles, Hanshi, this or Soke that. It’s not how many degrees of black belt you are that makes any difference. It is simply keeping MERCY and TRUTH binded around our neck, deep in our heart, our brain and MIND, full of God’s Word, so we will not forget his LAW or Commands. So there you have it. Read your Bible every day at least one chapter, mark the date so you can tell when was the last time you read any particular chapter. Ha! it’s fun and you grow in Understanding, then you gain Knowledge which leads to Wisdom. After that you deal with Stress and Anger in a totally different manner. Hay! You might even live longer and joyfully By following God’s WAY. Did You Know All That? NOW YOU KNOW!
TRANSITIONS OF LOVE
Mystical Christianity – A Journey into the Heart of God
‘If I could just see him’, I said, ‘I know I could have faith. If I could only look into His eyes, I know I would love Him with all my heart.’ ‘If I could hear His sweet voice I would be His forever.’ So weak is the heart that we play these games of excuses with ourselves, explaining why we waiver in our faith or feeling. But, these excuses are worthless.
Three years they were together. Peter had seen Jesus almost every day for three years. He had seen Him walk on water. He had seen Him die and now Jesus sat in front of Peter talking to Him. The conversation was simple, but the Lord’s words were carefully chosen. They cut to the point in one question. Before we explore the conversation we must hearken back to the meaning of the word “Agape'”. Remember it is an unconditional love full of grace and completeness.
‘Agape’ is the word of Godly love. It is charity, selfless love, giving without expectation. To love with ones whole heart unselfishly. This is quite different from the other word for love used between them. ‘Philo’ is a brotherly love. It is fondness, friendship, and family type of love. Let us look closely at the conversation between Peter and Jesus. Notice the root words of Philo and Agape’ within the words chosen by each, Jesus and Peter.
JOH 21:14 “This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest ( agapas) thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (philo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapas) thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (philo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (philis) thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest (philo) thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (philo) thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Concentrating on the questions and answers only, the conversation takes on a startling contrast. Peter was attempting to answer the question to Jesus’ satisfaction without lying, but his heart betrayed him.
Simon Peter, do you love me with all your heart? Lord, you know I love you like a brother. Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me with all your heart? Lord, you know I love you like a brother. Simon Peter, son of Jonas, do you love me like a brother? Yes, Lord, you know I love you like a brother.”
Peter, having lived with God, seen Him die for his sins, and now looking into the face of the resurrected Lord, can only admit fondness. What fools we are to think we could do better. But there is hope! The comforter, the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and the church was born, but so were the hearts of man. Now able to live and move and have our being with the Spirit of the living God within us, our hearts are converted.
1PE 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:8 Whom having not seen, ye love ( agapate’); in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
1PE 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity (agapin) among yourselves: for charity (agapin) shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Peter, being changed through the power of the spirit of God living within him, was brought to a state of love so deep and profound that at the time of his death he requested to be crucified upside-down, not being worthy to even die as Jesus died. Such a glorious change will happen to us also, not being contingent upon seeing Him except in spirit. The changed is forged by His spirit in us.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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