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.
January – February 2005
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.”Jesus Christ
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”The Apostle Paul
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things.”Proverbs 2:10-12
Teaching Wisdom To Our Children
(This article is the fourth of six in a year-long study about teaching children and young people about wisdom and character development through Christian Martial Arts programs. GraceLife Ministries and Grace Martial Arts Fellowship present this series in the hope it will help you in your life and Martial Arts ministry.)
• Love Your Soul
First, we need to love our soul. That’s what we saw in the first study about wisdom. “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.” (Proverbs 19:8.) We know getting wisdom demonstrates we love our soul. Soul-love is love at a deep level. Jesus answered a question about the greatest commandment by saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) The greatest love is love God with all our heart, soul and mind. The next greatest love is to love our neighbors as we love ourself. A person who loves God with all their heart, soul and mind is wise. A person who loves their neighbors as themselves is wise. “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul.”
• Learn to Fear God
The first step in becoming wise and teaching wisdom to others is to fear God.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:5-7
Wisdom is the “principal” thing in life and it begins by having a reverential fear of God. Having a healthy fear of the Almighty God is a good thing. It prepares our hearts and minds to receive knowledge and with knowledge comes understanding. To teach wisdom to others we must first fear God. It’s like the fear a child has for their father. They love their father and their father loves them. The child wants to please their father in every way. They do not want to displease him. When they disobey their father, they see the displeasure and disappointment in his eyes. They don’t want to see that. They don’t want to receive his discipline. Wise children obey their parents because they love and fear them.
• Learn Wisdom and Live for God
We need to be students before we become teachers. Our second step in Teaching Wisdom to Our Children is to be wise and act wisely before teaching others about wisdom. Every Christian should be a student of wisdom, but those who teach others about living wisely should be well- versed in wisdom and continue to study wisdom throughout their lives. Good martial arts instructors have the respect of their students. Martial arts teachers have traveled the martial road ahead of their students and bring knowledge, experience and wisdom to their classes.
• Lead Students On The Path of Wisdom
The third step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them along the path of wisdom. Martial artists speak often about following the path or way (Dao or Do). The ancient pursuit of martial arts was to learn the way and walk in it. Martial Arts was a “way” of life. It is the same today. Students search out teachers who can show them the way to live as a martial artist. The Christian martial arts instructor has the opportunity to teach students about Christ as the True Way even as they demonstrate the proper way to block, punch, kick and escape from holds.
” Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:5-6
Martial Arts is about becoming a better person; about controlling one’s passions and desires. It’s about becoming a better citizen of the world and protecting those who are weak and in danger. Christian Martial Arts is about becoming a child of God, serving Him with passion and obeying the desires God has for His children. Worldly Martial Arts is about “me” and “bettering” others. Christian Martial Arts is about “God” and helping others become “better.” It’s about becoming a Citizen of Heaven and leading the weak to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so more people will glorify Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of the Ages!
The word “way” is used more than a thousand times in the Bible; the word “path” more than 80.
The first mention of the “way” in the Bible is Genesis 3:24. God steps in to protect the human race.
“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Eternal life is our “way,” but it would have been disastrous if Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life in their sinful condition.
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.” Genesis 3:22
That’s why God moved the first humans outside the Garden of Eden and placed angels and a flaming sword to keep the way of the Tree of Life. It was a constant reminder to Adam, Eve and their children about what they lost and what they could someday receive. It was both protection and hope.
God has His Way in Heaven and on earth. That’s an important part of how
Jesus taught His disciples to pray (“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”) Christ is the Great and Almighty Teacher. He is the Way. He created the way for His followers to travel. The foundation of our Faith is His. He traveled on the Way and showed us how to live and how to give. He sacrificed His Life for us and shows us how to sacrifice ourselves for His Sake.
God taught the Way to Adam and Eve and their children and their children’s children. Doing what was right in God’s Eyes was not a mystery to the human race. They knew what God had done and what He demanded of them. The people of earth chose to disobey God’s Way because their sinful hearts liked their way better.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7
Notice what the human race had done to the Way of God.
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Genesis 6:12
Humans had “corrupted” God’s Way upon the earth. That’s what people still do today. The “way” of humanity is corruptive and destructive. God’s Way is creative and life building.
God was deadly serious. He was ready to destroy everyone and every living thing He had created. Fortunately, for all of us, God is a God of Love and Grace.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8
God had Grace on Noah and thus on all of us. The human race owes its existence to God’s Grace and to Noah. The Bible says Noah was a special man during his generation.
“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9
Noah walked in the “way” God wanted him to walk and that pleased God. Because of God’s Grace, Noah and his family and representative members of living species were saved from the destruction of the Flood.
It seems from what we read in Genesis 6 that Noah was the only human to find favor with God, but we see that Noah’s family was also blessed. The Bible doesn’t say Noah’s wife, sons and their wives were the reason God did not destroy humanity from the face of the earth, but it does say they received the blessing of God’s salvation because of Noah.
“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” Genesis 6:1-18
God established a covenant, a Grace-Agreement, with Noah and his family received the benefits of the agreement. The covenant God made with Noah had nothing to do with Noah’s abilities or skills or obedience. It was strictly a Grace Covenant because Noah found favor with God.
That’s just how it is with the Way Christ deals with us. We are saved by Grace through Faith and none of that is of, from or through ourselves. It is the Gracious Gift of Almighty God. It’s not of human works, so no one can boast of themselves. Our boast is only in Christ and His Great Sacrifice for our sins.
The concept of the “way” and the “path” is presented clearly for all to see in Scripture. John the Baptist went ahead of Christ and preached to everyone who would listen: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Our spiritual journey is both a “way” and a “path.” As Christian Martial Arts instructors we’ve been on the way and the path longer than our students. They look to us to show them the way and lead them on the path. Our job is to tell our students to prepare the Way of the Lord and make His Paths straight. The Message of Grace is ageless and timeless. It is an eternal Message of Hope!
An expert in the “path” of life was King David. He was a man after God’s Heart and desired deeply to walk with God every day of his life. In Psalms 16:11, David wrote: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Walking on the path of God gives us three great treasures: “life,” “fulness of joy,” and “pleasures for evermore.” If we walked up to ten people today and offered them life, fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore, how many do you think would say they weren’t interested? My guess is most would say they would like to know more about how to have those things in their life.
How does a person get to the point where they know they’re walking with God and will receive life, joy and pleasure for evermore? Here are ten steps in the process as David explained in Psalms 16. They are the same steps we can use to Teach Wisdom to Our Children.
1. “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
We begin with salvation. No child can become spiritually wise until they place their faith and trust in God. We must be clear with our students that the path begins by acknowledging our need for God because of our sin and separation from God (“Preserve me, O God”) and need to stop trusting in ourselves and trust God for His Gift of Salvation (“for in thee do I put my trust”).
Jesus told His disciples: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus Christ is the only Way to God. I tried many religious paths before coming to Christ and can speak personally of the absolute truth of Christ’s claim. He is the “only” Way to the Father.
The problem every human being faces is the same: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” It’s not a situation where “some” or “several” people have sinned and come short of the glory of God. “All” have sinned and come short of God’s glory. That means our ministry is to every person we know and every person we meet. Everyone begins life at the same place: lost in trespasses and sins. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Fortunately for all of us, God is a God of Love, Mercy and Grace. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
2. “O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord.”
Our relationship with God is based on the Lordship of His Son in our lives. God is not something we add to our life; God is our Life through Jesus Christ (“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”). We have access to God by faith in Christ, and not only do we gain access, we stand in it and rejoice in hope. We must teach our students to look to Christ and say, “Thou art my Lord.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement … That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:1,11,21
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved … For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9,12,13
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s … For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living … For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:8,9,11
“Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.” Romans 15:11
3. “My goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.”
God delights in all His children. He loves us and our relationship with Him is one of joy. Do we do things that displease God? Yes, all children cause their parents problems at times. But we need to know that God delights in us as a Perfect Father. He delights in all who are on His Path. Our students need to enjoy God and others who are members of the Body of Christ. There is no place in God’s Family for egos and petty jealousy. Christian Martial Artists should be best friends and closer than human family. We are part of a Heavenly Family that will continue to enjoy each other through eternity.
“For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Mark 3:35
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you … These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:12,17
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another … Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another … Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:5,10,16
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:19
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus … Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God … And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:5, 7, 14
” For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ … But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him … But now are they many members, yet but one body … Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary … And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness … That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another … And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it … Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:12,18,20,22,23,25-27
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love … Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another … And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:2,25,32
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds … Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye … Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:9
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” 1 Peter 1:22
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” 1 Peter 3:8
4. “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.”
Our students must understand how foolish it is for them to start on the Path of God and then take other paths that lead them after earthly gods. Walking with God is a lifelong path that does not veer to the right or left. It is a straight path, a narrow path, a path that constantly follows Christ. Children have always had things come into their lives at different ages that tempted them from the straight and narrow, but it’s even worse today. Christian parents are struggling to direct their children on a path that pleases God. As Christian Martial Arts teachers, we can be a tremendous help to parents by walking on God’s Path and continually inviting children to follow us even as we follow Christ. David knew from personal experience that earthly sorrows would be multiplied for anyone who runs after other gods, gets involved with their offerings to those gods and speaks their names. Today, we have children deeply involved in practices that are occult-like in addition to the continuation of the “self” generations that preceeded them. The children in your Martial Arts classes are there for a reason. God has led them to you because you have something they need. You know the “way” on the “path” of the Christian life. You can be there for them every week as they learn and train. You can listen to their hopes, their dreams, their struggles and sorrow. You can answer their questions about life and give them hope for a life that is pleasing to God, a life where sorrows will not be multiplied because they hastened after another god. You can show them the foolishness of running after other gods and the wisdom of following the One True God the rest of their life. Children become teenagers who become adults, and one day some of them will thank you for your ministry to them to help them when they were young stay on the straight path of God’s Will for their lives. Christian Martial Arts can be one of the best investments parents make for their children.
5. “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
Our inheritance is heavenly, not earthly. The Lord is the portion of our inheritance and that of the children we teach. What we have waiting for us in Heaven is so much better than anything we could get here, even if we were able to possess all of this earth’s wealth.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
We can help today’s children and youth look forward with anticipation and excitement to what God has prepared for them, even as we are excited. The Way we follow and the Path we walk lead us into the very Presence of God!
We have a goodly heritage. Children are often interested in family trees and their human heritage. We can tell them about an even greater heritage in Christ. Share stories from the Bible and Christian history about those who came before us. Histor is filled with wonderful and exciting stories of faith and courage. Children and youth today see and hear so much about celebrity, which is usually nothing more than selfishness and greed. Share with them the great stories of the saints who gave of their faith and love, time and energy, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people through the centuries. Share with them the great saints of the Old Testament who gave so much in obedience to God’s Will. (Hebrews 11 is a wonderful place to take children to help them learn about faith.)
6. “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.”
The Christian life is not easy and we will often need the counsel and advice of our Lord. Young people have many voices calling for their attention whether it be family members, friends, television, movies, books or other influences in their lives. Unfortunately, the world is full of bad advice. We need to help children understand the only advice that will guide them correctly throughout their life is God’s Advice.
Children can be led astray quickly and easily. That’s part of being immature. Children and young people need to look to the wise counsel of their parents, teachers and others in positions of authority over them. Christian Martial Arts instructors are among those people who have tremendous influence with children and young people. The multitude of wise counsel is a protection to them. “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14) “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.” (Proverbs 15:22) “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellers there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6)
Another important part of teaching children about seeking and receiving wise counsel is telling them about unwise counsel. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2) “The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.” (Proverbs 12:5)
An interesting way of telling the story of wisdom and wise counsel is how King Solomon told his children about wisdom. He often spoke with them in a direct way. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”
Solomon also used a storytelling technique of humanizing the object of the lesson. He usually spoke about wisdom as being a woman. “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”
Proverbs 8 is an excellent example where Solomon wrote about wisdom as being human. Look at what we can teach children about this wonderful and exciting lady named “Wisdom” in verses 12-21.
“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”
Think about giving children advice and counsel this way. The average child today hears more than a 200 words of advice a day from a wide variety of influences (family, friends, classmates, television, radio, movies, magazines, books, music, videos, electronic games, etc.). That’s at least 1,400 words a week, 6,000 a month, 73,000 a year. One recent study shows that advertisers spend more than $12 billon every year on advertising aimed at children and teens. That much investment of money, time and effort to advise and counsel children about what they should think about themselves and what they need to do or buy should prove to parents the impact television, radio and magazine advertising have on young minds. The study also shows the average child watches more than 40,000 television commercials each year. How many words of advice are packed into every commercial? The older a child gets the more likely the counsel they receive will be bad advice because parents and authority figures have less influence on older children and teens while friends and media have more influence. How often do you get the opportunity to advise children in your martial arts classes each week? One class? Two classes? Use every opportunity you have with the children God leads into your sphere of influence to help them with wise counsel and advice. Remember how powerful and influential the enemy is with children, teens and young adults. Satan knows what’s at stake and he’s throwing everything he has at getting people when they’re young and keeping them for life.
7. “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Martial artists must learn how to stand straight and strong in order to move quickly from stance to stance and to execute powerful and effective defensive techniques. A fundamental truth in martial arts is that in all our movements we are rooted. We remain rooted to the ground and in balance as we execute and move from technique to technique. In the same way, Christian young people need to learn how to stand solidly for what’s right. Once we know how to stand in the paths of righteousness, we must not be moved. In all our movements we are rooted and grounded in Christ (at the Right Hand of God) and His Love.
Where do we start learning to stand so we won’t be moved? It begins by understanding the Power and Majesty of Almighty God.
“Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14
Our faith and determination are strengthened as we consider the wondrous works of God. His creation of the world and space is truly amazing. It is a major theme of the praise songs of Israel.
“I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.” Psalms 9:1
“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” Psalms 26:7
“Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalms 40:5
“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.” Psalms 71:17
“Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.” Psalms 75:1
“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” Psalms 78:4
“Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.” Psalms 86:8
“For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.” Psalms 92:4-5
“O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” Psalms 104:24
“Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” Psalms 105:2, 5
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalms 107:8
“The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.” Psalms 111:2,4.6.7
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalms 139:14
“One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalms 145:4,5,9,10,17
Christians of all ages will be strengthened to stand for God when they know the God they serve. Our God is not a weak god made of wood or metal. He is the Almighty God Who created the heavens and the earth! In that Truth we stand. Even as the earth God created cannot be moved from its position in the heavens by the will of man, so we cannot be moved in our commitment to Him.
Standing in the knowledge of God is also the Christian’s song. The Apostles tell us of the importance of trusting God and standing in His Grace, Power and Faith.
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:5
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.”1 Corinthians 15:1
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” 2 Corinthians 1:24
Standing is something Christians must do every day. We cannot let up for a moment because all of us are in spiritual battles. The enemy wants to defeat our minds, hearts and bodies. The enemy wants to pull us back into slavery. God wants us to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ and to stand boldly in it as we wage war with the enemy.
” Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness,” Ephesians 6:11,13,14
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Philippians 4:1
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12
“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:8 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
“By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.” 1 Peter 5:12
The lesson of standing properly (proper stance) is one we will repeat in every class. It is also a spiritual message we should mention at every opportunity for the spiritual sake of our students.
8. “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.”
Martial arts fitness is known to be one of the best ways to build strong organs, muscles and bones. Christian wisdom makes our hearts glad and gives rest and hope to our bodies and minds. Wisdom adds health to our bones and years to our lives. Wisdom brings joy to the heart and hope to the mind.
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalms 51:6
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.” Psalms 2:10
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Proverbs 3:13
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” … ” Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.” Proverbs 8:11, 14
“The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.” Proverbs 10:21
“Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.” Proverbs 14:33
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.” Proverbs 15:28-30
“The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:21-24
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Wisdom is an entrance into a world of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Sharing sound physical movement exercises along with words of truth, encouragement and support will help the young people we teach gain so much more from their lives and service to their Lord.
9. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
Christians will not die in vain. Our lives and our deaths have deep meaning to God. We have an exciting future beyond what our eyes now see. What we do now has a tremendous significance on what we will do through eternity. To spend our time serving God in this life is a wise choice: a choice we can lead our students to choose.
“And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” Mark 10:23-31
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.” John 4:34-37
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:24-26
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:2-4
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:12-19
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 5:8-10
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:11-15
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:8-10
“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” 1 John 2:25
What a marvelous promise we have! Eternal life with Christ. It is a promise that strengthens and enboldens us for the work of the Lord. It is a promise we should remind our students so they will also remember God’s purpose for their lives.
10. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Following Jesus Christ is the “path of life.” As we practice the Presence of Christ, we will experience great joy and pleasures for evermore.
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalms 16:11
“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” Proverbs 12:28
“He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.” Proverbs 2:7-22
“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:11-27
“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” Proverbs 12:28
What a wonderful message we have to share with children, young people and adults each week in our classes. I pray you will find many ways to to point your students toward the Wisdom of God in every lesson. Our churches, communities and countries will be better and stronger for your efforts.
Here’s a summary of the Ten Fold Path To Wisdom from King David:
- Salvation – Receive Christ as Savior
- Lordship – Respond to Christ as Lord in every area of life
- Fellowship – Enjoy daily fellowship with God and other Christians
- Follow – Follow Christ and the Path He Walks
- Family – We enjoy a great and heavenly heritage
- Counsel – Listen and obey God’s Wise Counsel and Advice
- Stand – Do not be moved from the Path and direction God set us on
- Health – Wise choices in life bring health to the heart and strength to the bones
- Serve – Spend your life serving God and others
- Presence – Practice the Presence of Christ every day (Next month: “Teaching Wisdom To Our Children” Step Four)
A Special Thanks To Robert Xavier
Pastor Robert Xavier is one of the great Christian martial artists alive today. He is a 9th Degree Black Belt and the Lineage Holder of two ancient Martial Arts systems (Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan Kung Fu and Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts). He’s also been a fourth-world missionary for almost 30 years ministering to the needs of at-risk and high-risk individuals and families. Pastor Xavier and his family have given deeply of themselves through the years to help make the lives of others better by feeding, clothing and housing them and introducing them to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pastor Xavier is also my teacher, mentor and dear friend.
I approached Pastor Xavier several years ago with the idea of starting a ministry of support and encouragement to Christian martial artists around the world. He was all for the idea and Grace Martial Arts Fellowship was born in March of 1998. I had started the Grace Martial Arts web sites in 1995 and had already made contact with many Christian martial artists in the United States and other countries. They wanted to fellowship with other Christian martial artists but weren’t sure how to do that. We contacted those people with the idea of starting GMAF and received tremendous support to do it. God has blessed GMAF, Karate For Christ, and many other Christian Martial Arts groups during the past several years. Thousands of Christians are now members of various fellowship groups and hundreds of evangelistic and discipleship ministries have developed during those years.
Pastor Xavier has been a source of encouragement for the thousands of students he’s taught during more than 40 years of martial arts education. He currently heads up the ministry of Confident Kid Martial Arts and is helping children come to a clear understanding of God’s deep Love for them through evangelistic outreach ministries. We thank him for his commitment and dedication to the wonderful Cause of Christ!
(The following letter was sent to parents who have children in the Confident Kid Martial Arts program. Pastor Xavier has graciously allowed us to reprint the letter for use by other GMAF members. Robert Xavier is Co-founder of Grace Martial Arts Fellowship.)
Confident Kid Martial Arts
Protection and Awareness
Dear Parents and Students,
The enclosed “Protection and Awareness” memo is an extension of the Confident Kid Martial Arts Physical Education curriculum that many parents requested for their children. This program has powerfully connected with the world of children.
Being a safety-minded young person never has been more important than it is today! Please, use the attached hand-out as a guide to talk frequently with your child about protection and awareness topics. An informed child is a safer child.
I. Common Lures used with Children
§ The subject will ask directions and then request the victim to accompany him and show him the way.
§ The subject will pretend to have a disability or a problem Examples: (Can’t speak English; Can’t see very well; Has an injury) and will request to have his victim help in finding a location or getting somewhere.
§ The subject states that his dog is lost and asks the victim for assistance in finding him. After unsuccessfully checking the area, the subject will invite the victim to accompany him while they check other locations.
§ The subject will display a badge and indicate that a member of the family has been injured and request the victim to come with him to the hospital.
§ The subject will request assistance with his van. He will ask the victim to get into the van, into the driver’s seat and turn the key for him. The victim is then grabbed by an accomplice who is hiding in the van.
The “code word” system works well to eliminate possible trouble with strangers. The parent /guardian and child choose a word that will be used in an emergency situation. This code word must be used by anyone who needs to take the child. If a person does not know the code word, but tells the child he/she must come with them, the child should refuse to go.
What if someone actually tries to grab you or pick you up? What should you do?
II. What if someone actually tries to grab you or pick you up? What should I do?
* The child should immediately start to scream, “Help! This is not my father/ mother!” The child also should kick, punch, bite, squirm and wiggle as hard as possible. When the child breaks free, he/she should immediately run away.
In Christ’s Love & Grace,
Brother Bob Xavier
Director, Confident Kid Martial Arts Bible Clubs
For more information please call my office: (941) 761-9115 or cell: 726-5056
A Special Thanks To
Karl William Marx
Pastor Karl William Marx is a special and unique man of God. He was the original Cajun tough guy who God loved, saved, and changed forever. Pastor Marx will be the first to tell you he is not perfect, but he knows he lives in the middle of God’s gracious Hand and is forgiven. No matter what life throws at him, Karl Marx keeps walking with God, loving His Word and sharing the life-giving story of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Marx is unique in the world of Martial Arts. He is the first American to found his own system of Karate. He is the first American Soke of a world-wide system of Martial Arts. He is the first American to be awarded a 10th Dan. Pastor Marx also is the first American to develop a Christian system of Martial Arts: Keichu-Do.
I’ve been privileged to know Pastor Marx since1998 when we put GMAF on the World Wide Web. He was one of the first people to write and encourage us in our ministry of supporting and encouraging Christian martial artists in the United States and around the world. We’ve rejoiced together on the phone and in e-mails these past seven years and I’ve come to know Pastor Marx as a kind and courageous brother in Christ. He’s told me and others some amazing stories about what his life was like before Christ set him free and how God has blessed him in the decades to follow.
Pastor Marx wants to give back what he has received from Christ and the Martial Arts. Just this year he published the excellent book “On Fire For Jesus Christ: Martial Art Spirit.” It is an amazing insight to Pastor Marx’s heart and spirit as he shares his thoughts about Christ and the Martial Arts through letters he wrote to Sensei Mark Williams from1974 to 1978.
Pastor Marx has asked God to broaden his field of influence in the Christian and Martial Arts communities, not to build his ego but to advance the Kingdom of God. Pastor Marx freely admits his frustration in not receiving the recognition from either the Christian or Martial Arts worlds for his accomplishments and position, not because he wants the glory but because he wants to share God’s Glory and Power with others. This is something we’re praying about and ask you to join with us in prayer. How wonderful it would be for martial artists around the world to hear from the highest ranking American Soke (in number of years as a 10th Dan and Lineage Holder of an art he developed) and to learn about Christ’s Love for them.
Martial arts knowledge and skill will pass away with every martial artist as they pass away. Someone else will own their uniforms and belts. Someone else will read what they’ve written. Someone else will decide what to do with their certificates, awards and trophies. Every martial artist from 10th Kyu to 10th Dan will one day stand before God and give an account for their lives. Many will be cast away from God’s Presence and spend eternity in sorrow and suffering. Some will be brought close to God’s Throne for a special welcome into His Eternal Kingdom. Pastor Marx wants to do what he can now to make a difference in the lives of martial artists around the world. He wants to teach us more about the Wisdom of God and how to walk in His paths of righteousness. Karl William Marx is a special man for a special time and we are pleased to call him teacher, mentor and friend.
Accountability and Respectability
KARL WILLIAM MARX SR. Founder of Keichu-Do Martial Arts
These two words represent some strong meaning. Please allow me to discuss the word “respectability”. Respect is usually something that someone or some thing earns. Respect might come from education, certain experiences, reputation or many other avenues of life. I can look at a Huge Grizzly bear and respect the fact that there is a dangerous animal. As a person it might be considered good taste to trust your doctor with his or her diagnosis. After all your life is in some measure in their hands. Literally we trust in others in more ways than we know. Our family dentist is trusted that he isn’t lying about us having a cavity in a tooth. We trust our auto mechanic that if we bring in our automobile for a tune up he won’t lie and tell us we need a new transmission, or overhaul.
With a world around us that all too many individuals live by deception, fraud, Lies, and every sin against nature and God imaginable, respect appears to be given mostly to not who an individual really is, but rather who the media or public see him/her as. Movie stars, Rock stars, the person with the most toys. Rich and famous, Sport stars and professional military or legal Court judges seem to receive most acclaim. Even certain Religious leaders get their some amounts of praise (if you’ll pardon the pun). Respect is demanded by a great many individuals in the martial arts profession however, should respect be forced on others without being EARNED?
I have no quarrel with these above named folks. I strongly imagine that they have earned their position for being the best or at least very good at what they do. As for the accountability aspect, that is another story. I wonder how anyone can actually find the Gaul and audacity to expect, let alone demand Respect, when so many do not even believe, and many who claim to believe, show so much disrespect to GOD? I have a fellow, I shall call him my friend, who has had his heart smashed because of his relationship with his wife and stepson, that has diminished to the point of divorce preparations. I understand his pain and anguish, as well as his loneliness. I have been there done that, three times, myself and many more times between girlfriends. Being a young man in my twenties was very difficult to get over losing my wife and four children. The pain took me past feeling sorry for myself, spending eight weeks in a State Mental Hospital( talk about not getting respect, the doctors kicked me out, to make room for really sick people.) Can you believe that? I was told to “get a life” and to quit feeling sorry for myself, because I wasn’t the only man who lost his family to divorce. Cheech! I felt like I was Crazy! But then, just what constitutes insanity? The pain of separation is intensive, and highlighted by the demonic spiritual attacks sent by mister Evil his-self, causes a lot of folks to think improperly and to make a lot of wrong decisions When someone thinks of their ex- spouse going out with someone else”That sucks” But we have to look out for the ego and pride brothers. Satan will use every opportunity to bang! Us in the head and heart.
When we get to the point that we believe we can’t live without our spouse, we have reached the Big Sin. “First I AM the Lord your God, and you shall NOT have any god’s before ME.” Wow! That pretty clear. When anyone loves their Father, Mother, Brother, or Sister, even their children and especially their spouse more than God, problems really begin. God is often blamed when a couple brakes up. You hear the complaint “were was God when I prayed for my spouse not to leave me. Excuse me! were: were you? when you were needed at home with your wife for example in the case of the Fisherman’s widow every week end during fishing season. Or how about the hunting or other personal selfish stuff men enjoy doing. Hay! Dude, don’t blame God for your mess up’s. This is not a blame the poor slob pick on anybody deal. I am just telling it like it really is. Respect the fact that my experience is sufficient evidence to prove my point. My accountability is from the Holy Bible and God’s Word.
Oh! Shut up! I’m not preaching, you can call me a Bible thumping, on fire for Jesus Christ freak, and I’ll accept that. I may not be as good a Christian as I should be or even what I desire to be, But God is still working on my reconstruction. My purpose with this article is to explain, that we can live without anyone else in our lives. As uncomfortable as it may be , we still have our HOPE in Christ Jesus. Come on! Why do the whiskey cry, and the drug abuse boogie? Nobody says it’s easy to go through life, let alone after losing someone you love. But don’t you go blaming God, the Devil is your enemy. No one should hold anyone or anything above God. Divorce is too easily taken as a way out of difficult times. Marriage are often taken to lightly, then when things get rough couples split and run. I know this for a fact because I was one of these slackers. Divorce is a most devastating , and don’t believe the old lie that kid will “Get Over It” That is a lie. Children grow up, and live life the best way they know how. But they Do Not get over it.
How do children grow up to live happy and joy filled lives? Well, one way is by following the Wisdom of God Himself through HIS Word in the Bible. Even then life can be Hard sometimes. Look my purpose here is not to rag on someone, no way! I just wish to enlighten anybody who wants help and give hope to those who haven’t a clue to how to defend themselves against themselves. Yes sometimes we are our own worst enemy. With all the knowledge and experience I have learned over the years, I am still a victim of my own stinking thinking. Drat! I hate it when I get those mind bending anxiety attacks. Even if the Lord does use them to give me a wake up call now and then, I hate them. However knowing that God is ALWAYS with me and will be there during, and after every unpleasant situation is good to know. It is that reassurance from the Scriptures that gives me hope that what ever trouble I’m going through will pass. “Braking up is hard to do” I agree, and empathize with all of you who are going through that difficulty. However don’t ever forget that Jesus Christ is just a thought away. Call on God in Jesus name. You’ll be glad you did. Look life is kind of like surfing. There is a lot more to it than just riding the waves on a surf board.
The same can be said about being a Christian. There are a lot of folks out there surfing, however not all could be called a surfer. People who claim to be a Christian but never read their Bible or go to Church will not know much about what a Christian is all about. A person who surfs with that same attitude might end up dead or busted up. At any rate that want to be, will never know the pure adrenalin rush or the high one feels when a big “ONE” rolls under their board. The same can be said of the Christian, I’m talking about hard times, struggling but always hopeful person who reads the scriptures and has fellowship with other believers. These folks have to work at being a Christian as does a surfer have to surf a lot. I just wish ALL Christians had the same enthusiasm for practicing their faith, as a surfer. God Bless Surfers. So what’s with all the depression, sadness, loneliness, and I’ll show them attitude by getting drunk or other substance abuse stupidness.
Ok! Alright! What has all this to do with Respect? Well We are children of GOD! He created us, and we deserve RESPECT. Of course we are ACCOUNTABLE to our Father God so we must do all in Our power to EARN the respect we deserve. Depression is a factor that can be seeded by low self esteem. When someone has feelings that few if any, have respect for them, life can be a miserable existence.
That’s were the enemy starts digging into our mind. Disappointment, be it losing a sporting game, finding out your best friend is dating your girlfriend, your spouse leaves you and files for divorce, you get fired from your job, or any number of things that could happen and do in many of our lives. Any thing that triggers an emotion which in turn affects something in our brain can result in some physical response.
Frustration, is often the root of depression. I personally can attest to that as a fact, not a theory. Even when we are born again Christians we are subject to attacks from the enemy. Never possession! by, but attacked. Even Jesus Christ was tempted by the enemy. You can imagine the Gaul and audacity of that creature to attempt to affect even our Lord Jesus Christ. Ha! Wow! You can bet your britches he’ll be after all of us, at one time or another. All this to say brothers even if you are feeling lower than whale poop, and that’s on the bottom of the ocean, there is hope and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. You may be imprisoned in a jail, or correctional Institution some were, it makes no difference to God. He hates the sin but He loves the sinner. You and me. I will come to any Penitentiary that invites me to tell my story from “Pimp to Pastor.” From Criminal to Christian. Talk about a turn over, God did a number on me, for sure. I am praying that my new book ” If I can anybody can” Agape Publishing has the manuscript presently, so place your orders right away and that might encourage them to hurry and get it published and hopefully God willing one in every inmates hands. If your incarcerated, I am praying that some organization will donate enough funds to purchase my books for every inmate every were in the world free to you. I believe many of you will believe in the Hop of Christ, because if God can forgive me for all my sins He sure can forgive you for yours.
In Christ I remain His servant:
Pastor Karl William Marx Sr .
Founder of the first Cajun Martial System in the World.
What Constitutes A Bible Ministry
Teaching martial arts in a church building does not make the class a ministry. Being a Christian and a martial arts teacher does not make what you are doing a ministry. Martin Luther said, “The Word must do this thing, not we poor sinners.” In order to have a “ministry,” to minister to the students in the Biblical sense, one must minister the Word of God. The following section is a group of Bible lessons to teach with the martial arts class specifically in mind.
As martial artists, we are always talking about “the way, or “DO (pronounced D-O-E). This is a generic term used to describe the journey one enters when he begins the life long study of martial arts. The way of Shinsei Hapkido is a great way, a great journey, but there is a far more important road to travel. That is the Roman Road.
The “Romans Road” is named after the sixth book, in the New Testament. Paul the Apostle, wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome. His letter is thus known as ROMANS.
Paul wrote some specific things necessary to believe, in order to be saved. “Being saved” means: When we repent, God forgives all our sins and sinful nature. What are we saved from?
He (God/Jesus) SAVES us:
– From the nature of sin we were born with; To a new nature born of His Spirit.
– From the control of sin; To the loving control of God.
– From the Penalty of sin; To the reward of the righteousness in JESUS. Being saved is being “born again.” We are saved to a new life.
The Roman Road is a collection of verses in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans that offers a clear and structured path to Jesus Christ. Although many people believe they will go to heaven because they have lived a good life, done charity work, been baptized as a child, attended church, or treated others fairly, the Bible declares that none of us can live up to God’s standards of righteousness. Therefore, we need a road to God that doesn’t rely on anything we do, but rather, relies on the gift of His grace alone.
Here is a simple map to help you follow the Roman Way, or Road:
The Roman Road provides a detailed map for our salvation and eternal fellowship with God. Just follow these steps:
We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything, accepting our humble position in God’s created order and purpose.
Romans 1:19-21 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
We must realize that we are sinners and that we need forgiveness. None of us are worthy under God’s standards.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
God gave us the way to be forgiven of our sins. He showed us His love by giving us the potential for life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
If we remain sinners, we will die. However, if we repent of our sins, and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have eternal life.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you are saved.”
Romans 10:9-11 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
There are no other religious formulas or rituals. Just call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved!
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Determine in your heart to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life today. Romans 11:36 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
So how do you go about that? Here is the pattern, the kata, the poomse, as found in God’s Word:
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
God tells us in the Bible how we can come to Him by being saved through Jesus Christ His Son. The proceeding salvation plan lays out the way you can know you will have eternal life in Jesus and have a lasting relationship with the Father. Then you are truly on the right “WAY.
(Reprinted with permission from Karate For Christ International)
HOW TO BE A FAILURE IN MINISTRY
Let your supreme motive be to increase your own popularity — then, of course, your preaching will be suited for that purpose, and not to convert souls to Christ.
Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to the carnal mind, lest they should say to you, as they did to Christ, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?”
Make no distinct points, and do not disturb the consciences of your hearers, lest they become alarmed about their souls.
Avoid all illustrations, repetitions, and emphatic sentences that may compel your people to remember what you say.
Avoid all heat and earnestness in your delivery, lest you make the impression that you really believe what you say.
Address the emotions, and not the conscience, of your hearers.
Be careful not to testify from your own experiences of the power of the Gospel, lest you should produce the conviction upon your hearers that you have something which they need.
Do not awaken uncomfortable memories by reminding your listeners of their past sins.
Denounce sin in general, but make no reference to the specific sins of your present audience.
Do not make the impression that God commands your listeners here and now to obey the truth. Do not let them think that you expect them to commit themselves right on the spot to give their hearts to God.
Leave the impression that they are expected to go away in their sins, and to consider the matter at their convenience.
Dwell much upon their inability to obey, and leave the impression that they must wait for God to change their natures.
Preach salvation by grace, but ignore the condemned and lost condition of the sinner, lest he should understand what you mean by grace, and feel his need of it.
Preach the Gospel as a remedy, but conceal or ignore the fatal disease of the sinner.
Do not speak of the spirituality of God’s holy law (by which comes the knowledge of sin), lest the sinner should see his lost condition and flee from the wrath to come.
Make no appeals to the fears of sinners, but leave the impression that they have no reason to fear.
Preach Christ as an infinite amiable and good-natured being, but ignore
those scathing rebukes of sinners and hypocrites which so often made his hearers tremble.
Admit, either obviously or casually, that all men have some moral goodness in them, lest sinners should understand that they need a radical change of heart, from sin to holiness.
Say so little of hell that your people will think that you do not believe in its existence yourself.
Make the impression that, if God is as good as you are, He could not send anyone to hell.
Make no disagreeable references to the teachings of self denial, cross bearing, and crucifixion to the world, lest you should convict and convert some of your church members.
Do not rebuke the worldly tendencies of the church, lest you should hurt their feelings, and finally convert some of them.
Do not rebuke extravagance in dress, lest you should make an uncomfortable impression on your vain and worldly church members.
Encourage lots of church socials, and attend them yourself.
Make it your great aim to be personally popular with all classes of your hearers.
Aim to make your hearers pleased with themselves and pleased with you, and be careful especially not to wound the feelings of anyone.
Especially avoid preaching to those who are present. Preach about sinners, but not to them. Say “they,” and not “you,” lest anyone should take your subject personally and apply it to their own life, securing the salvation of their soul.
(Reprinted with permission from Karate For Christ International)
MARTIAL ARTS TEACHING TIPS
Karate for Christ Tips for Getting Started:
If you are a Christian Martial Arts Instructor, we hope you will consider starting a class of your own. Each day this site is hit more than 40 times. Many of these visitors are seeking an instructor. Starting a class is easy and we will guide you through.
1) Find a location such as a church fellowship hall.
2) Put together a simple to follow lesson plan. We suggest that you open and close in prayer, teach basic Christian lessons, and require memory verses for promotions. Do not charge for classes if you can help it.
3) Seek out someone to help you in case you need a substitute or help in class.
4) Print up flyers and pass them out where the kids are. Places like schools, game rooms, and gathering places are the best. Contact local newspapers and radio stations for free space and community service ads.
5) Pray that you can handle the numbers of kids you will see. We have never seen a class smaller than 25 students on the first day and there have been classes as large as 125 by the first week.
Karate for Christ Do Jang / Do Jo Etiquette (Flexible from School to School):
· This is a Christian dojo advocating Christian values, traditional customs and respect.
· Christian Bible lesson will be taught throughout.
· Students are expected to study their various assignments for the beginning of each class.
The Bible will be used throughout – only a copybook is needed for class. · Respective traditional language will be used throughout.
· Address your instructor as sensei or sempai, as applicable
· When you enter the dojo always bow to your instructor or sensei and greet him by saying good evening sensei, etc.
· No shoes are allowed in the training area.
· The students shall never lean on the walls.
· Do not enter or leave the floor during training/class without permission from the sensei or your instructor.
· If a student arrives late for class and the class is already in progress wait for the sensei to recognize you then bow to him and enter the training area quickly.
· There will be no chewing of gum on the training floor.
· Do not consume intoxicants before training.
· Profane language is not permitted.
· When sitting on the dojo floor always sit anza (cross legged) or seiza and never show the bottom of your feet.
· No loud talking or horseplay is allowed in the dojo. The dojo is a place where respect and self-control are always observed. This is the proper decorum expected of you while in the training area.
· Students will be in full uniform (gi/ doboke) upon entering the Dojo and ready for practice. The gi and equipment will be kept clean and at home with the rest of the equipment.
· Never let your belt touch the floor.
· If your belt comes undone and you must retie it or you must adjust your uniform never face sensei or your instructor instead turn around and face in the opposite direction to retie your belt or adjust your uniform.
· Never wash your belt. This is a time honored tradition in karate.
· The approved Karate For Christ Dojo Patch will be worn over the left breast in such a manner that it will be vertical with the jacket closed.
· Student will not wear patches other than those designated by the school.
· No watches, earring, rings, jewelry, etc, will be worn during practice.
· Trim fingernails, toenails short in order to avoid injury to yourself or others students during training.
· Students will keep themselves clean.
· This is a traditional dojo and will be kept clean at all times. The ritual cleaning of the floor called osoji is not only to clean the floor but also to teach humility.
· All training equipment should be put away neatly after use by whosoever uses it. This will keep your dojo looking organized at all times.
· Bring any problems that could interfere with your learning to the attention of your instructor.
· If you are injured in any way during class, notify the instructor immediately.
· When sensei is teaching a class show the utmost respect by not talking when he is demonstrating or explaining something.
· Do not talk during a workout except to respond to an instructor,s command or questions.
· Do all exercises to the best of your ability. Students are expected to train hard, be disciplined and cultivate a strong moral character.
· If you will not be attending a class, notify the instructor prior to the class.
· Sparring (ne waza or randori) will be done under the supervision of the sensei to ensure safety.
· Safety gear must be worn in order to spar.
· Visitors are always welcome, as long as they abide by our rules. You are responsible for your guests.
· Always show courtesy and respect to all those present in the dojo. Proper respect will be shown to all ranks.
· Strive to promote the true spirit of Karate For Christ
· Fighting outside of the dojo is prohibited by Code of Honor unless it is in a self-defense situation.
(Reprinted with permission from Karate For Christ International)
Progression Stripes – Food for Thought
Ridgecrest Karate for Christ
To some of you this may be an old idea, and to others it will be a new refreshing idea. I know everyone has their own reasons for belt stripes. Many systems use the stripes for kyu or gup ranks. My friend Kevin Luttrell uses progression stripes for his Taekwondo students. The progression stripes are indicators for the students growth or skill level. This system can also be used with a rank stripe system by making the progression stripes a different color. When you use the progression system you know at a glance the skill level of your student.
I liked the concept of skill levels so I’m experimenting with a four stripe progression system. Results have been positive from my students. The 1st stripe Spiritual, 2nd stripe foundational, 3rd stripe Strikes and Blocks, 4th stripe Kicks, Throws and Self-defense ( See sample belt requirements attached below). Progression Stripes have to be earned in the order of progression (1,2,3,4). So far It’s been exciting to see the students eagerly learning the memory verses. I know what you are thinking, they just want to earn that stripe. That’s true, but they are hiding God’s word in their heart. Some of them really grow spiritually, and the others are getting a seed (God’s Word) planted in their heart. I believe this honors our Lord, because we are making God’s word the first requirement for progression. I started this experiment about a month ago, and kids are being tested every week for their spiritual stripes. Once a student has worked through and earned their 4 stripes they could be eligible for rank testing. This is only if all other requirements have been met. Some examples of other requirements are required class hours, homework assignments, required essays, etc.
One last commentary about memory verses. As long as I’ve been doing Karate for Christ, I have always required memory verses for belt promotion. I noticed before some of my students didn’t learn their verse until promotion time. Not all, but many seemed to cram for the exam. Requiring the spiritual stripe first is making a spiritual difference in my class. This is a good experiment, if you try it let me know how works for you. I hope you enjoyed some food for thought.
Shinsei Hapkido – Yellow Belt Requirements
Progression stripe 1: Spiritual Stripe
Required memory verses: Memorize, JOHN 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Memorize, EPHESIANS 6:10-11
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Progression stripe 2: Required basic foundation
Good attendance and attitude is expected for prompt belt promotions.
· Demonstrate wrist stretches · Break falls
· Forward roll (summer sault) · Forward side roll
· Attention stance and Ready stance
· Front stance (I want you to see good stance, moving, and turning) · Difficult turn
· horse stance
· L stance · T stance
Progression stripe 3: Strikes and blocks
· Demonstrate how to make a good fist.
· Punching from a Horse stance (fist, palm heel, and back knuckle).
· Basic Blocks from natural stance, high, middle, and low (4 basic blocks). · High and low block (demonstrate moving in front stance).
· Middle blocks
· knife hand strike inside and outside
· lunge punch
· reverse punch
Progression stripe 4: Kicks, throws, and self-defense
· front snap kick (demonstrate moving in front stance). · front thrust kick ( demonstrate on kick bag)
· side kick (demonstrate on kick bag)
· round house kick (moving and kicking)
· Belt throw (obi-nage)
· Valley drop throw
· Defense against a push, a choke, a lunge punch, a wrist grab
Before reaching yellow belt, all of your homework assignments must be complete. You will have to write a one-page essay “Why I want to take Shinsei Hapkido.”
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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