Shine As Lights In The World!
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Philippians 2:12-16
God wants Christians to understand the importance of their role in the world. He is working out His Will through us. We are the sons and daughters of God living in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation. God has something to say to this world and He’s saying it through us!
Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi because the light they were shining in their world was not as bright as it could or should be. Unlike some of the other churches Paul wrote, the Philippians were not encumbered with sexual sins or falling into the trap of Judaizers. However, they were experiencing something just as dangerous as any of the sins of that day; they were losing their family unity.
Paul addressed this powerfully when he reminded them that they shined as lights in the world. Paul used the Greek word phainesthe to describe the Philippian Christians. It’s in the passive voice and means “are seen, appear.” Believers living in Philippi (and everywhere else for that matter) appear to unsaved people as “lights in the world.” The word lights is the word phosteres. It means “luminary, star, heavenly light.” Christians appear as “stars” to the unsaved in the world. The Apostles Paul and John each used the word one time in their letters. John used phosteres in Revelation 21:11 to describe the Light that lights the New Jerusalem. John learned that Light is Jesus Christ. The same Light that will light the Holy City of Heaven is the same Light the unsaved see in Christians!
The Philippian Christians were seen as “lights” in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation.” That’s a description of people living in the 1st Century A.D. – crooked and perverse (perverted, distorted, twisted). Are we any better 2,000 years later? I don’t think so. The human heart has been crooked and twisted since Adam plunged the race into sin thousands of years ago. Christians today continue to appear as lights in a crooked and perverse generation.
We’re going to ask and answer four extremely important questions for Christians in this study: (1) Why Do We Shine? (2) Who Do We Shine? (3) Where Do We Shine? (4) How Do We Shine? The study is designed for you to print these pages to add to a notebook. You can write your answers to each point and use it as a guide in your life and ministry. I promise you that the right answer to these questions will revolutionize your life and empower the Church in a way the world has not seen for a long time. We also invite you to share this study with Christian friends. Ask God to lead you to lead others to the greatest experience of our life on earth: Shining as Lights in the World!
by Mark McGee
Teaching Wisdom to Your Children
Love Your Soul
The words of King Solomon in Proverbs 19:8 are powerful: “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.” Our parents teach us from an early age how to love them, ourselves and others, but what about our soul? The soul is eternal. The body dies, but the real you lives forever. We spend so much time taking care of our bodies and improving our minds and relationships with others, but shouldn’t be learn how to care for our eternal soul?
King Solomon was one of the wisest people who ever lived. The Bible tells us: “And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment … And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore … And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt … And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 3:28; 4:29,30,34
Solomon had a wise father. King David was not perfect, but he was wise. David loved God and wanted to do God’s will. David loved his son and wanted him to be wise. Solomon learned so much about wisdom from his father and from God. Solomon made the correct choice in his early years: to get wisdom.
by Mark McGee
Better Than A Warrior
Martial artists are part of an ancient legacy of warriors from every corner of the world and segment of society. Some of the greatest warriors of history came from Israel, God’s chosen people. One of the most powerful and influential warriors of Israel’s history was King David. He defended Israel against mighty armies and powerful enemies. David expanded the territories of Israel and made it one of the greatest empires on earth. So, why would the king’s son write this: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city”? How could a patient man possibly be better than a warrior who protects his people and has the skill to take a city?
Patience has a long history with God’s people. Patience is often connected to waiting on God’s promises. If God promises something will happen, it will happen. What God’s people have had to do is wait and have faith that God will do as He promised. Waiting is not something that is built into the natural character traits of human beings. We are born impatient. We hate to wait. We want what we want when we want it and we don’t want to wait for it. That’s our way. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s timing for everything is perfect because He is perfect. Our timing for everything is imperfect because we are imperfect. We experience success in life as we wait patiently and expectantly on Him. Waiting is never easy, but waiting on God is a sure thing. We know He will always live up to His promise.
by Mark McGee
The Foundation of Christian Martial Arts
The foundation of martial arts includes health, fitness, stance and movement. Martial artists would do well to concentrate on those four areas. If we are not healthy, we cannot defend ourselves or people we love successfully over a long period of time. If we are not fit, we cannot defend ourselves or people we love successfully over a long period of time. If we do not have a strong stance, we cannot defend ourselves or people we love successfully during an attack. If we cannot move quickly and effectively, we cannot defend ourselves or people we love successfully during an attack.
The four K’s of Karate speak well to the foundation of martial arts. They are Kihon, Kata, Kumite and Kime. Kihon is the fundamentals, the basics of the art. Kihon is as basic as yielding to oncoming force, clearing the midline from the direction of violence in a personal attack, connecting with the attacker from a position of safety, taking control of the attacker’s movements and redirecting the attacker to an empty place where they are no longer a threat to you or people you are protecting. Kata is patterns of self-defense. Bunkai is the application of Kata which leads to Kumite, the practice of self-defense against realistic attacks. Kime is the concentrated focus necessary to deal with an attack efficiently and effectively.
The foundation of Christianity includes Faith, Commitment, Power and Praise. Christians would do well to concentrate on these four areas. If we not have faith, we do not have salvation. If we do not have commitment, we do not have ministry. If we do not have power, we do not have blessing. If we do not have praise, we do not have fellowship.
by Mark McGee
The Mind of Christ
One of the primary opportunities in teaching martial arts in a Christian environment is helping our students become like Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 2:5) How is that done? Building character qualities in the lives of our students that resemble the character of Christ.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5 … NKJV)
Notice that the development of character produces hope in a Christian’s life. In this new year, we are starting a new column to highlight character qualities important for Christian martial artists to focus on and make part of their lives. Many Christian martial arts programs and ministries include learning Christian character qualities as an important part of the curriculum for students to advance in their martial arts studies and rankings.
by Mark McGee