Feed My Sheep
Natural man, as the highest creation of Yahweh, is unique and very complex, having been fashioned to become an exact manifest expression of his invisible Creator.
Man is easily moved upon and influenced by the demands of his own fleshly nature—he is enticed by his own five senses.
His forces go out and influence those around him, while the forces of others influence him. These spirit-forces always, to some degree, influence his development either positively or negatively.
Man is born with five basic needs: sustenance, protection, acceptance, expression, and expansion. His development depends on how and to what extent these five basic needs are being met. That which is true of the natural creation is also true of the spiritual, because the spiritual creation must extend from and develop out of the natural creation.
If we are to become successful leaders, whether we are public servants in a leadership position or parents, we must teach those entrusted to our care how to meet these five basic needs. They must be encouraged to develop their potentials before they can become qualified leaders.
There must be some time set aside for the active church workers to come together to discuss methods of meeting these needs. We should seek for unified spiritual guidance on these extremely important issues. Christians who are consistently inactive and spoon-fed will not become leaders, nor will they do their part in creating the spiritual energy needed to give life to the congregation. The longer they remain spiritually inactive, the greater the burden becomes to the active members. It is difficult to keep Life-energy flowing in a congregation where most of its members are smitten with lethargy.
Requirements for Proper Sustenance
It is not enough for ministers to be inspired and energetic; they must also be very knowledgeable in helping others learn how to feed themselves. They should strive to help them learn to create the energy needed for their growth. Ministers must be able to do this before they can become fulfilled and satisfied in Yahweh.
The need for proper and balanced nourishment is never greater in the natural realm than in the Spirit realm. A properly nourished child who has been brought up in a righteous atmosphere has a healthy and well-nourished mind; therefore, he has an easier and more accessible door into the heavenly realm. He has not been continuously conditioned to resist the Spirit of Truth and the voice of authority.
Wise parents will not allow their children to pick and choose at the dining table. Young children haven’t the vaguest idea what the body needs to develop. They are, therefore, dependent upon their supervisors to guide and teach them good nutritional habits and the necessity of balance and temperance.
Children are never born with an inherited instinct to recognize and maintain a balanced diet. This knowledge must be supplied through an informed adult. Children should be trained to eat a variety of the available foods, and parents should strive to provide the most healthful foods possible.
Youngsters of this day can easily be stuffed with food and drink that look both appetizing and delicious, and yet suffer from malnutrition (which is often diagnosed as anemia). Much of this “junk food” is harmful to our children. Some parents are convinced that certain foods are nutritionally acceptable, just because they are sold in the market. Of course this is untrue. Money spent on junk foods often depletes the family budget, so that no money is left for nourishing foods. This condition also prevails in the spiritual realm. Ministers, as spiritual parents, are forced to satisfy the carnal appetites of the flesh with “junk” that has no spiritual strength or they suffer the loss of their pulpit. Ministers, as spiritual parents, must remain faithful to their Spirit-inspired vocation and teach their converts what and how to nourish their spirits so they can become spiritually strong and healthy.
Many or our children are being trained to rebel against any authority. Spirit-born infants are also being encouraged (by church rebels) to reject the authority of the Holy Spirit and Church government. They reject all Spirit restraint over fleshly appetites and desires.
Sometimes older and influential church members that practice a double standard, inspire children to rebel by their influence. Children that are reproved by one parent and defended by the other usually become confused rebels; because instructions and correction appear as abuse. They feel rejected by the parent that is concerned for their welfare and cling to the confused defender.
In the natural realm, the one who supplies the food and feeds the infant is the only person responsible for the nourishment of the infant. The child’s digestive system, quite naturally, takes over the process of elimination of the refuse and utilization of that which is usable. But this is not true in the Spiritual realm. If our mind has not been trained to recognize and accept the laws of righteous conduct (based on the commandments), or if we cannot judge thoughts and motivations, or if we do not recognize the principle of cause and effect, our ability to comprehend Truth will be limited; therefore, our minds will be incapable of eliminating evil thoughts and utilizing the good.
When new converts are encouraged to act upon their own thoughts, they, quite understandably, choose that which is compatible with their natural understanding. Consequently there are now many who refuse any guidelines for their behavior; therefore, they do not submit to Church government, its divinely ordained authority. People are being encouraged to make their own rules and follow their own thoughts, with no respect for the fruit bearing leadership or the admonition of the apostles and early Church fathers.
The Need for Protection
Children usually love the taste of garden grown fruit better than the taste of the outgrowth of desert vegetation if they can be persuaded to taste it. We have the faithful promise of Yahweh to become a fruitful garden. If the refreshing water of heaven does not fall on our souls, we are destined to bear the flavorless fruits of a waterless, or desert, condition.
Children need to be protected from many things. One of the greatest enemies our children must face is their self. Another enemy is the parent who refuses to take the responsibility of protecting the child.
We have been given extraordinary imaginative minds with the ability to create that which we imagine. If a child’s mind is allowed to run wild, while in the process of growth and development, he or she will daydream of wild and daring fantasies and attempt to play them out.
It is difficult for children to discern between fact and fantasy, just as it is difficult for the newborn Christian to discern fact from fiction in the Church. Every year many converts are turned aside by clever speakers with flattering speeches and deceptive tongues. If church leaders do not soon recognize and address this problem, there will not be a Spirit led church tomorrow. The enemy does not need to take our youth away from church if he is able to control their hearts and minds within the church.
Many Christians are persuaded that children should submit their social activities, fashions, and moral standards to the discretion of their peers. Almost no one is aware of who is in control of the minds of their peers, or why they wish to capture the minds of our children.
Must we be forced to bow to the rules of the system and relinquish our God-given authority to rear our children properly?
Or shall we continue to bow to the authority of their peers?
We must ask, “Who is in control of our children’s peers?” And then we must decide whether we will force our precious children to follow their ungodly and appalling guidelines in fashion, immoral conduct, and social behavior.
It is necessary, according to Scripture, for us, as church leaders, to be in one mind and teach the same thing. This is seldom fulfilled in local assemblies. There are almost always members that rebel against the truth. These are usually the ones that regulate the fashions and moral conduct of the weak and young Christians.
Just as parents desire and expect respect, young people and children must also be respected. Lack of respect produces a feeling of rejection. All people are of value and can make valid contributions to society if their peers can convince them that they are accepted.
Small children need reassurance of their acceptance, and authoritative adults who work with children should show respect for their contributions. Likewise, the new converts must be made aware that their contributions are vital in the church. If they are made to feel that they are unable to contribute anything to the church, it depletes their self-esteem and causes discouragement.
New converts ought to be allowed to put their energy to work on some worthwhile goal. They should be encouraged to be active in witnessing and soul winning, while older workers supervise. Young Christians should participate but should not be allowed to supervise (1 Tim. 3:1 and 6).
Children should also be given an active part of the home, functioning as an important part of it. They ought to have their share of responsibilities in the home. The convert, just as the child, that is made to feel that they are not a part of their church will seek for a place where they will be accepted.
Every person is unique, and because we are flesh and spirit we cry out for expression. Many people are never allowed to express their inner spirit because their expression is different and unique.
Parents can smother the spirit of a child just as ministers often smother their converts. No gift or talent is perfected in an infant; therefore, each must be allowed to express an imperfect expression.
Many churches make room for actors to perform while some people come to be entertained, and they do not make room for immature or limited expressions. Zealous converts are sent to colleges to learn the art of performance. They are given a strict set of rules so that the Holy Spirit in them is never allowed to surface.
This is also true of children. Parents often allow room for their own expression, but childish expressions are treated as such and forbidden. The Children act out the expressions of the parents until they are old enough to leave. Parents and teachers can encourage the children and converts to express themselves and gain confidence in their abilities if they set biblical guidelines and allow free movements within those boundaries.
The most difficult thing for most ministers to allow is growth. The most dreaded fear of many leaders is losing his position.
As a person experiences growth and expansion of spirit, they gain the respect and honor of the people. If one seems unusually strong in spirit, he will be sought out for advice.
As young Christians dedicate and yield themselves to Yahweh, they become potential leaders. We should treat them as leaders in training. If they desire to become leaders, they will talk, act, and think as leaders.
Some of the older ministers are slow to understand the need to allow these people to function in the church. Many potential ministers desire to help and expand in every direction, while the pastor sees it as an aggressive move to gain control.
The growth and expansion of their children’s minds threaten some parents. They feel that their positions as intelligent supervisors are no longer recognized. This can develop into undeclared war. Neither the parent nor the child understands what has happened. Every scene becomes a bad one. The parent justifies their hostility toward the child, and the child feels threatened and intimidated. The child is made to feel he must defend himself; the child’s intelligence is being questioned.
Not understanding the real problem, the child strives to show the parent how independent and intelligent he is without realizing that this is the core of the problem. The parent views the new strategy as the child’s deliberate attempt to see how rebellious he can be. The child is convinced he has good thoughts and can make proper decisions, and puts in extra time trying to prove he point. The parent’s counter attacks increase he need to prove the ability to function in the adult world. The war goes on, ending only when the parent recognizes the child has become a mature adult. Sad to say, some parents never welcome their children into the adult world, and many ministers will never accept the growth of their spiritual children.
True Spirit-led parents, whether they are birth-children or children of the Spirit realm, will welcome their children’s growth and give place for expansion, even at the risk of seeming inferior if the need arises. But “need” will be less likely to arise if church leaders recognize and encourage spiritual growth and study to show themselves approved of Yahweh; workers that do not need to be ashamed as they continuously strive for growth in spirit and in mind.