and Feeding of the Spirit
intends to transform our inner man. He will not put a new
patch on the old garment. It must die and be reborn. But
our personal spirit never dies, although it does suffer
the wounds of daily existence. God promises to heal these
wounds, and He asks us to honor and care for our spirits
as precious and eternal gifts.
A cheerful spirit is good medicine, but a downcast spirit
dries up the bones. Proverbs
Our spirits have three primary needs: worship,
relationship, and affection. Lacking these experiences,
that part of us which takes in life is wounded and unable
to sustain us. This lesson shares many ways parents can
nurture the spirits of children. But these helps are not
for children only. Just as we are to care for the temple
of our bodies, we are also to engage in disciplines,
which will strengthen our own spirits, enabling us to
live life fully and serve God.
Forgiveness for the wounds to our spirit begins the
Lord's work of healing. Other keys to healing are
included at the end of this lesson.
The following are three basic functions and needs of the
o Worship our spirits feed upon their source.
o Relationship. We are fed by relating affectionately to
God, others, self and nature.
o Sustain the body and heal it.
Our spirits require nurture and feeding just as our
bodies do. Without spiritual food, our spirits wither and
die to captivity to function. Parents may bless their
children with healthy food for the body, instruction for
the mind, but fail to give the daily nurture needed for
spirits to thrive.
How to strengthen our children's spirits
o Worship with them in church, home devotions, flash
prayers, intercession, thanksgiving at meal times,
bedtime prayers, and prayer as daily conversations, for
hurts, joy, etc.
o Pray blessings on them before school, bedtime, anytime.
o Expose them to beauty in nature, art, music, etc. Teach
them to experience life with all of their senses.
o Share uplifting music.
o Help them to develop good reading habits i.e., poetry,
stories of heroes, and saints. This will build strength
of will and desire into the spirit.
o Provide opportunities for adventure trips, hiking, and
o Rave regular family gatherings, which extend family
times, reunions to strengthen ties, revive roots, and
o Encourage laughter.
o Make mealtime a celebration of life, family, and
individuals. Play "One good thing & One bad
thing" This game promotes communication and gives
you insight to what is going on in your child's life, the
good, the bad, and the ugly, and how they feel about what
is going on around them. (If the bad is something that
they have done in school that day, and you slam them
instead of discuss and move on, they will be afraid to
play the game any more, and won't trust you. It will feel
like a set up. Keep it at a game and discussion level,
not a badger and humiliation opportunity.) If it is
something that needs correction let them be involved, by
saying " Woe, that was a bad thing! What did we
learn from that one, and how do we avoid that thing from
happening again? And let them share. If they haven't
quite gotten the gravity of the situation, you can say,
"OK, well we will figure something out later,"
and move on.
o Work and play together.
Discipline teaches truth, justice, peace, and healing.
Hebrews 12:8-1 4
o Teach by example; not do as I say, not as I do. Pure
affection for one another, by using appropriate language
for communicating demonstrates that love for others.
Self-sacrifice is that willingness to lay down your life
The lack of nurturing caused by the absence of these
things is the first and most damaging wounding done to
the spirit. Few parents are aware of these needs and thus
do not work to provide them. To the degree these things
are lacking, the spirit withers from starvation. The
wounded spirit is the primary cause for the sickness in
the world today, emotional as well as physical.
Healing for the wounded spirit.
o Recognition: Explore family life until wounds are seen
o Forgiveness: Lead client to express forgiveness for the
lack of nurture. Many will not feel or admit anger. They
will rationalize their parent's actions (what appears to
be protection of the parents, is really a way to avoid
forgiving). The way that a Christian avoids having to
forgive is to deny that there is anything to forgive.
"Oh, that didn't make me angry it just hurt me. They
couldn't help it, because when they were young...! Thus
confession and healing must be achieved by faith and
prayer aloud with another.
o Affection: Offer appropriate touch and affection. Men,
if you are praying for a woman that was molested as a
child, it would make her feel safer if you placed a small
throw pillow on her lap as a barrier between you and she
as you hold hands and pray. In this way you don't end up
resting the back of your hands or arms on her legs. Let
them know what you are doing. I say "from your
history it appears as though every man you have come in
contact with has defiled you in one way or another. This
pillow is some protection for you. I want you to feel as
safe as possible." You would be amazed at the look
of appreciation that you will receive. This speaks
volumes to the woman in the area of trust. If I am
dealing with a homosexual, I do the same thing. I say
essentially the same thing.
o Worship: Recommend regular attendance at church,
fellowship with the Body and in small group meetings,
i.e., life net, Bible studies, support groups etc.
Sacraments: Communion is a special gift of spiritual food
from our lord, This is not to become an empty ritual, but
rather to be reverenced. John 6: 48-58
o Homework: As part of his/her homework have him or her
choose life daily in prayer and in action.
A lifetime process
All the things that parents should do to strengthen the
spirits of their children are things that we should
continue to do for our spouses, our friends, and
ourselves. It is a process that will take a lifetime to
work through, layer upon layer. Once we have confessed,
repented and forgiven, the process begins and will
continue as long as we are able to recognize the habits,
patterns and structures, and are willing to put them to
death on the cross.
Some Christians are uncomfortable with some of the
suggestions we offer for spirit-building, arguing that
their non-Christian friends read and listen to music all
the time, yet are still no closer to knowing God:
"Shouldn't our sustenance be different from
The answer is yes-and no. As Christians, our lives should
be God-centered, and that focus informs all of our
activities, making any experience different for us than
for those who don't know Him. But we all-believers and
nonbelievers, are given personal spirits, and the degree
to which they receive nurture is the degree to which they
are healthy, and capable of receiving life,
We have all known non-Christians who seem to be more
"alive" than some Christians. Their souls are
not saved, their characters not reborn in Him, yet they
seem healthy and vibrant. These are the signs of a
spirit, which was nurtured in childhood, and is now ripe
for knowing the Lord. Matthew 5:45
Recommended reading for this lesson...
Healing the Wounded Spirit: chapter I
Waking the Slumbering Spirit chapters 3-5, 7 this is
Psalm 84:5 - Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a
crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Isaiah 30:15-This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy
One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your
salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but
you would have none of it.
Isaiah 53:4-5 - Surely he took up our infirmities and
carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by
God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced
for our transgressions, he was crushed for our
iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon
him, and by his wounds we are healed,
Matthew 5:45b - "He causes his sun to rise on the
evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and
John 6:48-58 - I am the bread of life. Your forefathers
ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is
the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may
eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down
from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live
forever. This bread is my
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' Jesus
said to them, " I tell you the truth, unless you eat
the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have
no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last
day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real
drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains
in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on
me will live because of me. This is the bread that came
down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died,
but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
Hebrews 12:8-14 - If you are not disciplined (and
everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate
children and not true Sons. Moreover, we have all had
human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them
for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of
our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a
little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us
for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No
discipline seems pleas-ant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
"Make level paths for your feet," so that the
lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every
effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
on the praying couple for prayer to
build the spirit
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Last Updated Sunday, April 8. 2001 19:12:27