Ellis Washington
Symposium -- ask big vs. the prayers of slaves
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By Ellis Washington
February 28, 2016

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but cleverly profound method of teaching by asking penetrating, revelatory, and psychologically probing questions. The Greeks called this form Dialectic – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas and moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth.


Israelites leaving Egypt (1828) by David Roberts – Music by G. F. Handel

They prayed from a slave mentality, from a limited mindset. Instead of asking to be free from their oppressors, they were asking to become better slaves. Instead of praying for what God promised them – 'the land flowing with milk and honey,' they prayed that God would help them function better in their dysfunction.

~ Pastor Joel Osteen

Characters:

Socrates

Pastor Joel Osteen

Slave Mentality (Israelite Slaves)

Faith Mentality (God's ideal for U.S.)

Socrates:
What is a Slave? What is Slavery? What is a slave mentality? Does slavery or a slave mentality exist in modern times, in 2016? I am Socrates, the Philosopher. I was born in the fifth century before Christ in the ancient Greek capitol of Athens. I know what slavery is. My family had slaves. Everybody I knew in society had slaves. Slavery was such an integral part of ancient society to such an extent that the ancient Greeks and later the ancient Romans literally had more slaves than the amount of free citizens in society.

I also know what a slave mentality is. It's being a free man, but thinking and behaving and possessing a worldview of a slave in one's daily life. It's like taking a beautiful, bold, savage lion from the jungles of Africa and putting him in chains inside a zoo for the amusement of the people. Yes, it's entertaining to the people to witness this noble beast up close, but what they see is no longer a lion, but a caged, defeated beast – a slave! For whatever you put behind a cage or shackle within chains automatically changes the nature of what is imprisoned from an entity previously at Liberty, to the servile estate of Slaves.

Aristotle in his opus, Politics, wrote about the nature and rule of the State including two kinds types of slavery:
    (i) Slaves by law – Anyone captured by war even if they had the capability to govern themselves could become a slave by law. (They could eventually be freed).

    (ii) Slaves by nature – A person lacking the capability of self-governance and requiring rule by others would be a slave by nature. (They could never be freed).
In today's Symposium we will discuss ideas presented in a sermon by Pastor Joel Osteen, Ask Big. Are you asking today to become a better slave, or are you asking for the abundant, overflowing, more-than-enough life that God has instore for you?

Pastor Joel: I want to talk to you today about Asking Big. When God laid out the plan for your life, he just didn't put what you need to get by, to survive, to endure – He put more than enough. He's a God of abundance. We see this all through the scripture. When Jesus multiplied the little boy's lunch, five loaves of bread and two fish, after thousands of people ate there were 12 baskets full leftover. What's interesting is that they had counted the people beforehand. Jesus knew how many were in the crowd that day. If he wanted to be exact, he could have made it so there would be no leftovers; on purpose He made more than enough. That's the God we serve.

David said, "My cup runs over." He had an abundance; more than he needed. Yes, we should thank God that our need our supplied. We should be grateful that we have enough, but don't settle there; that's not your destiny. He is a more than enough God. He wants you to have an abundance so that you can be a blessing to those around you. And this is where the Israelites missed it, they had been in slavery for so many years that they became conditioned to not having enough; to barely getting by. When Pharaoh got upset with Moses, he told his foreman to have the Israelites make the same about of bricks without the hay and straw being provided for them. Now I'm sure the Israelites prayed...

Slave Mentality: "God, please help us to make our quotas!" "God please help us to find these supplies that we need!"

Pastor Joel: They prayed from a slave mentality, from a limited mindset. Instead of asking to be free from their oppressors, they were asking to become better slaves. Instead of praying for what God promised them – 'the land flowing with milk and honey,' they prayed that God would help them function better in their dysfunction.

Are you asking today to become a better slave, or are you asking for the abundant, overflowing, more-than-enough life that God has instore for you? God says that you are to reign in life; that you are blessed and cannot be cursed; that whatever you touch shall prosper and succeed. Don't pray to get by, to endure. Dare to Ask Big. Ask for what God promised you.


Faith Mentality: The medical report may not look good – that's OK, there's another report. God you said you would restore health back into me. You said the number of my days you would fulfill.

Pastor Joel: Maybe you've gone through a disappointment, a bad break. Don't pray...

Slave Mentality: "God, help me deal with this loneness." "God, help me put up with this depression..."

Pastor Joel: That's a slave mentality. Turn it around.

Faith Mentality: God you said, you'd give me beauty for these ashes, joy for this mourning. That you would pay me back double for this unfair situation.

Pastor Joel: Or you dreams may look impossible. You don't see how it can work out. God you said that your blessing would chase me down; that I am surrounded by favor; that Goodness and Mercy are following me; that you would give me the desires of my heart. Take the limits off of God and Ask Big. Not from a slave mentality, not from a limited mind set. Don't ask God to help you function better in your dysfunction, ask Him for your dreams. Ask Him for new levels. Ask Him for explosive blessings. Ask Him to propel you in His promise.

Friends, God can make things happen that you never thought would happen. He's already placed abundance in your future. He's already lined up the right people, the breaks you need, doors to open that you could never open. My question is, are you Asking Big or are you letting your circumstances... How you were raised, what somebody said, talk you out of it? If you go through life only praying barely get-by prayers, you'll miss the fullness of your destiny...

Ask for your dreams. Ask for things that seem impossible. James chapter 4 the Scripture says, "You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss." That word amiss in the original language means – sick, weak, miserable. When we ask to become better slaves that's a sick prayer. When we ask to get by, to endure, to barely make it – that's a weak prayer; that's asking amiss. God is saying, I created the whole universe. I own it all, don't come to me with a sick prayer, a weak prayer, asking me to help you live better in mediocrity – endure the trouble, survive another month. No, when you come to me Ask Big knowing that I am a God of more than enough. He's saying, 'Ask me to show out in your life. Ask me to heal you from that disease. Ask me to accelerate your goals.' When you Ask Big, God calls that a healthy prayer. That's when He says, to the angels, 'Go to work'; Release my favor; Loose those chains; Open up some new doors.

Slave Mentality: "Well Joel, I'm just praying that I'll make it through these tough times. Business is really slow.

Pastor Joel: Can I say this respectfully, that's a sick prayer. That prayer has the flu. That prayer is depressed... Don't ask to become a better slave, ask to become the difference maker... No more sick prayers, Ask Big. This is the year for God to show out in your life – to accelerate His goodness – to propel you into your destiny.

This is what a man did in the scripture whose name was Jabez. His name literally means pain, sorrow, suffering. Every time someone said, 'Come here, Jabez, they were saying, "Hello trouble"; "Hello sorrow"; "Hello pain" – They were prophesying defeat and failure. You can imagine how he could let that keep him in mediocrity, make him feel inferior, make him feel insecure. There was something different about Jabez; despite his rough upbringing, despite what people labeled him, he looked up into the heavens and said, 'God, I'm asking you to bless me indeed.' He could have said, God bless me. That would have been OK, but he had this boldness to Ask Big!


Now here's a man that was supposed to have trouble, heartache, live depressed, defeated, but he had shake off the slave mentality. His attitude – It doesn't matter what people said about me; it doesn't matter what my circumstances look like; I know who I am – a child of the most High God. He went on to say, 'God, enlarge my territories.' He was saying, God help me to go beyond the norm; let me have abundance, let me see more of your favor. I'm sure thoughts told him –

Slave Mentality: Wait, Jabez! God's not going to bless you! You come from the wrong family. Your own parents labeled you sorrow, pain, trouble.

Faith Mentality: But people don't determine your destiny, God does.

Pastor Joel: The scripture says, "And God granted Jabez his request." God blessed him indeed. Like Jabez, you might have plenty of reasons to settle where you are – What you didn't get, what people said, how impossible it looks. The odds may be against you, but the good news is, God is for you. He is more powerful than any force that is trying to stop you. He knows how to make up for what you didn't get. He can thrust you further than you ever imagined.

But you have to do like Jabez and pray bold prayers. Ask in spite of what the circumstances look like. Ask in spite of what people are telling you. Ask in spite of what the enemy is whispering in your ear. Jabez could have prayed a weak, sick prayer.

Slave Mentality: ... God, I've had some bad breaks. Had a rough upbringing, God. I'm just asking you to help me survive!

Pastor Joel: If he would have done that we would not be talking about him today. If you are going to beat the odds, stand out in a crowd; if you are going to reach your highest potential, you have to learn this principle to Ask Big. God said in Psalm 2 (Message translation) "You're my son and today is your birthday. What do you want, Nations as a present – Confidence as a prize? You can command them all to dance for you." Notice how big God thinks – What do you want, nations as a present?

Sometimes we're praying for a $3.00 an hour raise – God's talking about giving you nations. We're praying for promotion – God's got a business for you to own. We're praying to pay our bills – God's planning on blessing you so that you can pay other people's bills. We're looking at the 5 loaves and 2 fish – God's thinking about the 12 basketfuls leftover.

Socrates: What does that mean, today is your birthday? ...

Pastor Joel: God is saying, when you pray, act like it's your birthday. Come to me with a boldness. Ask me for what you really want. Don't be shy, don't hold back, tell me your dreams. Tell me what you're believing for. Ask for the secret things I placed in your heart.

This is what Solomon did in Psalm 72 – He prayed what seemed to be a self-centered prayer. He asked God to make him well-known; that his fame would spread throughout the land; that wealth and honor of other nations would be brought onto him; that kings and queens would bow down before him. You would've thought God would say, 'What's wrong with you? I'm not going to make you famous. I'm not going to give you this honor, wealth, influence; you need to learn some humility. But God didn't rebuke him. God didn't tell him he was selfish and greedy. God did exactly what he asked for.

Pastor Joel: Solomon became one of the most famous people of his day. The Queen of Sheba came, bowed down before him, brought him gold and silver. Here's the key the reason why God answered that bold prayer is because Solomon went on to say, God if you make my name famous; if you give me influence and wealth, then I will use it to help the widows, to take care of the orphans, to bring justice to the oppressed to give a voice that don't have any voice. He asked big not so he could look impressive, drive the fanciest chariot, live in the biggest palace – it was so he could lift the fallen, restore the broken, help the hurting, to advance God's kingdom.


The Queen of Sheba visits King Solomon by Edward Poynter (1890). Music

by G. F. Handel.

God has no problem giving you influence, honor, wealth, even fame, as long as your dream is in some way connected to helping others, to making this world a better place. God is raising up a new generation of Solomon's – people who have the boldness to say, God make me famous in my field. Let my gifts and talents stand out. Let my work be so excellent, so inspiring that people all around me will know who I am – Not for my glory, but so that I can use my influence to advance your kingdom.

Whatever filed you're in – medicine, sales, construction, accounting, teaching – I dare you to pray, God make me famous in my field. Let me shine. Give me influence. If you're an architect:

Faith Mentality: God give me ideas that stand out, now I'll use my influence to design the Boy's Home, to design the orphanage. You're a mechanic: God make me famous. Let me be so skilled, have so filled with expertise that people come to me to see how it's done, then use your influence to fix the single mom's car, to mentor other young men, to teach them how to do it. You're in the medical profession: Help me develop procedures that benefit mankind, then use that influence to help those who can't afford it.

Socrates: Aristotle, the student of my student, Plato wrote that "Man is by nature a political animal." However, politics divorced or separated from morality and truth becomes tyranny and slavery. This idea of the inseparability of law and morality provoked the writer, Dr. Benjamin Wiker, writing about Aristotle, "Like Aristotle, conservatives generally accept the world as it is; they distrust the politics of abstract reason – that is, reason divorced from experience."

Ah yes, 'Reason divorced from experience' is the evil leitmotiv that has corrupted politics, philosophy, religion, economics, aesthetics, culture and society down through the ages, yet Mankind seemingly has learned nothing from the errors of the Ancients. This paradox is derivative of an excerpt from the writings of one of your better writers – J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Preceding into a mountain fortress in their retreat from invading orc forces, the king's niece, Princess Eowyn, is practicing her swordplay when our hero and future king of Rohan and Gondor, Aragorn, sneaks up to her from behind. Eowyn is a Valkyrie-like princess (who secretly is in love with Aragorn), and is startled by Aragorn and angry as her sword strikes his with force. At this very intense, emotional moment the following dialogue takes place:
    Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.

    Eowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.

    Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?

    Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

    Aragorn: You are a daughter of kings, a shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.

    Eowyn: Women of Rohan learned long ago that those who do not hold swords can still die by them. I fear neither death nor pain.

    Aragorn: Then what do you fear, my lady?

    Eowyn: A cage. To live behind bars until all chances of valor and bravery have fallen beyond possibility and want.
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter – Liberty or Slavery? Natural Rights under God vs. Socialism Slavery and 'a Cage to live behind bars until all chances of valor and bravery have fallen beyond possibility and want?' – The prayers of the Faithful vs. the Prayers of Slaves? The choice is yours. There's no limit of what God will do for you, if you'll use what he's given you to help others. Are you asking today to become a better slave, or are you asking for the abundant, overflowing, more-than-enough life that God has instore for you?

Remember Pastor Joel's warning to Christian society – "They prayed from a slave mentality, from a limited mindset. Instead of asking to be free from their oppressors, they were asking to become better slaves. Instead of praying for what God promised them – 'the land flowing with milk and honey,' they prayed that God would help them function better in their dysfunction." This wise aphorism by Pastor Joel is derivative of the anti-slave mentality of Harriet Tubman, one of America's great Abolitionist heroes who said,




Book Notice

Please purchase my latest opus dedicated to that Conservative Colossus, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Here are the latest two new volumes from my ongoing historical series – THE PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION: History of Liberal Fascism through the Ages (University Press of America, 2015):
However, before the book is officially released to the public, I have to place 100 pre-publication orders (50 orders per each volume). I need your help to make this happen ASAP. Please place your order today for Volume 3 & Volume 4. Of course, if you can order all 100 copies today, the book will become official tomorrow.

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Invitation for manuscripts

I am starting a new a program on my blog dedicated to giving young conservatives (ages 14-35) a regular place to display and publish their ideas called Socrates Corner. If you know of any young person who wants to publish their ideas on any subject, have them send their essay manuscripts to my email at ewashington@wnd.com.

© Ellis Washington

 

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Ellis Washington

Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review (1989) and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute (1992). Currently he is an adjunct professor of law at the National Paralegal College and the graduate school, National Jurisprudence University, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, American History, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, and Advanced Legal Writing, among many other subjects... (more)

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