The Cloud of Witnesses – Part 1

The Bill-Joe

The Shoulders Upon Which We Stand – Part 7

You best know that there is a cloud of witnesses who have their eye on you.  They’re not there to watch for your mess ups even though they may see those as well, but they’re there to cheer you on to victory.

Do you ever think about that loved-one who inspired you and played a crucial role in your development, but are no longer here with you?  Well I do and I have quite a few of them. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to highlight two of these extraordinary human-beings who are now inhabiting Heaven with their eyes focused on me.  You too have people focused on you. I’ve decided to take a member from both sides of my family: one from my mother’s and one from my father’s. Before I introduce you to this first witness to me becoming all that I can be, let me share why this is important.

Why you need to remember?

Some of the most influential people in your life may no longer be here with us, but they remain what we need to stay focused, stay balanced and keep the course they directed us on.  I know so many people who have lost their way because this person, a grandmother, a grandfather, a coach, mom, dad, friend, or a mentor has passed on. Have you forgotten? 

We recently went to the movies to see the remake to The Lion King.  As you know from the movie and story, Simba was one who’d forgotten the most important person in his life.  Once his dad, Mufasa died, he was lost to wander the desert and wilderness. In losing Mufasa, Simba inadvertently lost himself.  His dad, did his best to prepare him for such a day, “it’s the circle of life.” These were his words. It’s how life works. 

It wasn’t until he (Simba) was reintroduced to his father did he finally get his life back on the proper course.  Does this sound like you? Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten who grandma said you are? Have you forgotten who your dad said you are?  Have you forgotten who big mamma said you are? 

This cloud of witnesses is watching you because those (the kings and queens) who have  gone before you are waiting to see you do the things they left you to do. They want to see you go further and accomplish more than they did.  They want you to remember who you are because knowing who you are is an uncommon attribute.

The Bill-Joe

I’d like to introduce you to my (grand-)uncle, my mother’s uncle.  There are many who never knew what an impression he left on my life.  Folks called him “Bill-Joe.” Is this like G.I. Joe? No. His actual name was Willie James Beckwood.  That sounds much cooler doesn’t it? In normal eXtra-men fashion, I’d like to give him the name, “The Bill Joe.”  He was a deity in his own world. 

The Bible says, “who is man that You [God] are mindful of him. You made him [man] a little lower than angels [like gods of their own world].” 

This was “The Bill-Joe”.  For anyone who knew him, they’d know exactly what I’m talking about.  He gave me the courage and example to master my world. He didn’t have to live in another’s world, his was enough. 

Like “The Deacon”, he too held the position of deacon, but for some reason, some didn’t give him the same respect.  Maybe because he didn’t quite fit into others’ world, he made his own. He was definitely unique and thusly misunderstood, but that didn’t deter him.  He relied on what he knew, and taught me, not seek the approval of any man when I have the approval of God.

He taught me that we don’t have to read, view, nor understand the Bible in the same way that others do.  This word, our Bible is alive, so why not let it come alive in me (you)?  He had a way of presenting scripture that would dumbfound the best preachers.  In fact, preachers became condescending towards him when he began challenging their theology.  When in fact, all he wanted to do was show that God is bigger than our limited thinking.  He displayed his wit in a comical way and I loved it.  He told me that theology is no substitute to what God has to say to you directly. 

The guys in the Bible had no theology, for the most part, to fall back on.  There was no theology available to Jonah as he endured and survived three days in the belly of a whale.  There was no theology available for Moses when he saw God face to face. Theology goes out the window when you encounter God for yourself. 

My uncle left me his legacy to interpret scripture unlike anyone else I know.  X-Man? No. Uncommon? Absolutely. eXtra-man. Extraordinary man. That’s what it means to be”holy”.  BTW – holy is not what you think and theology doesn’t have a lock on it.

My book, When Ordinary is No Longer Enough, is now in print.  Not only can you get a free downloadable version by subscribing to our email list, but you can also get a printed version for only $9.99.  Click here to get your copy.


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