Be A Cheerleader by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker


I recently completed ten weeks of successful occupational therapy for a frozen shoulder. The OT sessions involved targeted stretches while at the facility, plus every day at home. One day, Hugo, my therapist, was patiently instructing me on where to stand, how to grab the resistance bands with both hands and do a three-point stretch. After a few uncoordinated sets of looking really silly, I laughed and told him, “I’ve never been a cheerleader.” (I’m sure he already figured that out.) Although I can sing, play the piano blindfolded, and pat my foot all at the same time, this exercise really showcased my lack of cheerleading talents.


Even though I don’t have what it takes to physically be a cheerleader, I do have the desire to cheer people on. In fact, every believer can do this because the only requirement is to speak encouraging words at the right time. While reading the Old Testament, I was impressed with Joshua‘s communication skills. With Moses dead and gone, Joshua was leading the Israelites into the promised land. After this bunch of complainers got spanked for 40 years in the wilderness, it was finally time to divide and possess the land.


Joshua 17:14-18 MEV: The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you assigned us a single allotment, a single portion? We are a numerous people, as the Lord has blessed us.” Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forests and clear out a place there for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you.” The descendants of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites living in the plains have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and the Jezreel Valley.” Joshua said to the descendants of Joseph, “You are a numerous people who have great strength. There will not be only one allotment for you. The hill country shall be yours. Although it is a forest you shall clear it and own it to its borders. You shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and are strong.“ Ra-Ra, Ra-Ra-Ra! Don’t be a jerk and get to work! There’s no doubt about it! You can do it!


Joshua was a great cheerleader who listened and then had an encouraging comeback for every question or complaint. “The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl” (Proverbs 25:11 NCV). Joshua’s leadership is a prime example of this wisdom scripture. It’s true that a timely and appropriate word contains a healing balm that’s valuable like a silver bowl full of golden fruit. And the opposite of that is a discouraging word at the worst-possible time. Often individuals do not lack strength, they lack will. Encouraging words can give them the will to go on and not give up. Right and calming words can also abate anger: “A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger. But an unkind answer will cause more anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NCV).


We could all be further up the highway to heaven if we’d take the gravel road where Jesus walked. “But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6 AMP). When we arrive on the scene, do we encourage or discourage others? Are we a ray of sunshine? Or does the wallpaper fall off  from the verbal fallout? Do we brighten the corner where we are?


The Key: I want to be a cheerleader like God, Joshua, and Titus and kick the devil in the knee. Ra-Ra-Ree!

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