Recently we had a storm. As I looked out my bedroom window, I could see my three giant pine trees bowing to one another like three confused sumo wrestlers. I wondered if my old windows would withstand the onslaught of the pounding rain.

I’ve felt a bit like my old windows lately, wondering if I could withstand the onslaught of another challenging phone call.

My dad had a stroke in early July 2009. (He’s doing great now!) Since his stroke, I have been dreading the telephone ringing because each call added to a long list of serious prayer requests. Among family, friends, church members and clients, there was little news to get excited about.

Then one morning, Pastor Paul Anderson sent an e-mail with an encouraging word referencing Psalm 112:7, “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Immediately, my spirit was calmed with the reminder of who is in charge and to the trust the Lord.

I have received several encouraging words along the way since then and have felt God reminding me, “I’m here. I haven’t forgotten you.” Each encouragement breathed hope into the hopelessness.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

And Hebrews 10:25 reads, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I love the last part of the above verse: “and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” I believe that we are seeing the Day approaching. We need to be encouraging one another more today than ever before.

There is a woman who attends Lakeside Baptist Church in Duluth, Minn., who has honed her gift of encouragement. She sends out cards with specific words to help lift the spirits of our congregation. She wouldn’t want her name mentioned, but she does write a column for Living Stones News.

Isn’t it exciting to think that simply encouraging each other can help keep us from being “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”?

Being critical and condemning brings about hopelessness. Encouragement helps sustain life.

I want to be someone who ministers hope.

Lord, enable me to be an encouragement to Your children today and every day.