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Daily Encouragement - November 18

“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) This week, Will Smith dropped the trailer for the new upcoming Fresh Prince of Bel Air Reunion Special that’s releasing this week on the 19th (tomorrow). I was so excited when I first heard about this. That TV show started when I was a freshmen in high school. Will Smith, aka the Fresh Prince, was a successful rap/pop artist in the late 80s leading into this breakout role that has continued to lead to new adventure after new adventure. The Fresh Prince… was a comedy that was geared towards family audiences. Though it was a comedy, I always seemed to find some moral lesson that spoke to me in significant ways about growing up, taking responsibility and being a person who tried to offer myself in some sort of way to society for the greater good. The show was centered around a black family, living in a very rich, mostly white community outside of Los Angeles. Their relative from Philadelphia, a high schooler who was often cutting up, came from a rough neighborhood to come and live in a more disciplined environment. The show often explored the complexities of race relations in the community, family relationships and just the overall human condition. Will Smith is a Christian. He has spoken of his faith, spent time in the Baptist church with his grandmother and attended Catholic School growing up. In a video post on Instagram, Smith detailed how he was able to conquer his fear while up in the sky at 14,000 feet. He said that amid the danger and as he was "looking down to death," he experienced the most blissful event of his life. "You realize at the point of maximum danger, is the point of minimum fear," the actor said. "God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.” As I read those words, I thought ‘WOW’. Isn’t it so true that when we begin to feel God’s power in our lives, how, over time, fear seems to subside. How we begin to grow and see one another as God’s beloved and as deeply connected brothers and sisters. How we feel less need to protect ourselves because we have a protector. Isn’t it amazing that, through God’s grace, that as we seek God’s true nature, that we become intimately more aware of God’s presence in all times and all places and the characteristic of fear is just something that seems to fade away. Dear God, We are so incredibly in need of your power and your strength. We ask that you would fill us with your Spirit of love and unity among believers all around our world. We ask for your help to set aside our differences and look to the greater cause, the cause of Christ. Please help us to truly live out a life of love. We know that this is only possible through the power of your Spirit, so we ask that you would move across our land in miraculous ways, with fresh filling and awareness, turning your people back to you, drawing others to come to know you. We need your unity and your love to stir our hearts and give direction to our days. We need your wisdom to guide us, we need your Spirit to lead us, to live out lives that would bring honor first to You. We are thankful that you are always with us; and give us great purpose and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Pastor Michael Williams

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