In New Mexico315,990 people are struggling with hunger – and of them 114,180 are children. I am so very thankful for all the folks in the state working to feed those in need. In Reserve, where I serve at the First Baptist Church, the community has an excellent Food Bank! We are in very tough shape in the state in so many ways, and it is getting worse. As many argue about politics, many in this state go hungry. SHAME! According to several indicators by the national 2020 Kids Count Data Book, New Mexico still ranks 50th in the nation on child wellbeingNew Mexico has now ranked at the very bottom of the list for the fourth year for child wellbeing after ranking 50th in 2013, 2018, and 2019. What do you think God thinks of us? I warned about this years and years ago….much of the American Church lost the salt shaker and replaced it with the candy dish. We are praying a deep rice. The late great man of God, Chuck Colson said years ago that the ‘American Church had turned into a high school pep rally.’ Many love those ‘pep rallies’ Many have made politics their God.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13

Dr. Jim Denison: Early Christians are our model with their passionate commitment to Jesus and to each other. They “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Consequently, in contrast to the selfish materialism of their day, “all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (vv. 44–45).

Billy Graham: There’s a dichotomy of man and God. Man is in conflict with the truth of God. God speaks of a fall and a condemnation, and His key word is “grace.” Modern man speaks of the soul’s native goodness, its aspirations and takes pride in natural good will. Man’s key word is “works.”

God speaks of the depths into which men have fallen. Man boasts of his ideals and his progress. God calls men to believe in Christ or be lost. Man says that it is enough to try to be like Christ. Man’s goal is imitation, not redemption. God declares that Christ is the Savior of the world. Man claims that Christ is just a great example.

Slowly we have drifted away from the Biblical truth that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). Man would like to make of the cross a thing of sentiment — a trinket to be worn around the neck — an ornament on a church steeple or an emblem stamped in gold on our Bibles.

A certain romantic interest has gathered around the story of the cross. But it is the suffering and sacrifice of Christ on Calvary that symbolize man’s utter helplessness to save himself. The cross as the supreme symbol of suffering reveals two basic facts that cannot be denied: the depth of man’s depravity and the immensity of God’s love.

We must not ignore God’s call on our lives for He desires that all people come to His salvation and the knowledge of His truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

This is not about politics, it is a Spiritual issue, New Mexico is spiritually dry, it is spiritually broke. We abort God’s babies, many are hungry, children are abused…..the list goes on and on, but so many are tied up in politics, thinking that is the answer, JESUS is the answer not awful politics. We see where politics, has gotten this state! SHAME! I love my JESUS, I love His children, I love my state, but I hate what people have done and are doing to it! I love the community of Reserve, they really care for each other! Support your local Food Bank!

Demand ‘increasing dramatically’ for food aid in New Mexico

Hunger in New Mexico

New Mexico ranks 50th in child well-being again


Chili peppers can help us live longer: The crises of our day and the power of community

Read time: 6 minutes | Read online

In The Daily Article for November 13, 2020

  • New guidelines for Thanksgiving
  • A brilliant explanation of our cultural moment
  • Three steps to a better future

(Adobe Stock)

With all the bad health news in the news, I thought we should start today with some good news: chili pepper consumption could help you live longer.

The American Heart Association reports that regular chili pepper consumers could have longer lifespans due to the fruit’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and blood-glucose regulating properties. These factors help reduce a person’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer.

New guidelines for Thanksgiving 

Now to the bad news: The recent coronavirus outbreak is breaking records across the US. California just became the second state to surpass one million COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, following Texas, which hit the milestone earlier in the week. Funeral homes and hospitals are bracing for new waves of infections and deaths as experts warn that we are entering our worst phase in the pandemic.

Even if the Pfizer vaccine is available by the end of the year, most people will not receive it until well into next year. Shipping the vaccine will be difficult and expensive, especially for rural hospitals that cannot afford ultra-cold freezers.

It is therefore vital that we maintain vigilance this winter. New guidance from the CDC reports that wearing a mask protects us and those around us from coronavirus transmission, reducing the risk by more than 70 percent in various instances.

According to the CDC, “adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.” The CDC has also issued new guidelines for Thanksgiving which especially emphasize such precautions for the holidays.

How we got here 

We can do so much more together than we can apart. Safety in a pandemic depends largely on keeping each other safe. The same is true of nearly every dimension of life, from driving a car to bridging partisan divides to engaging in social media—when we work with each other for each other, everyone benefits.

However, our mutual interconnectedness directly contradicts the self-centeredness that is central to Western culture. As we noted yesterday, our society has insisted for millennia that life centers on the individual. From religion to politics to economics, I filter the world through a lens that focuses on what is best for me. You do the same. It’s the way we are socialized to think.

Writing for the Public Discourse, biblical scholar Carl R. Trueman notes: “The notions that human flourishing is found primarily in an inner sense of well-being, that authenticity is found in being able to act outwardly as one feels inwardly, and that who we are is largely a matter of personal choice not external imposition, are intuitions we all share.”

Building on this individualism, secularism has demoted “the notion of transcendent human nature” and rendered our purpose as “the attaining of personal psychological happiness in whatever form happens to work for the individual concerned.” Trueman brilliantly shows how Freud’s theories and Marxist thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich have convinced many that we must reject the social conformity imposed by traditional family structures and embrace sexual liberation in any and all its expressions.

We are told that unless we affirm each person’s individual choices, we are denying their sense of self. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion must be subsumed to this pathological “new normal.”

The path forward 

How should Christians respond? Trueman accurately forecasts a future rife with fragmentation. In such a day, “only by modeling true community, oriented toward the transcendent, can the church show a rapidly destabilizing world of expressive individuals that there is something greater, more solid, and more lasting than the immediate satisfaction of personal desires.”

In other words, whether we are confronting the coronavirus pandemic, responding to political divisions, or offering our culture an alternative to the radical existentialism of our day, we are best when we are together.

Early Christians are our model with their passionate commitment to Jesus and to each other. They “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Consequently, in contrast to the selfish materialism of their day, “all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (vv. 44–45).

As they were “praising God and having favor with all the people,” the result was that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (v. 47). (For more, see my latest video, “What does the Bible say about Christian unity?” and my sermon on unity from Acts 4.)

Three steps to a better future 

We can choose the self-centered existentialistic ethos of our culture or we can choose to serve the common good by serving together. Let’s take these biblical steps to a better future:

One: Identify your personal ministry (Ephesians 4:11–13). Learn your spiritual gifts, consult with trusted friends, and determine the calling of God on your life. For help discovering your spiritual gifts, I invite you to utilize this tool on our website.

Two: Discover ways you can serve better with others (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12–31). Ask God to show you the team with whom he intends you to shape our culture for Jesus.

Three: Measure success by faithfulness. A small amount of salt can make a transforming difference (Matthew 5:13). As you serve Jesus by serving with his people, the Spirit uses you to make an eternal difference in your temporal world.

Scripture is clear: “All of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8–9).

Will you “obtain a blessing” today?

NOTE: Where do you find hope in hard times? Jesus’ parables offer us a guide to hopeful living. Read more in my just-released book, Bright Hope for Tomorrow: How Jesus’ Parables Illuminate Our Darkest DaysPlease request our newest book, Bright Hope for Tomorrow, today.

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