Volume 42         Issue Twelve         December 2023

Last Trumpet Ministries · PO Box 806 · Beaver Dam, WI 53916

Phone: 920-887-2626   Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” I Cor. 14:8

Societal Malaise


“And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD.”


Lamentations 3:17-18


Reading the news can be quite exasperating. Those who set out to learn about current events will often find confusing headlines and mixed signals. For example, countless news stories are proclaiming that the American economy is surprisingly strong. This includes a November 3, 2023, piece by The Wall Street Journal with the headline, “The Improbably Strong Economy.” (1) The report notes that unemployment in the United States is low, average hourly earnings have been rising, and despite the many predictions from economists to the contrary, recession has been avoided in 2023. We’re even told that inflation is finally cooling down. (2) This all sounds like good news. Yet, the national mood in the United States tells a different story.


Despite the efforts of the mass media to convince us that everything is wonderful, the American populace remains unconvinced. A headline from CNN published on November 8, 2023, declares, “Americans think the economy stinks, but wages are up and so is spending. Economists and political strategists are baffled.” (3) The report goes on to cite a recent CNN poll that found 72 percent of respondents say “things in this country today are going badly.” Another poll from the New York Times and Siena College found that a mere 2 percent of respondents said the economy is excellent. (4) Why is there a disparity between what we are told by the media and how the American people feel? Is everything getting better and better every day as they suggest, or is the reality far different for people living in the real world?


One of the primary reasons the American people are so down on the economy is because of persistently high inflation. When inflation is high, it affects almost everything we buy. Every time we visit a supermarket, we’re reminded of the fact that we’re spending far more money on our groceries than we were three years ago. While reports indicate that inflation in October 2023 fell to only 3.2 percent, (5) the prices we pay still remain much higher than they used to be. In fact, the cost of groceries has risen on average by 25 percent since February 2020. (6)   


One of the reasons economists say the economy is strong is because consumers have continued to spend gobs of money even as inflation remained stubbornly high. How is this possible? The American people have taken dramatic and sometimes desperate steps to maintain their standard of living. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans now owe a record-high 1.08 trillion dollars on their credit cards. (7) As credit card debt rises, the number of delinquent accounts is also increasing, which prompted The Wall Street Journal to report on November 25, 2023, “American borrowers are getting closer to maxing out.” The piece notes that households earning less than $50,000 per year with delinquent accounts are utilizing on average 80 to 90 percent of their available credit. (8) Thus, many who have been using credit cards to get by in recent years won’t be able to do this for much longer. Not only that, but getting new credit cards is becoming more difficult. “Tighter financial and credit conditions for households and businesses are likely to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation,” the Federal Reserve said in a November 2023 statement. (9)


What happens when the credit runs dry? According to CNN, a growing number of Americans are taking early withdrawals from their 401(k) retirement accounts to pay the bills. Between the second and third quarters of 2023, those who took “hardship distributions” from their retirement accounts increased by 13 percent. (10) This trend has emerged even as desperate Americans drain their savings accounts at a rapid pace. Researchers from the Federal Reserve warned in August 2023 that many Americans have been living beyond their means. “The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently revised its previous estimates to show household disposable income was lower and personal consumption was higher than previously reported for the fourth quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023,” said Fed researchers Hamza Abdelrahman and Luiz Oliveira.  (11) In other words, consumers are spending more while earning less.


Remarkably, Forbes reported in September 2023 that 80 percent of American households are poorer than they were in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began. (12) This trend is also confirmed by Bankrate, which found in a November 2023 survey that 50 percent of households polled in the United States say their financial situation is worse than it was in 2020 before President Joe Biden took office. (13) Even millionaires say they are worse off than before. According to CNBC, a recent survey found that only 8 percent of millionaires consider themselves wealthy. Sixty percent of millionaires polled said they are a part of the “upper middle class,” while 31 percent said they are only “middle class.” (14) Evidently, a million dollars doesn’t have the value it once did. In fact, a million dollars was worth about $192,600 more in January 2020 than it is today. (15)


The United States of America is well-known for its prosperity. Yet, the masses today are increasingly demoralized and frustrated. While young people in previous generations believed that goals such as home ownership were attainable, young people today often do not share this viewpoint. In truth, housing costs are obscenely high in this modern age as prospective home buyers face the double whammy of exorbitant home prices coupled with high interest rates. “With young people, especially that first starter house, they probably don’t have a lot of credit. And then they look for a house and they’re hoping to pay $300,000 and they turn around and it’s $500,000 and [interest] rates are higher than the payments, twice [as much] what they expected,” said Bob Wood, a professor of finance at the University of Alabama. (16) What would our ancestors have said if they heard that a starter home would cost half a million dollars in 2023? It is noteworthy that the average age of homebuyers in 2023 is 49 years old. Twenty years ago, the average age of homebuyers was 39. (17)


Although the Wall Street Journal published a story about the “improbably strong economy” at the outset of November 2023, another article published by the Journal on November 24 reveals that a majority of the American people now believe the American Dream is out of reach. Only 36 percent of respondents to a poll conducted in October said “the American Dream still holds true.” (18) When we consider what has become of this once prosperous nation, the words we find in Lamentations 3:17-18 resonate deeply. These verses read, “And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD.” Nevertheless, whether we have much or little in this world, we are still the recipients of God’s mercy and grace, and for that reason, we are rich. Ephesians 2:4-7 declares, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


An Untenable Situation


Some call them “illegal aliens,” others prefer the softer term “undocumented migrants.” Whichever term you choose, the unprecedented migrant crisis at the southern border of the United States has become one of the most contentious issues of 2023 and a source of great criticism aimed squarely at American President Joe Biden. To be sure, the influx of migrants to the United States has long been one of the top concerns of the Republican Party. However, in a strange new twist, it is not just the conservative party that is complaining about this issue, but also the Democrats. How did we get here?


In years past, Democrats were seemingly fine with undocumented migrants crossing the border. They derided former President Donald Trump for his promise to build a wall to keep them out, and many liberal mayors pledged to make their cities sanctuaries for the undocumented. When conservative governors such as Florida Governor Ron Desantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to start transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, including New York City; Chicago, Illinois; and Denver, Colorado; the attitudes of officials in these states and cities began to change. After all, caring for millions of less fortunate migrants from poor countries sounds nice in principle, but it’s an extraordinarily expensive proposition, and no one — not even Democrats — wants to foot the bill.


New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who is a Democrat, has become one of the loudest voices railing against the migrant crisis. In September 2023, Adams issued a frantic warning saying, “Let me tell you something New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to – I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”  (19) In October 2023, Mayor Adams floated the idea of handing out tents to migrants. “It’s not ‘if’ people will be sleeping on the streets it’s when. We are at full capacity,” he said. (20) According to the New York Times, more than 130,600 migrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022. (21)


Meanwhile, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker became so enraged about the influx of migrants to his state that he wrote an angry letter to President Biden in October 2023. “Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government. Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois,” Pritzker complained. (22) Illinois Deputy Governor Sol Flores also offered her input, stating, “This is a major humanitarian crisis that we have never experienced before in the modern age in this city.” (23)


A record-breaking 2.4 million people were apprehended crossing the southern border of the United States in fiscal year 2023. Who are they? As it turns out, people are coming from many different places. “It used to be that when there was a migration crisis, it tended to be one – maybe one source country at a time. Maybe it was Haiti. Maybe it was Cuba. Maybe it was Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, the so-called Northern Triangle countries. Now it’s all of the above, plus Venezuela, plus Nicaragua, plus Ecuador,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (24) However, it should be noted that migrants are not just coming from the aforementioned countries. In a report published by The New York Times on November 24, 2023, we learn that 24,000 Chinese citizens have been apprehended at the border in the past year. This number is greater than all of the Chinese citizens who were caught illegally crossing into the United States over the past ten years. (25) Thus, we see that migrants are not just coming from Latin America but from all over the globe. Interestingly enough, 169 people who were arrested at the border in fiscal year 2023 were on the government’s terrorist watch list.  (26) These were just the individuals who were caught. The number who crossed the border undetected is anyone’s guess. 


Facing opposition from all sides, the Biden Administration made the decision in October to continue building a 20-mile stretch of wall along the southern border in the state of Texas. Biden, of course, is well-known for his opposition to border walls, and he claimed that the money was already appropriated, so there was nothing he could do about it. “The money was appropriated for the border wall. I can’t stop that,” Biden said. Yet, the construction required the Biden Administration to waive 26 federal laws. (27) Presumably, these laws could have prevented the wall from going up, so why were they waived?


It is certainly true that many people from around the world have a desire to come to the United States. However, for some who have arrived, this country is not the land of opportunity they hoped it would be. On November 12, 2023, the Chicago Tribune reported a new trend: some migrants are going back to where they came from. The story quotes a man from Venezuela who lamented, The American dream doesn’t exist anymore. There’s nothing here for us.” He further went on to say, “How many more months of living in the streets will it take? No, no more. It’s better that I leave. At least I have my mother back home.” (28) In another revealing headline, Reuters reports, “Some migrants are swapping their American dream for a Mexican one.” The story goes on to detail how a growing number of migrants are settling in Mexico because doing so affords them more opportunities than they find in the United States. (29) It is a profoundly sad state of affairs when living in Venezuela is preferable to living in Chicago, but this is the world we live in today. There is no question that we are seeing a decline in the quality of life in the United States of America.


Unprecedented Levels Of Theft


These days, when you see the word “unprecedented” in a news story, chances are something bad is happening. Such is the case in a story from the Los Angeles Times, which reported on September 26, 2023, that rampant shoplifting and retail theft resulted in losses totaling 112 billion dollars in 2022. “Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” lamented David Johnston of the National Retail Federation. (30)


To cope with the losses, some stores are taking drastic action to stop theft. This includes the trendy mass merchandiser known as Target, which has been locking away more and more of its products in recent months at some locations. What products are being locked up? No longer is it just items such as jewelry and expensive electronics that are placed in locked glass cases, but also mundane sundries such as body wash, toothpaste, and deodorant. Target’s chief executive officer, Brian Cornell, claims that customers are grateful that the stores are locking up these products because otherwise they would seldom be in stock. “Just in the last week I’ve been on the East Coast and on the West Coast in many of those stores that you’ve talked about where items have been locked up. And actually, what we hear from the guests is a big thank you because we are in stock with the brands that they need when they’re shopping in our stores. And because we’ve invested in team member labor in those aisles and make sure we’re there to greet the guest, open up those cases, and provide them the items they’re looking for,” Cornell boasted. (31) Target had previously announced in September that it was closing nine stores in California, Oregon, New York, and the state of Washington due to rampant retail theft. (32)


Retail theft has gotten so out of hand in San Francisco, California, that one Walgreens drugstore resorted to locking their freezers with chains. This step was taken because the store was being robbed fifteen to twenty times a day. Clearly, the emboldened thieves have no fear of reprisal or punishment. When a news crew from a local television station asked one of the shoplifters why he was stealing, he simply replied, “It’s San Francisco, bro.” A sergeant from the San Franciso Police Department was also on hand that day. Although he said his department had detained eight shoplifters the previous day, none of them were arrested. (33)


There are plenty of horror stories coming out of Washington, D.C., too. In fact, crime is so bad in our nation’s capital that it has become something of a national embarrassment. According to a November 2023 report, one CVS drugstore in Washington became so fed up with shoplifters that they removed all of the toilet paper from their shelves and replaced it with framed pictures of the products. Shoppers looking to buy this basic essential must have a staff member fetch it for them before they can purchase it. (34)


Sadly, it’s not just shoplifting that has become a major problem in our nation’s capital. On November 23, 2023, the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department reported that the city reached 900 carjackings in 2023. (35) To combat this worsening problem, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a new program to give free tracking devices to car owners so their cars can be found again if they are stolen. “Last week, we introduced legislation to address recent crime trends; this week, we are equipping residents with technology that will allow MPD to address these crimes, recover vehicles, and hold people accountable.” D.C.’s acting Chief of Police, Pamela A. Smith, further explained, “These tracking devices allow our officers and detectives to be better positioned to quickly locate stolen vehicles, recover property, and gather vital evidence for investigations.” (36)


As of October 24, 2023, only seventeen arrests had been made in regard to carjackings this year. (37) Amazingly enough, three carjackers even tried to steal a Secret Service vehicle on November 12. The Secret Service agent, who had been tasked with protecting President Biden’s granddaughter, opened fire on the would-be thieves. The thieves quickly fled, and no one was injured. (38)


Without a doubt, there are many societal ills in our country today. The fact that there is so much brazen crime in our largest cities clearly shows that many individuals have no consideration for other people and no fear of God. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ taught in His Sermon on the Mount that we should always treat others the way we want to be treated. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus tells us, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This world would be so much better if people would follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.


In closing, I believe one of the reasons the United States is suffering from so many problems today is because there is a dearth of effective leadership among the people running this country. The United States Congress has struggled to accomplish much in recent years, and some lawmakers are so fed up that they’re quitting. So far, more than three dozen members of Congress have announced that they will not seek re-election next year. Many of them say that government dysfunction is a  major factor in their decisions. “I like the work, but the politics just no longer made it worth it,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon. Representative Debbie Lesko, a Republican from Arizona, also announced her retirement from politics. “Right now, Washington, D.C., is broken; it is hard to get anything done,” she said. (39) Thankfully, even when a country suffers under poor human leadership, we can still put our faith and trust in God. It is for this reason Psalm 118:8-9 tells us, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”  Our God is our refuge, our strength, and the one we can have complete confidence in at all times. In Psalm 62:5-8 we find these encouraging words, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now.


Thank you all for your continued support of this ministry. This issue is the final edition of the Last Trumpet for the year 2023. If you receive our newsletter in the mail, please remember to send us the attached renewal form. We want to make sure you continue to receive every issue next year. If you have any prayer requests, we invite you to send them our way. Each request is always given individual attention. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


Samuel David Meyer



01. The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2023, By Justin Lahart, wsj.com.

02. Ibid.

03. CNN, November 8, 2023, By CNN Wire Service, cnn.com.

04. Ibid.

05. NBC News, November 14, 2023, By Marley Jay, nbcnews.com.

06. Harvard Gazette, November 21, 2023, By Christina Pazzanese, news.harvard.edu.

07. CNBC, November 7, 2023, By Jessica Dickler, cnbc.com.

08. The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2023, wsj.com.

09. Associated Press, November 1, 2023, By Associated Press, apnews.com.

10. CNN, November 7, 2023, By Matt Egan, cnn.com.

11. Business Insider, August 18, 2023, By Zahra Tayeb, businessinsider.com.

12. Fortune, September 25, 2023, By Alex Tanzi and Bloomberg News, fortune.com.

13. Bankrate, November 8, 2023, By Lane Gillespie, bankrate.com.

14. CNBC, November 10, 2023, By Jessica Dickler, cnbc.com.

15. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov.

16. ABC News, November 24, 2023, By Brad Mielke, Jen Newman, and Ivan Pereira, abcnews.go.com.

17. Ibid.

18. The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2023, By Aaron Zitner, wsj.com.

19. THe New York Times, September 7, 2023, By Emma G. Fitzsimmons, nytimes.com.

20. The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2023, By Jimmy Vielkind, wsj.com.

21. The New York Times, October 19, 2023, By Hurubie Meko, nytimes.com.

22. NBC News, October 5, 2023, By Natasha Korecki, nbcnews.com.

23. NBC News, October 5, 2023, By Natasha Korecki, Gabe Gutierrez, and Peter Nicholas, nbcnews.com. 

24. The New York Times, October 27, 2023, By Eileen Sullivan, nytimes.com.

25. The New York Times, November 24, 2023, By Eileen Sullivan, nytimes.com.

26. The New York Times, November 15, 2023, By Eileen Sullivan, nytimes.com.

27. Associated Press, October 6, 2023, By Colleen Long, apnews.com.

28. Chicago Tribune, November 12, 2023, By Laura Rodriguez Presa, chicagotribune.com.

29. Reuters, November 24, 2023, By Laura Gottesdiener and Daina Beth Solomon, reuters.com.

30. Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2023, By Carly Olson, latimes.com.

31. CNBC, November 15, 2023, By Courtney Reagan, cnbc.com.

32. Axios, September 26, 2023, By Kelly Tyko and Nathan Bomey, axios.com.

33. ABC7 News, July 19, 2023, By Luz Pena, abc7news.com.

34. Newsmax, November 12, 2023, By Eric Mack, newsmax.com.

35. Just The News, November 24, 2023, By Steven Richards, justthenews.com.

36. Executive Office of the Mayor, November 1, 2023, mayor.dc.gov.

37. Forbes, November 13, 2023, By Mary Whitfill Roeloffs, forbes.com.

38.  Ibid.

39. The New York Times, November 26, 2023, By Kayla Guo, nytimes.com.

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