Volume 43         Issue Four         April 2024

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


The Hopelessness Crisis


“And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.” 


Jeremiah 18:12


Why so glum, America? On March 4, 2024, Fortune Magazine published an article with a bleak declaration: The United States of America is suffering from a “hopelessness crisis.” (1) The report cites a study from Pew Research, which found that two-thirds of Americans believe “America will become economically weaker, less important in the world, and more politically divided” by the year 2050. It was also noted that a Wall Street Journal survey found that “nearly 80% of Americans do not expect life for their children’s generation to be better than it has been for their own generation.” (2)


The American people are stressed out, anxious, and worried about the future. Consequently, more people than ever before are suffering from mental health issues. In May 2023, Gallup reported that 17.8 percent of adults in the United States are suffering from clinical depression, and 29 percent of adults have suffered from clinical depression at some point in their lives. (3) Another study released in February 2024 found that 1 in 5 adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety. (4) Due to the prevalence of clinical depression and other mental health concerns, the use of antidepressant medications has skyrocketed, increasing by 64 percent since 2020 among teens and adults aged 25 and under. (5)


According to the latest iteration of the World Happiness Report, the population of the United States is growing increasingly unhappy. While the report from 2023 ranked the U.S. as the 15th happiest country in the world, the recently released 2024 report ranked the United States as only the 23rd happiest country in the world. The study found that young people in America are especially downcast. Amongst those aged 30 and under, the United States is rated as only the 62nd happiest country in the world. “In comparing generations, those born before 1965 are, on average, happier than those born since 1980. Among millennials, evaluation of one’s own life drops with each year of age, while among boomers life satisfaction increases with age,” the report states. (6) There is no question that the population at large is feeling demoralized. Why is this happening? In this issue of the Last Trumpet, we will examine some of the factors contributing to this “crisis of hopelessness.”


The End Of The American Dream


One news article after another is proclaiming that the American Dream is dead or dying. On August 17, 2023, Newsweek declared, “The American Dream Is Dead for Us Working Class Americans.” (7) A few months later, Axios reported, “Americans think the American dream is dying.” (8)


More recently, the Guardian reported on March 12, 2024, that the majority of renters in the United States say they do not think they will ever be able to own a home. (9) The Guardian piece cites a study conducted by Harris Poll, which found that 57 percent of respondents said, “The American Dream of owning a home is dead;” 62 percent of respondents said, “My area has become so unaffordable it's barely livable;” and 65 percent said, “My rent/mortgage is the number one reason I can't get financially ahead.” (10) Libby Rodney, who is chief strategy officer at Harris Poll, was quoted as saying, “When you think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and housing is right at that foundational level of security, the implications on consumer psyche when things feel so unaffordable is something that will impact everyone.” (11)


Indeed, a roof over our heads is one of the most basic necessities of life. Yet, it is a need that has become difficult to fulfill in the post-pandemic inflation-driven world. In fact, the cost of housing has gotten so outrageous in New York City that a real estate agent recently offered a tiny 115-square-foot apartment for rent in Manhattan. This tiny room, which has no bathroom and barely enough room for a bed, was offered for $1200 per month. (12)


According to the New York Times, one-quarter of renters in the United States spend more than half of their income on housing. (13) To make matters worse, a growing number of Americans cannot afford housing at all. PBS News Hour reported that homelessness had risen 12 percent since January 2022. It had reached the highest level ever recorded in December 2023. (14)


Paycheck To Paycheck


For many who are blessed enough to have a home, it is difficult to make ends meet. According to a report published by LendingClub in September 2023, more than 60 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. (15) Furthermore, a shocking report published in November 2023 reveals that the typical American household must now spend a whopping $11,434 more per year in order to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed in January 2021. (16) That, of course, is a steep rise in just three years, and I would venture a guess that most households in the United States are not earning $11,000 more per year than they were in 2021. As such, many families are using credit cards to maintain their way of life. As a result, credit card debt topped the 1 trillion dollar mark for the first time in 2023. By February 24, 2024, that debt had risen to a record-breaking 1.13 trillion dollars. “Even though $1 trillion in credit card debt is a staggering number to wrap your brain around, the unfortunate truth is that it is only going to keep climbing from here. Americans are still struggling with lingering inflation and rising interest rates, forcing them to lean on credit cards more and more,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. (17)


As credit card debt continues to break new records, other expenses are putting pressure on consumers, too. In February 2024, it was reported that the average payment for a new car is $738 per month and $532 per month for used cars. (18) Meanwhile, food prices are said to be up 25 percent since 2020, (19) but most of us can say from experience that many items have risen in cost far more than 25 percent.


Even the cost of fast food is surging tremendously. The notoriously unhealthy quick, easy, and greasy meals from the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s have long been considered a budget friendly option. Yet, in this strange time that we live in, a burger and fries from your favorite fast food chain might cost you as much as a steak dinner at a restaurant would have cost a few years ago. On March 4, 2024, the Today Show covered the outrage that surfaced on social media after one user posted his receipt for a meal consisting of a bacon cheeseburger, a regular drink, and a small order of fries. The total for this ordinary meal was $21.91 after sales tax. (20)


In a similar story, outrage ensued after it was revealed in January 2024 that a McDonald’s restaurant in Darien, Connecticut, was charging $18 for a Big Mac combo meal. (21) It should be noted that prices vary by location and region, but there is no question that prices are rising nationwide. This is especially true in the state of California where the minimum wage for fast food workers is set to rise to $20 per hour on April 1, 2024. Chains such as McDonald’s and Chipotle have already raised their menu prices in anticipation of the increased labor costs. (22)


I can recall shopping at Dollar Tree many times when I was a boy. One of my favorite things about shopping at the discount retailer was knowing that every item I bought would be a dollar each. In 2021, Dollar Tree raised its base price to $1.25 and a short time later began selling some items for five dollars each. Now, the retailer is raising prices again. “This year, across 3,000 stores, we expect to expand our multi-price assortment by over 300 items at price points ranging from $1.50 to $7,” said Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling on March 13. (23) Some might wonder if perhaps Dollar Tree should change its name, although “Seven Dollar Tree” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.  Remarkably, the fastest-growing segment of the population shopping at Dollar Tree is families who make more than $125,000 per year. (24) Evidently, even higher-income families are feeling the pinch these days and are turning to discount stores.


A Mountain Of Debt


The American people held a record 17.5 trillion dollars in debt last year. (25) Thus, the personal debt of United States citizens is about half the size of the entire national debt, which now exceeds an astonishing 34 trillion dollars. (26) Both the people of the United States and the US government are accruing gobs of debt, and it is unlikely that the trend will be reversed any time soon. It is interesting to note that the American national debt surpassed one trillion dollars for the first time on October 23, 1981. (27) It is estimated that by 2026, the interest paid annually to service the national debt will exceed a trillion dollars! (28)


If the United States continues to accrue debt at such a staggering rate, the day could come when the whole system collapses like a house of cards. If this happens, the world will look for answers. Could it be that there will be a charismatic individual that nearly everyone adores who claims to have all the answers? In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns us, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” One of these false Christs will be so compelling that the masses will worship him as a god. The Apostle Paul writes in II Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”


I believe one of the reasons people will be so drawn to the man of sin, sometimes called the Antichrist, is because he will offer to forgive everyone’s debt. One of the core tenets of Christianity is that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary, and in so doing, paid a debt that we could not pay. Thus, it follows that the devil’s imposter, the son of perdition, will also offer to remove a debt that cannot be paid. There would no doubt be strings attached, however, likely in the form of a mark for the right hand or forehead.


Urban Decay


If this country is unable to its reverse course soon, people will only grow more desperate. Inflation and the high cost of living have already led to a surge in crime and homelessness. Once thriving neighborhoods in America’s largest cities are succumbing to urban decay. The problem is especially bad in California’s Bay Area, which includes cities such as Oakland and San Francisco, where businesses are closing in droves because conditions have grown so precarious. As an example, an In-N-Out fast food restaurant in Oakland ceased operating because of heavy crime. The fast food chain, which has been in existence for 75 years, had never closed one of its locations before. Yet, the chain made this decision after 1,335 crimes were reported in the vicinity since 2019. These crimes included nine robberies, two commercial burglaries, four domestic violence incidents, and 1,174 car break-ins. (29) In explaining the decision to close the store, In-N-Out CEO Denny Warnick was quoted as saying, “Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies.” (30)


On March 25, 2024, Newsweek published an article with a list of stores that have recently closed in California due to crime. This includes a Whole Foods supermarket in San Francisco that only managed to stay open for 13 months before crime put it out of business. Additionally, Target, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Subway, and Denny’s have closed stores in San Francisco and Oakland. (31) It’s not just retail locations that are closing, however. San Francisco is struggling to fill its office buildings. In December 2023, The San Francisco Standard reported that 35.9 percent of San Francisco’s office space was vacant. (32) 


Conditions are rough in many of America’s large cities, and that certainly includes Baltimore, Maryland. If you live in Baltimore or visit the city, there is a 1 in 21 chance that you will be the victim of a crime. (33) So many residents have fled the city that there are now 15,000 abandoned properties. In March 2024, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced a new plan that will offer two hundred vacant homes for the low low price of $1 each. To further entice buyers, a grant program is offering some buyers $50,000 each to help cover renovations. (34) You know things are bad when a city has to practically give homes away for free and pay homeowners to fix them up!


Even as Baltimore grapples with heavy crime, the city is finding it difficult to hire police officers. The few officers who remain on duty face extraordinary danger, which likely explains why there is so much difficulty finding new recruits. At one point in March 2024, the city only had three available police officers to patrol a district of 61,000 residents. "You are endangering the lives of police officers on duty and what that does is endanger the lives of the citizens," said Betsy Smith with the National Police Association. (35)


Meanwhile, in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police officers are quitting and retiring faster than the city can recruit new ones. In previous years, the police department would typically train between 70 and 90 new police officers per year. However, a recent graduating class yielded only 32 new police officers. Conversely, 102 police officers retired or resigned in 2023. (36) In February 2024, the Pittsburgh Police Department announced that officers would no longer respond to calls unless a crime is in progress. “That essentially means that calls for criminal mischief, theft, harassment and burglary alarms, just to name a few, will all be handled by the telephone reporting unit or online reporting,” reported WPXI News. (37)


As police departments across the country struggle to fill vacancies, some departments are taking drastic measures to land new recruits. According to ABC News, the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lowered its physical requirements to attract more applicants. Other cities are offering perks and incentives. For example, the city of Los Angeles, California, is offering housing subsidies to new recruits, and Washington, D.C., is offering a sign-on bonus of more than $20,000. (38)  “It's like the NFL draft now. Everyone needs cops so everyone's pulling out all the stops,”  said Captain Mark Myers of the County Sheriff’s office in San Mateo, California. “It could mean hiring bonuses, it could mean recruiting bonuses. Some places are offering take-home patrol cars, everyone's thinking outside the box.” Myers later went on to explain why these incentives are becoming more common. “San Francisco PD graduated six people out of their academy last week. They used to graduate 50 or 60,” he said. (39) According to the Associated Press, officer resignations were up 47 percent in 2022, and retirements were up 19 percent.  “Fewer people are applying to be police officers, and more officers are retiring or resigning at a tremendous rate. There’s a shortage of police officers across the country,” explained Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. (40)


Without a doubt, this is a nation in crisis. If cities cannot even recruit quality candidates for their police departments, there’s little hope that conditions will improve in our major cities. Some cities have struggled with decline for decades. Consider Detroit, Michigan, which was the fifth largest city in the United States in 1950 with a population of 1.85 million. By 2022, the city’s population dwindled to 620,376. (41) Could we see the same decline in other major cities throughout the United States?




The news stories of today do not paint a pretty picture and can certainly induce a sense of hopelessness. For example, The Hill published a story in January 2024 which claims America is in an “irreversible” decline. (42) Other stories are filled with warnings about climate change, war, and the threat of artificial intelligence destroying the world. Is there any hope? Thankfully, we find great hope written on the pages of God’s Word.


In Hebrews 11:1, we read, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Thus, faith is the substance of our hope, and because of our hope and faith, we can overcome the challenges of this life. I John 5:4-5 tells us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” We can overcome the world because Jesus overcame the world for us on the cross of Calvary. In John 16:33, Jesus declares, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”


Everything we overcome and endure gives us patience; patience gives us experience, and experience gives us hope. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” What should we do then? In I Peter 1:13, the Apostle Peter instructs, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 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 kind support of this ministry. May God bless and keep you all. As always, we invite you to send us your prayer requests. Our team of intercessors gives each request individual attention, and we know that God is able to do all things. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Samuel David Meyer


This newsletter is made possible by the kind donations of our supporters. If you would like to help us, you may send your contribution to our postal address or donate online at http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/donate.





01. Fortune, March 4, 2024, By Clay Routledge and Andrew Abeyta, fortune.com.

02. Ibid.

03. Gallup, May 17, 2023, By Dan Witters, gallup.com.

04. KFF, February 6, 2024, By KFF, kff.org.

05. Healthline, February 28, 2024, By Kaitlin Vogel, healthline.com.

06. The Guardian, March 20, 2024, By Maya Yang, theguardian.com.

07. Newsweek, August 17, 2023, By Ruby Nicole Day, newsweek.com.

08. Axios, November 25, 2023, By Dave Lawler, axios.com.

09. The Guardian, March 12, 2024, By Lauren Aratani, theguardian.com.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Business Insider, February 26, 2024, By Jordan Hart, businessinsider.com.

13. The New York Times, March 27, 2024, By Conor Dougherty, nytimes.com.

14. Associated Press, December 15, 2023, By Kevin Freking, pbs.org.

15. CNBC, December 11, 2023, By Charlotte Morabito, cnbc.com.

16. CBS News, November 30, 2023, By Aimee Picchi, cbsnews.com.

17. CNBC, February 6, 2024, By Jessica Dickler, cnbc.com.

18. NerdWallet, February 29, 2024, By Shannon Bradley, nerdwallet.com.

19. Forbes, March 28, 2024, By John S. Tobey, forbes.com.

20. Today Show, March 4, 2024, By Joseph Lamour, today.com.

21. RetailWire, January 5, 2024, By Dennis Limmer, retailwire.com.

22. Ibid.

23. USA Today, March 25, 2024, By James Powel and Anthony Robledo, usatoday.com.

24. Ibid.

25. The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2024, By Katherine Hamilton, wsj.com.

26. Reuters News Service, January 2, 2024, By David Lawder, reuters.com.

27. The House Budget Committee, October 23, 2023, budget.house.gov.

28. Axios, February 8, 2024, By Neil Irwin, axios.com.

29. Associated Press, January 26, 2024, By Associated Press, apnews.com.

30. Newsweek, March 25, 2024, By Giulia Carbonaro, newsweek.com

31. Ibid.

32. The San Francisco Standard, December 18, 2023, By Kevin Truong, sfstandard.com.

33. The New York Post, March 26, 2024, By Mary K. Jacob, nypost.com. 

34. Ibid.

35. Fox 5 Baltimore News, March 22, 2024, By Jeff Abell, foxbaltimore.com.

36. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 11, 2024, By Megan Guza and Lauren Esposito, post-gazette.com.

37.  WPXI News, February 26, 2024, By Taylor Spirito, wpxi.com.

38. ABC News, March 21, 2024, By Brooke Schultz, abcnews.go.com.

39. CBS News, September 26, 2023, By CBS San Francisco, cbsnews.com.

40. The Associated Press, September 6, 2023, By The Associated Press, nbcnews.com.

41. The Michigan Advance, May 23, 2023, By Steve Neavling, michiganadvance.com.

42. The Hill, January 19, 2024, By Myra Adams, thehill.com.