Friday, August 12, 2011
America - A Nation In Desperation!
Volume XXX Issue VIII August 2011
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806,
Beaver Dam, WI 53916
"Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips: In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow." Isaiah 17:10-11
"My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. " Jeremiah 50:6
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you." James 5:1-6
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will closely examine the current events of our time and the prevalent state of desperation now so common in the endeavors of mankind. Whether you look at the high unemployment rate in the United States, the failing economies of Europe, the turmoil in the Middle East, the drug related violence in Mexico, or the natural disasters occurring throughout the world, it will soon become clear that much of this planet is in a state of despair and misery. Why is there so much trouble in the world?
Apostasy In The Churches!
In the Holy Bible, we are warned of the sorrows that will befall man if he should ever forget God. Yet, in the United States, a country which is traditionally regarded to have a Christian majority, many people have turned their backs on the Lord, and while they may pay lip service to Him, they do not honor Him with their actions. It is interesting to note that a recent survey found that 80 percent of Americans who claim to be Christian are inactive. (1) Sadly, the term "Christian" has become a cultural identifier rather than a way of life for many people.
Although there are religious organizations and churches all over the United States, ranging in size from small to large, many of those religious assemblies are operating under the influence of a strange spirit that is not of God. For example, the United Church of Christ, which was formerly the denomination of choice for Barack Obama, has recently voted to remove the term "God the Father" from its organizational documents. The denomination claims that referring to God as "heavenly father" is too restrictive, yet a spokeswoman for the organization stated that referring to God as "Father and Mother" is acceptable. (2)
Some churches have become so devoid of discernment and understanding that they have actually read from the so-called "holy book" of Islam, known as the Qur'an. A new interfaith movement is gaining traction in the United States thanks in part to an organization known as Faith Shared. The group's website states, "Faith Shared asks houses of worship across the country to organize events involving clergy reading from each other's sacred texts. An example would be a Christian Minister, Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam participating in a worship service or other event. Suggested readings will be provided from the Torah, the Gospels, and the Qur'an, but communities are encouraged to choose readings that will resonate with their congregations. Involvement of members from the Muslim community is key. We will also provide suggestions on how to incorporate this program into your regular worship services." (3) On June 26, 2011, fifty churches from twenty-six states held readings from the Qur'an. (4) The churches who participated in these "interfaith worship services" must have torn II Corinthians out of their Bibles. For we read in II Corinthians 6:14-17, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
Yes, there is much apostasy within mainstream Christianity these days. In the state of New York, which recently became the sixth state in America to legalize same-sex marriage, many churches are now allowing or even embracing the homosexual lifestyle. The New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has issued a document stating that pastors may perform same-sex wedding ceremonies if they desire to do so. (5) Meanwhile, the bishop at the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island has issued a deadline demanding that gay priests with active partners be married within the next nine months. (6)
As we move closer to the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we will find an increasing number of churches espousing unbiblical doctrines. Christians who fully embrace the entire Bible as the inspired Word of God will become fewer in number, but we know that God will always have a remnant people. Be assured that even though much of the religion in the world today is phony and counterfeit and rife with impiety, God is very real; and amidst all the trouble in the world, He can sustain us through the hard times in which we live.
We are truly living in a time of economic desperation. Despite multiple attempts by the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve to "stimulate" the United States' economy, all of their efforts have been for naught, and the economy has seen very little improvement despite the assertion by government officials that the country has been recovering since 2009. Fewer people are still believing their claims, however. A recent poll by the New York Times found that 39 percent of the respondents believe the United States economy has entered a state of permanent decline. (7) Many experts agree with that sentiment. Peter Schiff, the CEO at Europacific Capital, stated in a recent interview, "The stimulus is wearing off and the much anticipated hangover is starting to set in. The economy is now in worse shape because the government stimulated it. The stimulus merely interfered with the corrective process. So instead of resolving some of our economic imbalances, the government has made them worse. Now we are on the precipice of a bigger economic decline than the one the stimulus interrupted back in 2009." (8) Economist David Rosenberg stated in an interview with CNBC, "Everything is telling you how soft the underbelly of the economy really is. We're just one small shock away from the economy going back into recession." (9)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has blamed the stalling economy on the high cost of oil and recent natural disasters, such as the earthquake which struck Japan in March 2011. "Once the temporary shocks that have been holding down economic activity pass, we expect to see again the effects of (recent Fed policy) reflected in stronger economic activity and job creation," Bernanke stated. (10) However, Drew Matus, a senior economist at UBS Investment Research, was not quite as optimistic. "A lot of the options he put on the table were effectively worthless. So I think Bernanke really is just hoping for the best," Matus said. (11)
Sadly, unemployment has only grown worse over the last few months. On July 7, 2011, Barack Obama issued prepared remarks to the media stating, "The economy as a whole just isn't producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who is looking." (12) Obama's comments seemed to be a bit of an understatement. In fact, growth in the labor market for the month of June 2011 was so poor that it shocked many economists who were expecting about 90,000 new jobs to be created. In reality, there were only 18,000 new jobs, which was the worst rate of employment growth since September 2010. David Semmens, an economist at Standard Chartered in New York, put it rather bluntly, stating, "It's a terrible number. There is no good news you can glean from it." (13)
With such a lack of steady and reliable employment options in America, many young people are finding themselves with no other choice but to work three or four separate jobs. Carl E. Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, said, "Young college graduates working multiple jobs is a natural consequence of a bad labor market and having, on average, $20,000 worth of student loans to pay off." Mr. Van Horn further went on to say, "There are two types of people in this position: the graduate who can't get a full-time job, and the person whose income isn't sufficient to meet their expenses. The only cure for young people in this position is an economic recovery of robust proportions. " (14)
In some cases, those who do have jobs do not get to keep them very long. This was the cold reality for forty-two graduates of the Police Academy in Cleveland, Ohio. The graduates were given their guns and badges, and proclaimed to be police officers. Less than an hour later, they were laid off because the city could not afford to pay them. thirty-two year-old Robby Prock was understandably disappointed. "You're full of joy that you finally got in, and everything's going good. And then all of the sudden, it just gets ripped away from you," Prock said. The city of Cleveland has laid off 321 employees so far in 2011. (15)
The state of affairs in this erstwhile great nation of the United States has grown so bleak that some unemployed women have resorted to relocating to the state of Nevada so they can legally work in brothels as prostitutes. A manager at one of these filthy establishments stated, "We've seen over the course of the last couple of years a massive flow of women from all around the country. It's their first time in the sexual-entertainmen t business and they're showing up here - literally on our doorstep sometimes - for the purpose of seeking work to support their families: their husbands, their children, their parents. It's a zillion-fold increase. When things started to get really bad, in the fall of '07, we started seeing things increase and there's been no let-up." (16)
All across America you will find people in a state of desperation doing things they probably never thought they would do. On July 13, 2011, in the city of Dallas, Texas, about 5000 people lined up at the Jesse Owens Memorial Complex for a chance to apply for a limited amount of rental vouchers, which are distributed to low-income applicants to help pay a portion of their housing rent. When the office building opened for business that morning, a stampede of humans rushed the complex resulting in the injury of eight people. (17)
States such as Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida have seen a large spike in the theft of air conditioners. The conditioning units are stolen for their valuable copper components, which are stripped from the cooling equipment and then sold as scrap metal. The thieves have grown increasingly brash according to the sheriff in Parker County, Texas. "Some of them have even gone up on the roof with ladders and cut the condition units loose up there and dropped 'em over the side of the building and hauled 'em off," remarked Sheriff Larry Fowler. (18)
Thieves in Antioch, California, have grown so desperate that they have knocked down an estimated three hundred power poles and stripped them of their copper wiring. In one brazen theft, an entire power transformer was stolen from a pole, which is a particularly risky maneuver that could result in electrocution if done improperly. (19)
In Lee County, Florida, thieves have stolen at least ten storm drain covers, along with metal drains and grates. The stolen equipment is valued at about four thousand dollars. Frank Neal, the vice president of the Charleston Park Neighborhood Association, remarked, "People are trying to survive." (20)
Violence In The Streets!
These are hard times in the United States. The current circumstances are particularly worrisome to James Carville, a Democratic strategist who used to do work for former President Bill Clinton. Speaking of the economic distress and the bleak job market, Carville said, "You know, if it continues, we're going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it's imminently possible." (21) There is already some evidence that Mr. Carville may be correct. My father used to talk about what would happen if this spoiled generation could no longer obtain the things they wanted. He predicted that if the young people in today's push-button society, which has grown so accustomed to instant gratification, could no longer purchase the things they wanted to buy, they would simply steal them. Since the adult population has taken many of the low-paying fast food and retail jobs that used to be common amongst young people, much of America's youth cannot find a job.
In Chicago, Illinois, and several other cities throughout the United States, there are now roving gangs of teenagers who band together to rob automobiles, stores, and people on the street. In June 2011, a man was dragged off his scooter and beaten by a group of fifteen to twenty teenagers on the streets of Chicago. Shortly thereafter, another man was knocked off his bike and punched by a mob of teenagers who then stole his cell phone and camera. (22) In early May 2011, two bike riders were attacked by a mob of approximately one hundred teenagers, who took the men and threw them into Lake Michigan. (23) On June 7, 2011, as many as fifteen teens boarded two buses operated by the Chicago Transit Authority and attacked the passengers before darting off with stolen electronic devices. (24) Similar gangs of teenagers have robbed convenience stores and other shops in Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas, Nevada; and St. Paul, Minnesota. (25)
American Lives - Micromanaged And Controlled!
The United States of America is undergoing a rapid wave of change, and this change is not for the better. We may soon reach a point where this once vibrant country, which placed such a high value on freedom and liberty, will no longer even resemble the nation it once was. We are now seeing the groundwork being laid to take away any remaining freedom that the American people have left.
A shocking article, written by James Bamford and published by PBS in 2009, tells a frightening story that indicates just how close we are to an Orwellian Police State here in America. The National Security Agency, or NSA, is developing an artificial intelligence system known as AQUAINT, which is an acronym for Advanced Question Answering for Intelligence. In the article, Mr. Bamford writes, "With the entire Internet and thousands of databases for a brain, the device will be able to respond almost instantaneously to complex questions posed by intelligence analysts. As more and more data is collected - through phone calls, credit card receipts, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, GPS tracks, cell phone geolocation, Internet searches, Amazon book purchases, even E-Z Pass toll records - it may one day be possible to know not just where people are and what they are doing, but what and how they think." (26) A former researcher who worked on the project stated, "The technology behaves like a robot, understanding and answering complex questions. Think of '2001: A Space Odyssey' and the most memorable character, HAL 9000, having a conversation with David. We are essentially building this system. We are building HAL." (27)
Even without a sophisticated system such as AQUAINT, government agencies in the United States already have access to a great deal of information regarding the lives and habits of American citizens. The U.S. Patriot Act has given agencies such as the FBI the ability to compel companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other technology providers to turn over any information they request. In fact, all American companies are subject to the Patriot Act, even when they are not operating in the United States. Gordon Frazer, the managing director for the United Kingdom branch of Microsoft, was recently asked the question, "Can Microsoft guarantee that EU (European Union)-stored data, held in EU based datacenters, will not leave the European Economic Area under any circumstances - even under a request by the Patriot Act?" Mr. Frazer answered, "Microsoft cannot provide those guarantees. Neither can any other company." (28)
The New Normal!
It is no secret that if people believe there is a clear and present danger many will give up their freedom for the sake of security and protection. The security measures now in place at airports would have been unthinkable to Americans only a few generations ago. Yet while some people protest the methods and procedures of the Transportation Security Administration, nearly everyone complies with their demands. The reality is that every passenger at an airport is now treated as a potential terrorist, regardless of how young or how old a person may be. This sad fact became poignantly clear when airport screeners at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport subjected a six year-old girl to an rigorous pat-down on April 5, 2011. On June 18, 2011, a ninety-five year old woman was subjected to a pat-down and inspection at an airport in Florida. The elderly woman was forced to remove her adult diaper during the inspection. (29) Regarding the incident, TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz stated, "TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability. " (30)
In early July, the TSA issued a statement indicating that terrorists could potentially attempt to circumvent airport security procedures by surgically implanting explosives in their bodies. Because of this possibility, TSA officials have warned that there could be additional security procedures put into place. "As a precaution, passengers flying from international locations to US destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport. Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies, " the statement said. (31) I cannot help but wonder what more they could possibly do to further scrutinize passengers.
It would be reasonable to assume that with all of the security measures which have been implemented at airports across the United States a security breach should be nearly impossible. Yet, on June 24, 2011, a Nigerian national by the name of Olajide Noibi was allowed to board a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York using a college ID and an expired boarding pass with a name that did not even match his identification. Mr. Noibi was then allowed to fly all the way to Los Angeles on the Virgin Atlantic flight, even after airline personnel became aware of the breach while in flight. Upon landing, the man was not even detained. (32) Considering the fact that a breach of this magnitude occurred, we might reasonably ask ourselves if all the TSA's so-called "enhanced" screening procedures are really making the American people safer.
As time marches on, security measures are becoming more stringent, and just how intrusive they may become in the future can only be imagined. Additional security procedures have already been put in place in locations outside of airports, such as the subway stations of New York City. Passengers on the trains are now being watched, scrutinized, and randomly searched. Of the security procedures now in place, Inspector Scott Shanley of the New York Police Department commented, "This is the new normal." (33)
America - A Dry And Withering Land!
Most Americans have probably heard the song "America the Beautiful" at one time or another. This patriotic song opens with the following lines, "O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain." Sadly, the "amber waves of grain" spoken of in the song are noticeably absent throughout many of the American states due to a devastating drought, which has spread across fourteen states. The drought is particularly bad in the state of Texas, which saw all 254 counties declared natural disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture in June 2011. (34) As of July 14, 2011, exceptional drought, the most severe classification assigned by climatologists, has engulfed over 70 percent of Texas and over 58 percent of Oklahoma. The drought has also affected 17 percent of Kansas, 3/4 of Georgia, 1/2 of Florida, and 40 percent of Alabama. (35) "We're really looking at a throwback summer to some of our more intense drought periods such as the 1930s and the 1950s and of course the 1980s heat wave as well," said climatologist Gary McManus. (36) Unfortunately, the drought is expected to cause poor crop yields this year, which will likely result in even higher prices at the supermarket. The drought has persisted for months, and many people, particularly in Texas, have grown so frustrated that they have actually wished for a hurricane to bring moisture to the area. "They can be a lifesaver," said one cattle rancher. (37)
Desperation Around The World
With so many problems facing the United States of America, those of us who live here sometimes forget that much of the world is in deep trouble as well. Africa is suffering from its worst drought in sixty years, which has affected ten million people throughout the continent; particularly in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. (38)
In Japan, much of the nation is still struggling with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and the nuclear disaster that occurred thereafter. The city of Ishinomaki was one of the areas most severely affected by the disaster. "On a recovery scale of zero to ten, some parts of Ishinomaki are at zero and some are at one. Nowhere is better than that," said the city's mayor, Hiroshi Kameyama. (39)
Famine is so severe in the Communist nation of North Korea that many people are starving to death. "People are very poor again, they are going to the mountains to get grasses and weeds to make into soup," said Kim Yeong, a sixty-eight year-old Korean man now living in China. (40)
In Europe, financial crises in Greece, Spain, and Italy have left many worried about the economic future of the European Union. "Global equities could lose up to 35 percent of their value if the situation deteriorates into a full-blown financial crisis on the scale of the fallout from the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008," analysts from Deutsche Bank warned. (41)
There is so much more that could be said about the desperate times that we live in. However, I am once again running out of space. I am thankful that we can rely on God, for without His mercy and grace, life would truly seem hopeless. He is the shelter from the storm, and the solution to our problems. For as it says in Psalm 34:4-6, "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles." Likewise, in Psalm 33:18-20, we read, "Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield." If you find yourself struggling and do not know where to turn, please remember that God is always there. I urge you all to fully yield your hearts to our Almighty God.
In closing, I wish to thank all of you for your support of this ministry. Your donations, letters of encouragement, information packets, and newspaper clippings are all greatly appreciated. We at Last Trumpet Ministries desire to continue serving you for as long as time may remain. It is my hope and prayer that this newsletter will be a blessing and assist you in recognizing the signs all around us that indicate the coming of our Saviour draweth nigh. If you have any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to send them our way. Our intercessors will give each request individual attention and carry your petition before the throne of the Almighty. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Samuel David Meyer