From Washington State:

Dear Editor, It just seems to be getting worse and worse here in America. It used to be that troubles seemed to be contained to the big cities but now they are breaking out all over the country, even the small country points. You recently wrote an article quoting Ezekiel 7 and it appears that what the prophet wrote is very evident. Have you anything to add to your previous comments.

Thanks Washington State:

I could, but perhaps you and other readers might be interested in excerpts from an article posted on the Joel Rosenberg blog, which was sent to me by a reader. Here is what was written.

“The demons of violence are on the loose in America. But why? And where do we go from here? Commenting on Sandy Hook, one resident told CBS News, “Newtown is a quiet town. I’d never expect this to happen here. It’s so scary. Your kids are not safe anywhere.”

“I’ve been here for 11 years,” a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School told the New York Times. “I can’t imagine who would do this to our poor little babies.”

All this is so painful to see, so heart-wrenching. I look at my own children — including my little 8 year old — and then look at all the grieving parents on TV and mourn for them, trying to understand what they are suffering right now. I’m praying for the Lord to comfort and heal all those traumatized by what happened in Newtown. But as I do, I can’t help but think about the trendlines and the dark trajectory our nation is on. It’s not just “the economy. We are, in many respects, in a moral and spiritual freefall in our country, and we are paying a terrible price.

The demons of violence and lawlessness are on the loose all across America — in Newtown, Connecticut… in Aurora, Colorado… in Oak Creek, Wisconsin… just as they were in Littleton, Colorado and at Virginia Tech in years gone by. But why? How is it possible that violent crime in the United States has surged by more than 460 percent since 1960?

The answer is as painful as it is simple: the further we turn away from God in our nation — the further we drive Him out of our society, our of our schools and courts, and out of our media and out of our homes, or the more we give mere lip service to religion, the more men are ”holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:5) — the worse things are getting. Consider just the cultural war against Jesus and Christmas that had been waged over the Christmas season:

  • Fox News headline: “Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a ‘myth’ on Times Square billboard”
  • CNN column, “Have yourself a merry atheist Christmas“
  • AP article about the “War on Christmas”
  • Fox News story about a rapper singing about a “Gangbanger Jesus”
  • KTVA-TV (Alaska) story: “Atheists Wage War on Christmas in Anchorage: Anti-religion signs on People Mover buses”
  • Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart wages war on Christmas and mocks those who thinks he’s wrong.

The Lord God Almighty is a gentleman. He won’t force us to accept His great love and many blessings. If a nation tells Him to leave, He will leave. But what are we reaping as a result of a society that increasingly ignores God and hates or dismisses Jesus Christ? We are witnessing a horrifying explosion of murder. We are witnessing a gruesome crime wave unprecedented in American history. And there appears to be no end in sight. In recent years, we’ve seen brutal mass murders in high schools, on college campuses, and in small towns all across America (a recent FBI report says the murder rate soared 18.3% in small towns in America last year alone).

The Hebrew prophet Nahum once wrote about the city of Ninevah, the capital of the Assyrian empire, “Woe to the bloody city….many slain, a mass of corpses, and countless dead bodies — they stumble over the dead bodies….your shepherds are sleeping.” (Nahum 3:1, 3, 18) The people of Ninevah had once repented and turned to the living God of the Bible during the days when the prophet Jonah warned them of coming judgment, and God had saved and blessed them. That generation of Ninevites had listened and turned from their sins towards the Lord. But 150 years or so later, a different generation of Ninevites refused to listen to the Word of God. They refused to repent. Their godlessness turned to terrible, wrenching, horrific violence. Their shepherds were sleeping. They weren’t telling people to turn back to the Lord before it was too late. The shepherds didn’t understand, or didn’t care. They didn’t feed the sheep the Word of God. They didn’t lead the sheep to follow the Lord. They didn’t protect the sheep from evil. So the judgment of God came and they were all tragically unprepared. The city of Ninevah was destroyed by God in 612 B.C.

What is the future of America? Is America in a “Jonah” moment, or a “Nahum” moment? Will we hear the word of the Lord that we have strayed far from the teachings of the Bible and allowed our land to become polluted with abortions and pornography and violence and wickedness of all kinds? Will we admit how far we are from God’s plan and purpose for our lives? Will we confess that our hearts are far from Jesus Christ and plead with the Lord for His mercy and grace and forgiveness? Will we fast and pray and earnestly seek God’s face, and implore Christ to give us a Third Great Awakening? Or will we ignore the word of the Lord and continue in our sins and watch our nation continue to decline, or even implode?

There is a point of no return — a point at which God removes His hand of grace and mercy and turns to the judgment of America. If we don’t repent for our sins, we are going to face that judgment…perhaps sooner than we think.“ … Alarm bells are going off all around us. Lights on the dashboard are flashing, Warning! Warning! Yet America is sleeping through the alarms, blind to the warning lights. And tragically, for the most part, the Church — God’s chosen instrument to bless individuals, families, communities, and nations — is asleep as well. I shudder to imagine where we are heading if we don’t wake up soon, plead for the Lord’s forgiveness, and ask Him to use us to love our neighbors and revitalize our country.”

From Vancouver Island:

Dear Brooks, we can read Matthew 24 over and over but only after we experienced a couple of magnitude 7 earthquakes off our shores, has his words struck home.

Thanks Vancouver Island:

You, of course, are referring to Matthew 24:7 as it relates to “There shall be …… and earthquakes, in divers places.” One website comment included these words, “there’s a major earthquake swarm happening right now at Solomon Island near Australia… an 8.0 has been followed by other earthquakes all day… for our planet that is heading on towards some major earth change, we can take this as a further sign from mother earth, that her cleansing is continuing…. we are in the highest earthquake activity in recorded history… and that was before the Solomon Island earthquake swarm …” (But, remember, the highlighted “highest earthquake activity in recorded history” is only one of the signs Jesus gave us concerning the events prior to His return, the others are equally visible. So., events are moving quickly toward the most wondrous moment in history.

From Ontario:

Dear Editor, I understand the ban on usury but I am invested in equities and regularly receive dividends. Is this okay from a Biblical standpoint?

Dear Ontario:

While usuary is prohibited, either taking or paying, in our present day society, it is difficult to avoid. Anyone with a mortgage, for instance, is in to usury. A modern definition is lending money at exorbitant rates but the Bible tells us that any interest is usury. “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother ….”(Deuteronomy 23:19). Usury represents the interest charged to a person or any other entity, like a corporation, whether or not the borrower is capable of paying it or not. Many a company or individual has gone bankrupt under the weight of usury. On the other hand, investors are entitled to a profit on their investment in a corporation, if the corporation is profitable. This is normally paid out by the way of dividends but I suppose there could be an interest security, like a designated preferred share, and if it only represents a distribution of surplus, this would be acceptable in my view. The reason, of course, is that we are entitled to enjoy an increase.