December 27, 2021


Good morning! My staff and I are still officially "on vacation" until Thursday, but we don't want you to have to go cold turkey. You're getting enough of that from your Thanksgiving leftovers. So I wanted to share with you some quick takes on the headlines, plus some commentaries not tied to a particular breaking story. We'll be back to covering the day's news in more depth in a couple of days.

Our newsletter today includes:

  • Thoughts on the spiritual side of our life
  • Thoughts on raising children 
  • Prayer Tree
  • And Much More


This verse was recommended by Merry G.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9 KJV


 Please send [email protected] a Bible Verse recommendation if you have one for the newsletter.



The Supreme Court scheduled a hearing for January 7th to hear arguments on whether President Biden’s OSHA mandate forcing vaccination on all businesses with more than 100 workers is an unconstitutional overreach of federal power (spoiler alert: it is; but let’s hope the SCOTUS cares.)

2. Biden's low bar:

President Biden gave himself an out on running for reelection in 2024, and it’s a pretty low bar to clear.

3. Let's Go Brandon:

A man who jokingly ended a televised phone call to President Biden by saying, “Let’s go, Brandon” (and Biden unthinkingly repeated it) has been identified and now says he’s receiving vague death threats. Because it was fine to call the last President “literally Hitler” and hold up a bloody replica of his head on Facebook, but it’s now illegal, immoral and fattening to joke about the current semi-occupant of the office. Almost as illegal as it was for a rodeo clown to wear an Obama mask (remember how jokes about Obama could also cost you your job and more?)

(NBC News has now declared that mocking phrase a “right-wing slur.” Since they aren’t well acquainted with the concept of real fact-checking, let me assure them that when that chant starts at a football game, it doesn’t mean they’ve found an entire mega-stadium full of right-wing fanatics:

The man says he’s not even a strong Trump backer or harsh critic of Biden, he just thinks he could be doing a better job and used his freedom of speech to express that in a humorous way. Poor guy must think he’s still living in the United States of America! Maybe if the FBI tracks down the people who threatened him instead of threatening him themselves, they’ll convince me that he is.

In the meantime, do you know who could really be doing a better job? The so-called “news media” outlets that immediately rushed to try to identify him from the moment this happened so that he and his family could be doxed and threatened by leftist lunatics.

There are also quite a few large corporations who could stand a reminder that we don’t live in a monarchy but in the United States of America, where freedom of speech, the right to mock our leaders, and not punishing people for things they had nothing to do with are all sacred principles of our founding.

While some parts of the nation and world are panicking over the Omicron variant, and demanding more lockdowns and booster shots, two new studies are raising questions about all the hysteria. A Danish study found that Moderna’s mRNA vaccine actually increases your odds of contracting Omicron after 90 days. And a study of symptoms by researchers from Harvard, Stanford, King's College London and Massachusetts General Hospital found that in most cases, the symptoms are so mild that people who think they just have a cold right now probably really have this variant of COVID.

And the media and political reaction to this news? Panic that we need to change “the messaging” to keep fear alive because people might not be terrified enough of the disease if they think it’s not really that terrifying.

4.  The spiritual side of our lives really does matter:

When I was growing up, my bedtime ritual always included a fairy tale that started with “Once upon a time...” and ended with the comforting words we all remember: “And they lived happily ever after.” As a child of the optimistic 1950s, I dreamed that life might be like that: whatever obstacles, dangers or perils might come my way, in the end, I would live happily ever after.

There were certainly plenty of struggles along the way, but I have to say that things did eventually work out even more happily than I could have imagined, from a career that I love to a wonderful family, including the world’s greatest grandkids. But sadly, for many people, “living happily ever after” does seem like an unobtainable fairy tale. Why is that happy ending growing ever more out-of-reach for so many people?

Of course, there are always factors beyond our control, like health problems and accidents. None of us can ever know if our birthday or Christmas celebration was the last we’ll ever enjoy. We have no way of knowing when it will all end, only that someday, it will (that’s why it’s said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes.)

Well, I can’t help you with your taxes, but I do have a bit of advice that I think will make death less frightening and greatly increase your chances of living “happily ever after.”

For decades, our nation has been focused on personal pleasure. The message drummed into everyone by pop culture is, “If it feels good, do it.” It’s fostered a culture of self-centeredness that led to Baby Boomers being nicknamed “The Me Generation.” Today’s young people have been dubbed “iGen” because many are so fixated on self and selfies that even their gadgets’ names all start with “I.” Advertising bombards us with the message that life is all about me and all about now. Such messages of immediate self-gratification may sell products and services, but they cause us to sell our souls if we follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion.

At some point in life, we all experience events that shake up our routine, much like the agitator in a washing machine shakes loose the grime in our clothes. We may not want or enjoy such experiences, but they’re necessary to force us to focus on the frailty of life and the certainty of death. They also force us to begin asking what really matters and why.

If we react to setbacks based solely on what feels good right now, we greatly lower our chances of enjoying a happy future. But if we believe there is even a remote possibility that our actions have lasting implications beyond the immediate, both within and beyond our lifetimes, it should cause us to think differently, live differently, and leave a different kind of legacy.

Without apology, I believe that the spiritual side of our lives really does matter. To believe otherwise is to define humans as little more than animated protoplasm, going through the motions of life for no particular purpose. I prefer to believe there’s more to us than flesh and blood. If we possess a soul capable of living beyond our lifetimes, then the seeds we plant in this life will yield fruit forever. If you believe those things, the ultimate becomes more important than the immediate.

When we decide to live beyond our lifetimes, our responsibilities to the next generation will outweigh our roles in our current jobs. More important than the money we’re paid for our work is what we will become as a result of our work. Our character will become more important than the careers we follow.

For all of us, life began “once upon a time.” Unlike the fairy tales, however, it’s up to us to make the choices that determine whether the last line of our life stories will read, “And they lived happily ever after.”

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.”)


Images of America's cities, landscapes and people.

6. A blank book of pages to be written on:

The first school in which we enroll, and the most important in shaping our future, is our home. A casual view of modern TV shows might lead us to believe that parents don’t matter. I contend that nothing matters more.

When Benjamin West was a boy, his mother left him in charge of his younger sister, Sally. Benjamin found bottles of colored ink and painted Sally’s portrait. When his mother arrived home, she discovered spilled ink and ruined paper. But before she had the chance to scold Benjamin, she saw the picture. Then she planted an encouraging kiss on his cheek. He would grow up to become of the greatest painters of historic and religious artworks, a teacher of many other famous artists, and a major force in launching Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, for which he served as president. Benjamin West would later say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

Every child’s life is like a book of blank pages waiting to be written on. Something is written each day. A parent who exposes a child of hours of television, video games, unsupervised time on the Internet, and an occasional trip to church is not likely to raise a child whose value system will mirror that of the parent. The child will probably reflect the value system of the entertainment industry.

While researching for a book I co-wrote on juvenile delinquency (“Kids Who Kill”), I became aware that children need parents who are informed, involved and (yes) invasive in their children’s lives. There is no single fact that will explain why a child as young as eleven would commit mass murder, but one thing seems certain: the likelihood of this taking place decreases drastically when children have a stable home, good role models and parents who are clearly more afraid for their children than afraid of their children.

Too many parents fear angering or alienating their children. They convince themselves that love means avoiding asking their children questions about how their time is spent and who their friends are. They fool themselves into thinking they’re being good parents when they don’t hold their children accountable for their schoolwork and other activities. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be “helicopter parents” who are so overprotective that our children turn into a generation of “snowflakes” who cannot learn through their failures or develop a healthy maturity and independence.

The requirement of parents summed up in Ephesians 6:4 is simple yet profound: “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Children should not be driven to exasperation by parents who make demands that are so difficult to achieve that the children are prevented from succeeding. There’s a vast difference between breaking a child’s rebellious will and breaking his or her spirit.

As parents, our goal should be to channel the energy of our children, rather than destroy their creative and curious natures given by God that motivate them to discover their unique purposes. We are further admonished to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” By both example and exhortation, parents are to nourish their children. Most values are caught and then taught. Our children are more likely to imitate what they see us do than what they hear us say.

We live in a world where a meal can be microwaved in seconds, and an Internet message can be transmitted around the world almost instantly (another reason why it would be nice if they were fact-checked before hitting “Send.”) But part of the legacy we must leave is raising children who understand that some things can’t be rushed. Patience is a virtue as well as a pathway to victory. Things of great value take time.

If the thing to which you ascribe the greatest value in your life is your children, then don’t they deserve the greatest amount of time, nurturing and guidance you can possible give?

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.” )

7. Prayer Tree:

We are stronger together.  Submit your prayer request for HEALTH & HEALING or IN MEMORIAM by visiting my website here.

Our hope is that our newsletter readers and social media followers will consider these prayer requests each day.


"Jamie Brown (36). Has suffered with terrible neurologic pain for the past 11 years. Desperately needs healing/relief."

"For my son Stephen who has PTSD from military service in Iraq. Thank you!"

"I am asking for your prayers for healing of my eye. I sustained an injury and had emergency surgery. The eye specialist does not think I will regain sight in my eye. I am standing on the promise of healing!"

"Please pray for my three estranged sons & their families and for their mother."


8. Hymnal: The Old Rugged Cross

Today's hymn is recommended by Marjorie H.


1 On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

the emblem of suffering and shame;

and I love that old cross where the dearest and best

for a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,

till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

and exchange it some day for a crown.


2 O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,

has a wondrous attraction for me;

for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above

to bear it to dark Calvary. [Refrain]


3 In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

a wondrous beauty I see,

for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,

to pardon and sanctify me. [Refrain]


4 To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,

its shame and reproach gladly bear;

then he'll call me some day to my home far away,

where his glory forever I'll share. [Refrain]

Author: George Bennard

If you have a favorite hymn you want to see in our newsletter, please email [email protected]

9. I Just Wanted To Say:

Thank you for reading today's newsletter.



For past editions of my morning newsletter, please visit my website here.

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Comments 1-10 of 12

  • Sarah Menne

    12/27/2021 09:54 PM

    The correct link for Rare, Medium or Done Well is ( link provided today does not work. :)

  • Floyd A Unger

    12/27/2021 08:24 PM

    Thank you

  • Mark Higgs

    12/27/2021 08:10 PM

    Mike, What are your thought about the Salvation Army apparently embracing Critical Race Theory saying that whites needed to apologize for their racism and repent of their white privilege? I always felt good about donating to the Salvation Army. What happened to MLK's words that we "should be judged by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin?" I have always heard, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!"

  • Mary Sue Senseney

    12/27/2021 05:22 PM

    Thank you Mike this is a wonderful post today!! <3

  • Firewagon

    12/27/2021 05:14 PM

    As you note Mike, ".... bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

    I believe myself to be a pragmatist or a realist (is that redundant?). My wife, on the other hand, is positive I'm very much the opposite of an optimist. That may be why I view America as already having LOST the culture war. Just over fifty-odd years ago, now approaching 60 years, America was a more religious society, with the black community being, arguably, the most religious. Today, America is a completely narcissistic secular society. Don't think so, check any of our cultural norms, births, marriages, percentage attending church, percentage claiming to be Christians, ALL of those numbers are in the toilet! Those numbers have decreased every year at least since LBJ's beginning "The Great Society." White Americans will become the minority in a few short years, primarily because we have been replacing ourselves with immigrants, legal and illegal, from other than European nations, rather than through births!

    Through decades of FAILED and failing leadership at the highest levels of the military and government, America now faces the distinct possibility of LOSING a ground war with China. Once the predominant military force, and economy, on the planet Earth, America faces the possibility of being replaced. China is already working hard to have the Yuan be the NEW world's leading currency, supplanting the dollar! I'm old and intend not to learn Mandarin or how to buy my bread using Yuan, but my grandchildren may need to consider rounding up something like that Rosetta Stone program to prepare!?

    PRAY boys and girls! The problem may be that there aren't enough believing Christians left to have any impact in asking God's help? "And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." Genesis 18:26 Abraham worked with God down to him finding just 10 or less, but as everyone knows, Sodom was destroyed!

  • William Fuhrer

    12/27/2021 03:16 PM

    what do you think it would take for Russia and China to believe in God

  • Joyce F Birch

    12/27/2021 03:11 PM

    Merry Christmas & A Happy, Healthy New Year to you & your talented staff & all your readers. And prayers to all those posting to the Prayer Tree.

  • Alma Walker

    12/27/2021 01:48 PM

    12/27 so well done??Thank you ??

  • Gladys Hizer

    12/27/2021 01:45 PM

    My late mother used to sing that song and visited The Methodist Episcopal Church in Michigan where the song was written. The church has been renovated and toured regularly. Happy that I can see something uplifting from my state along with the beautiful picture of Mackinac Island, MI. Love that you send a 'thank you for reading your newsletter.'

  • tom colaluca

    12/27/2021 11:51 AM

    Thank you.