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Cut & Split NEW!

by Mark Brunner

 

Devotions inspired by living with trees.

 

72 pages, softcover–This Passing Day, 2019  $7.99

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Faithful 100 percent

When we make promises, whether to a friend or a resolution to ourselves, it’s best to keep this rule in mind, make sure it’s "keepable" before the promise is made. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Dr. Seuss, in "Horton Hatches an Egg," tells the story of an elephant, named Horton, who promises to sit on an egg and hatch it for it's mother, lazy Miss Mayzie. Horton made a decision early on to tackle a difficult task, one that almost any other elephant would most likely pass on. Nevertheless, as the days and weeks go by, Horton just keeps sitting there on that nest up in a tree. No doubt he may have regretted the idea of an elephant sitting in a tree, but a

A simple life

Do you want to simplify your life this year? Do you want to draw closer to God in worship and understanding? Be resolved to root out the clutter in your life. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Life is complicated. In this New Year doubtless you and I will be confronted more than once with a complicated situation that will take all the wisdom and creativity we have to get us through. Nevertheless, there is one thing we can do to smooth out the complicated, rough spots; we can make sure that as a rule we make simplification a priority. People are drawn to simplicity. Did you know that the most recognized document in American history isn't the Constitution o

God in our face

If things don't go the way we plan them or take a turn away from the goal we had set for ourselves, it’s good to remember that it is we who turned, not God. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. One things about winter walks is that they’re never the same. Everything pretty much depends on the wind. If the wind is out of the west or north, I end up walking into the wind for a good part of the time. And, when the temperature is hovering around zero or below, that can make a great difference in my level of comfort. When I put the wind to my back, however, things chance pretty rapidly. It doesn’t take much to go from bone-searing cold to comfortably cool when yo

Challenges that don't measure up

If you’re looking for a challenge big enough to suit your “never say die” nature, look no farther than a neighbor down the road or a shut-in in your congregation. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Each year I place Christmas lights on a twenty-five foot, spruce tree in our front yard. Since the tree grows about eight inches or so a year, each year it gets harder and harder to get the lights on the entire tree. Reason might dictate that there would come a time when I will have to move to a smaller tree or, perhaps, only trim it partially; but now it has become a challenge; a challenge to get one light at the very top of the tree no matter how I have to stre

Delectable reading

God's Word. Ought we to be just reading the words or is it a better idea to consume them, in an effort to discover why God gave them to us in the first place? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Over the past few holiday weeks my desk has been covered with lots of things that needed to be read. First there are thedozens of Christmas cards and letters that arrive every December here at Beech Springs. Often Holly after opening the mail will put the day's arrivals on my desk with the expectation that I will read them. I suppose her inner expectation is that I will read them as she does. She reads the verses and examines the artwork and then reflects on the pers

I just can't help it

Every day is a chance and not a certainty. If you live every day as if it were your only chance, waking up tomorrow might just be Christmas morning for you as well. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “I don’t know anything, I never did know anything!” I can still see Alistair Sim in the movie “Scrooge” dancing around his bedstead singing that song. Scrooge has experienced an epiphany; he’s so filled with excitement and an overflowing feeling of redemption that he’s, literally, beside himself. He’s spent a lifetime manifesting bitterness, greed and avarice personally and professionally. Everyone who knew him despised him, or at least tolerated him with a gre

No mundane stuff

When it comes to the love of God, it’s like we know what we don’t want. Our hearts tell us that we don’t want the run-of-the mill “love-stuff” the world has to offer. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. It has been said that one of the major problems with families is that they start out wrong from the start. From the moment the marriage license is signed spouses are inclined to view the privilege as more of a hunting license than a mar- riage license; a time to carefully lie in wait, looking for a partner’s faults and then springing into action, tracking down the game and pouncing when the moment is just right. “You know? There’s something you do that . . .

No "schiken sandich!"

When it comes to the love of God, it’s like we know what we don’t want. Our hearts tell us that we don’t want the run-of-the mill “love-stuff” the world has to offer. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Well, What do you want?” The young frustrated mother blurted out to her little boy as he pouted in the fast food line. “We’ve been standing here for five minutes and I’ve told you everything on the menu. What is it that you DO want?” He winced and for the first time he felt embarrassed standing in front of all the people waiting in line behind him. “Mommy? I know that I don’t want a ‘cheesyburg and fwies’. I know I don’t want a ‘shicken sandich’. And, I know

Families off base

Parents these days are driven to almost anything in order to grab the brass ring and kids whose priorities are focused on winning at any cost. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. The American family under assault! Did you know that one out of three children in the United States are growing up without a father present in the home or that last year in a number of major U.S. cities more children were born out of wedlock than within? These are just a few of a number of startling statistics indicative of the current crisis in the American home. Homosexual marriages, divorce, spousal assaults, violent crimes within the home; these and other alarming statistics are

Eternal kiss

As parents we possess an awesome weapon, one that no institution on earth can equal. We possess the power of the “Eternal Kiss.” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. The most powwrful instiuition on earth? No, it’s not the United State Congress or the Supreme Court for that matter. And it isn’t the Presidency, the World Court or the United Nations. Although such institutions are singularly powerful and no one individual would ever wish to come up against any of them alone, there is no man-made institution more powerful than the first institution created and the one that has remained with us for the longest––the family. When God created the family He did so wi

Groans from within

God wants us to do more than strive to make our families look good the outside. If there is a bad spirit within a home, the whole thing should be shut down for repairs. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Here’s a story. I turned the engine over but oh the groans from within! My old leaf vacuum hadn’t been run in about a year and it was time to put it back into service, redeeming the lawn and pathways from the carpet of the beech leaves blown down in a recent storm. Stored in the old shed, it had always been there, ready to serve. Each season my son and I had changed the oil and emptied the engine of old fuel. We cleaned it up, washing away the film of grit

Semper Fi

The brotherhood of the faithful, those who persevered no matter what, is a sustaining force in life yesterday and tomorrow. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Nothing defines endurance better than a Marine. I have known a few Marines in my life; in fact my father-in-law was a Marine and I have several friends who have served in the corps. These are a special breed of people, not that they really look much different in civilian life than you or I. It’s more a matter of heart than it is body that defines a Marine. One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hu

Winning streak of one

The key to not “losing heart” is making sure that we understand and believe that even in defeat we are renewed in Christ. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Its important to make sure that every day of our lives we practice gladness and condition our- selves to finding even the smallest bit of “glad” amongst the bad. That calls for a conditioning, a practice and a routine that assume a regimen of daily, consistent focus on keeping a happy heart. We spend so much time these days keeping our bodies fit; yet we often spend little or no time making sure that our hearts, although physically in tip-top shape, are kept in good spiritual shape. The Bible tells us

Torch races

Some races belong to the fleet and some to the strong. And, some belong to those who are willing to endure all simply to finish at all. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Sometimes it doesn't matter how quickly your run; just that you finish. Everyone has bad days; days which like any other days start out all right but somewhere along the way a bit of sand or a patch of ice has an unforeseen role to play and crash, what started out fine ends up a disaster. Run as hard as you can and you still can’t seem to get out of last place. Perhaps when days like this raise their ugly heads there is only one practical course to take, dropping out of the race and saving

Letting go of the branch

Why are we so reluctant to give God the impossible things and then sit back and wait for an answer? We know that God has done the impossible in the past. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Trusting in God is fine, as long as it is something you believe He can do. It’s funny that sometimes we find our- selves content to let God handle the ordinary things in life like giving us an opportunity to do well on a job interview or score well on a test. But, when it really comes to the hard things, the things that really seem impossible and we have lit- tle if any faith that they will ever happen, we are often tempted to trust our own means rather than give the prob

Is the doctor behind?

When we call upon our Heavenly Father for a bit of His time, it is often tempting to test His concept of time against our own. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Waiting is not something that comes natureal to me. When I am put to wait, the time drags by so slowly, so tediously. While other more accommodating individuals are able to find something with which to occupy themselves, I am often given to tapping my fingers and restlessness. Time passes so slowly when I have to wait. Even if after but a few minutes time in wait, my mind begins to play tricks on me. As time passes everything starts becoming a slow motion ballet. The more I long for an end to it, t

A boulder with your name on it

We find what we are looking for in this life when we fix our eyes on the goal and not the work it takes to get there. If we envision failure, we will. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Sometimes the things we are able to do surprise even ourselves. Have you ever had the experience of accomplishing something that you thought you would have a very difficult if not impossible time doing and then, do it? The feeling is utter exhilaration. The first thing that you want to do is to look around to see if anyone saw you do it. “Did you see that? Did you see what I did? I just can’t believe that I could do that. I’ve been trying to do that for years and now, well,

Just as we are

It is the nature of man, to bolt when God puts the halter of suffering over our heads. We toss about and fight against the tide of conflict and sorrow in our lives. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Keeping a positive outlook on life is pretty hard when nothing much positive seems to be happening in your life. Let’s face it, when things are going bad, really bad, there is nothing worse than a confrontation with an eternal optimist. That’s the last thing you really need. At times like that you would much rather hear “You poor thing!” than “It could be worse!” Sure, it could be worse; it could always be worse. But, at the moment, you don’t need to be remind

Zealous for peace

Sometimes the very thing that we are searching for is the very thing that we cover up in our search we are so zealous. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Since the beginning of time, mankind has craved peace! When Adam and Eve came upon the body of their son Abel, slain by his brother Cain, they no doubt longed for peace. First there was the confrontation with Satan in the garden, then this. Can there be no peace? And so it has been ever since that time, peace has eluded man for the most part and bloodshed has been his lot ever since. The peculiar thing about peace is this; man has always longed for the time when peace was in his life–yet peace has so seld

Broken bats

When you look out across the battle lines between Christens and the world, it’s not easy to be optimistic. The headline could easily be written “World 10, Christians 0.” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. When things are really bad, it always helps to be on the right side! No one likes losing. I don’t care how philosophical you are, being the one holding the broken bat that just popped up to the infield will never hold a candle to shaking the hands of your deliriously happy teammates as you cross home plate at the other end of a long home run. Losing may be character building and it may impart all kinds of timely and healthy lessons in this life; but losing

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