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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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Heart treasures

I sometimes feel that is what awaits each of us if only we take the time to search in the hearts of others for those hidden hurts and dashed hopes. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I’ve always been intererested in treasures. As a boy I used to put a few valuable things together in a plastic bag and insert them in an old shoebox. Then I would find some quiet and hidden spot in the woods and bury my homemade treasure. I would then wait a few weeks until the buried spoil actually had time to become a treasure. Then with my companions we’d draw out a map, find the spot and dig up the treasure. Even though I already owned the spoils, it was gratifying to recla

Making the effort

A Christian who cares is a Christian willing to hurt for the sake of others. One instance indeed where pain is good, pain is good. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. When we see others in need of the joy that we share because we are saved, washed in the blood of the Lamb, what is our reaction? Do we rush to their aid with words of hope? Or, do we silently pass by in the hope that someone else will lend that comfort? Unfortunately, we live in a society that makes it difficult to stop and “do” anything any more. Personal liability dictates that since we may offer the wrong word or espouse the clumsy action we ought not to stop and show kindness at all. The ri

Dig or fly?

Some labor with glory and others in it; but all labor to God’s glory no matter the task. Whatever we do, our labors must always be directed with one aim in mind. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. The Bible tells us that creation reflects the glory of God. However, there are some things in creation that echo that glory and others that merely reflect it. For example, God created both the mole and the eagle. Both were fashioned according to His almighty wisdom. Yet, that is where similarities end. The eagle flies in the heavens and the mole tunnels beneath the earth. The one glorious, the other inglorious. Nevertheless, the flight of the eagle, and the tunne

Monkey business?

Being responsible and showing integrity on the job is something that God expects. When we waste time or literally steal it for another purpose, this is a theft. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Time theft. Without a doubt this is one of the most serious and growing problems in our country today. What is time theft? Time theft is the stealing of one minute, an hour here and there, even a day, that could be devoted to one thing but is used for another purpose that it was not originally intended for. In a recent survey conducted by a large U.S. corpora- tion, it was found that the average employee spends 14.9 minutes a day making personal phone calls and br

Where others merely labor

Menial, even degrading tasks, are sometimes the best gauge of character. The Bible tells us to be faithful in all things, even those that seem unimportant or boring. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Funny isn’t it, that so often our character is revealed in our willingness or unwillingness to employ ourselves in work. There are many things in this life that define our character, but work alone reveals so much about what we are and who we are striving to be. When I was a sophomore in high school and in need of some spending money, I asked my father if he would pay me for work that I could do around the yard. I approached him with some trepidation but as ca

Discriminating eye

Our labors piled before the judgement seat waiting for inspection by God? That puts a whole different light on things, doesn’t it? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Remember the old adage, “Honesty is the best policy?” We all like to deal with honest people and are offended when we are taken in a scam on the internet or are overcharged at the retail counter. We expect other people to be honest and we expect government and the authorities to protect us from dishonesty wherever and whenever possible. But, the question is, what motivates honesty in the first place? Is it the fear of getting caught or is it something far more important that just being discover

Dairy fresh, God holy

The nobility of what we do is never founded in the results of that work. The true nobility of work rests in the fact that we have it to do and put our best effort into it. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I once heard a dairy farmer friend of mine say,“The hardest thing about milking cows is that they never stay milked.” Day in and day out, repetition is the life of the dairy farmer. The tasks of maintaining, producing and doing it all over again the next day, are never ending. Whether that be a Sunday or a holiday, the cows come first. They always need to be milked. If a dairy farmer doesn’t keep a positive attitude and employ diligence, the whole thing

Failure not an option

How shameful it is that a culture not Christian can put so much work and effort into keeping its marriages honored and we, who know Jesus Christ, do so little. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Although the divorce rate is China is climbing, it is miniscule in comparison with that in the western world. Whereas one out of two marriages seems fated to failure in Europe and in the United States, in China the odds of divorce are one in a hundred. Why the disparity? The Chinese culture historically has looked upon divorce as a disgrace. It is not only a shame for the couple, it is a shame upon their extended families as well. To disgrace oneself is bad enough;

Tipping the scales

God challenges us to experience empathy for those who are suffering. A Christian practices empathy, in order to demonstrate true, Christian love and mercy. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. What is the true test of courage? Is it one’s willingness to put one’s body and ideas at risk? Or, is courage more than this. Any brute can sacrifice his body and many are the ideas that should die with the risk. Great are the enemies that have done this without even the smallest hint of courage. If taking on risk were the truest measure of courage, would not Hitler have been courageous? Yet, history has marked him the consummate coward. Sometimes courage, true courage,

Keep on loving

Loving as a Christian is all about showing love to others even when justice calls us not to love at all. This is a kind of love that brims with mercy. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. If you only had five minutes to live, to say all you wanted to say, no doubt you would pick up your cell phone, calling everyone you know, to stammer out this simple phrase: “I love you.” The question is--why wait until the last five minutes of life? What is a Christian all about? While there are many things about being a Christian that stand out, certainly chief among these is the ability love. Not just love for the moment or love when we are given love. No, I’m talking abo

Heaping and keeping

Did you ever stop to think that the real key to Christian contentment is not in the getting but in the leaving? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. This is the time of the year when you will normally still find me making wood. That means cutting down the old, dead trees split- ting the logs and stacking them in neat piles. It seems like a never ending job and as the weeks drag on, I am possessed with a degree of discontent as I look out at the ever dwindling stacks of wood. It seems that the more wood I make, the more it seems to disappear into the belly of our great room stove. No matter how much wood I stack, there never seems to be the amount that will le

A Christian is faithful 100 per cent

As Christians we ought never to make a vow without intending to keep it. Vowing to do something if God does some- thing for us is pretty serious business. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Dr. Suess’s “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 promise i

A higher level

When you and I make commitments that affect others, each promise that we make pushes us to a higher level of Christian commitment and spiritual growth. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. With some people commitment is anathema. The more they commit to, the surer they are that, in the end, they will be the ones who get burned. They run from obligations and hide from responsibilities. Simply, they never put themselves in the way of difficult promises since they are more worried about failure than they are concerned with success. This may be the safer course, but it is not the best one. Sometimes there are times when we must commit, even when the promise is a

Buried alive?

Just telling enough of the truth to get by was one of those not so outstanding characteristics of childhood that most of us mastered pretty well. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Have you ever heard these common promises? “It’s fully guaranteed!” “I put the check in the mail this morning.” “This brief survey will only take about two minutes--really!” “Sorry, but your order will be up in just a few minutes.” “Elect me and I promise . . . !” Getting at the truth seems so rare these days that, without some sort of conciliatory promise at the end of a statement, people are not comfortable believing anything. Whatever happened to just plain “yes” and “no?” He

Fudging

Just telling enough of the truth to get by was one of those not so outstanding characteristics of childhood that most of us mastered pretty well. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Don’t fudge now.” I can still remember my mom telling me to be sure that I tell the whole truth, hold nothing back and not add anything to what I was saying. Fudging was something that kids have a real knack for. Just telling enough of the truth to get by was one of those not so outstanding characteristics of childhood that most of us mastered pretty well. “Fudge” is a slang term. While no one really knows for sure where it originated, the story goes that the term “fudging” fir

Ever rolling stream

Waiting until the river of your life takes you to where you will start all things and finish all things is futile, especially when it comes to spiritual things. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Everything comes to him who waits?” Remember that old saying? Doesn’t that mean that the longer I wait to plan something, start something or complete something, the better the odds that waiting will result in a better product, a higher achievement and a more rewarding outcome? It would, of course, be great if this were the way all things were accomplished in this life. In a way it would be like just sitting back and letting things sort themselves out and THEN get

Daddy, is it time?

We little regard what might be better for us based on God’s perfect timing. When God is ready, He will do it; not necessarily when we like it but when He does. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Time. Most children have a very difficult time understanding the concept of “now” and “later”. Time is always now when we’re little. Children live in the now and have little understanding of the later and often find it difficult to work within the bounds that we adults set on it. “It’s time for bed!” We call out as the evening slips into night. But to a child it is only time to be doing what he or she is presently doing. Here’s a story: Years ago when our daughter

Getting up a load?

Knowing what God means when He says our days are numbered and “each man’s life is but a breath”, is critical to understanding the importance of time. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Time. We know that it is limited and that with each passing moment we have used up another chunk of it. Yet most of us have a difficult time putting the nature of time into a meaningful perspective. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are links in a chain that join us to eternity. Each link cast pulls us one step closer to eternal life in heaven. But, since eternity itself is such a difficult concept to understand, our typical response is: “Eternity is a good thing, just don’t sta

Seizing the moment

We live in a world that always has something important do at the moment. These tend to overshadow the beneficial not only for the moment, but for our lives. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Time. Probably like some of you, procrastination knocks at the door of my heart every day. If it was just a matter of a list getting longer and longer, I’m sure that I would eventually become frustrated by things not getting done and there would come a time when I would have to tackle them just in order to get through life and another day. But, that’s not the way procrastination works. As your heart pops up that burdensome list from time to time, a still, small voice

Universal tissue

With this most precious of fibers we can just about make anything of our lives. We can build success and fortune with it. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Time. Probably the most precious gift that we possess yet it’s the one thing most taken for granted in life’s incessant drive to waste it, squander it, kill it, and lose it. It’s the one thing we are most jealous about owning, yet it’s so fleeting that the moment we grasp it is the moment it is lost. We beg for more of it like a second helping, the first helping having grown cold and useless because we did not consume it when it was hot and ready to sustain us. We treat is like a slow moving ox, switch

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