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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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Buck up

The problem with many is they are more focused on staying clean than they are in getting dirty in order to give that salvation and grace something to work with. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Buck up. Things could be worse you know” I head that often growing up. It seems like this is one of those stock encouragements that every Dad passes on from his Dad to his kids. I can almost see my Grandfather Leo telling my Dad to buck up and move on, just as his Dad, Leonard, told him. The idiom has been around longer than these Brunner Dads, probably going back into the 18th century. Buck means to bolster or push up. It’s an appropriate term when a negative att

My brother's keeper

The problem with many is they are more focused on staying clean than they are in getting dirty in order to give that salvation and grace something to work with. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Who are you living for? Seems like a simple enough question; so the answer should be fairly simple, right? Not so sure. I think if you ask most Christians they would have a handle on this one. “I live for Christ. Unbelievers live for themselves but believers live for Christ.” The Bible tells us that Christ lives in us by the Spirit of God. We are sons of the living God. So, we ought to live our lives as such, devoted to him. As he lives in us we live in him. We are

Flowers from cracked pots

God uses the “foolish things of this world to shame the wise.” Isn’t it good to know that even our mistakes can become useful in the hands of Almighty God? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Although two wrongs may not make a right, sometimes one wrong does. I’m not saying that doing wrong is as good as doing right. However, as it’s always best to do the right thing, it also good to remember that our wrongs, in the right hands, can often be remolded into something beneficial and positive. Here’s a story. A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the

Bridging the hurt

Divisive hurt within a family is the worst kind of hurt there is. Bonds that are forged in blood are only broken with great effort and pains. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. There is an old French proverb that states, “God save me from him I trust.” Trust is a very fragile commodity; one that is often dropped and broken even by the best of friends. When we are faced with the prospect of rebuilding a trust that has been severely shattered, it can be a daunting task. I am reminded of the story of two brothers who had not spoken for many years. The Father had given them adjoining land, they had built houses and farmed their land and raised their families to

An unforgiving shadow

Jesus came to earth to bring forgiveness to all, not just His friends. It’s not easy to grant forgiveness to those who cast an unforgiving profile is it? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. When you were a kid there were two kinds of people in the world: those you liked and those you didn’t. What determined which was simply the degree of fault you were willing to tolerate in each. Friends, even those we liked, were people certainly capable of hurting us from time to time. Nonetheless, because of the special relationship we had with them, we were always willing to overlook the occasional slight in favor of a continuing friendship. Enemies, however, were those

Left in the sand

It’s tempting to let up when the effort becomes arduous. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Forgive and forget.” This was the response most of us heard growing up when someone had hurt us. Whether parent or friend, the admonition meant that we should simply put the transgression and hurt out of our mind. We were well advised not to think about it or even speak about it. Move on with your life and put it behind you. Putting distance between the hurt, us and the transgressor seemed a good way of not getting too deeply involved in the the whole thing. Walking away pr

Never give up

It’s tempting to let up when the effort becomes arduous. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Never give up. There is always something better waiting for a man who is willing to endure till the end. This is no more evident than when we are facing some of our toughest challenges in this life. Sometimes I think some of the hardest problems to solve are those that we are not willing to believe are possible to solve in the first place. Faced with a dilemma of vast proportions, we look at it as one would look down at the steep sides of a vast canyon, wondering just how de

From ugly beginnings

With many things in this life, first comes the ugly, the less valuable, and then comes the good stuff. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Did you ever notice that often things are ugly before they become beautiful? Butterflies don’t start out life withshimmering wings but with a hairy, segmented body. They don’t launch out into life, flitting from flower to tree. Rather, they must crawl before they can fly. With many things in this life, first comes the ugly, the less valuable, and then comes the good stuff. I was reminded of this recently when I ran into a very unexpected wall of criticism that literally knocked me flat on my back. Cruising along through a

Agents for impossibility

Few things are impossible in and of themselves. It is often more a case of how we do things, not what we do, that makes things impossible. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO I found myself putting a roof on an addition to our home. I labored for days over a plan as to how the stringers and rafters should be cut. I made a great effort to follow the “measure twice, cut once” rule. After I was sure I had the proper number of board feet figured, I purchased the lumber and designated the following weekend to begin the work. When the day dawned I got out my saw horses, straight edges and power saw and, facing the neatly stacked two by eigh

Improbable faith

Faced today with the difficult or even the impossible? If it couldn’t be done, God wouldn’t ask you to do it. He never asks us to do what is truly the impossible. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. When you think back on your life, did you ever notice that the wonderful things in life often begin with a difficulty; and that the very wonderful, have often begun with an impossibility? The terrible injury that resulted in a new hobby--the gut-wrenching argument with a spouse or a friend, that became a deeper understanding, or the unexpected pregnancy that blossomed into the child that you just couldn’t live without. When you stop to think about it, our lives a

Let God do it

God’s resources are boundless and we don’t test them unless we strike out after the impossible. God has promised us that He will always be there for us in all things. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “It’s just impossible!” How often have we heard ourselves uttering that phrase? If life just wasn’t so filled with impossibilities, wouldn’t it be far easier to cope with each passing day? Quite frankly, don’t you sometimes wonder why God puts impossibilities in front of us at all. Some kind of test or, what? I remember as a kid trying to break a twig between my index and neighboring finger. It was a game we played when we had nothing else to do. Occasionally

Below the surface

God has given us the ability to envision the outcome even before we understand the process that will take us beyond the roadblocks, hazards and detours. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Vision. When we are able to see past the roadblocks, hazards and detours that so often interrupt life’s journey, it is said that we are visionary. If we possess vision, the ability to see what others might be missing for lack of focus, there is very little in this world that dwells beyond our grasp. Vision, it is said, is being able to see the things invisible. In other words, that which along the path of life has not as yet happened becomes known simply because you are ab

No can't here?

Sometimes we become so preoccupied with our problems that we overlook the opportunities that God is plainly giving us to grow in faith and hope. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “The difficult we do immediately, The impossible might take a little bit longer.” I ran across this motto a number of years ago as I had my car serviced at an area muffler shop. It was a caricature of a muffler repair man standing with a wrench in one hand and a muffler and pipe assembly in the other. He had one of those grins on his face that made you both smile and scratch your head at the same time. Was this bragging? Or, was it actually a statement of the level and degree of c

Something better waiting?

It’s tempting to let up when the effort becomes arduous. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Never give up. There is always something better waiting for a man who is willing to endure till the end. This is no more evident than when we are facing some of our toughest challenges in this life. Sometimes I think some of the hardest problems to solve are those that we are not willing to believe are possible to solve in the first place. Faced with a dilemma of vast proportions, we look at it as one would look down at the steep sides of a vast canyon, wondering just how d

The knocking down

The knocking down We must be willing to accept the fact that being successful in life has everything to do with endurance and the ability to be lifted up when we are cast down. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Did you ever notice that often things are ugly before they become beautiful? Butterflies don’t start out life withshimmering wings but with a hairy, segmented body. They don’t launch out into life, flitting from flower to tree. Rather, they must crawl before they can fly. With many things in this life, first comes the ugly, the less valuable, and then comes the good stuff. I was reminded of this recently when I ran into a very unexpected wall of cri

Get real?

I was recently 65 years old, another milestone in life’s highway. There are milestones and then there are milestones. I remember some better than others. For example, I remember 13. I was a teenager and it was a special birthday in our family. My parents gave each of us a special gift at 13 and I received a pair of binoculars. I still have them. It was and always will be a special gift. Then there was 21 and adulthood, 30 and a passage into wisdom (from my perspective), 40 and the feeling of uncertainty about getting any older. Now 65. This was always the age of retirement from a popular perspective at least. For me, however, it was something altogether different. Although I do feel exhauste

Land in sight?

When you and I keep our eternal goals in sight, it makes the work getting there a whole lot easier. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Preparation. It goes a long way in keeping a person on track. A number of years ago, my wife and I built a dog run. We had long been concerned for the increasing number of coyotes in the area and, owning two very small dogs, thought that it would be a good thing to fence in an area toward the back of our property where the dogs could freely roam all afternoon without the threat of them wandering off or something else wandering in. The threat is what drove us on to complete the project despite the fact that we had to drive hu

Not throwed?

To get where we need to be is often a question of whether or not we have the endurance and the will to start out in the first place. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Being on the short end of an unfair fight is some place I never liked to be. Getting pummeled, either by someone’s fists or by their ideas, is one of the more unpleasant things to bear in this life. Perhaps, I often thought, it would be far better not to get into these kind of situations in the first place? Unfortunately, in addition to finding myself at the short end of these encounters frequently, as a boy I also had another characteristic trait. Simply, I just couldn’t bear to let a wrong

Raised up

When we strive to think before we act, we give place to our faith and, in turn, open the door to divine opportunity. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “Whatever you do, keep your head about you.” As often as I was warned of this, I’ve seldom stopped to really appreciate what that advice really meant. “Keep my head?” I thought. “That’s easy enough. It’s still attached. It’s my life that seems to be drifting away somewhere!” Keeping one’s head is pretty basic and sometimes the advice seems a bit trite. But, when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, you and I are most often tempted to think with our hearts and our hands first more often

Sideline rooters

If we are to encourage one another as the Bible instructs, that means we need to take the time to be a bystander every now and then. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Sidelines? Did you ever stop to consider how important they are? Yet, if the playing field is where all the action is taking place, of what importance could the sideline possibly be? If you have ever been a football player at the bottom of a tackling pile, a runner sprinting to the finish line or an athlete sprinting up and down the basketball court with a dribble, you know howdeline is. Even though every winning athlete is motivated from the heart to excel, in the end, without the support f

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