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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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Input and output?

All too often we find ourselves whining and complaining about our lack of this and that. “Where is the justice in this?” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. “With liberty and justice for all!” Thus closes out our pledge of allegiance to the flag. I think that this last line of the pledge is often misinterpreted unfortunately. Many see it as a promise that there is somehow an endless supply that can’t be depleted as if it’s magically maintained without danger of depletion. The phrase is, however, preceded by the statement: “One nation, under God, indivisible . . .” When we proclaim this pledge we are, in essence, saying: We are declaring ourselves to be part

Speaking but not talking?

I received a treasure box of items from my Uncle recently. He’d broken up housekeeping, moving into an assisted living facility. For him it was time to go through a collection of items he’d collected over 95 years and giving things away. In my treasure box there were a variety of things, most of which had little value apart from sentimental. Having served in the Navy on a cruiser in the Pacific during WWII, my Uncle had collected pictures of shipmates, a spark plug from a Japanese Zero, and mementoes from his visits to Oriental ports. Amongst all these items was a tiny bag containing tiny sculptures, no bigger than a thumb. My Uncle is fastidious about most things and the items in my treasur

Broken and poured out

God is preparing you and I for the most competitive and grueling challenge of our lives: to push so hard for the faith that we will eventually be overcome by our effort. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. In High school decades ago I ran track. I wasn’t a track star by any stretch of the imagination. I really wasn’t very fast and from an endurance standpoint I was somewhat limited. But, I ran track. I was a miler, something that required some degree of swiftness, but for the most part a whole lot of timing and endurance. There were several other milers on our track team that were at a level above me. They could normally finish a mile a full 10 to 15 seconds

Life's precious garbage

Are you in the habit of taking on the smelly tasks of life with a smile and a sense of pride? If not, perhaps you’ve forgotten your Christian family name? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Recently we switched to trash pickup. For years I’ve burned what was burnable, taking the rest to the recycling center down the road. So after years of doing it one way, I’ve opted to contract with a waste management company to have my trash and recyclables picked up. One of the advantages of the old way of disposing of trash was that if something began to smell in the trash bin I simply carted it off to the burning barrel and burned it. Now, however, when an odor does d

Inner communion

Communing is becoming rare in the multi-tasking environment we live in today. It requires a dedication to quiet time, a singular focus, and personal discipline. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Life is full of interruptions. There’s hardly a day that passes in our lives when something we’re doing, saying or contemplating isn’t interrupted by something else. Life demands of each of us the ability to deal with interruptions. Parents know this well as children have a way of insinuating themselves into our lives without warning. A skinned knee can’t be anticipated and we need to put ourselves aside for the moment to become the healer. Pets have this propensit

Habitual pursuing

As we increasingly experience the Word of God a habit can quickly become a pursuit, leading to a productive relationship with Jesus Chris. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I’m of the belief that no one is born to do one thing; rather, we’re all born with the potential to do something depending upon experiences that arise on a daily basis. As we journey through life each day presents a purpose that may be unique to the day. The purpose may be mundane and forgotten with the night or pleasurable and remembered in the morning. Monday’s pleasure might become Tuesday’s longing, and so on. This is how habits are formed–some good and, regrettably, some bad. I re

Starting is not sustaining

Like a burning fire, however, a faith that is ignited in a moment by love, must be sustained with many moments of an abiding love over time. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. We just returned from a camping trip to the north woods. Since this was a camping trip, campfires were a significant part of what we experienced over the course of the week. Campfires can be challenging since the weather affects them as does the kindling used to start the fires. Moist air does not make for good fires; damp kindling either. I like to influence my fires with a squirt of lighter fluid once the match has been applied to the kindling. This creates a hotter flame which, in

Stepping out

Taking the initiative in life is a talent each of us should cultivate; relying first on ourselves ultimately results in others recognizing our skills. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. As a parent one of life’s greatest wonders happens when a child shows initiative. A number of years ago my son Daniel was charged with coming up with a school project that would teach him discipline, skill, and persistence. At the time he was part of our homeschool so we relied heavily on our students’ ability to think creatively and work without a great deal of supervision. Dan was working at a local bike shop at the time building bikes, so I figured he would come up with

Dreamers of the day?

It’s been said that “All men dream but not equally. . . . dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for the many act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible...” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. How often do you have a real good chinwag with God? If you’re like most people it’s seldom. Only the best of friends have chinwags. You know you’ve had one because when you’ve finished, there’s a simultaneous sense of emptiness and fulfillment that pours over you. Something personal and sensitive has happened. You’ve emptied out of yourself and filled up with someone else, and come away with a wealth of knowledge and understanding about the other person.

Patience with an attitude

We often equate patience with endurance. There’s no doubt that often this is a key element of exercising patience, especially when it comes to illness and pain. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. As a boy I found an arrow in a meadow near our house. Some other kid had launched it and lost it in the tall meadow grass. An arrow was a real find for any young boy, but without a bow to relaunch it, it had little value other than holding it in hand and fantasizing how it would look in flight. So, I decided to fashion a crude bow for my feathered treasure. Fashioned out of a sapling I cut, I strung it with some monofilament fishing line from my trusty tackle box

On God's menu?

Are you building a life based on your personal and professional specifications, or are you building your life based on a “fearful” respect for God’s will for you? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Years ago I built an addition to my home here at Beech Springs. As it required a foundation I had to dig down deep enough to accommodate the concrete footings on which a concrete block foundation wall would stand. There are two ways of building walls like this. You can do it with haste or take your time. Hastily built walls aren’t necessarily bad walls. As long as the footings are solid enough, the ground beneath the blocks firm, and the blocks are well mortared,

On authority?

Why do you believe in God? In many ways the concept of God is difficult to grasp in terms of believability. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. It’s a fascinating story when we reflect on the making of this great nation, the United States. What has always seemed remarkable to me is the fact that a group of loosely joined colonies, each with their distinct ethnic and social fabric, governed independently of one another by various assemblies and houses, joined together to confront the greatest military and naval power on the face of the earth and struggled to become an independent nation. On paper it was impossible and in further theory highly unlikely. There

Assume the position

It’s not always easy to be this discerning. Putting our emotions away and putting the rulebook first takes some effort on our part. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. The role of the referee in any sport is critical. Without the referee the rules of the game would have to be self imposed by the coaches and the players. The rulebook for play would always be there; just the matter of interpretation and enforcement would be in question. The referee has an especially hard role to play for a number of reasons not the least of which is impartiality. Here is where their discernment really comes into play. Referees have emotions like all of us as well as allegiance

A reach beyond our grasp

How important is tenacity in our lives? At times it seems to fly in the face of a more pragmatic approach to achieving life’s goals. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. There’s a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets that’s higher than most. It’s the shelf on which we store our vitamins and other medications. As it’s high and beyond the reach of our grandchildren, it’s a great place to put those things. However, it’s also beyond my wife’s reach. She can grab items on the lip of the shelf, but if there’s a bottle or bin pushed toward the back, it’s beyond her reach even at a stretch. As I’m a few inches taller than Holly and my arms are longer, I’m often calle

The right plate?

In our spiritual lives we have both a Corelle side and a Fiesta side. God uses both, but opts for usefulness over show 99% of the time. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. We have two sets of dinner dishes here at Beech Springs. We have the everyday Corelle Ware; plain, white without a pattern, sturdy and replaceable at minor expense. Holly also has a set of Fiesta Ware dishes. These are more colorful, heavier and a more expensive to replace. Depending upon the circumstances, nature of the occasion and perhaps the guests we are entertaining, the Fiesta Ware will take the place of the Corelle Ware. In this sense there’s a practical side to owning more than on

Spontaneous generation?

While there are standards that help us to be better lovers, the most satisfying love is the kind that leaves us mystified as to how or why we did it. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. We’ve all had those experiences in life when, in retrospect we look back on an action and reflect “I don’t really know why I did that loving thing, it just happened.” I’ve always been fascinated by the often spontaneous nature of love. In many ways I am reminded of an engine in this regard. You put fuel into it and add a spark and there’s an explosion of energy. At this point it becomes spontaneous. Until you remove the ignition or the fuel it’s not likely to quit running. Th

Is certainty overrated?

How important is certainty? Or, is there a better way to understand the inevitability of uncertainty? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. This past Friday I spent over an hour of my time just going over the calendar for this week. As I keep a calendar on my computer I am able to put each task that I am aware of in a time slot Monday through Friday. The tasks are all color coded, so job tasks are brown, telephone calls are purple, meetings are green, appointments are red, and so on. I estimate how much time each item will take, how long meetings will last, even how long appointments might last. The day begins at a specific time on the calendar and I try to e

Your Pee Wee Reese?

Are you looking to forge a relationship with God or just merely content to link yourself to him because he’s the source of all power, wealth and glory in the universe? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. People want to know other people for a variety of reasons. For some it’s a matter of influence and power. If you associate with people who have it, you may be able to use it to promote yourself. Then there are the people who want to know other people for material reasons. Know anybody with a lot of money? It’s always tempting, as is our human nature, to gravitate toward folks with wealth. Perhaps some of that wealth might rub off on us? Then there are the t

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