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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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Spiritual poverty

When we need something from God, do we ask out of imminent need and not a prevailing mindset of God’s provision? My friend, lifes a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. What’s the ceiling for your willingness to ask for things? For most of us asking is problematic since the asking might mean we will have to deal with a response that may humble us. Additionally, the longer we wait to ask, the more likely it is, we rationalize, that somehow our issue or need will be met and the asking will be a moot point. This is the practical side to not asking; the other being the emotional. Let’s face it, most of us don’t wish to be humbled or inconvenienced. By nature we prefer to maintain a

Ardor or sacrifice?

Fulfilling God’s purpose usually involves some risk. To deny that in favor of ourselves is counterfeit wisdom and serves no ones purpose but our own. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. A number of years ago we took the family on a trip in the old Airstream to Maine’s eer Island via a Canadian route. The route took us through Ontario, into Quebec and down into the Thousand Islands area of upstate New York. We camped in various provincial, national and state parks along the way. One park in particular was along the shores of Lake Ontario. The entire day of travel bringing us to the Lake was overcast and breezy. As we got the trailer in place, just yards from

Beyond harbor

God wants us to know as much about him as we are capable of learning. If we trust that his Spirit will help us to be discerning, there is no learning we ought to avoid. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I had opportunity recently to sit down to lunch with someone, a sister in Christ, who had opportunity to read my book, Madstone or Perfect Pearl. We chatted a bit and she pushed the book back across the table between plates to me. “Why did you write this book?” She asked. There was sincerity in the question, so I answered that I wrote the book to get a better understanding of what it means to be engaged in consistent worship. Another purpose was to discover

The economy of heaven

Our conscience must deal with a similar duality every day. Our self-will is very powerful and we’re given to deferring to our fleshly lusts and pleasures above all else. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I have a new heart condition which requires an additional, expensive drug to control it. I found out about the condition yesterday in a visit to the doctor’s office. He had been monitoring my heart for a week now and received the bad news from the monitoring service that indeed there was a new issue, and I needed to see him that day to look for ways of controlling it. I did, and came away with an expensive prescription that, on the one hand, promised to co

A directing God

Keeping a proper spiritual beat, one that blends well with the congregation of believers around us, requires expert direction as well. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. For many years I sang in a choir. These were church choirs; some were large with 6 to 8 bassos in my section, and there were very small choirs where I was the lone bass. Especially when I am the lone bass, it is hard for me to get the initial tone to start a piece. Since I read music by intervals and not by individual notes, I tend to think of reading music in terms of identifying notes by their position on the staff. The staff functions like a map with each vertical position corresponding

God challenges

Today will have challenges for you and for me. We may need a scissors or perhaps not. What matters is we tried and God is smiling down on that effort every time. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I had to open one of those plastic packages the other day. You know the ones; they say “easy open” only because they want to challenge you to a duel between plastic Zip-Lock and fingers. The package protected some dried fruit that I was looking forward to tasting. But, since it was plastic wrapped in such a way that even Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t tear it, I knew I would ultimately resort to a scissors, but that didn’t stop me. Even though there is a small bit

Ordinary God

Life is full of sophisticated trouble when we know we need God. But, for the most part, life is truly filled with many more ordinary, troublesome things. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. There was a day long ago when my brothers and I looked forward to the “new models,” as in September each year the automakers introduced their new models for the upcoming year. I can still remember back in 1960 when the new ‘61 models debuted. There were the television shows like Bonanza sponsored by Chevrolet where GM could promote its ‘61s. Mr. Ed was sponsored by Studebaker, and the Bob Hope Show by Chrysler. Newspapers and magazines were filled with new car ads, mostly

Exceptionally God

God is exceptionally God. Why would we not want to enter into his habitat? Perhaps the answer is that we have done so already in prayer, worship and Bible study? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. A friend recently asked me why I love to watch birds. In essence, why would anyone want to pursue them for the sake of seeing them and nothing more? A fair question. My explanation left him a bit more understanding but unconvinced that it would be something he would want to do. I explained that for me birding wasn’t just seeing and recording a species of bird. Rather, when I track down a warble, trill, chip or call, I respond to an invitation to join the bird in i

God haunting?

Believers in Christ do well to crave a haunting of the Spirit in their hearts, alerting them to the presence of God whenever and wherever life finds them lost and alone. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. When I was a little boy I thought a lot about my Mom. My Dad was on my mind as well, but mostly in those special times when I needed a defender. My Mom, however, filled the rest of the emotional space in me, especially when I was little. In that sense she haunted my thoughts, popping up especially when bad things happened to me. There was that time when I wandered away from her in Gimbels–Schusters and suddenly found myself alone in an aisle of strange pe

Never bother the artist?

We’re inclined to approach life’s challenges with the tools we’re used to using. When things go wrong we pull out the Bible and read a few Psalms? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I used to own an old Mercedes Benz that would from time to time need some basic engine repairs. For the most part I was able to do much of the work on the car myself since these were the days prior to computer electronics. The car had a simple engine that occupied about 75% of the space under the hood, so there was a lot of room to work. I replaced the water pump, fuel pump, adjusted the carburetor, and changed the oil filter numerous times. All you really needed to do the work

Pathway to trust?

Is there a way that a Christian can become more trusting of others? If we follow the Biblical instruction to love one another, we would find a way to make that happen. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Who do you trust? If you are like most folks there are few if any people that you know that you trust completely. According to the General Social Survey, a foundation which “has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society” since 1972, Americans for the most part did trust one another at one time.* Over 40 years ago over 50% of Americans said that most people could be trusted – today only about 33% agree. In a rec

Yes, but . . .

God is also asking of you and I to face the challenges of this life, many involving risk and the willingness to bite down hard, squint and leap with faith. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I’m not what you might consider a risk taker; however, I do strive to take some risks. The risks that I try to avoid are those which when calculated, based on the possibility of success, are minimal at best. For example, I have a pretty good idea of how far I can jump. If I’m poised on a precipice anticipating a jump to another which is obviously beyond my leaping range, I will not jump. The outcome is determined before I can even mount the courage to consider it. I wi

Name-dropping

We have the name–Christian. While name-dropping to add something we don’t own or remove something we do from our surname, what about our Christian name. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Name-dropping–many of us are guilty of this secret little pleasure. I met a couple of famous people in my lifetime and have fallen prey to the urge to drop their names in conversation on occasion. “I once met so-and-so, and they told me this or they shook my hand.” I confess. I have been guilty. I think we all do it at times. Why? Perhaps it’s because we aren’t comfortable in our own skin, suffer from an anxious nature, or have doubts about our ability to stand on our own

Disposed

Understanding opens the door to doing the job well. Heart and mind are the key to discipleship. Mind without heart makes for a sleepy Christian. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Many years ago I worked as a security guard for a company that provided armed security teams to large warehouses. I was young, in good health, physically able, and with a good work record, so the company did its normal background check and quickly hired me. This was an armed account, so I had to carry a sidearm. There was a gun safety course I had to take which I also passed without problems. I was assigned to an account in a part of the city where crime was rampant; burglaries a

Spiritual capillaries

I believe that prayer is that precious substance that flows through the capillaries of our spiritual lives and we need to put some conscious thought into it as well. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. An advantage of being an asthmatic as well as having heart disease is something I thought little about prior to being diagnosed with these diseases–I have a singular focus on the air that enters my body and the blood that pumps up and out of the diseased chamber of my heart. With the emphasis these days on clean air and the environment, I’m convinced that many people do give some thought to the air they breath, but asthmatics get pretty fussy about it and rea

Walk before me

God knows that if we put ourselves in front of his standards with his Spirit always a step or two behind us, we’re more likely to be compelled to circumspection as not. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. As a teenager I had a part-time job working for a local greenhouse. As the business was prosperous, the owner was in the process of building several new greenhouses at the time. I worked with my brother Kurt transplanting flowers from small pots to bigger ones and keeping the plant stock watered. We were also charged with doing odd jobs as they came up. One hot morning in midsummer we arrived on site to be greeted by a huge semi pulling a low hauler piled

Feel good despair?

It is often in our darkest times that God makes His presence known most clearly. He uses our sufferings and troubles to show us that He is our only source of strength. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. There was particular remodeling project I remember from years back that started out simple but turned out complicated as it posed a real challenge from a rough framing perspective. I was putting a shed dormer on a roof and it was getting late in the year. The weather had turned cold, and there were snow flurries in the air. It was imperative that I finish framing the dormer and getting the sheathing on before late Fall became early Winter, and there was no

Gone down the creek?

Keeping worry under control is a full time job. I have discovered that it’s the most important job I have since, everything else hangs on how well I control it. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Years ago I worked for a farmer who depended a lot on the weather as most farmers do for failure or success. His margins weren’t the greatest. He eked out a living raising herefords and doing handiwork around the area. If there was rain and the pastures were lush, he bought less feed for the cattle; if it didn’t, the margins from beef sales seem to barely cover his expenses. One night as I was busy pouring feed into a manger I asked him how he was doing. “You worr

Spinal pluck

The unfortunate thing about the moment, however, is that it changes often. What may have calmed the moment often serves to agitate the day just ahead. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Have you ever witnessed a slug’s passage over a roadway in the Spring? He may have slugged his way hours before, but his slimy trail persists for days sometimes. I often think that’s how our mistakes must look to God, especially those that transgress his Word. I’ve been around for over 65 years and have left behind a trail of mistakes. I’m not proud of these, as some of them have affected others adversely. If it were only myself to suffer from them I would feel less culpabl

From the wreck

We cycle through times of obedience, rising from our wrecks by grace through trials and then back to dilapidation again. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Years ago I owned a classic car, a 1966 Corvair Monza coupe. It was in fair shape when I bought it, although there was some rust in the front and rear fender areas and the paint was somewhat faded. Basically, however, the car looked and drove very well; that is until I wrecked it in an accident. I was hit from behind on the freeway and pushed into another car. The damage was extensive. I needed to replace a front fender and one in the rear. These parts would need to be repainted, so the entire car would

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