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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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Tuned in?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you sometimes feel that God isn’t responding to your prayers? Does it seem that there are times he doesn’t hear you? Perhaps it has something to do with how you’re asking? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Recently one of my little grandsons needed a cup of water. His mom, aunt, Nanna and Papa were seated around the kitchen table drinking coffee and chatting. The little guy wandered into the kitchen from his perch in the Great Room where he had been watching TV with his brother. He was thirsty and knew that he needed someone to reach up into the kitchen cabinets and grab a plastic cup, go over to the fridge, fill

Tail up and safe?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Lust is messy and we don’t want to look at it. But since It can easily litter our lives, as people and events touch us every day, is not looking an option? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. The rut is over and there’ve been thousands of hunters out in the woods and fields flushing the deer. Even fences along the highways don’t stop them. In their panic to get away they get IN the way of cars and trucks. Despite the fact that the D.O.T. is tasked with removing roadkill as soon as possible, sheer numbers make that impossible. I don’t like looking at roadkill. When I see it by the side of the road I purposely look away

No trappings necessary?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you believe God because you have plowed through the Bible and surrounded yourself with the knowledge of God? Or do you believe because he has called you? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I’ve had beard for decades. Originally it was a dark, short, manicured Van Dyke sort of thing. Over time it waxed and waned in length with interspersed changes in style. The greatest change over the decades, however, has been the color. In my Forties the salt and pepper look arrived. As I reached my Fifties it became mostly gray. Now in my Sixties it’s snowy white. Coupled with the fact that I’ve allowed it to grow long and my h

The shed

My friend, may I ask you a question? How willful are you? Have you confronted times in your life when your will just slips away because God blocks your path? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Years ago my friends and I set out on a mission to discover whatever lay beyond the boundaries of our summertime wandering. On this particular day we decided to cross the barbed wire fence at the border of the farmland that surrounded our subdivision and keep walking. Eventually we came to an old shed near a farmstead that looked abandoned. Peering into the window we saw an old car with a tarp thrown over it. That was like an invitation to a bunch of 13-year old b

Give thanks!

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you get tightly wound sometimes? You know, a welling up inside that has to escape? Applied to a thankful heart, there’s no feeling that can compete. My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Thanksgiving! It is easy to forget, especially when our lives are so filled with other things. Perhaps that’s why we have a Thanksgiving Day; because if we didn’t, we might forget to do it? And, perhaps, it’s because so many bad things happen in life that it just doesn’t seem possible to be thankful consistently. Here’s a story. “When General Ulysses S. Grant arrived in New York in 1854, after he had resigned under a cloud from the a

Partly cloudy?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are there times in your life when it seems that God has abandoned you? Are you talking, but it seems that God isn’t listening? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Friends are always there for you. I think that most of us would see our good friends this way. Yet, can a good friend sometime be a best friend by not being there for you? Years ago I had a friend who I considered to be a best friend. I’d known him since grade school and his locker was next to mine in High School. I was going through a tough time at one point and shared that with him. I was angry about the fact that I had not been chosen to be the editor of

Go and stay not?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How aware are you of what God is calling you to do right now? Are you waiting for something important to do, or is the moment sufficient to excel in grace? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Several years ago as I repaired a stretch of fence line at Beech Springs I came face to face with a grey squirrel skittering down a nearby maple tree; our eyes met only 10 feet or so apart. I froze and so did he. Yet, rather than skitter back up the tree to safety, he paused, looked at his options right and left, and jumped to a nearby tree and disappeared up the trunk. Trusting in his ability to out jump and outrun me, he took h

Fit?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are your prepared to work for God? His work requires requires you’re fit to take the work on, possessing the right spiritual tools needed to do it effectively. My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I have a workshop in the garage. There are two workbenches with several toolboxes and a large, rolling tool caddy. If you look around you’ll also see a table saw as well as a radial arm saw. In addition there are bins containing parts and accessories marked electrical and plumbing. On shelves above are drills, sanders and other power tools. Upon further inspection, however, you will not find a planer, drill press, joiner, jig

How we played

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you committed to doing God’s will? Or, are you committed to doing what God will’s you to do? The difference is vast. My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. As boys we played a lot of war games. Growing up in the shadow of a recent world war, we watched numerous TV shows like Combat and The Gallant Men that glorified the events of World War II, still fresh in the minds of many, like my Dad, who fought it. We chose sides, built forts out of sticks and salvage, and then occupied them. We’d take turns as to who would be the aggressors and who the defenders. Our weapons were mostly imaginary projectile explosives that cam

Frozen habits?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Where do you begin in your effort to lead a holy life? Does your effort begin with your mind or with your body? It makes a difference when sin takes you to the brink of no-return. My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Why do we sin? While impulses and learned behavior can often lead to sin, how important a role does our thinking occupy? There was a comedian years ago, Flip Wilson, whose famous line was: “The devil made me do it.” People laughed at this seemingly innocent appraisal of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, as humorous as it sounded, the disclaimer has always been a lame one with God. While God is very much aware of o

A little bit of us?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does God really care whether or not you know his purpose for you? Or, is God much more concerned with the fact that you and I know we are a part of his purpose for all men? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Who are you? Why are you here? What is it that God wants you to do and, purpose defined, why has he chosen you to do it? Do you ever find yourself asking those questions? Many Christians today ARE asking this and other questions having to do with their, Christian identity. I guess it isn’t surprising this is the case, as we live in a culture that is all about self and the importance of knowing who and what you’re

Downstream

My friend, may I ask you a question? As the waters of God’s grace spring up in us and we flow them out into a world we often scarcely know, do we need to know how what blesses us blesses others in the Kingdom? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. The little stream behind our home here at Beech Springs starts about 100 yards to the west as a spring in a small marsh. Surrounded by cowslips, reeds, a few hornbeams and beeches, that little spring has no clue of its path or its ultimate end. It knows only cowslips in the Summer, hollow reeds in the Fall and deep mats of brown and yellow leaves underlying a blanket of snow in the Winter. Nevertheless downstrea

Staying awake?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you get spiritually drowsy at times? Would it make sense to take Jesus along with you daily, lest you get spiritually drowsy? Be prepared; be watchful with him who never sleeps. My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. As I get older I find driving long distances has become more and more difficult. Apart from the problems I have with numbness in my fingers, pinched nerves, stiff back, replacement knees, and some degree of night blindness, my biggest challenge driving for hours at a time is becoming drowsy. After a few hours of driving, day or night, I tend to become droopy-eyed. While driving Holly’s car makes it a bit

Choose to flow?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If God’s blessings are abundant, always measured beyond that which may be contained within us, should we choose to flow them out or choose to keep them within? One way or another, is the burden bourn at our own risk or delivered to others as their benefit? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I’ve maintained a freshwater aquarium for many years. At times I’ve stocked the aquarium with plastic plants, but over the past few years I’ve opted for live plants, as they look more natural and, more importantly, help to clean the tank as well as enhance oxygen levels in the water. Using a process called photosynthesis, the plan

Citizen or officer?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you wish to serve Jesus Christ as a committed disciple, does he own you? How much of yourself do you keep? Do you keep anything at all, or does Christ possess you completely? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. In college I was a member of the AROTC, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corp. as my initial career intention was to finish college and become an officer in the Army. I didn’t finish the program, however, leaving after my sophomore year. Nevertheless, during those two years I drilled, attended AROTC classes, drilled some more, and attended a boot camp. Most of my AROTC experience was impersonal since many o

Holy transfer?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Without you and I, would religion be nothing more than a backwash of promise? With us, however, can it becomes a powerful tool for the pinpoint delivery of God’s message in Christ? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My son Dan and I made a trip up to the Pine River in Northern Wisconsin a number of years ago to fish, camp and just enjoy the river. Our camp was on the shoreline just below a large dam. There was also a powerhouse upstream where a turbine was connected to a spillway adjacent to the dam. Since you could walk over the dam on a walkway, we took the tour across to the other side. Dan was very young at the

Holier than thou?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you and I want to be holy should we be comfortable being different in a holy way from those in society around us? Why are we here for that matter? If holiness is our purpose, what is God’s purpose for us in pursuit of that holiness? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. “Oh she’s just a ‘holier than thou’ sort. You know, she thinks that she’s just a little bit better than everyone else.” How often have you heard that said? Because envy is a very real source of satisfaction in our sinful society, you’re going to hear it frequently. Certainly when someone is acting haughty, proud, and vain, they deserve our scorn. Neve

Sand castles?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is Christ bidding you to a spiritual holiday at the sea beyond the thresholds of life’s slums and into a personal witness of his ever abiding love? Are you waiting because of your doubt or fear? He’s waiting, why not keep walking? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When Holly and I first visited our future home here at Beech Springs it was an exciting day for us. I can still remember walking through the threshold into the old kitchen, now remodeled and completely changed, into a rather small and dingy cooking space without a dining area. We stood in that threshold and wondered, “This is way too small?” But, as we pas

Useful or worshipful

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we take the time to praise ourselves for Godly service are we putting usefulness before worship? Humility is the key to approaching Christian service; recognizing that God really doesn’t need us, but we him? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When I was a boy my brothers and I helped my Dad with a garden plot that he rented from someone at church. My Mom and Dad had decided, due to a growing family and tightening budget, that they needed to expand their garden larder beyond the simple plot my Dad always maintained by the fence line at the corner of our backyard. For a year or two he did both. It was a large gard

Leap of faith

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you afraid of every curve in the road? Afraid to such a point that you slow down to a crawl to avoid what might be on the other side? That would be poor driving, right? How about living, or is that different? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. We live in an area with many hills, valleys and, ultimately, curves in the road. Some of these may be 45º turns. During the Summer when all the foliage is in place, these curves reveal nothing about what might be on the other side. I approach most of these curves without a whole lot of thought as I am sure most people do. My primary purpose is to slow down enough so that my

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