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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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Unnatural?

My friend, may I ask you a question? There is no place in life for another God other than the One we have, whether by default or our choice. When we try to add to what God is doing or has already done, we can’t love him. What good is piety then? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I have a friend so pious about his diet and the maintaining of his six-pack look that he has literally made it his habit never to walk into a grocery store or anywhere, for that matter, where food is displayed. It isn’t as if he feels he can’t stand the temptation. No, there is probably no one with a stronger will that I know than this man. I am sure that he could walk through

Come to me?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When God reaches out to us in times of trouble, when we need to be lifted up, or times when we may just need a hug, do you back away thinking that God really won’t help you anyway? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. There are many things our wiener dogs do that puzzle me, one in particular is backing up when we want them to move forward. You reach down to pick up them up, and they back up just out of reach. It seems like they would like to be in your lap, but they keep backing away the more you reach out. Most frustrating are those times a dog has been hurt or doesn't feel well and you reach out to comfort them. Esca

Really new?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When is new–“new?” Many of the things that we possess claim to be new. Yet, when you really examine them they are simply something that has been reworked, renovated, or renewed? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. One of my hobbies is collecting license plates. My collection runs the gamut of colors from a beautiful red on cream 1916 plate to a red on cream 1979 plate. In between are blues, blacks, oranges, yellows, burgundies, greens, silvers and whites. The neat thing about plate collecting is that nearly every year there was a “new” plate. As a kid I always looked forward to what the next series of Wisconsin plates

Be like me?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does God tell us to “just be like him!” in regard to being holy like Jesus Christ? He does, doesn’t he? Do you find that a bit of a larger than life task? You’re not alone. Nevertheless, does God give a tool to help us get there? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “Be like me!” How many times have you heard that in life? Someone is holding out an emotion or reaction to you that’s the opposite of how you are feeling. Be like them? How can we just become like someone else when we’re not them and never will be? Unless there is some sort of teaching moment here, being like someone else emotionally is a tall order. I work

Missing the hug?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does our Savior feel sad when we in our fears and troubles of this life seek the darkness of self-preservation over the warmth of his preserving and healing touch? When we’re hurting do we seek to find our comfort in dark places rather than his arms? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I walked into the kitchen last week and made the mistake of not turning on the overhead light. As I carefully measured my steps in the dark advancing toward the hallway beyond I stepped on something soft and it moved. Emma, one of our Dachshunds in the habit of following too closely at my heels, trotting along beside me, had darted ahea

Cut and trimmed?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes it’s natural to feel that we’ve arrived at the point where God could easily use us to be the evangelists we know he wants us to be. But does he sometimes make pretty drastic cuts and changes to who we are first in order to use us? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Recently we went on a hunt for the perfect, fresh cut Christmas Tree. We drove out to our favorite tree farm, picked up our saws and wandered through the fields of balsams, spruces, firs and pines in search of the perfect tree. We all came home with a tree, the one that we thought was the best among the others. The trees, however, had to go throu

Overeager?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How eager are you to do the Lord’s work? Why wouldn’t you? The question is, are you too eager to be lifted up on eagle’s wings when God would prefer your feet be firmly anchored on the ground? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I’ve experienced a few failures among the successes in my career. No-one usually wishes to admit that, but it is the truth. I’ve not performed as hoped or promised at times. Whether due to overcommitment, lack of sufficient motivation or just plain inability, I’ve not performed every job in my life successfully. Time commitment is usually due to my personal misjudgment of hours in the day. Mot

What a rush?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How important is humiliation necessary to the process of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Should you and I be focused on the thrill of being called in order to experience spiritual success? Where does God’s glory fit into our abilities? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. When I was in High School I was a runner, a pretty good runner. I could do a mile on a cider track under 5:40. That wasn’t a bad time; in no way record setting or, for that matter, really that competitive, but for me that was a decent time. I am told that most people my age would be satisfied with a time under nine minutes. For me, however, that’s h

The odds?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Often we struggle along, almost as if it were our job to compete with God until failure is a certainty? Are we valley dwellers, not mountaintop warriors and, it often takes an overwhelming failure to bring that message home? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. A number of years ago, many years prior to retirement, I was looking for a new job and hadn’t been able to connect with the just right opportunity. A friend of mine suggested that I make application at a very large corporation in a nearby city that, according to its newspaper ad, was expanding. I knew going in that I wasn’t qualified for the position advertised.

Crushed grapes?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are there times in your life when you feel crushed by events, even other people? Did you know that God often uses these to make sure that you’re ready to do the important work he has planned for you? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. There are few things better than the unexpected good thing. Specifically, when something good happens when you’re expecting something bad? God often crushes us through something we had not expected or by someone we didn’t like or, perhaps, even know. God knows we will never become a fine wine until the crushing is accomplished. Here’s a story: Two of the most opposed characters from the

'Wanna Be's?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is there any more important moment in the life of a Christian than when he is called into the Lord’s service? As with life’s successes, however, how apparent is the moment of your calling? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “When did you first know what you wanted to be in life?” You may have been asked this question at some point in your life. If it hadn’t been asked whimsically as one who asks a child, it’s an uncommon question that most likely would never be asked unless, of course, one had achieved some level of expertise in something that impressed someone enough to ask it? Another characteristic of the question

Starting at go?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you longing for that day when you will stand in heaven, finally loosed from the bonds of this earthly life? Did you know that starting at go is a necessity when you’re longing to get to the good stuff of eternal life in Christ? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. The picture accompanying today’s devotion of a little girl with her hand rubbing her forehead reminds me so much of one of the things that bothered me the most as I was growing up: starting at go, as we called it. I don’t hear this child’s phrase much anymore, but it went without saying to me as an 8-year-old that it meant following the rules and being pa

In his hands?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How did the passing year treat you? Were you challenged physically, emotionally, or perhaps financially? If so, how much of that did you personally drag into the New Year? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. As I slowly venture into another New Year, a mixture of reflection and anticipation still hangs over my life. The outgoing year was filled with multiple challenges for all of us here at Beech Springs, as I’m sure it did for many of you. We dealt with family members passing away, parents failing health, job loss, disease and the usual financial difficulties. We replaced appliances unexpectedly and encountered unan

Me vision?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How does God want you to think about your life? Does he have a personal vision for you that’s incomparable for his vision of anybody else–a “me” vision that suits him and ought to satisfy you? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. When I was in elementary school I had a friend, Greg, who spent his weekends playing sports and, for the most part, entertaining himself. I, on the other hand, spent a chunk of my weekend trying to keep up with my studies as well as doing my homework, even staying ahead of where I needed to be. That worked for me, yet I saw how Greg both enjoyed himself and got pretty good grades to boot. I be

Glad and sorry?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it wiser to read your Bible thoroughly? For the one who reads all of God’s Word will never be “sorry” he hadn’t searched it more thoroughly? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I’m a bit of a book collector. Or, perhaps you could say, I just can’t throw a book away. There are bookcases throughout our house and boxes of books stacked in the attic still looking for a place in one of those bookcases. One unfortunate aspect of book collecting is that the more and more you collect, the fewer and fewer you’re able to actually read. One regret that I’ve always had is that I might someday neglect to open a book that had so

Second childhood?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Making changes in our lives is no joke. But, is there an easy way? Did you know that God is asking you to grow down and not up when it comes to having faith in him? My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Did you know that Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image to stop smoking? Many people have bought these tapes, CD's and DVD’s to play continuously at night as they sleep. But there’s no hidden message in the National Research Council’s verdict on such techniques. The Council's report, released in September 2002, concludes: “it’s dou

His highest?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you feel that facing temptations head-on and then personally battling them is the way to capture obedience? Is this only a short-term solution though? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I grew up with two brothers, both close in age to me; a recipe for periodic misbehavior. Misbehavior ultimately ended in some sort of punitive reaction from my Mom. It might be swift and certain which normally had only a temporary impact on us or it could be more subtle and far more enduring, which tended to be far more impacting. “You’re going to have to talk to your Father!” Why she didn’t make this always her prime weapon I’m no

In Review?

My friend, may I ask you a question? You and I are sinners. We hope for the best. Yet, when our spiritual review is done, are the results more serious than we could have known? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Not long ago I developed a bleeding disorder. So, I decided to go and see my doctor for the problem. There’s something about wayward blood that triggers concern in a doctor right away. In just a matter of days I found myself in a specialist’s office where tests were done. Medical tests often remind me of the multiple choice tests that I took in school. You finish and think to yourself in a hopeful way–“Well, I think I did Ok?” Nevertheless, you

Focus?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What direction is your life headed in today? Can you see clearly down the road, or does the future seem unclear at times as you struggle to find meaning in the path you’ve taken? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Sometimes a simple solution to what seems like a simple problem doesn’t always work out the way we had planned it? Often we find ourselves walking down a path that seemed good but really doesn't lead anywhere worthwhile. Take the time years ago when I decided to install a slide lock on our woodshed. The shed needed a locking mechanism to keep the door shut in heavy weather. I spent hours installing a slide

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