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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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Leveraging our knees?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How often do we forget that the best prayer work comes when we leverage it from our knees, putting our spiritual backs into that stubborn problem? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Life is tough sometimes. It’s easy to lose perspective on God’s grace when one bad thing after another seems to happen. This was the state of my mind recently as I wandered about the house on a Saturday looking for some task to lose myself in. Perhaps if I could get my mind off the things that weren’t working out, I could put my thoughts behind me. I roamed into the kitchen where my wife was busy cleaning something stuck to the floor; app

No other way?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If God is a reasonable God, why would he require such drastic measures to keep us in line? A little love here and there and he’s happy. . .right? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Six years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. As with most people faced with that diagnoses, my first question was, will I make it? What followed were weeks of tests, followed by weeks of chemotherapy, followed by more tests, followed by more chemotherapy, followed by what seemed like a lifetime of radiation treatments. That process took nearly six months. I had been scheduled for major surgery months prior and the date was approaching. After

Promotion?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is rejection pretty much a way of life for anyone looking to grow in grace? Should we need to be prepared for the ear that just doesn’t hear what we hear and the heart that cannot accept what we love? Ought this to control how we promote our God? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I love good music. I can really get into a Beethoven symphony or a Mozart concerto. Listening to a piece of music like this, something put together with such great craft and skill, is gratifying since there is so much to hear. Just the fact that these compositions are still around after years must say something? Ultimately, I guess you coul

Redundancy?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Should we be persistent when we pray, eager to demonstrate to the Lord that redundancy, however seemingly ineffective, is the way to offer our prayers? Does God loves redundancy when it comes to praying? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Here’s a story. One evening 6-year-old Bobby asked his father for a pet. ‘Sorry, Son,’ his father said, ‘not now. But if you pray real hard for two months, maybe God will send you a baby brother.’ Bobby prayed faithfully for a month, but when nothing happened, he gave up. How surprised he was, when a month later, a little baby boy arrived at their home, or so Bobby thought when he s

Getting dirty?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How are you using your hands today? It’s something that each of us ought to think about on a daily basis but we seldom do. Do they touch others in tenderness or push them away in strife? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. God has given us many ways to use our hands. Hands can be weapons and hands can bless. Hands can crush, push down and hinder, and hands can support and lift up. We use our hands to bless, to comfort, to deliver mercy or just deliver a wave “hello,” and we use the same hands to push others away, block their advance, even offend with an obscene gesture. When we employ our hands in the work that God ha

Disturbing the peace?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we have to deal with the imposing and interrupting power of feuding in our lives, isn’t it incredible how a small conflict can blow up and suddenly destroy the fabric of peace in our lives? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. There are many ways to disturb the peace. Since it will be the Fourth of July in just a few weeks, the peace in our little valley will be disturbed for weeks prior to the event and especially to those coming after the event by left-over firecrackers and bottle rockets. Every now and then, our cool summer evenings will be rudely interrupted by a nearby explosion and burst of juvenile laughter

Little Blue Engine

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we ask God to intercede in our lives or in those of others, ought we really begin that intercession with the mindset that there will be no stopping until we’ve conquered the hill that’s staring us in the face? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. It’s been said that persistent people begin their success where others end in failure. How true that is friends. Oh, we’re all familiar with the rhymes and songs that talk about this. “Winners never lose, and losers never win.” And the books–I remember reading The Little Blue Engine, (talk about persistence) many times to my children as they grew up. It was the little eng

Challenged?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Wouldn’t it be great if we put the requisite energy and commitment into the spiritual challenges God gives us? If we just had the personality it takes to match the spiritual situations that God might bring into our lives every day? What a force we would be? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Each year until recently I placed Christmas lights on a tall spruce tree in our front yard. Since the tree grew about eight inches or so a year, every year it got more difficult to get the lights on the entire tree. Reason dictated that there would come a time when I would have to move to a smaller tree or, perhaps, only trim it

Selfie-me?

My friend, may I ask you a question? A statement about “me” first is the norm these days prior to any opportunity to serve others. While it may be important to be heard and perhaps even seen, how important is it to know that others know we’re listening and allowing them to, perhaps, be first? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When my two oldest grandsons, James and Jayson, were growing up, they were fairly competitive in most things. There was an incident some years ago when James, at the time only a little over three, and Jayson, not quite two, were visiting Nana and Papa for the day. I was having a snack and was just about to bite into one of the pre

Compelling fitness?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What compels you to stay healthy? Are you a slave for the sake of your body? How about other things in life? Would it be better if you walked in the spirit of righteousness to benefit the spirit rather than your body? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. For decades I have been in the habit of walking a mile or so every morning. I started this routine while in my early thirties and today, over thirty years later, nothing much has changed, other than, perhaps, the pace. Over the course of years I’ve walked with a dog on leash, jogged, even race-walked. No matter the speed or style however, it’s always been a morning rou

Passing away?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is there ever a good time to think about our own passing? I mean literally. Is there a good time to picture our own demise and discover in that thought a comfort, a legitimate purpose, in the going away and not coming back again? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Have you ever gone to you own funeral? Naturally, of course, it’s not possible, but many if not all of us have at times fantasized what it might be like. We imagine the setting, the mourning, the consoling that would be going on all around the bier. “Oh how they will miss me, we think.” “They should have appreciated me more while I was alive.” That’s the mo

Accept the praise?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you able to glorify in the moment and rejoice in the goodness that has been bestowed upon you because of Christ? Are you able to accept the gift and join in the praise becoming a part of a huge victory celebration? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. A number of years ago I was honored by a group I had served with a plaque thanking me for my service on their Board of Directors. It was the usual dinner and speakers’ meeting and my presentation was at the end of the evening’s event. After I was introduced I was asked to say a few words. I was retiring from the Board and as I looked out over the audience nearly twent

Ice breaking?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If there is an agonizing no-man’s land of crushing and pain as repentance plows into our pride, can the Old Man of sin only be exchanged for the New Man in Christ through the agony and pain of repentance? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. It’s springtime and it’s great to celebrate the warm weather, all of our bird friends returning from the south, gentle rains, and the promises of summer in the air. However, springtime in Wisconsin doesn’t happen easily. Getting to spring means getting through late winter and sometimes a very stubborn period of time where winter just won’t let go of its hold on air, land and water.

Covenant?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is the purpose of covenants? Are they just for show, or is there a much deeper purpose to the symbols of a promise like those stars, stripes and colors? What about God’s covenants? Are we surrounded by the symbols of his promises but have not reached out to touch, feel and wrap ourselves in them? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When I was in 8th grade I was the designated keeper of the flag. Each morning when I arrived at school I secured the flag from principal’s office, and raised it to staff. In the afternoon when classes were over, it was my job to lower it, fold it properly and return it to the office.

Is monkery the only choice?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Has God given us the power to make something of ourselves, with the ability to withstand temptations and obey his law? The answer lies in what we have done to prepare ourselves to receive that power. Is our role a mystical or manifestly real? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Sometimes it’s difficult, especially for Christians, for you and I to comprehend the level of authority we have over our own minds and bodies. As every Christian ought, we pray daily that the Lord would grant us his grace and mercy, protecting us from Satan, keeping us from temptation, enabling us faithfully to follow him and obey his will for

Over-comers?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Did you know that there is a 1 in 645 chance that you might die in an auto accident and a 1 in 96 chance of dying from a drug overdose? Is it possible we’re in the trenches, ducking, dodging and, frankly, defying some pretty scary odds? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When you and I begin to sort out all of the things that oppose us on a daily basis, it’s truly a fearful thing. First of all we wake up in the morning. What are the odds of that? Well, about 1 in 100,000 are the odds if you are between 15 and 24. If you are 66 like me, the odds aren’t anywhere near that good. In general, however, there are pretty go

Something over nothing?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you take simple words and connect them with the Holy Spirit what makes them powerful. Is the power in the preacher or in the equipment? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I own an old table saw. Since my remodeling days are mostly behind me now, the saw sits neglected in pieces around my workshop. As room is a premium, a big saw like that with leaves and a stand had become a clutter mostly, and years ago I had removed the base and stored this in the wood shed, the guards and guides and piled these elsewhere, the belt and motor stored in a box, leaving the saw itself sitting on the end of my workbench. The saw ha

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Mark

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