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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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Real blessings?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If God never sleeps, why is it that we so often lose sleep over things that we can’t control? Think about it, how often have you’ve gone to bed at night worried about what might happen tomorrow, the day after that, or even farther down the road? Did that worry bless you in any way? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Years ago I used to occasionally sleep over at my Grandpa’s cottage. He lived on a lake and every now and then a sum- mer storm would brew up over the lake and come crashing over the water right smack dab into his little cottage. The wind would blow and the windows rattled. But, my grandfather slept throu

Good shepherding?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes were pushing and when God is pulling us. Or, for that matter, we pull when He’s pushing. Isn’t that how we often act toward God; thinking we can do it alone, when His help would make it a whole lot easier? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I recently bought a remnant roll of carpeting at a local discount store and had it loaded into the old Suburban by two young clerks. Arriving home, I opened the back doors of the truck and eyed the roll carefully. It took two guys to lift it into the truck and I wondered if I would be able to unload as easily. “Let’s see. They looked like they were in their early twentie

Trapped?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What do our lives look like to the God when we complicate the simple by not following His obvious direction by not looking to Him for answers to our problems? We’re busy living life our way that we don’t hear Him trying to get our attention? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. It’s been said that there are “two types of people: those who simplify the complicated and those that complicate the simple.” This was demonstrated to me the other day when our postal delivery person decided that our mail had to be delivered to the house as opposed to leaving it in the box up on the road. She drove down our driveway and made the

Amazing grace!

My friend, may I ask you a question? When the going gets tough, are you predisposed to examine first your emotions and, which often proves to be the downfall, connect these quickly with your hands and feet? Could it be that actions based purely on emotions seldom result in the ideal solution for anything? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. “Whatever you do, keep your head about you!” As often as I was warned of this, I’ve seldom stopped to really appreciate what that advice really meant. “Keep my head?” I thought. “That’s easy enough. It’s still attached. It’s my life that seems to be drifting away somewhere!” Keeping one’s head is pretty basic and some

Pathways?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes the paths we walk are different, even far apart from those we love. Perhaps it's not a fact that we and they are always on the same path that matters? Perhaps what matters is where our paths lead? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When Holly and I stood at the altar over three decades ago I can still remember Pastor Mueller repeating the Scripture: "and the two shall be one flesh." What a feeling of oneness that left me with at the time as my sweaty hand held her calm fingers in mine. Since that moment I don't think I have ever felt closer to my wife. Now, fast-forward over thirty years. Is that feeling th

Miracles?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Have you ever wondered why things so often happen at unexpected times and sometimes so subtlety that we really weren’t aware of the whole picture until everything had happened and we could look back and see the hand of God in it all? Does God sometimes work like that? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. There’s an old expression that says, “If you believe hard enough, even the impossible can be tamed.” I don’t know who said it; but I know for a fact it’s true. A number of years ago my wife and I found ourselves in a financial situation that required just the right combination of events and circumstances to allow us to

Come fly with God?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Since God already knows what we’re praying for and, for that matter, knows how He will answer our prayers, is it natural for us to say, “Why even bother? If God has it covered is there any reason for us to be asking?” My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Praying with confidence! Sometimes that’s hard to do when we know how little control we really have over our lives. How often have you felt hopeless as you prayed; confident God would hear you, but unsure that He would really do any- thing about it? More than any other factor affecting our prayers, this one stands out above all the rest. We pray, but lack any confidenc

Work in progress?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you a work in progress, or have you reached your ultimate level of achievement in life? If you think about what might yet go wrong, you never take a chance to find out. How sad and lonely a life that would be. Don’t we just need to give it a try, even when the outcome is uncertain? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Elbert Hubbard, a man whose writings I've long admired, once wrote this: "Do not take life too seriously; you will never man whose writings I've long admired, once wrote this: "Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive." As you and I begin another New Year, that's profitable a

Dare to dream?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to a recipe for living, are you willing, perhaps, dare to mix it up a bit? Is that what God is asking you to do? Or, is God asking each of us to follow a similar course in life, doing about the same things in the same way? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I'm one of those guys who enjoys cooking. I was single for a number of years and it came in handy knowing how to throw together a decent tasting dinner. I married a woman who is both a good cook and a great baker. Going into marriage Holly and I were a potential tag-team when it came to getting dinner on the table for a family of six, that is until s

Living richly?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you "just living" today; or, are you surviving? Sometimes doesn’t it make sense that we need to take stock of our lives and just, well, live them to the fullest. It doesn't matter what we wear, where we live or what we have to eat as long as we are alive and living? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Sometimes I wonder who is the wiser, a five-year-old who knows little but thinks much or a 58-year-old who knows much but rations his thinking. My little grandson Jakob was visiting Papa and Nana recently and for a rare moment he wasn't running, shouting or eating. I came down the hallway into the living room and the

Little sins?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do some sins start out simple but become something far more serious? What seems harmless, even ubiquitous, at the beginning may be nothing more than a seed of sin that once planted, grows into a deadly nightshade or poisonous vine? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. There’s a science to writing good assembly instructions. Many years ago I worked with a man who was responsible for putting together assembly instructions for a line of lawn and garden tractors as well as the attachments that went with them. He told me something that has stuck with me until this day. “Instructions.” he emphasized, “would never be read if

Useful?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is your hope sustained us through trials, patience, which in turn makes you steadfast? Is it true that sometimes the bad things in life have a hidden good side if only we are willing to be patient and see what those good things might be? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I had the occasion this past autumn to go down to market days in my local town. It was a crisp, early fall day; the sun was shining and there were literally hundreds of people milling through the streets carrying bags of produce, fruit and sundry other items that were being vended down Main Street. One vendor was selling helium-filled balloons to th

Small wonders?

My friend, may I ask you a question? As Christians, you and I are just one small cog in a mighty wheel of purpose that God has constructed to do His purpose here on earth. When you come right down to it, how important are we among so many? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. As I was driving home from the office the other day I saw a large flock of Canada Geese, probably over 50 or 60 birds, dozing on a farm pond off the side of the highway. It struck me how all the birds looked the same. None stood out as a leader. They were huddled together, seemingly oblivious to the cars and trucks driving by. Then, as I approached the pond I noticed a small dog that

Trust and obey?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What does panic feel like? Is it like a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind which eventually cuts a channel into which all our thoughts are drained? If so, does panic ever have a place in our minds? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. The slope of our driveway here at Beech Springs is such that if you cut a small channel in the middle of the drive, everything on either side of the channel will eventually drain into it. My wife Holly has always enjoyed cutting that channel. It's something about controlling the flow of that water that has always attracted her. She makes just a small cut into the ice in the wi

Honesty?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it possible for little cracks lead to big breaks? And, what happens when big breaks lead to big problems? If you don’t see the warning signs in the first place, can those little cracks become something hard to cope with altogether? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Ralph Waldo Emerson, once wrote, “A little honesty is better than any career.” Wouldn’t it be great if that little tidbit was printed on the outside of every diploma conferred on the young men and women in our country this year? Can you imagine each one of them dwelling, if but for a moment, on that kind of wisdom? In a culture so obsessed with success

Sincerity?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it possible for little cracks lead to big breaks? And, what happens when big breaks lead to big problems? If you don’t see the warning signs in the first place, can those little cracks become something hard to cope with altogether? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I bought a box of wood screws recently. The box was plastic-wrapped, so there was no way to really inspect them. I took the screws home and, drill to screw head, began turning in the first screw. After only a few turns the screw snapped halfway down its shank. The next two screws did the same thing. Finally, I dumped the contents of the entire box

Integrity?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Those momentary pangs of conscience, are often there for a split second; when we’re tempted to cheat on our taxes or fudge a job resume. Isn’t it true that the odds of getting caught in these moments are so minimal that we can rationalize them away? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My grandmother called them “Tiny Moments.” She’d say, “In a “tiny moment,” you could have done this or that another way.” I never really stopped much to think about those two little words while my grandmother was on this earth. Now, decades later, I completely understand what she was talking about. She was always advising us on behavior,

Used up?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Can we find a similar spiritual peace in this life even when the events of life leave us empty, even emotionally used up? When we find ourselves without purpose, used up, is that the end, or does God have something else in mind? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Is there peace in emptiness? I mean, being filled up and strong seems to be the best time to experience peace and wellbeing. But, how about when we're empty, energy spent and body tired? Is there any peace when we're worn out and used up? I had the opportunity find that out just the other day. I had just finished raking over a foot of snow from the roof and

A quiet place?

A My friend, may I ask you a question? If you and I could find 15 minutes, even 10, every day to be completely ”tuned out” of all the media, all the ambient background noise of life, would we might find ourselves tuned into God on a frequency totally devoid of all of life’s interference? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. A New Year; now what? What's the first thing you and I ought to be doing as we gaze out upon a brand New Year? I've given this a lot of thought and have come up with something that may be a little surprising to most; I believe that perhaps the most important thing to do is to find some time inside this day and every day following to be

Small light, big beam?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Did you ever find it intriguing how God often uses the small things, the insignificant things in life to reveal great truths to us? Is it our job to make good things happen or just a matter of answering the call and letting Him do the work? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I ventured down into our basement and turned on the lights. I knew that screwdriver was there somewhere. I had just used it and I knew I had set it down somewhere amid the boxes, cabinet and pantry shelves. I scanned each cabinet and shelf looking for a tell-tale glint of steel that would mark the spot where I had laid it. My three year-old grand

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