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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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Keep singing?

My friend, may I ask you a question? As Christians, should you and I want to be down on the playing floor with Jesus? Sitting in the stands watching but not participating– is that good enough for a Christian determined to spread the gospel no matter what? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. As a boy I wanted more than anything just to fit in. I was an asthmatic, so I wasn’t able to play sports. Yet, I really wanted to sit on the bench with my friends during the basketball games. One day I suggested to our coach that perhaps it would be good if we had someone on the bench to act as a student manager. I could keep a first aid kit in the event that one of the players

No other option?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Perhaps the only difference between the possible and the impossible is how determined we are to do the work? Even when it may be a weary and discouraging journey at times, does making it, come heck or high water, the only option we really have? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. What’s the difference between the possible and the impossible? I remember confronting that recently as I was cutting down a stubborn, old gnarled, elm tree. Since elm is the type of wood that twists and snaps unexpectedly, there’s always a chance that, despite your best plan, the tree just isn’t going to cooperate. And that’s just what happened. Instead

Take another look?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Rather than concentrating on the trials of life, should we fix our attention upon the many blessings we have that may be more obvious than we know? Perhaps the more we stare at trouble, the more we'll miss the blessings God has placed right before our very eyes? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Years ago our rescue dog, Annie, and our senior Dachshund, Webley, didn’t like each other very much. Most of the time they give each other a wide berth so as to avoid the eventual snarl and snap they share in natures. I remember a time, however, the avoidable became unavoidable. I had called the dogs to their evening supper and they al

Gentle spirit?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What motivates our giving? If we give to others because God has given to us, is this true charity? Should our charity glorify God from the heart while putting the things of this life in their rightful places? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. The acetic life, free from the bondage of riches and the inevitable ties that possessions and material wealth so tether us with, has been embraced by some over the centuries, as the true, charitable way of life. Unfortunately, most of us wouldn’t live up to such standards of poverty. Besides if these were the true measures of charity, what a miserable, poor, and abject world this would be

Be happy?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is there an inner brand of happiness much more potent and powerful than just plain happiness? How about a heart filled with joy serving others? Is doing something for others despite how wearisome, even toilsome it might be for you the key? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. What’s the secret of true happiness? Here’s a story: “Why is he always so happy?” the disgruntled and tired driver mumbled to himself. A little old man, gaunt and thin, was crossing the intersection in front of Joe’s idling car. He was obviously poor. Joe saw him cross this intersection almost every day. Every day he wore the same irksome smile beaming from

Bearing up?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is enduring all about? Is endurance in sorrow, pain and hardship a curse or a blessing? Does God ordain these things, or are they the result of Satan’s predations? What is really in the balance when we are able to endure, bear up when others may falter? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. In my freshman year at Marquette University I was one of the many hundreds of frosh who so pledged themselves to a fraternity. Mine was a military fraternity: Pershing Rifles. It seemed that if old Sigma Chi did this or that, Pershing Rifles wouldn't to be outdone. It was one of the more dreadful weeks of my life as I found myself abandone

Empty tomb?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is the story of Easter? Is it the story of the one who was transformed; who in his death became life? Did it change the hearts and lives of his disciples and followers on the Easter morning so long ago? How has it changed you and I? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Years ago I worked at a summer camp as a dishwasher. My best friend Marcus worked with me washing dishes and bussing tables. We were pretty much inseparable from June through August. During our lunch hours we took our break in the game room as it was a good place to eat lunch and also play table tennis. Marcus was an expert player; although we were the best of

The cross

May I ask you a question? Are there limits to God’s love? The Bible tells us that “the length and depth” of this love “surpasses knowledge”. Does God’s love reach deeper than anything we know and stretch farther than anything that can be imagined? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. When it comes to smart choices, sometimes waiting things out, gives them time to settle. The art of decision here is knowing when the waiting needs to end and the starting begins. Recently I had the task of building a banister. Now banisters, complete with railing, insets and base plates, have a lot of angles and cuts to consider. Simply, the geometry and precision required o

Holy murder?

May I ask you a question? Are there limits to God’s love? The Bible tells us that “the length and depth” of this love “surpasses knowledge”. Does God’s love reach deeper than anything we know and stretch farther than anything that can be imagined? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Sometimes we reach the limits of our patience and love and call it quits. I got there recently with a bathroom, remodeling job I was doing. Nothing went right for weeks and I finally “reached my limits.” I threw in the towel and called a handyman to install a shower surround. I had run out of patience, time and motivation. Where once my “do-it-yourself” nature had been the ov

God cares?

May I ask you a question? What is it about us that compels God’s love? Could it be that He continues to love us, even seek us out because of our weaknesses? Why does God, who sees us in our sinful state, hunched over and mourning for our sin, reach out for us and pick us up? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Over the years we’ve lived with a pack of dogs that has ranged in size from a miniature Dachshund to a full-size Chocolate Lab. Between the two, the tiniest and the tallest, were two other dogs in various sizes. Dogs, I am told, don’t really regard size. Big or little, their aggressiveness is determined by behavior and not by size. Because of this,

Cutting the rope?

May I ask you a question? When life gets really rough, do you believe that God can save you or do you hold tightly to you own abilities? These are tangible. We can see and know them. But God? How can our senses know Him if it is a matter of trust and trust alone? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. My son owns a rescue dog called Annie. When he got the dog, he had no idea that Annie was a leaper. When we used to put Annie into the dog run enclosure in the backyard, we felt reasonably sure that she wouldn’t be able to get out. For a few days she was fine but she had a habit of running to the far end of the run, next to a large tree and simply staring out

Miracles?

May I ask you a question? Do you find it odd that we often wait for what we can expect, looking beyond the things we can’t? How better it would be if our only concern in this life was for our daily provision, while leaving the unexpected up to God and Him alone? Miracles are not merely stories that we read about in the Bible. Isn’t it true that God is capable of doing them without our expectation? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Spring has arrived and Holly and I are out walking in the yard again. We wandered through the orchard the other day, inspecting the bursting buds on each tree. I expected to see buds and I wasn’t disappointed when I observed

Fork in the Road?

May I ask you a question? Can any other religion claim this; their leaders died and all that was left to provide comfort and direction was a dead body? Can we be confident in asking directions and finding our way to eternal life. Because he found his way, we will find ours? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Like most men I don’t like asking for directions. When I get turned around driving, I like to rely first on my wits and on my ability to figure things out for myself. Nonetheless, there are times when, exhausting my store of grit and wisdom, I am simply forced to stop and utter those dreaded words–“Can you help me?” But, despite the fact that I will

Indeed?

May I ask you a question? Ought we believe that after this life another life awaits us, a life so much more fulfilling and wonderful that it will make this one seem insignificant, even trivial? Why does this seem so foolish to the world? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. A young man came to my door the other day peddling cookies and other treats that would benefit his elementary school. He was one of the most persuasive young men I’ve ever faced. When I opened my door he stood there with a broad smile across his face and his product prominently displays right before my eyes. This young man had been trained and trained well. While I’m not uncharitable,

If?

May I ask you a question? Is today probably the best time to let others know just how much you care? Perhaps we won’t regret yesterdays as much if we ask ourselves each day, “What can I share of myself today with someone whom I love? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. One of the sad things I’ve discovered about growing older is that I’ve become increasingly aware of how much I missed when I was younger. I’m not talking about the fun and adventure. I had plenty of that growing up. No, I’m talking about the questions I should have asked parents and grandparents now long gone. I was particularly reminded of this the other day as I was paging through an ins

Savior?

May I ask you a question? When you think about it, when God offers us substitutionary justice with Jesus paying the price for all of our sins, our slate wiped clean, isn’t it the sweetest deal we could ever have asked for? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. In a newspaper recently I ran across a very unusual story. It seems that a Georgia traffic judge, known for her harshness in handing out stiff fines, now has a new reputation. A young man was convicted of numerous parking offenses. The judge passed sentence and levied the fine. When the young man pleaded that he was out of work and couldn’t pay the fine, the judge adjourned the court and left the you

My God?

May I ask you a question? Are the lost in hell crying, “O if I only had not.” Is the problem with regret that it occupies the time we could spend building, learning, serving and discovering? Does God gives you and I countless opportunities to do the right thing? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Years ago I worked as a stock boy at a local grocery store. One of the guys I worked with, Roger, sticks in my memory. Roger always kept a thick wad of papers and pens in his shirt pocket. Everything was tucked neatly into a pocket protector. On the lip of the pocket protector he had written the number 20/20. One day I just had to ask him what that meant. His r

He carries us?

May I ask you a question? How often we are faced with some pretty heavy burdens in life; when we try to carry them ourselves but know that, in the end, there is a better burden carrier than we–someone with the divine muscle to do the job and the everlasting willingness to be asked? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. As I get older I find it easier to share the burden with a good many things in this life. Where once I would have been too proud to ask someone else for help, I am now finding it easier to say those words: “Can you give me a hand?” I was moving a table saw recently from the basement to a remodeling project upstairs. I knew that I had to go u

Hands?

May I ask you a question? Who is the real Jesus? Is it the Jesus with his marred and nail-pierced hands? Is it this picture that reminds us that he has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Did you ever notice how many Jesus’s there are out there? There’s Jesus the prophet and good teacher. There’s Jesus the good man who was murdered by the Romans. There’s Jesus the Son of God who was not equal to God but lives with God. Then there’s Jesus the beloved of God who died trying to change the world. And, in the latest edition, there’s Jesus who was a great leader, got married and was eventually deified by a bunch

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