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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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Broken branches?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Can inner peace only happen when we show mercy and a forgiving spirit, a spirit that humbly bends and bows to the hurts and pains of the wrongs that others inflict upon us? Is there someone in your life that has wronged you? Don't try to bear up under the fury of your own hurt emotions. Are you able to be merciful and forgive and keep your heart green and growing. Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Years ago, one of the most severe storms in many years pounded our four little acres. It came out of the northwest embedded in dark, angry clouds. We saw it approaching in the twilight and could hear its snarl off in the distance as

The music?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes it takes the darkness of the night to bring out the light within us. Do you ever feel that your dreams have been shattered and you feel all alone in the darkness of despair? Yet, is adversity God’s tool for revealing the light that dwells within each of us? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Since I get up early in the mornings before the sun has risen, I am pretty used to walking in the semi-darkness of the early morning. Several times a week I travel back to the old burning barrel with a few days worth of non-recyclables to be burned. The barrel is at the far end of the property and, in the dark, you have to feel yo

Risk?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Discouragement. Is there any doubt that some day you and I will feel it? Perhaps you are sitting on the ash heap of life right now, wondering what possible good could come from it? How can there be another side to the pain and the sorrow? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Discouragement comes into our lives without invitation. It just shows up, usually at the most unexpected and inconvenient of times. It’s pretty much a sure thing. The question really is what do we do with it when it finds us? The choice seems clear; we can either see it as a cross or hold it up as a blessing. When we recognize that even discouragement has a p

Impossible?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What binds us to God? Certainly it is the day-to-day sustaining that provides the tie? But is it also the fact that He does the impossible that consistently brings us back to the heights of belief? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. One of the more touching moments in Frank Capra's movie "It's a Wonderful Life", is when the dad, George Bailey, "fixes" ZuZu's little rose that had lost a petal. "Paste it, Daddy!" The little girl pleads. George turns away and works his magic on the sad little rose. After deftly putting the stray petal in his vest pocket, he presents it back to her restored as if by magic back to its rightful bloom

Discouragement?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What’s having faith all about? As Christians, should we be leading the way when it comes to serving others, because that’s what Christ did and He’s asking us to do the same thing with our faith? Isn’t it the only right way to live a life of faith? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Recently I decided to replace the upstairs bathroom sink. Since replacing a sink involves disconnecting and re-connecting the plumbing lines and fixture, we decided that it would be a good time to replace the fixture and valves as well. Even though the old fixture didn’t link, the finish had become dull and scratched over the years. It took a weekend

Faith works?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What’s having faith all about? As Christians, should we be leading the way when it comes to serving others, because that’s what Christ did and He’s asking us to do the same thing with our faith? Isn’t it the only right way to live a life of faith? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. The easy way out. Sad to say, there isn’t one of us who hasn’t looked for the easy way out numerous times in life. It’s human nature. Because we’re so focused on ourselves and not others, it’s natural to do what comes easiest--that which pleases us and accounts for the least amount of effort and work on our part. I do it all the time; putting one nai

Just standing and watching?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does standing and watching seems to be the national pastime of many Christians these days? It seems that we want things to change but are always telling ourselves that we aren’t the ones to initiate the changes? Yet, isn’t true faith really all about change? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “I just can’t believe that anyone could be so discourteous.” I heard my coworker say as I walked by her open office door. “All I asked them to do was to send me a fax. But instead they told me that I had to drive for a half and hour to pick-up something they could have faxed in a minute!” I stopped to find out what had gone wrong. It seems

More than just blossoms?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you have a deep faith in Christ but have never put it to work telling others about him, is your faith in a real danger in and of itself? When faith exists but never does, is it pretty to look at, but essentially meaningless without the fruit of that faith? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. It’s spring and the plum trees are blooming in our roadside orchard. The trees are gorgeous as they blossom out in a profusion of pink-tinted, white blossoms. Literally each tree must have thousands of blossoms. Yet, despite their beauty, I worry this year for the plum harvest. Even though I know that probably only one out of fifty blosso

Balance?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we consider our faith is it a beautiful thing all by itself? Or, is a beautiful faith something that really can’t stand all by itself? If it doesn’t have legs, something to keep us in synch with God, ultimately is it revealed for what it is–a sham? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Dry-fly-fishing has always intrigued me; so I seldom do anything else. Dry-fly fishing is a challenge because, as any dry-fly fisherman knows, it all comes down to presentation and technique. You need to present the fish something that looks good to eat. But, that is only the half of it. Without technique, the fish soon realizes that what it’s

Trust?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is knowing what to do when life presents its challenges, even crises, only a small part of the battle to find the answers? Ultimately, does it take a power more compelling than self-will to make what we know work together for good in life? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I remember when I was first learning to drive. It was a sobering experience the day my father said, “Take the wheel son.” The perspective from behind the wheel was not at all what I had expected having always viewed the road past my father’s head from way back in the recesses of our family station wagon. Now I was in command. In my life there were few moment

Grace?

My friend, may I ask you a question? No matter how hard we try to assume the role of God in our own lives and those of others, will we ever be able to put ourselves on His level? Is it true that He is always in control and He and only He has a full understanding of the situation? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “If you’re sure that you definitely know the answer, you are probably wrong!” Those words still ring in my ears though it’s been decades since I last sat in his classroom. Kind old Professor Kirwan, had a knack for reminding a sophomore that in his class it was illogical to think that we knew anything absolutely. Kirwan preferred that we introduce our re

Mighty?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is God’s role in bad news? Is he guiding it to a conclusion or allowing it to run its course? We say that God is sovereign, that he is in control. But, what does that mean? Does It sometimes seem that Satan is in control, or that the World has stepped between God and us? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. What is God’s role in bad news? Is he guiding it to a conclusion or allowing it to run its course? We say that God is sovereign, that he is in control. But, what does that mean? It sometimes seems that Satan is in control, or that the World has stepped between God and us. But, what is the illusion and what is the fact? It

Justice?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you or I deserve anything from God in the way of blessings? How about our fair share of what is good and sought after in this life? Does anyone really have a right to their portion of anything in this life? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “I don’t deserve this? Why do I have to put up with so much frustration and grief when others walk around enjoying life, going on trips to Hawaii and buying a new car whenever they want?” Perhaps you’ve never said this out loud; but there probably isn’t a person among us who at least hasn’t thought it. I happened to turn on the television recently while I was preparing a snack for myself

Trouble?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is every problem in this life an opportunity to prove God’s power?Every day do we encounter countless golden opportunities, brilliantly disguised as insurmountable problems? Is the trick always being on alert for opportunities disguised as problems? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Isn't it strange how one man’s problem can become another man’s opportunity? It seems that sometimes some of our worst challenges, discarded or passed on, often are picked up again by someone else and everything changes. Years ago I had a car that presented some problems. It had been stored in another man’s barn for a number of years and wasn’t dri

Forward?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When the daunting tasks of life face us, is it often better to choose forging ahead as opposed to dwelling on yesterday's threats or challenges? Will God give us time to think and time to act in this life especially when it comes to our willingness to seek Him? 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. Deciding is: knowing when the waiting needs to end and the starting begins. A number of years ago I had the task of building a banister for the stairway going down into our basement recreation room. Now banisters, complete with railing, insets and b

Mercy?

Mercy? (05.09.19—A Forgiving Spirit!--Colossians 3: 12-14 ) My friend, may I ask you a question? Will there ever come a time when the thought of forgiving is repulsive us? When wrongs are so deep and the pain is so intense, could this be the time when God moves in and reminds us of our need to show compassion, even to those who, don’t seem to merit it.? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Did you ever wonder how God could be so forgiving? Perhaps the answer is best found at the foot of the cross. We look up in pity at our Savior, bleeding, slumped and dying. But, look again and see the sacrifice; face and body contorted by pain, He isn’t pretty to look at. Why? Sim

Thorns?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you carrying a burden in your heart or mind, and it seems like a thorn in your flesh which is always troubling you, should you take it to God? If He doesn’t remove it from you, will He give you his strength to enable you to cope? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I was watching a little wren the other day trying to clean out one of our birdhouses. He’d dart into the house and then appear at the hole with a stick that wouldn’t fit through the hole as he held it crossways in his beak. He tried this a couple of times and each time the twig dropped back down to the bottom of the box. Evidently, some other wren a bit smarter th

Perspective?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we choose to see our problems as obstacles, something to try to find our way around instead of something that can be removed, do we often end up making the problem bigger and deeper than it is? Can we lose perspective and the problem looms rather than exists? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. The best way through a problem is through it. Have you ever heard that said? Take, for example, the Biblical giant Goliath. The Israelites had two choices presented to them. They could either go out and do battle with him as he had beckoned them to or they could seek a way around him without having to fight him. Thy chose the latter

Did you?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When you and I follow Christ is it often a temptation to spend most of our time praising His name but not lighting any fires under unbelievers by giving them an opportunity to hear the Word and receive the Spirit of God? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Years ago I burned trash on Wednesday mornings. Since it was a chore I did it prior to going to the office, as my time was limited. I had two boxes of matches in the garage for the purpose of igniting the trash. One box had been there for some time and the other was new. I wanted to use the old box up, so I’d been trying to use these first. The problem was, the matches were sl

Our Father?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is the most comforting thing about being a Christian the fact that our God is not a God who sits back and simply watches us mess up? Is He a God who not only cares about us; but a God who cares so much that He actually follows our every footstep in this life? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Being followed can be unnerving or it can be very reassuring. Everything depends on knowing who’s following you. Years ago my family and I went on a vacation in the vicinity of Lake Superior. It was a long trip and we were pulling our old Airstream travel trailer behind us. Prior to leaving for the trip our trailer brake lights had failed

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