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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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Wasted?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we ignore the little things, “actions of the common day,” do we doom ourselves to lives of mediocrity at best and wasted lives at worst? Does character count because character, being able to learn from the small and ordinary events of life, makes us aware of the "big" things when they actually happen to us? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. "It's the little things that count!" Growing up this phrase had special meaning in my life. No, not because I enjoyed hearing it or, for that matter, even putting it to good use in my life. Rather, it was one of what I called the "BR" phrases. You know, the "broken record" phrases th

Peace?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you able to be glad even when you're tempted to be sad? When you opt for gladness over sadness are you opening the door to life, with the "coming and going" that the LORD will bless? If you start counting your blessings and using some glad words, might they come in handy when sadness is knocking at your heart.? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. What's the secret to contentment? I guess if we knew that, we'd be able to promote a whole lot more of peace in the world and a lot less conflict. Remember that old Disney movie, Pollyanna? Pollyanna was a happy little girl and it liter- ally drove most people around her to distra

Restored?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it difficult for you to forgive; to let go of resentment? When someone has done something to you that seems unforgivable, are you willing to give that person an opportunity to repent? If not, is it possible you are missing one of the most peaceful times of life? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. How powerful is resentment. When we look back at the person or the thing that has injured us or humiliated us, how easy it is to burn with that emotion. That strange concoction of revenge and hurt, is both a powerful weapon and and an impenetrable defense. I remember reading a story about a society belle living in the Confederate

Pull power?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Did you ever find yourself pulling real hard to get something done, but getting discouraged? Is it that we don’t like to do something if we think we’re the only one pulling? Well, does that apply to others in our lives who might need some pulling as well? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. "It just isn't fair." Funny how fairness, or our often felt feelings of "being the only one" can often lead us to stop trying. I have a friend who works in a large, corporate setting. She's been there for many years and has long seen her place of employment as a home, not just a place to work. She took great pride in her job and serving her

The crown?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does adding stress to my our daily routine help us overcome the stress of spiritual growth, as we get older. When taking on the stress of other people’s burdens, is that the best way of efficiently using that stress? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Conditioning. It's an important part of any fitness program. Years ago when arthritis first struck at my hands and knees, a doctor told me this: "If you start a sensible but very active muscle strengthening program, you'll be better able to overcome the stiffness and your mobility, despite the inevitable deterioration caused by arthritis, will stabilize due to better muscle stre

How ironic?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Can overconfidence, coupled with negligence, lead to sad consequences at times? Doesn’t it seem that it is the case when a person is so sure of himself that he becomes careless about little things that may pose a threat? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I’m always lifting things that I shouldn’t lift. If my wife needs a chair moved from one side of the room to the other, I’m right there lifting it even though she has offered to help. Last weekend I cleaned out the back garage where we keep the lawn and garden equipment. The leaf vacuum is one of the heavy pieces of equipment, along with the log splitter, that we store back th

Flight?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we lack self-control, do the bad things that we do while not under control often turn into bad habits that always come back to bite? How does a Christian gain insights into getting a handle of self control? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. The Bible lists “self-control” as one of the greatest of virtues. The ability to exert control over oneself is probably one of the hardest things in this world to do. Controlling others is easy, you and I are very adept at casting our powers of will over friends, coworkers and family; but when it comes to applying that same level of control to ourselves, that’s a mountain in our lives

Why God?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When bad, even tragic things happen to us, where is God? What about God? If it’s true that he is sovereign over all things are under His control, why doesn’t He always make things right? Why do bad things happen to us? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. “If only I had driven just a little faster over that last few blocks; I would have made it through this red light on the yellow!” How often have you found yourself saying that? “If only this or only that!” I do this all the time; it has become habitual. It’s human nature to make excuses when things don’t turn out right, or at least the way we feel they ought to have turned out.

If you build it?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes do you find yourself so distracted by what you want to say or convey that nothing intelligent happens? It’s like that with a Christian’s life sometimes. Can we become so distracted by life that we often fail to live a life worth living? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I’m easily distracted. Perhaps it’s a product of managing the multiple priorities of ministry, business and a personal life that have gotten me accustomed to packing one thought on top of the other sometimes. One sure sign is how often I start a sentence and fail to finish it before going on to the next thought. For example, I was recently talking wit

Open doors?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does it sometimes seem that your spiritual life has burned itself out? In a sense you feel trapped in a world of temptation and there seems to be no way out? Without the power to withstand temptation, and no a clue as to how to escape, where do you turn? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I own a fair number of power tools including saws, drills, staplers and other assorted devices. Recently while working on building a deck here at Beech Springs I noticed that my trusty old power drill just didn't seem to do the job as well as it had in the past. Sometimes it would sputter and quit right in the middle of trying to put a deck sc

In the face of?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is not getting caught in sin is one of the greatest attractions of doing it in the first place? Like staring down a gun barrel, do we often choose to take the risk because it just doesn’t seem all that possible we will actually get caught? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. It’s fun to get away with things, isn’t it? You know, those things that you know are risky and you shouldn’t be doing? I remember driving with a buddy many years ago in his “hopped-up” van down a winding country road. There was a dip in the road ahead and we all knew it. The risk was apparent, but we figured what were the odds of having an accident any way

Beg pardon?

My friend, may I ask you a question? “Sympathy sees and says, ‘I’m sorry.’ Compassion sees and says, ‘I’ll help.’” Is there someone you know, perhaps a neighbor, who just needs a little bit of your mercy today? If we learn the difference, can we make a real difference in their lives? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I take care of a small cemetery in a nearby town. A number of my relatives, settlers in the area, were buried there and I’ve felt a responsibility for cutting the lawn and, in general, just taking care of the trees and markers. It’s a big job and I’ve been doing it alone for some time; that is until just recently. My son volunteered recently to go a

Forgiving?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we develop a ritual of confession, a mini-inventory, and go through it each and every night in a review of the day, does the power of repentance flood into our lives?If we need to look for signs of self-pity, self-justification, dishonesty, resentment, selfishness, and fear, perhaps we need to make a note? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I'm a list maker. Each day I start out my day with either a written list or a digital calendar in front of me. I sit down the day previous to the date and arrange the following 24 hours. Each task gets prioritized and color coded according to what part of my life it affects; green for h

Trust me?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is abiding others an important human need? Do you and I need to know what it feels like to abide others and to find comfort in the abiding of others in us? That closeness, that sense of sharing, like entering into someone else’s airspace and being tolerated, is that missing in life today? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. We live in an age where proximity is strictly regulated. Getting close to things has become difficult, getting close to people has become nearly impossible. Recently I needed access to my medical records. As I have had a number of surgical procedures accompanied by hospital stays, clinic appointments and proc

No risk?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Ultimately, since our mistakes often really end up canceling each other out, ought we to be far more motivated to assume some risk in life in order to accomplish better and greater things than we ought to be content with things just as they are with no possibility of change? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I read recently an interesting, but at first somewhat puzzling statement, from the late management consultant, Peter Drucker. He stated: "People who don't take risks generally make about two major mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year." Huh? Think about it, though. Drucker w

No problem?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Some have said that rue humility is perfect quietness of heart. Perhaps even more specifically could it be an attitude of having no trouble; never to be worried, irritated or disappointed? Is it to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to you, to feel nothing done against you at all? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. Do you get pumped up when someone praises you? On the other hand, how do you feel when the opposite holds true and you’re criticized? Even though it’s true that we feel good when praised and bad when criticized, scientists tell us that the emotion is pretty much the same. From a biologically standpoint

For Christ?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Some things, like mosquitoes, can force us to retreat without losing the battle; but, for a Christian, when is retreat not an option? When do we need to make the determination to stand for the truth, hold our ground, and, perhaps, even die for it-even where the odds seem stacked against us? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. When do you know that you’re outnumbered? I got a real good idea of some overwhelming odds the other day when I was walking up to the mailbox and decided to take a shortcut across the front lawn rather than walking up the driveway. We’ve had a lot of rain this summer and the mosquito crop is outstanding. So

Applause?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is standing alone, however noble, an innate part of our make-up as proud human beings? Most of us would say, probably not. Nonetheless, does there come a time in every Christian’s life when, led by conviction, we're compelled to stand apart even from those who may be our friends; perhaps even from those we love? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. It is easy to be bold when you have an army behind you. It's far more difficult to retain your courage when circumstances find you standing alone. Doing the right thing when no one else can see the wrong that you've righted is one of the loneliest feelings in the world. Standing alone

I can?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How many times have you felt inadequate for a task you needed to perform or a commitment you’d made? Is God willing to transform our mediocrity into something beautiful by simply adding the touch of His grace? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. I am making a set of benches to be used inside our old travel trailer and I am, by no means, a skilled furniture maker. I rely on using good wood and someone else’s plans to make my so-so carpentry look good. But, in the case of these benches, I was having a problem finding the confidence to start the project. I had good birch wood to use and a decent set of plans. But my hesitance in bu

High jump?

My friend, may I ask you a question? How difficult is it sometimes to keep our hearts open to finding potential in the midst of the mundane, even when the opportunity may be rewarding? People tell us that if we believe we can, we will? How does that work? Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner. A little good advice: be happy you have something to do no matter how mundane every day. Even though you might be forced to do it, doing your best, however boring or monotonous it might be, breeds virtue, endurance, and a potential that comes from necessity. Remember the old adage: "Necessity is the mother of invention?" There's a lot of truth in that old, wise saying. For examp

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