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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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Grab the oar?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it possible to have hope when things seem hopeless? If we are without hope how can we find it? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? One of the greatest fears that has stuck with me event to this day is a fear of deep water. There’s just something about not knowing where the bottom is that has always filled me with fear. This hasn’t, however, kept me from going out in a boat or canoe. I remember one occasion when my brothers and I were fishing on Clear Lake in northern Wisconsin. The fish hadn’t been particularly active that morning and we began doing what three boys should never to do in a small row- boat—jus

Gospel teeth?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If God gives us the tools to not only defend ourselves but also to go on the offensive against sin, why when we are threatened, do we prefer to play dead and hope that the evil will simply pass us by? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? The Hog-Nose Snake flipped over on its back and coiled itself up into a neat coil. It lay seemingly lifeless in front of us somehow waiting for us to either move on or dare to pick it up. Banking on the former, I’m sure it was pleased to see us step around and continue our meadow walk. This snake is a peculiar animal. It possesses all the weapons a snake needs to fend off a woul

Bittersweet?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Without hope that the bitter will be replaced by the sweet, would life be intolerable for a Christian? Would we be numbed into a mindless and hopeless situation, entangled in the bitterness of our daily lives?” My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Arugula is a name I may of heard of once or twice, but never really had an appreciation for what it was–over the past week that has all changed. Arugula is a type of lettuce with an odd shape and an odd taste. The leaves of the plant are shaped somewhat like the leaves of an oak. Dark, like spinach, they really don’t look much like a lettuce at all. But, it is the tast

Part of it?

My friend, may I ask you a question? God tells us in His Word that we are the “fruit” of the land, holy and set apart (Isaiah 4:2). In as much as we are distinctly “flavored” in His sight, has He ordained it that we not blend “who we are” with “who we are not?” My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Years ago we joined a local CSA, a farmer’s cooperative whereby we receive our vegetables on a regular basis from a local farm, our refrigerator has been pretty consistently stuffed with vegetables of all sorts. From squashes to tomatoes, we’ve got them fresh and organically grown. Prior to joining the co-op, I was what you might call a vegetable neophyte

Knowing?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Since it is impossible for us to see into the future and know all the possibilities of what we are asking for, how good and gracious is our God that He takes this into account where our well-being is concerned? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Did you ever stop to think how horrible life would be if everything that we prayed for God automatically gave to us? I remember praying a number of years ago that God would bless a particular job application and resume that I had spent a whole lot of time working on. His answer was swift and undeniably certain. No job, not even an interview was granted. I was certain t

Redos?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it sometimes God’s plan to call for redoing things when ours calls for doing and moving on. No one likes having to start over, especially when other “to do’s” are jostled or displaced in the process. Right? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Time is one of the most precious commodities that God gives us daily. The time to do things, however, is always limited. We need to balance the things we want to do with the things we need to do; and, that’s not always the easiest nor desired thing to do. Therein lies the tension. I start each day with a fragile plan, one that is put together loosely as I fall asleep th

Harvest?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is the standard for perfection for God very clear? Since God is perfect, is His holiness is perfect? And, therefore, His justice is without question–perfect as well? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Fairness is a doctrine that we've gone hog-wild with. As a culture we seem possessed by a sense of "all things being equal." Unfortunately, we're so captivated by a sense of justice at all costs, we often lose sight of the fact that a doctrine of fairness is itself subject to inequities by the very nature of the fact that it's only as perfect as those who decide on what is fair and what isn't. Last time I looked,

Hug on?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is it the weak who are cruel because they can’t give hugs? Is it true that gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” Do we learn that lesson when we put the strong arms of our love around the those who are hurting, afraid and lonely? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? “Handshake or a hug?” I walked up to my son Dan as he dragged himself home from the shop. He was covered with grease and looked pretty tired. I tentatively reached out a hand, expecting him to choose the lesser contact to the high impact contact of a full, Dad-sized hug. Dan looked at me and didn’t offer a hand. He simply spread out his a

Smile on?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to sure things, ought a Christian be skeptical of the good we can do when we believe in God’s goodness? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? “It’s a sure thing!” That’s what the man passing out the flyers on a nearby downtown street corner told me as I passed him on my way to the office. I stopped to find out what I might possibly be missing if I kept on walking. “It’s really going to happen!” the man told me as I grasped the dog-eared flyer from his outstretched hand. The headline on the flyer read: “If you vote for ‘so-and-so’ it’s a guarantee that great things will happen.” (Ten items were bulle

Playing dead?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does God gives us all the tools in His Word to not only defend ourselves but also to go on the offensive against sin? Yet, when we are threatened, do we prefer to play dead and hope that the evil we are confronted by will simply pass us by? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? The hognose snake simply flipped over on its back and coiled itself up into a neat coil. It lay seemingly lifeless in front of us somehow waiting for us to either move on or dare to pick it up. Banking on the former, I am sure it was pleased to see us step around and continue our meadow walk. The Hog-Nose Snake is a peculiar animal. It pos

God's garden?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Does God reveal that we are a work completed overnight?. Or, is it something that is ongoing? Does He, as the faithful gardener, dig, weed, till and transplants in the gardens of our hearts? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? When we moved to Beech Springs years ago, we arrived in a valley that was full of trees, trees and more trees. There was practically no lawn because the trees shaded it out. The trees fenced in the house and driveway so that there was scant room or resource with which to do much in the way of landscaping. That was to my liking, however. There would be little need for tiller, spade and whe

Storms?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we cast our cares upon the Lord, even during difficult times, is He there to provide us with peace? Do we need to take certain actions if we are to receive the benefits of that peace? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Why are some able to find peace in the worst of situations, while others become frantic when even the little things in life confront us? The dog pack here at Beech Springs may hold a clue to part of the answer. A pack of dogs is normally a peaceful thing; that is until someone breaches a pack rule. Then, BAM! Someone looked at someone else the wrong way or an imaginary territorial line has

Boiling point?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Like boiling water, a prudent man doesn’t let his temper boil over lest he get into the hot water himself. Is it always best to turn the heat of the situation down before the boil gets away? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Although I don’t drink much beer, I do enjoy making it from time to time. To make home brew the first thing you need to do is what’s called “boiling the wort.” The wort is a mixture of water, malted grain and hops. When cool and the sugar and yeast have been added, you have the start of the brewing process. A boiling, wort is more than just a simmer. The malted grain gives the boil a rea

Loaded words?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Do we often accidentally fire an explosive word that hits something other than the target we’re aiming for? Could the consequences sometimes be devastating, yet not always noticeable? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Paper wasps build beautiful nests sometimes reaching several feet in diameter and in length. They make a great places to raise wasp larva, usually hanging high up on barn eaves or from a tree limb. They also make great targets for little boys just curious enough to see what might happen if a rock is tossed into and through the nest. There’s just something about a hanging, paper ball that invite

God in us?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are you faced today with the difficult or even the impossible? Remember. If it couldn’t be done, He wouldn’t ask you to do it. Does God ever asks us to do what is truly the impossible? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? When you think back on your life, did you ever notice that the wonderful things in life often begin with a difficulty; and that the very wonderful, have often begun with an impossibility? The terrible injury that resulted in a new hobby--the gut-wrenching argument with a spouse or a friend, that became a deeper understanding, or the unexpected pregnancy that blossomed into the child that you j

Never give up?

My friend, may I ask you a question? The fact is, do we understand that God works in mysterious ways? Does that mean He often works in ways we don’t see nor really can we understand? How can we be comfortable with that? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? I had to move a boulder recently that appeared very large. “I’ll need the truck to move it,” I thought. “But I can’t get a truck in there. Maybe I should just forget it?” I decided to dig around the boulder with pick, shovel and pry bar just to see what I was up against. After a few minutes of digging, however, I discovered that the rock was wide, but not deep. The more I dug the more it appeare

Weak things?

My friend, may I ask you a question? As we consider the puzzle that has been our life, and some of the mismatched pieces that we’ve vainly tried to fit together, is it natural to wonder how God perceives it all? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? I needed to do some repairs recently on that 42 year-old car I own. Fortunately my son Dan had access to a hydraulic lift so I was spared the rigors of crawling underneath a rusty, old car. As the car began to lift into the air, its underside became visible. It was a sight that I hadn’t seen often over the years; as I’m so used to crawling under it with nothing but a work light to light a small part of

Lumps of clay?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Although we lead our lives with some certainty of the way they will go, do we really have all that much to say about it? What about those we love? Do we have any say about them with God? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Years ago I cut down an elm tree that had succumbed to Dutch elm disease years ago. Elm, because of its sinewy nature, is a difficult wood to predict. Cutting the tree down can be challenging especially when dry. This particular tree, it turned out, had a mind of its own. I notched it in the direction of the fell and then back-cut it with the hopes of insert- ing a wedge and forcing a fall i

Forsaken?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Sometimes does God leaves us for a time in order to empty us out, to undo us so completely that there is only one remedy for our pain and suffering–immediate attention, so that His mercy can overcome our sorrows? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner? Recently I had a crown installed on one of my molars. In the process of doing the work, the dentist created a space between the new crown and a nearby tooth that hadn’t existed before. Now, every time I chewed on that side of my mouth, the food would lodge itself in that convenient space and my gum would become very, very sore. After a number of weeks of eating, hur

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