October 23


an excellent day to keep the fire burning.

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.  Leviticus 6:13 KJV

Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross to eliminate the need for people to offer sacrifices at the altar to God.

In God’s instructions to Moses, He made it clear that the fire on the altar must never go out. The fire was started by God and represented His ongoing presence within the system that was used to gain God’s forgiveness for sins that were committed.

Today, knowing that God is continually present is important in maintaining our enthusiasm for living a life that is pleasing to Him. When we consult with the Lord before everything we do, and when we look for the Lord in everyone we meet, we are continually adding fuel to the fire God put in us through the Holy Spirit’s presence within us.

We should always be looking for ways to help us keep our relationships exciting and fresh. Our spouses and loved ones need to know that we are enthusiastic about them. Unfortunately, doing the same thing day after day tends to become a bit monotonous and boring. When that happens, we begin to do things simply out of obligation and do not display much in the way of excitement. Our spouses and loved ones deserve better than that, so we need to try to find ways to keep things ‘new’ and ‘fresh.’

Our relationship with God is no different. We should always be looking for ways to add fuel to the fires of our enthusiasm for the Lord. Once started, we never want the fire in us to burn out, so how do we keep it burning brightly and with intensity? By making sure that God is a constant part of our lives. Keeping God in our thoughts can be accomplished no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even at work, as Paul teaches: “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7 NLT).

Even when we are at play with our children, we can add fuel to the fire by letting God hear the laughter of our love rise up to His ears. Those around us will hear it as well. “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” (Psalm 126:2 NIV).

Hearing our children laugh and sing is a reward for the Lord, in a way. Consider it repayment to Him because, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3 NASB).

Use everything and everyone at your disposal to remind you of all that God has given you, and all that He does for you. Keep Him close in your daily living and show Him that the fire He put in you still burns as fiercely as ever.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 22


a spectacular day to think big!

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  Ephesians 3:20 NLT

We are powerless without God, but we are limitless with Him. Our ability to exist comes from God, but He wants us to do more than just exist. Many people go through life never fully appreciating or understanding what they could be capable of if they were only to call upon the power of God for help. With the right motivation, God will help us to accomplish great things.

Many of us can identify the power of God working in our lives. Some of us have called upon God to help us endure seemingly unendurable situations. Our confident prayers have not only given us the ability to survive difficult situations, but a great number of us also know that God’s power gave us the ability to thrive during those situations.

Paul tried to impress upon the Corinthians just how remarkable the power of God was. Being a believer in those early times often presented danger to those who would try to share God’s light with those who lived in darkness. God gave Paul and others the power to share this light even though they themselves were fragile and powerless.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV).

As we all know, Jesus Christ walked among us in human form. We are also taught that it was God’s power, in the form of the Holy Spirit that filled Christ, enabling Him to do wondrous things. Before going out into the wilderness, where He faced temptation by the devil for 40 days, Jesus was baptized by John. It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit descended and entered Jesus, filling Him with the power He would need in the wilderness and afterwards.

“Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about Him spread quickly through the entire region.” (Luke 4:14 NLT).

God knew exactly how Jesus would use the power that He now had. While it is doubtful that any of us will ever be able to claim quite the same abilities as the Son of God, we must be very cautious not to underestimate God’s power or His desire to use it through us for the good of all of His children on earth.

When we pray to God and our prayer is true and comes from our heart, He knows this. His power cannot be fathomed, and He can use it in any way He wishes. Ask Him to do wonderful things through you.

Just remember, when you are asking for His help in serving others, think BIG!


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October 21


a fine day to believe the unbelievable.

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”  Luke 1:45 NASB

Unfortunately for mankind, belief does not come readily, or easily, to a great many people. It is a sad fact of life on earth that millions of people will not discover the joy of everlasting life because of a conscious decision to not believe that which they consider to be unbelievable.

God sent the Angel Gabriel to visit a man, Zechariah, and – later – a woman, Mary. The reception he received was a little different each time.

Zechariah was a priest, as we know, and both he and his wife, Elizabeth, had devoted their lives to obedience to God. They were childless and were getting on in years, but God sent Gabriel to inform them that Elizabeth would give birth to a son who would have the power of Elijah, would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.

Because of their ages, Zechariah, even though he had devoted his life to God and was a priest, did not believe that this would happen. His failure to believe God’s messenger did not change what would happen, but he told Zechariah, “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when this takes place, because you did not believe My words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20 NASB).

When Gabriel visited Mary when Elizabeth was about six months pregnant with John, she was certainly surprised that such a thing could happen to a woman who was a virgin, but Gabriel assured her that she had found favor with God and had, indeed, been chosen to be the one who would present the savior sent by God to the world.

“’I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answers. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.’” (Luke 1:38 NIV).

Obviously Zechariah was convinced as soon as Elizabeth became pregnant, but he remained unable to speak until the child who would prepare people for the arrival of Christ was born.

Mary, on the other hand, believed the unbelievable as soon as she was told.

God has placed within each one of us, the ability to believe that which, at first glance, might be a little difficult for us to accept. Many, many people are fortunate and find that ability early in life. Many others– too many – never find it. Then there are those of us who take a while, but after years of searching finally unlock the place that holds our ability to believe in the unbelievable.

If you know someone who has not quite found that ability yet, encourage them to keep on looking. It is there just waiting to be found, and today is a fine day to help them find it.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 20


a wonderful day for a dinner party.

“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples: ‘Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?’”  Mark 2:16 NIV

Much like today, a tax collector in the time of Christ was disliked. In Jesus’ time, there was rampant corruption among them making them even easier to despise. Levi, who was a tax collector who later became Matthew, was called by Jesus to follow Him and went on to write the first of the four Gospels covering the teachings of Jesus Christ.

When he was first called by Jesus, Matthew (then called Levi) got up from his tax collector’s booth and joined Him. Later, he invited Jesus and the other disciples to a dinner party at his house. In addition to Jesus, the disciples, and Levi, there were many of the friends of Levi who were tax collectors, as well as others simply classified as ‘sinners.’

The teachers of religious law thought it odd that the man everyone was saying was the Messiah would sit down and eat with such people. Apparently their idea of a ‘savior’ and a ‘king’ was quite different from the truth. By their thinking, Christ should avoid “riff-raff” and only associate with those who comprised the upper echelon of society in that day.

An ancient ‘A’ list, if you will.

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Mark 9:17 NIV).

Jesus came to offer us salvation and to show us how to establish a relationship with God that would help us to live our short time on earth in a manner that reflected God’s loving and benevolent character. He came to lead us from the darkness of our lives into the light of service to others and to God. He came to sacrifice His life for our sins so that we can all have the opportunity for a renewed and restored relationship with God that will lead us to His promise of everlasting life.

He came to fix those who were broken, not to socialize with those who thought they were above the need for His help. He came to demonstrate His love for all of God’s children, not just for those who felt they were special.

There is an extremely valuable lesson to be learned from the story of that dinner party. It shows the Messiah to be a truly humble, loving, and compassionate man who loves everyone, not just those who think they are special. He wants us all to treat each other as He treated those He ate with. We should all keep these lessons in mind the next time we have people over for dinner.

Reach out to those who need it, not to those who think they deserve it.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 19


a terrific day to show that you belong.

“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.”  Ephesians 4:25 NLT

There were men who were so afraid of the truth Jesus represented, that they were willing to bear false witness against Him knowing that their dishonesty and complete lack of integrity would result in His death. Since lies are always harder to keep track of than the truth, the false witnesses talked with each other to get their stories straight.

“Yet even then their testimony did not agree.” (Mark 14:59 NIV).

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “He who permits himself to lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him.”

Perhaps some of us know an individual whose lies are so frequent that no one even bothers to look for the truth in what they say anymore. Hopefully, the individual in question is not looking back at us when we look in the mirror.

Our actions also take the form of the truth. No matter what we say, our actions will always give us away if we are lying.

“Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” (1 John 3:19 NLT).

Many times, people seem to forget that even if our lies are not detected by those around us, God always knows when we are lying. This fact should not be our motivation for being truthful. While it is definitely something to be aware of, honesty and truthfulness are a reflection of the character of God within us. Honesty and truthfulness are a result of the light of Christ on our lives. If everything we do or say takes place in the light, there is no room for the darkness of lies.

A lie reveals a lot more about our character and our relationship with God than most of us would care to think about. But think about it we must, because we should all be striving for the best relationship possible with God. We should all cherish and protect the positive changes that come over us as a result of a good relationship with the Father.

The words of Thomas Jefferson should speak loudly to us even all these years after his death. We do not want ‘liar’ to be the word that pops into peoples’ heads when they hear our name.

Make truthfulness a living part of who you are. Let your words, and your actions show the world that you belong to the truth.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 18


the day to reach out to others.

“When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.”  Genesis 14:14 NASB

If we open our eyes and look around us it is not difficult to see someone who is in need of help. When Abram’s nephew, Lot, was captured, Abram wasted no time getting involved and going to his rescue. Even though Lot’s own greed and sinful nature had gotten him in trouble in the first place, Abram didn’t hesitate to get involved.Unfortunately, many of us take the position that, “He made his own bed, now let him lie in it.”

This is not a very Christian attitude to take, of course. That aside, why SHOULD we reach out to help with another person’s problems? Why should we care? Perhaps Abram’s only motivation was Lot’s relationship to him. Nevertheless, “He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.” (Genesis 14:16 NASB).

Do we have to be related to someone to reach out to them? Do we even have to know them? Although there are undoubtedly some we know who need our help, there are also those we don’t know who are all around us and are hurting or in need.

While it is true that we do not want to become known as “busybodies” who always seem to be in other peoples’ affairs, we do not want to become known as being unwilling to help someone who needs it. Perhaps the problem is we think our time is too valuable to ‘waste’ it worrying about someone else.

As Paul stated in his letter to the Galatians, “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (Galatians 6:3 NLT).

Of course, perhaps reluctance is not an issue. Quite probably, many of us know what it is like to feel pain, to need help, and to not know where to turn, making it easier for us to understand and be willing to help.

“Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.” (Hebrews 10:33 NLT).

No matter who is hurting, or what the cause of their pain may be and no matter what our personal situation may be, there is just one thing that we must keep in mind: It is our obligation to our brothers and sisters everywhere to notice when someone needs a helping hand, and once we notice, we must be willing to reach out to them, and today is the day to start.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 17


a great day for watching the clouds.

“Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.”  Numbers 9:17 NIV

Much of our daily life is controlled by signs and signals. If we are driving a car, signs tell us where things are, what to look out for ahead, and control our direction as well as our speed. Traffic lights tell us when to stop and when to go. Things would be chaotic without guidance and every sign or signal has a purpose that we need to pay attention to in order to navigate our streets and highways in safety and arrive at our destination as planned.

As the people of Israel moved away from Egypt on their way to the land promised them by God, it was necessary for them to have signals as well. While it is true that there was very little “traffic” in the middle of nowhere, they still required direction and instruction which God provided in much the same way as we use traffic signals.

A pillar of cloud formed over the tabernacle after it was set up. At night, the cloud would take on the appearance of a pillar of fire which would provide light for the Israelites and would help to keep them safe. During the daylight hours, it would revert back to a pillar of cloud. When the cloud began to move, that was the signal for the Israelites to move as well. All they had to do to know they were heading in the right direction was follow it. When it stopped, they were to stop.

Green light, go. Red light, stop.

Very convenient and very safe for all of them. There was no guess work. As to what they should be doing other than watching the cloud, God provided Moses for instruction. Even when they were stopped, God had a purpose for them and Moses led them to it. Signs and signals.

“So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.” (Numbers 9:23 NLT).

We have no cloud other than the ones God paints in the sky to bring us rain, to shield us from the sun, or simply to demonstrate the beauty that He creates. We have no Moses to give us instruction. So where do we look for direction and instruction?

We pick up the Bible, we clear our minds, we open up our hearts and we read. Every instruction we need is there. Every turn we should take in our lives is in there as well. With determination and focus, the Bible will tell us when to move, which direction to go in, and when to stop and rest.

And then we can take a little time for cloud watching.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 16


the day to step into the fire.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!’ Then, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the midst of the fire.”  Daniel 3:26 NASB

We will be tempted, taunted, and teased as followers of Christ. Unless we live in total isolation, in a bubble, or in a box – which few of us do – our faith in God will come under pressure on a daily basis.

Most of us will insist that our faith is strong enough to withstand the toughest test. But what if we were confronted with the same situation that Nebuchadnezzar put in front of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

When Nebuchadnezzar ordered that everyone should bow down and worship the 90 foot tall gold statue he had erected in the province of Babylon, those three men refused. It is safe to say that Nebuchadnezzar was incensed and gave them one more opportunity to do as he ordered. Their refusal would result in the three of them being bound and thrown into a furnace.

When that final refusal came, “Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.” (Daniel 3:19 NLT).

The furnace was so hot that the soldiers who had been commanded to throw the three bound men into it were killed by the heat as they did so.

Nebuchadnezzar looked on as the three men walked around in the furnace, unfazed and unaffected by its heat. After he called them out, everyone who was watching noted that they had not been touched by the fire.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.’” (Daniel 3:28 NIV).

Many people chose death, or the prospect of death, rather than cave in to the pressures brought to bear as followers of Christ, and in some parts of the world, people still die because of their faith in Christ and their refusal to worship or serve anyone other than God.

It takes complete trust in God to face what all of these brave men and women face with no fear. Those three men were confident that God would save them from the furnace.

“But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.” (Daniel 3:18 NASB).

Let us all pray for a faith so strong, and a trust so great that we, too, can face whatever challenges to our faith may come before us and be able to step into the fire. You will find that God will keep you safe so you can step back out again.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 15


a splendid day to remember that God doesn’t forget.

“Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”  Psalm 77:9 NIV

God simply does not forget. He cannot forget.

It is true that, at times, we might encounter periods in our lives where we will think that God has forgotten about us. During those times, we will feel helpless and alone and we will call out to Him and ask Him where He is.

It is human nature to experience periods of insecurity and loneliness, but it is during these times that we must find some way to remind ourselves that the Lord is never far away from us, even if He is silent, and even if we are encountering difficulty feeling His presence and hearing His voice in our hearts.

There could be a number of reasons for this, but none of them is the one that stands out in our mind: “God has forgotten me.” It is not God who forgets, but us. We forget that God may not always look at things in the same way that we do. We forget that God’s time table may be different from what we would prefer.

But God does not forget.

The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt longer than many of them would have liked, but it was not because God had forgotten them. The Israelites continued to groan under the burden of their slavery, “And God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” (Exodus 2:24 KJV).

In those times when we might be about to entertain thoughts that God has forgotten us, perhaps we need to pause and look honestly at our situation. It is very possible that the situation we are crying out for rescue from contains a lesson that God wants us to learn first.

To truly live life to its fullest, we must embrace every situation we encounter as if it were a food which contains nourishment. God wants us to take all of the “nourishment” out of every situation we encounter so that we can then use it to shape our character into something useful to others.

God will determine the point at which He will step in on our behalf. It is His decision and His alone. Our responsibility is to try to understand what can be learned from what we are facing. It is our responsibility to draw the nourishment for our character from whatever the situation may be. And it is our responsibility to remember that God has not forgotten us, nor will He ever do so.

Actually, there are some things that God does forget. He forgets our sins because He forgives us, but that is all He forgets. Today is a splendid day to remember that.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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October 14


the ideal day to be thankful for the breath of God.

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  Genesis 2:7 KJV

It was not enough for God to form man. He also had to give him life with His own breath. With the breath of life, He also gave us the ability to become the vessel through which life is created again, and again, and again. From that very first breath, the world has increased in population until the number of people exceeds a staggering seven billion inhabitants of the world God created.

There is no person who walks this earth who is not alive as a result of that first breath of God and that is something we should all be thankful for. Every breath we take is a gift of love from God made possible with that first breath of man.

The breath of God not only gave us life, it has saved the lives of those who follow Him. As the Israelites were pursued by the army of Pharaoh, God intervened. In their Song of Deliverance, Moses and the people of Israel sang, “At the blast of Your breath, the waters piled up! The surging waters stood straight like a wall; in the heart of the sea the deep waters became hard.” (Exodus 15:8 NLT).

God did not create us to abandon us.

Those who obey His simple instructions for life will always be able to count on the breath of God. Just as the Israelites saw the power of God’s breath when He parted the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh’s army, they saw His breath destroy those who would harm those who obeyed Him.

“But You blew with Your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.” (Exodus 15:10 NIV).

When He sent His Son to suffer and die so that our sins could all be forgiven and we could look forward to eternal life, He gave Him the power to fill His disciples with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them He was sending them out as His Father had sent Him.

“And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22 NASB).

It was the breath of God that gave life to all of mankind. It is the breath of God that fills us all with the Holy Spirit. It is the breath of God that saves us when we are in danger.

Every single time we take a breath, it is a gift from God, and we should take every opportunity to tell Him how thankful we are, and today is the ideal day to do just that.


Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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