December 9


a fine day to speak up.

“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies.”  Psalm 107:2 NLT

God works for all who invite Him into their lives.

Many of us have had long, wonderful relationships with Him and our list of things that we have to thank Him for is quite long. Still others have perhaps only just come to Christ recently and have not quite the same length list, but perhaps they have a truly amazing story of redemption and restoration to share with others.

“Some wandered in desert wasteland, finding no way to a city where they could settle.” (Psalm 107:4 NIV).

Perhaps this describes us. Maybe we have not been literally homeless, but we have not felt “at home” spiritually and have wandered aimlessly. If this tells your tale, then you need to share with others and teach where you were able to get the help you so desperately sought.

“Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains…” (Psalm 107:10 NIV).

Perhaps we have known what it is like to be immobilized by fear, anxiety, tragedy, and loss – any one of numerous things can make us feel as if we are prisoners, and in a way we are. Those of us who have turned to God and asked for His help have seen what He can do if we allow Him to come into our hearts and take over our lives. We owe it to others to speak up and share the source of our joy, peace, and happiness.

Perhaps this better describes our particular situation before we came to Christ: “Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins.” (Psalm 107:17 NLT).

Maybe we were immoral, self-centered people who sought only our own pleasure and concerned ourselves only with our own appetites. If God has intervened and shone His light on a new path that has taught you morality and selflessness, you owe it to those around you to share your experiences and hold out the same offer of hope to them.

Redemption and restoration are wonderful gifts that are available to everyone. We may go through life thinking that everyone knows this but we would probably be surprised at how many do not know, or are not convinced.

Perhaps our speaking out will be the impetus that they need to take the steps that will change their lives in ways they never fully understood.

Your voice can show another that, “With God’s help we will do mighty things, for He will trample down our foes.” (Psalm 108:13 NLT).

Even when we are our own biggest foe.

God gave you a voice. Use it today to tell others how they, too, can end their wandering, break their chains, and stop their suffering.


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

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December 8


a superb day to ask, “Do I have enough faith?”

“’You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them.”  Matthew 17:20a NLT

Jesus was a very patient man who exhibited a tremendous amount of control over His thoughts and emotions when teaching His disciples or when speaking to large groups of people. There were times, however, when His words would show a little edge of impatience or frustration, such as when the man brought his son to Jesus for help healing his seizures. The man had tried Jesus’ disciples first, but they were unable to help.

When he asked for Jesus’ help, “Jesus said, ‘You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to Me.’” (Matthew 17:17 NLT).

After Jesus healed the boy, the disciples asked Jesus in private why they had been unable to do it. Jesus did not hesitate to point out that it was a matter of faith.

“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20b NLT).

So the question for all of us is this: “Do we really have enough faith?”

Stop and think before answering, because most of us will immediately answer, “Yes!”

Peter had enough faith when he stepped out of the boat, but a moment of doubt caused him to falter and to sink.

How many of us start out with that same level of conviction but let little cracks appear the moment something seems to be impeding our progress, or creating a distraction? It is in our moment of doubt that our faith must become the strongest. As soon as we feel the first little tug at the threads of our confident trust in God, we must eliminate that loose thread by calling upon the Lord to help make our faith stronger and then we must trust that it will be so.

It is important to remember that when satan observes our faith getting stronger, he is most likely to attack with fear, doubt, anxiety, hesitation, and other weapons of negativity that are designed to make us take our eyes off the Lord, like Peter, so that we, too, will then “sink.”

We must never become complacent and we must always be on guard.

Undoubtedly we will be met with things that will test our faith as we follow Christ. It is our job to keep our eyes focused on the Lord because it is satan’s job to take our eyes off of Him.

Daily prayer, daily effort, and daily commitment will combine to help you answer positively when you are asked, “Do you have enough faith?”


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

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December 7


the day to teach others how to use what you can’t take with you.

“For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.”  Psalm 49:17 NLT

Temple assistants wrote Psalm 49 to help people understand that worldly wealth and possessions will not accompany them after death, nor will they act as a ticket to everlasting life.

Wealth cannot save us from death in this world, and we know this.

Since we can’t take it with us, then we should be concerned about who we are leaving it to, because God surely will be paying attention. Individuals who are welcomed into heaven have accepted Christ as their savior, have worshiped only God, and have treated others with love and kindness. Not all become financially successful during their lifetimes, but a good number of them leave behind great amounts of wealth.

Unfortunately, what they may have overlooked was the preparation of those who would be the recipients of their wealth upon their death, and while it may have been important to the individual leaving this world that his good fortune be generously shared with those less fortunate, that same individual may have forgotten to teach his or her children how to receive the gift that is left and what to do with it once they have it.

We must make sure that our children learn the importance of sharing what good fortune they may have with others. Teaching them about the sins of greed and the rewards of generosity is crucial to their development. We must teach them, as Paul instructs Timothy, that any material wealth we have should be used for the betterment of those around us, and he explains to Timothy what real wealth is.

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” (1 Timothy 6:6 NLT).

Of course, many individuals can’t see beyond the value of material wealth sitting in front of them and are reluctant to give it away. How does one determine when we are to give it away? How does one determine when we have “enough”?

Paul says, “So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8 NLT).

We want to make sure that our children learn to love people more than money, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV).

Start spending time today preparing your children to receive what you cannot take with you when you die. Teach them to share what you leave and tell them that, “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19 NIV).


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

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December 6


a good day to acknowledge that God’s word is final.

“Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!”  Numbers 23:20 NLT

Beginning from the time we were children, when we got an answer we were not happy with we sought out someone from whom we could try and extract an answer that was more to our liking.

As children, how many of us have asked our mothers a question, not been happy with the answer, and gone to dad to seek a more favorable response? Or been told “No” by dad only to seek out mom’s view on the subject. It’s called “working your parents.”

As parents, how many of us have been “worked” by our children?

In legal situations, if we get a result that is contrary to what we desire, we can “appeal” to have the decision changed to one we agree with.

In life, there are many ways and many situations in which decisions may be appealed to be changed, but when it comes to the Word of God, it starts, and ends, right there.

God’s Word is final.

We may look for excuses for behavior that is contrary to what we know God expects of us, but that is all they will be – excuses. If we sleep with our neighbor’s wife, we can say that “everybody” does it; we can say that it is not against the laws of man, and we can probably even find those who will applaud our behavior.

But God will not be one of them.

He will never approve of it, He will never change His mind, and there is no higher authority to appeal to in order to get a different answer.

God’sWord is final.

How, then, do we justify this behavior in our minds? If we do anything contrary to God’s laws how do we justify it?

God says don’t judge others. That job is reserved for Him. Still, we pass judgment on others. God says we are not to lie, and yet the truth is a very difficult thing for many “Christians.” God says we are not to covet anything our neighbor has, but how many of us worry more about what others have that we do not than about what God says on the subject?

It seems that since there is no way to appeal God’s Word, it must be OK to just ignore it.

Of course we know this is not true. We should instead take comfort from the fact that of all the things in the world that change, God’s Word is not one of them. His Word is final.

And that is final.


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

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December 4


the day to do the right things for the right reason.

“They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.”  Psalm 35:12 KJV

Answer this question: “Are you nice to others?”

Most of us probably answered “Yes.”

Now answer this one: “Why?”

Perhaps most of us answered, “Because God wants us to love one another.”

That would be the right reason and each one of us should strive to do things that are not only the right thing to do, we should also desire to do them for the right reason.

Sometimes pride gets in our way, though.

Perhaps if we think about it, we can remember being a little irritated when we did something nice for someone and it went unnoticed, or worse, it appeared to be unappreciated. David expresses dismay at not being treated in the same manner he treated others.

“Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.” (Psalm 35:13 NLT).

Poor David.

He did the right thing, but the others did not. Should that be a concern of his?

Certainly we can only go through this life living our lives in a manner which is acceptable to God, correct? We cannot be – nor are we – held responsible for someone else. If we treat someone the way we wish for them to treat us – as the Bible teaches us – and we get upset when they do not act the same way in kind, then we have let our pride get in the way and it makes what we did unacceptable to God because it was done for the wrong reason.

People will not always respond to the things that we say or do in a manner that we like, or would expect. If this occurs, we need to pray for them, not be angry, or upset with them.

Jesus was very, very clear on this subject when He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 NASB).

The things that we do for others should be done because of who we are and what is in our heart. Pride should not be allowed to expect payment or reward for them. If we have truly learned what God wants us to learn, the way we treat others and the kindnesses we display will be automatic and who is watching, noticing, or in a position to reward us will never be an issue.

We probably all know someone who regularly does things for others, but always seems to make sure that other people are aware of what they do. Jesus said, “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing…” (Matthew 6:3 NASB).

Never let pride keep you from doing the right thing for the right reason.


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

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December 3


a great day to show what is written in our hearts.

“They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thought either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”  Romans 2:15 NLT

Exactly what is it that people see when they look at us? Are they seeing who we are, or are they seeing only what we want them to see?

We have all heard stories about women who live in abusive relationships. Very few, if any, people can tell that there is abuse based upon what is seen in public. In many cases, when the fact that a man is abusing his wife comes to light, it is often a shock to many people because, “He’s always so nice.” The abused woman puts on a happy face in public out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.

It would be the rare individual who did not know that their behavior violates not only societal law, but God’s law as well. Some of these abusers actually will use God’s name when inflicting their pain and their “punishment,” but if they truly felt it was OK with God, why is this behavior always hidden and kept secret? Because in their heart they know that what they are doing is wrong. If we all could see what was truly written in their hearts, we would know that they are far from righteous in the eyes of God.

“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13 NIV).

The same applies to any “secret life” we may have which displays anything other than what is truly acceptable to God.

With the growth of the internet, sexual sin has increased by leaps and bounds and the degradation of the human spirit has become a way of life – a secret way of life – for countless individuals. The viewing of pornography is among the most common of these sins and the number of lives that this “harmless” pastime has affected, and destroyed, is incalculable.

It is an unfortunate safe bet that, as you look around at the members of your church on Sunday, a disturbing number will be carrying this secret with them. Many classify its viewing as a harmless, private pursuit. But scant few would be willing to stand up in church and admit that they do it, that they like it, that they do not think it affects their relationships, and that it is acceptable in the eyes of God.

The truth is that it is a destructive pastime that serves no purpose and takes valuable time away from our friends, families, and other loved ones. It also wastes valuable time that we could be spending doing the work of God by helping those who are in need. In addition, it damages our relationship with God, Himself, which affects every aspect of our lives.

If you engage in behavior that you would be embarrassed, or ashamed of, if it became public knowledge, then you need to ask God to help you rewrite what is written in your heart.


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

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December 2


a splendid day for some words of comfort.

“When doubts filled my mind,Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”  Psalm 94:19 NLT

Only God can comfort us when we have doubts. Only God can reassure us when human insecurities cause us to second-guess our faith. The one we need to turn towards is often the very one we are turning away from.

It is a rare human being who doesn’t require the comfort and reassurance of God on more than one occasion during the course of a lifetime. God knows this. After all, He knows all about the trials, tribulations, and temptations that affect our lives. This is why He is always there when we need Him, and even though we may doubt – or be tempted to doubt – our love for Him, at times, His love for us is never in doubt. He understands and is ready to help us when we face those infrequent moments of uncertainty.

If we are faced with an unexpected tragedy or loss, we may very well think that God does not love us or that He has turned away from us. The sudden loss of a spouse or a child through an accident or an unforeseen health problem can shake us and leave us feeling weak, battered, lost, and alone. It is important to remind ourselves when we are not facing these problems that life is always full of surprises and they are not always pleasant.

But how do we prepare for things that might never happen to us?

When we seek out others who are faced with situations that we can only try to imagine facing, we can reach out to them and offer them words of comfort, encouragement and hope. This requires that we spend time reading the Bible so we become familiar with different verses that will help. As we do this, we are not only learning to help others, but we are taking steps to bolster our own faith and learning where to seek comfort ourselves should the unfortunate need arise.

As Paul explains, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).

We can all sympathize with Jacob when he thought his son, Joseph, was killed. His grief was overwhelming and, “All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘In mourning will I go down to the grave to my son.’ So his father wept for him.” (Genesis 37:35 NIV).

We all know that Jacob should have sought comfort from God, for as it turned out, God had things under control and it worked out beyond Jacob’s wildest hopes. When he was reunited with a very-much-alive Joseph, Jacob wept until, “Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, ‘Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.’” (Genesis 46:30 NLT).

Let God’s comforting words help you deal with anything that may cause you to doubt and let Him restore your hope.


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

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December 1


the perfect day to mean it.

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”  Psalm 50:15 NASB

We should all turn to God for help, and many of us do.

Unfortunately, there are also many whose relationship with God is a little one-sided. While these individuals do not hesitate to ask for God’s help, the thanks that are given in return ring falsely to the Lord, for the subsequent actions of those people reveal their true nature.

In his Psalm, Asaph writes of God’s displeasure with those who offered Him sacrifices or thanks that were empty of any true meaning. He tells Israel that the sacrifices they offer are for their benefit, not His. He points out that offering Him any animal in sacrifice is not something He needs from humans since He already owns the world and everything in it.

“If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.” (Psalm 50:12 NASB).

So if He really doesn’t want, or need, sacrifices or burnt offerings, what does He want for helping us?

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” (Psalm 50:14 NLT).

It is quite simple: He wants us to thank Him and mean it. How do we show Him that we mean it? By living our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

There is no question as to God’s opinion of those who think they can use Him to help them and then carry on with sinful lives.

“Repent, all of you who forget Me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you.” (Psalm 50:22 NLT).

Many people who call upon God for His help and then carry on in their old sinful manner after offering empty words of thanks do not realize the danger they are in, for God will take notice in silence and His judgment will come later.

“These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.” (Psalm 50:21 NIV).

We can rely on God for His help as often as we need it. All we need to do is thank Him.

The most important thing about thanking God is remembering that He will know if you mean it.


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

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November 30


the perfect day to take off the blinders

“Then the magicians said to Pharaoh,‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had said.”  Exodus 8:19 NKJV

Horses that were used to pull carriages and wagons were often equipped with “blinders.” These devices were secured to the heads of the horses and blocked the vision of the horse from the side. This prevented the horse from becoming distracted or frightened by things that it saw out of the corner of its eye, allowing it to focus on moving straight ahead.

While blinders may be a good thing for horses, they are not usually good for humans. When we are of singular vision, we often grow stubborn and refuse to see the bigger picture.

Very often the bigger picture contains the truth.

Pharaoh had his “blinders” on when Moses repeatedly demonstrated to him that God was using Moses to convey a message to him. God enabled Moses to repeatedly start, and stop, plagues against Egypt to let Pharaoh see God’s power and to convince him to let the Israelites leave Egypt.

Ten different times, ten different examples.

A plague of blood, frogs, gnats, flies, hail, locusts and others. Even Pharaoh’s own trusted advisors could not sway him, so stubborn was he. His stubbornness exacted a toll upon the people of Egypt that culminated in the deaths of all the firstborn of the people and cattle in Egypt, except for those of the Israelites before that stubbornness was overcome.

It took inconvenience, pain, discomfort, and death before he finally took off his blinders.

To be stubborn is to be unreasonable or unyielding. It is easy to see, for most of us, how this can be damaging to our relationships, especially our relationship with God. Paul’s words to the Romans should serve us well in understanding how being stubborn can affect our relationship with God and bring about less than desirable consequences.

“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God…” (Romans 2:5 NASB).

Being stubborn can also have very adverse effects on our relationships with our spouses, children, friends, and co-workers. Being stubborn can blind us to ways that we are mistreating those we love, and are sinning against the Lord, who loves us.

Today is the perfect day to pray for God’s help in removing your blinders so that you may see all that there is to see.


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

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November 29


the ideal day to see through his disguise.

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11 NLT

Somewhere along the line, someone decided to turn satan into a “cute” cartoon figure.

Many people conjure up images of an “impish” person with horns, a cape, and a trident who sits on one shoulder while another cartoon figure of an angel sits on the other, both whispering in our ears trying to get our attention. Many people even find it clever or cute to dress up as the devil at Halloween. Children and adults alike tend to come away from these depictions of the devil with the impression that he is an imaginary person and, as such, is not to be taken seriously.

This is a serious mistake to make that can have disastrous consequences.

We must see through satan’s many disguises and recognize him for who he is: The evil one who would see all of us denied an everlasting life of joy, peace, love, and happiness. When we don’t view him as the source of evil that he is, we help him to achieve his goal.

Paul, in his Second Letter to the church in Corinth, addressed the subject of those who would disguise themselves as apostles of Christ to deceive people and lead them away from Christ instead of toward Him.

“No wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14 NASB).

There is nothing cute, impish or cartoon-like about satan’s efforts to lead us away from the gift of salvation held out to us all. It can be confusing sometimes because the voice of satan disguised as the voice of an apostle of Christ can be loud and convincing. How many good “Christians” were duped by satan into joining the Ku Klux Klan, an organization of alienation, segregation, hate, destruction, and death that presented themselves as “Christians?”

How many cults have proliferated throughout history that are, ostensibly, formed as a way for us to become members of a “select” group handpicked by God’s own personal prophet, but are nothing more than satan’s fan clubs set up to serve a sexually immoral and isolationist leader who is actually an emissary of satan himself?

History is riddled with those who have tried to twist the words of the Bible to fit their own personal agenda. There can be no greater sin than to lead God’s children away from the truth and into a life that promotes immorality, hatred, superiority, or the need to isolate from the rest of the world or pass judgment on others.

We must all wipe the cartoon image of satan out of our minds and see through his disguises and know that, given the chance, he will push us to deny ourselves the very promise that Christ made with His death on the cross.

We must see through the many disguises of evil, and today is an ideal day to start.


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

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