October 27


the day to seek shelter.

“Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’”  Psalm 3:2 NIV

Skeptics abound, that much is certain. Perhaps some of us have people who say that very thing about us. Perhaps the way we have lived our lives in the past might tend to lend a little credence to that line of thinking, but God will never refuse to rescue any of His children who come to Him for help.

It simply is not in His nature to say ‘no.’

It is true that people have to seek God’s shelter, but not everyone does. For some, “Sin whispers to the wicked deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all.” (Psalm 36:1 NLT). Someone stuck in a lifestyle that is sinful and is making no effort to seek God’s forgiveness and love will not find it thrust upon them. For some “The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.” (Psalm 36:3 NIV). Who knows? Perhaps they never knew or allowed themselves to be anything else.

God will never lose sight of these people, but He can only wait until they somehow get the message that they need the shelter that He so willingly provides all who ask for it.

God helps those who call out to Him no matter how they have lived. He scours the earth seeking out His lost sheep and wants to bring them safely home. His ears await the sounds of His children’s voices when they call out to Him, “Show the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes.” (Psalm 17:7 NIV).

When we realize that sin and temptation are our foes; when we understand that arrogance, pride, anger, lust, and greed are our enemies; when we finally acknowledge that we cannot battle the armies of hate, deceit, sexual promiscuity, and the worship of money, without help – God will be right there ready to help us. How His heart swells with joy when He hears us cry out, “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!” (Psalm 61:4 NLT).

Firemen, policemen, emergency medical personnel are all standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week waiting for someone to call for help. They take no pleasure in the pain, loss, and discomfort that prompted the call that moved them into action, but they stand ready to act.

God does for our souls what all of those brave men and women do for our physical beings here on earth.

Do not be afraid. Do not be embarrassed. Call out for help today and see just how quickly He will respond.


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

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October 25


a great day for obedience.

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:8 NIV

The obedient nature of Christ cost Him His life. It could be argued that He knew beforehand that He was going to rise up from the dead three days later, but that knowledge would in no way diminish the pain, humiliation and the sacrifice Christ endured on our behalf because of that obedient nature. He was, after all, as able to feel pain as any of us, and the pain of a death from crucifixion must have been horrible to endure.

When Christ exhaled His last breath, the curtain that separated us from God was torn. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38 NIV). This was not some cheap trick meant to elicit a lot of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from people witnessing this event that changed the world. The tearing of the curtain signified that through His obedience, Christ had completed the work that God had sent Him here to do and each and every living person now had direct access to God.

Christ’s obedience to God took away our sins, but it did not take away our obligation to be obedient. For some of us, the term “obedience” seems to almost carry a negative connotation. It’s as if being obedient is a very difficult act we must perform. Obedience is not something we do; it is the way in which we live. Obedience to God is simply understanding how He wants us to live our lives, and then living them in that manner.

Jesus told His disciples that obedience was a way of showing love, and that’s how we should view it; as an act of love, not as an obligation or a task. He said, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15 NIV).

And what, exactly, was He commanding? What were His commandments? Was He instructing His disciples to do anything difficult? Was He telling them to do anything that would cause them, or anyone close to them, to be harmed? First and foremost, of course, was the commandment to love and worship only God. And the rest of it? It all boils down to this: Be good to each other. “…love thy neighbor…” (Matthew 22:39b).

We can make any of this as complicated as we want, but that doesn’t mean that it is. The truth is that our obedience to the Lord is an act of love that should come naturally to us and without any effort at all.

Christ did the hard part. He does not ask any of us for obedience quite like His, so let’s not make work out of something that should be a simple act of love.


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

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October 24


a good day to ask, “Will I find it?”

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:14 NASB

There are over seven billion people living in the world today, so it is not necessary to become nervous about the statement Jesus made. In the grand scheme of things, “few” is certainly relative. In any case, worrying will not get us through the gate, and the number of people who will get through should not be of concern. The only thing we should be concerned about is “Will I find that narrow opening into God’s kingdom?”

What do we need to do to guarantee that we are allowed to walk through the gate that leads to everlasting life in God’s kingdom? Is it complicated? Is it difficult?

It must be if Christ says that “…there are few who find it.”

Let’s look at the complexity first. Jesus explained the way in one simple sentence, so it can’t be complicated. Thomas had asked for clarification so “Jesus said to him, ‘I Am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6 NASB).

How amazingly uncomplicated! Not only does Jesus tell us how, but He tells us where the gate is located. It is He, Christ, who is the Way. It is Christ who is the Gate. The answer is not complicated at all. But is it difficult? Now there is where the problem lies for so many unfortunate souls.

But then, perhaps this part is not as challenging as people make it either. If Christ is the way, then all we need do is look back at what He said when He first came upon each of His disciples. His words were invariably the same, He said, “Come, follow Me…” (Matthew 4:19a NIV).

Simple enough, don’t you think? “Follow Me.” All we have to do is follow Jesus Christ.

Do what He did.

Be like Him.

Imitate – and emulate – the Son of God, who will not only lead the way, He is the way.

Obviously we cannot perform all of the miracles that Christ performed, but we can live our lives in a humble manner with love and concern for our fellow man and we can love, praise and worship only God. That’s it; that’s all; that’s the secret.

Why, then, do so many fail to find it? Because, while the way may be uncomplicated and not difficult on its own, it is made complicated and difficult by the temptations of sin and the temptations of this world.

Now, we all know the way. The new question that we must ask ourselves is, “Can I do what must be done to get there?”

Accept nothing less than “Yes!” for an answer.


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

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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!


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

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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 Zechariah was informed, “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 – too many – others never find it. Then there are those of us who take a while, but after years of searching finally unlock that 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.


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 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. 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 could 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 know they 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. “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.

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. There is a saying familiar to many of us that goes, “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 those who fall into those categories 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 everyone else’s affairs, we do not want to become known as being unwilling to help someone who needs it. Perhaps 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 possibly many of us know what it is like to feel pain, to need help and to not know where to turn. “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, 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. Giving us 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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