And On The Third Day

”….He Rose From The Dead”

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:11-18 ESV)

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.” (Luke 24:1-12 ESV)

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:1-8 ESV)

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’” (Matthew 28:1-10 ESV)

What more can I add to that?


(Originally posted in 2015)

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November 2


an awesome day to work to be called great!

“Jesus replied, ‘But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.’”  Luke 11:28 NLT

In Jesus’ day, if you were a man, who your ancestors were was very important. For women, their value came as a result of the sons she bore. One day, Jesus was addressing a crowd about the tendency of man to quickly lose his resolve to change, or reform, his ways.

“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave You birth and nursed You.’ Jesus replied, ‘But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.’” (Luke 11:27-28 NIV).

When Jesus gave the response that He did, He was not being disrespectful to His mother or diminishing her value. He was pointing out that obedience to God is more important than anything in our lives.

It is good that we spend time each day reading scripture, daily devotionals and other spiritual readings and then take time to think about what we read.

It is wonderful that we make time in our busy schedules to worship with other like-minded individuals.

It is also a fine thing that we pray on a daily basis.

All of these things are critical to helping us open our hearts and minds and then keeping them open to all of the wisdom that can be gleaned by doing each and every one of them.

But that is not enough and we must never allow ourselves to believe that it is. Taking all that we have learned from the Bible, our church, and other sources of spiritual enlightenment and then putting it all into practice is very important in the eyes of God.

Putting your obedience to God to work is not complicated, nor does it have to be time consuming, but the notion that we can obey God’s Word without that Word translating into some form of action on our part is a notion that must bet set aside.

James, speaking about Abraham said, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22 NIV).

He was referring, of course, to Abraham’s obedience to God when he brought his son, Isaac, to the Altar to sacrifice him. Following God’s instructions, or His commandments, often requires action.

To, “Love thy neighbor” (Matthew 22:39 NASB) requires some active demonstration. An act of kindness or compassion for another person, which is simple and may take very little time, completes our faith by demonstrating our obedience.

Teaching others is an action as well, and Jesus spoke clearly on that subject.

“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19 NIV).

And any day would be an awesome day to be called great in the kingdom of heaven!


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

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November 1


a superb day to teach your children to be followers.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6 KJV

Parenting has perplexed those who have children for as long as there have been parents raising children.

Modern society is rife with unique challenges, but the nature of being a parent never changes. As parents, our number one responsibility is to teach. We teach our children the basic, obvious skills that they will require to live. We teach them to eat and drink in a manner that might be considered “civilized;” we teach them to walk and to talk; we teach them to clothe themselves, to bathe, to brush their teeth and comb their hair; we teach them how to play sports, musical instruments, to draw and to paint. There are many, many examples of parents as teachers, and they are all important to the development of our children.

Much speculation always takes place when our children are small about their talents and abilities and what sort of career they may be suited for when they get older. We see that this little boy likes to play with tools so we think he may grow up to be a carpenter. We see this little girl loves to take care of her dolls and we think she may grow up to be a doctor.

The truth is, we will not know for years to come. It is simply our responsibility to expose them to as many different ideas and learning opportunities as we can and let them develop a sense of who they are and what they want to “be” when they grow up.

No matter what actual career they may choose, most of us would agree we want our children to be leaders. This is a wonderful goal and our focus should definitely be on providing them with the tools to be leaders. One of the most important tools of leadership is to learn how to follow. We must teach our children to follow Christ and utilize the Word of God to teach them responsibility for others.

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7 NIV).

We must teach them to have integrity in all that they do.

“He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9 NASB).

We must teach them that hard work is rewarded.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).

We must also teach them to always have a desire to learn.

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15 NIV).

Yes, there are many, many things that we must teach our children. The most important is to follow Christ and to use the Word of God to develop hearts and minds that have the humble attitude and love for others that Christ does.

Following in His footsteps will help them become leaders in whatever they do.


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

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October 30


an ideal day to remember that if God says it, it must be important.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so.”  Genesis 1:9 KJV

We have all known someone who talks incessantly. Sometimes it appears to us that they speak for no other reason than because they love the sound of their own voice.

This is definitely not the case with God.

He never speaks unless He has something important to say, so when He speaks we should listen. We would be quite foolish to do otherwise, but it often appears as if that is exactly what happens.

We may tune out the aforementioned individual simply because we are confident that nothing is coming out except for air in the shape of meaningless words, but we dare not tune out God.

God’s Word comes to us in two ways. First and foremost, of course, is the Bible. We all know that the Bible represents one of the largest books most of us will ever read, and yet not one of its many thousands of words is wasted.

The Bible contains instruction, history, life lessons, wisdom, encouragement, advice, consolation, strength, motivation – the list of ways in which the Bible teaches, guides, and nourishes our spirits, our hearts, and our minds is long.

Look at God’s Words throughout the story of creation. God didn’t just slap the earth together with no vision and no design. He had a plan from the outset. Each day He added to His creation, using words to direct the placement of each plant, animal, bird and bug that all go together to help make this place in which He put us a truly beautiful and remarkable place in which to live.

The spoken words of God created the earth and all that is in it. The Word of God tells us how we should live in the world He created and how we should treat each other. The Word of God is important, and not a single one is untrue or wasted. Each word has meaning and it is our obligation to search for that meaning. The Bible guides us and enables us to live lives that are righteous in God’s eyes; lives that are unselfish and full of concern, consideration, and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters.

The instructions are clear and are repeated throughout the Bible: “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your word.” (Psalm 119:9 NLT).

Take care today, and every day, when reading the Bible. It is the Word of God and it is very important.


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

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October 28


a fine day to be on the winning side.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”  1 John 5:4 NLT

War carries with it a high price, whether on the winning side, or on the losing side.

World War II was no exception in its cost in the lives that were lost fighting it, the damage done to cities, towns, and villages where it was waged, and the enormous task of recovery in its aftermath. Of course, as far as Germany’s involvement, the war was made even more horrific upon learning the truth about the extent of the treatment, and wholesale slaughter, of millions of Jews by those who followed Adolf Hitler.

In the end, many would claim they were simply soldiers following orders, many would claim they really weren’t aware of the extent of the treatment, and many others would claim they had no idea at all. Their countryside was devastated by the effects of the war and the people themselves were a far cry from the cheering hoards that marched in unison to conquer the world in the name of unspeakable evil.

The cost to the victors was high as well. Many families were left emptier because of children who fought against that evil and paid for its defeat with their lives. The sadness of death was overcome a little by the emotional uplift that victory brought.

Even though both sides paid an enormous price, it is always better to be on the side of the victor rather than the vanquished.

This is especially true when the enemy is as evil and hateful as Hitler’s Nazis.

Evil walks this earth on a daily basis. There is much good that walks the earth as well and since evil’s intent is always to conquer and control, the battle between them is ongoing.

The first thing each one of us must do is decide which side we wish to be on.

Unfortunately, the army of evil is a flashy one with a slick recruiting campaign that is far too successful. The evil itself takes the form of self-indulgent pleasure and is usually a far cry from the type of evil spread by Hitler, but do not be one of those who is drawn in by its false promises, for God promised that, in the end, evil will be defeated forever.

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10 KJV).

It will surely be an epic battle.

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:5 NIV).

Choose the side you want to be on, but unlike games, contests, sporting events, or even wars, the Bible tells us the outcome so we know which side will be victorious. Our faith that this is so puts us on the side that will claim victory.


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, so armed with that knowledge, knowing He was going to die soon wouldn’t have been so bad.However, 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, to say nothing of the pain endured immediately before he was actually nailed to the Cross.

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 would change 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 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 all of 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).

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 already 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 is. 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 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 what they were seeing. 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 truly 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 18


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, rather than the discomfort we feel because we know He is watching. Honesty and truthfulness should be a natural outgrowth of our relationship with the Lord. They should be 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 Him. We should all cherish and protect the positive changes that take place in us, and in our lives, 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, and today is a terrific day to start.


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

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