Giving Thanks

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

‘TODAY IS’

Today is a gift from God,

A day unlike all the rest;

A brand new opportunity

To bring out our very best.

Today is a wondrous thing;

A day full of life on God’s earth;

A day to invest all our love

To make today something of worth.

Today is a chance to inspire,

To worship, to lead, to teach;

To help others searching for truth,

And to show them how high they can reach.

From “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”; Tony Casson; ©2013

That poem from my book, while not particularly remarkable from a literary standpoint, is remarkable in that it was written by a dead man.

More accurately, it was written by yours truly after living my life in such a sinfully self-indulgent, self-serving, depraved and decadent manner that I had degenerated into an individual I found necessary to declare a death sentence upon.

The following is from a previous post on this blog from way back in March of 2015

“I had lived for 40 years in willful disobedience to God (although I had yet to learn and acknowledge this), angry with Him for allowing life on earth to exist the way it did, full of personal pain and sorrow as well as the pain and suffering of those around me; people I knew as well as those I would never meet. Since I was never taught to turn to Christ when I was in need of comfort, strength, compassion, love, or support, at the age of 14 I learned instead to turn to alcohol as a way of lessening the pain of growing up. Followed closely by my discovery of the pain-numbing ability of drugs at the age of 16, the stage was now set for what would follow over the next 40 years.

Living a selfish, self-centered, and self-destructive lifestyle where drug and alcohol abuse were a significant component of daily life led me to a seedy, sleazy, rundown motel in south Florida where, on the morning of August 18, 2009, the full effects of my sinful life came crashing down on me and I made a nearly successful attempt on my life.

Lying on the floor of the shower stall in my room of that motel, bleeding from self-inflicted wounds to both sides of my neck, I finally ‘raised the white flag’ and surrendered. Granted, the full life-giving, life-changing impact of what transpired there would take some time to reveal itself to me, but the effects were immediate.

I should not be alive today, and it is only through the finished work of Christ on the cross, and the victory He won for us all that I survived the attack on myself and am able to write these words.

That victory made it possible for the four words I finally whispered as I hovered near death to be heard by God. Those four words were, “God, please forgive me.”

It is amazing how quickly God responds when we finally raise the white flag and surrender ourselves to His victory. In my case, I was found by individuals who should not have found me until long after I was dead. I was transported to a hospital where I awoke the next morning. While I am still very new in my relationship with God, I knew who had saved me the instant I opened my eyes and I have devoted my life to growing in my relationship with Him ever since.”

The poem that began this post was written to define and emphasize the direction of that new life.

Today is a chance to inspire,

To worship, to lead, to teach;

To help others searching for truth,

And to show them how high they can reach.

Of all the words in that poem, those are the ones that particularly define how I try to live that new life on a daily basis.

Am I always successful?

Do I always get it right?

Of course not, for while I am new, I am still only human.

I falter and I stumble. There are moments of frustration, fear, apprehension, and doubt. There are times when the residual societal effects of the way I lived my life weigh heavily on me and make me ask myself, “What is the point?”

And then I look around and I see the family He has restored to me: my daughter, my son, my grandson, my sister, my brother-in-law, brothers, nieces and nephews, and others.

Then my eyes open wider and I see the new individuals He has led me to: Scott and Cary, Joey and Becca, Jason, Taylor, Marc, Mr. T, Sally, Kathryn, Thea, Gabe, Mark, Ryan, and countless others who have supported, encouraged, and inspired me.

In another post, I will introduce you all to the brand new Mission Muffins Training and Production Center and the men who all of the previously mentioned individuals and more have come together to serve.

For today, I will just give thanks to our great God for being there when I called out to Him covered in my own blood, lost, and near death.

I will give thanks, too, for His always being with me when I falter and stumble, and I will give thanks for His strength during my moments  of  frustration, fear, apprehension, and doubt.

And last, but most certainly not least, I will give thanks for His reassurance that the weight of the residual societal effects of the way I lived my old life are temporary, for when I die He has promised I will be rewarded with an eternity in His presence, and that promise is most definitely worthy of my sincerest, most heartfelt and humble thanks.

On this day of Thanksgiving, enjoy your family and friends, and take time to ponder all of the people and things you are thankful for.

May God bless you all.

 

About Tony Casson

" For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
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