April 1

TODAY IS…

a good day to not be fooled.

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  1 Timothy 6:10 NASB

Do not allow yourself to use material success as a sign of God’s approval. Many people equate one with the other when they actually have very little to do with one another.

Some individuals of extremely modest means live lives that are devoted to following God’s instructions, living in a manner that pleases Him, and work tirelessly to help others live and grow with the Spirit of the Lord inside them.

These individuals definitely have God’s approval.

Conversely, there are many individuals who have experienced tremendous material success who do not have God’s approval.

In order to not be fooled or influenced by anything other than the truth, we must always look to the individual and not the material for signs of that approval.

Happiness is not the only thing that money cannot buy. It cannot buy God’s grace, peace, love forgiveness, joy, or a place with God in Heaven. The only currency accepted by God is the currency of faith. The only payment that will cancel our debt to the Lord is belief. The only check that can be written to satisfy our obligation to Jesus Christ cannot be written against funds we have in the bank. It must be written against the love we have in our hearts for the Lord, and for our fellow man.

Many of us experience frustration from time to time due to the success of others and mistakenly attribute that success to God showing more love to them than to us.

Do not be fooled; do not be tempted; do not be swayed.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to escape the emphasis that is placed on having more, buying more, living grander, and chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But don’t be fooled. The real treasure is in the rainbow itself, which is a gift from God.

Live a life that is true to the teachings of the Lord; give of yourself to others; be thankful to God each day for the very air you breathe; smile for the benefit of others, and you will find out one day that those who have lusted after money and compromised their very souls have been the ones who have been fooled.

*******

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

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Today marks the 10th anniversary of the day I began serving my 4+ year prison sentence in Oakdale, LA where this book of devotions was written. Most people might mark this day in their calendars as a rather dark day in their lives.

I have a different way of looking at it: As I stepped through the door leading into prison, I took my first step on the path to freedom. Both while incarcerated, and since moving to Washington, DC upon my release, God has brought many, many truly amazing people alongside me on that path.

For sure I have stumbled, and I have struggled, but the past 10 years have been as different from the previous 57 as night is different from day, and I just want to take this opportunity to say:

“Lord, I am not worthy of the love you give me, but you love me anyway. You have blessed me in ways that are too numerous to count and with friends who have helped me see what being a true child of yours should look like. I am grateful for your constant grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and thankful that when I cried out to you at my greatest time of need, you didn’t turn away from me, as I had turned from you for so many years. Thank you.”

AUTHOR UPDATE 2020: This year is slightly different than other ‘anniversaries’ due to the fact that I was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Yesterday was my first consultation with the oncologist and I learned several things:

I learned it is stage 3 cancer.

I learned the treatment plan.

I learned I am not afraid.

The prayer above is more meaningful today than it was last year when I wrote it. I am truly blessed, and I don’t mean I am blessed to have this disease in my body. I am blessed in that I know where to turn for the strength, courage, and contentment in my heart that will be required to deal with it. In this time of crisis, chaos, and uncertainty for the entire world, I am sure there are many who have individual, more personal, burdens to bear as well. Faith will be tested. Belief will be questioned. Trust in the Lord may be stretched almost to the breaking point. Pray for all of them that they, too, will know where to turn and that they will be secure in the knowledge that whatever the future brings, and no matter how long or short that future is, they need only, “Be still and know I am God.” Exodus 14:4.

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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