January 17


the day to eliminate sin.

“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all of the Law of Moses.”  2 Kings 23:25 NIV

An eight year old boy became king of Judah and reigned for 31 years.

His name was Josiah and he was known for his obedience to God. When he was 26 years old, Josiah sent his secretary, Shaphan, as a messenger to the Lord’s Temple to see Hilkiah, the High Priest. His intended purpose was to arrange payment for the workers who were restoring the temple, but when Shaphan returned to his king, he brought with him a scroll given to him by Hilkiah. When Josiah read the scroll, he discovered that Hilkiah had given him something that had been lost for many years…..God’s Word.

As he read this incredible document, he realized with shame that his kingdom had drifted far away from God. Josiah set about enacting sweeping reforms throughout the nation to conform to the Law of Moses.

Unlike Josiah, we do not have to wait.

The Word of God is available to us on a daily basis and we should follow Josiah’s example and strive to bring our lives in line with it. One of the first things we must do is eliminate sin. In order to do this we must first recognize it, and then attack its causes. While we may think that recognizing sin is easy, our behavior sometimes speaks differently. Given the permissiveness in today’s society and the downplaying of the role of God in our lives that seems to constantly test our faith, we sometimes allow ourselves to become comfortable with improper thoughts and actions. We then rationalize these thoughts and actions with a litany of excuses.

We blame our human weakness.

We blame everyone else.

We blame satan.

We even blame God.

A big part of being a good Christian is taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions, praying for God’s forgiveness, and asking Him to help us identify and resist sinful temptations.

Jesus’ brother James said, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation…” (James 1:12a KJV).

A good relationship with God is tantamount to eliminating sin in our lives. Only when we are in constant communication with Him can we steadily draw upon His strength to help us identify, resist, and attack sin. Some of us may think that this type of relationship with the Lord is too arduous and time-consuming – too ‘high-maintenance’, if you will – yet we think nothing of spending hours every day maintaining our automobiles, our homes, our yards, and our physical appearance.

It would be wise to remember that all of these things are temporary and superficial when compared with the eternal benefits of striving to maintain a sin-free life and a strong relationship with God enables us to do that.

By all means, wash your car. Paint your house. Mow your lawn.

And talk with God as you do all of these things and ask for His help in eliminating sin from your life.


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

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January 16


a good day to eliminate worry.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6 NIV

George Mueller was an author, a preacher, and a founder of Christian orphanages during the 1800’s. Mr. Mueller offered this perspective on worry: “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

Several different teachers throughout the Bible instructed us not to worry. In Philippians 4:6, Paul stresses the importance of turning our worry over to God in prayer and with thanksgiving.

Peter tells us the same thing when he says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

The most powerful statements come from our Lord, Jesus Christ, when He spoke at length on the subject in Matthew 6:25-34.

In part, He said, “And who of you by being worried can add a single day to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NASB).

His solution to worry?

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

Many of us probably tell ourselves that it is easier to talk about not worrying than it is to actually stop. While it may not be easy to totally eliminate worry, it is important to recognize that worry is the passive act of making ourselves anxious about something over which we have no control. When we allow ourselves to worry, we run several risks: adversely affecting our health; immobilizing ourselves, making us ineffective in other tasks; affecting our ability to relate to loved ones and other people in our personal and professional lives; and – most importantly – worry can tear at the very fabric of our trust in God.

Fully trusting in God will help us to avoid the pitfalls of worry and be happy and content knowing God is in control. As humans, we have a tendency to try to be the driver when in actuality we are the vehicle. Letting God drive allows us to get where we need to go via a road less bumpy than one we are likely to select ourselves.

Worry is evil whispering in your ear.

Worry is evil eating at your heart and your mind.

Worry is stepping backward from the light into the darkness.

It is important to remember that our ability to eliminate worry is in direct proportion to two things: 1) The strength of our faith; 2) How much we pray.

Strengthen your faith by reading the Bible daily and pray for God to take your burdens from you.

Let God drive. He knows the Way.


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

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January 15


the day to be a living example of goodness for our children.

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”  Proverbs 1:8 KJV

What do our children see when they look at us?

Is what they observe in our actions and behavior a reflection of the goodness that should be a part of our relationship with God?

Are the signals we send them clear signals of morality, integrity, and Christian priorities?

Do they see us “…living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”? (Romans 14:17 NLT).

Do they hear us praising God for His help in filling our hearts with the desire to “…do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”? (Hebrews 13:16 NIV).

God has given each of us some extraordinary gifts, as well as some considerable responsibilities. It is important that we understand that no gift from God is more extraordinary than the gift of a child, and no responsibility is greater than being a living example to that child of the goodness of God and the importance of God in our lives.

It is simply not enough to tell a child how he or she should relate to other people and to God Himself. We must be ta living example for them to follow. Therefore, we must regularly ask ourselves, ‘What do my children see when they look at me?’

There are many of us who struggle just to find the time to keep up with the swirl of daily obligations and commitments we have surrounded ourselves with. We become so busy trying to build better lives on earth for our children that we end up inadvertently teaching them that it is acceptable to put God on the back burner because He is not as important as newer, bigger, better, or faster.

We deny this, of course, but this becomes what our children see, so this becomes what they learn.

We must make time every day for God.

We must teach our children, by example, that pleasing God is important. And not only is it important we do that, it is not very difficult to do. We simply must take time with our children, on a daily basis, to learn God’s lessons of love, peace, joy, caring, goodness, and service to God and those around us. Then we must apply these lessons to our daily lives and teach our children that this is how we please God and thank Him for all He gives us.

We must step in front of the mirror and ask ourselves another question:

“Am I a reflection of the goodness that should be a part of my relationship with God?”

If the answer is yes, thank Him.

If the answer is no, ask Him for help in changing it to yes and become a living example of goodness for your children.


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

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January 14


the day to thank God for His gift of grace.

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”  Ephesians 2:8 NLT

We cannot earn our salvation.

It comes from God as a gift through His grace. His divine love, mercy, and forgiveness are free. Understanding just how important and precious His grace is to us will help us to understand just how important and precious we are to Him.

To receive this gift of grace we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves. Only God can do that. As Paul teaches us “If you declare with your mouth, ’Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NIV).

Since God’s grace is a gift, there is no charge for it; there is nothing owed; there is no debt. But we should certainly be grateful for it and give thanks for it. Accepting this gift into our hearts should instill in us a need to share the joy this gift can bring with those around us.

If we have accepted Christ and received God’s gift of grace, we should make ourselves available to God with an attitude of compassion and joy. The desire to share our peace, happiness, and contentment should grow, as should our desire to serve the One who has given us such a priceless gift.

Frequently, many of us find ourselves so caught up in our own existence that we find it difficult to make time for ourselves or for our families, let alone for anyone else. However, just as physical exercise actually increases our energy, service to others in the name of God help us to increase the quality of our own lives.

When we show someone else kindness, love, and compassion, we are thanking God for His gift of grace to us. Helping someone else discover the gift of God’s grace is one of the kindest things we can do for another human being, and for ourselves.

Thank God today for His gift of grace by helping someone else receive it as well.


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

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January 13


the perfect day to give.

“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”  2 Corinthians 8:12 NLT

When we awake each morning, do we thank God for His gift of the new day?

Do we stop and look around us in awe and wonder at all of the individual gifts that each new day contains? We needn’t look far for these gifts. We only need to open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds and realize that everything we can see, hear, smell, and touch exists because it is a gift from God.

There are so many things around us that we take for granted as we rush through our lives: the sun; the stars; the clouds that drift soundlessly overhead; dew drops on the petals of a flower or a blade of grass; the sound of a bird singing its own song of life; the quiet beauty of a snowfall.

Simple things.

Everyday things.

These are all things that we should stop from time to time, take notice of, and thank God for.

When we give pause to show our appreciation for the One who makes everything in life possible, and when we give thanks for all of His countless gifts, we are one step closer to giving back and showing our love for, and commitment to, God and all that He created.

The best way to demonstrate that love and commitment is to give back to God in a manner that reflects His spirit within us. Believers in Macedonia, while not financially well off themselves, gave “…according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord…” (2 Corinthians 8:3 NASB).

The attitude is more important than the amount.

A gift given with enthusiasm and a joyful spirit will have more of a positive spiritual impact than one given out of grudging obligation. It is true that our churches require funds to operate and provide assistance to those who need it, but far too many of us write the check and then write off any further obligation to their fellow man and to God Himself.

Giving of ourselves – with a joyful heart and a willing spirit – is often more important than giving financially. For those who simply cannot afford to give financially, giving of themselves may be all that they can give.

But what a thing to give!

Philemon was a perfect example of how attitude and temperament can refresh the spirit of others, replenishing and stimulating them. In his letter to Philemon, Paul said, “Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.” (Philemon 1:7 NLT).

Be a Philemon.

Be someone who lifts others up and makes their burdens – be they financial or spiritual – lighter.

Give back to God who gives us – everything.


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

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January 12


a good day to deal with doubt.

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”  John 20:27 NLT

How strong is your faith?

How confident is your belief?

Publicly, you may proclaim that your faith is unshakeable; that your belief is without reservation. Privately, there may be times when a shadow of doubt crosses your heart as a cloud sometimes crosses in front of the sun, blocking its light and its warmth.

The disciple Thomas not only needed to see Jesus’ wounds, he needed to feel them for himself before he was completely ready to believe that Jesus had truly risen from the dead.

Simon Peter’s faith was strong enough to trust Christ and step out of the boat onto the water.

“‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” (Matthew 14:29 NLT).

However, his fear created doubts that caused him to start sinking, making him cry out to Jesus for help. His doubts would surface yet again when Jesus was taken into custody and Peter denied three times that he even knew who Christ was, just as Jesus said he would.

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, Peter – this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me.’” (Matthew 26:34 NLT).

God does not condemn us for our moments of human weakness that result in doubt provided we use our struggle with it to strengthen our faith.

Since we are merely human, we should not allow it to shatter us if we have an occasional moment of doubt. It is during these times that we must rely on the Word of God to help us reach out and ‘touch the wounds of Jesus’ for ourselves and find the wisdom to strengthen our belief.

The apostle Thomas became known as ‘Doubting’ Thomas. Still, he went on to become one of Christ’s most fervent apostles, traveling to India and founding the first Christian church there in A. D. 52 in the town of Parur. Ultimately, Thomas traveled farther than any of the other apostles including the indefatigable Paul who traveled much of the area bordering the northern and eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Simon Peter was originally Simon the fisherman. Jesus changed his name to Peter which meant ‘rock’. In describing Peter, He said “…upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18 NLT).

Peter did, indeed, become a ‘rock’ for Christ: he was the first to invite non-Jews to join the early church; he became the recognized leader among Jesus’ disciples; he was one of Jesus’ inner group of three; he went on to write 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

So, do you sometimes have doubts?

If you do, then you are in very good company.

Use the Word of God to overcome your doubts, strengthen your faith, and do great things for the glory of God!


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

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January 11


the day to seek the wisdom of God.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5 NASB

Wisdom is knowledge, understanding, insight, and good judgment. It is not just intelligence – it is using intelligence correctly.

Throughout the Bible, the importance of wisdom and its part in our relationship with God is stressed many times. Wisdom allows us to apply the things that we have learned from the Word of God in a manner that makes us more Christ-like. Wisdom helps point us to a purpose for our lives on earth that benefits all of mankind and not just ourselves. Wisdom guides our decisions, our hopes, our prayers, and our love for others and enables us to be leaders, healers, helpers, and friends.

Wisdom also prepares us to be good parents, productive and involved members of our churches and our communities, and helps us be looked to as sources of strength and counsel during times of trouble, tragedy, or disaster.

When told by God that he could have anything that he asked for, Solomon did not ask for great wealth or fame. Instead, he asked God to, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10 NIV).

We are not all kings.

We are not all rulers.

Most of us are simple people trying to find our way in a world that seems to become more confusing and dangerous every day. No matter how good our intentions may be, sometimes the correct direction often eludes us. It is important we understand that studying the Word of God, spending time getting to know Him, and asking for His divine wisdom will help us determine exactly what that direction is.

Wisdom is a God-given gift, but it is only given to those who actively seek it. We must ask for it and then we must trust God as He shows us that all of the wisdom we will ever need can be found throughout the Bible.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6 NIV).

Wisdom gives us the ability to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.

When we are faithful to God and ask for – and use – wisdom for His purpose, He will reward us with true happiness.

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.” (Proverbs 2:10 NLT).

We only need to keep asking God for His wisdom in our prayers, and seeking it in His Word.

“For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8 NLT).

Open the door today to reveal the gift of God’s wisdom.


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

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January 10


a great day to love others.

“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Matthew 22:39 NIV

God gave mankind many gifts, many talents, and many skills.

He made us seemingly without limit in our ability to develop technologies and products that are extremely complex and require a tremendous amount of education, thought, and expertise. He gave us the ability to develop an almost incomprehensible array of vehicles with which to traverse the land, the oceans, the sky, and even space itself.

In spite of all of these God-given gifts, talents, and skills which enable us to achieve ever-increasing levels in science and technology, manufacturing and production, education, medicine, and building, we sometimes seem at a loss to fully comprehend the simple concept of loving our fellow man.

Perhaps the concept itself is so simplistic in nature that we automatically diminish its significance and deny its importance.

Jesus Christ did not think it was insignificant or unimportant. In fact, when asked by the Pharisees what He thought was the most important commandment in the Law of Moses, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV).

If that, in and of itself, is not enough to demonstrate the importance of loving your neighbor, Jesus went on to say, “The entire law and all of the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:40 NLT).

So, not only did Jesus say that loving your neighbor is important, He placed it second only to showing love to God Himself in terms of importance and significance.

Jesus was not referring only to those who live in close proximity to us, of course. To God, the entire world that He created is a very small place and all of mankind should consider all other inhabitants of God’s creation to be his neighbor regardless of where they live, or whatever their race, creed, or social background.

We should all reach out in love to anyone we see who needs assistance.

Often we become so wrapped up in our own little corner of the world and become so overwhelmed with our own lives and problems that we fail to lift our heads up and look around us. When we do that, we realize that there is always someone in greater need than we are. When we take the time – and make the effort – to reach out to another human being, we not only learn a little about ourselves, but we learn a little more about God’s love for us. When we help someone else with their problems, God helps ours seem to diminish just a little, and those that remain seem easier to handle.

Loving our neighbor is a simple concept with far-reaching impact. It is a concept that is important to the Lord.

Today is a great day to make it important to you as well.


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

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January 9


the perfect day to seek the light.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”  John 1:5 NLT

Under cover of darkness, we may allow ourselves to do things or live our lives in ways that are contrary to the will of God.

When we are shrouded in darkness and ‘safe’ from prying eyes, it becomes far too easy to indulge in sinful acts and selfish pleasures and give in to immoral thoughts that can have a negative impact on how we view ourselves, and could cause others to view us differently if those thoughts and actions were to come to light.

Carrying around the burden of sinful living takes its toll on us and can drain us of our joy and our peace. It can deny us the true pleasures available to us that can be found in righteous living.

Accepting Christ as the true Light in our lives exposes us to the rest of the world, making it more difficult for darkness to consume our thoughts and actions. The Light illuminates the path before us and leads us out of the darkness and away from the pain and the suffering that lurks there.

Living in the Light helps us to want to live as better children of God and allows us to reach out to others and point them to the Light as well. Living in the Light helps us to demonstrate our faith to others and live in a manner that will reflect the goodness of God to them.

With so many sources of temptation in today’s world, it is difficult for many of us to embrace the concept of living in the Light of Jesus Christ, but giving in to temptation by taking the easy way out and making excuses for our sin is not advised.

“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him.” (Ephesians 5:6 NLT).

Many of us have experienced the almost physical heaviness that can be felt upon entering a darkened room. We have also experienced the tremendous relief that turning on the light brings as that oppressive weight is lifted from us. With the light on, we can see clearly in front of us and are forewarned of any obstacles that stand in our way and could cause us harm as we move through the room.

It is the same when we accept the Light of Christ into our lives. The heaviness of sinful living is lifted from our hearts and minds and temptation is exposed in order that we may avoid it and move in the right direction in our lives.

Of course, there will be obstacles and pitfalls in every life that cannot be avoided completely, even in the Light of Christ, but we will be much better prepared to deal with them when we live in His Light.

The darkness of evil can never overcome the Light of the Lord. Use the gift of this day to step out of the darkness and into the Light.


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

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January 8


a perfect day for peace with God.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1 KJV

Disagreements among people on earth too frequently have led to devastating wars.

The road to peace and reconciliation has inevitably been cleared through the shedding of the blood of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of men and women in service to their countries.

The road to peace and reconciliation with Almighty God was cleared through the shedding of the blood of just one man in service to all of mankind. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross cleared that road and gave us a way to establish a relationship with God that is ours for the asking.

Jesus is the way to the Father. The only way. Our faith allows us to trust that Christ died for our sins. His death gave us the ability to ask God for salvation through Jesus Christ and obtain forgiveness for ourselves.

The ability to be at peace with God – to be reconciled with Him – is the gift that Jesus Christ gave us when He died. It is a valuable gift; a precious gift; a gift of love and everlasting life so wonderful as to defy any true mortal comprehension.

At the same time, it is a gift that is often taken for granted, or simply not accepted at all.

So many of us live in spiritual darkness, locked in a continuous battle that we try to fool ourselves we can win without God’s help. If we haven’t accepted the gift already, it is time to reach out and accept that which was given with such love and selflessness so long ago.

Today is the perfect day to come to God through Christ and find the clear path to reconciliation and peace with God.

Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NIV).

Enjoy the gift of a relationship with God that was paid for, in full, with the death of Jesus Christ. Make His death mean something by making your life an everlasting one.

Enjoy the gift of peace that comes from being reconciled to God.


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

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