October 15


a splendid day to remember that God doesn’t forget us.

“Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”  Psalm 77:9 NIV

God simply does not forget us. He cannot forget us.

It is true that, at times, we might encounter periods in our lives where we will think that God has forgotten about us. During those times we will feel helpless and alone and we will call out to Him and ask Him where He is.

It is human nature to experience periods of insecurity and loneliness, but it is during these times that we must find some way to remind ourselves that the Lord is never far away from us, even if He is silent, and even if we are encountering difficulty feeling His presence and hearing His voice in our hearts.

There could be a number of reasons for this, but none of them is the one that stands out in our mind: “God has forgotten me.” It is not God who forgets, but us. We forget that God may not always look at things in the same way that we do. We forget that God’s time table may be different from what we would prefer.

But God does not forget.

The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt longer than many of them would have liked, but it was not because God had forgotten them. The Israelites continued to groan under the burden of their slavery, “And God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” (Exodus 2:24 KJV).

In those times when we might be about to entertain thoughts that God has forgotten us, perhaps we need to pause and look honestly at our situation. It is very possible that the situation we are crying out for rescue from contains a lesson that God wants us to learn first.

To truly live life to its fullest, we must embrace every situation we encounter as if it were a food which contains nourishment. God wants us to take all of the “nourishment” out of every situation we encounter so that we can then use it to shape our character into something useful to others.

God will determine the point at which He will step in on our behalf. It is His decision and His alone. Our responsibility is to try to understand what can be learned from what we are facing. It is our responsibility to draw the nourishment for our character from whatever the situation may be. And it is our responsibility to remember that God has not forgotten us, nor will He ever do so.

Actually, maybe there are some things that God forgets.

He forgets our sins because He forgives us, but that is all He forgets and today is a splendid day to remember that.


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

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October 13


the perfect day to get involved.

“And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him ‘Go and do the same.’”  Luke 10:37 NASB

When asked to explain exactly who his “neighbor” was by an individual who was testing Him, Jesus told the story of the Jewish man who was robbed and beaten on the road to Jericho.

A priest came along and passed the beaten Jewish man by, as did a temple assistant. It was only the Samaritan who stopped to render aid. This was unusual since Jews and Samaritans despised each other. Not only did the Samaritan attend to his wounds on the spot, he took the Jew to an inn and paid the innkeeper to look after him until he had recovered.

It was then that Jesus asked the one who was testing Him, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” Luke 10:36 NIV

It is from this parable that the term “Good Samaritan” is derived. The Samaritan who stopped to render aid did not look the other way because what had happened did not involve him. He did not pass him by because he was a Jew. He did not ignore the man’s needs because to stop and render aid would be inconvenient.

He stopped to help a fellow human being who was hurting and in need.

In other words, he did what God expects of us all – he looked out for the needs of his neighbor. We all are neighbors in the eyes of God. Helping someone in need should be something we do without hesitation, but so often in these times, just like in the times when Jesus told the parable, it is too inconvenient, too much trouble, or not our responsibility to come to the aid of our fellow man. We find it difficult to bring ourselves to “get involved.”

Examples of the reluctance to be a good neighbor – or to be a Good Samaritan – can be found all around us on a daily basis. While it is true that there are also examples of people going out of their way – even risking their lives – for others, our focus should be on why so many of us choose not to get involved.

It should be unthinkable to any follower of Christ to pass by someone who needs help or to refuse to get involved because it is inconvenient. We can make all of the excuses we want, and many of them probably sound pretty good. But none of them are good enough when we ask ourselves this simple question: “How inconvenient was it for Christ to be beaten, humiliated, scorned, and killed so that we may be saved?”

If we look at it that way, there is no excuse for refusing to get involved and help our neighbors. Today is a gift from God and it is the perfect day to help someone who is hurting and in need.


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

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October 12


a good day to say, “It will not be me, Lord!”

“Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”  Matthew 26:22 NLT

Throughout history there have always been those who have been sentenced to die and who have sat in a jail cell awaiting their fate. Living each day with that knowledge cannot be an easy thing to do, no matter what it was that an individual did to “earn” such a sentence.

Now, try to imagine living your life knowing that it would end with your being brutally mistreated and then crucified – and being innocent of any wrong doing. Imagine you are sitting down to dinner with twelve of your closest friends, knowing this would be the last time you would all be together. As you look around at the smiling, unsuspecting faces of people you love, your gaze comes to the one you know is going to place you in the hands of those who will ultimately take your life.

The pain that Jesus must have felt is never discussed. He is very calm and simply points out that the betrayal is coming, and it will be by one of the twelve enjoying this last supper together.

“As they were eating, He said, ‘Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.’” (Matthew 26:21 NASB).

One has to wonder why, rather than steadfastly stating that, “It will not be me, Lord!” each of the twelve, in turn asked, “Am I the one?”

Of course, we all know that it was Judas who handed Jesus over to those who wished Him harm, but we also know that the other eleven disciples vanished to avoid the same fate, so in a sense they all betrayed Him.

Their faith was shaken by their failure to understand what Christ had been trying to teach them about His imminent death and its role in fulfilling God’s Promise of a Messiah, and the Salvation the Messiah would bring. Even after spending all that time walking with Christ, talking with Him, and listening to Him teach and witnessing the numerous miracles He performed while healing and helping those He came to serve – even after all of that, they all had their individual moments of doubt.

It was not until His resurrection that their faith became unshakable. It was not until they saw Him alive after they witnessed His death that they finally were able to fully give themselves over to Him as His apostles.

We do not have the unique honor of being able to have Jesus Christ sit at the same table with us and share supper. We must operate strictly on our faith. We must, in a way, be more confident of Christ than even those who walked with Him.

Our faith must be pure, it must be strong, and it must be true. We must look at all the Bible tells us and become convinced beyond all doubt so if we hear the voice of Christ say, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me,” we can stand up and say, with fierce conviction, “It will not be me, Lord!”


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

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October 11


a great day to consider the dangers of being a Christian.

“I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;”  2 Corinthians 11:26 NASB

In Paul’s time, simply trying to live a “normal, quiet, unobtrusive” life was fraught with danger. There was no highly trained police force or fire department; there was no “911” to call for help in an emergency; there were no hospitals and little in the way of real medical care. It is difficult to imagine living without all of the resources that are available to most of us today.

Add to all of those very real dangers, the additional danger posed by being a follower of Christ, and it is easy to believe that life for the Apostle Paul, and others like him, was very dangerous, indeed.

For many people, the matter of faith is a difficult one. It is extremely hard for many to believe that Jesus Christ did, in fact, walk this earth and was the Son of God, come to offer salvation to all, to die on the cross to atone for all of our sins, and to enable any person to approach God in prayer.

Those of us who believe without reservation have many different reasons for our belief, but examining the life, and the death of Paul – and the dangers he faced as a Christian – presents us with additional compelling reasons to believe.

Before changing his name to Paul, the name of the man who would become one of the strongest voices in the history of Christianity was Saul, and Saul, as we all know was a staunch non-believer. In fact, he was an ardent persecutor of Christians.

After encountering Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul was directed to a home in Damascus to await a believer named Ananias, but Ananias had heard of Saul’s reputation and was leery of approaching him.

“But the Lord said, ‘Go, for Saul is My chosen instrument to take My message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” (Acts 9:15-16 NLT).

And suffer he did.

Paul was given 39 lashes 5 different times, beaten with rods, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked and spent a whole day and night adrift at sea.

And still, he believed.

In spite of the dangers that being a Christian added to the numerous dangers of daily life in his time, Paul never stopped believing.

If this man, who once stood by as Christians were persecuted, could believe in spite of the dangers he faced, those of us who find it difficult should be able to believe because of the dangers Paul faced and the suffering he endured to teach others about Jesus Christ.

Believers and non-believers alike should consider the dangers Paul faced and today is a great day to do just that.


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

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October 9


an awesome day to be proud of the glow God gives you.

“…they saw that his face was radiant.”  Exodus 34:35a NIV

The story of Moses teaches us that his meetings with God gave his face a radiant glow. This was an actual physical condition that Moses would cover with a veil in-between his meetings with God.

“Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went back in to speak with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:35b NIV).

While it is not perfectly clear why Moses covered his face, it is safe to assume that he did not cover it because he was ashamed.

As our relationship with God becomes deeper and more intimate, our understanding of just how special that relationship is will grow and our own faces will reflect the happiness that comes out of that relationship. While we may never develop the same radiance of Moses, the glow will be real none the less.

As we proceed with our lives, those around us will become aware of that glow and invariably some will ask what it is that makes us so cheerful, so content, and so easy to get along with and willing to help others. The responses we get will vary when we tell them the source of our inner peace and happiness is our relationship with God. Some will undoubtedly want to know more.

Others will most likely look at us as if they regretted ever asking the question.

It is the negative responses to our joy in the Lord that makes some of us reluctant to speak out and proudly tell others that the source of our happiness is our relationship with God.

It is almost as if some of us are embarrassed or, worse, ashamed of our reliance upon God. That’s what a good relationship with God is, though, isn’t it? It’s a reliance upon Him for strength, courage, wisdom, peace, joy, love – all that is good, all that has purpose, and all that is just.

Perhaps some people cringe or stay away because they feel they have opened the door to receive a lecture or sermon that they may not be ready for, and that is OK. But do not let the fear of a negative response keep you from letting someone know the truth should they ask. We should all be extremely proud when our love for God, and His for us, creates a noticeable “glow” in our physical presence.

You never know; being proud of the answer just may bring this response: “Oh? Tell me more.”

And today may be just the day that happens.


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

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October 8


the day to learn that ignorance is no excuse.

“For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”  Galatians 6:5 NLT

A child of ours comes home from a neighbor’s house and pulls a toy out of his or her pocket that we are certain is not one of theirs. Upon asking about it, the child admits readily that it is the neighbor’s toy and you point out that it is wrong to take things that don’t belong to us. Since this is the first time something like this has happened, there is no punishment, of course, but we must still make sure that the toy is returned and that our child understands the lesson.

Being unaware of a sin or a crime, or a relatively innocent incident such as the one above, does not relieve the individual of the responsibility for whatever the action was. Once made aware, corrective action must be taken and responsibility for our actions must be met.

God gave Moses instructions for the Israelites that made taking responsibility very clear.

He said, “If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, he is guilty.” (Leviticus 4:27 NIV).

There are those who think that this is unfair and believe it is impossible to hold someone accountable when they are unaware, and to a degree this is quite understandable. What about someone in a remote corner of the world who has had no exposure to the Word of God, and no opportunity to learn what is right and what is wrong in the eyes of God? All we can do is pray that God will take that into consideration when it is time to judge.

However, most people are aware and, once exposed to God’s laws, are most definitely accountable. It is our responsibility to pursue the knowledge that God has made available to us once we are aware of its existence. We cannot claim ignorance as an exemption from our responsibility. We cannot claim ignorance as an exemption from our guilt. It is important to understand the Bible contains all of the guidance we need to live lives that are acceptable to God and cancels any claim to ignorance we might wish to make.

The Lord expects each one of His children to do all they can to live in a manner that meets with His approval, and He knows that we know where to look for the information we require to do just that.

If we do not study God’s word to receive the information we need, we will remain ignorant.

But ignorance is no excuse.


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

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October 7


a fine day to take your medicine.

“…follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.”  Proverbs 6:3 NLT

While these verses may pertain to avoiding overextending ourselves financially, the key lesson to be learned is to not let our pride get in the way of doing what is right.

People often become confused when talking about pride.

It is important to take pride in the work that we do; to take pride in our appearance; to take pride in the maintenance and upkeep of our vehicles and our homes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with solving a difficult problem or completing a task and stepping back and basking in the glow of that accomplishment, particularly when the accomplishment is one of service to God or to those around us, and as long as we give God the glory and acknowledge that it is He who provides us with the talent and ability to do everything we do.

But pride that is the result of a self-righteous or arrogant attitude is destructive and keeps us separated from people around us and from God as well.

There was once a jingle that contained the words, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Many of us have experienced the bitter, unpleasant taste involved with the taking of certain types of medicine. Unfortunately, in many cases, this unpleasantness must be endured in order to help us heal.

Swallowing our pride can be a much more difficult challenge to some of us than taking the worst tasting medicine that we can imagine, but if our pride has created discord or unhappiness in our relationships, our homes, with our friends, or with those we work or worship with, we must do whatever it takes to swallow it in order to help the situation heal.

“Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.” (Proverbs 6:4 NLT).

Waiting will not improve the situation or make it easier. Adding stubbornness to the arrogance and self-righteousness can, in no way, help the situation. It can – and will – only make it worse.

Consider the following verse from Proverbs: “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” (Proverbs 8:3 NIV).

Our pride is bunched together with some pretty shady company, so it cannot be a good thing.

No matter how much sugar we need to add, we need to take our medicine today and swallow our pride.


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

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October 6


an excellent day to be last.

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.’”  Mark 9:35 NASB

Leadership that is born of arrogance is not leadership at all.

Nor is leadership that is accompanied by an attitude of superiority.

These attitudes deliver the wrong message and speak more to an individual’s need for power and self-gratification than to a genuine desire to guide people to a better place in life, or to help people attain their goals.

True leadership was demonstrated perfectly by Christ, who constantly exhibited humility and a desire to serve the needs of others. He not only used His example to teach others, He was also very specific about what was required to be a leader.

After making the observation that, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people,” He went on to tell His disciples, “But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you must take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26 NLT).

A true leader does what is best for all, not what is desired by themselves or what is expedient. One who wants to assume a position of leadership must be prepared to forsake their own needs or desires in order to focus on the needs of those they wish to lead.

When service to others is our motivation, we may discover ourselves attaining a position of leadership that was not sought. It may not even be particularly welcome or wanted, but true service to others sets such a Christ-like example that those who are being served will grow to look up to and, ultimately, follow us as time goes on. We must not shrink or shy away from this. We must ask God to be our guide and continue to serve others with humility and the love that exemplifies those who follow Christ.

For those who seek to be leaders, it is important to remember the teachings of the greatest leader to ever walk the earth. Christ’s method of leadership has to be perfect because He was perfect, so if Christ was compassionate, and if He was just and good, then those should be considered good traits, should they not?

As the King of Creation, Christ could have employed any style of leadership He chose, and He chose to be a humble servant to those He led. We must put ourselves last, but if it is good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for any one of us.


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

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October 5


a superb day to begin at the beginning.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18 NIV

If we are preparing to leave on a journey, we all know that it is impossible to begin that journey at any other place than at the very beginning.

After all, if we live in New York and are driving to Los Angeles, we would not even contemplate starting in Oklahoma City. Obviously that is silly in the extreme.

Paul tries to teach the importance of prayer to everyone he encountered. In his Letter to the Ephesians, he tried to impress upon them that prayer should be such an important part of their lives that prayer was how they should begin anything they were doing.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayer and requests.”

Many people limit their prayers to “last ditch efforts,” instilling an attitude voiced by David when he wrote, “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles.” (Psalm 34:6 NLT).

Prayers born of desperation are certainly heard and many of us can attest to the effectiveness of those prayers of desperation.

What we need to do though, is examine some of those situations and ask ourselves if the prayers of desperation we had invoked at the end of a situation would have been necessary if we had prayed in the beginning to be sure that what we were embarking upon had God’s blessing beforehand.

After all, the Word tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8 NASB).

In order for that to happen, we need to have the lines of communication open, and we need to consult with God before we do something and be listening for His response. Perhaps we don’t always do this because we know what His answer will be, and we think it will not be the one we want.

If that is the case, then there is all the more reason to pray.

Given the opportunity, God can help us avoid situations where we are forced to cry out to Him in desperation. While He will always hear our cries for help, He would prefer to first hear our voices in prayer asking for His advice and His blessing.

You can get to Los Angeles. But if you live in New York, you really have to start there.

Begin every journey, every task, every undertaking, and – especially – every day with prayer. Today is a superb day to ask God to always help you to begin at the beginning.


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

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October 4


a wonderful day to acknowledge the things people do.

“Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.”  Exodus 39:43 NIV

Most of us know the feeling of gaining the approval of someone for something we have done. Demonstrating our approval by giving credit where credit is due is no less than we would want done for us.

When our children show consideration for someone else, we should make sure and acknowledge it. Giving them credit for doing the right thing makes them feel better about doing it. Soon they begin to experience the feeling even when no one notices what they have done. When we show our approval to our children, it helps them to grow in a positive manner and helps them to acquire traits that will enable them to be better parents later on. Just as important is the fact that it helps teach them how to interact in a more positive manner with other people around them as they grow: fellow students; teachers; fellow employees; employers; members of the church they belong to; and even strangers that they meet.

As Christians, Paul teaches us to serve Christ and live lives of goodness, peace, and joy, “For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:18 NASB).

People working together for Christ need to be acknowledged. When someone does a good job they should get the credit for it, and the approval of others. This recognition goes a long way in helping to keep people enthusiastic about what they are doing.

We probably have all known someone in our lives who takes credit for things that he or she did not do. The Bible teaches us that we shouldn’t do that and demonstrates the negative things that grow out of taking credit as opposed to giving it to the one who deserves it. Letting pride take control of our lives can only create problems for us, as Saul found out. Saul’s son, Jonathan, defeated the Philistines at Geba, but Saul took the credit for it.

“So all Israel heard the news: ‘Saul had attacked the Philistine outpost…’” (1 Samuel 13:4a NIV).

We must also remember to acknowledge God for the things that He does to help us get through each day. Giving credit to Him also helps us to see those around us who are deserving of our approval and our encouragement for the things they do.

Keep your eyes open and always watch for ways in which you can encourage others by acknowledging the things that they do.


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

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